April 24, 2007

The Effects of Market Working on Choice of Themes in Art

The last weeks have sparked a few thoughts on art and its producers, artists. This is not in the least because of the fact that I am this year taking a course in History of Contemporary Art. Apart from that, I am also living with a free-lance painter since December, the uncomparable D´Onofrio from Argentina.

In any case, to keep this idea short, as a follow-up to my last “word on art”, the small beginning of a developing idea.

The tendency exists in today´s society, to jovially allow any type of livestyle and artistic development in its development. This is a logical effect of liberal democratic thinking: “whatever doesn´t hurt others should be allowed”. Now, applied to art, we might come to a statement something like what my classmate (as mentioned in the earlier piece) describes as: “everyone is an artist”.

I am absolutely agreed with the fact that every person develops artistic ideas and tendencies to the extent that they feel personally necessary. However, my painting housemate complains that all art he sees from his peers at exhibitions works on a similar basis. It is light, cartoonish, colourful, easy to understand and mostly playing with the senses or (a black type of) humor. D´Onofrio however paints in a different style, energetic but dark, colourful but choking, with an idea but somewhat abstracted. He encounters difficulties getting his work exposed and finds no connection in many young artists´ work.

Now, to me it seems, that by claiming every one of us ought to do whatever she feels she should do, is stating the premises in the wrong direction. Rather, the question is: why does an artist make what she makes? And which forces stir the choice of themes that artists make? Concretely, we have the case of Barcelona´s city art style, a style that we find back on flyers and in advertisements.

It must be what sells well, but that cannot be a good basis for the creation of good art.


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