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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Art meets Design


By Pari Syal
Photography: Nigel Fernandes; courtesy Pradarshak


Should art be put on a pedestal and enveloped in an aura of exclusivity or should it be allowed to proliferate to the masses?

This question seeks opinion/ debate afresh with the recent exercise in public art driven by upcoming artists Sangeeta Babani and Anil Dingankar under the curatorship of Gallery Pradarshak, acclaimed as the smallest (physically) gallery for contemporary fine art in Mumbai, India.

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Invited by a leading company to paint a car, merging the disciplines of fine and commercial art (the latter is generally the norm in the automobile industry per se), the gallery and its artists rose to the challenge of educating themselves about the new medium and its scope, in an attempt to optimize the exercise on both platforms – artistic as well as promotional.

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The automobile industry, known to be one that exploits almost every aspect of design into making its product, viz., lighting, working with a variety of materials like composites, rubber, wood, metal; electrical and electronics, graphic design, to aero dynamics, where the engineering aspect of design is involved, is also one that perhaps provides one of the highest platforms for design exploration. So while activities that come under the purview of commercial art like advertisements and artwork on vehicles is a given, where even calligraphy is part and parcel in the form of the humble number plate, what does one make of a fine artist’s expression on a vehicle in lieu of a canvas?

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On the one hand, it could be purely promotional in nature, associating indirectly with a buyer base via an issue sensitive to the heart. One is aware of a host of such one-offs - fine art incorporations across the globe as promotional ventures for various products.  On the other, it could be viewed as an extension of personalization and self expression.

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The question that then arises is – is art open to public proliferation? While the origins of art lay in mass propagation via cave carvings, frescoes in churches and through religious symbols and icons to spread invaluable lessons in life and morality to the populace, it has traversed to the current spill-over of functional art and public art installations that tend to establish a pseudo-intellectual equation with the masses. An effective way to moot this would be via personalization of fine art.

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With an intended marriage of fine art and design(commercial art), one method of looking at this would be that art is exclusive; it stands on a different level and will not bow down from this platform. It is not easily accessible and will thus not wear away quickly. The opposite theory ruminates that art being a beautiful self expression, should be valued beyond an economic viewpoint and should be propagated to the extent possible, to the masses to be rejoiced in and enjoyed by one and all.

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So we are back with the rhetoric – can personalization of fine art help it reach the masses? Should it? Or should we appreciate it from afar, with its shroud of mysterious intellect and perhaps, unwarranted hype?


We leave you to do the thinking and leave behind your viewpoints…

38 comments :

  1. My opinion - art should be everywhere - brings joy and light to the soul.
    In response to IAnD's discussion thread: Should art be put on a pedestal and enveloped in an aura of exclusivity or should it be allowed to proliferate to the masses?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Depends on the work... Christo's running fence for example:
    http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/Christos-California-Dreamin.html
    was something to behold for those of all ages, walks of life and available to witness...
    David, Mona Lisa, the Sistine Chapel and the erotic works of Picasso, are another subject entirely...
    In response to IAnD's discussion thread: Should art be put on a pedestal and enveloped in an aura of exclusivity or should it be allowed to proliferate to the masses?

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is pretty broad. Fine Art covers a wide spectrum of visuals. The mother art of architecture should endeavor to maintain its tenuous connection to its more spiritual offspring, but with the interplay of business investment and owner ego it seems unlikely that the connection will survive. Too many commodity buildings as it is. Too often we apply pastiche. Too often we have to pay the bills.
    In response to IAnD's discussion thread: Just as fine art plays an integral role in architecture, do you think it can do the same with design per se?

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  4. Art is part and parcel of the in the world of decor,for it talks to the heart after all is covered
    In response to IAnD's discussion thread: Just as fine art plays an integral role in architecture, do you think it can do the same with design per se?

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  5. Allowed? Who would be granting permission for art "to proliferate to the masses"? This is such an elitist question. Let them eat cake!
    In response to IAnD's discussion thread: Should art be put on a pedestal and enveloped in an aura of exclusivity or should it be allowed to proliferate to the masses?

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  6. Personally I despise snobbery... though I do agree that artists should be recognised for their hard work. I just don't think it should be just for the 'elite' - I aim to make art that is fair priced (covering costs/time etc.) but affordable to anyone.
    In response to IAnD's discussion thread: Should art be put on a pedestal and enveloped in an aura of exclusivity or should it be allowed to proliferate to the masses?

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  7. No, I don't think art should be put on a pedestal or allowed to shrink into an exclusive field. There are many sliding scales in art, with extremes at both ends. Without that kind of freedom, many of us would be pushed out, and what was left would be sameness and quickly become stale, and eventually kill the arts.

    That does not mean I think every piece of "art" deserves accolades, like some kids' soccer league where every team and every kid gets a trophy no matter how abysmally they play. But it needs to be kept open, so people have a chance to innovate, motivation to express themselves, and a shot at making it.
    In response to IAnD's discussion thread: Should art be put on a pedestal and enveloped in an aura of exclusivity or should it be allowed to proliferate to the masses?

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  8. It's a very unfortunate elitist attitude to even suggest that art should be on an exclusive pedestal. What if we adopted the same attitude with food and water? If it weren't for the masses who would purchase that art...........
    In response to IAnD's discussion thread: Should art be put on a pedestal and enveloped in an aura of exclusivity or should it be allowed to proliferate to the masses?

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  9. All the design & fine art disciplines affect each other for the forward thinking. If a trend (and all the disciplines have them) will be economically advantageous, an industry or company will adopt it-short and simple.
    In response to IAnD's discussion thread: Just as fine art plays an integral role in architecture, do you think it can do the same with design per se?

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks for sharing this article. I found myself wanting it to be even more bold. Agree 100% that personalisation is key. Also agree that the landscape is changing fast because of the internet economy.
    In response to IAnD's discussion thread: Just as fine art plays an integral role in architecture, do you think it can do the same with design per se?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Art is elective, selective and individualistic. Art can be mobile or stationary. At the same time what is art to one group is not art to another. In other words Art is invoved with all to certain degrees, and the artist should be prepared for open commentary if that is what the artist is looking for.good, bad or indifferent.
    In response to IAnD's discussion thread: Just as fine art plays an integral role in architecture, do you think it can do the same with design per se?

    ReplyDelete
  12. Fine art is a reflection of what is before us. That which is done and how objects in negative spave realte or detract form the whole seen.
    Thx,d
    In response to IAnD's discussion thread: Just as fine art plays an integral role in architecture, do you think it can do the same with design per se?

    ReplyDelete
  13. While I agree that art, per se, should be available to "the masses," I contend that the creation of a painting is far more expensive, given appropriately professional tools, materials and workflow, and therefore should be priced appropriately. This means, unfortunately, looking appropriately priced painting will be out of the reach of many people who have less disposable income then high-earners. It is for this reason that I offer My art as either an original oil painting, appropriately priced, or as limited-edition archival inkjet prints which offer an opportunity to own a beautiful art piece at a lower price point.

    Too many artists exhibit low self-esteem, and are willing to scramble and scratch for table crumbs, because they do not have been an understanding of the economies of being an artist in the art business. This is not surprising because it seems that the 80-20 Rule Has proven itself once again.

    @Gael In commenting on your point, Gael about the right to food and water, let us remember that most people in this country if they can afford "food" cannot afford healthy foods that are locally farm-grown and devoid of poisonous agribusiness chemicals. Much of the water in this country is horribly polluted as well.
    In response to IAnD's discussion thread: Should art be put on a pedestal and enveloped in an aura of exclusivity or should it be allowed to proliferate to the masses?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Jonathan ... when I go to the art store and purchase materials, I usually buy the best product that works for my style. I paint in acrylics and watercolors and find that the prices are not that high to make me charge more for the painting. In fact, when I add up what it actually costs me for a large canvas and paints, a few hundred dollars is it. How does that equate out to pricing one's art work in the thousands?

    A high priced art piece doesn't make one a great artist, it just means you charge more for your art work.
    In response to IAnD's discussion thread: Should art be put on a pedestal and enveloped in an aura of exclusivity or should it be allowed to proliferate to the masses?

    ReplyDelete
  15. @ Christine. I don't charge by the hour, though I do charge by the square inch. I live in New York City. I have an apartment, a studio, utilities on both, and do work about 12 hour days on my business, a minimum of six days a week. I pay over $13,000 per year for my health insurance premium, and have yet to be able to insure my art, or my art business with the appropriate policies. I can insure my apartment, but the last time I had homeowners I got dropped for two claims in one year.

    I know without asking that I am a great artist. That is not why I charge what I charge for oil paintings. I offer a much lower price point for my works on100% rag paper: gouaches ; acrylic; conte; charcoal. I want my work to be accessible. The prints cost 10% of what the paintings do.

    I believe that people who don't charge enough for their work don't have an understanding of business. Or they are afraid they won't get what they ask, even before asking.

    Everybody is entitled to their opinion.
    In response to IAnD's discussion thread: Should art be put on a pedestal and enveloped in an aura of exclusivity or should it be allowed to proliferate to the masses?

    ReplyDelete
  16. It would seem that fine art has lost touch with the principles of the canvas. Imagery that seeked to be depicted on the flat plane now needs additional area from the value of its former depiction. Either the imagery for the three dimensional canvas regresses to two dimensions (which is the state of the vehicle as we know it) or the application of fine art is in need of group articulation, before someone singleminded enough projects the convention of space beyond the articulation of perspective. The canvas has been exhausted! The car is a fine art?
    In response to IAnD's discussion thread: Just as fine art plays an integral role in architecture, do you think it can do the same with design per se?

    ReplyDelete
  17. Agreed, the original question was in relation to accessibility - it's not about pricing a piece of art or it's value - it's about making it accessible - and as such, I think it should be accessible to 'the masses' . So whether buying, exposure in a real life situation or by viewing a great master hanging in the Tate Gallery, the price an artist charges for a piece is dependent on how much someone values it or can and will pay to own it - but own it or not it doesn't negate the fundametal ability to appreciate it - no matter who you may be.
    On another tangent though, isn't it great that such a wide cross section can chat ! Jonathan - I would love to see your art ! Here I am in Scotland ( where, incidentally, the water is great but we can always revert to whisky should the need arise), there you are in USA and here we are all discussing art as a result of a discussion born in India ! Love it !
    In response to IAnD's discussion thread: Should art be put on a pedestal and enveloped in an aura of exclusivity or should it be allowed to proliferate to the masses?

    ReplyDelete
  18. William J. GreenwoodSeptember 22, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    I'm not hearing anything about reputations that artists build over time. They are what justify more rapid increases in prices as an artist matures...assuming the quality of the work is there. But good reputations rarely follow less than high quality work anyway. I try to increase prices annually....a fixed percentage over and above inflation. Any milestone achievements justify jumps in value like : professional prizes/awards, being accepted in high profile exhibitions, shows in major institutions, inclusion in art books, holding exclusive positions of artistic achievement, and otherwise climbing the ladder of artistic success not necessarily sales success. How much you make can have little to do with artistic excellence...or it can accompany it. Many factors enter this situation to influence it.

    But those who think charging high prices is simply changing numbers with out cause is naive and has probably limited or no experience around accomplished professionals, the art market place, high end commercial galleries, museum curators, art auction houses and the like. One's perspective is broadened by these phenomena. There are still art organizations where accomplishment is the only route to becoming a recognized member such as the National Academy Of design in NYC. If you have seen NA or ANA after an artist's name it refers to a National Academician or an Associate N A. Not an easy feat to obtain. Most groups take your dues and you are a member. Not an artistic accomplishment. But it shows your support and or activity with them. Plus the dues are deductible.

    So lets not forget that hard earned credits can equal a raise in your pay. So when you achieve there is a darn good reason collectors are willing to pay for it and actually seek it out to insure the price matches their investment in your past as well as your future...based on that proven track record. Serious collectors are well educated and sophisticated about their choices since there is a great deal of good art to fit their artistic tastes and pocketbooks.
    In response to IAnD's discussion thread: Should art be put on a pedestal and enveloped in an aura of exclusivity or should it be allowed to proliferate to the masses?

    ReplyDelete
  19. Actually works of art,whether thy target the masses or the elite, depend on the settings where the art is displayed,for example,displaying in America is so different from displaying in Africa or Asia,In America or western countries ,art is more accessible;and the artist has more chance to sell his art even for millions of dollars,whereas,in africa for exemple,the artist ,no matter how gifted he is; wont be able to exhibit or sell his art and exhibition halls are so limited to some big cities,and the elite usually imposes on the painters the subject matter and the style they prefer,therefore the artist is not free.Other social classes,some havent yet develop love , therefore indifferent,others don't have the means to buy art for in developing countries the monthy income for middle class does't go beyond 300USD,This situation must affect the professional painters,for instance a professional portrait is made for 500USD while in america is more than 3000USD,here we see the difference.

    As for the pricing of works of art internationally speaking has nothing to do with charging or expensive tools,it has to do with the signature of the artist as well as with the taste and idiosyncrasy of some clients,we all know that art has changed in terms of media,and the traditional materials:oil paint,canvas.....are not prerequisite for some art to be valuable and worthseeing.It 's true that damien hurst has invested millions of dollars for his famous pearl skull,but that's not always necessary for other works of art.....there are works of art that are sold costly but the way they were made was primitive and naive,
    In response to IAnD's discussion thread: Should art be put on a pedestal and enveloped in an aura of exclusivity or should it be allowed to proliferate to the masses?

    ReplyDelete
  20. Very interesting!

    Every art form finds its masses and vice-versa.

    In this case we see the 'Art Car' being literally a vehicle taking art to the general public in a climate of festivity.

    The colours as well as the theme and objects executed seem to blend so integrally with the form of the car that one wonders if this is the first of a limited edition released by the manufacturer.

    Certainly an encore is in order!

    Udit Chaudhuri

    ReplyDelete
  21. Its not just that art has become more available, more and more people have engaged in becoming artists. I think this and technology has resulted in lower prices for generic art.
    Original, unique work wil maintain a higher market value as collectors are more discerning in their purchases.
    In response to IAnD's discussion thread: Should art be put on a pedestal and enveloped in an aura of exclusivity or should it be allowed to proliferate to the masses?

    ReplyDelete
  22. i love art, it is my passion,but i have just as much satisfaction doing fun stuff with the grandies (admittedly the 10 year old has pretty much talent), and so it is with the art world. A glorious Impressionist painting (for example) fills me with tears and floods my heart, but so too do all sorts of other works, like street art for example. I hate rows of daisies painted on potplants, but at the same craft exhibition you might see these, there are also some wonderful 10 foot murals, or gorgeous artwork quilts looking like the Bayeux Tapestry, so - THERE IS A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING, all kinds of art/craft - the thing is, to do EVERYTHING well - even those bloody daisies! The only objection I have is to works which destroy. Or to badly done works which claim to be masterpieces so that someone can make a cash killing. It would be nice if we could all make SOME money from it, though. AND If we could funnel some money to Africa so that they too could continue in art!
    AND, it doesnt matter what the medium is - altho I find the use of actual blood a bit much - or whether the photograph is altered or not, as long as we are honest about how and what we use. ALL HAS VALUE.
    In response to IAnD's discussion thread: Should art be put on a pedestal and enveloped in an aura of exclusivity or should it be allowed to proliferate to the masses?

    ReplyDelete
  23. Its the "snob factor" that bothers me about this question. As artists, we shouldn’t get so wound up in the idea of making money on our artwork that we forget we also have a commitment to encourage culture and make it available to everyone, not just an elite few. I don’t think it should be necessary to be a millionaire to own original art. For the majority of Americans, spending $300 to $500 dollars on art for their home or business is a major investment and we should respect that. Having said that we should encourage those art fanciers who don't have deep pockets to buy prints from local artists if they can't afford original art.
    In response to IAnD's discussion thread: Should art be put on a pedestal and enveloped in an aura of exclusivity or should it be allowed to proliferate to the masses?

    ReplyDelete
  24. The content of this article is about painting a car with a graphic…that is not “Art Meets Design”. Kurt’s comment “too often we apply pastiche”…that’s what this article is about.

    Design, in general, is part of the broadest spectrum of Art. The simplest example of the cross influences of art and design, formally instituted, was the Bauhaus School where the cross disciplinary curriculum forced engagement and discourse across fine art, architecture, craft and industrial design. I would say in many cases very successfully.

    That model was basically adopted as the foundation for all late 20th century curricula in most western university systems that had art, architecture, and industrial design programs. So most western trained artists, architects, and designers already practice within the realm of “art and design” as one thought process.
    In response to IAnD's discussion thread: Just as fine art plays an integral role in architecture, do you think it can do the same with design per se?

    ReplyDelete
  25. I think in the article there is a bit of confusion...if in this instance each car is painted by an artist by hands ( I bet the company then in doing it) well why not? could be a form of art to paint on a car instead using a canvas.
    All the part about how art has begun, caves carving churches art for masses etc..there is no intuition, and the topic, as it is proposed here, arose already during `60 (look at pop art Andy Worhol and serigraphy) and we could look much more back. Do we want to call a production of industrially painted cars art? could be but then it must have a very strong message, which I miss here.
    ...a bit poor the article.
    I like the car though.
    In response to IAnD's discussion thread: Just as fine art plays an integral role in architecture, do you think it can do the same with design per se?

    ReplyDelete
  26. As an artist I feel I have a need to show my best art to everyone. Galleries charge high fees every month and take as much as 50% of the sale. I am poor so I look for other ways like web sites. People don't get a good feeling for a piece of art online. I have only sold one gift card, and I feel I am a good artist. I do want everyone to be able so see as many types of art as they can because it enriches life and our senses!
    In response to IAnD's discussion thread: Should art be put on a pedestal and enveloped in an aura of exclusivity or should it be allowed to proliferate to the masses?

    ReplyDelete
  27. I dont know why a concept of painting a car is so hyped about.If there is a surface to paint and an artist wants to paint it, he does it without hyping about it so much. We in India , have seen M F Husain do it in the sixties, and more artists like Yusuf Arakkal do it later.
    Answering the main question, yes art is for anyone and everyone. We don't need royalty to patronize it as in the past. Art is as democratic as anything gets. The snobbish culture that makes people ask questions like this should end.
    In response to IAnD's discussion thread: Should art be put on a pedestal and enveloped in an aura of exclusivity or should it be allowed to proliferate to the masses?

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  28. People have always made marks on surfaces from caves, to walls in the city. Art and craft are visual expressions of where humans are up to, what they are up to and what they are about. I don't know what all the fuss is about.
    In response to IAnD's discussion thread: Should art be put on a pedestal and enveloped in an aura of exclusivity or should it be allowed to proliferate to the masses?

    ReplyDelete
  29. Money, Honey. It's about the dosh, by gosh.
    In response to IAnD's discussion thread: Should art be put on a pedestal and enveloped in an aura of exclusivity or should it be allowed to proliferate to the masses?

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  30. @milind There will always be Kings and Queens, whether or not that's the name or there are actual crowns. We suck up to these people in order to get the larger scraps from their tables.
    In response to IAnD's discussion thread: Should art be put on a pedestal and enveloped in an aura of exclusivity or should it be allowed to proliferate to the masses?

    ReplyDelete
  31. Carlo Priska, D.Arch., AIASeptember 27, 2012 at 2:09 PM

    The imigery of the texture of the artform taking shape through the aerodinamic shapes of a vehicle is quite acceptable to the eye, it does nothing to the heart when the near miss of someone taking pleasure in the art form and not paying attention to where they are going. The doubling of the heart beat is not so pleasureable. I like the design concept, but do we need more distractions on the road?
    In response to IAnD's discussion thread: Just as fine art plays an integral role in architecture, do you think it can do the same with design per se?

    ReplyDelete
  32. Susannah MacDonaldOctober 1, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    I don't believe that high art is created by someone who set out to 'do' high art. If you try that all you get is a pile of stiff, formal derivative paintings! The person who produces high art does so because they can - it is their disposition, plus a lot of work. It is rather like a classical musician or singer, who works very hard to play the music they love. Elitism doesn't come into it, in most cases. It is usually a certain sector of society which puts certain artists on a pedestal of the sector's own making.
    In response to IAnD's discussion thread: Should art be put on a pedestal and enveloped in an aura of exclusivity or should it be allowed to proliferate to the masses?

    ReplyDelete
  33. Personally, I like creating things other people appreciate and enjoy. Because of this, I think art should be as accessible as possible.

    Unfortunately, artists need to be able to survive in order to create art, and therefore the money part comes into play. As having your work available to an elite few lends to the perceived value of your body of work, it promotes elitism. It also makes it difficult to become part of the upper echelon. Sadly, marketing seems to be a bigger part pf the "art world" than actual artistic talent.

    Fortunately, art supplies themselves are pretty accessible making it easier for more people to be at least some form of artist. While artists may have different motivations for creating art, I for one am glad they do it. (Money, fame, personal expression, etc.)

    A world without art would be a horrible place to live. If nothing else, that alone is a valid argument for making art accessible.
    In response to IAnD's discussion thread: Should art be put on a pedestal and enveloped in an aura of exclusivity or should it be allowed to proliferate to the masses?

    ReplyDelete
  34. Art should be put on a pedestal in value and worth of it's beauty. I do not mean price only. The value of appreciation is the most important thng. Art should be priced so that your viewing audience can afford and have the pleasure of appreciating it. Everyone should be entitled to have the beauty of an original painting hanging in their house.
    In response to IAnD's discussion thread: Should art be put on a pedestal and enveloped in an aura of exclusivity or should it be allowed to proliferate to the masses?

    ReplyDelete
  35. So, I find success and am selling my works for tens of thousands of dollars. The art establishment embraces me and my stock rises even higher. I am just marketing myself, because I want to get the most payback for my efforts; thus, I am pricing myself out of the market of "the masses". Your suggestion makes no sense. For the masses we have giclee and poster prints, coffee table books, etc. I have a collection of hard-mounted gallery posters from exhibits I have had the good fortune to view, but know I cannot own the originals. Is this not how art is proliferated to the masses? I just don't get even why you would ask the question. it is like mobius strip that loops back on itself. Make art that sells. That is my advice and let proliferation take care of itself.

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  36. It's strange to hear about this problem after Andy Warhol era, and all post-modernism concept is about masses...

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  37. I am teaching painting to a gruop of well to do women who literally know nothing about the visual arts. Part of my goal is to diminish their ignorance of the arts. The only artists they are aware of are the household names like Picasso and Van Gogh. These women have been instrumental indevoping a regional art center that is the best venue in my area for showing art. There is also dance music pottery singing and jewelry and plays etc. through this center I have become aware of a vast global movement in the establishment of similar art centers. People are hungry to be involved artistically because we are sick and tired of the negativity of the disenfranchising political sphere. Art is more than a product to sell it is a means of discovering your soul. Art is about personal freedom in an age that seeks ever more to dominate the soul materially and politically. The fact of this exciting personal involvement in the arts amounts to a revolution in consciousness. Who would have thought it and just when the planet needs it most. Bravo humanity. In response to IAnD's discussion thread: Should art be put on a pedestal and enveloped in an aura of exclusivity or should it be allowed to proliferate to the masses?

    ReplyDelete

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