In New York magazine, Alexandra Peers questions the now conventional wisdom that the art gets better in bad times:
Is the recession good for art?
It’s doubtful. As curator Renée Riccardo, whose group show “The Garden at 4 AM” just opened at Gana Art Gallery, notes, recessions mostly just yank young artists’ work off the walls. “If traditional art isn’t selling, galleries aren’t going to show emerging art.” The recession isn’t breeding creativity so much as demand for familiar, less-threatening work. Ellen Donahue is closing her Chelsea gallery, the Proposition, after seven years and another eighteen running other downtown galleries. “People come in, they look, but they don’t even talk about buying,” she says. “All over Chelsea, artists are being told to pick up their work.” A half-dozen spaces have closed this year, and dealers like Zach Feuer have culled their stables. [ . . . ]
“There’s no correlation” between the economy and the quality of art being produced, says John Good, a director of the Gagosian Gallery. “The great artists transcend.” The art world’s romantic Van Gogh myth holds that starving artists toil anonymously until they’re eventually (or posthumously) discovered. But he was the exception: For centuries, many great artists were patronized in their lifetimes, generously, by popes and kings. (King François I paid for the Mona Lisa.)
Arte Povera (New Yor