Great art for everyone?
This forum will focus on the the idea of democratising the arts. The Arts Council’s mission is ‘Great art for everyone?’ But what exactly does this mean? That all art is equally great? That everyone gets access to great art? (Don’t they already have that already, in galleries, books, theatres and elsewhere?) Why is there such a preoccupation with getting large numbers of people ‘engaged’ with the arts? The Tate is currently running ‘The Great British Art Debate’, but it has less to do with art than the public’s relationship to it (and its institutions). Ronan McDonald pointed out that there has been a profound erosion of evaluative judgement as a feature of engagement in the arts. Discussion of aesthetics is seen as elitist and exclusionary. Is democratisation a useful concept in relation to the arts? Or does it imply that all art is equal and reflect a retreat from making evaluative judgements about what is good (or great) art, as McDonald suggests?
Apart from having another look at Ronan McDonald’s book, check out the Tate’s ‘Great British Art Debate’ http://greatbritishartdebate.tate.org.uk/ and the Arts Council Vision for the Arts - http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/what-we-do/our-vision-for-the-arts-2011-21/ . You might also want to look at Walter Benjamin’s essay ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’.