Receieved an email from an artist who was angry because of the numerous rejections she had received from galleries. The frustration caused her to sympathise with van Gogh's ear cutting escapade. Having experienced rejection first hand both through art and writing, rejection has become a familiar friend and one that pushes me out of my comfort zone to explore new directions. My reply to the artist: (abbreviated)
I understand your frustration and anger.
The art and the writing worlds are hard nuts to crack.
Commercial galleries, as mentioned in the book, are for the most part, business who sell art rather than art lovers who have a business.If they know the work has been proven to sell/be of commercial value, then they want to cash in on that success.There's less risk with known artists.
If the business has artists on board who are working for them, unless the art is really something completely new and exciting, the hassle of taking on another artist is not attractive. (Here I play Devil's advocate.) So to be accepted takes the 'Wow' factor.
The galleries are not the enemy. They are businesses. It's simply a matter of can this sell or not?
Sometimes they naturally do get it wrong, but most of them are still in business because they know what their market wants.
(It's no different in the writing world where there are thousands of books written about let's say yoga. To get a book published now on yoga means that your approach/content needs to be different from all the other yoga books. Even if your book is well written and researched, why would they want a repeat of what has already been said?
So, no chopping off of ears. Rather listen to the feedback galleries give you when you do manage to get through the door. And keep on exploring new directions with your art. Dig deep within yourself until you find the unique expression that is you.