Wednesday, May 25, 2011

ART NEWS: Adding Insult To Injury

Time Out Chicago brings us this update from the Netherlands;

You might call Czech artist Jirí Kylián the Christopher Nolan of dance: Only an infrastructure developed over a century (the state-supported European concert-dance system, or “dance’s Hollywood,” as I’ll call it) allows him to create as big as he thinks (dances such as Bella Figura and 27'52" are akin to The Dark Knight and Inception).

In this analogy, the world-renowned Nederlands Dans Theater, based in the Hague and Kylián’s artistic home for more than three decades, would be Warner Bros.

It faces an uncertain future: The cultural council of Holland recently proposed cuts of up to half its annual budget. (The Dutch National Ballet, the country’s largest dance company, faces a 26-percent amputation.)


NDT may also be downgraded to “regional amenity” status. Its tours to Buenos Aires, Chicago, Melbourne and other cities, where fans fill the largest opera houses available, would take a back seat to appearances in Dutch suburbs such as Rijswijk, Voorburg and Wassenaar.

Well, if you need an up-to-date reason not to want arts to be directly controlled by governments, that seems like a pretty good indication as to why.

The political calculus is plain to see: the country is paying for art which is (ostensibly) being consumed more overseas than by its own rural citizens. It seems as though previously, the group had an unquestioned role in bringing Dutch art overseas; now, the politics is pushing them to focus on their own people.

The article's author, Zachary Whittenburg, does make a bold claim:

Dance without the boundary-pushing creations made in Europe would be like film without Hollywood.

Is Hollywood good for film?