ART RANT: angry about art fees

art rant

I hate applications, they infuriate me.

But it’s much more than that.  Applications are just a trigger.  I guess I feel about it the way certain great nation folk feel about having their picture taken.   I lose a little bit of myself every time.

Ultimately, I mother.fucking.hate.this.system – the art world in general…

I guess I’ll start with the first and most basic issue: APPLICATION FEES.  I don’t think enough people outside of the art world know about this.  It’s pretty simple: you have to pay to apply to different notable art thingies (residencies, gallery shows, etc). … Because, you know, artists make enough money to shell out $40 here and there all willy-nilly.  I understand the galleries aren’t making much money either and ultimately they need to pay people for the time it takes to go through all the applications or whatever, but fuck that noise.  I DONT WANT TO HAVE TO PAY YOU TO LOOK AT IT.  This is so deeply degrading I can’t even stomach it.  In my sound mind I should consider it an investment.  I should say to myself, “This is just part of it, play the game, get your work out there.”  But these rationalizations only further infuriate me.  I don’t want to think of art as a game.  I don’t want to comply with “the way things work” like some great hand of god designed some sort of fixed system. WE build this world. The way we encouraged primp and pimp our work and put it up against the others is only making group shows feel like pageants with no real intention other than to clumsily showcase ‘the big names’.  Art is supposed to be the one space in humanity we keep sacred from that shade of bullshit.  Every chance to show work should be a chance for us to get together and make something really flipping cool.  I’d much rather us be a critical system that encourages conversation. Isn’t that how it’s supposed to be? I want an art world that comes together to create things that celebrate the individuals, rather than one where people work by themselves to celebrate themselves. (But this doesn’t mean collaborating for collaborations sake.  I want to find people I can make something real with.  People to amplify one another’s visions and voices, not names.  Actively challenge each other to move forward.)

But what actually challenges us often times first hits as a sense of repulsion.  Most people won’t venture this far.  They comply and indulge in the comfortable and the palatable.  There is nothing wrong with this…I just wonder if people know that’s what they’re doing. For those who want to learn, who want to grow wild and free – chase fear.  Chasing happiness is like having a political debate with someone who agrees with you.  It can be really nice, and re-afirming, and there is definitely a place for it, but when over-indulged it becomes empty, non-productive and boring.

It seems that those whose work I admire the most are recognized the least.  But the things that hold them back are the things that make them great artists in the first place.  They are incubators, self-criticizers, never-good-enough neurotics. They tend to feel a desperate need to protect their art because every other part of them has been made to feel so deeply violated or under appreciated, it is the only thing they feel they really have. This is why their work is so important, and in someways to me, more important.  The current art world model not only refuses to nurture these people, it actively seeks to discredit them.  Like if they’re good enough they’ll learn how to fight their way up and out.  But I want an art world that doesn’t ascribe to that bullshit idea of cream rising like every other depraved industry out there.  We have enough outlets to celebrate our cutthroat and competitive nature.  I want something better.  I wish people would learn to base the quality of the artist on the quality of the work, not how effectively they’ve learned to say their own name.  It should be the job of the gallery to find these people and expose them, not to shame them away with applications.

–Painting is my longest love.  And I hate the way I am asked to talk about it.  I took this last year off and refused explain myself in the traditional channels of the art world (and all its applications).  To wake up and just make, or even choose to not make.  To reenter a more organic and natural state of painting that doesn’t require or demand “making it” or “selling it” or “showing it.”  And in this time I still made. And I still showed. I found that I am not against the idea of communicating about my art, I am fundamentally apposed to the atrocity of “selling” it.  …and to clarify, I am not the least bit opposed to people buying my work, rather I’m wary of feeling like I am MAKING them buy it.  I feel such a disconnect between the art and the non-art world.  Most people would rather buy an ikea print than a real painting.  Why?

I am not afraid of money, and I don’t think wealthy people are intrinsically evil. I’m not upset that art and business are in cahoots with one another, I just want to be art to be valued more for what it is.  I want an art less manipulated.  An art less mindlessly appreciated.  An art less told what to do and how to be to get by. I know I’m not ready in lots of ways, and I don’t pretend to be.  This whole thing drips with generalizations and contradictions and has no real specific examples to back it up.  I know this.  But it’s a raw screaming feeling I can’t seem to overcome and has been reverberating in my lungs for years.  This is not how it should be, this is not how it should be.  I want artists to take over the art market, but then who would pay for everything?  I want people with money and good taste to take over the art market, but would they further neglect the ugly things?  I feel so helpless I could cry.

…but while the coldest-air-in-a-long-time is upon us,  I want to stand outside and let it freeze-burn the tip of my nose.  I want battle scars.  I don’t want to protect myself or my work anymore; I want to live a full life.  I want to react and enact and play and scream and sing and this must be why I paint.  It is basic, but I always need reminding.  THIS wild feeling is the only thing that really matters to me. fuck the whole need to apply.  fuck it.

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3 thoughts on “ART RANT: angry about art fees

  1. Danielle – your last entry was so well written and explained, that it made me feel as though a load had been lifted off of my chest!! :). Even though you are a little frustrated, stay true to who you are – ORGANIC w/your WILD feelings – and don’t ever conform to the non-art world…you are a genuine force and talent (both painting AND writing) and that is what makes you a TRUE artist who need not apply….. 🙂
    P.S. Wes said he could have his mother (an artist of 50 years who is still an active member of artist clubs, etc) give you information if you want to be in small, local galleries or shops who only take a small percentage if something sells w/in a time period. Let us know! 🙂

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