Thursday, July 2, 2009

How Should We Sponsor Art? (II)

Some months ago, I wrote a post asking what the best way to sponsor art was. That post was prompted by an article (which I can't seem to locate right now) by a German author who was concerned about whether art should be sponsored by private or public means. By "public," the author meant the state, and by "private" he meant large corporations. The author, however, is silently assuming that, no matter what, art must be sponsored by large organizations. Whatever happened to the individual artist and the friends with whom he discusses his art?

This question dawned on me this morning, when I read an article in the Wall Street Journal entitled "Even Bach Needed Goldberg." And the more I think about it, the more important this question becomes. Why would an artist, who needs to explore the world in a very personal and intimate way in order to carry on his work, want to be working for some faceless conglomerate? One musician interviewed in the article, Christopher Theofanidis, explained that the process of composing becomes much more meaningful when it involves small salon-like groups. Theofanidis recently finished one commission for an amateur pianist, and said he would never forget the joy in the pianist's face when he played the piece.

The WSJ article also indicates that such small-scale private patronage is becoming more widespread, and as far as I can see, that's a good thing.
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