– It’s a grim moment in the art world. Ai Weiwei has been released from custody, though few find this cause for optimism. Culture budgets are being slashed in all the most unlikely places: first and foremost a savage attack by a Culture Minister in a fragile minority cabinet here in the Netherlands who, in implementing the cuts he was assigned with vicious zeal, garnered the putdown of being “more Catholic than the Pope.” The head of the Dutch Arts Council (Raad Voor Cultuur) has resigned in protest at the carnage. Canadians are being warned to expect the same; the UK has already cut all the fat and is now sawing into bone. It’s important to keep calm and carry on, but hard not to wonder what can really be done to counter this global tailspin. Signing petitions and going to marches (check, check) seems to have little impact where it matters. Making the economic case has also failed us, as Canadian culture pundit Mark Jones has recently noted. It certainly feels like we are all groping along in the dark together, signing e-petitions and preparing placards, meanwhile fervently hoping for a better strategy to emerge. If the economic argument (which is solid) won’t work, then what will?

– Of course, it’s also important to keep things in perspective and continue to laugh at ourselves a little. These posts at Hyperallergic and William Powhida’s blog (scroll down a bit) should do the trick.

– Also on a lighter note, John Waters, famed director of pre-Jackass gross-out classics such as “Pink Flamingos”, is now trying his hand at curating. “”I want to clean house, reward troublemakers and invite crashers,” he wrote in an introductory wall panel that raises unusual curatorial questions.”

– And last but not least, Issue 8 of ONCURATING is up, after the symposium Institution as Medium. Curating as Institutional Critique?, organized by the Kunsthalle Fridericianum and the Zurich Postgraduate Program in Curating. Contributions by Dorothee Richter, Rein Wolfs, Oliver Marchart, Maria Lind, and more.

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