As Part of Heather Sparks’ BIG RETURN Anthony Marcellini contributed:

THE GREAT RETURN GÖTEBORG: The Aesthetics of Consumerism
Göteborg Konsthall
The Göteborg Konsthall is an internationally recognized cultural institution with the budget of a small non-profit gallery; it is funded entirely by the city and state through public money or money gathered through taxes. Last spring it was almost shut down for four years by the Göteborg city council in anticipation of a new Konsthall planned to be built and slated for completion in 2015. The city, an extremely business oriented and business-centered city, felt they would save money by not funding this cultural institution in the interim until the new building was completed. Göteborg’s artscene rose up in anger over the cities callousness (See The institution was saved from closure for the time being but its future is uncertain and in many ways dependent of the outcome of Swedens September elections.

At the Göteborg Konsthall we bought 4 books for a total of 1,350.00 SEK the equivalent of about 150.00 US. The Konsthall buys these books directly from artists associated with their current exhibition and sells them for the same amount they paid. They make no profit and if they don’t sell the books they loose money. As soon as we paid for the books we returned them for our money back.

Acne is a clothing company founded in Stockholm in 1996, known mainly for their simply designed jeans a staple of any cultural producer. The company abstains from advertising it’s products in any fashion magazine and instead prints its own magazine titled “ACNE Paper” as an alternative way of communicating their collection. Beyond fashion, Acne is also a graphic design firm, a film production company, advertising agency and product, business and concept development office. “Fashion is the best form of self-expression”, explains Jonny Johansson, Acne’s Creative Director.

We went to the Acne store inside NK (Nordiska Kompaniet), Göteborg’s most prestigious department store described as “a cultural and commercial theatre”. Anthony tried on a pair of Acne jeans, they fit well, and bought them for the price of 1,099.00 SEK. 25% of this total is Value Added Tax (VAT) (219.80sek), which represents a portion of tax dollars that goes towards supporting, amongst other things, Sweden’s national social health and welfare system as well as its state and cultural institutions. One hour later Anthony came back to the store and returned the jeans stating, “I’m sorry I just can’t afford these right now.” The cashier replied don’t worry it happens all the time.

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