Sunday, August 25, 2013

Role of Galleries

Traditionally, we think of the gallery as having the following functions: providing an exhibition space that allows the public to view art; offering the artist and the curator exposure and access to their consumers; and acting as an intermediary between artists and the market, providing artists with the potential to earn an income as a professional. The first two functions, which connect cultural producers with their audiences, can be executed much more efficiently on the Internet. Artists have the ability to create vast social networks online, promote themselves and their artworks, and use social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr to share images themselves. Further, while galleries restrict how, when, and where their represented artists show their work to keep demand high, the attention economy rewards artists who produce and share frequently, encouraging artists to be productive and prolific. The Internet allows the artist more autonomy, more agency over the dispersion and reception of their work. Artists can be more effectual than the gallery in cultivating attention and connecting with their audiences. Yet the gallery continues to have the upper hand in connoting value within the art market, and the white cube continues to be the quintessential marker of art-world status.
Read the whole article in The New Inquiry here.