David Jones, artist and poet (1895-1974) begins his PREFACE TO THE ANATHEMATA :

'I have made a heap of all that I could find.' (1) So wrote Nennius, or whoever composed the introductory matter to Historia Brittonum. He speaks of an 'inward wound' which was caused by the fear that certain things dear to him 'should be like smoke dissipated'. Further, he says, 'not trusting my own learning, which is none at all, but partly from writings and monuments of the ancient inhabitants of Britain, partly from the annals of the Romans and the chronicles of the sacred fathers, Isidore, Hieronymous, Prosper, Eusebius and from the histories of the Scots and Saxons although our enemies . . . I have lispingly put together this . . . about past transactions, that [this material] might not be trodden under foot'. (2)

(1) The actual words are coacervavi omne quod inveni, and occur in Prologue 2 to the Historia.
(2) Quoted from the translation of Prologue 1. See The Works of Gildas and Nennius, J.A.Giles, London 1841.

24 June 2014

Climate Change?

We've been wondering for some years if the culture of Art collecting and the associated connoisseurship might be more-or-less at an end? Gone the way of tulips, antiques and vinyl records? Replaced by the immediacy, constant renewal and second-degree sufficiency of the digital projection-space?

Had we become so familiar with the appearance of Lazarus moving among us still - even after The Dematerialisation of the Art Object, after Art Is Dead, after post-Modernism, postmodernism et al - that we'd accepted the paradox of the old Art culture continuing nonetheless? With ever grander  temples; record setting blockbusters; million dollar starting bids; art schools still cool and Ph.D the new black, surely all was going well?

As, behind these scenes, galleries have been emptying and their impecunious artists speculating on when this drought might break? Wondering even, is this the new climate of a culture change?

badges from The Democratic Art Show (PT 1974) 

So we read with interest Lucinda Schmidt's double-page feature in today's Age (click here).

"Galleries : going, going gone?"
As the art industry is reshaped by the internet, fairs and tighter rules for collectors, are Melbourne's commercial galleries becoming an endangered species?

quote :
In London, top-end galleries in Mayfair's Bond Street are closing at an ''alarming rate'', according to a March report in The Telegraph. Rents have tripled amid competition for space from global retail brands, forcing out dealers such as Colnaghi, which shut its West End shop recently after 250 years.

San Francisco's downtown gallery district has also been hit hard by rising rents. One displaced gallerist, moving his business to his home after 22 years, told the San Francisco Chronicle his peers in Chicago and Los Angeles were doing the same.

''Ten years from now, traditional galleries will be a thing of the past,'' he said. ''The auction houses and art fairs will have taken over - and the internet.''
quote :
Traditionally, a gallery represents and supports a stable of artists, mounting exhibitions of their work and bringing them to the attention of collectors, public institutions and corporate clients. So tough times for commercial art galleries mean tough times for contemporary artists.

This is spelt out in figures Lowenstein has compiled from a survey of about 100 of his artist clients, comparing their 2008 and 2012 incomes. The total income for Lowenstein's top group, comprising well-established and successful artists, dropped 46 per cent, while the second group of mid-career artists earned 30 per cent less. It was only the third group, comprising young emerging artists, that earned more in 2012.

Honoré Daumier, Two Print-lovers c. 1860–63

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