This month’s issue of NY Magazine offers an interesting, sassy, tongue-in-cheek examination of the contemporary art world, as seen from New York City. Positioning itself as a guide for everyone from artists to collectors to help them find their way through a forest of snakes and ladders, the issue presents 18 separate articles that poke fun at the frequent ridiculousness of this sub-culture as much as they explain the mechanics of how it works and expose who is steering the ship.
Our favorite piece from the issue is Jerry Saltz’s saucy expose of how money itself appears to have been the captain in recent years. ”For nearly ten years, starting in the late nineties, art and money had sex in public,” he writes. ”Lots of it. And really publicly. Art became news. Prices were equated with artistic value. The highest sellers were seen as the best artists. Galleries got bigger, then became multinational, opening branches here and then in Europe and Asia. Wherever money went, art followed (it should be the other way around).”
But not all is lost and, by the end of this entertaining and salty essay, Saltz has firmly taken the position that healing has begun. “While official, moneyed, and institutional tastes dither, as collectors buy what other collectors buy and teachers teach what other teachers have taught, art has crept into and expanded the cracks, opening vents and secret pathways. With money and academics distracted, different artists, ideas, and activities are getting more psychic time and space to root; older and overlooked artists are getting second chances; artists can grow wild again. They are more and more speaking the passwords primeval.”
We hope Saltz is right. He is usually pretty close.
The entire Art issue of NY Mag can be read online here.