Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Monday, August 29th, 2008

To bring this back to art, I wonder what this will mean for the future of art collecting? Edward Winkleman's blog (as always) has interesting questions with equally interesting dialogue.

In fact, Winkleman's blog is the only one that I've found that discusses the current economy and what it means for artists. I realize that the motto "art saves lives" is one that is near and dear to many artists' hearts but the truth is that poor artists can't pay their bills unless they have a day job. I predict that the fall out in the arts will be as painful as the fall out on Wall Street. Those on the margins, both financially and artistically, will go under. What survives is anybody's guess.

I read on a blog today that AP reported that the Democratic and Republican candidates spent $94,000,000 dollars in August. That’s $94 MILLION dollars in one month. What did they spend over half of this money on? I'll give you three guesses and none of them are art. It's Advertising (which is a sort of bastard form of art, I guess). Here’s a quote from that AP report: “Their campaign finance reports, filed before Saturday's midnight deadline, shows that more than half of their $3-million-a-day spending rate was devoted to advertising that became increasingly negative during the month.”

I guess I should be glad that all this money is flowing around, keeping ad agencies, TV and radio stations and other forms of the media employed. It's a good time to be on some political somebody's staff - at least you'd have a job and probably a well paid one at that. I can't help but think of my studies of the last days of the Roman Empire, when the Imperial government's minions, bloated with money and power, taxed the hard-working peasantry out of existence. What the peasants didn't pay in taxes, they paid in manpower as the Imperial army press ganged men for the army. And guess what - the Persian Empire (aka Iran and Iraq) and religious bigotry were the downfall of the late Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire. A survey of archaeological sites in Egypt show that there were hundreds of good-sized villages that just disappeared between the 3rd and 4th century CE. The supposition is that that they were taxed to death while the Emperor and his corrupt court lived the high life. That sure sounds familiar.

The times are too dangerous and the issues too pressing for it to be business as usual. We can't base our vote on who looks good in a suit or how stylish the hair cut is or the latest clever political spin. We truly are looking into the abyss. I'd like to think of a nice, elegant sentence to wrap this post up but I just can't. All of us have lost - some sons and husbands to the insane war "over there," some their life savings and hope of retirement, some (many) our belief in our system of government. I guess I lacked imagination because I never thought it could get this bad. Like a lot of us, I'm frightened - well, not crazy scared - but deeply deeply concerned. Round and round it goes and where it stops, nobody knows.

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