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via Frieze:

Unhappy Birthday, by Dan Fox

Tate – hardly a stranger to controversy – has this week come under attack from two artist groups, their criticisms centered around Tate Modern’s tenth anniversary celebration No Soul for Sale, which was held over the weekend of 14–16 May.

Making A Living, an anonymous organisation describing itself as ‘a discussion group of arts professionals currently active across the UK’, issued an open letter to the Tate challenging the museum’s treatment of artists during the ‘No Soul for Sale’ event.

The group write: ‘It has come to our attention that many participants are not being paid by Tate Modern for their efforts. In fact, most are self-funding their activities throughout the weekend. Tate describes this situation as a “spirit of reciprocal generosity between Tate and the contributors”. But at what point does expected generosity become a form of institutional exploitation? Once it becomes endemic within a large publicly funded art space?’

Arguing that ‘it is complacent for Tate to believe that their position is comparable to ground level arts activity’ and that it is ‘disingenuous’ for the museum to claim that this ‘spirit of reciprocal generosity’ is ‘somehow altruistic or philanthropic’, Making A Living go on to accuse Tate of not having paid artists ‘for some exhibitions, workshops and events, including last year’s Tate Triennial’, although no specific details are given in the letter.

They end their letter by calling on Tate ‘to make public its policy in regard to artists’ fees’.

Read the rest of this entry »

Bournville was a model village created to house Cadbury workers, although most of the houses are now owned by the Bournville Village Trust rather than the company itself… Quiet and relatively crime-free, Bournville is too tranquil to host an insurrection, but there is a revolutionary mood afoot in the wake of Cadbury’s decision to accept Kraft’s £11.9bn offer. The local BBC radio station hasn’t played an American song all week and although Cadbury employees are reluctant to talk, it is impossible to find anyone who is in favour of the deal.

James Robinson, Bournville, the town that chocolate built, writing recently in the Guardian. Photo by Christopher Furlong/ Getty Images

There are certain sectors of the art world that crave a useful social role for art. Others see art as an activity making important contributions to intellectual discourse. Many look to art for pleasure. And then there are those who appreciate all of this seriousness, but crave the trappings of the entertainment industry too – fame, power, money, glamour, hierarchies, cultural parochialism. One year the art world is interested in this, the next year it’s interested in that. It wants to party, it wants to be scholarly. Markets go up, markets go down. At the same time as the Serpentine Gallery is showing Gustav Metzger, people are posing for photographs licking a giant chocolate facsimile of a Jeff Koons sculpture and throwing themselves on giant mounds of peanuts at the gala opening of PERFORMA 09. America elects a mildly progressive president and suddenly people scream ‘socialism’ as if the year is 1954 and Senator McCarthy is on the warpath. Everything changes and nothing changes.

Dan Fox in Frieze, January-February 2010. Full article here.

Idleness so called, which does not consist in doing nothing, but in doing a great deal not recognized in the dogmatic formularies of the ruling class, has as good a right to state its position as an industry itself.

It is admitted that the presence of people who refuse to enter in the great handicap race for sixpenny pieces, is at once an insult and a disenchantment for those who do.

Extreme busyness, whether at school or college, kirk or market, is a symptom of deficient vitality; and a faculty for idleness implies a catholic appetite and a strong sense of personal identity. There is a sort of dead-alive, hackneyed people about, who are scarcely conscious of living except in the exercise of some conventional occupation. Bring these fellows into the country, or set them aboard ship, and you will see how they pine for their desk or their study. They have no curiosity; they cannot give themselves over to random provocations; they do not take pleasure in the exercise of their faculties for its own sake; and unless Necessity lays about them with a stick, they will even stand still. It is no good speaking to such folk: they cannot be idle, their nature is not generous enough; and when they pass those hours in a sort of coma, which are not dedicated to furious moiling in the gold mill.

From Robert Louis Stephenson’s Apology for Idlers, c. 1880

This edition of Amateur Hour features a special on hobbies/ crafts that
found new necessity in postwar Britain:
Animal husbandry: Penguin handbook (originally published 1941, recently
re-editioned) Keeping Poultry and Rabbits on Scraps &
Gardening & Knitting (both currently enjoying a lifestyle-y renaissance):
two wartime posters by Abram Games, Please Knit Now and Grow Your Own
Food. Read the rest of this entry »

Amazon says:

Customers who bought this item also bought Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Road’.

via The Irish TImes


THE ARTS sector is worth €782 million a year to the economy and employs 26,519 people, research released yesterday has found.

Assessment of Economic Impact of the Arts in Ireland, a report by Indecon Economic Consultants, commissioned by the Arts Council and written by economist Dr Alan Gray, suggests the economic impact of the arts may be larger than generally perceived.

“Previous figures bandied about significantly have overestimated the economic impact of the arts sector,” Mr Gray said at a briefing on the report yesterday. Because they overstated the economic impact of the arts they were not taken seriously and “led economists and policymakers to believe the arts had no impact or minimal impact on the economy.”

But this Indecon report “shows the arts sector does have significant economic impact”.

Some €76 million of Arts Council funding to organisations in Ireland supports more than 3,000 jobs, generates €192 million in turnover, and €54 million of it returns directly to the exchequer in taxes, the report found.

Arts Council chairwoman Pat Moylan said: “At last we can back up what we have known by instinct – the Arts Council is making a very significant contribution to the Irish economy, and can help to generate hundreds more jobs right now, for a proportionately small extra investment.”

Dr Gray said the research was rigorous and independent and the analysis showed the arts and cultural sectors had a significant economic impact. “While I do not believe that the arts should be evaluated solely on economic grounds, it is clear the sector is an important and labour-intensive one. It also makes a significant contribution to exchequer revenues.”


Arts workers throughout the city and county are coming together to ensure the place of the arts in our country’s recovery, in a March For The Arts at 2pm on Saturday 14 November beginning at Daunt Square. Cork artists and arts workers are proud of their contribution to Cork’s designation in the Lonely Planet Best of 2010 Guide as one of the top ten cities in the world to visit and the significance that this has had to the local economy.

At a meeting in the Everyman Palace Theatre on the 29th of October, arts workers in Cork came together to discuss what they could do locally to voice their support for the National Campaign for  the Arts (

The National Campaign for the Arts asserts the fundamental importance of the arts to economic recovery and calls for:

1.       Retention of Culture Ireland, the agency for the promotion of Irish arts worldwide.

2.       Retention of The Irish Film Board, development agency of the Irish film industry.

3.       Maintenance of existing levels of funding to the Arts Council.

4.       Retention of the artists’ income tax exemption scheme.

5.       Commitment to retain the arts portfolio at cabinet as part of a senior ministerial portfolio.

There was a very strong feeling at the meeting that, as well as contacting TDs and local representatives to make the case for the arts, a public action of sorts needed to be made, not only by arts workers, but by the general public who are supporters of the arts and who are concerned about the effects of cuts to arts funding. Cork artists and arts workers are proud of their contribution to Cork’s designation in the Lonely Planet Best of 2010 Guide as one of the top ten cities in the world to visit and the significance that this has had to the local economy. It is hoped that with the maintenance of current levels of Arts Council funding, the arts in Cork will continue to draw visitors to the area and that Cork can capitalise on the spending power of these visitors..

So on Saturday November 14th, all concerned parties will gather at Daunt Square and march down Patrick’s Street and gather again at Emmet Place. The main objectives are to raise awareness and inform people of what’s at stake for the Arts in the forthcoming budget and to ask people to add their signatures to an online petition ( in support of the cause.

For more information on the march, visit

An extra special event will take place at 1.30pm, just before the march – for more information on how to be involved, email

Julie Kelleher

Via the Irish Times, September 23rd 2009:

The arts cement our reputation abroad, are crucial to our smart economy, provide employment at home, fuel cultural tourism, and help form the nation’s psyche – they are vital to our national recovery, writes GERRY GODLEY.
IRISH ARTISTS, your country needs you. If there was a consensus among the high achievers of the Irish diaspora gathered in Farmleigh last weekend, surely this was it. A roll call of totemic figures, including financier Dermot Desmond, philanthropist Loretta Brennan Glucksman, film-maker Neil Jordan and a forthright Minister for Arts, Martin Cullen, all avowed the importance of culture in the economic heavy lifting to come. Earlier this year, its potency in international affairs was underscored by Brian Cowen in New York, when he spoke of how “most Americans encounter Ireland today through culture: whether that is Irish dance and music, Irish film, Irish writing or an Irish play on Broadway”. Mary Robinson asserted its importance in a social fabric context speaking in August at the annual Béal na mBláth commemoration, when she said: “We should listen to our creative artists.”
Like the rest of us, they are each in their own way drawing from the well of our remarkable achievements. Each successive nominee or winner of an Oscar, Tony, Grammy, Golden Globe, Mercury and Man Booker, not to mention this week’s Emmy success, our Nobel Laureate and the world’s most successful rock band, is a jewel hewn from the rich seams of artistic expression that permeate every stratum of Irish life, representing levels of participation surpassed only by our great sporting traditions.
The arts have a vital role to play in our national recovery in five distinct areas.

According to the article, these are the arts and our reputational capital; the arts and the smart economy; the arts and cultural tourism; the arts and employment; the arts and the national psyche. The full text of Godfrey’s excellent article is held here.

November 2020