The Visual Arts Sector Today

The majority of the visual artists work individually, but cannot live on that work and must, therefore, have more than one job. The number of artists applying for (the scant) subsidy has not been involved in the years. After half makes work that can be sold on the art market. Some artists with an international career do sell work but do not have a gallery. Artists with confirmed talent work more abroad than in their home country.

Artists try their luck in well-kept (with roofings retained and properly fixed by private companies such as the like of Tampa Bay Roof – ) museums in the United States such as the Eskenazi Museum of Art in Bloomington.

Talent Development Not Supported By Policies

Most arts organizations are young and powerful. Half of the artists are less than ten years old and complement each other perfectly. The limited catching-up movement via the Arts Decree allowed to professionalize (staff, infrastructure, and presentation), but is insufficient to work internationally and to invest in the artists (co-production, remuneration). The curator plays an important role in the oeuvre development and international relations of artists and in mediation with the public, but their talent development has not been supported by certain policies until now.

Our museums are dynamic but have to be taken a lot with too few resources. They are still not focused enough on collection and research and too much on changing exhibitions. As a result, they get into the waterways of the art halls too often and do not invest enough in the deepening and internationalization of their knowledge about (Flemish) artists.

The Private Art Sector

The private art sector is strong, but by definition fragmented, because it is always about private individuals of organizations. It is difficult to forge long-term relationships with the public sector: a limited number of galleries is at the top of the international art market and provides maximum support to its artists (promotion, investment in new productions, sales, valorization through high-quality collections).

Moreover, this exclusive way of working strongly drives up prices and increases the gap between those top players and top art fairs, and the most important and small galleries that together represent the majority of the artists. These galleries can only be added to the art fairs to a limited extent because they become too expensive (despite the high-quality oeuvres they display), and they have less capital to invest in productions.

High prices on the art market are also detrimental to the purchasing policy of public institutions that can no longer compete with the wealthy collectors who set up more and more museums of their own – whose sustainability is debatable – and therefore the public institutions asked less: in the past, there were, for example, more donations and long-term loans than now.

The Arts In Public Space

The government has not given the art institutions – especially the museums – a framework and no assignment to enter into that relationship with the private sector in a qualitative manner. There is a long tradition of art commissions from public and private players and today visual artists are invited to companies, universities, innovation labs, schools, and local communities to work in a context of dialogue and exchange, with or without specialized mediators. The art in the public space, with high-quality support from the Art Cell of the Vlaams Bouwmeester Team, is the best-known example of this.

Artists and curators organize themselves from alternative in alternative ways around producing and presenting new work. They do this through management offices, collective work forms, project spaces, off-spaces, and other ways. There are also new initiatives that grow from the bottom up from artists in relation to other social players.