Articoli taggati con ‘Value of the arts’

Tafterjournal n. 95 - LUGLIO AGOSTO 2017

Quantifying Dance in a Capitalist Society

di Leslie Scott

The ongoing debate on the social value of art and culture has been with us for some decades now. In the United States, this debate has taken place mostly within the art world itself, and in related political and administrative circles. In the mainstream, writes economist Marilyn Warring, any economic movement has always been towards the “market.” That is, there continues to be the assumption that the only way in which work can be visible or valuable, is if you treat is as if it were a market commodity, or a market service you attribute value to. This underlying need to pass goods through the GDP makes the intangible performance art even more challenging to quantify. What is striking about the current debate is how the underlying assumption, that the added value of public expenditures on art and culture, is negative. For many, government support for the arts and culture is not considered a valuable investment for either economic or cultural development; rather, it is perceived as a leak in the economy. Any empirical evidence of a positive spin-off for culture or the economy is simply neglected. Perhaps one of the reasons why this assumption has remained unchallenged, is in fact rooted in attitudes within the art world itself: proponents of creative and artistic endeavors are reluctant to embrace the argument fully, since the dominant discourse is still based on an antagonistic relationship between culture and economy. Therefore there is an urgent need to open up the debate, in order to better understand the contemporary dynamics within the arts, the creative industries, and cultural policy.  As arts funding is at risk of shrinking from federal granting agencies, the question of arts valuation extends to two very differing camps regarding metrics: quantify so that value can be assigned and worth can be determined, this is a viable way of assessing funding opportunities. This approach believes in the quest for an infallible metric system, and while we might not be there yet, the holy grail does exist. And the latter, intrinsic value is both indefinable and ultimately damning.

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