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.[3] 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.[4]"

Quoted from Wikepedia

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

High Brow Art VS the Marketplace and the Maine Juice Conference


Continuing with my story from HERE...(and incorporating a few paragraphs from this earlier but incomplete telling)

Finally, after a year of receiving stimulus fund notices for non-profits only, in the fall of 2009, I received an email from the Maine Arts Commission about a competition for small businesses for what I took to be, a modest grant for the sum of 30000.00 from an "anonymous source". In a moment of hopeful delusions, I imagined that the Maine Arts Commission had come to its senses and realized that they needed to support the private sector.

The competition was called an "elevator pitch competition" which means a pitch delivered in five minutes. Even the written answers to questions on the application were required to be answered in a minimal number of words, brevity being stressed as being so important that if your couldn't explain a business idea in five minutes, then one's business idea is simply not worthy. So important was brevity that  at no time during the application process was one required to authenticate any information- or at least that is the only explanation that I can think of for such a glaring omission

The competition was presented by a large panel of Maine's economic development movers and shakers

The introductory speaker was  Jayme Okma Lee of what was then called The Small Enterprise Growth Fund- today known as the Maine Venture Fund.. Ms Lee spoke about how thrilled she was to have a competitor  doing a film and another doing something else equally glamorous- perhaps it was the Soho Grand type hotel that a group of competitors wanted to establish in Portland. I saw this as evidence of a fundamental disconnect to the audience filled with many Main street business competitors.

There were five judges and so the contestants were divided into five groups  so that each contestant presented to only one of the judges.  I encountered only one other contestant coming out of the interview. She was very discouraged and said she had received no response to her presentation, only silence.

My presentation had to do with financing new molds made for our ceramic line of designs which have maintained their marketability since the fifties. At the time there was another slip cast production in Maine which was wanting to expand. Our business would help that company to expand and their expansion would help us to continue as an American made ceramic product, outsourcing our production to another Maine company. This would be a start for my vision of a Great American Ceramic Designer Craftsmen Network.

We had five minutes to make our presentation. I was presenting to Mr John Burns, director of the Small Enterprise Growth Fund (Now called The Maine Venture Fund) -  a likable man. I was quite surprised when Mr Burn's response was an enthusiastic.”Excellent !' and even more surprised by his next question, which was could I say more about the network. I couldn't imagine how I could say anything of value in the half a minute which must by now be the remaining time. In retrospect I realize that he was fishing for one simple sentence “ For an exit strategy, we will sell the network” I cannot imagine why anyone would make such a promise in exchange for an investment of $30000.00 not even enough to do a complete mold project of Andersen Studio's inventory of designs, - a size that seems appropriate as a grant or a loan but pitiful low balling for an investment deal in which one promises to sell the business to “anonymous” investors.

 It was my under-standing that the semifinalists would be announced at a specified location after lunch and  so I decided to spend the break time at the  library park  overlooking the sea.
When I returned to the location where I thought the semi-finalists were to be announced, I learned that the results  had already been announced at some point during the ballet. This was astounding to me. Why would the judges assume that after giving their presentation, the contestants are all going to want to watch a ballet, which by the-  way meant another $20.00 ticket price? Apparently the judges felt they could design it all- just dictate the decisions of the participants, as if we were students required to attend classes to get a degree.- Yet another instance of disconnection from reality.

Previously, as I had watched the promotion for that Juice Conference unfold in the email news letters delivered by The Maine Arts Commission, I had witnessed that at first it was promoted as an an event for the elite of elite of the movers and shakers in Maine, After a while it came to be promoted as an event that all kinds of people might enjoy and sought the participation of the general public but it was an expensive event with a hefty fee for the entire weekend.

 At first there were no separate admissions for separate events, the assumption being that the entire public would want to attend all the events, As the date drew nearer, the Maine Arts Commission offered a reduced fee to those participating in the competition- and so we already had to pay once to compete and supposedly again to find out who made it to the semi-finals, while obediently attending the ballet!

Charging fees for just about anything and everything is a common practice in the non-profit circuit, case in point being the Maine Crafts Association which partnered with the Maine Turnpike Authority  to produce a retail store of Maine Crafts on the Maine Turnpike. The MCA sent out a schedule where in craft makers could present their merchandise. This all took place during one of the iciest and coldest winters in recent Maine history. At the time I had been looking at legitimate juried shows and was familiar with the standard jury fee. I was also aware that it was common practice to submit images of one's work on line.

This is the medium sized bowl in our Brown tree Salad Bowl Series

The fee being charged by the MCA was double the standard and it was not a legitimate jury fee, which generally applies to gallery or museum shows, intended to be displayed for a short  amount of time. Retailers do not charge jury fees to vendors. To do so breaks all long established rules of private sector retailer-vendor relationships. and paying the jury fee to the Maine Crafts Association did not even a guarantee that one's work would be sold in the store- and there were no clear terms of agreement stated between the vendor and the merchandiser, which came across as if in the mind of the Maine Crafts Association, all terms would clearly be determined solely by them, where as in the private sector, terms are negotiable between parties. So even if one was accepted, one might not necessarily find the terms agreeable.

The Andersen Sandpiper

Andersen Studio has been wholesaling for over half a century. Our Large Salad Bowl with the brown tree motif was the number one seller at The America House, which once existed across the street from the Museum of Modern Art In New York City. Our sandpiper was a number one seller at a certain well known government gift catalog, that I am told I am not supposed to mention- so I won't . We are currently working on a reorder of our Small Western Mountain Bluebird for the same catalog- which means many seconds available at our own retail store and on line at

Small Western Mountain Blluebird
Andersen Design is quite used to hearing from new accounts that our product sells exceptionally well, to their surprise-but the Maine Crafts Association required that we make a long trip on icy roads and pay an exceptionally large jury fee for an inappropriate use, in order to have our work "considered" to be sold in a store on the Maine Turnpike- without a clue as to whether the terms of doing business would be acceptable ones. - And did I mention that our product has long been identified with Maine in the public's mind? It would be a natural  seller at a Maine Turnpike store..

I asked the phone receptionist at the MCA why MCA was charging a retail store jury fee to vendors. She told me that it was because the MCA exists to serve the public good- the public that they are dedicated to serving being synonymous with the ones they are exploiting .

It is not for the Maine government nor non-profit organizations to recognize success achieved in the free enterprise system, which takes us back to this justification for the existence of the National Foundation For The Arts:

Robert Brustein--"It was never the function of the Endowment to subsidize popular taste, because the cultural demands of the democratic majority were thought to be adequately represented by the market--by Broadway shows, best-selling books, platinum records, Hollywood movies, by mass art and popular culture. No, the Endowment was designed as a counter-market strategy, in the hope that by subsidizing cultural offerings at affordable prices the works of serious art could become available to those normally excluded by income or education.
The MCA is financed in part by the NFA but clearly it is not being financed enough because it needs to supplement those funds with proceeds earned in the private sector-in other words it needs to be subsidized by marketplace earnings- that art market place in which no education is required to appreciate art! Art simply exists in the eye of the beholder- as is said.

My personal critique of Robert Brustein view is that it is dubious propaganda justifying a system of indoctrination of the values of a wealthier class imposed on the common folk. It is true that a greater amount of money to invest in a work of art can  result in a richer and more exquisite work of art but not that education is required to appreciate it if it is a work of art that speaks directly to the viewer. Education is required in support of an academic culture of the sort that creates art reviews that read like a word salad which no one can understand but no one is supposed to say so since it is supposed to be so far above the heads of common folk that that is why it is difficult to understand- and heaven forbid one should admit it makes no sense  and thereby reveal one's self to be just one of the commoners.

There is also a political agenda hidden in Mr Brustein's convoluted line of reasoning. The free market place is fundamentally part and parcel of the American political philosophy, it is the natural evolution of a philosophy based in all men being created equal. Redistribution of wealth, on the other hand is part and parcel of Marxism and other totalitarian systems where the state centrally controls all. The NFA is more Marxist than it is American and so it is any wonder that the justification for the NFA incorporates a denigrating attitude toward the free market- suitable only for "commoners"- which takes us all the way back to what the colonists rebelled against in the first place! The very idea of a centrally managed economy - or centrally managed arts (indoctrination) is rooted in the concept of nobility. In fact the justification for instituting such central management over the free people of Maine is writ as "for the public good", which is noble indeed- or at least rhetorically so, if merely arrogance in practice.

And so once again- I did not get through my story, and so will continue it once more in the next post. I have writer's block about telling this story - a block which manifests as all sorts of other stories that cry to be told. It's been five years now and still the story awaits its own telling.

Back to Part One

Ahead to Part Three:

On Being An Anomaly In The Age of The Creative Economy 

Another post describing Andersen Studio's relationship with the over class of the Maine economy


  1. IT Staff Outsourcing Services delhi. First of all, it is a risk of information leak. Each company which performs outsourcing IT services guarantees confidentiality, thus this risk is minimal but still it happens to be.