You may have noticed that there hasn’t been a recent ‘art scene’ entry in the First Friday column. This is not because I haven’t been going out to First Friday events, but the fact of the matter is, I’m sick of looking at portraits and paintings of fucking apples. Like in Phoenix, the social element of the night is as strong as ever in Philly, and it is quite likely I simply missed some of the more groundbreaking events, but for the most part what you find going from gallery to gallery is more of the same: generally well rendered still life’s, nudes, and cityscapes. Occasionally, you might happen upon rehashed Picasso style work with accompanying lengthy, incoherent artist statements, or post modern meets art deco, which is not without it’s merits, but, like in the music world, we are desperately in need of something different. Something genuinely, uniquely different that isn’t trying to be different, or anything else for that matter.
As I shuffled from one crowded gallery to the next, I really couldn’t help wondering whether the gallery business is simply a symbiosis of galleries and artists producing and procuring the accessible slices of a mundane, comfortable reality that none of us live any longer. Beautiful sunsets, birds sitting together on a beach, an arrangement of provincial life represented through a lump of cheese and wildflower arrangement- these are the elements of a glorified kitch which can only be called art if it is indeed the mythic reality of its audience.
By the end of the night, I couldn’t help but level that question at the art gallery “thing” in general. Do they exist to present something that confound us and makes us question our lives, or do they merely present something comfortable that you can hang over a place setting in your dining room?