“It is much more Elite to go directly to an artist. To know them. To be friends with them. To support the artist.” – Ashley Longshore
In a recent interview I was asked if I believe that ‘Art is still entertainment only for the elite’, which has led me to bring my thoughts out here. Initially I was outraged by this question and felt like sending a personal message, but I realise that there are many people out there who believe that art is just for the elite. I mean companies and galleries out there capitalise massively by selling art to their ‘exclusive clients’ these one off ‘exclusive pieces’.
Are the elite people with more money than most, people who are knowledgeable about art, collectors by inheritance, young collectors, addictive shoppers, other artists? Art today is spoken in so many forms of language and media it’s impossible to pin it to one category of buyer, be it elite or not. I do think that the mystery behind art still remains the processes and the journey the artist has come across during their creative time in the studio. Why installation over landscape? Some artists like to share their process of work with the public by writing and documenting it some like to keep it a mystery.
Many people are frightened of the thought to walk into a gallery and just look at the art on display. They fear that they might be judged on their knowledge or lack of such. Maybe they will be pressured into buying art and made to feel poor and or untrendy for not considering purchasing it, even if they are simply curious about it! It is the art industry that boasts constantly about WHO their main art collectors are (always considered the Elite) and do not speak about the hundreds of unknown buyers who I myself would consider Elite too. Its not about WHO buys it but WHO makes it!
I think the Elite, that class of people seen as having the greatest power and influence within a society, especially because of their wealth or privilege are a significant but also small percent of the art industry supporters.
You may say art is expensive and I may agree with you but not all art is unaffordable. Centuries ago and to this day the wealthy have the material world tailor made for them if they wish, homes, cars, clothes and art for that matter. This does not mean, however, that this is the only way art is sold to us today, not the only way art is seen or is collected.
Elite is a word that captures just one of many identities in the world we live in today. There is art there to fit with almost all of these identities as they increase.
I say, that if you really want to learn about art, what and who is behind it the only one to talk to is the artist. Only the artist will give you honest answers in realistic time. Are you brave enough to meet them?