Friday, February 26, 2010

Dog Days of February

#class capsule wrap up: Yesterday's discussion on Success, led by Letha Wilson and Dan Levenson, drew a decent crowd given the blizzard that coincided with it, and the turn out was alright for James Leonard's Warbonds performance as well. We're still working out the kinks on the whole online interactive thing, with some folks twittering that they hear just fine and others having some trouble (I suspect it's not something we can set that will work perfectly with everyone's individual systems, but...). Today, in the snow, there are two great events I hope you can bundle up to make it over to see Fri, February 26, 2pm – 3pm, Rocio Rodriguez Salceda presents "Receta," a one-hour performance from a symbolic "kitchen" where women from four different generations in Spain will discuss, plot and reveal secrets about how they were getting by during their time. Their voices will be represented by Rocio Rodriguez Salceda alone. Images, music, text and other ingredients from this "kitchen" will accompany the artist on this historic trip. POSTPONED DUE TO WEATHER and Stamatina Gregory & Jovana Stokic - Bad Curating, Fri, February 26, 6pm – 7pm, Stamatina Gregory and Jovana Stokic will present “Bad Curating” a presentation and open platform for discussion. More humorous than hypercritical, it takes on the roots, criteria, and typologies of this practice in its various incarnations. STILL HAPPENING!

I'm happily, but somewhat unorganizedly just yet, dog sitting two adorable dachshunds today, and they're a handful, so it's all I can do to get thing organized to get them over to the gallery on time. You can watch them if you like on the gallery-slash-puppy cam.

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

SUAILAYA Update

Yesterday also saw the first installment of Shut Up Already... I'll Look at Your Art, which I thoroughly enjoyed (despite Bill's over-the-shoulder knee-jerk crits :-). Here's how Mr. Shut Up summarized the first session:
The First session of "Shut Up Already...I'll Look at Your Art!" took place today. Ed spent far more than ten seconds on most images giving each a fair viewing often making comments or thinking out loud, occasionally having quick discussions with William Powhida who had come over from the #class "Workspace" for a quick view. In all Mr. Winkleman spent a little over an hour and viewed around 60 images.

The images viewed by Ed today can be viewed on the "Shut Up Already...I'll Look at Your Art!" blog in a slideshow which displays each image for ten seconds. Each subsequent session will be posted.

Thanks to all who participated, if you see your image in the slideshow as per the aggreement stipulated in the rules, you can not complain that your work is not being considered by a professional gallery for one year from today.

If you see your image and object to its inclusion on the blog email me and I will remove it from the slide show.

shutupalreadyilllookatyourart@gmail.com

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Value and Meaning (...oops, I mean) Meaning and Value

#class capsule wrap-up: Yesterday saw the first of the table discussions. Many thanks to those who came in person (about a dozen or more folks in total) or watched online (about another three dozen or more). We received feedback that it was frustrating watching online and not having the room respond to Twitter comments. Bill was monitoring his Twitter account twitter.com/Powhida, but no one thought to check the main thread. Our apologies for that...it will be corrected. Someone asked if the Twitter chatter could be projected during a webcast event...we're looking into that as well (might be tricky for events that need the space/walls for their own, but...). Finally, someone called me a "truant" because they spotted Bambino and I at the Whitney last night...we were actually in the gallery until 8pm. We used one of those amazing machines that reduce time and space travel to then head up to the biennial...they're called taxis. :-ppp

I'm guessing I might quote Sarah Thornton's book a lot over the next few weeks. I'm thoroughly enjoying Seven Days in the Art World (yes, I'm late to it), and it just happens to coincide nicely theme-wise with a lot of the issues being brought up in #class. In one chapter, Sarah quotes New York Times art critic Roberta Smith as explaining that "Art accumulates meaning through an extended collaborative act." Indeed, in thinking through what a work like, say, Mona Lisa means to people, it's no longer simply what Da Vinci put into the painting. Its "meaning" now includes what it has inspired (songs, theft, book after book, a cult following, etc.), what people will do to see it (long lines and obnoxious fellow viewers stepping in front of you...outta my way, you Scandinavian colossus!), and what it has become synonymous with (a priceless symbol of our humanity that people are willing to risk their lives to protect). None of which it meant the day Leonardo decided to varnish it.

I like that notion, "
Art accumulates meaning through an extended collaborative act," because I strongly feel it also works when considering value. Art accumulates value through an extended collaborative act. Indeed, the focus of Christopher K. Ho's solo exhibition in our gallery--no, it wasn't to mortify me...that was just a fortunate side effect, eh Chris? :-) --was to examine how value is ascribed to art. Chris's installation highlighted the roles played by critics, art historians, other artists, collectors, and dealers in ascribing value by critiquing, contextualizing, responding to, purchasing, and supporting the art that they select to focus on. It's not any one role or opinion, but the accumulative sum of each that tallies into a value.

At yesterday's discussion on "The System Works" the issue was raised that one thing that needs fixed in the art market system is how an early work by an artist is priced very low. What's wrong with this, it was argued
(and most of the artists in the room seemed to agree), is that not only does that early work still represent years of study and expense of trial and error, studio costs, material costs, emotional costs, etc, but also that some collector who picks this work up for a song will be able to profit off it years down the road while the creator of it won't. (We used a price of $500 in the discussion to serve as an example of a low value for an early artwork.)

What seemed to upset the artists the most is that all the work and time that went into creating that artwork is not being reflected in its "value" on the art market. Set up as the defender of the market in this context (I object to Bill's characterization of me as an "apologist," for the record), I pointed out that the overall method used to price art is simply the law of supply and demand. No one knows about this early-career artist. At this point, very few people, if any, have
critiqued, contextualized, made other artwork in response to, purchased, or otherwise supported this artist's work. There quite simply is NO demand for it.

Of course it's hard for younger artists, who've read about cases in which some collector flips a work at auction for a zillion times more than they originally paid for it, not to want some safety measure in the system to look out for them at this stage. The narrative in their mind seems to be that this early piece might be worth millions one day and (see above) it cost them so much to make it, why can't that first price reflect all this.

I responded somewhat snarkily that it could if said artist invented a time machine and could travel back from the point in their career
when they're commanding a million dollars a work in the primary market (with evidence of this stature) and insist that that early work sell for more. I noted that it's also just as feasible that the day after the early work sells for $500 that artist gets hit by a bus and the collector has a work that will remain valued at $500 (or less) forever (because more, accumulative value was never ascribed to that work through the collaboration of the art system's other players).

Supply and demand, baby. Supply and demand.

I'm personally happy to consider alternatives to this system, but I have yet to hear any that were not guaranteed, in my opinion, to ensure more mediocre art.

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The System Works (in #class today)

Capsule Wrap-Up: If you missed Sunday's opening, you missed two performances while they were happening, but, this being the digital age, you can catch them online. An Xiao's Photoglam photos are now up on Facebook. Vote for your favorites to see them printed and exhibited in the real world. And Alan Lupiani's roving reporter performance videos are now up on YouTube!
____________________

As the first full day of #class, today is mostly reserved for Work Space time (in which Jennifer and William will make work in response to the opening discussions and comments on the chalkboards).

This evening will be the first of the formal Table Discussions. Today's topic: "The System Works." Because I can, I'm going to get a jump start on that discussion here (no one ever said extracurricular activity was prohibited).


Three main questions/thoughts occur to me when I think about that title, "The System Works."

1. As has already been addressed by William and Jennifer on the walls, it is important to keep in mind that this, like any, system can easily work well for some people and not for others. Is that an issue? Should the system guarantee equal opportunity to all? The obvious answer seems to be "yes," but that's not implicit in the title statement.

2. That title statement cries out for what I was ranting about in Monday's post: a clear, agreed-upon definition. Not only of the "system" (Jen and Bill have clarified we're discussing the "art market system" [see item 3 below, though]) but also of what would qualify as "success" within that system. When we say "the system works," do we mean simply that money is rightfully distributed to the people who work the best/hardest within the system, and everyone involved gets good value for their money? Or do we measure success by something more lofty? Do we mean that "the system works" to elevate the best art of its era? To ensure the best artists receive the support they deserve?

3. Finally, when discussing the "art market system" most people limit their considerations (and scathing commentary) to the commercial art gallery and auction house segments of the art market. In my opinion, in measuring whether "the system works," this discussion must also take into account artists selling work out of their studios, artists selling work directly online, collectors selling work directly to other collectors or to institutions, museums buying work or deaccessioning work themselves, and any other transaction between two parties that involves art and money or services. All of that comprises the "art market system." Do these actions also serve to elevate the best art of their era or ensure money is rightfully distributed to the people who work the best/hardest within the system and everyone involved gets good value for their money? If not, then those actions must also be examined and be part of the search for better alternatives.

The Table Discussion begins in the gallery at 6 PM today. You can watch it live on the webcast if you can't make it in person, but that won't be anywhere near as much fun. If you can't wait until then, you can share your thoughts here or over at the #class blog.

PS. If you're thinking to comment that you're not interested in the "art market system" or don't give a rat's ass about this discussion or anything of the sort, don't bother. I understand such sentiments, but I'm not going to approve any such comments. This discussion is focused on what what it is...there will be plenty of others...ignore this one if you prefer.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Few Very Random Thoughts on the Impact of Feedback

Apropos of nothing in particular, I feel like rambling a bit today.

Back in the days when, fresh out of college, I was living in London and clearly downing far too many pints at my local pub, I somehow got it into my head that writing letters of appreciation to authors of books I liked was a good thing to do. I read a lot of biographies back then, and perhaps one of them detailed a thrilling exchange of
bon mots and life-long friendships that its subject had fostered through such correspondence. I honestly can't remember now why I felt so compelled.

One book that was all the rage in Europe while I lived there was by an African author whose style was considered important and fresh, and even though I barely understood why he was writing that way, after completing his novel I wrote to him. In the firm belief that the sincerest form of flattery is imitation, I composed part of my fan letter in the style he had created. (Go ahead, you can cringe...I still do.) He never wrote me back.

In fact, that author has never penned another book as far as I have been able to learn.

One day while remembering this, the thought entered my mind that perhaps my unintelligible letter was what had made him stop. "If people reading this book are this confused about what I am saying," I imagined him thinking, "What is the point?" I now have this mental image of him tossing out his laptop and moving to northern Finland to live among the reindeer shepherds.

Jean Genet once infamously claimed that Jean-Paul Sartre's biography of him was so revealing--such a meticulous, invasive exploration of his methods--that it crippled Genet's ability to write another novel. The legend goes that, upon reading Sartre's manuscript, Genet exploded and tried to hurl the pages into the fireplace. Indeed he never wrote a novel after that (but he did go on to write his most famous plays). In speaking once with Edmund White, the author of Genet's other, far superior biography, though, I learned that White was convinced Genet simply used Sartre's book as a convenient excuse for a severe case of writer's block. I suspect reports of Genet's dramatic outburst also helped build interest in the book that would help solidify his place among the greats of French literature too, but....

Before I spoke with White, though, I spent several years horrified at the notion that another person could extinguish a writer's, or artist's, creative impulse. This seemed nothing short of a raping of one's soul to me. I actually spent a few years researching an idea for an article on how Genet could have overcome Sartre's influence. I've since come to realize White must have been right, though. That Genet had seized upon a convenient excuse for the naturally occurring exhaustion from writing his novels (they certainly must have taken a great deal out of him).

Eleanor Roosevelt once wisely noted that, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." I think when it comes to creative endeavors, the same applies to feeling incapacitated. No critique, no matter how blistering, can impact your drive unless you let it. In some cases, that's not necessarily a good thing (for the rest of us), but in most cases it suggests that the more thin-skinned among us take a tip from Andy Warhol, who reportedly once said, "I never read my press, I just weigh it."

I'll have more on this later this week I think...something I need to get out of my system. For now, though, that's it...

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Monday, February 22, 2010

A Time to Redefine : Open Thread

One of the things I learned early on in debating folks on politics is that if you don't start off ensuring you're working from the same definition of what you're talking about, you'll go rounds and rounds for hours assuming the other guy has slush for brains, just as he'll be convinced the same about you. An agreed-upon, clear definition is critical to productive communication. That's why, in case you haven't noticed, I frequently get all giddy about a good definition, redefinition, or useful coinage. Facilitating clear communication is more than an art form, in my opinion, it's manna from heaven.

A very insightful comment was posted here the other day by Mark Creegan. In response to the Think! post discussing what Dalton and Powhida have focused on trying to facilitate for #class, Mark wrote:
I think it seems that this hodge podge of reflexive actions is important and note that a good number of the participants are bloggers where you would normally find reflexive insight. Figuring out ones relationship to the art world and how one wants to exist within their particular conception of that system is an ongoing process and to do that in this communal setting is interesting and refreshing. My take on most of these events is that they seem less of a rant (although I am sure ranting will happen) fest than a renegotiation of ones relationship to the process and structure of making and thinking about art. A thousand participants will leave with a thousand different re-definitions.
Indeed, based on just the opening last night (and a test run event on Friday), I think Mark has nailed it. One conversation I had Friday evening, for example, was with Stamatina Gregory (who with Jovana Stokic will be hosting a discussion this Friday at #class, February 26, 6pm – 7 pm, on "Bad Curating"). We got into how the meaning of the word "curate" has been watered down to where people now talk about curating their wardrobe or the furniture in their apartment. What it means to "curate" in a fine art context has become so unclear that Stamatina and I eventually agreed that trained professionals with art history backgrounds and years spent developing a first-hand knowledge of select art objects will probably need to redefine themselves, or perhaps just relabel themselves, to ensure the vocabulary we use to discuss what they do is clear.

One of my first (personally somewhat painful, but eye opening all the same) points of clarity in this was when New York Times critic Holland Cotter, who was kind enough to review an exhibition I was listed as having "curated" at another gallery (before we opened our own), discussed my role instead as having "organized" it. Initially I was somewhat insulted, but in hindsight I recognize he was absolutely correct. Just because I was willing to have "Curated by Edward Winkleman" printed on the invite in no way altered the definition of the word in Mr. Cotter's mind.

Unfortunately, over the years, such claims have altered the meaning of the word in many other people's minds, and so I agree with Stamatina that it behooves fine art Curators to redefine themselves. Trying to reclaim the word from its widespread usage today is probably a losing battle.

Not being much use in coining catchy phrases myself, I'll use this one example to open a thread on "curate" and other such terms that people in the art world might take advantage of this economically imposed time to reflect to renegotiate their relationship to or the definitions of. What would you call, for example, "trained professionals with art history backgrounds and years spent developing a first-hand knowledge of select art objects"? Scholarly curators?

If you feel your personal position within the art world could use some redefinition (Gallerist vs. Dealer, Painter vs. Artist, Collector vs. Philanthropist, etc. etc. ) feel free to muse on that here as well.

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Gallery Cam

During #class, all events happening in the main gallery will be webcast. The audio on this set-up is so freaking clear you can hear me cussing and swearing in the front office, I've been told. So we'll turn off the audio unless there's an actual event in the space, but the video will be on during the regular #class hours, Wed - Sun, 2-8 pm.

To watch, click here.

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Think!

“Those who know how to think need no teachers.”
--Mahatma Gandhi
#class starts this weekend, Sunday, February 21, 4-7 PM.

The schedule of events I posted just a few days ago is already in need of some updating (mostly adding things, so don't worry if you've planned to attend something, no event has moved that I know of). You can also get the handy-dandy calendar version (and, because Jennifer Dalton and William Powhida are more up-to-speed on these things than me, most recent info) at the #class blog. Because of how ambitious this project is and how limited the number of hours in the day are (even for Jennifer and William, who do seem to be able to be in more than one place at once sometimes), I suspect the coming month will be an exercise in flexibility and patience.

I have to say, though, having had just a taste of what is possible through this context, I suspect it's going to be an absolute and total blast!

Jennifer and William, as noted before, are framing the forum for this exhibition into three spaces: a Think Space, a Work Space and a Market Space.

Despite my objections (hey, what do you expect), the Market Space is the most marginalized (read: smallest) of the three. The Work Space, reflecting the reality for most New York artists who in order to follow their dreams must also work around day job and family life schedules to get into their studios, will occur in a catch-as-catch-can fashion. The schedule linked to above does include some concrete times the artists have set aside to create in the space (and again, you're invited to watch and/or comment as they do; which tickles me to no end, thinking how dealers frequently have to practice their profession in front of the whole world : think art fairs).

The biggest portion of the time though, the space will be used for discussions, presentations, events designed to challenge perceptions, and good old fashioned THINKING.

The walls of the main gallery are now one huge money-green-colored chalkboard. There are tables, chairs, chalk, erasers, and a bulletin board. All that's missing are opinions, ideas, objections, alternatives, passionate (but respectful) disagreements, declarations, and (hopefully) the occasional epiphany. Many of these are being brought by the brave volunteers who will present lectures, yoga classes, focus groups, table discussions, and performances. But #class is also designed to help capture the product of solid thinking even when there is no planned event. So even if you can only stop in when nothing seems to be going on, you're still encouraged to pick up some chalk...add to the dialog...post a note on the bulletin board...and leave evidence of your thinking.

PS: There are some colleagues of ours who have been so incredibly generous and helpful in organizing #class, that I would like to acknowledge their support. A huge hug and sincere thanks go to Magda Sawon and Tamas Banovich of Postmasters Gallery; Penny Pilkington and Wendy Olsoff and Jamie Sterns at PPOW; Lisa Schroeder and Sara Jo Romero of Schroeder Romero & Shredder; and our own most patient and awesome crew, Max, Nikita, Julian, and Bambino!!!

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Culture Vultures, or, One Person's Heartbreaking Deaccession Is Another's Impulse Purchase

I've had plenty of phone interviews in which I was sure I was rambling on and on and, despite myself, feeling sorry for the journalist on the other end who I knew would later have to try to cull together some semblance of coherence from my comments or decide not to include anything I said in their article. It's tough, when you're multi-tasking to talk in sound bites, some times. And you always think, after you've hung up the phone, that there was some very important additional framing or context you should have been clear about.

So I try to give plenty of credit to others quoted in stories, but parts of the article in Today's New York Times on the bargains to be found among the items museums are being forced to deaccession at auction sound like they came straight from a bit in The Onion:
“An unsophisticated person, looking at the auction catalog, might say, ‘Oh, is the museum closing?’ ” said Linda Stamm, the owner of Winter Associates, auctioneers in Plainville, Conn. “But a sophisticated person knows it’s a good thing.” She has sold art and objects from the New Britain Museum, the Wadsworth Atheneum and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, among others.
I can almost hear Monty Python in the background singing "Always look on the bright side of death...."

And it's not just the people quoted. It's hard to tell how tongue-in-cheek the NYT's writer Tracie Rozhon (whose specialty seems to be human interest stories geared toward readers who have more money than they know what to do with) intended this to come off, but it certainly sounds like it should have been meant to be snarky:
Important silver, once spotlighted in a museum’s burglar-proof glass case, is also deaccessioned and sold at auction, ready to grace the middle of your dining room table.
Of course, it's easy for me to poke fun at the trials and tribulations of the nouveau riche culture vultures who view auctions of closing museums' treasures kind of how the rest of us view Filene's basement. I don't have all the McMansions they have to fill.

But what do you do with the antique Japanese chain mail helmet and matching gauntlets — woven metal basted to blue material — scheduled for sale on March 8 at Winter Associates? The items come from a Connecticut museum, said Ms. Stamm, whose arrangement with this particular museum precludes mention of its name in advertising. The chain mail has an accession number, which means the museum had formally accepted it into its collection; Ms. Stamm does not know if it has ever been exhibited.

“You know, museums specialized in having unusual things,” Ms. Stamm said, addressing the issue of what one would do with the helmet and gloves. “I can picture the helmet on a wig stand on top of a cabinet, surrounded by Oriental scrolls or woodblock prints.”

Mind you, it's not the desire to possess these things I object to. I totally get that. (My ultimate dream house...so long as I'm dreaming...would be to live at the Met.) It's the willingness to profit from a museum closure without any hint of recognition at all that the money being spent or the objects being purchased might be better used to keep help some other museum also in trouble during these times.

Then again, as I noted in the opening paragraph, just because they weren't quoted as saying so, doesn't mean the people interviewed for this article don't contribute vast sums of money or objects to museums. But now that I've read that article again, even though I'm fully dressed and ready for my day, a part of me would still like to go take another shower.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Most Frequently Asked Question in Chelsea These Days

It's refreshing actually. No longer is the first question that people you haven't seen for a while ask, "Heard of any new gallery closings?" or "How's your traffic been?" Although it comes a close second, even "Seen any shows I shouldn't miss?" has been supplanted. No, the most frequently asked question in Chelsea these days seems to be "What on earth is Jerry Saltz doing on Facebook?" (OK, so it's in a close race with "Did you read that Roberta Smith article?")

Not everyone is a fan of the extraordinarily generous dialog Mr. Saltz is leading on the social network. He's ruffling feathers, and more than once I've disagreed with him, but as I noted back in this thread (excuse the double-self-reference):
Back in my first post of the year, where I wrote about my predictions for the art world, I had noted:
I suspect publications with only one art critic will benefit greatly from those critics also voicing their opinions via other, perhaps less-formal channels, to permit these (non-edited) critiques to balance out their formal contributions. Blogs are one such channel, but other (less time-consuming channels) are being used effectively by writers for this as well.
It was Jerry I was thinking of then and he's only getting stronger in the medium, in my opinion. I'm not sure whether this has, as C.P. predicted, "less to do with hierarchy," but it certainly feels fresh and exciting.
And it still feels very fresh and very exciting. In breaking down the barriers between critic and audience, Saltz has opened up a new chapter in the dialog in New York and beyond, I suspect. I keep telling Jerry when I run into him that what's he's doing feels nothing short of revolutionary. Like all revolutions, though, this one is messy and spawning its own counter-revolution in some quarters. Twitter and Facebook comments galore are more and more openly taking swipes at the Pied Piper of the Online Art Community. Anyone could have seen that coming, though. When you make yourself that accessible, people don't feel as insecure about disagreeing or objecting to your opinions or methods.

Not that I don't understand some of the objections mind you.

Jerry's calling the new director of one of New York's most important alternative art museums a "dick" was a bit shocking to read. Then again, that's nothing compared to what many people are willing to say within their circles about a wide range of art world authorities behind their backs all the time, though. So the question becomes to my mind, if you expand your circle online and truly wish that community and the dialog within it to have integrity, how much should you still edit yourself? Is there a total number of people you shouldn't say such things to? Are any "public" forums simply off limits for such talk? For an art dealer, yes...there are indeed limits. But for a critic?


In today's (yesterday's? I can't tell anymore with online stories) New York Observer, there's a profile of Jerry and how he's using Facebook. Here's a snippet:
Mr. Saltz’s Facebook page has become a phenomenon, having undergone an unlikely, organic transformation that turned it from an inconsequential personal profile into a highly trafficked, widely read discussion board about the art world. Populated by dedicated and predominantly serious-minded artists, curators, gallerists and assorted art-world denizens—many of whom check the page compulsively and post their thoughts multiple times a day—the page has become home to a vibrant community and an essential extension of Mr. Saltz’s practice as an art critic.
and
One of Mr. Saltz’s primary stated goals for the page—which he views as an experiment—is a desire to demystify the art critic in the eyes of readers and artists.
I doubt many people in the art world wouldn't applaud both those goals (demystifying the art critic and creating a vibrant online community). However, there is growing dissent among some folks (oddly enough, mostly other people who also use social networks and the Internet to promote themselves and or their work, but then again, if they weren't, how would I read them?) and whispers in Chelsea about exactly what Jerry notes in the Observer article would not be a good outcome:
"I’d like to think I haven’t jeopardized my credibility,” he said. “If I thought that was happening, I would stop, because it’s much more important to me to be an art critic than a Facebook … thing. If I started seeing people say, ‘Well, you can’t listen to him on the Whitney Biennial because he called Klaus Biesenbach a four-letter word,’ then I would say no, it’s not worth it to me at all. But right now, it’s a blast.”
In fact, one of Jerry's long-time online nemeses (see this or this or this), my pal Tyler Green, posted on Facebook just last night :
Jerry Saltz to the NYO on his Facebook activities: "I'd like to think I haven't jeopardized my credibility."
Although Tyler doesn't elaborate, I took that to suggest he disagrees. I have to say, as much as I'm sure both writers are highly annoyed with the other, their very public disagreements are VERY entertaining to read. And illuminating, which is their saving grace.

To make what could be a very long rant short (and I know, I have a dog in this fight), I tend to side with those who want things more messy, with fewer rules, when it comes to the art world. Not on the business side of things, mind you, but on the opinion and/or creative side of things. Rules are OK, if only to so there's something to break, but rigidity is counterproductive in this realm.

In other words, I LOVE how fierce and messy Jerry's Facebook dialog has become. I understand those who feel it's risky for his credibility, but as with artists or writers or anyone creative, the proof is in the pudding. This piece on the Tino Sehgal show at the Guggenheim was simply priceless and written long into Mr. Saltz's journey into the heart of the online community jungle.

What on earth is Jerry Saltz doing on Facebook? I'm not entirely sure and, I suspect, neither is he. I, however, hope he continues doing it.

UPDATE: C-Monster smartly critiques the Observer article.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

"Shut Up Already...I'll Look at Your Art!"

In a conversation with a somewhat reluctant potential participant of #class the other day, I tried to convince him the conversation would be more civil than most such attempts to bring persons with widely disparate goals together for a session of mutual understanding, because the moderators of the event were quite adept at using humor to help folks see where they had things in common. Indeed, I consider humor perhaps the most effective means of helping people with plenty of reason for skepticism let their guards down long enough to see where they might see through to some agreement on issues.

And so, with all my cantankerous ranting recently about our current submissions policy and the lack of time in my day, it was the humor of one of the proposals for #class that disarmed me and led me to agree to do it. An anonymous proposal titled "Shut Up Already...I'll Look at Your Art!" has just enough charm and goodwill woven through it to get me to set aside a chunk of time to do what I had been convinced I couldn't do. Of course, the care and consideration with which it was conceived was an important factor here as well. Here's the website for the event, with guidelines for how it will work:
"Shut Up Already...I'll Look at Your Art!"

The Rules (roughly):
  • Artists will submit one digital image to "Shut up already. I'll look at your art"
  • Mr. Winkleman and guests will view the image for no less than 10 sec.
  • Mr. Winkleman and guests will be monitored by a volunteer as they view the work to assure full compliance with the rules.
  • Mr. Winkleman, his guests and the Monitor will sign a certificate of viewing stating the image has been viewed
  • Mr. Winkleman and his guests will have no obligation to provide representation to any of the artists, make any comment about, or critique any of the images.
  • Once an image is viewed by Mr. Winkleman and his guests the artist cannot complain that their work is not being considered by a professional gallery for one year from the date of viewing, Mr. Winkleman and his guests will be absolved of any further obligation to take complaints by artists that their work is not being considered by a professional gallery seriously for one year from the date of viewing,
  • As Mr. Winkleman and his guests view the images, they will be available on the internet to be viewed.
Please note, the event requires that anyone wishing to participate submit images through the website's submittal form. Please do not snail-mail or email images directly to the gallery if you expect to have us comply with the rules above. Please also DO NOT bring your art to the gallery in person if you expect to have us comply with the rules above. It won't work that way.

OK, so what do you get out of this if you participate? It's hard to say. Kind of depends on what you submit or who volunteers to be my guest on any given day. I would hope other dealers would be willing to look as well from time to time (hint! hint!), so that even should certain work not be quite right for our program it might be just what another dealer is looking for.

One commenter on yesterday's thread asked:
But Mr. Shut up,
How is that fair to sculpture?
Not everything can be viewed and understood from 1000 pixels on a screen.
My first response to that is "Well, that's just what you get, Mr. 3-dimensional Fancy Pants, thinking you're too good for the 2-dimensional world...."

Actually, sculpture is not the only medium that isn't as well represented by "1000 pixels on a screen." Video, performance, installation, etc., etc., are equally at a disadvantage. Most dealers, though, having spent years and years looking at slides or jpegs first and then the actual three-dimensional or time-based work afterward, can probably garner more from a flat image than most other people can. Still, as Mr. Shut Up responded:
for sculpture I would make a four frame composite image 1000 by 750 to be viewed full screen will probably be optimum.
There are tons of events planned for #class that I am very much looking forward to, but none I'm as centrally involved in as this, so I'm creating a specific thread for it here (before it gets started) to get other such feedback about how it's set up. What else (other than the question of what you're actually going to get out of it if you participate) would you note about the Rules?

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Avoiding Argument: And some Real, Live Dates and Times for #class

Originally I was going to write about this piece Roberta Smith wrote for the New York Times. Everyone was talking about it last weekend, but I actually don't know how I feel about it. The overall sense I took away from it was that "Painting is still relevant, dammit. We can't survive on a steady diet of conceptualist installations [not that there's anything wrong with that]." But to be honest, I thought the statistics didn't necessarily back up the argument.

For each example of an exhibition that did NOT consist predominantly of "art that seems made by one person out of intense personal necessity, often by hand" (e.g., Gabriel Orozco at MoMA, Roni Horn at the Whitney, Urs Fischer at NuMu, and Tino Sehgal at the Gugg), she also pointed to [or could have] recent exhibitions at the exact same institutions that were exclusively presenting "art that seems made by one person out of intense personal necessity, often by hand" (Ensor at MoMA, Georgia O'Keefe at the Whitney, "After Nature" at NuMu, and Kandinsky at the Gugg).
Looking at that later list it would seem the applicable criticism is that not enough contemporary painters are getting the local museum's walls, but all those recent shows would squarely fall into the category of "art that seems made by one person out of intense personal necessity, often by hand." So is the problem just that: contemporary painters are getting short shift? Certainly not in galleries or biennials. I do think Roberta nails the reason so many conceptualist exhibitions are prevalent. The architecture of the museums seems to love such installations and not necessarily (without costly construction and lighting redesigns) well suited for paintings:
Museum gallery space is at a premium and is almost uniformly unforgiving. Excepting the idiosyncratic flexibility of the Guggenheim’s ramp, there is barely a decent gallery among our main museums, although we seem to have stopped talking about the effect this has on curators, their exhibitions and thus on the seeing and comprehending of art.
But avoiding costly construction and lighting redesigns is understandable in today's economy. Should the main museums build galleries specifically suited for (i.e., dedicated to) paintings? That seems as inflexible in the other directions. Anyway, like I said, I don't want to step into that debate, so it's probably best if I turn my attention to some other topic, like, #class...which now has a real live schedule!!!

You can browse these events, discussions, and performances in a handy calendar format on the
#class blog, but for the record, here's the list:

Note, again, the days and hours for #class do NOT follow the typical gallery schedule. #class will be open Wednesday - Sunday, 2-8PM

Other note "
Work Space" events are when Jennifer Dalton and William Powhida will be using the space as their studios...you're welcome to watch and/or comment as they do.

Other, other note...descriptions below are the most recently available. If you have more information (or you're participating/leading one of these events and you're not mentioned, please forgive my lack of information and add such details in the comments)

Final Note (ok, so you don't believe this will actually be my final note, do you???) #class is also a piece in that the artists are attempting to create something using participation as the medium. Your participation in any or all of these is highly encouraged.

Oh, and because of weather or other things beyond our control, this schedule is subject to change...check back often.

Key: P = Performance; T = Table discussion; E = Event/Presentation

Sunday, February 21, 4-7 PM
  • Opening Reception, 4-7 PM
  • Work Space
  • P: An Xiao will present "Photoglam," during which she and her glamorous entourage will be photographing attendees during the opening reception and posting them on the Facebook event page. The photos with the top number of 'likes' will be publicly posted.
  • P: Street Reporter : Alan Lupiani is a self-styled street reporter utilizing his own blend of humor and wit to get the inside scoop regarding art news and events around New York City. Please feel free to chat with him at the opening of "#class" between 6 - 7pm."
Wednesday, February 24
  • Work Space (2-3 pm)
  • T: The System Works (6-7 pm) (Suggested by several people who would like to remain anonymous) What's wrong with the market? Well, for many artists fully invested in it, nothing! We recognize that the market has worked and continues to work for a lot of artists (including ourselves!) and #class would be a one-sided debate without inviting in artists, dealers, collectors, and others who find more right than wrong with the market-based arts-investment system. We say chance and you say luck.
Thursday, February 25
  • Work Space
  • T: Success (4-5 pm) Another open invitation to discuss how the easy and plentiful money of the art boom fueled perceptions that this one was different and that it would last forever. How does the influx of money change artists, dealers, collectors, and is it a trap that promotes a defensive, cautious position? Does success promote creative stagnation or is money what we all really miss, deep down inside in the dark place?
  • E: James Leonard - Warbonds Performance (6-7pm) How does a single human being raise an army? James Leonard asks just that with his Warbonds Performance. After conceptualizing an ambitious installation, rather than waiting for someone else to do the fundraising after his career has taken off, James has decided to take matters into his own hands. He's printed his own series of Warbond Certificates complete with multiple security features such as microprinting and a holographic foil tape. The profits from the sale of these prints will fund the manufacture of 100,000 custom toy soldiers. Through the theatric language of a quasi-para-military briefing, James will weave a web of connections between The Warbonds Project and the larger economy in which we all participate. Certificates will be available for sale, signing and sealing following the performance along with open interaction with James regarding the project and any related discussion.
Friday, February 26
  • P: Rocio Salceda - Receta (2-3 pm) Rocio Rodriguez Salceda presents "Receta," a
    one-hour performance from a symbolic "kitchen" where women from four different generations in Spain will discuss, plot and reveal secrets about how they were getting by during their time. Their voices will be represented by Rocio Rodriguez Salceda alone. Images, music, text and other ingredients from this "kitchen" will accompany the artist on this historic trip.
  • T: Access (4-5 pm) One of the defining issues at the heart of #class. Is open access for all artists even a possibility in the broadest sense of the art experience? Is it the wisdom of the crowd, a lottery drawing, or the discerning 'eye' of the curator, dealer, or tastemaker that should shape we see? Galleries are open to the public, but they are not the most inviting spaces, while public museums can cost more than a trip to the I-MAX for Avatar 3-D. Reading an issue of Artforum often feels like it requires a pocket theory translator (where is the app for that?). The complexion of the art world is a lighter shade of pale, and despite the Whitney Biennial's gender parity all is not well in the market. So, we raise the question of elitism and hegemony for #class.
  • E: Bad Curating (6 -7 pm) Stamatina Gregory and Jovana Stokic will present “Bad Curating” a presentation and open platform for discussion. More humorous than
    hypercritical, it takes on the roots, criteria, and typologies of this practice in its various incarnations.
Saturday, February 27
  • E: Powhida's Chelsea Tour (2-3 pm) William Powhida will lead an informal art walk through several Chelsea galleries encouraging people to exercise their judgment and discuss the value of the work on display turning each stop into a think space. (Hopefully we won't be thrown out for discussing the art!)
  • E: Mira Schor (4-5 pm) Painter and writer Mira Schor will read her 1990 essay “On Failure and Anonymity” and lead a discussion on how these conditions might play a positive role in making art.
  • T: Collecting with Your Eye, Not Your Ears (6-7 pm) What motivates collectors to acquire work? Is it what you hear about an artist or is it the work itself? It can't just be to fill the New Museum or flip at auction! Barry Hoggard and James Wagner have been invited to lead a discussion around how and why people build private collections, with an emphasis on the committed enthusiast with limited funds. The evening is intended to address collecting, not as a hobby, furniture or investment, but as a way of repurposing a worthy human impulse in danger of being reduced to a convention, an adornment, even a racket. The discussion will be facilitated by Julia Weist.
Sunday, February 28
  • E: Hang Out/Competition space (2-4 pm) On Sundays #class will be the only show open in Chelsea, and we encourage you to come out and help turn the show into an informal, social space. Jen and William will be making work for the market space and discussing the progression of ideas within the think space. During the day from approximately 2pm-4pm will be "Competition Time," a game-playing hangout where visitors can overtly show their competitive side and play video games, card games and board games. Come hang out, talk, have a beer, do some work on the walls, read a text, play, or maybe even make an offer on a drawing. It's the only thing going on in Chelsea.
  • E: Battleship (2-4 pm) Amanda Browder (of badatsports.com) presents FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT! You sunk my Battleship! Up with the Anchor yo ole Matey! This trip is all about BATTLESHIP! For this discussion we are going to embrace our inner art competitor! Plan for a day of actual Battleship gaming where two sides go head to head in an art conversation battle. Refereed by podcast/artist correspondent Amanda Browder, people should be ready to man your ships.
    Battle One: Formalists vs. Conceptualists.
    Battle Two: Painters vs. The World.
    Battle Three: Artist vs. Dealer
    All are welcome and encouraged to choose your weapon. At the end we will
    tally up the points and see who really reigns supreme. It's a WAR ON THE
    SHORE!
  • E: Debbie Ainscoe - Second Life (5-6 pm) Debbie Ainscoe will host an event in Second Life from the UK which will be viewed at #class. Optimists, Pessimists and Skeptics seem to revolve around technology. It is relevant to some, but not to others. The appeal of spaces like the virtual world of Second Life lies in its visual and social appeal. Boundaries physical, spatial, and creative can be crossed. Second Life is a giant sandbox where you can create in 3d and experiment without material costs.
Wednesday, March 3
  • E: El Celso - Art Shred (2-3 pm) ART SHRED is an on-site shredding service that will help artists and other participants liberate themselves of important works of art, meaningful love letters and one-of-a-kind photographs – and other significant material created, printed, or written on paper. After being sliced and diced, all works will be scattered on the gallery floor. If you have something of consequence that you would like to have shredded, e-mail celso@elcelso.com. Walk-ins welcome. link: http://elcelso.com/
  • P: Lisa Levy - Investigating Personal Obstacles to Creativity (4-5 pm) Dr. Lisa Levy, S.P. (Self-Proclaimed) will present "Investigating Personal Obstacles to Creativity and Creative Productivity," a workshop using the tools of psychoanalysis to begin to identify how personal history and emotions subvert and misdirect our actions to make creative work so we can realize our full potential as artists.
  • Work Space (6-7 pm)
Thursday, March 4
  • E: Lizabeth Rossof - Do I Have to Live in NYC? (2-3 pm) San Francisco-based artist Lizabeth Rossof will ask, "Do I have to Live in New York City?" to a cast of New York-based experts, in and out of the art world.
  • T: The Ivory Tower (4-5 pm) Organized by Sharon L Butler Art schools have drawn heavy fire recently for churning out young artists driven towards quick commercial success at the expense of their long term artistic development. Yet most artist-academics do not consciously try to instill in their students an impatient mercenary sensibility. Where, then, does it come from? Artists who are lucky (right?) enough to find full-time teaching jobs have to find a way to fit into conventional university systems that don't understand anything about art. Promotion and Tenure Committees, comprising professors from all departments, may understand the importance of gallery exhibitions, but are completely baffled by relational aesthetics, new media distribution, and other contemporary art practices. How do unorthodox artists maintain their identity and artistic integrity while working within the traditional academic system? Dialectics and lectures as art form. Hey--aren't art academics the experts in this area? How come we didn't come up with it first? Are we guilty of simply maintaining the status quo by accepting that teaching and art practice are two separate and distinct activities? Are we failing to think creatively?
  • Work Space (6-7 pm)
Friday, March 5

  • E: Carolina Miranda - Art Yoga (2-3 pm) Bow to the Art Industry: Get body and mind ready to navigate the spiritual and physical hazards of working in the art world with this 75 minute yoga class geared at those who want to re-contextualize the nature of luminal space while doing core-strengthening exercises that will keep you lithe enough to be considered for any possible art/fashion spreads in T Magazine. The class will be led by Carolina A. Miranda, a certified yoga teacher (Om Yoga Center, 2003) and art blogger. Bring your own mat and an open mind. Class capacity 18; first come first serve.
  • E: WAGE Artists (4-5 pm) WAGE Artists will present "Wake Up Call, Artists Need to be Paid Too!"
  • E: Nic Rad The Celebritist Manifesto (6-7 pm) Nic Rad will present "The Celebritist Manifesto," a stirring defense of celebrity culture as the boldest creative expression of a democratic society, in which it will become abundantly clear that James Franco is the most significant artist of the decade, if not all time.
Saturday, March 6
  • E: Leigh Waldron-Taylor - Kaprow Reading (2-3 pm) Leigh Waldron-Taylor will present "Meme no more? Has the artist become a 21stC trope?" A rereading of Allan Kaprow's "The Artist as a Man of the World" 45 years later.
  • T: Background and Identity (4-5 pm) As William Powhida wrote, "The complexion of the art world is a lighter shade of pale, and despite the Whitney Biennial's gender parity all is not well in the market." Artist An Xiao would like to invite an open table discussion about how artists' identities and backgrounds influence the perception, reception and display of their work. How do factors like perceived race, gender, age, socioeconomic status and sexual orientation affect our experience of the art world? To what extent *should* an artist's background be considered? We welcome those of all backgrounds with open arms to talk about your art, which could be worth making the implicit explicit. This panel will be moderated by writer Joanne McNeil.
  • E: Rod Verplanck, Motivational Speaker (6-7 pm) Author and motivational speaker Rod Verplanck CSP, CPAE will be giving an entertaining and inspirational talk on how to make it to the top of the Contemporary Art World. Let Rod help you unlock what is stopping you from wild creativity. Avoid the fear of overfulfillment, unshackle your ambition and face the maelstrom of horrible possibilities. Learn that the very smallness of your ideas is key to your wild success. (The opposite of what you thought!)
Sunday, March 7
  • E: Hang Out/Competition space (2-4 pm) On Sundays #class will be the only show open in Chelsea, and we encourage you to come out and help turn the show into an informal, social space. Jen and William will be making work for the market space and discussing the progression of ideas within the think space. During the day from approximately 2pm-4pm will be "Competition Time," a game-playing hangout where visitors can overtly show their competitive side and play video games, card games and board games. Come hang out, talk, have a beer, do some work on the walls, read a text, play, or maybe even make an offer on a drawing. It's the only thing going on in Chelsea.
  • P: Art Blahg - Art Wake (5-6 pm) The Art Blahg will present "Art Wake," a funeral ritual for contemporary art.
Wednesday, March 10
  • P: Man Bartlett - 24h #class Action (Wed, March 10, 5pm – Thu, March 11, 5pm) Man Bartlett will be presenting "24h #class action," a marathon group intervention involving systematically blowing up hundreds of skinny balloons and popping them, without creating or harming any cute little puppies.
  • E: Jennifer Dalton - Access Begins with Education (11 am - 12 pm) Jennifer Dalton will present "Access Starts with Education and Education Starts with Access," in which she'll lead her son's Bedford-Stuyvesant public school kindergarten class on a short Chelsea art walk, ending up at Winkleman Gallery to eat lunch and make an art project about what they've seen.
  • E: Suzanne Stroebe and Caitlin Rueter - Feminist Tea Party (2-4 pm) Caitlin Rueter and Suzanne Stroebe will host a Feminist Tea Party, an event that lies somewhere in between a contemporary consciousness raising group, a panel discussion, a performance, and a joke. They will create an installation of sorts, with a table set for tea, complete with tablecloth, porcelain cups, finger sandwiches and cookies. While attempting to maintain a visual and stylistic protocol consistent with an afternoon tea party, they will engage visitors in a dialogue around contemporary women's issues that contrasts sharply with the formal, prissy setting.
  • Q & A with Magda Sawon, Art Dealer (6:15 pm - 7:15 pm) Magda Sawon of Postmasters Gallery will host "Ask the Art Dealer," vowing to truthfully answer any and every question posed to her as long as it does not involve her weight, social security number or other people's money. We're starting to collect questions now, if you post one in the comments here it will get asked!
Thursday, March 11
  • P: Man Bartlett - 24h #class Action continues (Wed, March 10, 5pm – Thu, March 11, 5pm) Man Bartlett will be presenting "24h #class action," a marathon group intervention involving systematically blowing up hundreds of skinny balloons and popping them, without creating or harming any cute little puppies.
  • Work Space (2-3 pm)
  • P: Rebecca Goyette Market U (6-7 pm) Rebecca Goyette will present "Market U," an art critique as experiential theatre. The Ringmaster of Market University will review the live examples of artwork of selected recent graduates of of various NYC MFA Programs including Market U. A panel of judges, internationally recognized art critics, gallery owners and artists who work for Market U will be the jury... or will you?
Friday, March 12
  • E: Yevgeniy Fiks - Communist Artists (2-3 pm) Yevgeniy Fiks will present a slide-lecture titled "Communist Modern Artists and the Art Market," showing how many of the the most highly valued art of the 20th century was produced by artists who considered themselves communists (Picasso, Leger, Kahlo, Rivera and more).
  • E: Bernard Klevickas - Labor Class (4-5 pm) Bernard Klevickas will present "Labor Class-." Learn what it is like to construct a masterpiece." From 2000-2005 Klevickas worked at an art foundry fabricating art for Jeff Koons, Louise Bourgeois, Frank Stella and others. This will be a great opportunity to hear what the experience is like from the labor and production side of things.
  • T: The Critics (6-7 pm) What will happen when some of New York's most prominent critics come to the table at #class? We have a few brave volunteers to bring the critic's perspective to the discussion, but we are looking for other voices out there in the trenches.
Saturday, March 13
  • P: Bryan Zanisnik - Judicial Review (2-3 pm) Bryan Zanisnik will present "Judicial Review," a performance and panel discussion that brings together practicing lawyers and professional artists. By drawing parallels between a legal profession and an arts profession, Zanisnik's piece will address issues of professionalism, academicism, and ethical anomalies that exist within the art world.
  • T: Nocation, Nocation, Nocation (4-5 pm) How does not having a traditional brick and mortar space affect the roles of independent curators, pop-up galleries, roving spaces, independent dealers? Is it a matter or resistance, a new business model, a niche role in the market, or a reaction to the recession as fixed costs displace dealers and empty real estate creates new opportunities? What's happening out in Bushwick? We want to hear from you.
  • T: The System Doesn't Work (6-7 pm) What's wrong with the market?! Well, for many artists with nothing invested in it, everything! We recognize that even just getting access to the market seems to be based on pedigree, insider connections, randomness, and a byzantine social hierarchy right out 18th Century France. Then there's what happens when you work within the system; ruthless competition, sellouts to zero sales, dealers vanishing in the night, bounced checks, no art reviews, and a sense of ever impending doom. If this sounds like your perspective and luck is as likely as hitting a Win For Life scratch off, then we'd love to have you at the table.
Sunday, March 14
  • E: Hang Out/Competition space (2-4 pm) On Sundays #class will be the only show open in Chelsea, and we encourage you to come out and help turn the show into an informal, social space. Jen and William will be making work for the market space and discussing the progression of ideas within the think space. During the day from approximately 2pm-4pm will be "Competition Time," a game-playing hangout where visitors can overtly show their competitive side and play video games, card games and board games. Come hang out, talk, have a beer, do some work on the walls, read a text, play, or maybe even make an offer on a drawing. It's the only thing going on in Chelsea.
  • E: Jennifer & Kevin McCoy's Collector Focus Group (5-6 pm) Jennifer & Kevin McCoy will lead "Let's Figure Out What They Want," a collector focus group. They aim to ask direct questions not only about what art piques collectors' interests, but also what their expectations are vis a vis the presence of the artist's life behind the work.
Wednesday, March 17
  • E: Phil Buehler - Advertising Methods (2-3 pm)
  • T: Art World as High School (4-5 pm) You can't possibly have a discussion about the art market without thinking about New York as a series of carefully placed lunchroom tables where even the subtlest glance, bit of gossip, or movement can set off a fight. Are you a cool kid? A rich kid? A fat kid? A jock? A nerd? An Outcast? Think about it, and if you want to address how reputation, coolness, likability, personality, wealth, and other social aspects shape the art world, please volunteer to have a deeply uncomfortable discussion.
  • E: "My Sweatshop, My Sweet," (6-7 pm) Mary Walling Blackburn examines the art world's unregulated romance with the factory. Kisses to the workers and warm hugs to the product!
Thursday, March 18
  • Work Space (2-3 pm)
  • E: Zachary Cohen - Social Media (4-5 pm) Zachary Adam Cohen will be presenting on social media as a flattening agent in the art world and its implications for broadening the discussion and community of the arts. He will also touch on issues of the unsustainability of the art world, the concept of Free and gift societies and how they relate to the current art market. He may propose the installation and adoption of artificial price support mechanisms and touch on the issue of collusion. His goal is to promote a bottom up, people powered movement in the art world with the power to continually restore and repair damaged nodes, as well as offering up a much needed dose of transparency into the current system.
  • E: MTAA - Autotrace Artists (6:30 - 7:30 pm) MTAA will demonstrate "Autotrace," a completely automatic, software-generated appropriation and shape creation system.
Friday, March 19
  • T: Bolshevik! (2-3 pm) An open invitation to Marxists (and sympathizers!) to have a special dialog about the aging alternative to Capitalism.
  • E: Franklin Einspruch - Conceptualism for Sale (4-5 pm) Franklin Einspruch will give a lecture entitled "Conceptualism for Sale: How the Art World Uses Low Standards for Fun and Profit."
  • E: Kimberly Wright - Collectors' Tastes Presentation (6-7 pm)
Saturday, March 20

  • E: Zoe Sheehan Saldana - Art Wrap (all day) Free Gift Wrapping! Anyone who buys an artwork during the run of the show can have it gift-wrapped by Zoë Sheehan Saldaña in handmade brown paper and twine.
  • E: Dr. Gloria and Dr. Kristin's Writing School (2-3 pm) Princeton University writing professors Dr. Gloria and Dr. Kristin will lead partipants in a thinking and writing exercise to assess the value of their assessments of value. Every participant will leave with a renewed understanding and a letter grade.
  • Work Space (4-6pm)
  • E: RANT NIGHT (6-????) On the final night of the show we will host "Rant Night," where everyone is encouraged to come and let it rip on whatever's still bothering you.
Month-long events during #class
  • Sarah Smizz will give away free posters featuring her "Maps of the Art System."
  • Hyperallergic has prepared $ECRET$ OF THE NEW YORK ART WORLD, which invites visitors to reveal who in the city's art industry owes them money. Will the pyramid scheme that is the art world collapse when the secrets come out? Hyperallergic hopes so.
  • Rebecca Armstrong will present "Working Artist," a contract-based performance art piece that sets up an agreement between an artist and collector by which the artist is paid for labor rather than product, thus ostensibly freeing the art-making process from the market. The contract is currently unsigned.
  • Broadsheet, the zine by two lady artists with their knickers in a twist, will make its long-awaited return with a Broad vs. Broad smackdown on the pros and cons of working for free.
  • [name withheld by artist's request in the spirit of open content] has organized "Shut Up Already, I'll Look at your Art!" open source call to artists on the "Outside" to have their work viewed by an "Insider". For this project, gallerist Ed Winkleman will spend a portion of his time in the gallery during #class reviewing digital images of art sent via the internet to #class by artists globally. Artists will be asked to submit a digital image of one piece of art to be reviewed by Mr. Winkleman for at least 10 seconds, TWICE the average time museum goers spend viewing a piece of art. (the website for this is almost ready...)
  • (Day)Job--the very name is a qualifier--implying that it isn’t one’s “job” per se--though, in the case of many (most?) cultural producers, it may be the only income generating job*. * /(Day)Job/ is a photo- archive of cultural producers and their “dayjobs,” self-posted using the social networking reach of Facebook. Artists Tara Fracalossi and Thomas Lail ask: How do we define ourselves? How do we want to be defined? What’s
    /your/ (Day)Job? Join the Facebook Group /(Day)Job/ (www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=313416103889&ref=ts) and post your
    photographic answer.
Again, please let me know if your event is not listed or the details seem incorrect.

And please understand that this event came together, through a lot of hard work by a lot of people, but especially by Jen and Bill, within the space of one month. Hang with us if anything doesn't run as smoothly as more polished events...that's actually not the goal here.

UPDATE: Jennifer Dalton has assured me that the market space section of #class will indeed include "art...made by one person out of intense personal necessity, ... by hand.

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Friday, February 12, 2010

Final Days of Pine and Noses

Bambino and I were just noticing the other day that we're finally feeling at home in our new space (at least we're not walking past it to go to the old space any more).

We have been absolutely delighted to present the work of Ulrich Gebert as our inaugural exhibition here, but, alas, as with all good things, Uli's show is ending tomorrow. Here's a few of the online responses to the work:
I saw a horoscope for my sign this morning that noted true happiness will be found in the outdoors this weekend. In Manhattan, gallery hopping counts as "getting outdoors." If you find yourself in our neck of the woods, stop on in and catch the last days of "This Much is Certain."


Ulrich Gebert
Typus (tableau 9)
2005
C-prints, framed, museum glass
67" x 59" (170 x 150 cm)
Edition of 3, plus 1 AP


Image above: Ulrich Gebert, Life among beasts G, 2009, 3 silver gelatin prints mounted on aluminum, 36" x 57" (91 x 145 cm), Edition of 3, plus 1 AP

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Stranger Wore White

In an effort to highlight the absurdity of most US states' laws on marriage, a Florida artist will get hitched tomorrow (he has the license to do so, anyway) to a woman he doesn't know but who answered his open call for a wife. The Orlando Sentinel's explains:
Where does performance art meet political protest?

When Brian Feldman marries Hannah Miller, an event scheduled for sometime after 3 p.m. Friday at the Orange County Courthouse. (Weddings are first-come, first-served, so you never know. The office closes at 4.)

Feldman, who does some outlandish things for outlandish reasons, has a pretty strong motivation for marrying a woman he doesn’t know. (Miller insists they’ve met a few times, but Feldman seems vague about it. “It’s a small arts community,” he says.)

He’s trying to point out the craziness of a state system that will allow near-strangers to marry, as long as they’re of opposite sexes, but will not allow marriages for committed partners of the same sex.

It's hard, as someone unable to marry my partner of 8 years, not to feel utterly exasperated by this, but in reading the comments on Maupin's story, I realized that same-sex inequality isn't the only absurdity this performance highlights. It also makes a mockery of the country's so-called Marriage fraud laws designed to keep immigrants from remaining in the country via private arrangements with American citizens. In those cases, the Attorney General sees it as his/her duty to interfere and make a determination as to whether two people really want to be married or whether their marriage is "fraudulent." And yet, although there is no way that Feldman and his bride could pass the same interview that couples are forced to undergo when one of them is not a citizen, his marriage will not be legally "fraudulent."

In thinking through why this might not strike all Americans as absurd, I do realize that what the immigration laws + Feldman's performance (let alone celebrity liaisons in Las Vegas) essentially say is that many in this nation feel that any two citizens of opposite sex and a certain age should be able to marry for any reason, any reason at all, if they see fit to do so. In other words, the argument would seem to be that marriage is a private matter so long as you are a citizen and fall within a certain demographic.

What that underscores quite clearly, though, is that what is really at stake in the marriage debates is access (and the ability to deny access) to a valuable societal status symbol. "We are legitimate and therefore entitled to the status and its benefits, and you are not." It also makes perfectly clear that all the chatter about protecting children and traditional values is a smokescreen for bigotry. If it weren't, Feldman's performance would also be illegal.

As Maupin noted, it will be telling to see whether "the people who claim that gay marriages harm the institution of marriage will show up to protest this one."

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