Why Are Artists Poor? Part 17
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11 Informal Barriers Structure the Arts 1 In the Netherlands, the most prestigious grants are the 'werkbeurs' and the 'start-stipendium'. The .rst is for artists with a body of outstanding and innovative work, who have been working professionally for more then two years. The lat-ter is for beginning artists who are particularly promising. The third, the 'basis-stipendium', is somewhat less prestigious and a bit easier to get, as its aim is not only to promote quality, but also to improve the economic situation of artists.
2 Without the sign, both consumers and the higher quality producers would be worse off. Akerlof (1970) analyzed asymmetric information. Spence (1974) in-troduced a model of signaling. Explanations of either phenomenon can be found in any recent textbook on microeconomics, for instance Varian (1999) 641-53.
3 Cf. Janssen (2001) 333-5. Janssen presents a number of references.
4 I shall show that insider-discourses exist in the arts as well, which sometimes ef-fectively exclude intruders. Nevertheless, the implicit barriers are not dependent on an of.cial authority, and therefore they are informal rather than formal bar-riers.
5 Moreover, the push for unemployed self-taught artists receiving social bene.ts to .nd non-arts employment is no greater than it is on trained artists in the Nether-lands.
6 Cf. Towse (1996b) 317 and 322. For artists seeking an attractive second job in art teaching these degrees are not irrelevant because unlike in the arts, degrees mat-ter in the teaching profession.
7 Filer (1986), Towse (1992), Throsby (1992) and Throsby (1996a). Throsby how-ever, also concluded that the trained artist is better of in arts-related jobs, like teaching. Diplomas are required for a number of teaching jobs, but in the Netherlands these are not diplomas issued by art schools but by schools that teach people to become art teachers. The only situation that contradicts the no-tion of the absence of formal control in the arts is the one of artists connected to American universities, who work as artists-in-residence or who have a small teaching assignment in exchange for a good salary and the use of working facili-ties. These artists usually need diplomas, but not always. In this context it is worth mentioning that Filer (1987) argues that arts educa-tion is a form of general education, and that those who leave the arts .nd rela-tively well-paid jobs outside the arts. Towse (1996b) (and Towse (2001) 483-4) argues that because self-taught artists do as well as trained artists, the choice to go to art school cannot be explained by the educational bene.ts, as one might expect from the human capital ap-proach or from a winner-take-all perspective. Instead, it can be explained in the process of signaling, screening, and learning about one's own abilities. Students have more chance of being selected by the various arts intermediaries. In my view however, increased capabilities also matter. Towse remarks that self-taught artists are as successful as trained artists, but it should be noted that it's mostly successful self-taught artists who get noticed. Therefore, for every suc-cessful self-taught artist there may well be an army of failed self-taught artists much larger than the numbers of failed trained artists that disappear behind each successful trained artist. See also Rengers and Plug (2001) note 9.
8 At the university level however, a numerus clausus generally only existed when professions were unusually powerful, as in the medical .elds in Europe.
9 On the contrary, as already noted in 6.5, it is likely that the pressures applied by the art lobbies helped increased enrollments even more in order to offer teaching jobs to the growing number of artists with not enough work as artists. In this re-spect, Menger (1999) 607 suggests that the training system both adapts and contributes to the 'oversupply' of artists. Towse (1996b) 318-19 mentions the existence of a 'training lobby' in the UK, which is engaged in rent seeking. It has a .nancial incentive to supply more training positions to students.
10 Cf. Janssen (2001) 335.
11 Cf. Frey and Pommerehne (1989), Moulin (1987, ed princ in French 1967) and White and White (1995).
12 Even by increasing its membership and by organizing a 'Salon des Refuges' the French Academy could not control the large number of newcomers. The Impres-sionists, for instance, became generally known and successfully sold paintings that did not conform to the style of the Academy. Unlike before, newcomers could now become successful without being accepted by the Academy. Cf. Jensen (1994) and White and White (1995).
13 Unlike other European countries, the Netherlands has never had strong formal control in the visual arts. In the seventeenth century, the market for visual art was larger and guilds were less active and restrictive than in other countries. Since then and up until the second half of the nineteenth century the art market was relatively weak in the Netherlands due to the economic stagnation. In the second half of the nineteenth century, the economic situation in the Netherlands began to improve and gradually the income and status of artists began to rise. Cf. Stolwijk (1998). At this time associations of artists with limited member-ships indirectly helped to keep the total numbers of artists down. Large num-bers began to emerge in the twentieth century and they put an end to the little control there had been.
14 Anheier and Gerhards (1991) remark that a status indeterminacy exists in the arts.
15 IJdens (1999) 221-231 remarks that the arts as a profession is self-made and not institutionalized. Kempers (1987) examined the ups and downs in the process of professionalization in the arts. He speaks of de- and reprofessionalization.
16 In the case of the fair, the barrier was more than just a price barrier. Even con-sidering the high entrance fees, many more galleries applied to be in the fair than were admitted.
17 Gubbels (1995) 152-66.
18 The new regime involved in the fair and the subsidy plan did not last long. For a number of reasons, both the plan and the fair became more accessible again a few years later. Gubbels (1995) 152-66.
19 For instance on gatekeepers, see the section on Patrons, Gatekeepers and Critics in Albrecht, Barnett et al. (1970) and in Foster and Blau (1989) and White and White (1995). On classi.cations and reputations, see Janssen (1998) and Nooy (1993), on networks Crane (1976), Nooy (1993) and Peterson (1994) and on the mentor protege relationship Bourdieu (1979).
20 Instead of discourse, I could have used the term 'rhetoric'. Due to the work of McCloskey (1986) and Klamer and McCloskey (1988) the term 'rhetoric' sounds more familiar to economists than the term 'discourse'. In the present context the term 'discourse' is better, as 'rhetoric' is outward oriented it wants to convince while discourse is primarily a group affair.
21 Peterson and White (1989) gives an example of trumpet players. It reveals how important 'correct' attitudes can be for joining a group of studio musicians.
22 Cf. Rosengren (1985).
23 Zolberg (1990) uses the term 'support structure' instead of 'reward system'.
24 The expression 'uncertainty of taste' stems from Oosterbaan Martinius (1990).
25 In the arts, price as well can signal quality. For many consumers high and very high prices signal that a painting must be good. Cf. Velthuis (2002). However, this does not mean that any young painter can earn a lot of money simply by de-manding high prices. Price only signals quality when combined with other sig-nals.
26 The term 'appropriability' is used by Weinberg and Gemser (2000).
27 Abbing (1980).
28 Goodman's approach to art, presented in Chapter one, also emphasizes renew-al, the renewal of symbol systems. Cf. Goodman (1954).
29 Singer (1981a).
30 This phenomenon is part of the production of belief in the arts as described by Bourdieu (1977).
31 Using variety and continuity as criteria Crane (1976) has evaluated the reward systems in art, science, and religion. Zolberg (1990) also treats this subject. As noted, she uses the term 'support structure' instead of 'reward system'.
32 If committee members are ignorant of the discourse, they will keep this hidden. In this case, one or two committee members can end up decisively in.uencing decisions. Cf. Hekkert and Wieringen (1993). This is one way that newcomers learn the discourse.
33 In his approach to art Goodman (1954) emphasizes that, although new art vio-lates rules, it leaves the grammatical system largely intact. In this respect it is il-lustrative that 'revolutionaries' often stress that their approach is more true to the core, to the achievements of the great predecessors, than the present ap-proach is, which they are challenging. Cf. Bourdieu (1977).
34 Parallels exist with the way paradigms change in science, as discussed by Kuhn (1962), and with respect to the way science is also thought to develop around more or less .xed cores, as suggested by Lakatos and Alan (1978).
35 Cf. Bourdieu (1977). Heilbron (1993), Strauss (1970) and Tas (1990) treat the mentor-protege relationship. Peterson and White (1989) used the terms 'rook-ies' and 'rebels' in their analysis of the market for the services of trumpet players.
36 As before the term 'risk' also covers uncertainty.
12 Conclusion: a Cruel Economy 1 Chapter 9 argues that the same applies to merit and market-failure arguments.
2 Menger (1999). To be precise, according to Linden and Rengers (1999) more artists leave the arts within a year and a half after graduating from college than other professionals do, but after the .rst two years they tend to remain longer, even if they continue to earn low incomes. When they leave at a later point in their careers, they are particularly prone to income penalties; .nancially they are worse off than if they had not become artists. (Those students who leave al-most immediately after college could be among those for whom education is a form of consumption rather than a preparation for professional activities.) Ac-cording to Filer (1987) however, the penalty is not that large.
3 As noted in Section 6.10, in that case a larger part of artistic activity would be transformed into leisure activities. Serious amateurs would become the main producers of art. They would have satisfying non-artistic jobs commensurate to their education levels. There would still be a few full time professional artists. The latter would have little extra status or maybe even less status than the ama-teurs. Art would turn into a truly privileged occupation again. Irrespective of whether this kind of scenario is attractive or not, a number of reasons make it unlikely that this situation will occur any time soon. One rea-son is that most art forms currently demand considerable amounts of training. Therefore, potential artists need all their time for artistic training and thus have no time left over to be trained for attractive second jobs. Therefore, with the ex-ception of teaching art, second jobs will remain largely unskilled labor. They continue to represent a necessary evil. Nevertheless, letting one's fantasies run wild, there could be a day in late-capitalism when Marx's ideal becomes true; people are free to go .shing or hunting, or, in the present context, to make mu-sic, poems, plays, and paintings. The economy of the arts would no longer be merciless.
4 Gouldner (1960).
5 See Chapters 8, 9 and 10.
6 See Chapters 8 and 10.
7 See Section 9.8.
8 Goodman (1954) 225-65.
9 Durkheim (1964, ed princ 1914) 325-340 and Giddens (1978) 80-100.
10 See note 20 of chapter 1.
11 More will be said about the magic in art and science in the epilogue.
12 This point was discussed in Section 9.9.
Epilogue: the Future Economy of the Arts 1 Laermans (1996) would probably argue that not only my view of the economy of the arts is outdated, but also my analysis, which relies heavily on the habitus-.eld theory of Bourdieu. I address this notion in note 33 of Chapter 4.
2 This applies to overall donations and subsidies. In the us however, private indi-viduals have been decreasing the amounts they donate to the arts over the past few decades. Humanities (1997) 19.
3 This is not true in most European countries. In the Netherlands however, where a new and more restrictive government .nance system for art schools was imple-mented in 2000, according to information from the ministry of OCW, the .rst signs indicate that at present fewer students are being admitted to the .ne arts departments of Dutch art schools.
4 Laermans (1993).
5 This was re.ected in an increase in literature on theatre management in Ger-many. Noordman (1989) 180.
6 These four types simultaneously differ from and are related to the integrated pro-fessionals of Becker (1982) Chapter 8.
7 For lack of a better alternative, I use 'postmodern artist' as a provisional expres-sion. Given the everyday connotation of 'postmodern' this adjective is the best I could come up with. However, these postmodern artists do not need to be con-nected with the postmodernist movement. Other adjectives like hybrid, bound-less, limitless, pluralist or unruly would be too speci.c in their connotations.
8 Personally, I think that this kind of ban is contrary to the very nature of art. I strongly believe that all great art both shocks and pleases.
9 Elias (1994, ed.princ. in German 1939).
10 Elias (1994, ed.princ. in German 1939) 488.
11 After the Second World War, a decline in control or a process of informalization may have set in, however. Whether this (1) applies to a sub-sector, (2) is tempo-rary, (3) plays a (sublimating) role within the overall process or (4) contradicts the civilizing process, is dif.cult to surmise. Cf. Wouters (1977). Art itself can be said to have become more informal. This is particularly evident in music with its shift from composition-based music to performer-based music cf. Cowen (1998).
12 Goodman (1954) 225-65.
13 Elias (1994, ed.princ. in German 1939) 475-492.
14 Goodman (1954).
15 Deirdre McCloskey suggested the use of the term 'charm' to me. It .ts well into her and Klamer's approach to the rhetoric of economics. Cf. Klamer and Mc- Closkey (1988).
16 Doorman analyzes seven types of borders, which are affected by erosion. Door-man (1997) 8-18. See also Braembussche (1994) 278-308 and Jameson (1991).
17 Cf. Peterson and Kern (1996) and Peterson (1997). They present more refer-ences.
18 Cf. Braembussche (1994) and Jameson (1991).
19 Doorman (1997) 28.
20 Cf. Heilbron (1993).
21 Bourdieu (1979).
22 Peterson and Kern (1996) also state that 'omnivorousness does not imply an in-difference to distinctions'.
23 Given my limited intentions in this chapter, I treat technological change as a given. Technological 'progress' is, however, not a force of nature, but a cultural product. Cf. Schwarz (1999).
24 Cf. Standage (1999).
25 Benjamin (1974).
26 Cf. Braembussche (1994) 239-240. Whereas Benjamin applauded these devel-opments, Adorno (Adorno and Bernstein (1991, 1949-1968)) feared above all the consequential loss of autonomy.
27 Goodman (1954) 113-123.
28 Painting as an autographic art form is a different matter. In the case of painting, in general there is only one original; reproductions are not originals but copies. Cf. Goodman (1954) 113-123. Copies often do not have certain aspects that the originals have, which may be essential to the work of art in this they are of a different order than copies of a book or a cd. Nevertheless, given the high qual-ity of modern reproduction techniques, this fundamental difference has become a difference of degree. High quality reproductions of photographs, for instance, are not originals, but it can be argued that as copies they are almost perfect and that therefore the creativity and authenticity of the original is still largely pres-ent in these copies. Moreover, in the autographic arts there has been a tremen-dous increase in artists making multiples or editions. All of these works of art are considered originals. In graphics and photography, the numbers of editions remain relatively small. In .lm and video, they can be quite large. And with digi-tally created sounds and images, editions can be almost limitless; often their number is beyond the control of the artists and their publishers.
29 Adorno, contrary to Benjamin, emphasizes that reproduced works of art can become mysti.ed as well; they are 'more' than the things themselves. Adorno (1970) 73 cited by Braembussche (1994) 244.
30 Cf. Hilhorst (1999).
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