Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Evenings In Wonderland: At the Park

Somehow, I got disoriented along the way. The obvious location, as per the address, wasn't sinking in. In retrospect, it may have been a sixth sense thing, the future affecting the past.

The usual suspects were there. Socializing, playing, posturing, vulturing for customers, hobnobbing for walls etc. One, well-known, talked to me for a bit, and drawing uncomfortably close, whispered: "It's as if they don't care....they are only doing the minimum required to make a sale..."  Tired, restless, buoyant, adrift...photographs were coming to me slowly, but steadily, more than enough for my needs.

I engaged in the social graces at a thing like this, hugging and hello-ing people, describing ellipses across the space, crossing the Ley lines of desire polarizing the people in the area, somehow colliding with a ring of five or so.

Holding court was a local banker, who is also on the Board of Directors of one of the major local arts organizations. We had met before, albeit briefly, at a 2nd Saturday, when her bank opens up its lobby as a pop-up exhibition space. One of the artists was thrilled, being told they could show in the space. The Banker turned the conversation to a black artists' show at the Museum of Fine Arts from a private corporate collection, and remarked: "What did that do for the community?".

My heart sank. That moment when people in the arts backbite and cannibalize each other is always sickening. The exhibition she was referring to was "Mixed Metaphors", put on and paid for by a rival bank, Bank of America. Disgusted, I replied that they had brought very good ethnic art to the city, and spent the better part of a million dollars in the community doing so.

"But it didn't put money in the pockets of local artists", she said righteously. That represented an elemental misunderstanding of the difference between museums and galleries. While artists drool at the money sinks that museums are, their emphasis is in bringing work to the community, first-rate work. Neither the Chilhuly or Dali "put money in local artists' pockets.

There was some well-played theatrical hand-wringing about the Sisyphusian agony of bringing more sales to local artists. I suggested that local artists need to market their work where there are more buyers, though looking around, it was obvious that, at best, 3-5 of those ever would. A push for quality, as the other artist had suggested, might be a good thing.


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