Where do we go from here?

August 31, 2011


In a time of recession and uncertainty, what does it mean for artists? I have read many things about how the recession is good for art. Read here from the NY Times, Holland Cotter. This article states how recession will bring about a true change in the art world and help to fight the commodification of artwork.

I am left to wonder, has that happened?

I have noticed two trends. One being an attraction towards anything experiential. Music shows and performances are well attended and favored by the critics. The second being that it seems like only the blue chip galleries will survive. So many of my favorite places to see art have disappeared. Now the galleries are less likely to risk doing shows with emerging artists. I can definitely appreciate that there isn’t as much of a rush to sign the next crop of graduates but what does this mean for us working artists? There are less commercial jobs and companies seem to budget in the art last which means it’s the first to get cut. Many companies will try to convince you that in exchange for your art services payment is publicity rather than monetary. But how does the working artist provide for themselves when they are not selling to the mega rich?

Has art become more elitist because of the recession? Do we all need to go inhabit cities like Detroit and Baltimore where everyone else has fled? What if we do not want to live in an industrial wasteland? Where do we go from here? After asking this question over and over again to myself I came across this article that I find interesting on many levels.

It discusses the plight of the artist, specifically in New York, and shared statistical figures that are not very promising. It did leave things off on a positive note with the idea that rather than art being another victim of the recession, it instead was being embraced as an integral part of a community. And so I will leave it there too and keep my fingers moving…signed, Kelie