Creative Industries

Agree, Disagree, or explore: The separation between creative expression (“art”) and the capitalist marketplace (“commerce”) leads to the hierarchy between high and low culture. In Chapter Two of CI, “Creativity and Commerce,” Davies and Sigthorsson mark the historical separation between the Aesthetic and the Economic (36-7): ‘The Industrial Revolution from the eighteenth century onwards, had particular implications for creative production. It exacerbated the tension between the idea of creative expression as a spiritual and aesthetic pursuit and the practice of creative skills and products exchanged for money. With craft activity in areas such as textiles and ceramics increasingly industrialised, the manufacturing of products came to be seen more and more separate from art.’ They go on to make the connection between this conflict between creativity and commerce and the division between high culture and low culture, and suggest the historical background of our contemporary “culture wars” is this notion of human creativity vs. the world of money. Taking as your example an artist, performer, director, musician, or cultural producer who bridges this divide between art and commerce, agree, disagree, or explore the thesis that the separation between creative expression and capitalist commerce is tied to the hierarchy between high and low culture. Possible examples: Björk, Billie Holiday, Lady Gaga, Christopher Nolan, MIA, David Bowie, Louis Armstrong, Banksy, Bob Dylan, Azelia Banks, Satyajit Ray, etc. (It will help your essay if you have some prior interest in and knowledge of the creative you write about!) In your essay make sure you refer to both textbook and secondary readings (see below) and to define Aesthetic vs. Economic production, art as moral improvement, the emergence of the general public, the commercialization of culture in the 18th and 19th centuries.

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