“What do we mean by public engagement?”
Joseph Beuys once stated that EVERYONE/everyone is/ an artist. Yet his idea of social sculpture, where members of society were softened by their involvement in art, failed. Banksy, an ironic grafitti artist, who comments on socio-political contexts, said in the movie, “Exit through the Gift Shop” that he thought everyone could be an artist; but, after great dissappointment with a random (man who became a) cameraman working with/of his brave grafitti paintings, he changed his mind. Definitely, not everyone has the unique sensitivity nor sensibility to be a true artist. Banksy's cameraman loved the excitement of graffiti and after long discussions with Banksy, he himself became an artist. He was somewhat an instant artist, who thought that an Artist's success is measured by how much work and at what price he can sell his artwork. This is a common mistake among creative people. The art market forces us to go out with our work and sell it. Not many creative people realise that the art market and its' trends are the biggest enemy of art itself. Remembering Kosuth and his propositopon, “Art for Arts sake”, brings me to the conclusion that Art is an in between sphere/space that doesn't deserve to be classified or sold and has a clear potential for transforming its environment as well as educating society.
I am often puzzled by the idea that art is somewhat elitarian and I strongly disagree with this. Art should be for people, for everyone, to take advantage of and to sophisticate themselves. Many places, art galleries included, work on the “friend culture” and I believe it is discriminative. People have such a strong need to be part of a group. To be US, rather than them, makes them do crazy things just to have the opportunity to be represented by a gallery. This urge has been further increased of late by financial cuts. Grants and official public funding has also been restricted. It has slowly shifted to private funding and narcistic awes?. Many people fund their own projects themselves and if they are less lucky than us then even the greatest talent of the ultra-modern age, they are very unlikely to become recognised artists. One hopes that, all these creative minds will be soon become enlightened enough to understand that having financial success is deceptive and that true greatness is to be respected for their art within every diverse community.