Protest MMA #1 (press release)

We demand the abolition of the Hungarian Academy of Art’s public body status!
With effect from 2 April 2011 the Hungarian Academy of Arts was specified in the Fundamental Law of Hungary. “Hungary shall defend the scientific and artistic freedom of the Hungarian Academy of
Sciences and the Hungarian Academy of Arts. All institutions of higher education shall be
autonomous in terms of the contents and methodology of research and teaching, and their
organisations and financial management shall be regulated by a special Act.”
Act CIX / 2011 on the Hungarian Academy of Arts Act came into effect on 10 August. It transformed a private association into a public body and endowed it with exclusive right of decision making over the contemporary cultural scene. “1. § (1) The Hungarian Academy of Arts (hereinafter referred to as: HAA) is a public body based on the principle of self governance shall exercise public functions concerning the arts scene – especially literature, music, fine and applied arts, architecture, fine art photography, film, performing and folklore arts, art theory, art funding, education, art presentation and publicity at national and international levels, as well as representation of Hungarian artists.”
With such legislative measures a private association gained a disproportionate, unjustified and unacceptably huge influence in the cultural scene. The Act endows with unassailable position of power an organization that is discriminative and approaches the art from an ideological basis.

We demand that the state ensures the cultural sector’s autonomy!
According to Minister of Human Resources, also responsible for cultural affairs Zoltán Balog’s press statement in November 2012: “In my opinion the solution is to outsource. The government’s aim to make the Hungarian Academy of Arts the same as the Hungarian Academy of Sciences is in the field of sciences. Artists, experts in the field of culture, writers, poets, actors, and film-makers should apply to the Academy of Arts. The government provides the Academy all the support and it is its job to spread the funds autonomously. The system will be fair and transparent. In my opinion this is the future, not that ministers and state secretaries calculate and spread the funds”. Mr Balog’s statement’s content is unacceptable as, with political instruments, the government outsources a public-service mission that would be its constitutional and moral obligation. Also, this statement is an open admission of the total lack of a cultural concept.

We demand diverse and democratic professional consultation!
In the past one and the half years it has become a practice that directors of cultural institutions are appointed excluding professional consultations, call for tenders or by bypassing call for tenders. With such practices professional transparency and legitimacy, program based planning, as well as Hungary’s diverse, open and receptive, still characteristic cultural image are threatened.

We demand the elimination of one-sided cultural funding system!
The centralised financing system will result in a distorted situation where the spread of funds are subordinated to a particular interest group, an ideologically based community. Hungary is the member of the European Union, we are the Union (!) and within Europe it is unimaginable that one-sided, politically influenced lobby interests form the cultural scene of a country.
We demand a public, fair and transparent funding system!
It is the fundamental mission and obligation of a state to support the culture with a professionally substantiated system, where decisions are transparent, controllable verifiable.

We demand independence for Műcsarnok (Kunsthalle)!
Műcsarnok (Kunsthalle) is a public institution and the property is publicly owned. Thus no government – even if with 2/3d majority – has the right to hand it over to a private association. Műcsarnok (Kunsthalle) does not have to be given back to fine artists who deserve it, but it has to remain as public property in order to represent the full spectrum of contemporary art starting from National Saloons to critical art. And its director should only be appointed based on a tender evaluated by a relevant professional group of judges.
The HAA is discriminative but art is free!

Free Artists
(Protest MMA #1)

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