James Purnell: Renaissance Man

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James Purnell at the Last SupperJames Purnell is quoted in the Guardian today as saying:

“When Brian [McMaster, a former director of the Edinburgh International Festival who wrote a policy review to be published on Thursday commissioned by Purnell] talks about the potential for a new Renaissance, I don’t think that’s an overstatement. It’s exactly true.”

There can be only one response to that (pictured).

On a slightly more serious note, and we will clearly have to wait for the full report, but the suggestion that a) a renaissance can be contained within national borders and b) that it can happen within the arts exclusively is rather crass. One could argue that we are a good 50 years into a renaissance already – look at how the quality of life has been transformed. We’re waiting for the established arts to catch up, not lead the way.

1 thought on “James Purnell: Renaissance Man

  1. Brilliant picture! When I read this article I thought that it was typical New Labour hubris. Of course, the actual report may contain some sensible proposals, but the quotes from (and article about) Purnell) reminded me of similar statements about the Millennium Dome. Politicians do not make good cultural critics and it should not be their job to decide what constitutes excellence in the arts. I think that a scattergun approach, distributing money as widely as possible, is likely to be more effective in assisting cultural innovation than concentrating on excellence. Even more effective would be to bring back the art schools of old and then to allow ex students to doss around at public expense for a couple of years afterwards.

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