Beyond the academic "iron cage": education and the spirit of aesthetic capitalism

de la Fuente, Eduardo (2010) Beyond the academic "iron cage": education and the spirit of aesthetic capitalism. In: Araya, Daniel, and Peters, Michael A., (eds.) Education in the Creative Economy: knowledge and learning in the age of innovation. Peter Lang, New York, NY, USA, pp. 551-564.

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Abstract

[Extract] In my hometown of Melbourne, Australia, the closing date for Liquid Desire, an exhibition of art works by the surrealist Salvador Dali, looms. The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), the premier art institution of the city, has decided to stay open all night to celebrate the final day of the exhibition. The NGV is planning to offer visitors food, drink, musical entertainment, and roving performers. The event will mark the NGV's entry into Melbourne's "night-time economy" with spillover effects for local restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and other venues usually open late. In a city where the creative edge is more often than not associated with gritty laneways, urban graffiti, hard to find bars and venues that simulate Weimar-era cabarets, the all-night opening of the NGV to end the Dali "blockbuster" exhibition taps into Melbourne's bohemian self-consciousness. It is a marketing strategy that echoes the rhetoric of the city's "Fringe Festival" - a piece of publicity designed to attract younger audiences, who usually bypass the NGV for the city's edgier art spaces.

So what kind of capitalism are we living through when staid, bourgeois art museums like the NGY, decide to rebrand themselves through association with bohemia and its nocturnal habits? "Aesthetic capitalism," the "experience economy," and the "creative city" - all these terms have been used to describe the patterns of social life associated with an increased role for culture, art, and aesthetic factors more generally (Lash & Urry, 1994; Boltanski & Chiapello, 2005; Pine & Gilmore, 1999; Florida, 2002; Landry, 2000). Art is now fully integrated with the economy; and the economy increasingly functions as if art were the model for all markets. As the sociologist of design, Harvey Molotch (2004) notes, under contemporary capitalism, "any industry is both a 'culture industry' and one that serves practical ends ... all art does work and all markets are art markets" (p. 372).

Item ID: 40375
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-1-4331-0744-3
Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2015 04:30
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1608 Sociology > 160806 Social Theory @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society @ 100%
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