Art Everywhere but is it really for everyone ?

Damien Hirst
Damien Hirst

Over the past few weeks there’s been a lot of publicity over the new Art Everywhere campaign.

Longlist nominee Damien Hirst said: “Art is for everyone, and everyone who has access to it will benefit from it. This project is amazing and gives the public a voice and an opportunity to choose what they want to see on their streets.”

Damien Hirst
Damien Hirst – Entrepreneur, Art Collector and Artist ?

“Everyone will benefit”. I’m not sure how. The public will pay for it and won’t really be able to select it. Already successful artists will benefit from raised profiles. It is true that the art on display will be from national collections rather than from private collections but I’m quite glad to see that as of the 26th June 2013, Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst are not in the public’s top 50 selection. Maybe the average person with an interest in art prefers traditional art. The most popular selections seem to be 19th century paintings.

Damien Steven Hirst (born 7 June 1965) is an English artist, entrepreneur and art collector. He is reportedly Britain’s richest living artist, with his wealth valued at £215m in the 2010 Sunday Times Rich List.

How democratic is it ? According to their website the list of 100 works was drawn up by four people: Bob and Roberta Smith, Richard Reed, Art Fund Director Stephen Deuchar and Tate Britain Director Penelope Curtis. That doesn’t seem very democratic to me. Okay, the public get a chance to pay for it but they still get told what Art is.

Who defines what art is ? A while ago Tracey Emin came out with the following quote.

They were asking me questions like, ‘Is it art?’ And I was saying, ‘Well, if it isn’t art… what the hell is it doing in an art gallery and why are people coming to look at it?’ – Tracey Emin

Art is everywhere but not all of it deserves or needs to be displayed in a gallery. Wouldn’t it be a more legitimate experiment if along with the works already well known and accessible to have unknown work that you wouldn’t normally find in galleries. This might not however be commercially viable.

Who decides what art is and where it should go ? Artist ? Viewer ? Curator ? Buyer ?

It’s been said that Michelangelo didn’t really consider the Sistine Chapel art and Hitchcock didn’t think that his films were art but there must be many cases of great artists creating great art without that being their initial intention.

I think the art world needs to be shaken up every now and again by a Duchamp to stop it from taking itself so seriously but when we’re told that everything is art doesn’t this mean that the word has no meaning and nothing is art ?