I won't say that only rich people can be patrons of the arts. But it is, in general, their best and most important role in society. Rich people want nice things, so they support artists, who (ideally) then go on to share their talent with the rest of us.
But going to the "Indulge" section of the Neiman Marcus website (something guaranteed to raise the blood pressure of anyone who works hard to keep a roof over their head and food on the table) shows that the rich, apparently, can think of nothing to do with their money but buy items that look like everything else in the world, but cost ten times as much. Where are the hand-bejeweled chess sets?
This is my argument: not with the money spent, but with the poor value of money spent. In the old days, rich people knew how to spend money. They bought beautiful, costly things. What are we going to put in a museum a hundred years from now? A Fendi bag? Maybe! But darlings, let's face it--the rich have deserted fashion as well, and haute couture is now functionally dead. There will never be another Elsa Schiaparelli. Instead, fashion struggles to retain relevancy where it has, in general, neither taste nor beauty nor the good craftsmanship that should be the hallmark of a couturier.
|Really, Mitt? Where is your costly diadem?!|
So rich people, please stop wasting your money on crap. Support artists. Support art. Give humanity something beautiful.