Art is almost more relevant today than ever before. In today’s shaky, uncertain world, we tend to believe the arts – which are a luxury when you think about it – lose their relevance. When people aren’t sure of the ground they stand on, when they’re not sure of where the next pay packet will come from it is often the arts that suffer.
I started WendyDesChene because I know there’s a large community that shares my understanding that the arts are one of the few ways in which we can make a point which is political without it being overtly aggressive.
Art often makes the point we cannot. Either because we have no voice or our ability to be heard is compromised. Art and artists are almost by default political animals – nothing is necessarily what it is at face value. Art that carries a value necessarily is about more than the superficial.
Art has been here forever. Ancient man used dyes and pigments from the earth but still, they decorated their dwellings – leaving us an idea of their lives. When most people couldn’t read, art was used to teach, to illuminate and to a point to control.
In Dark Ages Europe, the church held the reins and controlled the flow of information to the everyday person. We might get weary of the churches’ choice of subject matter. If you have ever been to Florence, Italy and thought ‘if I see another ‘Madonna con il Bambino’ you know exactly what I mean.
But we do have to thank the church for many of the innovations and developments that came along. Brunelleschi built his dome as a response to a technical challenge. We rediscovered perspective for similar reasons. Ghiberti could never have finished the Baptistry without coming to grips with vanishing points.
But as time went by and individual patrons had the wherewithal to pay for the art, they wanted to adorn their palazzos and we began to see secular art. Now things began to change. An artist creating for a patron is going to deliver what the man with control of the purse wants. Often it was to his aggrandizement, but we got some fantastic art from it. It isn’t a huge step from there for the artist to ally themselves with a patron whose beliefs align. With their own, and the door is open for the artist to become a commentator.
This is where art gets interesting. The artist still lives and dies by their ability to paint things that patrons will pay for. If the work doesn’t contain something of the artist, something that clearly states its provenance, the collector will feel cheated. It is no longer simply a matter of subject and taste, it has also come to branding.
My goal is to make WendyDesChene the place to go to find out about art and what it means. I will be blogging on current trends and new directions in the business. WendyDeschene.com will take you inside art, and even provide you with some things to think about.