I used to be afraid of meat. Not just meat but the butchers shop. The butchers were all bloody and they stood up on a platform behind a formidable wall of glass and steel enclosing stacks of meat. I would be sent in to ask for ham. “What kind of ham?’ they sneered. I don’t know about ham. I didn’t know there were kinds of ham. If there wasn’t a strong force (my wife) directing me to buy ham I would have went to the supermarket and just picked one prepackaged.
The internet is loaded with prepackaged art. You don’t have to go to a gallery and suffer the embarrassment of not knowing expressionist from exhibitionist. You can just find a picture that appeals to you and if it’s in your budget, add to cart. A lot of artists nowadays even offer the money back if you aren’t satisfied. Try that with ham.
Here’s the secret. Gallery owners have a hard time meeting their obligations. It’s a difficult way to make money. The only thing that works is charging a lot for the art and then taking half from each sale. As a result over time they have built a mystique surrounding art with gatekeepers to the magic artists alchemical productions. A whole language and culture we stand outside of and trust to decide for us what’s good. A necessary evil but one you don’t have to be a part of. Understanding art is not a prerequisite to enjoying art. I don’t understand how we all don’t crash in to each other on the freeway. God is beyond my understanding. I made the biggest commitment of my life to get married and I still don’t understand my wife. I wonder if I understood the art would it still hold it’s lasting appeal?
With the advent of the internet artists are opening their own shops where all are welcome. The art is prepackaged ready to be shipped to you at the click of a button. If you join the artists mailing list you will be given, for free, more information about art than you will get at the gallery. The artists are writing about each piece, writing about their process, de-mystifying art and making it an affordable option to all. No longer do we have to have the same print as our neighbors. We can all enjoy the constant giving the full spectrum of original art provides without understanding art.