I have started to think about my dissertation topic today. It is very difficult to decide what I want to write about as it can be any topic to do with the visual arts. Errrrrrrrrr – that is a very very wide topic to choose from. After visiting the Wallace Collection and Kevin Coates exhibition I am contemplating looking at how we attribute value to art and craft. This topic could include how a museum that, in my humble view, is as “middle-class” orientated, as the Wallace Collection is part of the machine that perpetuates a power-based artistic value system. I like anything which investigates class systems. I also think that the great works of Dr Kevin Coates also comes from a very middle-class place, one of great education and cultural knowledge. Would his work have been appreciated in another type of museum?
The Wallace Collection and Kevin Coates work represent art that comes out of the tradition of skilled craftsmen and deep cultural artistic history. Where did the values that the Wallace Collection represent stem from? How did values that need a university education to understand them, come to be the standard by which we view all art? Are these values important today or are they passe in a world where people are shunning cultural pleasures for the quick fix of TIVO and Facebook?
At the moment there is an exhibition of outsider art at Selfridges, London. The contrast between traditional art values and the values we place on outsider art is stark – who is responsible for that value criteria? Read Justin Lewis “Art, Culture and Enterprise” which explains his views on artistic value and his new artistic value categories. It is also a great book if you are interested in how public art is funded.
The exhibition is called THE MUSEUM OF EVERYTHING. www.museumofeverything.com is the website if you want to know more about this exhibition which showcases fantastic work from self-taught artists with disabilities. The work is on display is truly wonderful and really exciting.