Arts policy is the crucial policy

http://www.democracyjournal.org/36/museums-can-change-will-they.php?page=all

I tell my students, and only somewhat flippantly, that arts policy is the most important policy arena. Seriously? Well, most people think health policy is right up there—but why live longer if life isn’t worth living? And if you don’t think government has a lot to do with whether and how you can engage with art, you just don’t understand the situation. ….

yes nod sup Lestat IWTV film uhuh I know

The question begs – What Are Museums For?

I just.... I don't even know what to....what??

It’s funny how the anti-capitalist art fans don’t want to stop the tax breaks on art.
If they did, the market for “modern” aka crap art, would collapse overnight.

Europhile politicians right now

The Myth of Modern Art Markets

TLDR: The majority of people hate the style. Justly.

http://drawingacademy.com/contemporary-art-bubble?awt_l=9WmjM&awt_m=3vdcDndjTdpSnqq

Until the 15th century, fine art had sacral and utilitarian purpose. No artist was producing paintings for the pure aim of being admired as a subject itself. The church was the main and only client able to afford marvelous masterpieces intended to glorify the commissioner and religious faith. It was a status quo up to the time when Italian bankers and republic rulers came into play. With new money came a new agenda for fine art. No longer was art to be sacral, it was liberated to fulfill another meaning – to become an object of admiration, the measure of status.

Fine artists obliged with readiness. Before that, no artwork was created because an artist wanted to simply express himself, all works were commissioned and the client had his say on what and how to paint.

The Renaissance brought something new to the art marketplace. Sacral art turned into fine art. It became an object that could be valued accordingly to the fine artist’s talent. The value of the artwork stopped being measured by its size, amount of and price of art materials, and time spent by the artist.

The art became a commodity fetishism, it was idolized as the object itself, it was worshiped for the ‘power’ people assigned to it. Art workshops, run by professional fine artists, with the help of numerous apprentices, started to produce artworks that could be purchased not only by kings and church officials, but also by the middle class.

who ruin literally everything pure

The demand of those private citizens shaped the fine art market for the next 500 years. Art styles came and went, fashion was being changed from generation to generation by new consumers, but art managed to stay civilized and fulfill its primary purpose – to be a beautiful object that deserved to be admired, loved and worshiped.

There has been always progress in fine art. New generations of fine artists were coming and competing for the attention of clients. Those who were brave enough to reject old styles and create new ones left many ‘isms’ in the history of modern art: impressionist, cubism, modernism, supermatism, and so on. Seeking awareness by any means and making bold and revolutionary statements, brought many artists into the spotlight of the media. Somehow traditional art skills started to be replaced with creativity.

talent is equal, an overturned chair is equal to the Mona Lisa

After the Second World War, art had entered its contemporary phase. The market ideology was masterminded and financially fueled by those whose intention it was to use contemporary art as Cold War undercover propaganda weapon. Billions of dollars were invested into the promotion of contemporary art. Multiple private foundations became subsidized, funded and ruled by one governor – The Central Intelligence Agency of the United States federal government.

confirmed

These foundations were and still are actively advocating and pushing contemporary art to the public. The main objective of this activity is to destroy traditional ideals of fine art and superimpose new values and morals of life. The main strategy of achieving this goal is brainwashing the public via mass media and cultural events.

If they say long enough that a piece of garbage is art, then gradually people will start believing it. If someone buys that garbage for an insane sum of money, then it becomes officially confirmed as the greatest art ever created.

The price of artwork was no longer linked to the talents or skills an artist displayed. The price was created by inflated demand, fueled by PR and marketing efforts invested in the promotion of a particular artist. The contemporary art marketplace had shifted the focus of attention from a particular masterpiece to an artist’s name. The painting, drawing or sculpture itself becomes less important as the name of its creator….

cultural QE, reducing the value of real art

Contemporary artists in Europe were deprived of conventional fine art education – the vast majority of art students graduate having no classical drawing skills, whatsoever. Today, there is only handful of fine artists around Europe, who’ve developed their skills to the level equal or greater than a mediocre fine artist of the Renaissance.

a single tear michael fassbender crying

In fact, a new saying has developed: “He is not a contemporary artist, he can draw.”

There is a reason why new artists cannot draw. Their teachers have graduated a decade ago; they are not able to teach what they have not learned from their teachers who graduated two decades ago. Instead, they lecture how to be creative.

I cannot cover any more of this wonderful article, it’s too distressing.

The Mental Incoherence of Multiculturalism

Isn’t losing objective standards unscientific?

Henry Dampier

Homer statue Statue of a dead white male

Multiculturalism has many friends and a few passionate critics. In this post, I’m not going to criticize the conspiratorial Frankfurt School or similar high-level machinations intended to undermine European culture.

The main practice that I’m going to critique is that of attempting to gain exposure to many minor or superfluous works in many different foreign cultures as a substitute for learning deeply about one’s own culture.

It may be bad art, but at least it’s politically correct

The most absurd example of this is the genre of “world music,” which was especially popular during the 1990s as a way to show yourself as a tolerant, upwardly mobile person. You can still see this sort of approach to culture in the home decoration choices of upper middle class people in more liberal American suburbs and cities. You’ll see modern paintings and African fetishes. If…

View original post 1,169 more words

The 19th century was the one where art began to run downhill into a pretentious market

Into the abstract abyss.

http://www.spectator.co.uk/books/books-feature/9269031/a-strange-business-by-james-hamilton-review/

There are very many familiar things here, and it is not hard to suggest modern-day equivalents to the hard-nosed dealer, the artist with more of an eye on capitalising his talent than developing his skill, the collector who buys and sells with such rapidity that he could really best be regarded as a species of dealer.

One thing that does differentiate the 19th-century art market from the present day, however, is the greater danger of a crash in value, of the money underpinning an artist’s career simply vanishing. That seems much less likely to happen to an artist now. [DS: cocks an eyebrow] The difficulty is in succeeding in the first place, not in hanging on to an income once success has been attained. It is quite hard to think of a school of art, or an individual artist, that was once considered excellent and valuable whose prices have collapsed utterly. The reason, I guess, is the creation in recent years of art-market indices, which purport to show collector/investors that the price of this artist has gone up and up, and must therefore hold. [faith holds it]

The 19th century, which at a certain point looked at the painting on the gallery wall and thought ‘I just don’t like it any more’ before walking off to buy something more fashionable, was a much more precarious period for an artist to exist within. To a large extent, these artists and dealers were still learning how to rig the market, and were not very good at it.

This is a brilliant account of learning, or failing, to survive in a market of extraordinary brutality. The interesting question is how far this market also succeeded in creating artists of the highest quality and innovative power. [it hasn’t, it failed completely]

Get over it, Genius is genetic (mostly at least)

article

But what exactly is it that makes great artists?

Painting something real?

Exceptional individuals are made, not born. At least, one could be forgiven for thinking this was the case given the statements made by K. Anders Ericsson and colleagues. …

The “10,000 hours” theory propagated by these authors and others—in which it was claimed that expert performers only really differ from non-experts in the total number of hours for which they have practiced (and to be exceptional, 10,000 hours is minimal)—has captured the imagination not only of the public, but also the scientific community. The paper in which the claims were originally made has been cited over 1,500 times. Many otherwise clear-thinking scientists have cited the theory without reference to the myriad criticisms that have appeared since.

Such criticisms have come to a head recently, in what is a clear swing of the proverbial pendulum away from “10,000 hours” and back towards “hereditary genius. A special issue of the journal Intelligence was recently dedicated to discussion of talent and practice, and in particular, to consideration of Ericsson and colleagues’ claims (Ericsson has written a response). Particularly damning evidence against “10,000 hours” comes from one paper in the special issue, on the study of child prodigies who cannot possibly have practiced for such extended periods, but nonetheless show incredible feats of, for example, musical ability. …

A beautiful recent paper by Zach Hambrick and Elliot Tucker-Drob shed even more light on the genetic and environmental origins of talent. Examining musical talent in a sample of twins, they showed, first, that musical accomplishments (including winning prizes for musical ability or performing in a professional orchestra) were, on average, 26 percent heritable (that is, 26 percent of the variation in accomplishments in the sample was explained by genetic differences). Second, they showed that the frequency of engaging in music practice was even more strongly influenced by genes: it was 38 percent heritable. Most interestingly, though, they found evidence for gene-by-environment interaction. Splitting the sample into those who did and did not practice, they showed that there was a far larger genetic contribution to the variance (59 percent) in accomplishment among those who regularly practiced than those who did not (1 percent). The practice, then, was the canvas on which the genes were painted.

In a world in which everyone had the same instruction, the same practice, and the same experiences, we should still expect large, genetically-influenced differences in achievement.

I may appear smug, in fact that's just the sound of maths rushing through my mind

Admittedly, the psychological literature contains few studies of the type discussed here that address playwrights or painters. Nor, naturally, can it study individual masters such as Shakespeare or Vermeer, preferring to focus on garden-variety experts and exceptional performers rather than true one-offs. [DS: real work] Nevertheless, since the “10,000 hours” theory turns out to be an extraordinary popular delusion for each of the domains yet studied, there is good reason to give short shrift to accounts that glibly emphasize the making of expertise at the expense of its inherited nature.

Conclusion

The public fascination with ideas like the Shakespeare Authorship Question, the Hockney-Falco thesis and the “10,000 hours” theory is evidence of a strange doublethink: even as we lionize the achievements and creativity of great geniuses, we secretly wish them brought down to our level, and revel in sublunary theories that purport to expose their secrets and crutches. But the psychological literature shows that to write off genius as only experience, trickery, or hard graft is to miss the critical—though still largely mysterious—contribution of innate talent, acting via one’s genetic endowment, to creative achievement. One can only hope that the new wave of psychological research on talent, pushing back as it does against “practice-only” accounts, will allow us to make real progress in understanding this most mercurial of human faculties.

The entire article is good, I just quoted the research dense parts.

FT Article: “Everything is rigged, art edition”

What did I say?

I saw it coming and I still don't care, funny really

article here; in full;

“John Gapper has an excellent column on Thursday about art auctions, focusing on the degree to which they are fixed or obfuscated by insiders and long-standing established practices.

As he notes, the auction market is a duopoly geared towards protecting and serving vested interests through a system of guaranteed bids and sales incentives, which to some degree obscure public price discovery.

Herein lies the similarity with modern market structure more generally. By providing the means to disguise the hands of “informed” players, the duopoly of Sotheby’s and Christie’s behaves like a dark pool system within a wider market which has no public alternative to cross check prices against.

That is to say, it is a public market, but one that’s structured specifically to reduce the impact of the informed players who have most to lose.

As Gapper says:

Art auction houses bring together buyers and sellers in what is at least an approximation of a public market (allowing for tricks of the trade such as “chandelier bids” made up by auctioneers to meet the reserve). Without some transparency at such auctions, the entire market is vulnerable to fraud.

As Gapper also notes, the auction houses will sometimes waive the 10 per cent seller’s fee to secure prestigious works and even offer something of a rebate to the seller for the opportunity to gain his business. Some sellers may demand a guaranteed bid as well, i.e. the promise from the auction house that they will buy their work if a better price doesn’t appear.

Just like in the world of stock market trading the battle is over top quality flow, with auctioneers acting both as the platforms that facilitate exchange as well as market-makers who can internalise order flow and take real risk if and when it suits them.

That market-making side of the business proved risky for Christie’s in 2008. The auction house was left holding up to $50m worth of work it could no longer shift.

But in another parallel with what’s happening with stock markets, the auction houses have learned a valuable lesson. Yes, they still provide guarantees — since those guarantees generate business, flow and help to support prices — but they offset that risk by striking up deals with collectors or dealers.

As Gapper notes:

The latter put up their capital in return for a fee, and a share of takings of a strong auction. Sotheby’s disclosed in April that it had made $279m of guarantees, of which $65m had been laid off to third parties, and the latter figure has since risen.

This, of course, echoes what happens with exchange traded products (ETPs) in regular markets. It’s just that rather than pre-agreeing arrangements in which risk is passed off for a fee, market-makers in regular markets use ETPs as an extremely cheap parking lot for inventory which it doesn’t suit them to budge right away. In fact, it’s better than that. With ETPs institutional money is actually paying the dealers — or the market arbitrageurs — a fee to provide them with the opportunity to absorb flows no-one else wants at that time.

When guarantees are forthcoming (indicated by strong ETP inflows) the dealers can shift ever greater portions of risk off their own books. In the inverse scenario (indicated by strong ETP outflows) the risk passes back to the dealers who are then inclined to dump stock into the market, but with the advantage that they know what’s about to hit the market as a result.

In the art market, Gapper says a sophisticated collector can get a good return form being a guarantor (by sitting on stock). In financial markets, a sophisticated collector of stock, will end up paying the middle man for what is basically the opportunity to liquidate the stock he holds on demand.

Seen from this perspective, the dynamics can to some degree be compared to those of a risk-transferring futures market.

In fact, when it comes to the art market the work of Prof. Rachel Pownall of Maastricht University, argues this point eloquently.

As she notes in a presentation shared with FT Alphaville via John Gapper, the guarantees offered by the business represent formal structures and contracts for transferring risk. This provides the market with the opportunity to introduce further structured products for hedging purposes using an index as the underlying asset if it so desires.

The problem the art market faces, however, is that any such index would suffer feedback loop effects from the products themselves. The more people who invest, the more likely the index goes up in price, irrespective of any physical demand for the underlying products themselves.

But then who needs to enjoy the aesthetic beauty of art if it’s real purpose is providing the world with investment assets that only go up in price?

In that sense modern art is much more Bitcoin than Leonardo.

It also means the more financialised the artworks get, the greater the incentive to have them go dark, ideally by storing and forgetting about them in bonded warehouses in tax efficient jurisdictions.

On that basis we presume a bunch of limit-order, hoard exposing HFT types would not be appreciated in this market either.”‘