It’s day job time again, folks.

February 15, 2009

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An article in today’s New York Times discusses the inevitable changes in the art market in the face of the economic apocalypse. The bottom line: more day jobs, fewer solo shows and six figure price tags. Also suggested: perhaps art schools stop trying to churn out chisel-focused artists designed to “break through” into the art market and widen art education to include other disciplines such as psychology and anthropology. 

Man, there’s an idea I’m all for. I went to a liberal arts school where the art program was very much an “art school” program. Senior shows were all about honing an artist’s statement to fit on the head of a pin.  Students who didn’t go on to MFA programs often ended up opening (or working in) small galleries. Not that I’m not a fan of small galleries or art “for the people,” but maybe “the people” should be closer to art. 

Opening up art education and closing down the insular world of the gallery elite also levels the playing field for artists. The little guy has every bit a chance to “compete” in an art community where the focus is on quality and vision, not where you went to school and which gallery owners you party with on the weekends. The art community has always been rather incestuous, and always will be, but I think moving the focus away from the “gallery scene” is an opportunity, not a crisis. 

Artists who are used to the brick + mortar gallery will have to find other ways to subsidize their studios, but more and more artists are relying on internet showcasing anyway. More and more sites are being set up to show and sell art online. Some of these sites (like JPG magazine nearly did earlier this year) will fold, but as the adage goes, there’s no such thing as bad press, and any exposure provided for artists will help even “casual” or “amateur” artists join in a community and earn a few sales. 

Viva la revolucion! (And remember to visit my etsy shop…)

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