Cultural Entrepreneurship

Arts and entrepreneurship. Few of us think of artists as entrepreneurs or of economic capitalism as art-friendly. Writer Jeffrey Tucker, who hints that he just might be a bit of an art snob, (“Dancing to me means ballet. Popular fiction I find insulting in every way. Kids, in my view, should spend their time mastering piano rather than gaming on computers.”) says that may be a false dichotomy.

To illustrate his point, Tucker offers three home grown vignettes where individuals’ innovation, risk-taking, and hard work introduced into a community genuine virtuosity of the caliber that, by his exceedingly high standard, qualifies as “Art.” You can read Tucker’s article, “How to Improve the Culture,” here.

To increase the availability of quality art, Tucker doesn’t call for more public funding, the oft-heard cry of the industry. The best way to encourage great art, he says, is capitalism. “Today, cultural entrepreneurs are seriously inhibited in their innovations by high taxes, regulations, and mandated benefits. This produces fewer attempts to improve our world than there would otherwise be. What we need is … more freedom for cultural entrepreneurship, and more individual initiative.”

“Capitalism makes more of everything available to the consumer. That means more … great literature and high-level music, all of which is accessible as never before.”

4 thoughts on “Cultural Entrepreneurship

  1. A CAPITALIST art triumph…
    Some time – well after I (a Baby Boomer) graduated from grade & high school,
    people started bringing in Van Gogh, Vermeer, Matisse, etc. etc. into the younger level GRADE SCHOOL classrooms. I recently loaned out my Van Gogh huge artbook to one person teaching a grade school art session. Wow. My kids both were asked to draw and paint a picture and to imitate some artists (here Van Gogh was one of the natural & fun choices!!!) CLASSY!
    And as color printing tech got better & cheaper— there seems NOW to be many more good to great to even breathtaking artists illustrating SOME childrens’ books…TODAY! MORE CLASS!
    But if you enter a bookstore—walk around & look—first at the adult aged modern art books.
    In—Many books about modern artists, you may find a lot of dreary stuff you don’t like—and a few visual gems…
    The current adult artworld still is mostly in “shockjock” mode—I remember seeing an artwork statue made out of candy glued onto some statue (sold to very rich Architectural Digest homeowners)…and I would sell my kids’ food creations for $10,000 or so but I don’t have their number! FROM TREASURE TO TRASH!
    You also get some modern artists like Mapplethorpe—who is a visual shock jock whom I (personally) would not patronize even if he suddenly transformed into Post y2k Michelangelo!!! (He did the cross in urine thing. I think he was funded by the government–probably some postmodern type government clerk in the National Endowment for the Arts!!!))
    Then look at the kids’ book section. Some of the BEST current artists illustrate some of the preschool to young grade school picture style books…..
    – with vivid expressive pictures…quality line drawings sometimes—and lush, rich color combinations – made possible by great color printing technology that would (sometimes) make even Van Gogh jealous.
    And capitalism funds the bookstore art…the Government funds (or funded) Mapplethorpe.
    (To be fair, sometimes the gov funds quality artists…but if I had the money of Trump, I would be scouring the KIDS BOOK PUBLISHERS to buy—the ORIGINALS of some of the more breathtaking illustrations…in the KIDS BOOK SECTION!!!)

  2. I quite enjoyed this article and agree that it presents an interesting thesis. I’m going to remain non-committal on some of it, since I worry that terms like “capitalism”, “enterprise”, and “free market” are being tossed about too liberally here, without proper due being paid to the inherent complexities and ambiguities of these loaded terms.
    On the one hand, Tucker makes a good point about the importance of initiative in the perpetuation of art, but he also then seems to be attributing these flowerings of his personally particularly favoured art forms to “free enterprise” or “capitalism”, without raising what to my mind stand out as the obvious questions, such as, “what conditions allowed this to take place” or “what can we do foster situations like this in the future”? He seems to have satisfied himself with attributing it to some nebulous conception of agency-qua-market that can (he’s careful to point out that it’s not guaranteed to) provide us with these desirable outcomes, and then drawing debatably relevant policy conclusions from this premise.
    I’d like to see this argument developed a bit more rigorously, but at least he seems ready to grapple with the existence of social and cultural realities (even though he self-admittedly only views them from a head-on angle) that certain others of his political persuasion seem intent on repudiating whenever they show any hint of interfering with the crystalline clarity and diamond-hard fastness of primeval liberal narrative (the word ‘Randroid’ swimming haughtily through cultural studies departments and vegetarian cafés on campuses across North America comes to mind here, and let’s not even get in to his interesting mixture of cultural conservatism with his liberalism).
    My initial reaction would be to say that his political conclusion is spurious (which it’s not) by way of being specious (which it is), but this is simply me jumping to conclusions about ambiguities in his argument based upon stereotypes of similar arguments made under similar tenses. It’s too bad he didn’t write something with a little more heft.

  3. To be successful practicing in the arts, cultural entrepreneurs are facing lots of challenges, e.g audience development, financial support, popular culture, perception, etc. ”The YES Movie” produced by Louis Lautman

  4. Capitalism as a Capitalism as a system does idvopre freedom and the ability to make a larger profit than your neighbor.But, if you take a look at the core changes / motivations as effects from capitalism, it’s alarmingly frightening.We are now focused predominantly on self interest via monetary profit and competition. We are all literally fighting each other over the transfer of funds. It’s completely absurd!Instead of working collectively toward human progression, we love to fight and say, look at me!

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