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For the Amateur Hour archive, the exhibition Amateurs at CCA Wattis, Centre for Contemporary Art, California:
‘Against the background of an increasingly professionalized art world, Amateurs will be the first major exhibition to survey recent artworks in which amateurism is embraced as a critical aesthetic strategy and a mode of production. Favored by conceptual artists and earlier by modernist vanguards, an aesthetic of amateurism has long served as a means for deflating models of academic and market-driven art.
Amateurs will develop an exhibition that challenges the mainstream of contemporary art by bringing together artists who elaborate on this tradition, embracing amateurism as a means for questioning basic assumptions about authorship, expertise, the relationship between artist and audience, and the contingency of cultural values. Ultimately, the exhibition will provoke much-needed reflection on the history of this tendency, and its continuing value in challenging the limitations of professionalized art practices.’
Amateurs was curated by Ralph Rugoff, former director of the Wattis Institute and current director of the Hayward Gallery at the South Bank Centre in London. It was be accompanied by a full-color exhibition catalog with essays by Rugoff and the scholar John Roberts.
Amateur Hour is a showcase for exciting new learning, skills, entertainment and public actions. Submissions in any form welcome to selfinterestandsympathy@ gmail.com.
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.
In a statement issued on Monday 7 September 2009, the Arts Council has said that it is to argue for the continuation of the Artists’ Tax Exemption Scheme. The Arts Council has reported that it will make a strong case to Government for the retention of the tax exemption scheme, the discontinuation of which was recommended by the Taxation Commission’s report, also published on Monday.
Ms Pat Moylan, Chairman of the Arts Council, was quoted as saying that the Arts Councilís unequivocal advice to the Minister for Finance and the Government will be that the tax exemption scheme should be retained in its entirety. Outlining the issues that the Arts Council has with the Commission’s recommendation 8.98, Ms Moylan emphasised the detrimental effects that the removal of the Artists’ Tax Exemption could have on artists who would be directly affected by an abolition of the scheme and on the country’s global cultural profile:
“The Arts Council disagrees with the recommendation of the Commission on Taxation. As the Diaspora event at Farmleigh will confirm when it debates this matter in two weeks’ time, Ireland has a tremendous opportunity to promote itself in a positive way through our global cultural profile. If the exemption was withdrawn, a situation would be created where there would be pressure on that profile,” Ms Moylan said.
“If the exemption goes, we could lose entirely, or in part, to the art world or other jurisdictions, a considerable number of artists. This would not be for the public good.”
She warned that if the exemption were scrapped, it would discourage artists who might think, at the early stages of their careers, that they have the potential for very significant commercial success from staying in Ireland. It could also discourage people from continuing with a career in the arts.
“The artists’ exemption scheme is not a ‘rich man’s’ relief as has been portrayed in some quarters. The greatest number of its beneficiaries struggle for financial viability on a year-on-year basis. This is true of relatively unknown beneficiaries, as well as certain of Ireland’s most internationally renowned and critically acclaimed artists.
“Arts Council research has shown that over half the beneficiaries of the Scheme have average earnings of less than half the minimum wage. Of the two per cent who are considered high earners, most of whom are in popular music and writing, only one-third of their income qualifies for the relief.
“It is important for Ireland to have artists of world renown resident in Ireland, just for example Seamus Heaney, Roddy Doyle, John Banville, Patricia Scanlan, the Corrs, U2, Enya, Westlife, Boyzone, the Cranberries, Paul Brady, Louis le Brocquy, Robert Ballagh, Jim Sheridan, Neil Jordan, Maeve Binchy, Cathy Kelly, Marion Keyes – and there are many others.
“Apart from the global perception this creates for Ireland, it has helped put in place world class local infrastructures in artistic management and technical expertise. For up and coming artists, this is of considerable assistance. Without the high earners, who support the infrastructure in a major way, this professional layer would be lost to Ireland.”
“The Arts Council, based on figures from a few years ago, had worked out that if the exemption were scrapped and artists leave Ireland, the Exchequer could be foregoing some €36 million in tax revenue – far more than it will bring in!”
from Arts Council News
Vodpod videos no longer available.
Crisis in the Credit System is a four-part drama dealing with the credit crisis, scripted and directed by artist Melanie Gilligan. A major investment bank runs a brainstorming and role-playing session for its employees, asking them to come up with strategies for coping with today’s dangerous financial climate. Role-playing their way into increasingly bizarre scenarios, they find themselves drawing disturbing conclusions about the deeper significance of the crisis and its effects beyond the world of finance.
I’m sooo behind the curve on this one (clip is over on Coolhunting). But it’s still a great video about artist Mika Rottenberg.