Every Artist is an Art League

Recently went on a tour of DC galleries around Dupont Circle then the 14th and U st. area where we saw some group shows of ‘local’ artists and some of the more sophisticated galleries in the area. Later went online to check out the local art group Mid City Artists  – a “…diverse and talented group of professional artists who have come together for the purpose of promoting their art and the Dupont/Logan neighborhoods of Washington DC that they call home.” However, you have to live there to join them so then I thought GREAT IDEA – to counter the isolation of my lovely quiet suburb I should join the local art group! Well after nearly two months, I have still to hear back  from the league of local artists – even after volunteering a significant amount of time per week through their online application and website. Seems like they’re not exactly anxious to embrace all local artists, even when they represent revenue and manpower.  In any case these local leagues attract criticism similar to that directed at the recent Latino Art show at the Smithsonian American Art museum – that the criteria (Latino) represents an arbitrary reason to collect such diverse artists and styles. The local leagues similarly lump together artists indiscriminately on the basis of area of residence. Shouldn’t art associations be based on a shared aesthetic or process rather than race, ethnic group, language, geography or hair color? Not sure exhibiting with a bunch of different styles gathered in this manner promotes any vision whatsoever or any artist in particular. Does such a group really benefit an individual’s career as an artist or simply promote an organization? Gone seem to be the days of art movements and manifestos with a consistent and coherent vision and style. Go figure why with the facility and resources of the web available for congregating and communication there aren’t more ‘virtual leagues’ forming under shared art forms and aesthetics.  If you look at what art associations actually do exist on the wild and wonderful web it seems the opposite – a jumble of artists and styles collected under any one particular website for expressly commercial or marketing purposes while individual artist websites float in a sea of anonymity. Guess you could say that every artist is trying to be an art league – even if old cliques fail to invite you and your website lacks all the popular links.

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