Few months ago, I came across this article that discusses the idea of the artworld. It is witty, slightly enlightening, a good read, and does not provide any real answers (very artworld-ish).
While we can all recognise the existence of the Artworld, none of us can accurately define it. Or rather, it is not possible to reach a common understanding.
While I’ve started writing the above two paragraphs in late 2020, I’ve come to forgot about it, and am only revisiting this piece now in March 2021. Much have changed since then, about the world, about the art scene, but by and large, the artworld remains quite the same. I think.
I can’t actually remember my thoughts back then about it as I did not note down any more points than the initial two paragraphs, but I shall try to continue and finish this based on my current understanding as I re-read the article now.
The author started off with the question: how many people are in the artworld?
Without setting any parameters, this little experiment by the author seeks to explore the notions of the artworld among his friends, what they share in common or what they differ with each other.
Within what we recognise as the artworld, several sectors and roles exist. First and foremost, the artists; and then art patrons, museums, curators, art critics, commercial galleries, auction houses, art writers, art enthusiasts and more. Depending on how you qualify how people fit into these roles, the number of people that make up the artworld can vary accordingly.
It is apparent then, as with the world, or reality, the way each of us perceive the artworld is different from each other as well. While we all agree the existence of the artworld, we can have very different ideas of what the artworld consists based on our personal experiences with it.
For one, the artworld may be largely made up of like-minded individuals sharing the same pursuit of artistic practice; for another, it could be about the appreciation of art and the support of artists; for yet others, it could be the inaccessibility resulted from a high barrier of entry built up of art history and theory.
The point is, there is no right or wrong way to look at the artworld, or to determine what is the artworld. And there is no a singular way to think about how the artworld should function. Art is malleable. Just as art can exist in different forms and…