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“What can we do?” – by Robert Genn

"What can we do?"
by Robert Genn

Yesterday, Pat Weekley of Clovis, New Mexico wrote, "I've been a member of our art league in this conservative community for years. Our last art auction was held in a beautiful 'arty' situation--we had perfect weather, good local publicity and practically no attendance. We offered wine, cheese and other goodies so that all attending could be satisfied. There was a lot of interest in the wine. A group sat in the back and made frequent trips to the wine and offered us no bids. Our paintings went for rock bottom or received no bids at all. Several of my paintings went for less than the cost of framing. I've heard it said that if one wants 'good' art then it's necessary to go to 'real' galleries in Santa Fe, Taos or Albuquerque. What can we do that we have not done in the past to raise the realization that there is good art available right here in Clovis?"

Thanks, Pat. I often feel a touch of sadness when I see the earnestness of artists in sales venues in out-of-the-way places. Sometimes I see the work of really excellent artists and try to help them or make recommendations as best I can. I call these folks "flowers blooming in a desert."

But as you know, New Mexico is the place where you can see some of the best art in the USA. Shooting from the hip, I'd say if you want to make sales in New Mexico, you have to have really top quality art. It could be the competition.

Further, I suspect that most of the locals in Clovis have other priorities than the collecting of art. You might try busing people in. You'd round them up on Canyon Road in Santa Fe. Sure, some of your local wine-drinkers and cheese-eaters (great cheese made in Clovis, by the way) will throw peanuts at you to "give you encouragement," but if it were me I'd rather be kicked in the head by a heifer. Fact is, even if you had a flying saucer over from Roswell you'd probably get only a bunch of saucer-eyed non-art-lovers.

I'm guessing, but I think the way to raise the realization that there is good art in Clovis is to make better art. Make it so damned good that collectors drive out Hi-way 60 in their Caddies and Lincolns. Let them bring their own wine and cheese.

Best regards,

Robert

PS: "Good merchandise, even hidden, finds buyers." (Plautus)

Esoterica: I'm sure many of our readers will tell us in the clickbacks and live comments about systems that bring people into these sorts of events. Further, there are probably systems, short of forced public lobotomies, that might encourage cattlemen and ranchers to become enthusiastic art buyers. We'd sure like to hear about those, too. But it's going to be an encounter of the fourth kind--about four percent of the population are making art, and two percent are buying it

Robert Genn has given ARTAZINE permission to post from his twice-weekly newsletter. For more of his artistic insights, visit his blog at www.painterspost.com.

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