Thursday, October 11, 2007

Thursday rant....

One of my favourite artists is John Everett Millais and was pleased to discover that the Tate Britain was holding an exhibition of his work.

I checked the website regarding booking tickets and couldn't believe how much they were charging....£11 a throw + £1.50 booking charge. Bleeding 'ell, me thinks while worrying about my rocketing blood pressure!

That is an utter obscene amount to charge people to look at paintings. Now, I looked at concession rates for the unemployed and so on... £9.00. Well, that leaves you with £50.15 (Job Seekers Allowance) without including booking fee and travel.

The art world is excluding the poor as it is difficult to finance that amount of cash whether you are on the dole or on low pay. It is utterly objectionable that an art gallery can do this especially as art should be free for everyone to look at not just for the elite. Since 2001 New Labour introduced free entrance to national galleries and museums in England, in 2006 there was a general rise of 83% in general admissions and 86% increase in London alone. But galleries and museums are still allowed to charge for "special exhibitions". Unfortunately these statistics aren't broken down by socio-economic backgrounds. Just who is visiting these galleries and museums?

The soft cuddly focus of the Tories came ever more into sharper focus when they stated that they might ditch free entrance and bring back charging. As Steve Sinnott says from the NUT:

"History, art, geography, so many subjects are enlivened by being able to go to a museum and see and touch the exhibitions. To reintroduce charges will restrict these opportunities and will make the learning of these subjects a less rich experience."

But fortunately for the Tories they have one half of the maverick dynamic duo, artist Jake Chapman, who believes that galleries should be full of people who want to look at art and "I think you should pay for your pleasure"...

As art is about taste and subjective then never fear Jake, I doubt if I would hand over my hard 'earned to gawp at you and your bro's conceptual brand of art (apols to any Chapman bros fans out in cyberspace..).

Capitalism has a tendency to kill the spirit and grind you down but to escape even briefly from this perpetual misery you have to pay dearly to indulge in your hobbies and enjoyments. But capitalism charges us even when we want to enjoy our lives.

Btw: Spare a dime....sorry a thought for Sir John Bourn. Who he? Well, he's the auditor general for the government. He monitors and investigates waste, extravagance and what's good value for money. Unfortunately, the National Audit Office is on to him as they have published Sir John's travel (don't think he has heard of carbon footprints) and meals (what's wrong with the greasy spoon, John, for entertaining and networking?) expenditure. In 3 years he has run up bills of £365k on travel and £27k on meals. And that don't include the trips to the ballet, grand prix or polo.

Nice work, if you can it. But it also shows that Sir John isn't fussy about who picks up the tab such as his trip to Silverstone was paid by none other than that corrupt bunch of dirty dealers, BAE. And the rest is charged to the tax payer...

And I bet old Sir John wouldn't have to cough up £11 for a visit to the art gallery.

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