For a very long time, many of the arts in Italy were halfheartedly propped up by Private investors (sponsors). The result has been pretty sad, resulting in many public arts falling into decay and crumbling. Covered incomplete projects, and cordoned-off areas where public art stands hidden or partly obscured tell a woeful take of neglect. Many a selfie has been ruined by sad faces staring at the faded and jaded art on show. And Italy has such a big serious impact on World Art. While some private investment has resulted in sweet improvements in some parts, most of Italy is still in need of financial assistance. So what is being done about it?
Finally the Italian government announced a major investment of €1 billion into the country's iconic, but crumbling museums and cultural sites. Italian culture minister Dario Franceschini has announced the biggest investment in Italy's cultural heritage. It can't happen soon enough.
In Florence's Uffizi galleries, as well as Pompeii and L'Aquila are being singled out for refurbishment, thanks to funds being made available. Those funds will be invested in restoration and rebuilding of some 33 museums, monuments and archaeological sites.
The majority of the funding is going to the money-starved south of Italy where the National Archaeological Museum of Naples is getting $22.9 million to improve its galleries. The Capodimonte Museum will receive $34.4 million to restore its collection. Meanwhile, the 18th century Palace of Caserta will get $45.9 million for essential repairs and upgrades to the building and surrounding park. The plan is to restore Italian art to Picture postcard perfection and make Italian art great once again.
MONUMENT VALLEY - a game that became more than a game. How a design company based across three continents fell in love with artist MC Escher and turned impossible puzzles of art into possible puzzles and gaming to enjoy on the Apple iPad.
Oh and the music score is pretty good too ... (more here)
The Art Of Branding & The Brand Of Art
Do artists know their own brand? Do artists even know an art brand at all? How can an artist or creative person tell if they have a brand?
As an artist, I have to be honest and say that lots of artists tend to "live in the moment". Some artists will always be just people who are creating art to just see it viewed by others, and even then a small number of people. Other artists only create art for themselves, as a way to examine or investigate something or explore a subject or theme in a great way. Surprisingly, some artists don't put a monetary value to what they create. Which in this 21st century, well, it's kind of weird to come across that - even today. Yes, you know what this is. This is art for art's sake.
So some artists are making excuses for their art, and others are wanting to know the value of their work. The art "world" is like a local disco, some go to attend and join in, but others don't because they don't dance. Those who never attend, will of course never network, date, mix and mingle and move forward, unless other unfortold events intervene.
Some artists are just happy to earn enough to pay those pesky bills, and keep that other boring thing they do... that full time job, probably.
Writers have it made. If they find a publisher, then the marketing department can work to create a brand around that writer, as Dan Brown, Tom Clancy, and JK Rowling have all been through the mill. Artists are a bit different, it seems.
Some artists don't consider themselves either in the same league as some top selling authors or else they just don't see the point to branding, or they don't see any value in it. The artists are missing out on some major pointers that writers, actors, singers and public figures have already picked up on the road to success. They have learned to appreciate and embrace and learn to love branding.
Is there still growth in the Asian Art Market?
Nothing is as facinatingasIt was not too long ago that "Newsweek" raved about the imminent bursting of the U.S. art bubble. But while some folks talked down the market there, other developments happened in Asia. Just what does the Asian Art Market have that other markets either lack or struggle to match? Answer - "Diversity". So while the market pauses to consider the best options open to art investors, there is still a lot of value in the art market.
As more and more existing and newer artists come to the fore with fresh ways of seeing Asian culture and exposing us to that culture - Asian artists and creative people can fold their experiences into their work and unleash it on us. It passes to us through Books, Art, Music, Theater, Dance, Sculpture or Movies. Asia has always been a rich melting pot of cultural change. Nowhere is culture more fascinating and begging to be understood by the masses, and yes even bought and owned. Nothing is more amazing or exciting as whatever is just arriving or new.
Art has long been that strange telescope that somehow allows us to see inside the heart of those that witness change in the world. Some good change, and some bad change. We all saw the problems of the financial downturn. But art sees it and records and captures it. So art is just an extension of our curiosity, in a way. Art lends interpretation to everything. In light, form, shape, texture, color or sound... art sees it all. And as art sees all, it evolves - and so we evolve with it, and so become more knowledgeable. Now it is changing and moving again.
Hong Kong has always been a bell-weather for what way the wind turns in the Asian art world. While the recent events in Asia have made art buyers more cautious, there is still great art to be found and appreciated. While the herd might be construed by some to be thinning out, others disagree. This is also the chance for emerging and talented artists to get their foot in the door. Every change in any market, including the art market - can become an opportunity for good artists, and for those who sense a bargain. So every change should be welcomed, even explored.
It goes without saying that if artists in some parts of Asia were not getting good returns on their art endeavors, the worry is that they might consolidate their efforts and migrate to areas where art is flourishing and where buyers and galleries nurture that talent. And in a more competitive art market, where art is thriving more in some Asian countries such as the Philippines, the options for artists are many. Companies, galleries, corporations and institutes are still looking for quality art to showcase. Buyers have not gone away. Art has not diminished, any more than culture has diminished. Culture does not stop or regress, it keeps evolving. (If it seems like it takes naps, they are only naps in between meals.)
So the many strands of business, practice and art of Art itself all thread and weave together into constant new innovation. Some small adjustments of expectations and perhaps some prices adjustments might be required in some art markets in Asia, but the love for art never goes away. It's pretty solid. Some investors have been renowned for ignoring so-called "market sentiment" and being more bolder, while others are being cautious, and those bolder investors have proved to be right. Being curious can be rewarding for art lovers. It's easy to see why Asia can still punch above its weight and lead the world when it comes to Art.
May 2016 (Alan Mc Keogh is an artist and blogger. Oberon Tan is an editor, guest writer. blogger and tree hugger.)
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The Irish - Did You Know...?
Back in 1906, as the story goes, these three Irishmen scooted off to Athens, Greece in order to compete in the Olympics as an Irish team independent of Britain. This was during the British occupation of Ireland. The three Irish athletes had, shall we say - "distinct clothing" that would single them out from the rest of the athletes, and intended to compete for the first time as representatives of their own country. Sure wouldn't you want to be part of the Olympics if ye could?
Once in Athens, the British committee took a dim view, and decided that the Irish would instead compete under the British flag. Intending on winning no matter what the circumstances, one of the men, Peter O'Connor won the silver medal for the long jump. As he was about to receive his medal he rushed towards the flag pole, made the longest long jump of his life for himself and fellow Irish folk - climbed the pole as nimble as a monkey so he did, and flew the "Erin Go Brach" flag, ( a gold harp on a green background ) because the modern Irish Tri-colour had not yet been chosen or invented.
The other Irish athletes were somehow helped by many Irish-American athletes and fended off (okay then, beat off) security for a brief few minutes, just long enough for the world to catch a sight of the Irish arrive in style at the World Olympics. That was the first time an Irish flag or a significant emblem of Ireland had been flown and shown at a big sporting event. The rest as we like to chuckle and say - as we nurse a pint in our hand... is history.
Eireann Go Brach.
Hong Kong Art Basel
ART BUYERS MORE CAUTIOUS
Art collectors are focusing more on emerging artists and established names in the art world, according to sources in Hong Kong. As the three day art event takes place, many art lovers are looking to see how much art is fetching in price and how quickly it sells.
Adrian Cheng, founder of K11 Art Foundation says the art market is polarised. Art buyers are returning to entry-level art works to which they feel emotionally attached.
Since the uncertainties in the Asia sector recently, investors are focusing on top art names, who's art will maintain value, as well as fresh new art from emerging artists who are worth a punt.
Art Basel in Asia is known for featuring some of the leading galleries who showcase art of all varieties. It is noted for paving the ways and careers of many artists, and it showcases over 4,000 artists at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center.