Commonplace

“Beyond this hegemony of corporate and institutional consensus, however, beyond the purview of uncannily lifelike blockbusters like Jurassic Park and the Whitney Biennial, everything that grows in the domain of culture, that acquires constituencies and enters the realm of public esteem, does so through the accumulation of participatory investment by people who show up. No painting is ever sold nor essay written nor band booked nor exhibition scheduled that is not the consequence of previous social interaction, of gossip, body language, fashion dish, and telephone chatter—nothing transpires that does not float upon the ephemeral substrata of ‘word of mouth’—on the validation of schmooze. Everyone who participates knows this, and knows, as well, that it doesn’t cost a dime. You just show up, behave as you wish, say what you will, and live with the fleeting, often unexpected consequences of your behavior. At this bedrock level, the process through which works of art are socialized looks less like a conspiracy than a slumber party.”

—Dave Hickey, “Romancing the Looky-Loos,” Air Guitar: Essays on Art and Democracy (1997)

About Walter Biggins

Walter Biggins is a writer based in Athens, GA. His work has been published in RogerEbert.com, Bookslut, The Comics Journal, Salon, The Baseball Chronicle, Jackson Free Press, and Valley Voices: A Literary Review. Follow him on Twitter (@walter_biggins), and check out his bimonthly newsletter (https://tinyletter.com/Walter_Biggins).
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