Science, Art, Litt, Science based Art & Science Communication
After coming to the art world I realized that there are some important factors that run this place. These things really shocked me and I find it difficult to deal with them although I am trying my best to cope with them to the best of my ability. And I feel these are very bad for the arts to flourish in the natural way. Here are some:
(1) Here the money an artist can generate for his works is a true quality marker! But, I realized the price of a work has nothing to do with quality in the art market. Price is really a function of the market itself, supply and demand, who is in vogue and popular now and who is able to market his work better than others. Collectors are susceptible to trends and hype. Sometimes markets can be manipulated by some people to favour some artists. So, firstly, you need to dispel that theory because if an artwork has a lower price, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s worse. By the same token, it works the other way. I have seen several good art works going for low prices just because the art market forces don't recommend them or the artist is relatively new and not very good ones selling for mind blowing prices.
(2) There’s this terrible standard at least in the East that the artists must make it big overseas, and get recognition outside their country as if that is the only mark for quality. What about domestic recognition? An artist can be hugely successful in their own countries and regions and that’s plenty enough for most artists. They don’t need to be showing in MoMA, Saatchi, Florence Biennial and Tate to validate what they do and we shouldn’t use that as a kind of necessary benchmark. Showing work overseas is okay to expand their audience. What we shouldn’t do is make that the be all and end all of a career. Moreover, most of the artists who are from developing countries and not in a financially good condition cannot organize shows in some of the Western countries where the living standards of the art world are very high. Does that mean these artists cannot produce good works? What a dumb assumption!?
(3) Setting rules for creating art works. Some "self appointed experts" told me only artists who can do photo-realistic and realistic art works are the real ones and that they will promote only these! Impressionists and abstract artists are bad artists ( Can they dump Monet's work in the Atlantic Ocean?! ) according to them. Skill in creating works could be an asset. But conveying the meaning and message is important too and this could be done in any way the artist thinks is appropriate. It is up to the art lovers to decide whether they want to buy them or ignore them but they have no right to "dictate terms or give advice" to artists. Your sweet could become somebody else's poison! How to deal with these "experts"? Hit the ignore button and move forward.
(4) The number of shows in the artist's CV is a mark of quality and maturity. I have found that the truth is quite far from it. Artists are trying to make lots of clones from a single theme like the factory products for a single show to meet this criteria. For eg., I have seen an artist doing the paintings of the same tiger face with different colours for a single show. Another one did 40 works of a bird nest from different angles. One artist did the same face with different feelings. Is this a mark of quality? Da Vinci did very few paintings some 12 major ones in his entire career. But still all of them are master pieces. Had he produced lots of works, they wouldn't have been so good.One expert advised the artists to do at least one art work per day to become famous and earn lots of money. As an artist I can tell, nobody can do quality work if he or she produces 365 works per year. Okay, non-thinking copies of nature can be done one per day but they don't stand the test of time.
(5) Selfishness. Yes! I found it very difficult to deal with this in the art world. In the science field from which I came from people are not like this. Everybody helps others in every possible way there. People encourage others, give advices, accept others' talent, make only constructive criticisms, and treat everybody alike irrespective of their experience and age. Respecting everybody's ideas and thoughts, politeness in dealing with others is the way of life there. People of science never ignore geniuses. The opposite happens in the art world. Yes, I know there will be good and bad people in all the fields but the good -bad ratio in the field of science is 90:10 and for the art world - just reverse the numbers! Sorry to say this but this is a fact!
(6) Self imposed bans on criticizing the big players and famous artists in the art world. No matter what they do whether it is right or wrong most people here frequently support the big players and famous artists and refuse to say anything against them especially here in India. If the things done by these big players are too embarrassing they just keep quiet. Isn't it a sign of cowardice? Or is it playing safe?!
(7) Closed minds. This is another factor that shocked me in the art world. Even if you provide enough proof for your theory, people here say - I don't think so! I don't accept your proof! Having an opinion based on your beliefs is different from truth that has proof or evidence. You can think in the way of falsehood too. That is just theory. Proof is something that is related to truth and facts. How can people refuse proof and truth? How can they just close their minds like this?! Daniel Patrick Moynihan said famously "Everybody is entitled to his own opinions, but not his own facts". Okay, I try to understand why this happens although I don't fully agree with these beliefs.
(8) Little interest in Knowledge. One artist from New York who is a Ph.D. scholar and wrote several books on art told me two years back - I don't feel like interacting with most of the people in the art world. They simply are not interested in knowledge. They are just interested in showing their works and earning money. Yes, I too feel the same way!
(9) Ignoring talent. I have seen several new and upcoming artists who have lots of talent and can match the masters or can do better then the famous contemporary artists but are ignored completely because they don't accept the art markets' conditions or not rich or smart enough to play the games and win them. These artists are unable to get a master stamp and compete in the art world even though they have lots of talent. If you pay money you will be promoted in the art world as a master! You can become famous here if you have a rich father or mentor irrespective of your talent! The parameters by which an artist is judged here have several flaws. And because of these flaws the art world is losing several talented artists and is becoming poorer. Don't tell me my parameters to judge talent are different from the ones established in art world. Talent is talent whether one accepts it or not. And truth is truth.
(10) Us and them mentality: I consider other players in the field as friends and colleagues. However, they treat me as a rival! For Heavens sake I am not competing with anybody. I only want to do collaborative work and try to contact others in the field to work together. Can't we be friends and cooperate with each other and move forward together? This aspect intrigues me a lot!
I know several people in the art world will refuse to accept these facts but that again proves that I am right! How do you solve a problem if you refuse to accept that it exists in the first place? Or are the people here quite happy and comfortable with the imperfect world they live in?