Post #217 • February 18, 2004, 7:09 AM • 1 Comment
A gooey amalgam involving art, the free market, and the open source model is forming in my head and may become a post at some point. Until it turns into something cogent, here are recent news items and blog posts that are providing source material. Much of it comes via the redoubtable ArtsJournal. The rest I saw while monitoring Artsfeed.
Boston museum under fire for 'renting' Monets to Las Vegas casino gallery. "The Bellagio has compiled its own catalogue - PaceWildenstien owns the publishers PaperBall - a compilation of glossy reproductions and vacuous captions, selling for $15. But the more crass trinkets have been imported from Boston: Philippe the frog bobbing around in a floating waterlily garden pen, Monet mouse pads, Monet coasters, and a garish Monet tie for $60."
Monet in Vegas. "As far as the art-going public is concerned, the benefit to them is more or less identical whether they pay $15 to see Monets at the Venetian or $15 to see Monets at the Bellagio. So the MFA was faced, hypothetically, with two choices: give the Vegas public the benefit of access to the Monets; or give the Vegas public the benefit of access to the Monets, and give the MFA a cash-strapped museum in need of funds a million bucks. Seems like a no-brainer to me."
MFA to add underground gallery to expansion project. "The [Boston] Museum of Fine Arts announced yesterday that it will build an underground, 10,000-square-foot gallery as part of its massive expansion project. The new Graham Gund Gallery, which will sit under a new East Wing, will house major temporary exhibitions. The space, part of an expansion to be completed in 2009, isn't expected to add to the $180 million price tag. ... 'We've always been looking for a way of getting more bang for our buck,' said MFA director Malcolm Rogers."
Cities find support of arts boosts jobs, tourism, vitalilty. "What drives today's successful economies is 'not institution-building, but investing in creative people,' Florida said. Florida cites the financial woes of Pittsburgh, where he teaches, as an example: 'The reason Pittsburgh is bankrupt is, we were profligate,' investing in big, expensive projects, such as a new convention center that is not making back the money it cost. In spite of that, 'If you look at the neighborhoods that have been revived, nearly all have active arts scenes. The success has been the organic, street-level arts activities,' he said."
George W. could save the NEA. "If [Bush] really wants to be remembered as the pro-arts president, there is something Bush could do to substantially strengthen the NEA, to restore levels of funding to pre-1996 highs or even higher. At the same time, he could take the agency out of the political arena once and for all, so it could never again be kicked around by politicians with an agenda. And Bush could cloak the whole maneuver in a Republican buzzword: privatization."
Lottery cash 'subsidises arts for rich'. "The upper and middle classes are enjoying a night out at the opera, theatre and ballet in new modern facilities, courtesy of the national lottery, at the expense of the working class, a report by MPs finds today. It attacks Arts Council England for wasting lottery and taxpayers' money to bail out venues such as the Royal Opera House and Sadler's Wells in London, and for not putting enough cash into working-class areas or attracting more diverse groups to theatres.
The Microsoft killers. "In coming of age, the open source sector has shown that there is room for a wide variety of commercial strategies, on a spectrum from the highly secretive to the completely open. And it has shown, not for the first time in business history, that sharing knowledge and collective research can be of benefit even in a competitive market system. Co-operation can work in the very heart of 21st-century capitalism."
Problem politics. "Underlying every societal problem is the conflict between a number of competing values. The question becomes: how do we deal with the necessary trade-offs between these conflicting values? The statist finds his solution by appealing to categorical ideals or predetermined ethical standards. The libertarian finds her solution by allowing the trade-off to be negotiated only by the parties directly affected. There are problems with both extremes."
Anyone with opinions on any of the above is welcome to chime in while I get my thoughts together.