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HTLGI2012: of money, markets and machines

By Dave Snowden  ·  June 6, 2012  ·  Reflections

Pope Julius II left two things to the Vatican, his preserved ears and, through patronage of Michaelangelo, the painting of the Sistine Chapel.  This warrior pope also gave the space for Raphael to develop his art.   Patronage has always been key to the arts, and little would have happened without it.  The the Renaissance Courts displayed their power and wealth through art, and few would doubt the aesthetic value of their contibution.

However the role of mammon  in the arts remains controversial to this day and I confess an interest.  Without patronage, of the State, Corporations and individuals my need for Opera would be unsatisfied. The various debates in and around this subject were much enlivened by Julian Spaulding who is a bit of a luddite (in this context a compliment) arguing that "artists" like Hurst have simply become money making machines.  Both in the first session The Colour of Money and the second Art and the Artful he was a forceful argument for art as craft, as requiring ability.  He and others argued that part of the problem is the switch from patronage, to markets.  People now invest in art which means they buy to resell, rather than buy to display.  That in turn creates an infrastructure of gallery owners, curators and dealers who perpetuate the system and separate the artist from their patron.  I must admit I had not thought about that before, but its an important difference.  In patronage value is not about profit; money is engaged but it is not the purpose or end, it is instead the means to something more glorious.

The idea of craft is I think important.  The growth of conceptual art in which the idea is the only think that matters not the execution produces a form of art attracts derision and righty so.  This was picked up in the third session where conversation is less polemic, but more interesting.  How has the ability for mass generation of material such as photographs compromised or changed art?  A photographer talks about his loss of craft skills with the loss of the darkroom but accepts the change.

I asked about two things.  Firstly is my concern about the web that we get what others have called an echo chamber effect, things become good because they are re-tweeted without critical evaluation.  That means in politics that lies become truth, and in art the trivial is exalted.   Second I suggested that we should not be concerned about mass generation of material, but we should instead see the curation and re-interpretation of that material as the legitimate subject of art.  That question got called profound which was nice (especially coming on top of yesterday) but discussion was stalled by the Chairman reinterpreting and over simplifying what was a complex question before others were allowed to contribute.  Gbadamosi may be a good poet, but in two sessions today he attempted to structure discussion with outstanding speakers around his ego.

 

Art in the Age of the Machine

Tom Chatfield,  Ewan Morrison, Giles Duley. Chair is Gabriel Gbadamosi

Tom starts references Doug Adams saying that technology is only technology if sometimes it does not work.  A pencil was technology now it's a tool.  No such thing ass a neutral toolor technology so what are the encoded tendencies restrictions et.   Currently a lot of restraints have been taken off, astonishing compression of change.  Trend one is about artists and creators themselves, as tools make things explicit, one amoung millions.  Trent two audiences. These technologies are interactive mass participation in culture.   Trend three is economic, old ways of making a living are being problematised.  Talent is divorced from income, people have other  options that to pay Hu to develop your skills.  Unprecedented opportunities for collaboration, to reach audiences etc.  

Ewan says we overlook the material base for the revolution, who is benefiting?  References mashups could be leaving. Ultralight age behind as we go into the technology age.  No one gets paid, we do it for a fe years, we are destroying the material base of the cultural industry.

Giles is a photographer. Artist and now half machine (Afghanistan loss of both legs and one arm). Refine Fenton who document civil war, seen as revolutionary.  Was it the technology that changed things or the person?  As time moves on technology gives advantages, a child in Bangladesh could record his own life, democratises art.  Ability to create anyone can do, but ability to distribute the art is different.  A million photographers, but no editors.

Chair asks about distribution of cameras into kids of Bangladesh,  do you feel there is a difference between this and arrival of printing,   Ewan says there is, through 20th century systems of patronage, but. In the proliferate of technology we see the destruction of the people who were the professionals like newspaper photographers.  Do we want a war correspondent to be an amateur or a local person or someone who is a profession who understands politics?  We has to think in the long tK about this.

Chair distorts statement and replays to Tom who agrees that the economic model has gone and it's problematic.  He misses the craft of the dark room.  He was reluctant to move to digital, but reached the point where he could not tell the difference and could no longer justify the cost of film.  Reluctant but it was a step forward.  Technology often works faster that peoples brains.

Ewan says technology is growth but it's preditory on art.  Defences issues of ownership on YouTube.  Internet is most unregulated industry in the world.  UK has surrented the Internet is just a big American company and it doesn't care.  Other countries are fighting this and we need to do the same to protect prices on cultural products.

Tom is sacked if he thinks it should be free for all.  Says Darwinian free for all is a bad idea, need revised copyright laws.  Internet resists regulation, enomous power to those who own the pipes.   Urgently need new posi give models rather than knee jerk responses to things like privacy.  Need to make the legal option more attractive and find ways to easier to do the fit things.  May be ways to plunder without loss.   Giles agrees with chair that there is some nostalgia about what is being lost.  But goes back to the basic, why am I an artist?  Cause of passion to communicate not to create great wealth and the digital age means that distribution increases, Wider level and that is beneficial.  Ewan asks what it will be like when there are 100m van goughs and we are all amateurs?  References the way publishers had mid listers who survived, this was institutional finding which replaced patronage.  There was an understanding that work was needed over a period of time, now we have an entrepreneurial model of the single hit and that is very damaging.   Geoff s as that has failed, crown funding and personal patronage is supporting people so it's changing.

Thanks god, chair says he will not theme or direct - maybe he has learnt.

I asked about interpretation and curation as art.  Tom references echo chamber effect
Ewan calls my question profound which is nice but the chair over directs again and again

 

 

Art and Artful

Tom Chatfield,  Ewan Morrison, Giles Duley. Chair is Gabriel Gbadamosi

Tom starts references Doug Adams saying that technology is only technology if sometimes it does not work.  A pencil was technology now it's a tool.  No such thing ass a neutral toolor technology so what are the encoded tendencies restrictions et.   Currently a lot of restraints have been taken off, astonishing compression of change.  Trend one is about artists and creators themselves, as tools make things explicit, one amoung millions.  Trent two audiences. These technologies are interactive mass participation in culture.   Trend three is economic, old ways of making a living are being problematised.  Talent is divorced from income, people have other  options that to pay Hu to develop your skills.  Unprecedented opportunities for collaboration, to reach audiences etc.  

Ewan says we overlook the material base for the revolution, who is benefiting?  References mashups could be leaving. Ultralight age behind as we go into the technology age.  No one gets paid, we do it for a fe years, we are destroying the material base of the cultural industry.

Giles is a photographer. Artist and now half machine (Afghanistan loss of both legs and one arm). Refine Fenton who document civil war, seen as revolutionary.  Was it the technology that changed things or the person?  As time moves on technology gives advantages, a child in Bangladesh could record his own life, democratises art.  Ability to create anyone can do, but ability to distribute the art is different.  A million photographers, but no editors.

Chair asks about distribution of cameras into kids of Bangladesh,  do you feel there is a difference between this and arrival of printing,   Ewan says there is, through 20th century systems of patronage, but. In the proliferate of technology we see the destruction of the people who were the professionals like newspaper photographers.  Do we want a war correspondent to be an amateur or a local person or someone who is a profession who understands politics?  We has to think in the long tK about this.

Chair distorts statement and replays to Tom who agrees that the economic model has gone and it's problematic.  He misses the craft of the dark room.  He was reluctant to move to digital, but reached the point where he could not tell the difference and could no longer justify the cost of film.  Reluctant but it was a step forward.  Technology often works faster that peoples brains.

Ewan says technology is growth but it's preditory on art.  Defences issues of ownership on YouTube.  Internet is most unregulated industry in the world.  UK has surrented the Internet is just a big American company and it doesn't care.  Other countries are fighting this and we need to do the same to protect prices on cultural products.

Tom is sacked if he thinks it should be free for all.  Says Darwinian free for all is a bad idea, need revised copyright laws.  Internet resists regulation, enomous power to those who own the pipes.   Urgently need new posi give models rather than knee jerk responses to things like privacy.  Need to make the legal option more attractive and find ways to easier to do the fit things.  May be ways to plunder without loss.   Giles agrees with chair that there is some nostalgia about what is being lost.  But goes back to the basic, why am I an artist?  Cause of passion to communicate not to create great wealth and the digital age means that distribution increases, Wider level and that is beneficial.  Ewan asks what it will be like when there are 100m van goughs and we are all amateurs?  References the way publishers had mid listers who survived, this was institutional finding which replaced patronage.  There was an understanding that work was needed over a period of time, now we have an entrepreneurial model of the single hit and that is very damaging.   Geoff s as that has failed, crown funding and personal patronage is supporting people so it's changing.

Thanks god, chair says he will not theme or direct - maybe he has learnt.

I asked about interpretation and curation as art.  Tom references echo chamber effect
Ewan calls my question profound which is nice but the chair over directs again and again

 

The Colour of Money

Ben Austin, Julian Spaulding, Godfrey Barker, Georgina Adam. Chaired by Gabriel Gbadamosi

Julian challenges if Damian hurst is an artist, hollow only about money (links to chairman talking about John Batist skull  covered in diamonds).  Watched people at his exhibition in the Tate and people's eyes glazed as nothing to see.  It can only happen because of the methodology of investment, people buy to make more money.

Godfrey is asked about requirement to start off in holy aesthetic poverty.  Says it was largely false, boheme was a pose.  Julian points out some of them were poor.

Georgina is ask. About the love of money being the root of all evil; one of four copies of Scream went for $120m .   She argues back, not the most expensive, cheaper than a billionaires yacht.   So for a seminal work not crazy.

Then asks Ben if you can make money in arts.  Says it is down to the psonality of the artist if money affects output.  Influx of money has redux the value of hurts etc (artistic value), while others such as Lycian Freud couldn't care less.

Julian asked about relationship of art and money.  Gold in a painting was the tears of the sun as it pass under the earth.  Same with other aspects, sadly we have lost that meaning.  The whole of art was symbolic and the great art came from cultures whee usury was illegal.  Art was about meaning

Chairman (who is over controlling) asks Georgina to respond.   She thinks is idealistic to say that art was a out getting closer to design.  Renaissance patrons we advertising their wealth rather than seeking divine.  Art she says is always elitist.

Godfrey is asked if the art market is good or bad for art?  Says there is a romantic position that believes that in a past dream land artists worked for fr alone.  Without the patron there would be no art, so there is an unquestioned link between money and art.  Question is if too much money is bad for the artist.  Wonders if Hurst et al are in a new category of slavery, namely to the market.  That is the corruption that worries him.

Ben says that for Hurst art is a product and with that comes money.    Julian says the art market  is hiding good art that we should be talking about.  Godfrey says there is nothing new about this and a debate starts which the chair suppresses.

Julian references,Chinese tradition in which you commissioned an artist to copy a painting,ea h of which was an interpretation.  More like music or literature.

God even when the chair hits the audience he tells us what to ask.

 


Me confusion of wealth with markets and scarcity ref patrons is the key point here