How is the appreciation of visual arts and visual artists? It seems that without exception, economic interests outweigh and outweigh appreciation.

It seems that the appreciation of art has declined in recent years. That statement is not based on scientific research, but on a hunch, a feeling. Perhaps one day a scientific researcher will want to get to the bottom of this. But why would a scientist do that? After all, who's waiting for that? And how important is measuring appreciation of art at all?

Relocation, and thus saving the work, would be too costly

A valuable mural by Dolf Henkes, The Chemistry Room (1954-1955), which was relocated sixteen years ago due to a demolition with much effort, effort and support from willing funders, was brutally demolished this year. At the time, the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences was very pleased with Henkes' work, this special work that they were allowed to house in their building. And now, during a renovation of their Business School, the work has been removed, destroyed. Moving it and thus saving the work would be too costly.

It seems as if the appreciation of artists has declined. Again, that statement is not based on scientific research. Mannes, the artwork in Assen by artist QS Serafijn and architect Maurice Nio needed to be repaired. The artist was not involved in the refurbishment and the result can be called a failure; the sculpture shines too much and the wood structure is no longer visible. Because it has become another work of art, the artist wants to have the sculpture removed. He fears damage to his image. The municipality of Assen has no intention of doing so and furthermore maintains that the makers are responsible for the repair costs. The legal procedure is still ongoing.

Because it has become another work of art, the artist wants the sculpture removed

And so there are more examples where appreciation for art or artist is not immediately apparent. Think of Blue Waves by Peter Struycken in Arnhem (1977), or - less well known - how carelessly the large land art work on the First Maasvlakte (1975-1979) by Teun Jacob and Kees Verschuren was handled.

Why is that, after all? Why is art so often not about the art in the first place, but about other interests, money? How can children and young people be made to appreciate art, so that when they grow up and make important decisions - about a mural, for example - they know what to do, know that not everything can be expressed in money? Appreciation, as in seeing its specialness, its social value, its irreplaceability, cultural-historical value. And so on.

Irreplaceable art cuts for a business school

The otherwise rather wry symbolism of the vanished Henkes mural will not have escaped anyone's attention: irreplaceable art perishes for a business school. Because no budget is found to spare the artwork.

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