Monday, February 28, 2005

Tastemakers and the Artist's Vision

"There is indeed a downtown POV here in NY and elsewhere that likes to guard its favors. Downtown tastemakers will quietly rave about something or someone until that music or art achieves a relative popularity- then it is denigrated as having "been better when I first saw them". A lot of alt music publications and websites share this weird snobbism, it's a way of establishing a little in-crowd."
-David Byrne, blog entry 01/30/05 from
  • david byrne's tour journal

  • at the met
    at the met
    photo by Gregg Chadwick

    I have been discussing the idea of artist and audience recently with a diverse group of fellow artists and collectors.
    David Byrne's take on downtown tastemakers seems quite apt. The importance of being the first to find a new artist and then to quickly denigrate them as their popularity grows seems to have a relation to our contemporary inundation with advertising campaigns extolling the new and the fresh, as well as our fear of aging or worst of all-irrelevance. Most artists I know, work in their studios for years guided by their own personal vision. At times our work is part of the moment or zeitgeist. At other times we are forging ahead into a dark wood, unsure of the final destination. If we are fortunate our audience makes the journey with us. Recently I had a conversation with Michael Hertzberg, who produced the comic masterpiece "Blazing Saddles" and worked with Mel Brooks on numerous other projects. As we spoke, a large photo of Mel Brooks in full Native American regalia beamed down on us. Michael expressed -"I don't think a true artist creates for an audience at all. Instead the artist works on finding their own vision. A sort of vision quest as expressed in many Native American cultures." It was a very bold statement and seemed to point out the responsibility inherent in creation and in the viewing of great art. More to follow...


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