Artists have storehouses of work and few places to sell it. Especially when you paint every day, it becomes a problem. Galleries don’t sell great work, they sell what sells. Contemporary art is the big mover and shaker today. It is the eye of the storm today; contemporary galleries, fewer traditional galleries.
At the turn of the first century when America was expanding west, landscape became king. People had never seen the land being newly discovery and were enthralled. Also America was expanding and trying to find its identity and uniqueness as a new nation. Some were getting rich quick in manufacturing, industry, railroads. They had money to burn then. These movers and shakers wanted to show their wealth by building huge homes and of course they had to fill them with furniture and Art. At first they bought European art or classical art because there was virtually no “American” art. American artists even trained in Europe. You couldn’t get arrested as an artist without having studied in Europe. When they returned they painted this new land. The landscapes they painted then had context. A reason, so to speak, for being painted. This continued through the thirties and forties. Things changed in the fifties after the War. Prosperity made more wealth for average people and our attention shifted to commercial goods, diversion, movies became the big thing, photography took a big chunk out of art making. Galleries sold photos of landscapes for those to buy for much less. Art became an item for the rich and not the common man. And they already had all the “good” art. So Art became “common”, down to earth, made less well by lesser artists or artists with questionable training, weekend painters. Artist didn’t have to acquire a European pedigree any longer. Anyone could paint with a few lessons and the prices were made more affordable. To make this already long story shorter, Art made today has less worth and is made lesser by the fact that many buyers think anyone can do it. The idea that there is “quality” art has to be manufactured in the minds of the buyers because no one can really tell you with any certainty- what good art is anymore. There is technically good work, well painted art, but art today has no context. It is just painted to fill a gap in one’s life, a diversion from retirement, release from the routine of work or the children. It’s fun to paint regardless of its quality or meaning. The idea of art has lost its seriousness, it meaning. We make pretty pictures for no apparent reason because we are “artists”. And we wonder why no one cares enough to pay even $50.00 for it. Art making is an industry, somewhat insular and egocentric and so much more is unknown about why art sells and who sells it and to whom it gets sold. It has little to do with “quality” or even pedigree any longer