Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Road Not Taken

In light of my bleak post on Monday, I’m attempting to drudge up a list of alternative art communities (alternative to what I’m just going to call Chelsea) that might be easier to be part of. ‘Cause I’d rather actually be part of something, than try endlessly to be part of something.

In no particular order:

1. Art/Activism – This would involve concepts like video advocacy, guerilla projections, public performance. Means of distribution would range from publications like The Journal of Aesthetics and Protest, activist centers like Bluestockings, and (gulp) YouTube.

2. Artist-Curating - Putting together shows with other artists to be mounted either in a temporary space or a “remote” space.

3. Internet – Internet-based videos, interactive stuff.

4. Private Salons – temporary exhibits in homes.

Any other ideas? Feel free to chime in.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Black Monday

In terms of my career as an artist, I primarily operate on faith. I apply to this and this and that, over and over and over again, thinking that someday, something’s gotta give. I continue to make video after video and, now, neon after neon, believing that, someday, they’ll be seen by other people other than my friends and that they might even make a difference. I write email after email, make cold call after cold call, shake hand after hand, and continue to believe that it will eventually have effect.

The fact is, though, I do not have a career as an artist. It has been a one-way conversation.

My faith is evaporating. The art world has reared its ugly head at me, and my love of art is becoming its victim.

So, I ask, what is the point of continuing? I’m staying on board partly just because there’s a smidgen of dedication left; and partly because I do not know how to let go of this part of my identity. What else am I?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


There’s a psychologically astute article in this week’s New Yorker regarding the different conceptions of presidency that Hillary and Obama have. I was drawn in by this caption: “To Clinton, the Presidency is more about achieving goals than about transforming society.”

I love that there’s an alternative to setting and reaching (or not) goals. Although it’s entirely foreign to me, I’m inspired. (Inspired being perhaps the main word uttered by Obama supporters).

The alternative vision described has more to do with being a role model, being a catalyst, than with wresting power, taking control.

I immediately think about art. How can I change my mindset, divert it from accomplishing, from being there as a comparison, and bring it to focus on the strength it has to offer on its own.

I don’t know. Is it about confidence? Is it about not needing the approval of others? If so, how do you do that?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Woe is I

I’m at the gym Friday, and I see a sign “Tai Chi for Artists.” Great, I think, only to learn upon closer inspection that the sign actually reads “Tai Chi for Arthritis.” Then, in the stretch room, I hear a guy say performance. I think, “Oh, my favorite, who?” only to realize that he is talking about stocks.

Help. I’m becoming artcentric. It feels like my world is narrowing, instead of growing wider. It’s all about my thoughts, my interests, my mind, my work. And, to what end? When do I start being of service to others? When does what I’m doing start to matter?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

My website has new videos, new neons and a new look. Please visit.

I rebuilt the thing all by myself with Dreamweaver. This makes me feel like a genius. And, I decided that if I presented a series of videos on a similar subject (in this case, family), I, as an unknown artist trying to get known, would be easier to swallow.

Of course, feedback appreciated.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Call of Nuance

Lawrence Weiner’s retrospective at the Whitney is a show of text-based works that are mostly meant to take shape in the viewer’s mind. For example, a wall reads “A GLACIER VANDALISED” and the possibilities are endless, although object-less. Because I’m interested in how text can be used in visual art (if it can be), and especially because Roberta Smith spoke so highly of the work, I went excited. But, when I left, I felt like a balloon deflating.

The problem, I’m certain, is that the galleries are overcrowded and anti-climactic. Both, are points that Christian Vivernos-Fauné, the Village Voice art critic, who I admire more and more, makes this week, in his essay about the weaknesses of said Weiner exhibition. But, in light of my last post, it was this point in his review that most caught my eye:

“Weiner’s aphoristic pronouncements […] today constitute a full-blown style, painted in black and white or in colorful block letters, that carries the unmistakable whiff of the narrowly casuist, the hermetically progressive, but above all the arty.” [emphasis mine]

I do know what he means: preciously deliberate.
My conclusion: Gotta be a member of the arts club to get away with using the “a word.”

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Vocab Police

Sometimes a word choice will make me want to stop listening to a person entirely. “Arty” is one of them. It’s an adjective that makes me feel like screaming,“You boring fuck!” The person using it reveals himself/herself as someone who takes no risks and on top of it, feels fine about it. The implication is that the “arty” thing or person is different [from me], thinks a lot [just be happy], and looks a bit funny [why don’t you just shop from catalogues?].

I heard the word last night. Two people were talking about how they hang out with the “arty” crowd – because we are interesting - but they added, “arty” people are imbalanced. FYI: Artists love to get married. Being so provides a stability that’s a counterweight to the volatile nature of making things and trying to get it out there. But, I’ll keep your thought in mind next time I hear about vomiting into a champagne-cooler at a holiday office party.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Don't step on the cracks in the sidewalk

Phobias are filled with superstition and obsessive-compulsive behavior. Who isn’t familiar with the mindset that says, “If I listen carefully to the regularity of the plane’s engine, the thing won’t go down,” or “If the Chase website accepts my password the first time I try typing it in this time, I’ll break through in my art career.” The phobia of course, is fear of what cannot be controlled.

So, when I read ArtForum and slowly come to an understanding again (and again) that my art career is an uphill battle – I’m knocking on a fort’s door - my phobic behavior rears its sneaky head. Last night it came in the form of the following conviction: I must send emails immediately. I must make triple efforts. For, if I don’t, nothing will give way. I am the only one who can make things happen.

While this is true to a certain extent, I’m not convinced that tension and anxiety mean I’m making more progress than, say, if I did the same with patience and perspective, and perhaps – do I dare say – with a little faith that things sometimes happen that I cannot predict.

And sometimes they don’t.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

A new year, kind of

In case anyone was wondering, the gallery director who I thought would remember me because she told me to contact her after Miami – the person whose simple handshake gave me a bit of hope - didn’t. Furthermore she told me (shrouded in politeness), not to cold call again. Ok, but, how does an artist get “solicited?”

One good thing, the sting of this kind of interaction doesn’t last as long now. So, in this new year, I’ll just keep going.

Normal posting schedule to resume on Monday, back to Monday/Wednesday routine.