Wednesday, June 25, 2008

You read it here first, cont'd.

The Globe finally notices the upheaval in the local gallery scene. Startlingly, the article was on the front page. Of course Hub Review wrote about this months ago - still, the piece is worth reading for an interesting new point regarding the international "art fairs" (like Art Basel Miami Beach) that have sprung up around the country. The fairs offer galleries a chance to snag international collectors, but at a high price - and those entry costs put pressures on the bottom line here at home. Sound familiar? Our cultural life is slowly being shackled to the power of an international elite - and don't imagine that elite is in any way American, or really of any genuine country or culture; it is simply the international manifestation of capital flows, and we'll wind up with the kind of "hot," superficial art that capital can understand and enjoy. Another surprise in the article (by Cate McQuaid, at whose opinions I usually snort, but who has done some good reporting here) is the role of the Internet in gallery sales - several local galleries note that 20-30% of their sales come over the Web. This strikes me as bizarre - one wonders if the purchasers have even seen the work "live," as it were. I worry more and more about the effect of the Internet on high culture - will it do to us what it's already done to pop, that is, produce a culture of globalized mediocrity? I think high culture will be harder for the Net to kill than pop culture was, but I'm still worried. More to follow . . .

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