Yes, I know. Posting has been sparse and I’ve been neglecting you terribly. But trust me, it’s all in a good cause and normal service should resume shortly. Meanwhile, here are few items from the archives. There is, as you’ll see, a common theme.
The modesty of the art world’s subsidy-seeking caste.
Clearly, recidivist anti-capitalists showing us how to live deserve better than this. They deserve more public subsidy. It’s vital work. Art institutions must not take donations from companies of which some artists may disapprove. That would be wicked and insidious. Instead, those institutions should encourage the state to take money from the taxpayer, forcibly, and give it to artists and projects of which the taxpayer may disapprove. That would be virtuous and clean, apparently.
Playwright Jonathan Holmes thinks he’s heroic and so you owe him money.
Note how the prospect of reducing coercive public subsidy is framed rather grandly as “censorship” of artists - and by implication an attack on democracy itself. No other genuine motive could possibly exist. Those who would rather keep a little more of their own earnings and choose for themselves which art forms they indulge are clearly monsters. We’ve heard this pompous guff before of course, as when Hanif Kureishi and the Guardian’s theatre critic Michael Billington conjured a world in which artistic “dissent” was being “suppressed” by suggestions that artists might actually consider earning a living. […] Mr Holmes would have us believe that he’s “speaking truth to power.” But one has to wonder who has more power in the current funding formulation. The taxpayer, who is forced to bankroll projects regardless of personal interest or objection, or those who take the taxpayer’s money and expect to go on doing so?
Oh, don’t be so mean. Artists have special needs.
Readers will no doubt recall the Danish artist Bettina Camilla Vestergaard, whose benefactors include the Danish Arts Council, the Arts Grants Committee Sweden, the Danish Ministry of Culture and the Cultural Council of Aarhus. Ms Vestergaard used her government stipend to spend six months in Los Angeles pondering “identity and gender” and working on an “intervention in public space”: “My first three months primarily consisted of passing time in residential Hollywood, sitting alone in my car, shopping and getting fuel.”
And do poke through the bushes of the greatest hits.