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art & snobbism

EXCERPT from David Byrne’s musings (Highly recc. you check out the full post):
Art has become a thing, a life accessory, which one must become knowledgeable about. In that sense it is a lifestyle and status marker — being aware of art implies that you are refined, interesting, and possibly… rich. The comment by the gallerist also seems to imply or infer that art appreciation is somehow good for you. In fact, it might even make you a better person. The increased interest in art is not just good for his business, but for the minds and souls of the public.

I don’t believe that. I don’t think viewing art makes you more moral or better in any way shape or form. I believe that this idea might be a holdover from the past, when art collecting and appreciating was the preserve of the landed classes. … I think there are reasons for the existence of popular myths of the noble poor person, the immoral poor person, the decadent rich and the high-minded philanthropist. We’ve seen them in a million movies.

The morals of the upper classes are probably no better or worse than your average double wide inhabitant, but somehow most people believe that attending the opera and drinking fine wines makes you a better person. It does not. Living in a double wide does not make you a lesser person either, though financial pressures would be more acute.

So, if the arty world becomes too popular, there will probably be a strong desire by certain parties to form a new, gated community — otherwise, where is the status in liking what everyone else likes? All the collectors hate when their field becomes popular — there’s a built in snobbism that is the same whether it’s a MoMA board member or a stylish skateboarder.

If the crowds and interest in art explodes further, then simply managing the crowds will become part of the scene: there will be door people everywhere, with lists and velvet ropes and bouncers. Galleries will have VIP sections. Hip Hop stars will want to hang with Koons and Serra.

PS: image above is from an interview with artist tom sachs conducted by germano celant from interview magazine, sept. 2007

PPS: check out david’s songlist this month. really fun!

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