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NY Times Article Re Koch Theater


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#16 Helene

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 08:06 AM

The arts are built on oil money, tobacco money, slave money, indentured servitude money, broken backs of labor money, serf money, etc. Why is this different?

#17 richard53dog

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 08:40 AM

The arts are built on oil money, tobacco money, slave money, indentured servitude money, broken backs of labor money, serf money, etc. Why is this different?


I believe you are exactly right regarding the traditional history of financial support for the arts.

What is a bit different is the level of public awareness. We have so much more information available to us today via the media and the internet and people are able to make connections that would have been much more difficult, say, twenty years ago.

Take for instance Alberto Vilar, who was a philanthropic icon in the 90s. Would he have seemed like such an unbelievable gift from the stars today? Perhaps but perhaps not.

Note , I'm not making any kind of a comparsion about the political/economic position of either individual but both seemed to get things named after them!

#18 SanderO

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 10:57 AM

I don't like the concept of wealthy people supporting the arts. I think it is an unfortunate consequence of how this society has structured itself.

Rather than have the arts supported by the "people" (the government) they are largely dependent on private wealthy people who receive a tax credit for their charitable donations.

If you look back at the Guilded Age, Carnegie et all made enormous wealth on the backs of working class and then gave money for the construction of libraries, museums, theaters and so forth hardly any of which the tired, poor over worked working class had the time or the education to enjoy. They are gifts to themselves and the middle class who are their "managers". (I graduated from one of "his" universities)

And so goes noblesse oblige. I suppose it's better than hoarding, but what why out these crooks on a pedestal because they give away some of their ill gotten or unearned or inherited wealth, which of course is excess money they can't find something to spend it on anyway as they've mostly bought everything they want in spades for themselves and their entire family.

Bill Gates is full of so much guilt about his wealth that he is now devoted all his time to assuaging that guilt by trying to help the less fortunate.

Marie Antoinette had human emotions too. hahaha

#19 kfw

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 11:56 AM

The question of what wealth is ill-gotten and what is hard-earned aside, there is at least something democratic about private individuals supporting artists and arts organizations they like, rather than all funding being doled out by unelected officials. I think we need both.

#20 bart

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 02:05 PM

It's always been hard to achieve a balance between public and private financing of the arts.

The political reality in the U.S., however, is currently decidedly against serious government spending in this area, preferring to rely on tax incentives. (Efforts to demonize "socialism" and "elitism" -- whether or not these terms have any relevance to the projects at hand -- have been remarkably successful since the 1980s.)

Given that, we have very little choice in the matter nowadays. So, what practicable alternatives are there to what we have now?: that is, dependence on private philanthropy and its hand maidens, big Tax Deductions and serious Social Climbing?

#21 SanderO

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 02:25 PM

It's wonderful to support the arts... everyone should do it, but the arts should not be in private hands. The arts belong to the society, in a sense, and society should take care of them. The arts are what we have of our history, are our culture and as such belong to and should be accessible to all people, not those who can afford to experience art.

Money ruins everything it touches.

#22 kfw

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 04:13 PM

The arts [ . . . ] should be accessible to all people, not those who can afford to experience art.


Who but the rich could afford opera and ballet if not for private philanthropy or, if you prefer, private "donations?

#23 Kathleen O'Connell

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 05:18 PM

Money ruins everything it touches.


Oh, I think there must be a few exceptions. It didn't seem to ruin Lincoln Kerstein. :angry2:

#24 bart

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 06:27 PM

Money ruins everything it touches.

Unfortunately, lack of money ruins things too. Especially in something so costly as the performing arts.

Isn't the goal, in the end, to have a strong, artistically independent NYCO as well as NYCB operating on relatively equal terms at Lincoln Center? That certainly seems the best way to assure both private (individual and corporate) and public funding in the future.

#25 bart

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Posted 06 November 2009 - 03:30 PM

For those who missed the article, here's the NY Times report/review of the NY City Opera opening at the Koch. (God, it's hard to say "Koch" instead of State Theater.

http://www.nytimes.c...fGZIALslHm9TnBw

New York City Opera opened its 2009-10 season on Thursday night with a celebratory program, “American Voices,” and for once at an opening-night gala, there really was a great deal to celebrate. The company is back in business, and its long-imperfect home, the New York State Theater — now the David H. Koch Theater — has been extensively and attractively renovated, at a cost of $107 million.

[ ... ]

For all the appealing new amenities of the theater, especially the two aisles running through the orchestra seats, which make the house feel inviting and intimate, and for all the technical upgrades, including a hydraulic lift that allows the orchestra pit to be raised, the main reason for the renovation was to improve the theater’s inadequate acoustics.



#26 dirac

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Posted 06 November 2009 - 05:13 PM

there is at least something democratic about private individuals supporting artists and arts organizations they like, rather than all funding being doled out by unelected officials.


I wouldnít say thatís necessarily more democratic.The officials may be unelected but we may generally assume they were appointed because they have the appropriate expertise to make informed judgments, not something they would acquire by spending time and money running for office and attempting to ingratiate themselves with voters.

Who but the rich could afford opera and ballet if not for private philanthropy or, if you prefer, private "donations?


The state could do more.. Private money tends to follow public money and when the government takes a leading role in promoting and funding the arts it provides an example to follow.

Given that, we have very little choice in the matter nowadays. So, what practicable alternatives are there to what we have now?: that is, dependence on private philanthropy and its hand maidens, big Tax Deductions and serious Social Climbing?


Considering that private donations have fallen sharply for obvious reasons, more stimulus for the arts would have been helpful. (There was some, but probably not enough.) I know this will not happen.

Bill Gates is full of so much guilt about his wealth that he is now devoted all his time to assuaging that guilt by trying to help the less fortunate

.

He should feel guilty about all that lousy software. Still, Gates is a poor example of the undeserving rich. His generosity goes far, far beyond the usual even for a man with his money and at least he didnít make his dough exploiting cheap labor and destroying the environment.

If the rich want to give, thatís splendid, as long as Iím not expected to tug my forelock and gurgle about how wonderful they are for doing it. (Lincoln Kirstein was an outlier; there are few rich folks with his commitment, expertise, and dedication.)

What is a bit different is the level of public awareness. We have so much more information available to us today via the media and the internet and people are able to make connections that would have been much more difficult, say, twenty years ago.


Quite right.

#27 kfw

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Posted 06 November 2009 - 07:28 PM

there is at least something democratic about private individuals supporting artists and arts organizations they like, rather than all funding being doled out by unelected officials.

I wouldn't say that's necessarily more democratic.The officials may be unelected but we may generally assume they were appointed because they have the appropriate expertise to make informed judgments, not something they would acquire by spending time and money running for office and attempting to ingratiate themselves with voters.

They have informed judgments, but then we have our own. We can vote for politicians whom we hope will appoint officials whose taste we share, but the more direct and therefore democratic route is to support artists and institutions with our own money.

#28 kfw

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Posted 06 November 2009 - 07:31 PM

Who but the rich could afford opera and ballet if not for private philanthropy or, if you prefer, private "donations?

The state could do more.. Private money tends to follow public money and when the government takes a leading role in promoting and funding the arts it provides an example to follow.

Theoretically state can always do more, but as to Sander O's assertion that "the arts [ . . . ] should be accessible to all people," private philanthropists are people for whom it is accessible, who choose to make it accessible to others. We might say they are people who walk the talk. Their money might follow the state's, but the state in this regard often can't do without them.

#29 papeetepatrick

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Posted 06 November 2009 - 08:33 PM

Money ruins everything it touches.


Unbelievable thing to have to hear.

Bill Gates is full of so much guilt about his wealth that he is now devoted all his time to assuaging that guilt by trying to help the less fortunate.


He's no such thing, and is just as generous as dirac pointed out. There needs to be all sorts of funding, and that means MONEY. This always includes wealthy private individuals, and it has always needed them. This is so obvious it really seems ridiculous to even have to say it. For one thing, they even want to fund these things. We are not at some ashram with 'living off the land', and most of us who even made a little bow to such things gave that collective crap up long ago.

#30 Helene

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Posted 06 November 2009 - 08:42 PM

Bill Gates is full of so much guilt about his wealth that he is now devoted all his time to assuaging that guilt by trying to help the less fortunate.

Bill Gates' parents were philanthropists long before he as a college freshman borrowed $75K from his father to start Microsoft, and it should come as no surprise that he followed in their footsteps. Long before he became mega-wealthy, Gates started a corporate matching program for any 501-c-3 organizations to encourage all employees who gained wealth through stock options to give back to their communities, knowing that in general it takes three generations for charitable giving to take hold and that many of his employees did not come from families that had a history of giving. Through the company program, he encouraged them to start. It wasn't just the Porsche dealers and general contractors who benefited from the Microsoft millionaires and thousands of Microsoft employees who never came close to being millionaires.


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