Alternative Art Systems

May 03, 2019

When you decide to start calling yourself an artist, you immediately inherit a long lineage of what being an artist means. In my current work that looks at the invisible systems that construct our world, I can’t help but turn my eye to the underlying system of the art world. Most of the time I find that it doesn’t align with any of my values, and may be the reason the I have always felt attracted to and then repelled against the life of an “artist”.

The commercial function is immediately apparent and is an extreme component of the Art world. From the outset, you consider yourself a participant in this market, and it will immediately start to skew the thought process behind your work. You think about how you will promote your work, what galleries you will be able to show in, how you will be able to receive grants, and notoriety, among others. These all come as predefined conditions of what it means to be an artist. At the same time, when I am really comfortable making art is actually when I remove all of these characteristics.

What I have been researching lately is what are some alternative systems for Artworlds. If we could redesign it completely, what would the system of art look like for different communities, and what are systems that we can be inspired from in the past. If we could remove the components that I imagine that most artists didn’t even enter into the game for, that starts to take on the appearance of business that of art making, how would this take form?

Ideas of things you could remove:

  • Art as an investor asset
  • Showing your artwork in a white box gallery (the experience is designed for shopping)
  • The expectation of selling and making lots of money with your work
  • The expectation of large scale recoginititon
  • The need to promote your work
  • The idea of considering yourself as a brand
  • The need to create a coherent body of work (this makes your work more identifiable as auteur, and more marketable)
  • The need to define your work as important

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Written by Matthew Ortega who lives and works in Valencia, Spain
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