Friday, March 12, 2010

You Say you Want a Revolution

You may be thinking (and I don't blame you) that I'm about to go into a long rant about how our situation is dire, about how we need to take down the Post-modern establishment, about how now is the time to rally the troops. But you will have thought wrong. What I bring today is a message of hope.

I was talking with my good friend Adam Miller yesterday about the state of the young art world in NYC. He confirmed something that I felt was true: that American Art professionals under 40 are not really indoctrinated with this anti-realist sentiment. He had been speaking to the owner of a very hip, young gallery in Williamsberg and showed him his work - expecting a grimace and a "Sorry, we're not interested in that kind of work". Instead, he got an enthusiastic "Wow man, that's cool shit!". Certainly, the ones in power: the major institutional curators, the big art critics, the influential art historians... are all over 40 and all anti-humanist. But this division is clearly there, and it won't be long before the 30 and 40 somethings replace the retiring old guard.

I'm recognizing a trend here. Recently, Rembrandt and Raphael had record breaking prices at Christie's.. in the middle of a global economic crisis. Damien Hirst's exhibition of his own paintings in the Wallace Collection elicited everything from groans to outright debasement (sacrilege!) from the critics - pretty much all of them. Many of them even pointed out his lack of skill. In the past 10 years, Andrew Wyeth's ranking (via Art Net) has risen from around #4,000 to #1,925. His prices, also have increased (and it is well deserved). The auction prices for "contemporary Art" reflect it's volatility and have been heavily hit by the recession, while Odd Nerdrum's sales have increased.
This is an ever growing list. And though the trend is in our favor, we shouldn't sit back and enjoy a martini thinking we're out of the woods. This transition will take years, as our generation slowly replaces the last in positions of power. On the cusp of victory, now is not the time to be side tracked. We still need to rally the troops. But at the risk of being less entertaining, maybe I should now be a bit kinder, a bit more sympathetic, a little more understanding.......

Nah, melodrama is more my style.

"They may take our lives, but they will never take our Freeeedooom!!!"


Marc Vinciguerra said...

Thank you for the hope! I can add even some more hope last july a magnificent Ribera was expected to sell at Sotheby s for 1.2 million dollars and it was sold
6.3 million.Here is the article :

MCGuilmet said...

Bravo, great post. It's not the Po-Mo's that scare me. It's a few of my fellow realist painters or other cogs in the machine who do not realize how easily history can repeat itself. We have evidence of trend, of cause and effect. We cannot throw the baby out with the bathwater regarding the entire 20th Century of artistic pursuit. If we do, the future art students of 2150 who want to learn to draw and paint, but can't find an atelier anywhere, will be cursing our memories; and right they will be to do so.

New York City said...

What baby is there in the bathwater of the 20th century?