IMPORTANT: Please note that in the eBook numbers within brackets, like [34] or [76],  mistakenly contain a link to the website. Instead the numbers refer to other sections in the book itself, i.e. one of the sections 1 to 97 in the published e-book and printed book.

These Web-texts are not present in the book. They are referred to in the book. Each accompanies a specific section in the book (and has the same number).


- This webpage can be downloaded by printing it to PDF (Ctrl p) and, if one wishes, it can next be printed for real.

- Below the numbers of the headings in the table of contents correspond with the numbers of​​ sections in the book which the web-texts accompany.

- Numbers in the text between brackets refer to the numbered sections in the book.




* indicates that the web-text has not yet been written.

** indicates that the web-text is incomplete. The major part has not yet been written.



14. On the​​ (un)importance of art education for gate keeping


Short excurse: ART-WORLDS HAVE VARIOUS MEANS OF GATEKEEPING. BEING ADMITTED TO STATE ACCREDITED ART EDUCATION AND RECEIVING SUBSIDIES HELPS TO BECOME AN ARTWORLD-RECOGNIZED ARTISTS. BEING A RECOGNIZED ARTIST IS IMPORTANT FOR ARTISTS. In section 14 I write: “In web-text wt-14 I say more about the (un)importance of art-education for a career.” This is a leftover from a draft and much shorter version of that section. Since I rewrote the section there is less need for an extensive web-text. Therefore, I just make a few additional remarks and tell about an experience of Anna.

First, in the arts the benefits of having been educated in accredited education institutes are limited and less than in other professions. As shows from some research the benefits can even be negative, that is, artist without art education do financially better than those with art education. The percentage among the former who make “inferior” art may well be relatively high.1

Second, in art education governments play an essential role. In this they work together with art-world establishments and strengthen art-worlds. Thanks to the subsidized official art education institutes the authority of art-worlds increases. It is no accident that official, i.e. accredited, art education is hosted in prestigious buildings, some of who can compete with well-known prestigious halls and museums.​​ 

To be effective as one form among other forms of gatekeeping professional art education needs to be official, i.e. the education institute must be accredited —as we say now— by an authority with power, i.e. a government institute. Such institutes are almost always being advised by people in the art-world establishment. Accreditation represents an indirect form of gatekeeping. Next, art education needs to be financed. In some countries not only public but also both private but accredited art schools exist. In all cases at least part of the students pay fees.​​ 

In the US part of the cost​​ of public and accredited private schools are covered by present and passed donations as well as subsidies, while in Europe, until recently, governments largely finance the education. In the case of private education, board members are members of the art-world establishment or are friends of people in the establishment. They indirectly control the course of the institutes, including the nomination of teachers. Their actions affect gatekeeping —of artists as well as art.

Unlike in other professional education​​ certain degrees of earlier education usually do not suffice to be admitted to the schools. On the basis of portfolios, special exams, and so forth, only a selection of applicants is admitted. (The art profession is attractive; therefore, demand for official education is almost always larger than supply.) Next final exams and graduating opens further doors to becoming a recognized artist, and offers another means of gatekeeping and exclusion. But as in any education, in the course of the training there is gatekeeping as well. Some students are told to leave. Teachers, already during education, bring some students and not others in contact with art-producers, from dealers and impresarios to curators and directors of ensembles. Moreover, final examination shows and performances help the latter to scout especially promising graduates.​​ 

The granting of subsidies and grants by governments and donors to some starting artists and not to other artists also enables gatekeeping. Most members of the committees deciding​​ on the distribution of funds participate in art-world establishments. Well recognized gallery owners, impresarios, curators, publishers, and so forth, also select certain artists and reject others.​​ 

For many artists crossing such barriers and becoming a recognized artist is very important. Being recognized is proof of being a real artist. Such proof is a benefit that is usually far more important than other benefits of being a professional artist. An indirect proof of the importance of art-worlds and being​​ recognized follows from the phenomenon that attempting to become recognized and crossing borders​​ and next failing and being rejected can cause much distress. Such artists interpret rejections as a sign of being a failed artist; an artist making inferior work.​​ 

After graduating Anna’s first application for a subsidy was rejected. She was very disappointed; and in such degree that it was only four years later that she applied again. The continuing frustration or pain was so large that she wanted to save herself from a possible rekindling of it by a new rejection. Three years later she found a gallerist wanting to represent her. This was a relief, but it was only when she received her first subsidy that she became convinced of being a real artist. (Up to that moment when she told strangers that she was artist, she sometimes felt like cheating.)

Aside: Ignoring artists making popular art, gatekeeping by art-worlds could be an indirect means to control the overall number of artists and the volume of all produced art. This would be the case, if all artists who do not become recognized would leave the arts. This does not happen. Moreover, not all artists aspire to become recognized.​​ Many artists are not well-educated, know that they will not fit into the art-world and its culture, and know that they will anyway be rejected —often already at the gate of the “official” art school. They go their own way and make inferior-art.

But, in waves, which correspond with inner art-world developments, which will be discussed in section 14 below, art-worlds manage to keep the production of serious art down. This brings recognized artists benefits other artists do not have: sometimes a higher income, more prestige and other benefits to be discussed.​​ 

The new organization of official​​ education in the period of serious art can be interpreted as a form of (re)professionalization.2​​ For the control of the numbers of serious artists, this makes a difference.​​ Over the last decades​​ a similar process of professionalization through the offering of accredited education is taking place in popular music. It started earlier in the US and Britain than in continental Europe. From the perspective of a control of numbers it appears to be unimportant. What is​​ significant, however, is that when in Europe existing conservatories now have departments for popular music, they are almost always hosted not in the prestigious main building in which serious music and serious Jazz are taught, but in separate far less prestigious​​ secondary art-buildings.​​ 

Over the last decades​​ the described forms of gatekeeping still matter, especially in the more studious domain in the arts. But at the same time many new and parallel forms of gatekeeping —among others organized by the media— develop in both​​ serious and popular art enabling part of aspiring artists to become professional and sometimes successful artists. In the serious arts they are no longer controlled by the traditional art-world establishments.

The rapidly rising fees of official art education raises the barrier surrounding this kind of education. It is bound to affect the composition of the group of not only recognized artists but, in a lesser degree, of all artists, but if it contributes or will contribute to fewer artists is hard to tell.

In the final paragraphs of the corresponding section 14 I state that having been officially educated increases the chances of becoming art-world-recognized and a bit successful.​​ This does not imply that the survival rate of officially educated artists was​​ and is higher than of others.​​ (Alper & Wassall, 2006)​​ 842 state that in the USA in the period 1950-2000 the return to education for artists is lower than in other professions, or even negative.​​ But this may no longer apply. Cf.​​ (Bille & Jensen, 2016)​​ There is indeed evidence that the survival rate of officially educated artists is higher than of others. See​​ (Bille & Jensen, 2016)​​ 


19. Support and its justification (incomplete; so far only a subsection on the use of the terms support, donation,​​ sponsor and related terms)


This lengthy web-text will be written and added in 2020.Subsections will consist of these topics:

  • On the use of the terms support, donation, sponsor and related terms

  • Data on amount of support and its development

  • Direct vs​​ indirect support

  • Justification(s) of government support. Welfare economical notions.

  • The soliciting of direct and indirect support

  • Evaluation of support by governments and donors

  • Differences between sectors of art production

  • (De)centralization of support


At present I can only insert a draft of the first subsection.


On the use of the terms support, donation, sponsor and related terms

What is​​ support​​ and what is not? First, in the book support is financial support and not moral support. One should, however,​​ keep in mind that the two are related. More financial support may, for instance, raise the prestige of an art company or an artist. Or, the artist may feel more self-assured. It is a form of recognition.​​ 

Second support is not market-support or maecenas-support or patron-support in general. If they contain a gift, only the gift is support. As said, the patron employs artists and the maecenas offers commissions; they pay artists for services. (It follows that in the book I will not speak of a market support​​ system or reward systems that are not financial.3)​​ 

Aside: A​​ commission​​ of art is a paid for order for the production of certain art to be handed to the commissioner. It is a purchase —the purchase of certain rights— but not a purchase in a market. Nevertheless, imagined markets exist.4​​ In practice, usually similar commissions are offered whose content and prices are compared.​​ 

Support can be​​ public support​​ and​​ private support. Public support is financial support offered by governments. All other support is private support.

If there are not many strings attached a subsidy could be called a donation, but this is unusual. In the book a​​ subsidy​​ is financial support which is directly or indirectly offered by a (local or central) government. A​​ donation​​ is offered by a​​ donor​​ who is a private person, a​​ private foundation​​ or a company. It is​​ private support. In the book a donation is a gift, while a subsidy is not.​​ 

Governments sometimes indirectly support art through​​ tax redemptions. This is called indirect subsidization.​​ Indirect subsidies​​ are part of public support. The part of donations that is indirectly financed by governments can probably best be counted as public support and not private support. This is a topic below.

Philanthropy​​ in the arts refers to the donation of money, usually in large amounts, to art companies and artists. Among others, governments indirectly support art through tax redemptions and subsidies for foundations supporting art.​​ Presently, the notion of​​ corporate social responsibility​​ is becoming popular. Often this extends to the arts. In this case the part of the transfers of money that is financial support can be high.

Aside: Certain​​ foundations​​ donate money​​ or subsidize artist companies and artist. Sometimes they receive all or almost all of their income from governments. In this case governments can be said to have delegated the distribution of subsidies to foundations which therefore subsidize rather than donate. These are​​ government foundations​​ and not​​ private foundations. Usually in the case of the former the presence of government representatives in the board of directors is obligatory. (When in the book I refer to foundations without explication these are private foundations and not government foundations.)

A​​ grant​​ is financial support or a sum of money offered by a government or other organization for a particular purpose. It can therefore be a subsidy as well as a donation. The same as in the case of​​ most subsidies there are​​ strings attached.

A​​ sponsor​​ is no donor or subsidizing government. Money offered by a sponsor is no donation or subsidy. A sponsor is involved in a market transaction. The sponsor buys goods (including services) from an art​​ company. Usually these are no artworks but art related goods. Most commonly this is advertisement space. —Increasingly there are markets for different forms of sponsorship [75].—

Aside: In practice the term sponsor is often used in other senses as well.5​​ This is confusing. On the one hand donors are sometimes called sponsors, as in the case of certain donation schemes of art companies. On the other hand, sponsors are sometimes called donors. This is attractive for sponsors because it suggests that the sponsor is a philanthrope: it adds to their prestige. (Sometimes mixed cases of sponsorship and philanthropy exist. The payment is larger than would be “market conform”​​ and contains a donation or gift.)

In practice the difference between sponsor-money and donation, i.e. between sponsorship and philanthropy matters. An example is that of BP and Tate Modern in London presenting the yearly financial support of BP as gift and philanthropy; this way allowing BP to cover up or “white-wash” its detrimental activities [67]. In 2016 the acceptance of the yearly donation by the museum called forward protests of artists. The museums said that they could not be accepted to refuse donations. Next protesters got hold of the contract between Tate Modern and BP, which made clear that BP bought advertisement space. It was a case of sponsorship and not gift-giving. Next, the exchange between BP and Tate Modern and later also between BP and​​ the Edinburgh Festival, was terminated.​​ 

Finally, the lines between several of these categories can be unclear. Strings attached to certain donations and subsidies can be so important that they may well be judged to fall in the category of purchases (including commissions). The opposite can also apply: a commissioner gives an artist so much freedom that the purchase could also be called a gift.



22. * Innovation in popular art.




23. Mainstream​​ art


(23) MAINSTREAM IS TABOO IN THE ARTS. SOME SERIOUS ART CAN BE CALLED MAINSTREAM. IT IS NEVERTHELESS TABOO, BECAUSE IT IS POPULAR AND LITTLE-DEMANDING. IN POPULAR MUSIC MORE PARALLEL (SUB)GENRES EXIST. For a proper​​ understanding of these theses and of the social economy of art, a proper interpretation​​ of the term mainstream and a comparison of mainstream in art and popular art is required.​​ 

Listening to people, the term mainstream is used in different and confusing ways. Some structuring is required. (Mainstream art is an under-researched topic in the​​ social sciences.6​​ The following is my own formulation, which, however, is in line with the most common uses of the term and with the, rather vague, descriptions of mainstream in sociological texts on popular music.7)

Mainstream art​​ is art that is​​ popular​​ as well as​​ undemanding​​ (or​​ easy), that is, given people’s​​ preliminary knowledge.8​​ Mainstream art is often also​​ predictable.​​ General mainstream​​ is undemanding for very large groups (usually also for different social groups), because preliminary knowledge is widely shared.​​ Genre-specific mainstream​​ is undemanding (or easy) and predictable for most people who are somewhat familiar with the genre. (It follows that popularity and easiness are relative.)​​ 

Mainstream works are often —but not always— imitations of​​ artworks by others, i.e. it is​​ imitation art; or it is art​​ in-the-style-of​​ other artworks, and as such​​ middle of the road. In such cases there is also much​​ repetition​​ and overlap.​​ Part of general mainstream art —but only part— contains elements of works in​​ a (sub)genre in a diluted (simplified) form.​​ 

Mainstream art is​​ meaningful. The same as in the lyrics of many operas and arias of old, part of the meanings in the lyrics of mainstream popular art is timeless. Another part changes regularly. The latter is​​ in line with contemporaneity in popular art. Every few years there is need for different messages and meanings. In the time of MeToo other meanings come to the foreground than during the financial crisis. ​​ 

If mainstream art is for sale it is not only popular and easy but usually also sells relatively well. That is, given the overall size of the market in which they are sold, which can be a world-wide market for a specific type of art, but also a market in a small country or region or a market segment. Many​​ works of Jeff Koons, Mozart and Justin Bieber are not only popular and easy; they are also best-sellers. —Thanks to reproductions certain works of Koons are popular among a very large and worldwide audience and sells well in a top segment of the overall visual art market.— All mainstream works are relatively popular and easy, but not all sell well, while some are not for sale. Until two decades ago the graffiti (stencils) of Bansky were very popular but not for sale.​​ 

Even though serious art lovers are​​ not inclined to say so, given the definition of mainstream some serious art is mainstream art. Within the classical/serious art-world, works by Mozart are very popular and given widely shared preliminary knowledge they are little demanding. They also sell​​ well in concert halls and as recordings. They are, moreover, popular and little demanding and thus mainstream among a much larger group, i.e. also among other social groups, and therefore​​ mainstream as well. Other social groups foremost listen (and sometimes buy) recordings. (In terms I use in Chapter 6 the classical evergreens are​​ much-shared, or otherwise,​​ well-shareable.)​​ 

This is not to say that going into details the works of Mozart or the so-called evergreens in classical music cannot be complicated.​​ They may even be complicated for expert consumers. But most works of art are layered and can be enjoyed by learned expert consumers with much free time as well as by less learned non-expert consumers. Sometimes artists are aware of this and appreciate it.​​ This applies, for instance, to Mozart as shows from one of his letters.9

The phenomenon that art can be enjoyed at various levels is not limited to difficult or alternative art. It is also possible in the case of mainstream art, like the music of Justin Bieber.​​ Anna, who is (or believes she is) an expert-consumer in the case of general mainstream popular music, can point to aspects in most of the music, which she notices and most of her friends do not notice. Because Anna has sufficient art luxury consumption space and is intrigued, she “schooled” herself in this kind of art, and unlike most of her friends she​​ enjoys the complex details which she notices. For her several works are complicated and demanding, and therefore extra enjoyable.10​​ 

Aside: If people are not​​ aware of such details —whether in Mozart’s music or in the well-produced music of some pop-singers— the details may still have an impact on their artistic experience. This certainly applies to the subtle differences in the voice of singers, whether in opera or popular music ​​ 

In the serious arts the association of mainstream with easiness as well as with popular art —which is thought to be easy and inferior— contributes to a taboo on the creation of mainstream art. Newly created serious art must be noticeable layered and complex; with the consequence that it can be shared among informed art lovers, but not with others and certainly not with common people.

An implicit assumption is that serious art lovers are expert-consumers, or otherwise, before too long, become expert consumers. But, the same as Anna’s friends, most serious art consumers have only limited time for art. Or, also common, they are expert consumer in one area of serious art, while also consuming serious art in other areas. Given that in the case of longer existing serious art the required preliminary knowledge is often widely shared, this is possible.

It is true that in popular music critics, expert consumers and many musicians,​​ judge the artistic quality of mainstream and best-selling works to​​ be low, like at the moment the works of Ed Sheeran. Most consumers agree, even though they may well listen to mainstream music. They point at less successful music whose quality they judge to be higher. Quality and success often do not correspond. An art meritocracy of works and artists does not exist in popular music and hardly anybody cares much about it. This is very different in the arts. Success must follow quality, and if it does not, this is experienced as painful.​​ 

This is not to say that in the worlds of popular art there never is disdain for mainstream popular art. That is, for mainstream art in general and for mainstream art containing diluted elements of works that are not or less mainstream —the latter, for instance, implies to much work of Ad Sheeran.{1}11 ​​​​ Especially when artists and art lovers​​ are involved in the latter, their disdain for mainstream is often​​ intense. (But usually this does not stop critics from consuming mainstream music and enjoying it. Their actual behavior is often not in line with their opinion.12)

Both in the arts and the popular arts, even though they may not admit it, many consumers enjoy mainstream art. One does not have to become an expert-consumer and spend much time on “learning” complex art. And not importantly, talking about favorite mainstream works one can communicate with many others, whether with the neighbors or with people at the other end of the world [77]. Whether one likes them or not, Hirst, Bieber and Ronaldo are all good for talk —while for those educated, their “works” can still be quite complex.)

In the published text I refer to the existence of more parallel (sub)genres in popular music than in serious music. In popular music a large number of parallel avant-garde circles coexist. In several, members are lower-middle class and in some, low class. They create many parallel but interrelated genres, subgenres and sub-subgenres. They have different names. (The collection of avant-garde popular art is often called underground or alternative art.) The sociologists Jennifer Lena and Richard Peterson researched 60 popular music genres in the early 20th​​ century in the United States.13​​ Within each genre several subgenres and sub-subgenres exist with different names. Inventors distinguish themselves by advertising a new name (or label) and for-profit producers sometimes go along. Along with developments in electronic sound equipment, since 1960 in electronic popular music —the Dance genre in a broad sense —, more than 200 innovative subgenres have been developed.​​ 

The difference with serious music is large. Much depends on the​​ definition of genre and subgenre, but given the elaborate and convincing definition of Lena and Peterson, in the early 20th​​ century there are far fewer parallel genres in contemporary classical-serious music, let alone sub-genres. Moreover, for a long time after their initial development their existence is only known among small audiences. The same applies to contemporary-art in other art forms, be it in a lesser degree.

The much larger number of popular music genres and the phenomenon that one relatively​​ fast replaces another testify of more contemporaneity in popular music [9]. It also explains that the innovation inherent in new genres in popular art tend to be less fundamental than in the serious arts. They, however, add up and in added form the overall​​ innovation can be just as fundamental. (An example is EDM.)

Over the last decades new serious art is widely shared and popular among various groups, also groups that do not participate in art-worlds. A possible difference with the period of serious art is, that in that period most artists did not intend their work to be accessible to very varied groups, while now in the more user-oriented domain in the arts some artists, almost certainly, create art while having a general popularity of their work in mind.​​ In this is respect old times are returning: before the period of serious art many artists wanted their work to be popular among a very large group.

32. Original, multiple, re-composition, art-in-the-style-of, replica, reproduction, production and related​​ terms.


ORIGINAL, MULTIPLE, RE-COMPOSITION, ART-IN-THE-STYLE-OF, REPLICA, REPRODUCTION, PRODUCTION AND RELATED TERMS. Correspondences and differences between these concepts matter for a study of the social economy of art in this and the following chapters.​​ I define and explain​​ them in this web-text. Students are advised to read this section. Others may scan or skip the web-text and, if necessary, return to it.

In this chapter and in sections in chapter 5 I argue that the visual and serious music art-worlds​​ tend to blow up the aura of originals while putting down (re)productions in larger series. It strengthens them in a way that is impossible in literature and film.​​ 

An original artwork or​​ original​​ is the work of art as created by a creative artist; he​​ takes responsibility for the work. Works like a painting, or the copies of a​​ multiple, like an etching, or the copies of a score, script and choreography are originals. Each of the performances of a score, script and choreography appears to be a re-produced original, but is a true original. A performance is both an instance of an original artwork as well as original in its own right.14​​ The conductor or director has a creative input. They are creative artists, and as such take responsibility​​ for the newly created artwork, the performance. It is an expressive authentic work of both the author and the conductor and director. (I do not use the term original in other senses. In practice the term is used in other ways as well.15)​​ 

Replicas​​ are precisely detailed reproductions of a work in the same medium as the original work. They may have been produced by the artist who created the original, or produced under his supervision, but they can also be copies made by others without his consent. (Given copy-right law they sometimes are illegal copies.) Around 2000 many hand-made replicas of well-known paintings are produced in China and sold in Western countries to, among others, hotels and restaurants. The market for this kind of paintings is very large.16 ​​​​ 

Aside: earlier the term replica only referred to exact copies made by the artist who also made the​​ original as well as copies made under his supervision. But nowadays, unauthorized precisely detailed copies of a work are also called replicas.​​ 

Reproductions​​ are exact copies of an original work in another medium. A sound recording of a performance and a​​ reproduction on paper of a painting are examples. Sometimes the term technical or mechanical is added to the term reproduction. The cultural critic Walter Benjamin speaks of mechanical reproduction; others of technical reproduction.17​​ 

Productions​​ differ from reproductions; they are originals. Only one instance may exist as in the case of a painting, but usually the term is used to refer to a series of artworks, like a series of performances or of a multiple, including multiples with a large to very large series size. Productions may be a re-composition of a single original but it is not a simple reproduction. Digitally produced (popular) music are productions and no reproductions. The series size of multiples can be small or large. Sometimes there is a natural limit as in the case of much graphic. —After circa 10 prints the plate of a dry-point etching can no longer be used.— Sometimes the size is, in theory, unlimited. Most productions in series are technically or mechanically produced. (Walter Benjamin does not distinguish between mechanical productions and reproductions, but as I shall show, the distinction matters, among others, for a discussion of the aura of artworks. [37])​​ 

As said, in this text​​ I regularly refer to originals, whether​​ an object, like a painting and etching, or a performance, as “live” art​​ and to reproductions and larger scale productions as​​ “not-live” art, even though the latter are literally originals. The art in museums is largely “live” art.

Because most recordings​​ of live and studio performances —including those of classical music— are manipulated before they are published, the line between a reproduction and a production is often not clear. In this the intention of the engineers can make a difference. In classical​​ music the intention is usually to produce a recording that is experienced as similar to that of a live performance as possible. They want to make so-called “real music” (Sometimes advanced techniques, including autotune, are used, as Anna found out.18) In popular music the intention is often to make a new original, that is, a reworking, a different arrangement or re-composition. Most​​ popular music “recordings” are clearly re-compositions and as such originals. Usually the main popular artist who performs the music takes responsibility for the recording, but not necessarily: not seldom the recording is the result of a collaboration between the artist and a producer, who is in fact also a creative popular artist. (Moreover, quite often now the production for the distributed sound-media precedes the live performed piece. The latter is a re-composition of the former.)​​ 

Re-compositions​​ are​​ artworks by living and dead artists that are based on existing artworks while having been created by an artist with the aim of producing a new original artwork. A recent example of a serious music re-composition is​​ Max Richter’s​​ Four Seasons.​​ Covers​​ in popular music are almost always re-compositions. An interesting common form of re-compositions are​​ re-makes​​ in film.)

Finally, two more categories of originals exist which are no reproductions. They matter for a discussion of mainstream art in web-text wt23.​​ First this is, what I call,​​ art-in-the-style-of.​​ It refers to an original artwork in which the​​ overall​​ style is that of works in a certain existing or earlier style. Examples are the “inferior-art” paintings in the style of Picasso and of 17th​​ century landscape paintings. They are popular. Second, my term​​ imitation art​​ refers to originals containing content and style elements of artworks by living and dead artists but without being a replica.19​​ —An example par excellence of imitation art are the​​ presently circulating free imitations of Damien Hirst’s​​ Spin Skull Painting​​ and of his skull prints.— These two kinds of art are common in galleries/shops and open-air​​ art markets, where inferior-art is sold. Especially imitation art was common before the serious art-period but is now taboo in the arts. In the case of music such taboo does not or hardly exist in popular music [23]. Finally, a special form of art-in-the-style-of exist in the popular arts, which is taboo in the arts. This is​​ retro art or recycled art​​ [23]. ​​ 



41. ** Low Incomes and measuring problems

Apart from the following sub-section this web-text is​​ forthcoming.


MEASURING PROBLEMS. In this first sub-section of the web-text I explain the notion of average or median values, as in “median income”, and I discuss various aspects one must keep in mind when examining data on artists. Students may be familiar with the various notions of averages discussed in​​ the first paragraphs, but reading the second part which treats measuring problems in the case of artists is advisable. If they wish, general readers can only scan the web-text.​​ 

I first explain the meaning of​​ average​​ or​​ median, as in “average income”.​​ Median​​ and​​ mean​​ are two kinds of​​ “averages”.20​​ The average income of a group of artists can therefore refer to a median​​ income as well as a mean income. Because in this book median values are far more​​ relevant and more often used than mean values, in this book the term average stands for median and not mean. The average (or median) value is the middle value. To give a (hypothetical) example: Within a group of artists in a certain year in a certain country, the average (median) income is $7000 per year, the average number of hours in a week, that they work as artist is 30 hours, and they have on average 1,4 second jobs. In that case 50% earns more and 50 % less than $7000, 50% works more and 50% less than​​ 30 hours and 50% has more than 1.4 second jobs and 50 % less. The last sounds strange but is nevertheless informative.​​ 

In case of a characteristic that is either present or absent not only the term average but also the term​​ typical​​ is used. For instance,​​ saying that the typical (or average) artist does not make, so-called, “commercial work” implies that the group of artists, who does not, is larger than the group who does. The majority makes no commercial-art. ​​ And instead of saying that the average number of second jobs of artists is 1,4, one may say that the typical artist has at least one second job —a phrase which is less strange.​​ 

Sometimes means (or​​ arithmetic averages) are presented as outcome of research. In the case of the income of a group of artists this is the sum of all individual incomes divided by the number of artists. The difference between a mean value and a median value can be large. If in the just mentioned group of artists there are a few who earn very high incomes, the mean can be much​​ higher; for instance, $14.000, i.e. double of the average income. Given a very, so-called,​​ skewed distribution​​ of income, the mean income of artists is usually considerably higher than the average income.​​ 

Looking carefully at data in reports sometimes only mean values are presented, while for the making of art policy decisions knowledge of the median income is almost always more relevant than that of the mean income.​​ 

Note that data in most research refer to the combination of established artists and popular artists. No distinction is made. —Gathering data is difficult and separating the two would make research even more difficult and the findings even more arbitrary.— By lack of data on the separate groups this also applies to most data and analyses presented in this chapter. Researcher do not mention this and this can lead to wrong conclusions.21​​ 

Reading the following sections, one has to keep in​​ mind, first that most data refer to artists in a broad sense, i.e. serious artists plus popular artists plus inferior artists. In this text, if not mentioned otherwise, not only the data but also their analysis applies to all artists. Second, in this text​​ and in most existing reports data on median, and not average incomes are presented. These can be very low, but this does not imply that there are no artists with very high incomes. For instance, most writers earn less than a minimum income, but the income​​ of a writer like J. K. Rowling, —the writer of the Harry Potter books— is very high. Her wealth (net worth) is around $1 billion. (I say more about high incomes in the arts and a-winner-take all mechanism in section 77.)​​ 

Third, the line between professional and amateur is always arbitrary. Depending on available sources in existing research the line is de facto chosen very differently. This has an impact on the results. More specifically data and analyses on performing artists and visual artists are often​​ based on samples of artists who followed official art education or on samples in which this group is much overrepresented. It follows that, given relevant research questions, the validity of these data can be very limited. census

Third, when statements are made about a group of people, like numbers of professional artists and their income, a line must have been drawn between those who belong to the group of artists and who​​ don’t.​​ Who is someone who falls in the category artist and who is quasi-artist? For​​ instance, in most research a concept-artist working in the game industry does not fall in the category artist. (But this may well change in the years to come. The notion of artist broadens. Far more problematic is the line between professional and amateur.​​ In practice, often depending on available data, researchers must have made a choice and drawn a line. They seldom do this in the same way, which makes results incomparable both at the same time and over time.​​ 

For various reasons outcomes based on census​​ data can be criticized. Nevertheless, the common use in census surveys of self-perception as definition of being-artist makes sense.22​​ 23​​ As said [14], being artist is a self-declared state. Most researcher and art theorists (as well as UNESCO) agree that,​​ in principal, self-perception should be decisive for a person being artist or not. ​​ 

Even though not all data presented in this text refer to this group, when without addition I use the term “professional artist” or “working artist” I refer to artists who would say that their primary occupation is art.​​ 

Especially when comparisons over time are made​​ it is necessary to put figure numbers in perspective. Suppose —this is hypothetical— between 1970 and 1990 the number of performing artists in England has risen with 25% and the demand for visits to art performances with 30%. —In that case art-worlds may well be enthusiastic about the growth in demand.— But what is not taken into account is that in the same period the population has grown, for instance, with 15%. Therefore,​​ these and related data may be misinterpreted. They should be replaced or supplemented by figures per inhabitant or by figures corrected for the growth in the population. Depending on the questions asked, other corrections may also be called for. For instance, developments in the demand for art may require a correction for the increase in average income of the population —which in turn has to be corrected for inflation. Another example is that of comparing overall cost of production of performances but not cost per visiting hours. —Cost of pop concerts in stadiums are much higher than of opera in a theatre, but per hour the latter are much and much higher.—​​ 

Finally, examining income data, one has to keep in mind that they usually refer to overall income and​​ not just to income of art work. In overall income the income from not art sources is included. This can, for instance be income from, better paid, second jobs, from social security, inherited money and partners who “subsidize” the artist. However, often also data exist on the income of artists from only their art work. In this case one has to keep in mind that the data on income from work almost always includes income from subsidies and grants. —Without explication this also applies to data I present in this section.—


Additions to section:

As said, published data are usually based on samples of artists in which only graduated artists are included or in which the group that has followed official art education is much overrepresented. Keeping this in mind a comparison with data on workers in professions that require the same level of previous training can be informative. The comparison shows that a, so called​​ earnings differential​​ exists: artists earn less than the others. Aside: Economists sometimes speak of​​ an​​ income penalty​​ instead of an earnings differential. This suggests that artists are “penalized” for being and remaining artist and for being, on average, poor. This is strange. There certainly are “happy poor artists”, be it possibly not as many as some​​ people think [44].

The value of such comparisons is anyway limited. Many artists never graduated, while a majority never followed any official art education —also not for a few years.24​​ Many of them come from lower class families. The actual income differential may well be (much) higher. (When median incomes of all artists are compared with that of little​​ educated or low-class workers, there still is an income differential: most artists earn less, but the difference is not that large.)​​ 

Research exists (with samples in which artists with (some) official art education are overrepresented), which shows that​​ the level of education of artists’ parents is higher than that of other higher educated professionals.25​​ Because in society at large levels of income and education tend to correspond, this makes the low incomes of artists even more peculiar. There can however be a relation. When the parents of artists are well-educated and well-to-do, becoming artists is less risky. (I expect that the majority of parents of artists not included in the research are also relatively well-to-to. If so, the same applies to many more artists.)​​ 

Almost all research shows that the number of artists grows much, more than corresponds with the growth of the population. The development in the reported number of art students in official art education is in line with this finding. —In the Netherlands in between 1960 and 2000 the number of students becomes five times as high.— Usually no distinction is made between established and popular artists in the data, but the development in the number of students in the for established art accredited art education institutes, and not in others, makes it very likely that not only in popular art but also in the established arts numbers have increased much, and far more than corresponds with a growth in demand of established art (not corrected for inflation).

In all art forms an indirect indicator of low incomes, large numbers and a possible oversupply of art is the percentage of artists with one or more second jobs, jobs that can indeed be art-related or not-art related. Examples of art-related jobs are teaching art or being a paid-for member of a committee deciding on grants. The higher the percentage of artists with one or more second jobs, the lower the average hourly income from art work is likely to be. As noted, the phenomenon that artists are multiple jobholders and have second jobs is not new, but it increases much after the middle of the 20th​​ century. Since circa 19** data is gathered in various country. It is likely that around 19** *% of professional artists has one or more non-art second jobs, while around **** this is **.26​​ 27​​ Aside: First, economists often speak of​​ multiple jobholding.28​​ Second, in his research the economist David Throsby started to make a distinction between art-related and not-art related second jobs.29 ​​​​ INSERT?​​ Forward/backward reference to s.​​ amateur artist?​​ 

Although the ways in which amounts of produced art are measured differ much, researches show a similar upward trend. The upward trend in supply does not keep up with the trend in the number of artists and in the demand for art. —Paid-for art being a luxury good, along with increasing prosperity, not only overall demand for art, including popular art but also demand per inhabitant has probably increased, but demand for most established art per inhabitant has certainly decreased [web-text wt​​ 82].— Important researchers maintain that in the course of the 19th​​ and 20th​​ century and most of all in the second half of the 20th​​ century the, what they call,​​ oversupply​​ or​​ excess supply​​ of art has​​ increased.30​​ (The latter​​ term excess supply is preferable given the negative connotation of the term oversupply.)​​ 

Aside: There are art theorists who argue that there is no oversupply. Depending on the chosen definitions they can be right. Saying that there is an excess supply of​​ art, economists have in mind that supply of paid-for art exceeds its demand —art being established as well as popular art. This includes free art in public space which governments, companies and others pay for. However, as these art-theorists argue, in theory a much broader definition of art can be used, with the consequence that there is not necessarily an oversupply of art. In this interpretation there also is supply and demand of not paid-for free art. Thinking in terms economists use, there is an imaginary demand for art-externalities and public goods [*19]. This applies to the large amount of art in public space that artists produce for free. But if people could have paid for this public art supply would have been larger. Mutatis mutandis this also applies to art-externalities. Speaking of oversupply economist usually do not take into account the possible demand and supply of these kinds of art. If they did oversupply would be smaller or there could be undersupply. (There are art theorists who use a much​​ broader definition of art, and this leads again to very different conclusions.31)

44. A distressful labor of​​ love?


Excurse. LOW INCOMES, LITTLE VOICE AND LITTLE RECOGNITION CAUSE DISTRESS. THE NOTION THAT ARTISTS ARE “COMPENSATED” BY AN UNUSUAL HIGH JOB SATISFACTION IS OFTEN NOT VALID. That the arts are extraordinary attractive implies that​​ expectations​​ are high and not necessarily that the benefits of being artist are high and come up to expectations. For some it does, for others it does not. It does not for most of the many artists who after having become artist are and remain poor.

First, for some readers a thinking in terms of “compensation” with its economic connotation, may be a bridge too far. Also social scientists may not like thinking in terms of compensation. But many economists do. Reasoning like these economists, one could argue that artists have chosen to be poor. They chose to be ‘poor and happy’. When deciding to become artists, they imagined that they would be compensated for their low incomes by non-monetary forms of remuneration, like work enjoyment and status. Implicitly, such an opinion follows from thinking in terms of exchange: artists are willingly exchanging money for other rewards.​​ 

But this is not the way people act. At best, they may somewhat weigh short-term costs and benefits. The assumptions of neo-classical human capital theory are incorrect - artists (and others) certainly do not estimate and weigh lifelong financial income and non-monetary income while taking into account overall costs of, among other things, training. Nevertheless, when we forget about rational choice and look at artists from outside, the notion of compensation or lack of compensation makes sense. I would argue that artists are not compensated for low income. The hardship of artists appears to be real and considerable. In the case of excited young artists, the low income may be somewhat compensated, but only a few years after leaving art school, compensation starts to diminish. Whereas an average lawyer is neither poor nor unsuccessful, the large majority of artists are poor, regard themselves as unsuccessful and are​​ regarded by others as unsuccessful as well. This does not worry starting artists but, over time, many artists start to consider themselves as failures, even though they will not easily admit this openly.

That the arts are extraordinary attractive implies​​ that​​ expectations​​ are high and not necessarily that the benefits of being artist are high and come up to expectations. For some it does, for others it does​​ not. It does not for most of the many artists who after having become artist are and remain poor. It​​ has been argued that low incomes are, at least partly, “compensated” by non-monetary benefits and in particular by an unusual high work satisfaction. But, unlike economists may be inclined to think: the fact that it takes a long time before poor artists decide to stop being a professional artist does not prove that they are compensated for hardship.

Presently doing research on the motivation and work satisfaction of “creatives” is popular. Some research shows that creatives are more intrinsically motivated​​ than non-creatives; others that they have a higher work-satisfaction. But the latter does not have to apply to artists: artists form an extra-ordinary subgroup of creatives. There, nevertheless, is research that shows that the job satisfaction among artists is also high and possibly higher than that of other creatives.32​​ This suggests that artists are compensated for their low incomes. (For methodological reasons the existing research on the job satisfaction of artists is inadequate. Findings can be and probably are wrong.33)​​ 

I have the impression that some researchers are happy with their findings. The very low income of artists, and increasingly also of creatives —an income that over the last decades in the​​ lower echelons of the cultural industries is becoming only lower— is for many people a matter of concern. Since research “shows” that both groups are compensated for low income by more job satisfaction, there is no reason for worry about the social economic position of creatives and artists (let alone for guilty feelings).34​​ 

Compensation is related to the idea of above average intrinsically motivated artists. This notion has  ​​​​ been around for a long time and may not be wrong but is probably exaggerated. Artists are thought to have an “inner-drive”, and the artist’s work is “a labor of love”. The recurring emphasis on intrinsic motivation may well serve a similar purpose as the notion of compensation. As long as we see to it that artists can survive, they will do their “good” work, irrespective of income. The notion of intrinsic motivation promotes the​​ believe that artists are immune for the way they are treated by others. Artists will produce art and are happy, also when they earn very little money.

Various notions of intrinsic motivation exist, but what they have in common is a suggestion that people can reward themselves. Ultimately this is impossible. Rewards are relational. Humans are social beings; they relate to one another and respond to one another. Artists are no exception. Financial rewards as well, have a direct or indirect relational dimension. The artist knows or imagines people who pay for his work, and if he gets his work across, he has​​ voice; he relates to others. (Social scientists sometimes speak of “psychic income”, instead of non-monetary rewards. I prefer not to, because the term can​​ easily be associated with self-reward.35)​​ 

The average artist has, what some​​ economists call, an “earnings penalty”. Suggesting that artists are “penalized” for being and remaining artist and being, on average, poor, is strange. It is therefore preferable to speak of an​​ earnings differential​​ as some other economist do. This is the​​ difference between the median (average) income of artists and that of comparable professionals. As noted, the median income of creative artist is very low and the difference (or penalty) is therefore high. The fact that the difference is large, makes it unlikely that in the case of the majority of artists there is full​​ compensation. Artists may be passionate; they are no saints. Non-monetary rewards undoubtedly exist, but so do non-monetary costs.​​ 

Compensation is anyway unlikely. The hardship of the average artists is real and considerable. In the case of still excited young artists, their low incomes may be somewhat compensated, but already a few years after having started to work as artist compensation starts to diminish. Only in the case of the small percentage of artists who become well-recognized monetary and non-monetary rewards will increase and possible hardship is more than compensated. This does not apply to the average artist. And whereas an average lawyer is neither poor nor unsuccessful, the average artist is poor, is not recognized by his art world (sometime with the exception of family, friends and a small circle around him) and has little voice. He may well regard himself as failure —even though he will not easily admit this openly.

I first briefly discuss factors that promote work satisfaction among average artists and which are less important in other professions. Next, I make plausible that the overall work satisfaction of the average artist is less than people often think. In the present context it is useful to distinguish satisfaction​​ with the job​​ and the satisfaction a person has​​ while actually working in the job, i.e. performing, working in one’s studio or office while creating art objects, writing scores and manuscripts, and so forth.

Non-monetary rewards from​​ having​​ an art job can be manifold.36​​ One, which is often mentioned, can follow from a​​ being an independent worker (or “self-employed”).37​​ This has, however, one major disadvantage: fluctuating income and thus job insecurity. Whether or not benefits of being independent outweigh such cost depends on the person and his situation. (Note that independence does not imply that the reward is not relational. On the contrary.) The above average high status of artists, which follows from “being artist” and creating art that has much goodness, often also represents a non-monetary reward.

Given what has been said in the previous two sections, a being able to express oneself and be authentic, and a corresponding status of being special can also represent rewards. An important thesis in this​​ part of the book is that artists can, possibly more than others, and also more than other creatives, express themselves. Such factors can result, among others, in more job satisfaction. But expressing oneself is only rewarding if others notice the expressions and the artist has​​ voice.

Doing “fieldwork” or just listening to artists who one knows, they appear to like their work. Even though they know that this is the answer people want to hear, they may well be honest. But people are seldom consistent; later,​​ in a conversation, artists may well refer to the extreme competition among artists, which they do not like at all, or to how bad they felt when they did not receive a subsidy or grant.

In all professions not receiving extras, like a bonus, is painful but​​ it is extra painful in the arts. Any reward or punishment, from praise and criticism of one’s work to sales or no sales, and a subsidy or no subsidy is loaded with value. This is the consequence of the extreme goodness of art, as well as often the very personal nature of the product. Nothing is neutral. And artists are the first to experience this. It causes confusion.​​ As said, after graduating Anna’s first application for a subsidy was rejected. She was very disappointed; and in such degree that it was only four years later that she applied again. The continuing frustration or pain was so large that she wanted to save herself from a possible rekindling of it by a new rejection. Nevertheless, with others and colleagues she spoke lightly about it and felt that way.​​ 

Anna’s experience is no proof of distress in the arts. My own experiences based on 50 years of conversations with creative artists in various artforms can also not serve as proof. Good research on the topic must be based on in-depth interviews. As​​ far as I know, such research is non-existing.​​ Therefore, I mention what, over a period of 50 years, I noticed in my conversations with little or only somewhat successful creative artists with low incomes. (Such artists form the large majority of artists.)​​ 

I observed that the most important causes of distress are a​​ lack of recognition​​ and​​ little voice. The third cause is a​​ low overall income. No or little recognition is foremost a lack of​​ art-world recognition. Little voice implies that one’s work is hardly​​ noticed. There are few sales or few occasions on which one’s work is performed. A low income restrains artists in making good art. It also prevents them from living a somewhat normal life. (Just like most other people many artists are conformists and certainly no bohemians.)​​ 

Voice and income are related. Income gives artists artistic​​ autonomous space​​ enabling them to make relatively​​ autonomous and expressively authentic​​ art and raise their​​ self-esteem. And if the artist has enough autonomous space, he can​​ make meaningful own works and possibly have​​ voice: “My work matters. I as a person matter.” If he does not have such space this can well be distressing.​​ 

With so much excess supply there inevitably is much and severe competition for recognition, voice and​​ income. It is not accidental that artists easily blame other artists, who quickly become successful, for cheating and unfair competition. They are thought to have profited from favoritism —for instance, knowing people in committees— or, worse, to have compromised in their work. As we shall see [among others 70], many different forms of blaming and being blamed exist in the art. They as well testify of the large moral weight of anything to do with art.​​ 

Compensation is anyway unlikely. The hardship of most​​ artists is real and considerable. In the case of still excited young artists, their low incomes may be somewhat compensated, but already a few years after leaving art school compensation starts to diminish. Only in the case of the very small percentage of​​ artists who become recognized there can be considerable compensation. But this does not apply to the average artist. And whereas an average lawyer is neither poor nor unsuccessful, the average artist is poor, is not recognized by his art world (sometime with the exception of family, friends and a small circle around him) and has little voice. Most often he regards himself as a failure —even though he will not easily admit this openly.

It is interesting to note that in spite of severe competition there is also much solidarity among artists.​​ At one stage Anna had a dealer who once a year invited all “his” artists for a dinner. Usually some 30 were there. Anna remembers them as wonderful events. They had lots of fun, were interested in each other’s work and made jokes about each other’s good fortune and misfortunes.​​ Being as artist among artists it is easy to experience pleasant feelings of solidarity. On the one hand one together believes to be victim of societal evils and on the other to be absolute winner by​​ being a professional artist creating art, art, that is thought to have so much goodness. Poor or rich, unsuccessful or successful one feels being member of a select company and most non-artists agree that the company is special and envy the members.

All in​​ all, it is understandable that artists themselves are confused when having to answer questions about their present and past situation, about how their career in the arts developed and how this affected them. As said, no proof can be offered on artist being or not being compensated for low income and for the distress which low income brings. However, in the course of the following chapters I will give many examples of distress which makes it highly plausible that artists are not compensated or only partly.​​ As we shall see [70], an important source of distress is being blamed for being “commercial”. Due to low income many artists have no choice but making also commercial-art.

But, if artists are not compensated: why do not fewer people become artists; and, once having become artist, why do not more artists leave the arts? If this would happen, oversupply would disappear and incomes would rise. (Economists think in terms of movements towards an equilibrium. They may therefore judge the present situation as instable. But it evidently is relatively stable.)

What has been said in the previous two sections explains that many youngsters want to become artists. They expect major benefits. Parents and friends also believe in the benefits. And “confused” artists do little to correct the rosy perspective. Art must not and cannot be disappointing.​​ A few times During the years Anna taught life drawing in her private drawing class, a few times she caught herself​​ stimulating an exceptionally good amateur to go to art school.​​ But afterwards she regretted her irresponsible advice.

Aside: Performing artists may experience different forms of promise as well as later distress than creative artists. For most conservatory students finding a job playing in a large orchestra is the most important goal; a goal that is much stimulated by teachers. Consequently, there is severe competition. They probably are aware of this. But —what they earlier did not hear or rather did want to hear— the job turns out to be physically very demanding and​​ hardly creative. Playing in an orchestra, musicians have very little autonomous space. The large sick leave among musicians is significant. Most however do not soon leave the orchestra job. It is only recently that musicians start to stop earlier.

A majority of artists —including recognized artists— did not follow official art education. (At present the number of professional artists or “working artists” that has followed official art education is very low. In the US only 16% of them has a bachelor degree in the arts; they are “arts graduates”.38) Moreover, nowadays, relatively many art students choose not to become artists after their graduation. (Often, they had a plan B and followed also other education.) Moreover, many graduated​​ artists leave the arts within a few years.39​​ As far as I know, no data exists on the average duration of an artist’s career. Nevertheless, given the large number of artists and much excess supply, more artists remain artists than one would​​ expect. Therefore, the question remains: why do artists not leave the profession earlier or remain artist given their low incomes and limited job satisfaction?​​ 

Failing as artists is worse than failing in other professions. The same as prospective artist​​ imagine a wonderful future, artists considering to stop imagine all sorts of evils. Only considering to leave can already bring along an experience of shame and sometimes even feelings of guilt. Failing after having been “called” and being privileged, is shameful. Remaining artist and be poor, feels less like failure than leaving. The imagined costs of leaving can be said to be high, higher than the imagined benefits. But the same as at the gate which gives access to the profession, at the exit expectations​​ can also be wrong. Several ex-artists told me that after deciding to leave they felt much relieve, and, even though they had not found a really well-paid non-art job, the jobs they found paid more, were interesting and brought considerable job satisfaction.40

The existing art ethos is demanding. Being artist is a privilege as well as a duty. There is a duty to serve art. The artist cannot just forget about his duty and leave the arts. He has not only the right, but also the duty to make art, an art that is morally good. In a related meaning of the term duty: by accepting a low income an artist pays “duty”; possibly to render homage to an imagined sacred object, art or the world of art.

Finally, it is interesting to note that there exists a very large group of young artists —mainly pop musicians— who seem to believe that, whatever they do, they will never “make it” and will be able to make a reasonable living as​​ artist: “So why care?” They have given up, and so feel free to stop caring. “If there is anyway no income, why not make just true art and be true to oneself, and get some satisfaction out of it.” In this respect they resemble the bohemians of old, with the difference that many of the latter were not really poor. They make little efforts to sell work or find gigs, they do not start to make somewhat more user- or supporter-oriented art and also do not look for interesting and/or well-paid second jobs. They manage to survive as artist thanks to a very low standard of living, badly paid second jobs and a little help of others, usually parents.​​ 

This group of careless artists maintains —honestly or not— that everything is fine, and that they don’t care about money. They, nevertheless, suffer. This is what I noticed in my conversations with young visual artists and popular music musicians who clearly belong to this group. Some had left and admitted that it had been no fun. (I also noticed that for several the “I don’t care attitude” was a form​​ of not caring for society, a society which did not care for them. It was a form of protest which had little to do with art. But making art at least allowed a form of self-expression.)​​ 

At present a very large group of such artists exists in popular music; a group whose relative size may well be larger than it has ever been in the serious visual arts. But also for this group of careless pop musicians, with time having a very low income increasingly causes distress. It is therefore understandable that the large majority of them leaves the arts within ten years.​​ 

(In the visual arts, of the few artists who continue, later on one or two become famous and much admired as freaks. They turn into cult figures. Documentaries are made about them —and shown on ARTE and similar quality channels. Their existence is attractive because it keeps the image of the very poor, but passionate and expressively authentic artist alive.)

Aside: First, even though by now there is ever more accredited art​​ education in popular music, following official education is still not common in popular music and can be a disadvantage, this partly explains that in comparison with an increase in consumer demand the number of popular musicians still increases more than​​ demand, with the effect that more of them after some years stop being a professional musician. Second, the emergence of accredited popular music education, first in the US and Britain, and later also in continental Europe can be interpreted as a process of​​ professionalization in popular music.

Be this as it may,​​ over the last decades, most aspiring artists are less easily fooled than before. They know that their perspectives are bad. This certainly applies to artists who chose to be educated in one or more​​ other disciplines as well. Moreover, many practicing artists no longer romanticize the own profession. They, moreover, realize that they don’t have to be stuck in an apparently inevitable situation and believe that changes are possible, also without leaving the arts. This shows, among others, from numerous comments and blogs on social media. It certainly shows from artists forming groups to collectively protest against those who clearly contribute to their bad economic situation. They, for instance, accuse​​ non-profit museums for not properly paying them for their services. I say more about these groups in web-text wt45 in which I discuss the exploitation of artists.

Aside: much of what has been said in this section about artists, may also apply to the “semi-artists” who run marginal art-companies, commercial-galleries, art-spaces, venues and so forth. Many of such institutions exist only for a few years.


45. Exploitation​​ of poor artists

(45)​​ Over the last decades: PRECARITY AMONG ARTISTS INCREASES. THE​​ ATTRACTION OF BEING ARTIST LEADS TO INCREASING EXPLOITATION OF SERIOUS ARTISTS BY NONPROFITS AND EXPLOITATION OF POPULAR ARTISTS BY FOR-PROFITS.41​​ Further commercialization, in the arts as well as popular art, probably has added to exploitation. Increasingly groups of “entrepreneurial” artists protest against inner-artworld exploitation. And increasingly with success. (This web-text may interest all readers and in particular artists.)

The​​ level of preliminary education of artists is relatively high [41 and wt-41]. —Among those who do not have a higher education degree the large majority graduated from a high level secondary school.— ​​ When the income of the average (medium) artist is compared with that of other professionals with an, on average, same level of preliminary education, the income of the average artist is much and much lower [41 and wt-41]. Also when omitting artists, the medium income of workers in the cultural industries is probably also lower than that of professionals with the same level of preliminary education, but certainly not as low as that of artists. Aside: Working in the cultural industry is relatively attractive, but working as artist is evidently still more attractive. Given the​​ increasing number of underpaid trainees in the cultural industries, the medium income of the workers, who are not artist, is probably decreasing, but medium income is still higher than that of artists.​​ 

In art circles it is sometimes argued that the already longer existing​​ precarity​​ among creative artists is of the same nature and has the same causes as the increasing precarity of the ever-growing army of self-employed people in our new gig economy, from building laborers to people cycling for Deliveroo. This is partly true in the case of performing artists, but in spite of some correspondences the precarity of most creative artists started much earlier and has other causes.42

Sometimes art theorists go a step further and argue that after the war the arts served as a kind of laboratory for the new, more human modes of production which emerged, but which gradually also increased precarity. I think it unlikely that capitalists learned from the arts. This is not the way capitalism develops.43

Aside: I do not altogether trust the motives of some people in the art establishments who earn normal to high incomes, and who point to capitalism and post-Fordism​​ as the main culprit. This way they keep themselves out of range and can exhibit a progressive stance. Moreover, it enables them to victimize the arts again.

When there is excess supply of art offered by creative artists, it is inevitable that many of them​​ experience hardship and feel that they have “failed”. Also many leave the arts disillusioned [Wt-44]. Hardship and failure in the arts are essential for the existence and maintenance of the high symbolic value of art, that is, the exceptional prestige of art in society. If artists are so dedicated that they are willing to be poor and possibly fail, something very precious must be at stake. After all, artists appear to sacrifice themselves for this sacred object called art. And measured in money terms they excessively internally subsidize their activities. The high symbolic value of art is not solely founded on poverty in the arts and the generosity of artists, but poverty certainly is one of its foundations. Without poverty among artists the symbolic value of art would be less high and the association with art would bring less distinction.

What applies to creative artists, increasingly applies to performing artists as well. Because performing artists in larger ensembles are employees who as group have more power than individual artists and can negotiate, their incomes are low but not very low. Or employers must at least pay the minimum wage. But over the last decades their bargaining power has gone down, while, employers have found ways to employ them without​​ offering longer term contracts. The same as most creative artists they have become independent workers. In our gig economy they are no exception. Now many more “independent” workers depend on trust relations with incomes that resemble gifts or gratuities.​​ They as well have to be thankful. In a neo-liberal environment commercialization in the form of a fanatic pursuit of profit —or income in the case of nonprofits— by lowering labor cost of the weakest parties has contributed to this development.​​ 

Because the labor of artists is structurally used without adequate compensation there is​​ economic exploitation, but this does not imply that a single group can be held responsible. A system like this, which rests on the poverty of many of its participants, is reproduced by everybody involved, including the exploited. One way or another every group has some interest in its maintenance or believes it has an interest. The distinction that follows from the association with art does not only go to a well-to-do art establishment or to art lovers in general, it also goes to poor artists. Moreover, given their low income their rejection of commerce is sometimes more credible than that of other participants. Poor artists may well be aware and even proud of their special position. But for many of them, and most of all those who have been poor for some time, the symbolic benefits do not take away hardship. Seen​​ from outside it are people in the establishment and art lovers who benefit most from the low incomes in the arts. They,​​ de facto exploit artists and can be blamed for this.​​ 

Aside: The concept of economic exploitation used in this text refers to a structural use of people’s labor without adequate compensation. This is not necessarily the same as the Marxist concept of exploitation. The latter refers to an entire segment or class in society being exploited by another.

Aside: In any profession similar relations exist. The difference is a matter of degree. (Priesthood used to be a profession in which the incomes of some were very low, while the financial and other benefits of a few were high.) But at present in the professions of other knowledge workers the symbolic value of the core activity is much lower and thus is the interest in workers having low income. Moreover, seen from the outside, persistently low incomes in other professions are neither in the interest of professional elites nor capitalists. Flexibility is profitable, but persistently low incomes and poverty are not, at least not in highly industrialized countries. Capitalism needs consumption and not only consumption of the rich.

In a situation of excess supply, the bargaining power of the average artist is very limited. This largely explains average low incomes in both the serious and the popular arts. At least until recently, the de facto “willingness” to work for low incomes is high. But differences exist between the nonprofit and for-profit sectors in the arts and popular art.

Unlike for-profits in the popular arts nonprofits in the arts emphasize that they “serve​​ art”. They prick on the artist’s conscience by telling artists: “We serve art. You should serve art, the same as we do.” “We may earn more money than we need to continue our activities but we spend it on art.” —A case of internal subsidization [72].— In other words: “art for the sake of art and not for the sake of money.”​​ 

The result is that many non-profit art companies pay ridiculously low fees or no fees at all. Sometimes they even let artists pay for being able to perform or show their work by letting​​ them pay for transport, frames, stage-props and so forth; all for art’s sake.

In spite of all talk and fine words about the goodness of art, in practice this leads to a mentality of​​ for art anything is okay. Due to the high value of art, a belief exists in​​ the arts, among artists as well as art institutions, that everything which serves art is good. The slogan is: ‘everything for art’. However, the consequence is also an​​ anything goes. Typical artists are ready to give up income and sacrifice a lot to get their works across, also when this way they harm their colleagues who demand proper payment. On the other side institutional functionaries believe that if their institutions serve art, they are justified to offer artists low or no payments at all.​​ 

It follows that many poor artists let themselves be underpaid and exploited by nonprofits. When it comes to serving art, they trust that non-profits behave better than for-profit organizations. They also believe in an​​ everything-for-art​​ while, while at the same time, they desperately attempt to become noticed; for future income or recognition, but even more for art. The extreme willingness of passionate artists to work for very low incomes enables a​​ Wild West economy​​ in the arts. There is extreme and unrestrained competition. However, since this goes against the belief in the goodness of art, it remains hidden or is denied and, likewise, many poor artists do not want to see it.

Artists and non-profit organizations often cooperate in keeping costs and income down by​​ paying no, or very low, fees. The initiative for this can come from either side. For instance, a small theater company may approach the director of a non-profit telling him that they understand that he has a limited budget and that therefore they are, of course, willing to play for free if (in exchange) he will include them in his program. Or the director takes the initiative. He really wants the group in his festival. Therefore, he explains to them that he has, of course, a very limited budget, but that he​​ is willing to have them on his program and pay part of the transport costs, as long as (in exchange) they do not expect payment.

Aside: First, another explanation for this behavior could be that, by working for low incomes artists invest in a future in which they will be properly remunerated, or even become very successful. Some​​ artists probably believe this is the case, or they are made to believe so, and this can partly explain their behavior, but because their chances are so small it is not at all a realistic investment. Second, It is common that interns get paid less in the arts than elsewhere. Therefore, a similar but less extreme mechanism exists in their case. Because interns have a small but nevertheless much larger chance than artists to find comfortable jobs in the arts sector, the investment is less irrational. In their case a willingness to work for low or no income could make sense.

All such behavior in the arts leads to what can be called unfair competition. For instance, fringe festivals that​​ often behave badly harm other non-profit festivals that (try to) behave more decently. Likewise, artists who deliberately take less money than would have been possible harm artists who refuse to do so. In either case, the decent party may be forced to become more indecent or otherwise stop its activities. Another telling but less shocking example are the numerous competitions with no compensation for participating artists, with prizes which only come in the form of some recognition and publicity. Again another example is the common practice of inviting artists to offer work or services for free for charity auctions or events. And poor artists are willing to do so. These behaviors also demonstrate a de facto taking advantage of a group that is already in a weak position.

All these phenomena are also present in the commercial popular arts. There as well it happens that artists are told that working for a low income is a profitable investment and that they should be happy with any remuneration, whatever low it may be. A major difference between the two sectors is, however, that in day-to-day operations, often standards of proper business behavior exist which do not exist in the non-profit sector. For instance, in most countries, publishers pay no less than 10% (and now 7%) of their whole sale price in royalties. Publishers pay 10% (and now sometimes 7%) of wholesale prices to literary authors and not less. If fiction writers are prepared to accept lower or no royalties, or are willing to pay in order to have their​​ work published, publishing houses generally refuse these arrangements. (Maybe this is changing over the last decade.44)

Another example is that of commercial dealers participating in art fairs. Artists are often prepared to pay part of the cost of the stall if the dealer will exhibit their work at the fair. Going along dealers could pass part of the risk on to the artist. But in most fairs and countries this is not done. Violators are shamed.

The situation is, anyway more transparent than in the case of most non-profits. The commercial companies are after profit and do not hide this. Because of the transparency they do not particularly prick on the artist’s conscience.​​ 

This is not to say that commercial firms that operate outside the arts do not take advantage of artists’ weak bargaining position. For instance, when the services of both an artist and a graphic designer are required for a project in the cultural industries, generally the artist gets paid less than the graphic designer. But market forces come first and not a call on the artist’s conscience. Moreover, the weak bargaining position of the artist is not caused by these industries but by the ethos of artists and art institutions, which is reproduced within the art world.

Art consumers also profit financially from the willingness of passionate artists to work for low incomes. If artists and interns who are artists would only work for decent incomes, ticket prices would be higher as would be the average price of exhibitions, like those of the Documentas.​​ 

The differences in the​​ causes of the exploitation of poor artists and of other knowledge workers and differences in the ways they are exploited, can have consequences for possible strategies of resistance. For instance, the promotion of a new art ethos, which allows or even encourages the pursuit of also non-artistic goals, like reaching a larger audience, striving for political change and making a profit, and more generally a more entrepreneurial attitude among artists, could well represent an important form of resistance against exploitation in the arts while, in other sectors of​​ knowledge production, this could be a giving way to neo-liberalism, which only serves the interests of capitalists.

In my view it is essential that critical artists and art theorists who want to​​ fight against exploitation in the arts revise their negative attitude towards moderate forms of entrepreneurship and a pursuit of profit in the arts, certainly if it concerns creative artists, who, after all, run small enterprises. The pursuit of non-artistic goals including the making of some profit, and thus operating actively in markets, does not have to go together with an embrace of capitalism and private property. What matters in the struggle against exploitation in the arts is not a noncommittal adherence to criticism of capitalism, but down to earth action.​​ 

A good example of the latter is the certification of art institutions that pay proper fees to artists. If they don’t, they run the risk of being shamed and, as a consequence, their reputation is​​ tarnished. Presently in New York, the artist’s coalition W.A.G.E. actively and successfully pursues a certification scheme of visual art non-profit organizations.45​​ Gradually, certification could be extended to for-profit organizations, from galleries to commercial festivals. These and other concrete actions may well contribute to the gradual installment of standards of proper business​​ behavior, also among non-profit organizations who presently appear to believe that, for art, ‘anything goes’. (Certification works better than formal government regulation, because regulation is experienced as just another legal obligation, while both parties willingly and actively take part in certification.)

Most importantly, it would be useful for artists to develop a professional ethos and a mindset that prohibits working for ridiculously low incomes. They should increasingly refuse to do so and make clear to their customers and intermediaries, including art institutions, galleries and impresarios, that if they underpay artists, they can no longer count on their services. Since this often goes against the short-term interest of individual artists, it would, indeed, require a different mindset and practices, new forms of solidarity and maybe even shaming of artists who offer their services for little or no renumeration.​​ 

However, at least until recently, the main causes of the artist’s continually precarious and exploited condition rest in art education. Here, the detrimental “everything for art” mentality of artists is (re)produced. In order to change this situation, the mindset of teachers has to change fundamentally. Less emphasis on autonomy and an art​​ for the sake of art and more on the possibility and attractiveness of having multiple goals is essential. (So far, the new curricula for instruction in cultural entrepreneurship primarily enable other teachers – the majority – to carry on in the old way.)


46. * Underrepresentation​​ of groups of consumers and producers.



53. Disdain for Recordings


(Wt 53) IN THE 20TH​​ CENTURY THERE IS DISDAIN FOR MUSIC RECORDINGS. PARTLY BECAUSE THE SALE OF RECORDINGS IS, UNTIL RECENTLY, PROFITABLE A TABOO NEVER​​ EXISTED. Already around 1950 listening to recordings of serious music on the radio and on records is, per listening hour, much cheaper than in the case of live performances. The earlier rotating cylinders of the phonograph and 78 rpm discs were still expensive but this no longer applies to radios,​​ especially the transistor radio, record and cassette players and later CD players and their corresponding sound media. Some decades later than in the case of radios watching to registrations of concerts, operas and ballets on television become affordable for most people. With time several other media are added. By now, most important is streamed music and videos.​​ 

Since first radios and next record players have become affordable also lower-class people listen to cheap serious music broadcasts and records without ever going to live concerts in concert halls. For them the latter are too expensive and no substitute for recordings. They are de facto excluded from live music performances. But also if prices would be much lower, like they are in museums, the number of their visits would hardly increase due an unattractive atmosphere.​​ 

The net effect of cheap registrations of ballet and theatre on television and, in the case of ballet, also on video cassettes is most likely an increase of visits by those who can afford them than a decrease. A decrease is unlikely because registrations are clearly inferior and more inferior than in the case of music.{5}46​​ In the case of cheap music recordings and the relatively expensive live music performances the long-term net effect has probably been a reduction in visits, but this is not certain.47​​ In the 1950s Anna’s parents each Wednesday went to the weekly performance of the local orchestra, but in the 60s only once every month, while listening at home increased much. But Anna also noted that friends of the family started to visit concerts after first have been listening regularly to recordings.​​ 

It is, unlikely that only fear for a reduced demand for live performances, can explain the disdain for recordings. After the initial enthusiasm about the new music recordings, it is foremost the low technical quality of recordings that is much emphasized, that is, up to the middle of the 20th​​ century.{6}48​​ Since then the quality of recordings is much better. What is most important are economic factors, but compared with the visual arts they have an opposite effect. The recordings are financially interesting for artists and ensembles. Recordings increase overall income while reproductions​​ reduce it. For many decades, the selling of records and broadcasts of music performances much increase the overall return of orchestras. Selling records is very profitable. It raises the incomes of conductors, managers and some soloists. With time it is also increasingly used for​​ internal subsidization. Thanks to the additional income from the sale of recordings the provision of live serious music can be continued in spite of higher cost and lower demand.​​ 

There is, however, a problem: recorded music is stored and can be listened to for many years. When recordings of new interesting performances of the same music pieces appear, pieces they already have in their collection, the small group of fanatic expert-consumers sometimes update their collection, but the majority of buyers do not.49​​ They may not even notice the differences.

What, however, made a difference for many consumers, is a technological innovation: that of the CD. The CD brings along a well noticeable higher sound-quality, and also more ease of use. In the 1980s and 90s, this leads to a major replacement and a very welcome increase in the income of orchestras. But not for long. As soon as collections have been replaced, sales drop dramatically. (Since people​​ ever more listen to and pay for music streams, income from sales could have increased again, but by now the​​ interest in classical music has much gone down, and more significantly, the conservative large orchestras do not promote streams on the popular platforms. Given the continuing wish to insulate established art separate serious music platforms have been established, but these are/were unsuccessful.)​​ 

That there is more disdain for technical reproduction in the visual art-world than in the serious music art-world visual art-world can therefore be explained from financial motives. For a long time there, nevertheless, is some disdain, and there certainly is praise for the live performance. The inferiority of recordings in comparison with the live events is much emphasized. Unlike in the visual art with its museums, the vested interest of the art-world establishment in the art-building, the education institutes and indirectly in the large orchestras with their high prestige are much higher. Therefore, the superiority of the live experience is much emphasized. Since, due to new recording and manipulation technologies, superb recordings are available, saying that their quality is low is no longer possible, but, given the continuing obsession with authenticity, emphasizing that live performances are authentic and recordings are not, is effective. Even more effective is​​ emphasizing the here-and-now experience in the halls, which can indeed intensify an artistic experience. But the fact that recordings necessarily have attractive musical and other qualities of their own is ignored.​​ 

Instead of recordings that resemble the​​ live performance as much as possible, deliberately different recordings could have been created: rearrangements and slight re-compositions. This is common in popular music. Two attractive artistically different products are simultaneously sold: live performances and slightly different records; and because the degree of substitutability of the two is lower than in classical music, overall sales are higher. The exorbitant strife for authenticity prevents such practice. Moreover, due to the implicit disdain for recordings the phenomenon of letting a new release support the tour of an orchestra and the consequent sale of tickets is also almost absent in serious music while this is a common, profitable and by audiences much appreciated practice.​​ 

Foremost for economic reasons in the art-world of serious music, there are now sometimes performances for large audiences. But there is no promotion of streams as offered on i-Tunes and Spotify, which are affordable for almost everybody.

All in all, ever since affordable​​ records and audio equipment have become available, the de facto exclusion of low-class people from live performances in art-buildings continues, but there is no exclusion from serious music in all its forms. Especially in the first decades of the second half of the 20th​​ century many-low-class people listen to classical music on the radio and records [83].​​ 


55. Intellectualization

(Wt-55) THE SERIOUSNESS OF ART BRINGS ALONG INTELLECTUALIZATION, ARTISTIC DISTANCING AND SCIENTIFICATION. THIS CAUSES​​ INNER-ART-WORLD EXCLUSION. In​​ the serious art period, there is a gradual process of intellectualization in the arts. The “proper” understanding of serious art not only requires social competences but also ever higher cognitive competences. In the times of​​ contemporary-art this not only leads to exclusion of little educated people but increasingly also of art-lovers.​​ 

(This is a more extensive version of section 55 in the book. I intended that section to become a summary of this web-text, but after all the “summary” became more extensive. Therefore, this web-text contains additions, but is otherwise not very different.)

Since the 19th​​ century the way of art consumption that is supposed to be proper and that is demanded from art-lovers is an, at least partly,​​ contemplative way. This is not to say that people are no longer allowed to mentally “let go” in the presence of art. Listening to romantic music many consumers let go and embark on little controlled inward journeys. Nevertheless, in the second half of the​​ 20th​​ century an​​ increasing number of listeners report that, also in the case of romantic music, they tend to listen as well in an analytical way and enjoy this.50​​ 

The “proper” understanding and consequent enjoyment of art requires intellectual competences that are partly acquired by general education and partly by actual consumption in a “proper” art-setting. Others are made to believe or they believe that the art-lover’s intellectual way is and must be the only way. With​​ retro-active effect all serious art becomes difficult. Especially lower-class people believe that art is it is too difficult for them. This may well be incorrect. It is true that certain complexity in art can make art less attractive for “others”, but not​​ necessarily. As said, within the classical/serious art-world, works are and were Mozart are very popular and given widely shared preliminary knowledge little demanding. And in his own time, Bach’s complex music was attractive for many little-educed people. They understood the music in their own way and it was important for them. For them the music was not too difficult. It took some time, but by now also much modern-art is attractive and important, and not too difficult, for little educated people.

More than anything else it is the discourse surrounding art consumption that over time becomes, first more serious, and next more intellectual and analytical. In the late 19th​​ century the discourse still foremost serves the evaluation of art. It helps classifying​​ art. What is art and what is not really art; and why. Which art is better, or more serious, and which art is less good or less serious. Before the serious art period, it was only a few art theorists who were interested in these questions, but during the period of serious art not only expert/critics but also art-lovers participate and enjoy participating in the discussions. Part of art-lovers become expert-consumers, they become connoisseurs. (A good example of work of a dead artist which in the 19th​​ century in England starts to be discussed in a serious way and understood in the “proper” way of the time, is the music of Joseph Haydn.51)​​ 

In the course of the longer-term civilization and intellectualization process in the arts certain periods stand out. These tend to be periods in which there is a power struggle within the elites. It applies to the decades in the 19th​​ century in which a new cultural elite establishes serious art and so attempts to show off cultural supremacy to aristocrats and a merchant and manufacturing bourgeois class. It also applies to the 1950, 60s and 70s, a period Pierre Bourdieu studied.52​​ At that time, once again a new cultural elite attempt to distinguish itself from a still powerful, financially successful, but also conservative and less well-educated elite. In both cases the sons and daughters of the old elite become better educated and catch up. They also start to like and enjoy the new art.

The 50s, 60s and 70s a new cultural elite is particularly interested in modern-art whose first styles were already developed several decades earlier. In modern-art there is a movement away from the narrative toward abstraction. It is a kind of art in which form is important and content​​ does not come first. For the appreciation of the art by the new cultural elite a, what Bourdieu calls, “aesthetic distancing” is important. In the imagination someone perceives an artwork (also) “from a distance”. He has an overview and notices, for instance, different levels and structures and sometimes also several hidden meanings in a visual artwork or performance. He may construct a personal narrative but this is thought to be less important. What he can communicate with others in the discourse is the​​ analysis and consequent understanding and not a personal understanding.

Aesthetic distancing is a competence that is enabled by, what Bourdieu calls, an aesthetic disposition, a disposition that is acquired during socialization at home and in education. Due to the disposition aesthetic distancing comes naturally and effortless; no additional education is required. (Aside: For those who are not properly socialized even after much education aesthetic distancing —the same as proper behavior [50]— ​​ will never come naturally.)

Older bourgeois and common people are socialized in different ways. They miss the competences needed to perceive art in a distant way, a way they need to comfortably participate in art events in art-buildings among art-lovers who have such​​ competences. Due to the requirement of an aesthetic disposition they are de facto excluded. This even applies to the artworks of old which in their own time were consumed by people without an aesthetic disposition —both an elite and common people. Moreover, in principal, when they would not be excluded, non-art-lovers and lower-class people can understand many modern-art and conceptual artworks in an “improper” way and enjoy them. By now this clearly applies to visual artworks, like those of Picasso, Lichtenstein and Pollock, and minimal music works, like those of Glass and Zimmer. (Partly due to exclusion this was not yet the case in the time Bourdieu did his research. This may have affected his art theory.)​​ 

In the case of conceptual and contemporary-art,​​ however, the artworks themselves appear to put specific intellectual demands on art-lovers. Without an aesthetic disposition and distancing they cannot be appreciated. Moreover, additional intellectual competences are required to understand and enjoy the artworks. It appears that one proper way to understand works has become the only possible way. A mere aesthetic disposition no longer suffices.​​ 

To understand that an ordinary fountain in an art room is still not that difficult. —At the time of the first exhibition of Duchamp’s fountain this practice was a novelty which stood in the way of understanding by almost anybody, but for expert-consumers this changed. In the case of later conceptual art and of contemporary-art, however, far more specific intellectual competences are indispensable to be able to acknowledge that the works are art, and to be able to properly understand and enjoy the works. The setting and a discourse not only surround the artwork: a specific discourse has become part of the artwork.​​ 

As​​ noted [39], artists want to control the art experience of art consumers; they must not interfere with the artwork. In the case of conceptual and contemporary-art they also want to steer the proper understanding, i.e. the correct deciphering of their work.​​ Their artworks must be understood in one specific way, often a difficult way. All artworks can be multi-layered without the artist deliberately designing them so, but in conceptual and contemporary-art artists insert layers deliberately and they are expected to do so. They create works that in their content/form contain clues about the only way they can be understood. Artists who take responsibility for the overall artwork must take responsibility for the discourse that is part of his work. (Especially visual artists learn to do so in the academies.)

Any artwork can be complex and multi-layered. Much music of Bach is complex. But some conceptual and contemporary-artworks are like puzzles. As said, simple aesthetic distancing does not suffice. Also well-equipped consumers must make an effort to properly understand the works. Some enjoy this. Sometimes visual artists include text in their works which may help solving the puzzle, but which can also make it harder to decipher the works. On the other hand, curators, programmers and expert/critics may help consumers by putting explanatory notes on the walls or handing them out in program notes or writing articles. But usually even these texts are still too general. In the presence of the work the consumer must still make a considerable effort. Otherwise he misses out on the intended artwork.​​ 

Some years ago Anna (the author) visited a serious music concert together with her friend Anna. Among others, works of György Ligeti and Mauricio Kagel were performed. When they left Anna confided to Anna “that was hard work”. Anna interpreted this correctly: her friend had “examined” the deeper layers in the music, had a very satisfying art experience and was “tired but happy”.{8}53​​ 

Aside: The nature of complexity or difficulty of contemporary-art differs from that of some difficult modern-art, like for instance that of twelve-tone music. The latter is difficult because of a complicated style which all twelve-tone pieces share.54​​ Much contemporary classical/serious music is simply​​ unpleasant for many listeners —and not only listeners but also many classical/serious musicians— because of its high dissonance level. Nevertheless, it is foremost articulation and conversation that make contemporary artworks difficult and that leads to exclusion.

A specific discourse turns separate contemporary-artworks into art and make it complex.55​​ The works must be talked about, analyzed, theorized, and not only be experienced in unmediated form. Relatively few people, including art-lovers have sufficient art consumption space, i.e. have enough time and energy, to learn the additional cognitive competences that are needed to decipher contemporary-art and so be able to participate in the discourse. Given their limited time many art-lovers therefore continue to go for less demanding and, for them, more satisfying art. They are de facto excluded​​ from the new art, with as consequence​​ inner-art-world exclusion.

Conceptual and contemporary-art are not supposed to be confessional. They appeal to the intellect rather than emotions. But, the same as in any other art, personal narratives are never absent. They are, however, not intended by the artist or they deny their existence.​​ In 2000 Anna visited a contemporary-art gallery. She was struck by one of the artworks. It was a pistol mounted on a large panel covered with deep blue velvet cloth. The work touched her in ways she did not understand, but she realized the work was important for her. The artist who was present approached her, the same as he approached other visitors, and without being asked started to explain the work using typical artwork jargon.​​ When Anna attempted to tell about her experience and asked him if he recognized it, he noticeably was irritated and moved to other visitors.​​ (This is another example of artists wanting to control consumers [39].)​​ 

The question arises if in the case of modern-art and contemporary-art inner-art-world exclusion can be intentional. In the 1950s, 60s and 70s the art-lovers who like modern-art certainly distinguish themselves from more conservative art-lovers who drag behind. They ought to make an effort and also become expert-consumers. There is disdain. —An art meritocracy also exist among art consumers.— Exclusion is welcome, but usually not intentional. Moreover, later on, contemporary-art is often admittedly art for insiders; insiders who do not bother much​​ about others. Sometimes it is “art-for-artists”. And as long as there is sufficient support there is also little need to worry about the others who are de facto excluded.

In the second half of the 20th​​ century new art is foremost created in the mentioned​​ domain of restricted production [16]. Because, unlike in the popular arts, innovations are not only surrounded with an intellectual discourse but are also disruptive rather than organic, they need protection against a supposedly hostile outside world. They​​ become part of a restricted domain. The combination of intellectualization and disruption brings along fear among art-lovers for the new art in the restricted domain. The art is daunting, and not something to try out. It is a domain for insiders; it is not attractive take part in.

Around 2000 true art was still supposed to be complex, but by then a different quality is more emphasized. True art is disturbing. However,​​ over the last two decades​​ an increasing number of artists involved in the production of contemporary-art, are more focused on accessibility. The artwork may be layered, but should also be “understandable” without much preliminary knowledge. It is also significant that experts/critics now sometimes call works “beautiful”, a term whose use was earlier taboo .​​ 

As said,​​ over the last decades​​ two domains are developing in the arts.​​ On the one hand there is a more studious domain which is foremost a continuation of the earlier domain of long-term restricted production in the arts. The main​​ difference with before rests in a further intellectualization and a process of, what I call, scientification in art: art being treated and organized the same as a scientific discipline. In visual art academies the terms research and project are commonly used: students do​​ not make art; they have projects and do research.​​ Learning to think takes priority over learning to make, requiring the learning and application of techniques.56​​ 

The eagerness to become academic also shows clearly when in the​​ 2000th​​ visual artists and curators start to explain the works in altogether incomprehensible texts. (This is an example par excellence of inner-art-world exclusion. The texts were incomprehensible, also for the large majority of visual art-lovers.) Looking at the texts which are written now the “worst” is over, but many texts remain unnecessarily difficult.

In the new more user-oriented domain —also in that of classical-serious music— there is now less very “intellectual” art, with the consequence that inner-art-world exclusion goes down. Within this domain unmediated enjoyment of art is not taboo.


82. * Decline of established art



83. Consumption of each other’s art outside art-buildings.


During the period of serious art and up to the​​ present day: OUTSIDE ART-BUILDINGS LOWER-CLASS AND HIGHER-CLASS PEOPLE ARE EXPOSED TO POPULAR AS WELL AS SERIOUS ART. THEY ALSO INTENTIONALLY CONSUME EACH OTHERS ART. THEY ARE OMNIVOROUS. Ever since in the nineteenth century a separation has been created between art and popular/inferior art art-worlds maintain and sometimes adjust the symbolic boundary between art and no-art by deciding that certain art can or cannot enter art-buildings. Almost everybody is aware of their choice. There is a symbolic boundary. Nevertheless, outside art-buildings in (semi)public space and at home the social boundary is less strong. Lower-class people deliberately or casually also consume serious art and higher-class people also popular/inferior art. Part of​​ serious and of popular/inferior art​​ is shared. There is a considerable overlap.​​ People are omnivores; they eat from both racks.​​ 

This is “on average”; some subgroups do so more and others less. Over the last decades “omnivorousness” with respect to serious art and popular art has increased, but it is clearly not a new phenomenon. During the period of serious art some​​ deliberate​​ consumption of the other class’s art is not uncommon. Serious art and popular art is consumed in live events, sometimes outside art-buildings, and it​​ is consumed in reproduced form in people’s homes.

Aside: As discussed in Section 86 the notion of omnivorousness can be applied in more than one way. Most common and easiest is doing research on preferences, as many sociologists have done and still do in the case of music. But preferences may not reflect real art consumption. Therefore, looking at actual deliberate consumption is preferable. One can look at broad categories: actual consumption of serious art and popular/inferior art, or at sub-categories like actual consumption of music genres. Even knowledge of specific ensembles and bands is informative for a discussion of an overlap. But already a measurement of consumption of the two major categories —highbrow or serious and lowbrow or popular— is difficult. It nevertheless is good to keep in mind that knowledge of subcategories may lead to somewhat different conclusions. Overlap and omnivorousness is likely to be less pronounced. This is because, when it comes to genres and subgenres, social groups can have “own art”.​​ 

In section A I look at deliberate art consumption of live art outside art-buildings, in section B I look at deliberate consumption of art in reproduced form, and in section C at indeliberate and casual consumption.


A. HIGHER- AND LOWER-CLASS PEOPLE SOMETIMES DELIBERATELY CONSUME EACH OTHER’S​​ LIVE​​ ART Since the 1960s in organized live art events there is considerable overlap in the case of higher educated people taking part in popular art events —mainly pop music. .As discussed in Section 86​​ in the 60s and after ever larger numbers of well-educated youngsters start to visit popular music concerts offered in other than art-buildings. They continue to do so when they become older. They also visit musicals and the performances of comedians.

In the case of lower educated people there is hardly any overlap. As shown in Section 46 and Web-text wt-46 lower social groups are almost absent in live serious art events in art buildings including museums. These groups are also underrepresented in live popular art events, but in a lesser degree. After circa 1960 their underrepresentation in live popular art events has probably increased. This certainly applies to popular music. With time higher educated people are ever more overrepresented in not only the consumption of live popular music, but also its production.57

Already for a long time live serious music and serious visual art is consumed along with other consumption. In churches all groups listen to the same religious music and see the same paintings and sculpture, that is, they listen to music and see visual art that is now categorized as serious art. People in churches often “perform” religious music by singing. And at home amateurs also perform serious music.  ​​​​ 

A peculiar case of higher-class people performing lower class music exists. On several occasions Annas noticed that “gentlefolks”, including friends of her who were art-lovers, enjoyed singing lower class drinking songs, i.e. folk popular music, in the English private bars —the part of the pub that is reserved for them. They needed to be drunk before doing so, but when they were, there was no expression of disdain or irony.​​ —The private bar is the part of the pub that is reserved for higher class people.— It is also noteworthy that well into the 20th​​ century during visits to dance halls higher class participate in popular dances .​​ 

Moreover, as noted in section 86, higher class​​ people watch “live” movies, which are also watched by lower-class people who can afford to go to a movie— be it not very often. They represent popular art rather than serious art. Examples are the films of Astaire and Rogers, Exodus and Spartacus. With time the phenomenon that life movies are shared have only increased.​​ 

Although there is some live serious (and popular) art in public space, it is relatively unimportant. Up to the present day it is foremost individual buskers and small busking ensemble, that, in particular in the Eastern European countries, perform classical/serious music in public space. Anna often joins the group who stop to listen. She is sure that the majority are not well-educated. But the tradition of free classical music performances​​ in parcs has largely disappeared (but could easily be brought back to live.

Significant are the pianos that are now present in the halls of ever more railway stations, airports and shopping malls. Both amateurs and professionals play Classical, Jazz and Pop music. Quite a few people stop to listen. This is another good example of how casual and deliberate consumption can come together.

“Live” visual art in public space is a different story. Up to the present day there is much sculpture in public space. Often consumption of both higher- and lower-class people is indeliberate and casual, but not always. Occasionally there are also temporary installations and art performances. (The latter can also be created by dancers and actors.)​​ 

The visual art people come across in public space does not have to be well-established art; it can also be new and innovative art. Over the last decades the number of innovative sculptures in public space that are noticed and appreciated by many people has grown much. An example is that of Anish Kapoor’s​​ Cloud Gate​​ in Chicago (with the nick name​​ Chicago Bean).58​​ The work is interesting because it is serious art while certainly being entertaining and enjoyed by all social groups. It befits the new user oriented rather than studious direction in the arts. Maybe non-art-lovers and common people do not understand the works in the “proper” way, but they understand them in their own way and appreciate them. (In all such case consumption is often also casual. it is hard to separate casual and deliberate consumption —a topic in sub-section C.)

Nevertheless, in terms of consumption hours it is not deliberate listening and watching in (semi)public space that brings along a considerable overlap. It is home-consumption of recordings and reproductions. This is the topic of the next sub-section.​​ 


B. MANY HIGHER- AND LOWER- CLASS PEOPLE OFTEN DELIBERATELY CONSUME EACH OTHER’S ART IN REPRODUCED FORM. In the consumption of reproduced serious art and popular art at home and​​ (semi)public space there is considerable overlap, both in the case of popular and serious art. As is noted in section 86, all through the period of serious art, higher class people not only know many traditional popular songs; they are not afraid to sing along in (semi)public space, like the private bars in England. And at home lower-class people consume much serious art.​​ 

Consumption at home and in (semi)public space is a different matter.​​ In the 1960s Anna’s working-class friends watched ballet and opera​​ on television.​​ 

Since radio and record players have entered in homes, both groups listen to recorded serious and popular music. As Anna remembers: there are higher-class people who listen to recordings on records and radios of folk, gospel and other popular music genres. Later on, after radios, record players, LPs and Singles have become affordable, there are many common people who listen to recordings of well-known classical/serious music. Later on again cheap cassettes replace LPs and singles.​​ 

Common people continue to listen to classical/serious music on the radio. For the last decades we know a little about listening hours at home to various art forms on radio and television.59​​ Classical music is popular. In the period 1983 - 2003 circa 11% of the Dutch population older than 5 listened to and watched at least once a week to broadcasted classical music. Around half and probably more than half are lower educated. Listening to classical music in the own collection of CDs, cassette tapes and so forth is​​ circa twice as popular. Ignoring that the choice of classical/serious music may differ, a considerable overlap in the consumption of classical/serious music exists.​​ 


What applies to the serious music consumption of little-educated people at home, applies since the 1960s a fortiori to the popular music consumption of well-educated people at home. After 1960 well-educated people start to listen to ever more Pop and other popular music, and therefore become —on average— rapidly more “omnivorous”. That is at first, because with respect to the two broad categories of classical/serious music, later on the majority become “univores”. They predominantly consume popular music [86]. Since the 1960s higher-educated people listen often and ever more often to popular music on radio and television and on sound media. Again, ignoring that the choice of popular music may differ, by now the overlap in music is large. Hence, the degree of omnivorousness is large.​​ 

Aside: Since the 1960s increasing data exists on the sales of recordings and nowadays also streams, but, as far as I know, there is no data telling about sales to groups that differ in level of education. (If you know of such data, please let me know.)​​ 

Nowadays, people also stream music and listen to music accompanied by images in videos (video-clips) on platforms like YouTube. Typical for the conservative classical music art-world is that it does not promote the own music on platforms like Spotify, YouTube and Soundcloud. It prefers to maintain the existing distinction with popular music as shows from the phenomenon that there were attempts to establish own streaming platforms for classical music only. These were unsuccessful.

As Anna knows in her contacts with lower class people, since television and video-players have become affordable not only registrations of performances of serious-music but also of opera and ballet are relatively popular among lower class audiences.​​ In the 1960s Anna’s working-class friends had a collection of video cassettes of famous ballets which they regularly played, They listened to and watched ballet and opera on television, among others at Christmas.​​ 

Not only during the serious art period but up to the present day there is omnivorousness in the visual arts. It is probably strongest​​ among the group of lower class or little-educated people. This is “probable” because we know very little about the home consumption of both serious- and inferior visual art in the homes of people.60​​ My own observations are unsystematic and limited —the first stem from the 1950s. A bit can, however, be learned from old photographs, old illustrated magazines with gravures, texts and interiors shown in old films. Informative are also the sets of new films and series playing in old times. Set-decorators and their educators base their designs on the just mentioned sources, and they appear to have done their research well.61​​ All information is somewhat one-sided: these sources tell more about the homes of the rich than of the poor.​​ 

During the serious art​​ period, in the houses of most higher-class people there are many serious art originals including graphics in small editions and reproductions, but in the course of the twentieth century most reproductions of serious art disappear.​​ (Works with rural scenes​​ produced before circa 1920 as well as their reproductions are up to the present day still okay among conservative well-to-do art-lovers.​​ Anna made a habit of scouting art in people’s homes by looking through windows. Recently she walked through streets in​​ the rich Kensington area in London. She saw walls filled —one on top of the other— with framed originals and prints of idyllic scenes produced in the first half of the 20th​​ century.

Originals and their reproduction of horses, hunting scenes, other rural scenes as well as​​ views on villages and towns from a bird’s eye perspective are evidently attractive among all social groups. Although they are, later on, absent in the homes of art lovers​​ they are present in restaurants, cafes and hotels; also those frequented by higher-class people. And they are present in lower class homes. The paintings are produced by individual artists and in workshops —over the last decades foremost workshops in China. The works of individual artists are bought in numerous​​ non-serious​​ art galleries and open-air markets.​​ Even though there are many higher-class people who like them, few buy them. Because of​​ the high degree of repetition and imitation their status is not high, and art-lovers now count them as inferior-art.​​ 

Poster art and​​ nostalgic advertisements reproductions are present in lower as well as higher class homes and many cafés and restaurants. At the time of their creation they were at best inferior utility​​ art, which later is turned into serious art. (It is significant that​​ by now some art museums have started to collect the posters.)​​ 

Also ignoring photographs and tapestry, there is far more art on the walls of the lower-middle-classes than people think: reproductions as well as cheap originals. Over time lower-middle-class​​ people have become less poor and they buy originals, even though prices are seldom less than 50 dollar —in present day prices. In the homes there are original and reproduced idyllic paintings —especially​​ views on villages and towns are popular. There are also inferior works on the walls in cubist and abstract styles. Some are clear imitation of well-known paintings, among others of Picasso and Mondrian. Printed reproductions of well-known artworks are manifold; among them the​​ sunflower paintings of Van Gogh.​​ 

Higher-class people are sometimes also omnivorous in the books they read.​​ Anna’s parents read many cheap detectives (mainly Dutch Havank detectives). But they apologized for it. In the presence of Anna and the other children they much emphasized that this is, of course, no literature; it is just entertainment. Anna, nevertheless, was allowed to “read” comic books.​​ Anna’s Calvinist parents were rather strict, but she noticed that many well-educated people buy and read comic books and graphic novels. (Some​​ even read romance novels but this is exceptional.)​​ 

What Anna’s parents said could be expected. It marks two different art-settings: one in the case of the consumption of real art and the other of not-really-art. Omnivorousness does not imply that both kinds of art are treated equally in people’s homes. The social boundary is crossed but the symbolic boundary remains important.​​ 

Up to the present day both higher- and lower-class people are very aware of the difference. This shows from the art-settings (in​​ a broad sense). As mentioned [24], both higher and lower class people create a serious art-setting at home in the case of “real” art, while in the case of popular art there is no clear art-setting or there is a very different “not-really-art” art-setting.​​ If there are reproductions of serious art originals (including graphics) on the walls, they are often framed while inferior originals are not framed or in a much cheaper fashion. ​​ Both groups listen to classical/serious music in relative stillness. And verbal expressions are differ. In various ways people make known that they are aware of the difference. They cross the social boundary but know that the corresponding symbolic boundary is important.​​ 

The continuing presence of each other’s art in (semi-)public-space and in people’s homes​​ indicates that people anyway somewhat know and like the other group’s art; otherwise it would not be present. People are or become familiar with the most widely shared works that “belong” to the other group. This is interesting because “learning” of art begins with exposure. This is the topic of web-text 84.


C. PEOPLE CASUALLY CONSUME EACH OTHER’S ART. This statement must be put in perspective. There is no clear distinction between deliberate and indeliberate consumption of art, and also not focused and casual consumption.

Is being “exposed” to film-music during the viewing of a film deliberate and focused? The choice of playing the DVD or visiting the cinema is deliberate, but the reason for playing or visiting seldom rest in​​ the presence of the music. Nevertheless, watching and listening cannot be separated. Without the music the film would be experienced differently and vice versa. It is a “Gesamtkunstwerk” in which the film director usually has the last say but confers much​​ with the composer. It is significant that also over the last decades in Blockbusters like Gladiator and the Star War and Harry Potter movies, music in the classical tradition —among others music composed by John William and Hans Zimmer— is played. The music much affects the visuals.​​ 

(Even the music, in earlier days, coming from the Wurlitzer cinema or theatre organ during the break can change the experience of the film a little. Nevertheless, most of the time listening is not deliberate or focused.)

That in the nineteenth and twentieth century people in the private bar sing working class songs implies that they know them. They must have been in situations in which they willingly or not were “exposed” to this kind of music. The same applies a fortiori to much popular music. Part of popular music is all around in public space and in semi-public space —like malls. Many people who never deliberately and focused listen to such popular music know it and are familiar with it.

The opposite, people who never or hardly ever listen deliberately and focused, also applies. They know evergreens which are not as present as mainstream pop music, but more present than art-lovers tend to think.

In the twentieth century, especially in Eastern Europe —including Austria—​​ there are many lunchrooms where “easy listening” classical music is played. Some still exist. As Anna noticed some decades ago, several of these places had a little-educated clientele and a few still have. People do not go to these places​​ to listen to the​​ music, but it is appreciated, otherwise the management would not play the music.​​ 

Also in the twentieth century in many waiting rooms there is classical music. Anna remembers that this was the case in the railway waiting rooms —also the rooms for third class passengers. And two years ago she noticed that in any underground station in Athens classical music was played —and not only evergreens. Interestingly she recently noticed that in a Starbucks in Amsterdam classical music is played every Thursday. Finally, classical music and music in the classical music tradition regularly accompanies advertisement.

Recently a Dutch expert/critic argued in a journal that when he let people who never go to live concerts listen to ten different classical evergreens, they on average recognized eight of them. They also knew the names of some composers.62​​ Given that classical music is still so present in society —also in advertisement— ​​ it is well possible that in the decade to come “classical music activists” will manage to (re)create a lively widely shared heritage, in various recorded and broadcasted forms, and possibly also in cheaper live performances for lower middle class people.​​ 

It is interesting to note​​ that the breath of visual artworks that people from various social groups come across and probably appreciate is quite broad. Visual art in advertisement —as independents artworks or as utility art that is integrated in the advertisement— can, for instance, be very abstract.​​ 

“Learning art” is effective in situations in which people together participate in live art events [Wt-84]. But mere exposure and consequent casual consumption can already bring along some learning and understanding of art be it not necessarily in the way art-lovers want people to understand their art. For instance, after watching certain movies and advertisement some people next start to deliberately consume the music they casually listened to. In 2006 after the release of a video game​​ and a movie with​​ Ave Maria​​ of Shubert in the score the sales of recordings of various original performances of the piece suddenly increased much.63​​ —In such cases sales can easily become ten times as high.— In these and similar cases evidently a considerable number of the users of the game and viewers of the film on television who casually consume ​​ the music got interested. (Ever since 1935, Shubert’s​​ Ave Maria​​ has been used in movies, among others in a 1940 Disney film.64​​ Evidently the music is not “too difficult” to be appreciated by “others”.) ​​ 

Finally: The chances to come across each other’s art are somewhat limited because different groups usually live and work in different parts of town, that is parts in which different art may come first in bars, malls and so forth.


84. Learning and understanding art


Excurse:​​ “LEARNING ART” IS FOREMOST A SOCIAL AFFAIR. EMBODIED LEARNING, ENTHUSIASTIC OTHERS AND LIVELY ART SCENES FACILITATE THE UNDERSTANDING OF ART. In order to better understand the sharing of art, its limitations and the importance of having own art, I look at​​ the way many people “learn art”. I also pay attention to worries about art education disappearing from the curricula in primary and secondary schools. This web-text may interest all readers.​​ 

First, for a discussion of how people learn art, the notions of​​ an​​ acquired taste​​ and experience good are useful.65 ​​​​ Taste is not inborn, it is developed. In this context social scientists tend to emphasize the importance of​​ exposure. Exposure, for​​ instance in the parental home or in public space generates preliminary knowledge which enables consumption. Nevertheless, to properly learn and understand art exposure is not enough: enthusiasm of others, like parents, peers and teachers is indispensable.66

Interacting with enthusiastic others sets off a more focused learning and understanding of various kinds of art than otherwise would be possible. The sociologist Randall Collins argues that learning is no matter of “simply cognitive learning; a filling of one’s memory bank.”67​​ One cannot really learn and understand art by reading books on art, listening to lectures, being exposed to art or talk about it in a noncommittal way. Learning is most effective during consumption of art —by “doing art”— in the company of one or more enthusiastic friends. (On the way of learning art, there is, of course, trial and error. Preferences may change —sometimes along with partners and friends.)

The enthusiasm​​ of a friend or friends while focusing on an artwork, at home, in​​ (semi)public space, or in a museum, concert hall or theatre, is contagious. And if a person feels comfortable in a crowd in the concert hall or theatre, the collective effervescence that emerges when the crowd starts to focus on the work of art is contagious as well.68​​ 

So-called embodied learning is important.69​​ It happens that Anna goes to concerts in different halls, but with the same DJs playing producing the same kind of Dance music. But the crowd in the halls differs. In the one it is mainly students and in the other working and less-well-educated youngsters. She notices that their way of dancing differs. Unlike the working youngsters the students mainly move the upper part of their body. And when they move their whole body, it is in a more controlled fashion.70​​ This cannot but corresponds with a different understanding of the same art. It follows that the learning of newcomers also differs.

Aside: Other than one may think, during classical/serious music concerts with still audiences there is also embodied learning through bodily interaction. Bodies are forced to be (almost) motionless, but due to, so called, rhythmic entrainment there is interaction.71​​ But, because, unlike in popular music, a single consumption practice is imposed, all people are forced to learn the music in the same way. For “others” this much limits the possibility of learning, and developing own​​ meanings and understanding.​​ 

In front of visual art in a museum or during serious plays in theaters, people have somewhat more freedom to move and to interact bodily.72​​ A newcomer, without being aware of this, can register facial and other bodily expressions of friends —like serious or excited expressions—, start to learn through imitation and so “learn art”.​​ In all such case the not yet educated newcomer cannot but go along. Also without much explanation he gets a feel of what is going on and why it is going on. He starts to understand the event and the artwork or the kind of art.​​ Tuxedos and a conductor bowing are part of the artwork, but a newcomer still has​​ to learn this. When he is with a trusted friend and in a crowd, which he feels comfortable with, he will start to understand the necessity of the behavior.73​​ 

In this respect the mentioned lively art scenes surrounding new and​​ innovative art are important [23]. When participants meet in person and together focus on art; the enthusiasm is contagious. Sometimes learning new art appears to be hard or impossible, but it is not. The more enthusiastic the people in a scene are, the more intense the learning, and the faster the diffusion of innovations. In this respect evangelic popular art scenes perform “better” than inward directed serious art scenes.​​ 

A phenomenon that stops people from trying and learning art is, that longer existing art forms, genres, sub-genres and venues have reputations (or labels). “Serious art is difficult art”; implying that if you do not have a proper education, it makes no sense to try. Or “Techno is loud and just noise.” So, if you do not like noisy music,​​ it is not worth trying. Labels sometimes give relevant information: some art, like serial music, is indeed difficult; also for music-lovers with limited time it is too difficult. There is self-exclusion: disappointment is prevented. ​​ —This is enhanced by​​ the reputation of buildings.—​​ 

Whether reputations or labels are correct and relevant or not, they are produced. Not only social groups but also commercial art-companies create, construct or strengthen existing labels, and so invite certain people to become acquainted with their art and prevent others from doing so. This is beneficial for the group and profitable for the art-company. The labels promote the inclusion of some and the exclusion of others. At times they may also indirectly impoverish the works​​ of the labelled artists [77].​​ 

For some time now, people in art circles worry about the limited interest in established art among all sorts of social groups. They often blame not only a lack of general exposure to serious art, but also a lack of art education in primary and secondary school. It is true that longer ago in many countries there was more art education. What is demanded is: more school visits to museums, concert halls and theaters as well as “doing art” in school —drawing, painting, playing instruments, acting, dancing and writing poems in traditional ways. Given an emphasis on embodied learning this can make sense.​​ 

An existing notion is that an “overdose” of popular art needs to be compensated by learning serious art instead of popular art and​​ by learning the “proper” way of understanding art. But when the pupils are more interested in popular art, success in higher level schools is limited and probably zero in lower level schools. A few very passionate teachers may succeed in enthusing a few pupils. But the average teacher will be unsuccessful, and the teaching contra-productive —a waste of energy and of public money.

Given the above analysis, teachers who genuinely respect the art which the children already know, and who understand the way the​​ children understand their own art, are likely to raise the interest in​​ art, also in established art. Doing art will probably be most successful in the case of guitar, keyboard and computer, but some pupils may also start to learn and enjoy playing the violin and to understand classical/serious music the way their lovers judge to be proper. The latter is unlikely if this is the sole goal of art education; a paternalistic goal.

By now in many schools art education has been or is being modernized and connects​​ somewhat better with the pupils’ existing interests in art and the way their social group understands art. That is, in as far as there is art education. (In several countries, arguing that there is too little art education in schools makes sense. There are​​ many reasons why good art education is beneficial for society. One rest in the importance of giving lower social groups means to express themselves artistically.)

The possibility of bodily movement in art education and elsewhere is anyway important for learning.​​ In principal, in the case of serious music performed in different venues or in different series, bodies could move more and in different ways.74​​ This would make serious music more​​ interesting for “others”. Presently there are “try outs”. An example is the mentioned classical music raves.75​​ 



Literature mentioned in the web-notes.


This is a list of most (but​​ not all)​​ literature referred to in the web-texts. For a complete list see the list of literature of both the printed book and the texts on the website. This list can be accessed through a top menu item of this website.


Abbing, H. (2002).​​ Why Are Artists Poor? The Exceptional Economy of the Arts.​​ Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

Abbing, H. (2006).​​ From High Art to New Art. Amsterdam: Vossius Pers (Amsterdam University Press).

Abbing, H. (2014a).​​ Inner Art World Exploitation of Artists. Presented at the Yearly conference of Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture, Seoul, Korea. Retrieved from https://www.academia.edu/9793278/Inner_Art_World_Exploitation_of_Artists

Abbing, H. (2014b). Notes on the Exploitation of Artists. In​​ Joy Forever: The Political Economy of Social Creativity. MayFlyBooks (also available as pdf).

Abbott, A. (1991). The order of professionalization: An empirical analysis.​​ Work and​​  Occupations,​​ 18(4), 307–336.

Adler, M. (2006). Stardom and Talent. In V. A. Ginsburgh & D. Throsby (Eds.),​​ Handbook of the Economics of Art and Culture. Amsterdam a.o.: North-Holland.

Adorno, Theodor. W., & Horkheimer, M. (1991). The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception. In Th. W. Adorno & J. M. Bernstein (Eds.),​​ The Culture Industry.​​ Selected Essays on Mass Culture.​​ London: Routledge.

Alper, N. O., & Wassall, G. H. (2006). Artists’ Careers and Their Labor Markets. In V. A. Ginsburgh & D. Throsby (Eds.),​​ Handbook of the Economics of Art and Culture​​ (pp. 813–864). Amsterdam a.o.: North-Holland.

Bille, T., & Jensen. (2016). Artistic education matters: Survival in the arts occupations.​​ Journal of Cultural Economics,​​ 42(1), 23–43.

Boltanski, L., & Chiapello, E. (2005).​​ The New Spirit of Capitalism. London, New York: Verso.

Bourdieu, P.​​ (1984).​​ Distinction. A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

Bourdieu, P. (1993).​​ The field of cultural production: Essays on art and literature.​​ Cambridge: Polity.

Broek, A. van, Huysman, F., & Haan, J. de. (2005).​​ Cultuurminnaars en Cultuurmijders. Den Haag: Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau.

Crane, D. (1976). Reward Systems in Art, Science, and Religion.​​ American Behavioral Scientist,​​ 19, 719–734.

Danto, A. C. (1986).​​ The Philosophical Disenfranchisement of Works of Art. New York: Colombia University Press.

Dolfsma, W. (1999).​​ Valuing Pop Music. Institutions, Values and Economics.​​ Delft: Eburon.

Dool, J. van den. (2018).​​ Move to the music: Understanding the relationship between bodily interaction and the acquisition of​​ musical knowledge and skills in music education. Retrieved from https://repub.eur.nl/pub/106278

Dowd, T. J. (2004). Musical Diversity and the U.S. Mainstream Recording Market, 1955—1990.​​ ResearchGate,​​ 82(4), 1411–1455.

Filer, R. K. (1987). The Price of Failure: Earnings of Former Artists. In D. V. Shaw, W. S. Hendon, & R. C. Waits (Eds.),​​ Markets for the Arts. Akron: Akron University Press.

Fine, G. A. (2018).​​ Talking Art: The Culture of Practice and the Practice of Culture in MFA Education​​ (First edition). Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.

Ganzeboom, H. B. G. (1989).​​ Cultuurdeelname in Nederland: Een empirisch-theoretisch onderzoek naar determinanten van deelname aan culturele activiteiten.​​ Assen: Van Gorcum.

Halle, D. (1993).​​ Inside Culture, Art and Class in the American Home. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Heilbrun, J., & Gray, C. M. (2001).​​ The Economics of Art and Culture. An American Perspective. Cambridge USA: Cambridge University Press.

Iannacci, A. (2016).​​ Hollywood Interiors: Style and Design in Los Angeles. New York, New York: The Monacelli Press.

IJdens, T., Fuhr, S. von der, & Rooij, J. de.​​ (2009).​​ Pop, Wat Levert Het Op? Onderzoek naar de Inkomsten van Popmusici in Nederland. Tilburg: Ntb, bv Pop/FNV-Kiem, NORMA en SENA.

Jahoda, S., & others. (2014).​​ Artists Report Back, A National Study on the Lives of Arts Graduates and Working Artists. Retrieved from BFAMFAPhD website: http://bfamfaphd.com/

Keunen, G. (2015).​​ Alternative Mainstream: Making Choices in Pop Music.​​ Amsterdam: Valiz/Antennae Series.

Lena, J. C. (2014).​​ Banding Together: How Communities Create Genres in Popular Music. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.

Lena, J. C., & Peterson, R. A. (2008). Classification as Culture: Types and Trajectories of​​ Music Genres.​​ American Sociological Review,​​ 73, 697–718.

Menger, P.-M. (2006). Artistic Labor Markets: Contingent Work, Excess Supply and Occupational Risk Management. In V. A. Ginsburgh & D. Throsby (Eds.),​​ Handbook of the Economics of Art and Culture. Amsterdam a.o.: North-Holland.

Mozart, W. A. (1866).​​ The Letters of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart​​ (G. 2004 Wallace, Trans.). Retrieved from http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/5307

O’Hagan, J., & Harvey, D. (2000). Why do Companies Sponsor Art Events? Some Evidence and a Proposed Classification.​​ Journal of Culural Economics,​​ 24, 205–224.

Ren, J., & Fuller, M. (2019). The Art Opening: Proximity and Potentiality at Events.​​ Theory, Culture & Society, (0(0)), 1–18.

Rengers, M. (2002).​​ Economic Lives of Artists. Economic Lives of Artists: Studies into Careers and the Labour Market in the Cultural Sector.​​ Doctoral Thesis. Utrecht University.

Smithuijsen, C. (2001).​​ Een Verbazende Stilte. Klassieke Muziek Gedragsregels en Sociale Controle in de Concertzaal.​​ Amsterdam: Boekmanstudies.

Steiner, L., & Schneider, L. (2012).​​ The Happy Artist? An Empirical Application of the Work-Preference Model​​ (SSRN Scholarly Paper No. ID 2002724). Retrieved from Social Science Research Network website: https://papers.ssrn.com/abstract=2002724

Stigler, G. J. (1945). [Review of​​ Review of The Economics of Control: Principles of Welfare Economics, by A. P. Lerner].​​ Political Science Quarterly,​​ 60(1), 113–115. https://doi.org/10.2307/2144462

Taylor, D. M. (2013).​​ Musical Theatre, Realism and Entertainment. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.

Towse, R. (1992). The Earnings of Singers: An Economic Analysis.​​ In R. Towse & A. Khakee (Eds.),​​ Cultural Economics​​ (pp. 209–217). Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag.

Von der Fuhr, S. (2016).​​ Pop, wat levert het op?​​ Retrieved from Cubiss website: https://www.cubiss.nl/wat-we-bieden/pop-wat-levert-het-op

Weber, W. (1992).​​ The Rise of Musical Classics in Eighteenth-Century England, A Study in Canon, Ritual, and Ideology. Oxford: Claridon Press.

Wright, D. (2018). ‘Hopeful work’ and the creative economy. In​​ The Palgrave Handbook of Creativity at Work​​ (pp. 311–325). London & New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Zuidhof, P.-W. (2003).​​ Beyond the Polemics on the Market. Presented at the Paper presented at the Eastern Sociological Society Conference.






​​ Cf. (Alper & Wassall, 2006) 842


​​ Cf. (Abbott, A., 1991)


​​ (Crane, 1976) distinguishes several of the latter systems.


​​ Cf. (Zuidhof, 2012)


​​ (O’Hagan & Harvey, 2000)​​ use the term sponsor and sponsorship in a wider sense than I do.​​ 


​​ (Keunen, 2015)’s analysis of, what he calls, alternative mainstream in popular music is, however, interesting.


​​ Among others (Lena & Peterson, 2008), (Dowd, 2004), (Lena, 2014) and (Keunen, 2015).


​​ [Make this note shorter?]​​ (Dowd, 2004) speaks of cooptation by the industry.​​ 

If works are for sale, general mainstream works are best-sellers in an overall market. Works in the top of the charts of popular music in the US (or Greece) are almost always general mainstream works. Genre-specific mainstream works are best-sellers in the smaller markets of specific genres. (In certain genres, to distinguish mainstream genre art from non-mainstream genre art, the former sometimes has a​​ different name.​​ For instance, at the moment mainstream Dance is called EDM. (EDM is short for Electronic Dance Music. As abbreviation this is confusing, because most non-mainstream Dance music is also electronic.)

For instance, certain mainstream Reggae works hold positions in the top of the Reggae chart but not in the overall chart of popular music. It follows that “being mainstream” is relative. In an avant-garde circle of dubstep lovers, certain works that hardly anybody know that they exist, may well be​​ classified as mainstream. The​​ “easiness” of mainstream art is also relative. Most mainstream genre-specific popular artworks are less easy or simple than general mainstream works. Some familiarity is anyway required. But if they are omnipresent, for instance in the media, they soon stop being difficult.

Aside: Muzak or easy listening musical works —popular music as well as newly composed music in the classical music tradition— are easy but no mainstream art. The sales of specific works —for instance as streams on a Spotify playlist— are far less than those of mainstream works.


​​ “There are still two concertos to be written for my subscription concerts. These concertos are a happy medium between being too easy and too difficult; they are very brilliant, pleasant to the ear, and natural, without being vapid. There are particular passages from which connoisseurs alone can derive satisfaction, but still the less learned cannot, I believe, fail to be pleased….”​​ (Mozart, 1866)​​ 116​​ 


​​ She especially appreciates the, often, complex additions to compositions by certain producers.​​ 


​​ A present-day example of middle of the road mainstream popular music is that of successful music, that contains elements of the Dance and Hip-hop genres in simplified forms. (An example of much-imitated or copied visual popular art is that of​​ Banksy.) (If in popular music imitation is too literal, as in the case of the use of the same melody, there can be copy-right infringement and a lawsuit may follow —a lawsuit which usually results in a settlement.)


​​ Also in popular art mainstream is associated with inferior. Inferior or not, many people who reject general or genre specific mainstream popular music listen to it deliberately or because they have no choice, as in cafés, malls etc. enjoy listening. And well-educated people certainly do so, when mainstream popular music and art is no longer widely shared. An example is the music of Abba or Marx Brothers’ movies.


 ​​​​ They speak of a sample of 60 genres. They evidently judge there to be more than 60.


​​ (Goodman, 1954)


​​ The terms original and originality are used in many other ways as well. For instance, a work of an amateur that is very creative may well be praised for its originality and for that reason be called an original work. Or a work by Picasso may be called an original work because it is authentic in the sense of not being made by another artist. But in this book I only use the term original as described above.


​​ Cf. https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-village-60-worlds-paintings-future-jeopardy (retrieved 12-08-2018). In the article no evidence is presented of 60 percent of oil paintings being produced in China, but the percentage is anyway high.


​​ (Benjamin, 1969)


​​ Having been sound-woman for a pop group, she was still amazed to hear from Robin —a friend being employed by a classical music label to manipulate recordings, how much manipulation occurs in the production process of classical music. She learned, among others, that pitch correction was earlier applied in the classical studio (already in the 60s) than in the pop music studio, and that the application of the often maligned Autotune technology is common in the processing of serious music and in particularly in opera. Moreover, be it still rarely, Autotune is now also used during some live performances. (Justin Bieber is not alone.)


​​ Most serious realist and, so-called, imitational art do not fall in my category of imitation art.


​​ A third exist —the mode— but I will not use it.


​​ In reports researchers often make statements about “artists” suggesting that the data apply to all artists, while in their surveys recognized artists are must serious overrepresented. Not keeping this in mind may lead to wrong conclusions. A​​ hypothetical​​ example is that in a report on the established arts it says that over the last three decades the number of artists has risen with 20%. This may well be wrong. If​​ established artists had been properly defined and a separate measurement would have been possible, the outcome could have been that in the established arts the number has risen with only 5% or gone down.


​​ In the web-note: (N. Alper et al., 1996) and (Susan Jahoda & a.o., 2014)​​ 


​​ On the use of census data in research on artists see (N. Alper et al., 1996). This use has been criticized by Recently census ​​ data was used in research of (Susan Jahoda & a.o., 2014) on the situation of arts graduates in the US. They include writers, authors, artists, actors, photographers, musicians, singers, producers, directors, performers, choreographers, dancers, and entertainers, but no designers and architects.


​​ According to (Susan Jahoda & a.o., 2014) in a report on the situation​​ of artists in the US, at that time only 16% of working artists are arts graduates.​​ 




​​ In web-note: (N. O. Alper & Wassall, 2000)


​​ USE among others: Alper: More Than Once in a Blue Moon: Multiple Job holdings by American Artists.


​​ The​​ term usually refers to the combination of the art job with art-related and non-art second jobs and I follow this practice, but in principal second jobs can also be art jobs. A performing musician can have a paid-for job in an orchestra and play in a quartet as a secondary job.)


​​ In (Throsby, 1994) and other publications.​​ 


​​ Among others:​​ (Menger, 2001)​​ 


​​ (Sholette, 2011) much emphasizes the production of art, which is not sold and bought, not only by marginalized artists but also by non-artists.​​ 


​​ (Steiner & Schneider, 2012). Their research is elaborate, but can nevertheless be criticized.​​ 


​​ My main criticism is that the researched groups of artists are not representative for professional artists in general. Little recognized and unsuccessful artists are underrepresented. Moreover, in the surveys, questions on work satisfaction and possible causes are posed in a way, that answering-as-expected is likely. Moreover, given the questions it appears that no distinction is made between​​ satisfaction with the job and satisfaction while working. In this area of research in depth interviews are required. This is preferable even though in that case the number of interviews is necessarily limited, and generalizing is problematic. Another criticism is that outcomes are sometimes unjustly used to confirm the existence of a work-preference among artists, a preference that has a romantic appeal [72]. (Aside: In their research (Steiner & Schneider, 2012) confirm the outcomes of the work preference​​ theory and, given the limitations of their research, not unjustly.)


​​ (Wright, 2018) offers an elaborate discussion of a being exploited versus a being compensated. He mentions the possibility of what he calls “hopeful work”.​​ 


​​ Among others (Towse, 1992), (Rengers, 2002) and (Adler, 2006) use the term psychic income. I (Menger, 2006) uses the term non-monetary income and sometimes non-monetary rewards.


​​ In (Abbing, 2002) I mention more kinds of non-monetary rewards from having an art job and, other than in this section, ​​ discuss them in detail.


​​ Among others (Abbing, 2002) and (Steiner & Schneider, 2012)


​​ (Jahoda & others, 2014)


​​ (Rengers, 2002)


​​ That artists after leaving often find interesting jobs is confirmed by research by (Filer, 1987).


​​ See also (Abbing, 2014a) or, a more academic text, (Abbing, 2014b).


​​ Cf. (Abbing, 2014b)​​ 


​​ The fact that in their famous work​​ The New Spirit of Capitalism​​ (Boltanski & Chiapello, 2005) speak of an artistic critique of capitalism and of artistic capital and artistic capitalism has contributed to this conviction. But as Boltanski told me: This interpretation of their text —the arts having served as laboratory— is wrong.​​ 


​​ Presently the business model of publishers is changing. Certain academic writers may get their book published, if they —or their university— pays for the publication. It also happens in the case of “amateur” writers of fiction.


​​ See http://www.wageforwork.com. Art Leaks (http://art-leaks.org/) is a somewhat comparable​​ initiative that aims at exposing bad practices in the arts and a shaming of the institutions involved. The London based Precarious Workers Brigade (www.precariousworkersbrigade.tumblr.com) is also active in this area. Presently there are more organizations demanding a fair remuneration.


​​ Mere registrations of life theatre, dance and opera are clearly inferior. —People cannot zoom in and out, or look left or right as they can in the hall.— Only “re-compositions”, with takes from different angles, close ups and so forth can be substitutes, but they are different works of art; they are technical productions, the same as films.


​​ Research on the long term so called​​ cross price elasticity​​ of demand​​ for visits and recordings is hard and does not make much sense. If in the short run a reduction in the price of recordings leads to a decrease in visits the two goods are​​ substitutes; if it leads to more visits, the two goods are​​ complementary goods. But in the long run other factors may be more important, like a changing taste for the one or the other.​​ 


​​ Among the first to buy the, at the​​ time still very expensive, record players and discs or records with sound coming from large horns —as the one depicted in the emblem of the His Master’s Voice of the EMI label— were prominent and fanatic serious music lovers.


​​ Toni still listens to a recording of some string quartets of Dimitri Shostakovich recorded more than 50 years ago. 50 years ago she bought the music on an LP. Later she transferred the music to a CD and later again to a digital file she now listens by means of her laptop and mobile phone. At friends’ places she heard more reasoned performances of the piece. With some effort she hears differences but she sees no reason to buy one of them.


​​ Cf. (Smithuijsen, 2001) in Dutch.


​​ (Weber, 1992)


​​ (Bourdieu, 1984) and (Bourdieu, 1993)


​​ Moreover, with another friend, Gert, she went several times to Bach as well as Shubert performances and in their conversations afterwards she noticed that Gert listened in a way that much differed from her own. Gert had developed an analytical way of listening and talked about the performance in precise terms which Toni was not interested in. (To tell about her own art experience Toni needed metaphors, like a desolate landscape, grayness, a mosaic and so forth.)


​​ Serial music as well is only understandable by expert consumers, but it requires other competences than specific articulation competences. Other than postmodern-art it can be “learned” through much repeated listening in the presence of enthusiastic others. Therefore,​​ Theodor Adorno could have been right when he (supposedly) said that within a few decades people would whistle the music in the streets. This did not happen. The enjoyment of serial music requires much preliminary listening if not training. Therefore, all through the 20th​​ century only small groups of consumers appreciate the new music.​​ 


​​ Danto may have said that it is (an atmosphere of) art theory that turns anything into art. Cf. (Danto, 1986)


​​ (Fine, 2018)


​​ In case of recent production in the Netherlands this shows from (Von der Fuhr, 2016) who compare data of 2015 with 2008.


​​ According to Wikipedia, the bean shaped sculpture is made up of 168 stainless steel plates welded together, and its highly polished exterior has no visible seams. It measures​​ 33 by 66 by 42 feet (10 by 20 by 13 m), and weighs 110 short tons (100 t; 98 long tons).


For the Netherlands: (Broek, Huysman, & Haan, 2005) 67-69. In 2003 of those​​ who listened to and watched at least once a week to broadcasted art programs almost half are lower educated. I therefore think it likely that more than half listen to classical music.


​​ Since the practice of doing surveys has become common in the social sciences, more research could have been done. ​​ established. But existing research is limited to the analysis of data on preferences. I know of hardly any research on the presence of serious-, popular and inferior/unacceptable visual art on the​​ walls of the homes of little educated people. —Doing research on the consumption of works that are sold in the top of the visual art market is sexy, while research on “*inferior” visual art is not.— (Halle, 1993) is an exception, but the research was undertaken in order to answer different questions than I treat in this section. The findings in his study are nevertheless helpful. He examined the content of the home consumed visual artworks in various neighborhoods in New York around 19**. ​​ He does not register numbers of original works, but given what he writes it is plausible that many inferior/unacceptable originals are present in the homes.


​​ An example of a book that is used is (Iannacci, 2016).


​​ This is an outcome that could easily be tested by a MA student.


​​ These were the successful video game​​ Hitman: bloody Money​​ and the science fiction movie​​ To Be or Naught to​​ Be.


​​ In 1935 the first movie was the well-known​​ Bride of Frankenstein.


Cf. on acquired taste: the texts of the economists​​ (Heilbrun & Gray, 2001)​​ and of the sociologist​​ (Ganzeboom, 1989). In this context economists rightly argue that an acquired taste can lead to​​ substitution: after having acquired a taste for Baroque music a person may start to spend more time and money on concerts or records of Baroque music and spend less time and money on sports. (As noted [6], in terms of time a person’s overall​​ art​​ consumptions space​​ is​​ always limited; also the space of a rich person. Anybody needs to make choices between time-consuming luxury activities.)


​​ Sometimes mere exposure can increase consumption. For instance, after watching certain movies and advertisement some people next start to deliberately consume the music they casually listened to. In 2006 after the release of a video game and a movie with​​ Ave Maria​​ of​​ Shubert in the score​​ the sales of recordings of various original performances of the piece suddenly increased much. It is, however, likely that such consumption is preceded by learning kinds of art in the company of enthusiastic others. (These were the successful video game​​ Hitman: bloody Money​​ and the science fiction movie​​ To Be or Naught to Be.)​​ —In such cases sales can easily become ten times as high.— In these and similar cases evidently a considerable number of the users of the game and​​ viewers of the film on television casually consuming the music got interested. (Ever since 1935, Shubert’s​​ Ave Maria​​ has been used in movies, among others in the 1935 movie​​ Bride of Frankenstein​​ and in 1940 in the Disney film​​ Fantasia.)​​ 


​​ Collins (2005) 153


​​ See note * in chapter *​​ [in s.control/participation] OR REPEAT note here?]


​​ Much literature exists on the limits of learning without deliberate help, also referred to as ZDP, on the importance of​​ imitation in learning and on embodied learning. The sociologist (Dool, 2018) did empirical research on bodily interaction and the acquisition of musical knowledge by (prospective) musicians.


​​ My observations of dancing behavior are limited and unsystematic. I do not know of systematic research on behavioral differences in consuming art. It would be a great topic to research.


​​ Collins (2005).​​ My ex-student Liu Mingzhu commented, referring to (Taylor, 2013): “Some studies on cognitive neuroscience have shown that live performance affects the audience's neurons, including mirror neurons, reward areas and areas that create social cohesion and bonding, thus giving the​​ audience a strong feeling.”


​​ About the effect of proximity in, among others, art exhibition openings, see (Ren & Fuller, 2019)


​​ Collins (2005)​​ 


​​ Movement in a trusted crowd is important for embodied learning. For instance, learning Strauss’s music​​ among an apparently still audience in a​​ classical music hall, or among other people dancing in a ballroom or among youngsters dancing freestyle during a classical music rave, will lead to different kinds of understanding. Bach’s music or Mahler’s music is​​ unlikely to be played in ballrooms, but it is presently played in classical music raves. (Mahler’s and other romantic classical/serious music is very danceable; more so than certain subgenres of Dance music, like IDM.)​​ 


​​ In yellow lounge concerts there is already more possibility for movement. In classical music raves​​ DJs play mixes of classical/serious music pieces for a large audience that dances on the music, the same as in Dance music parties. The raves are a Dutch invention. They are, however, most successful in North- and South America.