In fact, if one thing characterises the successful artists I have known, it is a sound head for business, ruthless self-publicity and a self confidence that permits no door in the world to be closed to them. Their tactics for 'breakthrough' are as thorough and ferocious as as Guderian's wielding of a Panzer army. They are, in short, amongst the least needy candidates for tax support that I've ever come across. And they'd run a mile rather than be tainted with anything a bit 'council'.
Simon Jenkins writes in today's Guardian:
Yesterday in the Guardian the director of the Tate, Nicholas Serota, said the impending cuts to arts subsidies were like Hitler's "ruthless blitzkrieg" that would "threaten the whole ecosystem" of civilisation. Whether a school outreach programme equates to the puncturing of the Maginot Line others can decide, but a "Serota" clearly qualifies as a unit of political pressure.
And here we really must sort the wheat from the chaff. There is a gulf between great international institutions that acquire and exhibit important art works, stage productions of global quality or promote the finest of the nation's cultural and creative sector and throwing tax money at third-rate creatives with little or no endogenous merit or ability who will never rise beyond the village hall or municipal foyer.
I was once asked to look at a portfolio of pencil drawings by an ex-prisoner; they were trite, unaccomplished, cliched, clumsy and painful to look at. They were without a scintilla of merit. When I said so than man's astonished representative said "But the prison art visitor said he has a rare talent". "What was he in for?" I asked. "GBH". "Well," I suggested, "he would say that, wouldn't he?".