Perhaps nothing demonstrates San Diego’s perpetual inferiority complex as clearly as the neverending discussion of its art scene.
San Diego’s visual art scene sucks – I’ve heard variations of that statement over and over during the 12 years I’ve covered arts and culture in the region.
People get fired up about the topic. Panel discussions are regularly organized. We art scenesters convene often to talk about problems and try to come up with possible solutions. I’ve moderated two of these discussions in the last two years alone (here’s audio of the most recent one).
The fact that the biggest local arts conversation is not forward-looking or even about art itself – but instead about San Diego and its failings – says a lot. Even at the talks that are supposed to be solutions-oriented, the kvetching always creeps in. I often leave feeling like the city will never get itself unstuck – that San Diego’s visual art scene is the perpetual self-hating teenager who won’t realize how beautiful she is until she isn’t anymore. It’s exhausting.