Monday, June 12, 2006

selling to non-art people

In Mexico, like perhaps most other developed countries, there is a an established art industry that uses its expertise to further the sales, marketing and development of the art market. Like in other places, the art industry folks are steeped in lingo and make frequent trips to New York and Miami where they presumably learn something more about sales and marketing and which they frequently assume somehow makes them knowledgeable also about art.

Also in Mexico, as I assume there is in other places, there is a strong willed, sophisticated and intelligent population of people who strive to have their lives enriched and their intellects challenged. People who are humble, and believe that there is a lot of complicated information about art that they don't understand, and yet who insist on beauty and vibrancy in their lives. As a Latin country, of course, Mexico inherited a strong sense of beauty from the 12th century and the first heresy period before the Inquisition. They decorate everything, and the most brutish construction worker understands the need and the impulse to make even a signpost or a mail-box into something beautiful, not at the direction of a corporate designer, but at the direction of the person who wants a mail-box or a sign-post.

I am wondering if other painters have this experience of talking to people on the street, or clients who insist that they want good art but can't find it in galleries, and wouldn't pay for it there anyway, but who can talk intelligently about painting and art history. These are people who put money that would just as well go to entertainment or frivolity but who instead put it toward paintings and artwork and who love to talk about such things. It makes me wonder why these galleries don't go after a public that is a few steps down from the market they seem to cater toward but who are probably even more devoted to art.

I've often thought and written about pretense in the art world, and I still don't outrightly condemn it. A decent painting on the wall of a hovel makes for a smart looking hovel. But an ugly painting on the wall of a mansion (or a loft) makes for a.. well, you know.

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