Grayson Perry And Creative Destruction In The Arts

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Given that Grayson Perry does work in the arts world he’s clearly not going to use the usual descriptions for his observations. For those usual descriptions carry with them the taint or neoliberalism even as they are, or because perhaps, correct:

The Turner Prize winning artist Grayson Perry has said the coronavirus pandemic has had the effect of cutting the “dead wood” from the arts world by getting rid of “exhibitions only put on to impress other curators”.

And while he feels sorry for those in the arts who had suffered, some of the culture sector’s output was not worth saving, he says.

In comments that may raise eyebrows among those in the arts who have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic, Perry appears to suggest that the impact of Covid-19 in shutting down the arts could lead to a flowering of creativity once the sector begins to re-open.

“With Covid, it’s been like turning a computer off and on again, and seeing which files reappear,” he said. “Some of them we don’t really give a damn about. What’s interesting is what might not re-emerge.”

This is simply creative destruction, that concept central to the advances that market economies bring to society. There’s a hell of a lot of dross out there – Sturgeon’s Law – and what we desire, even require, is a system to kill the shit and leave room for the new flowerings.

This being exactly what a planned and subsidised system does not do but which a market one does.

That is, the argument being presented is the very one that tells us we should abolish the Arts Council in its entirety. Not that it’ll happen, even though it should.

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Yes, the Covid depression has had the effect (as the ordinary recession we were overdue for would have) of stress-testing all endeavors and getting the least robust to fail so we can reallocate their resources. The absurd rush to a non-face-to-face society has disclosed which businesses are most nimble.

Of course the “artists” are wrinkling their noses. Everything they do is profound! They continually despair that awards are given “merely” on box-office results; that is, based on MEASUREMENT.