Friday, January 29, 2010

Shane Hope in "Transhuman Conditions" @ Arlington Arts Center

If you're in the DC area, be sure not to miss the opening tonight!

Transhuman Conditions @ Arlington Arts Center

Show Dates: January 29 – April 3, 2010

Opening Reception: Friday, January 29, 6 – 9 pm

Transhuman Conditions features ten artists thinking about the future of the human body. Their work reveals both fantasies and nightmares of radical changes on the horizon for all of us—from the promise of immortality; to the ability to augment or redesign one’s own brain, limbs, or skin; to the promise of escaping one’s body altogether, becoming pure intelligence floating free in a virtual world.

Though these changes may sound like pure science fiction, to a certain extent, they’ve already happened, and are now part of our banal day to day existence. Today, amputee runners are barred from athletic competition because their prosthetic legs are declared unfair advantages, not hindrances. Websites exist that continue a person's e-mail correspondence and internet activity after death. People meet, befriend one another, and date over long distances via social networking platforms. What at one point might have seemed like fantasy is now just the business of contemporary living. The ten artists in this show take this fact as their starting point.

The show is accompanied by a catalogue, featuring essays by Joel Garreau, senior writer for the Washington Post and author of the book Radical Evolution, and the show's curator, AAC Director of Exhibitions Jeffry Cudlin.

The roster for the show is: Arakawa and Gins, CarianaCarianne, Laure Drogoul, Shane Hope, Jason Horowitz, Ivan Lozano, Shana Moulton, Geoffrey Alan Rhodes, Philip Warnell, and Saya Woolfalk.

Arakawa and Gins (NYC) are architects/poets/scientists/philosophers who use architectural procedures as a means for retraining organisms in order to extend their lives.

CarianaCarianne (Chicago) is an artist who has attempted to reclassify herself legally as two people sharing one body.

Laure Drogoul (Baltimore, MD) is known for projects that explore everything from the history of railroads and industry, to late 19th century spiritualism, to projects exploring how earthworms "hear" sounds through their skin. She will offer a new project featuring video on multiple small monitors and voice activated feedback loops.

Shane Hope (NYC) creates letters written by children in a far flung transhuman future, and MOL-MOD drawings and prints featuring signifiers from the world of nanotechnology and biological research. Shane appears courtesy of Winkleman Gallery.

Jason Horowitz (Arlington, VA) uses technology to transform the body into abstract terrain. The AAC will be premiering Horowitz’s new wall-filling 8’ X 10’ prints mounted on metal.

Ivan Lozano (Austin, Texas) uses found video and audio to meditate on queer identity and a possible post-gendered future.

Shana Moulton (NYC) is a video artist whose alter ego, Cynthia, attempts to find enlightenment through the intersection of new age spiritualism, technology, and trepanation.

Geoffrey Alan Rhodes (Toronto/NY) will be installing his mixed media video installation, Mirror Series, in which the artist interacts with electronically altered images of himself.

Philip Warnell (UK) is an artist and filmmaker. For his performance project, ENDO/ECTO, Warnell swallowed a small endoscopic camera, and a team of scientists, artists, and musicians analyzed and interpreted the imagery that the camera produced as it passed through his body.

Saya Woolfalk (NYC) makes drawings and videos about a future utopian civilization, No Place, in which people and plants share genetic material.

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Tie Would Be Nice

Oy vey.

Egypt and Algeria are set to play each other in football (soccer, if you please) again.

And if past experience is any indication, no good can come of it, seemingly anywhere. Violence exploded throughout the Mediterranean the last few times these passionate rivals took to the pitch, and even a London-based Algerian artist (Zineb Sedira), invited to participate in Egypt's Alexandria Biennale, had her invitation rescinded as a result (see earlier post on this here). The Art Newspaper's Claudia Barbieri has been investigating this story and today reveals that, more than simply a mockery of the biennale's mission, this decision was epically ironic:
[Sedira] was initially reluctant to accept the invitation to exhibit at the biennale. “I’d rather they’d given this opportunity to an Algerian artist living in Algeria,” said Sedira.

But [biennale curator, Mohamed] Abouelnaga was persuasive. He had strong reasons for wanting her. This 25th anniversary edition of the biennale was to be the first since the event was established in 1955 for which the government, eager to burnish its liberal, non-authoritarian credentials, was allowing the curator carte blanche to choose his participants, rather than accepting official nominations—and he wanted it to win recognition as a top-ranking international event. “I wanted to present in Alexandria a real contemporary art event on all levels,” Abouelnaga told The Art Newspaper last month. “I selected Zineb because I have great respect for her work.”

In the biennale’s historical framework, the Mubarak government’s decision to allow curatorial freedom appears to have been a calculated, but botched, gamble—an attempt to demonstrate light-touch political confidence that a sudden crisis turned into ham-fisted bullying.

I had a lovely chat with Claudia about this issue in which I noted that it's impossible to judge from here whether or not Mohsen Shaalan (head of the fine arts sector of the Egyptian culture ministry and president of the Biennale) was right to cancel Sedira's participation in the exhibition (visitor safety trumps everything, in my opinion, and we are simply not in a position to know what the inclusion of the work might have wrought), but the nature of the letter and its rationale offered to the artist for the cancellation was simply inexcusable. Shaalan had informed her:
that in response to “the request of the Egyptian population and notably the nation’s intellectuals”, her invitation to take part in the biennale, starting three weeks later, had been cancelled. The reason, it said, was “recent incidents committed by the Algerian public”[...] “I thought it was a joke at first,” said Sedira. “It was shocking, I didn’t expect it. It says a lot about Egypt and its government. I was shocked at the lack of professionalism.” It didn’t help that the letter was initially sent in Arabic—a language she doesn’t read, obliging her to ask for a translation.
There are signs that perhaps the Biennial will reconsider their decision and re-invite Sedira:
References to Sedira, removed from the biennale website when her invitation was revoked, have since been reinstated.
But much would seem to depend on what happens in today's match. Fortunately, as the BBC notes,
Followers from both sides insist the match will pass off without incident, because the prize is not so great - a place in the final of the Africa Cup of Nations, as opposed to a berth at the first World Cup on the African continent.
Let's hope they're right.

Only Sedira can decide, should the invitation be re-issued, whether it makes sense for her to accept again. I would hope the Biennial goes the extra mile to encourage her. It's a shame for football politics to derail the evolution of this event into a more open important event among the international biennial circuit.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Access Control, or "Edna Mode...and Guest"

At 0:31 seconds into this clip of "The Incredibles," Edna Mode accesses her secret laboratory by punching in a 6-number code, placing her palm on a plate, having her retina scanned, and then saying her name into a voice-recognition system. All of this still isn't enough to keep her access control system from dropping a serious looking machine gun down and aiming it at Elastigirl, who was clearly not validated by La Edna's efforts. Ms. Mode then sighs and dutifully says "And guest" in order to let her retired superhero friend in too, and the automatic weapon pops back up into the ceiling.

The scene has its obvious charm, but it also plays off a contemporary metaphor that is beginning to affect nearly every quarter of our lives these days: access control. The bit is funny not just because of how elaborate Edna's access control system is, but because despite all the credentials she provides, she still nearly gets her guest's head blown off by a system whose authentication process is so rigid that essentially even its owner is entirely subjugated to it. The machines are the authority, and we are the trained poodles jumping through its hoops. Edna simply forgot to add "And guest," but the results were nearly disastrous.

Usually, access control issues are not quite as dramatic, but they can be extremely frustrating. If you've ever been told by an ATM machine or online system that your account has been frozen because your previous three attempts at entering your credentials had failed (even if you know you pressed the right buttons [usually it's their hardware or software malfunction, but the system still interprets it as YOUR error]), then you know what I mean. If the system were an individual person, you'd throttle them for insisting their failure was your problem (and we still see this play itself out in scenarios where bouncers or door checkers who can't spell insist you're not on the "the list" when you know you were supposed to be), but more and more there is no human to argue with when you're denied access to something. You are forced to contact their tech support and wade through a time-consuming series of waiting periods and then validations (and, if you're like me, of other data you can't recall easily) and poorly trained "specialists" who know less about the system than you do, until you finally get through to someone willing to entertain the notion that the problem might actually lie in their end of things. Even then, the solution might still cost you resources.

Even given all these technological headaches, though, the single most frustrating part of access is not having it when you're normally used to it. Up in the Air gently mocks this modern malaise in the scene in which the frequently flying couple with the multiple platinum cards and elite status memberships to nearly every airline, rental car, and hotel chain are made to wait in the commoners' line at some family-owned hotel in the middle of the heartland. Even though there were no customers in their "elite" members line, the attendant (who wasn't doing anything else) informed them they must wait. On that day, in that hotel, it was the one card they hadn't collected that mattered.

One of the biggest frustrations you hear about access control in the art world is that what it takes to attain the proper credentials (the right card to open the doors to a hot gallery's inventory, or what have you) is so unclear that sincere collectors get rather angry about the whole thing. An article in this month's Art + Auction presents an all-too-familiar story:
A few years back, Michael Hoeh e-mailed a well-known New York dealer inquiring about the work of an equally well-known artist. In return he received a message clearly meant for another gallery staffer, sent to him by mistake when the dealer hit Reply instead of Forward. It said, more or less, "I can't believe another newbie wants in on this artist."

"It was a real slap in the face," says Hoeh, a mutual-fund portfolio manager in New York. "The guy was unapologetic about it too." But at least it was a response. At the height of the boom, galleries tended to snub budding collectors like Hoeh. Despite these neophytes' active membership in young collectors groups at museums, their annual pilgrimages to art fairs in Basel and Miami and their mounting acquisitions, dealers reserved their attention and their stock for the megaplayers: free-spending hedge-fund types, oligarchs and speculators.
OK, so we're no longer in the height of the boom, and my guess is that the dealer in question would be much, much more happy to receive an inquiry from Mr. Hoeh these days, but I know enough collectors who have similar stories to know their feelings parallel those of the characters in "Up in the Air." They've worked hard to earn their money, learn about art, begin their collections, and attain the level of access that got them into collectors groups at museums and such, and yet, because they don't have the only card that matters (a history with one particular dealer), they're treated rudely.

None of these observations are new, but to follow up on the thread from a few days ago in which we discussed the Edge 2010 Annual Question ("How is the Internet Changing the Way You Think?") and Gam insightfully commented
[T]he technology I have and have mastered is now redundant, the latest version requires that everything else move in step with it, I play keep up and become a follower instead of seeking randomly, I hyperlink to related data and presume the patterns in the data are out there instead of revealed through oneself. All becomes transient replaced continually with the new, except the cookies and detritus of the past that marketers use to define my future access and redirect my interests.
My focus becomes access instead of assimilation and understanding.
I recognized a kernel of an awareness growing in my own understanding of the shift in metaphors about human desire being brought about via our increasing interaction with the Internet and technology. Even someone as powerful as Edna was at the mercy of an absurd system with no flexibility...you follow the exact sequence of validations, or people are shot to death. Even if you build that system, it still controls you. Control is too much to hope for. Your only hope of survival is maintaining access.

In this sense, "access" has discarded its previous societal
dressings (think, country club membership where you don't really care about golf, but you do care about the contracts your golfing buddies might throw your way if you let them win) and emerged as a naked goal unto itself for a growing number of people. It's possibly an age-old human condition to want most what is denied to us. Access itself is now recognized as hardest thing to attain, so access is what we set our hearts on getting. The George Clooney character in "Up in the Air" couldn't explain why joining the hyper-exclusive American Airlines 10 Million Miles club mattered so much to him (especially once he got it), but it had become his Holy Grail...that thing that he made so many sacrifices to get even though he couldn't explain why. I think I know why, though. It represented unparalleled access. Something our near-constant experience of being denied is making us desire.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tuesday Quiz : Is It a Picasso or Is It a Fontana?

It used to be so easy to tell them apart...Pablo's paintings were renowned for their exquisite forms and/or inventive vocabularies...Lucio's for their monochromatic grounds and violent slashes. Now, however, with the lax laws regulating against near-criminal clumsiness in the presence of paintings worth more than $130 million, it's getting much harder to tell the Spainard's work from the Argentinian's. To help keep things clear, in our own minds at least, let's review the basics. Who do you think is the author of each of the following...take your time...

A.
B.
C.
D.
E.
F.
(With apologies to Pablo and Lucio.)

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Ulysses Pausing for a Photo-Op : Open Thread

Several conversations, events, and films I've enjoyed over the past few days wove their way through the narrative of my dream last night.

I was with some friends on a hilltop in the countryside (probably the Catskills), enjoying a day at the local farmers' market (Bambino and I had just watched Food Inc, and we're feeling the need to be more choosy about what we eat). From my vantage point I could see a park below with people picnicking and playing sports (we watched the Jets lose and the Saints win yesterday) and people strolling along through the lanes of a village off to the side. Further away on another hilltop the people were ants and the village buildings mostly indistinguishable. It was a lovely day in the country, even though it was mostly overcast.

Then someone in the farmer's market gasped and pointed to the sky. I looked up and saw what looked to be a huge jet fighter emerging through the clouds. Then it rose back up out of sight again. "What was that?" everyone was mumbling? Some new secret aircraft, I wondered? (I had watched Trevor Paglen's fascinating and horrifying "Blank Spots on the Map: The Dark Geography of the Pentagon's Secret World" lecture the other day).

But then the clouds parted way again and the flying machine revealed itself to be much, much larger than an experimental jet fighter. In fact, in the way that spaceships do in "Star Wars" films (or just about any space film now), the underbelly of this craft seemed an endless array of variations on the architecture-meets-technology theme haphazardly welded together, and it went on and on and on. It would have had to have been the size of New Jersey, I'd say.

The folks in the farmers market were frozen in fear at this point. I too wasn't at all sure what to do. My first thought was to recall the line in District 9 which went, more or less, that all of human history will be very different from this point on. But then on the distant hillside there was a mass of explosions. From our vantage point it wasn't clear whether the spaceship was dropping bombs or shooting lazor beams, or the US Military on the ground was shooting rockets up to destroy the ship (and what? have it crash and wipe out half of upper New York State), or there was simply some fireworks celebration welcoming the new visitors (I had spied Peter
Schjeldahl walking through Chelsea the other day). It could have any been any of them (thanks Joy G.).

All at once, though, the folks throughout the market and in the park and village below had the wherewithal to take out their cell phones and begin snapping photos. I too took my iPhone out and fumbled to figure out how to make it capture video (I don't actually have the version that does that, but in my dream I had upgraded). A man next to me chided me, though:

"This is your response to an alien attack on the earth?" he asked. "You're shooting a YouTube account?"

"No," I replied in my panic. "This is just how I'm dealing with this."

(I had had a studio visit with an artist who frequently places herself in harm's way to get the video or photography she takes, and we had discussed how the camera serves to distance you irrationally from the event just on the other side of the lens. I noted how when I first witnessed the slaughter of a sheep in Kyrgyzstan, taking pictures was the only way I hadn't lost my lunch.)

A little over a year ago I shared some thoughts about how all of humankind with access to the Internet is voluntarily tagging the most massive amount of data ever recorded (probably, unaware, in the service of our forthcoming A.I. overlord, but that's another thread). I'm now beginning to think that we're actually becoming an army of documentarians. Very few events in the course of contemporary human history are not being recorded in pixels or video.

A fellow blogger and commenter here stopped in the gallery the other day and our conversation got around to the new 2010 Annual Question on the Edge: "How is the Internet Changing the Way You Think?"

Many of the answers seem mundane. ("Is Google Making Us Stupid" etc.). To my mind, and to be explored a bit more in-depth in another post, the Internet is changing several of the basic metaphors of human interaction, human desire, and human communication. In doing so, the Internet is systematically redefining what it means to be human. Even people without computers can't help but be affected by it. All of which made me think the Edge was asking the wrong question. It's not how the Internet is changing the way we think...but rather how the Internet is changing the way we act.

What will those farmers' market folks do with their camera photos and videos? Upload them to their Facebook pages, mostly. But why was their first impulse to record what was going on? Because it was easy now, sure, but also because our participation in any event, no matter how monumental, seems to only be complete after we've shared it and let others who were not there respond to how we handled it. This may not be that different from the way townsfolk gathered round to hear the adventures of how their prodigal son had escaped the trials and tribulations of his odyssey, but Ulysses never stopped fighting some monster to have his portrait sketched next to it. Has something shifted? Again, I think there's a metaphorical shift in what we think it means to live that's going on here. I'll try and explore that more in subsequent posts...but for now, consider this an open thread on how the Internet is changing the way we act.

UPDATE: Awesome analysis of, if not the metaphors, per se, the consequences of the rigidity of the Internet in this article on Little Green Footballs...the only blog in the political sphere (and I spent tons of time in very right-wing corners) which I found totally intolerable. The venom spewed there was so off the charts it made most self-identified hate groups seem warm and fuzzy by comparison. [via Sully]

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Friday, January 22, 2010

We the Corporations

We the Corporations of (but not necessarily wholly contained within or most concerned with what's best for) the United States, in Order to form a more malleable Union, prejudice Justice, insure domestic Profitability, co-opt the common defense, promote our general Goods and Wares, and secure the Prospects of Dividends for ourselves but in particular our top shareholder's Posterity, do disdain even as we appropriate this Constitution for the United States of America.

SCOTUS sold us out:
The Supreme Court has handed a new weapon to lobbyists. If you vote wrong, a lobbyist can now tell any elected official that my company, labor union or interest group will spend unlimited sums explicitly advertising against your re-election.

“We have got a million we can spend advertising for you or against you — whichever one you want,’ ” a lobbyist can tell lawmakers, said Lawrence M. Noble, a lawyer at Skadden Arps in Washington and former general counsel of the Federal Election Commission.

The decision seeks to let voters choose for themselves among a multitude of voices and ideas when they go to the polls, but it will also increase the power of organized interest groups at the expense of candidates and political parties.
Utterly repulsive.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

More on Deitch @ MoCA

My Op-Ed for the Art Newspaper on how easy it is to move from the non-profit to the commerical sector in the art world, but not the other way around, posted today:
Oddly, the degree of pre-emptive suspicion over such a move seems inversely proportional to how successful the mover has been in the commercial art world. In dismissing comparisons between Deitch and Walter Hopps (who had left Los Angeles’s Ferus Gallery to become curator and eventually director of the Pasadena Museum of Art), for example, Knight wrote that “no one would ever mistake the mercurial Hopps for a sharp businessman”. This suggestion that Hopps’s lack of commercial acumen made him a better choice as museum director is not supported by evidence readily available in Los Angeles.

Former commercial dealer-director Ann Philbin, now director of the Hammer Museum at UCLA, is widely viewed as having transformed that institution from a quiet regional museum into an international destination. Yes, Philbin also served as director of New York’s non-profit Drawing Center before moving to LA, but Deitch (despite widespread insistence that he had no museum experience) has also been a curator at the De Cordova Museum, Lincoln, Massachusetts.

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Ulrich Gebert in Today's Village Voice

Martha Schwendener has penned an insightful assessment of the "archiving impulse" in contemporary photography and discusses our current exhibition by Ulrich Gebert in the process. From today's Village Voice:
Photography is the world's filing cabinet. Or database. What other medium claims to effectively catalog plants, indigenous people, criminals, mental illness, emotions, physical movement, remote landscapes, and decaying urban neighborhoods?

Art generally functions the opposite way: The unique image is more important than accumulating evidence. But somewhere in the mid-20th century, the archiving impulse took hold. Bernd and Hilla Becher photographed "families of things"—industrial relics like blast furnaces, gas tanks, and water towers—emphasizing their boring regularity over their heroic power. This was the postmodern project: thinking about systems and codes.

The generation coming up sees things differently. Here are three photography shows that raise a number of questions about the urge to catalog and classify.

At Winkleman, German artist Ulrich Gebert considers the natural world in "This Much Is Certain." Traveling to different botanical gardens in Europe, he photographed coniferous trees and arranged the prints alongside a printed list of "valid" and "invalid" names. The backstory is this: In the 19th century, enterprising botanists started "discovering" trees and naming them after themselves. Conflicts arose, naturally, as different people put their names on the same tree. The confusion led to a re-evaluation of attribution, not unlike what happens in art history (such as shows at the Met like "Rembrandt/Not Rembrandt" or the current one devoted to a "Velázquez Rediscovered").

In addition to trees, Gebert also rephotographed images from books of animals—dogs, pigs, horses—being handled by humans, then arranged the framed fragments in tableaux. Despite its rationalizing, scientific basis, all of this ordering and manipulating, he points out, has an incredibly subjective bent. Once humans start messing around with the natural world, mayhem ensues—and works its way up the food chain, eventually heading into sinister areas like eugenics.
The other photography shows Martha discusses include:

Penelope Umbrico: 'Leonards for Leonard & 5,537,594 Suns From Flickr'
Brooklyn Academy of Music
30 Lafayette Street, Brooklyn
Through March 14

Zoe Crosher: 'The Unraveling of Michelle duBois'
DCKT
195 Bowery
Through February 14

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Giant Baby Syndrome

So got home kind of late, dragged in by a cat, so to speak, and checked my emails via my iPhone to see a Google Alert on the blog (which means a mention of some post here had been put up elsewhere on the world wide web and was now turning up in Google searches, which the Do No Evil folks were kind enough to alert me to because I had signed up for such service). Ok, that's nice, I thought. My blog had been mentioned on another blog (still under development by the looks of it).

The Google Alert text surprised me a bit (in my hazy state), though, as it seemed like a cosmic suggestion for what to call the post I had decided I was going to write today. Like the Internets were reading my mind and recommending headlines...spooky. Google alerts truncated the other blog post's title so it appeared as "Is Giant Baby Syndrome..." and that's all.

Huh! I thought. "Giant Baby Syndrome." Precisely...that's it.

But, let me back up.

A while ago we got the following email about the gallery website contact page:
Dear Mr Winkleman,
On your web site you say whacky stuff like, "Submissions: Please note that we are not currently reviewing artist submissions." Now, why you say dis Mr Winkleman? How us poor artist s'pose to make it in da big city when you blockade'n us. Would you have in mind when yo website might say de opposite of what it say now? Good luck Mr. Winkleman, I still wuv you even though you don't wuv me.
For some reason, this email (that was it, no link to a website, no images, nothing) got under my skin. We get plenty of such inquiries, but I couldn't quite pinpoint what about this one struck me as so annoying. Rather than reply with our standard "We are not sure at this point when we'll be accepting submissions again, but thank you for your interest," I eventually just wrote back what I most wanted to know: "why the baby talk?" Bad choice. That led to another email response with even more infantile blathering which, to be honest, I simply deleted.

Still, the exchange raised three issues that I want to discuss.

First is our current policy of not reviewing submissions, which we simply don't have the time or staff to do at the moment (that may change, but again I'm not sure exactly when). I felt bad enough about this current policy to bring it up to a friend I often go to for advice, and he recommended I at least post some advice for artists looking for gallery representation on the gallery website, which, as it turns out, we have collectively hashed out in the series of posts and comment threads listed here.

So I did that...I added a link to what I consider some of the soundest comments and suggestions for artists seeking to work with a gallery.

But I still couldn't get that email out of my mind...something about it was rattling around in my subconscious. Perhaps, I thought, it was the second issue the email raises for me: "How us poor artist s'pose to make it in da big city when you blockade'n us." Where to begin? With the brutal truth, I guess, which I hope will actually help once you process it, so here it is...what I really want this person to understand:
I don't know you. Your email name was clearly a pseudonym, and so the implication in your statement that my choices for my business need to align with the personal or career goals of a total stranger is so phenomenally self-centered it makes me really dislike you. Our gallery is not funded by the government, we are not a public service, we are not a charity, we are a private business, like every other commercial art gallery, and we don't owe you anything. I find the assertion that I'm responsible for blockading the career of someone who doesn't have enough respect for me or my time to properly introduce himself highly insulting. Seriously, who do you imagine you are to me? I have reviewed the work of hundreds and hundreds of artists, but you feel entitled to some shortcut ahead of everyone else? Based on experience of cold submissions, I'd say that the odds that your work is appropriate for our program are next to nil. Even if it were, though, I already dislike you.

Understand that it's a partnership, not a coronation, that a gallery can provide and go about it professionally.
OK, so perhaps that's a tad too harsh. Presumably, the writer had hoped the email would charm me, not have the opposite effect it actually did.

But the third issue this artist's approach raises is something that can sometimes go horribly wrong in the artist-gallery relationship and expectations from artists not yet in one (but this also often applies to many artists in many contexts). Mind you, this topic is so delicate, I can only address it by calling upon the deepest reserves of diplomatic tact I possess and say ...

"Grow the f*ck up already."

The art world doesn't need your infantilism. It needs your very best artwork. The fact that we have collectively carved out a cultural acceptance that permits you to "play" in your studio doesn't grant you a license to act like a child in other contexts. Dealers and curators and collectors and critics are NOT your parents. They're other adults who are interested in supporting you because of your talent...not because of some twisted, lingering urge to coddle other grown ups. Stop expecting it. It's gross. Artists who treat others in the art world with mutual, professional, adult respect get further in their careers. Figure it out already. Yes there are authority issues at play here...dealers have power (up to a certain point), but it's a power they want to share with talented adults, not have manipulated away from them by temper-tantrum-throwing infants.
OK, so maybe that's just my hangover talking... but I had to get it off my chest.

Carry on.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Caveat Lector

There was a commercial on a news radio station this morning hawking beds that they claimed had "received a five-star rating on the web." That was it. Just "on the web."

I chuckled imagining the bed-maker's mother had bestowed the five stars on her blog, but then recalled how quickly we panelists at last Friday's arts blogging discussion had more or less dismissed moderator Robin White's question about people who feel the blogosphere
has precious little credibility with regards to being factually accurate. (See Sharon Butler's response to Jerry Saltz's Facebook response to the panel; rumors are that James Kalm will be posting video of the event soon-ish).

Barry Hoggard replied to Robin's question with the two points that I also agree make that sensibility somewhat besides the point: 1) during the build-up to the invasion of Iraq, for example and in particular, it became obvious how willing the so-called "trusted" news agencies were to just regurgitate the Bush administration's propaganda (thank you Judith Miller); and 2) most people who regularly read blogs read more than just one with the express purpose of doing so with a skeptical eye (not placing all their trust in any one news source) and forming their own opinions from a wide variety of sources.

Still, after hearing that radio commercial this morning and thinking through that there are two groups of people who are not necessarily approaching blogs in the second manner described above (adults who prefer the longer-standing media channels and have only heard a bit about the rising popularity of blogs and so dabble without enough skepticism, and children just now coming into their own with regards to seeking out information on the topics that interest them), I recalled how when I was a kid, it took me forever to wrap my brain around the notion that what I heard on the radio and TV might not be the whole truth. Surely anyone with the authority and power to put out information over public airwaves would have been vetted to ensure they were doing so honestly, no? "Vetted by whom?" becomes the obvious next question and why, despite actually believing in the ideals behind the Fairness Doctrine and other such efforts to keep media honest, I can't actually argue that they should be restored.

I have actually long subscribed to the admittedly cynical notion that all news is entertainment. Even my beloved New York Times reveals that to be true again and again. I have also long insisted that all blogs are entertainment as well, which is why I haven't felt that it's worth the effort to proscribe ethical standards to blogging, in particular. My thinking has been: Let each community that is drawn to a blog self-define and continually redefine the standards by which it operates. If the author offends or betrays his/her readers, he/she will pay in fewer hit counts. If a commenter doesn't live up to the community's standards of factual statements, let them be virtually stoned out of town until they learn better. On the other hand, if coming to a site just to hurl red meat at each other is the reason for a blog's popularity, well, so, let it be. The Internets are big enough to accommodate all kinds.

At least I felt that way until I considered someone with less familiarity than long-time readers of blogs encountering one of those sites and assuming that any blog with the authority and power to put out information over world wide web and attract tons of commenters must be publishing accurate information.
The truth of the matter is, there's no way to stop someone from incorrectly assuming something they read or heard or watched must be true. Moreover, the most useful, longest-lasting form of healthy skepticism may be one based on realizing you had been fabulously wrong about something you were confident you had the facts right on. Still, there is great potential for a wide berth of readers to be very sorry for their assumptions of accuracy.

Now I know bloggers who pride themselves on being as rigorous in presenting the facts and correcting any errors on their site as they were trained to be in journalism school. I believe those bloggers are generally rewarded for their efforts in attracting more devoted readers. The blogosphere is fairly sufficient in self-policing, and, for the time being anyway, credibility is actually more hard won on the Internets than it is in print. Few bloggers have institutions lending them theirs up front, the way new print journalists do.

In the end, though, the shopper's longtime adage holds true, no matter whether you're in the market for a bed or for information: beware. It's up to you to vet your sources.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Happy MLK Day

All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.

--Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Friday, January 15, 2010

Blogging and Self-Branding : Open Thread

As noted earlier, there's a panel discussion on arts blogging this evening at the X-Initiative hosted by ArtTable and moderated by Robin White. My understanding is it's full up and no more reservations are being accepted, but I've heard that a few folks are planning to photograph and write about it, so hopefully, if you can't make it, we'll be able to discuss it virtually later.

HELLO, ART TABLE BLOGGING PANEL AUDIENCE !!!

(I've been told they'll project each of our blogs during the talk...hence the shout out)

There have been some terrific panel discussions about arts blogging in the past, and when I was first invited to participate in this one I wasn't sure what more could be shared on the topic, but the truth of the matter is there seems to be a very subtle sea-change in the field and the more I think about it, the more I feel that indeed this is a good time to stop, take stock, and share ideas about how self-publishing on the arts is changing.

Before I delve into one of the things I feel is shifting in the field, I should note that I consider most art bloggers to fall into one of two categories. Those for whom writing is a profession (even if it's something they do professionally in addition to other things) and those who don't actually get paid for their writing, like myself...the "passionate amateurs" (note that that's not a comment on level of quality...only a lack of payment for their efforts). This distinction is necessary to discuss some of the more interesting developments in blogging in general.

Via a post by Andrew Sullivan titled "Rise of the Underbloggers", I read a blog post by Ben Casnocha yesterday that confirmed something I've felt for quite some time: we're entering an era in which writers' personal brands have become more important than media brands:
Even though big media companies -- and the one-size-fits-all information bundle they deliver -- are dying, I'm not sad. I see a future that's increasingly made up of customized information blends which in turn will be made up of content and reporting and analysis delivered by individuals I respect and follow.

In other words: think about information bundles driven by people not topic. A magazine not about "sports" or "business" but rather one featuring commentary by five individuals of my choosing (and I can rotate the five individuals as I wish).

Sully is the perfect example of this. Yes, his main topic is politics, but his human interest stories are his most popular. More to the point, though, many people who read blogs know that Sullivan is a blogger, but quickly...who did he blog for before he joined The Atlantic??? I can't recall without looking. And it doesn't matter. I'd read Sullivan whomever he wrote for (well, unless he'd sellout and write for a Fox affiliate, but I can't see that happening...no, wait...who owns the Times of London??? Sully!!!!).

In the arts realm, though, many of the best blogs are not self-branded...not yet anyway. Art Fag City's Paddy Johnson (who is on the panel with us tonight) is increasingly introduced with both identifiers in the press: her name and her blog's name. Tyler Green's blog is not called "Tyler Green," but more and more when he is cited in the press, the source doesn't even mention his blog's name...they mention only "Tyler Green."

The indefatigable Cathy Behrend recently invited me and another person to talk with her class at FIT on the topic of arts writing. I was very intimidated because the other person was someone I feel is at the top of the game in terms of smartly charting the bleeding edge of arts journalism. She's also extremely generous and sweet, but each time someone asks me what the future of arts journalism looks like I immediately say: Lindsay Pollock.

Now Lindsay will say she's just doing what it is she does and piecing things together as best she can, but her instincts are dead on in my opinion. She writes for several media outlets, but she also recently launched a blog smartly titled Lindsay Pollock Art Market Views (but its domain name is eponymous) and has balanced out her shout outs on Facebook and Twitter such that with her blog everything works seamlessly and entirely un-obnoxiously in conjunction to direct you upward toward her paid writing pieces. This flow is important (and perhaps THE key to future success for any writer) and, again, Lindsay seems to do it instinctively.

When I recently asked her about self-branding, Lindsay insisted her blog name was the only thing available that made sense. But it's also smart because the truth of the matter is, as with Sullivan, I would read Pollock no matter who she writes for or what she writes on because I like her writing. She's in the five or so writers I'd assemble into my own "information bundle."

Of course, re-branding comes with disadvantages. I found when we renamed the gallery that it took some folks ages to stop calling it by its old moniker (we still get mail addressed to Plus Ultra, and more than one online listing service can't seem to update their databases, but...), so I'm not suggesting you change your blog's name if it's well known. I might suggest, especially if you're new to blogging, that you keep your name prominently displayed on the masthead. Mind you, this is for professional writers who look forward to a long career of being paid for what they write, more so than for the passionate amateurs who toil at their keyboards for other reasons. (We passionate amateurs post our names real big on our mastheads entirely out of megalomaniac reasons. ;-)

There are other subtle changes in the field as well, but I'm just now realizing I should save something to talk about this evening. Consider this an open thread on self-branding in the professional arts writing realm.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Nixon : Art Critic

Among the interesting items that are not really surprising in the news today: former US President Richard Nixon hated modern art. Artinfo.com explains:
Papers and recordings released from the National Archives yesterday reveal much about the 37th president and his aides, including his broad disdain for the media, which he calls "the hostile working press" in a 30-page memo to his chief of staff, H. R. "Bob" Haldeman.

In another memo to Haldeman, he writes that "..those who are on the modern art and music kick are 95 percent against us anyway. I refer to the recent addicts of Leonard Bernstein and the whole New York crowd. When I compare the monstrosity of Lincoln Center with the Academy of Music in Philadelphia, I realize how decadent the modern art and architecture have become."

Other than sounding rather anachronistic for the leader of the free world, Nixon reveals the not infrequent bias against "modern" objects by those who feel rejected by their creators or champions (transference, anyone?). Of course Nixon couched this rejection in terms of political views, but had the Bernsteins of the world embraced his policies, I'm sure he would have been more open to acquiring a taste for "modern" art.

Here's the complete document (pdf file) in which Nixon, the culture critic, lets loose. I've retyped a few choice bits here [assume all typos are mine]:

January 26, 1970

Memorandum for
Bob Haldeman
From the President

In talking to several people in Philadelphia I heard concern expressed with regard to the Nancy Hanks-Garment operation on the ground that their thrust was to support those activities in the cultural field where were "novel" and broke new ground rather than to put any significant emphasis on the more traditional activities.

This is completely contrary to my views. I do not want to take it up directly with Garment and Hanks, but I want you to.

[...] We, of course, cannot tell the Ambassadors what king of art they personally can have, but I found in travelling around the world that many of our Ambassadors were displaying the modern art due to the fact that they were compelled to because some committee which once was headed up by Mrs. Kefauver and were they were loaned some of these little uglies from the Museum of Modern Art in New York. At least, I want a quiet check made -- not one that is going to hit the newspapers and stir up the troops -- but I simply want it understood that this Administration is going to turn away from the policy of forcing our embassies aborad or those who receive assistance from the United States at home to move int he director of off-beat art, music and literature.
And he wonders why "those who are on the modern art and music kick are 95 percent against us anyway."

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Haiti

You can contribute to help the Haitian people devastated by the earthquake there yesterday in several places, including the following [via]:.

AMERICAN RED CROSS
Text “HAITI” to “90999″ to make a $10 donation.
2025 E Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006
(800) REDCROSS (733-2767)

AMERICARES
88 Hamilton Avenue
Stamford, Conn. 06902
(800) 486-4357

MERCY CORPS
Dept. W
P.O. Box 2669
Portland, Ore., 97208-2669
(888) 256-1900

OXFAM AMERICA
226 Causeway St., 5th Floor
Boston, MA 02114-2206
(800) 77-OXFAM (776-9326)

THE SALVATION ARMY
615 Slaters Lane
P.O. Box 269
Alexandria, VA 22313

SAVE THE CHILDREN
Haiti Earthquake Children in Emergency Fund
54 Wilton Road
Westport, Conn. 06880
(800) 728-3843

WORLD VISION
Haiti Earthquake Relief
P.O. Box 9716
Federal Way, Wash. 98063-9716
(888) 511-6548

CARE
151 Ellis Street
Atlanta, Ga. 30303
(800) 521-CARE (521-2273)

DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS USA/MEDECINS SANS FRONTIERES (MSF)
333 7th Avenue, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10001-5004
(888) 392-0392

INTERNATIONAL ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN CHARITIES
P.O. Box 630225
Baltimore, Md. 21263-0225
(877) 803-4622

U.S. FUND FOR UNICEF
125 Maiden Lane
New York, N.Y. 10038
(800) FOR-KIDS (367-5437)

PARTNERS IN HEALTH
P.O. Box 845578
Boston, MA 02284-5578
(617) 432-5256

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#class : Draft Mission Statement

As noted earlier, artists and sometimes-collaborators Jennifer Dalton and William Powhida are organizing a month-long event to take place in our gallery beginning about February 20 titled "#class". I write "about" because very little of this event is chiseled in stone at this point, by design. The artists are still soliciting proposals for how to form and run it. Dates and times will become more concrete (the goal is not chaos) as the event approaches, but for the moment, as a guiding set of principles, the artists have released the following draft Mission Statement:
#class will turn Winkleman Gallery into a 'think tank', where we will work with guest artists, critics, academics, dealers, collectors and anyone else who would like to participate to examine the way art is made and seen in our culture and to identify and propose alternatives and/or reforms to the current market system. By 'current market system' we mean the commercial model and attendant commodification of art, but also the unquantifiable, intangible, unpaid aspects of participating in the art world. We will work to physically transform Winkleman Gallery from a showroom into a think tank, where discussions and events will take place from approximately Feb 20 - March 20, 2010.

These issues will be approached from three intersecting spheres of artistic practice: 'Think Space', 'Work Space', and 'Market Space'. While thinking is also work, we make the distinction here to separate the labor the organizing artists, Jennifer Dalton and William Powhida, will perform individually from the collaborative and communal dialog that we will facilitate.

Among other things, we hope to reduce the amount of certainty that the audience feels when entering a gallery and encountering an art work. The outcome of this project is totally uncertain, and involves risk. We will process this uncertainty and risk artistically and respond as individual artists by making work at tables in the 'Work Space' and and displaying it in a small, marginalized 'Market Space' within the gallery. This will make explicit the conflict artists often feel between their belief in socialist or communal values and their isolated, individualistic artistic work and career.

Think Space

The gallery will be reconfigured from a display-space into a place for working, thinking, and hanging out. Several walls will be covered in chalkboard paint where artists and others may participate in defining and working out problems consecutively or communally. There will be chairs and tables available for visitors to use to sit and converse. We hope to improve upon and refine our current working definition that “art is a luxury commodity for the wealthy that limits the possibility of ownership, understanding, and access based on class, education and geography”. We will work in the gallery to continuously update, record, and modify the information that the public provides. Eventually, we hope to move from identification and definition into analysis to propose solutions.

We ourselves, along with other collaborators, will spend as much time in the gallery as possible. During some of this time, we will participate simply by talking, drinking, and working on the walls themselves as we would in a private studio. Members of the public will be welcome to join in on the dialog and make themselves comfortable.

We believe that this aspect of the project will implicitly challenge some of the expectations of the market including (1) that most art is produced in private by individual artists and (2) is presented as a finished product ready for consumption. We hope to make our thought process tangible.

The last goal of the Think Space will be promote a critical and academic dialog around the project and attendant developing ideas by hosting a series of informal events and discussions involving critics, bloggers, artists, dealers, collectors, academics, and the general public through a call-for-proposals. We would like to avoid the professionalism and authority of traditional panels by making the discussions less formal and encouraging people to speak with greater freedom and candor about the subjects by plying them with food and drink. We will have a full calendar of performances, discussions, and uncategorizable art-like events, all invested with the aim of enlarging and deepening the conversation about the intersection of art and the market.

Work Space

As the show progresses, the individual artists Jennifer Dalton and William Powhida plan to participate in the market by making art work inspired by the information, events and discussions generated in the space. At the work tables in the space, in public, we will create small works on paper based on our interpretation and documentation of the evolving project. This work will not be priced in the usual commercial manner, premised on 'what the market will bear' based on our past work and reputations. Instead, we plan to offer our work to the highest bidder with no reserve. We may offer suggested guidelines for appropriate prices, such as one day of the buyer's income from his or her job, 0.1% of his or her net worth, etc. However, the buyers will be free to offer whatever price they see fit, and the artists will be obliged to sell the work at the highest offered price.

Market Space

There will be a clearly defined, physically marginalized Market Space within the gallery where these works can be displayed and marketed to those who would like to view or purchase them. Our transparent complicity in the market and the proximity of the think/market spaces to the work space will help steer the discussion back to the emotional conflict between ideals and reality.

There is a thread on the event's blog, hashtagclass, in which artists and others have already begun contributing some very thoughtful ideas. Everyone is invited to add to the discussion.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

History Vindicates Berenson and Duveen, Even if Only Inadvertently

One of my favorite stories in Duveen: The Story of the Most Spectacular Art Dealer of All Time, S.N. Berman's somewhat sensationalized biography of the quintessential picture seller, Sir Joseph Duveen (for a more sober portrait, try Duveen: A Life in Art by Meryle Secrest) revolves around one his few failures in the business. OK, so, like any art dealer, he had multiple failures, but one in particular was truly spectacular. It revealed how powerful Duveen mistakenly thought he was, and cost him dearly, even though history would eventually prove him to have been (inadvertently) correct. The incident involved a painting (seen at right) that is now coming back up at auction. Carol Vogel has the details in today's New York Times:
[This] story of ...the painting...begins in 1919 with the marriage of a car salesman from the Midwest named Harry Hahn to a young Frenchwoman, Andrée Lardoux.

Mrs. Hahn’s godmother, Louise de Montaut, gave the painting to the couple as a wedding present. At the time the work was thought to have been by Leonardo [Da Vinci]. Even so, the couple soon decided to sell it to the Kansas City Art Institute for at least $250,000.

When a reporter from The New York World got wind of the transaction, he telephoned Duveen. It was 1 in the morning, and a sleepy Duveen answered. When asked what he thought of the portrait, he instantly pronounced it a fake. His hasty response set off a much-publicized legal battle between the Hahns and Duveen.

“The whole saga is unbelievably strange but it’s true,” said John Brewer, author of “The American Leonardo,” a book that was published last year and chronicles the history of the painting.

The case went to trial in New York Supreme Court on Feb. 6, 1929, and according to “The American Leonardo,” it was a media zoo, with reporters and members of the public lining up each morning to get into the courtroom. On Duveen’s side were experts who argued that the painting was a fake, while the dealer himself said his opinion “was formed by my study of all the great pictures of the world.” The Hahns tried to prove their point with their own battery of experts and with what scientific tools were available at the time. But the case ended in a hung jury, and Duveen finally settled out of court, paying the Hahns $60,000 in damages.
Years later, too late to benefit Duveen, scholars agree that “Portrait of a Woman Called ‘La Belle Ferronnière,’" is not by Leonardo, but rather a copy of another (also disputed DaVinci) that hangs in the Louvre (more or less what Duveen explained in his early morning groggy condition). The evidence that contradicts the Hahns' expert witnesses today includes:
[W]hile the Louvre painting [mostly assumed to be by DaVinci] is on panel, this painting was on canvas. Poplar panel was a typical material for late 14th-century Florentine portraits like this one was thought to have been, while canvas was a material that became more common later. Studies also showed that the canvas was primed with a double red pigment that was typical of French paintings from the late 17th century to the late 19th century. Pigment analysis also revealed the use of lead-tin yellow, a color employed in the 17th century that reappeared again only in paintings dating from the mid-20th century.
In addition to the hit his reputation took (wrongly, it turns out), the financial consequences of the trial to Duveen turned out to be unfair as well, as artinfo.com explains:
Duveen finally settled out of court, paying $60,000 to the owners for damages resulting from his comments, a sum that, adjusted for inflation over the previous 80 years, is equal to almost $750,000, or 50 percent more than the high estimate of the painting itself.
Not only Sir Joseph got ripped off in this trial, though. Perhaps the person who lost the most was Duveen's long-time connoisseur-on-call, Bernard Berenson:
In 1923, Berenson was called to give expert witness in [the] case brought by Andrée Hahn against Duveen. [...] In 1923 Hahn's painting was brought to Paris to be compared with the Louvre version. Duveen mustered Berenson's and other experts' support for his opinion, dismissing Hahn's painting as a copy. At the trial in New York in 1929, where the expert witnesses did not appear, the jury was not convinced by Berenson's Paris testimony, in part because, while under cross-examination there, he had been unable to recall the medium on which the picture was painted. It was also revealed that Berenson, as well as other experts who had testified in Paris, such as Roger Fry and Sir Charles Holmes, had previously provided paid expertises to Duveen. While Duveen, after a split verdict, ended up settling out of court with Hahn, the whole story damaged Berenson's reputation.
Mind you, both Berenson and Duveen thought far more of their own expertise than advances in Renaissance scholarship would now support, but in this case it seems both were correct.

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Monday, January 11, 2010

Deitch @ MoCA

UPDATE: Word's out. It's official. Jeffrey Deitch has been named the new director of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art.

UPDATE II: I've been called out for Godwin's Law abuse in this thread, which is, I'll admit, fair enough. I'll simply reiterate that I wrote my less snarky thoughts over at AWS and used this thread to dump my baser responses to the notion that someone is unqualified to be a museum director because of the taint of commercial endeavors.
_____________

I've penned a longer (less snarky) post over at
Art World Salon about this, but in general I seriously don't understand something.

In a world in which being an alleged drug abuser who ran every company your family managed to give you into the ground doesn't automatically disqualify you from becoming President of the United States and being a member of the Nazi Youth organization doesn't automatically disqualify you from becoming the Pope, why does being a small business owner who puts his money where his vision is in supporting artists automatically disqualify you from becoming a museum director?

The notion that commercial art dealers are somehow too soiled to run the sorts of institutions that have long histories of smuggling objects across international borders, resisting returning Nazi-looted works, and using their prestige to inflate the value of the collections (and egos) of selected trustees is symptomatic of a wholly irrational romanticism (not to mention willful blindness) in the art world, in my opinion.

The only valid question about Mr. Deitch's candidacy are his real-world qualifications compared with those of the other candidates. He is NOT, to my mind, ineligible simply because of the most recent profession in his long career of doing exemplary work in whatever he tried.


As I noted, I've posted a more thoughtful response to the rumor that Jeffrey Deitch is poised to be named the director of MoCA over at AWS, but feel free to share your thoughts about it via the transom there or here.

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Friday, January 08, 2010

The Value of Talent

Because we have an opening tonight in our new space (it's looking great! so brave the cold and stop on by if you can), I have to keep today's post short, but there was a provocative exchange on The Tudor's episode Bambino and I watched the other day (yes, I know, folks either love or hate it...we love it). We're way behind (watching via Netflix), so if you're following the show, you'll notice this happened ages ago. Anyway, the fiance of a woman who had, in the meanwhile, become Henry VIII's mistress walked in on his betrothed having her portrait painted by Hans Holbein the Younger. The future husband was outraged to find the portrait was a nude. He wasn't aware that the nude portrait had been commissioned by the king. When the gentleman went to the king to protest this low-life artist's mischief, Henry VII replied:
If I had seven peasants, I could make seven lords. But if I had seven lords, I could not make ONE Holbein
The subtext of the King's message he wanted the gentleman to understand, of course, was "I value Holbein more than I'll ever value you, so leave me alone, you nonentity." But the subtext within the show, where Henry VIII is portrayed as valuing nothing so much as his own reflection and pleasure, is that even a maniacal egomaniac can be awed, if not humbled, by great talent. Personally, I find most of Holbein's portraits peculiarly unflattering to their subjects, but that may just be shifts in perceptions of physical beauty.

Or perhaps I've just come to think that recently, as I'm simply disappointed not to see his paintings look like the actors portraying the historical figures in the outrageously oversexed TV series. Here's Jane Seymour as rendered by Holbein:

and as portrayed by Annabelle Wallis:

Anyway, consider this an open thread on the value of true talent...a wide open topic, I know, but sometimes it's better to see where a trickle can lead you...

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Thursday, January 07, 2010

Tomorrow: Ulrich Gerbert "This Much Is Certain" and in the Curatorial Research Lab "Read-Only-Memory" at Winkleman Gallery

Ulrich Gebert
This Much Is Certain

January 8 - Feb 13, 2010
Opening : Friday, January 8, 6-8 PM

Winkleman Gallery is very pleased to inaugurate our
new location with This Much Is Certain, the first New York solo exhibition by German conceptual photographer Ulrich Gebert. With selections from two series of his image-cycles, Typus (2005) and Life among beasts (2009), This Much Is Certain serves as an introduction to Gebert’s work in which he examines explosive topics—such as racism and power structures—via unspectacular motifs presented in quasi-scientific and sometimes unsettlingly humorous arrangements.

In each of the three tableaus from the Typus series, for example, Gebert presents 6-7 photographs of coniferous trees ordered by species. Photographed by trekking to remote botanical gardens and parks, often retracing the steps of 19th century scientists, the Typus tableaus are juxtaposed with a “List of Invalid Names”: a list of Latin terms that are no longer in use, making the reconciliation of competing names a difficult process and shattering the fantasies of their original christenings toward an authoritative ordering of nature. In doing so, Gebert also alludes to the darker side of cataloging nature, specifically with regards to totalitarian categorizations of humans.

Similarly, in the Life among beasts series, Gebert presents tableaus of two to five cropped photographs of humans physically interacting with animals. The results are both disturbing and awkwardly tender. New unusual creatures are suggested through the compositions, as impressions of brutality are counterbalanced with an almost absurd humor. Here again, the crisp aesthetics of the presentation suggest a fantasy of order that undercut by closer consideration.

Ulrich Gebert was born in Munich and lives and works in Munich and Leipzig. He received his Masters in Photography at Royal College of Art, London, and studied at the Glasgow School of Art and with Timm Rautert at the Academy of Visual Arts in Leipzig. Recent exhibitions include a solo show at KLEMM’S in Berlin; a group exhibition at project space 176/Zabludowicz Collection, London; and exhibitions at the Kunstverein Hildesheim, the University of Salamanca, and the Pfaffenhofer Kunstverein.

For more information, please contact Edward Winkleman at 212.643.3152 or info@winkleman.com. For more images, visit our website here.

Winkleman Gallery
621 West 27th Street (NEW LOCATION)
New York, NY 10001



Winkleman Gallery is very pleased to announce the inaugural project in the Curatorial Research Lab (CRLab) organized by Stamatina Gregory:

Read-Only-Memory brings together works by Anthony Campuzano, Graham Dolphin, and Molly Larkey, all of which incorporate acts of analogue transcription. Characterized by the meticulous, almost devotional labor of recreating found, journalistic, pop, or literary texts, these works stand as extreme acts of obsolete protocol, investigating the lapses of time and information between reading, writing, and reception.

Independent curator Stamatina Gregory recently completed the Whitney Lauder Curatorial Fellowship at the ICA in Philadelphia and curated a large group exhibition of contemporary photography at the FLAG Art Foundation. She is also a doctoral candidate at The Graduate Center at the City University of New York.

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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Because Clearly, No Matter How Hard You Try, You Just Can't Keep Some of Us Quiet


New York

BLOG THIS! Blogging the contemporary arts, a panel discussion

WHEN
Friday, January 15, 6:30 pm

Please note that the Gallery is open 12 - 6 pm so arrive early if you want to view the final phase of exhibitions at X.

WHERE

X Initiative
548 West 22nd Street
New York NY 10011

This is a free public program organized by ArtTable

RSVP
Seating is limited

Moderator: Robin White

Panelists:

Barry Hoggard, Bloggy, ArtCat, Culture Pundits: blogger, collector, entrepreneur
Paddy Johnson
, Art Fag City: news and opinion blogger, writer

William Powhida
: artist, blogger

Kelly Shindler
, Art21: educational blogger

Edward Winkleman
: gallery owner, blogger

Blogs about contemporary arts and the art world play an increasingly important role by providing multiple viewpoints, information and commentaries about the art market, the gallery scene, artists and their work on a daily basis. As the number of printed newspaper and culture journals decreases, some blogs are becoming a source for substantial art journalism and art criticism. By pairing the 5-most read, and hotly debated, bloggers of New York City, we want to touch on a topic that is timely and relevant, and offer a dynamic and lively conversation at the X-Initiative.

We have curated the panel to incorporate a wide spectrum of practicing bloggers: from art news to art education, from the perspective of the art market including both the point of view of an artist and a gallerist, and those who are taking the online art world to a whole new-networked level.

About the Panelists:

Barry Hoggard writes about art and politics on bloggy.com. He is the editor, along with James Wagner, of the arts calendar ArtCat, and proprietor of CulturePundits.com, a curated network of today’s leading cultural websites and blogs. He recently began publishing Idiom, an online publication of urban artistic practice. He is also a software developer.
http://bloggy.com/

http://www.culturepundits.com/

http://www.artcat.com/

http://idiommag.com/


Paddy Johnson aka ArtFagCity blogger, has been published in artreview.com, Art in America, FlashArt, Print Magazine, Time Out NY, The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post and many others. Paddy lectures widely about art and the Internet and in 2008, she served on the board of the Rockefeller Foundation New Media Fellowships and became the first blogger to earn a Creative Capital Arts Writers grant from the Creative Capital Foundation.

http://www.artfagcity.com/art-blogs/

William Powhida’s blog has covered controversial topics including creating an "enemies" list as well as letters addressed to famous contemporary curators, collectors and critics, requesting recognition. According to Wikipedia as an artist he constructs work deliberately about growing his own fame, addressing the major obstacles facing emerging contemporary artists.

http://williampowhida.blogspot.com/

Kelly Shindler, Art 21 Blog Founder and Editor, has worked at Art21 since 2003, where she is presently Director of Special Projects. She is also a curator and writer, as well as a dual Master’s candidate in Modern Art History, Theory, and Criticism/Arts Administration and Policy at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

http://blog.art21.org/

Edward Winkleman is an art dealer and a blogger. He started his eponymous blog about the art world and politics in 2005 and is a contributing editor to the international blog Art World Salon. He began his career in the art world with a series of guerilla-style exhibitions organized in New York and London under the name 'hit & run'. In 2001 he co-founded the Plus Ultra Gallery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Moving into Manhattan's art district Chelsea in 2006, he changed the name of the gallery to Winkleman Gallery.

http://edwardwinkleman.blogspot.com/

About the organizers:

Robin White Owen is a principal at MediaCombo, an award winning multimedia production company that specializes in working with culture, science and environmental organizations. As a blogger, she writes about culture, social media and multimedia in and out of the gallery and museum. Robin has worked on productions for the The Jewish Museum, and the British Museum, in addition to working with VIART, View Magazine, and ArtForum.

www.mediacombo.net

http://mediacomb.net/blog

twitter.com/rocombo

Heather Darcy Bhandari is the director of artist relations at Mixed Greens. Since joining the gallery in 2000, she has curated over forty-five exhibitions while managing and advising a roster of nearly two-dozen artists. She curates independent shows, sits on the board of NURTUREart, and co-authored the professional development guide for artists, ART/WORK, published by Simon and Schuster in 2009. Heather majored in visual arts and anthropology at Brown University and received an MFA in painting from Pennsylvania State University. Before joining Mixed Greens, she worked at contemporary galleries Sonnabend and Lehmann Maupin in New York City.

Lauren Pearson is a contemporary art historian and is currently Assistant Director at ArtCycle, a contemporary art consignment gallery. She recently received her Master's degree in contemporary art and cultural theory from the University College London, UK. Her thesis was titled, "The Spectacular is the Obvious: Negotiating Place in Postcolonial, War-torn and Embodied Geographies" and explored notions of contemporary art and geography. She received her undergraduate degree in art history from New York University in 2001, and has worked for the Smithsonian Institute's Archives of American Art, Milton Glaser Inc., Peter Halley Studio, and FRED [London/Leipzig], LLC. A native of San Francisco, she currently lives in New York City.

About X Initiative
X is a not-for-profit initiative of the global contemporary art community founded to exist for one year at 548 West 22nd Street to present exhibitions and programming. Advised by a 50+ advisory board comprised of artists, curators, museum professionals, gallerists, collectors, art historians and critics, X reaches across traditional boundaries to form a consortium interested in responding quickly to the major philosophical and economic shifts impacting culture. Questions posed in the form of programming address relevant and pressing issues pertaining to the changing landscape of contemporary art.



http://www.x-initiative.org

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