Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A True Image of the High-End Art World

First comes our ideal image of the true artwork. It is utterly original and its originality convinces us that it was created in total freedom. We admire the artist's freedom. It is exemplary. We take the artist's freedom as proof that our society and our culture are, at least to some degree, good. Now, here's the twist. The high-end art world models itself on our ideal image of the true artwork.
One difference: artworks are made by individuals. This art world is a collaborative work--the product of cooperation between certain artists, collectors, dealers, critics, academics, and others. Like the ideal work of art, the high-end art world is an exercise in the total, unqualified freedom that shows just how good our society, our culture, and of course our economy are. Because this is a world enabled by freedom--just as a work of art is enabled by freedom--moral constraints do not come into play. High-end curators and museum directors and collectors will say, by rote, all the things we expect them to say about avoiding conflicts of interest, keeping institutions open to all, discharging their responsibilities to the community at large, and so on, but they do not mean a word of it. For they have no interest in any of that. Their only interest is in elaborating their collaborative creation: the world that grants them total freedom and endows them with the status that accrues to those who need not play by the rules.
This is a just a sketch, I realize . . . more in later posts . . .

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