If I was asked the question, “What do you think about the Art Market?” I would answer with exactly the same words Ghandi used, when he was asked about the Western Civilization: ‘I think that would be a good idea.’
As I look out there, I can’t see such a thing as an Art Market.
What we generally call the Art Market is nothing but the commodification of a creative activity.
The only way to sell a work of art is to deprive it of all artistic values and invest it with another value, namely a value that can be quantified into a monetary form, not the intrinsic artistic value of the work of art.
In fact the Art Market as we know it is just a peripheral activity of the wider market of goods. For this reason it assumes the same rules and as consequence has the same effect: a mere 1% of the artists in that market attract 99% of the capital available to the Arts, and that includes art organisations, or better ‘clerical organisations’, that filter the monies available to the Arts.
So, what can we do about it?
In 2009 I came up with the New Futurist Manifesto published by the St.Ives Times in Echo exactly 100 years after the publication of the original Futurist Manifesto written by Tommaso Marinetti.
The New Futurist Manifesto was widely ignored, the fate of all revolutionary ideas not supported by a movement.
However, the manifesto is still valid, as we are still awaiting to the New avant-garde of the 21st century to happen.
If Futurism was focusing on dynamism within the work of art, The New Futurist focuses on the dynamism of the work of art. The idea is to abandon the existing, narrow minded so-called arts market to itself and to whoever wants to play the monopoly game with it. Simply abandon it, as we do with space-junk. Instead, lets divert our attention to a brand new market, bypassing manipulative arts organisations and national and private galleries. Lets communicate directly to the users, avoiding the politicised money spinners at the Art Council and the super sponsored galleries.
In other words what the proposal of the New Futurism is, as artists, instead of aspiring to climb the pyramid of the star system lets cut the head (or poke the eye) of the pyramid and move horizontally by creating from scratch new systems.
This is the new avant-garde: the activity of creating new systems of distribution and exchanges, of works of art.
Accelerating the circulation of the work of art is now imperative, because the actual system is slowing down or even blocking the circulation at its source.
How many works of art are stuck in artist’s studios and warehouses deprived of light and the sense of potential audiences? Why are we denying a vast number of potential users access to this massive creative resource? The reason is very simple and I’m explaining it with a simple example. If gold was widely accessible, like pebbles lets say, it wouldn’t have any monetary value, and we all agree on this. So if we decide to devalue the 1% of work of art in the hands of rich public or private collectors they would all lose a lot of money, and they don’t like that. That’s why they strongly grab onto those collections and insist on their value, as if it was granted.
I’ve got bad news for them: they are going to lose a lot of money. Because what they call the Art Market is actually the existence of a real arts’ market, much much wider, and their status quo is not going to last. It’s time to invent new ways to exchange and experience works of art allowing the 99% of excluded artists access to the 99% of excluded audiences.
That will be the new avant-garde of the 21st century.
Dhyano Angius is an independent Media Artist and Performer www.dhyano.com
Volume 32 no 3 Jan/Feb 2018 p 6