The Current Economy, the Art Market, and Corporate Greed II


OK, now that the market has begun to stabilize (we think), now that it appears we won’t go into a Depression, and now that it seems intelligent leadership will return to Washington, let’s finish this discussion.

Will the current Recession cause many galleries to close?  Without doubt, from NY to Sant Fe to LA.  Will it cause mine to close?  Only if I don’t manage things well, and redouble my efforts (which were already doubled).  Will it affect gallery sales nationwide?  It already has, since sales in most galleries are down 50% to 80%.  The nation as a whole has spending on hold, including those golden folks that all galleries rely on: those with expendable income.  This condition will likely improve after the election and on through the holidays, but even so the next year or two will be tough.

I should qualify “tough” though.  This doesn’t mean that any of us will starve (as many people do every day in Central Africa), or have our towns invaded by a barbarous horde (as in Darfur), or watch our cities descend into chaos (as in Iraq).  It does mean we’ll have to alter our lifestyles somewhat, work harder, save more, and put our focus on the needs of those less fortunate.  Man, that sounds like a good change to me.  Will it last?  For some, I’m sure it will.

Am I pissed about bailing out Wall Street, the major banks, and certain Fortune 500s?  I’m pissed as hell.  This will negatively nearly everyone’s retirement (not that I intended to ever really retire anyway), and that our children will be paying off this burden for their entire lives–while the people we bailed out continue to live in luxury, retiring whenever they wish, sacrificing very little.  Doesn’t this piss you off?  And the way it’s been set up, there’s no recourse for exacting justice.  As usual, the super-rich get away with criminal behavior.

Well look, one thing I have that those economic rapists never will, is honor.  And the love of great friends and family.  And the respect of those less fortunate for whom I sacrifice on a regular basis.  And self respect as well.  So I have to work harder.  So what?  I wanted to rewrite a tough book anyway, then a couple of new ones, and while doing that, take art consulting to new heights.  Sounds like an adventure to me.

How will this affect your careers as artists?  Same way it will affect mine as a novelist and gallery owner.  Good things can come of it if we choose, or we can get mired in despair and bitterness.  Well I never care for being mired–emotionally, artistically, or financially.  I suspect you don’t either.  We’ll get through this, and for those of us who do it with honor, we’ll realize the benefits of that karma–and there are many people at the top of the financial ladder who are responding to the situation the same way.  For those who violated the system just to line their pockets at the expense of the country and planet as a whole–man, I’d hate to be on that boat of misery.  To dwell there means you’re more dead than alive.

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