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[BKARTS] WOID XV-41. Love yer bowtie, Counsel!



WOID XV-41. Love yer bowtie, Counsel!

I'd never heard of the guy, honest. Dushko Petrovich had an article in 
Sunday's Boston Globe:
http://www.boston.com/news/globe/ideas/articles/2006/09/17/the_art_of_th
e_new
And we happen to share certain thoughts about museums; and he was kind 
enough to reference my book on one particular point.

His article points out that more and more museums are being built with 
less and less art to match, that museums more and more promote the 
creation of original art, and by fostering the reputation of living 
artists are abandoning their educational functions and becoming mere 
shils for their own stable. In my own reading art museums have always 
been shils; it's just that the seams are starting to show now, as the 
quality of the object shilled becomes less and less relevant to the 
shilling, and this irrelevance, sez I, is not confined to contemporary 
art at all, or even to the visual arts.

Both the article and my book were referenced - gracefully but not 
graciously - at wheremostneeded.org
http://www.wheremostneeded.org/2006/09/artist_thinks_c.html

I highly recommend this site: the article contains direct links that 
allow you to download the tax forms for the Guggenheim and the Museum 
of Modern Art, for free, and they make for great late night reading, 
pen in hand.

Still, being a site devoted to charitable giving and therefore lacking 
imagination, wheremostneeded asks only the simple question, "How 
crooked can you be and get away with it?" and answers, plenty:

"The IRS still will not allow 501(c)(3) or (c)(4) status to art 
galleries that promote their own artists and does penalize (smaller) 
museums that go too far in that direction." There's a link to an 
artists' coop in Port Angeles, WA that was nabbed by the Feds because, 
being artists, they were getting a tax break to sponsor themselves:

http://www.clallamart.org/0601pr.htm

But a multimillion-dollar megamuseum that gets tax breaks to jack up 
the value of the artwork its own trustees invest in? That, says 
wheremostneeded, is " just too subtle to draw IRS scrutiny." 

Surprise, surprise. There was a time - oh, in the seventeenth century - 
when it was thought the public good consisted in the promotion of 
manufacturing. By the eighteenth century some had begun to claim the 
public good was in the promotion, actually. Now, by law, the promotion 
of art is an activity in the public interest, but the making of art 
isn't. Of course, this begs two questions: 1) why should the 
manufacturing of art be considered any different from any other form of 
manufacture, and 2) why should the promotion of art be seen as any 
different from any other form of promotion? For my money (and that's 
not saying much), there's little to be gained in discussing whether the 
new contemporary art museums are likely to lead to increased self-
dealing; nor in asking how much self-dealing a museum trustee can get 
away with, though both have become hot topics since the Sarbanes-Oxley 
Act was passed to cut down on corporate corruption. The issue isn't 
even dead artists vs. live ones, it's how certain productive forces are 
kept from the table and certain not-so-productive forces dealt in.

So, thank you, wheremostneeded, for giving a link to my book's web 
site, and I don't mind, really, that you spelled my name "Warner" 
instead of "Werner," that's just Wasp folks' way of talkin'. 

But when you describe my web site as "artsy" - come on! You call 
me "artsy" like it's a bad thing...

- Paul Werner

http://theorangepress.com
WOID: a journal of visual language

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