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It turns quickly when Anne Britt Gran (in Ny Tid on Friday 28 October) will convince us that culture and industry are the new marriage we all have to deal with from now on. It is no longer possible to stick your head in the sand, Gran and she are upset that the undersigned and the environment around UKS, as well as the students at the Art Academy in Oslo, commented critically on BI and the KHiO Conference Art + Capital. Now there are several reasons why that particular conference (where Gran was responsible for the subject) provoked reactions. The entrance ticket, for example, cost 4000 kroner, which effectively ensured that the art students were not allowed to take part in the discussions about the future collaboration between art and capital. Enough about that.

In the introduction to his article, Gran understands why artists need to defend the freedom of art, autonomy and public support schemes: «Now not all artists and institutions the private business community will live with, and therefore public support schemes are very important to enable an artistic diversity". Then the pipe gets a different sound – and it does not sound good. Gran does not think it is easy to decide whether artistic autonomy is important or not. She goes a long way in suggesting that we have bad art in Norway because it is state-subsidized. That the artist class they do not see artistic (sic) the possibilities of getting closer to capital. According to Gran, art will probably be better if it is the business community that supports it. When I do not believe in this, it is not just because such success stories are few, while stories about the instrumentalization of art are many – it is also because the logic fails. Gran is one of the few professionals in Norway who has written about the relationship between culture and industry. It is therefore disappointing that she is not more nuanced when the conclusions are to be drawn.

The problem is head on. The experience is that the business community does not quite see why they should support this art production, which is not particularly incomprehensible. One artist may have a three-year work scholarship as a basis for production, another may have been granted 30 in support from the Norwegian Cultural Council for a specific project while he normally works as a teacher, and a third still goes to school and lives (and produces art) on student loans. According to Gran, there is reason to question this way of being an artist because they allegedly "put their trust in the state", "have faith in the public clean funds" and a "monomaniacal trust in the state monopoly". This is simply the construction of positions that have little to do with reality. Artists often work to get supported or sponsored materials in their art production and many want to enter the stables of private galleries.

Gran's presentation of the new situation that should represent the end of "neutral cultural money" is also debatable. With reference to the Perduco / Cultura Capital report from 2004, statistics are produced that suggest that the future increase in cultural budgets will come from the private market. If you read the report (which by the way was written by Gran himself), you will also find other interesting figures. When asked if they would like to increase support for culture, only 16 percent of Norwegian companies answer YES. In other words, as many as 81 per cent answer NO to increasing support for culture (3 per cent do not know). It is important to note that this is an attitude issue that does not reflect whether the companies will actually increase support.

By making art suspicious which is produced with public support, the work of professional committees (which she herself sits on) assesses eligible art and when new support areas are initiated is undermined. When professionals and artists defend the public funds for art, they also defend the idea that art is a public matter, as something that concerns the public – and oppose that art should be a private matter between buyer and producer. The usefulness of art in contexts where it has not appeared before is probably increasing. And it is interesting that the business community collaborates with artists or art institutions because art can offer something else, a competence or a product that the companies have not had access to so far. To put it in a few words: The attractive thing about art is that it is art.

Commissioned art is not art, but advertising, claimed an art student to which Gran replies with questions about whether the art students do not learn art history at KHiO. It suits no one to be instructive, least of all the one who has something to learn himself. It is a basic modern understanding that art is precisely defined as art by virtue of its position as autonomous, in the sense of self-legislating. The fact that modern art is understood as autonomous is by far a recognition of the division of labor or sectorisation in society. In traditional philosophical aesthetics, it is an essential point that art, by virtue of being something separate – something of its own – can represent a special form of cognition and even a special access to truth. Baumgarten, Kant, Heidegger, Adorno and Peter Burger have all contributed to this understanding. Then we can – and we should – discuss what autonomy should mean for today's art production. At en

believes that commissioned art is advertising, is not an expression of a lack of art history teaching – it is an expression of familiarity with the most basic modern notion of art.

Trude Iversen has recently resigned as general manager of the Young Artists' Society. Educated philosopher with a major in Adorno's aesthetics.

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