Guilty feelings about buying artwork, or collecting objects that might be considered frivolous, is unnecessary. A lot of people earn their living making art, teaching it, writing about it, and selling it, so you should never feel guilty but instead consider yourself a patron, and be proud of that fact. Many galleries are going under because they didn’t play fair, they cheated people, or had no business managing or taking anyone’s money — those I do not feel sorry for. But, despite the art market corruption and prices on some artists becoming ridiculous — or someone like Steve Wynn buying Sly Stallone’s abstracts for $40,000 each — there are plenty of people who are not Damien Hirst or Sadie Coles HQ who need all the help they can get and whose works can cost less than a flat screen TV or even an iPhone. Certainly, their work will last longer than any electronic gadget.
Well, moving with the trend of more art galleries closing, two that have represented me have already closed this year. A third one is shutting the doors, and although they didn’t rep. me, I was a fan of their exhibitions and surprised about the news. It is sad when people can no longer see work in person in larger cities where the rents are so high that it impedes any gains the artists or galleries make in order to continue exhibiting in the future.
In various parts of the country the rents are fabulous, people who run exhibition spaces sometimes own the building or even live in the space and they do it as a labor of love (hence many good Cleveland galleries that have survived the economic downturn), but it might not be an area where there are serious collectors or art lovers. It is a catch 22: high rents that deplete any sales or low rents but low sales to go with it. Chicago dealt with the high rent problem where by people started to have apartment galleries; it might become a further trend if the economy keeps going this way — depending on how people feel about strangers using their bathroom and combing through their medicine cabinet.