Sidelining of the visual arts by mainstream media
and to add to the heading – being sidelined by conservative governments and their agencies.
First to a tangent to the story that generated this post – and the banner image at the top.
We live in strange times whereby the Australian economy is not doing too badly but the ruling classes, governments, the mainstream media and their supporters are acting very puritanically and very simplistic when it comes to the arts.
To many in the mainstream media and governments, the arts have become to be regarded as a form of lifestyle, entertainments, and are regarded as something that a minority have a very old fashion ‘passion’ for – but that real people have very little interested in…
And by mainstream media I include many social media sites – they have become the puritans of the modern age.
Look at web sites and social media sites that have any postings on the arts, particularly the visual arts, and you will see that that they are listed under generic headings such as ‘lifestyle’ – ‘entertainment’ etc. The slightly more aware may use the term ‘culture’. It is as if something as important to the our whole western society through centuries has suddenly become an option to be relegated as dispensable.
In Australia the arts figure very lowly within the national budgets – with the reality being that contemporary federal governments have reluctantly funded anything as they have seen little value as value is only judged to be that which brings political capital to the politicians.
I have to also add that here in Canberra we have a very conservative Labor government that keeps the arts budget to a minimum – despite any rhetoric that the local media accept and never question.
Of course this puritanical attitude to the arts is not new. The Puritans when they took over from from Charles I in England – sold of one of the most important art collections that had been put together. It was a fire sale – and the artworks were scattered throughout the known world.
This is what is being addressed by The Royal Academy in London for an exhibition next year. They have been tracking down as much of the works that are now in other collections to bring the collection back together for a special exhibition.
It is time to consider being in London – I hope there is someone in Australia who would like me to go and would assist with costs. No harm in putting it out there.
Meanwhile to be serious again – here’s the story in The Guardian about how the Royal Academy is bring the Charles I collection back together for an exhibition.