God Is Dead. And so Is Art, the Art Business and Mid-Level Galleries
Déu és mort. Així com també l’art, el negoci de l’art i les galeries mitjanes
Monday 20, January | 15.00-16.00
Kenny Schachter, art journalist, artist, lecturer, curator and collector and dealer
God will always exist for many but I’m not too sure about the present model of the art world—art has become a hybrid offshoot of the luxury goods business, the cesspool of the art market is rife with more crime than ever and attendance is dwindling at small and mid-level galleries that seem to be losing the battle to simply survive. Economics is driving the discourse of art to numbing effect; many artists are complicit in the relentless hustle to design the next Louis Vuitton product range and the multi-venue mega galleries rule the roost. Why get out of (art) bed anymore?
The history of the onset of commercial galleries, selling exclusively (exclusive) art can be pegged to sometime in second half of the 19th century, so at around 175 years old, galleries as we know them are hardly steeped in antiquity—we got along well enough without them for eons. What, if anything, is next: an Insta-reduced art experience where fairs, phones and private museums are the only option?
The antiseptic contemporary white cube architype of representing a stable of artists is considerably younger than the gallery model, and hardly a paragon in itself. Is there hope beyond posting a few pix on Instagram or an innocuous digital viewing room? We will take a look at the evolution of the business of art, from the commercial antics of Albrecht Durer, selling prints in a shop manned by his mom, to the luxe lifestyle that is the Hauser & Wirth hotel (and restaurant) chain and, the newly christened “art campus” of Pace. Let us not forget the international superstore outlets that is the Gagosian behemoth.
More importantly, the focus will be on how to maintain the slow burning practice that is making art and the process of accumulating visual knowledge for the few that still seem to care, and how to nurture that audience so it too doesn’t become extinct like much in our imperiled environment.