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Enjoying Gay Head Isn't What It Sounds Like

Post #1611 • July 3, 2013, 11:43 AM

In this installment, after the titular post: Academicism? You're Soaking In It, Brett Sokol on Emerson Dorsch, a long journey to a full-time teaching job in art, a dealer's lament, with homemade crumpets, the Quote of the Week, and the calendar.

Over the last week I've been on Martha's Vineyard hanging out with a contingent of creative types and their admirers, centered around Worcester photographer and Guggenheim Fellow Stephen DiRado. It was enjoyable to be a part of someone else's creative process, which gave me a bit of a break from my own.

[Image: Photograph courtesy and © Stephen DiRado.]

Photograph courtesy and © Stephen DiRado.

But inspired by DiRado hauling his 8x10 camera and tripod every day out to the far part of the beach at Gay Head (which people are beginning to call Aquinnah, the native name) where nudity is permitted, I decided to stop being lazy and bring out my watercolors as well.

[Image: "What on earth ]

"What on earth do rocks look like?" Photograph courtesy and © Stephen DiRado.

Watercolors ensued. Click for larger images.


Gay Head, June 24, 2013, watercolor, 8 x 14 1/2 inches.


Sunbathers at Gay Head, June 25, 2013, watercolor, 12 7/8 x 7 7/8 inches.


Gay Head 1, June 26, 2013, watercolor, 6 x 12 7/8 inches.


Gay Head 2, June 26, 2013, watercolor, 6 3/8 x 13 inches.


Clay Cliffs at Gay Head, June 27, 2013, watercolor, 7 x 13 inches.

Academicism? You're Soaking In It

I have opined at some length about the lethality of academicism to art. This week Randy Kennedy reported on what may be the most academic work of art I have ever heard of, partly because of form, partly because of description.

On Monday, with the help of the Dia Art Foundation and Mr. Farmer, Mr. Hirschhorn will realize his vision of honoring Gramsci, unveiling a monument on the grounds of Forest Houses [in the South Bronx]. It will exist in a parallel universe from the rest of the city’s big-money summer exhibitions, daring viewers to veer far off the beaten museum-and-gallery path and question their ideas about the value and purpose of art.

Lazy critique of art-market money? Inchoate challenges to taste? Check and check.

Handmade from plywood, plexiglass and miles of beige packing tape — one of Mr. Hirschhorn’s signature art supplies — the Gramsci Monument bears no resemblance whatsoever to the cenotaphs and glowering statues that dot the rest of New York. And it doesn’t look much like an artwork, either. It looks more, in fact, like an adult treehouse or a makeshift beach cabana or a chunk of set hijacked from the Kevin Costner film “Waterworld.”

Obligatory non-art materials? Ramshackle form? Homage to Marxism? Low-art, pop-culture reference? Check, check, check, and check. But what really makes this sound like a final project for an MFA program is this:

The project is the first that Mr. Hirschhorn has built in the United States and will be the fourth and final such work in a series he began many years ago dedicated to his favorite philosophers, following a monument dedicated to Spinoza in Amsterdam in 1999, one to Gilles Deleuze in Avignon, France, in 2000 and a third to Georges Bataille in Kassel, Germany, in 2002.

On a related note, friend of the blog David Thompson sends in a conference that sounds fascinating, if you're an utter academic thrall.

Generative Constraints is an interdisciplinary conference that intends to interrogate the politics, poetics and performativity of limitation and production. Organised by postgraduate practice-based researchers from Royal Holloway University of London, the aim of this conference is to foreground practice as a means of exploration and creative criticality. Considering the place of limitation and constraint within artistic production, we invite subversion, intervention and adherence in the form of performances, workshops, durational works, screenings, installation pieces and academic papers.

The conference is open to postgraduate students, career researchers and artists from all disciplines, presenting work that both relates to the theme and has practice as an integral element of a new way of thinking. Addressing the possibility of liberation and freedom through constraint, we welcome abstracts concerned with:

  • Working with form and source material
  • Repetition, as appropriation or as commitment
  • Physical, mental and emotional limitations
  • Compulsion towards rebellion or conservation
  • Practicalities and the arbitrary

Says David, "Is it me, or is there something deadening about this kind of thing? I mean, I read it and felt like I’d given blood. Continually, for three days." Rest assured, it's not you.

Punks Do Grow Up

Friend of the blog Brett Sokol charts the progress of Dorsch Gallery, now Emerson Dorsch. I marvel at how far Dorsch has come since the old days.

Consider the appearance of strollers with four-figure price tags a generational harbinger—for Dorsch as much as for his neighbors. When he first hung out his shingle as one of the nabe’s pioneering galleries in 2000, transforming a onetime lamp factory and an abandoned home into ground zero for Miami’s homegrown avant-garde, his gallery served as a late-night clubhouse for boundary-pushing artists, caterwauling jazz musicians, and feedback-sculpting punk rockers alike. Thirteen years in, the gallery is still home to some of this city’s most exciting talent. But Dorsch himself is now married with two small children—“Punks do grow up,” he chuckles—and running the gallery alongside his wife, Tyler Emerson-Dorsch. Reflecting that partnership, the gallery has been rechristened Emerson Dorsch and remodeled to a buffed degree that had Miami’s celebrated street artist Michael “Typoe” Gran dubbing it “Chelsea as f--k” during its packed April re-opening, a wry nod to Manhattan’s luxe art district.

The Department of Is That All There Is?

Via John Muse, an enterprising fellow outlines what it takes to get a full-time teaching job in art.

Lastly, I was contacted by Northern Arizona University, in Flagstaff AZ. I was initially offered a telephone interview, which I felt went very well. The department chair then emailed me to schedule a telephone conversation in which he informed me that I had been chosen for an on-campus interview. I was flown out, given a tour of the campus, and gave a PowerPoint presentation on how I would teach a drawing class. The overall feeling was very positive, and as anyone who follows me on Facebook knows, I was offered the job, which I accepted. My contract begins August 19th. I will be returning to Chicago regularly, particularly because my wife, Stephanie Burke, will be remaining here in her position at Harold Washington College, but also for events such as Expo Chicago in September 2013, and the College Art Association conference in February 2014. I intend to maintain my connections with the Chicago art scene including exhibitions, writing, and curating. It won’t be easy, but as an integral part of moving my career forward, it is a challenge I am eager to face.

135 rejections later, the candidate landed a gig a mere 1,655 miles from his house. I'm not sure whether congratulations or condolences are in order.


Robrt [sic] Pela recounts the agony of being a dealer. Artists, let this be a warning to you.

When I opened a contemporary art gallery in downtown Phoenix earlier this year, I figured the main difference between running someone else’s gallery—which I’d been doing for three years—and my own would be more time spent with accountants and less time with artists.

I was mistaken.

Not that I was looking forward to seeing fewer local artists; it’s just that—perhaps because I’ve spent the last three decades covering our downtown art scene for the local weekly—I’ve ended up spending as much time consoling artists about their careers as I have hanging their work.

Quote of the Week

"I’m long past giving a shit what people think about me and my work." - Howard Chaykin (h/t George Jurard)

The Calendar

Shows I will see, shows I wish I could see, and items of personal import for anyone keeping track.

Starts June 22: "Richard Diebenkorn: The Berkeley Years, 1953–1966," at the Legion of Honor, de Young Museum, San Francisco.

Through July 20: "Karla Wozniak: This Weather Is Cosmic" at Gregory Lind, San Franciso.

Through July 26: "Albert York: A Small Selection" at Davis and Langdale, New York City.

Through August 11: "Franklin Einspruch: According" at Hess Gallery, Pine Manor College, Boston.

Through August 20: "Estlin Cummings Wild West Show" at the Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston. See the Slate article (h/t E.O.).

Starts October 14: "Léger: Modern Art and the Metropolis" at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Runs through January 5.




Other Projects


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