Blake Gopnik in the ART Newspaper issue 254, Feb2014 writes that there are reasons for having a gallery present art other than those just about making money or spurring artists towards the creative. “Great Art Needs and Audience” begins with the current big city pathos that galleries are closing because of the proliferation of Art Fairs and the internet. Well, some galleries are closing and it probably has more to do with the economics of specific galleries. Nevertheless, when any new outlet for goods, services, CULTURE arrives on the scene, things tend to change. Nature abhors a vacuum it is said, it also dislikes redundancy and favors efficiency over outmoded methods.
I do not disagree with Mr. Gopnik’s main thought, that culture, and art that is considered part of the culture, can only exist because a community endorses. He is quick to add that “community” includes not only the art market elite but also the general populace (which might include some of us). To endorse a culture/art the community (big, small, local, global) must actually be able to experience it. And thus the need for galleries. Fairs are too exclusive and the internet too much of a carnival (I would add, a carnival of homogenized anonymity) for the focus necessary to experience art.
What I would like to point out is the parochial nature of this consternation, this concern and the general hew and cry of “THE ART MARKET”. Parochial may seem a strange adjective coming from rural Arizona when speaking of New York, London, Paris, Los Angeles but it fits. Webster define parochial as “limited to only the things that affect your local area” We in the hinterlands have long experienced the cold shoulder of cultural superiority but with global expansion of access to knowledge, ease of communication and decentralization of serious cultural thought, the cold shoulder and the superiority are both naive and boring. The days of Greenbergian authoritarianism and academic pedanticism are just quaint memories.
One need only spend a few hours (and how easy it is to spend them) on YouTube to realize that art and culture happen in a million small places as frequently and fully as in New York. Art, serious ART, is created more often in a garage studio outside the mega-rents of the big city loft. And while the concentration of wealth and art superstars continues towards an economic singularity, the nation’s culture continues to expand unfettered by the distinction between capital “A” art and kitsch.
As a gallery owner in the hinterlands I get to witness a daily festival of art. The network of connections I make are face to face without the sterility of bits and bites. The culture that I am privileged to come in contact with is honest, content rich and meaningful, exciting and every bit as deep as any found among tall builds rather than tall trees.