Sunday, October 26, 2014

Rip-off 'artists'

A belated comment came in on a 4 year-old post I'd scathingly written about 'public' art and its lack of merit. It's from a UK reader who relates much the same from the Northern hemisphere
Lindsay, this may be an old post on your blog that I respond to in 2014 but you are so right, and so so many of us (including creatives) feel contempt for these cliques with their noses in the trough.
I respond here as someone in the UK with many years involvement in the visual arts. In my own locale, (particularly since the massive economic shocks of 2008 onwards), we experience significant cut backs in core civic services - health, public transport, refuse collection - and at the same time we read in the local rags about huge funding given to a local art space in the new library which, as an often daily visitor to that library I can assure you the contemporary art space receives very few visitors ever, and the creative input exhibited seems almost purposefully asinine in its lameness and laziness.
Another group have been parachuted into the borough from elsewhere in the country (demonstrable links to certain councilors however it needs to be noted) - these folks have been awarded large grants, given a number of local buildings to base themselves in (peppercorn rent), allowed to host an annual festival (which they now charge admission for) on top of receiving grants. It's a complete scam!
The library arts space received recently a six-figure sum to operate; I can say as a fan of a wide range of art including installations that what is shown there is utterly banal and a joke. Virtually no-one visits and yet the organization continues to receive high praise and puff-pieces from their cronies in the local paper. Another outrage with this library is that for a few years, one particular librarian has been given their very own display space in the public library to not only show but also market their art. This is a paid employee of the library while other local businesses and crafts people have to pay rent and rates. It's really shocking. The arts collective I previously mentioned in the library have now stated in a recent 'initiative' in the local paper that they will be dedicating some of their space throughout the year to 'local artists' but these artists must pay to exhibit!! Honestly you couldn't make it up!!

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