I disagree with a lot in the book. For instance, I’m more likely to give artists a break. But one concept in the book has stuck with me: Cultureburg.
In 1975, Wolfe estimated that the group of people who knew, cared about, or possessed any power to affect contemporary art was surprisingly small, “approximately 10,000 souls—a mere hamlet!” He called the hamlet “Cultureburg,” and he didn’t like it.
Of course, the hamlet has grown since then. Its population hasn’t been counted for a while. But if the current number is ten times Wolfe’s 10,000, or even 100 times, the former hamlet is a smallish city now—something like Darwin, Australia or Aix-en-Provence, France or Odessa, Texas or Cambridge, Massachusetts or maybe Fes, Morocco or Kyoto, Japan.
Meaning, there still aren’t very many people in the world for whom the art of our day has any direct relevance whatsoever.
In all our projects, lectures, exhibitions, curating, advising, and publishing, we’re taking another look at what Cultureburg might become. And we’re keeping one thing in mind: Our job is to connect great art and smart people.
I can hear myself at 15 years old saying, and at 30 regretting, “I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like.” I know a lot more now, but I’m still opinionated:
No to pretense. No to obscurity. No to silence. No to the withering gaze. No to timidity. No to no.
Yes to connecting. Yes to exciting. Yes to rewiring. Yes to catching. Yes to letting go. Yes to yes.