Brexit Referendum: cultural players comment

Friday, June 24, 2016
Brexit Referendum: cultural players comment

A referendum with more than 30 million people voting to decide whether the UK should leave or remain in the European Union was held on Thursday 23 June. Leave won by 52% to 48% (51,9% to 48,1% to be precise). The turnout of 71,8% in a UK-wide vote was the highest one since the 1992 general election. Artdependence Magazine tried to contact UK galleries and public figures in cultural sphere to get their reactions on Brexit, however many admit that it is too early to assess the consequences.

Brexit Referendum: cultural players comment

A referendum with more than 30 million people voting to decide whether the UK should leave or remain in the European Union was held on Thursday 23 June. Leave won by 52% to 48% (51,9% to 48,1% to be precise). The turnout of 71,8% in a UK-wide vote was the highest one since the 1992 general election. 

According to most polls, age is the line along which the population divides most clearly. The majority of older voters who remember life before the E.U. (the UK joined in 1973) voted to leave, while the younger generation of 18-24 years old voted in favour of staying (60%), not to mention the possible outcome of the referendum if younger people starting from 14 had a right to express their opinion. Mass media resources are already full of reactions of these young people fairly disappointed with the "Leave EU" decision of the older generation and not taking into account the voices of the ones, who will live with the new decision.

Artdependence Magazine tried to contact UK galleries and public figures in cultural sphere to get their reactions on Brexit, however, many admit that it is too early to assess the consequences or refrain from commenting.

The British Art Market Federation (BAMF), which was formed in 1996 to represent the interests of the UK’s large and diverse art and antiques market in its contacts with government, did not comment on questions relating to the EU referendum during the campaign itself saying: "It is far too early to speculate on what effects, if any, the outcome will have on the UK’s art market, which is the second largest in the world. The UK remains a highly competitive place to buy and sell art and we see no reason why this should change."

Michael Benson, CEO of Candlestar, company formed in 2003, specialising in the development of innovative projects in art and education commented the following way: "I would like to apologise to our many friends and collaborators around Europe for this stupid disgraceful vote. It is way to soon to say what its impact will be on the arts scene - or indeed on any aspect of our lives. What is certain is that we face uncertain, volatile times. What is also certain is that we will face them with creativity and ingenuity. We will build even stronger ties with our European partners and together we will unpick this insanity."

Michael Sherman, Phillips’ Head of Communications: “In the short term, it's business as usual heading into next week's sales. And it would be premature to make any specific comments on the long-term impact on the UK art market. But it's important to keep in mind that today's art market is truly a global affair as buyers and sellers come from every part of the globe.”

Many artists, like Damien Hirst, Wolfgang Tillmans and others officially protest against Brexit, many galleries, however, give very vague comments or not available for comment.

Vote ‪#‎Remain‬ tomorrow! @weareeuropeuk @StrongerInhttps://t.co/7YEtV1NMcW from Damien Hirtst Twitter account.

Already almost ONE MILLION voters call for second referendum. More than 940,000 people have signed a parliamentary petition for a second referendum, following the 52% win for Leave.

Image above: Instagram photo made by Wolfgang Tillmans.

Sources: BBC, NBCnews, The NY Times, Fortune.

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Museo Jumex (a private art collection based in Mexico City, Mexico) / David Chipperfield. Image © Simon Menges

Museo Jumex (a private art collection based in Mexico City, Mexico) / David Chipperfield. Image © Simon Menges

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