Droit de Suite revisited

We're back ...

Today at Slate, Whitney Kimball tries to make the case for US adoption of resale royalties for visual artists, or droit de suite: In what would become the first scandalously record-breaking Sotheby’s art auction in 1973, taxi magnate Robert Scull and his wife famously made a fortune on 50 artworks from their collection, which included Robert Rauschenberg’s painting Thaw. There, the artist watched as his piece, which he had initially sold for $900, hammered out for a whopping $85,000. As the story goes, Rauschenberg famously shoved Scull and … [Read more...]

Summer books: Bruce Katz and Jennifer Bradley’s ‘The Metropolitan Revolution’

next big thing?

A dozen years ago, mayors and their economic development staff made sure they had a copy of Richard Florida's The Rise of the Creative Class on their desks. It was the big new idea that would help them understand the dynamics of contemporary urban growth, and plan for the future of their cities. Adopt the urban amenities and policies that are attractive to young, mobile and skilled talent, or see your city left behind, and watch the brain drain to Portland and Austin, whose economies would flourish with educated, networked professionals … [Read more...]

Fixed book prices (updated)

paid full price

France has passed anti-Amazon legislation. Publishing Perspectives reports: On Wednesday, the French parliament passed a long-debated law that will end Amazon.com’s ability to offer a combined 5% discount and free shipping on books shipped to France, according to Livres Hebdo.  France’s fixed book price law, dubbed “The Lang Law,” was passed in 1981 and allows for a maximum 5% discount under varied positions. “The ‘Anti-Amazon Law,’ was created to prevent ecommerce sites like [the American giant] Amazon from stamping out the iconic network … [Read more...]

Dynamic pricing at the zoo

come see me on a cloudy Tuesday

The Indianapolis Zoo has adopted dynamic pricing. The policy is combined with increased differentiation in prices between low-demand weekdays and high-demand weekends, and a general increase in prices arising from the increased demand that will flow from the new orangutang exhibit. The Indiana Business Journal reports: The zoo expects the move to generate more revenue as well as keep peak-day crowds to a more manageable level, improving the visitor experience. Officials are projecting 2014 attendance of 1.28 million, a 24-percent jump over … [Read more...]

Earmarked taxes for the arts

I admit only having been to the airport

Last night Mecklenburg County (where Charlotte, NC is) commissioners voted to approve a referendum on increasing the sales tax by a quarter of a cent, some of which would be dedicated to culture: 7.5% of the proceeds to the Arts & Science Council and 5% of the proceeds to the public library. These earmarked funds for the arts are found across cities and metro areas across the US, sometimes funded by sales taxes (as in Denver or Salt Lake City) but also financed through taxes on motel/hotel stays, property taxes, tobacco taxes (as in … [Read more...]

Summer books: Astra Taylor’s ‘The People’s Platform’

Astra Taylor

Summer is time to catch up on reading all of those books I bought during the school year. Let's begin with Astra Taylor, The People's Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age. I enjoyed the book, political economy applied to the contemporary digital media world. It covers a lot of topics, from search engines to copyright to video to technological innovation to the regulatory process, in lively prose. I learned a lot, and was directed to many references I am anxious to look up. Attracting the most heat from Taylor are … [Read more...]

On cultural pessimism (updated)

will this sentence ever end?

I have enjoyed many books by novelist and essayist Tim Parks (the novel Europa my favorite). But I can't agree with him in his latest piece in the New York Review of Books. He laments that in our busy lives, we don't have time to absorb great, complex works of literature: Only yesterday a smart young Ph.D. student told me his supreme goal was to keep himself from checking his email more than once an hour, though he doubted he would achieve such iron discipline in the near future. At present it was more like every five to ten minutes. So when … [Read more...]

Opera and arts education

much to learn

Audiences for live performance of opera are aging and declining. What ought to be done about that? General Manager of New York's Metropolitan Opera, Peter Gelb, in an interview with the BBC (on which I posted, on a different topic, yesterday) has this to say: "The box office has not increased, it's been flat which represents a shrinking playing field for opera - it's not a secret in the US that the frequency of opera going is going down. ... "We are getting a newer audience, a younger audience, but there aren't enough new audience members … [Read more...]

Cutting wages is hard to do

what goes up is tough to get down

Peter Gelb says New York's Metropolitan Opera will go broke within the next few years without wage cuts. The BBC reports: He proposed cutting 16% of its $200m (£119m) labour costs by changing work rules for the orchestra and chorus. Gelb also defended spending $169,000 (£100,000) on a poppy field stage set for the opera Prince Igor. Unions have already threatened strike action over the proposed pay cuts, which are up for debate before the players' current contracts expire at the end of July. "What's at stake, ultimately, is the future … [Read more...]

Film tax credits, jobs, and lost incomes


This morning artsjournal.com links to yet another chapter in the endless series of different states, provinces and countries deciding how much in tax credits ought to be granted to commercial film and television production, because: jobs. I recently posted re Maryland here. Today, Hollywood Reporter, er, reports: the California Film and Television Job Retention and Promotion Act of 2014 was approved by the state assembly Wednesday by a unanimous vote of 71-0. The legislation, authored by Assemblymen Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) and Raul … [Read more...]