Wednesday, February 03, 2010

BYOA, Today @ X Initiative

I've already received about a dozen notices from artists participating in the BYOA event at the X Initiative. It begins today at 11:00 you don't have much time to get over there. My guess is it will be boisterous and fun!

Here's the scoop, from Roberta Smith on the
New York Times Art Blog:
After almost a year of exhibitions, performances, panels and screenings, the X Initiative, a nonprofit art consortium that took over the old Dia Center for the Arts in Chelsea, will cease and desist on Friday, as planned. But it is going out with a bang and, in contrast to its rather austere exhibition program, with a stark lack of curatorial oversight. The farewell event is a 24-hour marathon titled “Bring Your Own Art (BYOA)” that starts Wednesday at 11 a.m. and ends 24 hours later, at 11 a.m. on Thursday.

The rules are easy enough, despite sounding like a recipe for bedlam. Any artwork that anyone brings to 548 West 22nd Street, X Initiative’s temporary home, will be displayed in “BYOA.” The installation will start on the second floor and expand to the third and fourth as needed. It will stop when the spaces are full or the 24 hours elapse, whichever comes first.

A few conditions apply. Small artworks can be carried up the stairs. Bulkier ones must be able to fit — whole or in parts — into X’s passenger elevator. X will provide two ladders; otherwise participants should bring their own tools. One imagines lots of running with hammers.

All artworks not removed by 2 p.m. on Thursday will be discarded. Artists can also register the works they are showing with the Fine Art Adoption Agency, an online network that originated at Art in General in an attempt to place artworks with new owners. Money does not change hands in these transactions, but the artists determine who will be given their work. Will potential adopters be expected to produce proof of vaccination for other artworks in their households?

X will be open for the show’s entire 24-hour run.
What the viewing experience will be like I can only guess (sort of like trying to survey an art fair in mid-installation, which isn't bad actually). Robert Smith asked the other question that occurred to me about this:
When I asked Cecilia Alemani, the director of X, about possible space disputes, she was sanguine without getting specific. “It’s a first come, first serve basis,” she said, adding that X is expecting a fair amount of installation art.
Even before I head over to see this, I can already say that the X Initiative has been one of the best things to happen in Chelsea in quite some time. Congrats to the organizers for what was obviously a lot of work; and Thanks to them too for what obviously took a lot of faith.

Labels: byoa, x initiative


Anonymous Genius said...

This is fantastic! How often does this event take place? Are other art spaces or collectives that participate in this type of art installations?

Please Keep us informed!


2/03/2010 09:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went over around 6. It was empty and a little sad. I think the event has an innate elitism in it posing as populism. It makes X seem so snobby and self rightous, it's almost like saying "this is the day we let in the losers to do what they want - aren't we generous?"

2/03/2010 07:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with anonymous. Let's party, spray paint the walls and drink too much because tomorrow the gig is up. It emphasizes the desperation that exists among artists to have their work viewed. Especially since most of it will probably not be incorporated in to any future programming in Chelsea. And I sympathize, it is not easy breaking in to the market, convincing a dealer to exhibit one's work or to socialize with people you cannot stand to land an exhibition. But for the record, I do not think EVERYONE is cut out to exhibit art in the professional context so I guess I side with the snobbery of the current system.

2/03/2010 08:19:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

I think the event has an innate elitism in it posing as populism. It makes X seem so snobby and self rightous, it's almost like saying "this is the day we let in the losers to do what they want - aren't we generous?"

Sorry, but that reminds me of this joke :

A farmer is in Iowa during a flood. The river is overflowing, with water surrounding the farmer's home up to his front porch. As he is standing there, a boat comes up, The man in the boat says "Jump in, I'll take you to safety."

The farmer crosses his arms and says stubbornly, "Nope, I put my trust in God."

The boat goes away. The water rises to the second floor. Another boat comes up, the man says to the farmer who is now in the second story window, "Jump in, I'll save you."

The farmer again says, "Nope, I put my trust in God."

The boat goes away. Now the water is up to the roof. As The farmer stands on the roof, a helicopter comes over, and drops a ladder. The pilot yells down to the farmer "I'll save you, climb the ladder."

The farmer says "Nope, I put my trust in God."

The helicopter goes away. The water continues to rise and sweeps the farmer off the roof. He drowns.

The farmer goes to heaven. God sees him and says "What are you doing here?"

The farmer says "I put my trust in you and you let me down."

God says, "What do you mean, let you down? I sent you two boats and a helicopter!!!"

A fantastic space was opened up to artists, without dealers or curators or essentially anyone interfering...with precious few conditions...if there's elitism present in what takes place there, then the artists brought it or didn't have what it takes to overcome it. If there's true populism there, then the artists (and artists alone) pulled that off too. At a certain point (and I've been saying this for years) artists MUST USE the power they possess.

Personally, I found it mixed, which is what I expected. Much of it didn't appeal to me, but I did take down a few names and looked up a few websites when I got home. Artists I might not have known about for years are now on my radar.

Yes! It was f*cking everyone in New York.

2/03/2010 09:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Elizabeth Dee said...

Edward, I adore you!

2/03/2010 11:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Bernard Klevickas said...

I was in it. It wasn't snobbery. It was an opportunity. I side with Edward on this one, though I regret imissed the opportunity to talk to him. Those who put the event on put in alot of effort. Some dealers were there as were critics. I sparred with Jerry Saltz. (I didn't think he'd like my work, but I appreciate the dialogue. If you go into it with the additude that these are people you can't stand then you remain bitter. I seen Jerry here since 5:30 and now it's after midnight, he's like the energizer bunny of art criticism.

2/04/2010 12:13:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...


Can I just say how impressed I am that during a time when nearly every other dealer was circling the wagons, pulling in, and focusing on themselves, what you and the very hard-working and brilliant X Initiative team created was a bold, smart, and incredibly generous gift to the city.

Personally, I stand in awe.

2/04/2010 09:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Bernard Klevickas said...

Yes Elizabeth, thank you! And I greatly appreciate that you took the time to talk to me about my work.

2/04/2010 10:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

not to be too much "sour grapes" about it (because I actually wanted to participate but couldn't take the time) It was a cool idea and a good chance to be part of a potentially memorable event.

but in a way, this is just another example of how willing artists are to in effect work for free. Even most gallery shows don't break even for the artist (or the dealer) when all is said and done.

It is amazing the lengths artists will go to show their work, for the sliver of hope that they can be that one in 10,000 that "makes"it. Even accomplished artists with impressive resumes can seem desperate to get their work out there.

The aggregate effect of this is to subsidize an industry in which the spoils go to a very, very select few. Even in terms of the real estate that the work gets shown in. If you are an artist participating in a non commercial show you are still working to increase the cachet and value of the space and the neighborhood.

2/04/2010 08:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric said...

I'm always looking for events like these (they've been some in my city too), but somehow I always miss them. Or, it's one of those where people all bring a papier maché sculpture and I'm really really out of place.

I suggested here before that a gallery should do, if not one month per year (in summer), than at least one week a year open-house. Or, it doesn't even have to be so open-house, it could be: "send one art piece for this show and we'll exhibit the 20 pieces we like best". Something like that, but something quick.

24 hours is short! But in NYC, time is money, so maybe that's the best it can afford. I think it's a fantastic idea, still.


2/06/2010 12:40:00 AM  

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