Received this postcard in the mail on Friday. It was the first time in a long time that I was happy to receive a postcard from a gallery.
If I'm going out on a gallery walk I always check out what's up on the web first. I do not need the hundreds, yes, hundreds of (unsolicited) gallery postcards I receive each week. I think it is time for all galleries to move in this direction. Yay Sara!
One major reason to head out on Saturday is that it is the last day of the show. Don't miss it. Danica's work has been a favorite of mine for years. Another reason to visit is the accompanying show by Karin Weiner titled Paper Trail. I am new to this work, but knew of Karin from her sixspace days. I love the humor in the work - something I can really use right now! The best part is that Karin's prices are very reasonable, most works selling for around $1,500. (The work pictured below is the largest piece in the show and it is priced at around $5,000.)
As an aside, this gallery is one of the 'good guys'. They are open and friendly and very easy to deal with. Especially Kristen, the director. And, they have a wonderful website that lets you view most of the works in their current show. Bravo! If there wasn't a complete website (with images) there would be no post and I may not have rediscovered Karin Weiner - who is now on my list of "Artists to Collect When...". (And, as per an earlier post, maybe I can encourage the gallery to post prices on their website, too?)
Karin Weiner, A Year of Many Snow Storms, mixed media collage, 36"x48"
My family is from The South. My grandmother's family helped settle the state of Florida. No "retire to Florida" interlopers here. I have never lived below the Mason Dixon Line myself, but The South is in my blood. Oddly, I have even discovered that most of my good friends hail from Texas originally. I may have been a Texan in a past life. The South intrigues and attracts me and were I not married to a staunch North Easterner (or "Nor-East-er"), I'd probably find myself living there eventually.
This may help explain why I am so attracted to this work: Walton Creel'sDeweaponizing the Gun.
I may not need a reason to admit that I'm attracted to this work, but it somehow seems necessary. It probably has something to do with the fact that I am not a gun fan, this work is borderline cliché and perhaps a little obvious. But I read a great article on this work in Art Papers and the page was turned. (pun intended) The article is written by Brett M. Levine, Director of the Visual Arts Gallery at the University of Alabama Birmingham. My favorite Levine quote from the article:
I would like to pretend that his work is like a truckload of college-educated, drunk rednecks shooting road signs at high speed, late at night, on a backwoods road. But in Alabama we actually have those, and, standing over his works, shooting shot after shot, Creel is anything but one of them.
Creel gets my dilemma and appreciates that there are many different stereotypes brought to the work each time it is viewed. I also like the fact that Creel is producing work that can't easily be categorized. Different groups claim him as one of their own...
...his selection of a non-traditional medium led many to connect his work to a particular Southern tradition: Creel was conveniently lumped in with people who carve animals out of tree stumps with chainsaws."I don't see myself as a folk artist," he explains, "and although I have been mentioned as both an animal artist and a wildlife artist, that is really not the point either."
These works take time. This is not a 'fly-by-night-get-a-few-oo's-and-ah's' operation. It has taken him five years to complete six 4'x6' panels. No machine help here, Creel stands over the panels and shoots each shot himself. In 2008 he produced a sound installation (Shooting/Loading, 2008 - available on iTunes for $9.99 or on old school vinyl) to accompany Deweaponizing the Gun. Take a few moments to see what you bring to the work.
I thought to myself, "I know that artist. Discovered him at VOLTA last year." Large format photos of people on a city street all doing "the same thing." But when I read the artist's name on Art Moco I realized that this was a case of mistaken art identity. Bahbak Hashemi-Nezhad was not familiar and that is a name I would have trouble forgetting. So I did a little research. This is the mage I was thinking of when I saw the above work:
Peter Funch, Informing Informers, 2000-2008
I have collected works by Peter Funch and I'm a big fan. I am intrigued to find similar works out there. This is not the first time I have run across works of art by different artists that look similar. Ideas often generate in multiple brains at the same time. And not just for artists. When I started Mixed Greens as a website dedicated to selling contemporary art, there was no other site like it out there. (artnet.com was the predominate art site in 1995). Mixed Greens launched within months of six other contemporary art e-commerce websites. (Remember nextmonet.com? How about iTheo.com?) We all had the same idea at the same time.
But what does it mean for artists? It can't be good for your career if people are always going, "Is that so and so's work?" when they are looking at your work. Or can it? Is the "winner" in this case the artist whose work digs in to the collective mind of the market? The artist with the more aggressive dealer? Or perhaps it is as simple as who better executes the idea?
Check out these artists websites here and here and make your own comparisons. They are actually very different artists who happen to have a few photographs in common.
Deborah Kass, I am Telling You I'm Not Going (diptych), 2002, gouache on paper
Schroeder Romero Gallery has done a fabulous job allowing you to see most of the works in their current show on their website. Bravo! So even if you aren't in New York, you can peruse what is hanging in their gallery.
Why can't all galleries do this? Most already have websites. Most have images of the works or can take digital snaps of the work after they are installed. If I were able to peruse shows in other cities on the web, I know I would be collecting more art from more galleries in more cities. Prices, too, should be posted on gallery websites. Most (almost all) don't provide prices. Very curious. What's the big secret? The time has come for galleries to put tools (images, prices, shipping policies, payment plans, return policies, etc.) on their site to help broaden their collecting audience!
Anyway, check out this show - whether you are in your living room or in NYC.
Art/Work: Everything you Need to Know (and Do) As You Pursue Your Art Career
Heather Darcy Bhandari and Jonathan Melber
I'll state it right up front: I know Heather and Jonathan (the authors) very well. I am not objective. I like them. I like their book.
I spend a fair amount of time talking to art students about what it takes to be an artist or how to make it in the world as an artist. I think of artists as non-profit organizations. Like it or not, an artist must run a business that for most won't turn a profit but that adds value to either their lives or the lives of others. Rather than subject an artist to my own personal opinions, I now have a place to send artists to get answers and anecdotes on the business of being an artist.
Heather and Jonathan not only share their experiences and expertise, but the book is chock full of quotes from all walks of life within the art world. Every single topic on running your own business is covered in here: submission do's and don't's, websites, studio visits, residencies and grants, rejection, crating and shipping work, consignments, gallery relationships, and more. I recommend this book so strongly that if there is an artist out there who can't afford this book ($16.95) I'm willing to buy it for them. No joke.
Most people think I do live in Philadelphia. I grew up there, the collection is housed there, family still there, etc. I don't live in Philly, but if I did, I would make a point to see this show. Guaranteed recession-proof pricing: the show contains quite a few emerging artists. I wish the gallery had a website where I could remotely see the art (hint-hint), but as this is their inaugural show, I'll let it slide.
Drew Leshko, Kensington and Hart, 2008, Illustration Board, wire, plaster, basswood, acrylic, enamel, 35" x 14" x 18"