Thursday, June 28, 2007

snap-judgement art

Rudy, my 'supplier,' put me onto an interesting blog article about Art Basel, the world's most important art fair. I only became aware of the art fair phenomenon a couple of years ago when a dealer I know attempted to get a selection from her stable of artists into the big one in Toronto ... and failed. Much gnashing of teeth ensued. (I've always wanted to say that.)

I'm starting to get why -- from the economic standpoint of the dealer who secures a coveted art fair spot, that is. (Not that I understand the economics of being a dealer, especially not dealers like Sergio Patrich and his band of thugs.) Not so much from the perspective of the serious artist and ethical dealer, though. According to CultureGrrl the mania of buyer competition and the lure of the impulse buy creates a false atmosphere that is at odds with the nature of white-wall gallery art, resulting in the success off a different -- and lesser -- sort of art:

Todd Levin, hedge-fund manager Adam Sender's art curator, recently told Bloomberg's Linda Sandler: "There's been a proliferation of 'art fair art' produced specifically for art fairs. It has a certain kind of wall power and can be digested and consumed very quickly."

Still, the chance to test-drive the impulse purchase theory, from the artist's perspective, is more than a little tempting! (May the art gods smite me dead.)

9 Comments:

Blogger Caroline said...

There's no reason why a serious artist shouldn't make the odd hamburger is there?

:-)

29/6/07 12:29 AM  
Blogger HMBT said...

So...what do you think, after reading all that? Do we as artists continue to supply the art fair crowds...do we as artists continue to set-up booths and hawk our wares to the public? I don't know...I do know that I quit doing art fairs about three years ago. Fo myself I started to feel like I was on let's make a deal...haggleing for prices, and using marketing gimmicks (which I am very good at) to get people in the booth...it just didn't feel like I was connecting with the public over my work...I felt like I was a the farmers market trying to sell my overstock of almost too ripe tomatoes. (which I used to make a fine living at when I was a farmer). My work is already simple to understand...I don't think I can dumb it down anymore than I have...and with sales beeing what they have been over the past 24 months...I don't think it'll do me any good either. *Rant* ovah!
:) I have just been thiking about this a lot this season...to art fair or not to art fair...that is the question. It's not like the art fairs are free to the artists...just the public. I hate to loose moeny and time like that...maybe I am just being hard headed about the whole thing...I don't know.

29/6/07 2:41 AM  
Blogger Paula said...

Oh, this hurts me just to think about it.

I've done a couple of art fairs and oh my gosh, it was rough. I didn't like feeling as though I had to come up with some kind of "snake oil" presentation just to get folks to come in. And looking at the zombie like expressions as they walk by was just so maddening. In the end I felt like culture/society has been so conditioned to consumerism (everything being hiped and sold with bright lights and loud music) that the patron doesn't know how to think for themselves.....they have to be force fed.

So, I've stopped doing the art fair thing, but man o man I sure do want to sell some art.

I've been told by many local artists that the gallery isn't the way to go (and been give what seem like very logical reasons).

I'm thinking that maybe etsy or ebsq will be the way to get moving.
With a full time job to pay the bills I'm thinking sometime between midnight and 3am, I'll get everything up.

The good new is, it's Friday and I have got two whole days ahead of me. To accomplish everything I'll need to be up 24/7.....and I just might do that !!!

Wow, your post sure brought up a lot for me this morning.....didn't plan on such a response !!

29/6/07 6:30 AM  
Blogger andrea said...

Caroline: an odd hamburger. Is it square? :)

HMBT and Paula: It seems to me that there are two kinds of art fairs (correct me if I'm wrong): the more mainstream artist-as-vendor ones you talk about (I know equine artists for whom this type is their bread and butter because galleries and dealers often won't touch them), and the high-end dealer fairs, of which Art Basel is the pinnacle. Of course the snake-oil stuff you mention would be in the hands of the dealer at the high-end fairs, which is fine by me, but I think the kind of compromise to sell that you both mention is common to both levels of art fair. Does it compromise the art? Probably and on that I'm going to hide in my studio! :) I'd really hate to think galleries are going the way of the Dodo Bird with the advent of online marketing as I really think most kinds of art should be seen before purchasing, dealer ethics aside.

29/6/07 7:13 AM  
Blogger kj said...

i love gallery atmospheres and love experiencing art there like no other place. at the same time, i know some people are intimidated by galleries.

i'd be in favor of MINI art fairs. which i guess is the same as many of the art (and craft) fairs i tend to attend.

is the internet really selling art to the point of changing the way people purchase it? i agree with you, andrea--gotta see the original to really appreciate.
:)

29/6/07 8:17 PM  
Blogger Cream said...

I'm no artist but I think that an artist has to sell some artwork in order to survive and produce even better material. Whether one sells on the web or art fairs, it is still the bread-and-butter stuff that keeps one going and aiming high.
Correct me if I am wrong. I may have got the wrong end of the stick.

30/6/07 10:42 AM  
Blogger andrea said...

KJ: Some gallerists make galleries intimidating! But I think galleries need to exist for many more than the obvious reasons. I heard recently about a therapist sending her patients to art galleries to lower their cortisol levels!

Cream: Hey -- art anywhere is always a good thing, and I'm beginning to warm more and more to the idea of artists creating bread-and-butter art to finance their more creative, experimental projects. But if dealers are only taking the work of artists whose work appeals to the snap-judgement crowd, as explained in the linked articles, then they're ignoring a very important market/segment of the art world that has much farther reaching benefits than art fairs and art fair art can provide.

30/6/07 2:17 PM  
Blogger Belinda said...

I'm reaching the opinion that our local galleries must be very accessible, comparatively speaking. And now I'm wondering if that's because of the tone that Townsend Wolfe set with the Arkansas Arts Center. I think maybe so.

4/7/07 9:45 AM  
Blogger Camplin said...

I remember my trip to New York to the Armoury Show. I just was wide eyed about the whole thing. I must say, I enjoyed every bit of it, even the bad art I say. I want to visit more art fairs.

9/7/07 12:36 PM  

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