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The arts as an instrument? Notes on the controversy surrounding the value of art
Topic(s): public and private funding policies / research 
Keywords:  Cultural policy - intrinsic value - values

In the last decade of the twentieth century a shift occurred in the way western governments defended their cultural policies. New, instrumental arguments were put forward. This collided with the way the arts had learned to see themselves in the twentieth century: autonomous, with a value of their own. This article elaborates this confrontation of the arts and policy in two ways. First, it is shown that the distinction between an instrumental and an intrinsic value of the arts originates in a misperception of recent history. It was the political constellation of the Cold War that made governments in the second half of the twentieth century support the arts to be free and independent. Next, an attempt is made to anchor the value of art in a unique kind of instrumentality. With the help of philosophers and historians of culture, it is argued that the arts should be considered instruments of experience.

Author / Published by: Kees Vuyk, abstract of article in International Journal of Cultural Policy, Volume 16 / Issue 2
Year of publication: 2010
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