01 Sep NEW WAVES Contemporary Art and the Issues Shaping its Tomorrow
I invite you, dear reader, to immerse yourself in these exciting personal stories and, if you like, to switch into reflections on our culture and society at large. I promise, it will be rewarding.
NEW WAVES - Marta Gnyp
This book is a collection of conversations about art, the art world and the world at large between several extraordinary individuals and lucky me. Every great collection is not only an assembly of high- quality elements; it also has a certain added value in itself. To me, these personal stories and particular ideas have provided a broad perspective of what is going on in contemporary art and, in passing, disclosed some essential issues that have been shaping our art world. I hope that they will also unfold worthy insights to the readers of New Waves.
2020, the year in which most of the interviews were conducted, was defined by the Covid-19: the impossible had happened and the world was forced to stand still, at least for a moment. The restrictions imposed on us changed the art world drastically. We stopped traveling, refrained from going to museums and fairs, and started using different means of communication. But whether we were zoom meeting, talking on the phone, or sending DMs, the pandemic made clear how badly we need contact with each other and how priceless and enlightening a profound conversation can be.
No worries, this is not a book about art in the time of corona, although this subject will pop up in several interviews and indirectly tempt to reflections about possible future makeovers. Interestingly enough, self-isolation as one of the Covid restrictions has not disturbed the working process of many artists, especially painters, as solitude has been the normal condition of art making since ages.
It was the structure of the art world that has wobbled under the burden of the pandemic limitations. Necessity is the mother of invention, though, so we have seen a surge of online auctions, gallery viewing rooms, zoom talks and online studio visits, some with more, some with less success. Museums closed and opened and closed again; a number of them decided to deaccession works from the collections, to cover the necessary costs or to what they called “diversify their collections.”
Some artists launched initiatives to help each other, most governments offered support programs. Although the majority of us watched Netflix at home, rather than contemporary artistic productions, and although we still do not know how the corona time will change our system, if at all, one thing we know for sure: the art world has so far showed itself viable, resourceful and mature enough to respond to huge challenges.
This project started in 2019 when I invited several fascinating people to be part of this book. In the course of two years, I interviewed eighteen individuals, who in their own way have given the art world
a direction, be it an artist, collector, curator or auctioneer. Through these conversations I could not only better understand their specific work, but as said earlier, I could also map a few crucial processes that have resonated in art’s ecosystem for a longer time. These processes formed the basis for the division of the book into five chapters, each, as it were, distilling one main topic as their umbrella, although the conversations have been broad and diverse, and have gone far beyond the one highlighted subject.