Quo vadis ars?

The situation in the cultural sector has been described and discussed in numerous interviews, corona diaries, comments and reports in the past few weeks. Our annotated collection of currently 188 sources gathers voices from different sectors and media. This creates a picture of the cultural landscape in crisis, whose temporal transformation can be explored interactively via a dedicated tag cloud.


 

Auktionshäuser sind die Gewinner in der Krise
Auction houses are the winners in the crisis

by Christian Herchenröder (17 Dec 2020)
Original source: Handelsblatt

The corona-induced shrinkage of 30 to 40 percent is distributed differently among the players in the art market. While 2020 art fairs and galleries with virtual art fairs and exhibitions were only able to score with the public to a limited extent, the auction houses recorded strong sales increases with online-only auctions. In particular, they were able to encourage first-time buyers, especially from America and China, to bid for high-priced art, especially in the contemporary sector.

tag Kunstmarkt Galerien Auktionshäuser Online-Ausstellung Kunstmesse Rezession
Visual Arts/Design Bericht

Auch der Staat profitiert davon . Corona-Soforthilfe für Galerien
The state also benefits . Corona emergency aid for galleries

by Rupert Pfab, Gabi Wuttke (27 Sep 2020)
Original source: Deutschlandfunk Kultur

The Secretary of State for Culture Monika Grütters is going to provide 16 million Euros to support the galleries in the Neustart Kultur program. Only a part of this money will be used for purchases, whereas the larger part of the support will be used to support the work of galleries in the exhibition business, but also in the field of digitization. The Düsseldorf gallery owner Rupert Pfab is not convinced by the strategy of Monika Grütters. If galleries are to be supported in the current crisis, a reduction in the VAT rate would have the greatest effect. O verall, he considers purchases for the federal art collection to be sustainable. The works would go to museums and other public institutions, which would not only benefit the galleries and artists, but also the general public to whom these works are made accessible. The gallery owner, on the other hand, does not understand why the Federal Purchasing Commission can also buy directly from the artists, as this would circumvent the galleries as an important institution of the art market.

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tag Galerien Kunsthandel Ankaufsetat Neustart Kultur Mehrwertsteuer Monika Grütters
Visual Arts/Design Interview

Wir sind ein Ökosystem . Krise des Kunstmarkts
We are an eco system . Crisis of the art market

by Deborah Schamoni, Esther Schipper, Catrin Lorch (11 Sep 2020)
Original source: Süddeutsche Zeitung

With the exception of Art Cologne, all major art fairs have been cancelled in 2020. On the occasion of the traditional gallery tours, which open the cultural autumn in Berlin, Cologne, Düsseldorf and Munich, gallery owners Esther Schipper and Deborah Schamoni are talking about the state of the industry in Corona Autumn.
The art trade is not down, but the situation is serious. Whereas international collectors traditionally attended the gallery openings in the fall, they are now largely attended by a local audience. With the collectors, not only is there a lack of income, but the concentration on local business also leads to a complete breakdown of the exchange at fairs. Whether the time left for written contacts can compensate for this will be seen in the near future. The gallery owners agree, however, that the losses cannot be compensated for by a virtual presence - be it their own homepage or the pages set up by the trade fairs. Although it would be possible to sell works by well-known artists, the newcomers have little chance of attracting attention.
On the other hand, the gallery owners are well aware that the art market will have to change in the coming years. Climate change and Corona will become a task for the art market in the coming months and years - even if the gallery owners have to admit that their artists have so far shown little consideration for the climate.
It is still uncertain whether the galleries can really be helped by government support. At the very least, this is an appreciation of the galleries' work. Although they view the funds earmarked for purchases in the Neustart Kultur program positively, they see a reduction in VAT on sales as a guarantee for the kind of sales boom the industry currently needs.

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tag Kunstmarkt Kunstmessen Mehrwertsteuer Neustart Kultur Ankaufsetat Klimabilanz Art Cologne virtuelles Angebot
Visual Arts/Design Interview

Der verzögerte Kulturinfarkt . Resilienz des Kulturbetriebs
The delayed culture infarction . Resilience of the cultural sector

by Dieter Haselbach, Pius Knüsel (27 Jul 2020)
Original source: Kulturmanagement

The cultural industry has long been a two-tier society. While the state-financed cultural institutions will come through the crisis with the help of much public funding, the many private institutions and artists will fall victim to the crisis. The public institutions are not innocent of this, as they have used the solo self-employed as an inexhaustible reserve army.
In view of the fact that even before the crisis there was a discussion about the dwindling public in cultural institutions and the loss of significance of museums, the authors are irritated by a contri bution by Tobias J. Knobloch, President of the Kulturpolitische Gesellschaft, who urged that public funding be expanded in order to avert the consequences of the crisis for the cultural industry. In this context he also speaks of resilience.
Here it should not be forgotten that the crisis is the great time for cultural associations. They are now trying to get a share of the public funding.Differently it looks with the solo independent ones, which fall by the promotion rasters of the federation and federal state governments for enterprises and come thus over the rounds only with an application for unemployment relief ALG II .
Here the authors come to the crucial point of their article: Many artists do not have a business model that would be sustainable and provides for reserves and a sensible old-age provision. Postponing crisis and old-age provision until later is not a model with a future. Even if the state is currently generous, sustainable business practices must be introduced in the cultural sector.
In their outlook, the authors assume that the large state-financed houses will survive the crisis, and that many solo self-employed and privately financed houses will give up. Cultural tourism will also start again in 2021. The only chance the stakeholders have is to create new room for maneuver. A cultural infarction can currently only be avoided if the funding instruments and organizational principles are reconsidered and digitization is promoted.

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tag Museen Kulturförderung Soforthilfe Solo-Selbständige Hartz IV Olaf Zimmermann Tobias J. Knobloch
All sections Bericht

Nach dem Stillstand die Besinnung?
After the standstill, the recollection?

by Till Briegleb (07 Jul 2020)
Original source: Süddeutsche Zeitung

The corona-related closures mean millions in lost revenue for the major German museums in Dresden, Berlin, Hamburg, Munich or Cologne. Even the rapid reopening of the museums can do little to change this. If in one week there are as many visitors as before the lockdown on one day, the museums are already happy. People are still afraid of exhibition spaces with great appeal. Above all, the number of city travellers is still very low. However, the museum management does not appear to be alarmed so far. This is partly due to the fact that they currently have the feeling tha t they are supported by the state. In contrast to the wave of layoffs in America, at least the permanent employees can rely on government support. However, financing is not a very popular discussion topic at the moment. Instead, the realignment of the houses is being discussed. Many will make a virtue out of necessity and concentrate again more on content than on big names.

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tag Museen Finanzen Marion Ackermann Hartz IV Neuausrichtung Sammlung
Visual Arts/Design Bericht

What’s the ideal post-pandemic art market? One that's no longer a Disneyland for the rich . Capitalism has gobbled up the art world over the past decade—it is high time for a reset

by Jane Kallir (22 Jun 2020)
Original source: The Art Newspaper

The art world expanded beyond the limits of sustainability even before Covid 19 states art dealer and curator Jane Kallir in her comment. A few big galleries and auction houses have taken over the art world and turning it into a big commerce for the rich jetset. Diversity changed to a “limited market of the bankable recognisable few” (Melanie Gerlis) pushing the smaller galleries out of the market.
For Kallir this trend to commercialisation was initiated in the 1980’s expanding in the last decades massively the art market and turning art works on the one side into a speculative object for short-term profit and on the other side into crowd-pleasing entertainments. An ideal post-pandemic world art would be no longer such a Disneyland for the rich.

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tag Kunstmarkt Galerien Kommerzialisierung Jetset
Visual Arts/Design Kommentar

»Die Künstler haben Angst« . Wird die Kunstwelt nach Corona eine andere sein und wenn ja, wie anders?
»The artists live in fear« . Will the art world have changed after Corona?

by Vincenzo de Bellis, Heinrich Schwazer (03 Jun 2020)
Original source: Neue Südtiroler Tageszeitung

The art world will change, but we will only be able to see it in a year. The reopening is currently a real test. Even if he assumes that many smaller galleries will not survive the crisis, de Bellis is not sure whether the art market will be affected by the economic crisis.

tag Kunstwelt
Visual Arts/Design Interview

Was wir im Lockdown über das Digitale gelernt haben

by Anika Meier (02 Jun 2020)
Original source: Monopol

The corona crisis has accelerated the shift to the digital world. Art exhibitions were also presented online in times of lockdown. If there is no other choice, even these institutions who have tended to avoid online media are now turning to social media to communicate and exchange ideas. In her column, Anika Meier examines what we have learned with regard to the digital world during the crisis, presenting various activities of the recent months, from livestreams via Instagram to online viewing rooms and augmented reality. In doing so, she urges art critics to think about new standards for evaluating art on the Net. Naive euphoria or unreflected criticism of the fact that virtual exhibitions cannot replace real museum visits do not do justice to either the artistic-curatorial claim or the medium.

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tag Online Viewing Room Streaming Augmented Reality Hans Ulrich Obrist Iwan Wirth Koo Jeong A Krise als Chance
Visual Arts/Design Kolumne

»Die Blockbuster haben ausgedient« . Museen nach dem Shutdown
»The blockbusters had their day« . Museums after shutdown

by Hans D. Christ, Iris Dressler (23 May 2020)
Original source: Welt

In a conversation with WELT newspaper, the heads of the Württembergischer Kunstverein in Stuttgart Iris Dressler and Hans D. Christ make an argument to take advantage of the lockdown for a deeper reflection on the art world. Their text is not only a plea for a reasonable payment for the artists, but at the same time an invitation to the art institutions not to focus on a mass audience in the future, but rather to understand the houses as spaces of ideas and discourse, in which sociopolitical issues are negotiated.

tag Museen Blockbuster Honorar
Visual Arts/Design Interview

Hilferuf der Galeristen in NRW
Cry for help by art dealers in North Rhine-Westphalia

by Rupert Pfab (28 Apr 2020)
Original source: WDR 3

The two Düsseldorf gallery owners, Daniela Steinfeld and Rupert Pfab, sent an impassioned letter to the state government in North Rhine-Westphalia. In addition to the Minister for Culture and Science Isabel Pfeiffer-Poensgen, they also address Prime Minister Armin Laschet and the Minister of Economy Andreas Pinkwart. They not only call for a drop in VAT to 7 percent to support the galleries in the long term, but above all for a special purchase budget for the purchase of art for museums and foundations. With the purchase of contemporary art, the gallery owners are c onvinced that the art business could be given meaningful support in the economic crisis that is coming up to us.

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tag Galerien Kunstmarkt Kunstförderung Ankaufsetat Mehrwertsteuer
Visual Arts/Design Interview

A subtle vision welcomes visitors on the front page of facing arts: an animation of black and white artist portraits that have a questioning, challenging or just curious eye on the visitors. In the foreground changing quotes from the commented collection of articles »Quo vadis ars?« are sliding. These short highlights give an overview of the current discussion about the arts in times of Corona. The names of the cited persons link to the respective text in the review collection. Facing arts documents the diversity of the cultural landscape and at the same time opens up a discourse space reflecting the importance of the arts in the present.

Facing Arts - «Fear Eats the Soul»

Closed concert halls, theaters, museums, literary houses, libraries and cinemas are not only an expression of a society in a state of emergency, but also a sign of a crisis that is particularly hard on the creative industry. For artists, the closure of all public and private cultural institutions does not only mean a ban on work, which for most people goes hand in hand with an immense drop in sales. At the same time, the prescribed social distancing also means that personal exchange and interaction, as they are not only important for musicians, actors, writers and acrobats with colleagues, and the public, but also at the same time the development of new project ideas and thus the acquisition of new orders for the coming months is hardly possible. It is the crisis after the crisis that has l left many cultural professionals in a state of shock. With reference to Rainer Werner Fassbinder's film Angst essen Seele auf [engl. Ali: Fear Eats the Soul], the chairman of the German Cultural Council Olaf Zimmermann has found a fitting picture for the current situation. The aim of facing arts is to counteract this rigidity,

Artists showing their face – 25 times per second

In facing arts, the many hard-to-understand faces of creative artists in Germany and beyond condense. The projection thus creates a new form of publicity at a time when Article 8 of the German constitution is largely overridden and public demonstrations are not possible. Artists gather here virtually, not only to draw attention to their situation, but also to demonstrate their right to practice freely. In this way, the public also becomes aware of how large the anonymous number of solo soloists in the cultural sector actually is. 188,332 active artists are registered in Germany's Artists' Social Welfare Fund (KSK) alone.

Quo vadis ars? – »cultural« memory of the crisis

But speed does not only play a role in the facial animation, but also in public discourse. Who remembers at the beginning of June 2020 how the situation of the artists was assessed in March. What forecasts were made and which artistic genres are currently being given special consideration in the discussion, in other words, who is supported by the media and thus receives a voice and who does not? The commented collection of contributions "Quo vadis ars?" is intended to trace the development of the discussion. The question raised again and again about the function of art and culture in society can thus be answered.
In the quotations on the front page of facing arts, individual actors have their say. The short statements are taken from the collection of articles. Each time the page is called up, nine portraits and five quotations are called up at random. The animation with the black-and-white portraits in the background of the page is meant to arouse curiosity about the project facing arts and at the same time to make people think about the individual fates of the artists in the face animation collective.

Facing arts gives culture a face. Therefore everyone working artistically in the broader sense is invited to participate. At times when there is a debate about whether the cultural sector has a lobby, our goal is to show how many and how diverse we are.

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The Team

Facing arts is a projet by STORM.

STORM is an acronym playing with the initials by Miriam Seidler & Tim Otto Roth, who are hit both by the Corona crisis. Dr. Miriam Seidler is a scholar in German literature and currently works as specialist in public relations. Dr. Tim Otto Roth is a scholar in art and science history and works as a conceptual artist and composer. He is known for his huge projects in public space, cooperations with leading scientific institutions and his immersive sound and light installations. Miriam and Tim collaborate regularly for years. With facing arts they reaslize their first common art project.
You find more informatin on both initiators on www.miriamseidler.de and www.imachination.net.

Special thanks to Paco Croket for the tag cloud programming!

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