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right of first refusal

Post #574 • July 7, 2005, 8:54 AM • 63 Comments

Something about this (from the Art Newspaper) doesn't add up:

In the currently super-heated market for contemporary art, galleries are increasingly seeking to maintain control over an artist's work, even after it has been sold. Today several dealers of contemporary art are placing a right of first refusal in their sales documents, requiring buyers to offer the art back to the dealer before selling to anyone else. Some, including dealers, maintain that these restrictions protect artists, the market, and even collectors. However critics of these contracts disagree.

If I were a collector and thought that a work in a gallery was undervalued, my attempt to flip it at auction, if successful, would benefit all concerned - I cash in, and the gallery would establish a higher market price for the artist's other work at no risk to itself. And if I were a smart collector, I wouldn't try to flip something I thought would tank. Why not risk it? Because, apparently:

Gilbert Edelson, a lawyer who is counsel to the New York firm Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, and vice president and counsel to the Art Dealers Association of America, says that "If an artist's work is selling at rapidly increasing prices, speculators can be drawn into the market to purchase only for resale, rather than as collectors. The artist's reputation can be damaged if a work goes to auction and does poorly or doesn't sell. A repurchase right gives the dealer some market control and the artist some protection".

In the fashion world, last year's styles get put out to the curb. In the fashion-driven end of the art market, that Destroy part of the cycle works against dealers, whose artists simply can't innovate in the manner of the design houses without losing their identifiable style. If a gallery is going to market an artist as young and up-and-coming (one or two of my galleries present me that way), it can't simultaneously make a case for the longevity of the work. Perhaps the galleries are trying to save their younger artists from having lucrative but brief careers, but it looks like they want it both ways: a quick ascent to stardom followed by permanent fixture in the heavens. I would guess that the heavens are not so kind as to permit that more than rarely.

Comment

1.

Jack

July 7, 2005, 9:21 AM

My response to the right of first refusal ploy: Kiss my ar(t)se.

If I buy something, anything, what I do with it afterwards is strictly my business. Any collector who will agree to such shameless manipulation deserves no respect, and probably doesn't have enough self-respect. This sort of demeaning capitulation to the self-interest of dealers is part of the reason things are so screwed up. If collectors refused to play along, dealers would have to back down. The way I see it, those who buy should be catered to by those who sell, not the other way around.

2.

oldpro

July 7, 2005, 9:57 AM

"The artist's reputation can be damaged if a work goes to auction and does poorly or doesn't sell."

Poor babies!

3.

alesh

July 7, 2005, 10:35 AM

I'm failing to understand how this operates in practice . . . if I want to unload a piece of work I purchased under one of these agreements, how does the selling price get determined? If I have a buyer willing to pay twice what I paid, does the gallery have to match the price? And yes, auctions throw a big monkey wrench into the situation . . . does it mean the work can never be auctioned?

Sounds like a fairly non-hidden effect of this would be to keep the value of a piece of work DOWN, and so would piss off the artist in question, no?

In other news, our "Browse" page appears to have broken . . .

4.

oldpro

July 7, 2005, 10:51 AM

Not only that, Alesh, the "protection" to the artist is illusory.

As long as this artist is hot the prices go up and the open market is better for sales than returning the piece to the dealer. As soon as the fashion changes, as it will, and as soon as the artist goes out of fashion, as he/she almost certtainly will, the dealer will drop the artist and that will be that. This is nothing but a secondary market ploy for dealers. Why can't these people see this?

5.

Franklin

July 7, 2005, 11:14 AM

Re: the browse page: Crapcakes on fire. Thanks for letting me know.

It seems like a down market for an artist would hit the dealers harder as well. If a bunch of work is locked up by first refusal its value, if sliding, will tank faster because there's no one to buy it except the dealer. Constricted demand means lower prices, right?

6.

Jack

July 7, 2005, 11:38 AM

I just don't get these rich world-beaters who turn to limp, oozing putty in dealer's hands. Why would they put up with such blatant manipulation? Is it because they figure if they don't cave in, some other rich chump will always do so and beat them to the "prize"? It's such an obvious racket, too. Disgusting, and very sad all around.

7.

ren

July 7, 2005, 12:06 PM

I have to agree with jack, if you buy something its yours to do with what you wish. The artists are secondary in this game to their “product” , as soon as the goose goes barren its time to take out the trash, which is fine, after all it is a business isn’t it.

Its just unfortunate and sad that the "product" in most cases is a part of someones soul which another person is trying to exploit for their own financial and social success.

At the same time where do you draw the line?
If I buy a historically significant work of art only to have it destroyed, can anyone stop me?
Or is it mine to do with what I wish?

8.

oldpro

July 7, 2005, 12:50 PM

Legally it is yours, ren, unless you have a seperate contract of some kind. There may be moral issues which are separate from the legal ones, but sometimes they get a bit overplayed when it comes to art.

Because of a studio change I recently threw out a lot of student work I had been hauling around for years. What a relief! But a few days ago I had a phone call from a dealer who took me severely to task for it. All I could say was, well, if it is all that potentially historically important, you deal with it.

There is a lot of stuff passing for art out there that we would be better off without.

9.

ren

July 7, 2005, 1:07 PM

thats true...its like anything really, you know its good or important, if it is, you feel it, its insticts...i feel alot of this bubble gum art is losing its flavor fast.

10.

oldpro

July 7, 2005, 1:09 PM

"I feel a lot of this bubble gum art is losing its flavor fast."

Very good. I'm gonna steal it.

11.

FRC

July 7, 2005, 1:47 PM

" if you buy something its yours to do with what you wish"

That depends. Any contract AGREED upon by both
buyer and seller may put conditions on what
you can & cannot do....thus today's topic...

It is my understanding that even without a contract
COPYRIGHTS are maintained by the ARTIST
unless otherwise agreed upon.

This means purchasing a physical artwork stops
there - one cannot make copies of the work
& sell them for example.

12.

oldpro

July 7, 2005, 1:52 PM

A contrqact has to be agreed to by all pariies or it isn't a contract, FRC. And I am pretty sure that copyright extends only to reproduction. It would not prevent you from selling or destroying the work.

13.

FRC

July 7, 2005, 2:05 PM

Exactly my point, Oldpro - the whole business
of right of first refusal, how to handle requests
for loans for shows, etc. are details of a business
contract that buyer and seller must both agree.

In the case where a contract spells out
what you can & cannot do with a work
as a condition of sale, you buy something
and it IS NOTyours to do with what you wish...

The example of copyrights & reproduction is
just another case where, even without a written contract,
if you buy something it IS NOT yours to do with what you wish.

14.

alesh

July 7, 2005, 2:05 PM

That's a good point, FRC; the rights to the image and the physical object are two distinct things, and purchase of one does not imply ownership of the other. I think this goes so far that if someone made a documentary about me (which, come to think of it, is overdue), they would need to get legal clearance from people who created artwork in my apartment before they could release the footage. Because anything created is automatically considered copyrighted by the owner.

I wonder how this relates, say, to the recent Rubell book. I guess they just had to get signatures from all the artists (who presumably would have no problem providing them??), or is there some sort of exception?

Off topic but releated, a Bill Gates company has been aquiring millions of historical photographs and other images. The copyright on these pictures has long expired, but they scan them, which somehow allows them to renew the copyright on the digital version (because it's considered a "new work" under our idiotic intelectual property laws). They then store the original work in a humidity-controled bunker. The image on THAT is public domain, but they control access to the physical object.

It wouldn't wouldn't serve the self-interest of art collectors to do anything like that, but I wonder if it's theoretically possible. In any case, artists would be well advised to have good photographs of any works they sell.

I wonder if there are any artists, that, for conceptual reasons, sell the copyright to an image along with the physical object?

As far as contracts tied to the purchase of works, I don't think anyone would have a problem with a gallery demanding, for example, that the owner of a work return the work to the gallery if for some reason it would be destroyed?

15.

ren

July 7, 2005, 2:13 PM

thanks oldpro ;)

16.

oldpro

July 7, 2005, 2:34 PM

"I wonder if there are any artists, that, for conceptual reasons, sell the copyright to an image along with the physical object?"

This is an excellent thought and I can't believe someone has not come up with it, but then good ideas are often stunningly obvious.

"As far as contracts tied to the purchase of works, I don't think anyone would have a problem with a gallery demanding, for example, that the owner of a work return the work to the gallery if for some reason it would be destroyed?"

Once agian, this would impinge on the owners rights.

As for the use of artist's pictures in catalogs, it is my understanding that there is something called "fair use" which allows use of images for news & noncommercial purposes, but I do not know the details. There is an organization called VAGA that sends me a miniscule check whenever anyone reproduces one of my works in a catalog, and the only thing I can think of is that I hope the payment the museum had to make did not discourage them from using another one.

17.

Franklin

July 7, 2005, 3:37 PM

This is nothing but a secondary market ploy for dealers.

If enough dealers do this the secondary market isn't going to have any collectors around to inflate prices.

18.

James W. Bailey

July 7, 2005, 4:00 PM

Dear Mr. Old Pro,

I have in a past life conceptualized a work of art titled, "Nothing".

"Nothing" consisted of a white cube space that had been emptied of everything.

"Nothing" was also trademarked and copyrighted.

I premiered "Nothing" at an alternative space in New Orleans.

I was horrified at a point during the exhibition of "Nothing" to discover that someone had dragged the furniture back into the gallery, thus destroying "Nothing".

I threatened at the time to sue the gallery owner over his failure to protect "Nothing".

As the lawsuit about "Nothing" worked its way through the greased palms of the infamous New Orleans Civil District Court system, the gallery owner's attorney (a noted art collector) offered to purchase the trademark and copyright for "Nothing" from me, since the orginal "Nothing" had been destroyed.

I agreed to sell the intellectual property rights for "Nothing" to him. My legal sales contract for "Nothing" stipulated that I can never again create another "Nothing". From now on, all of my creations must be a something.

Of course, this "Nothing" episode pre-dated the following:

THE VISUAL ARTISTS RIGHTS ACT of 1990 - http://www.law.uconn.edu/homes/swilf/ip/statutes/vara.htm

Most of the states' moral rights legislation has been preempted by the enactment of the Visual Artist's Rights Act (VARA) as an amendment to the United States Copyright Act of 1976. This legislation has brought the United States into line with much of the European community where artist's rights have been protected for many years. In fact, the phrase moral rights comes from the french phrase Droit Moral.

VARA gives the author (or creator) of a work of visual art the right to:

Claim authorship of the work;

Prevent the use of his/her name as the author of a work he/she did not create;

Prevent the use of his/her name as author of a work that has been distorted, mutilated or modified to a certain degree; and

Under certain circumstances, prevent the distortion, mutilation, modification or destruction of a work of visual art, though this right is restricted when the work has been incorporated into a building with the consent of the author.

VARA provides protection of these rights for the duration of the life of the author(s) of the work, and these rights cannot be transferred to another party, though they can be waived if done so by an express written and signed waiver.

Sincerely,

James W. Bailey

19.

oldpro

July 7, 2005, 4:30 PM

Mr Bailey, can someone else do a "nothing", or was your "nothing" the "nothing" after which there can be no more "nothing"?

Thanks for the VARA info. Interesting stuff, and it certainly clarifies all of our guesswork above.

Except now I have to go sue myself for tossing out all that sudent work of mine.

20.

Jack

July 7, 2005, 4:37 PM

FRC, my point was that no buyer/collector should agree to any contract that impinges upon or unreasonably restricts his/her rights. Of course those who play along with greedy dealers have to deal with the consequences of having caved in to them--that's why, when faced with dubious ploys as a condition of sale, people should say NO, expressing as much outrage as possible. If enough people hold their ground, and make it clear they're offended by such ploys and find their perpetrators contemptible, you can bet the dealers will change their tune. Unfortunately, invertebrates are everywhere, and not a few of them have big art budgets.

21.

ren

July 7, 2005, 4:57 PM

teachers throw out student work all the time. if you leave it behind it means you dont want it and if you dont value it, who else will...oh well

22.

James W. Bailey

July 7, 2005, 5:15 PM

Dear Mr. Old Pro,

Nothing about "Nothing" can ever be legally created again without the expressed released consent from a crawfish-munchin’ Dixie-beer-drinkin’ Sears-polyester-suit-wearin’ five-time-indicted-never-convicted now finally disbarred New Orleans attorney, who I understand will be running for the New Orleans City Council next year, and whose campaign will be financed in no small way by his sale of “Nothing” at Sotheby’s next month.

Apparently the Museum of Modern Art believes it has the lock on winning the bid war over “Nothing”!

I sold my soul at the time for 30 pieces of copper disguised as silver over “Nothing” ; but it was years ago and I was a young, naive and starving artist who knew “Nothing”, who lived in the mythical land of “A Confederacy of Dunces” who knew everything about how to take “Nothing” from an artist and make a lot of something out of it.

I can’t wait to travel to New York when the new version of “Nothing” opens so I can be the one this time to drag some Salvation Army thrift store furniture into the “Nothing” exhibition and destroy it and turn it in to something.

With great appreciaton for your contributions to Artblog.net, I remain a loyal reader,

James W. Bailey

23.

oldpro

July 7, 2005, 6:01 PM

This is a grreat story, JW. In other words you are legally restrained from doing nothing, but you can go to NY and make something out of it, therefiore destroying nothing but probably getting arrested for it.

If this doesn't make the Sunday art page of the Times, nothing will.

24.

mek

July 7, 2005, 7:10 PM

great story. another day of great blog. thanks again for this site.

25.

Rob

July 8, 2005, 1:21 AM

Dear Mr. Bailey, (as in Ol' Bailey?)

Wouldn't you like to involve Disney in this scheme somehow. You wouldn't even have to risk a sliver by moving furniture. Sing "Happy Birthday" (legally owned by Disney if "The Corporation" documentary wasn't pulling my leg) at the next "Nothing" installation and the resulting lawsuit could help you achieve ultimate notoriety.

Signed,

Slightly Incredulous.

26.

oldpro

July 8, 2005, 9:40 AM

I hope Mr Bailey does make the headlines. What he is doing beats the Turner prize shenanigans any day, and has much more "finality" to it, in the sense that, okay, this approach it has come to nothing, so lets be done with it.

Unless, of course, he is just making it all up, which would be OK also, but much less effective.

27.

flatboy

July 8, 2005, 10:16 AM

I see even the hardened "show me specifics and be rational" bloggers are caught up in speculating about the "nothing" art. Shows how conceptualism strikes a universal chord in our consciousness. Like, we can excuse or ignore the lack of esthetic satisfaction if the idea is interesting enough.

Of course most of this speculation is tounge in cheek. But the bait was presented and the hook was taken, no matter why. If the commenters were fish they would be on their way to someone's table. That is material in itself because it shows we are all vulnerable, more or less. The only question is how more or how less.

28.

mek

July 8, 2005, 10:17 AM

this question is not related to any topic.

i may go to winwood gallery nite this wkend so can someone please direct me to the best galleries and/or shows to check out?

also, what is your opinion of the rubell family collection?

thanks,
mek

29.

Rob

July 8, 2005, 10:52 AM

From my reading, the regular commenters on this blog were showing Mr. Bailey and his comments some respect, regardless of whether Mr. Bailey was also serving as a metaphor or bait.

Just as I am free to look at anything (or nothing should I choose), so can I speculate on it (by which I mean judge it). These are all comments after all: rational, specific comments not about the nature of art but about logistics and legalities. There is no fish on the table tonight, flatboy, not for that reason.

One more thing, 'conceptualism' strikes no universal chord. But a concept, now there's an idea! Just try to name one thing in all the world that does not embody a concept. The thing comes first, our name for it comes second, and for better or worse, conceptualizing follows at a distance.

30.

alesh

July 8, 2005, 10:55 AM

it's going to probably rain like crazy saturday, or else be stinking hot. so you may want to stay in. but if not, i'd suggest Locust, Dorsch, Rocket, and the Rubell's. If you have time check out Steinbaum. Not sure if edgezones will be open, but their web site, incomplete, is at least in existence now.

31.

oldpro

July 8, 2005, 10:59 AM

Mek, go see the Rubell collection and tell us what you think.

Flatboy, C'mon! "strikes a universal chord in our consciousness"? The nothing room is interesting because it is a kind of ultimate pomo art joke, has an interesting history and the potential to be newsworthy and make the pomo approach look ridiculous. Are we obliged to to froth at the mouth every time something like this comes up?

Besides, Mr Bailey is very likeable. How's that for cold objectivity?

32.

Franklin

July 8, 2005, 11:01 AM

Mek, your non-plus-ultra source for this kind of information is Go See Art.

33.

flatboy

July 8, 2005, 11:03 AM

Rob said: "the regular commenters on this blog were showing Mr. Bailey and his comments some respect".

You are absolutely right, Rob.

You also said: "Just try to name one thing in all the world that does not embody a concept. The thing comes first, our name for it comes second, and for better or worse, conceptualizing follows at a distance".

Thanks for making my case better than I did.

34.

alesh

July 8, 2005, 11:06 AM

Go see Go See Art. Ha!

I dunno. Wasn't the whole empty gallery/closed gallery thing done a million times in the sixties? It strikes me as an extremely uninteresting idea, and frankly, i don't particularly buy the story. Oh, and it's conceptual; nothing at all to do with pomo.

35.

flatboy

July 8, 2005, 11:14 AM

Thanks for #31, OldPro. The tar-baby continues to suck us in, not without limit, but sucked in is sucked in. Yes indeed, the chord is universal, even though there are no known universals in the universe as we now know it. Let's say, the appeal of conceptualism is apparently widespread, even among those who can't stand it.

I don't think being sucked is a bad thing at all. It is fun to play around in the goo. Yet I can't quite understand "obliged to froth at the mouth". Would that the same as "obliged to play in the goo"?

Seems like everyone was having fun until I rained on the party. Sorry for that.

36.

oldpro

July 8, 2005, 11:19 AM

I think you're right, Alesh. But most of our busy young artists don't even know what happened in the 80s, much less the 60s, and neither does their audience. They just repeat and repeat and get their jollies any way they can.

I get conceptual and pomo all mixed up. Do we need definitions? We didn't do so well defining "art".

37.

flatboy

July 8, 2005, 11:25 AM

Alesh,

The best of the screwed gallery space type pieces was done by Chris Burden in the 70s. He sat in an elevated structure, armed with a megaphone/microphone and powerful ights. The art lover had to open the door to get into the gallery, which was totally dark upon entering. Then Burden flipped on the lights to stun the viewer's eyes and shouted "Get the fuck out" through his loud speakers over and over until the viewer left.

It was a case of "something" that you would like better if it were "nothing." I never saw/heard it. But that does not matter as far as my appreciation of the piece goes. It was a great anti-establishment gesture. The establishment is "something" I would like better if it were "nothing" - that is my whimsical interpretation of one aspect of it. Without a doubt, there can be many others, equally off the point of art but equally satisfying nonetheless.

38.

oldpro

July 8, 2005, 11:25 AM

No, Flatboy, I was reacting to your implication that if we don't rail away at anything pomo we have been "hooked". Mr Bailey seems like a kind of merry prankster (he has contributed often over time) and I enjoy what he does, and I also like the idea of something ultimate like a "nothing" room becoming the standing icon of pomo, or conceptual, or whatever Alesh would like to call it.. It contributes to the critical mass needed to blow the whole thing up, in my opinion.

39.

flatboy

July 8, 2005, 11:28 AM

OldPro, "conceptualism" and "pomo" are simply pieces of BS that float in the duck soup of art theory. No need to define them, just know how to keep from eating them.

40.

oldpro

July 8, 2005, 11:31 AM

Watch out for them nasty little chunks, right?

41.

Rob

July 8, 2005, 11:37 AM

A great example of how weakly words stand in for ideas. Seems obvious that your meaning for 'conceptualize' is different from mine, understandable since your personal baggage is different too. I like flattery flatboy, but I'm particularly sensitive to fatuous (flatulent?) remarks.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems that your sort of conceptualization requires an idea that can then be written about then illustrated further by artistry. Mine is the act of describing in words the thing that I've already seen and named.

42.

flatboy

July 8, 2005, 11:38 AM

Hey OldPro, maybe we do need those definitions. I wasn't commenting about the universal appeal of pomo but rather the universal appeal of conceptual issues. They are both BS, but not the same kind of BS. Conceptual has a basis that goes beyond the academic, though a lot of academicians love it. Pomo, on the other hand, is academicism digesting itself under the agency of Derrida acting as the bacterial component. Lucan too, I suppose. Madonna, surely. And others. But conceptualism is a genuine part of our makeup, as Rob so well established. When it ferments it does not digest itself necessarily. It can play with itself without destroying itself.

43.

flatboy

July 8, 2005, 11:44 AM

I like the reference to "flatulence" as relevant to me. Thanks Rob. I'm not kidding. Socrates was a gadfly, I am flatulent. Two different ways of looking at the same thing.

You are not "wrong". Conceptualism means what you think I mean by it and what you mean by it and what I think I mean by it and what a lot of other people mean by it. That is part of its appeal.

44.

jake

July 8, 2005, 11:50 AM

so copyrights

well i know that most of the precedents are califorian, and extend in some way form there.

Artist are currently in a great position legally, it is the individual contracts that get you. for example, unless otherwise noted:

an artist maintains copyright through signatureand date

an artsist recieves royalty of min 5-10max through resale( although, not being a compulsory aspect of the law)

fair use laws work when using work, as well as when it is being used

and a whole slew of very help the little guy stuff.

So heres a question,

would you speak up if someone tried to overprice your work?

this is really the basis of this, "it's their fault? "

45.

flatboy

July 8, 2005, 11:57 AM

Rob, every time that word "baggage" comes up it feels like we humans are not supposed to carry around "baggage". Like it is a judgement of weakness to observe that someone "has baggage".

My "personal baggage" is what makes me me. I love it. There isn't much I could do about getting rid of it anyway. The best anyone does is replace their real baggage with the baggage of imagining they don't have any baggage. Real baggage is the good stuff.

Baggage places limits on who I am and helps me establish discipline in the studio. I can't be the universal human (nor would I want to) so limits on who I am are levers to keep my painting on track, to the extent it is ever on track.

46.

re

July 8, 2005, 12:20 PM

whos the person trying to over price it?
a reputable dealer or auction house who can move it at the over priced price, or some guy on ebay.

47.

Rob

July 8, 2005, 12:20 PM

flatboy, I'm not worried about the baggage, yours or mine. I was in a word acknowledging the vast differences you and I necessarily have being discrete individuals in disparate locations with varying circumstances and so on and so forth.

I too labour to maintain discipline in the studio, but not by relying on my baggage. I'm too close to myself to really know what psycho/socio/enviro goods I carry with me. I allow looming exhibits to motivate me, and I look at the good art of peers and elders to inspire me to work my ass off to, at the very least, keep up with them. I'm too close to the work when I'm in the studio to know whether my sculpture is on track and rely on an exhibit to bracket it for me.

Plus I feel good after knocking myself out with the angle grinder for a while.

48.

Jack

July 8, 2005, 12:32 PM

Well, Flatboy, with all due respect to Mr. Bailey, you'll notice I didn't "take the bait," if bait it was. Such things are so far removed from my concerns that, in most cases, I prefer to ignore them.

49.

jake

July 8, 2005, 12:34 PM

the one overpricing is irrelevant, just the principle.

i just think the issue sounds like "only if im in on a piece of the action"

so, if someone else makes more money off it than you, then you feel robbed. But remember that according to copyright law(cali) resale royalities do not have to be agreed upon to be in effect. so with that, yes, I have spoken up when something has been overpriced, knowing that the initial sale is irrelevant to the life of the piece, and i would not sign over the resale royalty

My source for this is a book back home so i'll just vaguely refrence it as Copyright law in Puerto Rico. Only one i have seen that really was written for the legally minded artist rather than the lawyer.

Another good tip for these time sensitive issues

Mail yourself documents relating to the work and dont open it-it bears a dated federal seal good as a way around notarization (depending on what is inside the envelope)

50.

oldpro

July 8, 2005, 12:42 PM

How about "flatuous, adj., of the nature of flatulence: gaseous, loud, and foul-smelling, embarrassing to the asshole and distressing to those in attendance"

Well, sure, Flatboy. "Conceptualizing" is part of everyday life.

51.

oldpro

July 8, 2005, 12:46 PM

Oh, and i like your defense of "baggage". Hoorah for baggage.

52.

jake

July 8, 2005, 12:47 PM

well, i guess it went unnoticed, but one of the points i was trying to make is how do you know for sure it is overpriced? or even underpriced for that matter. It is a task to employ some sort of system of pricing, standardized if i may say so, so that, all this subjectivenees doesn't spill into the objective money

53.

Rob

July 8, 2005, 1:10 PM

'Flatuous' nearly escaped my lips, um, my fingertips I mean. But I reined it in and used a real word this time.

Re: over/under pricing. I've recently been forced into a new philosophical stance in regards to the acquisition of my work. It has been quite successful - when the patron is finally convinced I'm not fleecing anyone. I've been giving it away.

People really don't know what to make of receiving a thing they really want as a gift. Of course, I accept money in exchange if offered, but nothing makes me happier that when I just give it to someone who likes it. That way I don't have to throw it away. If pressed, I suggest a donation to the fixed overhead costs of my studio. I refuse to sap, or undermine or undervalue my life's work by putting a pittance of a dollar figure on it.

I'd rather work in the studio making the work I want to make, than work as my own middleman trying to market myself as the next hot commodity. A career means less to me than a life's work.

54.

Franklin

July 8, 2005, 1:28 PM

A career means less to me than a life's work.

Amen and hallelujah.

How did it happen that these cool Canadian sculptors showed up here all of the sudden? Do you know this McCourt gentleman?

55.

mek

July 8, 2005, 2:05 PM

perhaps they fly south for the winter.

56.

flatboy

July 8, 2005, 2:39 PM

OldPro, "flatuous" is probably one word many of the people of Athens would have used to describe Socrates. He embarrassed a lot assholes too. And in my arrogance I suppose I follow in that tradition.

57.

oldpro

July 8, 2005, 2:51 PM

I don't know McCourt, but his sculpture is a hoot. It is not only very good, some of it is actually fun. He has a real nutty, all-out way of playing with figuration. I think everyone should take a look.

58.

mek

July 8, 2005, 4:12 PM

30, 31, & 32 thanks for the recommendations.

i know what i think about the rubells but was just wondering what others thoughts might be. my husb (also an artist) and i attended a lecture they gave a few years ago with their daughter that they were so proud of b/c she was a parsons graduate so somehow that gave them more credibility.. that's when my cynicism began to take hold and has been hard to shake since. this is off topic so i will let it go.

pending the whirling dervish of a wkend, i will see if i can even make it to wynwood at all. perhaps some intense art-making in the garage is more suitable.

59.

mek

July 8, 2005, 4:28 PM

yes have checked out all of your urls and you are all very talented and professional. thanks for allowing me to comment. i feel humbled in your presence. well, i wonder if there are a lot of serra-esque metal sculptors up there in canada. i have worked with steel myself (i studied under joel perlman) so i can greatly appreciate the level they have achieved with their work. i only use steel now when i need an armature or support for something. gotta love fire tho. the process sometimes is more spectacular than the finished piece. that and the black snot you blow out for the next day or so.

60.

mek

July 8, 2005, 4:43 PM

mr bailey is not alone in his nothing work. i was thinking how very fluxus. then i remembered yoko ono did a silence piece. (she sat there silently in a gallery space for hours). also john cage has performed some piano pieces in which nothing was played. i have also gone to see a few stan brackage films in which nothing was shown except for blank film leader. yes the audience sits there patiently & contemplatively. or maybe we were just young and stupid. thanks for helping me dust out the cobwebs. i sure have a lot of useless information up there. nice to drudge it up once in a while.

61.

oldpro

July 8, 2005, 7:38 PM

MEK you do not have to thank anyone for being "allowed" to comment. This is a blog and anyone may comment who has something to ask or to say and does not abuse it.

Yes, you brought up a few examples of "empty" art, and there are probably a lot more. the idea is very 60s.However, as i said, most of these kids don't have a clue what was going on back then, so it is all new to them.

62.

ren

July 8, 2005, 8:11 PM

some of us kids do have a clue of what went on back in the good ol' days and are pretty disappointed and bored at these wanna be's who re-hash what was new once and call it their own.

63.

oldpro

July 8, 2005, 9:23 PM

Good for you ren. Keep it up.

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