The start of a new year usually comes with a lot of intention setting á la new year for a new me. I thought to use this energy and kindly put out this list of resolutions I wish to see incorporated into the art world 2018:
- Dear journalists and art critics can we do a better job when covering the art market. Money and high prizes are just one element (and the high prizes just a tiny range of the market) and not sufficient to evaluate art. Remember we do have a whole vocabulary to talk about art.
- Which brings me to the second resolution. Can we agree to make press releases for exhibitions and labels more interesting? I'm bored of the extensive use of pretentious "International Art English" (I just can't bear to read the word "vibrant" one more time)
- Not finished with the writing sector yet: I'm tired of the amount of listicles in art journalism. "Art lists seem to be a quick fix as rankings suggest structure and organization, which give the illusion that the art world is somewhat manageable. Rankings and statistics are the metrics on which economics run and how we predict trends or certain developments, they became the currency to buy reputation. The lists fit very well in our attention economy, where content has grown increasingly abundant and attention becomes the limiting factor in the consumption of information. [...] These supposedly informative lists show another development, which might be unique to this age: our disconnection between knowing and understanding. The lists pretend that they transfer knowledge but instead they provide easy digestible information bites that do not tell us anything about the value and roots of the particular artistic practice. "(You can read my whole text about listicles here).
- The taste of the majority is not a good indicator for planning or curation. Block buster exhibitions might appear easier and they are certainly valuable for museums (fundraising, visibility, money) but dangerous at the same time as they do not help to diversify the sources. There are a lot of artists who might not seem block busters yet but who would attract new visitors and be important in the context of art history (and we should always look for a broader context, right?).
- Can we stop assessing the importance of exhibitions by solely looking at museum visitor numbers. What about online numbers? New communities that got involved How can we do better in measuring long term impact?
- Values and ethics matter. The art world and museums are not neutral.
- Can we make a bigger effort in incorporating transgenerational and transmigrational storytelling? We need to talk more about storytelling and about who gets to tell the story and what that means.
- Art doesn't just exist exclusively in museums. If you want to build relationships with living artists (adaptable to other creative professions curators, writers etc.) visit open studios, support them on Patreon or Kickstarter, send them gift cards, or go to local art fairs.
- MONEY. Money translates into access. Pay your interns, pay your staff properly, pay your artists. Let's smash the myth that anybody has to pay their dues and sacrification will lead to any form of reward.
- Can we embrace more vulnerability in the sector? Self-care is important and does easily get forgotten during the extra long hours of project work. Do regular check-ins with yourself and colleagues. May we be able to embrace more empathy and solidarity in our actions, celebrate each other, have each others back and care for one another in the coming year.
- Let's not forget the joy! I met a lot of my favorite people in the art world and I just love this community. I am grateful to work in the art world and make a living. Nothing wrong about popping the Champagne and dance together.
To a fullfilling 2018! Happy New Year
The Extroverted Museum @ExtrovertedMuse has been hosting for the past 5 years under #museolutions a discussion on Twitter over more personal resolutions of museum/ art people. Jump over and have a look or share your resolutions down below.