What’s the Matter With Sweden?

March 30, 2010

And closing out this Intellectual Impropriety hat trick, an article on Pitchfork called "What’s the Matter With Sweden?", seen here via JWZ. The article starts with covering the Swedish Arts Council, which grants public funds to musical artists, and goes from there into a survey of other countries with public funding for music and how they interact with the concept of a "social democracy".

The article doesn’t have a strong message and is about a half-hour to read, but does make some interesting points:

  • Lots of countries have programs like this to subsidize their own "homegrown" culture "in the face of American cultural dominance".
  • A major stumbling block for professional musicians is health care.
  • "Dave Hickey, in his 1997 book Air Guitar, argues that art truly worthy of public patronage would most likely be unworthy as art." One commenter on JWZ’s post, however, mentions that lots of funding distributed by arts councils tends to go, rather predictably, to "uncomfortable and edgy impotent commentary on society".

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