the Press@money for the arts 2012 #1

Posted on Ianuarie 9, 2012

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Art Threat is “an online publication devoted to political art and cultural policy” which I have only recently came across with, but which seems to me the place of serious opinion journalism, with a strong leftist edge. This week they have published an article about the value of art schools, that I recommend for the ideas it puts forward, but also as a piece which shows how a local/national story can be made relevant to an international reader (the history of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design is embedded in the discussion about the status of the art school, art, and in the end, that of non-monetary value in today’s society).

The Guardian provides some good food-for-thought, as David Edgar puts in a nutshell the main reasons why the arts have been funded and why they should continue to be so. I don’t think anyone could reasonably disagree with the fact that in Romania we actually do need a lot more evidence-based policy and decision-making (and thus, more quantification of results), but the experiences of countries where social-impacts of the arts and the return-on-investments in the arts have been largely considered, could be of use to prevent us from overstating its benefits and understating its risks.

In search of answers to some questions you may have asked yourself at least once, Derek Thompson writes for The Atlantic about the reasons for which tickets to movie-theaters cost more or less the same, somehow against what could the intuitive advice of matching each movie to its own production costs and the expected box-office success.

Speaking about movies, the latest results to the 2011 call for proposals of the Romanian National Center for Cinematography raises some questions about the quality of evaluation and the good-will of the evaluators. Florentina Ciuverca writes for Filmreporter.ro about Adina Pintilie’s movie “Touch me not”, that, although having won grants, awards and residencies abroad – thus being a promising candidate for funding-, has failed to be selected. But the problems seem to run deeper, down to the lack of criteria for evaluation and accountability of evaluators. Good input from Cristian Mungiu, supporting the young directors and their need for modern, more professional evaluation of submitted proposals.

Adevărul publishes an article about Vlad Ciobanu, Romanian sculptor, who has started a hunger strike to protest against the poor condition of the artist and other more general problems we, as a society, face today. Nicolae Manolescu writes about Mihai Eminescu, Romania’s (still considered) national poet, inserting his own remarks and comments about the way the birthday of the artist was being celebrated in the Romanian press during Ceausescu’s years of rule and copying a short article that he published in 1988 about the pension of Mihai Eminescu. On the other side of the arts world, the end of the year marked the review of best-selling painters and paintings on the Romanian visual-arts market, and Nicu Ilie writes about the relation between the top transactions and the decisions of the MoCNH to classify some works of art as heritage, and thus becoming an “involuntary referee” of the auctions.

Mediafax mentions the Church of Kopimi, recognized as a religious movement in Sweden, and which considers information to be sacred and its sharing, a religious act. The article places side by side this piece of news with that of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), a proposal which has been submitted to the United States House of Representatives in October 2011 and which poses a number of serious threats and limits freedom of expression, as a counterpart to its general objective „to promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of U.S. property, and for other purposes”. Last but not least, the press puts in focus another regulation affecting the money-side of the arts, in this case, the media. In late 2011 a new law was passed by the Romanian Parliament, deeming mandatory for commercial TV-stations to broadcast weekly at least 120 minutes of cultural or educational content. Apparently president Băsescu had some objections to this new piece of legislation, calling it the consumer’s right to choose hers/his choice of programme, among others. We’ll follow through this topic in the weeks to come.