What does art mean to you

Appreciation of art, what does that mean for you?

UdK lecture on art but fair and in particular "Appreciation of art, what does that mean for you?"

June 11, 2014, by Julia Schiwowa

Thesis "You can't attach any value to something if you don't know it."

Appreciation is an active term that requires two steps. I take action and evaluate the value of something and then or because of that I value it. Appreciation - a fitting term. It implies that value is not absolute but can only be estimated and is estimated on the basis of this assessment. But because of my appreciation of a thing, I act. Appreciative. And the concept of value has two aspects: one aspect of respect and one monetary aspect. Over and over again.

At art but fair, we would like to enter this cycle of appreciation. It is a dialogue and primarily a dialogue with oneself. What value do I give to something? And then, in a second step, I widen my view and see outside the box of my small perspective. Then it is a responsibility to whom or what I attach value.

In our case, it's about appreciating art, attaching value to art. And that's a decision too. How it is a decision that we need good infrastructure. It is a responsibility of the individual and of society to give art a value. And maybe we need help on our part.

Because you can only assess a value if you take an active role and just - appreciate it. When you deal with what value something has. And that is always preceded by a contact with the matter. You can't value something if you don't know it. Perhaps we as artists can give this help to many people because we value art, because we are the ones who see, feel and live the need for art.

Based on this thesis, I would now like to show various steps in the appraisal of art.

  1. Get to know (learn) art, experience it, experience its effect, learn to appreciate it.
  2. Define artistic product as a value for yourself.
  3. Seeing art as an indispensable value in a society.
  4. Seeing artistic work as work.
  5. Rewarding what is valued in an appreciative and fair manner.

1. You have to know something in order to be able to assess and also (value) appreciate it. Anyone who never comes into contact with art will consequently not attach great importance to art and, in case of doubt, will not feel responsible for preserving art as an important part of our society, for allowing it to continue to exist or to promote it. In the beginning there is the experience.

2. As soon as one has experienced the effect of art and knows a value for experiencing art, one can also attach a value to the artistic product as a store of values. Because you have learned that this product has a lot to offer. Here, too, you start with yourself.

3. By reflecting on the effect of art and its resulting value for oneself, the basis is created to recognize the value of art for society and to feel responsible for it. A society that has recognized the value of art as an important component will want to pass this value on to future generations.

Here it is important to start at the bottom, with the children, in the music schools, with offers for young people, in courses. Because whoever grows up with art will have the need to keep art as part of their life.

4. Perceive artistic work as work

You might think that anyone who appreciates art has also recognized that artistic work is also work. Unfortunately, we are miles away from it. Let me take a closer look at this point, because it is part of the vision of art but fair that artistic work is finally perceived as work. That is exactly what it takes for artistic work to be valued, valued.

Why is it not yet clear that artistic work is also work?

I would like to emphasize two aspects:

Many people do not know what artistic work entails. Artistic work is less comparable than other work and therefore also quantifiable. Because it is not clear to many people what artists “do all day”. It is also due to the fact that, especially in the performing arts and music, the product looks as if it were very easy to do by hand, very light, that is where the art lies. Not making it look like work.

We can change something about this by educating people, offering intellectual bridges and explaining what we do. Maybe even add up the hours it takes to develop art. Which gives us a number for once.

On the other hand, it has to do with the fact that we are still very much stuck in a historically grown, romanticized concept of the artist. That of the poor artist. The romantic image of the poor artist holds up well in our society. The idea of ​​the artist who lives for his art and nothing else. Which, conversely, doesn't need anything else to live. Supposedly. The artist for whom money is of no value.

Otherwise he wouldn't be a good artist, would he?

"You are doing what you enjoy". As if a decent reward for artists would run counter to the value of their art. And as if you had to be punished for loving your job.

I would like to give an example for this, a widespread and particularly aptly descriptive one, namely that of the "good possibility":

This great opportunity. We offer a platform. With us you get the opportunity to distinguish yourself in front of an audience. It accompanies us every step of the way, the "good opportunity". The bad thing about the good option is that we have long since got used to it. We no longer even notice what abyss is hidden behind it. It is the socially acceptable excuse to hire artists on poor terms and thus to present oneself as benefactors, in other words, to offer an opportunity. And being a benefactor sounds chic, it sounds like a good person. And that's what we all want to be.

The second worst thing is that the said people often don't even notice it themselves. That is how far the decline in esteem has progressed. Worst of all, however, is that the artists themselves no longer notice it. You believe in it. And take part.

The fact that you should be grateful for the good opportunity is something you already learn at many universities and that is also confirmed by reality. "You can take part". You could also learn something else at universities. For example “what is the value of art? How do I convey the value of artistic work? How do I develop an attitude towards my job that promotes the appreciation of art? ”.

In the meantime, the good opportunity has become independent. It has even become a system. Recognized theaters use them systematically to produce art cheaply. How naturally this systematized “revaluation of unpaid work” is used to produce art. Dumping art. Except that it is not communicated as such. We at art but fair do not want any dumping art. We want art that is valued and valued. And valued artistic work that is hidden behind the often brilliant product with great sheen.

It is a scandal that one suddenly argues with the terms of values ​​when it comes to artist fees. “You chose it that way, you have different values”. In the age of capitalism. In which the artists also live despite everything. In the age of the general labor main value appraisal with the name "money". Work is valued with money. And although the argument doesn't impress many employers: you don't pay for food with applause. And if a surgeon enjoys his work, he doesn't get any less wages for it.

5. Rewarding what is valued in an appreciative and fair manner.

This idea of ​​a contradiction between the two sides of appreciation, the monetary and the non-monetary, has not yet reached me. Because the goal of respectful interaction includes appropriate fees. It is disrespectful to pay artists poorly. Conversely, one can say: the respectful treatment includes a fair fee.

Now we have to take the step and move from appraisal to action. And that is the moment when art has to be rewarded fairly. That is always the moment when the word “market” comes on the table. Then we suddenly hear supply or demand, oversupply, falling prices. And that's exactly where the question of an attitude comes up, which is what art but fair is all about.

Let me give you an example: suppose I had the power to hire my employees in my theater for 1 euro an hour. Would i do it Is there a limit, a respect that I admit, an attitude that I impose on myself for my job? A moral limit?

Especially in art, where there is talk of values, when I look behind the scenes, I want to see these values ​​too. If the values ​​art is about are systematically undermined, then art is ultimately a mere sham, a shell. Then it is one thing above all: implausible.

Due to the existing major problems in the field of performing arts and music, the often lacking business ethics in the cultural establishments, the often underground fees and unfortunately also missing codes of conduct or decency, we at art but fair demand everyone in the performing arts and music involved actors to take a stance.

We should all think about whether we behave fairly in our profession and take responsibility in our sphere of activity and act accordingly.

Art but fair's suggestion: a commitment

Our proposal and the core of art but fair's content is: A commitment. It has to do with this attitude that we are demanding.

The formulations of the art but fair commitment are a concrete contribution to working towards fair and dignified work in the performing arts and music. Theart but fair commitmentis an expression of the personal responsibility of people. Through the publication, the behavior in everyday life becomes measurable for everyone based on the self-made demands. Our texts address the five main groups of people with their own formulations:

Theater directors and producers
Responsible in cultural policy and administration
Responsible at schools, universities and academies
Agencies, management and artist agencies

The invitation to self-commitment for artists is also expressly aimed at theater employees from the fields of technology and administration.

In the medium term, we will commit ourselves to theart but fair consultations develop further through a broad discussion process, surveys and interviews together with all those involved. In addition, the Kulturpolitische Gesellschaft, in cooperation with the Hans-Böckler Foundation and art but fair a further study on the topic.

But everyone can already commit themselves on the basis of our current proposal:

The art but fair commitment is intended to work towards fair and dignified work in the performing arts and music in a long-term process. The art but fair commitmentsare a concrete expression of the personal responsibility of people. Through the publication, the behavior becomes measurable for everyone against the self-set goals. The reports to be submitted can be of assistance and incentive for others.

To conclude, I will broaden my view of a flexible, sustainable, changeable society. A diverse society. I look at the value I attach to art for society. I don't just see the balance sheets. Not just the bill for today. I am thinking of cohesion, social reflection, the formation of visions for the further development of society, the formation of identity, the examination of values. Voilà.

Thank you for your attention!