More on the Middle Class–A Call for Art Criticism

“Mohawk” Moorhead 1973

In a recent article in the January issue of The Atlantic Monthly, Senator Charles Shumer (D-NY) posits that the “middle class” has been ignored by the Democrats (and obviously, the Republicans) because the demographics that have been used to define ‘middle class’ are skewed towards the poverty line, instead of placing them above that yearly income bracket. He says that the middle class is smarter, richer and more upwardly mobile than Congress gives them credit for. The median yearly salary in the U.S. is $48,000.00. Congress skews the ‘middle class’ tax breaks for those making less than the median. When, in fact, the majority of the middle class (nearly 80%) make between $60,000.00 and $100K per year. No tax breaks for that portion of the middle class…

To bring it back again to the arts, if Congress ignores the bulk of the middle class, what hope do we have of the haute monde paying them any attention? Here we have tens of thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands of people who collect and support the arts (a larger group than those hedge fund managers, trust fund babies and the upper classes, I imagine) and they have no one to guide them in their selections and decisions regarding art. Or, at the very least, to weigh in on the artistic sensibilities and technique of the artists they collect.

It seems to me that there’s plenty of reasons why a rigorous application of art historical fact, combined with a literate approach, can’t be used to write about the arts that mean something to the those who collect it–at all levels of collecting. It seems that it would be good for collectors, galleries, artists and the public in general, if there were critics commenting on all stages of the art market.


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© Robert Patrick, and Cultivar, 2008-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, photographs and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Robert Patrick and Cultivar with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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