Good discussions about art and artists
October 12, 2007
Recently I learned about Pharmaka, a group of artists in LA who are ‘having the conversation’ I want to have. Their podcasts are lively and honest discussions about the role of painting in life and the role of artists in society. They are doing some serious questioning about the channels of expression and marketing open to artists and are very much onto some of the same points I’ve been wrestling with.
Phrases like the ‘corporatization of art’ spring up. There is a real awareness of the lack of fulfilment in being just a gallery artist dependent on the whims of a dealer and public trends in art. Paraphrased from one of the podcasts: ‘Basically I want something more than making products for the gallery stores’.
They started out as a group of artist friends having these discussions, and eventually put their money where their mouths were and leased a broken down building in a dangerous area in downtown LA around 2004. Since then it has become, with real blood sweat and tears from the artists themselves, a vibrant forum for integrity in art, respect for the craft of painting and a flourishing space for serious working artists who feel themselves drawn to these qualities. The area, as far as I know has improved a lot with the coming of other businesses, and there is a thriving art venue there now with several galleries.