The Accountable, Bank of Ireland Art Auction

On the 24th of this month 155 works from the Bank of Ireland art collection were put up for auction  by Adam's,  with a further 2000 pieces to be sold over the next few years This caused a bit of a stir with crowds protesting outside the venue. Indeed, anything involving a bank will attract controversy and this was no different with people protesting about the bank's government bailout and about the bank bailing out from the arts.

I remember feeling excited when I first learned of the bank's support of the arts, in both its art collection and with student awards. A bank having a positive influence seems like an alien idea now. BOI claims that the proceeds of the sale will go back into supporting the arts community. However, many have pointed out that many of the works sold have left the country with foreign buyers and that the sudden unloading of art into the market will lessen the value of the art works. It is hard to say if this is a bad thing or not. I think it is foolish to say that such a work would have been valued much higher 5 years ago. It reminds me of those who, for the last three years have been whingeing that their second property used to be worth half a million euro now it would not even sell for 100,000 euro. I feel like shouting "No it wasn't, it was never worth that much that was all make believe money. That nonsense is all over now, stop going on about it".  I would rather see more people buy smaller art that a select few buying glory pieces.  Of course we will have to wait and see what BOI will do with the it would be foolish to simply trust that they will honour their word. It seems that the auction went well with many pieces selling for much more than estimated.

John Coen, We the Accountable.

Recently, I was talking to a business professor who's passion for art is the strongest I have seen in some time. He pointed out a piece being auctioned that had an incredible title. "We the Accountable" by John Coen sold for €5800.  I do not know what the artist's reasons for the title were, but I doubt he could have guessed that it would be so relevant today.

Images were obtained via google, please click on them for their sources. No copyright infringement intended.

Hi-ho, Hi-ho, it's off to work we go (Miners Strike)

Since I have an interest in mining with it's political and social connections and since mining is in the news again (New Zealanders trapped this time) here are some images from the UK mining strike. The strike took place 1984-1985, around about the time I was born, in a not so dissimilar economic climate to today.

Oh and an example of some great advertising from Saatchi when he was known for this and not for art...


All images were obtained from a google search, please click on the image to find source, No copyright infringement intended.

Time Last Year I was Meeting Mary McAleese

This time last year I was participating in the Multyfarnham Arts Festival which was located in a Franciscan Abbey there. As part of it I was invited to Áras an Uachtaráin to meet with President McAleese, along with the others artists and the friars who organised and hosted the event for the community (I am pictured camera right behind McAleese).

I wasn't entirely sure why I was there, but I was happy to accept the invitation, if only out of curiosity. I believe that in the previous week President McAleese meet with the country's Arts Officers so perhaps it was an art support month. The day included tours, talks about Irish history, Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette's furniture and tea served in a rather slick blue and gold presidential tea service. Mary herself was truely lovely, incredibly personable and natural. Even the Army Captain who escorted use was very friendly. In fact everyone involved in the festival, the friars, the community, the artists were interesting and approachable.

I am itching to do another residency.

Image courtesy of a friend, copyright 2009-2010.

The Apprentice and The Arts

Tonight on tv3's The Apprentice the arts, and their cause, was represented by two scruffy classical musicians. The task involved a formal presentation to a luxury company, in which, the losing team had hired the two to provide a musical introduction.  However, right before the performance the team realised that they had make a error with the budget and were unable to pay the musicians the agreed amount.

They assumed that the musicians wouldn't mind. Unfortunately for them, the musicians would not accept this and immediately launched into an argument mentioning that they were in a upmarket hotel that was getting paid and that they were expected to work for less than agreed. And rightly so, at over €40 short they were being asked to take an almost 50% cut on a modest fee when €40 would be pocket change to the companies involved.

Although I didn't necessarily agree with how the musicians had made their point, it was without a doubt a valid argument and the situation was telling of society's view of the arts. The women were dressed in the stereotypical artsy style and used the word "posh" in reference to the companies involved.  I do not like that word as it is more telling of the person using it than what they are speaking about but I am glad that they were so quick to stand up for themselves and their profession.  Upon surprise that they were not appreciative for the scraps from the table the project manager agreed that the musicians would receive their full fee. Apparently the scowled at Bill Cullen throughout the entire presentation probably demonizing him as "the man".

The Apprentice tv3. Campaigning for the arts, musicians demanding fair pay.

In the after show aftermath the, now fired, project manager made a Freudian slip when attempting to justify her error. She claimed that she simply forgot that she would have to pay the musicians and hadn't realised that she would have to pay for music for the ad campaign, of which she ended up blowing the budget on. I think the arts are taken for granted, wanted but undervalued. The team had earlier tried to hire a busker from the street who turned out to be an illegal immigrant and perhaps would have been happy with anything. The whole error was caused by a failure to realise that music needs to be paid for and problem was attempting to be solved by short changing the live musicians.

The culture of arts grants allows for a certain level of freedom by removing the commercial aspect and free entry to galleries makes the arts more accessible to all. The downside to this is that people expect it for nothing and do not realise the level of talent, skill and professionalism that is required of any arts worker.

P.S. Of course the adverts produced in this task were horrific and most involved had excessive confidence levels and outlandish impressions of their own creativity. It makes me hate the word "creative".