I was talking to a curator friend about SELLOUT, and she had a very specific insight that I keep coming back to.
She said that being a visual artist is much harder than, for instance, being in the theater, because you are removed from your work's context. If you're in a play, the audience is right there while you are doing it. You are getting real-time feedback. So if the audience is snoring or rattling programs through the second act, twenty minutes gets cut before the next performance. You confront your context every night.
An artist, on the other hand, works in relative solitude, often strives for the most context-less space possible (whitecube gallery or museum), and generally doesn't sit in the gallery with the work. Because of this, my astute friend thinks that artists can forget that their work is always in a context. And that it's important for the artist to figure out what context is really most appropriate.
And I know exactly what she's talking about, but I never heard it put quite that generously before.