Tuesday, July 11, 2006

A Few Quick Items of Note

What I Did for My Summer Exhibition

Reminder to emerging artists: Now is the time to start thinking about getting into that great summer group exhibition that will launch your art career. No, not for this summer. Next summer. As I've noted before, a group exhibition offers an artist a perfect audition with the gallery that hosts it, so if you're looking for representation, this is NOT the context in which to be overly demanding. Make a good impression, be well organized and flexible, and work the show subtlely (i.e., bring people by to see your work, but don't interrupt the work that needs to get done in the office).

We've been over all that before. What we've also been over, but could stand repeating, is that as an emerging artist trying to get in a group summer exhibition in a New York gallery, your best resource is other artists here. But don't take my word for it...take Jerry Saltz's. From his review of the group exhibition up at Andrew Kreps gallery (see image above from artnet.com) at the moment:

"Two Friends and So On" has been organized by...the artist-couple Jonathan Horowitz and Rob Pruitt. The title is as honest and casual as it is descriptive. Horowitz and Pruitt, who organized the exhibition along the exact same lines at this gallery six seasons ago, simply act as a two-headed butterfly flapping its wings in order to see if a storm can be generated.

The results are more a squall than a full-fledged cyclone, but this exquisite corpse of a show sheds light on undercurrents that usually go unacknowledged in the art world. Primarily, it answers the unspoken question, "How do I get in a show?" with "It’s who you know." This isn’t shocking as it’s long known that artists are often the best scouts and that galleries are usually led to artists by other artists. This is as it should be.
Money Changes Everything

(Speaking of group exhibitions and, well, money, be sure to check out the awesome curation of currency-based artwork up at
SchroederRomero at the moment.)

Also, don't miss
Tyler Green's editorial in the LA Times outlining how money (or rather the lack thereof) is prompting significant changes at the Smithsonian Institution:
THE SMITHSONIAN Institution, our national museum and also a scientific research complex, is at a crisis point. Many of its 20 venues, such as the National Museum of Natural History and the National Air and Space Museum, need tens of millions of dollars in work. Desperate for funds, the Smithsonian has made arguably improper arrangements with big business, and it has accepted funding from corporations with an all-too-obvious interest in what goes on view in the institution's museums.
Remember this when you hear the President today touting how successful his tax-cuts for the top 1% of Americans have been. (See this editorial in the Times for why what he's about to say is all spin and no substance). Keep in mind who's really benefitting here. Not who they'll say will benefit in the future but who's raking it in now, as we speak, as we wait for the minimum wage to be adjusted for inflation and the skyrocketing cost of gasoline. (Yes, we've heard all that "trickle down" nonsense before...as Tom Wolfe pointed out that will never work as there are lowlifes who make it their business to collect the crumbs long before they reach the poor.)

And Speaking of Money

''We don't see financial investment as a major obstacle,'' Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheik Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan said of the plans to build another monument to the empire we know as the Guggenheim in his country.

The Guggenheim announced plans on June 8 for a Frank Gehry-designed art museum in Abu Dhabi, a coup for the small Persian Gulf nation and the latest international franchise for the ambitious foundation.

With its flagship museum in New York and branches in Las Vegas; Berlin; Venice, Italy; and Bilbao, Spain, the Guggenheim said its new outpost in Abu Dhabi would be its biggest venture yet.

''This is hugely ambitious, the scale of it is amazing, and they have the resources to do it,'' foundation director Thomas Krens said after signing the deal with the government and royal family of Abu Dhabi, one of the seven city states of the United Arab Emirates.

''It will have an enormously beneficial impact on how creativity is viewed in this part of the world,'' Krens said.
I'm sure that was taken out of context. I'm sure Thomas Krens didnt' mean to imply he was going to show the ancestors of the Cradle of Civilization how to view creativity.

Still, one of the first dilemmas facing Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, dubbed GAD, is whether to exhibit nude works that might offend conservative Muslims. Krens said the topic had yet to be discussed.

"This is a minor issue," he said. "Our objective is not to be confrontational, but to engage in a dialogue."
Hmmmm...While I'm sure few conservative Muslims would object to motorcyles, I would encourage a discussion about curatorial expectations before the groundbreaking ceremony. As noted in the UK's independent :

[This new museum] links a foundation created in 1937 by Solomon R Guggenheim, one of the most prominent Jewish-Americans of his era, with an Arab kingdom that still refuses diplomatic ties with Israel. The new museum will also be designed by a Jewish architect.
I'm generally all in favor of art serving as a bridge, but from this article it seems the driving force here is glory. Not the soundest foundation for such an exchange, IMO. Hopefully, I'm underestimating Krens here. (See this much earlier post for my thoughts on this imperial quest he seems to be on.) Also, see this round-up at Tyler's of the geopolitical ramifications of this latest outpost.


Anonymous David said...

Money Changes Everything...artwork up at SchroederRomero at the moment

I know two people who do interesting artwork involving money. One is San Francisco artist Ray Beldner, who makes some amazing objects out of actual currency; he has work in the SchroederRomero show.

The other is JSG Boggs, who draws pictures of money and then uses them to pay for things. You should see the look on a waiter's face when he hands them a drawing of a 20-dollar bill to pay for a meal. He also offers to pay w/ a credit card, and gives them a choice. The smart ones take the drawing. He's been arrested in a number of countries over the years for conterfeiting, and the US Secret Service confiscated some of his belongings awhile back, including his underwear, and refuses to return it. I guess he's kind of a performance artist, in a way, but the drawings are really beautiful. We once had a conversation about how in both cases it's just a picture on a piece of paper, and how it's a matter of faith that either has any value. I asked him whether a drawing of a hundred-dollar bill is worth more than a drawing of a twenty. He laughed, but he's never given me an answer.

(PS Anyone know where he is these days? Last time I called him his phone was disconnected.)

7/11/2006 12:01:00 PM  
Anonymous David said...

typo; should be "counterfeiting". Time for some coffee.

7/11/2006 12:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'money changes eveything' is awesome! check it out.

7/11/2006 12:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Oriane Stender said...

Hi Ed,

Thanks for the mention of our show at Schroeder Romero. I agree, it's awesome!


7/11/2006 12:22:00 PM  
Blogger Joseph Barbaccia said...

I remember another Mideastern country (Iran) back in the early seventies who began a Western style museum in their capital. The mullas used it (Westernization) to precipitate their own revolution.

7/11/2006 12:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I researched JSG Boggs for the show and I believe he lives in Germany now.
Sara Jo Romero
P.S. Glad you all like the show and a big shout out to Ed - thanks!

7/11/2006 01:39:00 PM  
Anonymous bambino said...

Great show at Schroder Romero Gallery. Must see.
Love ittttttttttttttttttttt

7/11/2006 03:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It rocks!

7/11/2006 09:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where I lived an artist (Matthieu Besausejour) did an artwork on money, tattooing any money he got in his hand with a logo that circulating it again. This was about aids and its spreading, back in the early 90's.

I dont mind the Gug in conservatist muslims but hope it wont turn into a nazi bunfire.

Art is decadent, you know?
It's about freedom of expression.
I'm not sure about the meaning of freedom in conservative muslim.

And please tell about group show applications while we're on topic.
(i.e., meaning..NOT, since this post was already the most zigzaguing ever)

Cedric Caspesyan

7/12/2006 09:56:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nazi bunfire

Cedric, you are a poet and you don't even know it.

7/12/2006 01:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

throw another bun on the fire!

7/12/2006 02:16:00 PM  
Anonymous John Donne said...

Bun there, donne that.

7/12/2006 04:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i want to hear more abou the money show. who are some of the standouts?

7/12/2006 06:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

go to www.schroederromero.com
or better yet come to the show.

7/13/2006 02:00:00 PM  
Anonymous bambino said...


7/13/2006 02:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

see review in today's ny times:

7/14/2006 09:52:00 AM  

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