Where is the art you don’t get to see, haven’t had a chance to own, that will probably never be made? It’s been censored. No, not because it was obscene or unwholesome, heavens no, but because it was accessible, direct, and might appeal to the general public. The very people we hire with our tax dollars to decide what art is worthy of our notice have been hanging out a carrot on a string, getting a free ride, and the donkey has been us. They do this by staying slightly ahead of the curve, out toward the cutting edge, and if too many people start to like it, they move on. They sponsor a stable of artists who would be completely unsustainable on an open market, and promote them as being superior to artists who might be able to support themselves if they had access to the galleries, the grants and prizes, the press attention currently monopolized by the non-profits, the universities, and all other entities supported with public money and not by the dissemination of art.
They exert control through blatant censorship and call it being progressive, contemporary, and not limited to the narrow provincialism of the people who buy their lunch. Oh, they pretend to promote art, but artists don’t thrive in their communities. They’ve made art an amputee in everyone’s hometown, a sacrifice to charitable events, and expect artists to decorate various street utilities around the town for degrading pittances. Maybe that’s not the visibility for art we need. Original art direct from the hand of an artist who has something to say about the world, has acquired the ability to say it, and who wants to find common ground with the viewer, might appeal to a lot of people. It might supply something they’ve felt missing in their lives, given the chance. Let’s give it a chance.
Instead of handing over your money to some guilt-driven fund drive, for which you receive nothing but the assurance they’ll be back for even more next year, buy a piece of art from a local artist you like, and hang it where you’ll see it every day. Simple as that.