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escape from new york

Post #503 • March 28, 2005, 8:19 AM • 29 Comments

Vanessa Garcia, a talented and ambitious artist-writer whom I have mentioned favorably in these pages, has relocated from New York City to Miami. I asked her why.

Seven years ago I traded-in Miami for New York. I wanted to go where the art was, where subcultures emerged out of every corner, and a story arose out of every MTA (Manhattan Transit Authority) journey. Miami's art scene was non-existent, and not the place for someone who called herself a "writer" and a "painter" to reside. However, after the initial charm wore off, I got tired of the same NYC art opening over and over again. And I'm not the only one. More and more, artists are moving out of Manhattan. This isn't Basquiat/Schnabel's SOHO, this is a complacent, post-Giuliani, Chelsea art-scene afraid to take any risks. Frankly, New York, believe it or not, got boring. Why did I come back to Miami? Because it's more exciting to be an artist in an "emerging city" where everything's still up for grabs and there's still room for creation.

This isn't the first time I've heard something like this - that someone, say, did a gallery crawl through New York and wondered why they bothered. Moreover, she's the second New York artist I've talked to in as many months who had nothing good to say about the New York art scene; Garcia has moved here and the other one is thinking about it. I find it interesting that this comes up at a time when the market is experiencing a high - there may be an inverse correlation between the level of financial activity and the level of artistic verve.

Art aficionados might want to look at the possibility of an imminent market correction and any artist contemplating a move to the five boroughs ought to consider that it may be a bad move. As far as Ms. Garcia is concerned, New York's loss is Miami's gain.

Comment

1.

Jack

March 28, 2005, 6:08 PM

I have no trouble believing the NYC art scene is overrated, but if VG found it boring or stale, she'd better brace herself for the Miami version. Maybe artists feel differently about it from their insider perspective, but I know how I feel, and it's not exactly excited or enthusiastic. As a matter of fact, I find myself pulling back more and more due to repeated disappointment.

So Franklin, you're an artist--how do you feel?

2.

Hovig

March 28, 2005, 6:14 PM

ABMB [and the advent of cheap air travel] may have helped the art market in this regard as well. Not just for Miami, but in the broader sense that galleries are for the first time able to come to consumers, and consumers can shop in galleries from all around the world with a single trip. If the concept of the alternate parallel fair picks up steam too, then emerging artists' voices may also be amplified as well, regardless of their city of residence.

3.

Franklin

March 28, 2005, 7:58 PM

Jack, apart from my thoughts registered here, Miami is definitely a tabula rasa in some respects - akin to what Vanessa was saying about things being up for grabs. That Artblog.net could enter the scene and actually matter is evidence of that. When it warmed up a bit yesterday I was thinking how good it was to be here, looking at all the bright colors, enjoying the breeze, with enough opportunities in my life to be able to make art and write. You could do a lot worse than be stuck here.

The new MAM is ill-gotten in some respects but I think that's going to make a big difference, for the better. There have been rumors as well of a new art school - a major one - circulating for a couple of years; should that come to pass, that would also make a big difference. Meanwhile more galleries are moving in. One day they may move out, in which case, I might, too. But not just yet.

4.

jordan

March 28, 2005, 10:51 PM

a case for beauty.
recently my wife and i were in the city and we could'nt help notice how ugly it was.
trash, vehicle exhaust, doggy do, etc. etc...
here there are flowers growing from highway overpass drainpipes.
a painter needs to see (natural) colors, not grey, and black and brown.
it makes sense then that art should be beautiful so that someone can have it inside their mid-town flat - a visual escape from the city streets.

5.

Jack

March 29, 2005, 2:37 AM

I was referring strictly to the Miami art scene, not things like weather and so forth. If NYC is boring or stale, that is a VERY bad sign.

6.

Jack

March 29, 2005, 4:55 AM

"Miami is definitely a tabula rasa in some respects...That Artblog.net could enter the scene and actually matter is evidence of that."

I'd certainly like this blog to matter, Franklin, but does it? Does it really? Of course it matters to those who visit regularly, and probably more to those who participate, like me, but what difference does it make to the local establishment people? They're either unaware of it, which I can't believe, or they studiously avoid acknowledging it. Triff used to drop by on occasion, but he seems to have thought better of it, and he's got very little real power anyhow. The actual movers and shakers are all curiously...mum.

7.

participation#

March 29, 2005, 6:14 AM

I agree, jack. It's tough when you can't get people who have opinions different then you to engage with you. Heck, there are at least five instances of pure Damien Hirst baiting on the previous post, and nobody took the bait to drop a word in his defense. Why? Well, in fairness maybe the blame falls on no one. This is Franklin's blog, and it makes sense that people who agree with him would feel most welcome. It further makes sense that those people would make people who disagree with him feel less welcome, over time.

Maybe it's just the way of the internet; the way of blogs such as this; that you end up preaching to your own choir. That anytime someone disagrees with the local accepted wizdom Oldpro beats their argumens to death.

Here's to Franklin, Oldpro, and you, my friend. I respect all three of you. Heck, I like you guys. I like a good arguemnt. But even I feel unwelcomed around here after awhile. You can blame it on my weak will or whathave you, but the fact is that people who disagree with you guys are made to feel unwelcome around here. And it's a shame, really, because IMHO the sort of good debates that used to go on were better then the self-congratulatory backslapping that's been reigning lately.

8.

Franklin

March 29, 2005, 6:15 AM

I meant, matters to anybody.

The last time I was at MAM, Cheryl Hartup told me that a colleague in New York was asking about Artblog.net. I have anecdotal evidence that it is having a quiet impact. Outside of that, I'm still waiting for someone to roll up to the front door with a wheelbarrow full of money, say "Thank you for being you!", and dump it in my living room. Now that's influence.

Should that not come to pass I can always comfort myselves with my site stats. Since the Raphael Rubenstein sidebar about art blogs that pointedly didn't mention yours truly came out in AiA in January, the site has been hovering around 2000 page serves per day to 500 distinct hosts. Nothing to get excited about in the grand scheme of blogging, but still about 470 more distinct hosts than I can account for. I think Todd at From the Floor gets that about every twenty minutes.

9.

Jack

March 29, 2005, 6:50 AM

Well, participation#, it's not as if Franklin, Oldpro and I are some sort of three-man totalitarian junta that has people thrown in jail, fired from their job or otherwise persecuted for daring to disagree with one of us. We don't play the establishment tune, we're not fashion victims, and we don't care if we sound "elitist" or less than excruciatingly "open-minded," but we're hardly the Three Furies (not that the Furies served no purpose; otherwise, they wouldn't have been invented).

10.

eddie

March 29, 2005, 6:52 AM

Miami is not the answer to a stale NY, niether is NY the answer to a stale Miami. And Jordan, art does not equal beauty. Besides grey, black, and even brown ARE beautiful.

11.

oldpro

March 29, 2005, 7:43 AM

That's some admission, Participation. If you can't hack it, bow out?

First: This choir is singing in the enemy camp. We are taking on the whole petty, nasty billion dollar scam pretty much all by ourselves, providing a forum for those who won't truckle to the corrupt ed mainstream. It's not easy. So we do a little backslapping. So what? Give us a little credit, OK?

Second: when I started on this blog about a year ago there were plenty of people who disagreed. They were perfectly welcome, and still are, but a lot of them took positions and made arguments that made no sense and fell apart. They looked silly. They made fools of themselves. They couldn't hack it either, so they gave up and quit. Their choice.

Third: I have persistently encouraged people with any opinion to come on board and express their opinion. I have persistently urged any reader who differs to please differ. They are most definitely not "made to feel unwelcome" Argument is welcome. Disagreement is welcome. It always has been. No sincerely felt, honest opinion has ever been treated badly here, not by me anyway.

Fourth: there are people with whom I have fought fiercely - Hovig, for example - who still blog all the time. We have disagreements and we have agreements. I like him being here either way. I am sure he feels the same. Look at Flatboy, for example, who gives it back to me as hard as I dish it out and then laughts it off. Why don't Hovig and Flatboy others like them "feel unwelcome"? Maybe it is because they don't worry about their precious feelings so much and like a verbal tussle once in a while, like I do. Maybe it's because they are more interested in working things out in an open discussion than in protecting cherished opinions.

But when bloggers get unresponsive, irrational and abusive because they can't deal with a good animated exchange they end up looking bad and they leave. I suppose this "makes them feel unwelcome" What are we supposed to do? Apologize for their inadequacy, for their inability to make sense, for not thinking through their opinion, for their character-stabbing rejoinders?

No thanks.

12.

jordan

March 29, 2005, 7:56 AM

simply put, new york is not beautifull; only when you are in museums may you get lost in the moment and forget that where you are is nasty and filthy, and if this is what you like eddie, keep your porn memberships to youself.

13.

participation#

March 29, 2005, 8:33 AM

oldP: Nobody doubts your rapier wit. But "This choir is singing in the enemy camp. We are taking on the whole petty, nasty billion dollar scam pretty much all by ourselves, providing a forum for those who won't truckle to the corrupt ed mainstream, " is the sort of rhetoric you might re-consider if you want to gain the favor of the silent majority out there. There is a LOT to be said for the shared perspective of the Rubells, Marguolies, et al, however wrong, misguided, or evil they may be. Yet anyone who dares to drop a positive word in their direction around her is quickly pilloried.

when I started on this blog about a year ago there were plenty of people who disagreed. They were perfectly welcome, and still are, but a lot of them took positions and made arguments that made no sense and fell apart. They looked silly. They made fools of themselves. They couldn't hack it either, so they gave up and quit. Their choice. Sure. In the real world, where it couts for a god-damn, I can argue people into tired submission, too. Believe me, i KNOW you can do it on artblog. You, my friend, are the blogger who does not let down or shut up. LOTS of people have come who could not hack it. Whether it be because their arguments WERE silly, or because they LOOKED silly because they couldn't hack it (where "hack it" comes to mean "post lenghthy replies ten times per day to defend your position against oldpro and his minions")

14.

participation#

March 29, 2005, 8:37 AM

(forgive the double post; the above post included some sort of tag error that caused hald of it (only!!) to be deleted)

oldP: Nobody doubts your rapier wit. But "This choir is singing in the enemy camp. We are taking on the whole petty, nasty billion dollar scam pretty much all by ourselves, providing a forum for those who won't truckle to the corrupt ed mainstream, " is the sort of rhetoric you might re-consider if you want to gain the favor of the silent majority out there. There is a LOT to be said for the shared perspective of the Rubells, Marguolies, et al, however wrong, misguided, or evil they may be. Yet anyone who dares to drop a positive word in their direction around her is quickly pilloried.

when I started on this blog about a year ago there were plenty of people who disagreed. They were perfectly welcome, and still are, but a lot of them took positions and made arguments that made no sense and fell apart. They looked silly. They made fools of themselves. They couldn't hack it either, so they gave up and quit. Their choice. Sure. In the real world, where it couts for a god-damn, I can argue people into tired submission, too. Believe me, i KNOW you can do it on artblog. You, my friend, are the blogger who does not let down or shut up. LOTS of people have come who could not hack it. Whether it be because their arguments WERE silly, or because they LOOKED silly because they couldn't hack it (where "hack it" comes to mean "post lenghthy replies ten times per day to defend your position against oldpro and his minions")

But when bloggers get unresponsive, irrational and abusive because they can't deal with a good animated exchange they end up looking bad and they leave. I suppose this "makes them feel unwelcome" What are we supposed to do? Apologize for their inadequacy, for their inability to make sense, for not thinking through their opinion, for their character-stabbing rejoinders?

I know how you feel . . . let me make an analogy. Artblog is the high school debate team. They can say up and down: "if someone disagrees with us, all they have to do is engage us on our field, in our game, with our rules, and beat us, and we'll give them the credit." . . . point is, some people, irrespective of their abilitiy to debate on your terms, are very smart, and very RIGHT on particular topics. By making them unwelcome, you alienate their perspective, and add to the preaching-to-the-choir atmosphere that increasingly rules around here.

15.

George

March 29, 2005, 8:57 AM

Does this blog matter?

Since I don't live in Miami I don't have a clue how it affects "the local establishment people." In the long run it is a minor issue and won't really matter. To me, what is interesting is its apparent potential for a real dialog, a serious heated dialog. This "value" will depend on its ability to put forth and explore the ideas, concepts and opinions which relevant to the time and not constrained by geography.

There is an interesting psychology to web dialogs. At their worst, they spew forth vile remarks made with the impunity of anonymity. More common are those who comment infrequently because they are intimidated or fear they will look "dumb" At its best are those interesting spirited discussions between several participants who don't know one another and don't even know where the others are. Further, there always is an unheard audience. They are silent but tuned in and should not be dismissed. (470 more distinct hosts can't be wrong ;-)

We are living in the most exciting of times. The internet is breaking down physical boundaries (although language is still a problem) and enabling communication between people anywhere in the world. It has made these conversations possible in a way which NEVER existed before. The world has forever changed.

Can this blog matter? Yes.

16.

George

March 29, 2005, 9:09 AM

Regarding " There is a LOT to be said for the shared perspective of the Rubells, Marguolies, et al, however wrong, misguided, or evil they may be."

Gee wiz, I would suggest that someone reexamine a perspective which views those who have made a very serious commitment towards collecting works of art as wrong, misguided, or evil just because their taste (connoisseurship) differs from ours/yours. The very real possibility exists that we/you are on the wrong end of the debate.

17.

Franklin

March 29, 2005, 3:04 PM

...some people, irrespective of their abilitiy to debate on your terms, are very smart, and very RIGHT on particular topics... If they're right, it ought to be possible for them to explain why, particularly if they're smart. If they can't do it, they need to stay out of written forums.

Plenty of people (although fewer than in the past, thankfully) come on here who feel that they're right without actually being right, a state encouraged by the Everything is Great segment of the art world. I'm content to let Oldpro dismember them. They identify themselves pretty quickly because they resort to a strategy that necessitated the creation of the "address the writing, not the writer" guideline.

No one needs to come here ten times a day to defend himself - he needs to make his point well once. The inability to do so necessitates the other nine visits.

18.

michael

March 29, 2005, 5:08 PM

i think new york is quite beautiful, especially its uglier parts. we shouldnt forget that there are people who find the beautiful in everything or mostly everything, including an urban landscape that appears hostile and dirty to others. also being a ny artist i disagree that ny art is boring or stale. this debate about ny is always there in the background. i've been hearing it for years from people from chicago, la, and i guess it makes sense that miami wants to be considered as important as ny, but for myself at least i could care less. i love seeing art from other cities and find just as much of it as good or worse than i see in ny. when im blown away by works of art i'm never thinking about what city the artist is from.

19.

flatboy

March 29, 2005, 5:15 PM

Dear participation#,

Who ever gets "pilloried" by a bunch of dots on a computer screen? The "winners" here often look as silly as the "losers". One of the lessons of comedy is that the more serious a thing is the more silly it can look.

Besides, you don't have to "win" to be "right". To be right reqires only being right. Whether you can yak yak about it is a different issue. And yak yak works as well for "wrong" as it does for "right".

Just dive in, type what you have to say, then turn off your computer for a couple of days while you do something real.

20.

flatboy

March 29, 2005, 5:31 PM

Hi michael,

Have you considered the possiblity that "the city" for art no longer exists? That NY art, by virtue of its location, is neither boring nor important? That Miami is just as important as NY because the importance of "location" disappeared into the same black hole that Modernism went into way back in the last century? I don't want to put words into your mouth, but you seem to be headed in a direction that sounds like the one I'm painting here.

It is pluralism in the sense that all the trappings that make art easy to spot and catergorize, including style, attitude, quirks, etc., are unimportant mannerisms that don't matter much and so are equal. The trickery of art is that it always seems to dress itself up this way, which fools artists and art lovers alike.

21.

oldpro

March 29, 2005, 5:43 PM

The position that Participant and to a lesser extent George are taking is that vigorous debate discourages participation on the blog, comparing what I and others do here to a high school debating society, where battles are won to little effect because the larger audience is alienated.

This is not entirely inaccurate. It is possible to conduct a blog that procceeds in a warm and cozy manner and manages by allowing everyone to go on at length unchallenged.

Let me say the following.

Many people have, and still do, contribute to this blog by making observations and venturing opinions which are not particularly sophisticated or knowledgeable. A number of them, several quite recently, have qualified themselves as not knowing much about art. Many of them are curious about something or other and want to ask a question or say how they feel about something. Most of them are intelligent people who want to participate.

These folks are always welcomed. A few days ago, for example, I encouraged "Roadmark" to please expand on an observation. I recently found a web description to describe the "superheroes" installation at Margolies. I regularly check things out to answer questions or clarify a discussion, as do others.I do this because it interests me.

It also interests me to be able to participate in the one blog out of the countless number out there that takes a hard line on bullshit and nonsense and has a clear, passionately held point of view. In my opinion this is a service to the art community, and a badly needed one. To do this one must take the time and energy that Franklin takes in running it, and, to a lesser extent I do, and Jack and some others do, by checking in and responding.

We may end up looking like we are talking to each other, but, as Franklin indicates, people are tuning in. This blog is a service to that silent majority. They are out there, and they are listening. Where are the Hirst fans you miss? What is going on when the supporters of this great billion-dollar art monster cannot even begin to make sense of what they do in this little venue? What does that tell you?

I don't think you should try to discourage us. I think you should join the battle.

22.

oldpro

March 29, 2005, 5:49 PM

Yes, as Flatboy says, just dive in and type what you have to say.

Flatboy, I see that your everpresent "black hole" has now swallowed the importance of location as well as Modernism. It's pretty useful. I got to get me one.

23.

flatboy

March 29, 2005, 6:24 PM

OldPro, from the perspective of one who had not even been born, 1960 and following looks like a period in which art changed hugely. At first it seemed radical in the sense of avant-garde, but really, it was in the process of expanding its audience (a fundamentally bureaucratic process, with great success, too), while at the same time understanding that this new audience had to be serviced by making the art easier to "understand". So "avant-garde" had to become something more people could relate to, had to shed its "stand offish" cloak. Today, even the buisness school students quote Warhol's 15 minutes of fame idea. Who quotes Pollock? Who quotes deKooning? Who even knows about Rothko?

Andy Warhol was not radical, he was just quirky in a way that sat and continues to sit well with a huge number of people. His art appeals to roughly the same group that reads "Star". I like "Star" and I like Warhol. That does not change the fact Warhol is a big step down from Pollock. Yet he created a definition of "what works" that still holds up and no longer requires NY for support. Warhol was so hip in extremus that he made it child-easy to import hip no matter where you live. That's the positive face of the black hole.

24.

oldpro

March 29, 2005, 6:32 PM

Flatboy, only you could put a "positive face" on a "black hole". I love it. And the preceding explication is pretty accurate.

No, no one quotes Pollock. He didn't talk all that much.

25.

michael

March 29, 2005, 10:06 PM

i agree with what you said flatboy. i should have put important in quotes, as i was referring to what is considered the norm or at least we are told is the norm, but i think it really comes down to the individual artists. i definitely think that there is so much to learn and absorb by moving to and being a part of a place like new york which has the potential to make one a better and more realized artist. but i feel just as "important" here as i did when i was living 700 miles away. but i'm quite certain that the same can be said for miami.

26.

Kathleen

March 30, 2005, 4:56 PM

A little clarification for the Oldpro posse:

Franklin is the Blogger. We are the Commentors. Franklin writes Posts, we add Comments. Commentors who get are "unresponsive, irrational and abusive" are called Trolls. Franklin is Blogging, we are Commenting.

27.

oldpro

March 30, 2005, 6:00 PM

Thanks, Kathleen. I have been corrected before and have backslid.

But aren't we "commentators"? I'm not sure "commentor" is a word.

28.

Denise

March 31, 2005, 5:43 AM

Um, no more than Franklin is a blogator. (har har)

Seriously though, I found a couple of definitions for commentator:

1. A broadcaster or writer who reports and analyzes events in the news.
2. One who writes or delivers a commentary or commentaries.n
1: an expert who observes and comments on something [syn: observer]
2: a writer who reports and analyzes events of the day [syn: reviewer]

On the internet, users who post comments on a blog or other type of forum that allows for reader response are generally referred to as commenters.

I feel kind of silly about de-lurking for something so banal, but Kathleen's post was a huge relief! The rampant misuse of the word "blogger" in the comment culture here was a pet peeve of mine.

29.

oldpro

March 31, 2005, 7:27 AM

I will do right from now on. "Commenter" sounds like the word to use.

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