Thursday, May 26, 2005

Kostabi's World

I love Mark Kostabi's advice column on (there's a new one up there now). When I first started reading it, I couldn't believe anyone would be so blunt (while so funny) about the art market. I don't always agree with his critique of galleries (surprise, surprise), but I totally respect how he blends an artist-centric POV with tough love in his advice. Here's a sample (which may or may not be from the same "l.a. artist" who occassionally comments here):

Dear Mark,
I went to an artist's studio yesterday and he invited me to be in a show with him (he's looking to find a museum to show our work together). His work is substantially different from mine but has similar themes. He's a naïve artist in many respects but his work is selling like hotcakes, and while many in the art community disdain him, I think his work is appealing. Is there a downside to showing with an artist who's getting buzz but is taking critical flok from inside the industry?
L.A. Artist

Dear L.A. Artist,
What you see is where you see it. Perception is reality. You are judged by who you're with. That said, in the long run you will benefit much more if you endure the temporary snubs and jabs and stand up for who you believe in. If you sincerely like his work and if he's a nice person who would also stand up for you, then start your own scene. There's nothing like a point of view. Confidence and decisiveness will conquer wishy-washiness.

Kostabi is certainly confident in his column, which I had originally imagined would translate into arrogance in real life, but having met him a few times now, I can report he's actually just as generous with his time and interest in other people as he is with his advice for artists. He totally charmed Bambino, who, being quite the charmer himself, was rather impressed. There's plenty of criticism for his business model and even his work in the art world (and he addresses it head on in his column, so this isn't news to him), but because he's so forthright, so pro-artist, and so damned funny, I'm always thrilled to visit his world. If artnet could only get him to write more often....


Anonymous crionna said...

artnet appears to be down.

5/26/2005 03:41:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

thanks crionna,

that seems to be happening more and more lately...the link is good, we'll just have to wait for them to resolve their technical difficulties


5/26/2005 03:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Martin said...

YES. I introduced myself to him at a very busy opening once and was so surprised and flustered when he started to engage me in a conversation about the artist's work. Thumbs-Up to Mark Kostabi.

5/26/2005 07:53:00 PM  
Anonymous LA Artist said...

It was a different LA artist who communicated with Kostabi. I do not know him personally but a good friend had a very ungenerous experience with him.

5/26/2005 09:19:00 PM  
Blogger mountain man said...

Mark Kostabi is very funny, very formless lurker in person. Seems ok, seems on the verge of delight. I am also a fan of his column. Especially when he talks about specific people in the artworld. Always interesting.

5/27/2005 09:47:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Hey MM.

I think what seems like shyness (or lurkiness) on Kostabi's part is in fact good manners. He stays focussed on the person he's talking to and doesn't interject himself into a conversation the way many art work folk can (present company excluded of course).

5/27/2005 10:20:00 AM  
Anonymous crionna said...

OK,m so its up now and you're right, he is very forthright. Very refreshing.

5/28/2005 03:27:00 AM  

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