Sunday 20 September 2015

Intellectual access and not an easy way out

All too often, the promotion of intellectual access by some in the cultural sector is discarded as ‘dumbing down’. Recently, I read the following in Rob Riemen’s “The eternal return of fascism”:

“In the culture of this society [the mass-society; our contemporary society] there is an ongoing trend towards the lesser, the lowest level, because this is where one finds most things people can share. This is exactly why university education indicators are levelled down, so that ‘everyone’ can study and obtain a degree. And the same will apply to the arts, because they will have to be accessible to all, not only in what concerns tuition fees, but also at the level of comprehension. After all, the fiercest indignation is directed towards what is difficult. Because what is not understood immediately by everyone is difficult, that is ‘elitist’ and therefore undemocratic.” (my translation from Greek)

Sunday 6 September 2015

The Italian slap

Eike Schmidt, new director of the Uffizzi (image taken from The Art Newspaper, Photo: Zuma Press/Alamy)

“A slap on the face of Italian archaeologists and art historians.” According to an article by Margarita Pournara in the Greek newspaper I Kathimerini, this was the statement of Vittorio Sgarbi, former Italian Minister of Culture, regarding the appointment of seven foreign professionals as directors of Italian museums.

Since the appointment was announced on 18 August, the issue was widely discussed in the media.