Friday, May 15, 2009


I got an email from an artist the other day who noted "I heard that a text message acronym has emerged. ITE for 'in this economy.'" With that handy abbreviation in my vocabulary database now, I can very quickly note that, IMO, TMI DNE ITE or, In my opinion, "too much information" does not exist in this economy. Indeed, garnering as much insight as you possibly can from others seems to be the best advice anyone has to offer on how to get through this.

On that note, I'm very happy to have been invited by Christa Blatchford to participate in a panel discussion sponsored by the New York Foundation for the Arts, as part of their day-long conference on "Strategies for Artists During the Recession."
Saturday May 16, 9am-4:30pm

The economic crisis is having a large impact on the art world, but what does this mean for individual artists? What can artists do to prepare, survive, and even thrive during a recession? The Spring 2009 Business of Art Conference will look at the recession’s impact on the arts with input from art world professionals, accountants, artists and others.
I'm on a panel that begins at (oy vey) 9:45:
9:45-11:00am Panel: Assessing the Recession
Panelists: Sean Elwood, Creative Capital; Stephanie Howe, Artists Space; Kay Takeda, LMCC, and Edward Winkleman, Winkleman Gallery with Moderator: Christa Blatchford, NYFA
Description: This panel will explore how the recession has impacted the art world from the lens of the commercial gallery, the nonprofit exhibition space, the project funder and local arts council. Each panelist will be sharing their experiences, giving advice for artists and speaking about their thoughts on new directions.
Other panels include ones in which accountant Susan Lee "will focus on financial advice specific to an artists concerns in the recession"; in which artists "identify ways in which artists can navigate, and possibly re-position themselves and their practice during this changing economy"; and in which our pal Jonathan Melber, "the author of ART/WORK: Everything You Need To Know (And Do) As You Pursue Your Art Career will "explain what you need to write down--and why--when you consign work to a venue, donate to an auction or sell from your studio."

I know the registration for this event closed on Wednesday (I'm sorry for only posting about it now), but it might be worth contacting their Events information line to see if anyone canceled (I can see their events people making a voodoo doll of me to torment now).

I'm pleased to note as well that, in response to artist feedback, NYFA lowered the cost of this conference (yeah for NYFA!). Here's the rest of the info (though, again, with apologies, I'm not sure what the odds are of getting in now, but...if they have any spaces left, I'm sure they'll be happy to hear from you):
The Low Down:
Strategies for Artists During the Recession
Saturday May 16, 9am-4:30pm

The Low Down will start with a candid panel discussion about the effects of the current economy on the art world from the perspective of galleries, nonprofits, foundations and city government. An afternoon seminar will provide concrete financial planning advice geared toward the needs of artists. Th afternoon will start with a panel of artists sharing their experiences and new ideas of how to navigate and redefining the art world. The day will conclude with a discussion on what contracts you can use to protect you in uncertain times.

Barney Building
Department of Art and Art Professions
New York University Steinhardt School of Education
34 Stuyvesant Street
New York, NY 10003

Artist Rate: $55 per artist
In response to your feedback, and with the economy in mind NYFA has lowered the artist rate fee from $95 to $55

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Blogger zipthwung said...

55 bucks can feed me for a week.


55 bucks buys watercolor and paper with a case of beer.

Good Times.

I just don;t see the point for an artist to listen to received opinion. What if any VALUE can be gained by listening to people all afternoon?

Is this really just a networking event? Moral Support? War Wagon? Fundraising?

I've read all these books about how to survive as an artist and they all say the same thing:

Make more money than you spend.

Sure, you can sell more prints, or get a part time job (good luck with that the low skilled ones are filled and no one is leaving).

Bottom line is if you can't get a grant, maybe go to France.

It's all so different for each individual you might as well take someone elses Tarot card reading and present it as your own.

5/15/2009 01:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric C said...

Ha ha!

Tarot as art advising: brilliant!


5/15/2009 11:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have to stop eating that watercolor paper.

5/16/2009 01:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Advice for surviving the recession?

Marketable skills.

If you're not selling now, you won't be selling until the next boom.

5/17/2009 11:39:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

Theres a sort of flat dogmatism to that statement anonymous "marketable" is not how I'd like my work to be described, though it would be nice to have money of course.

I like how people with jobs often think their skills are something special, when so often any trained monkey could do what they do.

Think of all the web workers who are merely following recipes passed along to them. Or video editors who use the same five tricks to cut together wedding videos. Or painters who use the same splash and dab to achieve "brauvura" paint effects.

Ya ever notice how the innovators (im not saying I am one, so relax) tend to get the shaft when it comes to money? Well except for the skilled Collateralized debt salesmen - those terrorists knew what they were doing.

But wait, art isn't about money, its about advancing ideas and educating the masses and decorating bathrooms! No no! It's about eating cheeses and socializing and funding charities! Oh no, not that, its about depicting the world of the mind, and furthering the individual against the totalizing influence of the masses! Oh no, no no, it's about itegrating technological advances into our psychic and mythical system, so that we can learn to live with our changing environment! Ah yes, that's a great skill, how do you market it? It's called market-ing and you do it by emotional appeals attached to symbols. Like painting? Yeah, painting. No you eat it. Yeah, you eat the paper, I don't need your condescension. yeah, screw that, I'm serious, you think you know, but you don't - you can't - that's the intentional fallacy. Not to be confused with the pathetic fallacy of wishing your bunny real.

5/18/2009 11:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Think of all the web workers who are merely following recipes passed along to them. Or video editors who use the same five tricks to cut together wedding videos."

sounds like someone who's never actually had to do a day's work in an actual production environment.

Not everyone has a trust fund, Zip. Even artists with "careers" sometimes have to support themselves. Especially now.

5/18/2009 11:47:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

"sounds like someone who's never actually had to do a day's work in an actual production environment.

You cannot be serious.

"Not everyone has a trust fund, Zip. Even artists with "careers" sometimes have to support themselves. Especially now."

Don't condescend to me. Especially now.

5/19/2009 04:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

then why put down artists who are skilled graphic designers, film editors, web production people etc.?

i've had a relatively prestigious career, at times. I'm also a digital pro "trained monkey".

I know the difference between art and commerce.

but right now, commerce is the only thing allowing me to eat. Hasn't always been the case, but it is now. I'm alright with that. I'll always make my work. But ITE i wouldn't want to be dependent on sales.

I have a couple of painter friends, one who suddenly hit it big at a blue-ish chip who refused to have a day job and has eked out a living through sheer force of will. Both are suffering now, big time.

so spare ME the condescention. Having skills which people want to pay for is a good idea for any artist.

5/19/2009 10:51:00 PM  
Blogger CAP said...

An actual production environment - that's like sex, right?

5/19/2009 11:04:00 PM  
Blogger CAP said...

Broken social scene.

5/19/2009 11:11:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

I didn't start the condesecione - if you feel it then it's all you, baby.

I just spent 14 hours in a "produktion environment" and it felt fucking great. I know how i feels. I know work can do wonders for your self esteem. I really hate people who think they deserve what they have because they fell into it - and I hate fronting - I LIED to get what I have - and I didn't start out that way - a self effacing very modest sort of upbringing - so when it rains it pours - fuck the haters - play the goddamn game.

That said, who the fuck knows what the game is. You have to specialize - and that is at the root of my supposed "condescension" -specialists follow formulas (i.e. texture artist for a 3d environment) - me I'm a generalist - a fucking human being. I am ADD and I can write as well as I paint. Fuck you!!!!
Yeah, ok whatever, I hope one day to meet you in valhallah, where life is fair. I fucking hate fucking godamnded society, fuck those chickens, peck em to death.

I made like fucking 250 dollars today so fuck yeak, fuckin a.

Too bad it's already spent, but whatever a job is a job is a job.

C'est la vie, as duchamp said.

Buy me a fucking hatchet.

5/21/2009 04:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Franklin said...

Zipthwung, congratulations on finding the one blog that will countenance a Dadaist troll.

5/21/2009 01:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

zip, how do you work 14 hours and spend so much time posting on blogs?
just asking...

5/21/2009 09:47:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

Why are you questioning me? How dare you. How DARE you.

What the hell does it matter? Am I treading on your self image as a worker by claiming I worked? Are you calling me a liar?

I trained hard to be what I am. Smell my sweat. I'm no aristocrat. I killed to be here. I slacked liek a real slacker too. I borrowed money (me and 90 percent of all MFA's) Questioning me seems a bit passive agressive here. Why not let me be what I am instead of worrying about "production environments" and out mastery of such? Most reporters have never committed murder, and yet they see fit to explain them to us. I'm more than just a reporter, I'm an artist. And I'm good. Fuck resumes and track records, I have talent to burn, and I'm burning it lie paper greased with chicken drippings.

call it approach avoidance narcissicistic oedipal disorder or whatever - something ain't right with my relation to society or I'd be doing a lot better than I am or is that my middle class sense of entitlement? I think cognitive dissonance is the only music worth listening too, don;t you?


5/22/2009 03:58:00 AM  
Blogger CAP said...

That's very true of course.

But how come this is one of the few (only?) blogspot that still allows Explorer browsers to expand the comments pop-up?

Just asking...

5/22/2009 08:48:00 AM  
Anonymous Franklin said...

Actually, Zip, you're the one who's sounding defensive here. I guess after a hard day of bagging groceries at Trader Joe's, your online persona starts getting a little snippy.

5/22/2009 09:54:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

kids....don't make me come in here


[do have to say that Zip on the defensive is a bit to uber-surreal for even me]

5/22/2009 10:02:00 AM  
Blogger George said...

Oh boy, a food fight, how'd I miss this.

Calling zipthwung a Dadaist troll is a bit like calling anonymous perceptive, downright silly putty.

I've come to respect Zips insight, presented here as metaphor to reveal truths which lie deeper than surface appearances. Frankly, his detractors are not in the same league.

It does seem odd to be asked midday on a blog why I "spend so much time posting on blogs?" So yeah, "What the hell does it matter?" Pass that pie please.

5/22/2009 12:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Franklin said...

You're right, George. I'm in a league in which writers take responsibility for what they write and sign their real names to it. Zipthwung is in the league where writers bloviate and threaten from behind a handle. It's not insight, it's just prattle that relieves you of the responsibility of thinking clearly. And we know how you like that!

5/22/2009 02:36:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

Well Franklin, it's always something.

I've read Zip's writing in other venues, he's smarter and makes more sense than you usually do.

Over here, he's more freeform and I suppose if you don't like it you could just not read it.

It's really not worth arguing over, let's leave it at that.

5/22/2009 04:20:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

I might add that Zip's first comment at the top of this thread was clearly phrased and right on the money. I refrained from saying anything else since my sentiments paralleled his and I didn't want to offend Ed who was a panel member.

Honestly, in the current economic environment, it's a $55 group therapy and networking session.

If you are going to be an artist, then you have to learn how to survive. You will need a "day job" doing something you can get paid for and you should expect to do this most of your life.

Some artists have funding from other sources, this does not make them less of an artists, it just gives them one less thing to worry about. Whether or not someone else has a 'trust fund' is none of my business and I could care less, it doesn't affect me.

I don't think "boom times" make much difference on whether or not someone here might sell their artwork, the determining factors are probably a lot more complex than just the economy. Moreover, I don't expect the art market to heat up again like it did the past decade for at least another ten yeas. I also believe that a world financial implosion has been avoided, at least so far, and this means that the art market will stabilize with sales at a more moderate pace.

Bottom line is if you can't get a grant, maybe go to France.

Having spent a little bit of time in France, living in a squat with someone on 'pension' the French version of welfare, it was all quite nice. Unfortunately, I don't think this will work if you're an american citizen. So what might have appeared as a flip remark, had a basis in fact.

5/22/2009 05:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Franklin said...

I've read him at other venues as well and he pretends to be or be doing something different at each of them. This is typical behavior of both poseurs and trolls.

In the general case you're right, though, that it isn't worth arguing over. I usually don't. Too much of Ed's audience finds him amusing to bother with it. But when he starts dispensing aggression at the level evinced above, I think it's worth sending him a public reminder that he consists entirely of hot air and we can turn the fans on at any time.

As for my not making sense to you, I'm happy to defend or clarify anything I've written.

5/22/2009 09:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Original Anonymous here...

"What the hell does it matter? Am I treading on your self image as a worker by claiming I worked? Are you calling me a liar?"

chill out, man.

I repeat...we all know the difference between Art and Commerce.

but since practically no one is making a dime on art these days, a little commerce is not a bad thing.

5/22/2009 09:57:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

I hear you, make money.

I sincerely hope I don't have to move in with my mom. But I think for many artists this may be the only option (if you have a mom).

How many artists are going to find their creative output slowed or stopped because they became homeless?

Couch surfing is horrific, not romantic at all after the age of 25. I remember when I moved to NY and saw all the railroad apartments. And then when all the loser artists got evicted from their rented lofts. And now there are tons of half finished condos and bankrupt building companies.

I don't think it's wise to put all your eggs in the artist basket or the housing market. Learn a trade. Diversify. Specialize. Branch out.

In theory that's the ideal. many great artists had humble jobs that aren't on the audio tour.

The average working adult will change careers as much as 100 times during their lifetime.

Doctors are often frustrated lawyers who paid their dues pulling teeth.

But getting an MFA is a problem because it makes it seem like you can sell or teach art for a living wage, which is true for some people (with trust funds or a support system or a wealthy/mass market) but most top tier MFA programs are geared towards selling art to a niche market (cosmopolitan) with a velvet rope at the door. I really despise that as much as I desire to keep my cosmopolitan filled - it seems pompous and often hides the fact that the paying audience for a celebrated work might be only two or three people.

That the work itself is a thin pastiche of art historical tropes. That the bloodlessness is not merely eschewing emotive content, but is actually leaching poison into the soil in the name of status and trophy hunting. That the drinks are overpriced and the tonic water hides the taste of the second rate gin poured from first rate bottles.

The real reason the market collapsed is the lack or scarcity of quality work? have tastes changed? Or is it merely the lack of capitol?

5/23/2009 11:59:00 AM  

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