Really, this article says it all:
Selling my art isn’t capitalism, as I own the means of production. I understand that. I’ve read Capital.
What I want to opt out of is the gallery to investor pipe line. Galleries, even when run with the highest ideals, are dependent for survival on buyers (duh)… and that pool of buyers is heavily influenced by those who buy for investment, as well as aesthetics–even though though it may often be too deeply entangled to tell one from the other. What is inescapable, though, is that this functions as a systemic market gatekeeper on what art, and which artists, reach a public larger enough to come close to supporting them, so over all, you have the art that works it’s way up, and the very very few artists who are able to be fully supported by their work, without going openly commercial, and this is market driven–and more important–market excluding, so truly good work, often the best of what’s being made, has no place, and will never find a place until it’s no longer contemporary (and so, non-threatening). So what we’re left with are artists who think they can play the system, competing for a very few seats at the top, with aesthetic value playing an incidental role at best. It becomes a game where those who control what is seen, are the capitalist predators, with full power to censor and exclude what can’t be usurped and used to for profit or propaganda… or later, with sufficient bribes, or outright theft… as commercials.
I want to use how I distribute my art to support a message about the idea of ownership as understood in a capitalist system. As for the right to support myself–the only way that can happen, as things stand now, is by entering into the gallery to investor game. No. No way. What I want to do is create an alternative–and that means, directly challenging it, not imitating it by other other means. It’s also not something I can do alone. I need other artists, to work together, to work out how to do this, collectively, through horizontal, creative decision making.
There’s going to be, I hope, a discussion around this at A-Space here in Philly some time in the near future. Maybe if your around, you can come.
If you didn’t read the article linked at the head of this post–do it now.