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"The point," people say self-righteously, and condescendingly, when you ask why their art looks like crap "is to make people think."

The goal of academic contemporary art seems to be to make the gallery just like a church: a place where dutiful people can go once a week to get so bored that they grow introspective.

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"Since someone will forever be surprising
A hunger in himself to be more serious,
And gravitating with it to this ground,
Which, he once heard, was proper to grow wise in,
If only that so many dead lie round."
-from "Church-Going", by Philip Larkin

10 Comments

I thought maybe a gallery was like a church in that it is quiet and you can have contemplative unity with something wondrous...

That would, of course, depend on the assumption that something wondrous was actually present.

Even an empty gallery holds wonder

the point is to not be condescending or self-righteous,

but open minded and hearted,

I think...

If an empty room holds wonder then you don't need a gallery and you certainly don't need to be taking up space that an artist could be using to show something mind-blowing.

If you're a hippie who like empty space then go hang out in an empty lot or stare at one of the many available empty walls on planet earth and leave the galleries to people who actually need a public space to show people the interesting and worth-seeing things they've made.

"As the director of one of the five greatest museums in our Eastern States has more than once remarked to me, 'From the Stone Age until now, what a decline!' He meant, of course, a decline in intellectuality, not in comfort. It should be one of the functions of a well organized Museum exhibition to deflate the illusion of progress... The museum exhibition should amount to an exhortation to return to these savage levels of culture."- Ananda Coomaraswamy

"A gallery should be composed of artifacts composed by "the human": non-modern, non-ideological, non-materialist human."- Me(Mike)

I think a gallery should be composed of artifacts that represent our higher faculties... What those "higher faculties" are, only the artist, the shaman, and the philosopher know; so, yes, maybe a proper gallery is a nexus of the sacred- which we all need to see and contemplate, not with open minds or hearts, but with open eyes.

Way to be vague, Mike.

True, galleries are not needful to me, as they are not part of my life at all. I'm in Iowa. Our art museum flooded last year and was destroyed (in Iowa City). I'm a writer and housewife with no money to afford the temples of art for sale in galleries. I only see art on the internet and on the rare occasions I can get to Chicago, the Art Institute. So in that sense, my art and your art are both online, in that public space.

Our world is ending. I'm being grateful for clean rooms and air while I can be...in a church or a gallery. I find wonder in creation...

Yes, my walls are empty. If I won the lottery, I'd put up your work...so perhaps they are waiting until then. From one wonder to another, they would transform...

Anybody who's ever looked at a menu will tell you that some created things are perceptibly more full of wonder than others.

Vague... Let's see if I can get any closer... True art is the manifestation of the human spirit. This "manifestation" of spirit is what pulls "us", those of us who can still "see", into galleries. Vague, yes, but the spirit is ineffable, apophatic. Unfortunately, the dominance of Newtonian Physics, our supposed mastery of the material world, and the leveling forces of humanism have extinguished the spark of spirit. As a result, we revel in the opportunity to "wallow in the mire" and "causes." I'm endlessly searching and exploring artists, I'm searching for "spirit", I'm on the lookout. Many galleries I've slipped into lack true art and proper presentation. The medieval galleries in the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art are lush with spirit, as the Asian Collection at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The pieces from Jeremiah and Gilgamesh have a presence... Cosmopolitan galleries devastatingly intermingle intellectual pretensions with the commercial, making too many galleries sterile, spiritless. The presence of spirit results in wonder- ineffable.

Any discussion of the concept of "spirit" or "spirituality" is vague unless you define whether the term is being used in the religious sense or just as a synonym for "personality".

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