Friday, April 08, 2011

How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall? Or, When Do You Call It Quits? Open Thread



via Sully
Tucker, our one and a half year old Schnoodle, plays the piano and sings along at least 3 or 4 times every day. In spite of all of his practicing, he really isn't getting any better at it.
Practice makes perfect, or so they say. But what about when it doesn't? What do you take as the "signs from God" that you're not as well as suited for the life you've chosen as you've always hoped you would be? When do you throw in the towel or keep looking for what it is you're meant to do here?

I mean, there's a buffet of aphorisms to choose from if you're looking for cheap bumper sticker encouragement (...I LOVE the item in that search result with the link "Printable christian aphorisms of encouragement" ...as if to imply there were also some "non-printable Christian aphorisms" ... OK, you've piqued my interest...let me see 'em!).

You know them, the sort of encouragement I mean: "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again." Or my favorite of all time: "Ever tried, Ever failed. No Matter. Try Again. Fail Again. Fail Better." --Samuel Beckett.

However, if we're honest, you and I both know it: some people will never reach the top of their field. No matter how much they try. They don't have the chops. Which is perfectly OK if reaching some level of achievement is not their goal. Who's to stop anyone from carrying on doing what they love?

But I'm not talking about them. I'm talking about those who are not happy doing what they love...I'm talking about those who are miserable because they're not getting the recognition they feel they deserve, while you and I and everyone else involved are pretty damn sure they never will. It's not that they're trying (in the sense of giving it their best shot); but rather that eventually they're trying (in the sense of working your last nerve). You want to tell them "you're just not that good" in response to their bellyaching about how the system is rigged against them or some other self-deluded excuse for the lack of recognition.

Why we don't say that, usually, is out of kindness or understanding that it really doesn't hurt us (that much) if they continue to toil under unrealistic expectations. Or, we don't say it to them because we secretly fear the same is true for ourselves, and if we let that monster out of its cage, it won't rest until it's mauled us all. In the end, it's probably not anyone else's place to say something so harsh to another person anyway...if they never realize it themselves, well, there's always caller ID to protect us from them.

But individually, it does begin to dawn on many of us that we never will make it to Carnegie Hall (without buying a ticket, at least), and we're left with either readjusting our expectations or giving up on that dream. Accepting one's place in the scheme of things can be comforting (or so I'm told). Slowing down long enough to understand how one's contributions are important to the whole can be very rewarding (again, or so I'm told).

Consider this an open thread on reading the writing on the wall and deciding what to do about it.

Labels: ,

40 Comments:

Anonymous Troy L Curry said...

GIVE YOURSELF OVER

4/08/2011 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger Joanne Mattera said...

Let me offer the perspective of someone’s who has been “in the life” for 30 years. The very distinction of top assumes that something has to be underneath it—supporting it in the case of a structure, or more existentially, part of a larger mass that’s not defined as “top.” Given the structure of the art world—just so many galleries, art fairs, grants, art magazines—most artists (and gallerists, too) are destined to “fail.”

Art in America, for instance, publishes 10 issues a year. That’s 10 covers. In a decade that’s 100 artists who get the primo spot. In a century, 1000 artists. Well over 1000 artists are pumped out of art school every year in the Northeast alone! So by “Carnegie Hall” standards, failure is the default mode.

But look at the resume of the “average” unsung artist. There are solo exhibitions, museum shows, grants and awards, residencies, travel abroad with international exhibitions, private collectors and good collections, sales, perhaps even enough sales to support one’s studio or actually pay the bills. And some very good work.

So I’d like to introduce a different analogy: the mountain range. Everything is elevated, there are peaks of different heights, but the view from anywhere is more encompassing than on the ground. I don’t think it’s so much a matter of “accepting one’s place” in the art world as acknowledging that like topography, not everything is a peak, not everything is a valley, and there’s a fair amount of movement up and down the slopes.

(Then there are those boulders: sexism, racism, ageism. Another topic for another time.)

4/08/2011 12:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Out of the hundreds of artists I know, most of whom have very distinguished resumes and show at very good galleries, exactly ONE lives off of their work. And he shows at one of the bluest chip galleries in the world, maybe one of the top 3 in NYC and is universally beloved by critics.

so I don't think it's necessarily about having the chops, but about being able to afford to live a bare bones existence & or juggle an art practice and a day job into middle and old age.

4/08/2011 01:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are many artists making an extraordinary living off their work whose art isn't particularly good (a certain painter of light comes to mind), and many serious, dedicated, extremely talented artists who would rather die than paint a snow-covered cottage or a golf course or a downhill skier rendered in palette-knife strokes. Instead they're showing locally, regionally in co-ops (or not at all) because they either don't know how to approach commercial galleries or are afraid to try. It's dangerous to equate money and success, though inevitably there's that connection.

4/08/2011 01:24:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

it's dangerous to equate money and success,

I agree, which is why I was careful to equate success with "the recognition they feel they deserve" and "reaching some level of achievement," without ever mentioning money. "Carnegie Hall" is an ambiguous analogy for "success" (especially within the fine art world) and chosen for just that reason.

4/08/2011 01:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Terri said...

Before Modernism, "the chops" in art were easier to recognize -- more skill-based and less talk-based. (In fact, it was probably the advent of Modernism that created the schism between those-who-can-recognize-their-talent, and those-who-cannot.)

Subjectivity replaced distinction, and all of the prior notions of what made good art flew out the window.

Every revolution has it's positive and negative effects on society, and one of the negative effects of Modernism was absolute access to being a self-proclaimed Artist no matter how great the lack of talent. There is no agreed-upon yardstick anymore, and what you may think/know is trash/cr*p, someone else may literally acclaim as Art.

(Good things came out of Modernism, too; it's just that we're talking about the lack of the ability to distinguish "good" from "bad" art here, which is a great weakness that was actually backhandedly enforced by the Modernist movement.)

4/08/2011 01:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ed, "success" is the sticky word here beccause it means so many things. Is success the ability to earn a living? It is getting solo shows and selling well? Is it getting the press? It is being held in high regard by one's peers? Our New York definition of success, especially if it's achieved in New York, limits the playing field for most artists.

And yet, giving up is really not an option for most of us. This is what we trained for. Most important, this is not only what we do but who we ARE.

4/08/2011 02:17:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

OK, this is going no where...same platitudes, same cliches

don't any of the people commenting as "anonymous" know of an artist (or dealer or curator or critic) who blames everyone else for them not reaching their goals (whether those be representing the US at Venice or receiving a Pultizer or being accepted into TEFAF or whatever), when the hard truth is that they're simply not good enough to reach that goal?

4/08/2011 02:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Bernard Klevickas said...

That Dog is Brilliant!
Better than John Cage.

4/08/2011 02:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Bernard Klevickas said...

OK...OK.
Not fair to compare.
Apples to oranges...
er...dogs to people.
That dog just needs a good agent!

4/08/2011 02:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Terri said...

Blogger Edward_ said...
"...when the hard truth is that they're simply not good enough to reach that goal?"

Okay, lets agree to totally dismiss the "artists" who everyone can agree lack talent or skill or the ability to sufficiently BS about their very poor "art" work (it's still contentious, but we have to begin somewhere with some assertion or else it's not even worth discussing). Once we drop out that group, we are left with many many people who have *some* talent or skill or ability to sufficiently BS about their work as to be "passing" it off as art.

Then the trouble begins.

Who decides what is "good enough"? Art Critics, Gallerists, and Curators can't even agree on any of that -- and we pretend that they are the ones who should KNOW. It's truly a crapshoot for success -- once an "artist" gets to an acceptable level of talent/skill/ability to BS -- so is it any wonder that they blame the gatekeepers?

The gatekeepers are very inconsistent in their choices, and they fight amongst themselves -- it's like all of the "qualified" artists have to fight for Mommy and Daddy's attention while Mommy and Daddy are busy living out their *own* fantasies of reaching their *own* goals....

I don't suggest that blame is the way to go, but haven't we as a society been indoctrinated to fight against authority (a banner especially held high by artists) -- and the authorities in this situation are the gatekeepers.

I feel for you as a Gallerist, but every occupation is a choice, and every situation has pros and cons. Either accept having to diplomatically explain why an artist's work isn't good enough (and contend with the fact that someone higher up the Art Industry food chain may reverse your decision at a later date), or learn a way to dismiss both them and your frustration in a non-toxic way. *shrug*

4/08/2011 03:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

original anon here (not the later ones)

"...when the hard truth is that they're simply not good enough to reach that goal?"

but, Ed, what does that mean?

I just don't think there is much correlation between how good an artist is and how much success they have.

I agree with the earlier post this is an unintended consequence of modernism. There is simply no metric by which one can measure the quality of an artwork or a body of work anymore.

There are many, many reasons an artist can succeed in the marketplace, or not....including, but not limited to their family connections, where/when they went to school, their personality, their sexual attractiveness, geographic location, and just plain dumb luck.

Not saying talent doesn't matter, but all the talent in the world won't overcome enough disadvantages in the above mentioned categories.

4/08/2011 04:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Terri said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
"Not saying talent doesn't matter, but all the talent in the world won't overcome enough disadvantages in the above mentioned categories."

And, all other things being equal, a sexy personality almost always tips the scales in their favor, doesn't it? (Sad but true.)

4/08/2011 05:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Charles Browning said...

@Terri and AnonAnon - yes, yes, that's all true - it's a social business and if you are confident, charming, eloquent, etc. you'll go farther. In fact, you'll probably go farther in most things.

Those elements aside, Ed is talking about the artist who lacks talent and can't recognize it, or about our own recognition of when we may have reached the peak of our abilities.

The first lacks talent in part because they lack the ability to self-reflect. To look at one's self and one's work objectively is a crucial skill for an artist. I can nudge such a person to reflect on their work in it's contemporary context, but ultimately it's a problem I can't solve for them.

And as for reaching my peak, I like Joanne's response, but believe that, even if I'm crawling along like a mountaineer on Everest, I can always take another step. Just have to be aware enough not to step off the cliff.

4/09/2011 08:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I side with Ed on this one..
And I do have friends that are a bit delusional, but so am I.

I work with a few good galleries and have a lot of exhibitions coming up but I am still left asking myself the same question: Is the work terrible and I cannot see it but seem to have convinced those around me that it may be worthwhile or valuable?

I think that is a somewhat healthy question to ask as it allows room for continual improvement and the search for new ideas.

J,

4/09/2011 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

I think that is a somewhat healthy question to ask as it allows room for continual improvement and the search for new ideas.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!!

Finally!!!

Someone sees it!

The rest of you who missed it: YOU HAVE DETENTION and will be forced to write "I will seek room for continual improvement and the search for new ideas" 10,000 times. :-p

4/09/2011 11:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Diana said...

Yikes!!! Since I recently sent you a link to my new website--of course I think you are talking about me. But I always think that I have all the diseases I read about on line also. But seriously--Artists get a little grumpy when they feel like no one cares and do tend to vent. But as Joanne says--getting recognition is simply not probable for most artists--just interms of numbers alone --not even taking quality into account. So no wonder everyone is griping. It is a bit depressing being compared to a piano playing Schnoodle.

4/09/2011 01:20:00 PM  
Anonymous rory said...

I think genuinely enjoying what you do and getting some satisfaction out of it trumps recognition every time.
Success, failure, and recognition happen in your studio not outside of it.

4/09/2011 03:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Terri said...

Blogger Edward_ said...
"'I think that is a somewhat healthy question to ask as it allows room for continual improvement and the search for new ideas.'

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!!

Finally!!!

Someone sees it!"

Continual learning and progressing as an artist is a given. (Anyone who stops progressing is dead already -- lol!)

Edward, you were looking for an odd response to your blog post, and that's probably why it took a while for someone to give you what you wanted....

4/09/2011 05:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ed says

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!!


No kidding...any artist (or writer, or musician etc...) worth their salt is periodically racked with self doubt. Comes with the territory.

But I still disagree strenuously with the thesis that talent is the number one determinant of success. It isn't. My significant other, who loves art but isn't an artist, always says that there are too many damn artists, millions of them...most of whom are at least pretty solid and many of whom are extremely talented - but most of them have no chance due to their sheer numbers. She says it's depressing in a way.

So the fact that someone isn't having any luck with the art market, or the art world, means very little as to whether or not they have chops. Or whether they seek continuous improvement in the studio.

If a tree falls in the forest....?

And this is coming from someone who has had more success than probably 95% of artists in New York so I don't have a personal axe to grind.

4/09/2011 05:48:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

I still disagree strenuously with the thesis that talent is the number one determinant of success

Who said it was the number one determinant of success? I'm saying that a lack of talent is a good explanation for a lack of success.

Self-doubt is not the only thing I'm getting at here: self-awareness is even more important. It takes a while, it can be painful, but when it does finally occur to you, it's good if there's an ongoing, open, honest dialog about how to deal with it. There's far too much denial in this thread.

4/09/2011 06:12:00 PM  
Blogger David Cauchi said...

Are we witnessing the Dunning-Kruger effect?

It certainly gives one pause.

4/09/2011 09:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Terri said...

Blogger Edward_ said...
"There's far too much denial in this thread."

Calling it denial is a little all-encompassing. It is merely a different perspective which you may not be willing to consider.

Everyone has their own experiences, and to reject that is a bit one-sided. Self-awareness is a mirror. : )

4/09/2011 11:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Beck said...

My 13-year-old niece wants to be a pop star. God bless her, I love her more than I can say, but it's just not likely to happen. Still, I don't want her to stop singing.

Self-doubt is (in part) what keeps me from trying to get into a gallery. Some of my paintings are just flat-out decor and I know it. They're fun to paint, people find them visually pleasing, but they are not particularly challenging.

Self-awareness and growth are bringing a new dimension to my choices in subject matter, and attempts to expand whatever technique I may have. I find stretching this way very gratifying but it could be pure crap to everyone else. Objectivity about my own work is difficult. Yes, there is an amount of risk any artist must take to show beyond friends and family, and even if I find that courage maybe it will fall flat with a broader audience. But I don't think I would stop painting even if it did.

Not sure if this enhances the conversation much, but here you go.

4/09/2011 11:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Gam said...

there is a corollary that has nestled in my brain about your greatest asset being your greatest weakness and your greatest weakness being your greatest strength.

A case in point: for humanity, that we when we almost get something, the closer we get to it, the more we are apt to keep trying ... learning and mastering almost everything. The child stumbles, the parent pick -em up and they go at it again , got a B+ on your exam, try a little harder and next time you'll probably get an A ...almost is a great incentive for individuals and is one of the driving forces for individual growth and humanities evolution, we get better and better. The corollary to the almost = next time a big winner is the our actions in a casino. The one armed bandits are designed so that you continually win lots of little almosts - yet it's obvious for the casino to stay in business, for the big picture the game will never reach that beyond the almost - the big pot will almost always be out of reach for the individual. So we become addicted to the little almost wins and end up losing big time in the end. Yet the same behavior in other circumstances is a really good thing.

Obviously, the artist needs to keep trying in order to develop, yet risks becoming addicted to simply trying the same ol'thing again and again and again, continuously in an endless loop.

That's probably where the circle of others comes in. If the artist can't step back and see where they are in terms of interesting development, then maybe the "others" who do have some more distance from their art, can offer alternate feedback which can break that looped behavior. It's the looped aspect which is dangerous in some circumstances. That you keep trying isn't the problem (it's actually a good thing). It's keeping trying where there is no forward movement which is dangerous. (our greate4st strength having become our greatest weakness) Probably most psychiatric concerns are involved in this same "looping behavior" mechanism.

It's important not to blame the "try again" mechanism, it is its application in a given circumstance which is the real problem. Second opinions are good for revealing its misapplication.

The "others" is yet another area where the artist needs to choose wisely.

4/10/2011 07:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well we can partially agree to disagree. Yes, at a minimum you need talent. But it takes so, so much more to succeed. Including a huge dose of good luck.

I would imagine that those artists who pack it in due to a lack of talent do so pretty early on, not after 10 or 20 years of struggle (which all the talent in the world won't necessarily prevent)

4/10/2011 09:51:00 AM  
Blogger Christopher Quirk said...

Ed,

Your post conflates success and recognition. These are two very different concepts. Recognition comes from others. It's what some mean by success. There is security in having people in the establishment tell you what you are doing is good. It's a sweet tonic, and can douse the internal fires of doubt, at least for a while.

There is another standard for success that comes from within. It comes from an examination about how you live your life and do your work. If you can do that and find accord within yourself, you are possessed of a more profound success than others can provide. That kind of success is strong enough to stand up to the tempests that regularly blow through a life devoted to creation, and to the vagaries of how recognition is conferred.

4/10/2011 12:15:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Calling it denial is a little all-encompassing

Expanding my specific response to a few very specific comments to suggest my assessment represents a rejection of everyone else's experience is a little all-encompassing too, no? ;-P

Your post conflates success and recognition.

I'm not at all sure it does, but rather than split hairs, let me clarify that I see "success" as reaching your goals, whatever those may be, and I'm addressing a specific, widespread lack of self-awareness about what is really preventing people from reaching those goals. That "thing" is often talent, but it may be other things as well (lack of focus, discomfort with one element essential to success, inhibitions, etc.). Less frequently is it (despite being too often asserted) an outside force. Less frequently still is it a conspiracy.

4/11/2011 08:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Mery Lynn said...

I know tons (literally) of people doing very good work with little or no recognition. And we all complain - that the rules shifted from demonstrating an experienced body of work to showing off new hot bodies, from one ism to another. As a gallery owner, you probably do have a slew of untalented folks coming by insisting on being taken seriously and it probably is very very irritating. But complaining is a normal reaction. Read Faulkner's letters - they are non stop complaints.

4/11/2011 01:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Ed that there's a lot of denial in this thread.

Art school teaches two dangerous mindsets:

1. Belief in yourself and your vision at the expense of what other people think.

2. Belief that white-knuckling it through all the rejection is virtuous.

These two mindsets are a recipe for becoming irrelevant to others and having an overly inflated sense of one's own worth. Over time, as artists virtuously refuse to work with people, bend or change, find one's actual value in relationship to something larger than oneself or otherwise Compromise Their Precious Vision... many become martyrous, self-aggrandizing, bitter whiners with zero attachment to reality. I've lived through that, a lot of my friends have as well.

You know what I think would help? The face-saving mechanisms for artists (see above) are awful, and are all about continuing to make art--toiling virtuously in obscurity for the personal love of ART when humans are social creatures and are happiest when what they do means something to someone else. Artists languish in dayjobs getting more and more bitter and feeling more and more wasted.

There is no face-saving narrative for an artist who has seen that they are headed down the self-aggrandizing road and simply wants to do better. The derision you get for openly kicking your art career is intense.

There are too many MFAs being produced for everyone to get to be Jackson Pollock, and the idea that 95% of us get to be bitter old art handlers with a Jackson Pollock Complex is too wasteful to tolerate. This is a wide cultural world that needs plenty of creative people! Why aren't more artists looking outside the system, looking to reinvent themselves away from these self-destroying narratives?

Why buy into a world where 95% fail outright, and failure is as hard to see and as destructive as a gambling habit?

(What's your student loan debt? What's your credit card bill? Are you still jumping at the opportunity to self-fund huge projects for arts nonprofits in a last-ditch effort to "Make It"?)

What's really ironic is that my most successful MFA colleagues did nothing in relationship to the market. They went and did interesting things, and the market found them. Most of the people I know with gallery representation weren't looking for it.

The hardest and most important thing I ever said to myself is "The Art World Is Just Not That Into You, and That's OK."

4/12/2011 08:42:00 AM  
Blogger markcreegan said...

I think to some degree we are all a little self-delusional. Its probably a prerequisite for having at least a modicum of ambition. I do think most artists I encounter, including myself, exist in that mountain range area Joanne mentioned, a place where our ambition is only slightly out of whack with our competence.

But as a teacher and now a gallery owner I have come across that rarer, super-deluded person where their lack of self-awareness is pathological. And we all know those who blame everyone else but themselves.

But to the question Ed has of whether one should tell someone else they lack talent, I have an anecdote from my distant past when I was just out of school. It demonstrates a possible kindly tactic. Years ago I sent a submission packet to a gallery I highly respected, one that would often be reviewed in AiA or Art Papers. The rejection letter I got back included, considerately, a list of some other galleries they thought may be more receptive to my work. When I researched this list I was crushed to see a bunch of beaux-art, frame-shop type galleries. Well, that was a humiliating yet very educational experience, and it contributed to a massive re-direction. I know that suggesting one needs to pursue a different context for their work is different than saying outright one is untalented, but it’s the closest thing I have. Perhaps I just moved from a greater delusion to a slightly lesser one?

My point is the process of re-assessment is a fluid one. And, perhaps it is a bit delusional of me when I am looking at images of exhibits on Tryharder or checking out the roster of artists in galleries listed in Contemporary Art Venues and saying “I could show with those chaps!”. But it is also part of me checking to see if my work is relevant, and if I am taking enough risks conceptually and materially and making compelling work, which is part of my job.

4/12/2011 02:20:00 PM  
Blogger Eva said...

Consider this an open thread on reading the writing on the wall and deciding what to do about it.

I had that opportunity about a decade ago. For a couple of years, things were very dull – worse than dull. I wasn’t getting anywhere. I was a malcontent.

Looking for some date on something, I delved into an early diary. I have them all since I was 12 and all the highs and lows are there. A side-benefit of this recherché was that I came across a time, early in my life and art career, when I was really optimistic, productive and happy. I kept on reading - some of that wasn’t easy. It hit me like a ton of bricks, what I had lost along the way.

Some of the early success was completely reliant on a state of mind (one that isn’t bitter or stingy). With very little resources, my friends and I created opportunities, we rented our own spaces, wrote our own fanzines. To give was empowering. Of course as I was reading all of this, I was well aware of how old I was. But it became clear to me that the beau role was about not just the making of art but in living it in every way.

It’s not just that my work was bad per se. But it wasn’t me, truly, and since it wasn’t, no wonder the rest didn't follow.

To get it back meant readjusting life in the studio and to some degree, lessening the importance of whatever particular object I made. On the outside maybe no one knew, but on the inside I had started over. And it wasn’t necessarily about ditching everything – some of it was actually a retrieval.

Everyone’s is different. There’s no mold, whatever they say. Every time I think that the art world is built upon some grand consensus, I see exceptions to that rule.

4/12/2011 10:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sometimes its just different...not good,not bad!!!

STAGG

4/13/2011 02:53:00 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

Professors have to deal with this all the time as the primary gatekeepers. You don't want to be the one who said that Andy Warhol's work sucked, but you want to give students the impression that if you are talented and work hard, "it" will happen. I usually tell students that they should only continue if they feel that making art is what they simply HAVE to do, they have no other choice.

I have one or two friends who have awful work and complain about the art world. It is always tempting to say something, because they sometimes seem to be in such a state of pain and bewilderment. I don't because they seem to get something out of doing the work. If they were miserable about doing the work AND their lack of success, that would be a good entrée for a conversation.

Like most artists I know, I vacillate between thinking I'm a genius and thinking I am wasting my time with all of this. I consider giving up the pursuit of success in the art world, but would never give up making the work.


I have quite a few mid-career friends who have given up on ever being in the Whitney Biennial, but I have found positive visualization to be a great tool in my career. I would be intensely depressed if I ever gave up some of those great life goals.... reach for the moon, and you will end up amongst the stars, etc.

4/13/2011 03:06:00 PM  
Blogger Hans said...

I personally believe that the Gallery system is dead and that an art system is simply not effective to throw 98% of all art made down the litter without even looking at it. Why, when storage digital space becomes cheaper every day, we just need the interesting new forms of display (and recognition) to develop. Did you ever try to vote on these Saatchi Showdowns through lots of crap to find the really cool piece in between ? These are the Artists you sorted out. Lots of Gallery works is crap as well, I really rarely found any Gallerist with an understanding of art, glad to have found this blog five years ago.

Every human must become not only an artist but also an art collector to buy all that art that is produced + and any art is good, just often we fail to see it's qualities.

I would like to have this huge screens in my living room, where I can order and display my favorite art pieces, be it a digital displayed Cezanne, or a looping animation. I also feel, that the former so strong aura of the Original somehow lost it's impact, maybe due to the overwhelming time we spend in front of screens and digital images.

Loved Mr. Winkleman's topic and the more the comments, sorry not completely relating to it, but best regards from the Caucasus by Hans

4/13/2011 05:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Oriane Stender said...

Re Kates comment:
How does one give up or not give on ever being included in the Whitney Bi? Do you send out a press release saying you will no longer consider being considered, in case anyone were to consider you for the WB? Does one go about making the work differently after this giving up point? With a mindset of "I am no longer making the work of someone who expects/deserves to be in the WB"? If so, it's hard for me to picture what they are making art for in the first place.

4/14/2011 07:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Marilyn said...

This is a painful question that those of us who will likely never make it to the Whitney probably should face at some point. Every new year finds me examining this question again, and re-adjusting my highest goals based on how far I've come vs. the advancing years.

I decided that I will consider myself a "success" in art when I have the respect of my peers, when I've got a resume that reflects that, when I'm getting sufficient good press, and most importantly, when I am really happy with the work I am doing. I make progress every year, but it seems to be taking a really long time.

Still, every day I awake with optimism that today I may create some good work. Some nights I go to bed with the satisfaction that I did; other nights not so much.

This is how I plan to spend the rest of my life. Along the way, it would be awesome to make an impact, to achieve higher and higher levels of success as I mentioned above. Whether I do or not, however, I will probably enjoy the rest of the days of my life, health and fortune permitting.

4/14/2011 11:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is the perpetually crusty, largely irrelevant outside a very narrow bandwidth, always-hated Whitney Biennial the sine qua non of "success" for artists?

When did being a cultural worker who could literally do anything turn into such a narrow popularity contest?

I started being successful as an artist when I gave up on the degrading, irrelevant gallery system and started doing my own thing and mattering to other people.

4/15/2011 09:18:00 AM  
Blogger MLS said...

Thanks for the discussion, Edward. My views:

Success is that which sustains the effort.

That's why for many artists failures are successes--they teach and incite artists to work more.

In this light an artists voice (or a writer's) is the same as success--it's the voice that incites the writer to continue writing. Anything that inhibits the movement and continuation of working is an obstacle, a silencer, a failure.

Some artists may be sustained in their work by recognition; that's success for them. most people equate success with recognition b/c they themselves want it.

A friend should ask incompetent friend artists what sustains them. That's what they should seek--and if they call those things success, then their successful. Mazeltov.

4/17/2011 04:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Kate said...

Incidently, I meant to say, "...but you DON'T want to give students the impression that if you are talented and work hard, "it" will happen.

Oriane, the people I am referring to have university teaching jobs, and still make art, but they make art when they feel like it, they no longer put any pressure on themselves. They have given up their ambition, and are simply making art and enjoying their lives.

4/20/2011 05:07:00 AM  

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