ReValuing, ReElevating

“Only in an environment in which the forms of artistic and cultural production are defined by the artists and their practice can the arts genuinely flow and grow.”

A recent excerpt of David Pledger’s Platform Paper ReValuing the Artist in the New World Order published on Arts Hub (Aug 2, 2013) offers direct provocations that would go some way in altering the way independent artists influence decisions affecting their future in this country. The original Paper (published by Currency House) goes much deeper and further by providing ample context to this important cause.

Pledger provides a comprehensive and scathing critique of Managerialism and its relationship to a neo-liberal agenda. A relationship that causes the artist to be at an extended arms distance from seats of power. He explains policies and actions employed in Korea, Brazil, Germany and Belgium that place culture in the centre of national identity making (to the benefit of their economies) and provides startling facts as to how Australia’s market driven trends and Managerialist tendencies have already greatly diminished our standing as a contender in the field of contemporary art – across art forms.

The Paper argues strongly as to the reasons why independent artists need to be front and centre in a rapidly shifting and evolving global world. Reminding us of the importance of artists as cultural agents in the 21st century; that we know and understand the dynamics of change – as this is where our daily practices reside.

“In terms of income, influence and agency, the artist’s lot is a parlous one. Direct funding for individual artists has fallen by about one-third since the 1990’s. In real terms they earn less from their artistic practice then they did 20 years ago. They are barely visible at the elite levels of governance and advice. Their numbers are decreasing. Their autonomy has been compromised and curtailed by policy that has institutionalised them within organisations, venues, and programs. It is not fair to slate home to the ACA (Australia Council for the Arts) alone to blame for this state of affairs, although it has been its main progenitor. The diminution of the artist has been facilitated by the Australian arts industry whose growth is directly linked to maintaining the artist’s inequitable position in the current world order.”

If you have not yet read the Arts Hub article you can view it here, if you have then I advise reading the Paper to fully comprehend the scope of our cultural paradigm from a well grounded perspective.

Keep making, advocating and emancipating Australian art and artists. The future depends on our dreaming and linking!

If you would like to discuss the paper or the provocations with their author David Pledger can be emailed on <>


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