1% Art by Andrea Fraser

Andrea Fraser discusses the state of contemporary art patronage, the rise of HNWI’s (High Net Worth Individuals), and their cultural, political, and economic affiliations. In this revised essay (originally published in Texte Zur Kunst in September 2011), Fraser asks “Who are the patrons of contemporary art today?”

“The ARTnews 200 Top Collectors list is an obvious place to start. Near the top of the alphabetical list is Roman Abramovich, estimated by Forbes to be worth $13.4 billion. He has admitted to paying billions in bribes for control of Russian oil and aluminum assets. […] MoMA, MoCA and LACMA trustee Eli Broad is worth $5.8 billion and was a board member and major shareholder of the now notorious AIG. […] And of course, there is Charles Saatchi, who helped elect Margaret Thatcher.

Until recently, however, there has been very little discussion of the obvious link between the art world’s global expansion and rising income disparity.

In the United States it is difficult to imagine any arts organization or practice that can escape the economic structures and policies that have produced this inequality. The private nonprofit model–which almost all US museums as well as alternative art organizations exist within–is dependent on wealthy donors and has its origins in the same ideology that led to the current global economic crisis: that private initiatives are better suited to fulfill social needs than the public sector and that wealth is best administered by the wealthy.

Progressive artists, critics and curators face an existential crisis: how can we continue to justify our involvement in this art economy?”

SOURCE: Andrea Fraser, “1% Art,” Adbusters.org, February 14, 2012. (This is a revised version of an essay originally published in Texte zur Kunst, Issue no. 83, September 2011.) Continue reading at link below: