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Comment News

Art and the Election

6 May 2015

It’s almost time for the British public to go to the polls and nobody has a clue what the final outcome will be. That hasn’t stopped us speculating about what the general election might mean for the arts. Catch up on our coverage below.

Will any politicians speak up about culture?

The arts have been conspicuous by their absence from this year’s election campaigns. In this month’s Editor’s Letter, Thomas Marks asks what the deafening silence from the UK’s politicians really means for the cultural sector. Nothing good, that’s for sure.

The manifestos: what exactly have the main political parties promised?

In the absence of any public pronouncements from politicians, Fatema Ahmed has looked through the main party manifestos for any mention of the arts. Promises range from the vague (‘regenerative arts projects in coastal towns’) to the very specific (a tunnel under Stonehenge).

The artists getting involved in the election

Politicians might be silent on the subject of culture, but several of the UK’s artists are making themselves heard. Jeremy Deller is among the artists behind a poster campaign encouraging people to vote, while Bob and Roberta Smith has jumped into the ring to stand against Michael Gove. Joe Turnbull looks at the role the visual arts have had to play in this election so far.

Ed Vaizey’s clash with museum professionals

A pre-election museum hustings at the Imperial War Museum last week left people feeling more than a bit embattled. Labour’s representative didn’t bother to show up, the Lib Dems admitted they had ‘no power’ and Ed Vaizey adopted a combative stance: ‘‘You’re living in fantasy-land if you think there will be more money’.

Bob and Roberta Smith’s Art Party

Patrick Brill (aka Bob and Roberta Smith) has been campaigning for the arts for years. We spoke to him last summer as he prepared to screen his satirical film, Art Party – which features a hapless, art-hating and strangely familiar politician called ‘Michael Grove’. He promised then that he’d stand against the actual Michael Gove if he had to: and it turns out he meant it.

'Art Party' (2013), Bob and Roberta Smith. Photo: Tony Bartholomew

‘Art Party’ (2013), Bob and Roberta Smith. Photo: Tony Bartholomew