" Tuymans's thinly brushed, drab-looking (but sneakily lovely) canvases, usually based on banal photographs with wispy political associations, dramatize the fallen state of painting since the nineteen-sixties. Tuymans also discovers in the very humiliation of the medium a surprising vitality. " -Peter Schjeldahl
What is far more interesting and relevant when it comes to the painting is dead camp-far more so than any actual or particular piece of rhetoric of which there are instances and examples too numerous to mention, are the academic incursions/aggressions upon painting itself -via painting. The ongoing attempt to subvert the concrete, and establish new hierarchy via rhetorically put forth context in the guise of painting:
the 'I paint but I really don't like to, and I'm actually very sorry I do it, which I can demonstrate by not being very good at it- oh, and titles -that's how you may ascertain what my work is about- ww2 for instance -how else would you know Concentration Camp -is a Concentration Camp -without the wall sticker telling you so?- 'Tuyman's school'
to the local phenomenon of' lets reinvent early 60's colorfield painting/op art as feminist agenda, contextualizing a lack of any real painting skill as anti-ejaculatory mark making. Somehow miraculously transforming very limited and backwards looking, conservative/ deskilled examples of painting into what has been considered in some self-interested camps here as 'cutting edge'. Whether local or international my point is, this is painting in servitude of the theoretical - with theory reflexively employed to deflect criticism concerning the ensuing works ontological integrity.
The nice thing about painting is its concreteness, the inimitable nature of each thing epitomized, its universality: that what the Constellations Exhibition affords us here, is an opportunity to see who is who and what is what in Chicago painting (and at times elsewhere,) minus the talk, minus the art world politics. Minus the theoretical explaining away of poor work. This is an actual painting show that posits itself first and foremost, as retinal.
To say that my expectations and preconceptions concerning the Museum Of Contemporary Art have been confounded on the way to being upended would be a gross understatement. Finally, the MCA has found a way to discuss work being made here in Chicago in the context of an international stage. Its just that simple and profound. When I first received an email from Julie Rodriques Widholm regarding an existing painting of mine in the MCA's collection -I was ambivalent -and also wary; wasn't this the curator who had worked with and under Francesco Bonami - the curator who openly boasted about how he did not do studio visits here in Chicago? How Chicago was a stepping stone to bigger and better things? Happily I can say, I was guilty of some confusion; as curators go, Ms Widholm is definitely not another Franceso Bonami -a good thing. Its interesting (at least to me) where she is coming from: -an army kid, her father a Lieutenant Colonel. Where she has lived reads like a good and exotic travelogue: Born Ft. Bragg, North Carolina; Ft. Benning Georgia; Bloomington, Indiana; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; West Point, NY; Ft. Leavenworth Kansas; Monterey, California; Maputo, Mozambique; Lisbon, Portugal; Stuttgart,Germany.......WEST POINT!........THE LONG GRAY LINE!........What comes to mind is the father of the modern West Point- General Douglas (in war there is no substitute for victory!) MacArthur, wading through the surf, striding onto the beach at Luzon, "people of the Philippines, I have returned" and now, many years later in a different place and different time, its curator Julie Rodrigues Widhom strolling through the muddied waters of today's contemporary Chicago Art World announcing serious paintings imminent return...(I'm laughing, but I'm also completely serious here-) I have to think that it is this unusual (for the art world) background, that gives this curator the individuality, a certain rigor, and straightforward, can-do sensibility to accomplish, when putting this show together, maintaining as an objective, an idea of mounting the best possible exhibition under the circumstances, avoiding politics, keeping the theoretical clap-trap in the cheap seats...with an almost strategic focus on the work itself, on -"paintings hell-bent magic"..... Is the Constellations Exhibition as good as it is due to its curator's military upbringing/background? I like to think so. With one bold stroke behind enemy lines, a single gesture, Ms Widholm brings a veritable new day here to Chicago profoundly altering the configuration when it comes to the field of aesthetic conflict here, quite possibly influencing its eventual outcome... MacArthur would approve. Make no mistake, the victor here is painting.
Constellations is set up in configurations having to do with various conceits entertained within painting- landscape/figure/ naive /anti illusion/formal/abstract/figure fantasy....- I think this is an interesting and as Margaret Hawkins at the Sun Times noted, a natural way to achieve structural cohesiveness in mounting and considering this exhibition. A conceptual framework. At the same time, I also agree with this particular critic -and with what I believe is the curators intention, -that ultimately, this is the kind of show that lives or dies via the individual works on exhibition, all else being secondary, as it should be. This is not, a situational work, an installation -no matter how hard this is for some in certain quarters to entertain and grasp. It makes no real sense and is counterproductive to discuss the exhibition in terms of some kind of ultimate quality: is it a good show, a bad show? Well, I suppose it is both in that its scope is large enough to contain success and failure -on many different levels. And, as there are both good, perhaps a few great, and some not so good works in Constellations, offering up some perspective in the way a good nuanced group exhibition should, it as a whole, brings with it a moment of truth and perhaps here in the Chicago Art world, a day of reckoning. In fact, it is just this, the individual failures of specific pieces, along with some of the obvious triumphs of others, that in my mind ultimately what makes Constellations such an interesting view....the exhibitions implications in terms of what it could mean for Chicago artists- painters in particular..not to mention the hierarchy here of who is who and what is what in terms of relative importance.
Constellations is an exhibition that extends back in time to pre ww2 days, the beginning of the contemporary American painting scene. And though there are (doubtless due to shortfalls in what was available) scant reminders of those early days, of where we painters are coming from -there are a few -Baziotes -Ad Reinhardt -that great early heroic Golub.....all reminders of what we once were:
"Back in time, there was a difference between "sound" and "noise." Sound (aka rhapsody) was a Pratt and Whitney tuning up after a 240-hour check. Just pure purr, and no clank or clink. On the flight deck the sound was really that good. Purr, roar.
It was the burp, cough, chug that gave you the pucker factor of twenty-six. For the pilot and crew, you gave a quick prayer then held up a wooden chock with two hanks of Manilla number nine hemp, and fought your way to the flight deck alongside your aircraft. To me, the sound (not noise) was pure harmony. Overwhelming, inspiring, like "The 1812 Overture."
This audio was the ultimate end of many hours of hot, sweaty sometimes painful labors of love-like changing the five o'clock plug on the rear bank of cylinders. All planes forward, "Foxtrot" flying, then the klaxon and "Launch Aircraft!" Not men against the Sea but Us with the Wind, the Sea, and Nature.
It was beautiful."
Otis Knight ww2 sailor
Some Chicago Painters in Constellations:
Vera Klement, a lioness in the winter if there ever was one. Undiminished even now, as a painter. It would be nice to see some kind of show recognizing this artist at the MCA, its long past due. In terms of this exhibition Klement's like titled homage to de Kooning's last great Imperial Highway painting and one of the absolute masterpieces of the 20th century Door To The River, is a good painting, perhaps slightly too literal in its reference, -but not one of her best -which only proves that even when not at the very top of her game, Klement is, formidable. The MCA needs to acquire more work from this major Chicago artist.
Michelle Grabner -ambitious, picture maker - cranky, concentric obsessiveness substituting for a more varied, complex painting attack - the work surpasses the artists talk- no surprise there. Still, first rate abstraction.
Kerry James Marshall -world class artist, serious painter -great pictorial composer/arranger. Paints well enough to accomplish his aims, though no one would ever accuse him of being a painters painter. Who cares? No one else even remotely like him. Kerry DRAWS -I see no evidence of a slide projector anywhere in sight -an ethical painter with integrity. I believe the painting the MCA owns is one of the later ones in this series...I've liked others better -still, a terrific painting all in all -serious, unique, -color is always good.
Judy Ledgerwood: at some point here in Chicago, the painted object began being substituted for actual painting. This served several groups of people here, the institutions supporting formal academicism, a certain set of unsophisticated collectors -who appreciated the decorative backdrop, visual muzak like appearance with some kind of important hidden agenda -fortunately no where to be seen...there is certainly nothing offensive about ms Ledgerwoods painting -nor is there much that is particularly compelling to recommend it; its been suggested that I am too harsh in offering up my opinions of Judy's work and that of her friends as well: considering how much was lost here, how many artists were marginalized, careers lost or damaged irretrievably in order to confer importance on a select politically aligned few, to paraphrase Lillian Hellman from her autobiography Scoundrel Time, I not only will never forget what happened here, but also am of the opinion that I've always been too damned nice about it. Bottom line, Judy is a decent enough, competent colorist, a pedestrian though not awful painter , who has received much play for work whose ultimate value and validity I question. Constellations does nothing to dispel my doubts.
Angel Otero: How to do justice to this young artist. does he have something? Its seems he really could. How good is the painting in Constellations -clearly one of Mr Otero's better outings as a painter to date? From this viewers perspective after repeated views, not very. Only okay -grad student level work fortunate to be in a show like this. At this juncture, Otero's somewhat decorative, lets keep it light and ambiguous with a smattering of art student mess, approach to painting lacks any real formal rigor,and could be described as something like Joan Mitchell light minus the fireworks, minus the great hands.... This young artist with obvious talent is being pushed hard as new product by the powers that be here -including SAIC and the dealer Kavi Gupta -I hope he takes the money and runs, while not buying the hype, -back to that state of the art studio -and locks himself away for a few years and learns how to paint. There are some very good painters around the same age as Otero -Annie Lapin out in LA -or Allison Schulnick -also on the west coast -who judging from his recent work, Mr Otero seems already aware of. With both of these young women painters, he will be playing catchup -and judging from the wide gulf in abilities that separates them now, he'd be smart to leave the skateboard at home and get to cranking on the paintings. With painting, image is everything -particularly and ultimately -its the one left on the canvas that actually matters. We could be watching the beginning of a fine young painter -lets hope he doesn't get used up and ruined.
Angelina Gualdoni: a better painter than pinball player, for this kind of work so recently popular -clean flat, graphic-ie in its depiction of specific imagery -conflated with subtle painterly effects, she is one of the best. An exciting younger painter.
Robert Davis and Michael Langlois: though not technically in the Constellations exhibition, they are in the video and their Twelve by Twelve show ran concurrently with Constellation -which I have to think was the curators way of including these terrific painters -coming out of the Ed Paschke/Malcom Morely school of blurred, photo derived imagery. This outing, complete with arabic text of a Black Sabbath song featuring native American lyrics..... the socio-political bent of the current work is really interesting -and reflective of any number of painters concerns here in Chicago- these guys are for real, are going to be around for a long time. More power to them!
Oh yea -and then me ha ha! Of course there are those who would think I would write about my own work.....my detractors, if only they were better at what they do, who they are, as to make it all more interesting. My personal tragedy in truth, is the quality or I should say lack there of, that defines my foes.
Umurbrogol: ...."These fragments I have shored against my ruins
Why then Ile fit you. Hieronymo's mad againe.
Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata.
Shantih shantih shantih"
.....Umurbrogol is the name of a 500 feet high convoluted, phantasmagorical ridge of exposed coral on the island of Peleliu -where one of the bloodiest battles of ww2 was fought. We know this ridge if we know it at all, as Bloody Nose Ridge. This battle marked a change in Japanese strategy -rather than meeting us at the beach in shallow defenses culminating in banzai charges, they waited in well fortified caves, with all landing beaches completely zeroed in and registered for heavy artillery. The idea being to kill as many of us as possible in a war of attrition designed to give the U.S pause about invading the Japanese homeland. Divisions of Marines melted away on the Umurbrogol at places with names like, The Five Sisters, China Wall, Death Valley.....Major Everett Pope who led over two hundred marines up Suicide Ridge one September morning in 1944 returning the next day with just 8 men still alive was awarded the Congressional Medal Of Honor for valor and had this to say about the battle many years later: 'not a day has gone by when I have not thought about those men'.... "I am not a hero, but I was among heroes."
*'look elsewhere than to stars and moon and sun For the shocks and changes we need to keep us sane.' Robert frost
"These fragments I have shored against my ruins Why then Ile fit you. Hieronymo's mad againe. Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata. *Shantih shantih shantih" -T.S. Eliot
*"paintings hell-bent magic -Jed Perl
further disparate thoughts/notes concerning painting among other things.......
PAINTING VS THE PAINTED CONCEPTUAL OBJECT OOPS!....Gad!... cognitive dissonance....perhaps even, phenomenologically cognitive dissonance.....after all isn't that what painting is really about anyway? -Unless that is, you are interested in illustrating theoretical constructs -then painting doesn't actually have to be about anything! Hey! Its on a stretcher bar, there is canvas and some paint....that's what a painting is right? What harm is there in some small amount of reductive reasoning? You see, there really is no way of telling whether or not a painting is good or bad, so why not simply do away with much of what defines it, less muss and fuss! That way we can spend ALL of our time talking about it! ......what my new pal Tony Tasset doesn't like about painting, he thinks or so he claims, is that you can't really tell if a painting is good or not - -that the only way to ascertain any of this is to go mystical or at least, metaphysical!.....hmmmmmmmmmm, what do you think? Is he right or, does his attitude demonstrate some fundamental lack of basic comprehension, misunderstandings and misconceptions as to the nature of painting? An exotic strain of ideational apraxia cum aesthetic? ....Lets talk for a moment about what we mean when we talk about painting: -not as a piece of conceptual work -but as the thing itself, in all of its raging ontology! An object-housing some amount of the concepts, categories, histories that do embody an intelligent sense of what it actually is that a half way decent painting consists of - not even getting to how it fares in negotiating its being.....as a painting, as "dramatic dialog" -in paint -language -that of sheer plastic invention -not in words, language written or spoken -those things aren't painting- I know, what a concept!......I don't have the patience nor time to unearth some tome, defending and defining what it is I do - lets just put it this way: there is very little in what I do as a painter I consider mysterious. It AIN'T A MYSTERY! In fact what being a painter is actually about, is unraveling the mystery, figuring 'it' out...
"Flesh (not theory) is the reason oil painting was invented" -Willem de Kooning
This is what happens you see when you live in a social construct, an academic art world where this washed up dadaist/funny little high-end French gigolo -ie Marcel Duchamp is the reigning Adolphe Bouguereau academy demigod of our time, and, where the greatest American artist of the 20th century -Willem de Kooning is relegated to a mere..... a footnote!
..this then, is for you Mr Tasset -as a toast to our new-found friendship, I have some news for you: THERE IS NOTHING -not a thing in the entirety of de Kooning's body of work unprecedented in painting: not one thing you cannot find an antecedent for -from the volumetric oomph of his planes and gestures in reflexive collision with linear contour, from his career long "skirmish" between line and form, drawing and painting beginning in synthetic cubist deconstruction -culminating in a decade long conversation in plastic medium with the undulating, sensual genius of another great draftsman -Peter Paul Rubens, all of the work employs only tradition in its making -the tradition of radical innovation as opposed to academic imitation -of course -but its all there -the taut geometry/meets biomorphic form of his drawing, vigorous line of many speeds and variation -the idea of gesture: de Kooning eschews the artifice of Davids illustrated gesture -say in the Oath of Horatii replacing the painted gesture with gestural paint -the soldiers swords, with the artists own brush a brush, that, when he engages in the frothy geometry of the Imperial Highway paintings culminating with the great masterpiece Door To The River, they remind us with their foamy detritus culminating his gesture, of the lace on the edges of another great Dutch masters collars and bodices -who can look at Franz Hals' barmaids and cavaliers without noting how de kooning took notes and nods to his great predecessor? I use de Kooning as an example for several reason. First, his preeminence among American painters of the last century past, and because of what an under the hood, nuts and bolts kind of painter he is -a technician -a grease monkey if there ever was one....... its all there to be seen, of course you do have to know what to look for,.... -as it ever was - the whole miasma of a definition as to what painting is. There is little that can be described as mysterious taking place in a good painting by this man -its pretty cut and dried -as it is with most painting. Straightforward manipulation of a plastic surface -no matter the style, culminating in the artists point of view, or vision. The better the painting, the simpler more direct the means, details being cumulative not obsessive as, there is ambition, and then there is painting.....
Painting misconstrued as conceptual object: -enter Clement Greenberg, the era of apocalyptic wallpaper, theoretical proselytizers, the painting as a mystical experience...this, conflated with Duchampian anathema towards painting skill, ability, leads to a climate where these antagonists correlate, act as co-sponsers, bringing us the painting as object whereupon any activity, laissez faire in nature and rigor can be discussed seriously as painting...whether actual painting is involved or not -hey! anything and everything can be painting! Right? Good and bad? Define those terms please!-
Julie Rodgriquez Widholm could just have well have asked, 'what is painting?' -'what makes a painting a good one? not that asking' why do you paint?' isn't a good question -but it does beg the question, why wouldn't I? Paint that is-
I have discussed albeit briefly line and form, lets talk a moment about manipulating a plastic surface: oil paint, is like clay. I must be manipulated, pushed and pulled resuscitated from its inert state, and made to breath, be brought to life. Painters talk about 'slinging mud' -which can mean anything from working in gradients across the color spectrum beginning with precise opposites in what is called simultaneous contrast, to more oblique mixtures...and usually in a good painting, the process become complicated, (as we like it and as it should) happens via fits and starts and at some point becomes somewhat intuitive, poetic....a matter of how it works, appears optically. Its not unlike cooking, adding ingredients -to arrive at a complex pallet.....obviously there is a great deal of difference between employing lots of color, and really being able to use color -not only to convey whats visual but emotive also. How a painting feels.......a painting is NOT an inert object to a painter -but rather, a reflexive, provocation.
Then of course there is the matter of spatiality: all painting resides in space and describes space as well: be it early 20th century efforts to deconstruct space to high modernist aims of coming forward into the viewers 'room' to the renaissance ideal of illusory abstraction/space retreating from the picture plane giving the illusion of reality depicted. Whether shallow, deep or unaddressed, paintings are spacial and how an artist handles this has to do with his or her ability as a painter -and the extent of the forces at his or her disposal to be arrayed as weaponry in the execution of any work of art.
I mention some, just some, of the things that constitute a good definition of what a painting consists of to ask this question: at what point, as reductivism takes hold, how much can be omitted before a painting ceases to be a painting and becomes if it is to be considered a work of art, a conceptual object sharing perhaps some physical properties, characteristics/commonalities but little else, with what we can define as an actual painting? This is where the confusion lies, why Mr Tasset is so mystified as to how to discern quality in a painting: the ongoing conflation of post dadaist object making -or, painting in the service of illustrating theoretical construct (same thing add Greenberg) , with the occasional engagement of actual painting by it own definition, has led many to confuse the two entirely separate enterprises as being one and the same. They are not. This is why de Kooning was so adamantly opposed to the naming of a disparate group of artists -mostly the downtown Manhattan painters of the time -with some uptown entries -Rothko -Motherwell, as the abstract expressionists -he described it as a disaster, that it would lead to making paintings to fulfill theoretical construct anathema to him, surrendering paintings "hell bent magic" acquiescing the apex role of the painter to the pontificators on the sidelines, the prognosticators, the academics and the theorists. And all of this echoes and resonates growing only more bellicose and dictatorial in all of its academic aggression, down through time, over the last 50-60 years, into the present. Culminating in a context so decadent in its permissive nature and lack of definition, or as Jed Perl describes it, 'laissez-faire aesthetics", that is seems incumbent upon me in attempting to dispel the fog of confusion that engulfs Mr. Tasset and company when it comes to this thing called painting, to offer up some sort of concrete even rudimentary, definition: what do we mean when we describe a thing an object, as a painting? Here: a. paint is a thing, a viscous oozing material. b. 'ING' is the thing you do with a.( THE OOZE )-an activity thus referred to as...you can do this, PAINTING! This ensuing activity is accomplished by someone referred to as a c.-an- 'ER' -conflated with a. 'PAINT'-equals, yep!.... PAINTER! So lets see: paint is a thing, used by someone called a painter, to make paintings ah! This then is the definition, its specificity uncorrupted, as great ideas go in terms of definition, that things are what they claim to be, not to be con-fused, not, some other 'thing'. One can agree that a person who would be called a painter might demonstrate some expertise in the specific area of endeavor known as painting: nowhere in these very words do I hear or see evidence of, 'illustrator of theoretical constructs', or, 'maker of of post dadaesque objects,' the words situational or, relational....there is no tautology in play here; those fine things, are also very separate things- other entities described correctly with different names. Not to be confused...You laugh! -but within the context of our of towering babel of decadence, collapsed meaning, a lack of definition being what it is that describes and defines us, some small modicum of clarity, of what is concrete, what is to paraphrase Perl once more 'gloriously intolerant' can seem like an antidote for much of what plague us with our malady of blurred meanings.....
OTHER THINGS TO CHOMP ON
As the Chicago Art world has watched criticism become scarce, with the Chicago Tribune, the Reader and the Sun Times all phasing out their staff critics- with some few and scattered remaining free-lancers still in play, now, only New City is left and it, scrambling to offer some kind of full coverage -hopefully that is, and a necessary and expedient departure needs to happen- from their stated aim of covering emerging -ie grad student work that is, which obviously at this point, remains something they have yet to accomplish -as epitomized by their coverage of the Constellations Exhibition- a perfect example of their inability to discuss the actual professional art world here. Meanwhile on a national/international level, Art In America is apparently on the ropes, Betsy Baker fired, while Modern Painters, its title for those who don't know, taken from the writings of the great 19th century art critic John Ruskin's essays on painting, has devolved from a great magazine founded by Peter Fuller and actually dedicated to being about painting into rancid (look at the cute hipsters in their trendy lofts no art work to be seen or, lesbians spanking each other as an art form 'think relational' 'situational') crap....has anyone ever considered suing these shitheads for false advertising for having the audacity to even refer to painting modern or not, as the title of this piece of junk? Lets face it, its fallen upon the blogs/ezines to pick up the slack and offer opinion. I personally think this is not a bad thing- though we are indeed in the wild west phase of this massive reshuffling of how things will be done in the art world -and really in most other disciplines as well- and so things come and go in fits and starts, ideas are tried and found useful or discarded. One of the things I find to be an asset of viral press is its fluidity -an issue of an ezine can be publish and then, can continually morph and change as needs and information/thought dictates.....this article for instance, comes at the time of the third re-do of sharkforum. Our new design will feature an essentially static feature/front page-with, ever changing content.....the feature page will be changed intermittently not unlike a hard copy magazine- of note, some of our original sharkpack members will be returning -Lynne Warren and Ray Pride -we are happy to have them back. Our redesign and new site manager is the talented artist -designer Sarah Kretchmer -whose focus includes everything from industrial design to more esoteric projects (Sarah is the one responsible for my off the hook website-) to painting. We welcome her presence here on sharkforum. For this inaugural article, I have decided to play somewhat with the medium in the sense of not writing one cohesive piece but rather, a compilation of thoughts, notes-ruminations in no particular order beyond the general idea of unpacking and discussing the MCA's marvelous painting exhibition Constellations, what I find to be its implications -both internationally -and at the same time, locally here in Chicago. Cordially, The Shark
AMONGST THE KRILL
Of course blogging on BAS is always an adventure, whats worse than being surrounded by a pack of circling sharks? How about being stuck in the midst of a confederacy of dunces hiding behind aliases -though nothing can obscure the presence of idiotic hipsters defending their right to conform Here is an excerpt of a response of mine to some brave alias denigrating my capabilities to discuss painting, while touting the capabilities of two academics here -how there was no way someone like myself (an actual artist,) could possibly be as expert on the subject of painting as a couple of quite average academics ..amazing..... Anyway, out of this stupidity came the impetus to write down this 'Where I am Calling From' observation.
THE ORIGINS OF AN ARTIST
..................................................... -but no more so than the whole homogenized suburban upbringing/institutional pedigree as life experience/ that now informs and forms the kind of people who enter into the art world -note 'Brody's' listing of institutional signifiers as if reciting the ten commandments.... the attack of the clones- I am always tempted to put down on my bio -the real university I attended -the dusty streets and bazaars of far off Afghanistan and Iran. Where rather than partaking of dorm life and the academic whirl, I kept apartments in Herat, Kandahar and Kabul, spending my time when I was 20, 21 years old speaking pathan, bartering for tribal carpets at the great bazaar at Kandahar and turkoman silver from the nomads that cross the steppes of Afghanistan each spring, drinking chai seia and smoking hookahs with the Pushtu tribesmen in the muddy, gun turreted gulches onimous and foreboding, the tribal regions of the Khyber pass....the most fierce part of an incredilbly dangerous and interesting place, drifting in and out of Iran as my travels and work took me, walking away from it all finally -alive- and at times that wasnt always a given. I loved my alumni -far more so than I could ever love the domesticated fare peopling our art school departments today- but thats just me. In Afghanistan its the resident sikhs who do all of the banking...the Pathan people are warriors and consider bean counting and shop keeping beneath them.....money is never to be regarded highly. One of the more mortifying moments of my then young life was the day I got into an argument with a customs official over money -only to have two Afghan gentlemen whom I had never met offer to pay the difference as they hated to see me get worked up over mere money......this, in a country where the average income was 125.00 a year...... The tradition of western art is one of character -of real characters -from Caravaggio through Joan Mitchell -individuals and innovators.....now, we see that world usurped by the academic bean counters...people like Brody who actually believe that some academic art educator stands above and beyond any mere artist -and of course she does -coming no doubt from a culture that specializes in following instruction, in doing what they are told to do in order to fit in. That's what the shark thing is all about: as alien as it is to the culture of now, I happen to believe it is we, the artists who are the apex predators -not, the art educators, not the curators and certainly not the art dealers- but I'm coming from a different place than most -as many good artists traditionally have.
THE PROBLEM WITH APARTMENT ART
"If you are going to show in a small apartment, that is the kind of work you are going to produce: -not just that it will be small in scale but also small in concept and scope, to be read rather than having the image project towards the viewer......an image has an aura, you need the space for that aura to complete itself, that can't happen in a small space crammed with furniture and other shit....." Vera Klement
Being bohemian doesn't necessarily have to mean being incompetent: I know, why would people who have conformed their entire lives, have had what is considered 'cutting edge' or bohemian' marketed to them as such -by the mainstream, ever be able to make the leap, consider, their living/professional context even in the most prosaic and fundamental terms of working space or, exhibition space? After all, they grew up mostly in the suburbs in a house or an apartment, they have followed instructions and by definition are actualized by whats been marketed to them, -what a leap it must be to decide, I'm an artist making things, I probably need some kind of actual working/exhibiting space to accomplish any kind of vision of real magnitude.....and to those enterprising individuals who do have actual working studios -not some rented closet on the side but an actual place to live ,eat and breath art, who still choose to show in apartment spaces, what are you thinking? Go get a website and show on your own in your own space, create your own context. How hard is that?
In other words, while I (obviously) support the premise of diy, may I suggest that Chicago with its massive amount of cheap industrial studio space, is the perfect place to ramp it up and begin to have serious studio rather than apartment exhibitions, that better venues can only be a plus -particularly given the plethora of crap galleries that really provide artists here with no alternative but to strike out on their own.