|As pundits bicker whether Obamaâ€™s stimulus package will rescue taxpayers or reward bad banks, art warriors ponder their next steps.Opportunities abound for creative souls who cut excess, see exciting avenues where others see dead-ends, and make new friends leading to new funding sources.
I asked artists, curators, art dealers, and collectors for their best advice about how artists, art galleries and other art venues can survive the global crisis. In e-mails and phone conversations, I received prudent and impassioned ideas for keeping art spirits shining during dark days.
What follows is a chorus of creativity. Some responses are edited for brevity. Others are so direct they dazzle.
Hans Ulrich Obrist, curator of Serpentine Gallery, London
My advice is to believe in art.
Steve Shane, collector, New York
Lower the prices. Art heals!!!! Wear comfortable shoes.
Wendy Wischer, artist, Miami
Be creative in how to make money to live on and grow with our art. Challenges encourage us to expand our ideas. Itâ€™s time for true avant-garde thinking.
Dennis Scholl, collector, Miami
Get back into your studio. No more knocking something out for an art fair because your dealer is bugging you. Now is an opportunity to think about what your practice is, where it is going and why.
Paul Clemence, artist and author, Miami
I see much movement toward the hospitality business, in hotels, cruise ships, and even hospitals. These businesses have art budgets. Itâ€™s time for artists to invest in their careers, develop their craft, and explore websites for selling and promoting their art, like www.20x2000.com
Ray Azcuy, artist, Miami
Artists can think cooperatively and share information about grants.
Bernice Steinbaum, dealer, Miami
Itâ€™s important to show what he or she thinks is important and will have a place in art history. Educating your constituents is as much a part of your job as selling art. Ways to cut back: extend an important show, send less pricey invitations.
Gen Watanabe, dealer,
Haunch of Venison, New York
The love of art brought us together, not the art market. Passion for art will help us through. For artists we are not doing as ambitious a production as we might have done in a different time.
Annie Wharton, artist, Los Angeles,
opened gallery The Company
I write art criticism and curate shows to make money and extend my studio practice. At The Company we added a â€œFlat Filesâ€ component on our website and in the space, where buyers find stunning works by artists whoâ€™ve exhibited internationally for less than $500.
Onajide Shabaka, artist,
I have to stop wasting my time by going to events I donâ€™t really need to attend so I have more time for my art.
Alejandra von Hartz, dealer, Miami
Serious collectors are always going to be interested in serious art. Serious artists will keep producing serious art. Become more austere, but also more professional.
Fred Snitzer, dealer, Miami
Keep overhead low. We do art fairs when we can afford them to get our artists known beyond Miami, but thatâ€™s overhead we can either do or not do.
Burt Minkoff, collector, Palm Beach
Dealers canâ€™t throw out artists they are known for, but they need to introduce other voices so they can bring people into the gallery and show them more affordable art.
Mireille Chancy Gonzalez, collector, Miami
Diversify. If you used to make big paintings, bring down the scale with smaller pieces that cost less to give opportunities to young people to start collecting.
Alyson Baker, director of Socrates Sculpture Park, New York
When you donâ€™t want to cut programs or services for artists and visitors, collaborate with like-minded institutions. Consider organizations not in the arts but with a similar mission that want to expand their constituency. Pool resources more efficiently and help each other. Weâ€™re reaching out to certain developers. The demographic they want to reach is the one weâ€™re attracting. People interested in design are also very interested in art. Consider design-oriented retail stores, magazines, high-end manufacturing facilities.
David Setford, director of The Hyde Collection, Glens Falls,
Collaborate. Most arts organizations, particularly museums, are territorial, and donâ€™t always hold hands with their neighbors. This must change. We have a major Edgar Degas show this summer. We inspired other organizations to put on their own related programs for our region, marketing together a grand â€œSeason of Degas.â€
Paul Laster, www.Artkrush.com editor, New York
Be innovative. Do whatever it takes. Better days are ahead!