Thursday, April 6, 2017

Throwback Thursday: The Future of Art

The following article is a re-purposed 2009 blog post.

On Sunday, I wrote some harsh things about the direction the modern art scene had gone in my article The Painted Absurd, in which I pointed readers to Tom Wolfe's The Painted Word. Wolfe's real adversary is not the artists, however. He was attacking the art critics who decided for others which works should have value and which were tripe for garage sales.

In truth, I still like to frequent the galleries, and I certainly understand where some of the modern movements came from. I like to see what is going on in the art scene as well as its manifold expressions along the periphery. It's a great source for ideas if you make art yourself. And if you imagine yourself making enough money to be a patron of the arts, it is a good way to see what's out there.

For the same reasons I peruse the art mags.

The March 2009 edition of ARTnews caught my attention because it had a cover story titled, "Where Is Art Going?" The feature collected an range of perspectives from museum curators and the like, thus it deals more with high art than just art in general. "A New Creativity" by Ann Landi postulates that because the economy has been trashed, the art market has been altered as well.

“Difficult times bring out the best in the best artists,” says David Ross, who was director of the Whitney Museum during that biennial and is now director of Albion New York, a SoHo affiliate of the London gallery. “When the economy falters, there can be a remarkable growth of seriousness in art.” But others see the notion of an art-market meltdown leading to new forms of creativity as specious hogwash. “I’d say the bohemian fantasy is sweet and sentimental, but rather insulting to artists,” says Christopher Knight, art critic for the Los Angeles Times. “In my experience, artists do what they do, market or no market. During the ‘80s boom, terrific work was being made by artists who barely got the time of day, and some of them were artists we simply started to look at in the ‘90s as the dust settled from the crash. That will happen again.”
Further along Landi writes:

The very nature of the way artists are perceived changes when the price tags cease to be that important. “In a downturn, artists are no longer validated according to their market value,” says Mary Sabbatino, vice president of Galerie Lelong in New York. “You’ll have an end to the quote-unquote critical description of Marlene Dumas, for example, as the most expensive living female artist.”

The one statement I liked in the article was that artists are going to make art no matter what the economy is doing. And it doesn't need to be validated by being in a gallery. Yes, even Dr. Seuss's drawings are now gallery pieces, but he began by making children's books. Much of what I'm doing right now, for example, is for illustrative purposes. Occasionally I like framing my work and plan on some larger, more serious endeavors again this summer now that my garage is converted into the three season studio. I don't need Federal funding to paint, draw, make music.

The thing is, when some people talk about art, they're talking about the art industry. The art industry may be hurting, but from where I sit the creative urge is alive and well in this country. It may be hard for poets to get published because no one reads poetry magazines much, but this does not stop poetry or music or other forms of creation from happening.

My time is up for now, so this is a theme I will have to return to yet another day. What's your take?

NOTE: The picture of a bear that you see here is a painting that we saw at a gallery in Sedona. The seated boy was produced this past week here.

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