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BIG ART WORLD

Not too long ago, someone sent me a link to an article about eradicating the art world.

Once again, I didn't read it.  I don't read things written by other art writers.  It's just a taboo thing for me.  Anyway, the person who sent it assumed that I would like it because I'm so ... "anti art world." 

Anti art world?  Are you kidding me?  I absolutely LOVE the art world.  Where did he get that?  I could never spend this much time writing about something I hate.

You know, just because you don't constantly fawn or fall over something doesn't mean that you dislike it.  Of course, I dislike some of the people and practices of the art world, but if anything, I actually want the art world to be BIGGER.  I'm critical at times because I also want the art world to be and DO better.

By the way, what do I mean when I say, "art world"?  I'm talking about the art world in its worldwide entirety: art museums, art galleries and centers, art schools, blue chip auction houses, art fairs, art websites, art framers, kindergarten art classes, the gamut.  

Before I to go on, let me say that bigger doesn't always mean better.  So many people today want to be BIG, as if being big always gives us more credibility or relevance.  It does not. 

Yet in the case of the art world, I think being bigger would be better for the same reason that it's relatively small in relation to other industries.  What is that reason? 

Provincialism. 

I don't know about you, but it's my personal belief that it's one of the main functions of art to break us out of narrow-mindedness and closed-off, elitist mentality.  It's one thing to be elite, but quite another to be an elitist.  To me, elitist thinking is the fraternal twin of thug-minded thinking.  They're usually on opposite ends of the social and economic spectrum, but narrow-mindedness about who they are and how they operate are hallmarks of both. 

For example, Harry Belafonte once said that he thought that many young kids who come from low-income, inner-city communities sometimes have the tendency to "over-identify" with "the hood."  I believe he meant that these kids live in an entire universe full of opportunities, but they can't take advantages of those opportunities by being blindly loyal to their pasts.  In short, we're all here to learn, evolve and grow and you can't always do that by clinging to old circumstances. 

On the opposite end of the spectrum are super-rich kids.  Many of these kids are entitled.  They attend the best schools in the world, live in multi-million dollar apartments akin to dorm rooms in New York City, wear top designer clothes, drive the most expensive cars, party in the best nightclubs, have the best social connections and so on.  

Needless to say, most of us would choose being wealthy over being low income.  However, when your entire reality and existence are characterized by either poverty or over-privileged wealth, neither is good.  Life is much bigger than both of those things and you cannot recognize and truly understand what they mean without somehow rising above them both.  You have to have an aerial and better yet, bird's eye view.  

But let's not kid ourselves.  It's better to be rich and provincial than poor and provincial.  However, provincial is provincial.  I've been friendly with people in both groups and I'm glad to say that I, for one, have navigated both crowds and have learned from both without being scarred by either ... which brings me back to the art world. 

Do you see what I mean?  I don't know.  It just seems to me that living in a social circle where everything is homogenous ... it's sickening and incestuous.   It's like being endlessly stuck in a Los Angeles or DC beltway traffic jam.  Not good. There's so much of this in the art world.  

The only way to really treat or even cure provincialism is by opening your mind and expanding your world.  Problem is ... many people don't want to do this because social circles, cliques, labels and divisions make us feel safe, special and oftentimes better than others.  It's as if we never left high school ... not even high school, middle school!

Opening our minds and expanding our world are two of the main functions of art.  Most artists know this.  However, it's often the art community that surrounds, engulfs and squeezes the life out of artists that works against the very purpose of art itself.  

As much as I talk about marketing, promotion, money, art galleries, art fairs and so on, I also realize that many of these things often perpetuate the very art world that we don't want.  We don't want provincialism and who wants to deal with snobbish, entitled people?  They're a total waste of time. 

Isn't it better to be joyful and free?  Isn't it better to be open and warm?  Isn't it better to be creative?  Isn't it better to let the sun overtake darkness?  Have you ever experienced the darkest of night give way to dawn?  Isn't that the best?

Whenever that happens, we're being reminded that nature and the cosmos are eclectic and infinite.  They aren't just one thing.  Yes, it's a small world, but our universe is HUGE.

If the universe is so HUGE, shouldn't we at least have the biggest art world possible?  In this case, I would definitely say that BIGGER is better. 

In my view, the entire universe and those universes yet to be discovered, are one humongous art project.  But hey, what do I know?

  


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