People who actively consume art as an interest have a very specific stereotype attached to them. They are rich, extravagant, and buy nonessential things to impress others with their purchases.They then invite their other rich friends over to their mansions and sip caviar as they discuss the art pieces in their home that they probably know nothing about as they keep others from enjoying that same piece of art.
If you saw our last post on Digital Art then you’d know know that modern technology is changing the way people purchase and experience art. For better and for worse, it's happening, and the way people interact with art will be forever different than the past.
The Bourgeois Conception of Art.
Some of the first collectors of art were the Bourgeois class of 17th and 18th century Europe. These were generally the upper class patrons for things like painting, theatre, literature, music, and the like. They were brought up to be what we might call “Renaissance Men” studying the fine things of art, philosophy, music, math, and science: all of the respectable disciplines that only the finest of minds could comprehend.
Since this class of people were the main consumers of art, it obviously was made to fit their tastes. Art from this period tends to be depict scenes from priviliged Bourgeois life, far away from the issues and problems of society at large. Art was something to add an aesthetic flare to one’s home. If one was a mediocre artist…well….you starved and died. You had to be on your game to make it because these buyers had the most refined of tastes. For better or for worse, this gave the impression that art is ony a superflous add-on to life reserved only for those who had the luxury to sit around and look at it. It would be years before artists would break out of that mold.
The Digitization of Art
With the rise of the internet, anybody today can look up and examine any piece of art from virtually any artist they want. If they have a little money, they can purchase a digitalized reproduction and have it framed for their own home. I could probably buy life size, accurate renderings of the 10 Most Expensive Paintings from our last few posts at probably about $100 each.
Do the pieces themselves become less special as we copy and distribute them? If anybody can have them, does that rob the original of its specialness?
This is a difficult question. I visited a home once that had a nice framed reproduction of Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. It was nice. But when I saw the actual thing at the Art Institute of Chicago, it was but a vague shadow of the real thing. I would say that the copy does take away from Seurat’s original intentions with his work. I’ll grant that this phenomenon might just be me succumbing to our American celebrity culture. “He actually touched this one!” But if the artists intention was for someone to stand before a canvas much bigger than them and get lost in the miniscule dots that creates this grand beautiful image; then yeah, making small copies of that to hang in your bathroom is not being fair to the artist and what he wanted accomolished with his work. And we all know Seurat isn’t benefitting from the selling of these replications.
Three Day Gallery's Philosophy
There is no perfect answer to this dilemma, both sides are valid. But I must admit, we here at Three Day Gallery are in the business of copying art. The difference with us as that we’re not buying into this celebrity culture where a few people's tastes and preferences dictate that of the majority culture. We want to connect the common (if I may use that word) artist to the common man. The more we can affordably distribute pieces of work by local artists and get their work accessible to the public, we can offer a valid alternative to the way art is currently sold. We want the work to be affordable by anybody, while at the same time giving the artist fair compensation for the work. We don’t want someone to not buy one of our pieces because they aren’t educated enough or “qualified” to make a judgment call on whether something is good or not. If you like it, buy it! If people think that only rich snobs buy art, then the trend will never be broken.
With that being said…if someone wanted to buy one of my pieces for millions of dollars and have it only to themself…That’d be just fine with me. But of course I’d have to be dead for fifty years first.
My opinion. What’s yours?