Tuesday, April 08, 2008

A Better MFA Thesis Exhibition Experience?

Last year I endured a fair bit of grief (most of which I still don't quite understand) in response to my decision to present a short exhibition of work by graduating MFA photographers. To my mind, it was easy. The students had asked charmingly if I would host it, I know it was fun for them, we tried to be careful about context and arrangements, and it was educational (despite what some readers here argued). To epitomize the passion of some of the opposing views, there was this:
Looks bad, anyway. I'm curious what the other artists you represent think. I know it would make me cringe.

Actually, it already makes me cringe.. . it would probably make me vomit with anger.
It never got much better than that, either. (Sidebar: I can't let this opportunity pass to note that this statement now brings to mind what Sartre once wrote, that what you vomit must surely already be within you, so I'm not sure the "anger" noted here was entirely caused by the exhibition, but....).

I'd still support commercial galleries presenting MFA work in carefully structured contexts (i.e., being clear these are students, that they approached the gallery, that the gallery is taking time to share information and insights with the students about the gallery system, etc....what more real-world seminar is there out there for those students interested in how it all works?), but having been bloodied somewhat for my efforts (and having a full schedule already), I won't be doing so this Spring.

Besides, at the recent Pulse Art Fair in New York, I learned of perhaps an even more informative exhibition idea that still gets the students out of the same university/community galleries that they've generally already worked with (not that there's not tons to learn in those, but as MFA candidates preparing to head out in to the wide world, it's good that they get as broad an experience elsewhere as possible, IMHO). And, to silence the angry critics, it's not at all commercial. The fabulous photographer and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago instructor Brian Ulrich told me about the program and passed along the following details:
THREE HOURS BETWEEN PLANES: CONTEMPORARY PHOTOGRAPHY FROM LEIPZIG AND CHICAGO

German and American photography at the Chicago Cultural Center, April 19 – July 6, 2008 and the Werkschauhalle, Spinnerei, Leipzig, May 17–June 14

Three Hours Between Planes: Contemporary Photography from Leipzig and Chicago presents the work of eleven young German and American artists using photography, who received training at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst (Academy of Visual Arts) of Leipzig.

The photography, video, and installation work in this exhibition presents a new generation of artists: Jill Frank, Sveinn Johansson, Lilly McElroy, Stefanie Kiwitt, Elise Rasmussen, Chelsea Tonelli Knight, Andreas Schulze, Scott Wiener, Stefan Fischer, Dominique Koch and Jan Sledz.

Moving away from the monumental photography of the 1970s, these artists focus on the common place, on personal observations, and on the irony of the everyday.

Three Hours Between Planes will be on view at the Chicago Cultural Center’s Michigan Avenue Galleries, from April 19 to July 6, 2008 with an opening reception on Friday, April 25, from 6-8 p.m. A companion exhibition is showing concurrently at the Werkschauhalle at the famous Spinnerei complex in Leipzig, May 17 – June 15, opening May 16, 2008.
As much as I enjoyed our exhibition and know the students learned something through it, in hindsight I'd have to say that, had I been exposed to this MFA exhibition model, I would have recommended to the students approaching me that they try organizing this type of exchange exhibition instead. I'm sure there's more work (and more to learn) in organizing it than there was for a commercial gallery show, and so it's probably less likely to happen for some groups of students, but it's clearly 1) not "tainted" by commerce; 2) a chance to collaborate with other artists in a real-world group exhibition context (artists other than the same ones they've been exhibiting/studying/partying with for years); and 3) a chance to travel further than they would to Chelsea or another commercial gallery district.

I'm not sure how popular such an approach might already be at US universities, but as this is the first I'm hearing of such a venture, I'm hoping, quite frankly, that many other universities would consider similar approaches to making their MFA candidates' final exhibitions so memorable and educational. It might also lead to a bit less anger-induced vomit out there.

UPDATE: Our friend and fellow gallerist Leigh Conner of Conner Contemporary Art in DC has been hosting annual invitational exhibitions to highlight the work of fine art graduates of Washington / Baltimore area college art programs for over 7 years now, dispelling the myth that gallery exhibitions for graduating art students is some new trend spurred on by the recently hot art market.

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84 Comments:

OpenID ericgelber said...

Was that anonymous vomit or a specific person's vomit?

Schools should do more than they currently do to prepare their Art majors for the real world. Rather than providing a gallery at the end of the hallway in the Art building, which only students, parents, and faculty will ever come to visit, the schools should be required to help students arrange for a final exhibition, sometime before they graduate, that will go on their CVs and represent something tangible, meaning the students will actually learn something from it and meet people who might help them in the future. Connections are very important, and hanging work in the school gallery at the end of four years is not going to help students make new connetions. It will just be one last party with their friends. These are nice but should not be the only option for the soon to be graduates.

4/08/2008 09:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't see anything wrong with exhibiting student art. You know as well as I that there are students who are more skilled than the majority of artists exhibiting in Chelsea.The only difference is that the older artists elbows are raw from years of rubbing. The people bashing you for exhibiting students would praise you if ARTnews or another magazine gave those same students a positive review. That is how this silly little game is played at times.

4/08/2008 09:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Part of the anger/vomit stems, I'm sure, from the shift in rules for artists. When I was younger, it was expected that newly graduated artists would fend for themselves until they proved they were serious about being artists. At some point, the rules changed and freshly minted artists were the better buy, the ones being selected for exhibits. Most artists I know who teach art sell their works for less than what some of their students receive.

Rules change; life isn't fair.

But the rules will change again. With the tanking of the economy, the current batch of art students who expect to make a living at art will suffer several shocks.

The art world lives and reforms based on the trends. That your gallery showed MFA candidates just puts you within the trend. Not a bad thing, not a good thing.

ml

4/08/2008 09:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't remember the vomit-spewing, but if an individual, non-student artist asked you very "charmingly" for a show (and I'm not sure what that would entail- wining and dining you? Showering you with gifts and compliments?) and assured you that it would be a most educational experience for them, would you give them one? Shouldn't it really be based on the work they do and how it relates with the work you show?

anono

4/08/2008 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

if an individual, non-student artist asked you very "charmingly" for a show (and I'm not sure what that would entail- wining and dining you? Showering you with gifts and compliments?) and assured you that it would be a most educational experience for them, would you give them one?

You're trying awfully hard to make a point here anono, but it's getting lost in your contradictions. If a "non-student" wants a show, why would the idea that it would be "educational" for them influence me? They're no longer a student.

Also, since you imply something less savory might have been the case, I'll clarify that the charming request was an email outlining why they thought a gallery exhibition for their thesis show would be beneficial for them. Projecting less altruistic motivations on that statement (from either my point of view or the students') is rather beneath you, no?

Shouldn't it really be based on the work they do and how it relates with the work you show?

I had a schedule at the time that actually permitted me to host their exhibition without interrupting the program (and let me realign with the other galleries' openings on the street). It wasn't billed as something we normally do, although there are galleries that annually host student exhibitions and with great anticipation by the schools, the local press, their collectors and even their own gallery artists. So the notion that such exhibitions must conform to the gallery program strikes me as a red herring. If the context is clear, why is this an issue?

4/08/2008 10:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, an educational experience is valuable for an artist at any stage of their career. We don't go from student to professional artist just by graduating. I'm sorry about the implications about unsavory motives on either side, of course I don't think you can be bought by a few expensive dinners. I guess it just still feels strange that a professional, commercial gallery would host a student show, and i sense that you feel a little funny about it too because you are so defensive about it. Perhaps I'm wrong, it's just an impression.

anono

4/08/2008 10:34:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

guess it just still feels strange that a professional, commercial gallery would host a student show.

Why? I lecture, I offer advice on the blog, I spend hours telling students who come into the gallery how to do this or that. Why would a student exhibition in a clear context be out of place in that setting? It's merely a continuation of a belief that education is part of what professionals do to give back to the community.

To be quite honest, I feel that helping to educate students is every professional gallery's responsibility. Once artists are out of school, though, then yes, the work and the work alone should dictate whether a gallery should work with them. While they're in school, though, I feel good about sharing what I can to help educate them. I resent folks suggesting that's wrong, as well.

i sense that you feel a little funny about it too because you are so defensive about it

I wouldn't be if people weren't insinuating I could be bought for a dinner or compliment. The vehemence of that quoted comment in the post should also explain why I'm defensive, no? I honestly thought I was doing some good and to have it met with such outrage was unsettling.

an educational experience is valuable for an artist at any stage of their career

You're being totally disingenuous here. Suggesting that I might offer a non-student artist an exhibition as part of their education leaves a whole range of absurd possibilities unresolved. Would the gallery post on the wall that the exhibition was for educational purposes (as was implied by the wall text explaining the MFA thesis show was for students)? Would the artist appreciate that context or resent it? What if that context were the only context in which the gallery agreed to exhibit that artist again (and again), would that be ok?

Seriously, I don't get the objections.

4/08/2008 11:02:00 AM  
Blogger Mark Creegan said...

That is a very interesting model for an MFA exhibit. And I think it sort of ties in with yesterday's topic regarding how any sort of change in the market affects artists and art production and distribution. Obviously, the rise of successful newly-minted or still cooking MFA students came as a part of the boom and the rapid increase in the number of galleries. If that were to change, and galleries started to close ( i hope not) this sort of exchange seems to be a good alternative for the growing artist.

Actually, if we all say that art is about communication, all artists should try to set up these sorts of exchanges. It could be a new model potential overall regardless of the economic situation.

4/08/2008 11:02:00 AM  
Blogger Ethan said...

I honestly don't understand the huge distinction many people put between artists and (graduate) art students. There are many opportunities that specify "no students" (cue Peanuts' "no dogs allow" music).

So a 19 year-old college dropout can apply, but a 29 1/2 year-old MFA student can't? It makes no sense...

Sometimes it is explained that students should be focusing on a ivory tower approach to art (i.e., shouldn't concern themselves with having people see their art). But I always suspect it's an attempt to cut out bad quality submissions... I can see limiting undergrad submissions for this reason, but I'm not certain that MFA students are working a such a lower level than most artists. I think most of us would agree that an MFA degree is not required to be an effective artist, so how does pursuing one makes one less effective?

I encourage my grad students to apply to any opportunities that interest them and simply leave out their MFA-in-progress off the artist résumé, if necessary.

4/08/2008 11:03:00 AM  
Blogger Mark Creegan said...

right on, Ethan.

4/08/2008 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

One other thing that folks leave out of this debate needs to be highlighted as well. The people opening galleries are also getting younger, it's not just the people exhibiting in them. Many of the student-artists going right into the gallery system are peers of the gallerists working with them. There's not as much a preference for youth as a preference to promote what you know at play in much of this.

4/08/2008 11:10:00 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

I am surprised that the anger was baffling to you, Ed. As ml stated above, I am sure that the angry comments you received were based on earlier generation’s understanding (upon their own MFA graduation) of how the game was supposed to work. After artists spent years in the studio, not only proving their “seriousness”, but developing their work free from the influence of their professors, they might have some attention paid to their work... if it was worthy. In the “old days”, you often were not allowed to enter competitions if the work was produced while you were in school, because the influences upon the work were not clear.

(cue violin) If an artist has given up love, financial security, family approval and God knows what else to devote themselves to their work most days of their lives for ten, twenty, or thirty years, if they have driven their work all over the country and slept in the moving trucks because they could not afford a hotel, put themselves into debt to buy materials, lost hundreds of hours of sleep to make deadlines, had operations to fix their worn out wrists, etc., then it is a bit hard for even the most zen artist to read the youth-obsessed art market headlines of the past few years and simply be happy for those lucky young artists.

“It is not news, even though it is continually shocking to see, just how much envy insidiously corrodes our pleasure in other people’s gifts and talents.” Adam Phillips

That said, (despite the fact that no one did it for me upon MY graduation) showing the work of MFAs “out in the world” can have tremendous benefits for them. VCU has had a “Fresh Meat” show in a NY gallery for years, they also make professional CDs of the show and send them out everywhere.

I like the educational component of the the model Brian has put forth... both for the students participating in it, and the public. I would love to see the interesting juxtapositions in the two bodies of work. And having international art friends is always helpful and loads of fun.

4/08/2008 11:43:00 AM  
Anonymous sharon said...

This doesn't seem like a new idea; if I think back, I remember seeing quite a few MFA candidates' work in Chelsea at several galleries. Why all the fuss?

As for the haters, isn't it hard enough for an emerging artist to get their foot in the door?

You shouldn't be chastised for taking a risk and showing freshly minted work; nor should you let it haunt you. People will be angry no matter what you do. Hell, try that new approach. It sounds interesting!

4/08/2008 11:46:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

then it is a bit hard for even the most zen artist to read the youth-obsessed art market headlines of the past few years and simply be happy for those lucky young artists.

I think why it's still baffling, though, Kate, is that the context for the MFA exhibition is so clearly not what those older artists have been working to achieve. As I noted in the comment to anono, it's not like the public didn't know they were students or thought that the exhibition was part of the gallery's regular program.

4/08/2008 11:49:00 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

Ed, I think the point is that Chelsea white wall real estate is what all artists are working to achieve.

:)

And let me correct myself, I have been out of the academic loop for two years now, but VCU used to do a NY show for their students, they might not do it any more, I don't know. Tara Donovan came out of this process.

4/08/2008 12:05:00 PM  
Blogger Mark Creegan said...

I think why it's still baffling, though, Kate, is that the context for the MFA exhibition is so clearly not what those older artists have been working to achieve.

Ed,I am completely supportive of your or any MFA exhibit. I think tho that some of the feelings of those who are aginst your type of show, see it not as something they want particularly, but as an opportunity that they had not had and feel that these young students are on their way closer to some of the goals of older artists because of your exhibit.

That being said, I think if we all examined our own situation, made comparisons, we could come up with a variety of opportunities and handicaps that differ from others. For, example, we know of the advantage of going to a prestigious art school, but those that did, would point out that its not such an advantage if you are dealing with 100 grand plus debt and incredible rent prices.

Excellent point about the younger dealers and curators having an impact on opportunities for younger artists.

4/08/2008 12:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not everyone pays as much attention to the fine print as you do, Ed. Those artists (in the MFA show) can honestly say they had a show in a commercial gallery in Chelsea upon graduating from art school. They wouldn't be lying or twisting the truth. Even if the wall text made clear that it was a student show, it's a serious notch on the belt, or step on the ladder, that can help them reach the next step. When the show is over, what remains is that you had a show in Chelsea, just like, if you get a negative review in the Times, a few weeks later what remains is that you got a review in the Times! Good news! Major boost for the resume. Very few people (besides the artists and gallerists involved) are going to remember what exactly was said in that review.

After that MFA show, "I had a show at Winkleman, it was great, we got a lot of press, sold some work, etc.," is true and not inappropriate. That counts, that means something. I think what angered artists was that you insist that that show was not the same as a "real" show, that the context was so obviously different that they're not comparable. An artist who sent you a cd or slide packet, or had a studio visit with you and did NOT get included in a show is not going to really appreciate that distinction.

anono

4/08/2008 12:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ed,

It's your gallery. You certainly should do whatever you want. If you want to branch out into educational directions, that's fine. But there are only so many slots available each year, so don't be surprised if artists itching to show with you are upset that you give one of those slots to students.

Kate's point about outgrowing influences is a good one. A NY friend of mine was talking about cloning - how so much of current art seems to follow a few set patterns. Strong teachers are the reason most of us can tell which school a young artist attended. But that's a different subject....
ml

4/08/2008 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

I think the point is that Chelsea white wall real estate is what all artists are working to achieve.

and

I think tho that some of the feelings of those who are aginst your type of show, see it not as something they want particularly, but as an opportunity that they had not had and feel that these young students are on their way closer to some of the goals of older artists because of your exhibit.

If there's one thing I do before I retire it will be to dispel the notion that all white-wall real estate experiences are equal. They so, so are not.

To this point, I had a young artist ask me, at an opening, no less, what it would take to get a show in a Chelsea gallery. I gave him my usual advice: narrow down the galleries you target, make sure your work is a good fit, strike up a conversation with someone in the gallery, then when you're confident you're not wasting your time, send them some images. I said specifically to look at the websites of the galleries to ensure your work is a good match.

He then asked whether I would look at his work. I asked whether he had looked at our website. He said no.

I said he's already going about it all wrong. Why on earth would he want his work to be seen in any old context?

I didn't say this, but I feel it strongly, he doesn't respect his own work all that much if he'll accept any white-wall context just to have it.

But there are only so many slots available each year,

Seriously...and with feeling...IT DOES NOT WORK THAT WAY.

To be perfectly blunt about it in this particular context, there was no other exhibition I was going to put up for two weeks other than the MFA show (I would have extended the previous show or closed down for that period had the students not approached me). So effectively no longer-suffering/working artist lost an opportunity because I did. The notion that the MFA exhibition cost some other deserving artist a shot is simply not true.

4/08/2008 12:22:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Not everyone pays as much attention to the fine print as you do, Ed.

OK, I see your point as to how that helps the MFA students, and in a vacuum how it might help some other artists. Thanks for the careful and patient explanation.

I'm still going to insist though that gallery exhibitions are not as fungible as many artists seem to think they are. Gotta work now.

4/08/2008 12:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Galleries here in LA put up group shows for those two week slots.

So it may not work that way for you, but it does elsewhere. And as anono said, whether it's two weeks or six, it's on the resume.

Ed, most of us are desperate. I have a great gallery, a very supportive gallery. Like most artists, I still want more. That desperation is part of what keeps us going and growing. So don't be surprised about the anger but also don't take it personally. It's part of the wackiness of our field.
ml

4/08/2008 12:32:00 PM  
Blogger Ethan said...

At the risk of sounding Pollyanna, I think the art world would be a lot more fun if everyone accepted that it's not a zero-sum game.

I've always taken a "rising tide lifts all boats" view in regards to my friends' & colleagues' opportunities and successes.

4/08/2008 12:32:00 PM  
OpenID ericgelber said...

I think commercial galleries should be given some sort of tax incentive to form partnerships with MFA programs across the country so that students in the programs will be guaranteed a final exhibition in a commerical gallery space. Consider it an internship. Obviously certain criteria will apply. Students shouldn't be able to slap any old crap up on the walls or onto the floors. They should have to present or defend their work, and prove that it is the result of an extended period of hard work, regardless of the medium they work in. This program would inspire them to work harder and it would be better than getting the proverbial crummy T-shirt or senior thesis exhibit in the school run gallery. Whether or not this is fair or not, with regards to the hordes of MFA graduates who came before this new program comes into being, is a moot point.

4/08/2008 12:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I recall in the original post and comments thread, you made mention of some sort of arrangement you had come to with the school, which you refused to discuss.

This is your blog, your spin, but you were not entirely forthcoming.

Did the school pay you directly or indirectly to host the show? Pay for the reception? Pay for a glossy ad?

4/08/2008 01:37:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

I don’t see the value in formalizing or subsidizing some sort of MFA-Gallery relationship.

Whether the exhibition is in the art school (university) gallery or in a commercial gallery is a moot point. What I thought was interesting in the past permutations of this was that certain students exhibited enough moxie to get out and arrange a gallery venue for their MFA exhibitions. From a career point of view, I think that’s probably a more valuable experience than the exhibitions themselves.

The imagined path from a MFA ‡ to a commercial gallery is the most boring manifestation of the status quo. Really interesting and fresh new work sprouts up outside of the gallery system.

4/08/2008 01:37:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

Hey anon 1:37,

What's your beef, why do you even care?

4/08/2008 01:39:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

This is your blog, your spin, but you were not entirely forthcoming.

ahhhh, the audacity of anonymous commenters on the blog.

Not that it's any of your f*cking business, anonymous, but what what I meant was that we agreed to take a smaller percentage of any sales to enable the students to price their work lower than they might want to in order to encourage folks to buy some from them. We got nothing whatsoever from the university except the pleasure of working with the talented students they educated.

Why on earth do you assume the worst of galleries?

4/08/2008 01:48:00 PM  
OpenID deborahfisher said...

I don't think it's about whether or not it's a zero sum game. I think it's about what a gallery show means.

ML's original point about the rules changing is important to come back to. It's lame to see an MFA show in Chelsea when you have already been raised to think that a gallery show in Chelsea connotes maturity--that you can't have one until you've paid X amount of dues, been rejected X times, been working without the enforced structure of school for X years or whatever your yardstick is.

I appreciate that ML is willing to be so philosophical about that fact--to admit that every artist is hungry and that a certain amount of anger is par for the course.

At the risk of overinflating the importance of Ed's show, I think this topic is most interesting in terms of a larger institutional context. A high school diploma used to signify proficiencies that it doesn't signify anymore, and so did college degrees.

When I am feeling like a grumpy old man, I want to label every slippage like this as a larger morass of standardlessness and whateverism and instant gratification. Why should MFA students get shows in Chelsea galleries? I ask not because I want one, but because I wonder what that student then has to work toward and look forward to, and what kind of context they are creating for their intellectual work. What's the struggle when you're already there? I can't help it--I see value in not getting everything all at once, and I see the value of being outside and working your way in. I think it's important in terms of how an artist defines oneself and the kind of work they do and why.

But I prefer ML's coolness about it. I do agree that it is a pendulum that keeps on swinging, and it's certainly advantageous to refuse to worry about it...

Not vomitously angry,
Deborah Fisher

4/08/2008 01:49:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Why should MFA students get shows in Chelsea galleries?

I saw it as a seminar and graduation gift.

I see begrudging them one, especially given that the context is clear, as somewhat selfish. Understandable, perhaps, given how hard non-student artists often have it, but still selfish.

4/08/2008 01:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who's angry?

It is natural to assume the worst when the other party admits they are keeping a secret from you.

That was really nice of you, you should have stated that in your original post.

4/08/2008 02:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Nathan M said...

Ed, your rocking some people's world!

In my mind this means your doing the right thing. Keeping people talking and thinking is the best any gallery can do for its' artists. I am sure those MFA studenta from last year love that their show is getting talked about again here today.

You know what my mama said 'If you can't handle the heatz get out da' kitchen.' Whining and complaining wastes everyone's time and teaches nothing.

Do your thing.

4/08/2008 02:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good grief- I'm amazed by the bitterness and jealousy. Ed did something good for some young people who more than likely have a tough road ahead of them. I would say there is a 99.999% chance none of those MFA grads will have a career like Jeff Wall or Thomas Struth. In fact, odds are most of them will never again get to exhibit in a gallery like Eds. This is really such a no brainer. The complainers are coming across as petty and jealous. Seriously. That is what it boils down to. Thanks for doing a nice thing Ed. Glad you have a heart.

4/08/2008 02:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No Brainer - Yes, all discord is the result of bitterness and jealousy, isn't it? There isn't actually anything wrong anywhere, everyone knows that.

Death to the Malcontents!

4/08/2008 02:59:00 PM  
OpenID ericgelber said...

"Whether the exhibition is in the art school (university) gallery or in a commercial gallery is a moot point."

The difference is that the art will be seen by people who will potentially have a big impact on future careers. This is not the case when grandma and grandpa shuffle in to sip wine and give you a pat on the head.

4/08/2008 03:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hear Hear! I am so sick of these stupid "question askers", and they're bitter views. Losers!

No Brain - You sound like you are maybe not an artist. Please tell us about the safe harbor that is your collection.

4/08/2008 03:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aaargh the leaden yoke of grammar! I meant "their", not "they're".

Who bears the stone to turn my burden gold?

4/08/2008 03:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the disillusioned, jealous, angry, and bitter poster above I only have this to say- you give anonymous a bad name!

4/08/2008 03:54:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

Lots of students run their own galleries - just as lots of people throw money at restaurants, cars, boats, and sundry profitable ventures.

I'll take zero sum games for fifty - how about the Prisoner's Dilemma - where two parties, presuming to cooperate, might find themselves being worse off than before!

here

for the uninitiateds!

But Winkleman's little closet of a gallery is hardly the issue is it? His space at the end of a long wind tunnel in the desolate northern reaches of a soon to be extinct region of the art world? (Extinct to all but the blue chip and monied classes).

And How long will WInkleman continue to hold on to his little corner of paradise? His showcase for art of a certain conceptual conceit (In the true sense of the word as an armature, but also as a s is true in all things, an enterprise built on individual ego or "vision" as we are wont to say) Do we begrudge him his toehold in the Manhattan mall of American vanity?

And what "conversation" is Chelsea having that you couldn't have in Brooklyn?

Indeed.

And so I say to you, what is it about a student show - that makes you throw up a little bit - What is it that also, a show by a canonized artist who merely rehashes their moldy oldies - what is IT, that makes these shows (apparently) so appealing to write about? And What is IT that keeps one generation from passing the baton to the next?

No, I will not let the younger generation take their seat at the table without a fight.

And where the baby boomers fight with indignant passive agressive self righteous or simply inconsiderate shortsighted reductivits self loathing, I of the true righteous next generation will cleave their vomit inducing heads from their addlepated shoulders.

Make room! You people are but green crackers to me!

I shit on your game theory.

4/08/2008 04:02:00 PM  
Blogger Fiona Ross said...

This debate requires a philosopher as well as a philosopher's stone, anon 3:38.

How an artist chooses to deal with the very mutable element of success is the big question. We all get what we deserve, whether we deserve it or not.

4/08/2008 04:06:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Zippy, zippy, zip...zi...zzzz

If only you'd use your powers for good instead of chronic ambivalence

And what "conversation" is Chelsea having that you couldn't have in Brooklyn?

Given our old, especially hard-to-reach location in Brooklyn, it was a matter of quantity, not so much quality of conversation. It broke my heart to see certain exhibitions come and go with barely any traffic.

And How long will WInkleman continue to hold on to his little corner of paradise?

As long as humanly possible. Like anyone else.

Your delight and confidence in the supposedly inevitable apocalypse is perhaps a bit premature, not to mention immature, though. I'm sure it feeds your insatiable appetite for chaos to ponder the perils that might await some, but you're presuming that lessons learned have been squandered. Extinct soon?

Keep underestimating people, Zippy.... You'll never run out of surprise endings that way.

4/08/2008 04:18:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

If I knew what was coming I'd put up a hammock.
-Kurt Schwitters


No foot traffic? Come come! Real galleries do not rely on mere foot traffic. Look at Tony Schafrazi, with his Aztecian temple to the fabled eighties.

The world has changed and no amount of pseudo certainty is going to make ambi-valence go away. You can be both a student and a teacher, so they say, I don't know, you tell me. Certainly many teachers profess to learn as much from their students as they from them (how I hate to hear them say so), so why are they being paid? Is it mere modesty? What ever happened to focus groups? Too socialist?

Edzzzzzzzzzzzz you lose me with your stream of consciousness. Please think things out more clearly, preferably five moves ahead at least. I get bored by your genration's obtuse adherence to tradition.

4/08/2008 04:30:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Real galleries do not rely on mere foot traffic.

Perhaps not, but ones that seek a dialog about art that encompasses artists, writers, bloggers!, new collectors, and the general public do.

Please think things out more clearly, preferably five moves ahead at least.

I'm multitasking too much to slow down to only five moves ahead at the moment...maybe later. But thanks for the suggestion all the same.

I get bored by your genration's obtuse adherence to tradition.

Heh! I chuckle only because I know what's in store for you on this front.

Edzzzzzzzzzzzz

Write your own jokes.

4/08/2008 04:45:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

zzz is shorthand for "in regards to" thanks for playing.

I am always impressed by galleries who reach out the the community at large. I like folk art, don't you? Art of the folk? Volkskunst?

Did you see they are going to dig up and worship Rothko as a god? I think that's a great idea, conceptually. Dig those earth tones.

4/08/2008 04:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do so many artists find it impossible to write succinctly and coherently? zippy, no amount of big words or name dropping will distract from the fact you are rambling.

4/08/2008 05:02:00 PM  
Blogger Bill Gusky said...

Hosting an MFA show -- man, I hope you do it every year.

Maybe there are other gallerists who are intellectually your peers -- doubt it, but I'm willing to accept the possibility. But most aren't nearly as generous, and I'm willing to bet most won't enjoy the breadth and duration of impact that you very likely will.

Keep doing your own thing, I say.

4/08/2008 05:11:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

im a ramblin gamblin man. To you. But you are a mere monkey. If Im rambling whats winkleman doing? Please don't say it's concise.

Plus it begs the issue - what is the purpose of elitism as manifested by symptomatic "nausea" in the art world? To filter for quality or to preserve the power structure? Both?

And when the power structure says you aren't ready, that the dream should be deferred (see previous thread) is the power structure right? Or are you right? AM I right? Am I rambling. Fuck yeah!
And you too, I guess. Whatever.

Viva la conversatione, as they say in Gagosianese.

4/08/2008 05:14:00 PM  
Anonymous s capone said...

"Why should MFA students get shows in Chelsea galleries? ... What's the struggle when you're already there?"

Why shouldn't they? There is no guarantee that an artist has any kind of career ahead of him/her, even if shown in the freakin' Whitney Biennial. Careers take a long time to build & nurture and most assurances point to the rapid burnout of an artist's career and market when thrust too rapidly into the limelight/blue chip market.

Why are people treating this like Ed is some kind of Saatchi/Svengali? Ed doesn't owe anybody anything. He works hard, and his attention to the blog, the dialog, and the care with which he talks about his artists are way more than any other gallerist in this town gives the community (at least publicly).

Be thankful, folks, that we are privileged enough to engage in such a discussion. Leave your self-resentment aside; let's get a grip.

4/08/2008 05:21:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

Conversely, Mr Capone, the vaults are filled with dead letters from other authors than Winkleman. Be thankfull I and others read what you wrote, with true and insightful clarity. Can I say as much for you?

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

4/08/2008 05:38:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Zippy does bring out the Molly-to-Peter-Riviera response in people, doesn't he?

4/08/2008 06:04:00 PM  
Anonymous ER said...

Just a little note in regards to the "Three Hours Between Planes" exhibition. Most of the artists are recent graduates from SAIC and HGB (Leipzig) and this is not an MFA thesis exhibition for either school.

4/08/2008 07:19:00 PM  
Blogger Joanne Mattera said...

Ed,

I think that any mention about MFAers getting New York shows is going to bring out the vomit, the bitterness and, yes, the Zip, in pretty much anyone over 30 who is not showing in New York.

It may be that in another generation, artists will have different expectations (or expectorations, given all this talk about ejecta), but ML is right, the "rules" changed on midcareer artists. I think that's why there's so much bitterness.

Then again, last week at the ADAA panel, "Is The Killer Art Market Killing Art," Paul Schimmel, curator at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, addressed a similar issue by saying that some version of this has always been so. For instance, he said, "The Abstract Expressionists resented the emergence of the Pop Artists."

4/08/2008 09:51:00 PM  
Blogger concrete phone said...

Joanne,
That guy RL worked out to be closer to Mondrian and Kelly.
The soup can guy closer to Pollock, in the end.
People get tired up with change, instead of focusing on the things that don't change--quality, investigation, and being indignant.
Those things never change in a sea of change.

And zip, he stole the keys to my wagon and now he thinks he's The Voice of VOLKS :)

4/08/2008 10:33:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

I think that any mention about MFAers getting New York shows is going to bring out the vomit, the bitterness and, yes, the Zip, in pretty much anyone over 30 who is not showing in New York.

Serves them right for being so petty.

4/08/2008 11:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It isn't petty, it's reasonable.

4/09/2008 12:08:00 AM  
Blogger George said...

How do you figure?

A MFA kickoff show for a bunch of kids in a NYC gallery, is taking something away from you?

4/09/2008 12:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is probably taking away more of something from them than from me. I'm glad we never had that kind of thing when I was in school. No visiting critics, no visiting curators, no visiting dealers. It was only visiting artists. Go figure!

4/09/2008 12:46:00 AM  
Blogger Joanne Mattera said...

George and anonynmous 12:08, you're both right.

It's not necessarily logical to be indignant and yet it can feel reasonable. If you've been working 20 or 30 years toward something and then someone right out of school waltzes in and gets it, indignance is a reasonable emotional response. But logically, that MFAer isn't necessarily taking something away from you personally. You might never attain what you want, whether or not the MFAer has it.

What we as artists do defies all logic, so these kinds of responses are, well, logical even if they're not.

4/09/2008 12:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure George gets outraged at stuff I wouldn't give a crap about. It doesn't make his outrage any less valid.

4/09/2008 12:52:00 AM  
Blogger George said...

At some point, the rules changed and freshly minted artists were the better buy, the ones being selected for exhibits. (and variants)

The rules haven’t changed, you just never understood them in the first place. In the last fifty years, the art market has gone through several economic and stylistic cycles. When the stylistic cycles changed "freshly minted artists were the better buy." In between, when the art market was relatively robust, newly graduated artists would fend for themselves. This "development" phase occurred within an established (by the freshly minted) stylistic structure as young artists worked to distinguish themselves. This pattern has not changed.

What has changed is the marketplace, it’s become much larger and as a result new stylistic developments by the "freshly minted" can occur in multiple instances depending on the medium.

I do think that "the rules" evolve over time as they adapt to the current moment. On the other hand, some of these "rules" or patterns are manifestations of human psychology which are fairly constant and do not change. Ambition may be manifested differently in different centuries, but "ambition" itself is a reliably predictable human quality.

The art market is clearly in a bubble and it seems highly unlikely that it will correct itself gradually. This means that most of the economic expectations that artists seem to have today are illusions.

4/09/2008 01:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The rules haven’t changed, you just never understood them in the first place"

Forgive me George, but I'm not certain you have as complete an understanding of the apparatus as you think you do.

For example, the rise in prominence of degree programs; the competition between them, the MONEY involved... I think this has skewed things to the young in a way greater than your talk of economic and stylistic cycles would suggest.

4/09/2008 01:48:00 AM  
Blogger CAP said...

Apart from the issue of Ed showing an MFA grad show - which I don’t see anything wrong with (although it seems pretty weird that Ed really couldn’t find anything appropriate to show in that slot – even with all the apps a Chelsea gallery must get!) – Anyway, quite apart from that, there’s the issue of MFA grad shows, as some kind of professional qualification, which I have some reservations about.

If the student is supposed to be learning about how the art market works, then it makes sense to get closer to it at every opportunity, to cultivate the contacts, as EG urges. But if the student is supposed to be doing authentic post-graduate research, in the academic sense, and actually discovering or inventing something new, then marketing is irrelevant since the standard for this will be set by the institution, peers and affiliates. In other fields it’s called ‘pure’ research. Marketing is a quite separate undertaking. Once you allow that marketing has a place in what the MFA artist does, then it pretty soon takes priority – because its place is obviously at the end of the process of making the work, so it literally becomes the last word as far judgment goes. (I’m not talking about what Ed or any particular dealer might think of an MFA show – only of the implicit prestige accrued that Anono (12.09) mentioned – any contacts that follow). But if the market is the last word in this sense, then what of the judgment of the academics? You might as well just skip their contribution and cut to the market for judgment.

Rather than do an MFA then, it would be more productive to do an internship as a gallery dealer (I hate the terms gallerist/ina/ino BTW). But I don’t think dealers would really be comfortable with that situation, anymore than they’re comfortable with their reliance on art history at some point. They do marketing, not R&D, A&R. They can scarcely articulate the judgments they make, anymore than collectors can. They’re happy to leave the explaining to someone else, whether it’s critics, art historians or established artists. So I don’t think it’s too hard to draw a line between art and marketing, both sides need it.

The reason there’s this pressure to assimilate so fast and smoothly, between academic research and the well presented result, is because of the enormous sums invested now by students and institutions. People want a return on their investment, and the bigger the investment, the sooner. And this brings problems for the whole art world, in much the same way that quality of science gets corrupted by overbearing commerce. You get more mistakes.

The fact that American art isn’t as dominant internationally (or globally as we now say) as it was 20-30 years ago, I think underlines the trend.

4/09/2008 07:23:00 AM  
OpenID deborahfisher said...

The problem with this discussion is that any questioning of what someone else gets is an opening for someone else to accuse you of Sour Grapes.

All I can say is that I had a choice about where to go to school, and I did not choose the school that would get the most gallerists into my studio, and I am really thankful for that.

George is right that there are a lot of economic illusions in every artist's eyeballs right now. I speak as a graduate student who was allowed to focus on my art as art, and also as a professor who has been tasked with helping students find *voice* as opposed to *market*.

I honestly believe that school functions better when it is a fantasyland with very low expectations and a very low reality quotient. Driving students to galleries creates students who want to be in galleries. Driving students to create new paradigms--to figure out what contexts work for them--has the capacity to catapult them over galleries.

I am not interested in this conversation because it makes me feel powerless. I am interested in this conversation because I want everyone to feel as powerful as possible--including gallerists and buyers. To be perfectly frank, I was making crappier work in my MFA program than I am making now, and I am sure most of us can say the same thing. Putting students in galleries is merely misunderstanding the slight but important difference between New and Fresh.

4/09/2008 07:57:00 AM  
OpenID ericgelber said...

Having the soon to be graduated MFAs have a show in a commerical gallery means one thing to me: that the art student will exit the MFA program on a positive note. More often than not the newly minted MFA student is handed a big bowl of shit upon graduation; crippling student loan debt, a crummy job market, rejection by family and friends because of the MFAs refusal to join the work force without a fight, a major change of scenery which usually includes immediate loss of workspace, poverty if the MFA student doesn't have a trust fund or helpful sympathetic parents.

You can get serious about 'R&D' at any age. The idea that the young artist must pay her/his dues and spend years discovering a unique style, etc., doesn't quite apply to how things work in the real world, because you know what? Most MFA students stop making art a few years after getting their MFA or even sooner because of the above noted factors. Does this mean the system is weeding out the fakes or the wannabes? Only in certain instances.

If college is indeed a creative fantasy land, where MFA students can defer the practical aspects of daily life (for the most part) and fully explore their art without inhibitions or worries about money and career, I would guess that they would be on a roll by the time they graduate. They would be full of hope and enthusiasm about art making. Why have the 'real world' immediately grind its heel into their faces?

Obviously you can say that I am placing too much emphasis on this MFA show in a commerical gallery. Why would this one show defer things or alleviate the transition? The bottom line for me is this: it is better for the newly minted MFA graduate's ego to have a show in a commerical gallery rather than the MFA program in-school gallery, because at least the student will get a taste of the world outside.

4/09/2008 08:31:00 AM  
Blogger Mark Creegan said...

I am currently reading "A Rose Has No Teeth" about the early work of Bruce Nauman- who, it turns out, had a solo show in LA as a grad student.Of course he wasn't just any other grad student. Anyway,the reason I find validity in putting students in galleries is that it is begins the process of documentation, reflection, and analysis. Its the start of a progressive process that the artist (and others perhaps) will be interested in the rest of his or her life.

But that is because I still see galleries as a potential arena for intellectual inquiry rather than just a market arena. I know the complaints that some just out of school artists get swept up and spit out, their career ended. I have always questioned blaming the demise of the artist on this one predetorial experience in the marketplace. For those truly involved in their process as artists, it wouldnt matter if their work received early attention and then they were hung out to dry, they would continue their practice because it is separate from all that. Most of us have very engaged art practices without Chelsea Gallry rep. We have even set up blogs and websites as surrogate contexts for discussion and analysis. I would submit that the accumulative effect of having online resources for display and distribution of your work and ideas has just as much validity and import for an artist's practice than it would to be a part of a gallery stable. The latter gives one more access no doubt, but the work gets made no matter what.

Geez, am i longwinded or what?;)

4/09/2008 08:41:00 AM  
Blogger George said...

For example, the rise in prominence of degree programs; the competition between them, the MONEY involved... I think this has skewed things to the young in a way greater than your talk of economic and stylistic cycles would suggest.


Sorry, but it is not about the money, it is about the ART.

4/09/2008 09:21:00 AM  
OpenID ericgelber said...

You are right mc. The Internet has changed the whole game. When I do final crits with the MFA students at Bennington I will tell all of them to start a blog or webpage ASAP and add content to it on a regular basis.

4/09/2008 10:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The extremely gifted - like Nauman - have frequently had shows early on, even in school. That is not unusual, George, and most of us welcome that. I'll take a great show from any age range. What has shifted is the perception that young is better. I think part of that is in fact the pressures of the schools. Students do spend phenomenal amounts for their MFAs. And part of it, I suspect, is that the baby boomers are now collectors, and many boomers are peter pans, not wanting to grow up. Buying young, being hip are ways to foster that illusion. If you compare Audrey Hepburn with Reese Witherspoon, there's a cultural tendency now away from sophistication toward juvenilization. Hepburn at twenty was portrayed as more mature than Witherspoon at 30. And I think the art market reflects that. It's just sad it's an either/or situation (although I think it's shifting again) - youthful exuberance vs wisdom. Both have their place in the art world, in the big world too.
ml

4/09/2008 10:10:00 AM  
OpenID ericgelber said...

ml you make valid points. I am not suggesting that these MFAs get a free hand out and gallery representation right out of school. I am saying that one positive art experience in the world outside of their school would be just that, positive. Beyond that, who knows.

4/09/2008 10:20:00 AM  
Blogger George said...

Mark made an interesting point when he said he sees …galleries as a potential arena for intellectual inquiry rather than just a market arena. The art gallery does serve this dual function, it provides an interface where the artwork can initiate a potential dialogue with other artists and the culture.

I would suggest that presenting the artwork is the most important function of a gallery. While it is part and parcel of the marketplace, the gallery does not function in the same manner as a retail store because it is this dialogue the artworks create, which enhances their value as a commodity.

So when a bunch of energetic MFA grads manage to lobby a commercial gallery as a venue for their thesis show, it’s as much about the dialogue as it is about commerce. Who is this dialogue with? I suspect mostly with their peers. Ultimately, the reference to this exhibition will trickle down to the bottom of the resume and fall off. It’s not really as important, one way or the other, as one thinks at the time.

4/09/2008 10:21:00 AM  
OpenID ericgelber said...

If their careers have forward momentum that is true George. My suggestions relate to generating a more positive mind set that would allow for that forward momentum.

4/09/2008 10:28:00 AM  
Blogger George said...

10:00 AM anon,

What has shifted is the perception that young is better.

Again, I am not sure that it is all that different as it has been in the past. I think if you go back and look at recent history (1950 on)and examine the ebb and flow of stylistic and critical developments within the artworld, you will find that they were driven by small clusters of younger artists.

What a number of people have misperceived was the effects caused by the rapid expansion of the commercial artworld between approximately 2002 and 2005. For whatever reasons, the amounts of money being spent on art increased dramatically. Prices for established artists appreciated significantly leaving a vacuum in the lower (under $50k) price ranges. It was at this time that the commercial galleries had their MFA feeding frenzy, snapping up everything in sight.

The mistake of perception is to assume this was the norm and would continue. The "youth craze" was marketed and bought because there was a lot of new product in the pipeline which could be exploited.

I believe this is over with, that the pipeline is again full and flowing at its normal rate.

4/09/2008 10:47:00 AM  
Blogger Mark Creegan said...

wow, ml, there are GOBS of generalizations in your last comment. Maybe it is an either/or situation in the marketplace, i am not close to that scene to really judge. But youthful exuberance and wisdom go hand in hand in my book. And I think we can apply that estimation to the art practices that really knock our socks off (for me Nauman, Rauschenberg, Hammons).

I just don't think one can make judgments against Ed's decision which is essentially a very generous act. And I cant see the positive in opening up the can of worms regarding whether or not these youngins' deserve it or not. None of us can make that assessment. We are not their instructors. And I think to go down that road is just to invite either thoughts of self- loathing or superiority- neither of which make any dang sense.

4/09/2008 11:07:00 AM  
Blogger Catherine Spaeth said...

I liked the Witherspoon juvenilization comment above. Visible is something like youth as genre. To have a group of MFA's showing, gathered together because they are in a program, is a form of juvenelization. The artists from earlier generations who exhibited when young were not in such shows, they were in curated group shows with extraordinary people like Virginia Dwan taking a risk. It was because these shows are curated that we have "Conceptual Art," "Land Art," "minimalism," etc. Today, curated shows that introduce emerging artists are likely to be curated on the basis of youth, such as HVCCA's First Look exhibitions, a real lobbying effort for fast placement and increase in value. Or demographics/geography, such as Greater New York.

I really appreciated the Parsons exhibit at the Armory, schools should be promoting the work of their students, and the excellent programming of Artists in the Marketplace in collaboration with the Bronx Museumn-I saw gallery strong representation for those folks this year. In California there is a huge student art fair, organized by students themselves. This is further juvenilization, really, they need to leave the art fair model behind and really think about what their work can do in a more thoughtful context. Or maybe this is just pure nostalgia by now?

4/09/2008 11:36:00 AM  
OpenID ericgelber said...

The commericial galleries are most likely not the answer. cs makes good points. Anything that is serious and substantial, and isn't perceived as a boobie prize, like showing your thesis in the gallery down the hall, is a good way to top off an MFA program.

4/09/2008 11:49:00 AM  
Blogger George said...

I remember the Virginia Dwan gallery in Westwood. It was just at that time the idea of a MFA degree was just starting to be taken seriously. Still, most students were not thinking that being an artist was going to be like the typical corporate America career path. How that has changed.

I think to characterize MFA shows as a form of juvenilization isn’t quite fair. I don’t think anyone is suggesting that these exhibitions are something they are not. They are not a curated gallery show in the normal sense of the idea, but just an exposition of thesis works, no more and no less.

4/09/2008 12:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mark,

Your examples of artists who were fabulous when they were young are good ones. But also consider that Mark Rothko and Agnes Martin didn't have solos until their late 40s. Louise Bourgeoise was even later. Amy Sillman and Bruce Pearson were comparatively late "starters". What's the joke - it took her fifteen years to become an overnight success? Some of us hatch wise. Some of us don't. We have to work at it. And that process doesn't follow any set pattern, despite the criteria established by the art market.

I do think that the obsession with the young is fading. If we're lucky, the good art, regardless of the age, gender or complexion of the artist, will receive recognition.
ml

4/09/2008 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger Catherine Spaeth said...

I wouldn't characterize MFA shows as a form of juvenilization themselves. but that the form of exhibition can choose to play into a trend, or not.

Here is a paragraph from a review I wrote of Unmonumental, that describes the juvenile as the dandy of our time:

"In our own time the image of the citizen of democracy has been overcome by that of the refugee. In “Unmonumental,” the status of the refugee has been cooked up inside hostile teenage imagination. Rachel Harrison’s “Huffy Howler” is its emblem, a reeling bicycle loaded with brick ammo and Mel Gibson’s head shot as a trophy. This raucous bunch will take no position - it exists in the space of an arrested development, prior to the taking of any position in the world but rebellious nonetheless. History is a problem, and Mel Gibson the proof."

So, to extend anonympus's Witherspoon claim, there's a bit of a Peter Pan thing going on here for sure.

4/09/2008 12:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Catherine's 11:36 comment and this one by George:
" I don’t think anyone is suggesting that these exhibitions are something they are not. They are not a curated gallery show in the normal sense of the idea, but just an exposition of thesis works, no more and no less."
remind me that a few years ago there were a lot of graduate shows advertised as being "curated" by some big shot. I haven't seen this so much lately, but there were ads in the mags about mfa shows curated by David Ross, etc. I wondered exactly what this meant. Usually a curator chooses the artists (and often the individual pieces) for a show. But if you're "curating" the MFA thesis show, obviously you have to include everyone who is graduating, no? What function does a David Ross play in this scenario? I'm guessing it's a misnomer and a perk, a little something included in the package of goods you get for the price of your degree. I have long ago dropped my student shows from my resume, but if one of them had been curated by David Ross, I would probably have left it on. It would look more impressive than "Graduation Show, University Gallery". Basically seconding the comment above by anono 12:09.

Oriane

4/09/2008 01:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It means the school paid that curator. It means the curator knows that he can continue to generate income from that school, in the form of future visiting curator fees, by making sure he plugs a few of that school's artists into non-school exhbitions or hooks them up with dealers, etc.

4/09/2008 04:15:00 PM  
Blogger Joanne Mattera said...

Here's another thought:
Who's teaching all these MFAers? Many of the teachers and professors are artists and critics who have learned something along the way.

Here's Eric Gelber: "When I do final crits with the MFA students at Bennington I will tell all of them to start a blog or webpage ASAP and add content to it on a regular basis."

When I do a visiting artist gig with seniors or graduate students, I tell them the same thing. We talk pricing, presentation, promotion. I even roll out a big chart that explains (as much as possible) the connections and intersections of artist, dealer, collector, institution, profit, non-profit to prepare them for the big leap. I certainly never had that in art school. So students now are benefitting not only from a youth culture and (until recently) a huge financial market, they're also on the receiving end of a lot of valuable information that their teachers learned over half a lifetime

4/09/2008 04:49:00 PM  
Blogger Lisa Hunter said...

Oh, for goodness sakes. What's wrong with showing MFA artists? It's not as if you've turned the gallery into an art world equivalent of Menudo. It's only one exhibition, folks.

4/09/2008 08:56:00 PM  
Blogger Lisa Hunter said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4/09/2008 09:15:00 PM  
Blogger Mark Creegan said...

Menudo!!OMG LOL Lisa!! That made me laugh so much it made me type OMG LOL!! I lOVE it! Thank you! I wanna see a show with a Menudo theme jack!

4/09/2008 09:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the real crime of this is not what Ed showed, but the fact that so many of you seem to think that an artist must have an MFA in order to even be considered for a show in Chelsea.

If you have an MFA, great. If you have spent 30 years showing off that MFA in your resume, fine. If you are bitter that a young MFA student got a show that your aging degree never warranted for you, fantastic! Just remember that there are many artists that might be more skilled than you and those students combined who will never have a chance with most galleries just because of that piece of paper.

Do some of you honestly believe that an artist is not an artist unless an MFA is involved?

4/15/2008 08:22:00 PM  

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