Sunday, May 2, 2010

Where are all the Young Lions?

c. David Grim (taken 4/6/08)

After another weekend of tooling around the city, trying to see as much art as possible, I fell into conversation with one of my gallery-going buddies about the local art scene. It seems to me (and my friend agrees) that the quality of the work has slipped a notch or two. I feel terrible saying this, but at the same time, I've felt it for a while now.

It's not so much that the established artists have become a disappointment. There are still plenty of folks putting out consistent quality. Maybe if I was new to the scene, I'd be just as excited as I've ever been. But there is something sedating about familiarity. I haven't really been surprised lately, even by the old pros.

Specifically, I don't feel that impressed by the stuff I've been seeing from the young up-and-comers. if you had asked me who I was paying attention to in the twenty-something set three or four years ago, i would have had no problem rattling off a substantial list. Now... not so much.

I guess there a number of possible reasons for this phenomenon. The artists of the past could just have been SO GOOD that, in comparison, the current crop fails. Or maybe my tastes are becoming outdated. I can't expect to be up on the latest fashions forever. Perhaps too the economy has kept a lot of people from doing their best work. They could be just too preoccupied with other things.

It also occurs to me that there are less venues willing to take chances on the type of emerging artists I might appreciate. It's really hard to keep a gallery going in this economic climate. Just ask the boys over at Fast Forward (their last shows will occur before summer).

Anyway, things could always change quickly. There's no telling what all of this will look like a year from now.

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