The Arts Are Undervalued in Our Culture.

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by ElJay370, Aug 8, 2019.

  1. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Friend of Leo's

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    He's worried about financial security in retirement just like literally everyone I know.

    Are you sure its not labor that is undervalued? Cause I kinda think it is.
     
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  2. maxvintage

    maxvintage Friend of Leo's

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    ???Why would I do that? What in the world makes you get that from what I posted? Odd
     
  3. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Moot point.

    For anything that this board is concerned with ? I’m always the seller.

    Gasoline, bread, socks ? I don’t begrudge them their take .

    Don’t forget the ear ! Never forget the ear !
     
  4. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Well yeah that's true more and more as the division between makers of stuff ant the CEOs above them widens.

    But we have some interesting stuff happening with labor.

    I was talking with a retired Colonel yesterday and he has moved from Boston to a suburb.
    He said in Boston the police officer pay is IIRC $175k/ year.
    But fewer and fewer will take the job.

    Meanwhile I understand (or several years ago, may be different now) factory workers assembling cars make $200k/ year.

    But again if we compare a poets labor rate to a brake repair guys labor rate, I think we will find that the poet has vastly lower dollar value than the brake repair guy.

    In all our cultural advancements, fixing cars is more valuable than making art.

    No judgement required to note the simple fact.

    But WRT gratnts for artists, a lot of the need for that is because the artist does not start getting a check when the take a job as "artist".
    Maybe a year to put together a show and get it into a gellery, or three years to write a book, get it published, and get it on Amazon.

    Those years of the artists work are unpaid, though maybe the average is supposed to pay retroactively.
    No way to raise a family on retroactive pay!
     
  5. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Sorry JM, unintentionally stuck in some content after the "like"!
     
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  6. PlainAllman

    PlainAllman Tele-Holic

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    I just figured you to be the kind of person who would value my art and wouldn’t want me to pay more than what something cost to produce. I’m willing to make the sacrifice so It’s a win/win for you, really.
     
  7. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks for the heads up.

    The thing that is being ignored here is the price we pay for freedom and for security. An artist is free to express himself, free to starve, and free to become an overnight sensation who makes a fortune for himself. That guy working in a garage for a paycheck isn't going to become a celebrity or millionare by doing brake jobs all day. But he'll make a living, however modest.

    The cost of security means your works won't be studied decades later.

    We all have to decide for ourselves how much freedom we can afford based on how much security we want. That's what is supposed to go into making the arts such a courageous endeavor. When an artist demands a safety net, he loses my respect. He's compromised in my eyes.
     
  8. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    When you say "demands a safety net" I'm not sure how to frame that.
    Seems more like culture that demands a safety net for artists.
    And of the hundreds of artists I've gotten to know and walk with over 50 years, almost none even bothered to take advantage of the NEA money available, so I'm not seeing a group of artists you feel demand a safety net.

    But do you not respect Michelangelo for his safety net that enabled him to work along with most of the renaissance artists who had the safety net of what amounted to big brother of those times?
    You know that many or most of those artists "sold out" and painted what the rich benefactors directed them to paint?
    Artists of the time who went against the practices of big brother may have earned a righteous early end.

    We would not have the art of the renaissance if those artists had no "safety net".
    And we can certainly figure that there was corruption in that money supply.
     
  9. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Friend of Leo's

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    @telemnemonics You are talking about patrons. That is different in that patrons chose to invest in an artist they deem worthwhile. Commercial artists still work at the pleasure of their benefactor.

    I am not an art history buff, nor do I have encyclopedic knowledge of Michelangelo's work (he's not even my favorite turtle ;) ) but of all the things people say to describe him, courage usually isn't among them.

    Visionary? Yes. Brilliant observer and painter? Yes. Multifaceted renaissance man? Yes. Starving? Nope nope nope nope.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2019
  10. P Thought

    P Thought Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I was gone when this fire started, and I've read to page 10 so far, but I can't read no more with my mouth shut. This is a very interesting thread. As Stephen Stills said, "Nobody's right, if everybody's wrong." Two things:

    I have already come to the conclusion that my pension check(s) are my personal Medici Brothers, subsidizing my efforts as an artist. Now I can do art for art's sake, and not have to worry about making my living. As I get used to it myself, I am more and more enthusiastic in urging my friends to retire!

    I'm retired now and my fight is over, but I'd like to add to the comments about our education system what I used to tell my students: education is your personal responsibility to yourself, only you can make it happen. Our schools and your teachers are here to offer help as much as we can to as many of you as possible, but we cannot learn for you, nor can we bring knowledge to you fast enough when you learn as fast as you can.

    In my opinion, the best teachers always seek to engage every student they possibly can, get them to want to know more and to make their education a lifetime pursuit, in whichever direction each student might choose.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019
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  11. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    At this point your beliefs are set and my experience does not match your beliefs.

    But suggesting the Ca##ol*c C#ur#h in the 1400s was just an art patron is not very accurate!

    Remember that in Murica a central goal in creating a new place away from The old place Christopher left was to find freedom from that institution. The institution you call an art patron.

    Your stated disrespect for artists who accept NEA grants might compare to artists in 1400s Italy who did the art bidding of that all powerful institution.

    Your saying in post 287 that artists courageously risk starving in hopes of becoming "a celebrity or millionaire" is also just so far off the mark.
    College athletes may skip learning a living trade in favor of gambling on becoming a sports star, but I've never known a starting out artist who was gambling on become a famous artist millionaire.
    Artists generally hope to be able to make a living in art, but accept that they will have to work two jobs for maybe/ at least the first ten years, while only collecting one paycheck, and carrying bigger expenses than the average college grad in the costs of running a studio, art materials, etc.
    You may see art as some sort of idealistic pipe dream.
    Many may assume such, because famous is desirable and working alone at a venture for years with only modest recognition seems unfathomable. That's fine, you don't have to understand why artists make art.
    Feel free to assume it is the promise of fame and fortune that drives the artist.


    A sculptor who works in bronze and is not independently wealthy literally cannot produce even a single show of work without a grant.
    In some cases a patron may buy work that has not yet been made, so that the sculptor can pay the foundry tens of thousands of dollars.
    Not a lot of patrons buying IOUs from new artists though.

    I built roof gardens off NYC penthouses for a few years, and the middle contractor was a sculptor.
    He built a 1000 some odd square foot roof deck for a gallery in LIC in exchange for them casting a few small bronzes in their foundry.
    They were really an art foundry with a gallery, not a gallery owner with a foundry.
    His bronzes fit on your lap, but in the shop they were casting a series maybe 20 feet tall.
    Like the huge public sculptures we see in city parks and such.
    No artist trying to build a rep and clientele can pay for even a medium size show of bronze casting on their waiter income.
    Cancel NEA grants and we cancel a good chunk of art.
    Shame those who accept NEA grants?
    That's fine lots of shaming online.

    For an artist to work a year or years 50-70 hours a week putting together a body of even cheap work like oil painting, plus pay expenses, is a sort of endeavor that has been invested in by cultures throughout history.
    Why our culture should be any different hasn't been explained here.

    Art is good for culture and the reality is that the artists must run their own business with no income for extended periods of time.
    One major thing a culture does is support culture within the culture.
    Art is culture.

    Hell look at what happens when broke artists/ art students move into abandoned/ run down/ drug infested neighborhoods for affordable studio space?
    The area becomes desirable, and culture grows off the art.

    Damn it's just amazing that folks spend time and energy arguing that grants shouldn't support the arts.
    Just amazing.
     
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  12. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Friend of Leo's

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    There is so much here that I'm going to post inside the quote, sorry.

     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019
  13. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    There are two ways one can speak with such total authoritative certainty.

    1) Be a foremost expert in the field.

    2) Make assumptions and present them as facts.
     
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  14. SecretSquirrel

    SecretSquirrel Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    parthenon.jpg

    Still boasting the outlines of the most beautiful in the world, this public monument was conceived by a people who valued the arts as much as life itself—maybe more. There were no taxes in classical Athens but the wealthy took turns paying for two things: warships, and the performing arts. Poetry & song contests, tragedies, comedies, it was all poetry to the Greeks.

    However it should be added that musicians were considered craftspersons and among the lowest of social classes. :rolleyes:

    But—musician pay rates were set by law(!) and you could make a couple of drachmas ($100 or so) a night performing at elegant symposia, i.e., men's drinking parties. :lol:
     
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  15. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    There's a lot more street art around now than a few decades ago... toilet/shower blocks at the beach were once bare blocks... now most of them are painted in nice artworks of beach scenes.. small power/communications boxes on street corners have art on them... backs of tin farm sheds in cane fields along the motorway have huge surf/wave pics painted on them..

    few get tagged.... that's respect....:D
     
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  16. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Friend of Leo's

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    I know that was intended as a slight, but I think you missed a third possibe option. Get a good liberal arts education, spend a lifetime pursuing something purposeful, read a lot on a wide variety of topics, stay curious and ask a lot of questions, study how the world around you works (even mundane stuff like trash collection, school funding, meteorology, sleeping habits of sharks), pay particular attention to history since its likely you'll see it repeating itself, and then just hang around till it dawns on you that all that acccumulated "stuff" eventually turns into wisdom and horse sense.

    Or you could just use Google.
     
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  17. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Well, I know you're a pretty sharp guy, but I was suggesting that your authoritative certainty might be unfounded or in need of better info. I still learn stuff, even here, and even from those I don't always agree with.

    You make so many assumptions about art and artists, many of which are so far off, and state them as fact, that the inaccuracy is hard to pretend isn't there.
    I only ignore that sort of stuff when it comes from someone I have no respect for.
    Just no point in bothering.

    But I have some respect for you and for the discussion, so here we debate.
    Your opinions on the subject are familiar, and echo through society.
    Repeated info like that becomes ingrained.
    The other view needs to be in the pot to have a healthy stew.

    As you are I'm sure painfully aware, and we may have even agreed on this in past threads, an awful lot of info we get on the street, on the internet, in the college textbook, on the news, and even in our own first hand observations: is just plain incorrect info.

    Maybe you knew artists "types" who clearly fantasized about fame, strutted around striking cool poses, bragged of getting into big galleries or whatever. NYC had and probably has a lot of those students of art all dressed up in art-of-the-year conformity.
    I rudely referred to them as trust fund, as most were indeed backed by good-family wealth, and told that the world was their oyster in their home towns. Most find they are really just oysters spoiling in the sun.


    IDK where you've gotten your sense of why artists do what they do, though it's part of a common enough narrative to be effective at cutting NEA funding.
    A healthy society has debate as well as art; and misinformation, no matter how popular it may be, needs to be countered.

    Would you agree with that?

    Oh I gotta get some sleep....
     
  18. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Friend of Leo's

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    Well I'm not sure what you interpret as "authoritative certainty," or what you read into my comments regarding artists. I don't know much about artists at all, beyond what I've been able to observe in more than 50 years on this earth. What I know about people, and their essential and necessary predisposition to act in their own self interest, I've also learned through first-hand experience (guilty) and observation. And there exists a wealth of case histories and studies on both, really.

    I assume human beings who dedicate their life to a vocation want respect and recognition for their good work. Why would a plumber not want to be the best plumber in town? An author, be universally lauded for his prose? Are you saying artists are exempt from that aspect of human nature that is innate in everyone else in Western society? That they don't want critical recognition for their work?

    In the field of art, the trappings of that recognition look pretty sweet to the uninitiated (exhibitions in world renowned spaces, praise in lofty publications, generous compensation from adoring admirers and watchers of their field). It's the rare artist who attains those things, but that's true of most high profile career fields. The market will only bear so many mega rock stars, but that doesn't dissuade every other striving musician who aspires to be recognized for their craft to want to someday play in Wembly Stadium. I assume artists are human beings, and not a special breed, and maybe that's where you and I fundamentally part ways.

    And I think this is an appropriate time to pose the same question of you: Why so much animosity toward athletes? How does the typical aspiring athlete differ in your mind from any struggling artist you've known?
     
  19. backporchmusic

    backporchmusic Friend of Leo's

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    Everyone has an opinion. Often they are based on anecdotal evidence, such as yours. No need to act like yours is correct and others are not.
     
  20. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Friend of Leo's

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    Just as often opinions are based on independent information and data (you know, kinda like the stuff they fed us in college?). And still other times there is no good way to substantiate an opinion. Not all things can be known. The central discussion point is that "the arts" are undervalued in our culture. There's no right or wrong answer to that. So what does it matter what my opinion is, its carries no more weight than yours.

    And furthermore, why would I act like my opinion is incorrect? Do you do that? Do you assume, as an example, that Frank Zappa is a musical genius until some stranger comes along and says he's a fraud? Or is that one of those standards to be applied to "thee, but not me."

    I get that there's an orthodoxy here, and there is an incentive to conform to certain ideas, have reverence for some pursuits and lament the existence of others. I know what I'm supposed to say but I chose to not wear that uniform. And I'm willing to endure the occasional dog pile for doing so.
     
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