Monday, February 23, 2004

Picking up the pieces


Apologies for the slacking off over the weekend. Between Revised Edition (a band that played here last night) and in general, sleeping late, I didn't have anything worthwhile to write about. But, my mom brought this article to my attention. Combining that with what I wrote back on the 5th of February, I figured we have what could be called a follow-up!

Now, I'm all for Costco selling art, good art, great art, prints, originals, sculptures, anything that turns their crank. And I'm all for Terry Teachout writing about how wonderful it is to buy art. But the problem I have with both of them is pretty much the same problem I have with Celine Dion, Friends and Lord of the Rings. It is called sheep-like behavior, becoming a lemming, or turning off your brain.

Costco works on high volume, low margin. Celine Dion works on humongous volume, and rather good margins, Friends works on a basis of standard issue brainwashing, and Lord of the Rings falls in between Friends and Celine. Or more succinctly, Celine Dion sells about 50 million copies of her CDs, Friends is watched by about 25 million people in the US every week, and each of the Lord of the Rings movies has grossed about $1 billion dollars (if you assume that the average movie ticket costs $10, then that's a cool 100 million people who have paid to see LotR, so it should be more correctly, Celine who is in between LotR and Friends).

And Mr. Teachout's choice in art,

William Bailey, PIAZZA ROTUNDA, 1994, Color aquatint with hard ground etching, 18-3/ 4 x 23-3/4, Edition sold out. Proof available. $3,500

while it might have certain restrictions imposed upon it (as he mentions, wall space and money being the main ones) is not pushing any boundaries.
Fairfield Porter, Wheat, 1960

"Nice" would be my choice of adjective for the stuff he chooses. Costco ain't gonna be pushing any boundaries either.

Picture taken by Thor Swift for The New York Times. Greg Moors, a San Francisco art dealer, with a painting by Pascal Cucaro and other works he is selling through the Costco Web site.

If you start pushing boundaries, by definition you're not going to have mass-appeal (convincing those 25 million people to see your stuff is not easy if you're edgy).

Then to get back to my point, mass appeal is not, in and of itself a bad thing, but it just isn't something that I want to be doing. When you're into the millions, being able to have a personal and individual connection with each and every person is impossible. And if you're going to be making art to change the world then those personal and individual connections are the only way you're going to be able to do it. One person at a time.

Now, I gotta get back to my nap, rant off.

Links to this post:

Create a Link

    Your Ad Here

      << Home