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i'll have the grapes, please, extra sour

Post #183 • January 6, 2004, 6:45 AM • 5 Comments

The Miami winners of the 2004 South Florida Cultural Consortium Fellowship Program include Martin Oppel, Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova, George Sanchez Calderon, Odalis Valdivieso, and Clifton Childree. I have written somewhat negatively about Oppel's work and quite negatively about Sanchez's already. Rodriguez's work, which I have seen at Casas-Riegner, hasn't inspired me to write about it, but if pressed to do so I wouldn't praise it. I have only seen one piece of Valdivieso's and withhold judgement on her work. Childree is a filmmaker; I wonder whether he submitted visual art for the fellowship, or if this was some kind of category-busting choice that doesn't belong here.

My letter from Department of Cultural Affairs had this to say:

Please note that you were among a group of less than fifty artists whose works were forwarded by the regional panel for the national panel's consideration.

Which rejected it, obviously. (That's fewer, not less.)

So that you may be encouraged to apply again, your name will be kept on file.

Thanks, but I'm not sure I should bother. You see, I'm 35, and older than all of the above artists. Why don't you just send me my walker and a box of incontinence garments and we'll call it a career?

I'm doing the one thing you musn't do upon receiving a rejection letter: read meaning into it. I'll get over it (in fact, I'm over it now; writing does that for me) and apply next year. For now, I extend my best wishes and congratulations to the awardees. But I have some concerns here - that certain tax-funded cultural entities are going to consider me ungrantable when I reach the ripe old age of 36; that my friend Juan Carballo, who is living on the fiscal edge and painting his ass off, is never going to get the financial help he needs because he's doing straightforward figurative work that has as its only "issue" its beautiful success; and that the above list represents a homogeneity of taste instituted by, whom, New Yorkers? Screw that.

Comment

1.

Franklin

January 6, 2004, 5:47 PM

I was of the understanding that Sanchez was at RISD around the same time as my friend Carlos de Villasante. Carlos informs me that he was there for his Master's, not his Bachelor's, which may make Sanchez a little older than me. I apologize if I've gotten this wrong.

2.

Jack

January 6, 2004, 6:39 PM

Franklin, you know the drill by now. These people, meaning the current art establishment, don't want art plain and simple. They're not interested in "mere" quality. They want trendy bells and whistles or the equivalents thereof--however shallow, insubstantial and, ultimately, ephemeral.

They go for, and reward, whatever seems new and different enough to make them appear advanced, progressive, and fearless. Image, no matter how phony and empty, is a very big deal to them. They're willing to support out-and-out rubbish to look hip and with-it. They'll ignore or dismiss even great work if they fear their image would suffer otherwise.

They can fool themselves and their own kind, but they don't fool everybody. Some of us refuse to deal with art by proxy, with other people's eyes and minds as opposed to our own. Some of us don't give a damn what ANYBODY says is good or bad unless we genuinely agree. And while I can't get Juan Carballo a grant, I can get him to paint my portrait. He's doing it this month.

3.

onajide

January 6, 2004, 11:45 PM

Just on the age factor alone, I haven't applied for that in over five years. I'll be 56 yrs. in a few days. Obviously, my 'career' as an artist is long over. Actually, I never really had one though, did I.

4.

Franklin

January 7, 2004, 12:37 AM

It's official, everybody: I'm an asshole. As per the request in the letter from the DCA, I e-mailed Rem Cabrera with permission to retain my materials. He very sweetly e-mailed back: "Fabulous. Can we post some images on our website whenever it gets redesigned in 2004?" By all means, man. Sorry about that stuff about fewer.

Can I have some crow with those grapes?

5.

John Link

January 8, 2004, 6:14 PM

Your title said it all Franklin. Very poetic.

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