The forecast for art and culture is partly cloudy this week at Big Think.

On one hand the news is grim. Independent films are seeing dark days. Broadway is slashing its schedule and plugging its runs with stars more fit for late-night TV. State arts funding is in shambles. Even the great storehouses of our culture--our museums and libraries--are shutting their doors and scuttling collections.

One bright spot are fine art sales which seem to be fairly impermeable to the fickle machinations of the macroeconomy. Prices were down slightly at the auction block through the winter--though "down" is a relative term at least on the top-shelf auction circuit--but a recent auction sales have been downright skippy for the Impressionists.

We'll go beyond the headlines to entertain the larger questions about art and the economy this week including:

Will corporate art collections go the way of the corporate bonus?

Why collect stuff for your wall in the era of anti-stuff?

Is there psychological solace in art anymore?

Will the the recession provoke a renaissance in the art world?

And for all you prospective buyers out there, we'll vet Chuck Close's verdict when he spoke with Big Think, "You sure as hell don't need to buy art."