Thursday, July 09, 2009

Swallow the Fish Hook, My Friend

I took my advanced students to a lecture on “How to approach a gallery with your fine artwork,” in which a colleague shared her knowledge about the multiple gallery systems. Obviously, it was an optimistic topic.
It’s been 12 years since I seriously embarked on my career, starting with my MFA. By now I know, it’s who you know. Pure and simple. There are so many artists making good/fascinating/complex/deserving work. Only a handful will be seen. Everyone else will give their work away, give up, or keep toiling on in obscurity.
My colleague was honest. Degrees do count, and the better the school, the better your chances. Your famous professors are probably your ticket into the gallery system. You must spend 10% of your time creating the work, 90% marketing. My little-big town has a permanent inferiority complex, so artists from here are ignored for those to the north or south.
Blah blah blah. Doesn’t mean people don’t want to learn to draw. Although come fall there will be precious few classes to help them learn how.
It’s all just too depressing.


Kevin Freitas said...

Just had a huge discussion yesterday Kloe, with RG and MG about your post. All though I did not attend this lecture, I've been to many similar ones, and in the end, they do not (in my opinion) benefit the students. Cold reality, no "applicable" solutions, and an art world system unwilling to change course, leads only to a handful of individuals profiting - deserved or not. Better to create a program for art students that guides them in the direction of each of their individual strengths. Not everyone is going to be an artist or become one, this is OK. Imagine a class of say 30 students where you could instruct 10 of them towards making art, 10 others on how to run a gallery, and the last 10 on how to work administratively within the system - i.e. museums, cultural centers, politics, community centers etc.

Instead of filling up the world each year with 20,000 more artists, you broaden the base of the community and create a network and life support system for the few artists that are actually making work.

BTW, I'm glad all the artists - both women and men - who have marked our collective history, didn't spend 90% of their time marketing. Can you imagine if they had? Yikes!

kloeamongtheturks said...

Dear Kevin,

Thanks for your comment. In fact, only half my class attended the optional lecture; the other half stayed in studio and drew from the model. I knew that all the students are not interested in the fine art gallery scene.

The next day, however, we had a very stimulating conversation about the lectures. We talked about how many art communities there are, and about how to maintain integrity no matter what world you align with.

I'm particularly interested in how MG is trying to help us define our artistic identity here in America's Finest, and she's French! Better than Honing In...

Hope to see you soon. K

steven said...

I was really interested in the lecture, unfortunately most of what I got was individuals trying to flaunt their personal views. The unfortunate thing that I have found in this art community is a complete lack of art community. It may be due to the lack of opportunities for artists here but there is such a "crabs in a bucket" hostility towards other artists and styles. Things could change fairly easily here if we could bring together just a few of these groups of artists, generations and styles.