The concept of The ONE Museum was born at the end of 2019 from the meeting of a shared observation, a desire to make things change and a know-how, all three based on an in-depth knowledge of the Fine Arts world for many years.
On the one hand, the observation was of four kinds:
The first one emanates from institutions and an Art market which, both of them, sadly turn out to be largely owned by the same partial, navel-gazing, narcissistic microcosm, infatuated with itself and its privileges and in which elitism, cronyism, favouritism, nepotism, etc. reign, openly and without sharing. This exclusive system, tangled up in facile, often complacent, sometimes even collusive habits, has gradually and very naturally found itself prey to the sclerosing difficulties inherent in his clan behaviour, which led him straight to an increasingly closed, routine, narrow, passive, uninventive mode of functioning, cowering over itself, incapable of evolving and reinventing itself.
Moreover, this autistic two-headed system suddenly had to face, on the one hand, the deterioration of the economy that had hitherto sustained its decorum and lifestyle, and in parallel, the major technological turnaround that was the omnipotent advent of the "virtual", whose radical upheaval neither the institutions nor the market had really been able to apprehend at its true height.
Thus, a vicious circle was established, at the root of all the evils that we can deplore today.
Indeed, the conjunction of these two states of affairs in no way favours audacity, risk-taking and the will to defend with dignity and fervour little or not yet recognized artistic values which can only very hypothetically promise a guaranteed return on investment, if any. It then leads to the very hegemonic favouring, systemic and systematic, of the same ones and only artists who could be described as "bankable". This results in even further discrimination of any initiative to search for and discover new "unprofitable" artists, of the renewal of artistic proposals and thus, of the evolution indispensable to creative emulation which, in turn, inevitably leads to a gradual decline and then to a collapse in the quality of artistic production — since, as we know very well, as soon as a movement finds itself in the grip of a process of stagnation, we witness a regression of the process that can lead to its potential shutdown and destruction.
The classical media, as a whole, do not deviate either from the same abusively passive, conformist and very comfortable attitude for themselves, thereby definitively forgetting their secondary, yet quite fundamental, role. Their first duty is certainly to inform, but the second should be to assume their role of effectively revealing talents and promising artistic values and thus to open the way for new voices. But why should we be surprised that they do not?Quite simply because they have no interest in doing so. Their main concern is to secure their place within the sacrosanct coterie with which they share vernissages, VIP receptions and fancy dinners, perpetuating their intellectual orthodoxy in exchange for a few well-paying advertising recipes. It would seem completely out of place, even insane, to seek to unearth and carry some “out of the seraglio” talent, which “The Holy Clique” would certainly look unfavourably and would not know in any way what to do with it, since for its apparent safeguard, it opposes an end of non-receipt to any novelty.
Only the alternative media, mostly digital, still seemed to want to escape from the mainstream in all their good faith. However, they are so multiple that their audience is mathematically subdivided and therefore their influence made more anecdotal, sorely lacking in vectorial efficiency. Moreover, the cautious milieu, having sensed in them despite everything a potential, still hypothetical danger, has itself infiltrated a certain number of them, emanating from more or less institutional or commercial parent structures, not being free of subliminal “broodmare” ulterior motives either...
So, if we wanted to summarize the situation trivially, we could, without any great possible contestation, and without any great consternation either, because everyone honestly agrees on the same observation, affirm that it contributes to always seeing the same artists everywhere, without guaranteeing that they are indeed the best. Can we just hope, at best, that there are a few among them anyway…
Reciprocally, the second one, equally unfortunate, is to observe that art itself, as diverse as it may be, then retreats into the same moroseness, the same resignation, the same frigidity, the same sterility, leading it to numbness or even apathy to the point of no longer freely evolving and innovating, contenting itself, more or less voluntarily, to melt into the same expected mould, to be nothing more than a sad, sempiternal repetition of the same recipes, of the same used or even obsolete methods, officially, curatorially or commercially inducted - the two often going hand in hand or being only a glaring consequence of each other, or even purely connivial.
The third one, derived from the first, is just as blatant. Many galleries, seeing themselves deserted by the buyers, no doubt because of an increasingly difficult market, and at the same time observing their collectors (Merlins the Wizards of the "laughing time" and Kingmakers) have been transformed over time into cold speculators, forgetting in this their "innate love of Art -— something which could not fail to favour even more the largest galleries (by size and financial power) which alone have the means to represent these artists they enthroned, shamefully expensive, abusively overpriced, and to support their so inflated ego — have simply forgotten their primary vocation to change their profession completely: above all they have to subsist…
Forgotten the desire to purely defend artistic values and the artists they could believe in, forgotten the love of risk and the feverish excitement for the vernissage of an artist who is still unknown but full of talent... The exorbitant hanging rights, the paid pseudo-competitions to "win" a poor exhibition, Contemporary art fairs as empty of meaning and audience as the drawers of their GOs (Genteel Organizers) are filling up, the very virtual "art galleries", tragically resembling each other by their mediocre aesthetics, their dreadful inefficiency and their carnivorous financial appetite, are now the new Hawks and the artists, their pigeons.Pay, pay, always pay... and pay again!... and try, as the last alternative for artists, to seize the most illusory chance in the world to get out of the transparent pack of the damned and maybe make themselves known — being recognized is now only a distant dream — before acquiring the assurance of dying!
The fourth one, finally, which comes from the first three is the tragic impoverishment of the immense mass of artists. Of course, one can always invoke the history of Art and its blessed cohorts of geniuses, discovered and crowned post-mortem, each of whom in turn had fallen into poverty, destitution and total abandonment, contributing to the glorious legend of the cursed artist entering the pantheon of the centuries to come. This is obviously not false. It has existed, will surely exist again...
But it would be far too convenient, even appalling, to stop at this quasi-liturgical image which would offer no other alternative to the artist, whose fundamental role in our society is nonetheless high-heartedly extolled when simultaneously we slyly try to relegate him to an inescapable destiny of a tortured saint, in a kind of divine iconography.
For, if we look back a little and remember that while all artists may not have lived solely on their art, often they had to live sparsely, a small job on the side to eat and afford the essential art supplies, at least there was a chance, no matter how hard they tried, to make a living out of it. Today, though, not only does the situation still have the same disadvantages, but the burden has become even heavier: if you're not a great artist, you still don't sell and, what's more, you now have to pay to exhibit, to pay to just remain the artist that you are. This is how gangrene grows, through the impoverishment of artists and their abandonment, leaving them bleeding and cheated forever.
So yes, there is indeed another category, which could be described as an intermediary, that of those who do not want to die, who do not want to totally give up, and who, in order not to perish, agree to “eat their hat”, and then try, as best they can, in unavowable disillusionment, to forget their artistic dreams and credo, to produce exactly what the merchants expect, conforming in all respects to what they are still sometimes able to sell... the “drivel soup” that feeds them....
No more freedom, long live the “fine Art” crafts!
On the other hand, desire and know-how:
To do better than the others, here is a very perilous enterprise, certainly peremptory and pretentious as one could wish! Above all, claiming to do better without having proven anything would be totally ridiculous.
This is where the experience of the curatorial team comes into play. More than 30 years of experience in the field of the Arts and, in particular, in the organization of exhibitions in museums and commercial galleries, but also in the publishing of art books. This is also where a thorough knowledge of the field as a whole comes into play, from the artist to the art agent, from the art lover to the great collector, from institutions to galleries. It is on this know-how and on the trust we have always received from everyone that we are going to lean and thanks to it that we will perhaps be able to make things happen.
We do not pretend to do better than the others, it is the visitors who will be able to decide in good faith, following our exhibitions, and it is above all the satisfaction of the artists who will only be able to establish it.
We do not claim to do better than others, only have we identified at length what we do not want, and consequently we know what we will avoid and what we will do. To this end, we are basing ourselves on the four-point observation we have made here and we want to draw all the necessary lessons from it in order not to reproduce the same pattern, since it is precisely this state of affairs that we denounce and wish to tackle.
We only claim, with our know-how and knowledge, our determination and our open-mindedness, to want to do things differently, in accordance with the Manifesto we have drawn up. We simply want to do things, quite simply, free of all financial and mercantile aspects. We personally have nothing to gain but to make our passions come alive and the artists to benefit from them as much as possible, all the artists we select and love, without prejudice and without discrimination, hoping that they will enjoy this adventure, as much as the visitors, as much as us.
Some may object that this is nothing but vanity... Let it be so, so long as what is called vanity can be of healthy use to others... and rest assured that we will always try to ensure that what some may have perceived as vanity is in reality nothing but determination. For yes, we are definitely very determined.
Others may object that this is nothing more than an "other" virtual gallery:
Yes, our Museum is virtual, we call it "Nowhere & Now Here" (see The ONE Manifesto) and we do believe that it is not just a handicap in these uncertain times: at least it has no opening hours, it doesn't require a journey to get there, it won't close in times of pandemic, at least it won't cost a fortune to the taxpayer and its carbon footprint will definitely not be a disgrace.
And definitively no, it is not a virtual gallery like there are now so many on the internet.
First of all, it was designed with imaginative and mysterious poetry in its approach and rigorous aesthetics in its interior architecture to make it an exceptional place like no other.
Secondly, it shows works of great originality or uncommon dimensions, which are not those so frequently found elsewhere, which is normal and somehow easy, because The ONE Museum has absolutely no business aspect. We can show anything we like, without any commercial constraints.
Moreover, its 30,000 sq.ft. surface area is immediately very large, out of all proportion to the vast majority of existing virtual galleries, and will only increase rapidly in the coming months. It will thus become an exclusive place and a landmark reference, we are betting on it.
Finally, it is based on a real curatorial proposal expressed by the conjunction of a permanent exhibition and one or more concomitant temporary exhibitions: