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Arts Funding


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#46 kfw

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 05:11 PM

For what it's worth, Dizzy's Club Coca Cola does serve food, but it's a jazz club. The JALC portion of the building also holds the Rose Theater, the Allen Room, and the Irene Diamond Education Center. Obviously the latter two sound like they're named after donors, and the whole complex is named Frederick P. Rose Hall.

#47 papeetepatrick

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Posted 29 August 2010 - 06:03 PM

Yes, I saw this and didn't read till now. All fascinating, and obvious that it can make no practical sense to refuse money at some level from anyone at all. It has to do with class identity, of course, and Tea Party people can be thought to be 'no-class' by some of those 'effete elitist types', but they're not illegal.

Nightclubs have often been run by Mafia, and some of them presented real talent. Las Vegas is as born of Mafia as Athena was of Zeus. People go pay and spend all their savings on various forms of schlock in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. I recall the late philosopher Jean Baudrillard saying that it is hypocritical in the extreme that the overt Mafias are treated as having anything underneath them that is fundamentally different from what runs the business world and capitalist endeavour in general. While probably true, that's 'not the way things are done' as long as there is High Art, which learns it can do without some of the tobacco money (I got confused in the thread about that, whether maybe some still took it, but no matter), so it's really not whether who anyone's taking money from is 'such a bad thing', but are they up high enough to at least refuse it from some 'outed' odious types? Well, yes, they can refuse to take it from the Mafia and, I guess, some tobacco companies. It's all hypocritical, and even the art doesn't redeem that, because it's of course true that art is in the world quite as everything else is. At least, to some degree. In being in the world, it's also hypocritical. I've never found a single thing that didn't have some internal contradiction in it somewhere--saints no less than sinners.

I didn't know that the Mayer article had already been posted, sorry. When I read the Rich, I knew something more about the Kochs (people who worked for them and knew them socially years ago told me about them), although I don't hold any strong opinion, having given up the idea of 'purification' in any material sense years ago. I guess I thought Rich was exactly right to say that, somehow though, the New York elite liberal community, including the New Yorkers who know City Ballet well, would indeed find it 'startling' about the Texas'...etc. Well, of course, people in high places go down too, as we've seen many times. What interested me about the article was simply that people didn't know that much about the Kochs' involvement with the Tea Party and Murdoch, too, I guess.

But--of course it affects what goes onstage to some degree, it's not possible to separate the money, whether or not some of its blood money in some cases or just well-removed 'capital theft' and 'business theft', obviously this effects the artists, they don't live in an isolated world. It's just not possible to prove this, and philosophers and theorists do talk about these things all the time, in their ideological analyses of movies and pop work and high art. One just makes the best of whatever deal you can get.

I'm sure I'd take money from Koch if I could get it. And 'Sopranos' fans may remember that Dr. Melfi, who did take money from Tony Soprano, sent Carmela, Tony's wife, to another shrink, who would not take 'blood money', as he called it. That shrink told Carmela to leave Tony, and she just couldn't pull it together to do that, so she compromised with getting Tony to make some huge contribution to some good cause, a school or some charitable organization. But his colleague, Dr. Melfi, continued to profit from the Soprano Enterprises.

#48 kfw

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Posted 29 August 2010 - 07:02 PM

But--of course it affects what goes onstage to some degree, it's not possible to separate the money, whether or not some of its blood money in some cases or just well-removed 'capital theft' and 'business theft', obviously this effects the artists, they don't live in an isolated world.

I'm not sure that's the case at all. On the dancers' level, most don't seem to be big readers, and as such aren't likely to know much, or care much, about Koch and his politics; and those who do they don't decide what goes on stage. In regards to those who are making the artistic decisions, movement and choreography, at least in ballet, are largely apolitical.

#49 papeetepatrick

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Posted 29 August 2010 - 07:36 PM

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#50 dirac

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Posted 29 August 2010 - 10:07 PM

What interested me about the article was simply that people didn't know that much about the Kochs' involvement with the Tea Party and Murdoch, too, I guess.


The Kochs have been very successful in flying under the radar since David's ill fated run for president on the Libertarian ticket several decades ago. Despite Koch's public complaints this weekend that the liberal media are being really mean to him, Mayer's article is the first mainstream article to go into such depth following the Kochs' money trail and as such it's caused quite a fuss.

Nightclubs have often been run by Mafia, and some of them presented real talent.


True, but I don't think NYCB will be putting any wiseguys on the board any time soon. :)

But--of course it affects what goes onstage to some degree, it's not possible to separate the money, whether or not some of its blood money in some cases or just well-removed 'capital theft' and 'business theft', obviously this effects the artists, they don't live in an isolated world.


I agree. Ballet is a cloistered world, but not that cloistered.

#51 Mel Johnson

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Posted 30 August 2010 - 02:32 AM

Kind of reminds me of Mark Twain on Henry Rogers, vice-president of Standard Oil. "His money is twice tainted. T'ain't yours and t'ain't mine. He's a regular pirate, all right, but he owns up to it, and enjoys being a pirate. That's why I like him."

#52 SanderO

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Posted 30 August 2010 - 03:42 AM

Many will say that's just how it works in America, get used to it, shut up and enjoy the show. We have little chance of changing or even influencing the "funding model".

I think otherwise. The Jane Mayer piece, has stirred up a bit of a storm and shown some light on the back story. Frank Rich picked up on it and there will be some buzz in the board room not that they are a bit more aware that the public is not completely in the dark about who these institutions is accepting money from and the "deals" they make... because that's the funding model.

Hopefully some of the little folks, the small donors and even the ticket buyers and lovers of the arts who don't even get to sit in the house that is named for Koch (and the others) will demonstrate their dis - favor in this funding model and force these boards to be more sensitive to where the donation comes from and how the money was made and the agenda of the donor in out society.

The elite will not change or reform their ways. They will have to be forced to and it's only the people who can force them by their collective expression and demands for changes. No letter from an a single balletomane will change a thing, but many will and other effective political type protest will force these institutions to reconsider whose money they take int he future. If you do nothing, nothing will change.

Thank you Jane Mayer and Frank Rich. That's journalism at its best.

#53 volcanohunter

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Posted 30 August 2010 - 08:04 AM

Hopefully some of the little folks, the small donors and even the ticket buyers and lovers of the arts who don't even get to sit in the house that is named for Koch (and the others) will demonstrate their dis - favor in this funding model and force these boards to be more sensitive to where the donation comes from and how the money was made and the agenda of the donor in out society.

This is extremely naive. Over the past few weeks on this site there have been several news stories linked about the perilous state of dance in the United States. Dance companies are barely hanging on. Now is hardly the time to force these organizations to become picky about where their money comes from. You're free to try to convince them to alter their funding model, but I fear there will be no ballet companies left by the time you succeed.

http://www.observer....is-modern-dance
http://www.firstthin...0/07/last-rites

Ballet needs all the friends it can get, and that includes friends of all political stripes. Administrations change frequently in Washington. You need your defenders in every camp.

Besides how exactly is Koch's personal politics going to affect City Ballet's repertoire of plotless works? He's on ABT's Board of Trustees. Did he use his clout to veto the recent Alicia Alonso gala becase he objects to her politics? Evidently not. Did he stop ABT from bringing The Bright Stream to the Kennedy Center? No. Personally, I don't see too many reasons to be worried that these companies are about to be turned into propaganda machines for his or anyone else's agenda.

#54 bart

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Posted 30 August 2010 - 09:26 AM

Ballet needs all the friends it can get, and that includes friends of all political stripes.

it's always interested me that ballet has, over the centuries, been a favored art form of authoritarian regimes, from Louis XIV through the Romanovs through Stalin through Castro.

This is not a matter of "right" or "left." What these authoritarian regimes have in common are the monopoly of decision-making by a small privileged class.

I've often wondered why such regimes always seem to favor story ballets primarily, whether as propaganda or escapism? :blink:

#55 papeetepatrick

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Posted 30 August 2010 - 09:41 AM

it's always interested me that ballet has, over the centuries, been a favored art form of authoritarian regimes, from Louis XIV through the Romanovs through Stalin through Castro.
This is not a matter of "right" or "left." What these authoritarian regimes have in common are the monopoly of decision-making by a small privileged class.


Exactly

I've often wondered why such regimes always seem to favor story ballets primarily, whether as propaganda or escapism? :blink:


Surely both? I'd like to know what others think, with specific examples, if possible :P

#56 dirac

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Posted 30 August 2010 - 10:25 AM

Personally, I don't see too many reasons to be worried that these companies are about to be turned into propaganda machines for his or anyone else's agenda.


I don't think there is a general concern about ballet becoming an overt vehicle for propaganda. The question, if there is one, is where arts organizations should or shouldn't draw a line in regard to the source of donor money, and as far as I can tell the general opinion is that there is no such line.

#57 SanderO

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Posted 30 August 2010 - 01:47 PM

Arts funding is in a sorry state in America which looks to the private sector for all solutions. Just because all the arts institutions are "on the ropes" is no reason to let up the call for more scrutiny and some sort of higher standard about who they take their money from.

As noted previously the ego thing is off putting with all the naming and that only adds insult to injury. I wouldn't event think to examine the books of ABT, NYCB or Met Opera to see who endows their operations (aside from obvious ticket sales) were it not for all this in your face naming of everything from chairs to ballerinas to buildings.

Another disturbing aspect of course is that the ABT is selling the dancers point shoes to support insurance for the members or school (can't remember what they said it was). How bout one of these fat cats just paying the insurance premiums? But I guess they could get their name plastered on anything.

I am sure that ABT people DO read Ballet Talk and I hope they receive the message that we love the ballet but a growing number of people are not happy about their "funding practices".

We need to keep up the pressure if we want things to change. The city can underwrite loans and give tax incentives to sports teams and they need to help our arts institutions just the same (not at the same level of course).

Just think... the Board of Ed has an $18BB annual budget, employs 80,000 teachers and had over a million students and probably doesn't have a penny for ballet or opera.

If we don't speak up, we get what they give us. ABT are you listening?

#58 sunday

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Posted 30 August 2010 - 01:58 PM

I surrender.

From a purely egotistic POV, I hope that SanderO succeeds in his efforts of "organizing" balletomanes and NY ballet companies. Even I would applaud the founding of Ballet Organizers for Reform Now!, a.k.a BORN.

With a little luck, some of that superb American dancers -accompanied by some chunks of cash- will found a nice exile in Spain, and mend the Attila-like consequences of Duato's tenure.

#59 California

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Posted 30 August 2010 - 04:17 PM

Another disturbing aspect of course is that the ABT is selling the dancers point shoes to support insurance for the members or school (can't remember what they said it was). How bout one of these fat cats just paying the insurance premiums? But I guess they could get their name plastered on anything.


I don't understand the objection to raising money by selling autographed shoes. I am the proud owner of shoes purchased 30+ years ago autographed by Suzanne Farrell, Merrill Ashley, and Heather Watts. They're not worth anything (as so many others were also sold) and I would never sell them anyway. After three decades they are stored (lovingly) in plastic bags, as the glue has long since turned to sand and drained out. But they are lovely souvenirs and if dance companies recouped a little money that helped shore up their budgets, where's the harm? I see this at NYCB, ABT, SFB, etc., so it must be worth the trouble for all of them. (And I wouldn't be surprised if many Ballet Talkers own treasured collections of autographed shoes and programs and pictures and other things themselves...)

Fortunately, we live in a free country. If people want to boycott because they object to a group's finances (as many are now boycotting Target for its political donations), they are free to do that. As I've noted before, though, many of our most generous philanthropists had unsavory pasts for union-busting or anti-semitism or illegal activities, etc., etc. in accumulating the wealth they later gave away. But I don't see people boycotting the Carnegie libraries or the Ford Foundation or the many others who donated generously later in life.

#60 SanderO

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Posted 30 August 2010 - 05:26 PM

I think selling pointes is great. I just was pointing out that these egotistical donors might also consider funding the insurance of the young dancers instead of relying on the sale of pointes for this. Heck I bought a pair and love having them.


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