Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Occupy Your Studio

There's so much incessant chatter, so much shouting about art and money these days, it's hard to keep up with which objection is the latest, what's actual outrage, what's merely backlash, what's merely an excuse to talk about oneself again, or generally what's being voiced in response to what.

Just in the last week, we've had The New York Times' seemingly serious echo of Adam Lindemann's unserious rant from last year against the amount of money spurting out from every orifice of celebrities and uber-collectors at Art Basel Miami Beach, prompting Lindemann's latest objecting response to not being taken seriously last year.

Then there was Blake Gopnik's apparent parting shot from his Newsweek desk, with this gem:
The newfound popularity of art fairs, which are more like souks than salons, may signal that the boom is being fueled by the pleasure found in buying art rather than in contemplating it. That’s the kind of faddish pleasure that could pass as quickly as the hula hoop.
But not everyone is pleased with the focus on how incestuous art and big money have seemingly become. The Times article quotes members of Miami's Rubell family, a contemporary art collecting dynasty, objecting to the pooh-poohing of money in the art market (and they have a point...I mean, really! actual money in an actual market? how inappropriate...):
Mera Rubell was taking time out from greeting the hundreds of visitors at her family’s sprawling contemporary art center here to vent.
“It’s the height of arrogance to dismiss — — ,” she began.
Jason, her son, interrupted: “It’s arrogance. It’s a completely uninteresting story.”
For the moment her husband, Don, had given up on trying to get a word in.
The Rubells, deans of Miami’s bustling art scene, were pushing back against a chorus of complaints that has been growing louder in the weeks leading up to Art Basel Miami Beach, the annual art pilgrimage that began Wednesday and ends Sunday.
Apparently the story isn't uninteresting enough to die on its own though. In one of the soundest assessments (with one of the most unfortunate subtitles) I've read, Julian Stallabrass offers the following in The Art Newspaper:
It is not just that something seems wrong with the art world. All now appears in a strange new light: bankers are reviled, the political elite is revealed as corrupt, and capitalism itself has been stripped of its ideological cloak, standing naked as the engine of rampant debt, inequality and environmental devastation. In that new frame, the picture of the elite continuing to spend their fortunes on vacuous geegaws is bound to look less pleasing than it once did.
And yet, as many have long argued and Stallabrass notes again:
The super-rich dominate the mainstream image of the art market, just as they do much to control the political agenda. Yet huge and diverse realms lie beyond the culture and the politics of this tiny elite. The years of the art boom were also those of social media, as millions started to show their photographs, videos, writings and art online. Many of them found that it is not so hard to make things that look like contemporary art. Another reflection—complex, contradictory, vulgar and popular, and in some respects less desolating—lies there.
So yes, the landscape is confusing. We want to believe in "art" despite all the signs that it's lost its way, but we're getting backlash whiplash attempting to see the big picture. 

There's also a fair bit of hand-wringing about how the fairs and primary-market-hungry auction houses are leading us to the post-gallery system and how no one not making/selling art of (at least) electric ultramarine chip stature is making any real money. I've heard countless hours of kvetching about what new models must emerge to reach the art-ambivalent middle classes who could/should collectively wrestle at least some of the power away from the trophy-and-trinket-obsessed upper classes. 

Enough! 

The role of objects is to restore silence! 

In other words...it IS about the art.

I have a technique I use when there seem to be too many options and I'm getting frustrated (I use it during installations or during a strategy meeting or whatever). I drag myself and everyone participating back to the basics. What, at the most fundamental level, are we trying to communicate or accomplish? Which of all the options available serve that goal and which distract from it and can be at least momentarily put aside? By focusing on the basics, we usually find our way. 

History tells us that the adults in the art world (the collecting institutions, the historians, and [most of] the critics) will sort out a reasonably acceptable version of what's important among the art of our age from what's superfluous. I trust that system (if only because what it doesn't champion doesn't survive and well, I'm none the wiser about what doesn't survive...and life's way too short to split too many hairs after that point...). But history also tells us, before they get through that heavy lifting, there is only one clear light to follow through these contemporary dark years. It's a cliche, but I honestly believe artists must show us the way. 

And so, artists must first and foremost occupy their studios. They must work, hard, at creating the vessels worthy of all this hand-wringing and effort. It's not going to be easy, it's not necessarily going to pay them off during their lifetimes, and quite frankly, anyone more worried about that than they are about creating important work isn't going to create important work anyway. 

What new models will emerge to clear the cacophony and confusion must be dictated by artists and their work. That's the only meaningful reason the market or the art world at large exists...to nurture the current generation of artists, so the important ones emerge and actually realize their full potential. All the rest of it, the parties, the glamor, the egos, the two-spread pages in the fashion magazines...and I indict most of the artists out there as well as the dealers, collectors, and fair organizers with those distractions...all of that is fun but ultimately meaningless. 

I'm serious. In the middle of the night, when I wake frozen in an existential panic about all the bills and stress of competition and the endless fragility of everyone involved, I gently work myself back to sleep thinking about the importance of leaving a meaningful record of our generation for posterity...what we were really like. I comfort myself with thoughts of what importance my tiny role in this process has. 

In my opinion, it's among the hugest tasks assigned to us...any of us...all of us living now. 

It's a task collectors and museums must take seriously, more seriously than many of them currently are. It's a task artists and their dealers must take even more seriously. We don't get a do-over on this.

If there is such a thing as reincarnation (and I'm not sure there's not), I don't want to come back and have to cringe at the crap left to represent who we are and what we accomplished during this time. 

So I mean it when I say, get back to work! All of you! Especially you artists! Occupy your studios so that you can show us the way. 

For the love of God, show us the way.

36 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find the Rubell's comments hypocritical considering how snugly they are with Bank of America. Seems the only money in the art world they poo poo is the money they do not have any control over.

12/12/2012 10:35:00 AM  
Blogger JafaBrit's Art said...

:) thanks for the reminder

12/12/2012 11:01:00 AM  
Blogger Mary Addison Hackett said...

^ yes, thank you for the reminder. And the tip for dealing with existential panic, that was good too.

12/12/2012 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger Ravenna Taylor said...

Altogether, a visionary statement for which I thank you! "The role of objects is to restore silence!" -- - perfect manifesto.

12/12/2012 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger Mab MacMoragh said...

Thank you for this reminder, Edward_ ... I'm moved by your plea. The basics are the silence and the moral compass. Everything else is sound and fury, signifying nothing.

12/12/2012 01:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not just a matter of sending artists back to their studios. Art fairs also demonstrate that there's just too much art. A lot of it is pretty good but pretty much the same. And an art fair shows that almost everyone is trying to get attention. Now art schools teach students how to succeed in the art market. It's become a lot like the commercial film industry. I'm an artist, I was in this fair, and it felt like Walmart to me. There's no solution to this. My biggest job right now is to forget the week in Miami and go back to work, but with very little hope for clarity in the art world. Just do the work. I'm sorry, but doing great work does not clear the air. There are too many people on this gravy train with mixed agendas and not enough passion or comprehension.

12/12/2012 11:50:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

There's no solution to this.

I was with you until that point Anonymous. It's understandable to be frustrated. Hell, it's understandable to make the rational choice to get out of the art world entirely if you choose.

But it's not acceptable to expect others to absorb your lack of optimism. That's one request too far.

12/13/2012 07:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Zipthwung said...

No war but the class war! Honestly I spend so much time trying to figure out class. How can middle class artists market themselves independently to rich people? By making good work? Or by imitating the rituals of the rich?

12/13/2012 08:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once a year all the unsold art in NYC should be piled up in the middle of central park and lit on fire there should be some kind of Pagan ceremony to go along with it.

12/13/2012 09:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am beyond trying to sell my objects. The Sting of rejection dosn't bother me it's the lack of any type of dialoge with the folks who reject my work.

12/13/2012 10:34:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Dialog is another issue and one artists have much more control over than many seem to understand.

First of all, you can start a dialog yourself. Artist bloggers do this all the time, so do others via salons, etc. If you build an interesting enough dialog first, the people you wish to join will more likely do so.

It's a bit unrealistic to expect someone who rejects representing your work to engage too much in time in a dialog about it at that point, though...they'll be reticent to hurt your feelings and such.

Launch a compelling dialog about your work first, though, and whether or not it's right for them to represent, they'll more likely take notice and possibly join in.

12/13/2012 11:00:00 AM  
Anonymous zipthwung said...

Dialogue is the nail on the head. Hyperallergic gave you some love....
http://hyperallergic.com/61865/seven-art-fair-as-group-exhibition/

12/13/2012 03:10:00 PM  
Anonymous zipthwung said...

How was your location? I was surprised at how seedy even the glitzier parts of miami were. WHere will the satellite fairs migrate to after Winwood....

12/13/2012 03:12:00 PM  
Blogger JP said...

I think as others have pointed out there is a problem of oversaturation. To many fairs, too many images, too many artists. Even good work starts to seem formulaic when there is so much of everything. It's like food...too much of a good thing is definitely not good. making more (good?) work won't fix this.

As for the market....I have long held that at the highest end (where 99% of the money is) art functions as a sop for excess cash....kind of like that 3rd vacation home.

I have sold a fair amount of work, through the years, in the $1000 - $6000 range. I know that the people who have bought my work - whether through galleries or privately - have made a sacrifice to buy it, bought it because they loved it and needed to live with it. But the people who cruise through Basel and drop a few hundred grand can't possibly be taking the time to truly consider the work, and end up warehousing most of what they buy anyway.
Really it's just a symptom of the growing inequality in our society but that's a discussion for another day.

12/14/2012 09:45:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

making more (good?) work won't fix this

I don't disagree about the quantity of art out there contributing to the problem.

But it's not just good work (I'd prefer artists strive for ground-breaking, earth-shattering, game-changing, jaw-dropping masterpieces, rather than merely "good" work), that I'm calling for, but rather what I specifically noted: "new models ... to clear the cacophony and confusion must be dictated by artists and their work"

What's at stake here, again, is leaving an embarrassingly poor legacy for posterity to judge us by. If everyone involved keeps following the same trophy-or-trinket (i.e, tulip mania style) production and buying patterns, that's all we're likely to leave, though.

If the world economy and industry have changed so much that too many artists can make too much good work for most of it to be purchased or for any of it in total to make sense, then someone (an artist) needs to re-imagine how to do what an artist is charged with doing (in addition to creating their work), which is leaving a meaningful reflection/record of our times.

I'm not thinking only commerce models here, either. I'm thinking more of images so compelling...so iconic and unignorable...they silence the masses and make posterity jealous that someone has already made them.

Yes, in the current climate that's a Herculean task.

So get to it already.

12/14/2012 10:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was watching some porn the other day it was filmed in a Southern California Mansion the living room had six full sized fake Rothkos on a radiused wall. It was VERY wierd watching the couple go at it in front of the Rothkos Thats the best art work ive seen all year.

12/14/2012 11:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Zipthwung said...

Ed man, I gotta say, making iconic work as a goal can be a show stopper for the creative process -. You can't expect the first or second Lego to be as impressive as a whole city. The hard part for me is sticking to the plan. There are literally 1,000,200,052 ways to make art, all of them interesting for at least the lifespan of a typical human.

What do you do while the idiomatic pot boils? (I am
Not a fan of the brand name tchotchke but the idea I could make my own Damien hirst dot painting without too much effort does appeal to me. Did he literally trash his own market deliberately? That would be so bad ass. And a little unethical, though I don't think anyone outside the loop as encouraged to buy the art for investement purposes. I mean a scam is deliberate and art is never a scam because art is always about something other than cheating people, except for possibly Warhol, who embodied the mass produced empty bag as the new sublime. You could throw out a Warhol without guilt except the Warhol foundation still doesn't/didn't get it.

Is it true that there were brisk sales at the smaller galleries at NADA ? I may need to reexamine my view of art fairs in the depression as anything other than brick and mortar branding.

12/15/2012 10:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

$

12/15/2012 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger Joanne Mattera said...

"The Art Fairs" are not a monolithic entity. Once you get past the two big ones, where art and money merge in a big way, the fairs are scaled for normal mortals. The work is interesting. They're convivial and fun. For dealers and their artists, they are a way to make much needed sales. For visitors thewy provide a chance to get a better sense of the art zeitgeist. Small dealers get to be part of something larger. Artists get to be visible to an international audience. Some artists can even acquire work (I do). Everyone mingles.

As for the quantity of art, for that you have to address the art schools. They are churning out an endless stream of artists year after year after year. (I do not applaud the trend of the art fairs to include the work of MFA candidates via booths and hotel rooms for various art schools.) But I do applaud the way they are being made aware of the business of art. And I think it's worth noting that not all art students will become artists. Some will become collectors, or supporters and funders of the arts, or dealers, or critics or curators.

So the real issue that Ed writes about is at the very top, a place that no one here inhabits. We're all just trying to keep the boat in the water.

12/15/2012 05:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

also....If you view art-making as a lifetime project, it's hard to go in there and say "i'm going to create something incredible". that's a sure-fire way to create overblown crap.

12/16/2012 11:54:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

How you achieve the iconic masterpiece us up to you and will vary amongg artists...some probably do work well reaching beyond themselves with greatness as their goal.... YMMV.... But my point is that rather than parse all this chatter about the market and your role within it, focus instead on working as hard as you can on your work... Because it's only if you do accomplish something great that the rest of us should care enough to work as hard as we'll need to to ensure it is preserved.

12/16/2012 01:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not that easy Edward.I'm not a Easy Bake Oven. There is a huge amount of doubt in every Artist's Heart.

12/16/2012 01:19:00 PM  
Blogger CAP said...

I know it’s nice to think that a consensus of sensible art world authorities will recognize something that is just out and out awesome, should it appear. That there are, at some point, agreed standards. But that’s not actually the way it happens. Just as many people hated Minimalism or Pop Art when they appeared as applauded them. And it wasn’t the knowledgeable versus the ignorant – it was just one faction against another. The same with Schnabel or Koons, Hirst or Doig. The only things that are instantly accepted by all are mediocrities, the common denominators. The only time you get any perspective on ‘a contemporary’ is when something else claims your attention and it’s time to move on. It’s only when you find yourself using someone as a gauge for newer stuff that you realize they were any good. It’s actually that call that makes them good. In other words it’s a retrospective judgment. And this seems to me a good thing. We don’t want to rush to judgments about current stuff – we put them on hold and juggle our commitments for a while. It’s human nature. We keep our powder dry. We counter punch. Art is not just a commodity. We have to live these things. When we need a longer perspective we’re better off going to a museum.

If people want to buy and sell new things for astronomical prices that’s their business but they should know that for every piece they buy they’re missing out on twenty other options, that no one ever corners the market in everything. And it’s against everything else that judgments keep getting made. Are you sorry you paid all that for a Richard Prince, now? I would be.

Remember you don’t get to buy the bank and the house always wins.

12/17/2012 07:25:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

I know it’s nice to think that a consensus of sensible art world authorities will recognize something that is just out and out awesome, should it appear

Sorry if it sounded like that, but that's not exactly what I'm trying to say here. I don't imagine anyone's genius will be universally recognized via one masterpiece that emerges from their studios or that the market will necessarily recognize their genius within an artist's lifetime. This is why I noted that "the adults in the art world (the collecting institutions, the historians, and [most of] the critics) will sort out a reasonably acceptable version of what's important among the art of our age from what's superfluous."

But as you note, "Just as many people hated Minimalism or Pop Art when they appeared as applauded them."

It's the people with the insight to applaud the new great work that emerges that keeps it in the dialogue and gets it into collections, and that then leads to a secure place where the historians and institutions can take the time they will to determine its importance.

It's not an instantaneous process, and I didn't mean to suggest it is. Again, if you're more concerned with your labor paying you off in your lifetime (through money or recognition) than you are in creating great work, you're probably not going to create much great work anyway.

12/17/2012 08:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Zipthwung said...

Ed - your final paragraph seems
To imply that artists who make and sell work at art fairs are being short sighted. I understand artists aren't supposed to be mere crafts people, or designers, but the urge to make art begins (in my opinion) with drawing and "the hand" - so I don't see the problem with being a process oriented artist vs a "concept artist" - though all of these dialogues are of course oversimplifications, but I'm willing to die for them Of course. Also, there seems
To be a bi of the Confucian "right livelihood" in here. What's wrong with making money at an art fair if it keeps you in the groove (I find office jobs really kill my mojo).

12/17/2012 09:48:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Zip...I'm sure you have a point, but it's not clear to me.

My last paragraph suggests an artist will achieve greatness more readily if they intend to achieve greatness than if they intend to satisfy the market. Doing both may be possible for a few geniuses a century, but for most others it appears to be a battle. So go fight that battle, is all I'm saying...let the market do what it's going to do during these less than inspiring phases it has...if you focus on it, 1) you'll probably never actually catch it (it's fickle as hell) and 2) you'll be lost in your own practice...and 3) you'll probably not make anything really great.

Now I do understand the wisdom of having one body of work that funds your more meaningful work. That's a totally acceptable way to work as an artist in my opinion. But it only makes sense if you can actually get to that other more meaningful work...if you have the energy and bandwidth after you're done producing for the market to give it your all.

What prompted this post is a sense that the market's follies were confusing too many artists leading them to feel paralyzed. The larger picture is what I'm hoping to have them look at as a means of moving past that paralysis.

12/17/2012 10:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The True Art in the Art world anymore is Selling the Art. The Art of The Sale!!!!!!!!!!!!! Tag your it Edward!!!

12/17/2012 10:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And that Ladies and Gentleman is why Larry Gagosian is the Greatest Artist of all time ! Coffee is for closers and ive had to much coffee this morning. Peace and love, over and out.

12/17/2012 11:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Gam said...

I don't want to come back and have to cringe at the crap left to represent who we are

iconic, remarkable, masterwork

I was rereading a book on sight. The author was pointing out that for primates, the social synergy was very stressful. That to minimize this, in order to know the hierarchies moods, that the primates would watch the dominant silver back. That its' authority was that it was the center of their attention. That even some primates had figured out, if you roll a drum noisely down the hill that you would get the attention and hence upsurp the dominant silver backs authority. Attention.

(makes me want to digress into the mental rationals of the killer of last Friday - was he trying only to garner some authority via attention in order to reduce his stress? - what a horrendous mess)

But this attention we give to a certain work of art... maybe it has become in the cacophony od accessability of digital dissemination and publications and art fairs, only the ridiculous reigining as the remarkable, as the attention, as the displaced authority.

This is examined here:
http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2012/12/ridiculous-is-the-new-remarkable.html


Maybe we need to examine first how we determine what is artistic authority. If its only being the center of attention, and not the why that its the focal point, then I think we'll be lacking those iconic remarkable artistic proofs or statements of whom we are or desire to be.

12/17/2012 12:19:00 PM  
Anonymous zipthwung said...

"having one body of work that funds your more meaningful work. "

Yes

Also, it's ok to repeat yourself, clean the studio, sharpen the pencils and do nothing for a day.

Trying to catch the wave is just as hard as fighting the wave. It all comes in waves, or cycles, and it is circular, with some modulation.

Long waves vs. short waves.

10-4

12/17/2012 07:52:00 PM  
Blogger CAP said...

No Ed you’re still not getting it. You say -
‘It's the people with the insight to applaud the new great work that emerges that keeps it in the dialogue and gets it into collections’
I disagree. (I actually say – ‘And it wasn’t the knowledgeable versus the ignorant – it was just one faction against another’). It’s just as much the people with the other insight that slam this stuff and extol other great stuff that keep a ‘dialogue’ going. Historians and curators – if they’ve any sense - wait as long as they can to see where it’s all leading, mostly try not to lead.

Your impression is that art fairs get artists down and confused and they should just get back to work, but it’s not that easy. I’m a painter, I know tons of artists who despair of art fairs because so much money goes so recklessly on just names or works glimpsed in conditions that make a travesty of viewing art seriously. They don’t like art fairs reducing the market to the level of Walmart, Yeah there is a market but that doesn’t mean it has to be a bazaar. Jules de Balincourt says something about it on one of James Kalm’s videos. Not that he’s a colleague or anything. But as artists, this doesn’t confuse us about what we’re doing (not that we’re all doing the same thing) it just shifts the goal posts. I don’t know anyone who’s seriously reconsidered what they’re doing in light of Miami Frenzy. But then I don’t move in very lofty circles. We’ve all still got our day jobs – although given the hours lately, ‘day’ is stretching a point. Sure we have to think long term, try and present work where people aren’t pressured by a race to possess, where there is time and space to let the thing stew for a while and where the collector isn't expected to pay a year's salary for one work. Art is not a race, despite what Saatchi or Rubell might like to claim. But I don’t think anyone’s satisfied with the old posterity line either – “in two hundred years they’ll realize what I was really doing…” Artists want some return, even if it’s not exactly a living, at least while they’re alive. Failing that, just some recognition or notice would be nice. But forget the reviews, even when you can find someone capable of interpreting stuff, mostly the clients just want PR copy.

This flight from the constructive, lest it imply the negative, is really what’s driving artists crazy. No one wants to talk about anything except ‘culture’ or ‘philosophy’ which has just become the new way of talking about the weather. Although, the weather is getting to be a warm topic, of course. Anyway there’s too much forestalling ‘the dialogue’, pre-empting the recess while we consider our verdict, too much of a grab for public collections and sham respectability.

Art Fairs have just accelerated the purchases or acquisitions side, which is interesting for dealers, but it’s not really doing anything for the dialogue, unless your idea of a dialogue is speed dating.

12/18/2012 02:02:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

CAP, and I'm not sure I quite get it yet.

Is your central objection that even when some artists are making great work it still won't be recognizes by the right (I.e., currently powerful) people?

If not, I'm still not sure what your objection is.

If so, well, yeah. As it ever was.

I agree the historians are not in the rush to get it right that maany of the rest of us are...I acknowledge that in my post and put them in a separate category (the art world's adults), but also in that category are critics who( poor bastards) are charged with getting it right in real time and serve as the bridge between the market and the historians and institutions. So there is a mechanism in the system for hopefully objective opinions on the ground, in the trenches if you will) that you seem to be dismissing.

12/18/2012 07:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A Masterpiece is impossible because to much has come before.

Here are your ART choices for 2012 Quality product ,Recycled Wank, Limp Dick Rubbish and my favorite Fail Art. Fail Art is a distant cousin to limp dick rubbish. The thing about the best fail art is it has soul and can break your heart and can compete with anything ever made.

12/18/2012 10:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

also....there is no one in the art world more powerless than an un-famous artist. Even if their work is stupendously awesome.

If a tree falls in the forest.....

12/19/2012 02:11:00 PM  
Blogger CAP said...

@ Is your central objection that even when some artists are making great work it still won't be recognizes by the right (I.e., currently powerful) people?

No Ed, what I’m saying is that supposedly ‘great’ work is the result of retrospective judgement. It’s not a matter of some experts guessing right the first time, others backing a rival agenda. It’s a matter of juggling these things for a while – and especially of trying to accommodate newer or following work in the mix, of working out some rough and ready relation between them – a sort of shorthand art history.

We grow more confident of placements or evaluations as we’re able to see this much – it’s the old ‘test of time’ formula really. If work initially seems ‘good’ or ‘bad’ it might tempt us to buy it - given our previous or abiding tastes - AND depending what other options are available. If we wanted a safer investment obviously older more established works provide more of that – if we want to gamble on a long shot – we buy recklessly, and generally are then tempted by a rapid return in the secondaries market. I’m sure you know what a problem this presents for dealers in the primary market. But that’s a separate issue here.

I’m mainly trying to point to the process behind calls of greatness or excellence in works, as opposed to just critical hype and sheer effort in the studio - although that’s usually needed as well.

12/20/2012 02:24:00 AM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

My contention with applying the Occupy Movement to the arts in general is that in doing so there is the assumption that somehow the establishment works against the artist.

First - there really is no "establishment" it's merely an illusion within the minds of those involved within the arts. What is know as the art world really is nothing more than thousands of institutions, art galleries, and art spaces with more artists than you can shake a stick at personified. There is no order, focus or system in place.

Second - "The world suits it's own needs", Michael Stipe. Every one is struggling to achieve their own personal vision of success and most likely too busy to notice or consider you. It's nothing personal - just think of all the things in this world you dismiss or ignore daily. Life's just to short to take it all in.

There are more artists and galleries out there than ever before. There are also more buyers out there as well. With that said I don't feel that proportionally it's really much different than any other time period. We idealize the past and think as artist "oh, it would have been so much easier if I lived in the (insert favorite time period). I don't think that Picasso and peers had it any better in Paris than today's artists. Things were more regional, but the world wide web has helped me as an artist more than hurt. I don't miss silver taping slide after slide followed with stuffing them into slide sheets to send out. I definitely don't miss the expense of that process either. If an artist is concerned about being lost in the pack - skip the jealousy and re-evaluate what is being produced in your studio. Maybe it's just a matter of time. Art is very subjective and even if an gallery likes your work it doesn't mean that they will feel it's marketable or even fit into their program and no one owes you.

Be thankful that the art fairs are selling tons of work. Maybe the Fairs will bring more art enthusiasts into the market. It could mean that in the future that some galleries will have the funds to expand their locations or add more artists to their gallery.

It's taken me years to grow up enough to take this point of view. In my 20's it was always someone else's fault or conspiracy. Not that I feel that much wiser today, but I don't hand the power that is in my hands alone to others anymore. I look in the mirror and own my successes as well as my failures. Sometimes it's just dumb luck too.

1/10/2013 05:18:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home