Again we meet upon the field of the visual arts to play the game. The teams are forming in their defining uniforms to defend their positions or launch new plays for their onlookers. Arranged in the familiar gallery neighborhoods, the assorted lovers of the art are limbering up for the new art seasons ahead, tossing around all manners of styles and mediums. The phalanxes of critics and gallery-goers are about to engage in their opinions and reveal their preferences, the galleries and art venues are bracing to open their doors and all around art lovers of the art game… await.
For the active gallery owner, the working artist, the public and their legislators, the common rules of the game must be observed. I believe, however, that what can best be observed is in the light of the ancient Art Philosophical Notion # 1117: “We humans consider our rights to be absolute, our responsibilities-merely relative.”
Since we began keeping records of art critiques their opinions have been accepted as a part of our polite society, some not so polite. It is also useful to recall that whichever the varied forms of art criticism may take, the most difficult to admit to or submit to or accept is that of self-criticism. We look to “let them” provide opinions although we ache to do it ourselves. Who of us has not done the tour of arts venues – galleries, museums, churches, storefronts and parks, to wish we have not taken on the role of the active censor or critique? There is so much to see and take in and so little time.
All types of galleries and art venues in Arlington and Alexandria are brushed by the Beltway. What art is not consumed here is often carried across the river to D.C. or Maryland for another show, another day in the light of other art lovers. After a decent run, much of the art, I suspect, goes back to the artist’s studios. Often to be sent out to a broader audience across the electronic airways in search of appreciative takers.
Ancient Art Philosophical Notion # 1735 states: “When a person sets out to construct a fence, he must pause, then discover that he has a duel task – to determine what is to be fenced out? Notion #1735 should be considered in the judgment of all art, I believe. All art deserves to be set aside from all else to be seen for what it is. That is the matter of discernment at a moment.
I choose to think that the Moment of Art is far more important to us than is the Art of the Moment. The controversial Mapplethorpe photograph of two tulips of different ages is a case in point – one tulip is a lush frowsy one, a bawd in frills and stripes, bent down to tell the new kid on the block all about “life.”
Let personal expression reign supreme after spending time in our active local galleries. At the end of a gallery safari, an art lover and collector sees what they like, needs to go back to it and acquires it for all that it means to them regardless of what anyone thinks.