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emerging

Post #581 • July 15, 2005, 12:52 PM • 43 Comments

I have long loathed the term emerging as people apply it to artists. It's one of those artspeak terms that means very little if you contemplate it. But perhaps we came closer to a definition recently, thanks to some lawyers.

Legalart is awarding a $3000 grant this year to one emerging Miami artist. They define emerging thusly:

Emerging artist is defined as an artist who has graduated from an accredited art institution within the last 10 years (1996-2005) or anyone who has been working professionally as an artist for less than five years. The artist must have lived and worked in Miami from September 1, 2003 to September 1, 2005, and the award will be made contingent on proof of residency.

This means I stopped emerging two years ago, because I finished my MFA in 1994. I'm glad we cleared that up. The question is - what am I now that I'm now longer emerging? Merging? Germinating? Germane? Jejune? Germanic? Immersed?

Comment

1.

cohen

July 15, 2005, 1:09 PM

trust fund artist might be more appropriate.

2.

ahab

July 15, 2005, 2:07 PM

Like all anti-modernist (sic) and revisionist terminology, I recognize that 'emerging artist' is intended to be all-inclusive and equalizing and to remove stigma from labels like 'student artist,' or 'young artist'. Of course, like all pc terminology, it just re-stigmatizes those suffering under the label because the reality didn't change, but the definition conformed to the reality.

Ah, the joy of slippery signifiers. I saw a recent article in my local daily paper with the headline: "Lasers Make Lame Walk And Blind See." Any guesses what readers sent in flaming letters objecting to? It wasn't what I would've expected. I expected "Sacrilege!" "Heresy!" "God's not a laser!" or something.

Instead, "I'm so insulted that you labeled me lame because I have a limp." "How dare you call someone in a wheelchair lame." After all, the first Merriam-Webster defiinition of lame is: 1 a : having a body part and especially a limb so disabled as to impair freedom of movement b : marked by stiffness and soreness. Though nobody wrote in to complain that an unseeing person would be labeled 'blind.' Sight-challenged people weren't reading that day's paper I guess.

People only understood 'lame' as it is listed in its secondary meanings: 2 : lacking needful or desirable substance : WEAK, INEFFECTUAL 3 slang : not being in the know : SQUARE

They really were lame in the tertiary senses. Heavy irony.

3.

ahab

July 15, 2005, 2:07 PM

Like all anti-modernist (sic) and revisionist terminology, I recognize that 'emerging artist' is intended to be all-inclusive and equalizing and to remove stigma from labels like 'student artist,' or 'young artist'. Of course, like all pc terminology, it just re-stigmatizes those suffering under the label because the reality didn't change, but the definition conformed to the reality.

Ah, the joy of slippery signifiers. I saw a recent article in my local daily paper with the headline: "Lasers Make Lame Walk And Blind See." Any guesses what readers sent in flaming letters objecting to? It wasn't what I would've expected. I expected "Sacrilege!" "Heresy!" "God's not a laser!" or something.

Instead, "I'm so insulted that you labeled me lame because I have a limp." "How dare you call someone in a wheelchair lame." After all, the first Merriam-Webster defiinition of lame is: 1 a : having a body part and especially a limb so disabled as to impair freedom of movement b : marked by stiffness and soreness. Though nobody wrote in to complain that an unseeing person would be labeled 'blind.' Sight-challenged people weren't reading that day's paper I guess.

People only understood 'lame' as it is listed in its secondary meanings: 2 : lacking needful or desirable substance : WEAK, INEFFECTUAL 3 slang : not being in the know : SQUARE

They really were lame in the tertiary senses. Heavy irony.

4.

ahab

July 15, 2005, 2:08 PM

I didn't post twice I promise. Oh, I did accidently refresh the "Thank you for posting page" though. Sorry.

5.

Franklin

July 15, 2005, 2:40 PM

No worries, Ahab - the whole "please close this window and refresh the page" thing needs to be rethought.

Via an alert reader: the Castellón County Council International Painting Prize. I disagree with the premise, but grownups are encouraged to apply, and it's 60,000 Euros, which must be about US$350,000 at this point.

6.

oldpro

July 15, 2005, 3:01 PM

emerge intr.v. emerged, emerging, emerges.

1. To rise from or as if from immersion.
2. To come forth from obscurity.
3. To become evident.
4. To come into existence.

Emerging artists are those little fuzzy yellow things that run around confused and say "peep" a lot. They grow up to be chickens, lay some eggs and are eventually sent off to market.

7.

oldpro

July 15, 2005, 3:04 PM

Franklin that prize you linked to is devoted to "exapnding painting".

Want to go in with me on a hot air balloon?

8.

Matty

July 15, 2005, 4:59 PM

The question is - what am I now that I'm now longer emerging? Merging? Germinating? Germane? Jejune? Germanic? Immersed?

Up here, you'd be "mid-career". At least, that's how the Canada Council for the Arts would define you... their groupings and definitions are as follows:

emerging artist
An artist who has specialized training in his or her field (not necessarily gained in an academic institution), who is at an early stage in his or her career, and who has created a modest independent body of work.

mid-career artist
An artist who has created an independent body of work over a number of years and who has received regional or national recognition through publication or public presentation of his or her work.

established artist
An artist who is at a mature stage in his or her career and who has created an extensive body of independent work. An established artist has reached an advanced level of achievement by sustaining a nationally or internationally recognized contribution to the discipline.

9.

Matty

July 15, 2005, 5:03 PM

"Emerging" is a medical term, isn't it? I know a few artists who are married to nurses... perhaps they could help us out with how to diagnose Franklin.

10.

Franklin

July 15, 2005, 5:05 PM

Re #8: The new phone book's here! I'm somebody now!

11.

oldpro

July 15, 2005, 5:07 PM

Disestablished artist: An artist, once established, whose work is no longer fashionable

Dead artist: An artist who cannot produce any more (genuine) works of art, so we can figure out how much they are really worth.

Dead but not dead enough artist: Marcel Duchamp.


(man, am I going to get trouble for that one!)

12.

ahab

July 15, 2005, 5:11 PM

There's also been some talk of terminology on other posts, particularly around the appropriateness of 'post-modernism.' It does seem like an impossible conversation when one contributor writes with a completely disparate understanding of a word from another. We can't all conform post-haste to a single definition.

I am an emerging blogger, only a week old. But I have been surprised by how closely everyone, myself included, seems to identify themselves with what is typed here, regardless of avowed stance-taking for the sake of discussion. For example, not to bully, but flatboy was acting as a foil to anti-urinal comments during the whole Du-bacle, but still seemed to be insulted by McCourt's logical though extreme extension of a flatboy comment (to which he still hasn't reasonably responded). Franklin in this post is also expressing his dissatisfaction with 'emerging' as it has been applied to him.

When someone (see any # of recent contributors) decides to put their words down here but then cannot emotionally handle having those words considered critically it tells me that the person has a world-view that is locked into esoteric constructions of their own. Noone can stay sane and accept the destruction of his/er deeply-held beliefs. We can hardly handle having them even brought up, never mind questioned.

I've been bothered by allegations that regular commentors here are close-minded, which parallels concerns about the limiting nature of a label like 'emerging'. But I'm not sure such allegations can be written off as world-view motivated denials of what is written at artblog.net. What then - stupid people? They say I'm close-minded, I believe they think I'm close-minded. But how do I allow this to inform my 'open-minded' opinion of myself.

This seems to me to be on topic with today's post, but I make no assumptions that it matters to anyone else here. It's a lob-ball, but not a didactic one.

13.

Jack

July 15, 2005, 5:11 PM

You're mistaken about Duchamp, Oldpro. He was dead before he died, artistically speaking. Unfortunately, there is such a thing as necrophilia.

14.

oldpro

July 15, 2005, 5:11 PM

You are sombody because you have the phone book or because you are in it?

In terms of emergence here's a world of difference.

Speaking of emergence, why is "emerging" akin to being born and "emergency" what happens when you die?

15.

ahab

July 15, 2005, 5:17 PM

As to a medical interpretation of 'emerging:' the wife suggests you might be thinking of 'evacuating'.

Chucking.

Heaving.

etal.

16.

ahab

July 15, 2005, 5:18 PM

Evacuation can be an emergency.

17.

Franklin

July 15, 2005, 5:20 PM

Oldpro, Weren't you the one threatening to sic the Wicked Witch on me if I brought up You Know Who again?

The phone book remark was a reference to the movie The Jerk.

18.

oldpro

July 15, 2005, 5:23 PM

Ahab

I like "du-bacle"

Dont be too tough on flatboy. He;'s OK. And it is just as well that the Matty/Flats discussions are washed into the past because theyweren't getting anywhere.

I have learned over the years that anytime you have strong opinions and apply common sense in a determined way you are "close minded".

Going along with the crowd and doing what they do in lockstep is "open-minded".

But, as i said here once before, if you are too open-minded your brains fall out.,

19.

oldpro

July 15, 2005, 5:26 PM

Franklin, I did even worse, I said anyone who used the word U****L again should be banned from the blog and drowned in an Andre Serrano Piss tank.

Then I did it. That's why I go out only at night and keep looking over my shoulder.

20.

Matty

July 15, 2005, 5:42 PM

Yup Franklin, iperhaps we should quit now and open up a cup-o-pizza stand.

Ahab, I'm pretty sure emerging is a medical term, as in, like, symptoms are emerging, so you're sent to 'emergency'... I was thinking maybe it would lead us to artists who might be descibed as "stable", or even the diagnosis of folks like us, as "critical"... which, if we keep it up, could be "terminal".

21.

ahab

July 15, 2005, 5:45 PM

Swing and a miss.

22.

Elizabeth

July 15, 2005, 5:48 PM

so whats the discussion about tonight??? emerging necropehliacs who are in the phonebook and look over their shoulders when they go out at night and are trying to win painting prizes????

23.

ahab

July 15, 2005, 5:54 PM

'Terminal' as in 'over.' 'Over' as in 'over-and-out.'

24.

oldpro

July 15, 2005, 5:55 PM

On this blog, Elizabeth, we are always serious, sober and right on course.

25.

Elizabeth

July 15, 2005, 5:55 PM

Matty; cupo' pizza????

26.

Elizabeth

July 15, 2005, 5:58 PM

OldPro; yeah right ....hahahahahahahahahahahahaa

27.

Elizabeth

July 15, 2005, 6:08 PM

Franklin; hows this then?? 'terminally emerging' ??

28.

Franklin

July 15, 2005, 6:09 PM

But how do I allow this to inform my 'open-minded' opinion of myself[?]

This comes down to the act of self-criticism. You have to constantly examine yourself when you make art, look at art, and think about art. People who have really kicked the tires on their beliefs typically don't sputter when those beliefs are challenged. So if you're not allowing yourself to think about something, that's closed-minded. But if you have thought it through (even better, reflected on it, which is a better description of what happens when you look at art) and decided that some assertion is wrong, and then someone who thinks it's right calls you closed-minded, they're being insecure. That's what's been going on here and there lately - the accusation of closed-mindedness is essentially a request to agree with someone without putting them through the trouble of proving their argument.

29.

Matty

July 15, 2005, 6:24 PM

Elizabeth, see Franklin's last sentence on post #17

Too veer slightly off topic, in the current issue of "Canadian Art" ragazine, there's an article by Mark Kingwell on the differing 'conceptions' of the artist... might be a topic in itself though...

http://www.canadianart.ca/articles/Articles_Details.cfm?Ref_num=336

30.

oldpro

July 15, 2005, 6:31 PM

Well said, Franklin. On this blog, at least, the "closed-mind" accusation has virtually always come from those who are uncomfortable with strong opinions that do not agree with the majority and probably sound an alarm in them that maybe some rethinking might be in order. When you demolish their arguments your close-mindedness is proven beyond a doubt.

31.

oldpro

July 15, 2005, 6:44 PM

Very interesting article, Matty. Read it, everyone.

It reminds me of something I have often thought about, that everything aspires to the condiditon of art, and when all the other stuff in life is taken care of, sometime in the future, esthetic matters will take over and everything will be art and everyone an artist.

I hasten to say we are not there yet.

32.

George

July 15, 2005, 6:48 PM

if you are too open-minded your brains fall out.

Only if your head is too small :-)

33.

Matty

July 15, 2005, 6:49 PM

I've read Kingwell before, and I always get the feeling that he almost has the right idea... I'm a little dubious about the conclusions he draws, his stage 1... sounds la bit too much like a 'final solution' for artists...

The Simpson's stuff at the beginning sucked me in though.

34.

Matty

July 15, 2005, 6:50 PM

Stage Eleven, I meant, not stage one...

35.

oldpro

July 15, 2005, 7:48 PM

it falls apart at the end, almost as if he was thinking "how am I gonjg to end this". He could have put those final stages together better. But the whole idea is very interesting & is a fairly decent quick summary of the "view of the artist" through the years. He is not a bad writer.

36.

ahab's Patroness

July 15, 2005, 8:02 PM

I was miss quoted. I did not say emerging=evacuting. I said it was a term used during the birthing process (which granted is a type of evacution I suppose).

Franklin! You made it through the birth canal! Well done!

Ah enjoy that visual.

37.

oldpro

July 15, 2005, 8:25 PM

Miss Quoted is a great patroness, Ahab. Always backing you up.

38.

flatboy

July 15, 2005, 10:53 PM

OldPro, your "dead but not dead enough" definition was very funny and I laughed my ass off when I read it. It's good you are unable to restrain yourself when it comes to writing about the art you want everyone to quit mentioning.

There is an extraordinary amount of "agreement" in this conversation, yet I am not feeling much like responding though I can find things that are agreeable and others that are not. Don't know why. Electricity goes down when agreement goes up?

Have a good evening.

39.

oldpro

July 15, 2005, 11:34 PM

"Electricity goes down when agreement goes up?"

Oh, I think so. Blog discussion waxes and wanes, comes in waves. I don't know if you have noticed but most blogs have very little response. This one is very lively and seems to have attracted a pretty articulate bunch of people. The one big thing missing is a defender of the status quo who can hack it, but maybe that should not be surprising.

40.

ahab

July 16, 2005, 12:34 AM

Was at a local exhibit these evening with Miss Quoted Patroness. So much that is dull out there, so much bland, so much middling. As though it were the flavour of the week...the flavour of the weak.

Nothing left to look at but racecars and airplanes. A Great Sadness. It is hard even to be angry. Even Mrs. QP feels it.

41.

Jack

July 16, 2005, 1:57 AM

Ahab, I can relate. At least your city, I expect, lacks the (ridiculous) pretensions of Miami. One of the problems with mediocrity is that it not only fails to satisfy but deadens and depresses--it discourages even the serious art lover, if it is prevalent and pervasive enough. After beating one's head against the wall over and over and over, one becomes increasingly weary of and resistant to such exercise.

The "art scene" is not designed for, nor best suited to, those single-mindedly seeking great art. It is much more suitable for those who either don't know or don't care about quality: as long as they get the things they really want from the scene, such as see-and-be-seen, image, glamour, fashion, status, connections, career advancement, money, notoriety and so forth, they're fine--regardless of the art involved, which is, after all, a pretext, a means to other ends.

42.

oldpro

July 16, 2005, 2:10 AM

The flavor of the week...the flavor of the weak.

Very good.

Don't worry. The synapses are working.

43.

Matty

July 16, 2005, 11:39 AM

... a defender of the status quo who can hack it...
...but enough oxymorons for now.

Discussion on my end is surely on the wane for now, I'm hittin' the road... take care all.

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