The art world is a complex construction of many players who all play their own role but are always intertwined by their the common ground, the arts.
When people ask me what the art world is like and how it 'works' I always reply that it is a weird mystery. Money-wise the art world can be seen like a pyramid where the top has dazzling amounts of money - crazy auction results can be witnessed in all the big art cities like London and New York - and the greater layer of artists, galerie owners, art consultants, museum curators etc. who are always struggling with their funds, but produce shows and exhibitions anyway, for the sake of the arts.
An important aspect about the developments of the contemporary art world is that the role of art collectors has increased rapidly over the last few decades and academic criticism about quality has decreased, both to a concerning level. In 2009 the movie 'Untitled', by Jonathan Parker and Catherine DiNapoli, captured this issue with lots of comedy.
Last fall Dutch filmmaker Frank van den Engel finished his documentary 'The Next Big Thing' where lots of research was put into and several artists, art collectors, gallery owners and a museum director and auction house chairman are featured.
Of course we live in a fast lane driven world where time is a rare and valuable commodity. But it causes big harm to the arts as a whole. Artist Chuck Close stressed the very limited amount of time that is given to artists to let themselves and their work ripe and mature. Collector Rosa de la Cruz stated that 'There is too much instant coffee', meaning that art requires patience but our current society is not able at all to bring up patience for anything. Very clearly she continues that 'buying isn't the same as collecting'.
Although this all doesn't sound very optimistic, it is crucial to ventilate the truth and make this story heard.