The art scene in Maine is buzzing with opinions about Art Collector Maine
let's check out the critics, and have our say.
Portland Press Herald staff writer Bob Keyes recently drove more statewide attention to the Portland Art Gallery that requires artists to pay a fee for promotion and exhibition. Keyes article from December 7, objectively reported on the brewing tensions from both sides of the fence and included detailed information about the benefits and drawbacks of this new-to-Maine business practice. His article also allowed the actual players a voice in this controversy.
Read Keyes article here
Chris Busby of Bangor Daily News struck back with an article titled "The Wal-mart of Maine art" and a decidedly more bitter view of the Portland Art Gallery and artcollectormaine.com
Read Chris Busby article here
Busby called the work on artcollectormaine.com:
"trite junk - landscapes and seascapes depicting boats and lighthouses and old barns; the sort of unimaginative visual drivel that hangs in hotel rooms and the vacation homes of people with far more money than taste."
If you are curious as to what qualifies Busby to actually critique this work in such a harsh manner you can check out the magazine and podcast that he edits and publishes about Portland.
The Bollard is Busby's contribution to better taste, creativity and imagination in Maine, so feel free and grab a solid look at it and have at your opinion of his work and email him your thoughts HERE
in response to Busby's article: Art Couch says,
"Shame the business practice if you must, not the artists!! All the art coming out of ACM, is not junk. Many of those artists still show work in other galleries all over Maine and are doing well, how do you think they can afford these prices? Since this article came out sweeping negative statements about the art abound, and frankly it is sad. These are our colleagues. Have respect for them and their work."
The fact is that all over Maine, the artists and creatives have suffered a loss on all fronts in the down economy. There is no more statewide 1% for artist initiative, there is a huge lack of affordable space for studios and grass roots galleries and grants for artists especially in rural areas of Maine... and ...there is a lack of qualified critics and buyers. LePage entered his office showing his disdain for the artists, and whomever is at our helm will always translate to the people and business statewide, so there's also that.
Portland lost one of the most well known and respected galleries, Aucocisco Galleries when the doors closed in September when the owner moved out of town. Many other Maine galleries are closing, or never opening, due to lack of sales and support. No one can force taste and opinion on a buying public in a democratic or capitalist society, if paintings of still lives and lighthouses is what's selling right now, then that's what's selling. Galleries aren't just in business just for the people of Portland's artistic amusement, they are businesses. Art for art's sake must be created by artists and supporters, grants and philanthropists, not by businesses.
The other thing Busby may not know about being an artist, is that even the best and most respected and curated galleries in this state are sometimes impossible to reach for a talented artist without having to lay down a few bucks (or a few thousand) or to get backing and grants. At this point any successful business model supporting artists is a good thing for this state that is in an artistic hell-void right now, even if it's sole purpose serves to motivate better competition.
anonymous Facebook response:
Busby...how about you educate buyers & collectors on the nuances of fine art instead of providing a slurry insult to your fellow creatives on BDN?
Hopefully, the outrage at Art Collector Maine's dominance in this market, no matter how you feel about it, will drive competition and the anger will create movement from the strong curators and collectors to flush them out of hiding and encourage them to step up their game.
Until there is increasing steady support for arts and culture development in this state, this is what we are going to get and we'll have to get used to it, or, Connecticut will begin to get the best Maine artists have to offer.
meanwhile…here's some free art in Portland.
written by: Erin Duquette
ADD ON 12/18/14
"In the case of Maine art, there are buyers around the globe who haven’t yet heard about our artists or seen their work. When they do, some will buy that art. We can’t wait for them to decide to take a trip to Acadia, or happen luckily upon a gallery when they finally visit."
OPINION from KEVIN THOMAS Portsmouth Press Herald
What can you do to support art in Maine? ….
Art, Culture, Unity and Soul