Wednesday, September 26, 2007


I just pumped out an application for something called Geisai Miami, a juried fair for emerging artists. It runs concurrently with Art Basel Miami Beach and is hosted by PULSE.

The application calls for five jpegs of the proposed work and two installation shots. As this work would be shown for the first time, I made up my own installation views drawing on my rudimentary Photoshop skills.

I was going to ask, "What do you think? Legible or pathetic?" But, for some reason, a psychadelic effect happened on the upload. I'll try to reload later.

It's extremely frustrating to repeatedly have to represent my work in still images. It’s video folks. It moves. How can you grasp the breadth of a piece in stills? It’s like seeing a color field painting in black and white.

Believe it or not, such established programs as the Bronx Museum’s AIM don’t view DVDs until after the interview stage, and only then if the curators deem it necessary. My slides this years consisted of random words.

No wonder I've been rejected four times.

Monday, September 24, 2007


This and last week's approach to a slew of applications is: do it fast and with less attention. My thinking is, maybe if I think less about it all, spend less time on the wording, just send out the images and DVDs, maybe it'll lead to something fresh that'll turn them on. And maybe when the rejection comes in, I won't feel as bad.

I keep saying to myself that I should stop with the applications for a bit. And just focus on new work. Just focus on de-ambition-ing. But, I can't seem to let them go. Especially when the applications are so repetitive, and therefore kind of easy.

A balance would be best of course. But, whenever I'm doing one thing, I feel guilty I'm not doing the other.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Aluminum Fowl

I just made my first video purchase from a gallery! James Clauer's documentary "The Aluminum Fowl" is a subtle, heart-wrenching documentary about three brothers in Nashville fighting off boredom and despair. You can watch the whole piece (about 13 minutes) on youtube. Or you can view it at the Cynthia Broan Gallery through October 13.

What's exciting is the edition is 100, and each DVD is being sold for only forty buckaroos. Now that's affordable art! I'm so happy to have a short that I can watch (not on my computer). And I feel I'm (morally) supporting Mr. Clauer himself.

When I asked the gallery why they decided to have such a large and reasonably priced edition, I was told, "That's what he wanted. He wants to get it out there."

I had a "duh" moment: the goal isn't to make loads (although that's fine), it's to get the work seen. So, at the risk of damaging the "value" of my work, I may just make an edition of 100 for forty bucks each and see if I get seen more easily.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Accepting Wall Flower Status

While I wish an artist could just count on the quality of her work to open doors into the field, I’m really coming to terms with the fact that this is just naive. I know, what’s the news here?

It’s just that I don’t want to go to openings. I don’t want to schmooze. I don’t want to social climb. But, if I want to get my work into shows, then this is what needs to happen. At this very moment, I don’t know if it’s worth it.

They all did it. Everyone except for Van Gogh basically.

This is when new ideals about alternative spaces come surging into my mind. I’m not talking Artists Space, Art in General, and White Columns (although I wouldn’t kick them out of my bed). I’m talking about taking leave of the whole scene and finding/forging a separate community. Of course, as soon as you say separate, you think, “separate from what?” The answer: the scene. So it’s still plays its role. There is no escape.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Thanks, but...

I’ve said it before, aren’t artists lucky to have Roberta Smith? She’s our advocate.

In her article yesterday on the Büchel-Mass MOCA controversy, she concludes:

“Never underestimate the amount of resentment and hostility we harbor toward artists. It springs largely from envy. They can behave quite badly, but mainly they operate with a kind of freedom and courage that other people don’t risk or enjoy. And it can lead to wondrous things.”

Doesn’t that make you feel good? Don’t you wish your mother would defend you like this?

But then I stop to think.

What’s so great about us artists? As a “class,” we aren’t unified. We certainly don’t set a moral example. And we definitely have an ego problem. Often times we think we’re making “wondrous things,” we think we’re being “free,” but for the most part, the work of an artisan, a civic leader, or a good psychologist is much more impressive and effective.

If an artist is propelled by a freedom and courage – and I do think this is a goal – then it is a privilege, and should be recognized as a responsibility.

As for me, I’m too bogged down by a sense of responsibility to attain any of that freedom and courage.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I can't breathe!

Ever notice how goddamn heavy and unwieldy Artforum is? I try to peruse its pages in bed, but only end up with red marks on my thighs and sore wrists. Basically, the only way to view it efficiently is seated upright at a table.

You’re not meant to curl up to Artforum. You’re supposed to respect it.

On a similar subject:

I’ve been reading the catalogue for "between two deaths," a show in Germany this summer premised on the intriguing idea that melancholy, loss and anxiety are cultural trends, representing a return to romanticism. The release promises work that promises emancipation. The essays however are so weighed down with intellectual blah-blah, you don’t stand a chance of breathing. If you were to trim off the fat to get to the point, you’d have nothing more than the two sentences I wrote to describe the project.

So much goddamn weight everywhere passing for meaning.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Comfort in Discomfort

My goal is to make without a goal.

In the exciting book “Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees,” about Robert Irwin, the Angelino artist says:

“You have to make it very clear to anyone who might read your essay, especially any young artist who might happen to pick it up, that my whole process was really an intuitive activity in which all of the time I was only putting one foot in front of the other, and that each step was not that resolved. Most of the time I didn’t have any idea where I was going; I had no real intellectual clarity as to what it was I thought I was doing. Usually it was just a straight forward commitment in terms of pursuing the particular problems or questions which had been raised in the doing of the work.”

And, the author adds:

“Something happened, though, over the next several years. He got hooked on what he was doing: curiosity came to supersede ambition as his principal motivation. It has stayed this way ever since.”

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


An artist’s career develops and grows over time. It’s a lifetime profession. Work evolves, projects gestate, there are fruitful periods, there are droughts, periods of recognition, periods of anonymity. I have a very hard time remembering this.

Usually I think that now is all there is. This is the defining moment. I am no more, and usually less.

So, in fact, some kind of faith (blind?) is needed to continue on. Even when doubt invades – Why am I doing this? Do I really like this enough? Where is this going? – you do it anyway. Not easy. I’ve always taken doubt to be an indicator that something has to change; that I have to change something; do something else. But, now I think you just have to keep on truckin’.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Buzz Word: Identity

Identity was all the rage in the western world about ten years ago. Words like “multicultural” and “raceclassandgender” harnessed explorations into social self. It then became evident that these categories were too narrow, and, consequently, identity as a whole turned into a somewhat passé subject.

In Friday’s review of the exhibition "Infinite Island" at the Brooklyn Museum, Holland Cotter reestablishes the relevance of identity, and in doing so, reminds us that the art world extends way beyond the Chelsea boy’s club.

What had me going were the following comments:

“How such art can be persuasively presented is, of course, the question. The thematic categories Mr. Mosaka applies to the show — religion, politics, memory, popular culture — have been used in countless shows. They are clichés by now, perceptual straitjackets rather than enlightening guides. As conceptual models, they require rethinking, as does the model some of the art follows.”

The question, of course, applies not only to curators, but to artists. How can artists address identity in all its complexity?

Cotter suggests:
“The show’s best work is the most abstract, much of it performance-based.”

Right on, Holland.

If an artist is going to talk about social self, she needs to present overlap, contradiction, tension, and coexistence. That might look abstract. And performance is a great way to tap into the impermanence of it all.

How to do this is another post unto itself.