This is not business as usual and we are not soliciting art work for another group show. We are asking you (if you are reading this we mean YOU!) to participate in a dialog around the art market. Also, we are not addressing the New Museum or the Imaginary Museum Series directly. Rather, we are looking more broadly at the gallery model, the commodification of art, and all the unquantifiable, intangible, unpaid aspects of participating in the art world.
Tentatively, we have identified the following problem surrouding these issues, “Art is a luxury commodity for the wealthy that limits the possibility of ownership, access, and understanding based on class and geography.” This is an oversimplification and a departure point for engaging all aspects of what causes the ambivalence, queasiness, or discomfort around the business of selling art. In particular, artists are sometimes unsettled by the intersection of the ‘gift space’ of art and the ‘market space’ of the commercial art world. Do you disagree with any or all of this or think we are missing the point? That’s great, there’s nothing we’d like more than to give you a platform!
As we began to define the ‘problem’ we realized that our own discontent is about more than the economics of the art market, but the unspoken rituals and norms that the selling and private ownership of art violates creating a discrepancy between how we value art. We also began to think about all the intangible values derived by participation in the art world from social status to existential purpose in life. We agreed that we wanted to bring more transparency to the intangible, affective aspect of the production of art, not just the economics.
In order to start this dialog, we have decided to shift the focus of the project from art objects to the discussions that the New Museum controversy
and the recession have helped start after an unprecedented period of commercial growth in the art market. While the market expanded and everyone profited there seemed to be little dialog about the primary support system for artists and institutions, wealthy collectors and patrons. Now that the money has receded, underlying problems have been exposed.
This is not a comfortable dialog and speaks directly to our own complicity in the market, and what we really want to hear is what you think, not what you allow yourself or are allowed to say out of self-interest, careerism, or commercial pressures. In short, we are asking you to take a reasonable risk and participate by speaking, debating, lecturing, presenting, performing, or listening with people who may feel free to challenge you.