Tuesday 25 August 2009

Call and response

Two stories, two reactions ...

The Telegraph's Roya Nikkhah on the £500,000 the English Government spent on its art collection last year: "Made from old plastic bottles and low energy light bulbs, held together with electric flex, it resembles a tangled string of Christmas lights. Yet this light fitting has been brought by the Government at a cost to the public purse of £14,000 so that it can be put on display at the new British High Commission in Colombo, Sri Lanka."

Counter-point: The Guardian's Jonathan Jones on the Telegraph article: "I hate having to defend the government art collection. And – sod it – I'm not going to. But a defence does seem to be called for."

Point: The NY Times' Robin Pogrebin on corporate collections muscling into public galleries: “Smaller community museums with more need began to ask for our program,” [Rena DeSisto of Bank of America] said. “They just don’t have the deep pockets, and they don’t have the luxury of saying, ‘We don’t do corporate collections,’ nor do they frankly have the snobbery about it.”

Counter-point: Edward Winkleman on his eponymous blog: "As someone hoping to sell work to many corporate collections, I am predisposed to thinking kindly of them, but I can honestly say that corporations' curators are indeed among the most knowledgeable and passionate curators out there, and most of the ones I know are delightful and fun to talk with about art in general. The biggest question for me in all this is one of disclosure."

Update: Jonathan Jones calls bullshit on the NYT, says connections between corporations and art galleries are hardly anything new and scandalous.

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