I’ve also had some push back from artists who get the impression that, in offering this frame of reference, it implies I’m advocating for upward mobility for the 99%.
Definitely not. Besides you can’t squeeze 100% into 1% no matter how much you might want to.
Much like the frame of reference around gender in the last post, I can’t help but feel there’s gold in them thar hills when we understand more, rather than less, about how the reality around us is actually working.
I’ve been immersing myself in a stack of books: The $12 Million Stuffed Shark by Don Thompson, The Girl With The Gallery by Lindsay Pollack, Contemporary Art by Julian Stallabrass, Corporate Art Collections by Charlotte Appleyard and James Salzmann (and about 4 more I’m too lazy to get up and go look at the exact titles).
Without exception, these deal in what I’m loosely calling the 1% of the art world: auction house, high-end galleries/dealers, the Big Collectors, artists who might have once been in the 99%, but are soon catapulted into the 1% arena with a combination of sales, personality, pure talent, and most likely also a man.
The only exception to this is our heroine in The Girl With The Gallery by Lindsay Pollack, Edith Halpert. Until Ms. Pollack (current Editor-in-Chief of Art in America) unearthed Edith, she was all but dead to… art history.
And yet, she was the FIRST champion of contemporary American art and artists at the beginning of the twentieth century when the rest of the art world seemed to be endlessly swooning over the Europeans.
In fact, Ms. Halpert was the first to champion every business element of being an artist that we now acknowledge is essential to an artist’s career: artist statements, bragging rights, repetition through advertising, events geared toward eschewing sales so a reputation could be established, discounts for high end collectors, nurturing museum and collector relationships for the long haul (and more!), producing exciting events to draw attention to her artists, being audacious and unabashed as a business strategy.
However, until Ms. Pollack resurrected Edith from under the bricks of neglect (sound familiar?), we had no idea someone from the beginning of another century had put in place all that we now take for granted about what you have to do for a viable career in the visual arts.
Which brings me back to the current state of affairs with the 1% and the 99%.
The 1% has the bulk of the art world money. They have the notoriety and attention of the 99% because they show up in our media-saturated world and become household names: Jeff Koons, Saatchi, Sotheby’s, etc.
They are also dominated, literally, by men (ah, yes, the gender snake raises its head again…).
What I want to know, however, is: where in the world is the 99% doing what that isn’t getting covered?
That is so original and brilliant, or moving and beautiful, or compelling and off-putting that the expansion of our collective consciousness goes wanting?
What blogs, websites, forums, YouTubes, apps, and social media platforms are really stirring the 99% art pot – and doing it effectively?
I’d love to have you post links, here in the comments because, you my lovely artists, are the world (not to mention the 99% – oh… did I mention that?)
Written by Ariane Goodwin, Ed.D.
Posted under Inspiration, Insight
Tags: art, art career, visual artist, artist, visual art, artists, visual artists, fine art, beauty, artist statement, art business, collectors, galleries, contemporary American art, art events, European art, American Art, one percent, ninety-nine percent, gender, Jeff Koons, Satchi, Sotheby'sart dealers, Contemporary Art, $12 Million Stuffed Shark, Edith Halpert, Lindsay Pollack, Don Thmpson, Julian Stallabrass, Corporate Art Collections
Print this post