“We’re all crying.” He says.
That statement pretty much sums up the reaction of most people I’ve met in galleries. The gallery owner, the framer, the artist, or whoever happens to be there asking me about my future goals. “You have to start with a lot of money, and then you make none.” This negativity follows me everywhere. We’re all desperate, we’re all lost, and yes, we’re all crying. There has to be a way around it. There has to be a way to make a living in the art community without selling your soul to greed. So where is the positivity? It does not follow the pessimist. Optimism hides in the corners of galleries with the smiling host. It hides behind canvases splattered with late night passion, and creeps out so wink at the strong.
I’ve seen two opposite worlds in the art scene here in Chicago. The solo galleries and the community buildings. Usually the solo galleries are closer to downtown. Closer to the Gucci and the Prada. I walked into a lingerie shop where they sold a set of underwear for $1200. No wonder paintings sell for $70,000. On the flip side, I’ve seen solo galleries in different parts of town selling better paintings for $100, because “no one will buy it otherwise.” I’m searching for the happy medium.
I think it lies inside the rustic walls of larger art centers. These places are filled with private studios and galleries. I found a support system in these buildings like the Zhou B. I’m sure these places have their fair share of drama flowing down the halls, but mostly I see community. I feel the muses running between studios. I see the artist interacting and helping one another. They give each other advice and a helping hand when needed. Guests, collectors, and artists flock to these buildings to appreciate the art and the artist.
I found this opportunity to volunteer helpful in beginning to train my curatorial eye. The experience made me even more excited to work with Robin on curating an exhibit with a variety of artists and work in a larger space. I had a splendid time at the opening. Seeing the different studios made me appreciate the variety these art buildings have to offer. I saw studios for sculpting, welding knives, creating paintings, jewelry, clothing, tiles and everything in between.
These art centers do not have the superficial air I’ve felt in other galleries. I’m sure it’s out there, but it’s overpowered by the passionate artist who fill the rooms. I feel fortunate to have found my way into these circles.
Patricia Singer, Intern.