There is a ghost lurking in the art world
A ghost is lurking in the art world. It has the gloomy features of the dreaded state monopoly body that goes by the name of SIAE. It bullies its way into publishing houses, museums, and galleries. It sows panic and terror. As if the already unsustainable energy price increases, galloping inflation and serious economic conditions were not enough to cause loss of sleep and imagination. Oblivious to it all, indefatigable officials with the grace of mastiffs and the language of dockworkers (documented) approach publishers and editors of periodicals with "payment proposals" of amounts reminiscent of our crazy utility bills. For what, then? For alleged reproduction rights following the publication of works by artists registered with SIAE. So, out of the blue, as if the right of reporting and criticism no longer existed in our legal system. Shut up and pay. Noncompliance "could have criminal implications", they write. Not satisfied, they also ask for money from advertisers who publish paintings of their members. A few gallery owners, to avoid trouble, obtorto collo, succumb. Lawyers, you know, and rightly so, cost money. Proceedings are lengthy and confidence in the judiciary system is often shaky. The situation is grotesque; at stake is the survival of the entire cultural sector in which there are 36,000 workers and which has an economic impact of 3.78 billion euros. This is according to the latest Nomisma report and highlighted by Riccardo Nencini, president of the Cultural Commission in the Senate, who intervened in the issue with a parliamentary inquiry submitted on July 20. Soon, we will have a new government and from September, Siae has a new President (Salvatore Nastasi), hopefully good. In the meantime, what should we do? We at AW ArtMag have thought of rendering the damages suffered by publishers, gallerists, artists visibile by publishing without images. We have christened this issue Black Number: black like our mood, like the blacking out of reproductions that we are forced to apply on SIAE artists, like the epigraphs announcing the death of advertising pages. A provocation? Perhaps. Above all, an invitation to reflect: art magazines without advertisements must close down; dealers, forced to pay for the work, the resale right and the advertising, will certainly choose to deal with other artists (those who have been dead for 70 years, contemporary and foreign artists who are exempt); artists will thus find themselves condemned to disappear from the market and the press, absurdly as a result of the very actions of those who boat of protecting them. At this rate, art's funeral is approaching. Requiem aeternam dona nobis, Domine.