Don’t You Know The Arts Are The Only Thing We All Belong To?

Via David Thompson:

So writes Zoë Coombs Marr, a writer, comedian and “theatre maker,” and a woman of profound humility, in a piece complaining about the “devastating effects” of modest alterations in taxpayer subsidy for Australia’s commercially unviable artists. Artists who, while unloved by the general public, are nonetheless deserving of money they haven’t earned. “I’m here to bust a few myths,” says Ms Marr. And so begins a sorrowful tale of how bloody hard it is to be an artist whose work is of little interest to the public, and how hard it is to screw other people’s earnings out of other people.’

As previously posted:

Should You Be Taxed To Pay For The Arts?-David Thompson Via Artblog.net: ‘Cargo Culture’.

‘David Thompson’s blog has become an indispensable resource for arguments against the public funding of contemporary culture. ‘

If you build the art museums, some people believe ‘culture’ will follow.

So what’s wrong with liking art, recognizing some inherent value in the pleasure it gives and importance in one’s own life, potentially to other lives, and more broadly to one’s own society in supporting public funding of museums and art education?

Follow the link for an interesting debate.

For the libertarians, Bastiat is mentioned, and for the pop-art lovers, so is David Byrne of the Talking Heads (featured in the NY Times):

‘I refrain from calling Byrne a socialist, but what goes unsaid here is that our objections are to a prior assumption by believers in state power, namely that because some undertaking is worth doing, that the state ought to be doing it. If Byrne is addressing society in the above quote (and I think he is to some degree, although largely by not making Bastiat’s distinction), he is doing so as if it were an aggregate, even an abstraction. This may be the essence of the statist mind: that an abstracted aggregate of other people ought to be devoting their energies to the effort I deem noble. It’s from there that the demands flow. The collectivist is not asking you to give up expenditures on your hobby to support his (even if his has been fashioned into a career), he’s asking the abstract aggregate to change its trajectory or support the arts or something nebulous and lofty like that. Cargo Culture springs into being when such demands are met.’

For those interested, here are a few central questions I’ve gleaned from many discussions and debates of my own:

Who decides what is good and not good art, and what the public ‘ought’ to be viewing?

-‘Should artists of ambition, some talent and potential genius be supported, and if so, how?  Does this support always incentivize them to make better art? 

Does institutionalization lead to the easier appropriation of art by the religious, the politicians, the speculators and patrons, the culture vultures and various other ideological interests?

And if you’re still with me, we can always complicate matters further:

F-30 Moving Carousel -1

Beauty is no quality in things themselves, it exists merely in the mind which contemplates them; and each mind perceives a different beauty.

David Hume

Photo here.

Can we really talk about universals when we talk about beauty and a philosophy of aesthetics?

Related On This Site: When poetry went into the universities: Repost-From Poemshape: ‘Let Poetry Die’

Philosopher Of Art Denis Dutton of the Arts & Letters Daily argues the arts and Darwin can be sucessfully synthesized: Review of Denis Dutton’s ‘The Art Instinct’

Conservative Briton Roger Scruton suggests keeping political and aesthetic judgments apart in the humanities:Roger Scruton In The American Spectator Via A & L Daily: Farewell To Judgment

How might Nietzsche figure in the discussion (was he most after freeing art from a few thousand years of Christianity, monarchy and aristocracy…something deeper?), at least with regard to Camille Paglia.  See the comments:  Repost-Camille Paglia At Arion: Why Break, Blow, Burn Was Successful

Hopefully it won’t go this far:  From Big Hollywood: ‘The National Endowment For The Art Of Persuasion?’

From NPR: Grants To The NEA To Stimulate The Economy?From 2 Blowhards-We Need The Arts: A Sob Story

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