Monday, August 28, 2006

Who to facebook...

As I prepare to venture to Athens with Randall Packer and some of the merry members of the US Dept. of Art and Technology, to present the next installation in America on the Brink: a season in hell, I found something of slight interest to out journey through the Bible Belt en-route to ATHICA.

Jerry Falwell & Pat Robertson are on Facebook. I can't help but find this a little funny. I wonder if they've "poked" anyone lately...

Sunday, August 06, 2006

The Art-Free Post

About a year back my wife and I stopped subscribing to the Washington Post because of our informational mix of NPR and the Wall Street Journal, combined with an inability to finish one, let alone both periodicals. Add to that the lackluster art – icles in the Post and it did not seem like such a loss. Granted, we still get the Sunday Washington Post.

Yesterday I thumbed through the Arts Section (that comes with the Saturday delivered Sunday Source) and discovered something missing: fine art. Sure, there are 9 year olds in the metro region that take to page with colored pencil and crayon and create works of art worthy for any mother’s fridge (page 3). But why write about it? Isn’t that par for the course? Then there was a bit about the V-Chip, Super Mario Brothers, and a guy who does cartoons for kids about how it’s okay to grow up and go through those life changes (yes, I skimmed it, and I must add the images in his studio behind him appeared more interesting). If we connect those remaining dots we could assume that the Arts section could take a very smart and progressive lean in defining or analyzing the shift of art in the region, nationally or even globally. But, at best it looks like an accident and seems more a half-hearted attempt to just fill a section.

While I doubt this is the end of the end for Washington Post critical review of the traditional fine art housed within the walls of certain Smithsonian structures, I kind of wonder if it should be with what little we get in the forms of aesthetic criticism and abject commentary of some goings-on. It is better than nothing I suppose but I would enjoy a bit of juicy criticism or even a diatribe on art theory as it pertains to the twenty-first century. Of course, it’d only have a readership of a few hundred persons in the metro-area while the majority of readers will abandon the section in lieu of finding out how a Redskin scrimmage did. Such is life. Go Nats.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Note to Gallerist: Keep the Coaster.

Coast•er n
1. a mat placed beneath a glass in order to protect a surface
2. a compact disc rendered useless

Recently I received a return from the Arlington Arts Center, responding to an exhibition submission from earlier in the summer. We all know the kind: submit an exhibition idea to the gallery complete with examples of work and a check for entry fee. Include an SASE.

In decades past this was necessary for the return of the examples in slide form. Slides, as we are all familiar, are expensive. The film is expensive to purchase. They may be expensive to take with a hired hand. They are expensive to develop and they are just as expensive to duplicate.

CDs, however, are at most $1 to produce. And the images stored on them have a specific shelf life of the one CD typically due to a specified number of image entries or due to the related nature of the work for a site-specific installation or exhibition.

However, artists may still include the SASE in the form of a business envelope despite the obvious difference in size and function from an envelope that holds a compact disc. Lenny Campello made this observation in a blog entry a number of months ago and screamed at artists about the idiocy of this phenomenon.

It is not idiocy.

It is a reflex by artists to unscrupulous gallerists who do not have the common courtesy to send a rejection letter. And there are many. In fact, this may also be the reflex of artists who have applied for real jobs with real resumes and real portfolios. Who send them out to dozens of companies (273) in eight markets (Des Moines, Lincoln, Chicago, Minneapolis, New York City, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Madison) and not hear one peep from even the lowliest of HR reps… not that I write with such experience.

While I do not suspect this to be an activity specifically of the Arlington Arts Center, why should I take the chance? I’d like to hear back from such centers of art. What makes little sense is the effort spent to return the disc. AAC was kind enough to return the coaster in someone else’s SASE - I assume someone who got a solo exhibition (and his or her penmanship was gorgeous). To balance the cruelty of the even gallerists, the good galleriest will often dig out an envelope and cough up the 78 cents to return the disc.