Network: Art and the Complex Present by Lawrence Alloway

Alloway with notes


And definitions for my understanding:

‘Aesthetic of reception’- ‘conceive the meaning and form of… a work’

-Artistic character

-Reconstruct audiences’ horizon of expectations, then you can be properly critical of the work

Text Synopsis:

In this passage Lawrence Alloway gives a comparison of the way the art world was back in the 19th century and how it metamorphosed into a more liberal environment.

From the upper class, the bourgeois and the educated the art world moved to reach more of the wider public. He goes on to speak of the breakaway from de Kooning’s ‘ethics and operational lore’ which gave such freedom the artists of the sixties enjoyed putting on more and larger shows. In the sixties the minority artists were able to become more prominent and the playing field of the art world held vast improvements in equality and fairness.

Alloway talks about the art world as a network: a system where he claims there was no longer ‘hierarchic structure’. A system where not only art magazines have articles and adverts about exhibitions, but where the larger public is reached. This new system allowed for Artists, the people and their work on which this structure depends, to determine price and be protected by copyright. The way their art enters the network can be better controlled by them.

Still, he says the system has changed more than the artists and their work which is surprising considering the changes seen. The use of art is changing and according to Alloway system is still changing and due for another review.  The distribution of art remains a concern for the artist and Art Network and he feels we cannot rely on the galleries for example to instigate change. He says it is up to the artists to change this, but even artists have a fixed idea of how the art world should be and it is too close to the old.

Application to my own practice

As I began reading this piece of writing I was wondering if I will ever make the transitions they described on the first page. I also questioned whether I would want my work to go through the transitions and the distributions. The changes and adding of meanings all stuck to my authentic work. Part of me thinks I could detach from my work, but would it feel I was selling a part of me? In many ways whatever work you do, you are selling yourself and your skills. I worry I would be too tempted away from the authentic process and veer toward that which I would expect to please people. It is a much better time to be an artist, though I am not sure I would go as far as to say our worries are tax instead of money (pg7)

The description by Apollinaire of 1910 brought to mind what a far cry that was compared to the 40+ years of e.g. Mixing paints expected of artists to be allowed to try being a master. And still we have a more altered Art World today. One I am still grappling with after 4 years study. Still, I feel we have a huge alienated audience. Sometimes even I feel alienated even though I am meant to be what the system depends on- a producer of art. Reading this I feel like an artist but this is a very fragile image. I feel myself and my work almost don’t fit in the ‘Art World’

Still, as I see on page 8 I make work that I see as unique and repeatable. The interpretation is important in my work and I do want people to bring their own things to my work, that they can empathize in their own way and be inspired to make themselves.

I guess it is like how I feel at Tansy’s coffee mornings. I love them and am inspired to get making art. Also, when working in the ceramics studio around like minded people. I am so glad to have had Suzanna and Beth join me. With them, I feel myself and a true artist.

pg7 I appreciate the way they describe the artist statement. It is interesting to think of the changes in this respect from the way it was pre Expressionism. Now the words of the artist are, like their work, an authentic expression.

So much to say about this reading, but meant to keep it to 50+- words.

It has been helpful and food for thought as I look to my future and what I will see myself being. I guess I am only following the tide in my  crisis of confidence 😉

*Printed out version with my notes is in my hard copy research file



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