My friends, I have disturbing news to report. Studio 54 – one of the finest art galleries this muddle-headed writer has ever encountered during his trips through America’s foremost art salons – has closed its doors, unable to turn a profit in our little suburban environs. This is not just disturbing news, it’s actually rather depressing.
I don’t suppose its closing is especially surprising; that is, even while I drank a toast at the opening night party, on subconscious levels I kind of suspected the place might not make it. Nonetheless, I certainly hoped it would.
But alas, in final analysis, art is a luxury. Despite its hyped “spiritual qualities,” even everyday, local art is something that most people can’t normally afford and, in the case of the speculative market and the astronomical prices of famous works by Warhol and Pollack, it’s something only the top 1 percent can afford.
Unless you’re an authentic struggling artist who’s intent on making a living through your endeavors, art is low on the list of priorities for most people – and Enumclaw residents aren’t an exception to this general norm. Most people would rather invest their money in a house or land or a car or furniture rather than art. Then, after everything else is paid off, there might be a few nickels left for a painting, if it goes well with the living room color and decor. I don’t mean this condescendingly, not by any stretch. It’s always nice to have a house in which to hang your paintings. Those individuals who are happy in a 12×10 foot room, surrounded by paintings stacked against the walls, are few and far between.
So, Studio 54 couldn’t make it because there simply wasn’t the local money necessary to support such a first-class operation. I always enjoyed walking around the place, but I never bought anything and apparently that was true of everyone else, too. Oh well, its failure will work as a tax write-off.
Quality art galleries like Studio 54 belong in Seattle or Bellevue or perhaps Redmond – suburban communities and cities with significantly high incomes, where the unveiling of a Lichtenstein is celebrated with a neighborhood party serving champagne and caviar. On the other hand, our little mossy community still has the Arts Alive! gallery and its prices are more attuned to the local financial state. If you haven’t yet been in this place, check it out some time.