the armory show, new york, a typical fair where aisle arrangement is
essential to the enjoyment of the spectacle (maximization goal: merchandise experience)
have you not connected the dots yet? we're living the WalmArtization of art.
come, let's walk the through the aisles of any of today's many art fairs, filled with this aura of prominence: expen$ive art from all over the world & populated by sophisticated visitors. notice that the aisle/grid arrangement of the galleries is not that far apart from Walmart's (neat, well ordered, straight, spacious enough for three people to pass each other comfortably, with visible and clear signage display).
granted, there is a difference in the type & status of the merchandise being sold. did we call art "merchandise"? comparing Miami Art Basel with Walmart may seem --to any art cognoscenti-- a crude distortion. of course, there are differences.
a walmart gallery (maximization goal: merchandise display)
let's take the art/market side of the equation. the art market,
* represses --while selling-- the idea of art as commodity,
* favors objects of entertainment and specular pleasure,
* sets rhythms of fashion as ritual recurrences of the always new,
* promotes a culture of self-congratulatory hypnosis,
* reintroduces mythic and cultic elements to modern secular time (i.,e, contemporary art has no past no future)
the difference is that we treat art as this very particular form of investment (i.e., original, rare, sophisticated). contemporary art is a respected, eminent kind of commodity.
on the other hand, Walmart is the largest global multinational retail, thus a trusted, respected, eminent corporation.
the "art" part of Walmart which for long figured, latently, as a quasi suffix can now be officially announced:
welcome to WalmArt!