The social media.
At first sight it seems that Art may benefit of the easy chances of divulgation through the social media of web 2.0, that are those commonly called social-networks. But the appearance conceals more detrimental dimensions.
We all know alredy the negative fact, but it is not the main one, that many artists, as anybody else, are self-referentially interested in their own affirmation and in the moment, thinking that it is represented by the followers, by sharings and by the "likes" (which can be anyway insincere or given by those who search for mutual consensus) that are instead tools to control and to take advantage of individual and disjointed opinions for the sake of all-absorbing politics. Those artists do not analyse the context and the evolution of the system in its complexity, they see in the consensus an immediate reward for their efforts and thus think to find opportunities, but in reality they lay on the same level of any other individual in the fight for affirmation, subduing to the conformism of a world that is aligned, entrapped, forced, and at times squalid; that is not the purpose of Art: the contemporary artistic sentiment was born with the need to emancipate from the slavery of profit.
But the fundamental problem, about which most people may not be aware, is that the social media favour in primis
the divulgation of an infinity of other things, either from the execrable mainstream and from that world composed of the buffaloing uncritical, ignorant or unaware mass, that in large part lingers on void witticisms, small talks, gossips, outrages, adulations, etcetera, or even worse on the needless repetition of mantras of the "politically correct" righteousness, seasoned with jolly cartoons, forming a frightful mass, a cyclone of things that saturate the public attention and encumber the minds, marginalising that bit of good that is left with a crushing disproportion.
This is the great enemy: the too much of everything that distracts, snatching time from people, while Art is the opposite of everything and quickly; Art is distillation: it requires time to be produced and time to be tasted, so the true artist is often a hermit who voluntarily segregates in order to think and create without the brainwashing of a frenzied world. And also the true art lover is often a digital hermit, who finds the calmness and lucidity, to enter into contact with the thin conscience encoded in the work of art, only keeping outside the cacophony of social media.
The life of people is already obliterated by errands, by the job and responsibilities they are subjected to, so that the most common manifestation of surrender is expressed with the phrase "I have no time", to the point that in the little spare time, often pinched from the sleep also augmenting the exhaustion, people is searching for relax, especially intellectual, ending up in being trapped by the superficiality offered in the social and mass media that soothe all the prig's anguishes. Even worse, many people waste their own life in being social-networks' majordomos, managing the abnormal mass of relations in a condition of addiction and subjugation that is self-feeding right on the too many virtual social relations, at last getting lost into the uncertainty due to the dissonance of pluralism.
Into this bedlam, Art seems nothing more than a speck of dust and often it is relegated to the purpose of mere visual support for the wisecrack or of testimonial for the small talk. In the boundless global polyphony of socials, even the sublime gets lost, and that does not benefit Art, that has lost the aura, the charisma and the conceptual significance that we used to confer it before the advent of social media, when the information was coming only from catalogues and niche paper magazines, on which we used to linger in silence, with calm and rapture. Art in social media sometimes even undergoes (in a permanent way) to the mocking comments of rude couldn't-care-less people, who are more interested in pub quarrels and dirty jokes than culture.
Art does not deserve socials, and socials does not deserve Art. As Bloch says, never argue with a fool as people might not know the difference, and because as Wilde says, the idiot wins for experience after having dragged you to his level; in fact, to discuss with a stupid, the intelligent must go down to his level, the opposite will never happen, not in the time span of a discussion, elevation requires time.
Social media lower the intellectual level of Art to the human lowest grade or most superficial condition, in fact Art is loosing ground and edge because is slowly going to be considered a frivolous phenomenon, a devalued mass entertainment, at the same level of the vignettes about Osho's philosophy or those pictures with tender kittens.
Artists please protect Art from this unfair comparison.
Since the first moment when this site was published, just while the most widespread social network of today was timidly showing up, I avoided the implementation of visitors' comments that was becoming so common in web 2.0, preferring the possible proposal of complete and elaborated speeches; for this reason I always refused social networks, because their only reason to exist is functional to the agon for the masses where the winner is who produces or looks for consensus, while Art is often necessarily troublesome. And let alone the totalitarian and dictatorial drift of profit that rules with its censorship for everything is going the opposite direction. After all, private epistolary relations, via e-mail, are more satisfying, where we can exchange opinions unworried about being disturbed by hordes of oafs, but also the criticisms that raise the debate when constructive, or simply ignored if perfidious, all things that no "like" nor "dislike" will never substitute.
Lastly, you have also to take into consideration the sharing, the digital publication, of a myriad of works of art and of whole portfolios for public consultation, especially into the social networks but also on the internet generally, it makes the need for art to extinguish too easily just browsing the web, which is offering an appalling amount of material that is growing year after year, adding up to centuries of classical art that is by now all visible in maximum detail on the internet. In ancient times, artists could just give a business card, invite people to see some artworks in their studios and possibly offer some catalogues on request, nonetheless the modern epoch gave birth to those myths which names can not be eclipsed by today's artists, despite (or cause of) the exhausting on-line presence. I always thought that the on-line publication of works of art should be administered in dribs and drabs, recommending to the artists I came into contact to publish when possible only the works that have been sold or maybe already featured in exhibitions, not the new or never exhibited ones, and to make their portfolios available privately for the art operators or also on request for the public, even to the sake of protecting them from plagiarism. All in all, the art lover and the public must not extinguish their own thirst for art watching it on-line. Last but not least, as I always underline and recommend suggesting, Art must be seen and "touched" from real: many works of art seen for the first time on the computer (as much as on a catalogue, after all,) or worse on the small screen of a mobile phone, loose efficacy and strength, they can not render the same sensations of the artwork as seen from real, in its materiality and dimensions, meant as contextualised proportions.