Platform Beeldende Kunst Retort #24 The Philanthropy Trap – Platform BK






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Retort #24 The Philanthropy Trap

On the disruptive positions of Ammodo, Droom en Daad, and the Hartwig Art Foundation

24/03/2021




Art museums, contemporary art platforms, and postgraduate institutions in the Netherlands are increasingly supported by private funds. That may sound reassuring – the more money going to the arts, the better – but it testifies to a creeping systemic rot. After three decades of corporatisation and privatisation,[1] oppressive economisation,[2] and cultural budget cuts,[3] the public sources of funding for art institutions have become too limited to properly finance their activities and extensive range of tasks. At the same time, co-financing and attracting private funding are increasingly required to be eligible for subsidies at all.[4] New philanthropic organisations have come to the Dutch art sector’s rescue: the Ammodo Foundation and Droom en Daad Foundation, which mainly contribute to major institutions, and recently the Hartwig Art Foundation, which aims to support individual artists.

Patronage and a ‘culture of giving’[5] follow an American model of fiscal stimulus to encourage private investment in the Dutch art sector at various levels, from bequests and substantial gifts from wealthy individuals to smaller donations, via collector circles, friends circles and membership-based associations such as the Vereniging Rembrandt.[6] The new philanthropic organisations distinguish themselves by increasingly becoming permanent partners of art institutions. Nevertheless, relatively little private funding goes to the Dutch art sector, and institutions are still predominantly subsidised with (a shrinking share of) government money.[7] With a retreating government, the support of these private funds therefore appears to be indispensable in order to keep the art sector afloat. But the way in which private money has become entangled with public institutions corrupts the democratic mission that the art sector claims to defend.

The relative scarcity of private money in the Dutch art sector is in conflict with the government’s difficult-to-implement task to seek ever more private financing. As a result, it seems that institutions and artists can rarely afford to set conditions for private sponsorship. Thus, on one hand, private individuals gain an irresponsibly large share of power, and on the other, both public institutions and artists are forced to turn a blind eye to questionable sources of funding, possible conflicts of interest, and private efforts to seek cultural, economic or political influence.[8] Not only does this quickly lead to conflict with the recommendations on independent management and ethical conduct as embedded in the Cultural Governance Code,[9] but it also leaves the progressive agenda of so many art institutions hollow and implausible. What are the consequences of this dilemma, and where should responsibility for it lie?

 

Toxic Philanthropy

When the ethical basis of sponsorship is called into question, art institutions may find themselves forced to sever financial ties, as recent examples from the international art world illustrate. For years, collective activism has put pressure on museums that receive money from the wealthy Sackler family, who along with their pharmaceutical company Purdue Pharma are held accountable for the opioid crisis in the United States. Since 2017, the artist Nan Goldin and her direct action group P.A.I.N. (Prescription Addiction Intervention Now) have been organising protests at the Louvre and the Guggenheim Museum, among other institutions, which soon after ended their sponsorship deals with the Sacklers. There has also been an effort to halt sponsorship by destructive industries in the Netherlands: artist collective Fossil Free Culture NL has been taking action against the fossil funding of cultural institutions by oil companies. The Van Gogh Museum, the Mauritshuis, and the Concertgebouw ended their collaborations with Shell – though the institutions deny any ethical motives, instead pointing to more pragmatic considerations.[10]

Andrea Fraser charts the plutocracy of the American art sector in the comprehensive book 2016 in Museums, Money and Politics (2018), in which the artist presents a statistical overview of the composition of the boards of directors of 128 museums, laying bare the financial ties between individuals and political parties.[11] The data shows that the private and public sectors in the US are largely run by the same wealthy elite. It is therefore not surprising that individual art executives are equally targeted for criticism. Former Goldman Sachs banker Yana Peel stepped down as CEO of the Serpentine Galleries in 2019 after the Guardian published a story about her husband’s shares in the NSO Group, a cybertechnology company that develops spyware for governments, but is also used by repressive regimes to spy on journalists and activists. Warren Kanders, owner of tear-gas producer Safariland, stepped down as vice president of the Whitney Museum of American Art after sustained protests by artists who withdrew from the Whitney Biennial in 2019, among others. However, when capital flows in the art sector are entwined in increasingly complex and obscure ways with, for example, the financial sector, industry, faceless foundations, and government policy, then it is much more complicated to get to the bottom of the ethical bases of private funding. The disruptive positions of Ammodo, Droom en Daad, and the Hartwig Art Foundation in the Dutch art sector should be viewed against this backdrop.

 

Ammodo

Ammodo Foundation (which gave €3 million to the arts in 2019) was founded in 2010 and supports a long list of renowned Dutch institutions in the visual arts, performing arts, and sciences. They have given money to the Stedelijk Museum, Van Abbemuseum, Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum, Kunstinstituut Melly, IFFR, Rijksmuseum, EYE Film Museum, Manifesta, Sonsbeek20–24, Holland Festival, Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen (KNAW), as well as the Rijksakademie, De Ateliers, P/////AKT, and prestigious presentations by artists working in the Netherlands. Ammodo’s money originates in the port of Rotterdam. The fund consists of donations from Inphykem Foundation, formerly known as the Optas Foundation until 2013. This foundation owned the shares of the pension fund Optas NV, which administered dockworker pensions. The pension fund was sold to Aegon in 2007, which made the Optas Foundation a profit of €1.55 billion.

The sale of Optas NV is rather dubious as it took place without the knowledge of the employers and employees involved.[12] The independent foundation had initially agreed to use that money to improve pension entitlements.[13] But through amendments to the statutes, the directors of Optas Foundation enabled themselves to decide without interference how to spend the returns on the pension investments – money that was actually owed to the dockworkers. This led to a conflict with the port authorities and unions, which took their case to the Supreme Court, and about which extensive questions were asked in Parliament.[14] In 2010, a settlement was reached between Optas and representatives of the dockworkers: €500 million would go towards improving pensions.[15] The case is now considered closed, and Inphykem is legally the rightful owner of the remaining capital. This capital of €1 billion forms the basis for the millions that Ammodo spends yearly.

The origins of Ammodo’s money have rarely been criticised. In 2014 six scientists and members of KNAW opposed the presentation of the Ammodo KNAW Award (€2.4 million for scientific research), which they found ‘morally unsatisfactory’ and called for a boycott of in a public letter.[16] KNAW expressed regret over the criticism but continued working with Ammodo. Two years later, during a debate over the closure of the SMBA (the Stedelijk Museum’s former project space), the audience also protested against Ammodo, which was involved as a partner in the exploratory process for setting up a new project space.[17] A broader moral objection against sponsorship by Ammodo has not yet emerged. The many institutions that Ammodo supports can certainly use the money. But how can we reconcile the failure to equitably reflect on the origins of this money with the current efforts of so many Ammodo-sponsored art institutions to ‘decolonise’ their organisations, to recognise and dismantle oppressive power structures?

It is this complexity that institutions tend to shy away from rather than dare to address. The position of postgraduate institutions in this is especially egregious, as they bear a responsibility towards the participating artists they support. When these institutions get into bed with controversial funding, they side-line their artists: they are made complicit, and any critical positions they may want to take in their practices are conflicted from the get-go. It is therefore rather ironic that the Rijksakademie is introducing a new workshop for ‘social practice’, while Ammodo serves as Main Partner at the top of their patrons list. Whose social values are we talking about here, exactly? Recently De Ateliers also announced a four-year collaboration with Ammodo, in which they will provide support for participating artists’ project budgets. Young artists, who are deeply dependent on their relationship with the institution, cannot afford to criticise their patron. The sponsored artworks thus form an even more direct representation of the skewed balance of power in the art sector.

 

Hartwig Art Foundation

Another well-known philanthropist in the Dutch art world is billionaire Rob Defares. His affinity for contemporary art is apparent in his great donations and personal involvement in various institutions. Defares is co-founder and managing director of technology-driven proprietary trading firm International Marketmakers Combination (IMC), which is specialised in high-frequency trading. In 2009, IMC became one of the Main Founders of the renovated Stedelijk Museum, where the hall of honour was named for IMC, and in 2010 Defares personally joined the museum’s board of trustees (until the end of his second term in late 2017). He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the MCA Chicago and has held board and supervisory positions at Manifesta, Trustfonds Rijksakademie, and Amsterdam Art. In addition, Defares carries out philanthropic activities through the Hartwig Medical Foundation and the Hartwig Foundation, which is also a patron of the Stedelijk Museum Fund. In 2020, the Hartwig Art Foundation was added, to which Defares donated €10 million. With some fanfare, media announced that this new art fund, under the name Hartwig Art Production | Collection Fund, would be managed by former Stedelijk director Beatrix Ruf. She invited postgraduate institutions to assemble a longlist of alumni, from which a team of curators appointed by the fund will annually select a group of artists to support. Furthermore, Kunstititute Melly, de Vleeshal, Casco Art Institute, Stroom Den Haag, and the Oude Kerk guarantee a presentation of the results in the second half of this year. The Hartwig Art Foundation intends to donate the artworks to the Dutch National Art Collection afterwards.

The money that the Hartwig Art Foundation invests in young artists thus indirectly comes from high-frequency trading, or flash trading. This advanced stock market technology uses mathematical models, algorithms, and sophisticated infrastructure with high-quality data connections to buy and sell stock market shares automatically and at lightning speed, based on the orders of other traders.[18] Many of the resulting trading strategies are considered controversial and have been criticised as disrupting financial markets. The abuse of unequal access to information and control can lead to unfair competition and market manipulation.[19] This can lead to higher trading costs for institutional investors such as pension funds.[20] Flash trading is also associated with flash crashes, such as the one in 2010.[21] Furthermore, the criticism has often been levelled that flash trading does not add value to markets because it merely speculates on small price changes and currency fluctuations. Flash traders keep their shares for a very short time and do not aim to actually invest in the performance of certain companies and sectors, but rather to gain margins on as many small, random trades as possible – with big profits as the sole goal. Flash trading thus extracts economic value from society and privatises invested capital from public funds, the argument goes. The more rigorous critics argue that the extractive practices of such data technology go so far as to reflect processes of primitive accumulation (predatory capitalism) that take place when capitalism colonises new domains.[22]

It does not reflect well on the art sector that the money that benefits it comes from Defares, IMC, and the Hartwig Art Foundation. However, the profound level of abstraction in financial markets makes it difficult for the art sector to express an explicit moral judgment on their philanthropic activity. Still, the intensive collaboration with art spaces and postgraduate institutions is questionable. When they participate in the Hartwig Art Foundation’s programme, they not only provide a platform (mainly built with public funds[23]) for the selected artists and their patron, but their image as respected institutions also provides the Hartwig Art Foundation with valuable cultural capital. The relationships between public infrastructure and private initiative therefore remain skewed. Even when the works of art that are acquired are donated to the Dutch National Art Collection. That said, supporting young artists is essential and commendable, but Rob Defares and Beatrix Ruf could just as well start their own art institutions where they have free reign. That may well happen: a look at the Chamber of Commerce registration for the Hartwig Art Foundation shows that it mentions the function ‘operation and management of museums.’ It remains to be seen whether they will make an appeal to the municipality and national government to support this initiative, or whether Defares will bear the costs of such operation and facilities himself.

 

Droom en Daad

A third philanthropic organisation with a lot of exposure is Droom en Daad Foundation (€5.7 million in donations in 2019). Founded in 2016 by the billionaire family Van der Vorm, the foundation ‘invests’ in culture in Rotterdam. The family fortune stems from the coal trade at the beginning of the twentieth century and business interests in other industrial enterprise, including the Holland-America Line. After the sale of the freight and cruise company in 1989, some family members founded the investment company HAL Holding, which acquired major interests in maritime companies, such as the dredging company Boskalis and tank terminal operator Vopak. HAL Holding now holds a broad investment portfolio including real estate and companies like e-commerce store Coolblue, FD Media Group, and the Van Wijnen construction company. Martijn van der Vorm, the chairman of the board of HAL Holding until 2014, is chairman of Droom en Daad Foundation. The philanthropic organisation supports art in Rotterdam with both ongoing and project-based donations to the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum, Kunstinstituut Melly, the Nederlands Fotomuseum, Kunsthal Rotterdam, and IFFR, among others. Droom en Daad also initiates its own projects, its showpiece being the transition of the historic Fenixloods II into the FENIX Museum of Migration, which will open in 2023 – for which Droom en Daad director Wim Pijbes is assembling a thematic art collection. Most recently, the foundation opened its temporary Makersloket, a temporary programme financing projects by individual Rotterdam-based artists (stunning detail: art projects ‘with a predominantly political or religious objective’ are not eligible).[24]

The Van der Vorm family was third on the list of the top 30 philanthropists in 2017, and in addition to Droom en Daad also donates money to social initiatives in Rotterdam through the De Verre Bergen Foundation.[25] The ties with art institutions in Rotterdam are maintained through several foundations. For example, the Willem van der Vorm Foundation, managed by members of the family, has loaned dozens of paintings to the Boijmans for years, including old masters.[26] De Verre Bergen was also a financing partner in the development of the new collection building, where it will have a floor to itself.[27] However, this relationship with the Boijmans has come under pressure. In 2019 it was announced that Droom en Daad had withdrawn an earlier offer of €40 million for the renovation of the museum after a conflict with the museum management.[28] As a potential financier, Droom en Daad demanded not only insight into the renovation plans and budget, but also two seats on the museum’s supervisory board. Partly because this would be in conflict with the Cultural Governance Code, the museum could not agree to this. When Droom en Daad did not get the influence it desired, their offer was withdrawn. It recently turned out that the deal was related to yet another offer of another €40 million for the establishment of a separate museum location for modern and contemporary art in South Rotterdam, which the Boijmans therefore also missed out on.[29] It is understandable that this frustrates the municipality, because it has wanted to develop a cultural landmark in South Rotterdam for some time.[30]

The desire for influence extends even further. A few months ago, investigative journalist Maurice Geluk published a story about the Van der Vorm family’s close ties to the Rotterdam City Council. The willingness for private investment in Rotterdam’s public cultural facilities appears to have been rewarded with a unique consultative structure. Every month, Wim Pijbes and fellow director Roelof Prins of De Verre Bergen join an exclusive meeting with high-ranking municipal officials in a steering committee set up especially for philanthropy.[31] This allows the foundations to directly advise the Municipal Executive (the mayor and aldermen) about their own plans. That translates into, among other things, private purchase of land and cultural historical real estate owned by the municipality, about which council members have rightly complained.[32] While council members emphasise that private investment is absolutely vital to the city, it is clear that the privileges accorded to philanthropists are at odds with democratic decision-making and control.

 

Loss of Public Control

The current political order itself creates the economic conditions for the growing power of philanthropists. Plutocracy within the United States and the United Kingdom may at first glance seem to contrast with the situation in the Netherlands, but appearances are deceiving: the Netherlands stands out internationally for its fiscal freedoms for institutions and their benefactors.[33] The ‘Index of Philanthropic Freedom’, a report by the conservative American thinktank Hudson Institute, sums it up as follows: ‘[Private organisations] in the Netherlands are almost uniquely free of governmental control and involvement. These liberties are further complemented by the country’s tax regime, which includes deduction ceilings for individuals at 10% and corporations at 50%, along with exemptions from corporate income taxes, energy taxes, and gift taxes.’[34] A well-known instrument that provides a fiscal advantage is the status of public benefit organisation (ANBI), which associations and foundations that work for a good cause can lay claim to. Since 2008 the ANBI status has granted tax benefits to both donors (donations are deductible from their taxable income) and receiving institutions (donations are tax-free). Even when people donate their art collections to an ANBI, that can be written off as personal or business-related.

The Dutch government naively assumes that private donors will step in where it does not.[35] In ‘compensation’ for the cultural cutbacks, the Geefwet (Gift and Inheritance Tax Act) was introduced in 2011, which makes a fiscal distinction between cultural and non-cultural ANBIs; the cultural ANBI status makes donations even more attractive. The total amount of deductions and exemptions costs the government more than half a billion euros annually,[36] although there are no figures on the share that corresponds to the arts. This lost tax revenue actually amounts to an indirect subsidy for the philanthropists. Sociologist Olav Velthuis has already pointed out to the Dutch art world why it is problematic that private actors are given this power: ‘In the case of indirect subsidies, it is not Parliament or the city council that determines where the tax money goes (as is the case with direct subsidies), but a small group of predominantly wealthy donors. That is inconsistent with the idea of museums as public institutions.’[37] The bottom line is that citizens contribute to philanthropic activities without being able to exercise any say or control over them.

In early 2018, investigative journalists revealed the financial constructions that wealthy individuals use to turn patronage into a business model.[38] Such philanthrocapitalists use a combination of various ANBIs, equity funds, companies, and real estate to directly or indirectly provide themselves or their business network and family with fiscal advantages. When the independency of foundation directors is debatable, it is difficult to draw boundaries between selfless charity, accruing social status through associating with charities, and obtaining direct financial benefits. In addition, staff shortages at the tax authority leads to problems with enforcement, which further increases the risk of abuse of the ANBI status as an instrument of investment. Although the case discussed in the article concerns the financial constructions of theatre mogul Joop van den Ende, it is noteworthy that his VandenEnde Foundation, like IMC, is one of the Main Founders of the Stedelijk Museum. It is also striking that the very day this article appeared, Quote magazine ran the following headline on its website: ‘Why doesn’t De Groene Amsterdammer mention sugar daddy Rob Defares in Joop van den Ende investigation?’[39] As it turns out, the 1877 Foundation, which supported the investigation published in De Groene Amsterdammer, also receives money from Defares’ Hartwig Foundation – whose benefactor was not mentioned in the article.[40] True independence seems virtually impossible.

 

Regaining Control

Because philanthropic activity in the art sector is enmeshed with both public funds and public institutions, it can never be seen as pure charity. Private money always comes at a price: prestige, power, control, influence, or insider knowledge.[41] The persistent appearance of charity renders art institutions and artists submissive, while access to art and culture should not depend on a wealthy elite’s desire for quid pro quo.[42] Furthermore, philanthropy should be seen as a perverse symptom of growing structural income inequality. It is therefore naive and harmful to unconditionally celebrate the increase in private money in the art sector. Art institutions may propagate ideals of democracy, egalitarianism, and inclusivity; tout their acquisitions of socially engaged works of art, and declare their solidarity with progressive social movements, but that doesn’t mean they are themselves democratically organised. In fact, accepting private funding often perpetuates the oppressive structures that art institutions claim to want to challenge. This double standard is untenable: art institutions are hypocritical and put themselves in danger when all they do is produce a self-congratulatory cultural elite that is indifferent to the power structures exploited by philanthropists.

The primary problem for the art sector lies not in receiving private money, but in inadequate government policy and their neoliberal agenda. This agenda prioritizes the private interests of an economic elite while subjecting public facilities to market models. Andrea Fraser reminds us that the responsibility for enforcing a moral compass rests with the art community itself: visual artists, curators, and all other cultural workers must continue to remind patrons, administrators, and politicians that supporting the arts must mean more than just giving money or donating art – it should also mean defending the values and structures that enable institutions to produce, present, and reflect on art and culture with autonomy and integrity.[43] If private funds actually care about art, this also creates a responsibility for them to exert political pressure to free up more public money for art.

At the same time, the indirect subsidy for philanthropic organisations also forces citizens to demand more democratic participation. Artists, curators, and cultural workers would do well to unite wherever possible, beyond competition and self-interest, so that the art sector can collectively put a stop to the influence that philanthropists can exert on art. For example, public institutions (or privatised institutions with a building or art collection that is publicly owned) must continue to maintain a credible separation between patronage and management. Supervisory boards must also better reflect the true stakeholders of art institutions: society and artists themselves. Above all, the entire art sector will have to demand that access to art (like other forms of knowledge) is not a gift but a right.[44] After all, diversity and inclusion policies are a sham if they only serve highly educated and high-income groups. When artists, curators, and cultural workers collectively continue to hold up a mirror and hold the art sector accountable – institutions, their patrons, and each other – then much more can be achieved than could ever be possible with individual practices alone.

 

Prior to writing this article, Ammodo and Droom en Daad were approached by Platform BK with the request to participate in the research in order to articulate their vision for the Dutch art sector. Both funds declined. There has been no contact with Hartwig Art Foundation during the research phase.

Rectification: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that no public telephone number or e-mail address was available on the Hartwig Art Foundation website. While the Hartwig Foundation website does not list a telephone number or e-mail address, the Hartwig Art Foundation website.

 

[1] In the 1990s, many public museums in the Netherlands were quietly corporatised and privatised, disconnecting their management from government interference. Under newly established foundations, museums began to operate their buildings and collections, which remained public property, as if assets in a private enterprise, freed from the bureaucratic burden of public decision-making. For a history of the privatisation of the Dutch national museums, see: Manus Brinkman, De Verzelfstandiging, Reinwardt Academie (2015).

[2] At the end of the nineties, Dutch State Secretary Rick van der Ploeg introduced the term ‘cultural entrepreneurship’ in national politics, and in his sector policy he stressed the urgency for institutions to generate more income from the market: more ticket sales, revenues from museum shops and restaurants, venue hire and private donations.

[3] The austerity measures of 2011 issued by the Rutte I and II Cabinets as a response to the global financial crisis and European debt crisis exposed their disdain for public infrastructure and its workers, which suffered across the board. Austerity policies are ideological: the COVID-19 crisis shows that it is also possible to realise an economic aid plan by increasing the national debt, despite the economic taboos surrounding such measures – although it is likely that after the COVID-19 crisis, cutbacks will follow suit once more.

[4] In the context of the exceeded subsidy requests for the BIS 2021-2024, the Council for Culture notes that it is increasingly difficult for Amsterdam institutions in particular to find sufficient financing from (private) funds. Although this can be interpreted as a shortage of private money in the sector, it also indicates the hard-to-realise task for the fundraising thereof. An exception has recently been made for BIS institutions: ‘For the coming period, the minister will no longer impose an income requirement on BIS institutions, because this requirement caused too great an administrative burden and because cultural institutions’ own income has already risen sharply in recent years.’ See: Council for Culture (Raad voor Cultuur), Culturele basisinfrastructuur 2021–2024 (2020) p. 36; p. 79.

[5] The ‘culture of giving’ concept was introduced in 2002 by outgoing State Secretary Cees van Leeuwen. See: Dos Elshout, De moderne museumwereld in Nederland: Sociale dynamiek in beleid, erfgoed, markt, wetenschap en media, (2016) pp. 679-680 (‘5. Modern mecenaat en beleid’). In 2011, the year of Dutch culture cuts, MoMA director Glenn D. Lowry also defended the need to promote a philanthropic culture in Europe that celebrates donors. See: Sanne Bloemink, ‘Op zoek naar filantropen,’ De Groene Amsterdammer, Vol. 135 / No. 24 (15 June 2011).

[6] Vereniging Rembrandt supports Dutch museum collections using member contributions to co-finance art acquisitions and restoration projects. For a reflection on the external financing of museum purchases, see: Julia Steenhuisen, ‘De collectie als goed doel – wie profiteert het meest van het verzamelen?,’ Metropolis M, No. 6, 10 April 2019.

[7] It is unclear exactly how much private funds go to art. For 2019, Statistics Netherlands (CBS) calculates for the total of 616 museums (of which 118 art museums, while the other majority are historical museums) €26 million in direct sponsorship income, compared to €525 million in government subsidies and €250 million in public revenue. The share of sponsorship income appears to be relatively small, but the distribution across different types of museums stays out of the picture. See: CBS StatLine, Musea; bedrijfsopbrengsten en -kosten, Statistics Netherlands (Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek). Figures from 2017 from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science mention a total of €7.5 million in sponsorship deals for twenty-six museums in the BIS and nearly €1.2 million for nine contemporary art institutions in the BIS. Here, however, it remains unknown how much sponsorship money is received by institutions outside the BIS. It is also unaccounted in what other ways philanthropists are involved in these institutions. See: Rogier Brom & Bjorn Schrijen, Overzicht financieringsstromen in de culturele sector, Boekmanstichting (2019), pp. 17-18.

[8] The Council for Culture also points out that the search for new sources of money and broadening the financing mix can force institutions in a dangerous balancing act between cultural, social and business interests. See: Financiering van cultuur, Council for Culture (Raad voor Cultuur), 28 February 2019, pp. 4-5.

[9] See: Cultural Governance Code 2019, Cultuur+Ondernemen.

[10] Michiel Kruijt, ‘Fossil Free Culture NL claimt dat steeds meer musea Shell laten vallen – maar de musea ontkennen,’ de Volkskrant, 30 August 2018 ; Jonathan Knott, ‘Amsterdam’s museum quarter free of fossil fuel sponsorship,’ Museums Association, 18 September 2020.

[11] For some comments by Andrea Fraser, see: Jillian Steinhauer, ‘Andrea Fraser aims to hold US museum boards to account,’ The Art Newspaper, No. 303 (July/August 2018). For sample diagrams, see: Rebecca Sykes, ‘Andrea Fraser on museum funding and politics in the United States,’ Burlington Contemporary, 30 September 2018.

[12] Investigative journalist Eric Smit of journalism platform Follow The Money wrote a dossier on the origin of Ammodo’s money and the various foundations and people involved. See: Eric Smit, ‘Onfrisse filantropen,’ Follow the Money, 5 May 2014.

[13] Michèle de Waard, ‘Fonds zit vol met geld, maar niet voor de gepensioneerden,’ 15 April 2008.

[14] House of Representatives, ‘Hoofdlijnen voor een nieuwe Pensioenwet,’ Kamerstuk 28294, No. 33 (10 March 2008).

[15]Hoger pensioen voor havenwerkers,’ NOS, 17 January 2011. See also: Stichting Belangenbehartiging PVH, ‘Wat gebeurde er met de 500 miljoen euro van Stichting Optas?,’ 18 January 2016.

[16] Gerard Reijn, ‘Academici in actie tegen KNAW-prijs,’ de Volkskrant, 6 June 2014.

[17] Author’s own observations. For a report of the debate on SMBA, see: Sanneke Huisman, ‘“Er is geen consensus”. Debat over sluiting SMBA (deel 1),’ Metropolis M, 18 June 2016. For an audio recording of the debate, see: Ja Ja Ja Nee Nee Nee, ‘Diversity, Criticism & the Closure of SMBA. Live at the SMBA,’ 14 June 2016. When asked by Follow the Money about the position of the Stedelijk in relation to the origin of Ammodo’s money, the museum only stated that it adheres to the code of ethics of the International Council of Museums (ICOM) and the code of conduct of the Instituut Fondsenwerving (now: Nederland Filantropieland), see: Eric Smit, ‘“Besmet” geld van cultuurfonds Ammodo: aannemen of niet?,’ Follow the Money, 8 May 2014. See also: International Council of Museums, ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums; Nederland Filantropieland, SBF-Code Goed Bestuur.

[18] For further clarification see, for example: Neil Johnson, Guannan Zhao, Eric Hunsader, Hong Qi, Nicholas Johnson, Jing Meng & Brian Tivnan, ‘Abrupt rise of new machine ecology beyond human response time,’ Scientific Reports, 2013, Vol. 3 / No. 1 (2013). See also the VPRO Backlight documentary Quants: The Alchemists of Wall Street (2010).

[19] Mathijs Rotteveel, ‘Euronext geeft flitshandelaren onzichtbare voorsprong,’ Het Financieele Dagblad, 5 October 2020. See also: Christiaan Pelgrim, ‘Beleggers boos om voorsprong van flitshandelaren,’ NRC Handelsblad, 5 October 2020.

[20] Joris Kooiman, “’Flitshandel: de snelste wint de jackpot, de belegger betaalt,’ NRC Handelsblad, 30 January 2020. See also: Ria Roerink,’Flitshandel: deal with it,’ Het Financieele Dagblad, 3 February 2020.

[21] U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission & Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Findings Regarding the Market Events of May 6, 2010, 30 September 2010. See also the VPRO Backlight documentary Money & Speed: Inside the Black Box (2011).

[22] See, for example: Jim Thatcher, David O’Sullivan, Dillon Mahmoudi, ‘Data colonialism through accumulation by dispossession: New metaphors for daily data,’ Environment and Planning D, Vol. 34, No. 6, 2016.

[23] Until 2016, the Oude Kerk functioned almost completely without government support.

[24] Arjen Ribbens, ‘Stichting Droom en Daad start tijdelijke financieringsregeling voor Rotterdamse kunstenaars,’ NRC Handelsblad, 22 March 2021. See also: Makersloket, Stichting Droom en Daad.

[25] Joep Dohmen, ‘Dit zijn de gulste filantropen van Nederland,’ NRC Handelsblad, 4 May 2017.

[26] Hilde Sennema, ‘Filantropie in Rotterdam: een traditie tussen argwaan en vertrouwen,’ Vers Beton, 18 November 2020.

[27] Bernard Hulsman, ‘In Rotterdam staat een zilveren bloempot vol kunst,’ NRC Handelsblad, 24 September 2020.

[28] Toef Jaeger, ‘Conflict tussen museum Boijmans en mecenas over bijdrage verbouwing,’ NRC Handelsblad, 16 May 2019.

[29] Eppo König, ‘“Boijmans Modern” in Rotterdam-Zuid blijft slechts een droom,’ NRC Handelsblad, 20 December 2020.

[30] What seems to be related to this is that wealthy art collector Joop van Caldenborgh originally also intended to build his museum in Rotterdam. When he could not reach an agreement with the municipality, this ended up in the form of Museum Voorlinden in Wassenaar. Also see: ‘Podcast over onderzoeksjournalistiek: hoe kwam onderzoek naar filantroop Van der Vorm tot stand?,’ (24:03-25:45), OPEN Rotterdam, 4 December 2020.

[31] Maurice Geluk, ‘Hoe de steenrijke familie Van der Vorm macht en invloed koopt in Rotterdam,’ Vers Beton, 18 November 2020.

[32] Monica Beek & Antti Liukku, ‘D66-frontvrouw Chantal Zeegers: “Betalen is ook bepalen?”,’ Algemeen Dagblad, 22 September 2018.

[33] Joep Dohmen, ‘40 controleurs voor 43.000 stichtingen,’ NRC Handelsblad, 7 May 2017. See also: Megan O’Neil, ‘Netherlands Tops List of Charity-Friendly Countries, Study Says,’ The Chronicle of Philanthropy, 16 June 2015.

[34] Carol Adelman, Jesse N. Barnett & Kimberly Russell, Index of Philanthropic Freedom 2015, Hudson Institute, 15 June 2015.

[35] Willem Trommel, ‘Staat, filantropie en veerkracht: Over gulle gaven en gulzig bestuur,’ in: Peter de Goede, Erik Schrijvers & Marianne de Visser (red.), Filantropie op de grens van overheid en markt, Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR) (2018), p. 242. The WRR points out that there is little evidence for the hypothesis that increasing government spending leads to fewer donations to charities and vice versa: ‘There does not appear to be a “waterbed effect” between the welfare state and the “participatory society”, whereby philanthropy would compensate for government budget cuts.’ (p. 26).

[36] Ministry of Finance, ‘Evaluatie van de praktijk rondom ANBI’s en SBBI’s,’ January 2017.

[37] Olav Velthuis, ‘Amerikaanse Toestanden: de particuliere greep op het museum,’ Metropolis M, No. 3 (June/July 2008), pp. 70-73.

[38] Zoran Bogdanović, Evert de Vos & Parcival Weijnen, ‘De ondernemende mecenas. Hoe de superrijken hun liefdadigheid organiseren,’ De Groene Amsterdammer, Vol. 142 / No. 6 (7 February 2018).

[39] Tom Wouda & Henk Willem Smits, ‘Waarom noemt De Groene zijn suikeroom Rob Defares niet in Joop van den Ende-onderzoek?,’ Quote, 7 February 2018.

[40] It is worth mentioning here that Platform BK is mainly financed by membership contributions. In the past, Platform BK has also been supported by the Mondriaan Fund and campaigning partners such as the Kunstenbond and Pictoright. Platform BK is a cultural ANBI.

[41] Olav Velthuis, ‘Het gevaarlijke spel van artistieke smaak, groot geld en brute macht in de kunstwereld,’ de Volkskrant, 20 October 2017.

[42] Art historian David Joselit recently wrote: ‘The Louvre was granted to the French people by the Revolution: A palace became a museum. In our time, the museum has become a palace again.’ See: David Joselit, ‘Toxic Philanthropy,’ October, No. 170 (Fall 2019).

[43] Paraphrased from: Andrea Fraser, ‘Philanthropy and Plutocracy: Trusteeship in the Age of Trump,’ October, No. 162 (Fall 2017).

[44] In the Netherlands, a social and democratic history of ideas about people’s betterment and the welfare state has long advocated a public status for culture. Through policy, access to art and culture had to become just as self-evident as access to, for example, education and good living conditions. See also: Jan Jaap Knol, ‘Cultuurbeleid als praktisch ideaal,’ Boekman Extra, No. 17 (August 2019).




About Timo Demollin

Timo Demollin (1988) is a visual artist.


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