Who Should Buy Art

Before any discussion about how to go about buying art; there is a necessary preliminary discussion that needs to take place about who should buy art.  In many ways we live in a world in which we franchise our decision making.  We hire “professionals” to make our decisions.  We do not decorate our homes we hire decorators or designers.  We do not take care of our own yard we hire landscape professionals.  In many cases this is expedient and understandable.  We do not have the time or energy to make all these decisions so we “manage” these decisions by hiring individuals or companies who we assume can make better decisions than we can and follow through on the decisions made.

Part of the fallout of that process is that we lesson our sense of empowerment to make  decisions – we increasingly rely on others to do that for us.  I understand there is now a company that will facilitate the name choices for your baby.

Despite this trend towards “professional facilitators” I remain convinced this is not wise process to adopt when choosing art.  Why?  It goes back to the nature and meaning of art.  We keep saying art is a language.  And as a language it communicates in a very direct or unique way to each person.  There may be some overlap between individual’s perception but I believe the well known statement by Anais Nin applies here: “We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are.”  No two people looking at a piece of art see the same thing because they bring their own unique history, understanding, emotions, and feeling to that art.  The experience of art is that interplay between the art itself and our experience of seeing the art.  We cannot assign that visual experience to someone else because they cannot ever see what we see.  It is not a decision for a professional it is an experience for the viewer that cannot be transferred.  We do a disservice to ourselves and to the art by asking a designer or decorator to make that decision.  We also cheapen the art to a secondary role such as “matching the chesterfield” or “we needed more blue in the room”.  That is sacrilege and degrades the significance of art in history and in our world.

You need to make this decision and it is non-transferable.  So enjoy the experience and trust that you can do this; because you, and only you can do this.      

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