While walking through an Exhibition at Art Miami Week during Art Basel, I was drawn to a booth with a partially unrolled canvas hanging from the top of the booth wall. Upon closer investigation I discovered an artist had painted the entire roll of canvas and it was being sold by the foot, by the yard or even by the inch. An interested buyer finds the section they like and it is cut out of the roll like a bolt of fabric.
Everywhere I looked I saw commodity, design and “matchy-matchy”. I kept thinking, “Where is the discovery, the inspiration, the zap that one gets when looking at a work of art that one loves in a way that stops you in your tracks and makes the world melt away?” After Art Week ended, I asked myself, “What was your favorite work of art this year?” Sadly, I realized I couldn’t think of one. It was all design, geometric forms, hard edges, words . . . what was missing overall was esthetic passion, esthetic bravery, heart.
Are we clearing the slate, like the minimalists did in the past? This type of design played its role in history, but is that where we are headed again? Like the time of Warhol, is art again becoming commoditized, following his cynical view on the art world? Are Pop icons rising again? Should art be easy and match the couch? I sincerely hope not.
I hope history will not show us settling for a section out of a roll of canvas like we settle for a fabric pattern on a bolt of material. Art and artists need to be independent, individualized and unique. My hope for all lovers is that they fight for this independence, individualism and uniqueness; that creativity and new ideas continue to push boundaries, find foot hold and thrive and that true art collectors will seek and connect with those artists whose works stop you in your tracks and make the world melt away, art that makes your heart fill with passion. Not design that matches your couch.