Art and Art Collecting in This Age of Existential Anxiety

This will be a considered digression from what these posts usually carry.

Art collecting, especially contemporary art ,has been an important part of my life. You may have read, heard or talked about the phenomenon of today's art world. The packed and endless round of art fairs, the waiting lists for work, the astronomical auction prices, the exponential expansion
of the art collecting public, and on (this weekend alone there are seven immense art fairs running concurrently in New York). Everyone expects this boom to end but none can quite explain why it has so suddenly taken place. Of course there is the issue of enormous discretionary income of some collectors. But that does not explain the dimensions and the universality of the phenomenon. Why, and why now?

A thought. As I write these posts I deal in some measure with the ominous mood and turns of history of our time. Perhaps more than most other generations today's daily news makes us ever more conscious of our own mortality, whether it's the bloodshed in Iraq, the horrors of Sudan , the perfidy of so much of our world governance. The list seems to grow every day.

In this tide, this morass, my sense is that many of us are seeking some vestige in our mundane lives that will carry us beyond our days. Art has its own dimension. It is an archaeological artifact of our time and has the promise of timelessness. And thus, somewhere deep down within us raises the desire to attach ourselves to the process of art and its making. We look to art to assuage our mortality in this time of profound uncertainties.

Art, in our unconsciousness has become a quasi universal and remedial therapy. And in this one aspect at least, we are not the worse for it.

Next time, back to business.