Last update:​​ 12-12-2019

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Section (3)

General remarks of section 3:​​ 

 (3)a. Having not the required skin-color or sex, can also be a form of being wrongly resourced. “Natural” boundaries are involved which accompanied symbolic and social boundaries.​​ 

(3)b. It is more common to use the terms underprivileged or disadvantaged people and groups or the disadvantaged, but, depending on the context, the use of “under-resourced” can be often more adequate.

(3)c.​​ Groups of people are involved in so-called​​ boundary work: they establish, maintain and move social boundaries. Boundaries in art can shift. After much effort by some​​ and resistance by others, part of Jazz became art; the boundary around real art has been moved.

(3)d. Barriers can be formal and informal. A price being asked for entering a theatre is a formal barrier, and so is demanding that one is white and not black, at a time when this was not yet illegal. Excluding someone by making him feel uncomfortable, is raising an informal barrier. The person is informally excluded. In the first case economists also speak of a​​ price barrier​​ and​​ price exclusion. Moreover, in the case of starting a company in a certain sector of production, economists may also use the term​​ barrier of entrance. A painter cannot participate in a market for paintings without first having acquired, paint, canvas, a studio and so forth.

(3)e. When describing, explaining or defining concepts, we draw lines around what a concept refers to: “This is it and this is not it.” Sometimes my lines roughly correspond with the symbolic boundaries many people have in mind. For instance, I think that my definition of popular art corresponds with the notion of popular art of many people. However, some of the concepts and the terms which I use are own inventions, like the concept inferior-art. In others I follow the common use in the social sciences, while sometimes deviating a little, as in my use of the term art-world.



/1.​​ I removed this note an included it in the web-note above.

/2.​​ Many prestigious art-buildings have been established in the early and main period of serious art by groups of art loving higher bourgeois, usually with the help of, or under supervision of local governments. Over the last decades more have been added [6].

/3.​​ Data exist on the number of people visiting performances of a specific artform and visiting museums, but this data cannot be combined enabling to tell how often a specific individual participates in all art-buildings. Another problem is that, as said, no relevant art-buildings exist for live literature and for film.

/4.​​ Most sculpture in public space could also have been present in art-buildings. But sometimes sculptures are too large, or artists resist that their sculptures, including installations, and art performances are present in museums and sculpture gardens. But in all cases documentation on the works is or could be present in a museum.

/5.​​ For various reasons I do not use the terms fine art, high art, high-brow art, middle brow art, low-brow art, canonized art and legitimate art and legitimized art, and their counterparts. It is unusual to count the serious parts of literature, film and jazz fine art. For younger readers the terms high art and high-brow art have a negative connation, or they may believe that they are things of the past. The term canonized art, suggests that there still is no canonized art in popular art, which is incorrect. The term legitimate has an unwanted juridical connotation.

/6.​​ What is called a style in one artform is called a genre in another, and vice versa. I use the terms alternately, be it most often the term genre. An​​ art genre​​ refers to a certain type of art with a distinctive type of production, distribution, and meanings. ​​ When the term applies to a large selection of works, smaller sub-sets can be called​​ sub-genres. An​​ art-stream​​ —not to be confused with mainstream— refers to a family of genres or styles that over decades retain their coherence through shared institutions, artistic convictions and​​ audiences. ​​ The artistic convictions (or aesthetics) that bind the family of styles together can be said to form a​​ shared grammar​​ or​​ paradigm​​ that is comparable with that in the sciences.

Aside: Unlike in this text, in their analysis of developments in popular music (Lena & Peterson, 2008) and (Lena, 2014) distinguish genres and styles. A genre is​​ a system of orientations, expectations, and conventions that bind together artists, supporters, supplementary producers, critics and fan-consumers in making what they identify as a distinctive sort of art, while an art style is a certain artistic idiom that is present in single works, a group of related works, in the works of an art genre and in the works an art-stream.

/7.​​ The main difference is that given my definition a smaller collection of artworks is at stake. It is true (or legitimatized) art, i.e. art that can be present in art-buildings. Moreover, for (Becker, 1982) an art world consists of the group of persons whose activities are​​ necessary​​ to the production of the characteristic works which that world defines as art. His art world therefore consists of people who make paint, do the theatre lightning and so forth, that is also people who have no say or an ignorable say in the definition of serious art.​​ 

/8.​​ The way (Danto, 1964) uses the term artworld differs more. (Bourdieu, 1984) uses the term art​​ field​​ which corresponds more with my term art-world than Becker’s art world, but without being altogether the same.

/9.​​ In this text I focus on the symbolic boundary, which art-world people establish and maintain, between on the one hand art (or serious art) and on the other popular/inferior art. Art-worlds also establish a symbolic boundary between the kind of art that belongs to the own art-world and art that belongs to another art-world. Such boundaries can change or be contested. Or sub-art-worlds emerge. For instance, in the course of the 20th​​ century within the art-world of dance two sub-art-worlds develop, which define two categories of art: one ballet and the other modern- and contemporary-dance.​​ 

Aside: People also have a symbolic boundary in mind around​​ all art​​ or​​ art-in-a-broad-sense.​​ Opinions differ and lines can change.​​ For instance, at the moment for some groups all action movies are art-in-a-broad-sense, while for others none are.


The Triumph of Serious Art​​ 

General remarks of Chapter 2: So far none.


A High Respect for Art


General remarks related to sub-chapter​​ A High Respect of Art.​​ 

So far none.


Section (4)​​ 


General remarks section 4.​​ 

So far none.



/1.​​ In Latin artem (nominative ars) means “practical skill”, “a business”, “a craft”, and in 13century French “skill as a result of learning or practice".

/2.​​ The art ethos can be said to be part of what (Boltanski & Thévenot, 1991) in their theory of justification call​​ the inspired world.​​ The notion of the art ethos makes it possible to explain phenomena that economists find hard to explain. Instead of an art ethos I could have chosen the notion of an art ideology, art culture, art logic or a habitus in the field of art production.​​ 

The last I did not choose because it is foremost used in the context of the field theory of Bourdieu, which I do not primarily apply in this text. My ethos is not tied to this theory.​​ 

I also did not choose an art ideology, because I do not only want to examine the overall typical moral view of people but also the motivational aspect. ​​ 

An art culture could have been a reasonable alternative but it is too wide —it also refers to attitudes that do not fall under the term ethos. It, moreover, is usually applied to smaller collectives —as in the culture which exists among realist painters.​​ 

Finally, the term art logic as used in in institutional sociology, is on the one hand less encompassing, while on the other hand, the norms can be too instrumental. Cf. (Thornton & W.Ocasio, 2008). In other chapters I may however implicitly or explicitly refer to cultures —like the culture among the visitors in a concert hall— and logics —like the commercial logic of cultural entrepreneurs.

/3.​​ They are shared and reproduced in little noticed way. Some of them are related to stereotypical myths. Values can conflict. For instance, the value that exclusivity in art has goodness, easily conflicts with another widely shared value: the value that art has goodness for everybody and therefore must be disseminated among lower social groups. Conflicting values, however, do not imply that the values, the moral convictions and the overall art ethos are incoherent and irrational. The ethos has its own logic and is neither rational nor irrational. (Contradictions also do not prove the often-proclaimed irrationalism of artists.)


Section (5)​​ 


General remarks

(5)a. This is the mentioned painting by Courbet:

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gustave_Courbet_010.jpg#file


Web-notes section 5:

/4​​ The timing differs: for instance, the status of the visual arts started to rise earlier than that of music.

/5.​​ According to (Heinich, 2005)​​ 119 (in French) in the case of some artists an exceptional life or dedication added to the value attached to their works, but she emphasizes that these artists were not representative.

/6.​​ The term genius is related to the Latin verb gigno (genuit), meaning "to bring into being, create, produce”.

/7.​​ The imagined family of art is not unique. A general social mechanism is at stake: members of real or imagined groups with one or more “sacred objects” always draw lines and de facto or deliberately exclude others. Cf. (Collins, 2005). This not only applies to the family of art. It, for instance, also applies to a scientific community of micro-biologists or, more relevant in the present context a community of Rock music fans. — What is special in the case of the arts is (1) that the imagined group is very large, that (2) the symbolic boundary has existed for more than a century and (3) that almost everybody in society is aware of it. Moreover, (4) during the period of serious art, and in a lesser degree up to the present-day, feelings of superiority are relatively strong and little questioned. What is also remarkable is (5) that during this period art the social boundary persistently follows the lines between social classes.

By itself the latter is not that special: a social boundary along similar lines exists in popular art, but it is less strong, shifts more often and is often foremost tight to specific venues and​​ not to other venues. But, for instance, in the case of classical/serious music concert 150 years ago lower-class people did not feel welcome in the concert halls —all halls— the same as 50 years ago, while since little has changed.

Finally, as we shall see [*], within the large family-of-art many smaller families exist. There are important hierarchies.​​ 

Aside: The family is an imagined group as are the group of outsiders. But they can also be a sub-family which encounters in person, like the people visiting a specific art-building, and people, who are shown not to be welcome. In such situations a “being among one’s own group” is also a “sacred object”. Others would spoil the fun.

Section (6)​​ 


General remarks

So far none.



/8.​​ There are always exceptions. Long before the art period the Estherházy princes built a magnificent —but not free standing— concert hall in which later on Haydn regularly performed his work.​​ 

/9.​​ Dutch examples of modest buildings are the visual art buildings​​ Witte de With​​ in Rotterdam and​​ De Apple​​ in Amsterdam. Both are specialized in serious postmodern visual art. A Dutch example of an impressive building but solid and serious rather than pompous building is the​​ Muziekgebouw aan het IJ​​ in Amsterdam.


Section​​ (7)​​ 


General remarks

So far none.



/10.​​ Anna’s experiences with people with little education cannot prove a general existence of respect for art but they certainly do not contradict it. Ever since she was twelve, she regularly lived among and worked the fields together with common farm workers in the Netherlands and England. Again and again, she was struck by the admiration they had for art and artists. This only became stronger after having become an artist herself. Just telling that she was artist, she was treated by common as well as lower middle-class people with an attention and respect that no teacher or dentist would receive. It also happened more than once that Anna in a party in higher-class circles, after entering, was introduced by the host telling that she was artist. When introducing others, he just mentioned their name.

/11. For a long time, many painters wore berets. And until recently almost all artists dressed in a style which resembles that of the bohemian artist of old —and some still do. That being artist brings status shows from the phenomenon that others have started using their symbols of being artist, be it less convincingly. Now some degree of “bohemianism” and corresponding informal clothing has for many educated people become part of their lifestyle. Not accidentally people within one such bourgeois group are called bobos; short for bourgeois and bohemian.

/12. Because direct subsidization had always been generous in the Netherlands, the cuts drew much attention in international media. Less well known is that also after the cuts the Netherlands continued to be relatively generous; certainly, compared with the US and the southern European countries.

/13. A few years later the former director of the prestigious Rijksmuseum, Wim Pijbes, casually told the press that he had never been in the just as prestigious next-door Concertgebouw. Maybe because he did not present a threat, nobody took notice. This, moreover, suggests that unlike before unity within the family of art is no longer a precious good [17].

Second, because direct subsidization had always been generous in the Netherlands, the cuts drew much attention in international media. Less well known is that also after the cuts the Netherlands continued to be relatively generous; certainly, compared with the US and the southern European countries.

/14. According to an estimate of 3 March 2015 its construction will probably have cost the city more than €600m and maybe more​​ ­—anyway far more than the original €77m projection.

/15. In 2005 in my inaugural lecture —(Abbing, 2006) in English— and in 2009 in a book —(Abbing, 2009) in Dutch— I examined the consumption practices in serious-music performances. I pointed to the graying of audiences, and I pleaded for parallel series of more informal serious music concerts. ​​ All reviews, in both right and left journals, were very negative and sometimes vehement. Evidently, I deserved to be punished because in my texts I had “pretended” to be an art-lover and lover of serious music, while I evidently was not. The title of a review in a leftist journal was “A stranger in the world of art”. According to the critic I clearly did not belong to this world. —Note that according to him I did not belong to the overall world of art (even though I was and am a visual artist), and not just did not belong to the world of serious-music. His and the other criticism hurt. But maybe it was worth it. The book was not ignored as earlier would have happened. in hindsight I think I contributed a little to the subsequent developments. (This happened in the 2000s, a time in which, due to fewer visitors and cuts, the conservative serious-music establishment was hyper sensitive. I don’t think the same would happen now.) (I refer to the review by Cyrille Offermans in De Groene of June 2009.)​​ 


Separation of Art and Entertainment


General remarks of sub-chapter​​ Separation of Art and Entertainment:​​ 

So far none.


Section​​ (8)​​ 

General remarks.​​ 

So far none.



/16.​​ The line between luxury and non-luxury is not sharp and depends on time and place. For instance, being in a church people casually or deliberately consume art that is free. Visits to churches took and take time, but for believers visits are a necessity and no luxury. ​​ Consumption does not require additional time and money. In past and present people are regularly in similar situations. For instance, in modern cities people all the time come across free art which they ignore or casually consume [*].

/17.​​ The average person consumed for circa three dollars daily, while at present in industrialized countries