24 Aug 2009

Art for the Masses

(By Nalini S Malaviya)

As you move from one gallery to another, many a time you come across paintings that look similar and seem to have been produced in bulk. Surprisingly, these are not created by hobby artists, but artists with a proper fine arts background, and qualifications. There is a huge market for this kind of art, and that is probably the biggest reason why many artists tend to cater to this section.

As we all know, galleries play an important role in promoting and showcasing art, and most of them tend to build their own clientele in accordance with the art that they patronize. For artists too, it becomes difficult to find a way into bigger galleries that can promote them in the right circles. And, therefore, many of them get ‘attached’ to galleries, and end up producing the same kind of art, year after year. Most of these artists get trapped in this cycle, and are unable to break out of this mould, mainly in terms of altering the direction of their art. Several times one finds that the artists have the potential to do better work, but due to a lack of forum to present their work, they get stereotyped in their art. Minor variations, here and there might be made; but overall there is no change in content or technique over the years. Most of the buyers for this segment of art are those who are not properly clued into market trends, who tend to patronize one or two galleries, or those that are not looking at art as a serious investment option.

Gallery support is vital in the promotion and the development in the business of art, and unless gallerists themselves are aware of the various aspects related to the finer points of art, they cannot do justice to their artists or their clientele.

(Published in Financial Times)

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