the Press@money for the arts 2012 #2

Posted on Ianuarie 16, 2012

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Georgiana Petrache for ArtAct Magazine talked to Kelemen Hunor, minister of Culture and National Heritage about the available budget for 2012. The minister seems in peace with the amount, which, according to his own words, „it is structured as to allow the funding and the functioning of the cultural institutions directly subordinated to the Ministry of Culture”. Quite clear the message for the rest of us, is it not?

In an interview published in Adevărul, Ion Caramitru also refers to his achievements as minister of Culture between 1996 and 2000, weights the advantages associated with being a manager or an artist and the relation between an artist’s fee in Romania and his/hers audience success or popularity.

Still the beginning of the year, a period marked by last-year’s evaluations and rankings. Ana-Maria Onisei writes about the „best books” of 2011 in a synthesis of the most important hierarchies made by prestigous newspapers and magazines. There is a small reference to one criterion being the number of books sold, I suspect the other ones are related to reviews, awards, expert opinions etc.

By the way, did you already watch „Margin Call”, the movie that builds a very humane psychological conflict around the tragic decision that sparked the flame of the financial crisis in the US? I added an interview in the Guardian with Stanley Tucci, who plays one of the lead characters, for his honest statement when deciding to join the actors team: „The numbers don’t mean anything to me, but they mean something to these people – and they’re caught in a web and they’ve got nowhere to go. None of us have anywhere to go! What are you going to do: not put your money in the bank? The way that whole thing is structured, you don’t have any recourse. I think we’re all kind of trapped in this. Capitalism is suffocating us in a weird way, isn’t it?” ” Do you agree?

Ed Pilkington writes an illuminating account of the story of Amanda Hocking, the 27-years old writer who pioneered the selling of books on Amazon and raised 20.000$ on her own in doing that without the help of any publisher.

Taking one step back to the article published last week about the reasons to fund art, I came across another one (the Guardian is such a good source for stuff like this), this time dealing with apparently the most non-financial reason for the appreciation of art, pleasure. But Jonathan Jones doesn’t exactly go against that, but attempts to challenge the arguments that usually build convincing accounts  of value of contemporary art, such as that it enlarges our critical vision, stimulates our creativity, helps support the construction of inclusive communities etc.

Mark Brown writes about the recall of the 331.000 pounds subsidy for the Barking Broadway theater, the only professional arts venue in the poor London borough.

Apparently the British prime-minister thinks like one of the participants to the Tuesday consultation for the next Culture Programme of the EU taking place at the MoCRA offices: public funds should be directed towards films with big box-office potential. Well, David Cameron is talking about the UK Lottery Money, but the principle is the same: give more money to those that can bring more money. The legitimate question which Andrew Pulmer asks is what would become of the small independent cinemas. Do YOU care? Peter Bradshaw talks about the same concern, only differently (the film about Margaret Thatcher is brought in the discussion, check it out how).

Good news come from Portugal, where Deutsche-Welle reports that one of 2012 European Cultural Capital is preparing for a smart and sustainable way to build a lasting profile in the „capitals” family. Guimaraes is sought to activate a programme that puts at its heart the expected long-term effects on artists, cultural organisations and the people of the city, with a belief that the investment in creativity will support growth in a way that will path the way for other small cities to function well in the post-industrial era.

Kate Bowen writes about a newly-discovered letter sent by Beethoven, from which we find out about his financial struggles, which apparently were a motive for the artist to push to „make a better fortune”. An always needed reminder that artists did not have an easy life in other times either and that money is no fancy gift for that spiritual uplifting experience that you an I might get from their art, but a needed life-resource.

Barbara Selis reports for El Pais about the opening of the first online arts fair, which will gather 2000 artists and 115 international galleries and Marian Crăciun announces in Forbes Romania that Artmark, the most succesful Romanian visual arts commercial gallery, will start its annual auction programme with objects from the „Golden age”  (the time of Ceausescu’s rule, 1964-1989).  An exhibition will be open to the public on the occassion of the Romanian official Day of National Culture (January 15). Adevărul refers to the Artmark auctions as well, but chooses to put the spotlight on Gheorghe Petraşcu as the first bet of the season.

Mediafax publishes the news that the Romanian state National Televion (TVR) will give 200.000 EUR to our country’s participation to Eurovision 2012. This year’s edition will take place in Baku, Azerbaidjan.

The Economist celebrates this week (yes, in the printed edition), the activity of Gustavo Dudamel, who has put the basis of youth orchestras in Venezuala, benefiting not only the music world, but also the youngsters coming from difficult environments. An example of how money and the arts can grow solutions to social problems.

Last week I introduced a piece of news related to SOPA. Good winds blow for advocates of free Internet, as Jennifer Valentino-DeVries writes for the Wall-Street Journal how the senator who authored the bill now asks for more research to be undertaken before it gets into debate.

And again in the art’s selling and buying dynamics, figures show that Western painters are being outsold by Chinese ones, as Chinese collectors and the Pecking art market is on a very abrupt rise.

True to its profile, Observatorul Cultural through the pen of Iulia Popovici and Liviu Ornea make a review of Romanian theatre in 2011, considering its politics and its artistic dynamics. It is Iulia Popovici which rightfully refers to the lack of funding which, paradoxically, has determined publich theatres and theatre directors in Bucharest to create performances with huge budgets and great expectations concerning the number of audiences and their commercial success, a symptom of „the coming of the end of the world”, according to the author.

Other newspapers and magazines are covering the significance of the Romanian National Day of Culture, but it is Mediafax only that decided to do a roundup of interviwes with selected cultural professionals and ask them what is it with this day and how they relate to the idea of „national culture” and a special day to celebrate it. Choose to read Dan Perjovschi and Victor Rebengiuc. Both are critical considering the investment or spending in culture, the latter being quite frank and in-the-readers-face when he says: „I dont’ care to celebrate culture, in Romania its funding has reached the bottom of the sack” (quoted in the title of the text).