To what extent do audiences need art galleries to view art works? Art galleries are essential to the art world, however, is not the only source for audiences to view art. To begin with, art and artwork is defined as the application of human skill, creativity and imagination. Taking this into consideration, individuals need to examine the nature and purpose of art galleries as a facility to collaborate, organize and display a collection of artworks.
As art however, is any expression of human creativity, its presence is not bound to art galleries and is evidently present in the world around us be it in photographs, the internet or even in graffiti. To determine the extent audiences need art galleries to view art, the purpose of galleries and the artworks present in galleries must be examined. The main purpose of an art gallery is to acquire, display and preserve artworks for audiences to examine and view.
In saying this, it places a large emphasis on the role of art galleries for audiences as it aims to provide a facility in which audiences may view art justifying their importance. Breaking down the concept of art galleries however is important. One must examine the types of galleries and the types of work they hold in order to understand the types of artworks they can provide for an audience and in a sense, show their importance to the art culture and to the audience itself. The first type of art gallery to consider are private galleries.
Often run by local or “smaller named” artists who set up a space to exhibit their works. These are needed by audiences as it allows them to view a snapshot of local, contemporary works. By presenting examples of the kind of works inspired by the community and local area, it provides a deeper sense of the art culture present in the community. Another type of art gallery are government run art galleries such as the Art Gallery of Western Australia. This type of galleries displays a range of national and international artworks.
An example is in The Art Gallery of Western Australia, where art is taken from around the world. Such art is from a South African artistWilliam Kentridge (Born April 28 1955) who specializes in sculptures with his work “Fire Walker”  and “Shadow Quartet” [2003 – 2004] (an arrangement of wooden instrumental carvings) available for public viewing. Art galleries are therefore necessary for these delicate types of artworks to exist and be preserved. Without such large facilities, audiences may be prevented from viewing finer arts due to their fragile and delicate nature.
Larger art galleries government funded and run are therefore necessary to an audience to view such unique and diverse artworks from around the world.? The final type of galleries are commercial galleries. This type presents works with the intent of sale. Unlike other sources of art such as graffiti on the streets or images on the internet, audiences are granted the rare opportunity to purchase, let alone view works. It provides the opportunity to keep the tangible artwork as opposed to viewing replicas or snapshots of these artworks on the internet or on photographs.
On a whole, there is a great need for the presence of art galleries. It provides an audience with tangible collections of artworks. By presenting the actual artworks in collections and exhibitions, audiences are given the chance to view the quality, scale and depth of artworks that are not possible over images, videos or the internet. Their ability to present diverse, high quality artworks from numerous locations all in one venue highlight the need an audience has for facilities such as art galleries.
Despite the need for art galleries, they are not essential nor are they the sole source for audiences to view artworks. As art is a dynamic expression of ones creativity, art can be expressed and viewed everywhere and are not confined to art galleries. A perfect example of the presence of artworks available for viewing is in graffiti. Graffiti is often a derogative term used to describe writing, drawing, or images placed on the surfaces of public buildings or areas. Although not considered fine art by many, as an expression of creativity and imagination, it falls under the category of artworks.
What separates this form of artwork from those found in galleries is the atmosphere and environment that is attached to graffiti that cannot be replicated or found in art galleries. The raw nature of graffiti makes it appealing for viewers, however, the fact it is abundant in the urban environment justifies the idea that it can be viewed without the need for an art gallery. An example of an artist who’s work is only present in the urban environment is a Melbourne graffiti artist under the alias of Aeon.
Examples of his artworks are “Black” (undated) and “Foes” (undated), both of which are considered “Pieces” produced with spray paint on a bricked surface. Such pieces are only available for viewing on the streets of Melbourne on back lanes and ally ways. The location of his works add to the effect and subjective nature of his works with the emphasis of art flourishing in all areas of the world and by all types of people. Such art cannot be made in art galleries as it takes the surrounding environment and incorporates it into the work itself.
This shows how despite galleries are a source of artworks, not all artworks can be viewed in an art gallery. Graffiti being one of those due to its unique, raw and urbanized nature. Another reason that audiences cannot completely rely on art galleries to view artworks is due to environment and time. Some artworks simply cannot be created in the physical confines of a gallery, rather they can only be photographed and kept as a snapshot of the artwork whilst still in existence. Andy Goldsworthy (Born July 26 1956) is an example of a British artist who’s artwork cannot be viewed in a gallery.
As an environmental sculptor, his works such as “Gutter Water” (2010) only exist for a certain period of time until the water in the works evaporate. Another example of such artwork that environment and time play heavily upon is “5 Arches” (1982), a series of 5 ice pillars. Such works are created using the environment and using time, both of which cannot always be replicated in the gallery environment. For this reason, live viewings or photographs are the only way of seeing the artworks placing emphasis that audiences do not need, and sometimes cannot use art galleries to view artwork.
The need for art galleries has shifted as a result of the internet. Technological progression has lead to the spread of artworks over the internet minimizing the need that audiences have for viewing artworks at galleries. By providing photographs and copies of artwork, individuals are given the option to view works from the comfort of their home and personal computers taking away the need for having to view them elsewhere based on the convenience of the internet. Artworks are a dynamic expression of creativity and imagination.
The extent that audiences need galleries to view them varies, however there will always be a need and purpose for galleries. The quality of work presented, the vast collections and convenience coupled with the atmosphere of art culture that can only be drawn from within galleries are the reasons for audience’s need for them. Taken into consideration, there is a need, however not a complete dependency on galleries to view artworks as art is present in all environments and cultures and not bound to the spaces of a gallery.