Dan-Eugen Raþiu Dan-Eugen RaþiuDan-Eugen Raþiu Dan-Eugen Raþiu Dan-Eugen Raþiu
The Subsidized Muse or the Market-oriented Muse?
Supporting Artistic Creation in Romania between State
Intervention and Art Market.*****
The analysis focuses on the manner in which public authorities in Romania have carried out their role of supporting artistic creation, as well as on the institutional and financial instruments put into practice for this pur- pose. First, it is about exposing the contradictory logics that grounds the public action in supporting arts and artists and understanding the character of the State intervention in the cultural field, pointing up its oscillations between mediator and cultural agent roles, neutral and valorizing instance, artistic and social rationales. Secondly, a comparative analysis points out to what extent the State intervention, especially using as instrument the direct subsidy, responds to the assumed role of support- ing artistic creation and if it has contributed and is able to contribute to the development of the artistic sector and, implicitly, to the improvement of the artists’ social and professional status, in the actual context of an interna- tionalized art and a free and global art market.
Taking the precarious condition of the creators and of the art world in post-communist Romania as starting point, this study addresses the issue of best mechanisms for supporting artistic creation, considered in relation to the situation of the local and international art worlds, also aiming to respond to artists’ preoccupations regarding their social and professional status. The actual stage of facts, persistent for a decade and a half, could be briefly described as follows: the Romanian art- ists, coming from a bureaucratic organization of the artistic life under political and ideological control of the communist State, still occupy a marginal position in the framework of the social system redistribution of the public manna as well as in relationship to the main international art institutions and mar- kets, fact seen as a lack of symbolic and financial recognition that should be urgently remedied. Unfortunately, these legiti- mate preoccupations and demands have not found yet either adequate expressions or credible solutions in the actual con- text of internationalization of art and artistic markets. Though the above-mentioned diagnosis is largely embraced, the
therapy requested by the “patients”-artists or prescribed by the “doctors”-policy makers is not satisfactory. On one hand, among artists (with some significant exceptions) one can still find a mentality of social-assisted and a way of understanding Dan-Eugen Ratiu
PhD, associate professor in the Department of Philoso- phy at Babes-Bolyai Univer- sity of Cluj-Napoca.
Author of the books:
Disputa modernism – postmodernism. O introducere in teoriile contemporane asupra artei, (2001), Moartea artei? O cercetare asupra retoricii eschatologice,( 2000), and co-editor of the volume Arta, comunitate, spatiu public. Strategii politice si estetice ale modernitatii (2003).
their relations to the State which is consonant with the former centralism and paternalism that dominated for so long the public action in the cultural field. Nowadays, when the position as “artist of the State” is no longer possible, a large part of the Romanian artists is not ready to imagine anything else but the change towards the “social-assisted” condition:
their demands, addressed to a State desired to be paternalistic and protective, often requested both social security and assis- tance for creation through direct financial intervention under the form of public subsidies or State commissions and, more- over, artistic recognition or legitimacy, symbolic and financial (e.g. art market quotation).1 On the other hand, neither the post-communist authorities were able, for many years, to shape coherent and largely embraced cultural strategies on long term or functional cultural policies able to replace the disengagement of the former “protective” State – owner, ruler and censor of culture. The few public policies that existed in the cultural field were lacking continuity and proved to be not very imaginative as they were focused – especially between 1993-1996 and 2001-2004 – on budgetary and administrative interventions that were not transparent and in most cases arbi- trary. Therefore, the cultural sector became again dependant on the public authorities thus repeating the impasse of the former “all State system”.2
Or, as the researches on cultural policies in western coun- tries have demonstrated, a voluntary State policy and the in- terventionism in the cultural field and particularly in the field of artistic creation, though leading to a general amelioration of the artists’ social condition, generate, at a cultural level, as many problems as they have solved, even in countries in favor of a non-interventionist policy. Classical analyses of public support for the arts, as that of Dick Netzer - The Subsidized Muse: Public Support for the Arts in the United States (1978) - have pointed out that the annual governmental non-selective subsidies programs were just partially successful: on one hand, regardless of the amount of money available to the arts, creative individuals will always be able to think of more projects than funds can cover; on the other hand, the subsi- dies turn against their beneficiaries who become dependent on
direct public support.3 Recent researches, coming from the ar- eas of art sociology and economics of culture, reveal other faces of the “subsidized muse” as the applicability and desir- ability of tax-based indirect aid mechanisms (J.M. Schuster) or the relationship between public and private funding for the arts. Some studies, using the neoclassical justifications for gov- ernment support of the arts that Netzer discussed in The Sub- sidized Muse as a starting point, contends that market failure is not a useful concept to understand and explain cultural poli- cies and the degree of government involvement in the cultural field, arguing that historical-institutional arrangements and the role of non-state actors in the formation of cultural policies should be taken into account (A.Zimmer, S.Toepler), while other studies point out the negative impact of National En- dowment for the Arts on private donations to the arts, that have decreased as an effect of NEA introduction and appro- priations on donations (F.Borgonovi, M.O’Hare).4 In France, where the interventionist tradition is a strong one, the “reli- gion of cultural policy” and the State intervention in the artis- tic field became the object of several debates and virulent cri- tiques during the 1980s and 1990s, especially coming from historians of culture and philosophers as Marc Fumaroli, Alain Finkielkraut, Yves Michaud, art sociologists (Raymonde Mou- lin, Pierr-Michel Menger, Philippe Urfalino) and economists of culture. The analysis outcomes converged towards the idea that a voluntary cultural policy and the protectionist system thus generated were crisis factors, contributing, according to some authors, to the “defeat of thinking” and, according to other, to the sterilization of creation by the “cultural State”, and to an almighty bureaucracy more preoccupied by its in- comes than by the harmonious development of the cultural/
From this perspective, the major questions that arise re- gard what the artists should truly expect from public authori- ties: are public subsidies the best instruments of support for artistic creation or is there possible another way in between State protectionism and the abandonment of art to the market of democratic entertainment? Is the condition of “social-as- sisted” the viable alternative to the marginal position of the Key words:
Romanian arts policy, artist policy, public subsidies, interven- tionism, artistic creation, art market
Romanian artists in relationship with the main international art institutions and markets or another way is possible? Here at stake there is the problem of modalities of social and artis- tic recognition of the contemporary artist (Romanian and not only), in the conditions of an internationalized art and a free and global art market: how can the artist obtain the recogni- tion of the art institutions and markets and what legitimate role could public authorities (still) play in this process?
In order to answer, the analysis focuses on the cultural policies (in the plural form), defined as “a set of public mea- sures or mechanisms and institutional and financial means of the State’s action in the cultural field”.6 If the previous exami- nation of the justifications and finalities of cultural policy in Romania has enabled us to formulate a series of conclusions regarding its founding values that determine the relationships between State and artists, as well as the roles attributed to culture and art,7 this time it is about understanding the role as- sumed by the State itself, the character of its intervention in the cultural sector and, consequently, it is about exposing the logics that ground the public action in supporting arts/artists and the dilemmas which cultural policies or the artists them- selves have been confronted by. The objective is to point out to what degree the mechanisms of the Romanian State inter- vention respond to the its assumed role of supporting artistic creation and are able to solve the central problem: the precari- ousness and the marginal position of the Romanian artists and art world. Regarding artists and cultural areas at stake, the analysis focuses on the independent artist (as non-institutional cultural agent) and on the visual arts. From the wide range of cultural policy mechanisms, our interest will mainly focus on the public subsidy or direct financial support that was the fa- vorite instrument of the Romanian State intervention in sup- porting artistic creation, thus submitted to the regime of the
“subsidized Muse”. This suggestive phrase, borrowed from the American economist Dick Netzer, has the merit of revealing the inevitable tension induced by an interventionist policy in supporting creation. On one hand, the mythical motive of the muse signalizes the regime of exceptionality of artistic cre- ation, seen as an act that presupposes a gift unequally distrib- uted to individuals (differently put, creation can not be “de-
mocratized”). It also signalizes the artistic creation’s
unpredictability (creation can not be the mechanic or direct result of material-financial conditions), along with the risk, un- derstood in terms of social success or failure and implied by the originality and innovation as constitutive of a veritable cre- ative act. On the other hand, the public subsidy, as a mean of
“socialization of the creative risk” (Pierre-Michel Menger) and, therefore, of social security, is inseparable of the administra- tive control inevitably implied by an interventionist policy, fact that articulates the relationships between State and artists in the hierarchical terms of services exchange and control.
Therefore, the use of the well-known concept “subsidized Muse” marks a central paradox of the State intervention in supporting artistic creation – the contradiction between the (necessary) creative freedom, the (desired) social security and the (inevitable) administrative control –, while the introduc- tion of the concept “market-oriented Muse” is there to ques- tion a possible alternative.
1. The State’s intervention in the 1. The State’s intervention in the 1. The State’s intervention in the 1. The State’s intervention in the 1. The State’s intervention in the
cultural field: character and subjacent cultural field: character and subjacent cultural field: character and subjacent cultural field: character and subjacent cultural field: character and subjacent logics.
The Article 32 of Romania’s Constitution, entitled “The Access to Culture” and introduced following the constitu- tional revision process in 2003, establishes the State’s role in the field of culture as follows: “The State must ensure the preservation of spiritual identity, the support of national cul- ture, the stimulation of the arts, the protection and preserva- tion of the cultural heritage, the development of contempo- rary creativity, the promotion of Romanian cultural values abroad”. This formula contents nothing else but the general objectives of cultural policy formulated in the official dis- course throughout the time. The problem that rises is, firstly, to determine how the State has really acted up to now in or- der to reach theses objectives – as cultural agent or as media- tor? as neutral or as valorizing instance? based on artistic cri- teria or on social considerations? –, and what logic founded its intervention.
1.1. The State: cultural agent or mediator?
1.1. The State: cultural agent or mediator?
1.1. The State: cultural agent or mediator?
1.1. The State: cultural agent or mediator?
1.1. The State: cultural agent or mediator?
The voluntary logic The voluntary logic The voluntary logic The voluntary logic
The voluntary logic of a cultural State of a cultural State of a cultural State of a cultural State of a cultural State versus
versus versus versus
versus the non-interventionist logic of a the non-interventionist logic of a the non-interventionist logic of a the non-interventionist logic of a the non-interventionist logic of a State-mediator
State-mediator State-mediator State-mediator State-mediator
During the post-communist period, though ceasing the ab- solute control and the ideological censorship of the cultural act, specific to its predecessor - the National Council of So- cialist Education and Culture, the Ministry of Culture defined its role and preponderantly acted as cultural agent. Between 1997–2000 (the CDR-USD-UDMR coalition government), the ministry got involved not only in the “co-ordination and fund- ing of programs and projects in all fields of culture”, but in the “initiating” and “controlling” such programs and projects.8 The State’s role of “administrating the national culture and the cultural act” or, in more suggestive terms, of “leading the culture’s destiny” (“diriguire a culturii”), was more firmly as- sumed by the PDSR/PSD governance between 2001–2004.9 Consequently, public authorities and institutions in the field – the Ministry of Culture and Religious Affaires (MCRA), the Romanian Cultural Foundation (RCF) and then Romanian Cultural Institute (RCI) – acted mainly as direct producers and administrators of culture and not as mediators between the cultural demand and supply. Only in 2005 the public au- thorities broke with these policies, at least at a discursive level, as the Ministry of Culture and its de-concentrated public services programmatically renounced the role of cultural agent in favor of the functions of advising, consulting and mediat- ing. The Governance Program of the new ruling coalition (PNL-PD-UDMR-PUR/PC) regarding the policy in the field of culture stipulates as follows: “The role of the ministry and of public institutions in the field is to ensure conditions in favor of cultural creation and of protection of cultural heritage […]
The Romanian Government will substantially reduce the di- rect involvement of central authorities in the co-ordination of cultural institutions and cultural-artistic activities”, because, as further stipulates the 2005-2008 cultural strategy, presented by the liberal minister to the cultural committees of the Par- liament, “the beneficiaries of the cultural policies should be
the public and the creators and not the authorities”.10 There- fore, one can see an opposition between a system based on direct management and one that work through incentives and regulations, both already mentioned by the foreign experts in their report from 1999.11 In other words, at the level of subja- cent logics of cultural policies, there is a tension between the voluntary logic of a cultural State that act directly, predomi- nant up to 2005, and the non-interventionist logic of a State- mediator that limits itself at facilitating the action of others in the cultural field, explicitly assumed by the government at the beginning of 2005.
The policy of the Romanian State as major agent in the cultural field determines the rise of a question regarding also a problem of principle: in this case, was (should be) the action of public authorities neutral, maintaining the balance between different elements of culture and the diverse actors of the cul- tural life, or did the State also get involved (should get in- volved) as valorizing instance, in favor of ones or the others among them?
1.2. The State: neutral or valorizing 1.2. The State: neutral or valorizing 1.2. The State: neutral or valorizing 1.2. The State: neutral or valorizing 1.2. The State: neutral or valorizing instance? The
instance? The instance? The instance? The
instance? The étatique étatique étatique étatique étatique logic of logic of logic of logic of logic of institutionalized culture
institutionalized culture institutionalized culture institutionalized culture
institutionalized culture versus versus versus versus versus the liberal the liberal the liberal the liberal the liberal logic of creativity
logic of creativity logic of creativity logic of creativity logic of creativity
While examining the fundamental principles of the cul- tural policy in Romania, one can notice that the official docu- ments from 1997-2000 – resulted either from an agreement between artistic communities and public authorities, as the Joint Declaration on the Status of Creators and Performing Artists in Romania (1998), or from a foreign expertise, as the national Cultural Strategy, formulated in the framework of the European Program PHARE-RO “The Cultural Dimension of Democracy” (1997-2000) –, proclaim the neutrality of pub- lic action and the necessity of maintaining the balance be- tween the various elements of the cultural life, as creativity and heritage, or between the diverse types of cultural prac- tices. Although, a certain ambiguity persists: “It is not the duty of the Ministry of Culture to valorize the ethical, moral,
human and long lasting searches of culture in general, but this duty which belongs to the government [sic!], to the society and finally to the country, will be greatly helped by the dy- namic created by the strategic targets”.12 It should be also no- ticed that, despite the principle of neutrality, in general there persists an imbalance at a discursive level as well as de facto in favor of the heritage, considered to be “essential for the cre- ation of national identity”, as in the report on cultural policy realized by the Romanian experts in 1999 (report that leaves however place for the amelioration of “cultural democracy”
and promotion of “creativity”). Opposite to this general ten- dency, there arises a tentative of favoring those forms of con- temporary creation that could “redefine the national identity through the relationship with the actual western time” and
“integrate Romanian culture into the world circuit of artistic values”, as in the 2000-2001 strategy of the Visual Arts De- partment within the Ministry of Culture.13 Otherwise, in the case of cultural policy of the PNL-PD-UDMR-PUR governance, installed at the end of 2004, the tension between the strategic objectives as “favoring the new forms of expression and cul- tural practices”, proclaimed in the Governance Program, and the “maintaining of a balance between tradition and innova- tion”, as proposed in the strategy of the ministry of culture, later presented to the Parliament by the liberal minister, is still kept. Thereby, throughout the post-communist period, there is a permanent oscillation or hesitation of the cultural administration between a neutral attitude and interventionist- valorizing policies in favor of one or other type of cultural practices, either the traditional ones (popular or “high”) or the avant-garde contemporary ones.14 A supplementary problem is generated by the fact that this public valorization intervenes within a situation defined by the quasi-nonexistence of viable funding alternatives from the non-governmental or private sec- tor. Or, as it was already noticed, “in a situation where alter- native sources for financing are meager and public support be- come a sign of quality and artistic recognition, public
authorities granting the support gain much power in the pro- cess of defining art, artist, and artistic quality”.15 This way, the valorizing interventions of the public authorities could
have a strong impact on the art world by twisting its autono- mous structure and functioning, especially the relationships es- tablished between different tendencies or artistic practices, thus contributing to constitute and imposing an “official”, dominant aesthetics/art. In due course, it is preferable that cultural policies respect the principle of neutrality and bal- ance, in order not to offend the freedom of creation and the autonomy of the artistic field, both of them assumed as fun- damental principles of the public action.
Beside the imbalance above-mentioned, unfavorable for contemporary, “living creation”, another imbalance was in- duced (especially during the PDSR/PSD governance) between the actors of the cultural life – independent artists, NGOs and public cultural institutions –, through the practice of cultural policies centered on public institutions and not on functions (the heritage function, the function of creation support, of management etc.). This fact transpires also from the organiz- ing structure of the Ministry of Culture and Religious Affaires and from the distribution of budgetary funds. Despite the fact that, at the discursive level, the absolute State control
(“dirijismul etatist”) is rejected, the approaches of cultural policies are actually of a bureaucratic nature, the (individual) artistic creation being subsumed to the public cultural institu- tions, considered as prior. Thus, The National Cultural Forum from June 2002 stated, through the voice of the president of Romania, the State’s role in the following terms: “Continuing the tradition of the last century and a half [sic!], the Roma- nian State has the duty to support our major cultural institu- tions that insure the permanence of traditions, the vitality of contemporary creation and the maintaining of the artists, men of culture and scientists in the world spiritual elite. Among its responsibilities, there are regulations able to insure the opti- mal framework for the promoting and asserting of cultural-ar- tistic values as well as for facilitating the large access to cul- ture, education and creation.”16
The result was the institutionalization of culture and, worse, the bureaucratization of the cultural activity, of the cultural commerce and exhibiting as well as the increase of fi- nancial dependence of creators from the State. And this
against the recommendations from the Cultural Strategy previ- ously elaborated in the framework of the European PHARE program “The Cultural Dimension of Democracy” where the assurance of the “independence from State subsidies” ap- peared as one of the tactical objectives (on medium term/3 years), while the “enhancing of the role of the cultural players (artists, creators, private and public institutions)” and the ef- fective “support to arts and culture” were included among the strategic objectives (on long term/10 years). These objectives should be achieved through the gradual withdrawal of the State from culture that would lead to a selection of the best forces in the cultural market and would balance the supply and demand on a higher level. This strategy, of a liberal na- ture, proves that “the strengthening of the credibility of arts in the social fabric and the strengthening of national identity”
could be the side effects, besides the development of the art and culture markets (private art galleries, creation and conser- vation centers etc.), of achieving the respective strategic objec- tives that aim to “enhance creativity, offer prestige to artists and institutions, give value to artistic products and creations”
as direct effects. The difference in approach, comparing to the étatique cultural policy based on State control, is visible also regarding the preservation of national heritage. This strategic priority is approached here from the perspective of its syner- gic effects as basis for the cultural market: the use of monu- ments as tourist attractions, as cultural, educational or re- search centers, that should induce, as a side effects, economic development, private initiatives and, consequently, easing the dependence of cultural activities from State subsidies.17 How- ever, this cultural strategy, finalized through a symposium at the Cotroceni Palace in the spring of 2000, was never put into practice, being abandoned after the re-installment of the PDSR/PSD government at the end of the same year. In ex- change, the new liberal administration of culture partially re- sumed the strategy, the Ministry of Culture and Religious Af- fairs proposing in December 2005 a legislative project for the concession of the historical monuments in order to revitalize and introduce them into the economic and cultural circuit.
Therefore, we consider, along with Corina ªuteu,18 that the ex-
ercise of the cultural policy after 1989, though it gradually got its distance from the étatique, State controlled and bureau- cratic model, specific to the communist cultural administra- tion, it was for long time dominated by the (étatique) logic of institutionalized culture, that leads to increase dependence of cultural activities from public subsidies, and it has not shown itself ready – till recently and at a discursive level – for the (liberal) logic of creativity. At the same time, the public ac- tion in the field of culture was more valorizing, through the ministry of culture, than neutral. This outlines the profile of a
“cultural State” - patron, administrator and controller of cul- ture, which only sweetens but does not erase the characteris- tic traits of the former communist “protective” State - owner, ruler and censor of culture.
In these conditions, another question arises with respect to the nature of arguments that have supported the valoriza- tion of cultural acts by the State: is this motivated in artistic or in social terms? In other words, it is about knowing if the policy or the State intervention in the cultural field has pre- dominantly a protective-egalitarian character, as it is derived from social considerations, or an “elitist” one, as it is founded on the principle of artistic excellence.
1.3. The State intervention: a protective- 1.3. The State intervention: a protective- 1.3. The State intervention: a protective- 1.3. The State intervention: a protective- 1.3. The State intervention: a protective- egalitarian or an elitist character? The egalitarian or an elitist character? The egalitarian or an elitist character? The egalitarian or an elitist character? The egalitarian or an elitist character? The logic of cultural democracy
logic of cultural democracy logic of cultural democracy logic of cultural democracy
logic of cultural democracy versus versus versus the versus versus the the the the logic of cultural democratization
logic of cultural democratization logic of cultural democratization logic of cultural democratization logic of cultural democratization
The examination of the official discourse on the topic of culture support reveals that, at the principles’ level, public au- thorities oscillates between a policy of a protective or
assistential character – in which case the public authorities’ in- tervention and the valorizing are mainly based on social argu- ments: the support of creation and the right to culture as “fac- tors of social security” (R.Theodorescu) – and a policy of a elitist character which is founded on the principle of excel- lence, the intervention “for promoting culture and the arts”
being motivated in the artistic terms of “quality” and “compe- tence”.19 Yet, a comparison between the proclaimed principles
and the real modalities of action, reveals that the cultural poli- cies put into practice are incoherent, “impure”, as public au- thorities are mixing heterogeneous principles and mechanisms without carrying about their coherence, fact that cannot but affect their efficiency. Or, in countries sometimes assumed as (new) model for the Romanian cultural policy, as The Nether- lands or Nordic countries,20 where a social policy as a specific cultural policy area was formulated already in the 1960’s, there is a clear distinction between artist policy, with a pro- tective character, and art policy, with an elitist character, each of them having specific instruments of action. The “artist policy”, whose role is that of guardian for artists, has as main instrument the direct financial support for individual artists, regardless of artistic quality – e.g. the “Measures for Visual Artists” (BKR) in The Netherlands, through which the govern- ment provides a guaranteed income in exchange for artistic works. Instead, the “art policy”, whose decisive criterion is quality, includes alternative instruments: individual grants won through competition, subsidies for professional costs and an extended system of governmental acquisitions and commis- sions.21
Thus, a public policy intending to provide “social secu- rity” and “welfare assistance” to artists in difficulty presup- poses that the State assistance is granted regardless the artistic quality. In Romania, despite this principle, the special system of artists’ social security implemented in 2003 took the form of a “merit allowance”, yet addressed just to an elite of re- tired artists, “personalities from the cultural fields” (excluding the other retired artists as well as the meritorious but young ones). Another governmental initiative, preceding the elections in 2004, proposed the awarding of an extra half of a pension to all categories of retired persons – members of creation unions recognized as public utility (generating a discrimination towards other categories of retired persons or towards the dis- advantaged artists but young), in this way “the social-demo- cratic mark” changing direction towards “populism and elec- toral malpractice”.22 At the same time, in the case of cultural policies explicitly founded on the principle of excellence, the selection and promotion of works or artists mixes up the crite-
ria of artistic nature (“the originality of the artistic work”) with considerations of social nature as the belonging to an ethnic or gender minority.23 Or these mechanisms translate different visions on public cultural action, a relativistic one and a normative one. Consequently, not only the public au- thorities acting in the cultural field but also the artists them- selves are confronted to the dilemmas egalitarianism vs. elit- ism, social security vs. freedom of creation, aesthetic
relativism vs. hierarchy of artistic values, induced by the per- manent oscillations and tensions between the (egalitarian) logic of cultural democracy and the (elitist) logic of cultural democratization.24
In these conditions, the actual outcomes of the policy of subsidizing artistic creation and artists are – compared to the intended ones – doubtful, both at a socio-economic level (the artists’ social status) and at a professional level (artistic recog- nition), even if, regarding the latter, there subsist significant differences between the two modalities of action, protective and “elitist”.
It is obvious that the formulation of cultural policy objec- tives in both socio-economic terms of “social security” or
“welfare assistance” and of artistic recognition implies an evaluation of its outcomes in similar terms. Or the precarious financial condition and the material difficulties faced by cre- ators as well as the marginality of the art world in Romania –
“with writers facing falling print-runs and sales, artists work- ing in the virtual absence of private collections, of a country- wide network of art centers, of private galleries, and perform- ers (most of them employed by the cultural institutions) poorly paid…”25 –, already mentioned in the 1999 report of the European experts, visibly persists also today. As an applied and comprehensive research regarding the effects of these cul- tural policies on the socio-economic condition of artists in Ro- mania still lacks, we shall not persist for the moment on this topic. Yet, the appeal to other countries experience demon- strates that the artists’ social and economic situation has not significantly improve in relationship to other socio-professional groups, not even in the case of promoting a social policy as the artist policy. The studies on artists’ social and economic
situation in the Nordic countries (Norway, Finland) reveals the existence of a similar pattern – wide discrepancies, tending to increase, between the incomes levels –, whether these countries do have policies for artist support or not. (The expla- nation of this paradoxical effect is the fact that artists tend to use an increase in income for increasing their art expenditures, not their social status.) Consequently, the evaluation of cul- tural policies estimates a “failure of the artist policy” in the countries where such a policy exists (in Norway, for in- stance). There should be added that, on a professional level, the reputation of the “social” measures – especially those of the BKR type in The Netherlands – turn out to be a disadvan- tage for artists: this public support acts more like market in- come, which in the “reversed economy” of art fields (Pierre Bourdieu) in most cases even decreases artistic recognition.
(“This is because the transformation of money into recogni- tion is not possible if the criteria for distributing the financial support are based on economic and social considerations, not solely on artistic quality.”) On the contrary, the prestigious subsidies – professional costs and individually granted subsi- dies – based on the principle of excellence and having a good reputation, have positive effects in the public as well as in the private market. Yet they induce, at the level of art market in general, a winner-takes-all tendency, thus determining the art- ists to allocate their time and effort to obtain public subsidies and commissions.26
2. Modalities and mechanisms of 2. Modalities and mechanisms of 2. Modalities and mechanisms of 2. Modalities and mechanisms of 2. Modalities and mechanisms of supporting artists and artistic supporting artists and artistic supporting artists and artistic supporting artists and artistic supporting artists and artistic creation: A comparative analysis.
creation: A comparative analysis.
creation: A comparative analysis.
creation: A comparative analysis.
creation: A comparative analysis.
The second part of our study focuses on the cultural poli- cies in the previously mentioned sense, in other words it ad- dresses the issue of the modalities and mechanisms of public intervention in supporting artists and artistic creation. As in Romania the public discourse refers to “the artist’s right to public funding”,27 we will approach two aspects: whom and how should the State fund? First, it is about the problems of eligibility for social security and of criteria for choosing the
most entitled to receive public funds among the artists, and then the problem of institutional and financial instruments put into practice. At this point it useful to appeal again to the ex- perience of other European countries, especially France whose cultural policies have served for a long time as a model for Romanian authorities and are still invocated by the artists as a model to follow.
2.1. Questions of principles: the eligibility 2.1. Questions of principles: the eligibility 2.1. Questions of principles: the eligibility 2.1. Questions of principles: the eligibility 2.1. Questions of principles: the eligibility for social security and the criteria for
for social security and the criteria for for social security and the criteria for for social security and the criteria for for social security and the criteria for public funding of creation
public funding of creation public funding of creation public funding of creation public funding of creation
According to the sociological analyses of cultural policies in France, carried out by Raymonde Moulin, public authorities are confronted with several dilemmas that are worth to be re- minded here as they regard any exercise of cultural policies.
In the case of redistribution policies, founded on the egalitar- ian principle, the problem is to respond the artists’ claim on social security without affecting the creative freedom and to establish the eligible ones (les ayants droit) without imposing an administrative definition of the artist’ status. The main dif- ficulty thus consists in the ways of identifying “the artist”
which have aesthetic as well as social consequences: in France, the preoccupation for the recognition of an equal dig- nity for all forms of creation led to the extension almost with- out limits of the concept of “art” and, therefore, to an enlarge- ment of the artistic field, fact that determined the public authorities to confront themselves to a strong increase of the number of the eligible ones. This was a consequence of the fact that the recognition of the status of “artist” automatically implied the right to public subsidy.28
The public authorities in Romania are menaced by a simi- lar difficulty if they intend to assume, as principle of cultural policy, “the artist’s right to public funding”, especially as there still are some ambiguities in defining the artist and its social position. On one hand, the definition assumed by the public authorities (1997) is that of the UNESCO Recommen- dation on the Status of the Artist from 1980, where the term of “artist” is taken to mean “any person who creates or give
creative expression to, or recreates works of art, as an author of literary or artistic works or as owner of copyright and neighboring rights, who considers his artistic creation to be an essential part of his life, who contributes in this way to the development of art and culture and who is or asks to be rec- ognized as an artist whether or not he is bound by any rela- tions of employment or association.”29 Yet the artist is practi- cally assimilated to the category of “civil servants” – as State employee of public cultural institution –, or to the category still ambiguously defined of “liber-profesionist”, with an un- certain juridical status (the emergence of freelancers is quite a new phenomenon in Romania). Moreover, the artist is also identified to a “cultural animator” or a social services pur- veyor - risk implied by the new, pragmatic vision upon the so- cial role of culture and arts. On the other hand, though there were several approaches, more or less coherent or successful, the question regarding the social status of creators is still not approached with a specific legislation with respect to social security mechanisms (pension scheme, health insurance, un- employment aid etc.) that should compensate the precarious- ness of their socio-economic condition. As Delia Mucicã re- calls in an article on the artist’s status in Romania (2000),
“during the communist regime, every creators’ union was run- ning a mutual social security fund, which only its members had access to, [that] was supplied by contributions made by union members. After 1990, the spectacular increase in the in- flation rate, together with a certain lack of economic and managerial vision, led to a drain of resources and to collapse of these funds. This was the reason for which, starting from 1992, the artists’ request was legally accepted concerning the inclusion of their pension into the public social security sys- tem.” Also, as far as the “position” and the “role” of the artist in society are concerned, “if the freedom of expression, the abolish of censorship, the access to information culture or trade union rights are an acquis of the last decade, the respect for the artists’ work, the public recognition of the creative work and the attached economic rights are not yet recog- nized.”30
In the case of the distributive policies – as the public sup- port for creation –, the main dilemma is that of egalitarianism
and elitism. As Raymond Moulin observes in L’Artiste, l’institution et le marché, while the cultural policy with a so- cial aim implies the almost equal redistribution of the “public manna” among all of those who claim the exercise of an artis- tic activity and it is grounded on a pluralist and relativist con- ception regarding the quality of the art works, the cultural policy with a patrimonial aim – based on the principle of pres- tige – is a selective one, assumed as such by the public admin- istrators which refer to a hierarchy of the artistic values. Con- sequently, there rises the following question: who should elaborate this hierarchy – the cultural administrators, the ex- perts, the artists themselves or the public – and based on which criteria? The virulent polemics and debates that took place in France in the 1990s, related to the so-called “crisis of the contemporary art”, did not solve this dilemma. An inter- ventionist and valorizing art policy is not at all lacking in other dilemmas and contradictions as the antinomy between the state protectionism and the freedom of creation, with an impact on the organizing system of the artistic life and on the hierarchy of artistic values. As Moulin points out, despite the intentions of the different ministers of culture in France, from André Malraux to Jack Lang, “to support without influencing”,
“to stimulate without constraining” and “to subsidy without interfering”, history does not offer not even a single example of society that would have been successful in surmounting in a perfect manner the antinomy between freedom of creation and the creator’s social security.31
Therefore, if Romanian public authorities do not want that “the artist’s right to public funding” and “the stimulating of the arts” remain in the register of the pious desires, there rise two serious problems. On one hand, there rises, in the case of adopting cultural policies of a protective-egalitarian character, the problem of establishing the eligible ones for “so- cial security” that should be financially sustainable, without imposing an administrative definition of the artist’ status; and, of course. On the other hand, in the case of adopting cultural policies directed by the principle of artistic excellence, there is to solve the problem of establishing the evaluation and selec- tion criteria for the public funding of artistic creation, criteria
that should be unanimously accepted by the artists and the public.
2.2. Instruments of the artistic creation 2.2. Instruments of the artistic creation 2.2. Instruments of the artistic creation 2.2. Instruments of the artistic creation 2.2. Instruments of the artistic creation support system: public subsidies or support system: public subsidies or support system: public subsidies or support system: public subsidies or support system: public subsidies or incentives for private initiative?
incentives for private initiative?
incentives for private initiative?
incentives for private initiative?
incentives for private initiative?
Discussing the problem of institutional and financial in- struments of cultural policies, it is time to approach the ques- tion regarding the proclaimed will of the Romanian State for maintaining a specific mission of valorizing and supporting ar- tistic creation. How has this will manifested itself up to now, despite its subordination towards the heritage and the above- mentioned hesitations of the cultural policy?
Starting with 1990, the constants of the daily reality within the Romanian cultural sector were – as one could di- rectly notice and as all the cultural policy reports have re- corded – the insufficiency of financial means and the inad- equate administration and preservation of cultural
infrastructure controlled by the ministry and its subordinated institutions, on the background of a total lack of cultural strat- egies and policies. The first years of post-communism (1990- 1992) were characterized by the attempt to articulate a nor- mal relationship between the public administration and culture, once culture escaped the political and ideological con- trol. However, the Ministry of Culture became a “veritable bastion of resistance to change and reform” during the FDSN/
PDSR governance (1992-1996). As a comprehensive cultural policy was lacking, the public action for supporting culture was dominated by a “centralist and paternalist conception”, by attempts towards re-centralization, having as instruments the State aids and commissioning, and by the control of the cultural field dominated, at its turn, by a “social-assisted men- tality”.32 The CDR-USD-UDMR coalition governance, installed following the elections at the end of 1996, resumed the re- form of the cultural institutions system by abandoning the centralized-bureaucratic, pyramidal model and embracing (at least as intention) a decentralized model similar to that of Nordic countries and the Netherlands. Nevertheless, the
mechanism for supporting culture, having as declared purpose the guaranteeing of the freedom of expression and the access to culture, was conceived as a machinery put into function not only by legislative means but also by administrative ones.33 Therefore, though at the legislative level some progress was made (through redefining sponsorship and introducing a new juridical category, the maecenatus - the OU 36/1998, completing the law 32/1994 -, or through organizing the Na- tional Cultural Fund - OG 79/1998), the favorite instruments of the system for supporting culture continued to consist in, besides the budgetary allowances for programs of the public cultural institutions, public subsidies for festivals of theatre or music, folk events and book acquisitions, as well as State aid for publishing houses. Public commissions or direct subsidies for creators are still present but at an inferior level (and in continuous decrease) comparing to public funding for heritage preservation or cultural institutions. This way, certain areas and forms of artistic expression – writing vs. visual, institu- tional vs. independent, traditional vs. non-traditional, canonic vs. alternative – were favored while the practice of evaluating projects by advisory committees in view of a regular based funding was still missing.34
The distance between the public discourse and the action in favor of culture is another constant trait of cultural policies in Romania, proved by the lack or anemia of specific policies for supporting contemporary, “living” creation. As a response to the question “how should we support the creativity of our days?” the new PDSR/PSD governance (2001-2004) did not omit to mention, besides the (favorite) mechanisms of social security for “re-balancing the values scale within the Roma- nian society”, the implementation of a legislative framework through a mechanism of sponsorship and maecenatus, through tax policies and through decentralization and de-bureaucratiza- tion.35 But, despite of the existence for more than a decade of this legislative framework, the practice of private funding for arts is still at an incipient stage and quite small from a finan- cial point of view. And this due to the imperfection of the leg- islation (non-stimulating) on sponsorship and maecenatus as well as to the lack of tradition for cooperation between the
arts and the business sector in Romania and to a certain con- formist attitude among domestic companies.36 The proclaimed will of decentralization and de-bureaucratization did not find an equivalent not even in the institutional practice: the actions from those times of the public authorities and institutions as MCRA, RCF/RCI, Romanian cultural centers abroad – that had proposed themselves not only to coordinate the cultural activity but to intervene as producers of cultural events –, were strongly marked by a festive and centralist mentality that found its expression in the étatique logic underlying the public actions on both national and international levels. Thus, the cultural events or “grandiose programs and objectives of a national interest” supported by the ministry were, usually, fes- tive manifestations as “The Days of the Romanian Culture”,
“The Year of Romania” (abroad), “Festival of the Arts”, “cen- tenaries”, “celebrations” and “commemorations” of scholars or artists. The fact that theses events were put under the min- isterial or presidential patronage determined that the “promo- tion of Romanian culture and arts (on the European and inter- national scene)” transforms, as we have noticed before, into a self-representation activity or into a status increase activity of the cultural administrators more than of the artists them- selves. Other major programs, at a national level, of the minis- try – such as the National Program of Valorizing the Cultural Heritage (that also included art exhibitions, thus putting the promotion of artistic creation under a patrimonial sign), the National Program for the Support of Written Culture, with its components “Special Program for the purchase of Books and Cultural Periodicals for the Public Libraries” and “Special Pro- gram of State aid for Publishing Houses”, the National Pro- gram for Supporting the Romanian Performing Creation and Arts –, continued to mainly aim at supporting the “national heritage”, “written culture” and “public reading”, “spectacle institutions”, and to favor institutionalized culture against “pri- vate initiative” from the cultural field in general and the artis- tic creation in particular.37
In these conditions, the effective mechanisms for support- ing culture were mostly reduced to a bureaucratic scheme of non-regular financial transfers, having as main instruments the
“State aid” or “commission”, the “public subsidy” or “pur- chase” and almost completely ignoring the cultural market:
even though the participation of publishing houses to inter-na- tional book fairs was considered and supported, in exchange the art fairs were (and still are) ignored. These bureaucratic funding mechanisms through administrative intervention on the cultural supply were generally associated with an adminis- trative mechanism of demands evaluation and decision mak- ing, often qualified as arbitrary and non-transparent,38 and with an unequal treatment of the cultural operators. As it was no- ticed regarding the period 2000-2004, the public funds for cul- tural operators were generally different, separated with respect to their juridical status (public institution, NGO, independent artist), as well as different were the access rules, the eligibility conditions, the criteria and procedures of subsidy granting – administrative decision vs. project evaluation and selection.39 All these, in addition to the intermittent and deficient func- tioning of the National Cultural Fund that was created pre- cisely for supporting cultural projects, accentuated the depen- dence – institutional and financial – of cultural activity towards public authorities. Nevertheless, there should be said that the new team installed at the Ministry of Culture and Re- ligious Affaires in December 2004 (the PNL-PD-UDMR-PC governance) brought important changes in articulating the cul- tural policies and its mechanisms through the assuming of a neutral position on the cultural projects market and through the separation of the traditional authority functions of the ministry from the function of selecting and financing cultural projects. The latter was delegated, according to the principle of arm’s length bodies, to the National Cultural Fund Admin- istration, which was transformed into an autonomous decision body that became functional at the end of 2005, though its functioning is not spared by criticism. Also, in July 2005, there were introduced new forms of support for artists as the artistic residences – through the Romanian Cultural Institute – and the cultural mobility scholarships supported by the MCRA.
In the particular case of the visual arts, the institutional and financial mechanisms of public support have strengthened
and diversified since the founding, at the end of 1996, within the Ministry of Culture, of a Visual Arts Department (that was to be reduced in 2001 to a simple office in the frame- work of the General Direction for Heritage). According to the European experts report in 1999, the mechanisms for support- ing the visual arts and the selection system seemed to be rea- sonably comprehensive and correct, “ranging from projects funding to public commissioning and the purchase of art works - each procedure being based on the advice of a compe- tent committee”. But a problem was signalized that regarded
“how to ensure, amid the influx of applications for support, that artistic criteria take priority over social considerations”.
Nevertheless, all these mechanisms were put into practice with little budgetary funds, even in continuous decrease, and in the absence of artistic institutions as contemporary art mu- seums or centers, private art galleries or a functional art mar- ket.40 From this reason, the favorite instruments of the public system for supporting individual creation were and have been till recently the commissioning for public monuments, the purchase of contemporary art works, the organizing of con- temporary creation camps and of exhibitions which, starting with 2001, were included in the framework of the National Program of Valorizing the Cultural Heritage.41 The patrimonial vision that underlies the cultural policy from that time, as well as its orientation towards self-promoting of the cultural bureaucracy, affected, however, its capacity of achieving the assumed objectives for supporting and promoting creation/cre- ativity: in 2003, for instance, the acquisition of contemporary fine arts and monumental art works (in amount of 32 billions lei, representing 52% from the total value of MCC acquisi- tions) had as purpose “the endowment of the central adminis- tration” (!) Also relevant for a long time dominant (assisted) mentality is the fact the Romanian experts national report (1999), though it was pointing out the necessity of “develop- ing the internal art market” and “establishing a quotation sys- tem compatible to those from abroad”, it suggested that these objectives should be achieved through “State purchasing”, while the European experts report recommended that, in the conditions of a decreasing budget, cultural policies should fa-
vor the emergence of new private enterprises on the cultural market (as the art galleries), emphasizing precisely the impor- tance of private initiative, of freedom of economic operators, of concurrence and competition, inclusively in the cultural field.42
It is true that there is neither a unique and magic formula for cultural policies, nor institutional-financial mechanisms that should work wherever, however and whenever. Neverthe- less, we could ask ourselves what are, in the actual condi- tions, the most adequate (from the perspective of desired out- comes) instruments for supporting and promoting artistic creation: the direct intervention of public authorities through subsidies or the indirect support through incentives to private initiative? In order to respond to this question, a comparative analysis of the various models of cultural policies is desirable as the problem is still present in the western countries too. It is not about evoking the respective models for reproducing them in a different socio-economic context, as the Romanian one, but it is about valorizing the diverse European experi- ences and the debates they have generated in order to renew the formulating of the problems generated by the State inter- vention in the artistic field, and to imagine new modalities of functioning of an art policy in the conditions of the contem- porary art changing regime and internationalization of art mar- kets.
In the last decades, there have been (and still are) several models of public policies in the cultural field, even if it is mainly about general orientations including certain elements of convergence than “pure” models. Considered from the per- spective of the relationship between public and private
spheres, between State intervention and private initiative, two major models could be observed, that is the (Anglo-Saxon) non-interventionist model and the (French) étatique model.
The first one emphasizes the free market and the legal or tax incentives for private initiative in the art field, preferring a non-interventionist policy without completely excluding cer- tain intervention mechanisms as public subsidies. In the French model, there dominates the public intervention in fa- vor of artists and contemporary artistic creation through bud-
getary and administrative mechanisms – abundant funding and institutional proliferation – that however leave room for the Anglo-Saxon techniques of cultural administration. In this case, the State also exercises an administrative control over the artistic field. The policy for supporting arts and artists – whose favorite instruments are the public subsidies, commis- sioning and purchasing of art works – and the cultural admin- istration are exercised through cultural administrators, official commissioners and inspectors for artistic creation, through central and regional bodies as Délégation aux arts plastiques (DAP) within the Ministry of Culture, Centre national des arts plastiques (CNAP), Fonds national d’art contemporain
(FNAC), Fonds d’incitation á la création (FIACRE), Fonds régionaux d’acquisitions des musées (FRAC), and through con- temporary art museums and centers.
The mechanisms, the modalities and the effects of the French State cultural policies in the fine arts field were ana- lyzed with the instruments of art sociology, among others, by Raymonde Moulin, starting with the work Le Marché de la peinture en France (1967) and coming to the recent works such as L’Artiste, l’institution et le marché (1992/1997) and Le marché de l’art. Mondialisations et nouvelles technologies (2001/2003). While analyzing the relationships between State and market, intervention system and private maecenatus, se- curity and risk, the French researcher pointed out two major modalities of public action in the art field: those of the “cul- tural welfare State”, with its mechanisms of “socializing the creative risk” (financial and aesthetic risk), on one hand, and those of the “maecena State”, with its intervention mecha- nisms in the art works market and commissions, on the other hand. This “welfare” policy was characterized by the abun- dant funding for fine arts and the institutional proliferation.
Without mentioning all the details, we invoke here just a few data in order to exemplify the immense amount of financial resources used in France in the art works purchase policy and the public commissioning: during 1980-1990, FNAC, FRAC and FRAM bought more than 12.000 works, the number of the beneficiary artists being (before 1985) 3.500, that is 35%
from those affiliated to the social security system, though
only 1% among them benefited from purchases from all funds; just during 1982-1985, the total amount for purchases was 120 million French francs, the medium acquisition price per work (concealing huge differences in prices) being approxi- mately 12-13.000 French francs. A more recent account shows that, from 1981 to 1999, the National Funds for Con- temporary Art bought almost 11.000 works produced by 3.500 artists while the Regional Funds for Contemporary Art bought, from 1982 (the year of their creation) to 2000, almost 14.000 works belonging to more than 2.500 artists, without including here the works bought by the museums whose funds considerably increased at that time. In addition, there were important public commissions, in diverse modalities and levels (State or local communities), recorded by the account for DAP/Ministry of Culture between 1982-1990: a total bud- get of 168 million French francs for 440 artists and 468 art works. From 2.200 projects elaborated between 1993–2000, more than 900 artists realized almost 1200 commissions. The public commissioning was actually conceived as protecting artists from the market, as their artistic propositions did not correspond to any private demand, and the disciplines disad- vantaged on the market, as sculpture, tapestry or stained glass window. In conclusion, the comparison between the 1980s and the 1990s reveals a global amelioration of the artists’ so- cial situation, even though the evolution of the art policy, con- jugated with the euphoria of the art market at the end of the 1980s, was mainly in the benefit of a small group of favored artists (3-5% from the total) rather than the rest of them.43
Apparently, the generous French cultural policy would be an ideal model that should be also applied in Romania. In fa- vor of this borrowing there would plead, in addition to all the financial difficulties Romanian artists are confronted with and that should be removed, the affinities between the two socio- cultural spaces, among which the common preference for pa- ternalism and State control. But, in the today’s economic and cultural conditions – internationalization of art and the emer- gence of a free, global art market –, to wish and to expect only policies of direct budgetary support as the public subsidy or the State commission, followed by the administrative inter-
vention in the artistic creation field (as the first inevitably im- plies the second), means to preserve a passive attitude and an assisted mentality, which, through the generated and perpetu- ated illusions, could become dangerous for the Romanian art world. In addition to the obvious lack of financial resources and of institutional-administrative capacities for supporting, in Romania, in a coherent manner, a “welfare” cultural policy as the French one, at least two other arguments could be in- voked in favor of this idea.
On one hand, it is about the distance or the inadequacy between the justifications or the ideological pretences of the State interventionism and part of its consequences as the gen- erating of a protectionist system. As the sociologist Pierre- Michel Menger has pointed out, in an analysis on the (undes- ired) effects of the cultural policies of the French “Welfare State”, the attempt to tame the market pressures on creation had as result not only the financing but also the control of some assisted segments of the art markets. These segments became protected fields in which the logic of the State cul- tural voluntarism determined the expansion of the candidates’
population to artistic professionalization and of the number of institutions of cultural vocation as well as of the assisted artis- tic production (the “official” art), finally generating a crisis of artistic overpopulation and overproduction.44 Similar critics re- garding the distortions provoked by the State interventionism into the art world come also from philosophers and art histori- ans. One could mention here personalities like the art histo- rian Jean Clair, director of the Picasso Museum and interna- tional curator (e.g. of the Venice Biennial in 1995), the historian of ideas Marc Fumaroli, professor at College de France and member of the French Academy, and the philoso- pher Yves Michaud, professor at University of Paris 1 and former director of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux- Arts de Paris, whose positions converge towards the idea ac- cording to which the State control and interventionism in the artistic field were, in France, generating crisis factors.
Thus, when Jean Clair was acknowledging that “the con- temporary French art is going badly, being absent from the in- ternational scene” and that “the artistic milieu is often unap-
proachable”, he would find the explanation in “the interven- tionist policy of the FRAC (State commissioning etc.), which had transformed the decision-makers determining the public taste into a small nomenklatura of ‘commissaires’, too often in connivance with the market transactions, oriented towards an official vanguard and indifferent to all that does not corre- spond to its doctrine. In parallel, State’s solicitude had trans- formed the artists into social assisted, too little prepared for the competition on a free and internationalized market.”45 The State’s protectionist system and its effects were also criticized by Marc Fumaroli in his work L’Etat culturel: Essai sur une re- ligion moderne (1991) as well as in more recent publications.
He denounces the paradoxical and dangerous effects of the protectionism promoted by a doctrinarian State which, under the mask of “art protection”, imposes to artists and to the public a “democratic centralism” from which take advantage just the captive clientele, the over-evaluated and over-protected artistic minorities, that is the well protected and limited circle of the “official vanguard”. An arrogant cultural administration thus becomes the guardian of an “aesthetic orthodoxy” that suffocates all attempts of innovation and taste diversity dis- turbing the official political orientation or ideology – identified to an international-type discourse on “contemporary art”, un- derstood in the intolerant and jealous way implied by the médiatiquement correct usage of this expression, in New York as well as in Paris or Kassel.46 At his turn, Yves Michaud took as a target, already in his work L’artiste et les commissaires (1989), the functioning without guidelines of an “art world that has become ‘functionarized’, ‘professionalized’ and cut from the public, never undergoing any procedures of evalua- tion or feed-back mechanisms meant to make it responsible”, as well as the preoccupation of the cultural bureaucracy for promoting an art where there is not too much left to see. This virulent criticism was hinting especially at the commissaires, those apparatchiks cool that make the bureaucratized art world to turn around by running FNAC, FRAC and art cen- ters, by commissioning and deciding in the absence of criteria and based upon their official positions. It was also hinting at
“the artificial support for an official art and culture that only
led to academism, to productions lacking any necessity or jus- tification”. In return, the French philosopher pleads for the State’s disengagement in favor of the art market intervention (but an effective and efficient one) and in favor of a “decen- tralized system of (artistic) power”, regionalized and espe- cially undergoing evaluations and sanctions: evaluations from the public that visit or does not visit the exhibitions, that ap- preciate it or not, and sanctions in terms of success or failure for the local cultural agents, or electoral sanctions for the po- litical representatives.47
On the other hand, the (illusory) benefits of a cultural policy having as main instruments the direct subsidy and the State commissioning are put under question by the radical transformation of the artistic recognition and consecration pro- cess, in which the State does no longer play a significant part.
It is true that in countries like France, where the State’s (fi- nancial) intervention in the artistic field is massive and its role in the artistic consecration is therefore high, the action of the State intermediates – cultural administrators, museum cura- tors, representatives of the art centers – tends to precede the private market in the process of recognition, through purchas- ing, exhibiting or commenting the art works, this being one of the dimensions of what used to be called in France “the con- temporary art crisis”.48 But, as it has been pointed out by Raymonde Moulin in a sociological analysis of the construc- tion and homologation of artistic value mechanisms, the valo- rizing of the art works and of the contemporary artists is mainly based nowadays on the association between the inter- national network of private galleries and the international net- work of art institutions, having as leading actors the art deal- ers-gallery owners and the auction commissioners, the curators, the critics and the art agents, the public, the collec- tors and the investors. The specific of the actual artistic con- figuration consists especially in the increasing interdependency between the cultural field, where the homologation and the hierarchy of artistic values are established, and the art market, where the transactions take place: “The constitution of con- temporary artistic values, in the double sense of the term - aesthetically and financially -, is realized through the conjunc-
tion of the artistic field with the art market. The price ratifies, in fact, a non-economic labor of offering aesthetic credibility, a labor of value homologation realized by the specialists, that is critics, contemporary art historians, museum professionals, art administrators and exhibition curators. Once established on the market, the price facilitates and accelerates the circula- tion and internationalization of aesthetic judgment.”49 From this reason, even researches commanded by the French Minis- try of Foreign Affaires – in order to determinate the best mea- sures to be taken to impose the French contemporary art on the international artistic scene – admit that a clever support for the art market is indispensable for the emergence and rec- ognition of the most promising artistic talents.50 This kind of findings should not be ignored by a cultural policy that wants to be responsible for the artists’ positioning in relationship with the main institutions of artistic consecration as well as with the art market, and which, moreover, pretends to sup- port and promote the arts and culture (Romanian, in our case) on the international scene.
Conclusions and recommendations Conclusions and recommendations Conclusions and recommendations Conclusions and recommendations Conclusions and recommendations
The analysis of the manner in which public authorities in Romania have acted in order to support and promote the arts and the artists demonstrated that, since 1989, the ministry of culture has permanently oscillated between the role of cul- tural agent and that of mediator, between proclaimed neutral- ity and action as valorizing instance. Moreover, this valoriza- tion was based on “impure” rationale, mixing artistic criteria and social considerations in the use of the one and the same intervention instrument as “art policy” or “artist policy”, which should have kept their specificity. Besides discontinu- ity, the lack of strategic vision or coherence and the inconse- quence in implementation, another constant trait of the cul- tural policies was the distance between the State proclaimed will to preserve a specific mission for supporting creators and developing creativity and the public action in favor of them, given the quasi-inexistence or the anemia of specific policies for supporting actual creation. The revealing of the contradic-