When you select “Art” as a career path you put yourself in a position that most people do not have the strength to complete. Most people, start off when they are young and ignorant, filled with the pure guts to take it on. Along the way you become infused with many different perspectives form others and their experiences. All the positive and negative reinforcements start to seep into your skin and affect your current and future choices. Most people don’t make it through higher education. They either get burnt out, discouraged, reject it, cant afford it, are told they can’t afford it, or stray from the direct path of “ Traditional Artist” and take on a more tangible approach to the subject. Museum studies, curating, art administration, exhibition installers and the list goes on and on. In fact you could say that artist employ more people, that together make more money than the artist themselves will ever make as a whole. All of these positions are necessary for the whole system to work. This system is the glorious parallel dimension interconnected to real life titled, The Art World.
The gallery assistants entering all the address’s of potential art buyers so that a kiss ass post card for the opening can be sent to their office. (This is good for the artist, the gallery and the patrons)The chief comes in late and leaves early to get ready, leave unanswered phone calls and specific directions to be decoded and understood by the ill informed staff that is underpaid and in fact working for free to “better themselves” with experience. The wine must be served and the plexiglass spotless. Everyone get ready for the social event of the next 3 hours. Remember names and the faces that come with them. The big event happens, connections are made and deals are done. Pick up the little crystal cups, chill the white wines, turn of the lights and head home in a cheap chardonnay haze. Now don't get me wrong this is all fine and dandy and in fact a bit mandatory. This whole world revolves around The Artist, and if doing the right actions at the right moments, The Artist has control over the whole world.
As a young artist graduating from art school during the worst economical times since the great depression there are two main paths to take. The first one, embedded in your brain by your family and the news is to find a real job, something that pays well and can keep up above the ever rising water level. or, you can pursue your dreams, and what the fuck does that mean anymore?
As a fresh artist do you participate in the systematic art world? or not? Many think that in order to survive in the art world you need to have a full understanding of how it works. inside and out, and this is smart. Know who galleries are and how they work. Understand really what an “Art Fair” is. Know the big names and the freshest faces. Read the theory and buy the magazines. To participate in a system you need to understand it. It’s like driving a motorcycle from Alaska to the tip of South America without knowing what a spark plug is.
Once you become filled with all this knowledge you start to see a divide in the paths of the artist themselves. There is the Mathew Barney, Jeff Koons, Damien Hurst, and Takashi Murakami direction or there is the James Lee Byars, Chris burden, Joseph Beuys and Ray Johnson direction, Not to mention the Bob Ross and Thomas Kinkade way of life but I’ll touch on that soon. The first group which I will call group A was a product of the time. Big money and fast cars, with huge empty walls in large poorly constructed mansions. Big walls, big art. So its 2006 and I am studying studio art at Columbia College Chicago. I read the latest issues of Art Fourm and Freize and see the battle between Koons and Hurst. “Koons sells a big heart for 27 million dollars become the most expensive single piece of art ever sold. Then Hurst combats that with his international auction at Sotheby’s by bypassing the galleries, museums and curators and going directly to the top. Selling his artwork right to the collectors for a grand total of somewhere around 300 million dollars. Now, flash back to the student in art school, eating this up because, well you have to. Its like a baseball player reading the headlines of the sportscasters. SO, make millions, that's what you have to do.\, make lots of money. and the art, well is just art, but its about how much you persuade people, its what it’s worth. Worth. What its worth?
To be continued.......