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FREE THE ART WORLD
Free The Art World is an initiative to change traditional attitudes about art. Its premise is that visual art is good for society and that, like books, owning art is an ideal way to maximize the enjoyment, growth and change that it can foster.
The normal or ideal trajectory for an artist is to become increasingly popular and recognized. Over time prices rise which means their work can only be owned by the most financially successful people, businesses and institutions on the planet. The trajectory for their work is towards greater exclusion. This seems normal because art has always been this way but the absurdity of this belief system is apparent when we imagine it being applied to books, music, design and fashion. In fact, that's what all those arts used to be like. Fashion is the most recent art to go mainstream. Until Fashion TV and instagram, fashion was a mysterious and exclusive club like the art world today. Books you have to go back to the days before the printing press when only Kings and the Church could afford a large collection, not that it really mattered since most people could not read anyway. (hmm, the parallels with visual art today are pretty amusing)
Free The Art World aims to subvert the traditional luxury system that equates quality with price and remove the stigma of mass production. It would be so crazy if we thought mass producing books was uncool yet that is precisely how the art world thinks about art. The only mass production allowed is merchandise and even that should follow the luxury model of limited edition drops, hopefully with accompanying instagrammable, hypebeast hysteria. They never give art the dignity of books, which sometimes benefit and nourish over generations. The better the art, the less likely you will ever get to see it in person and certainly never own and live with it.
How It Works
This is different from affordable art fairs which basically reproduce the same tired system of rarity and limited edition. Its the rarity and limited editions that are the problem. If the work cannot be mass produced and if it cannot scale then it is not freeing the art world. it also has to be available after the artist is dead. So it must be able to be produced by assistants. This is where today's luxury is a great model. That industry is adept at making millions of exceptional quality items. Imagine if art was mass produced with the standards of luxury but the pricing of knockoffs. Its totally doable, its just a matter of will, which seems to be fairly non-existent in the art world.
Ultimately this is only going to work if some of the major contemporary artists embrace this which they will if they believe it will not destroy their unique and rare markets.
i’m trying to disrupt who gets to own art and how its consumed. the traditional art world tried to disrupt what was considered art.
You can barely make out the initial life is great. Its been erased - painted over - and the new version printed on top. The backwards text represents the backwards, traditional attitudes in the art world towards mass production. Originally this was inspired by Robert Rauschenberg's Erased de Kooning, a famous conceptual work that questioned what an art work is. Today we know that anything can be art so the question is no longer if something is art. Today the question is whether this art is any good? This is up to you to decide. Does this work fail because its mass produced or is it high enough quality that you might see at a top art fair if it was produced in more restricted quantities and cost more?