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Searching to find the truth in art. Is it really the act of creation, where one uses their hands to give life to a work of art? Or is concept the main reason for a work of art to exist? Perhaps we can just take a ready made object and display it as art, but shouldn't we just alter it slightly to make it unique? to make it our own? How do YOU interpret a good work of art? What makes it? What is Art?

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Hello, Artery Gallery,
When you say that "a piece of art needs to be pleasing to the eyes" I think you mean that when a work is perfectly balanced, whatever it represents and that the colored harmony is right, it is forcedly "pleasing to the eyes" and as you say, there are two types of galleries. Those who manipulate money, and those who support their artists. The pity is that these are fewer and fewer.
As I also wrote earlier, the 50% is a market rule, and it is normal and justified. You do not have to justify. You do a business. Artists are free to accept or not and to go see further. I would like to get your feed back on my work:
http://www.noelfignier.com
Since I am in Portugal, I work with my galleries and art consultant. I only had one problem in 10 years with a collector who did not pay the gallery. Out of this, my relationships always have been the most friendly. Never had any problem of signature or framing. I have never been solicited to make concessions concerning my artworks. Concessions to satisfy a collector, yes, I accept, always in my line. My artwork is maybe more difficult to sell than others, but my art dealers make more efforts to sell them when they like what I do.
I work full time, and I live with it. Maybe hardly, but I am satisfied, I chose so, and I assume.
I would like to ask you? Do you ever sell from your studio and if so do you discount or
keep the price same as gallery price?
Yes Amy I know the movie From the Horses Mouth, one of my favorites and a very old movie too. Where did you stumble on that movie? As for brutish art not selling or pleasing I would urge the gallery owner to think about that for a moment. Several other replies pointed to artists that in their day where not pleasing to look at. Matisse, Van Gogh, Cezanne, and I could write names until tomorrow and not name them all. But that statement hits the nail on the head. It is exactly where art departs from decoration. This is not to say that art that pleases a viewer is only decoration, it may be or not be. It is about the purpose of the work from a point of view that does not even consider a sale, but rather an idea. A purpose that reaches inside the artist to put on the canvas or shape the clay into a image that reflects the soul of the artist with all of the influences of personal experiences. Egon Schiele worked with young children and created for even his day images that are still scene as pornographic and ugly. Yet recently several of his works sold for millions at auction. As Mike says Schiele was a mirror and captured the true essence of his experience. His work for some is shocking even today, but for other it is beautiful in all of its inherit brutality, John Poindexter was a Montana rancher who grew up seeing only the works of western artists like C.M. Russell. He became wealthy and met and married a Guggenheim. She ran a gallery in New York where she showed the works of the American Abstract Expressionist, all of them, DeKooning, Pollack, DeNirio, Diebenkorn and many more. I curated a small exhibition from his collection. During the process I read from his journal how he hated the work, he didn’t understand it, and how he could make these painting himself. So he went and bought materials and started to attempt to make his own Abstract Expressionist work, and he wrote how terribly he failed at his attempt. He couldn’t understand why these early works, before they were big names had such an impact on him and he continued to buy painting from the artists who so deeply shock his world. He bought more that 130 works by the various Expressionists. Ugly, Brutish work that today is one of the most important collections to be found. He never sold one and lived with them daily until his death. Upon that time he donated the collection to the Yellowstone Museum and the Montana Historical Society. He did so by his words so that other might experience the work as he did, to challenge safe beliefs and to stimulate passions so that other who were not privileged to go to New York could see these works and could grow in their own way. Yes even today I found that many people could not deal with this work and turned away, only to come back and look again. If pretty pictures are all we need then we should all just stop. But I think not. Where I live most artists paint landscapes of local scenery, pretty picture that have easy to look at images, they for the most part do not better than the artist that is challenging his or her ideas. I have found that all I can do is paint about the landscape because no matter how good you are you can never capture it you can only capture your feeling about it. Some of the most challenging and brutal depictions of the landscape for me are the most beautiful. Maybe the work you think is to challenging to sell is only limited by your ability to help the buyer grow in their quest to understand and own art. Many galleries deal in difficult work, Mary Boone for example in New York. I worked for John Coplans and he once told me that you have to not only curate an exhibit but that you have to curate the community as well. You have to bring the patron along with you.
Sometimes my work looks "pretty" and then I have to decide if I can leave it that way or have to
continue. I am more involved with the process of painting than anything else, except when I get online.
I thank you for the last reply as it was very concise and interesting for me and I am sure for others.
I have the same experience with landscape painters in Massachusetts but I love it any way and over
the last fifteen years people there have begun to appreciate my style or at least to tolerate it and to
buy some of it. Landscapes influence my portraits and vice versa. I do not think of Mary Boone as a
difficult work gallery any more as I have become so exposed to any and all. Maybe that has been
the opportunity of living in NYC but now we can all do that somewhat through the internet. I can relate
to your ideas about art.
Hello, Artery Gallery,
Thank you to have taken the time to see my website and to have given you some pleasure. It is the most important for me. Thank you, Noel
The posts in this forum continue to fascinate, prod and even provoke, plus inform. Thank you all.

I somehow think my ideas have to do with the topic of What is Art is a way as to appreciate art one has to be able to see it. At least eventually.Sort of like "if the tree falls in a forest and no one is around does it make a noise?" question. Of course we all have unseen and stored works, but if an artists work is only unseen is it art?-- since art is a form of visual communication? And, sure, I know for a while no one saw or really much wanted a van Gogh -- and now look -- so it can take a while for the public to respond and understand and even be moved by work.

But I do think that if a person created what we all might instantly know was a masterpiece painting if we ever saw it, but no one ever did see it -- say it was locked away forever, or lost in a disaster -- then, if it was never seen, never visually communicated with anyone, would it really have been art? I think sadly not as art to me is a form of visual communication, so someone must view it.

That need (and want) to have my work seen -- and communicate -- encourages my commercial enterprise and exploration more that even any normal or sensible quest for supporting myself. Wanting my work to be seen so to communicate propels me into the market.

Again, I am an emerging artist, who over the past year has been making contacts slowly into the art world of galleries, and soon dealers.


It has been interesting to sort out who is who and without the internet and sites related to art, such as artnet, I might still not have an idea about the hierarchy of dealers, galleries, collectors and such. And I continue to learn.

What I am experiencing is a process, a kind of dance with some gallerists. It does seem that if one has a gallery that whats to represent one on an ongoing basis (not a gallery that will charge upfront for that!) and help create a career, one is kind of married. So it's not about just attracting a gallery, but attracting one to "mate" with and grow with.

Thus, I am also searching for a gallery where I like and trust the people because we will be working and spending time together. This makes a whole lot of sense to me and also about me, when the idea is to show and communicate through my work. It is far more pleasant to enter a welcoming gallery than a snotty one. Plus, when people feel welcomed, they are more able to drop their guard and have an intimate experience with the art.

I blog about my experiences, about galleries that have welcoming receptionists (as I check out shows as an individual), and also staff. I do not want to have a gallery rep me that makes students and people feel unwelcome or less than worthy. If the genie came out of the bottle and said I could be repped by any gallery I wanted in the world -- at this moment I would not know for sure who to choose. But, I do have some candidates I continue to learn about. My focus in is NYC, but I have learned I will need other representation too.

I read about how contemporary artists were discovered or their careers were made. Often there seems to be a gallerist or dealer working to promote them -- but only a few seem really good at it historically. Plus, the art world is clearly changing dramatically, thanks to the Internet and becoming more international.

There's also the notion of attracting the best collectors who can also help by being a part of one's career. At my stage of career, collectors who come in on what is the initial floor should benefit from their investment later as my career develops, that is my hope and probably theirs. The difference between collectors is influence -- not money to me.

It is interesting to have to focus on money, to seek to earn it -- through my art -- not for the rewards that money usually brings (although that's fine and to a degree necessary) but because in the art world the more an artist's work sells for the more opportunities for the work to be seen and reach people open up.

I somehow think my ideas have to do with the topic of What is Art is a way as to appreciate art one has to be able to see it. At least eventually.Sort of like "if the tree falls in a forest and no one is around does it make a noise?" question. Of course we all have unseen and stored works, but if an artists work is only unseen is it art?-- since art is a form of visual communication? And, sure, I know for a while no one saw or really much wanted a van Gogh -- and now look! It can take a while for the public to respond and understand and even be moved by work.

But I do think that if a person created what we all might instantly know was a masterpiece painting if we ever saw it, but no one ever did see it -- say it was locked away forever, or lost in a disaster -- then, if it was never seen, never visually communicated with anyone, would it really have been art? I think sadly not as art to me is a form of visual communication, so someone must view it.

That need (and want) to have my work seen -- and communicate -- encourages my commercial enterprise and exploration more that even any normal or sensible quest for supporting myself. Perhaps part of an artist's job is to have the work seen, not just sold. The irony is that if one gets a lot of foot traffic with eyes, chances for sales increase!

I am very interested in comments on these thoughts, some inspired or prodded forward by this group's discussion.
There is a Balzac story that applies to this..."The Masterpiece"
I think that is name. It is easy to find in his short stories in paperback form.
Artists even like Cornell were known to be reclusive and not very aggressive about showing
and yet now are considered famous and masterpieces. That is the rub about the 300 years.
I agree that the job is to have it seen and not just sold or made. There has to be a balance.
I do think that there is such a thing as overexposure. We also need the energy to create which
is why helpers and dealers and agents and assistants come in hand.
Noel
You say "Yes of course, everyone cannot be artist. " Josef Beuys said "Everyone is an artist"
Following form on the horses as one does - who should I trust here - you or Beuys?
I'd guess one has to look at the track record. Hmmm..........
Oh stop it David - we are only bottom of the food chain because we let ourselves be put there. Let us stop this nonsense now and just say"no - flash the cash before I fart and call it art"
We can justify everything except failure.
let's win for once.
No, I don't believe it. Whilst, almost entirely without irony, Noel's work is too sentient
and knowing to "draw you in". It would not match the curtains. When will you please stop pretending to be a building and become a real person?
"Every eye is different, what is pleasing to one, is not to the other"
That is why we have a science of aesthetics. It's been around for a while now. Just a few thousand years. Art is not subjective. There is good art and bad art and the trick is to know the difference. If you pretend to run a gallery then I can only suggest that you learn it soon - or go bust. That said, I suppose it might be possible to sell art that matches the wallpaper to people who know bog all about art but are just about to change the curtains. I wish you well. I am happy that you are happy, but not happy that you think as you do. Sadly your small thoughts unchallenged would be the death of art. Mediocrity would rule the universe. Decoration would triumph.
Finally you are wrong - something that is as you say "thought provoking" (your words) will always be more meaningful, more lasting and more real than something that is "pleasing to the eye" and matches the curtains. Any art that does not contain it's own critique - is not art at all. This is the first law of post modernism. What world to you live in? You say "As for my own art, visually, it is quite impacting and there is a thought behind each piece, but that thought is secondary to to visual aspect of it." Well it shouldn't be. Bugger the curtains!!!
YES Mike let us win not one but hundreds. Let us all stand at the top. Judy if art has to be scene to be justified to be real then lets all paint on bill boards and public walls. Art is happening here in these discussions. I will tell you something I saw yesterday that amazed me. Sorry Mike another metaphor. I was out on my mothers porch in the morning and two sparrows were fighting. They flew after each other and then landed on the ground where they continued to fight, one holding the other down. Suddenly the old cat that lives under mom’s house rushed out and grabbed both birds in his mouth. He retreated back under the house with his fine meal. If we artists stick together we will be no ones meal.

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