As mentioned in the previous post, on Labor Day Weekend I went to both SFMOMA and the King's Mountain Art Fair. Each of these venues offers a sanctuary for creative expression, a haven, a quiet experience to look at art, and a wonderfully tranquil environment.
The King's Mountain Art Fair takes place in a natural cathedral of redwoods. In contrast, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is a modern building designed for and dedicated to the arts. Both venues are "destinations." Everyone attending these venues immerses themselves in the surroundings, taking time to look and to see what there is to see. By being there, they are supporting the arts.
Both locations offered visibility for the artists, but I kept wondering ....what difference is there between the white tent of the fair and the white wall of the museum.
The artists in the white tents are reaching for visibility, credibility, collectors, and retail sales. But the artists at the museum are visible, credible, collected, and purchased.
Was there any artwork or craft at the King's Mountain Art Fair with a future on the white walls of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (or any museum)?
What would I think about the art in SFMOMA if it were hanging on a white booth at Kings Mountain Art Fair?
In the video below, Joshua Bell played Bach in the District of Columbia subway during rush hour. A few people stopped and watched this world-class musician "playing exquisite violin piece on one of the world's most expensive violins." Mostly he was ignored, earning a reported $32.17.
The point? Without the credibility established by a concert hall, the metaphorical white wall, he was just another artist seeking visibility with no credibility. A quote from the article from Joshua Bell, "When you play for ticket-holders," Bell explains, "you are already validated. I have no sense that I need to be accepted. I'm already accepted. Here,[in a subway station] there was this thought: What if they don't like me? What if they resent my presence . . ."
The primary issue in the art world and in this post is that the white wall of the museum establishes credibility.
Would I recognize work at a craft fair that deserved to be validated by the white wall of the museum?
How apparent is it that a painting, drawing, print, or photograph belongs only at a craft fair?
What aspects or factors of an artwork (of any media) cause it to belong in a museum?
Do you (the readers of ASK Harriete) ever walk through an art/craft fair or SOFA, and ask this question?
In the meantime, do you have an opinion you'd like to share?
Harriete Estel Berman
Booth Shot of Alison Antelman's Booth.
This post was updated on June 17, 2022.