Are we entering the post-curator era?
Travess Smalley, Computer Graphic on Vinyl, Vector Weave, Scan #92, 2013, uv print on stretched vinyl, 60 x 43.5 in.
Interpreting the art system has always been a hard task: no official and reliable information, a few certainties, many lies. Therefore, with regards to the way on-line information is changing the rules of the game as well as the role of museums, we don’t expect to tell you the truth. We would just be happy to give, at least, a possible interpretation.
As the gallerist Claudia Cargnel told to Conceptual Fine Arts a few weeks ago, “nowadays collectors are faster than curators in discovering new talents”. We agree with her, also because art is something that is evaluated by money – in the end, if you really “like it”, you buy it. Therefore, what does it happen if the artworks, that once circulated mostly thanks to art magazines (supported by gallerists) and exhibition catalogues, are now instantly available online to everyone?
A preliminary answer to this difficult question would be that a lot of people will simultaneously recognize a same kind of “physiological” beauty. Then they will try to buy it, if they can, driven by the idea that they are not alone, but part of a relatively large number of people who love that artist’s work. That is why – as not only Claudia Cargnel says – the request of certain artworks is extraordinary high, even if the curriculum vitae of the artist has no exhibitions, prizes or bibliography on it. It could be just a trend, due to the internet surfers’ appetite for money, but it may also mean something else. It could be the evidence that social networks, blogs and auction houses’ web sites are now informing art people definitely more than traditional art magazines and museums (generally supported by collectors).
Once, in the curator’s era, the access to the market for young artists was provided mainly by the institutions – museums and art prizes – thanks to their unique ability of producing and handing out information. Today, in what we may call the post-curator’s era, is the web that provides the access to the market, setting the artists a bit more free to find their way to the public. The institutions will come later, most of the times even after the top galleries.
Sam Falls, or the market phenomenon called Oscar Murillo – who will soon have his first solo show at Marian Goodman gallery – are a good example of this just emerged trend. Others will come soon. Many of their collectors – a new generation, professional and hyper-informed – are not part of the museums’ boards yet. They have bought Murillo and Falls months before their solo shows at the celebrated galleries. Nobody knows what is going to happen when, and if, this new generation of artists will be exhibited regularly by the great world wide class institutions. However, what comes to light is that a new sense of beauty is emerging within an art market that is wider than it has ever been before… as “Beautiful inside my head forever predicted” in 2008.
July 17, 2015