In this article, Artnews mentioned that the slowed growth in attendance this year compared to previous years is attributable to the rise of digital platforms. I think it should also be attributed to the rise of art events spaced too close together. In Munich, we have three art/design events over the span of a month which makes it difficult to take a breath and do some yard work. All these events are tapping into the same art viewers saturating our schedules and our heads. Which is way I am saying:
I don’t want to attend art fairs to buy art.
My dilemma is that I look at artwork not as a financial investment but as a cultural one. I look at the artists and promote and collect artwork that I feel represents not only the artist but the time period in which we live. I’m a global citizen but live in a German city with dirndls, beer gardens and a dingy past. Why don’t I see that in the artwork? I want this society in which I live to be translated into the artwork I collect or I want to see my world through the eyes of another occupant so I can appreciate it from a different viewpoint. I don’t want to collect artwork from artists who can’t be bothered to tap into the zeitgeist or have an understanding of the cultures in which I’m immersed. Hello! I’m looking for a version of the truth.
For regular art buyers who are not looking for the truth but just something interesting for above their couch, the opportunities to buy art are overwhelming and a bit nauseating in their numbers. Thousands of artists are “showing” their work online targeting a global market but the global buyer is left with the task of weeding through all of these artists and deciding which artist to collect. Online auction sites and galleries pretend to have curated selections but these digital options must also deal with a bottom line which is not looking out for the artist or the collector or showing us the artwork of artists who don’t bother going digital. This skewed selection may not be the best selection for investors looking to one day sell their artwork to a museum or another collector.
Online curatorial websites are great at sharing from artists around the world and helping artists get Facebook likes and Pinterest pins but are they helpful in predicting which artist will be trending in ten years time? Do they provide serious advice to collectors worth sharing and remembering or just interesting quotes and images to share on Facebook?
In this post, I ‘m declaring that museums are an essential element to the art scene and need to step up and take the curating reigns away from art fairs and events. Everybody loves a kitten but that doesn’t mean we should be collecting kitten videos or kitten stencil art. Museums need to help curate current trends in contemporary art and make it easier for collectors to donate artwork that museums want to display. A collector who is spending their hard earned money, should not be fooled into the idea that art is a democracy.
You can’t force a democracy into the art system where the main participants don’t want it or need it. The only person who gets hurt with this idea of a democracy in the art scene is the artist. None of the current digital systems solve the pain points for artists. They are in fact trying to solve a pain points for collectors who never knew the pain existed. Now collectors are overwhelmed by the selection of art and wondering what the heck they should buy and what is the point.
I’m searching for versions of the truth, but what are you searching for when you buy art?