What are the rules for art?
2017/02/14 § Leave a comment
When I walk into a gallery, and I look at an artwork, I wonder, how was it made?
This is always my first question.
Sometimes this is too obvious particularly in the case of flat art like oil painting and we drift immediately into curatorial and collectimaniacal discussions, perhaps of style, technique and brushstroke.
Other times the types of process is more technological than the personality in practice, technique and presentation —and I get caught up in lost wax, sprues and welding.
Interesting. I pace hither and thither, lost in thought and admiration. And so more questions, all sorts of questions.
I may venture into what the maker intended, but in any case, the last question I ask is —how was it marketed?
It is the last thing I ask not because of its import but because as soon as it floats into the periphery of notice — I walk away from the art and into the light.
Any other questions that might arise (subject matter, historical significance, the artist’s early death, the skill, the late success, the naive approach) all of them are subsumed by marketing, by the market, by the marketeers, the curators, the auctioneers, the gallerists and #bignames curating their own careers.
And my first question, in context of the marketplace, means nothing at all.
So I walk away.
Marketing stops my curiosity, marketing is a mind killer. It is the magic that must hide its power even as it consumes everything.
I try to walk away.
My first question makes me lonesome, and perhaps proud. The other questions make me a member of the market, an atom of nothing in a sea of commodities, a see of POVs of likes and dislikes, of subjective demographics. And I cannot walk away even when I think I have.
And the last question reminds me the rules for art are the rules of the marketplace. There is no alternative.
I crawl in circles.