Why do we fight for art? Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, being confronted with the proposal of suspending the financing of cultural projects during the Second World War, replied eloquently: “If we don’t fight for art, then what do we fight for?”
Artists, curators, art critics and, generally, everyone who is involved in the creative process set out on the assumption of a total independence from the economic realities of the moment, a necessary stance to support an independent and authentic speech. On average, this premise is contradicted by the reality of implementing a project in public space. The needed financial support is, at large, provided by private companies and government institutions, this type of mechanism being functional especially in countries with an adequate cultural agenda. Taking into consideration Romania’s specific context, how should the initiators of cultural projects address the problem of financing so as not to imperil the project’s independence and, at the same time, to respect the values promoted by the sponsor? What do companies actually expect from those who seek their support and why are they motivated to get involved? Do they have economic reasons or is it about the image/brand joint venture? “Company vs. Artist” or “Company and The Artist”? (Anca Nuță)
A lecture which is expected to generate a debate on the private sponsor’s reasons of involvement in the cultural sector and to offer those who are interested examples of adequate methodologies for obtaining private funding.
Anca Nuță is a communication specialist and, in the last 10 years, has been actively involved in financing projects in the cultural sector in Romania. For over 12 years she has been in charge of corporate communication for UniCredit Țiriac Bank and, since 2013, she has taken over the marketing retail communication as Identity and Communication Director.
Image: Rainer Ganahl, I wanna be Chinese, 2011. Courtesy of the private collection of UniCredit Group.
From feminism to institutional critique to the apartment gallery movement and relational aesthetics/social practice/community art there is, in some measure, an act of disobedience. The act of disobedience is important in every society or community, even in the art world, not just to fight the wrongdoings of a corrupt governmental power, but also to test the system in place and give to those who are a minority the same power as the majority.
In the context of artistic practices, it is an action of defying or denying the rules set by institutions (in a small percent by the museum, the gallery, even the art market and, in an overwhelming percent, by the art school). As in the case of feminist art, the apartment gallery movement or community practices, these actions of disobedience proved to be productive, by creating an alternative to institutions, mediums and functions already known. In the case of feminist art, one positive effect is the emergence of other mediums, mediums considered peripheral until then, such as ceramics, fibers and performance. The apartment gallery movement in cities like Manchester (mid ’90s), or Chicago (’80s/’00s), tried to create an alternative to the small and elitist art scene, continuing the creative process and defying the idea of prestige as being tied to a space. A third example is community art, or social practice/relational aesthetics, that created a new function for the space and the practice itself.
On the other hand there are acts of disobedience that prove to be disruptive, in the sense of lacking any creative outcome. At the same time not having these acts of disobedience proves to be much worse, as for an ever changing system, such as the art world, stagnation is by far the worst scenario.
Silvia Vasilescu (b.1986) works as an artist and arts administrator. Received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago/SAIC, in 2012, and her BFA from The National University of Arts – Bucharest, in 2008. Adopting a collaborative practice, she has worked with different curators, artists and writers, among those projects are Public Opinion (with Christina Long), and [perplex] (with Simina Neagu). Since 2009 she has worked as an arts administrator and was part of various curatorial and educational projects in institutions such as Enclave in London; School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Hyde Park Art Center in Chicago; Pavilion in Bucharest.
Image: Perambulatory Parade with Environmental Encroachment, 2014. Photo by Slaveya Minkova. Courtesy of 2nd Floor Rear Festival