this section the following questions are examined:
are the Arts?
the Natural Sciences are made up of three elementary disciplines -
biology, chemistry and physics - then the Arts are made up of four: literary, media, performing and visual art.
Each uses a distinct medium of expression: the written word; the
recorded sound and/or image; the live stage; and, the visual image.
Each operates in accordance with tenets and principles of distinct
sub-disciplines and schools specific to a given culture.
Artistic disciplines tend to mingle and mix into interdisciplinary
forms. For example, motion pictures (media art) usually rely
on a screenplay (literary art), acting and music (performing arts) and set
design (visual art).
Arts are unlike the Sciences in a number of important ways.
First, in the Natural & Engineering Sciences and the Social
Sciences & Humanities research is centered in the university; in the
research is not centered in the university. Art R&D takes place primarily in the nonprofit ‘fine’
arts. It is there that new
talent and technique are developed, new scripts and scores created,
new images and styles emerge. Results
of Arts R&D, like the results of pure scientific research, are
sometimes adopted by for-profit enterprises. Results can inspire
society-wide changes in design, fashion and style, e.g. art
nouveau and art deco in the
early part of the 20th century. The
university also plays a smaller role in professional development.
is, in fact, a well documented gap between graduation from university in the Arts
and attainment of professional status.
Art is learned by doing; it is
experiential. Old craft
methods, apprenticeship and master classes survived the Industrial
Revolution and remain the most effective methods of professional training
in the Arts.
artistic knowledge is unlike scientific knowledge. Scientific knowledge tends to depreciate through time, e.g.
Greek deductive science was displaced by modern experimental science.
In Art, however, knowledge can appreciate through time.
King Tut, Shakespeare and Bach still speak, still sell.
In media art, Hollywood film libraries have become multi-million
dollar assets. Maintaining
classical repertoire in the performing arts provides continuing
inspiration to contemporary creators and establishes standards of
excellence against which new work is judged.
This ‘religio’ or linking back is embodied in heritage art that
conserves and preserves past and present creation for subsequent
Arts pervade and permeate all aspects of human society.
Consider the human or ‘built’ environment. It is shaped and
molded by architects, designers, preservationists and urban planners.
They are the visual ecologists of society.
If architects and designers are concerned about the present,
preservationists are concerned about the past and planners are concerned
about the future. It is
architects and designers who apply art to the skylines of our cities, the
clothes we wear, the malls at which we shop, the picture on the cereal box
in the morning, our homes and furnishings, the cars we drive, the places
at which we work and the churches and temples in which we worship.
From Frank Lloyd Wright through the German Expressionists and the
Bauhaus Movement to the International Style, architects and designers of
the 20th century believed good design could change the world.
They wanted to contribute to the kosmos
or the sense of the right ordering of the multiple parts of the world.
in any of the four primary artistic disciplines involves five distinct motivations.
- Amateur Art
Amateur art is motivated by
self-actualization, self-education and self-realization including of
one’s cultural heritage. It
is less concerned about pleasing an audience and more about developing
self-expression and self-understanding. Amateur
art is practiced during and after primary, secondary and tertiary school.
It is in the amateur arts that talent is first disciplined in an
artistic craft and an informed and appreciative audience is initially
art is part of the public sector in the schools; part of the nonprofit
sector in amateur or community institutions such as amateur theater and
orchestras; and, part of the profit sector through private teachers and
instructors. It provides four kinds of experiences:
education, i.e. education in how to create art;
through art, i.e. art as a distinct way of understanding the world
and of problem-solving;
of citizen consumers with respect to recognizing quality in
advertising - commercial and political - and industrial and product
- physical and psychological.
- Applied & Decorative Art
Applied and decorative art includes
advertising, architecture and urban design, the crafts, jewelry and
fashion as well as industrial, product and interior design.
To a degree, it involves the use of style for enjoyment and
persuasion. Production is
motivated by the challenge of marrying aesthetic to utilitarian value.
At its best it contributes ‘elegance’ to the human environment
defined as simple but effective, or ‘the best looking thing that
works’. From buildings to
urban planning; from product design to effective advertising; from
corporate ‘imaging’ to designer fashion: applied and decorative art has the most pervasive and significant economic
impact of any segment of the arts industry accounting for 45% of the total
American arts labor force
Entertainment art generates enjoyment,
amusement and recreation. In
the entertainment arts, America currently leads the world.
Thus entertainment programming (film, recordings and TV) is
reported to be the second largest net export of the United States after
Entertainment art is dominated by for-profit
global media conglomerates with linked interests in television, film,
music, video and print media. The
last ‘global’ survey of the entertainment industry, conducted in 1990
revealed that the five largest firms in the world had combined revenues of
$45 billion in 1988 and accounted for 18% of a $250 billion world-wide
entertainment. Only one of
the five, however, was American-owned: Time/Warner.
- Fine Art
Fine art is motivated by
is the primary research and development segment of the arts industry.
It generates ‘enlightenment’, i.e. it sheds light on the nature
of the human condition – on the individual and society.
It is primarily in the fine arts that new
talent and technique are developed; new scripts and scores created; and,
new images and styles set. Results
of fine art ‘R&D’, like the results of scientific research, are
sometimes adopted by for-profit enterprises in and out of the arts
industry. And, as in pure
science, fine art is not financially self-supporting.
It operates, primarily, in the nonprofit sector relying on public
and private patronage. As in
the Natural Sciences, a thousand new plays (experiments) must be tried if
one is to become a box office smash.
The right to fail is an essential artistic and scientific freedom -
a freedom that requires patience and risk-taking on the part of patrons,
investors and audiences.
v - Heritage Art
Heritage art subsumes the amateur, applied
and decorative, entertainment and fine arts as residuals of contemporary
and past creation preserved for and/or by subsequent generations.
It feeds back on contemporary art setting standards and inspiring
creators. It generates
‘enrichment’ through the marriage of scarcity and aesthetic value
including a sense of social cohesion and continuity. Heritage art thus links us back to our past reminding us of
who we are and from where and when we come.
It can also, however, impose the deadening hand of the past on
contemporary creators who must compete not just with domestic and foreign
peers, but also with works tried and tested through time.
1969 and 1989, heritage art yielded the highest return of any financial
investment opportunity (The Economist July 1, 1989). Furthermore,
theft of antiquities is the most lucrative international crime.
Ounce for ounce, an antiquity can be more valuable than drugs.
It can yield this higher return at lower risk of being caught and
less jail time if convicted.
What is the Arts Industry?
arts industry, or more properly, ‘the arts sector’, includes all
profit, nonprofit and public enterprises including incorporated and
unincorporated businesses that, and self-employed individuals who:
one or more of the arts including the heritage, literary, media,
performing or visual arts - live or recorded - as a primary factor of
production, e.g. in advertising, fashion, industrial & product
design as well as Internet, magazine and newspaper publishing;
on one or more of the arts as a ’tied-good’ in consumption, e.g.
home entertainment hardware and software; or,
one or more of the arts as their final output, i.e. they create,
produce, distribute and/or conserve artistic goods and services.
this definition, the Arts Industry can be seen as the center of a circle
of circles made up of the so-called ’cultural industries’ or the
widely defined arts & cultural industry
Widely Defined Arts & Cultural Industries).
The economic term ’tied-good’ perhaps requires explanation.
An example is the old ’punch card’ computer. The computer could not operate without such cards which
technically, were an output of the pulp, paper and publishing industries,
sequentially. The computer
and cards were tied-goods in production of computational results.
Similarly, there can only be a market for audio-visual software,
e.g. records and tapes if there is a market for home entertainment
hardware, e.g. cameras, record players, TV sets, etc.
They are tied-goods in consumption - fitting hand in glove.
In this regard, the home
entertainment center (HEC) is the third most expensive consumer durable
purchased by the average consumer after house and car.
Similarly, private collections of audio-visual software including
phonographs, photographs and videotapes constitute an enormous stock of
contemporary cultural wealth.
a chapter entitled “Towards an American Arts Industry” in The
Public Life of the Arts in America, M. Wyszomirski and Joni Cherbo (eds),
Rutgers University Press, 2000 (pending) I
summarize twenty-five years of cultural economic research conducted by
myself and other researchers. To do so, I mapped findings into a mainstream economic framework - the Industrial
Organization Model or ‘IO’.
IO was the brain-child of the late Joe Bain.
His seminal work - Industrial
Organization - was published in 1959.
Using IO, Bain began what has become an ongoing process within the
economics profession of linking macroeconomics (the study of the economy
as a whole) to microeconomics (consumer, producer and market theory) to
better understand the way the ’real’ world works.
IO schema (see: 2.2
Industrial Organization of the Arts Industry)
consists of four parts. First,
basic conditions face an industry on the supply- (production) and
demand-side (consumption) of the economic equation.
Second, an industry has a structure or organizational
enterprise in any industry tend to follow typical patterns of conduct or
behavior in adapting and adjusting to a specific but ever changing and
evolving marketplace. Fourth,
an industry achieves varying levels of performance with respect to
contemporary socio-economic-political goals. As
is evident from 2.2
much additional research will be required to complete the description and
analysis of the industrial organization of the arts industry.