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COUNTERPUNCH LETTERS : Artists and Galleries

July 23, 1990

In reference to Eli Broad's July 9 Counterpunch article, much of what he has to say is true. Yet, there is far more to collecting and showing art than he states.

Public museums, private museums, foundations and private collectors buy and/or exhibit art for myriad reasons. Some do it as a public service or for the sheer love of art and some, I suspect, for tax benefits or ego justification. Then there are those who buy and sell for a profit.

Yet collectively, very little art by younger artists is purchased or exhibited by those entities or individuals. They veer toward "name" artists, and those artists are most often out of New York or Europe. In the main, our highly creative and talented West Coast artists are too often ignored by foundations and museums, including locally based organizations.

There is only one place where such art can be seen 52 weeks a year, and that is the art gallery. True, art galleries are private enterprise and presumably operate for a profit. Realistically though, it is the love of art and artists and working to develop careers that motivate most gallery owners. Those presumed profits are often not in evidence.

Foundations and museums take no financial risks, for they are privately or publicly funded. On the other hand, galleries take every imaginable risk and put their dollars where their hearts are.

And as most West Coast galleries will tell you, it is rare when curators for locally based museums and foundations shop locally based galleries. I guess it's more chic to go to New York or Europe.


Saxon-Lee Gallery

Los Angeles

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