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[BKARTS] Art in a free enterprise economy
- To: BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Subject: [BKARTS] Art in a free enterprise economy
- From: Richard Minsky <minsky@xxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sat, 10 Jan 2004 05:06:48 -0500
- Message-id: <3FFFCEB8.5A4C7087@minsky.com>
- Sender: Book_Arts-L <BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
>art is not possible in a market economy, only artistic commodities.
>This is true in fundamental free market economies which do not permit
>systems of valuation to survive other than value that equates to money.
I don't understand this.
Art exists everywhere. It's not something one can choose to do or not. If
you have something to say you will figure out a way to create a
communication, whether it is through an object, a performance, or whatever.
There are a lot of people in every field who have nothing to say but make
things anyway, for whatever reason. Obsession, therapy, profit, it doesn't
matter. In time it all gets sorted out.
All sorts of value systems thrive in our exonomy (that was a typo, but it
sort of applies to the current situation) ;>} For over two centuries the
basic axiom of economic theory has been that profit maximization is the
goal of the entrepreneur, and that is true in both free market and Marxist
systems. Their disagreements are in the area of distribution.
But you are not "required" to fit into that business model. I've been
working for 30 years as a not-for-profit entrepreneur in a free enterprise
economy. The society does more than "permit" alternative value systems-- it
has made special rules to encourage those with values other than profit
maximization. The caveat is that you are not allowed to use your
not-for-profit status (tax exempt) to unfairly compete with for-profit
businesses that pay taxes. And that's a good thing.
But what is more interesting than the business model is the value model.
All theories of value break down when it comes to art. That's one of the
main attractions of art. What is it that makes a painting worth $80
million? And that's just monetary value. There are wonderful paintings on
my walls by many artists that are of great value to me, but have no
"market" value. The cabinets and display cases in my home are filled with
book art that I find exciting and inspirational, but many of these artists
need to have "jobs" that support them. I am not forbidden this personal
valuation of the Works because they have no market. Maybe in the future the
market will shift and my vision will give my collection market value. Or
maybe I'll die and eventually everything will go to the dump. When I lived
in an apartment building that had a lot of old people I found amazing
things in the basement garbage area when they died.
And one more thing. One reason the Book Art Movement has come so far in
the last 30 years is because there's no money in it. It's all about love.
Nobody is becoming a book artist because they think they will get rich from
it. This is _exactly_ the field that epitomizes the principle that art is
_not_ about money.
There are wealthy book artists, but the money generally did not come from
book art. In every region of this country we have seen book artists with
financial resources contribute to the support of organizations that provide
production facilities and exhibitions for book art. That has enabled
thousands of people to make and exhibit books who otherwise wouldn't have
been able to. It's a wonderful thing.
We want to build more of a market, because with that comes support for the
work and "outside" criticism of content, context and meaning.
See the Book_Arts-L FAQ at: <http://www.philobiblon.com>
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