NEOLIBERALISM

AND CULTURAL VALUES: Challenges for artists

Neoliberalism has affected cultural values in the UK and the European Union. Neoliberalism, defined as a market-oriented ideology, has been taken up especially in Anglo-Saxon contexts, but also in various ways and degrees across the whole of Europe. Many of these effects are negative, for instance, shifts to the measurement of the social value of art by extrinsic yardsticks (such as economic and social impacts), rather than valuing art intrinsically. Neoliberal discourse also accompanies the decline of state support for the arts that is also accompanied by more market-based control mechanisms, all of which affect equity in the visual arts. Based on research from the EU-funded UNCHARTED project, this talk explores the extent to which cultural values are negatively impacted in such ways.

In addition, as a counterpoint, the talk also looks at how neoliberalism influenced some positive cultural values, for instance, more inclusive exhibitions and performances, as well as opening spaces for resisting discourses and DIY actions. By gauging the extent of the penetration of neoliberal discourse into European cultural values, the talk identifies challenges for visual artists.

Victoria D. Alexander (AB, Princeton; AM, PhD, Stanford) is Professor of Sociology and Arts Management at Goldsmiths, University of London. She has studied art museums, arts policy, arts management, sociology of the arts, neighbourhoods, and user-generated reviews of cultural attractions. She is author of Sociology of the Arts: Exploring Fine and Popular Forms (2003; 2020) and Museums and Money: The Impact of Funding on Exhibitions, Scholarship, and Management (1996), co-author of Art and the State: The Visual Arts in Comparative Perspective (2005), and co-editor of the multi-volume Art and the Challenge of Markets (2018) and numerous articles.  

©2020 by ANOTHER ARTWORLD: Manifestations and Conditions of Equity in Visual Arts.