Okay, I know what you're asking yourself. What's this guy talking about? How to make art healthy? What? Yes, I'm talking right now with you about how to make and keep art healthy. While most art defines inanimate objects, over the years, I've seen things done to art that actually make it unhealthy. Unhealthy practices in the art world are not good for you and they're certainly not good for the art. These practices are akin to always eating junk food or even doing drugs. They lead to the same results for art. We all know that we should eat right and exercise to stay healthy. We also know that we need to get regular oil changes and do proper maintenance on our cars. Yet we also need to do some things to keep art healthy and functioning well in our world. Here's what I mean:
1. UNLOCK ART: Art was made to be SEEN and experienced. Artists - past, present and future - do not create art for the purpose of it immediately going into storage. Of course not. Artists create art so that it can be SEEN by as many eyeballs as human history will allow. Most museums, galleries and even collectors like me don't have the space to display all of their art at one time. Despite current displays and exhibitions, most art in the world today - even in artists' studios - is tucked away in dark storage for safe keeping. This art is SCREAMING to be seen, just like our heart and other muscles of our bodies are screaming for a good workout. Let's find more ways to put more of that tucked away art to good use. Let people SEE it. That's the whole purpose of art; to be SEEN and/or experienced.
2. LET'S REALLY TALK: Even today, with all of the many ways that we have to communicate, too much of the dialogue about contemporary art remains muddled and easily slips into over-intellectualized, gibberish. Here's my test that you're free to use. If you're chatting with someone about art and they say something that causes you to ask yourself, "What does that even mean?" This means they're talking gibberish. It's "art speak." As they're talking, imagine that you're seeing a giant squirrel's head super-imposed over their head and their jaws are flapping away. You may as well be chatting with a squirrel at this point. In fact, I would say you ARE chatting with a squirrel at this point. This is a total waste of your time and theirs. Move on. Art deserves so much better than this. Let's REALLY talk about art in an accessible way that actually elevates the art and helps us all grow so that we can give more to the art itself rather than using it as a means of boosting our own egos. Furthermore, if anyone uses "art speak" with me, I call them out on it right then and there. Talking about art in a healthy, accessible way keeps the art pure and its original intention clean.
3. FREE ART: This is really an extension of unlocking art, but a little different. We need to free art from the boxes that continue to trap and define it. Art shouldn't be confined to museums or galleries or collectors' homes. Art should be seen everywhere to keep it healthy. We need to see art in municipal buildings, restaurants, doctors' offices, airports, hospital waiting rooms, train stations and any places where people gather. Art needs to be SEEN. Of course, we need to exhibit art in safe and secure places where no harm will come to the art itself. That goes without saying. But let me ask you this ... If art could actually talk with a human mouth, do you think it would tell us it wants to be locked away in dark storage or stuck in the same room for years on end OR would it tell us that it would prefer to be hanging perhaps on a secure wall in a hospital waiting room or therapist's office? I dare say that art will always do its best work in places that involve patients (and maybe also patience) No?
4. EDUCATE: I've said this before and now, I'll say it again. I really do believe that re-implementing arts education in schools would go a long way toward addressing some of the biggest problems in the art world today. Nearly every challenge the art world faces can be traced to lack of public education. This is not good for art. Education is the lifeblood of everything. Ooh, did I just type that? I'll say it again ... Education is the lifeblood of everything ... including art. If the general public had even a basic, working knowledge of contemporary art, it would literally take art to the tenth power. There would be so many collectors because most people would truly be aware of the power of art. Galleries would packed. But hey, don't take my word for it.
5. EXCLUSIVITY: We have GOT to expand the audience for contemporary art. There are still too many people in the art world who insist on behaving like snotty, snooty kids who are playing alone with their toys in the sandbox. When new people show up, they frown, grab their toys and flee. This is ridiculous. Granted, people are free to do as they wish, but this really is shameful. Again, art is exhibitionist. Art is meant to be SEEN by everyone. The mystery of art is that there is no mystery. Art WANTS to be seen and understood. We are making art sick (sick - in a bad way) by framing it in exclusivity and mystery. This is not what art chooses for itself. WE do that. We're to blame for that. If you really want to make art soar, drop the snobbery. By the way, can I just say that I really do believe that exclusivity and snobbishness are really (and secretly) a strong indicator of severe insecurity and very low self esteem. Why should we lay all of that baggage on art? Art deserves much better. Free art from your personal pathology. Take the stick out of your ass and let art fly.
Well, there you have it. Believe me, I could go on and on, but you catch my drift. Our society and world could be getting so much more from art if we gave it the respect it deserves. Contrary to popular belief, you don't respect art by constantly treating it like a rarefied dinosaur. You truly revere it by popping open a bottle of champagne and dancing right there in front of the Mona Lisa. Believe me, she's dying for us to do that. She's contemporary. She'll totally get it. Didn't you know that's why Mona Lisa is smiling? After all of these years, her smile is her way of saying ...