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HOW TO FIX THE ART WORLD: A SURVEY

Spring 2016     

Recently, in "What Ever Happened To Arts Education?" I outlined what I believe is the biggest problem that the art world in general faces today - lack of formal arts education among the masses. 

Lack of arts education – which contributes to declining emotional intelligence - has truly been a metastatic experience.  Like a virus, ignorance has swept the nation and dare I say, the world, and it's showing up in everything from rising intolerance to constant bickering over minor things to soaring crime rates in our cities.

BLAH, BLAH, BLAH!  Thanks Mel Bochner.

Anyway, after writing and posting that essay, I concluded that I didn't go far enough.  I needed to further explore what's lacking.  What are the real problems in the contemporary art world?  What are the real problems FOR the contemporary art world?  And more importantly ...

How can we fix them?  

I'm focusing on the contemporary art world because it's OUR world.  It's here and it's now.  We cannot change the past and we cannot control the future, although we CAN shape the future and we can do our best to plan for it.  But truly, all we really have is NOW.

You know, despite the many bright spots that I often write about, nearly everyone, except for those benefitting from the status quo, believes that the contemporary art world is indeed broken.  We live in a fallen world where practically everything is broken.  That includes the art world.

With all due respect, if you believe that the contemporary art world doesn't have crippling problems, you're either a super-rich art czar or you have a wicked case of Stepford Wife Syndrome and you refuse to be shaken loose from your delusions.  Stevie Wonder himself could see the problems in the art world.

Given that, I turned to about 500 of my solid, art world contacts all over the world.  You always hear from me.  Now it's time to hear from at least SOME of THEM.  It's a survey, of sorts.  Come on, let’s talk about this.  Let's get the dialogue going, but more importantly, let's draft up plans and strategies geared toward actually addressing and yes, correcting the problems.

By the way, whenever people get together to work on problems, they almost always descend into selfish, ego-driven debates and then, political arguments about who is right, who is wrong, which way is best and which way "sucks."  We are bigger than that.  There are many things that the art world can and should do to address many of its problems.  These approaches and strategies can and should be employed by everyone in a comprehensive, interwoven, concerted and holistic way to bring about desired results ... which will take many years.  

In other words, do what you can from where you stand ... in cooperation with others.  It WILL take a unified village.

Bickering over approach, method or technique is for amateurs.  There are too many, super-educated and enlightened people who are perfectly capable of coming up with brilliant solutions to whatever is plaguing the art world.  It’s shameful that this work remains undone and everyone – and I mean everyone - in the art world is equally responsible.

I am amazed by the eloquence of many of the people I meet, yet there continues to be this HUGE disconnect between talking about problems and actually DOING something about them.  No one believes they're powerful enough to do anything when the truth is that even the lowest people on the art world totem pole can be overwhelming conquerors ... if they choose to accept any responsibility.  But who wants to accept responsibility? 

Now ... the unscientific survey.

I simply asked my contacts one, simple and basic question about what they believe is the biggest problem and their solution for the problem.  I don't know about you, but I don't have time to talk about problems without working on solutions at the same time.  Also, some of the respondents asked to remain anonymous which I consider a HUGE part of the actual problem.  We live in a free world or at least, free North America, where we have freedom of speech - for good or worse.  We need to stand in our truth.

We cannot fix things if we're not courageous enough to stand in our truth and stand by our words.  How can you call yourself an “artist” if you're not willing to truly stand in your truth and support your own words?  With only one exception (an artist who gave a great response so I used it), all of the respondents are people who did NOT ask me to keep them anonymous.  

Also, I sent this "survey" out to many art dealers and do you know how many responded?  I think maybe ... TWO.  I even sent out a follow-up email requesting their participation.  What I got was chirping crickets. One could argue that alone is quite revealing.  Perhaps most of my art dealer contacts were too busy to respond or maybe my email went straight to their spam filter ... or whatever.  That's fine.  Ultimately, freedom of speech goes both ways.  You have the right to remain silent as well as the right to speak up.  Still, could their silence actually be speaking volumes?

Finally ... another quick thing.  Some of the art people who responded to this question addressed it in terms of how they themselves would personally benefit from a solution.  Guys, we've got to be bigger than that.  We've GOT to come up with fixes that benefit everyone involved.  Selfishness and greed are what got us into this problem in the first place.

The contemporary art world needs solutions that benefit artists, art dealers, art administrators, art educators, collectors, art advisors, galleries, museums, schools, art critics, writers, promoters and so on.  Because art often gives us an aerial view of life, we must also take the aerial view in all of this.

I believe in win-win situations.  We can plant new seeds.  It begins with art education and everyone giving a little to help the whole.  Okay, enough of my stump speech.  What am I … running for office?  Here are the responses, but first, here's the exact question that I posed to everyone...

"What do you think is the ONE, BIGGEST problem in (and for) the contemporary art world right now and what's the ONE thing that you believe could fix it?   

Here we go...

1. “I think the biggest problem in the contemporary art world is the gender and racial disparity of the artists being shown, represented, auctioned and written about. These artists are overwhelmingly white males. There is no good reason for this in the year 2016.”  -- Artist Megan Geckler

2. “The biggest problem in the art world is the lack of transparency around how business is conducted.  This creates a mysterious, impenetrable web that young people cannot navigate.  It also ensures a kind of exclusive “clubiness” and most of the time this has little to do with the real quality of the work.  What rises to the top tends to be work produced by those who know how to game 'the club'...”  

Art dealers, auction houses, curators, buyers and museum personnel need to practice transparency at all levels of their trade.  Business courses for the arts need to be a regular part of ALL higher education departments for the arts.  And we all need to stop pretending that art is so special, that it's not really a business.”  -- Artist Karen Fitzgerald

3. “The art world is a closed shop. Galleries wall themselves off from artists not known to them and will not look at their work … Galleries select artists from people they know, such as collectors, curators and artists they represent. This is elitist and unethical. To remedy this, there should be federal or state regulations that require galleries and museums to review artist submissions. This could be done for a one-month period on an annual basis ... Arts councils in each state could help to expedite this. There are regulations for other industries - why not the art industry?”  -- Artist requesting anonymity

I would say we’re off to a rousing start.  Wouldn’t you?  We will continue on without any further interruption on my part.  My conclusion will follow this long string of basically raw quotes from the experts.

4. “If there’s one thing the contemporary art world needs to do, it’s make anyone feel like they can walk into a gallery and not feel intimidated by a snobby atmosphere.”  -- Artist Christopher Stott

5. “Unrealistic pricing is the bane of the artist fraternity. In a day and age when buyers can directly connect with the artist, the gallery commission model needs revision. People are loving art, but falling shy of buying it. Digital prints which are an absolute apology are walloping the original art market share ...

The solution is to do what De Beers did to diamonds. Create demand, segment the market, price right - not influenced by what the last masterpiece sold for. A workable business formula needs to be arrived at, that safeguards the interests of the three stakeholders - artist, gallerist and buyer and yet ensures the buyer gets art at the same price from an agent or directly from an artist. Art doesn't need a halo, it needs to be loved, displayed and most importantly, bought in order for art to be a viable career option and keep kitchen fires burning.” -- Artrepreneur Mithu Basu

6. “The biggest problem of the art world is commercialization.  The ONE thing that could fix it is implementing the idea of unconditional income for everyone - which has been floating around and tested for some time and which represents the only viable solution for the world’s problems and its broken economic paradigm anyway. Obviously, it cannot be resolved from within the art world. The only thing one single artist can do now is to completely and totally distance themselves from the very idea of art as a ‘commodity’ and a subject to ‘business transactions.’” -- Artist Lena Levin

7. “The biggest problem I see in the contemporary art world, if not the entire world of art, is the attitude that art is something only to be appreciated if it appreciates (in monetary value); the whole ‘art as investment’ attitude and therefore approach, to the purchase of art.  It seems - on a bad day - as if people would far rather buy a work of art that has the potential for growth in value, regardless of how truly horrid it may be, than to purchase something they actually like that may have less of a potential for making a profit. ‘What's it worth?’ has become a much more important question, than ‘Do you like it?’” -- Artist G. Michael Novak

8. “I think it would be that art is perceived as unapproachable by the majority of people. You’ve touched on this a few times in your articles already, the myth that art is accessible and available only to the wealthy. I’ve been brainstorming about ways to circumvent this. One idea is doing some sort of low-cost rental or lease ($20 per month? $40?) or something to get original art in more houses. Not as a money-making scheme, but as a way for people to live with something original and not a reproduction or print. I think if people spent time with original work in their daily lives, it might make more of an impact.”  -- Artist Eric Merrell

9. “Possibly the biggest problem in the contemporary art world right now is the commercialization of art, where art has become an investment tool and big business for a select few dealers and their artists (both dead and alive), whose prices have become absurdly high. There are so many artists working now, who can’t sell their work for a fraction of the cost of those select few - the divide between rich and poor that we see across society has also affected the art world. People read about famous artists in the media and lose sight of the many wonderful local artists in their very own neighborhoods. Art has come to be viewed by many as a luxury thing beyond reach ...

I think an education campaign is needed to turn people’s sights back to local art. People need to learn that local art is affordable art and that the value of a genuine, one-of-a-kind artwork is so above and beyond the value of a poster, and that to budget for original art is not out of the realm of possibility for average people.”  -- Artist Fran Beallor

10. “I think there's still a need at the upper end of the market to reduce the dominance of the top dealers and consultants.”  -- Artist Douglas Newton

11. “The biggest problem in the art world is the status of creative artists. They are in every way on the bottom rung of the ladder consisting of museums, galleries, art foundations, auction houses and government funding. And yet none of these institutions would exist WITHOUT artists and their creativity. Statistically artists have the lowest income globally ...

To achieve a drastic change, artists need to unite, bring their work to markets and become responsible for building their own careers, thus augmenting their income. Countries should, and some do, contribute funds to working artists annually. Congress budgets millions of dollars to the National Arts Foundation which funnels monies to state organizations and staff before awarding grants to selected individuals. Why not cut intermediary costs and fund all artists directly?”  -- Artist Cecile Brunswick

12. “The one biggest problem for the contemporary art world right now is that the contemporary art world does not have a voice that adequately communicates the wide range of benefits available through a practice of creating or viewing or collecting contemporary art ... 

The automotive industry has a track record of showing us how we benefit by purchasing one of their products. Most sectors do. Contemporary art does not. Without a convention of selling the benefits - benefits are what buyers really buy - contemporary art struggles for market share. Without educating producers, audiences and collectors on the … wide range of benefits available through involvement in the field of Contemporary Art, little will change.”  -- Artist Barry Strasbourg-Thompson

13. “Contemporary art today is not really art but of business. We no longer speak of emotion, beauty, creation, but of money, investment and value. The art market is in the hands of businessmen and I'm not talking about problems related to money laundering. Exist and succeed as an artist is all the more difficult.”  -- Artist Sandra Encaoua

14. “I think what's missing is the “something new,” which advances art to another place. As I see it, most artists are using what came before and though it might be in a unique style, there isn't any groundbreaking stuff ...

I'm beginning to see sort of what I call, “Essentialism,” popping up in the work of many artists I'm seeing ...which might be the beginnings of taking minimalism to a new place ... now we need courageous dealers to promote these new artists …”  -- Artist and Former Art Dealer Joseph Piccillo

15. “… The biggest problem is that contemporary art has become a source for speculative investment. Prices for blue chip contemporary art have skyrocketed and are used - just like condos in New York and London - as investment vehicles for the ultra rich. They provide a secretive way to store wealth. All this has injected aspects of the financial markets into the art world and has not benefited artists who are not members of the blue chip elite ...

This could be addressed by introducing transparency into transactions and by regulating profit sharing with artists when their work is sold on the secondary market.”  -- Artist Robert Egert

16. “I think art is just like society as a whole - lack of a middle class. I partly understand collectors who don't buy emerging artists. If they need money there is no way they can sell what they bought, but high-end auction houses enable it.”  -- Artist Michel Alexis

17. “To me, the biggest problem in contemporary art is there are no connections or bridges between art institutions, art galleries and artists. I mean, there are a lot of very good artists without any representation, excluded from  official gallery networks. I know in France it’s very difficult to enter the art world if you did not study in an art school or you did not follow the classical artist paths during your studies. In the USA, it seems different ... 

I believe that for an artist who wants to show and sell his art, it’s very complicated to defend it and to explain it to the galleries where I want to be. The places are very limited. Even if I select the galleries with whom I want to collaborate, even if I know my art is appreciated, it takes a long time ...

I think the solution will be to give the possibility for artists to show their work in more independent ways.  And in the future, to be in a gallery or on an art website won’t be a requirement.”  -- Artist Philippe Halaburda

18. “… Once upon a time, galleries took in artists, opportunities were born and careers were made, but that's all gone by the wayside. An artist has to have three things going to get any attention and they are contacts, good work and contacts, yes I repeated myself because it's all about contacts …”

My suggestion is that galleries can do what they used to do and be a little more creative in who they show rather than the predictable ... Why not every three of four months take just one artist who doesn't have all the flashing lights in name, brand and sales, and show their work for say one week or maybe two to give a huge boast to their career? 

Their work obviously needs to be good and resolved, but can you imagine the opportunities it could create?  And who knows?  It may even produce another ongoing artist for the gallery. The gallery will still sell its name brand artists and get the huge prices, but it would work all around for both gallery and artist. If more galleries did this across the country, I would suggest it would even make changes in how the market works.”  -- Sculptor Simon Rigg

19. “I think the major problem we all face is the lack of widely-accepted standards. Not that great art is produced by adhering to established standards - often the best art is produced by rebelling against accepted standards. But when there are no accepted standards, the doors are wide open to the scam artists. The tragedy of our time is that the crowds are making so much noise that nobody can hear the little boy saying “Mommy, who is that fat man with the crown and why does he have a bare bum?”

There is no simple solution. We can't go back, and the way forward is strewn with obstacles. We need to have the guts to stop avoiding this problem and tackle it head on.”  -- Artist Lambert Kriedemann

20. “… The main problem is that most of people do not feel involved with art if they think rationally about it. They think it's something far from them. But when they are unexpectedly surrounded by art, then they feel surprised and get totally astonished, fulfilled.

So, summing up, the approach to art is the key. Maybe the reasons must be found in schooling and in education in general.”  -- Artist Marco Croci

21. “There are too many people in the art business who have no business being in the art business. The thing that would fix it would be to close all the art schools.”  -- Art Dealer Frank Bernarducci

22. “I feel that the wrong people are either being told they're artists or think they're artists. Their work speaks for itself and completely isolates itself from a broader spectrum. It's happy to be spoken about in the very circles that have hijacked and bastardized art ... 

Today, art is a word that's used way too loosely. Everyone thinks they're an artist and the people who really are wouldn't always label themselves as such, whereas the people who have no relation to the core of any craft are willy-nilly calling themselves artists and chatting some really nonsensical shit about their so-called, ‘practice.’”  -- Artist Inzajeano Latif

23. “Contemporary art is a loosely defined and wide-open-to-interpretation field of art.  One of its defining attributes is also one of its great weaknesses.  I refer to the now well established belief that ‘anything’ is art … The result is a whole lot of work that is simply substandard, weak or irrelevant made by artists who lack formal training or who have failed on their own to develop a high level of competency ... 

One of the great opportunities available to artists today is the ability to acquire competency in a number of disparate fields: metal working, electronics, glass, oil painting, etc., and to use the collection of acquired skills as an enhanced "vocabulary" that can create objects that are more interesting, unusual, beautiful or content rich than might otherwise be possible in a single medium.  But doing so will take much time and effort which is something many will not wish to commit to ...

Those who are willing to acquire a diverse range of skills and techniques may be well suited to take contemporary art to a new level.  We should encourage the development of more well-rounded artists rather than trying to narrowly fit them into one genre or another.  The world is shrinking and the access to talent, education and different markets are great opportunities to those with patience, a willingness to learn new things and a strong work ethic.”  --  Artist David Beers

24. “The internet can easily showcase a large amount of art worldwide. It’s a great tool for exposure and keeping track of favourite artists and their new work. But, art is a tactile experience and therefore, we must make a better effort at physically attending the exhibitions as well as previewing online.  --  Artist Adamo Macri

25. “The biggest problem in the contemporary art world now is the dominance of conceptual art. The return of painting is challenging this and our need for a complete and human response to the world around us. This is being fueled by recent world events shaking us away from detachment.”  -- Artist Jacqueline Jones

26. “… I think there are many problems … One of the most important problems is the lack of communication, especially in a world that is extremely interconnected.  What I mean is the actions that are taken in the name of “the arts,” to ignore or fail to pass on email communications for inquiries, expressions of interest and other things in the realm of communications.  This … creates big problems of discrimination and prejudice ... 

The most successful and resonant art institutions and organizations thrive after breaking those barriers of communication, being more responsible and responsive ...” -- Artist Lionel Cruet

27. “In my opinion, the problem is that it’s getting more decorative. People are buying art and trying to match it to their interiors. Every year, designers announce the colors of the year which ‘puts the artist in a frame!’  To change it, we need more articles about the meaning and purpose of contemporary art.”  -- Artist Ekaterina Ermilkina

28. “The one big issue: collectors, dealers, auction houses, writers ... are all obsessed with about 50 artists. These 50 artists suck up all the oxygen in the room and the problem with that is they're barely human, don't need oxygen and certainly don't need another sale, another show, another record or another article.  But that is the way the world works. There is very little that will change it.” -- Artist Matthew Rose

29. “I think the biggest and most frustrating issue is to establish a relationship with a good, energetic, gallery. There are tons of really good artists and, as many galleries as there are, there are not enough ... Rents are high. Bottom lines are hard to meet. Also, mature artists, as unique and great as they are, are often overlooked …

What would be helpful would be to have good, curated art fairs where artists can present their work to the public. Fairs that are promoted for the excellent art, not fairs where you can get ‘a deal.’ In other words, fairs for the sophisticated art buyer.” -- Artist Yvette Cohen

30. “The biggest problem I see with the contemporary art world today is that because of all the social networking platforms and the ease with which people navigate through them, art and the uniqueness of individual artists has become diluted. It is the antithesis of Mies van der Rohe's term, “Less is more ...”

There are so many artists showing their art through the internet on so many different platforms that standing out from the crowd and thus getting the exposure and interest from the people who want just what you have can be difficult ... 

I think the one thing that could fix it would be to have more sites that were unique themselves. They would have to be more selective, like galleries or have specialized genres or subject matter and prices... exhibited.  We need to make the world smaller again like from the Peggy Guggenheim days so that individual artists can be seen and actually shine out in this new internet focused world.” -- Artist Margaret Zox Brown

31. “All things MUST be curated.”  -- Art Dealer Mark Busacca

32.  “… I firmly believe that the one biggest problems in the contemporary art world, especially in New York City today is the proliferation of an art form whose inception took place in the 1940’s. There are classes in town that do not teach any technical skills to the painters from whom they take a fee to educate. Their time in the studio is taken up by critiques that focus on philosophy rather than solid skills that will enable the students to develop their art and progress to establish their own signature visions.  They are handicapped by a lack of painting skills. When the students leave school they have no ability to investigate their own individual ideas, so they are not equipped to make representational or realistic images that are compelling or authoritative ...

That is why they paint stripes, geometric abstraction and brushy abstraction that is often composed of dirty overworked colors. The work I see around town these days is gaudy and bright; the fighting contrasting colors are unmixed because the painters know nothing about how to mix unnamable hues; they know nothing about mixing tones which is a very delicate skill to master…

Painting is called an art form for a reason.  If artists know how to paint, their works need not deteriorate to become merely academic.  Conceptual art does not make a strong visual impact, it is by definition a head trip.  The potency of visual art cannot be overestimated.”  --  Artist requesting anonymity

33. “The biggest problem in the art world is the same one facing the country right now during the elections; the stench of big money. In the galleries as well as in Congress, all feelers are out to pander to wealthy customers ...

The real job of Congress as well as the galleries is to serve the public. That has been neglected in the wake of capitalist influence. The solution is to see the real value of art which cannot be reduced to a price tag.  Art can never be about money since it is an immaterial form of information. It is fine to pay a lot of money for this contribution. However, the true value of the art will always be to help people see the world with new eyes.” -- Artist Brooke McGowen

34. “Contemporary art needs to become more accessible, either by bringing the viewer to the art or the art to the viewer. I believe one crucial step is presenting a wide range (artist, medium, discipline, style, etc.) of art and to make it "legible" (making the artist available to talk about his/her work) as to encourage the viewer's curiosity to further pursue their taste in art.”  -- Artist Gianni Giuliano

35. “I'd say the ‘collectors’  who only buy art as an ‘investment’ because they think it will go up in value instead of buying works they actually like and want to live with. Their herd mentality ignores a lot of great work and focuses on the same 10 well-known seasoned, auction artists.”  -- Artist Bill Wood

36. “It's becoming increasingly difficult for young people from my working-class background to go to art college ... It’s ridiculous to expect students now to rack up debt before they’ve even sold their first painting. It shifts the arts toward privilege and exclusion ...

My solution?

Assistance must be given to people wanting to enter the arts. It's an unforgiving career choice, the unemployment rate is high and many work other jobs just to subsidise their vocation ... The culture of the future will be shaped by those wealthy enough to absorb the costs without worry.”  -- Artist Simon Kirk

37. “A huge problem in the contemporary art world today is art sales. We have lots of great new start up galleries, many run by artists who possess a unique sensibility to new forms of work.  Also they are willing to take risks that a more conventional gallery may not be able to do, showing "edgy work" as well as older artists who are often overlooked despite continuing to make their work against all odds ... 

We have an audience of buyers who either want to spend less than $1200 on midcareer artists work (which gets split 50-50) and then they want to bargain those prices down even further, or we have buyers that will only invest in the 1% of artists dead or still alive that have made it to the tip-top as a safe bet. Galleries are opening and closing faster than fast food restaurants, because they have mounting expenses that they cannot cover with such low monthly sales ... 

A whole new system of gallery ‘partnering’ might be a solution to ‘stay alive financially’ and to cover artists’ out of pocket exhibition expenses which let's face it, rarely get covered, leaving an artist drowning especially if no sales occur ...

The medical and science industries are coming around to the significant role art often plays within their field. The underwriting of monthly exhibits through more partnerships of this sort using other business models is worth considering. Partnerships in sharing the expense of a gallery space might happen in exchange for the loan of work insured in their offsite space. This allows for the development and growth of new collectors within those businesses where employees are surrounded by an exciting and changing visual art environment.”  -- Artist Suzan Shutan

38. “I would say the biggest problem of the contemporary art world today is disconnection with the world, I mean, the real world and everyday people. This is probably a consequence of huge separation between art and ‘art market.’

The second one has discovered what a great source of incomes can be speculating with art, but to continue doing it they must preserve their small circles closed, otherwise art would be devaluated in economic terms. For those groups, it’s very important to keep art away from big masses of people. 

For me, the main solution passes through education, in schools, as part of our lives. This is the only way people can really built their own criteria beyond galleries and museums and, most importantly, they would really understand how much art can do for them beyond decorating functions in their everyday lives.”  -- Artist Carlos Escolastico

39. “Problem: De-skilling. Solution: Education.” -- Artist Jake Fernandez

40. “The mystical nature of painting has gone. Contemporary Art has lost his soul. Invest more in Contemporary Art. Give upcoming artists more chance (invest in) to show the world what he/she has to tell us. Cut the highbrow galleries so that they will give more free space to artists. Cut the idiot money laundering in art during highbrow auctions. Try to educate the public. What is contemporary art which is not only throwing paint to the canvas and selling it for an idiot high price to an idiot collector.”  -- Artist Mark Pol

41. “I think that the hugest problem is the changing in interest of our new generations. Art was hot, but isn't even cool anymore. It is something that happened in the early times, before now. Unique artists don't exist anymore, only copy artists (it all started with Andy Warhol and digital mixed media). And don't forget that the same thing happened in music. The digital revolution has changed us and art.”  -- Artist Joep Egmond

42. “What I have experienced is without a doubt the same everywhere. Dung. Dung and more dung. 99% of all the galleries I have visited do not really care what they show just as long as it attracts a dollar. Many do not care and are willing to just put up anything...

We need less visual pollution, less mediocre and dung contemporary art. If I could, I'd set up a committee that said to these so-called, dung artists: ‘You are dung and you cannot show your dung. Period.’ I have seen some good dung but that is rare.”  -- Artist Larry Aarons

43. “The biggest problem that I see about contemporary art is the dilemma of what it means in itself. The complexity of ideas about this topic brings about misunderstandings within even the art community. It would be beneficial to take on this issue more often with discussion, to find certain commonalities - if any - and understand the position each artist stands by.”  -- Artist Elisa Pritzker

44. “I think that the biggest problem in contemporary art today is that the huge majority of buyers are uneducated members of the new rich to whom the only reason for buying art is to complement their investment portfolio that includes shares and property. I'm perfectly fine with art as an investment, but in the past, the majority of the buyers made an effort to being informed and therefore were more willing to buy from emerging/unknown artists. Nowadays, everybody is obsessed with the usual brands: Koons, Hirst, etc.  It has made it much harder for other artists to have a sustainable and viable practice ...

I don't think there's a solution. The new rich can be as misinformed as they wish and the media can continue with headlines of the next world price record.”  -- Artist Lorenzo Belenguer

45. “The lack of available gallery space is a problem. Since the advent of online galleries, a lot of the traditional galleries have disappeared. There is a flood of artwork on these online galleries with very little response from the people who run them. There are a few exceptions though. For me, the one thing that bothers me is a lack of communication between online galleries and the people who put their work on them. I thought that Linkedin would be a help, but I contact designers and interior decorators they promise to get back and never do. I keep following up most of the time to no avail. I hope this answers your question.”  -- Artist Brian Adgate

46. “One of biggest problems: that contemporary art is seen as a luxury good - an expensive indulgence, rarified and snobby, for 'someone else', not 'me'.  An object on a wall...

Solution: The art world should be creating ways to make art 'normal'. Normal as in football. Normal as in artists who are mostly just down to earth, friendly, interesting people. Normal as in most gallery owners are small business owners who are driven by passion not money. Normal as in art as a social experience. Normal as in art is fun, art is a great experience, not just 'serious', or 'important'.”  -- Artrepreneur Paul Becker

Well, there you have it.  Are you exhausted? 

If you made it this far through this article … Congratulations.  You're a real trooper and we should deem you, “Head Person In Charge of Fixing The Art World.”   

I think quite a few of those comments nailed it.  No?  Most of the responses came from artists, but THEY are mainly the ones who responded to my call.  Again, this raises heavy suspicion on my part.  You draw your own conclusions.

If my very unscientific survey doesn't prove anything else, it does show that everyday people in the art world are very insightful and they're more than capable of using their creativity in not only their work, but also to actually improve the art world.  Everyday people are the ones with the TRUE power.

That's IF they choose to accept the responsibility and hold themselves and others accountable.  Tough yet “doable.”

I once heard a historian on C-Span say that political and social movements never start from the top down.  They always brew and then boil from the bottom up.  Grassroots.  It's truly time for change ... not change that will lead to chaos, but change that will create a new and perhaps everlasting Renaissance ... as God intended. 

Given that ... What are WE going to do?  Everyone is sitting around, pointing fingers and looking at everyone else while waiting for things to magically happen.

It's time to speak truth to power and that power is US.  Many if not most everyday people don’t WANT to think of themselves as “powerful.”  Do you know why?  Because if they did, that means they’d also have to assume some responsibility.

So who will do it?  The American Dairy Association?  No.  They're too busy literally milking actual cows for all THEY'RE worth.  The National Football League?  They’ve got their own problems.  The United Nations?  Uh, they’re kind of busy right now.  The Presidential candidates?  Art is the absolute lowest priority on their agendas - and always will be.

If you’re reading this, that leaves you and me.  WE CAN DO THIS.  And guess what? 

That's how you fix the art world. 

 

 

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