Not long ago Charlie Finch posted a couple of pieces (here and here) in Artnet on the future of the art world and how a collective approach might be an answer to when you no longer have a gallery showing you. After the first piece, there was quite a conversation over at Edward Winckleman about it. I was sort of surprised at how many people did not believe in a collective model - or in artists doing other things besides making their art.
Just the idea that an artist would sit a gallery bugged some. Do they think this is the wrong way for an artist to dirty their hands? You still see that in Portland and I like running into them there. But I guess in NYC it became a sort of act of disgrace.
But why be so attached to The Grand Dealer as the only possible model? Even at its height and heyday, it does not work for everybody. There is more than one way to show or sell your work. What I often see here in Portland (and it’s probably the same everywhere else) and is that there are not only too many artists to fit them all into the gallery system, there are also types of artists and types of work that don’t work well there. I was one of them until I was almost 50 years old. And I still like doing art things, art ventures which are not about the gallery system, which do not take place there.
When I first moved to NYC, I showed with Colab a lot. I am not saying these were all the greatest of shows but I am glad they were there. You can look back at your rites of passage and see that some of the rough and tumble times were very good times. I think if I was just in the gallery system since 25 and that was my life, well, that could have been really boring. If you do spend some time in alternative methods, it can shape you for the rest of your life in positive ways.