The Ati-thesis , Marxism
"By that definition, a state capitalist country is one where the government controls the economy and essentially acts like a single huge corporation, extracting the surplus value from the workforce in order to invest it in further production. Friedrich Engels, in Socialism: Utopian and Scientific, argues that state capitalism would be the final stage of capitalism consisting of ownership and management of large-scale production and communication by the bourgeois state."
Quoted from Wikepedia
Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Thursday, December 25, 2014
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In the case of Maine Artists, it is not a place where discussion generally takes place. It is usually about posting images of one's work, however at this time there were the two discussions, started by others, which I wrote about in my previous post. The group think at Maine Artists is very dominant. I was pushing the envelope by expressing my outlier perspective and on Christmas Eve, factions hostile to open debate won the day.
Group think is a characteristic of a collectivist society. Private capitalism is the outgrowth of a society based in individualism. My defense of The Portland Art Gallery and the media empire which gave it birth is rooted in a defense of private capitalism which is not to suggest a province of saints but it beats collectivism ,crony capitalism and hegemonic public-private relationships. I have been studying the system through which the Maine corporation redistributes wealth for quite some time and have yet to find it being channeled to the publishing industry and so I think it is fair to speculate that The Brand Company truly is a self made company- and I admire that. It is a breath of fresh air but will that quality last ? My observation about how the Union of Maine Visual Artists could work constructively with the Brand Company comes dangerously close to a public private relationship, with its trending toward hegemonic power. The message I was attempting to convey -so unsuccessfully- at Maine Artist was to encourage the individualist approach inherent in private capitalism and to use the resource provided by The Union of Maine Visual Artists to reintroduce the idea that contracts and terms of agreements are a two way street.
The age of the internet discourages Terms of Agreements as a two way street. Online Terms of Agreements are presented on a take them or leave them basis , which works out fairly in many cases. Google and Adobe present fair agreements. The regional quasi non-governmental art foundation- the New England Foundation for the Arts is exploitative- During the course of a recent dialogue it came out that NEFA now apparently publishes two Terms of Agreement- one which displays when a person registers and another in the footer. The one which displays upon registration is new to my knowledge and much closer to the Google and Adobe models which limit the rights of the organization over what is published by participants to what is needed by the organization to provide the services offered. The terms of Agreement in the footer is the same as it has been when I first encountered it in 2007. I discussed my objections HERE
BOTH Terms of Agreement include the paragraph of the title Integration and Conflicting Terms. : The only difference is that in the original agreement the New England Foundation For the Arts site is identified and in the new agreement - the one which dispalys when one registers the words are "this site" , The web address for the new terms of agreement is http://www.creativeground.org/terms-use , making "this site" equivalent to creativeground .org which describes itself as "A project of the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA)"- the project being "New England’s Creative Economy Directory"
So it is fair to say that the new terms of Agreement is the ultimate governing contract for the directory listing, while the Terms of Agreement found in the footer of the New England Foundation For The Arts website is the ultimate governing authority for NEFA. The difference between the two is that one is a directory of names and addresses and the other manages "grants, convenings, online tools, and research" and so it is fair to say that if one merely enters one's information in a data base, one is governed by the Creative Ground Terms of Agreement, Whenever one uses the latter resources, one is governed by the NEFA terms of agreement but - this of course being my layman's analysis and interpretation, which is all most have when deciding whether to agree to the terms.
Commentary Compare this to almost the same paragraph in the Terms of Agreement for NEFA and you will find that there is an extra set of actions included in the NEFA terms which are"otherwise accessing or using the site "placed after by submitting a search request if you are only performing searches on the site", The latter sentence is almost identical to the one in the CommonGround Terms which reads BY SUBMITTING A SEARCH REQUEST IF YOU ARE ONLY PERFORMING SEARCHES ON THE CREATIVEGROUND SITE, This is further evidence that the Terms of Agreement which opens on registration applies only to the directory listing for which there is only one function available- the search function of the directory- when using any another function such as searching for grant information, the NEFA Terms of Agreement apply, but for those not paying careful attention to all these details, they might believe that the Terms of Agreement that pop up when registering for the directory are the Terms of Agreement for the entire site, which is an innovative application of the age old bait and switch.
In the paragraph titled "Integration and Conflicting Terms, there is a reversal in the use of specific and general identifiers. Now the CreativeGround Terms of Agreement uses the general identifier "this site" while the NEFA Terms of Agreement uses the specific identifier for NEFA. When you go to the CreativeGround About Page, it clearly identifies Creative Ground as a project of NEFA and the page is signed by the The CreativeGround Team at NEFA.
License. By submitting any content to Our site, You grant to Us, until revoked by you, a royalty-free, non-exclusive, license only to use the content in a non-commercial manner as We deem reasonably necessary for the operation, administration and promotion of this site.
Commentary The placement of the words BY CLICKING "I AGREE" at the beginning of the section below ( found at top of page), lends the impression that agreeing to the terms requires clicking "I Agree". However a comma is used to separate sets of actions, all of which constitute agreement to the terms, ie- "by submitting a search request if you are only performing searches on the site"- or by "otherwise accessing or using the site " means that you have read and agree to the terms, which is to say, even if you have never clicked on the terms when you use the sites search function, NEFA is declaring that your action of using the search function is admittance to having read the terms and agreeing to them ! Why are they doing this?
IF YOU ARE A REGISTERED USER, YOU MAY BE NOTIFIED VIA E-MAIL IF THIS AGREEMENT IS AMENDED OR MODIFIED. IF YOU ARE A USER OF THE SITE WHO ONLY PERFORMS SEARCHES ON IT, WE WILL BE UNABLE TO NOTIFY YOU OF ANY CHANGES. REGARDLESS OF WHETHER YOU ARE REGISTERED OR NOT, HOWEVER, ANY USE OF THE SITE BY YOU AFTER ANY SUCH AMENDMENTS OR MODIFICATIONS TO THE AGREEMENT SHALL BE DEEMED ACCEPTANCE OF THE MOST CURRENT VERSION OF THIS AGREEMENT.
8. License. By submitting any content to Our site, You grant to Us a perpetual, unlimited, irrevocable, royalty-free, non-exclusive, assignable, and worldwide license, to make, copy, perform, publish, display, distribute, transmit, translate, modify, prepare derivative works and use the content in other works in any form, media, or technology now known or hereinafter developed for the full term of any rights that may exist in that content. You also agree to waive and never assert any moral rights that You may have in the content submitted to Us.
Allow me to give my self credit since no one else will, that the very sort of analytically thinking, which the denizens of the Maine Artist FaceBook Page, find so soicially unacceptable is what most likely brought this small change in the NEFA terms of agreement about. I know of no other who has taken on this issue in my seven years of pursuing it. The Maine Artists certainly want to know nothing about it but I publish these views for their sake and benefit. Few will want to take heed and perhaps there will be no price to pay for that but these kind of Terms of Agreement do not stubbornly persist, year after year, for no reason what so ever. I do not know if the NEFA terms of agreement ever pops up when one goes to use the functions of the NEFA website, but in my opinion the small change of wording in paragraph 18 had to be intentional and it uses the term "this site" to identify that the terms apply to CreativeGround.org. Why is "Creative Ground.org" not stated, corresponding to the way The New England Foundation For The Arts website is identified in the Terms of Agreement for the NEFA website? I submit the answer is in service of non-transparency. Whenever there exists evidence of a concerted effort to protect non-transparency, the Question "Why?" should be taken very seriously.-
The statement at the top of both Terms of Agreement is declaring that the user does not have to click "I AGREE" to have agreed to the terms- he just has to make any minor use the site to agree to the terms- as so deemed by NEFA and the part of the site that the user will make use of are governed not by the CommonGround.org agreement but by the NEFA agreement.
The new development is worse than before- most people will not take a close look as I did. I had to take both paragraph 18's and compare them side by side to figure out that there was a subtle but significant difference between them. Most users, when reading the Terms of Agreement that pops up when one registers will believe that is the agreement for the NEFA website. Fewer will click at the link in the footer. The section at the top which begins with "by clicking "I Agree" is likely to be skimmed and not carefully examined and so the full meaning will be missed. It is quite a devious bait & switch that NEFA is pulling on the public which their non-profit foundation purports to serve.
This seems like a contract writ by Kafka and hardly something that would stand up in courts in the United States of America in which I have lived- but the USA of the past is changing rapidly these days and the Terms of Agreement to which NEFA has obstinately held tight- seems as if planned to fall into perfect step with a new world order.
- Art World Entitlements
- Communism and State Ownership of Intellectual Property
- NEFA Helps The Maine Arts Commision Present a Work Shop On Intellectual Property Rights
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
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The Portland Art Gallery on Middle Street in Portland is a recently established gallery and an out growth from the website Art Collector Maine. Art Collector Maine charges artists a fee for publishing their work on the website but does not charge a commission on the sale. The Portland Art Gallery does not charge an exhibition fee but it takes the standard Art Gallery commission of 50% on the sales of the work. There is a loud protest arising from the Maine art world aimed at demeaning The Portland Art Gallery, portraying it as a gallery that does not curate the art and is only interested in sales although sales is something that everyone in the art world is very interested in achieving. Selling one's work legitimizes it as well as enabling an artist to spend more time working on their art work.
The Portland Art Gallery is the most recent evolution of the Maine publishing empire which delivers several glossy art magazines, Maine Home + Design, Old Port Magazine and the Maine magazine. These publications have long been praised by the art world as they present a slick image of Maine filled with pictures of art and expensive art homes and its associated life style. The publishing empire has been a main stay for art world advertising for Maine's most preeminent galleries. Once the successful dealers and artists of Maine welcomed Thomas's website, Art Collector Maine, but now their tune has changed, suggesting that The Portland Art Gallery will be prominently visible to summer visitors but may not present the best of Maine art, that it will not nurture that artists career and cares only about sales. I haven't seen the Portland Art Gallery but the pictures look typical of a space that is attractively presented with perhaps too many pictures on the wall. I can't testify to the quality of the the art but I am taken aback at the hostile outcry from the art world and the intensity of the will to demean the gallery and belittle artists who show there. I participated in a discussion on the Maine Artists Facebook page and blogs. There exists an overwhelming view shared by the majority of the posters to which I played the devil's advocate, not only because I believe in the validity of the opposing view but because I believe that there should be more than one view aired in any debate.
One typical interaction goes like this:
- Gayle Fitzpatrick I think that the issue is that if an artist agrees for the fee to post on the website and then is shown in the gallery, the artist pays the posting fee, the costs of framing plus a gallery commission. In my experience, I have paid commissions, either to a brick and mortar gallery OR to a web based gallery, but not both. (And it's simply my decision not to for two reasons 1) It's a substantial amount of money on my (the artist's part) and 2) the gallery cost for my art (posting fee for web, plus gallery commission, plus framing costs) becomes prohibitive (or absurd) to buyers. too many middle man costs.
- Mackenzie Andersen Gayle- According to the article, the fee hasn't increased. The fee is still for the website- not both. If you are already paying the fee to the website and your work is selected for representation in the gallery- then that is just an added plus for which you do not pay unless your work is sold and you are entitled to include all your costs in the sales price, including the cost of framing. It makes sense for the artist to cover the cost of framing since there is no guarantee that the work will be sold in any particular show. If it is not sold you have the framed piece ready to be displayed in some other venue.- And the gallery is covering it's own upfront costs of providing the exhibition space in a pricey location.
It seems from what I am reading that the art world approved of the website- fee and all- until the company opened the gallery and then suddenly the fee is being portrayed as unethical. The company is offering an additional sales venue - affordable to the artists since he does not pay anything unless the work is sold and if the work is sold he has the income to cover the sales commission.
If you want to discuss an injustice consider the other discussion on this page which is lobbying for artists to get a tax deduction for what is essentially the exact same sales cost if their work is sold in a non-profit auction. You cannot get a tax deduction for your sales commission to a free enterprise gallery and so such a tax deduction would give an unfair advantage to the non-profit sector over the private enterprise sector. How would you like it if the free enterprise art market disappears and all we have is a non-profit-government hegemony in the art world?
Caren if the general public is aware -give credit to the Portland Art Gallery for being so upfront and open about how they are operating! They are not trying to conceal anything. They are boldly telling it like it is!
Erin Duquette Mackenzie, on all these threads.... You are coming after people and posts that arent even harsh and i think you are over criticizing….well…..theres TOO MUCH here from you than can't be tackled without having a 10 hour university forum… which i would find boring and a silly waste of time….i get the impression you like hearing yourself more than anything rather than really having a valuable back and forth about different opinions that could educate others.
“What I see here is an opportunity. After all, we have Chellie Pingree right here supporting the local art community; and unless someone hands her a problem and a suggestion how to fix it, we can hardly expect her to do anything this problem.Senator Pat Leahy has tried to pass fixes to the tax code to help artists donate to museums. He's even gotten that legislation through the Senate and Obama has made it clear he would sign it. But they couldn't get it through the House. Moreover, from what I am hearing, the issue isn't that you Maine artists are trying to donate directly to museums. Instead, what is far more common - and therefore far more important in terms of seeking relief - is the question of donating to auctions. (Seriously, I would guess it's about 100-1 in terms of how many works you guys donate for sale rather than as items to be entered into a collection.)
The presentation given by Mr Kant fails to take into account the upcoming changing of the guards in the US Congress. Mr Kany is talking about a bill that passed the Senate controlled by Democrats and which could not get passed the House controlled by Republicans. In about two weeks that will change as Republicans take control of the Senate and increase their numbers in the House. Even if the House did pass such a bill, it is unlikely that they would do so without any changes and then the bill would once more have to meet the approval of the Senate- now controlled by Republicans. His argument that the bill is almost passed makes no sense unless one believes that Obama can pass it with a stroke of his pen, bypassing all of Congress.
While some members of Congress have bristled against Leahy's "Artist-Museum Partnership Act" because artists could potentially take advantage of the tax benefits of claiming Fair Value (FV) for items on which they will not have paid income tax. But the vast majority of people who want relief are artists and the non-profits who can sell their work at fundraising auctions. (If artists could get tax benefits, more would donate to the Bakery's Photo-a-Go-Go, for example.) So what we can do is create a white paper that explains the broader problem for thousands of Maine artists and proposes a solution. The policy solution would work because it is quite simple (and modeled by car donations, for example: it's different if you donate a vehicle for a non-profit's use as opposed for it to sell at auction--where it's the auction price that you can deduct):”
The Policy“Artists should be able to write off the sale price at a non-profit's fundraising auction of a work they created up the fair market value (FV) of that work. That would benefit hundreds or even thousands of Maine artists (as opposed to a bill geared towards the donation of art by major living artists to museums - which would benefit a much smaller group of Maine artists). And because it's based on a financial transaction that is open and on the record, it can't be gamed.Moreover, if we design legislation with a clear illustration of the benefits, it should be easy to understand. For example, we could call it the "50/50 Artist Auction Raised Revenue Deduction Act."
And the example could be: "Jeff wants to donate a painting he made to a charity auction of a local 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Currently, Jeff could not deduct anything for making such a donation, since as a professional artist he already deducts his materials as a professional expense. This is because his art is common income property which would count as taxable common income only when he sells itMoreover, if Dan buys Jeff's painting for $1,000, Dan can only deduct the portion of the price he paid that is over FV. So, if Jeff's painting has a FV of $1,500, Dan can deduct nothing as a donation. If Dan pays $2,000, however, he could deduct $500. There is a simple fix in this policy to encourage additional donations and supporting purchases: If Jeff is allowed to deduct what Dan pays up to FV, then more artists will donate their works for auction, there would be more revenues for non-profits, there would be increased activity by the buyers who want to support artists and there would be a distinct financial benefit to artists whose work brings actual revenues at charity auctions.
Commentary What Mr. Kany seems to be saying is that between Dan & Jeff the entire price paid for the painting will be deducted- in other words paid for by the general taxpayer- in effect the general taxpayer is refunding both the buyer of the painting and the artist for their "donations" to the non-profit fundraiser. The general taxpayer will refund the fair market value to the artist- which upon a quick examination of the tax codes appears to be based on the retail value- and the general taxpayer will also refund anything that the buyer pays above the fair market value to the buyer, while the proceeds go to the non-profit, meaning the buyer will pay fair market value and anything he pays above that will be refunded to him via the United States taxpayer and the non-profit will pocket the entire amount of the sale ( split the FV with the artist) - so that in effect the United States taxpayer is buying the painting at the cost paid by Dan- and Jeff gets refunded his full retail market value of the painting that he "donates" to the non-profit fundraiser, meaning that it is a much better deal for Jeff to donate his painting to an auction than to sell his painting through a gallery which takes a conventional 50% commission.
Moreover, if the law is clear that a 50/50 split with the artist does not have to be reported as income by the artists (for example, if Dan pays $1,000 at auction for Jeff's painting of which Jeff gets $500) then this would not only represent a tax benefit, but a simplification of the tax code as well. The 50% donation will be considered sufficient to cover Jeff's taxable income--which is essentially a more practical and productive repositioning of the logic behind the current ordinary income property model that denies financial benefit to the artist based on the idea that he has not paid income tax on the donated item.
This 50/50 Act would increase revenues both to professional artists and to the non-profits they support. Artists, after all, are among the most numerous entrepreneurs in Maine, for example; so this is a practical and wide-reaching tax relief for American entrepreneurs.
To clarify: If the artist receives half or less of the revenues for the sale of his work at an applicable non-profit charity auction, then he does not have to report that portion as ordinary income. Any revenues above 50% or over FV would have to be reported as ordinary income.
This was the point that I was very confused about and started a line of questioning
- Jay York Mackenzie Andersen, because the artist in a 50/50% split of proceeds would get half and the charity running the auction would get the other half. Any amount the artist receives that's 50% or less than the FV of the donation would be a wash income wise because of the deductible value of the donation.
- Jay York Mackenzie Andersen the deduction is for the FV of the artwork donated. FV could be determined by recorded past sales by that artist. If it was a 100% donation the artist could then write off the full FV regardless of sale price. And that might be an issue because if that auction sale was for less than FV it would affectively change the FV of that artist's artwork.
Commentary So , if I am understanding this right, the artist donates as a 50-50 split with the non-profit of the full market value which corresponds to the 50-50 split that a private gallery would take.- but since the 50% donated to the gallery is calculated as a donation- it cancels out the artists ordinary income so that the artist doesn't have to report it- as he would if he sold the painting for an equitable split through a private gallery. If the artist donates the painting to a non-profit the artist gets half the take but does not have to report the income- if he sells it through a private enterprise the artist gets half the take and is required to report the income and so making a "donation" to a non-profit action is a more profitable deal for the artist than selling his work through a free enterprise gallery. If the artist made a 100% donation- he can write off the full value- ie the US taxpayer pays for the painting in the form of a tax deduction but the problem is that if the painting sells for less than full retail value, it lowers the full retail value of the artist's work
This policy model – here nicknamed the "50/50 Artist Auction Raised Revenue Deduction Act”-- is a clear and practical policy fix that would offer financial relief and entrepreneurial encouragement to hundreds of thousands of artist entrepreneurs across the country."
So, who’s in?
There were many!
And once again the conversation ends with an suggested that sounds far too close to the censorship of free speech and open debate:
Mackenzie Andersen How does this affect the private market place for art vs the nonprofit sector?'
- Daniel Kany Let's not get off-topic, but you are barking up the wrong tree: I often extoll the qualities of galleries over museums because they pay taxes, don't charge admission, sell art for the artists, answer questions, etc. However, I can speak about "the point" of this strand because I know why I started it and what the goals of the policy are. If we lose focus, we lose our way.
I asked if the FV was calculated on retail or wholesale vale but did not receive a direct answer and instead was provided a link to the tax code, which is very long but I paid particular attention to the sections on selling art before drawing my own conclusion that it is based on the retail market value.
The Union Of Maine Artists is a sponsor of this lobbying effort. The benefits of joining this non-profit organization include:
- Daniel Kany 1. "And you didn't answer my question- is the FV calculated on retail or wholesale value?" That was already addressed: See the IRS tax codes in this and the Jay York-started discussion (and below) - FV is based on appraisals, sales records, etc 2. non-profits don't purchase works of art for fundraising auctions; some revenue share (particularly wet paint auctions) but they never buy the work; 3. Any other property donation to a non-profit gets a deduction (just not "ordinary income property" doesn't:) 4. If you want to change non-profits in general, good luck, this policy is about a specific fault in the law that applies to most professional artists in Maine - so it's worth putting into action: It's a clear problem with a simple solution. 5. "Is it always about tax benefits? Is that the reason people donate- only for the tax benefit?" No and no. But, again, everything else gets a deduction and this would help not only the artists but the qualified non-profits they are trying to support: it's about partiy and fairness - which are essential American values and is a better fit with what you call "original purpose."http://www.irs.gov/publications/p561/ar02.html
To figure how much you may deduct for property that you contribute, you must first determine its fair market value on the date of the contribution.IRS.GOV
- Receive UMVA Membership Discounts on art supplies and framing (and in the near future more discounts planned to arts-related businesses)
- Opportunities to submit to exhibitions -- both online and brick and mortar
- Be able to design projects, exhibitions, write grants, etc. through the UMVA's non-profit 501(c)3 status and fiscal sponsorship
- Opportunities to collaborate with other artists
- Have the support of an organization with a strong Maine voice when needed
- Your idea here! (the UMVA has always been about people taking ideas and running with them -- while receiving lots of support from the organization).
The Portland Art Gallery offers a discounts to groups of 20 artists- tailor made for non-profit organizations such as The Union of Maine Artists. An artist who is interested could use the Union of Maine Artists to gather together enough other interested artists for the discount, and perhaps even develop a plan to finance the costs. So the gallery is not really excluding anyone by charging a fee. Artists are excluding them selves by not taking proactive actions if they feel that the Portland Art Gallery's way of doing business will work for them. And they can try to negotiate terms and ideas - ( a group show as suggested above ?)That is how the free enterprise system works for some, although I can't speak for the Portland Art Gallery but one doesn't know unless one tries.