> It is this lack of cultural COHERENCE that presents those of us in
> the West with our greatest challenge. This is, in fact, exactly the
> province, indeed obligation, of ARTISTS. Exactly what is our
To a certain extent I agree with you, Mark. I think that capitalism, for
better and increasingly for worse, has led to the disintegration of old
forms based on a national subjectivity. We must now redefine the uses of
culture in the face of an existential threat. The invasion of the art
world, but also the university world, by "high net worth individuals"
represents a great danger to those who try to elaborate values -- and to
shape thinking processes and sensory experiences -- that do not obey the
dictates of money or reflect the central neoliberal principle, which
holds that competition should structure all social relations and guide
all human effort. If we cannot respond to the imposition of neoliberal
forms of society, if we cannot create a culture of sustainability and
solidarity for the 21st century, then they will guide us into a future
of their making. It seems likely that the fruits of their culture will
be toxic for the planet and all its inhabitants. The big problem is,
they appear to be totally blind to the consequences of the infinite
expansion of capital.
When I wrote "The Flexible Personality" a decade ago I was already
pointing to the extent to which a formerly resistant experimentalist
culture, emerging from the Sixties, had become entangled in
market-oriented governmentality. This encouraged a certain neutrality
toward financial capitalism, which offered artists and intellectuals
many superficial rewards. Now we see what was really intended all along.
After weakening the cultural-intellectual institutions through the
introduction of profit-and-loss criteria, covered over with the
entrepreneurial notion of "excellence," the elites now want to repurpose
those institutions entirely. The art institutions should produce what
the economists Mei and Moses call "beautiful assets" for speculators in
search of prestige and high payoffs (the name of the Mei-Moses art
investment company is "Beautiful Asset Advisors," see bio below). In
this way, the art institutions are reshaped for the uses of the
ultra-rich, and the rest of us are expropriated of the public experience
of cultural creation.
As for universities, they should become online training platforms
dispensing the kind of ultra-sophisticated technical education on which
neoliberal corporations depend. Currently this type of education is
starting to be offered for free, but observe all this carefully: it is a
crucial site of struggle. Online courses will be declared more efficient
and universities as we know them will be phased out, they will become
corporate research and training centers. As for philosophy, history, and
other disciplines which cultivate subjectivity, they will be offered to
elites at very high prices, no longer accessible to ordinary people who
can no longer dare to take out $50,000+ loans. Check out the two
education links below. Within ten years the experience of education
could be totally transformed. There might not be anywhere to read
Derrida or Lacan anymore - or more pertinently, Karl Polanyi or Marx.
By neutrality I meant "toeing the line," "obeying the rules," sitting
pretty and watching out for your (illusory) career in culture, rather
than actively struggling against the total makeover of society by the 1
percent. Maybe it really is time to quit being neutral.
Professor Moses was a faculty member at The Stern School of Business of
New York University for 32 years before his recent retirement. Before
that he taught at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
for five years.
During this period he has done research on corporate strategy, supply
chain management and the role of art as an asset class. He has published
articles in leading academic journals in the fields of economics,
finance, management science, operations research and regional science.
He has also authored three books on the diverse fields of Management,
Business Process Improvement, and 18th Century American Furniture.
During this time he has also been a consultant to several large
corporations in the fields of strategic planning and operations
analysis. His most recent work has been focusing on art as an asset class.
To round out his art interests he also authored a book on 18th century
American antiques entitled Master craftsmen of Newport the goddards and
townsends as well as a Antiques Magazine article on the 19th century
American painters Marry Blood Mellon and Fitz Hugh Lane a cooperative
Beautiful Asset Advisors® LLC is set up to help individuals and their
insurers and wealth managers to better understand the financial
implications of the art market in general and their collection in
particular. The firm, via its web site, www.artasanasset.com , make
available quarterly and annual art market updates based on their
proprietary family of fine art indices. These indices are also used to
generate real time “mark to market” art valuations as well as studies on
optimal asset allocation including fine art.