Art folks have some pretty insulting ideas about everybody else. Why if it wasn’t for the progressives in bureaucratic positions passing out grants art would probably die, and the reason so many galleries fail is cretin sports fans are taking up all the parking. In art school students are taught the common folk have no direct interest in petty mind games and that’s probably correct.
‘Contemporary art requires much more from its audience’ intones the resident expert and there’s no doubt. It requires faith, a powerful force shaking the world about now in its more fanatical manifestations, but in art it just entails believing nonsense has significance -- seems almost benign. Damien Hirst has reduced his product line to polka dot and spin paintings done by ‘assistants’, and it’s difficult to compare them to world art and still feel good about our culture, unless of course we just declare ourselves obliviously self-absorbed. Happens all the time.
Not everyone gets on the bus and that includes most people. It doesn’t mean they don’t like art, wouldn’t respond to art, or wouldn’t buy it. They might prefer a more authentic effort from the artist, an image more relevant to their own experience, and maybe a work of art which establishes its presence without a pound of paperwork. Where is this art you ask, and the answer is it’s always been around. It may not have seen sunlight for a while although with recent climate changes a new growth is possible.
This change of climate is simple exposure to the public, the first imperative of retail markets everywhere, and it’s happening now. More art is going up in businesses and shops, and galleries are claiming spaces within walking distance of the new 21C hotel. As more art is seen in galleries, hotels, and alternate venues all around town, worthy area-produced art will rise toward the surface and become visible to the local population. It would be wrong to suggest quality would go down since artists respond to attention and support and get better. People who spend their own money on art can self-educate pretty quickly too, and almost always recognize the better piece side by side. Eventually the art around here might become more relevant and authentic to the community, and more important to people’s lives.