Plínio Palhano

In the early 2000, in Spain, plastic artists, through their unions, backed by the press, called the art dealers into question because of 50% they had charged on them on the occasion of sale of their works. They regarded this charge as unfair, inasmuch as the art dealers did not have cashed in on them. Such amount would only be accepted in case of exhibitions with investment in folders, catalogues, vernissages, press guidance, cocktails, etc. The art dealers, in turn, also represented by their class organization, seeked to have a dialogue with the artists in order to come to terms.

This fact shows how the professional representation is taken into account by the Spanish artists. Through their organizations, they have touched on the key problem of the relationship with the market, the same may be said about the art dealers defending their trade practices. It would be redundant to say that this is a need of the contemporary vision in the professional interactions. Today he who is out of a class association has no voice to act in an objective way in defense of common and individual interests. In Brazil, the plastic artist needs something similar to the aforementioned Spanish way of acting, stopping from admitting the "adoption" that many art dealers and curators, associated with the government, herald throughout the country as if it were the only way the artist had to publicize his work. This would give leeway to debates, congresses and other ways to impinge on the municipal, state and federal agencies in a curatorial and critical way.

The plastic artist´s strength is proven during the elections. It is one of the most sought-after classes to support candidates belonging to the most different political conceptions. He is all along invited as a "missionary of ideologies", without payment, which does not happen to any other kind of hired professionals. They promise him mountains and marvels as soon as the new "government" comes to power. With his vote, the artist nominates secretaries and directors of cultural institutions and, in addition, with his ideas, makes a contribution to the political executives and makers of the moment.

Presently, in the south-east, there is a fevered discussion among artists, critics and curators about the coming of the Guggenheim Museum to Brazil, with unfavorable and grilling opinions, often enough, and quite reasonable arguments. Here, in Recife, the interest was restricted to the municipal and state ranges, because they "think" it is important to have a Guggenheim in the city, without calling for the criticism of the plastic artists and of other cultural branches. Maybe they forget that either in Recife or other cities in Pernambuco there are valuable museums which first need to be restructured to deserve their names as museums.

In this way, wouldn´t the presence of a Guggenheim bring a real desert of investments, which are already scant, to any kind of cultural projects, as it will naturally deserve all the private and state financial attentions?

Millions of dollars are spent to set up a museum like the Guggenheim. If investments and management were ours, it would be a great idea. But the center of this polemic is exactly concentrated on these questions: the building cost of the museum, its management, the presence of curators who do not belong in our culture and, finally, how it would interfere in our milieu.

If we just need to restructure our museums, it is useless to bring a truckload of funds to a state in the northeast, which has huge gaps in the cultural field. As far as I am concerned, in Lyon/France there was a great haggling over the construction of a Guggenheim, with many being of opinion that the museum would interfere with the French culture and architecture. They may say it there, they are French, citizens of the First World. What about us? Could we say that? If we did, what label would be attached to us?

Being represented, the plastic artist will be able to fight in similar cases, to contribute to collective questions in order to enrich his participation in the society and strengthen his relationship with galleries, critics, curators and governments.