In this post arts blogger Edward Winkleman challenges artists to take some initiative in order to improve their own chances at success. Here is an excerpt:
“In class’s Saturday night discussion on “The System Doesn’t Work,” I got frustrated by the general sense of helplessness among the artists participating. Although they were quick to point out that the entire system only exists because of artists (something I take pains to highlight in very clear terms in my book), they seemed reluctant to accept that changes to the art market system were their responsibility and within their power.
…offered up two examples of artists who had changed things dramatically through their efforts. First is Damien Hirst who sent shivers through the commercial art gallery system by taking his work directly to auction. That example was dismissed as being something only an artist with Hirst’s starpower (an admittedly small fraction of artists working) can do. The fact that the ripple effect of that star’s actions still has potential to change things for all artists seemed to go unrecognized, probably because what that change might be remains unclear. There was also a resentment in the discussion about how the art stars are the only artists with any power. I utterly reject that defeatist notion, and so does history.
The second example I noted is in all the history books, and the impact it made is very clear. At the height of Abstract Expressionists utter domination in the US art market, a group of very smart younger (non-stars at the time) artists dethroned the Ab-Exers…not through some clever manipulation of the market system, not through calls for new regulations or new laws, but instead WITH THEIR ART!!! Most notably, Jasper Johns mocked abstract expressionism with (among other works) his canvas titled “Painting with Two Balls” (see above) so effectively that along with similar efforts by Rauschenberg and Stella, etc. it essentially disemboweled the dominance in the market of Ab Ex work.”
Click here to view the complete post.
Image in the post is Jasper John’s Painting with Two Balls.