As if we didn’t have enough trouble preserving the middle class, the middle of the art market is the latest topic of debate among members of the art world’s commercial side. Why is the high end of the art market constantly booming while the lower and middle sectors suffer?
In an essay just published on his blog, gallerist Ed Winkleman writes about “the dialogue” in the context of the art world, a murky concept that seems to encompass everything from critical conversations of aesthetics to growing currents in contemporary art to the ongoing filtration of the art community into a disparate set of cliques each united by their own niche interests. It’s this last facet that most piqued my interest.
How many of the estimated 46,000 artists, dealers, collectors, and lookyloos that checked in at Art Basel Miami Beach actually made the 35-minute car trip from the stunning South Beach to industrial Wynwood for the Seven Art Fair is still unclear.
Seven was to Basel what Independent New York was to the Armory Show. An art fair (ok fine, temporary exhibition forum), yes, but set up as a museum-like display rather than sales booths, more concerned with theme and content than commodity object. Curatorial considerations made intelligent relationships between artists from different galleries, instead of an “art world greatest hits.” Because of the elimination of sales booths, the pressure was off. Here, dealers seemed to be interested in discussing ideas.
When Edward Winkleman offered his new storefront gallery on West 27th Street to artists William Powhida and Jen Dalton to “consider ‘alternatives/solutions’ to the market” they decided to organize a show titled #class. The hashtag in front of the name is a reference to Twitter and the communal tags that help users find related tweets on a given topic, event or idea. Like the online service, the #class exhibition — is it an exhibition? — is composed of crowd sourced content. Hyperallergic is taking part with $ECRET$ OF THE NEW YORK ART WORLD.