Meta-Practice

For Your Information, updated

Some more theoretically useful links.

I’m preparing a presentation about my work and practices; accompanying links are here for simplicity’s sake. [If you're not in the class, this may seem out of context. Surprise!]

Kearny Street Workshop

make things (happen) @ Nathan Cummings Foundation

Residency @ Centre for Contemporary Chinese Art

Irrational Exuberance (Asst. Colors)

As Is Transcript

Art Practical

Franconia Sculpture Park

Montalvo Arts Center exhibitionsresidency programs

Happiness Is… exhibition

Susan O’Malley, artist

Leah Rosenberg, artist

Creative Capital Goal Setting Tips

“Art Competitions: A Selective Comparison of Applicant Pools, Awards, and Odds” on Temporary Art Review

Art Competition Odds on this blog

Positive Signs drawing series

Seligman, Martin E. P. Learned Optimism. New York: Free Press, 1990. [WorldCat.org listing]

 

Misc:

Artist’s Resources page

Residency tips on Daily Serving/Help Desk

Portrait of an Artist, Wily and Engaged” on Art Practical 

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I am an artist.  This does not mean I will work for free.  I have bills just like you do.  Thank you for understanding.  And please think twice before asking me to  donate art for your charity.  * Unless it is to help another artist.  Because it doesn't help me one bit with exposure.  Instead, Host an old fashion Cake Walk,  Who doesn't want to win a cake?

Michele Bock. // Source: MelanieMichele.com. // Share freely.

Meta-Practice

Take a (cake) walk

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Meta-Practice

“The writer either has a meaning and cannot express it, or he inadvertently says something else, or he is almost indifferent as to whether his words mean anything or not. This mixture of vagueness and sheer incompetence is the most marked characteristic of modern English prose.

…modern writing at its worst … consists in gumming together long strips of words which have already been set in order by someone else, and making the results presentable by sheer humbug….

1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.

3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.

5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.”

George Orwell, “Politics and the English Language” (1946)

George Orwell on vagueness in writing

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Impressions

Bushwick/Ridgewood Gallery Jaunt Impressions

Western Queens resident finally takes L train.

G&E’s visit provided a great opportunity to make the trek.

1. Sheer quantity. One could easily spend the whole day visiting galleries here; check out BushwickGalleries.com for a map and current listings. We were satisfied with our jaunt—the spaces were diverse, usually easy to find, and in walkable proximity.

2. We started at 56 Bogart, which hosts several spaces in the basement and first floor.

In the basement, both Nurture Art and Fresh Window were compact yet confident. I thought Andrea Suter’s intaglio series at Fresh Window, which were printed from an increasingly disintegrating side view mirror, was brilliant.

Andrea Suter, Rueckblickten // Source: FreshWindow.org.

Andrea Suter, Rueckblickten // Source: FreshWindow.org.

The first floor galleries had bigger spaces with higher ceilings, but seemed less satisfying as a whole. There was the non-profit Momenta Art; a few middle-of-the-road commercial galleries of canvases; and a few galleries that could use tidying up.

Michelangelo Pistoletto,  The Minus Objects 1965-1966, Installation view, Luhring Augustine Bushwick, New York // Source: LuhringAugustine.com.

Michelangelo Pistoletto, The Minus Objects 1965-1966, Installation view, Luhring Augustine Bushwick, New York // Source: LuhringAugustine.com.

3. Michelangelo Pistolleto’s Minus Objects show at Luhring Augustine is a real treat. Wryly humorous minimal forms. The work is almost 50 years old yet feels vital. One of my favorite works—Lunch Painting—is on view. Highly recommended. (Also, it’s a really beautiful space; though the rafters are exposed very smart choices guided the placement of ducting and lighting.) If you can’t visit, see the installation shots on the gallery’s website.

4. A few blocks away, TSA is a very small third floor walk-up gallery, with some enjoyable sculptures in a group show on abstraction. Call to get in. Bushwick Open Studios in May will be a great chance to see the other activity in the building.

5. The gallery at Active Space, a few doors down the street, is a large open floorplan that seems to have a supportive, artist-centered mandate.

6. Intrigued by the work and approach of artist Jennifer Dalton in recent books by Sharon Louden and Ben Davis, I was curious to visit Auxillary Projects, a project space Dalton runs with Jennifer McCoy. It’s another standalone gallery in a building of studios. The space is tiny and shows very affordably priced artworks. I had a fantastic conversation there, and am eager to pay more attention to Dalton’s and McCoy’s artworks, and as well as exhibitions.

7. We finished our jaunt at 17-17 Troutman in Ridgewood, Queens, where studios are partitioned into small, artist-run galleries. Despite modest budgets, the spaces exude professional ambitions with clean, white-box presentations. I enjoyed Harbor Gallery’s assured exhibition of sculptures by Nicholas Moenich and Kristen Jensen.

 

Nicholas Moenich, Chunks, 2014, 16 x 14 x 11″ // Source:  Harbor1717.com.

Nicholas Moenich, Chunks, 2014, 16 x 14 x 11″ // Source: Harbor1717.com.

Regina Rex may relocate, so visit them while they’re still on Troutman; a good time to visit might be the opening of Ortega y Gasset’s forthcoming show next weekend.

I’m excited by the prospect of so many interesting exhibition venues building audiences outside of Manhattan. While some of the galleries are clearly commercially oriented, and Luhring Augustine could be viewed as a harbinger of gentrification, Bushwick and Ridgewood are home to artist-run projects, experimentation, and non-market orientations. Cautious optimism is still optimism.

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Community

Bay Area GOOD-BAD-GOOD

Ripple effects of negative affects and positive actions from the San Francisco Bay Area.

[GOOD] Finally, a critical mass of media attention on San Francisco’s tech-boom/gentrification crisis

 

[BAD] …which means constantly hearing news that is sad (or bitter, angry, antagonistic, mournful, etc.)… and sometimes relating to that news:

“People ask me, ‘Aren’t you going to miss the Bay Area?’ And I say that I already do. It’s not the same Bay Area it once was before.”

—Walter Robinson, as quoted by Christian L. Frock, “Priced Out: San Francisco’s Changing Values and Artist Exodus,” KQED Arts, April 3, 2014.
Edward Ruscha,  OOF, 1962, Oil on canvasDimensions, 71 1/2 x 67" // Source: Moma.org.

Edward Ruscha, OOF, 1962, Oil on canvasDimensions, 71 1/2 x 67″ // Source: Moma.org.

[GOOD / GET EXCITED] There seems to be a funneling of energy into thinking about art as it relates to economics. Get excited for this:

Michele Bock // Source: arts.berkeley.edu. I am an artist.  This does not mean I will work for free.  I have bills just like you do.  Thank you for understanding.

Michele Bock // Source: arts.berkeley.edu.

Valuing Labor in the Arts: A Practicum
April 19, 2014

…ARC will present Valuing Labor in the Arts: A Practicum. This event will include a series of artist-led workshops that develop exercises, prompts, or actions that engage questions of art, labor, and economics; it will also include a series of commissioned writings by critics and researchers whose work focuses on artistic labor and cultural economies. …ARC will host artists, curators, and writers from the Bay Area, Los Angeles, New York and Chicago, to stage an intimate yet wide-ranging exploration about art and labor, about alternative economies in the arts, and about strategies for working in ever changing “art world” landscapes….

I’d totally go to this if I were in the Bay Area… In fact I’m sort of kicking myself that I’m not there for this. But alas, I’ll make do with reviewing the materials online at the special issue of Art Practical, and on the forthcoming Compensation Foundation,

“a public, online, open-source platform for collecting, sharing, and analyzing how contingent workers are compensated.”

Bay Area Art Workers Alliance.

And…. I’m thrilled to help promote the Bay Area Art Worker’s Alliance‘s call for participation, for preparators, art installers, and art handlers  to contribute to an exhibition in YBCA’s Bay Area Now triennial. These invisible roles in the making of art exhibitions, which are on-call, part-time, financially and sometimes physically precarious, are finally getting some much-needed recognition from this institution. Deadline: May 15. Spread the word!

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Art & Development

In case this was not already clear:

“I just don’t see room for experimentation. Creativity takes time and space and does not always bear financial fruit within a fiscal year. I find many artists to be very impatient, causing them to present work too quickly or get into agreements that are financially based and do nothing to push their work forward in formal, intellectual or conceptual ways. Past ideas just get regurgitated and we all learn nothing in the process.”

—as quoted by Christian L. Frock, “Priced Out: San Francisco’s Changing Values and Artist Exodus,” KQED Arts, April 3, 2014.

Lisa Dent, on why the market is at odds with art

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Meta-Practice

Unrealized Project: Write a better article for this headline and lede

Headline:

“Dealing direct: do artists really need galleries?”

Lede:

“Successful artists, as well as some smart youngsters, are in no rush to secure big-league representation”

This article (Cristina Ruiz, The Art Newspaper, April 9, 2014) starts off with the example of one mega-artist (who employs 45 staff) on the ‘pro’ side, and ends with quotes from an art adviser, curator, and collector on the ‘con’ side.

This headline-lede-article grouping frustrates for raising an interesting question but answering with the status quo ‘no.’ It reinforces the tired assumptions that artists are powerless without galleries, and that commercial galleries are the primary means whereby artists advance. It reassures dealers—not to worry, dealers’ jobs are safe—while telling artists (again) that the market system works fine, and it can only be bypassed by the most exceptional.

I should have known better (I think it’s safe to say that The Art Newspaper  views “the art world” as the same thing as “the art market”), but I wanted to read how artists proceed without commercial gallery representation (unrealized project idea!). Most of us artists do so already; I’d wager 90% of us work this way. Yet too often professional development advice to artists focuses on garnering gallery representation, as if artists’ agency is solely a matter of glomming on to more powerful people.

*Unrealized Project #2: I was also hoping for frank talk about why artists might not want representation.* Recently I heard a veteran artist tell emerging artists about a blue chip gallery’s dodgy financial practices, and how we should keep our expectations for transparency extremely low. Why? I’d love to read a gallerist’s explanation in print (Unrealized Project #3). Why should galleries hide even very basic bookkeeping from their suppliers? What exempts these businesses from standard business practices? Why can’t the commercial art industry adhere to norms like cutting checks promptly or issuing statements?

**Unrealized Project #4: Write an article to go with the headline, “Do galleries need artists?”

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