Monday, May 14, 2007

Artomatic Pitfalls

Yesterday I meandered through the offices of Artomatic, and walked away exhausted. There is too much to take in at one time. And, by too much, I mean there is a lot of crap. For all intended purposes, I'll count my stuff amongst that kitty. I count a lot of colleagues and friends among the kitty of crap, and they have great work.

When it comes down to it, part of what can make Artomatic successful is presentation. But, in a building that is being rehabilitated, it's going to be difficult. Things that should be considered are the following.

Spend money on a couple of gallons of paint:
The walls are most likely going to be beat up. Get some real Spackle (maybe invest in 20 minute... but not that chintzy stuff that's like cake frosting) and some tape. Sand and paint. Sand and paint again. Even those that did a lousy job still managed to make a warmer environment. In some cases, the wall painting was better than the art ON the wall.

Less is more:
Curate your room. Don't throw in the kitchen sink. Unless the kitchen sink is your piece.

Of course, it is impossible to escape that this Artomatic is in an old government office building that is built like an oppressive maze. Since it is an old office building, the ubiquitous florescent lighting is everywhere, and for many pieces it isn't helping.

But I think what took away from the work the most was the carpet. There was this peripheral thing that kept irritating me in many of the rooms while looking at work that was decent and it was this drab carpet that was bugging me. There were a couple of exhibitors that tried their best by putting in Afghan rugs. No matter how much lipstick you put on a pig it is still a pig. Which is to say, that if that was your studio it didn't help - nor did the waterfalls, inspirational music or incense.

Artomatic is a necessary evil. What other opportunity is there for a whole bunch of artists to buy a space and show off or possibly sell their goods? It gives exposure for some of the hopeful, and a chance to have some fun for others. Maybe it is an opportunity to even be taken seriously.

The organization needs a little tweaking. Specifically, there are three realms that would seem appropriate for people when applying for a space.

1) The Sunday Painters: This is for those who spend about a couple of hours a week moving paint around a canvas to make pretty objects. These are the people who paint from photographs of their friends and postcards of landscapes.

2) Gallery Hopefulls: Those recent MFA grads and dedicated artists who just want a nod from any of the dozens of galleries in and around the area to maybe get in a group show or have a solo in the next year or two.

3) Lab Rats: Those who want to treat Artomatic as a laboratory for trying or displaying conceptual practices involved with or related to the plastic and performing arts. A chance to try something different. A chance to see who the Bob Irwin, Bruce Nauman, Lorna Simpson, or Judy Pfaff of DC is.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Multimediale Commercial Bloopers

When shooting a one minute commercial over the course of an hour (of footage), there are bound to be scraps that are not bad enough for the cutting room floor. Things that are inherently funny to the context of the piece. The above footage is a compilation of such footage.

To say the least, since we shot this footage over the course of four hours and covered about five or six miles walking around the various locations, Niels got a little nutty at times. And so, it is preserved here in the mediated remains of digital video.

Friday, May 11, 2007

DCist part Deux

Review Number Two at DCist

It has been an interesting exchange of late. This post went through four revisions. Four. I was given a reminder that I need to be less academic with my writing and to cater to the DCist audience because DCist is not an arts journal. That's a good thing to keep in mind. I guess this means I need to be a little less academic and a little more crass. I like crass, because, afterall, you can't spell crass without cr.

Update 05/13
I noticed yesterday, when I was browsing the DCist site, that the thumbnail of Wondimu's work has all of these faces within it. Genius! (both descriptor of the work and sarcasm regarding my post) If any of you have been to the ramp gallery at McLean Project for the Arts, it is exactly that: a ramp designed for gradual escalation, for wheel-chaired and elderly individuals, wrapping up into the atrium and gallery spaces. Picture a wide hallway with a switchback; in short, there is not a lot of room to step back and admire work. Which is why the faces went unnoticed in my critique. The thumbnail, which is only several inches in width, represents a painting that is between 15 and 25 feet in width. 'Nuff said.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Odds of winning: fifty – fifty.

I used to say this a lot when I was a carpenter’s assistant shortly after finishing my MFA. At first it drove the foreman bonkers because the statement denies larger calculable factors of winning which some people call statistics. But, really, when you get down to it, you either win or you don’t. And, as Mike Pace of the Iowa Lottery used to say, “you can’t win if you don’t play.”

Yesterday I came home to discover a manila envelope sitting in my mailbox, which can only mean one thing: returned work from a juried art show submission. Inside were four slides. That’s it. No letter. I had to look at the slides to figure out from which jury I was getting my SASE. Thanks, Trawick.

This morning I learned which regional artists were selected for the Trawick Prize courtesy of dcartnews, and noticed my name not among them; this might be what my cryptic slide-return indicated. And, really, that’s not a problem. I entered this year as a last-ditch effort for the young artist award. Even though the statistics were more favorable of winning, my loss would have been better invested in a lotto ticket, which also has a better rate of return.

On the other hand, my work was accepted to Strictly Painting in McLean, unless there was a typo on the MPA website.

Seriously, if I can find all this stuff out online, instead of through SASE, what good is the post office?

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Spring Solos 2007 @ Arlington Arts Center

You can check out my post over at DCist
on the subject.

Up on deck:
Interview with Adrian Parsons on his recent performance at The Warehouse Gallery.
Video walk through of Artomatic with Lenny
More reviews for DCist

And grading. Lots of grading. Three classes end at GMU, one class at AU. This means I have a couple hundred papers to finish reading before next week, and about 90 student websites respectively.

Time to brew some coffee.

Updates 5/10/2007:
The Parsons thing never happened because he never got back to me on my questions. Bloggers... he's probably busy healing. Shame. I thought it could be an interesting interview. And I was only going to poke a tiny bit of fun at him because, afterall, he did circumcise himself in front of people with a pocket knife. It was the pocket knife that got me.

Lenny hasn't gotten back to me either. I'm guessing that project is dead. Another time.

Woo's comment in response to the above article is awesome!