There’s something a little bit ironic about Occupy Wall Street’s fringe artist protest group planning to end their day of protesting “intense commercialization and co-optation of art” in museums at the New Museum’s free Thursday nights.
If the art market is indeed as corrupt as the stock market, I hope these same people made an earlier trip to protest with the art handlers at Sotheby’s auction today. OWS has protested Sotheby’s before, but right now’s the time — the art handlers have been locked out for nearly three months. According to the Occupy Museums manifesto,
Recently, we have witnessed the absolute equation of art with capital.
Recently? Uhm… the Medicis? The Egyptians? Art has always been bought, sold and controlled by the 1%. Thankfully, this spurred reactionary scenes, independent galleries, periodic protest-inspired reform (the Guerilla Girls, Voina, etc), not to mention art for art’s sake outside the system that has always existed and always will, regardless of museum recognition.
This is not a lapse in solidarity, no, when you look at the MoMA showcasing private collections and the New Museum’s past “Skin Fruit” show — that bombastic, over-glorified, garage-sale-looking conglomeration of fancy expensive art some rich board members owns, whoah-hoh-ho — the museums aren’t immune from art market corruption and there is, indeed, an element of elitism in art institutions, but, at the moment, wouldn’t this wing of the protest be more effective if it was aimed at rows of private galleries, art auctions, art dealers and other speculators of culture?