Thanks Madonna, less is in fact more

A few weeks ago I wrote that, in light of the economic turmoil that has defined the last year, things at Art Toronto were better than ever. To reiterate, it’s because at a time like this it’s easy for an event like Art Toronto to try new things and go in new directions (as long as those directions fall along the cheap-and-cheerful path) which means that future iterations of the fair in economies of lesser strife, we’ll have new and unusual things that already have the kinks worked out.

It seems that I’m not the only one who believe this. In a recent New York Times Special Report on The Arts, Alice Pfeiffer wrote that “recession has jarred the world of contemporary art as much as any part of the economy, but for art, the shake-up may turn out to be inspirational.”

Many of those at the centre of this shift are claiming that the biggest move is away from production-line art to more scaled down, though no less ground-breaking, works. Think of it as blockbuster movies going by the wayside to be replaced by indie films and flicks made in basements and garages.

In many senses, it’s about economies of scale — can an impoverished town support a big-box store? Or would several smaller ma-and-pop type shops work better? Not only does it lessen or completely bridge the gap between hard-hit art collectors and harder-hit artists, it keeps the flow not just moving but fresh.

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