Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Paper work

(Ingres, Napoleon I on his Imperial Throne)

In case you were wondering, here’s a template for a certificate of authenticity, which is typically provided when an artist sells a work. It is an act of aggrandizement that I find to be stupid, but also exciting. Have to say, I loved making one for my recent drawing sale. I actually had to print four or five until I got my signature looking good.

I made one for a video work a few years back, which was frankly total BS because of the medium’s reproducibility. But, along with the fancy box for the DVD, it gave importance to the bucks the collector dished.

That said, an artist and collectors can control the distribution and value of video. But that’s a post in itself.

Duration: (write n/a, if n/a)
Copyright: (write n/a, if n/a

I, [name of artist], certify the authenticity of [title of work], sold to [name of collector] on [date].

[name of collector] is the rightful owner of the drawing and will be credited as such. [If an edition, include edition number].

Many thanks for your support [a personal flourish]
[artist signature]

Monday, February 23, 2009

Long time passing

I spend much of my time pressed up against a computer screen, rarely looking beyond its surface, not even out the window. When I walk outside, my eyes are usually set down and at most three feet in front of me. Even on a country road. All this to say that I rarely look at the long view: literally, for sure, but also in terms of my development as an artist. Basically, I want my solo show now, because if not, when would it possibly happen?

A new artist-friend recently said to me - I was telling him about my doubts about showing at a particular space - that if I honestly respected the gallerist and if I maintained a good relationship with said person, then the right solo opportunity might come sixteen years down the line. Mama. I can hardly think sixteen days down the line.

But I’ll start trying. Because I do think I’ll be doing this –making things– for years to come. I’m really just at the beginning. So, it makes sense to wait for the proper circumstances that will best support all this effort. Hell, I might even turn down a show a two.

On a more now note: how much did the Oscars suck!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Long Live the Art

I read an article some time ago (I can’t for the life of me find it) in which a big wig art world persona says that he doesn't take an artist who doesn’t work full-time as an artist seriously.

Even though I get depressed if I spend too much time in a studio alone, and even though I’ve got bills to pay (don’t tell anyone) – and even though I thought this guy sounded like a creep - I thought he must be right. So, this was another reason for my un-recognition. Eight hours a day, Monday through Friday would solve that.

But, give it up for Holland Cotter, folks, the spokesperson for non-market-oriented art. In his celebratory article “The Boom is Over. Long Live the Art!” among other exciting things (at least to this romantic), he says:
It’s day-job time again in America, and that’s O.K. Artists have always had them — van Gogh the preacher, Pollock the busboy, Henry Darger the janitor — and will again. The trick is to try to make them an energy source, not a chore.

At the same time, if the example of past crises holds true, artists can also take over the factory, make the art industry their own. Collectively and individually they can customize the machinery, alter the modes of distribution, adjust the rate of production to allow for organic growth, for shifts in purpose and direction. They can daydream and concentrate. They can make nothing for a while, or make something and make it wrong, and fail in peace, and start again.


I’m not talking about creating ’60s-style utopias; all those notions are dead and gone and weren’t so great to begin with. I’m talking about carving out a place in the larger culture where a condition of abnormality can be sustained, where imagining the unknown and the unknowable — impossible to buy or sell — is the primary enterprise. Crazy! says anyone with an ounce of business sense.

Right. Exactly. Crazy.

Monday, February 16, 2009

All in a day

I’ve had a crash course on what’s hot in tween pop culture this past week because my step-daughter is in town. High School Musical ("You Are the Music in Me") has now fully invaded my head space, as well as BeyoncĂ© ("Put a Ring on It") and The Pussycat Dolls ("I Hate this Part"). If you need to impress a kid in the next few weeks, those are the titles you need to know.

For stark contrast, I recommend the exhibition of Ellsworth Kelly drawings (19564-1962) at the little Matthew Marks Gallery, on through April 11. They’re modest, solid and human. As the press release says:
The artist’s touch is much in evidence, and the drawings have an immediacy unusual in Kelly’s works.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Mini gallery crawl

Through Saturday you can see two very nice drawings by Alan Saret at the James Cohan Gallery, part of a group show called Shaping Space. They’re in the way back room. I’ll definitely be looking into his process-oriented, gestural work (sculptures as well, also in the show), which he began developing in the 60s. But I especially want to see more of his “gang” drawings, made with fistfuls of colored pencils. This is one above (ripped off the Drawing Center’s website. They had a show of the Gang Drawings last year).

As a figure too, he also sounds interesting. After attracting quite a bit of attention in the 60s, he skipped off to India for three years, I think to pursue spiritual interests, and then recoiled from the art world.

And across the street from the Cohan Gallery, you might want to see many videos by Christopher Miner at Mitchell-Innes & Nash (through Friday). The show consists of a series of very short, narrative pieces, and one long lyrical one, all on monitors and all vaguely talking about family, religion and racism in the American south. The tone ranges from ironic-kitsch (boooooo!) to lonely (whooooo!) to the dispassionate. Go in this last direction Mr. Miner. Also, lose the credit “Christopher Miner, 2008” in the short loops. So art school.

Monday, February 9, 2009


I sold my first drawing, folks. To tell you the truth, I’m flabbergasted. Not only because people aren’t buying art these days, but because people buy art in general, not to mention mine.

I bought a photograph once for $800. But, it was an entirely disembodied decision. I think I did it because the guy I was with thought it was a lonely picture, and I thought it would please him If I acquired it. (It didn’t help).

Speaking of disembodied: the dude from Coldplay, who was on TV last night all over the place, has absolutely no control over his limbs. He skims around like the Scarecrow just off his stake. It’s actually quite pathetic to watch. And I really don’t like the sensitive, shy schtick. Give me asshole, please. And tense, like me.

But, back to buying art. I have to say,there's something I find moving about someone who collects seriously. Not socially. There’s a personal passion – a sincere interest that has been cultivated, a want to be with visual work, a conviction that it's worth it– that’s a pleasure to be part of.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Good one

Suzie posing on stools at the Art Students League, NYC, 1971

I think I get it. Some photographs are jokes. A knee-slapper, a one-liner, visual slapstick. Much of Elliott Erwitt's work falls into this category. And the looking usually goes like this: Ha! She looks like she has a dog face! Where do you want to go for lunch?

But some photographs have humor, like this one by the American Louis Faurer. Humor is like a loyal friend, there for you the next time. You still have immediate impact – in this case, the model’s luxurious form, the observing ladies (and it helps they’re almost all ladies)– but there is also a level of curiosity and of detail. For example, here, the impossible balance, the blackened feet. And, wow, what a pose!

This and other fine photographs on view in Figure Studies at Deborah Bell Photographs through February 28.

Monday, February 2, 2009


Many thanks to everyone who came on Saturday to the artist’s talk. To those who couldn’t make it, next time! There already looks there will be one.

Here are some blurry pictures (I know the gallery got better ones). I also have a recording, excerpts of which I may post. But, first I have to talk to my therapist about hearing my voice on tape.

For those who couldn’t care less, read Roberta Smith on Brandeis’s stupid decision to close their Rose Museum in today’s times.

Notice students taking notes.

Slag's founder Irina Protopopescu and I (red shirt) before. Ask me about my pants.