29 Sep

Screw WordPress and the algorithms it rode in on, this is the post that I think is really the best one I’ve written on this blog. FOR WANT OF A NAIL: IN PRAISE OF ARTSWAY.

“I know there are some people who think that everything and everyone, including art and artists, should be subjected to the full and unmitigated brunt of market forces. It’s also a commonly encountered argument that art should always be subjected to some kind of public popularity competition, community approval or public benefit yardstick. These people are just plain wrong, and with every purchase of just plain wrong I’ll add this free pack of you’re a fucking idiot.”

Since I wrote FOR WANT OF A NAIL… the gallery (which formerly represented and supported me and my work) has closed for good. A few of the other axed galleries or grass roots arts organisations have managed to struggle on (Castlefield in Manchester is one), but most of them have also subsequently closed, and none are operating with business as usual. A few of them undeniably deserved to go tits up; many of them are small but vital losses to the arts infrastructure of Britain, creating gaps in provision that won’t be filled again for years if not decades. Like most of the libraries or A&E departments that are being shut down, once they’re gone they’re really gone, not least because many people in local and national government want them to stay gone. Every time a community is deprived of their social, cultural, medical and educational services it helps to roll back the inconvenient advances in social justice, health, education, happiness, freedom of expression and individual empowerment that the post war generation– in every part of the political spectrum– knew from bitter, bloody, hard-won experience was every person’s right in a civilised, just society. Because a society without those things can only begin a slow slide back towards dog-eat-dog barbarism, or even worse a relatively quick tumble into being North Korea.


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