Much like the fin-de-siècle Ottoman Empire, today's art world is stagnant and unproductive, a victim of the bloated success at the upper echelons (Manhattan's art scene being a distant and inaccessible sultan's palace, so to speak). Fortunately for the Ottomans, a collection of transnational army officers, dubbed the Young Turks, led a successful coup and after 1908 instituted a sweeping program of modernizing reforms. Our dismal local art scene is ripe for just the same sort of updating, so it is fortunate that a new class of brash young artists and gallery owners--Jo Del Pesco, John Corrigan, J. Heikes, Jennifer Murphy--are settling into town just as indicators point the fine-art world toward oblivion. Our Young Turks, like those of yore, come from all over--New Jersey, Delaware, Oregon, Georgia--apparently attracted to the high local standard of living by a sense of adventure, and, perhaps most important, our local sultanate of arts-funding institutions. The past few months things have been looking up in the art scene, as the Young Turks have opened new galleries such as the Waiting Room and the Radiator Art Exhibition Co. In the process, they've reinvigorated the exhibition options for an artist pool eager for new places to show work. We can only hope that our Young Turks stick around longer than the originals, whose ten years of inept rule eventually helped bring about World War I and the dissolution of the Ottoman state.


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