Art under kleptocracy

the usual dismal statistics. It’s depressing enough to learn from the

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2011 survey by
the Centre for Intellectual Property, Policy and Management at Bournemouth University that UK artists earn a median wage of £10,000 – unchanged for 20 years – without discovering that
the statistic includes designers, illustrators google_ad_width = 970; and photographers, and that the top 7% earn 40% of the total. Artists now officially rank as ‘marginalised makers’, a marginal constituency politicians aren’t fighting over. The economist Alan Freeman quotes figures showing our ‘creative economy’ growing faster than any other UK src="//"> production industry, employing 2.5 million people and accounting for 5.2% of gross value added – but take out all the advertising, marketing, fashion, IT and

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other people he counts as ‘creative specialists’, and the fine artists are
still scratching around on the margins.

The book’s cover reminds us that there is nothing new in this. It reproduces Jeremy Deller’s /* xin-1 */ mural from the 2013 Venice Biennale picturing William Morris as a Victorian Poseidon hurling Roman Abramovich’s superyacht into the Venetian Lagoon. The mural’s title ‘We sit starving amidst our gold’ encapsulates the argument at the heart of the book

while reminding us that Morris said it all before, and better. Compare Freeman’s dewy vision of

a creative utopia “in which shared values, achievements, hopes and aspirations replace brute greed to lay foundations on which the true individuals of the future can confidently build the new worlds of their choosing” with this trenchant passage from Morris’s lecture Art Under Plutocracy: “So long as the system of competition in the //--> production and exchange of the means of life goes on, the degradation of the arts will go on; and if that system is to last for ever, then art is doomed, and will surely die”. Only the substitution of association for

social housing and, instead, the national lottery, a new arm of the gambling industry, enabled museum directors and their trustees to start to plan Palaces of Culture.” A proposal to regenerate derelict buildings for low-cost studios, housing and artist-led galleries put forward

Process Overview:

by officers of google_ad_width = 970; the then Arts Council of Great Britain – in association with artists’ collectives ACME and SPACE – was kyboshed by property developer Peter Palumbo, who as src="//"> chair src="//"> of the ACGB from 1988-94 presided
over the
drafting of the rules for National Lottery funding, including the ‘subsidiarity’ clause ensuring that money is allocated only to new projects and thus funneled towards developers and architects rather than artists. Artists google_ad_height = 90; are wonderful at sprinkling the fairy dust that turns urban wastelands into developers’ goldmines, but once the gold has been extracted the fairies can piss off and take their google_ad_client = "ca-pub-3967079123942817"; dust elsewhere. Prices for a ‘premium apartment’ in Neo Bankside, the new residential
development overlooking Tate Modern designed by
Rogers Stirk Harbour – formerly Richard Rogers Partnership – start at £4.5m.

“We seem to have


drifted from a market economy to
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a market society,” comments John Kieffer. It’s a form of society Margaret Thatcher would have recognised, but not William
Morris. “It is this superstition of commerce being an end
in itself, of man made for commerce, not commerce for man, of which art has sickened,” he wrote in Art under Plutocracy. Art


under kleptocracy has brought no improvement. It /* 9-970x90 */ has been left to President Xi Jinping to uphold moral values, warning Chinese artists last October not


to follow the “stench of money” or “lose themselves in the tide of market economy” which the rest