Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Where'd I Leave Those TUMs? | Announcing #rank

I'll have more on SEVEN as the days progress. Let it suffice for me to say right now, after the past two years we've all had, that participating in it feels so invigorating: anything feels possible. [See Lindsay Pollock's report here.]

Of course, "anything" doesn't necessarily mean only warm and fuzzy things. As I stock up, again, on chewable antacids, it gives me pleasure (read: trepidation) to announce: #rank at SEVEN.

Following their collaboration last spring in #class, artists Jennifer Dalton and William Powhida are teaming up again to explore another side of this art world we all love. From their new fancy schmancy website:

#rank statement

Art is (still) a luxury commodity for the wealthy that limits access to ownership, participation and understanding for the majority of society based on class, education, gender, and geography.

The Miami art fairs make literal the hierarchies within the contemporary art world and its detachment from broader society. The Miami fair events sort everyone – visitors, locals, and participants – into a highly stratified caste system based on which fair (if any) we are associated with; which color pass (if any) we are wearing; which parties we plan to attend; which day we arrive in Miami; if we are paying for our own plane ticket and place to stay; which neighborhood or hotel we are staying in; if and where we are showing or buying artwork; if we drive, get driven, or take the shuttle bus; and countless other ranking mechanisms.

While we appreciate the bluntness of art fair culture (and especially appreciate the fact that we are sometimes able to sell work there), we can’t help but feel queasy with our complicity in this disgusting scheme, all of which takes place within the city of Miami, whose own class, race, and geographical hierarchies are abundantly obvious and pretty much entirely ignored.

So, we aim to explore what is the matter with the art fair and the art market? How might it be improved, tweaked, or overthrown?

Along this exploratory path, we have unearthed some paradoxes that bear consideration:

We think art should be a gift but we don’t want to work for free.

We want art to be accessible to everyone, but when it actually is (can
someone say “Work of Art”?) we want to throw up.

We want people to pay attention to our work but we don’t like being the
center of attention.

We want our work to be available to everyone but we can’t afford to sell
it for cheap.

We want to buy art too, but we can’t afford most of it at the art fairs.

Yeah, seemed like a good idea after a few scotch and sodas.

Seriously, though, we are delighted to present #rank in Miami (and as always, William Powhida appears courtesy of Schroeder Romero & Shredder, who have their grand reopening in just one week and a day...tick, tock...tick, tock :-) ). Furthermore, SEVEN is shaping up to be an amazing opportunity to take our show on the road the way we'd have invented it ourselves, given the chance...which now we have been.

More soon on both #rank and SEVEN.

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Anonymous Charles Browning said...

Bill and Jen rock. This will be the talk of the fair(s). # ON

9/29/2010 09:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is 'lack of any interest' something to be accounted for with regard to the consumption (intellectually, emotionally, physically) of art by a wider populace?
Does that question have any reverberations within the current systems of showing, making, viewing art?

9/29/2010 12:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Bernard Klevickas said...

Cool. Good luck changing the art world (and I do mean that sincerely).

9/29/2010 02:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Sara Jo Romero said...

Thank you for the shout-out, Ed, and congratulations on Seven. #rank will be a must-see! Get ready, Miami.... Hurricane JenBill is coming to town!

9/29/2010 05:03:00 PM  
Anonymous marcos said...

That's a good statement. That paradox of wanting things both ways and having strong reservations about each of them is deliciously unnerving. It's not quite a manifesto, but a smart and well written summary 'bout the state-o-art.

9/30/2010 01:02:00 PM  

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