Monday, March 8, 2010

Michael's thread

Here's a link to the community arts resource website. Search for "Rubber Meets the Road" to read that article but there's tons of other stuff on there as well.

Also, here's the link to "No Room to Move" (written by Josephine Berry Slater & Anthony Iles):

But here's my synopsis:

How do public art and architecture affect city regeneration, critically studied, not with blind faith that ‘creativity heals cities’? (mostly focusing on London)

2 models: Gentrification & Regeneration

Artists are often on the forefront of gentrification: increased property taxes, increased revenue to local gov. and displacement of local residents. (Artist as Entrepreneur (think Damian Hurst) to build an art market.)

Regeneration is a more recent goal: using quasi-state agencies, tax breaks, re-zoning, public/private partnerships, encouraging cultural economies. (Relies more on state intervention). (Festivals, etc. to draw tourism, improve image of the city)

Individual artists are often critical, but not often resistant. “the more art looks like art, the less effect it seems to have” – Clare Cumberlidge (public art curator)

Artists need to be able to disassemble their skills, and present them in a vernacular context. There is increasing interest in “aesthetics of bureaucracy”, developing frameworks rather than products. (what I think the MBA/MFA could do really well). Funding tends to go towards products, rather than systems (non-sustainable?). Art as a cultural production.

What if artists were to work with communities of businesses/developers (work from the inside)? * Why does this seem like such a crazy concept? Or does it happen more than I realize?

“As ever, the role of art is to cover over the brutalities of society, to remind us of our civility, to insist on our connection to the human community, to instill good liberal democratic values into us.” Free market capitalism will always dismantle this commonality.

2 problems common to public art:

Equivalence: by illustrating a positive society, the society will get better. (basically the problem of all public art, from monuments to relational artists.)

Openness: making everyone equal- meaning everyone is ‘represented’ but no one’s voice is heard. (Like a benneton ad.)

The bigger problem is how both of these are used in new capitalist economies (knowledge and service based). There is an increased awareness of product design. Now we are sold lifestyles and places as products. Businesses are becoming more savvy and quicker to absorb artistic styles to use for their own profit. Can artists even compete?


  1. These are really interesting points, Michael. I'm particularly intrigued by the idea of artists working with business developers. I think it could be even more effective to have not only the artists working with the business developers, but the community as well. Perhaps artists could act as the mediators between the business/developers and the local community. But can artists take on that role? And is it necessary? Or why are artists necessary at all? Why not the business/developers working directly with the community members? What is the importance of the "artistic" vision in all this? What is the importance of art? Sometimes I feel like there are more questions than there are answers, but I think it's a really important issue for us, as artists, to discuss.

  2. This post is making me think about a lot of things... I'm wondering if artists' work is important, or is it creative thinking and sharing that makes the artist important in this context. I feel similar to Emilia, in that I'm questioning a lot about artists taking on the role of revitalizing/ healing cities-

    But your point about artists needing to disassemble their skills and present them in a vernacular context... if we're talking about using creative critical thinking as a framework- I think that's a strength artists could contribute to a collaboration of community leaders and entrepreneurs.

    I think this is really interesting Michael, thanks for taking on this topic-