The Traditional trajectory of the life of the fine artist in modern day society looks something like this. The artist goes to school. If she is successful in undergraduate and graduate studies, she will attain a BFA, and probably an MFA. If she has made the “right” connections and is talented enough, her work will be exhibited in small group shows (the bottom rung of galleries, curators, and those in “the scene”). If the right collector comes along and is informed by a particularly hip art consultant who decides that the artist in question is the next up and coming thing, the collector may buy a series of her works, and perhaps from this launch pad she can ascend the ranks to the next tier of galleries, group shows, solo shows, and subsequent transactions. After a long and successful career, she may climb even higher. Cocktail parties and dinners with other high profile artists, dealers, and collectors will land her in important collections, international galleries, and auction houses. The final leap into immortality takes place after this artist has reached the near end of her career. Retrospectives are launched and her work is placed in museums, which in turn are run by the most powerful gallerists, researchers, scholars, and curators. The museums which solidify her fate are controlled by the boards of directors, philanthropists, and others who live and work at the top of this political, social, and economic hierarchy. Meanwhile, the spectators come and go, often times simply enjoying what they are told is culturally worthwhile.
ca$h & politics
rule a disgusting and shameful amount of this scene, much as they do over many aspects of modern life. Such manipulation and corruption have been thoroughly extrapolated on by the likes of the late art critic Robert Hughes. I will spare detail here, but an excellent summation of these thoughts can be found in his film The Mona Lisa Curse. Even the paragon of modern art, Marcel Duchamp, explained art as a drug; a fetishized hit of ecstasy for all of the different junkies who limp through its incestual alleyways. Patrons, however, have been an essential part of the tradition of Western art, and I am certainly not naive enough to think that money automatically invalidates art making. In fact, an undeniable truth that is avoided like the plague in art schools is this: It takes money to make art and its communities thrive in any setting, let alone in a 21st century capitalistic setting with global connections. Rather, the issue with money comes down to this: who is giving it, who is getting it, and what are the intentions of all of the stakeholders involved? It seems to me that most of these intentions are not rooted in a deep wish to cultivate human culture as we continue to grow and evolve.
Thus, artists who wish to operate outside of this system are faced with a few problems: finding space to show work in as well as procuring funds to spend on rent, materials, and other such basic living and art making expenses. Many independent artist groups operate in a diverse number of ways in order to resolve this issue. Often times they appeal to grants, donations, dinners, fundraisers, various types of merchandise, or the selling of their art to raise funds. Many of these groups are 501(c) (3) non-profit organizations. While 65ETICA utilizes some of these means, at the core the group is fundamentally different. We are a registered limited liability corporation. Why would we choose to structure our cooperative efforts in this way? Although our aims and goals align with many of these other organizations, we are interested in using the current systems involved to build a thriving enterprise. By operating as a corporation with a transparent capitalistic economic model, we believe that we can create and build wealth that can be better utilized to empower our artists and compete with those in the most powerful seats of many of our society’s archaic artistic institutions.
[It is vital]
that the ruling era of the aforementioned institutions must be seen as rapidly drawing to a close. The millennial generation has in its grip some incredibly powerful tools, namely, a historically unprecedented access to networks. This, when combined with global mobility, can provide the infrastructure for an entirely different kind of artist group: an open sourced, crowd funded, and globally portable incubator for generating culture.
65ETICA is revealing to people what they already have: the right to dictate the legacy of their generation. Yes, we do understand that we are asking you to spend your money on some shirts and hats. But though the actual products are brought to life with superb care and craftsmanship, their ultimate essence is but a trivial footnote to the overall architecture of 65ETICA. By buying 65ETICA, by lending us a space to work in, by giving us a couch to sleep on, or by supporting the 65ETICA idea in any way, you are taking ownership of your culture and making a stand against all those that are buying immortality for themselves and those around them. They don’t give a damn about us. They just want to see their names carved in stone. For God’s sake, humans alarmingly soon will be able to download minds into digital files and create civilizations in the stars. It will be one of the triumphs of this generation to cultivate the flourishing of the humanities as our technology propels us into the unknown. Do you care about this culture at all? Then stop supporting brands that don’t. Stop supporting a system that propagates a massacre of our artists. Stop waiting for adoption into decaying aristocratic institutions. We are the architects of a new institution. Let us unite to boldly burn our epitaph into the processional salvo of this dying planet. The abuse of art and culture has gone on long enough.