Friday, August 13, 2010

What Do People Think?

In the last couple of blog posts, I've shown a series of photographs of the sequence of physically getting art out of the studio and onto the walls of a gallery. One of the reasons I started this blog several years ago was to demystify the process of making, viewing, marketing and exhibiting art. Many people have no idea how to talk to artists, how to talk about art, how to come to understand the process in any way. Part of the problem is the mysteriousness deliberately cultivated by the art world. Part of the problem is with the lack of education around art.

I can't begin to say how often, when I tell someone I'm an artist, they tell me about how much fun I must be having and wish they could be having such a luxurious life, too. The other response I've been getting lately (now that my hair is a frank, non-dyed, gray), is about how lucky I am to have a nice hobby now that I'm retired.

Full-time, serious artists must be amongst the most misunderstood of professionals. A recent development in terminology is to refer to one's work as an "art practice". I have come to like this and hope it adds some dignity and weight to what artists do. I think those of us who work in the arts have an obligation to try to demystify what is involved in the process. Who can blame people for being confused when we don't offer art education in schools on a regular basis and when the media sensationalizes the shenanigans of a few art stars.

When people walk into any kind of art exhibit, they may or may not like the work that's being displayed. By being more informed of what goes on behind the scenes, my hope is that the viewer will appreciates the effort involved regardless of their feelings about the art being displayed.Unless you've been involved in the process of getting from point A (getting the idea, making the art) to point B (the viewing of the art), it may be either a mystery as to how the process happens or have never occurred to you. And since a really well displayed show should look seamless and fit so well together that it seems effortless, who can blame the viewer for not noticing the effort behind the scenes?

1 comment:

Patricia Sahertian said...

This is a great post, Barb. There really needs to be more art classes and education about art in schools. And even at arts institutions, more education about the business of art. thanks for sharing your thoughts here.