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Sarah Elizabeth Condon
Algoma , Wisconsin - United States
- Other/Misc.

I am an artist, a mother, and a curator. I am opening The Eclipse Gallery in June 2009 in Algoma, Wisconsin. I am interested in the intersections between art, craft, and design. I also run and Please visit my websites for more information, or feel free to e-mail me. Thanks!
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Myths and Realities

Museum-quality, avant-garde work is only created by artists working in major cities, especially New York.

Local art isn't as desirable, and will be of less value in the future, as art created and sold in the major art cities.

An artist's worth should be judged based on their education, affiliations, and history of exhibitions and sales.

Artists are not interested in money.

Collectors are investors, primarily, and should only buy investment-qualityŁ art.

Dealers are only interested in art that sells, and have no artistic vision.

Do not buy art simply because you like it.

Only the upper-class own fine art collections.

Owning art is too expensive and risky.


Museum-quality, avant-garde work is created by artists who have talent and skill, regardless of where they live and work.

Local art must be supported in order for deserving artists to gain widespread recognition.

An artist's worth should be judged based on the quality of their work.

Artists require money to live and work.

Collecting for monetary investment is very risky. Collecting for cultural investment is sound.

A dealer's job is to support an artist's vision.

Buy art because you like it; trust your taste.

Everyone should own a fine art collection. Original art is better than usual, generic prints.

Owning art is rewarding on many levels. Cultivate a collection, support artists, and enjoy!

art world norms have to change
The Art World is full of contradictions and tends to be more schizophrenic than it is healthy. Collectors, artists, and dealers are all varied in their theories of the differences between high and low art, investment and non-investment quality art, and what is kitsch or avant garde. These differences of opinion are not the problem, even though those differences are what the value of a work is based on. The problem is that the average fine artist is not getting paid or recognized as well as they should be, the collector is not being as educated and rewarded for their support as they should be, which ultimately means that the dealers (most of them), who are in the position to set the prices of an artwork and promote artists, are not doing their job as well as they could be.
The problem is that people are pretentious, including the artists. Yes, art is an avenue toward higher culture, a method of communication in the realm of intuition, and art is a means to advance society--even to tell the story of current society for historical purposes. Yes, art is meant to be appreciated by educated people, in museums, but more importantly, in their homes, where they can live with it and have learn from it and love it. Art in our homes becomes part of our life and then develops a life of its own and influences almost everybody that sees it. Art is all this and so much more, but.
Let's be real. Art is a commodity. Artists may feel such a strong desire to create art that they would rather die than not paint, and that is valid and wonderful, but even though artists are willing to do it for nothing, why should they? Why settle for nothing when they could get something? I know a lot of artists don't want to bother with the business side of art, and I don't blame them. They want to concentrate on the supposedly more important aspect of creating the art. I'm sorry, but it is, at the very least, equally important to have food every day and a roof over your head too, isn't it? At the very least get an art dealer. I know that you artists are thinking---easier said than done. That's true. But I feel like a lot of artists don't try as hard as they should because they don't want to keep getting rejected and so they ignore the fact that money is a naturally important thing to have. That is how artists are pretentious. They pretend that art is above money. I would say that art is equal with a certain amount of money, that which it is worth, and that is what the artist deserves.
This art that the artists are doing, the discussion as to whether it is high or low art, investment or non-investment. I am not saying that it isn't an important argument, but sometimes it is not logical. Some people have the opinion that you have to be poor to create true avant garde work, some people think that the only art worth buying comes from New York. Some people think that anything sold at an art fair is kitsch, some people think that so-called business artists are not capable of creating fine art, even if they have M.F.A.s. Some people think that art that is done by persons without college degrees and that which is not represented by a gallery is not true art. All of this is opinion, and to be frank, it does not mean squat. The only fair thing to judge an artwork on is how it looks, period. Any other circumstances that an artwork is judged on is pretentious. Let me be clear that I am talking about the artwork that is currently being made today, which is 9o% non-investment quality. When it comes to investment-quality art, it is a different ballgame. All one cares about there is how much the work had recently gone for at auction, or what other comparable artworks by the same artists had brought at auction, for the most part, and that is what gives investment-quality art its value.
The terms investment qualityŁ and non-investment quality give off the air that one is better than the other, but that is not necessarily true. I have heard it said that in order to buy investment quality art a person has to drop at least $30,000. But an honest dealer will also tell you that it is not necessarily higher quality than non-investment quality art, in fact, there is some investment quality art that is crap. But the crap was done by a big name artist, has an auction history, and so-called verifiable prices. Most of us, who can't afford to spend that amount of money, buy art for non-investment purposes. Some people would call this spending disposable but in reality, even though it is not a business investment, it is a cultural one, albeit risky. Nobody knows for sure who the good contemporary artists are, we can only make educated guesses and trust our trained eyes as to which artists are reasonable choices for those that will be art historically important now and in the future. But anybody who pretends to know decisively where an emerging artist will stand in 20 or 200 years is a flat out liar. Everybody looks back on examples like Van Gogh and Rembrandt and is sick to their stomachs that they had to suffer in poverty and sacrifice their lives in order to produce the investment-quality art that we now revere and appreciate. Yet we are continually repeating our mistakes of judgment and currently working artists are still suffering. The sad, pathetic thing about this state of affairs today is that the art world has so many more resources and so much more money today than in the days of Van Gogh and Rembrandt, as well as the fact that more people have respect for artists and regard an artist to have a serious profession deserving of getting paid a fair amount of money. So what is wrong with the art world and the art market? Uneducated buyers coupled with artists not concerned with making money and thus not promoting their art as well as they should, or at the very least not seeking the right dealer to promote their art. That's just an example. But one thing is for sure, artists need to stop being so finicky about making money and more honest in their desire to make money. I don't understand why it is so accepted that artists have to be uninterested in money in order to make high art. They will sit in their studios, starving and slaving away for nothing, and justify to themselves that it is fine because they are above capitalism. If they embraced capitalism and worked with the system that our nation and world is so embedded in then they would be able to be more comfortable and have more uninterrupted time to produce their art. And they are hypocrites to say that they don't want money, because every single one of them is sitting back and hoping that a man like Castelli will happen into their studio and immediately make them a force like Castelli did for Japer Johns and make them wealthy. I know that what I just said could be extremely insulting to artists, but I feel obligated to share my opinion because the art world norms have to change. Artists deserve more than the fuzzy end of the lollipop that most are getting. The world is rich. We need to educate collectors, make them less antsy about collecting local and/or non-investment art, and artists need to feel okay with capitalizing on their extremely hard work. I don't mean the word capitalize in a negative way at all. It absolutely infuriates me that people have to be so pretentious about making money in art and not just admit that everybody needs money to exist and that artists deserve to have a comfortable amount of money for their existence and for the promotion of their art. There is no criteria for becoming an artist. You either are one or you are not.
There is no other market in the world like the art market. It is a place of hypocrisy, elitism, unfairness, stereotypes, and subtleties. Yet the art market creates the capital to make the artists visions reality. Artists can either hate the market and ignore it, thereby only hurting themselves. Or they can work with it and reap at least a modest profit which they so deserve. It's time to change the stereotypes.
I am of the opinion that people should buy art not for investment purposes, but to enrich their lives. A common thing to hear is, buy what you fall in love with. But just as common is for an art dealer to tell you, do not buy based simply on what you like. A dealer will steer you away from a local artist and toward an artist working in a bigger city, a lot of times for a comparable amount of money. So what do you do? I think that if you are a collector of art you should have your own vision and your own taste. Don't let a dealer tell you what to do. You have to think as independently as an artist. In fact, collecting art is an art form in itself. Dealing art can be the same also. Art dealers need to be gallerists. An art dealer that has their own vision and searches for artists that will mesh with their vision, and this is the type of art that they sell. Some dealers work like this but many are mostly concerned with investment. And some people will buy art they don't even like if they think it is a good investment. I think that we should be supporting the artists in the same way that we support writers. We buy the books of the writers we enjoy reading. Nobody is too concerned whether or not the writer is the next Twain.
In the days of Rembrandt, doctors were only slightly higher than artists on the social ladder. Most people didn't respect them--how they were trying to advance society and science. They thought they were quacks, and a lot were. But those that were not suffered because of the stereotypes. Now that the science of medicine has advanced and miracles are performed on a daily basis, doctors have grown to be one of the most respected professions of all, and the money that they receive in return reflects that. My hope is that someday our society will become advanced enough to recognize the great artists of our day while they are still living, instead of recognizing them well after they are dead. What kind of society do we live in if the hard work of a person never gets realized in their own lifetimes?
Now, a word to our ever-important collectors. Do you have confidence in your taste? Are you educated in terms of fine art? Do you believe that you have a good eye? Then trust yourself to make a decision on your purchases and don't believe all the hype. For example, buy local art that you like. Just because it isn't from New York doesn't mean that it is not avant garde. Rembrandt was told to go to Italy if he were to become a "real" artist but he never did. It didn't get him too far in life, because they regarded Italy as we regarded New York in those days, but look at him now. Support local avant garde art and become part of the solution to debunk the myth that is New York, and give some credibility to local artists.
Another thing that I find unacceptable is the fact that not very many people in the middle class buy original fine art. Most of them take their children to the museums, and claim to appreciate fine art, but yet don't buy anything. When they go to decorate their houses they buy prints of Monet and have them nicely framed. Maybe they think that only rich people collect art or that they're not educated enough to buy orginial art. The Monet print that you buy isn't an investment. So why not spend another $200-500 (which you will probably spend on disposable products anyway) and make an investment in current culture. Buy a picture that you love by a local artist and reap the satisfaction of having supported them in their endeavors. Everybody should have an art collection.

gesture six - craypas on paper - 18" x 24" - $not for sale

Johnnie belinda Ramey
2008-05-22 20:57:08
love your works
Blanca Ruth Casanova
2007-11-23 19:33:00
Sarah, thanks so much for liking my artwork. Blanca Ruth Casanova.
Animesh Roy
2007-09-04 02:36:08
Thanks Sarah for your comments on my blog...i will read yours and respond..give me some time!! maybe i sounded too bitter in my views?! I have had a long rough road....sorry
. .
2007-08-29 16:01:27
thank you very much! :)

i really like your site by the way. great idea.

your work is really great by the way :)
Traci Hansen
2007-08-22 14:52:27
Thanks for the complement. Sorry I took so long to get back to you, I was out of town. From the looks of your work, you have a great future ahead of you.
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