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Who buys the art? More specifically, who buys art in the major art towns in the Southwest such as Santa Fe and Scottsdale? If you talk to the top galleries they will tell you it is the baby boomers. They account for the majority of the sales in the art cities in the Southwest. The big seasons for the galleries coincide with where the baby boomer generation goes. This is not that surprising and is to be expected that this generation had time to acquire the means to buy art. What is shocking is the absence of Generation X.
Generation X is my generation and we are the children of the baby boomers. We are in our 30's and 40's and we are not collecting art. Personally, I blame the top galleries and big art shows. The Western artists of the baby boomer age are fantastic at what they do. From the 1970's they have done very well and continued to sell very well for the next thirty years. These artists were in all the big juried shows and they just picked winners from the same crowd year after year. I completely understand. The artists were doing well, the galleries were making money, and the shows could promote their organizations. Why change something that works?
Fast forward 30 years later and look around. Nothing has changed. These artists are making the same sort of things they did 20 years ago, the galleries are selling to the same crowd, and the shows are sticking with the same names. When someone from Generation X visits these art cities we are lost. The art institutions were so focused on the present that they forgot about the future. What happens in 20 years from now?
I am very passionate about these art towns and they help keep art alive in this technical age. In order to survive, they must start communicating with my generation. They must bring in new blood, embrace social media, market in new ways and realize that what worked 2o years ago will not work now. There are ways to reach Generation X and it is not too late. But it requires a change of plan.
Editor's Note: You can view Mark's original post here.