Thursday, May 17, 2012

Business of Art and Elitism

Joanne Mattera wrote a thought provoking article about artists, the business of art and educating the public.
5 Fears that can destroy an artist
9 Warning Signs of an Amateur Artist

Attended an Art Roundtable Discussion which I really enjoyed and gave me a lot to think about. One word came up that makes some visibly bristle with umbrage, elitist. It's a word that comes up a lot with people who do not understand or like artistic expression/work that goes beyond traditional norms or expectations.  I have felt that way myself at times, but really I wonder by saying that it reduces a genuine attempt by an artist to explore an issue to a superficial motivation of snobbery and  belittlement of others. I just don't know if someone spends that many years on their art (whether we like it or not) just so they can be elitist snobs. I can see why work itself seems to suggest that only a certain group could understand it but then it brings me to the question (and I think someone stated this at the roundtable), why do we have to understand it?
Jerry Saltz explained it like this:"The point is that no one rails at physics or science or medicine for being “elitist.” Like physics, medicine, etc., art is a specialist field — something you understand more the more you study it......Art can also seem elitist because it’s not democratic. Again, thank God it’s not. If art were democratic, the best artist would be Leroy Neiman or the art that sells for the most money."