This maiden voyage of "Art World Observations," is occurring in the middle of the night. I cannot sleep. My mind runs through deep corridors, patterns in thinking which have won space for themselves in my wrinkly gray matter. Is that why god invented blogging (to give art writers with insomnia something to do)? At this late hour, I find myself thinking back to my recent departure from working exclusively on my art, painting/performance and (perhaps) self-promotion on social media networks like Facebook and Twitter.
I've arrived at a place where the work of others, artists, primarily has captured my focus, again. This happened to me during my studies. My interest in art history made it my major at university despite the fact that I considered myself a deliberately lackadaisical conceptual artist, back then. I painted. Yet, the drive to make art objects flounders for me, periodically and I am left with the simmering but constant desire to learn about the art work which others, so talented, bring into the world. This time, in contrast to my school daze, when art history held me in its grip, it is ART NOW the work of my peers, contemporary artists, which holds my attention, at this–– sleepless yet pleasant–– junction.
The making of art is an obsession, perhaps. The best artists seem incapable of stepping outside their practice. The work incessantly. Their drive makes them fascinating to encounter for people less capable of relentless professional commitment. The intensity with which they pursue art making demands attention, like a furnace craves fuel to create warmth. They churn. They burn with ambition and determination. These qualities are requisites in staking a claim, creating a signature visual language which distinguishes their work from that of all others. Perhaps…
Really, what distinguishes a successful artist? Is it quality or volume of work? Is it connections to the art establishment? Exhibitions at prestigious art galleries and museums? Is it the willingness to devote lifetime of work and study to the cause of art as profession?
The art worker, however, often crashes into a paradox. They must work. They are driven to do so. Yet, the audience for the sophisticated, complex, and demanding art work which they, at best, create is limited to a relatively select audience. Education, intelligence, wealth and/or aspiration to all of the above seem like hallmarks of the contemporary art viewer, the collectors, the VIPs, and the very private people which grace art events and openings the world over in their designer garments and sleek viewing styles ready to snap up costly art works, bargains in the acquisitive world of an avid contemporary collector. Sure, there are others: students, dealers, and other seekers that turn to art for answers which are not readily available in the work-a-day world, far from art fairs and the frenzy of contemporary art collection which I'm thinking of now instead of sleeping.
Goodnight (or good morning), my friends!