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Kamarck, Edward (ed.) / Arts in society: the arts and the black revolution

Hoover, Richard
Book reviews: usufruct,   pp. 344-[347] PDF (3.0 MB)

Page 344

344      USUFRUCT
by Richard Hoover
Richard Eells, The Corporation and
the Arts. New York: The Free Press
(Macmillan Company) 1967. $7.95.
"Usufruct" is among the words in the
scholarly work by Richard Eells which
sent me to the dictionary. It was
worth the effort to discover that
our language contains an eight-letter
word which means: The right of using the
property of another and of drawing the
profits it produces without wasting
its substance.
Professor Eells in The Corporation and the
Arts to some extent discussed "usufruct"
in the sense of using funds of
corporations to subsidize artistic
ventures, but, at the outset, it must
be clearly understood that Professor
Eells does not think that corporations
are likely to undertake any substantial
part of artistic deficit financing in the
foreseeable future.
The Corporation and the Arts must
take its place on the shelf along with
Baumol and Bowen's The Performing
Arts: An Economic Dilemma and the
Rockefeller Brothers' Report on the
Performing Arts. It is full of useful
quotable material for the fund raiser.
In his preface, Professor Eells says
that his message is directed mainly to
students of the world of business
and to corporations' executive
management, and in the early portion
of the book, he endeavors to interpret art's
role and function for the benefit of
better corporate understanding.
But he also does a very good job of
explaining corporations and their
responsibilities and, in this respect, his
book can be of value to those artists
who might be inclined to think of
corporations simply as entities with vast
quantities of money which should be
channeled into creative good works.
The questions, "What is art?"
and "What is quality art-or
supportable art?" are tackled head
on. Professor Eells does not offer
specific guidelines but argues in some
considerable detail that "safe" art
projects are a sometime thing.
He says, "Nature does not always
elect the eminently respectable and
orthodox as vehicles for the reve ation
of religious, scientific, and esthetic
He further points out that existing
recognized forms may not necessarily
be the beginning and end and he
refers to the language of the
National Foundation on the Arts and
Humanities Act of 1965 which, in listing
all of the arts that come quickly to
mind, goes on to imply that the intent of
the bill is not necessarily limited to
those named. Throughout, Professor
Eells urges open-mindedness about
form and media.
He makes a point of the fact that the
Arts and Humanities Act states that, "The
encouragement and support of national
progress and scholarship in the
humanities and the arts is primarily a
matter for private and local initiative,"
and then goes on to state his strong
belief that the corporation has a viable
role in this context. The chapter, "The
Corporate Reach for New Va:ues,"
which explains elemental or basic large-
company operations, should be known

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