I Know People Who Buy Art

Dec 13, 2023 by Amber McClain Shaw, in Blog Posts

I know people who buy art

because it matches her couch
and the lamp next to the couch,
and maybe picks up an accent color from the rug
under the lowslung coffee table

I know people who buy art
because he enjoys
the bidding
the competition
the win
the conquest
taking the small Kandinsky
    authenticated, insured, cataloged
the large Calder
    authenticated, insured, cataloged
and entomb them in his museum/house 
full of art 
empty of people
    except for the cleaning staff 
and the friend 
who waters his tomato plants during a heatwave, while he is in Africa photographing giraffes

I know people who buy art 
because a blank wall is a crime that must be solved 
by a Nagel print
lithograph, mass-produced
by a Thomas Kincade 
painting, mass-produced
and occupies the space
faded, overlooked
a permanent ghostly reminder
of the single visit to Prints Plus in the mall

I know people who buy art 
because it is a sensual pleasure
a feeling evoked 
a truth
a private longing
a connection 
a provocation
a raising of the small hairs at the back of the neck
held in two dimensions with color, shape, line, texture

I know people who buy art
as a vindictive warning, 
massive, commissioned, 
a simple message, fuck the neighbors
a billboard canvas of rage over complaints of loud music

I know people who don’t buy art
because they make their own
surrounded by their creations
a proud echo chamber
for each season and holiday
celebrating things they made 
and photographs of people they made

I know people who buy art
and watch you look,
a window
instruction manual
on who they are

and wonder, do you see?
I Still Use Brushes, 1969