Who’s afraid of the Kulturkampf? Art will not die for lack of public subsidy, argues Laura Gascoigne

wp-image-558" title="euro" src="http://www.thejackdaw.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/euro-300x269.jpg" alt="" width="252" height="226" srcset="http://www.thejackdaw.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/euro-300x269.jpg 300w, http://www.thejackdaw.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/euro.jpg 800w" sizes="(max-width: 252px) 100vw, 252px" />While currency speculators place their bets on which Eurozone economy will be next to fail, //--> the clatter of falling dominoes has reached the contemporary art world. And it’s not just about investors being hit in their pockets. As austerity bites, discontent is spreading through society at large.

Last September in Istanbul – our current European Capital

of Culture – fashionable liggers quaffing private view drinks on the pavement outside a contemporary art gallery near Istanbul Modern museum google_ad_height = 90; were
set upon by anti-art vigilantes, who attacked two other galleries and hospitalised five
people. Locals in the up-and-coming Tophane

district are apparently unhappy that their neighbourhood is

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becoming a cultural quarter without their consent. They know that up-and-coming, for them, means up-and-going as soon as property prices rise
through the roof.

Meanwhile in Switzerland, home of the Basel Art Fair, a poster campaign by the google_ad_client = "ca-pub-3967079123942817"; Swiss People’s Party (SVP) has forced Zurich city council to scrap plans for the Nagelhaus, an art pavilion designed by cardboard model-maker Thomas Demand with help from architects Caruso

St John. It was meant to improve the look of a rundown square as part of a
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300m regeneration package, but the SVP – who make a
virtue of being Swiss – balked at google_ad_height = 90; spending money on anything arty and demanded a referendum. Their poster featuring a golden toilet and the
slogan ‘5.9m Swiss Francs for google_ad_height = 90; a shit!’ carried the day. The SVP leader on the city council objected that the money “would give dreamers the possibility of self-fulfilment at the expense of taxpayers.”

This is, of course, the far right nasty party whose last poster campaign to hit the headlines featured three white sheep kicking a black one. But it’s simplistic to blame public reaction against contemporary art on a right-wing bias against the left-wing avant-garde, especially when the Chinese Communist Party is poised to demolish Ai Weiwei’s Shanghai studio. The hard


truth is that when it comes to a vote, there’s almost anything the public would rather spend its money on than art. In a recent
poll, 60% put the arts at

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the top of the list for cuts.

In the boom years, people google_ad_width = 970; were prepared to humour the liberal arts establishment’s delusion


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an education in contemporary art would improve the nation’s quality of /* xin-1 */ life. But now that school and university education

budgets are threatened, this looks like an /* 9-970x90 */ expensive indulgence, src="//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/show_ads.js"> especially since the government launched its transparency a Machiavellian wheeze to get the citizenry clamouring for cuts before the Treasury unsheathes the knife. So far, all the riot police have had to worry about is students lobbing fire extinguishers
off roofs. How long


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