Friday, March 9, 2012

Observations on Art 3.9

With all the art fairs going on it's been a hectic, crazy, fun week in the Village. I think I have started five art posts so far but have yet to finish one of them so I guess I'll be spending the next week catching up. This post is more a vent than anything else so I think I'll get it out of the way first.

Over the winter the Occupy movement seems to have gone quiet at times as the non-existent leaders spend their time discussing relevancy or the lack of it. The thing they don't seem to have learned is you can't plan relevancy, you have to go out and make it. Much of what happened in the fall was spontaneous with some help from the NYPD. The return of warm temperatures and the NYPD's continuing problems with hubris should cure all that so it should be an interesting summer leading into the fall election. My vent isn't directed at the movement as a whole but once again at that fringe element of occupy, Occupy Art or Occupy Museums.

Now I don't pretend to understand all the ins and outs of the mainly sociopolitical Occupy so it doesn't thrill me when some of them pretend to understand the art world. Occupy Museums founder Noah Fischer is a graduate of the Columbia School of Art and should know better but also has a well known chip on his shoulder. The money being thrown around this week does tend to confirm some of Occupy Museum's arguments as there is too much money in art and it does put the ability to own works by known artists out of the reach most people. But, as I wrote before, Occupy's campaign is directed in the totally wrong direction. To call for an end to the "elitist" Whitney Biennial and never once mention the Gagosian Galleries is just ignorant because the museums simply show art, they don't sell it, they don't set the price. Occupy could better spend its time protesting at Sotheby's or Gagosian instead of the Whitney and Museum of Modern Art (MOMA). Than again Gagosian has some security guards that would make NYPD cry with envy, that might explain a lot.

Granted MOMA has always been a very special place for me, you can call me biased if you want, but sports is also special so here is a little comparison. A 12 game ticket plan for the New York Yankees will cost you anywhere from $90 to $1350 and the games are all weekdays. A single game in the nose bleed level will run you at least $20 and in the 'champagne' section $525. A one day ticket into MOMA is $22.50, $16 for seniors, $12 for students, and children under 16 are free. Try getting your kids into Yankee Stadium for free. There are ten different ways to join MOMA or I guess you could say get a season ticket. For $85 you get admission for a year, weekends included, and your guests can purchase tickets for $5. Skip up to $360 and you can even pull four people of your choice off the street to accompany you every time you visit, for free of course.

All I'm trying to say is this. Sure in a perfect world museums would be publicly supported and admission would be free. But we live in a far from perfect world today so don't fault the museums their admission fees, they don't come close to covering operating costs, and don't expect the government to turn more tax dollars over to the museums anytime soon. Your representatives are too busy spending those dollars building stadiums. It is estimated that the deals to build Yankee stadium cost New York City a combined $362 million to start and, including waived tax revenue, could top over $4 billion during the 40 year run of the deals.

Occupy sports instead of museums.

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