Meaning of ART, SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC ASPECTS OF in English

ART, SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC ASPECTS OF

social and economic factors that influence the creation of art and how it is received. It is necessary to begin a sociological analysis of the arts by identifying the various social frameworks within which artistic activities have been conducted and the influences that these frameworks have had on the style and content of the arts, the levels of creative attainment, the mode of living of the artists, and the uses to which their art has been put by society. This mode of analysis is not concerned, as the histories of the various arts are, with describing how the particular arts have historically evolved and what they have meant to their users. Rather, it is aimed at discerning the basic alternative patterns of organizing artistic activities and the consequences, for society and for the arts, of adopting one or another of them. Most of the necessary knowledge for recognizing these patterns is still lacking or is ambiguous in its implications. Indeed, there is no generally accepted theoretical basis for encompassing all the arts in relation to all sociological variables in all types of societies, from the simplest to the most complex. There is, furthermore, hardly any other field in the whole area between the humanities and the social sciences as inviting to partisan sensibilities as the relationship between art and society. Any general statements about relationships between art and society must therefore be treated cautiously, not as established knowledge but as tentative hypotheses. Economic evaluation of the arts The economic evaluation of the arts in general is indicated either by the absolute amount of economic resources put into their production, acquisition, distribution, and consumption or by the relative share of the total income of an individual, group, or society that these allocations represent. While the absolute size of expenditures may be determined more by the level of wealth than by the degree of interest in art, it yet has a significant effect on the artistic enterprise, perhaps especially on art collection and prices of artworks. When the absolute amount of funds available for the arts is very large, it produces the phenomenon of cultural imperialism: it enables the powerful, whatever the degree of their interest in art or their own creative attainments, to dominate and overwhelm the cultural activities of the financially less well endowed, unless the latter remain isolated or protect themselves by consciously designed cultural policies. The percentage of the income devoted to art, on the other hand, bears a closer relationship to interest in art, and it could therefore be expected to be more closely associated with the level of artistic creativitywhich does not necessarily require large economic resources to sustain it. Some of the finest works of primitive art, for example, have been produced in places where life is economically precarious, such as the swampy areas of New Guinea. The percentage of wealth devoted to the arts tends to be greatest in economically comfortable societies that have passed their peak of economic expansionItaly after the middle of the 14th century and Spain in the late 16th and 17th centuries, to cite two instances. The economic valuation of art is also affected by the degree of its association with activities that are regarded as possessing great importance in a particular society. Actual importance of an activity can be measured, in economic terms, by the size of economic allocations for its pursuit. The closer art is integrated with the activities (typically economic, political, religious, and military) getting the major share of available funds, the larger tends to be its own share. In the advanced industrial societies, a major financial basis of contemporary arts is their integration with the growing leisure industry, as in the Broadway theatre or in television, the cinema, or other mass media. It is partly for this reason that modern societies tend to allocate larger sums for the support of the performing than of the object-making arts. To the extent that art itself is a prestigious activity, individuals, groups, cities, or whole societies may compete for supporting its most important living practitioners or acquiring the most famous works. This motive has probably been present, to some degree, in all elite-oriented societies, but its significance tends to increase in civilizations that have many centres rather than a single imperial onein Renaissance Italy, in Germany before its unification, and in the modern world in general. Competition of would-be patrons for the prestige of living artists increases not only the economic allocations to art but also the freedom of elite artists. Modern state support for the performing arts, in particular, rests to a high degree on competition for internationally recognized cultural reputations. The value of art as an investment of wealth, either for ensuring its preservation or for increasing it, grows in periods of social and political instability and currency fluctuation. Small-scale artworks made either of precious materials or by prestigious old masters become the safest investment in times of trouble. This has been an important motive for the collection of art by the rich in the Renaissance as well as in the 20th century. It is characteristic of this system that a high economic valuation of art does not necessarily correlate with the income received by living artists, since the object of speculative interest is the reputation of a master, who is frequently dead, rather than the aesthetic merits of the work itself. It is a system in which artists, instead of being supported by the rich in the pursuit of aesthetic values, support the rich in their pursuit of further enrichment, since an artist may endure a lifetime of poverty to produce works that then become tokens of steadily increasing worth. As a consequence, the system encourages capital accumulation rather than artistic creativity. It has little effect on the performing arts or literature but is currently a major source of discontent among practitioners of the visual arts. Increases in the social status of artists and in the prices their works fetch on the market have, in the past, tended to follow increases in the creative attainments of an artistic tradition. Thus, in England, an increase in artistic creativity in the early part of the 18th century (as exemplified by the paintings and engravings of William Hogarth) was not followed by a significant increase in the social and economic status of some artists until the 1780s. During the late 19th century, however, when contemporary English art was admired above that of any other period or society and highly rewarded, it produced only minor achievements. Clearly, economic allocations do not guarantee artistic efflorescences, and inferior art may be ascribed high economic value. Great artistic achievements, nevertheless, appear to increase the economic value of art, though perhaps not immediately. While the economic value of particular objects of art depends in part on their historical significance, uniqueness, and fashion, the economic valuation of art itself is, in the long run, not altogether unrelated to the presence in a society of large numbers of aesthetically meritorious works. Systems of financing artistic activities The economic support of artistic activities can be provided by the artist himself, who derives his income from sources other than the rewards he receives for producing art, or it can be furnished by nonartists supplying the economic means for the artist to survive while he is making works of art. Self-financing of artistic activities has always been, and still is, considerable. The gentlemanly type of artistic culture is wholly supported by artists of independent means. The writing of lyrical poetry has very generally been a leisure-time activity of persons deriving the bulk of their income from other sources. In modern times, self-financing is present when the artist survives from an activity that does not require him to produce works of art, or when his income from producing works of art is significantly lower than what he could earn by being employed in a legitimate alternative occupation accessible to him. The dance is heavily self-financed in the second sense. Sponsorship of artistic activities may be said to occur when the artist draws upon the economic support of individuals or organizations that do not necessarily expect to get anything for themselves in return for it. They support the artist because they are committed to art for its own sake or to a particular artist. In this specific sense, artistic activities may be sponsored by government agencies supporting art as a social service for the people, by private foundations, by individual sponsors, by relatives who support the artist while he is economically unsuccessful, or by friends and acquaintances whom an artist sponges on. Sponsorship may thus be, in some cases, unintentional. Self-financing and sponsorship are economically abnormal systems of financing the production of goods and services that potentially possess an economic value to people other than their producers. These modes of financing are found principally in the cultural activities, above all religion and art (but also in ideological politics), and they occur because artists are not treated as if they were engaged only in the production of economic values. They produce economic values, but there isalso a religious aspect in their activity that requires to be supported for its own sake. If the arts were to be supported entirely by a market economy, this aspect might well disappear: art would then become purely a commodity. The arrangements of economic support that have traditionally carried the main burden of sustaining artistic activities are the three types of normal economic systems into which the arts may be integrated like any other productive activity: the exchange, command, and market economies.

Britannica English vocabulary.      Английский словарь Британика.