A soul-searching article by exasperated art critic Jerry Saltz. How does the art world live with itself? Great question, and Saltz’s piece is well worth reading. (Thanks to Michael Newberry for the link.)
But: The problem is not “Too much money!” in the art world. The problem is bad ideas working with bad character. Money is only a tool, and it is used only according to the ideas and character of those who have it.
Suppose you’re an art buyer with a billion in the bank. The money will not force you to buy crap. You will buy crap only if you like crap, or have no idea of the difference between crap and worth, or don’t care that it’s crap and only want to be part of the in-crowd.
Or suppose you’re a financially struggling artist: Your desire for money will not make you produce crap. You will produce crap only if you like crap, or don’t know the difference between crap and worth, or have so little integrity that you’ll give up your artistic goals for money.
We want lots of money in the art world. If we think money is the problem, then the solution is to remove the money. But taking a few billion dollars out of the art world will not solve anything. A generation ago when the art market was half its current size, the art world had exactly the same problems. And those were the same problems it had two generations ago when the art market was half again the size.
This article was originally published by Stephen Hicks at stephenhicks.org. We have reprinted it with permission.