Pioneering Art Figures Speak of Their Concerns and views post Brexit
After about two weeks of the vote in favor of Brexit at the EU referendum, UK is now on its way to leave the European Union. It is, however still unclear as to how long the whole process of the exit will take and the impact it will have on the field of art and artists as a whole. Among those that dissented were London and Scotland and the result of the referendum was met by shock mostly especially the art community and there has been a severe political and economic tumult that has caused a global concern.
According to Thomas Campbell, director of the Met in New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art have often collaborated with various European partners, since after the Second World War, to organize a number of motivated and pioneering loan shows. Campbell further says that the importance of these collaborations are more important than ever today. He confesses that it is too early to predict the effect of Brexit but has faith in the possibility of collaborating with the UK counterparts and work through the financial and legal issues that are bound to crop up and carry on organizing many more enlightening, intellectually stimulating, and relevant exhibitions for national and global platforms and audiences.
The director of British museum, German born Hartwig Fischer agrees with Campbell, his colleague and puts equal emphasis on continuing collaborations and cooperative endeavors at a global level. Fischer further says that it is important to think and look back on the impact this institution, the British Museum has had at a national level and on Europe and to look ahead futuristically at what the museum still has to offer.
Wolfgang Tillmans, a former Tate trustee and a winner of Turner prize was the one who designed the anti-Brexit posters and went on record to say that in the current situation probably the only thing that can help is to not lose hope and keep courage. He further says that it is the duty of all to help preserve the foundation of the free world that has been cautiously built up in the previous 70 years. He expresses his faith and confidence and says that such enlightened ones are definitely in majority.
Interestingly, Thaddaeus Ropac, an art dealer based in Paris and Salzburg is still defiantly standing up for his decision to open a large gallery in London in the spring of 2017. Despite the Brexit, Ropac feels confident of the London staying firmly ahead on the culture map and that it will continue to be this vibrant center of art globally.
Reputed artist and Royal Academician, Michael Craig-Martin says a great number of artists from across Europe have chosen to make London their home almost as many as the number of British nationals who have found their homes in cities all across the continent. Post Brexit this mobility and ease would be lost.
Secretary and chief executive at the Royal Academy of Art, Charles Saumarez Smith accepts that though Brexit might not be a threat to the existence of most of the prominent and reputed cultural institutions in London, but it is sure to make a serious impact on and add an uncertainty on short and medium term spans to make the life a lot more difficult. Some of the cultural institutions especially like RA have always had a global outlook and have always encouraged collaborations with other nations through partnerships. He further says that in these times, it is more important than ever to cultivate such affiliations.
According to Frieze’s co-founder and co-director, Matthew Slotover the campaign to leave the EU was fueled with fear, lack of knowledge, and bias to vote through an imprudent return to a primordial Britain. Frieze further says that he, as a fourth generation immigrant feels sad and angered particularly by this. Brexit and the dip in currency value may result in the British art and services becoming cheaper and for art workers it may also mean lower London house prices. Frieze expresses his resolve to keep working on a global platform more proactively than before.
Director MoMA PS1 and the chief curator at large, Museum of Modern Art, New York, Klaus Biesenbach remembers the experience of growing up in Germany, where the whole nation wanted to overcome nationalism and his education therefore oriented him to identify himself as not just a German but a part of something a lot larger than that, as a global entity and stand for peace. He considers the post Brexit environment to be quite demoralizing for the art world and every other tiny aspect of everyday lives of a huge number of people.
A reputed academic and economist of the art market, Olav Velthuis, however is unconcerned as he believes that the art market is quite deeply institutionalized in London. In the short run however, there is a serious concern about the impact of Brexit and the resultant tumult in the financial market which is bound to add a lot more uncertainty to the weakened art market. He further advises the potential buyers to wait and watch before taking the plunge.