6 Responses to Art and the Marketplace

  • Blackadder says:

    Joe,

    One question reading your post raises for me is why there isn’t much patronage going on today. You say that the Church ought to be cultivating great musicians like it did in days of old. Well, why isn’t it? There are a lot more rich people today than there were in the past, and I know some of them would share your musical taste. If the current scene is such a cultural wasteland, why is it none of them has resorted to patronage as a means of rectifying this? Indeed, the closest thing to widespread patronage that you would find today would be something like the NEA, which I suspect you would agree tends to produce mainly garbage (I would be at all surprised, for example, if the ‘anti-symphony’ that you talked about attending in your earlier post wasn’t funded by an NEA grant).

    The obvious answer, to me, is that artists and/or potential patrons find the market preferable to patronage. But I’m open to alternative explanations.

  • Rick Lugari says:

    A lesson in the shortcomings of the market machinery and how patronage can exist and function in the current age can be found here.

    The short story, Marillion is an extremely talented prog-rock band with a dedicated following – though their type of music doesn’t have huge commercial appeal. Because the “market” for their music is fairly well limited, yet very loyal, the record company wouldn’t promote their work properly or put much investment in them. Their fan base rose to the occasion and supplied funds the recording of a new album. Marillion was then able to get into a more amicable arrangement with a different label.

  • Joe Hargrave says:

    BA,

    “You say that the Church ought to be cultivating great musicians like it did in days of old.”

    I didn’t say that. I said I would welcome a commercial culture that was guided and influenced by the Church. That’s all. Which really means, one predominantly run by people who actually believed in Catholicism.

    “If the current scene is such a cultural wasteland, why is it none of them has resorted to patronage as a means of rectifying this?”

    Maybe they should! If I had money, I certainly would. Though I would focus on music education, like this school:

    http://goasa.org/

    “Indeed, the closest thing to widespread patronage that you would find today would be something like the NEA, which I suspect you would agree tends to produce mainly garbage ”

    The NEA produces garbage because it is run by secular liberals. A Catholic version of the NEA would be a different story, don’t you think? If they weren’t going to have quality control, I would say they shouldn’t bother.

    “The obvious answer, to me, is that artists and/or potential patrons find the market preferable to patronage.”

    I really don’t think anyone considers patronage and option, and in any case, it isn’t really the issue. It might or might not become a part of great music making again, it might work with the market to give certain artists a start, it might work against the market and produce music that would not otherwise be picked up.

    The issue here is restoring objective standards of beauty and goodness. This is something that a “commercial culture” amplified by modern technology has tended to destroy, and it is something that some apologists like Mises seem to a) recognize the truth of and b) think is a good thing. Cowen seems to think it is a good thing too, in his book, citing himself the “liberating” power of music.

    Why, yes, the Church opposed musical innovation because it was specifically tied up with ideological innovation as well. They recognize that. They understand that. But they embrace it.

    You, on the other hand, seem determined to deny that music plays a pivotal role in cultural and political wars, that people who make and promote modern music have a definite moral and social agenda that they wish to expose people to, especially children.

    Now tell me, why is that?

  • Blackadder says:

    The issue here is restoring objective standards of beauty and goodness. This is something that a “commercial culture” amplified by modern technology has tended to destroy

    Let me draw an analogy here. It is often said that democracy tends to promote relativism because the policies governing a society are determined by decisions of the people, rather than by some objective standard. Maybe this is true; maybe it isn’t. What is clear, though, is that there is no necessary connection between democracy and relativism. As JPII says in Centesimus Annus, the proper response to arguments equating democracy with relativism is not to reject democracy, but to reject the equation.

    The same goes, mutatis mutandis, for the market. I can’t say for sure whether or not markets to promote belief in relativism. It’s true that belief in relativism is more common today than it would have been, say, 200 years ago, but a lot of things have changed over the last 200 years besides an expansion of the market. I do know that people who are more friendly towards the market in today’s society are more likely to believe in objective standards than those who are less friendly. What I am sure of, though, is that there’s nothing about markets that requires relativism. So if relativism is your real enemy, it would seem to me that you’d be better off attacking it, rather than attacking the market.

  • Blackadder says:

    As for this:

    Why, yes, the Church opposed musical innovation because it was specifically tied up with ideological innovation as well. They recognize that. They understand that. But they embrace it.

    You, on the other hand, seem determined to deny that music plays a pivotal role in cultural and political wars, that people who make and promote modern music have a definite moral and social agenda that they wish to expose people to, especially children.

    I have no idea what you are talking about, so I really can’t respond to it (I don’t mean to sound rude or snarky in saying this; I just don’t know what you’re talking about).

    UPDATE: Okay, so this appears to be a reference to a comment of yours in another thread, which I hadn’t read until just now. To avoid repetition I’ll just respond there.

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