DEADLY CUTS TO THE ARTS: THE ART OF SURVIVAL, RESISTANCE OR FIGHT?
by Lanfranco Aceti
Art-Athina – International Contemporary Art Fair
Faliro Pavilion (Taekwondo)
Hellenic Olympic Properties
2 Moraitini str., 175 61 Palaio Faliro
Sunday May 19, 2013, from 15:00 to 16:00
Chaired by: Artemis Potamianou
Curator & Co-ordinator for Art Athina 2013: Contemporaries & Platform Project
As the art community continues to see a slew of cuts across artistic fields and across countries, it becomes clearer that the financial crisis is not abating. Cities in Europe – even within Northern European countries – have been hit hard by failed investments in financial schemes and funds that continue to reveal their rigged structures and malpractices within both the banking and political systems.
The consequence is that cuts across the art world, historically considered by the system as superfluous and unnecessary, are now happening in conjunction with cuts to essential public services such as health and education. This culture of cuts and budget severity is implemented largely on the lowest strata of society, sparing those who have contributed the most to create the current status of economic disarray and social turmoil.
Cities and regional governments try to rescue their budgets by eliminating expenditures for cultural events, branding as useless the cultural lives of entire cities and regions, or by branding as leeches those who have worked and toiled for years and are now being deprived of essential services.
In the context of the public support to the arts, public funds have traditionally assisted the cultural development of artistic practices and models that would have not survived in a private competition system and have, on the long term, helped to create thriving communities.
This year sees numerous talks and art organizations presenting and debating topics on the current economic crisis. Nevertheless some of the most pertinent questions that should be addressed are: Is the current capitalistic framework and its economics a form of violence? What should the response be from the art world to economic violence? Is survival a good enough strategy and what kind of legacy will it leave? Or should we be looking at more active forms of resistance? Should the advocacy of social fight and economic re-distribution be part of the economic approach of artistic practices? Or should we just ignore the whole problem and blissfully bathe in a ‘simulated’ concern for current social realities?
The talk – in conjunction with an international online survey titled Deadly Cuts to the Arts http://museumofcontemporarycuts.org/deadly-cuts-form/ – will explore the contemporary issues that artists and cultural creators face in order to develop an analysis that moves beyond some of the more institutionalized experiences and discourses on contemporary social failures.