Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014
Hyperallergic reported this week on an interesting new “partnership” in the arts – between Kickstarter and Art Basel. On its website, Art Basel describes this project as such: “Art Basel and Kickstarter are partnering to catalyze much-needed support for outstanding non-commercial art projects. This new initiative will present jury-selected art projects to a global community of potential benefactors, including Art Basel’s audience and Kickstarter’s community, who have pledged over $1 billion to creative projects. The goal is to support non-profit visual arts organizations, at a time when public funding for the arts has been dwindling, by sharing their stories, generating contributions, and reaching out to new audiences.”
In theory this sounds like a good idea – having a big name arts organization endorse certain artists and art projects will not only bring awareness of these artists to a new, likely wealthy, audience (those who follow and attend Art Basel), and having Art Basel’s name attached will act as credential to those who are less familiar with upcoming artists but want to lend their support. Hyperallergic, clearly, is a bit skeptical. I’m interested in their wording – they don’t actually state that they will be donating anything other than their name, leaving the donating to “Art Basel’s audience and Kickstarter’s community.” It would seem like such a large for-profit organization like Art Basel could endorse these artists by donating themselves (though it’s possible they have donated anonymously and are choosing not to publicize it).
I’m curious what you all think of this collaboration – is it actually beneficial to art nonprofits? Or is it just Art Basel trying to seem more philanthropic without making any kind of real contribution?