A decade ago, emerging signified an artist who was getting some attention—emerging from the pack, as it were, and onto the radar screen of curators, dealers and critics. There were a number of indicators that an artist was emerging: inclusion in good group shows, positive reviews, a well-received solo, maybe sales to a few good collectors, and some word-of-mouth buzz.
Germane to this issue, a parallel, more democratic definition has evolved. Emerging now seems to mean beginning. That's how students and professors use the term at the various institutions where I have taught or visited. By this standard, all newly minted artists (even art students) are emerging. This definition may not appeal to the hierarchic tendencies of the art world, but it does make more sense. And for the 25-year old who emerges bigtime? How about lucky? Or well-connected? Or child of famous parents?
Since we're on the topic, when an emerging artist become just a regular artist? And when does one become a mid-career artist? Is a decade too soon? How about after a couple of decades of pushing that ball up the hill, whether or not recognition is part of the ball? And what of the artists who take time away from showing to earn an income, have a baby, travel: Does the clock reset? Are they re-emerging when they start showing again or can they just be artists?
When does a mid-career artist become a late-career artist? (Here I’m thinking of Oriane Stender’s comment a while back on Ed Winkleman’s blog: "Who knows how long we're going to live? I could be mid-career right now, or even late-career. Or my career could go nowhere until after I'm dead. Would that make me pre-career?") Oriane has her tongue firmly in cheek but she raises interesting issues.
How would you define emerging and mid-career? And if you're on a roll, thrown in late-career as well. Consider this an open thread for the first Marketing Mondays post of the new year.