The Bus Station Theory, or, Why You Should Stick to Your Own Pursuit of Creativity
Buses in Helsinki (Image via johnmartintaylor.com)There are plenty of ways to think about planning an artistic career. Are you aiming to be the enfant terrible, a young provocateur? Or are you playing the long game, sticking with your work until it gets recognized?
Some great advice for young artists…
Tiernan Morgan interviews Lucy Lippard
NYPOP guest speaker Tiernan Morgan has posted a great interview with the always amazing Lucy Lippard. Check it out…
‘Changing: Essays in Art Criticism’ (1971) marks your ambivalence with art criticism. You’ve cited the rejection of Clement Greenberg’s elite patronization of artists, complicity with art market interests, and the avoidance of a rigid and systematic methodology as reasons for your move away from criticism. What do you make of the argument that criticism is under threat and is it worth saving?
As long as art is worth saving, good criticism will be too. That was a personal choice for me; after the first few years as a working critic, I realized this was not where I wanted to spend my whole life. I’ve always enjoyed sniping from outside to try to improve what’s going on inside.
The bewildering number of new galleries opening in Bushwick in late 2012 and early this year continues to grow (even while this article goes to press). The gallery counts now, depending on who you ask, are above 45. Growth seems to be nothing short of exponential as virtually every major studio building in every micro-neighborhood that’s part of Bushwick is now home to several artist-run exhibition spaces, and naturally, apartment shows abound. Here’s the first five on our list.
Application deadline approaching
Deadline is approaching for these excellent residency and exhibition opportunities! Spend some time in lovely Wassaic, New York with some great people. Get on it!
Holland Cotter, where are your eyes?
On friday I picked up a copy of the NY Times and read a review of Tomoaki Suzuki’s sculpture show at Marc Jancou Contemporary. From the review I thought I was going to walk into an awe inspiring display of craftsmanship in wood carving on par with Gerhard Demetz and Gregor Gaida, two masterful, virtuosic reducers of the medium. Reviewer Holland Cotter calls Suzuki’s carving “beyond exacting,” but when i look at the work, I see tool marks covering the surfaces and minimal rendering. Suzuki carves figures in wood, but unlike Demetz and Gaida, his work is small scale, only 20 or so inches.
I’ll stop there for a minute to say that my disposition towards these works is tainted by a completely groundless review by mister Cotter. “Beyond exacting” is not a face covered in chisel marks. It is not a hand entering a pocket with no indication of the dimension of the cloth. It is not a tank top that sits flush with the skin instead of on top of it.
But I don’t think that’s what Suzuki is trying to do. if it was, he would have done it. no, I think Suzuki is far more interested in the lack of definition is his characters. I think he chooses ordinary people in ordinary street clothing and depicts them without definition. Actually, I don;t think. that’s exactly what he does. They show us our own plain-ness, our own sculptability, and our own self defining characteristics. What we see in Suzuki’s characters is what we see in ourselves. Unfortunately Cotter’s review has nothing to do with the work I saw at Jancou. It’s practically libelous. Maybe not exactly, but still. If you want to see some “beyond exacting” wood carving with a solid narrative, check out Gaida and Demetz. If you want to see some roughed out figures that present more of an introspective experience, go see Tomoaki Suzuki’s small works at Marc Jancou Contemporary.
who needs a gift shop?
If tomorrow I disappeared off the face of the earth all that would physically left over would be my stuff. Cloths, DVDs, posters, art supplies, accessories, art works, nick-knacks would be the tools police used to try to uncover who I was to find me, and tools my loved ones would use to remember me by. Stuff, is one of the most interesting forms of self definition, mostly because it is unavoidable. The artist wrote on a chalkboard within the instillation “Maybe the Garage Sale is a metaphor for the mind”. A person with few belongings would be even more defined by what they had ( because it would be there most essential tools for living). We attach our memories to stuff; on my first day of school in America (the first time I did not have to wear a uniform) I wore a pant and shirt set that was purple, the top had stripes and a butterfly emblem (and Ked’s because my mom always bought us Ked’s), it was the first time I got to define myself visually and I will never forget that little outfit. But it is long gone, no doubt to a goodwill or garage sale. And its my love for the sentimentality of stuff that brought me to Meta-Monumental Garage Sale a multi-media instillation by Martha Rosler at MOMA. The piece was a recreation of her work in the art gallery of the University of California at San Diego in 1973. And was at PS1 before moving to MOMA so naturally I was anxious because the first rule of “garage sailing” is undoubtedly; the early bird gets the worm – get there fast cause the good stuff goes quick!
Garage Sale is exactly what is sounds like, a garage sale. And seeing that “garage sailing” is already one of my favorite hobbies (not only do I love stuff I get a big thrill from getting something for pennies on the dollar) so I had to go and experience it in the gallery setting. I think it was very clever that in addition to promoting it as an art event at MOMA they also promoted it in the paper as a traditional garage sale. The experience could simply be viewed but it much more satisfying to interact with it and buy something, at which point you are documented by a photographer with your purchase. True to form of any garage sale stuff is an organized mess of memories complete with racks, wall displays, and tables of everything from old VHS’s and playboys to coach wallets and drawings by the artist. My favorite of the bunch; a snow globe, where instead of the usual tiny world of snowy wonder there was simple big red letters spelling “FUCK”. (I would have probably paid way to much for it just because it was such a great piece of tacky junk but sadly it was already sold).
I really love vintage cloths, and in the world of vintage shopping I think you roll the dice at a garage sale (since this one was a bunch of different people’s stuff instead of one household I held out more hope for some variety) when it comes to not only size but taste. But there were surprising actually attractive clothing there (most of the good stuff left was men’s since I went the last night).
But can you haggle? Every good garage saler knows haggling is often needed, and in the final hours of a garage sale they try to sell whatever they can. So I got my (new to me) Christmas dress marked down by the attending from $17 to $15 (its not much but it just feels like a better deal).
The motto of the sale is one I trust “Everything’s clean, nothing’s guaranteed”. So now I have this dress, that I will wear for something Christmassy enough to make a memory and do the piece justice (lets hope I at least get a facebook picture out of it). And I wonder what memories it held to someone else once? Lets all hope they were good ones.
I wouldn’t use the word “sinister” to describe the pop show at the Whitney now. I walked in there expecting to make a distinction from the Warhol show at the Met and it was difficult… While there was plenty of work in the Warhol show that exercised his “give the people what they already want” kind of disposition, there was no shortage of ambulance disasters, mauled civil rights activists, burning gas stations and crude Basquiats.
Don’t get me wrong; while there was some overtly violent and grotesque work at the met. Peter Saul’s painting of Angela Davis being impaled on a skyscraper while she was currently awaiting trial, (the prosecution pushing for capital punishment) or “Amboosh” a violent image illustrating racial stereotypes and exploitative behaviors of American service men in Vietnam. Images of Jim Nutt as well were blatant. “She’s hit” and “The Face Fits” being images that regard cosmetic emphasis and disasters. Lee Lorzano also worked with darker political and social imagery, resisting the general “pop” aesthetic crudely scrawling images of gnashing teeth and the occasional genitals with a dirty pencil on a dirty paper.
However, there were many other images that were less abrasive (and Harmless comparatively). There were many other pieces by the like of Tom Wesselman and May Stevens that could have easily fit into the Met show. Most of the work was ambiguous and tepidly reflective of social behaviors. Just because Marylin Monroe’s face is blue now, it’s not ominous and “sinister”. I guess this Marylin is dead now? Not sure.
They were both fine exhibitions. There isn’t anything menacing and dark about Claus Oldenburg’s soft sculpture of an ashtray, it actually looked really comfortable. I just think a word like “Sinister” would be a little heavy handed to describe either, but especially this one.