David Jones, artist and poet (1895-1974) begins his PREFACE TO THE ANATHEMATA :

'I have made a heap of all that I could find.' (1) So wrote Nennius, or whoever composed the introductory matter to Historia Brittonum. He speaks of an 'inward wound' which was caused by the fear that certain things dear to him 'should be like smoke dissipated'. Further, he says, 'not trusting my own learning, which is none at all, but partly from writings and monuments of the ancient inhabitants of Britain, partly from the annals of the Romans and the chronicles of the sacred fathers, Isidore, Hieronymous, Prosper, Eusebius and from the histories of the Scots and Saxons although our enemies . . . I have lispingly put together this . . . about past transactions, that [this material] might not be trodden under foot'. (2)

(1) The actual words are coacervavi omne quod inveni, and occur in Prologue 2 to the Historia.
(2) Quoted from the translation of Prologue 1. See The Works of Gildas and Nennius, J.A.Giles, London 1841.

30 December 2015

TAR End-of-Year Financial Report

Around this time of year, we receive various end-of-year reports from the State and National galleries. 

Below, unaltered, is a page from the NGV Annual Report (here). It serves as facing page to the report titled : Five Year Financial Summary. The speculative caption given to the image is:

Visitors enjoy the exhibition A Golden Age of China: Qianlong Emperor, 1736–1795

Once again, the use/value of such as this has the Accountants, Economists, Philosophers and -oLogists of every mask at Theatre of the Actors of Regard all in a spin, debating how the Value of our Acts of Regard might be calculated and weighed.

Use value : Origin of the concept
The concepts of value, use value, utility, exchange value and price have a very long history in economic and philosophical thought, from Aristotle to Adam Smith, and their meanings evolved. Adam Smith recognized that commodities may have an exchange-value but may satisfy no use-value, such as diamonds, while a commodity with a very high use-value may have a very low exchange-value, such as water. Marx comments for example that "in English writers of the 17th century we frequently find worth in the sense of value in use, and value in the sense of exchange-value." With the expansion of market economy, however, the focus of economists has increasingly been on prices and price-relations, the social process of exchange as such being assumed to occur as a naturally given fact.
Marx emphasises that the use-value of a labor-product is practical and objectively determined; that is, it inheres in the intrinsic characteristics of a product that enable it to satisfy a human need or want. The use-value of a product therefore exists as a material reality vis-a-vis social needs regardless of the individual need of any particular person. The use-value of a commodity is specifically a social use-value, meaning that it has a generally accepted use-value for others in society, and not just for the producer. ( from Wikipedia )

 A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/
 someone looks at something...