Published on Friday November 12, 2010
...and for this very reason we are exclusively publishing this article today, which was also featured as the editorial of the current Exibart.onpaper, which promptly anticipated the problem and has rightly drawn the public attention to the museums’ “lockout” taking place this Friday.
There is a bad, very bad story that we may have forgotten about, or with which we might not want to directly deal with, nevertheless, it weighs on our heads like a lethal and threatening sword of Damocles’. It is a hypothetical rule that is present in the next Finance Bill, which can be summed up as it follows: " No local institution in 2011 will be able to invest in representative expenses amounting to more than 20% of the amount employed for such reason in 2009”
. Are you with me on numbers? Exactly: it’s an 80% cut back. What exactly does this entail? In order to grasp this, let’s go and check what the law precisely means by "representative expenses”
and finally find out, surprisingly, that within that wording, art exhibitions are incorporated. Not the wine and food fairs not even the fashion shows, or the polenta festivals: but rather, art exhibitions… and to add a further paradox, they are cut even when privately sponsored. It is not going to be possible to spend more than 20% of the total amount invested last year. How should one react to a measure that would signify the end of dozens of museums, the death of cultural tourism, the deterioration of entire allied industries, the ruin of urban areas counting on this (Brescia and Treviso, dear minister Tremonti -i.e. Minister of Italian Economy-, not Cosenza or Caserta)? There are three possible ways of reacting: first, "It’s not possible, they won’t be able to do it, it’s anti-constitutional, it is totally contestable and after all the other huge cut backs made in order to finally be eliminated at the end of the year”
. However, with the end of the year finally approaching, and the Financial Bill along with it, some doubts are arising.
The second reaction lies in the political talk already mentioned, and naturally, the idea that flashed before us. What do we mean by this? Well, the government is presided over by a guy that owns lot of television channels; therefore he would do anything to prevent the people sitting in front of the TV, spending their entire time watching his ads, from having any kind of cultural distractions. Could it actually be possible? Yes, very much so. And finally, there is a third possible reaction, but it’s a marvellous challenge - the acceptance of the government cuts, as happened in the U.S.A., but, as in the US we would need efficient bureaucratic shortcuts to be opened, which would allow us to obtain sponsorships without any delay. These routes would provide individuals who offer to help a system of advantageous tax deductions, which would enable us to offer added services that could really make each one of our museums a profit organization and allow growth in the art market (not necessarily to selling art, but also to lending it in total freedom) which would permit us to hire and fire employees according to our needs, not according to government regulations, in order to achieve the maximal apex of efficiency. And that is just the beginning.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is reality: within a well working system, realistically, one could be deprived of 80% of public funds, through an “Americanization” of the structure. In this respect, there is an alternative way to the “no” and the “it’s all Berlusconi’s fault”, that becomes an “ok, but..”, because among the country’s businesses, and the wealthy individuals there is an undeclared potential made up of prospective money that if rightly confronted, could make the small percentage given by the Government look really minor.
*article featured on Exibart.onpaper n. 69.