22 May 2014
The Business of Art
Throughout time, artists have yearned to make a living off of the work that they create. Artists have been both instigators and creators of many social and political ideas, sharing their thoughts and opinions through their work. Just like America strives to make itself known as a relatively new and independent country, new artists struggle to make themselves stand out among the older and more well-known artists. The delicate environment that maintains their source of ideas and creativity is at risk of being overcome by the business of art. In the controversy brewing over creativity in modern times, artists are going to have to select a side, and the structure of the artistic world as a whole rides on their choice. Some connoisseurs of art believe that artists should not be paid for their work, because it will affect the quality in a negative way. They believe that it will be rushed, and done in vain, to try and pay its creator’s next bill. On the other hand, though, how are artists supposed to support themselves and their work? No artist would willingly work a second job if they could turn a profit from their personal creative outlet. The value of art, as well, should be decided by the quality of the art, and not be chosen on the identity of the artist or the reputation of a middleman. Overall, it would be healthy for society as a whole to be more conscious about defining the separation of art and business.
The saying "L'art pour l'art" ("art for art's sake"), was first used as a slogan by the French philosopher Victor Cousin. This saying means that art should be created for the sake of itself, and for no outside reason. Art is best created when it is purely on the whim of the artist, not when it is commissioned or in high demand. Artists should be paid for the work they put into what they love it do, but they should only create work that they love, not frantically trying to please buyers. Art in and of itself is a pure and simple demonstration of a person’s inner creativity, and the new and evolving business side to art has tainted that creativity. Art is now being created for solely commercial purposes, not because the artist is doing what they want to do. Dan Zimmerman, an artist of multiple diciplines, says that
“Artistic autonomy does not occur as a result of detachment from the market but from its unique position as a sub-market within the global economy. The art market is comprised of commodities embodied by culturally specialized qualities that are often problematic in that they resist being measurable. However, as soon as artworks assume financial value within the art market, it cannot claim to be completely separate from the broader economy in terms of systems of production, promotion and criticism.”...