RITSAERT IS DEAD . . .
Art is money and money is art.
Ritsaert ten Cate was aware of that. The fun thing about him was: he had money.
He had the money and made an art form out of presenting, producing and creating the cutting edge in the (performing) arts.
What’s even more fun: he had the social grace to let us share in his fantastic journey of exploration and discovery.
When the money was spent after about five years (we are talking 1965-1969), the sharing ended temporarily.
Then the marvelous Marga Klompé (the very first woman to gain a ministerial post in Dutch government) had the social grace to prolong audience participation in Ritsaert’s discoveries.
Because he had the eye, Ritsaert, and she knew that, Marga.
Ritsaert ten Cate was an excellent observer. A privileged and entitled background took care of his having no qualms about picking and developing what he thought fit.
He observed and shared what he thought fit. And it was marvelous.
Until the money was spent again.
He changed course.
And then the money was really and truly spent.
Ritsaert ten Cate foresaw the gaping abyss of the moral and cultural deficit that we are facing now exactly 20 years ago and he quit. He burnt down the house and all bridges behind him.
The legacy of his observing eye was kept alive for a period of seven fat years in a postgraduate school that he conceived and led. The moment he pulled out, the lean years announced themselves for the school, leading eventually to its incorporation into an institutional moloch he so despised.
Such is life.
Ritsaert is dead and the last nails to his coffin – a book and a website – have firmly been hammered in the past week, accompanied by some final swooning eulogies uttered by an aging and adoring crowd.
It’s up to us to wriggle out those nails by opening the book and navigating the website, to be niggled by the man’s mad, visionary energy.
It is not and cannot ever be about having to defend the need for our existence as artists.
A community without access to the artful transference of necessary stories to be told will shrivel up and die.
. . . LONG LIVE RITSAERT