He Knows Changes Aren't Permanent, But Change Is
Post #1600 • April 24, 2013, 6:11 PM
I awoke last Friday morning to extraordinary news: perpetrators of the Boston Marathon bombings had killed an officer at MIT, and exchanged hundreds of rounds of gunfire with police. One perp was dead, and the other was at large in Watertown. The Mayor shut down public transportation and requested residents of Watertown, Cambridge, Boston, and Somerville to shelter in place.
With time and art supplies on our hands, my companion in sheltering in place offered to model for me.
Drawing carefully from life is sanity. I ought to remind myself of this more often.
I spent today writing a review instead of a blog post, but lately I have been noting, well, read it over and decide how to characterize it. Benjamin Genoccio:
I don’t know about you, but I have this gnawing feeling that the time is ripe to make something new and exciting happen in the art world. I’m not exactly sure what that is, but I’m convinced that fairs, galleries, auction houses, even museums are changing the way they do business and that the art world we know now will be almost unrecognizable in 20 years’ time. So what will this new art world look like? ...
What is abundantly clear to me is the personalized nature of the online experience. The digital economy is all about individual customization, with companies striving to create a direct relationship with their clients. But what is not clear to me is how much of this online marketing in the art world is about better servicing existing clients as opposed to winning more clients for the products. Clearly it’s a bit of both. ...
Things have to change. Many dealers say fairs are getting too expensive, and galleries face hidden overhead that places great pressure on dealers. I don’t have any answers. I can’t tell anyone what to do, but we could all begin to think a little harder about developing new business models — after all, the art world is filled with creative talent. Let’s unlock some of that creativity and make exciting new things happen.
Ed Winkleman, responding:
In my humble opinion, the most important appraisers of any artwork are other artists, because its potential influence (or not) on them will play a role in the future of art history. The dialog among artists reigns supreme among my interests in the art world. Nothing else comes close to being as exhilarating or eye opening. So it's upsetting to hear that "sterile" is the word often used to describe what these artists report seeing in the galleries.
What they say they mean when pressed on this is a response more precisely aimed at the generation of rising stars who had once excited them but who, upon reaching higher-tiered galleries, seem to have lost their edge. The pressure to produce more and larger work to fill the cavernous spaces of their new dealers is painfully obvious to their contemporaries. These once inspiring heroes have gone fully into Production mode, or so it seems, they say. And it's depressing them because now they're not sure now what it is they want from their own careers. They used to think they wanted the big galleries and the flexibility and the "freedom" that seemed to represent, but now they're not so sure it ends that way. They know they don't want to have to simply phone in series after series of market-ready trophies for the endless art fairs in between obviously rushed solo exhibitions. That's not why they became artists.
I’m sad that New York, the city I've lived in for more than 10 years, is now barely hospitable to those making the kind of art I love. It's my job, though I don’t like it, to tell young artists thinking of moving that without connections, their job prospects are dim. The ugly reality is the cost of living is prohibitively expensive in New York. ...
It's bad out there for emerging artists and students know it. When I visited Baltimore last week, I heard from multiple sources that many MICA graduates are no longer moving to New York; instead, they're finding cheap studio space in Baltimore and staying put. Students in Athens talked about moving after graduation, too. Although they were less likely to move to New York because of the distance, they did mention the appeal of larger communities like those in Philadelphia and Atlanta.
I can’t say I blame them. Spending a few months in New York to build connections and get studio visits isn’t a bad idea, but it’s possible to keep up with most art virtually, and art here has becoming increasingly lifeless anyway. The Lower East Side has become particularly stale lately; in the past four months, I’ve seen only two solo exhibitions that I thought were exceptional—Sara Ludy at Klaus Von Nichtssagend and Jaimie Warren at The Hole. Neither of those artists lives in New York.
To sum up a bit ungracefully, it's time for something new to happen, and it may very well take place outside of New York City. That the New Yorkers are saying this is remarkable. I have further thoughts on this matter, and I will share them next week.
Posted at Art in America for your reading pleasure.
"Pour," curated by Elisabeth Condon and Carol Prusa, at Lesley Heller Workspace.
Pour presents selected works by established and emerging artists, including: Ingrid Calame, Kris Chatterson, Roland Flexner, Angelina Gualdoni, Carrie Moyer, Carolanna Parlato, David Reed, Jackie Saccoccio, and Carrie Yamaoka. Curated by Elisabeth Condon and Carol Prusa, Pour examines the techniques of postwar abstraction from the vantage of digital culture. Spanning several generations, each artist works exploits paint’s ability to veil, flicker and shift, achieving results that veer from graphic opacity to backlit transparency. Floating, pouring and sweeping liquid pigment on canvas and panel, alone or in combination with “dry” applications such as drawing and collage, they redefine form and space in terms of speed, texture and depth. Wresting intense, often lyrical compositions from rigorously considered historical and philosophical premises, each painting enfolds thought and action within the presence of gesture.
Breakers is in no way your typical graphic novel. Composed of short comics, sketches, doodles, and experiments in sequential art, Breakers has no overarching story or structure. Instead, it is the culmination of a three-week residency conducted by twenty-six comic creators at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, which is located on the Florida coast. Led on a once-in-a-lifetime artistic experience by master artists Ellen Forney, Dean Haspiel, and Megan Kelso, these twenty-three associate artists and their “creative commanders” deliver a volume of collected works in Breakers that reads as an unfiltered, honest, and intimate peek into a truly magical and inspired three weeks in an environment teeming with artistic expression, daily comic creation, occasional shark sightings, and one seriously creepy, naked old dude.
Jumping rope, ninja level.
"Some days I think the real impulse to make art isn't about the urge to create, or to express yourself or communicate. It's about a deep, abiding love of art supplies."—Chris Rywalt