I'm fascinated about this concept of art as a transaction, and whether or not the artist has a role to play in that.
If the artist is considered the 'actor' in the transaction, the one who is making the 'action' happen, isn't that laying a bit too much at the feet of someone who's just moving a brush around with some paint on it? What about all of the luggage that the viewer arrives with, loaded as they are with memories, truisms, beliefs, and disparities? There is no way the artist can plan ahead for that, and they would be a fool to try.
To be sure, I think that art is transactional - for the artist, for the viewer - whether that viewer is a contemporary of the artist or someone who is gazing thousands of years later at some product of craftsmanship and creativity. But I think for most artists, the motivation for their art is not about someone else.
And as for this transaction part, I think it is an unspoken partnership between audience, artist, and art. I need art, I need to make art and I also need to see art and learn more about the artists that make it. And I think you do too.
This all comes from a recent New York Times Magazine Letter from the Editor by @NYTMag Editor Hanya Yanagihara. Here’s the link to Yanagihara’s NYTMag piece