Friday, December 22, 2006

Something (Slightly) Naughty; Something Very Nice

As this will be the last post before Christmas, I wanted to wish you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, a Joyous Festivus, or Fabulous (however you spend the remaining days of the year) and wish you and yours peace, health, and prosperity.

Something (Slightly) Naughty
Word on the Street (that would be 10th Avenue in Chelsea) has it that the Miami art fairs this year saw a surprising spike in the number of collectors who asked dealers right away, "How old is this artist?" Before asking what exhibitions they've had, what school they attended, how long you've been working with them, etc. The interest in age was up front and center. Most of the dealers I know confess there's simply no good way to respond to this question, so I'm opening up a thread for suggestions.

In the spirit of the season, I'll ask that we give such collectors our collective benefit of doubt (i.e., please assume they don't know just how offensive this practice is). In fact, one dealer friend of mine who responded to that question with "Why do you ask?" had the collector respond, "I don't know really. I'm following my friend around the fair and I keep hearing him ask that, so I thought...."

So, as tempting as it might be to retort, "Ahhhh.... you're speculating, are ya?" do consider offering a more subtle approach. My favorite so far is a variation on the theme of "Oh gosh, so much younger than you would expect given how well he/she paints/draws/etc.."

Something Very Nice
Bambino and I are heading of out town for a few days. But we wanted to let you know that we truly appreciate all the support and kind responses we receive because of the blog. In fact, as our Thank You, here's a little pressie from us to you: Happy Holidays! (try reloading the page if it doesn't load the first time).

65 Comments:

Blogger Tyler said...

I noticed at least one dealer willing to grossly mislead me about a painter's age... I asked her something about whether he had done something else for a while and ended up a painter, or if he was just a late bloomer, kind of hitting his stride in his mid-to-late 30s as painters usually/often do.

She said, "He went to art school like everyone else, got out and started painting." And I looked at her and she just repeated herself and treated me like I was stoopid. Well, I got home, looked it up and, sure enough: I was right. He's 38 or 39. At best the dealer tried to deceive me; at worst....

Hint: It's a painter who has been featured on MAN.

12/22/2006 08:37:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

The pressure to lie is intense, though, Tyler. I don't defend it, but I certainly understand it.

You see an immediate shift in body language (usually one foot moves toward the door) when you answer that question with a number over 30.

12/22/2006 08:40:00 AM  
Blogger Tyler said...

Well, maybe you don't want your artists in that collection anyway. (I know, I know...)

And the dealer who fudges the truth like that badly damages her gallery's relationship with someone who knows better. I have a little list in my head (as do you, I'm sure) of gallerists I don't trust. And that one just added herself to the list.

12/22/2006 09:06:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

I agree that lying is not acceptable. I simply answer that question with the the artist's age, but it does annoy me to watch a collector then immediately shut down, after they had been very interested before.

But I agree with you fully that trust is the one thing a dealer can't afford to lose, and so your example is a dealer who made a very poor choice.

12/22/2006 09:11:00 AM  
Anonymous littleshot said...

Tyler
I agree the gallerist should not be cagey when asked details about an artist in question. However, can I ask your reasons for wanting to know the artist's age? Is it because it gives you some idea regarding their commitment to their art career, how much "progress" they've made during a certain span of time, or ? I'm curious what bearing it has on how you perceive and evaulate the artist and their work. It would be helpful for many of us to understand the more serious reasons for asking the artist's age. Many of us assume collectors are asking because they are speculating on some percieved "hot" young commodity as more desireable perhaps thinking the collector is thinking an older artist has peaked at a certain age or if they haven't made it by now they never will (the assumption resulting from the "can't get out of here fast" enough response to hearing the artist is over 30) I'm not sure but would value your thoughts on this.

12/22/2006 10:14:00 AM  
Anonymous bambino said...

I think asking the age is discrimination. I am very fragile about that. It's same when you have a job interview (employer is not allow to ask your age, religion, sexual orientation, if you are married, if you have any kids, race and etc)

On the other hand....
edward_ I can not believe you made in public on your blog :)

Happy Holidays everyone and thank you for your support.

oxoxoxox

12/22/2006 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

It's entirely too cute not to share, Askim...it warms my heart each time I watch it!

12/22/2006 10:25:00 AM  
Blogger highlowbetween said...

Its unfortunate and frankly a potential error on the collector's part. Someone should inform them that investing in art is very volatile especially if your only criteria is age. Shelf life people!
I guess this is the artworld's "skinny model" problem ;)

12/22/2006 10:27:00 AM  
Blogger Tyler said...

Ha!

Much simpler: I was trying to remember if Artist X in Miami was indeed the same artist I remembered writing about four years ago. I remembered the artist's backstory so I asked in an effort to confirm I was remembering who I thought I was remembering. Simple memory device.

12/22/2006 10:45:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

As Tyler's answer demonstrates, and why I'm asking folks to give collectors the benefit of their doubt, the question is not always as sinister as it can seem (i.e., I think we look for signs that it is sinister when the artist is older than 40). Indeed, I do think there's a bit of paranoia on the part of dealers (and some artists) about it.

Still, if I had a dollar for each collector who edged toward the door after I answered that question, I'd have flown home from Miami in first class.

12/22/2006 10:55:00 AM  
Blogger Tyler said...

Curators are worse. They all want to discover The Next Big Thing.

Exhibit A: Marilyn Minter was 58 before a museum showed her. Between 30-57 she was apparently too old to be "Next."

12/22/2006 11:00:00 AM  
Anonymous ml said...

There was an interesting program on National Geographic channel about the differences between humans and apes. Apparently we have the ability to copy/imitate readily and apes and autistic children do not. The comment about the collector who said honestly that the reason he asked about age is because his friend asked about age is right on point. This fad will abate at some point. When anyone asks me how old I am, I just say about the same as Rothko when he began to get solo shows. Putting it into historical perspective at least confuses them....

12/22/2006 11:05:00 AM  
Anonymous ml said...

Maybe an interesting blog would be to get everyone to list their favorite artist who did not "make it" until later in life. A friend and I were talking about Philip Guston and how his paintings did not sell during his lifetime and she mentioned Atget whose photographs were not shown or sold until after his death. My sister, a musician, said that the same young phenomenon is hitting the classical music world - opera singers are being promoted in their twenties when the mature voice doesn't arrive until the mid thirtiest. It's the fashion model mode of thinking.

12/22/2006 11:10:00 AM  
Anonymous bambino said...

Well in Europe or least in Russia, Turkey and Central Asia it is normal to ask someones age. It's cultural. And in Turkey you can even ask how much money you earn.

And in the States the situation is different. You are not allow to ask age, religion etc. Because everyone is afraid and has to protect themself. So whenever someone asks the age, religion etc, personal questions, we all are afraid and depens on the person who is asking we would take the questions mostly offensive way.

But hey what would I know right? I am only an elf :)

12/22/2006 11:17:00 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Have a great holiday and PEACE in the new year, any age can appreciate that. Now I have to go take my meds before I start painting.....

12/22/2006 11:20:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Because everyone is afraid

Ding. Ding. Ding. We have a winner, folks.

Fear is the reason, bambino, you're absolutely right.

The question I have is why are folks in Russia, Turkey, Central Asia, etc., not afraid. What's different about America that makes us afraid of being correctly identified?

12/22/2006 11:21:00 AM  
Anonymous bambino said...

I guess because of different life style, economy, culture, behavior, I would think everything.

I've learned here in the States, that before you'll say something to someone double check and double think before you'll say it. And I think its somehow it's no freedom of speach, no freedom of mind. (which we fight so proudly) Why I can't be myself, say whatever I have in my mind at that point. Maybe I'm mixing here little but, thats who I am, I would say what is in my mind.

So till that everything will change in the States, I would stick with my opinion. Asking age to someone whom you dont know personally, is offensive.

So I dont think it's someone specificly fault, it's society's fault.

12/22/2006 11:41:00 AM  
Anonymous David said...

EW, I almost hesitate to say this, because I don't want you to think I'm implicating you in this (I'm not), but I think the galleries are the ones who started this obnoxious trend in the first place. Certainly the clueless collectors who ask about age first didn't come up with the idea on their own. I remember hearing quite a long time ago about a gallerist who famously said he wouldn't even look at an artist's work if they were over 28 (they've deservedly gone out of business). If new collectors think that's what galleries are looking for, who can blame them for trying to be smart buyers?

12/22/2006 11:51:00 AM  
Anonymous ml said...

When young is equated with good, and age is associated with "has been", only fools give out their age. If we lived in a culture that valued wisdom and maturation, then the rules would be different. Artists are just the latest victims of this youth obsession.

12/22/2006 11:52:00 AM  
Anonymous David said...

PS - Have a great holiday, everyone! We're heading to Big Sur for the next 10 days. If we make it up to Carmel we'll pick up Thomas Kinkade coffee cups for all of you :)

See you in '07!

12/22/2006 11:58:00 AM  
Anonymous bambino said...

ml

you are absolutely right

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

I must admit that as a dealer I sometimes find myself asking the age question but really only because I am curious. We show artists that range from 29- mid 60's and are committed to showing what we think is solid work. If a collector walks away from work that is amazing due to age than we will find another collector who will not. Collectors I respect the most do not care really. It was interesting because in Miami the people who asked about age were mainly Europeans. Not sure what that was about.

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

Hey why stop at mid-sixties? My father is a sculptor doing and showing some of his best work ever at age 83! Keep the love flowing!

12/22/2006 12:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Henry said...

Is it better, or is it worse, when an artist says they are of a "certain age," and then explains that they've had other successes in other lines of work before reaching this point. I have a good friend who is over 40, but did not graduate with a BA until 30 something (I don't know the exact number).

Before going into art he had one or two other careers, one of which did very well for him, and which afforded him the time to spend on art. He currently has gallery representation in a half-dozen cities, and his career is picking up steam, but his CV only gives the date of his BA, which, since it was achieved late in life, doesn't make him seem 'older.'

The first time I met him in person I was floored, because I had seen only his CV and assumed he was younger. Frankly I was far more upset to find out he was older than I would have been had I originally known he was older.

Anyway, the question is: Should he tell people he was highly successful in another field during his 20s and 30s? Frankly I think it adds a lot of character to his story.

His work stands on its own, there's no quality problems either technically or conceptually, or any reason to say "he's not a 'real' artist," and with a touch of cleverness you could even draw a line between his previous career(s) and his current one, tho it would be a relatively thin line.

12/22/2006 12:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think your right Ed. We need to educated our collectors. I think it is really dangerous to an artists career when collectors "speculate" based on age. Damian Loeb anyone?

12/22/2006 12:38:00 PM  
Anonymous J.T. said...

Hypothetical question for the thread:

If you saw two equal pieces of art, with the only difference being the age of the artist, which piece would you buy, the one by the younger or older artist? Why?

Perhaps in this market, with so much art out in the world, collectors figure that they'll find another piece of art in the next booth/gallery that is "just as good" but the artist is younger. This assumes younger is better than older, which is obviously up for debate, as is the determination if a collector can truly SEE that another piece is "just as good."

12/22/2006 12:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Rebel Belle said...

Needless to say, this conversation is a real buzz kill. I say that with some ironic mirth because we have been hashing out this very topic over at Edna's.

This is a very demoralizing trend. I am sincerely shocked at the lack of decency in the people who don't find it distateful and just plain morally bankrupt to actually dismiss an artist because of age. Are there really so many Gordon Gecko's out there buying art?

Yikes!

Today in the Times was yet another review of an exhibit with all YOUNG artists. Why do so many curators think it's a good idea to have shows of exclusively young artists? What is this about? They should know better.

12/22/2006 01:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have no idea why this particular trend at this particular time, other than to say it's just a trend, and makes as much sense as any trend, which is to say none at all.

But Ed asked what gallerists should say when visitors ask "How old is the artist?" I think your colleague got it exactly right, Ed: Reply, "Why do you ask?" They may have a good reason for asking -- like Tyler's ("I think I went to school with that guy!") or a bad one ("I only buy from young artists") or no reason at all. (It's hard to start a conversation with someone you don't know and not everyone knows a way that is totally inoffensive to anyone else -- except the weather. And aren't we all tired of talking about the weather?)

I like to say I'm a contortionist: How else can I put my foot in my mouth while my head's up my ass? I do it all the time. I cannot even list the huge number of mortifying times I've said entirely the wrong thing at the wrong time, and it's almost always because my mouth engages before my brain does. I mean, at my bachelor party -- a seriously lame affair, by the way -- I asked a friend of mine if his girlfriend picked out his shirt for him, knowing full well that his girlfriend WAS BLIND. That friend is no longer a friend.

So I'd say to be as nice to these people as possible. Nine times out of ten -- probably more -- anyone asking the age of the artist is totally innocent and only vaguely curious. Like asking the gender of the artist (if it's not obvious) or the artist's place of residence, it's a conversation starter. I myself have had to ask gallerinas if the artist spoke English, which is pretty weird and potentially offensive, I suppose.

12/22/2006 01:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Rebel Belle said...

Ed, I have another suggestion. The next time you get that question, ask them if they purchase and read books written by writers over 29. If writers and musicians are ageless in their creative thought, why aren't visual artists? When you posit this problem in this context, you can see what you are really dealing with.

Artists are now considered the stuff of show biz and buyers are looking for glamor and youth.

Perhaps gallerists should tell their collectors the truth, that must young artists won't last five years and it's a pretty bad investment.

12/22/2006 02:09:00 PM  
Anonymous bambino said...

Santa baby, slip a sable under the tree, for me

I've been an awful good BOY

Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa baby, an out-of-space convertible too, light blue

I'll wait up for you dear

Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight

Think of all the fun I've missed

Think of all the fellas that I haven't kissed

Next year I could be oh so good

If you'd check off my Christmas list

Boo doo bee doo

Santa honey, I wanna yacht and really that's

Not a lot

I've been an angel all year

Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa cutie, there's one thing I really do need, the deed

To a platinum mine

Santa cutie, and hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa baby, I'm filling my stocking with a duplex, and checks

Sign your 'X' on the line

Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight

Come and trim my Christmas tree

With some decorations bought at Tiffany's

I really do believe in you

Let's see if you believe in me

Boo doo bee doo

Santa baby, forgot to mention one little thing, a ring

I don't mean a phone

Santa baby, and hurry down the chimney tonight

Hurry down the chimney tonight

Hurry down the chimney tonight

12/22/2006 02:21:00 PM  
Anonymous David said...

Perhaps galleries and organizers of the art fairs could publish a cheatsheet of questions for new collectors to ask when they're looking at artwork. Things that might help them understand something about an artist's process and ideas, and what it is that's unique about their work. They could also be available as handouts that every gallery has at their door, along with the Gallery Guide.

A note at the bottom advising collectors that "asking first about an artist's age makes you look shallow and stupid" might modify their behavior some. On second thought, better put it at the top.

12/22/2006 02:27:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Think of all the fellas that I haven't kissed

OK, we can take this off line about now, I think... ;-)

xoxoxox
e_

12/22/2006 02:30:00 PM  
Anonymous bambino said...

if you are Santa, fine by me :P

Other way I want everything on that list :P

12/22/2006 02:38:00 PM  
Blogger Tyler said...

The list of very good painters who made very good paintings in their 20s is, uh, short.

12/22/2006 02:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Darling, I am afraid to inform you that the only really correct answer to a Rude Question is, 'I beg your pardon?'

However, it is economically unwise to alert one's patrons to the fact that they are being rude, so my second choice is the all-purpose, 'Why do you ask?'

I would also like to alert all and sundry to the wondrous article which Lisa featured on her blog some time ago, about the two distinct types of 'genius;' the first being the early blooming 'conceptual' thinker, and the second being the exceptionally late-blooming 'experimental,' or process-oriented artist.

My sense is that painting as a medium lends itself very much to this latter type of genius, and thus the greatest painters reveal themselves to be such, later in life.

And I will confess to having made a large pile of dreadful paintings in my 20s; thus they are Out Of The Way, which is all to the good.

12/22/2006 03:24:00 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

Well. The overtness of the ageism this year suggests that this phase is just about played out.

Someone above suggested that people just don't know what to ask, so they fall back on the facts. It may be an unintended consequence of the pluralism discussed yesterday. No common ground to start the conversation.

Happy new year Bambino, Ed_, and everyone at the blog

I seriously love all of you.

12/22/2006 03:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, Ed.
Been lurking on this blog for a bit-- always enjoy your material.

This is actually a pretty troublesome issue to me.
I've always thought of art as the ONE creative field where age doesn't and cannot apply, nor can you take into account "previous life careers."
I'm taking just Koons (stockbroker himself) and Dietch (VP of Citibank) into account (Dietch only opening his gallery in 1996.)

The more you find an older artist entering the field at a later date in life, the more serious you will find them taking their careers-- vs. the current trust fund gang mentality that will have natural fallout over time.
(the same holds true in the silver spoon music industry, I have certainly witnessed their burnout firsthand)

I'm not certain how age could ever TRULY apply to art, since again, it's also the one field where the work seems to get better with age (Mr. Twombly, for instance).

It certainly doesn't have the shelf-life factor of acting (time is certainly not on their side), nor the limited range of music (there's only so many notes available on the scale, and most guitar riffs eventually sound repetitive).

I've always felt artists bring with them a certain anonymity factor that no other creative field provides.

It's not often we open art magazines where there's photos of the actual artist-- instead, it's the work.
(I'm not taking into account "art stars" used to paparazzi with their best friend Moby or baby's mama Bjork-- sorry for the slam Misters Barney and Loeb).

Also, if collectors are going to judge a work based on age, it can only be to the detriment of market conditions as well as the longevity $$ of their investment.

A tried and true Wall Street investor will never tell you to go for the "new hot buy," because you may end up with junk paper.

Careful long-term investors are the ones who will be here in 15 years--Thus forcing subsequent lower $$$ value for those same hot young stars-- and that is the unspoken factor in much of the industry today.

I sound like the old Smith Barney guy, but the fact is that standard business principles apply in the art world just as much.
All it takes is a "market correction," which may come sooner than many think.

Happy Holiday to all!

Oly

12/22/2006 04:17:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

Ed,

I wanted to wish you and Bambino a Merry Christmas.
I stopped by the gallery a couple of hours ago but missed you, I told Bambino to pass on my well wishes to you for the holiday.

jt. Regarding the question you posed earlier "all things being equal, which would you choose, the younger or older artist?"

a. If I was just collecting art because I loved art, I would choose the artwork I liked better.

b. Putting on my trader hat, if I was speculating or trying to find the next "hot" thing,
1. I would choose the older artist but only if all things were truly equal.
If we are talking about work which is similar in style or persuasion, the older artist probably was nascent at the development of the style in some way. The younger artist can be seen as just a follower and while he/she may be good it has less investment upside.

2. If one of either artist’s work is uniquely contemporary, of the moment, I would choose it regardless of the age. It is quite possible that a late developing artist makes a significant breakthrough.

3. Otherwise if the conditions for both artists are "equal", I would select the younger artist. It’s a choice with a bit more risk but potentially a higher payoff

FWIW, the European collectors may be speculating with the help of a weak dollar.

12/22/2006 04:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tim sez:
It may be an unintended consequence of the pluralism discussed yesterday.

I think this is true. Once upon a time perhaps you could have said "What school did the artist go to?" or "Who did he apprentice under?"

If you think of art as a regular profession, like plumbing or carpentry, then these questions make some sense. Even the age question makes some sense -- a younger person's work would be more energetic, an older person's better crafted.

It's only, I think, a modern idea to consider art such a personal expression that the artist is almost incidental to the work. And obviously not everyone believes that anyway.

I think pluralism and capitalism, together, have fueled the shift to novelty. The other day, coming back from Manhattan, I opened my sketchbook to a blank page and wrote in the middle one word:

relentless

Our world -- our culture -- has become relentless. It's new new new! All the time! Buy this new car! Check out this new movie! Eat this new food! New! Improved! Better than ever! Cheaper! Faster!

And frankly, I'm tired of it. If it all really was new -- really an improvement -- I'd be all for it. I don't mind advances in computers, for example, because they're quantifiable. They have some value (if you like computers, anyway). But do we really need a new Cadillac model every year? New breakfast cereal?

But when there are so many choices, how do you decide, especially between things which are essentially interchangeable? Why, NEWNESS!

I'm just tired of it. In art, too.

12/22/2006 07:02:00 PM  
Anonymous J.T. said...

Hey George, good answers. One thing, about A), you like them equally. You rate both pieces an 8.1357 out of 10.

My answer, from the perspective of an art lover, would be to flip a coin. It doesn't matter about the artist... the work is all that matters. But, if their was any inkling of investment in my mind, then it would come down to my risk tolerance. A younger artist has more time to develop into something great, but also more time to collapse (bad work, new interests, etc). As for an older artist, this may be as good as he's gonna get... or he could be on the way to his "collapse." Of course, he could get much better, but time is against him.

Ultimately, I'm not as idealistic as some of the other commenters. I think often the collectors ask the age for negative reasons. Otherwise, why would they quickly back out of the booth if they were just initiating a discussion?

12/22/2006 07:05:00 PM  
Blogger Lisa Hunter said...

An interesting post, Ed. And timely (for me) because I'm about to pitch a magazine article about people who pursue art as a second career, or late-bloomers whose careers suddenly take off after years of limited success. If anyone has personal anecdotes, please email me.

12/22/2006 07:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

louise bourgeois anyone? certainly real market and museum success only came late in her life. and she is a dynamo respected by young and old alike.

and just remember that leonardo had several simultaneous "careers." we no longer want renaissance people who are rich with experience and wisdom and inquiry. just sure-fire young things that feed the newness maw. i know i am preaching to the choir here. and i don't consider myself old at 35! but i guess i am.

i did like david's idea about a cheat-sheet for collectors. you'll like like a rube/crass speculator if...."you ask the artist's age" should be up there at the top of the list.

i show artist from 24 - 67. i'd love to find a kick-ass artist even older. it would be the coolest thing in the world to find another artist with the chops of a louise bourgeois.

we have seen a great decline in the market for 80s stars who were having whitney retrospectives in their mid-30s. OK, Richard Prince, Cindy Sherman, Jeff Koons and a few others are exceptions. But many of these artists commanded huge buzz and money, which, at the time seemed absurd. History repeats. Everything old is new again. But the market corrected itself. And now the auctions show artists in the history books being trumped, at least financially, by young artists who have yet to really make their marks historically.

Actually, what is most worrisome....and pardon my post-art fair still-fatigued brain, is the power that collectors have right now. yes, yes, i know that we all make a living of sorts from them. but several high-profile museum curators are complaining (in private) that the collectors are making art history mostly because of market muscle. we all know museums cannot move fast on acquisitions given the standards of ethics they should be pursuing.

but i digress....

back to ageism.....

i thought about designing a tee-shirt to wear under my art-dealer jacket at the fair. it would say, "didn't your mama tell you that it's rude to ask a person's age?" but that wouldn't fly for the russian, turkish, etc. contingent, right?

hopefully this is a trend that will end soon....just like exhausting eye-blearing, soul-sucking, but sometimes financially rewarding, art fairs.

12/22/2006 07:35:00 PM  
Anonymous jolly elf onesock said...

Happy christmachanukwanzaramadan everybody!

I hope everyone gets what they want!

Bambino is a cute elf! Do you eat spegetti with waffle syrup too?

As for the age thang. I was a teenage tennis player (and a warewolf!). I mean I still play tennis but I was on the state circuit back in the day. If I pursued harder I perhaps could have gone pro which means now, at 35, I would be 5 or 6 years into my retirement (or if i was like Agassi Id be starting retirement now)

I dont know the retirement age for warewolves however.

So it is funny to be involved in something that is mostly an intellectual activity over physical (although many sculptors could atest to the physical demands), and STILL hear word that it is all over, time to pack it in.

For me though, hardly anyone has collected my work up to now so it certainly wont deter me from working if collecturds run from my grotesque, wrinkley 35 yr old behind.

Funny thing is I actually play better tennis now than i did when i was younger. I just cant play as long. And i am darn sure I am a better artist now. To me, my art certainly seems more youthful and vibrant than ever before.. who knew?

"Remember, the best way to spread Christmas cheer is to sing out loud for all to hear!" Buddy Elf

12/22/2006 09:52:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

Oly said:
All it takes is a "market correction," which may come sooner than many think.

I agree, a correction is in the cards, exactly how soon is a tough call. All the earmarks of an overheated speculative market exist and this is a condition which occurs at a turning point. Today, by chance I was reading an editorial in the magazine "Modern Painters" by the late Peter Fuller, titled "Art and Money: Post-Saatchi Painting" (I couldn’t find a link but the issue is Winter 1989/90 vol. 2, num. 4) Saatchi aside, Mr. Fuller’s description of the art market in late 1989 could be applied nearly word for word, hedge fund for hedge fund, to today’s art market.

Chris said:
I think pluralism and capitalism, together, have fueled the shift to novelty.

I more or less agree, pluralism may be having an affect because of the larger number of artists competing for a place in the limelight. Capitalism, definitely is a force , art has become a growth luxury market for the moment.

However, I think there may be another factor which has come into play which I can only describe as being generational. I note the mention of artists from 1980 which fits the timeframe. I happen to know two young people, working in another creative field, who have received the benefit of the youth phenomena. I know a little of how it happened and I have a sense of the torch being passed onto the next generation as one of the reasons that has helped their careers.

anon (7:35) said:
we no longer want renaissance people who are rich with experience and wisdom and inquiry.

Ouch! In this age of specialization, it’s harder to be a renaissance person, but the implications that the audience is willing to forgo "experience and wisdom and inquiry" is disheartening. It is an indication that in the fervor of the moment, the audience is willing to overlook the long trajectory artists (Pollock is one example, Dubuffet another) for the instant gratification of the early bloomers.

For the record, my personal opinion on Ed’s original question is that a gallerist should tell the truth, state the artists age without apology.

I also feel that a serious gallerist will want to show the best work they can regardless of the artists age. While I think there are valid business reasons for this point of view, it is only one aspect of the issue as I see it. The most important thing. for any artists career, is to be able to continue working, to continue the creative exploration and dialogue. An artist who has been working for several years exhibits persistence over promise. Because of the nature of fashion, a mature artist may have found his work out of sync with the prevailing trend. As the wheel turns, the work of an artist who has been pursuing a vision over the years, can become a point of reference from both a standpoint of quality and conceptual approach. It puts the works of both the younger and mature artists into a context where the audience can see the comparative differences. The work by the more mature artist will generally flow from a slightly different conceptual and stylistic starting point. It may speak to a slightly different audience which would broaden the dialogue and I can only view this a positive development

12/22/2006 10:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I see a non-issue here. Old, young, dead or alive, so what? I remember a time when a good artist was a dead one. The work sold better. Young and very young is the thing? Just wait a while, maybe women are next... .

When they ask about an artist just tell the truth and talk about his/her acomplishments. Period. Don't talk a lot, just sell your artists. And please, please have a good program.

Are you collectors? That should be the first question from the dealer, floor or wall space available, ask about what they have, be interested, learn and recognize the potential in everyone.

Learning to sell takes time. Many never learn. I see many young dealers in Chelsea more interested in the artists than having a gallery or selling. So many want to be artists themselves. Good artists never become close friends with their dealers and V-versa. It is not about love, it is a business relationship. Don't ever be confused.

mls

12/22/2006 11:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really interesting blog. And I can see why artists over 30 get mad. I,m 25 and doing really well in New York and L.A. Plus I'm really good looking which may or may not help. I thought I'd just throw it in. Perhaps older artists could have their own seperate art world, or something along those lines. Merry Christmas everybody.

12/23/2006 12:13:00 AM  
Anonymous David said...

I'm about to pitch a magazine article about people who pursue art as a second career...

Lisa, the way things are going, about the only people in your article are going to be gymnasts, tennis players, and child actors. Anyone who has an adult career is probably already too old to make the 30-year-old cutoff for artists. Unless by "pursue" you mean the way a donkey pursues a carrot.

Okay, I'm done thinking about this stuff until next year. See you all back here after the holidays.

12/23/2006 12:20:00 AM  
Anonymous one old sock said...

Perhaps older artists could have their own seperate art world

OMG! That is sooo funny! I woke up to let the dogs out, i sit down refresh the page at the ol comput and read that!

Thanks Anon i really needed that and just to let you know I will get on that idea first thing tomorrow and contact all the community centers and nursing homes to see if they would let us have our art fair there. Free viagra for the first 100 participants!

12/23/2006 01:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I,m 25 and doing really well in New York and L.A. Plus I'm really good looking which may or may not help.

Everyone is really good looking when they're 25. Have you thought about what you're going to do for a living when you're thirty? Five years goes by pretty quickly.

12/23/2006 02:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps older artists could have their own seperate art world

Good idea, and Miami would be a natural place to start, since so many of us moved there to retire anyway. First we take Miami, then we take Berlin.

12/23/2006 10:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Franklin said...

Everyone is really good looking when they're 25.

Degas went as far as saying that everyone has talent when they're 25 - the trick is to have it when you're 50.

The situation with people only being interested in young talent also comes from the surfeit of artists in existence. If there were only a dozen people who could sing in the entire world, we wouldn't care what they looked like. But many thousands of people can sing, so an industry has sprung up promoting 22-year-old singers who can dance, take a good head shot, and fill a bustier nicely. And once you get to that point, the extrinsic elements overtake the instrinsic ones, and it starts to matter less how well the singer can sing. That's where the art world is going.

People who take music seriously don't fall for this crap. And with apologies to whomever this might offend, people fall for the equivalent crap in art don't take art seriously, regardless of how much they're looking at it or spending on it.

12/23/2006 11:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Franklin said...

"people who fall"

12/23/2006 12:22:00 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

Here is a hint:

One naturally believes that the skill set you have is the critical one and others with a different skill set are just wrong.

You are not standing at the top of the heap looking down at everyone else. You are standing on the surface of a planet. What appears to be downhill is just around the curve. They are at the same height you are, but they are standing somewhere else.

12/23/2006 01:20:00 PM  
Anonymous onesock said...

okay so I called around and found a few rest homes who will provide a space for the Geezers Art Fair (aka Still-Have-A-Pulse Art Fair). So we are good to go! I figure it will be a different take on the hotel fair concept except the beds will be..uh..occupied.

Feliz Navidad!

12/23/2006 01:48:00 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

One thing we'll have in common with the artists at the other fairs: we'll all be wearing diapers.

12/23/2006 02:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Franklin:

Thank you.

mls

12/23/2006 02:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Franklin said...

Here's a hint for you, Tim: there are people who are satisfied by the circumference of the world, and there are people who scale its peaks. As a rule, the latter are stronger, braver, and less encumbered. And because the peaks are unforgiving, brutal, even, so are they.

Onesock, you forgot the unspoken rule of art fair names: shorter is better. I suggest GeezArt.

MLS, my pleasure.

12/23/2006 05:15:00 PM  
Anonymous The Village People said...

Whammo

Kick the habit before you kick the bucket!

Art in retirement homes: what we are doing is creating a platform for artists past their prime, 31 and over, to come in and build their ideal retirement setting using art, toilet rolls, and semi-transparent used diapers.

Whammy

12/23/2006 06:23:00 PM  
Anonymous onesock said...

One thing we'll have in common with the artists at the other fairs: we'll all be wearing diapers.

Yes Tim, We will be incontinent intercontinental artists!

When peeps leave a room saying "That room stinks" It will have multiple conotations indeed.

12/23/2006 11:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric Caspesyan said...

Merry christamas or hanukah or whatever your fancy, everyone !!

Thanks Bambino for that little dance.


The age thing....at this point I'm not even going to discuss it. I just don't wanna know. Ugh ! Please stay away from me. Etc...



Cedric, 35 Years Old Monster, just to give you a reason
centiment@hotmail.com

12/24/2006 02:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the Village People's retirement home idea with the Depends.
I literally am actually spending my XMas tomorrow at the Village Nursing Home-- (how funny)--perhaps I'll bring that up as an arts and crafts activity.
Depends XMas Angels.
Hey, if Wim Delvoye can do it, why not the Alzheimer's Units?

What a great discussion this thread is, but so depressing on the "you're done if not there by 30" topic.
It makes me want to be Superman and start spinning the world backwards.
:)

12/24/2006 04:25:00 PM  
Blogger ec said...

When I think of work that really inspires me as an artist, Jackie Saccoccio, whose work is now at Black and White--her first solo is well worth the wait. Not to mention, Judith Linhares, Dona Nelson, Jenny Dubnau, Rosanna Bruno, Susanna Coffey, Jennifer Reeves, Joyce Pensato, Andy Spence, Michelle Weinberg..fabulous artists all.
To 2007!

12/25/2006 09:29:00 AM  
Anonymous jec said...

Art in retirement homes

Funny coincidence--I was just visiting someone in a retirement home and some of the artists living there had works on display. Most were what you would expect, but there were a handful of really talented/skilled people. Not quite what you'd expect at an artfair, but the work was very accomplished.

12/25/2006 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger exu said...

I am painting from my kozy koffin-wit my little chicken arm poking up-come on,necrophilia is cool

12/25/2006 06:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has anyone read, Life Begins at Forty by Walter B. Pitkin?

12/29/2006 01:25:00 PM  

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