I found this documentary about the current state of the hyper-capitalized art world fairly worthwhile. Sure, i knew a lot of what was said but there were some eye-opening parts, such as the surprising number of people who appear to think that fine art should be regulated by the government. That just sounds like a recipe for disaster. Of course, the only reason why they are saying this is because the magnitude of money at stake invites shysters and con artists of all stripes and turns successful artists themselves into con artists of sorts. The argument is supposed to be that this pluto-oligarchic structure crushes the little guy, the artist without a gallery and with no hope of gaining any recognition.
That strikes me as a non sequitur. First of all, anyone currently famous began as someone completely unknown, so they had to be discovered within the system as well. In reality, genuine artists cannot be destroyed by even the daunting dynamics of the contemporary business of art. They will continue to paint in their ateliers (or no-bedroom shacks) and create what they feel compelled to create. Some of them will be discovered posthumously, and others not even then, but the value of what they produce is in no way compromised by the fact that they die in a state of poverty and relative anonymity. Art has always been like that. Remember Vincent van Gogh?
The last thing the world needs is some sort of ueber government committee deciding what can and cannot be done with fine art. Is it fair that Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons are filthy rich, while perhaps better artists, who are less savvy self-promoters and marketers, are ignored? Is it fair that some people enjoy ridiculously high salaries for throwing a ball through a hoop while others earn a pittance for flipping burgers at fast-food restaurants? This is the world in which we live. The lucky ones (are they not the true artists?) find a way to avoid thorough cooption by the system--by all means necessary. Others simply sell their souls. But it is not the government´s role to care for people´s souls.
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