Posted by: prataap | August 31, 2008







When Shock Art no longer shocks, what’s next? When work, play, and the creation of new things, and the transfer of information (most art can be transferred as digital information) is free over the Internet thanks to Napster, Wrapster and who knows who else, the question is no longer “what is art?” but “whose art is it anyway?” and “who is an artist?” Anyone can have an audience of millions for every bit of their self-expression thanks to YouTube and MySpace.

Let’s take the trends and pull them apart. First there is the current trend in art to want to shock. This will continue to its logical end and move to the next taboo area. Art will dwell on death in ways as yet unexplored in documentation and performance.  The art forms of human death will be plumbed for all they are worth before interest in that too dies. The Internet created the world-wide audience that Timothy Leary sought while he died.  His was a first tentative step in that direction, now with much better video and real time images, watch for actual gore to be the next topic of net censorship.  And others like Randy Pausch make the transition from life to death more normal with videos like The Last Lecture. It has had an audience of over 2 million hits and is still growing, but is that art?  Why not? In this age of instant polling, who decides?

With web pages so easy to create and every portal offering them for free, it’s only a matter of time before some smart entrepreneurial artist/programmer comes up with an offering to create your own masterpiece programs. Templates in music and fine arts that help you write original classical music and paint in a particular style already exist. Define your style and then it can be varied and refined with the guidance built into the program; for example, it might stop you from using purple with pale green or a high C unless you override it. And there is the Bill Gates mansion version: flat screen displays of art where and when you want, for rent, on loan, or stuff you own.  Soon expect to see versions of shock art king, Damion Hersh’s shark in formaldehyde for rent for your Christmas party. The headset version might just be out in time for Halloween next year.

How about art for any occasion? Performance artists whom you commission to create an art event for your wedding, or your office Christmas bash, or IPO party! (yes IPOs still do happen) Or an aspiring local singer under the auspices of makes herself available to serenade as you propose to your beloved and that followed by a romantic dinner for two served at the top of the local historic landmark tower.  (Only if she says “yes”, of course.)

Even “high art” will leave the galleries and museums and find new venues. It already has crossed over into the mundane via web sites, and CDs.  You can tour the Louvre and most major museums and stop and get the scoop on any painting in each gallery, the artist, style, etc.  Museums are becoming more like circuses, and performance entertainment centers and less like the serious centers of “aahrrt” of the past. And they all want the latest IT architect in fashion (Gehry, of course) to design a statement or a spectacle of a building that might become the main attraction. The art inside is now secondary to the entertainment and talk value of the museum itself. Tate in London, Guggenheim in Bilbao, Getty in Santa Barbara, Museum of Fine Arts in Boston have each hired a performer architect to create the circus tent for the art experience inside. Whatever happened to good old blank white walls where paintings could be seen without the noise of architecture and museum gift shops and cafes? Say goodbye to all that for good, and don’t look back because art, like retail is being combined with entertainment and food and even dating. Yes the MFA has first Fridays for singles to commingle with Picasso; masterpieces mere backdrops for foreplay.

When art no longer hold its own as the focus it will soon morph and join a new partnership to become a new retail concept or just another service industry available on demand where and when you want it.


Next Opportunities:

Where do these trends about art as entertainment lead you and me. The obvious ones are; if you are an aspiring singer or performance artist, make yourself available through service providers like and become part of an entertainment package. Or if you can market yourself as the “it” architect of the day you can get the next big commission to package art in gold foil (titanium is already done) for the next museum design statement. There is no place for the “starving artist” in the entrepreneurial society of today. Like it or not, artists are going to have to compete with everyone creating their own art and marketing it on YouTube and not on eBay. And if at Christies they can sell art made by some Malaysian elephant, then in the age of the Internet you too can find some angle for making your unique mark on the art world.  Be the creator of the first “green painting” that when planted and watered per instructions becomes a scenic carbon absorbing plant.

If you are too shy to claim to be an artist or designer right away, start your own web site with items for sale from other designers.  Anyway, start with your own web site, every one of you.  It is your calling card to the world; make it your artistic statement to the world. Design is everywhere. BMW, Nike, and now Apple have made design and art part of all consumer products of the coming decade. It’s time we all joined the movement of expressing ourselves as artists. Sell your own book, your next song, your next painting directly over the web! Create the next art form and make the world your audience. Perform live from your bedroom. I take that last one back, that’s already done and it’s really boring.  Anyway, perform. You get the picture.

The bottom line with this trend is that there are opportunities for tie-ins with all kinds of existing service providers (wedding and event organizers, web site programmers, interior designers and as many more as there are services) The masses want personalized, changeable art on the cheap. The immediate next trend, a la Bill Gates’ vision, your flat screen wall mounted panel will let you create and display whatever you want to call art anytime you want by simply downloading the image of your choice onto it. You might pay a fee or you might not.  This will be followed by ubiquitous 3D art when holographic technology comes of age.  And it will come of age.

Any which way you cut it, look for all forms of art, written, sung, painted, performed to be made directly available to the audience. Gear up for that and you will become the leader of the pack. Create a brand name for yourself and you will make money at it. Become the next generation Andy Warhol or David Bowie. Create collaborative music with your fans. Let them in on your creative process and watch an instant community grow. The pioneer is PatroNet launched by rock musician Todd Rundgren in 1998. Rundgren envisions a music industry in which artists interact more directly with fans who become collaborators in creating and marketing music and providing it on a Virtual Private Network (VPN) where one never has to buy music. Simply subscribe to the VPN. Yahoo and Microsoft are experimenting with the idea. Think up the next model, there will be many forms of direct niche marketing.  Wikipedia, for example, spawned a novel written by the collective masses.

Art will sell based on 10% talent, 40% timing and 50% buzz! Leave art school credentials and commissions to old school galleries. Take your talent directly to the market via the web.  Sep 15 2008, good old Damien is creating a buzz in the art world not with his art, but by how he is marketing it. He is cutting out the his gallery, and putting 223 new pieces up for auction directly at Sotheby’s.

Find a way to create a buzz. Art without buzz will be like the tree that fell in the forest.

Let your imagination run wild.

Create the future and smell the roses, it’s your move!


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