art world capitals

The capital of the art world

December 29, 2010

It should tell us something that art has both a world and a capital. Literature doesn’t. Music doesn’t. Film has more than one, perhaps, but these refer to production plants.

In the case of art, the capital has been Florence, Paris, New York, and London. For long periods of time there is seemingly no capital. Yet the art world and the world at large has got by without one.

Clearly there are (infra)structural reasons why artists gravitate towards one another. But to see and be seen should not be an integral part of any job.

Then when a critical mass takes shape, we call it a capital. This suggests centralised power, outlying regions and perhaps borders beyond which no art worthy of the name can ever get made.

There is some tyranny involved. Pity the artist who lives too far away to engage with the cultural dialogue without means to frequently travel to the capital, etc.

It would be healthier to enter another period without hegemony in the field of visual art. It is better that good work and relevant shows can spring up anywhere on the map.

Residents of various metropolises do not have a monopoly on ability, taste, or information. We all have the web, the media, and books.

In fact the first of the latter in English was printed in Bruges, so go figure!

1 Comment

  • Reply jerry January 10, 2011 at 3:56 am

    Art, conveyor,trickster, free expresser, citizen located in the self organizing principle.
    How absurd in this day and age; a capital of art.

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