John Tusa has been Managing Director of London's Barbican Centre for more than a decade. In that time, he has been a notable controversialist, speaking up for the need for the arts, defending their achievements and arguing for more funding. This selection of John Tusa's passionately argued, candid and challenging essays on the arts in Britain today is informed by a lifetime's experience of the arts and a current position at the centre of the British arts scene. Tusa seeks out the ways in which the arts can be made to blossom in this cultural and political climate, with cuts in arts funding ever threatened. His subjects include the art of living without objectives, and whether leadership in the arts is a mystery or good sense. He tells the true story of arts philanthropy and offers more personal pieces, for example on the great power of music. He also presents a light hearted 'ABC of the ARTS' and imagines what Ten Commandments for the Arts might look like. His own philosophy, which informs his successful management of the Barbican, is refreshing and instructive and he of course looks to the future with prescience.
Most of all his is a call for us urgently to think about why art matters so crucially for us all.