Monday, March 31, 2014

Shitstorm City: Brian Droitcour, Stefan Simchowitz, Jerry Saltz



Hey-yo everybody.  Did you all have a nice weekend?  Did you get a chance to relax and de-compress and refresh yourself?  I hope so.  I really do because this Monday has already brought a forecast of giant shitstorms aka online rants, raves and real time feuds via wall posts and comment threads.   It is hysterical how dumb it is but shitstorms have a strange power and you just can’t stop watching them once they start.  The shitstorms that have caught my eye today is Brian Droitcour’s just posted article on his revived blog entitled, Why I Hate Post-Internet Art, and secondly all these articles on collector Stefan Simchowitz.

On the first:  Droitcour’s article is its title.  It is about why he hates post-internet art.  Brian is smart.  Brian has been a part of the ‘net’- whatever thing that is/has been happening in art for a while and he has participated in an engaged way versus a jumping on the bandwagon for the sake of social/cultural legitimization sort of way.  That being said, the post is loose and surface and this might bother a lot of people but not me.  It’s a blog.  It’s his personal, unassociated with a corporation/advertisers/budget blog.  When a blog is this sort of blog anything goes.  Droitcour is a ‘real’ writer though and he knows how to say and to frame things so that it has background, reference and all that.  In the end though it is an opinion piece and one that matters because as I mentioned, he is a part of this thing he speaks of in an authentic/real/earned way.  What did have me audibly gasp is the way he called out certain progenitors of what he deems post-internet art.  This is rarely done and especially not in a peer-to-peer target sort of way.   It was refreshing in its open handed matter of factness.  Who knows if this will actually create a storm of anything but it feels like a relief in a way that someone is going against the grain even if it is quick and personal. 


On the second:  Stefan Simchowitz is like a wanna be Damien Hirst mixed with a post-2008 Saatchi and he is all up everywhere because he just doesn’t give a fuck.  He is a collector in the little “c” sort of way.  Rich people are really bored and as a pastime some of them play with art.  It’s like having race cars or spelunking, gotta get that rush because if you don’t you just realize that you live and then you die and that’s a sucky thought to get stuck on. 

Anyways, I will NOT get into anything related to me actually in connection with Simchowitz but I think it is marvelous what is happening between him and Jerry Saltz.  I will NOT get into my actual feelings about Saltz but this dick measuring contest currently going on between Simchowitz and Saltz is just about the epitome of everything insane about the art world right now.  Saltz is pulling quotes from an interview Simchowitz had with Andrew Goldstein on Artspace, which followed Katya Kazakina’s Bloomberg article on art flippers a wee bit ago.  Saltz is like ‘this this that’ on how Simchowitz’ own words reveal the level of his visionary delusions.  This yes, is true but Saltz is being classic Saltz here where he takes a story and writes(?) his own via copy paste, remark, sealed with this crazy authority he has attained via his signing off on it.  Anyways.  It’s not a real article but yes, Simchowitz is one of the most deranged and quite frankly harmful art collectors but he is just balls out about it versus most of the collector class who pretend art buying is some Skull and Bones type of society.  Saltz is of course the only match for such a largess ego because he can take it and dish it cause he is very close to the same creature Simchowitz is. 


Regardless, regardless both of these are fantastic little measuring sticks of what is bugging, burning, and possibly roiling some people in the contemporary art landscape. 

Everyone loves a shitstorm.  Some even invent and stir them up to propel themselves or their cause further.  Either way they might be wacky and tacky but more often then not they reveal what is true. 





Monday, March 24, 2014

Unsolicited Art Submissions and Why This Will Never Work



Anyone who has ever worked at an art gallery/organizations has seen A LOT of unsolicited emails.  They can be for art fairs, for advertising “opportunities,” or somehow mysteriously being added to a gallery or artist email blasts.  Of these the worst, the absolute worst, sort of email is the unsolicited artist’s submission.  These are from individuals who are artists and you (recipient) don’t know them and they (sender) don’t know you and there are no in-betweens to vouch for them or to have encouraged the sending of their email.  You (recipient) are on their radar, they want you to know they exist, they want to share, and they want to be on your radar.  This seems like a harmless enough thing, and it usually is, but I’m going to tell all of you (senders) who may possibly want to or think about doing this: DO NOT do this.  It is embarrassing for all involved.  It makes you (sender) seem vaguely to very desperate and us (recipient) an asshole for not responding or not liking/pay attention to this genuine plead for attention by a fellow human being.  

And yes, of course there is the occasion or circumstance where cold submissions could/can/does work but this is rare and many times this only happens with the golden ticket of recommendation or shared peer is involved.  

‘How is one to connect?’ You (sender) might be asking.  The only advice I can give is to actually meet people, a lot of them, and be yourself. Just saying ‘hi’ and that you like something they do/work with/stand for is a much better way to engage another human then to send a plea of portfolio viewing.  

Below is a small sampling of some unsolicited emails that I have gotten recently.  I know this may seem a bit mean but I am leaving them anonymous enough so it would be very hard to connect dots.  

Good luck to all you artists out there.  It is hard, but hard never excuses the cold email call.  Be cool, be yourself, this will take you everywhere you are supposed to go. 


(“--“ means omitted content, all other text has been unaltered)


Hello,

My name is -- am an 19 yr old --  artist --.
-- I  was really inspired by -- art community within the space provided, and I would love to work with you all, for i believe my work would well suit the -- and vice-versa.

As seen, I work in a broad spectrum of styles and mediums, .I am fascinated by human emotions, sensuality and space. I search for a universal form of imagery in order to unlock specific reactions and emotions on the observer within each one of my pieces. I am inspired by nature, existentialism and tragedy.

I am looking for an opportunity to exhibit my work, for each of my pieces
have something to say, and as of now they eager to speak. we shall hear them.

Sincerely,
--


Hello --,

I would really appreciate the opportunity to meet with you and talk about the -- art scene,--. My number is -- or you can always reach me by email. 

Currently I am showing with a gallery space in Manhattan called --, and am working in my studio most days and taking a few night classes. 

Thank you, and best wishes,
--



Dear Sir/Madame,
My name is -- and I am a --born artist residing in USA.  I have two master degrees in art from University of --. I am also a recipient of the prestigious -- Fellowship for two years in a row.  I am currently looking for gallery representation. This is a link to a website where I have published my art: -- 
 I am attaching my CV to this email and I hope to hear soon from you. 
Best Regards 
--


Dear --,

Like to introduce my recent work(series), which of the latest
has been made possible due to a residence stay at --, US
in -- 2013 focusing on "landscape" and its landuse rights, property rights and some historical implications. 

The work(series) in painting and photography addresses an issue of american conflict, which is hardly been known here in --. 

I am looking for a re-presentation of this and recent work(series). 

Please feel free to contact me in my -- Studio, in case you feel
an excerpt of the recent work or the newest series will find its home in --. 

cheers and regards
from --


Dear, --

My name is --, and I'm a young -- artist seeking exhibition opportunities here in New York. I just want to briefly introduce myself and my work to you and express my interest in having my work considered --.

I am a student of -- in -- and currently took a leave of absence to work on my own projects. I'm a painter and sculptor who also works with photos and creates installations with various mediums such as candy and fabric. My work always is and will be related to 'endless rebirth of desire' and I have created many works on dream, age and woman as a young art student.

I am writing to inquire if you are currently accepting submission proposals. If so, could you please let me know which format or materials you prefer. If you do not, I want to carefully ask you if there's any opportunity as a young artist.
If you require any additional information, I would be most happy to have it available to you.
Thank you very much for reading my email, and I will look forward to your response.

Sincerely,
--


Hey thought i would reach out and see if you were interested in my work. My name is -- i live in -- and am the first -- sculptor. I have been using this medium for 7 years and have shown in SOHO, LES, Philly, Chicago, NJ and The Bahamas. I am still an emerging artist and am trying to get my name out there. Let me know if you see anything you like. Most of my pieces are larger than 3ft X 3ft.
Thanks,
--


To whom it may concern;

My name is --. I am a mix media artist looking to showcase my work and provide exposure to everyday issues on the canvas. My work is a mixture of raw and real, and combines sketches, collage work and painting techniques all on the same surface - the blank surface. My work sparks conversations, connecting people  together with relatable topics.

Please consider my mix media work for any upcoming features.
Enclosed I will attached some of my work also, feel free to check out my website.--

Cheers,
--

Hi --

I am interested in submitting work to --. I am an artist currently based in -- (about an hour and a half north of NYC). I recently finished my MFA at --. I lived in -- for eight years prior to that and am interested in getting back into the artscene there. I primarily make mixed media work on paper and artists books. Using the metaphor of the female body as a personification of nature, I explore issues such as generation and growth and the resilience of nature and the ability for adaptation, despite an inherent tendency toward disorder. Please explore my online portfolio and artists statement here:
--
I have also attached a copy of my CV for your reference.

Thank you for taking the time to look at my work!

Best,
--


Monday, March 17, 2014

Exhausted Duck

 


I just started a new job on top of my other jobs so today I feel like that limp piece of lettuce that is stuck between those other sandwich parts.  I have to get this schedule thing better so that there is actually some time to thinky think.

This is my prelude to this cribbed post today.  Sorry, hopefully next week I will be a real art girl again.

There is one thing that caught my little eye though this past week and that is an essay by Jan Verwoert called Exhaustion and Exuberance: Ways to Defy the Pressure to Perform, 2008.  I was reminded of this essay by another essay by Agatha Wara for Dis called Duck Theory.  This is for Dis’ DISown which is artists making things to sell at Red Bull’s studio in NYC.  I don’t really :/ the DISown project but Wara’s essay is super tight and it makes the project have a validation I would have never warranted otherwise. 

Anyways… Read Wara, read Verwoert.  If you’re working the grind and have monopolized time then you will get them both and think about them both and neither will change anything but it will make you feel like maybe there is some sort of collectivized something.


Duck Theory, 2014 by Agatha Wara

To live today as an artist means to find oneself in constant negotiation with neoliberal capitalist systems.

I’m sitting in a plane. The cheapest ticket I could find. Burning fuel, no doubt, acquired through some agreement many years prior that allowed for oil drilling off the coast of Norway. Getting closer to New York and turning paleo-material into forward propulsion.

This is the nature of all of our decisions, between what we know is–let’s call it “complicated”–and what will get us enough money to pay the rent. Our lives are deeply enmeshed in complicated networks of capital. In a globalized post-internet free market art works too negotiate the terms of their manifestation, in ways that are both personal and impersonal. En route to becoming objects of special status, artworks journey through email chains, agreements, approvals, handshakes, toasts, and the assorted steps of production, from the sourcing of raw materials to the transport via ships, planes, and trucks.



Exhaustion and Exuberance: Ways to Defy the Pressure to Perform, 2008 by Jan Verwoert

The Pressure to Perform

How can we address the current changes in our societies and lives? Some say that we have come to inhabit the post-industrial condition —but what does that mean? One thing seems certain: after the disappearance of manual labour from the lives of most people in the Western world, we have entered into a culture where we no longer just work, we perform. We need to perform because that is what’s asked of us. When we choose to make our living on the basis of doing what we want, we are required to get our act together and get things done, in any place, at any time. Are you ready? I ask you and I’m sure that you’re as ready as you’ll ever be to perform, prove yourself, do things and go places.

Who is we? The group is ever-expanding. It is we, the creative types—who invent jobs
for ourselves by exploring and exploiting our talents to perform small artistic and intellectual miracles on a daily basis. It is we, the socially engaged—who create communal spaces for others and ourselves by performing as instigators or facilitators of social exchange. When we perform, we generate communication and thereby build forms of communality.1 When we perform, we develop ideas and thereby provide the content for an economy based on the circulation of a new currency: information. In doing so, we produce the social and intellectual capital that service societies thrive on today, in the so-called Information Age. Accordingly, the Deutsche Bank sums up their corporate philosophy with the slogan A Passion to Perform. (The motto is symptomatically
agrammatical: in English, someone can be said to have a passion for something or
someone, but not a passion to.)2 Management consultants confirm that “implementing, promoting and sustaining a high performance culture” is the key to increasing corporate
productivity by eliciting individual commitment and competitiveness among employees.3
So which side of the barricades are we on? Where do they stand today anyway? When do we commit to perform of our own free will? And when is our commitment elicited under
false pretenses to enforce the ideology of high performance and boost someone else’s profits? How can we tell the difference? And who is there to blame, if we choose to
exploit ourselves?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Looking At Art During Openings: Shoot The Lobster, Clearing, Sardine, Real Fine Arts, Eli Ping Frances Perkins, Bodega

 
Nancy Lupo at Clearing

There are many reasons why people go to art openings.  Sometimes it’s to support friends, sometimes it’s to see and be seen and sometimes it's because of sheer curiosity.  Whatever the reason, almost always it is nearly impossible to see the work on view, or at least view it in a way that is optimal.  Yet, we still go.  A few years ago I boycotted going to openings because they combined things I dislike the most; lots of people and lots of chit-chat, but as time and life goes by, you realize that supporting your friends and peers is not only beneficial in a network sort of way but in a nice person sort of way. 

Openings are a celebration.  They are not about the art on view so much as it is about the people who make it and those that run the spaces in which it is shown.  I was reading fashion reviews this weekend and it made me wish that art openings had a bit of runway presentation spectacle to it.  Everyone sits and focuses and looks and then they go drink and talk themselves till they turn blue.  But alas, art is not like this.  Art is very solitary.  I think it is best seen (usually) alone or nearly alone.  Art needs space for one to see and to think.  It is hung and installed and arranged specifically and with meaning (usually).  Openings are the anti-ideal of art viewing.  It is full of people and drinks and a main concern is to not bump into the art versus looking at it. 

This past week I went to a few openings.  Most of them had friends in them but some I went to because there seems to be a seedpod explosion of new and expanded spaces and I must see what that is all about.  Below are a few attended and the art that stood out the most, which may be telling or of some import for if something can stand out in a packed crowd maybe it has a certain something to it even in the social melee. 


Shoot The Lobster, 138 Eldridge Street, NYC, The Grand Opening

Robert Bittenbender, Georgina Braoudakis, David Flaugher, Jeffrey Joyal,
Valerie Keane, Bradley Kronz, Jason Matthew Lee, Jared Madere,
Ben Schumacher, Luke Schumacher, Dena Yago, Amy Yao


So this used to be in the back gallery space of Martos in Chelsea and it now seems to have expanded to Luxembourg and the LES.  It is run by Martos’ director Taylor Trabulus and Alexander Shulan who is an independent curator.  They had their opening, organized by Shulan, called The Grand Opening and it was full of artists who you just think the word ‘cool,’ upon seeing their names.  I went early because I was close by.  There were not many people there yet.  The space is not as raw as some spaces I have seen but it definitely has not had much done to it, if anything.  Which is fine but it felt somehow inexcusable in its flippancy.  The show was blank in a way.  It was like it blended into the haphazard quality of the space.  There was a pile of reeds, things on the walls and a giant dripping piece.  It was all just there.  There was a drawing on fabric that caught my eye.  I’m not sure who it was by but I remember liking it.  I didn’t stay long.  There was an awkward feeling about the place.  Maybe because it was so early.  Maybe because it felt vaguely dingy.  I am assuming they will fix it up some and it will look like a lot of other spaces and will be a very fine place to show a certain sort of art.  It does annoy me though, these backed spaces in which it is like prep school for the ivy league art world. I nonetheless do look forward to seeing if the space changes and how and what the work on view will be like.


Clearing, 505 Johnson Ave #10, Brooklyn, The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of

Koenraad Dedobbeleer, Ryan Foerster, Eyan Goldman, Sayre Gomez, Patrick Jackson, Jamian Juliano-Villani, Nancy Lupo, Sean Raspet, Jesse Stecklow

I have not been to this space although I know of it and its reputation, which is good and especially successful for its location.  It is a place where location seems to not matter at all.  I went with a friend and they were in the show and then this show was filled with other people I knew.  Which was nice to see.  Seeing a work of art by someone who is not physically there is like seeing a little stand in and you just want to go to that piece and say ‘hi’ as if it was that person.   We arrived on the early side but it was full enough that it didn’t feel sparse.  I saw some people I knew and chatted.  There was a mix of young people/artists and older collector types.  The installation was nicely done, minimal in that familiar way but had enough color and variance to make it surprising at times.  I liked the works by those I personally knew in the show, Stecklow, Juliano-Villano, Lupo, Raspet, and was surprised by a set of mugs on the floor made out of ceramic that had illusions of things inside of them*.  I don’t know who it was and I can’t locate it on the site but those did stand out for me.  Clearing is an interesting place it has a feeling of galleries in Europe (which it has one in Brussels) but more it is this casualness of taste.  I recommend a trip out there if you have never been.


Sardine, 286 Stanhope Street, GF, Brooklyn, Jamison Brosseau The She Wolf

This is a space off of the Dekalb L.  It is walking distance from Clearing but it has a vaguely off the beaten path sort of feel.  It is a sweet little space with very bright lights, front windows and white walls.  On view were a few paintings by Jamison Brosseau.  I know Jamison and like Jamison and this tends to reflect on the way I feel about someone’s work but only to a degree.  The space is small so the show is sparse.  The paintings were of a set or theme in coloring and forms.  It was very pleasant but a bit paraphrased in its edit somehow.  Maybe it would have felt different though if I saw it in an empty space so that the subtle variations between them could be more discerned.  Nonetheless it is a fine little space a fine little show to pop by into if you are anywhere near by.


Real Fine Arts, 673 Meeker Ave, Brooklyn, Ned Vena, Paintings Without Borders

This space has the same vibe in certain ways as Clearing.  It is off a very busy road next to the BQE in the Williamsburg/Greenpoint cut off and it is an unassuming space, which may have once been a family doctor or real estate office, but it has a reputation and influence that exceeds expectations.  On view is Ned Vena and it is a show with industrial black rubber mats and large paintings of what look like Gs and other graphic like things.  I didn’t like it but what does that matter?  Anyways.  The crowd was very hip and attractive and you think, ‘where do all these people come from?’ And then you see a lot of your friends and people you vaguely know and try not to make eye contact with and then you leave especially if you are not drinking at the moment.  I really like that Real Fine Arts is so successful and has such an aura of oh-so-very around it but I have to admit, almost every time I see a show there I think, ‘Huh, this is it?’


Eli Ping Frances Perkins, 55-59 Chrystie St, NYC, Rose Marcus

Eli Ping is a person, a very nice guy, and he had a smaller space before and now he has a larger space with Frances Perkins so now that space is called Eli Ping Frances Perkins.  A mouthful perhaps but it was fab to hear that he/they were moving to a larger space in the LES which is in the building CANADA used to be in.  The space was raw-ish, the floors are still unfinished wood but it felt very nice and you can tell there will be a lot of nice exhibits on view there.  The inaugural show is work by Rose Marcus who I know and very much like.  The space was full but not insanely so and the work could be viewed through the gaps between people which are cropped photographs of people in public spaces and it is of their leg/waist areas.  They are blurry and the way they are produced is blurry and possibly distracting but maybe that is the point.  It fit the space though and the state it is in which is freshly painted and full of potential. 


Bodega, 167 Rivington, NYC, Plop Fall the Plums:

Tomer Aluf, Sam Anderson, Tova Carlin, Rochelle Goldberg, Carlos Reyes, Chloe Seibert 

This space used to be in Philadelphia and they apparently did so well out there that now they are here.  The new space had its opening show and it was a fete.  Located on a lower level it felt cramped but in a good way.  I went because I was curious to see their new space and also because I wanted to see some works in particular.  The crowd was hip, young and very fashionable.  There were lots of familiar faces and also those visiting from out of town.  The cement faces by Chloe Seibert, which was the primary reason I came, were fab and also there were paintings on the back and back right walls that I liked very much**.  It was very crowded and I was in and out but I was very happy to see the space and know that it will be an epicenter of new art trends to come. 

(was graciously informed by readers who these artists were)
* Patrick Jackson
**Tomer Aluf

Monday, March 3, 2014

This Week in WTF: Normcore, Diplo, Oscars, Russia

 
background image from GQ online


Sometimes when life hands you lemons you don’t want to make lemonade, instead you want to take those lemons and throw them at the life’s big stupid head.  Really though dear readers I am totally having a freak out and am currently in-between states of catatonic gazing and hyper ventilating chain smoking.  Why is [this] happening?  I don’t know.  Sometimes shit just happens.  Sometimes the Universe says f-you.  Sometimes it’s just your turn to be ‘that’ person.  I’ve tried to understand and to backtrack to how I ended up in this predicament but all I have concluded is that this is how life is sometimes.  Susan Miller can’t help you, your parents can’t help you, your friends can’t help you.  The only thing to do is help yourself and to cross fingers, knock on wood and hope that luck is on your side. 

Due to my unnerving life status, there is no way I have been able to see art, think of art, enjoy art, or parley about art with any focus this past week.  Instead I was looking at the computer screen hoping that the internet would give me the clues, answers, leads to solve my predicament.  Most of the time it was blank staring but there were moments of self indulged escapism that led me to some crazy articles.  Most of these had me going literally, “what the fuck” audibly to the screen.  There are a few instances of this I will remark on plus a few other cultural/life observations.

P.S. For those that may find themselves in vaguely similar situations of ‘life. wtf.’ status, I can only say this:  It will get better, it always does and remember, everything, EVERYTHING, happens for a reason.

Normcore - So did like everyone read this article?  I’m going to assume yes.  Written in New York Magazine by Fiona Duncan this past week, the article discusses a trend about fashion that we didn’t even know we wanted to talk about.  That trend is ‘normcore’ and it is basically 20-somethings dressing like tourists meets suburban parents meets mail order catalogs from circa 2000.  For about two days, it had people so very verbal online.  It was funny to read and to see peoples’ reactions to it.  Most people seemed pissed off.  Some were like sooo over it already.  What is funny is how micro-bubble it is and how quickly mirco-bubbles pop these days.  It is true, the idea of what is ‘now’ what is this ‘what’ we are living in will always be sought after and forcibly labeled but the idea of trend forecasting and some sort of cultural revelation being made at quick turns seems futile and more importantly boring.  There is something dull about stating an obvious but I guess that’s all we have(?) via our post-everything lifestyles?  My two cents on the look of ‘normcore’ is that it seems fine.  Whiteness is so very in and to be honest it’s totally comfy (to be white).  I think it is funny in a way albeit totally not something to get your 3-pack of generic cotton undies you bought at Kohls in a bunch about. 

Something about Diplo owning an African neighborhood via his record label? - So is this real?  I feel like it’s not real.  If it is real then like WTF?! Seems so…something…

Oscars - Omgawd.  If this is the top.  I mean if this is the top of (pop) culture then wow.  Just wow.  Yes, yes movies are great.  Movie stars are great.  But the whole talking to them on the red carpet and bantering and asking them things and then making them sit and then we watch then sit and then they get these prizes and people cry and say how much they love their families and god and the people that work with them and then there are these commercials and then there is this feeling of everything having to be this way and that you have to just like it and everyone, the movie stars and everyone watching acts like we are all in it together, that we all really like this thing and then comes the feeling of embarrassment for those on TV and for you watching it and for humanity and culture and you thinking if this is the top.  If this is the top of (pop) culture then just, wow. 

Russia - Uh, hello Russia, but WTF are you doing to the Ukraine?  Man.  This is really scary.  I mean I am actually scared of what is going to happen.  Like Putin is a sociopath plus probably a lot of other ‘--path’ things.  I mean seriously.  You have a sociopath running your country!  Man.  Ukraine.  Russia. Everything seems so inevitable that it seems a farce.