Community

Exercises that Require Little to No Space or Equipment

The surefire way to boost your mood.

I found it’s surprisingly easy for days to pass without exercising, now that gyms are closed in NYC, and many people are self-isolating, working from home, consuming news, or prepping. (I can only imagine what friends and family in the Bay Area are doing under the shelter-in-place order.)

I just got back from a workout at a park. This is the best I’ve felt physically and mentally in days!  I really needed that, and I’m sure I’ll need a reminder to do it more (as long as it’s safe for me and for the greater good).

I am really grateful to all the instructors, trainers, and physical therapists who have shared this knowledge with me, so that I can form my own exercise plan even when  gyms are closed and classes are canceled. If you need some inspiration, here are some suggestions…

If you have a few square feet of space…

…And zero equipment:

  • stretches: hamstring, quad, leg-cradle, arm circles front/back, hip hinge
  • full body: push ups (and push up variations like Spiderman push ups), burpees, mountain climbers, sit-outs, jumping jacks, inchworms
  • core: planks (and plank variations: shoulder taps, three-point planks, side planks, side plank hip dips, side plank reach-through’s)
  • legs: squats (and variations like piston squat), lunges (and variations like lunge holds, lunge dips)
  • hips/glutes: bridges, single leg bridges, birddogs
    • an exercise that PTs call a T-walk but it’s basically like a walking, no-weight, single-leg Romanian deadlift)

…And a yoga mat, towel, or rug:

(Or you DGAF because your tailbone is made of carbon fiber.)

  • core: abs: sit ups, crunches, bicycles, leg lifts, Russian twists, in-outs, reverse crunch, V-ups, deadbugs
  • up-downs (switch from high plank to low plank one arm at a time)
  • Supermans, darts

..And a stable couch or chair:

  • dips

…And wall space:

  • wall sits

…And a way to slide:

E.g., you have hardwood or tile floors plus a small towel. If you have carpet, try using a furniture slider.

  • One-armed slider pushups
  • Lunge slides 
  • Body saw
  • Pikes
  • Knee tucks

If you have a garage, driveway, yard, or rooftop, plus a pair of work gloves:

Set up a cone/water bottle/anything to demarcate a distance. Or choose two opposite walls. Then try the following exercises in a lap or a line.

Walking Stretches

  • Try the stretches in the few-square-feet section above, taking steps in between reps.

Warm-ups/agility exercises

  • jogging
  • skipping, swinging opposite arms high and low to stretch your shoulders
  • Cariocas
  • lateral-shuffle (two steps in, turn 180º, two steps out)
  • three steps/ touch the floor
  • walking lunge
  • cartwheels

Full-body Strength

  • inchworms
  • lateral plank walk
  • lateral squat walk
  • bear crawl (forwards and backwards. If this seems easy, try keeping your knees 2-3 inches above the ground, take small steps, and go slow.)
  • Spiderman push-up

If you have a bench, stoop, or concrete/brick planter:


What’s this from?

These exercises I’ve learned from various bootcamp and TRX classes, martial arts, and physical therapy (PT). You may know these exercises with different names. If you’re unfamiliar, Google them.

I’m not a trainer, so take this with a grain of salt. Obviously, talk to a doc if you haven’t started an exercise program. If you’re unfamiliar with the exercise, start small and prioritize technique and control (many exercises are dangerous when performed incorrectly). Use common sense and take any precautions to avoid injury.

Tips

Some helpful habits I’ve learned from PTs.

  • Keep your core engaged (draw your navel back towards your spine).
  • Keep your shoulders down and back.
  • Protect your back by keeping a flat back when doing wall sits, deadbugs, leg lifts, etc.
  • Protect your knees by never letting your knee go past your toes, when doing squats, split squats, lunges, etc.

Structure

For most of these exercises, you can try 30-second intervals, or 3 sets of 10 reps.

If the exercise is too hard, start with a simpler variation, or less time, sets, or reps. If it’s too easy, add time, or progress to advanced variations. If it feels repetitive, try a super set (instead of 3 sets of exercise A, then 3 sets of B, then 3 sets of C; intersperse the sets A, B, C; then A, B, C; then A, B, C. Get it?).

Mix It Up

Working out with a partner is fun and can help you stay motivated. Buddy systems are great ways to form new habits. Try using a video chat to work out together yet remotely. Or, meet up at a public park (and maintain social distance. Nothing wrong with air-high-fives!).

Add spontaneity by setting a timer for 10, 30-second intervals and take turns leading an exercise, such as abs exercises. To make it more creative, add a rule that if anyone suggests an exercise you’re already done, they have to do 10 pushups.

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belonging

Cultivating Belonging through Reflection

Writing to recognize and affirm how people, activities, or places shape a sense of belonging.

Art, Culture, and Belonging in S.F. Chinatown

An animated GIF, with the text "How do art and culture shape your sense of belonging" in English and Chinese. Illustrated below are a woman and a man talking while writing on a sheet of paper. The woman has a thought bubble about shopping for a Chinese dress with friend. The man has a thought bubble depicting a boy holding a drawing of an anime character, and a gender fluid person holding a drawing of a Chinese character. Then there is text, "Share your story or learn more at ChristineWongYap.com" in English and Chinese text.

I’m currently the lead artist in a project exploring how arts and culture inform belonging in San Francisco Chinatown in partnership with the Chinatown Arts and Culture Coalition and the Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco.

We are inviting anyone with a connection to SF Chinatown to submit your story of belonging. You can submit your story online now through March 31. I’ll be publishing and interpreting stories in a publication and art exhibit scheduled for Fall 2020. This project is part of the groundwork for the cultural district designation process, which would bring valuable city resources to the neighborhood.

S.F. Chinatown and social distancing

It goes without saying that health and safety are the #1 priority right now. Many people are busy just coping with closures and disruptions.

So belonging might be perceived as lower priority. But I think belonging is especially important now for mental health and the health of a community.

Mental health can be harmed by isolation and social distancing. A lot of people might be feeling ‘othered,’ especially Asians, and anyone with a sniffle (not to mention Asians with a sniffle, like me). It may be a struggle to feel a sense of belonging.

Community life is severely impacted everywhere—especially in Chinatowns, where small businesses have been hit hard by lost revenue due to xenophobia/Sinophobia, social distancing, and the loss of tourism. Two restaurants in Oakland Chinatown have temporarily shuttered. Many folks living in SF Chinatown are elderly, kids, low-income, or English language learners for whom seeking health care or social services may be challenging. For many jobs in Chinatown, working from home is not an option.

SF Chinatown is the most densely populated urban area west of Manhattan. Fifteen thousand residents live within 20 square blocks. The social hearts of Chinatown are in the markets, restaurants, cafes, bakeries, temples, and parks like Portsmouth Square. What happens when you’re discouraged from going to the places where you feel belonging?

Writing to reflect on belonging

Could remotely reflecting about your places of belonging—or the people, cultural activities, or foods that remind you that “I belong”—reinforce your sense of belonging?

In this project, Chinatown Arts and Culture Coalition has been collecting stories from their constituents locally. I also created a Google Form for people to submit their stories online, to give people the option to type, and to allow people who moved away to participate.

Now, the Google Form is a good option for people who have to stay home and refrain from large gatherings. I hope you consider participating and spreading the word.

Two memories

To put my theory into practice, here’s two personal anecdotes.

Nourishment in a bowl

For me, when I’m feeling sick, there’s nothing like a wonton noodle soup with savory strips of BBQ pork and bok choy for making me feel better. I can just imagine taking a bite of a pillowy with crunchy water chestnuts and ginger, and slurping up fat chewy noodles from a fragrant umami-laden broth that soothes the throat and warms the belly.

Photo of a red bowl with broth and wontons. A mug with possibly HK style milk tea, and a rice roll with a side of mustard.

Wonton soup from Sam Wo Restaurant, self-proclaimed as “the oldest restaurant in SF Chinatown”, 713 Clay Street, San Francisco Chinatown. Photo by Deccajpn D. from Yelp. You can order Wonton Soup with BBQ Pork from Sam Wo via Postmates.

There’s something really deep about how much emotional warmth and connection are shared between Asians through the act of sharing food. When I was a kid, I really liked eating just the cooked wonton wrapper, with no meat filling. My mom would just drop a few extra pieces into the broth for me. I can easily imagine how much her heart swelled as she shared this gesture of love and saw my enjoyment, because I feel this same feeling now. When I cook for someone who cares deeply about me, and I can see that a home-cooked meal is meaningful to them, it’s a powerful feeling of gratitude to be able to nourish them, making your feelings tangible and gustatory.

The Tastiest Rituals

I have fond memories of going for dim sum with a large group of family. Even when I lived in Sonoma County, we’d make the hourlong family excursion to go to New Asia Restaurant, with its circular doorways lined in golden tiles.

A photo of diners around a glass lazy Susan loaded with dim sum dishes: rice rolls, chinese broccoli (gai lan), spring rolls, deep fried taro dumplings, shrimp dumplings (har gow), beef dumplings (siu mai), roast pork, roast duck

Dim sum at New Asia Restaurant, 772 Pacific Ave, San Francisco Chinatown. Photo by Sam Y. on Yelp. Locals can order from New Asia Restaurant on Postmates.

Dim sum brunch is a multi-sensory experience. First, there’s the roar of so many people crowded around dozens of 10-seater round tables. There’s the waiters and waitresses shouting out the names of their dim sum dishes as they roll their carts past, and having to flag them down before your favorite dish passes. There’s the rituals of tea: pouring from the pot with two fingers on the lid, tapping the table in a gesture of thanks, and propping the lid up to indicate the need for a refill.

When the food arrives, there’s the custom of serving entrees to your fellow diners’ tiny plates, demurrals of fullness be damned. There’s lazy Susan strategies: rotating to place the fresh entree in front of elders, nudging the tea pot so the handle doesn’t bump into cups, stacking empty bamboo steamers and plates.

There’s a diversity of tastes and textures—lacy fried taro root dumplings, glutenous steamed rice rolls, the forceful punch of soy sauce, the aroma of banana-leaf-wrapped rice with hunks of Chinese sausage and boiled peanuts, the negotiation of eating a plate-length stem of hoisin-drizzled gai lan with a pair of chopsticks. If you’re lucky, there’s warm, sweet red bean soup for dessert. The meal concludes with demonstrative, assertive haggling over who gets to foot the bill.

 

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Projects

Three Elements of Resilience for Better Coping

Some potentially useful skills and abilities of resilience.

I’ve been studying resilience over the past few months, and a few concepts with have been useful to me recently. 

Putting It In Perspective

Seeing the bigger picture, and paying attention to those who have it worse than us, can help make our problems seem relatively minor.

Drawing in pinks, reds, and purples of building blocks. Title: Seven Skills of resilience. There are seven building blocks, each labeled with a skill: Learning ABCs (adversity, beliefs, consequences). Avoiding Thinking Traps. Detecting Icebergs. Challenging Beliefs. Calming and Focusing. Putting it in Perspective. Realtime resilience.

For example, if you or your loved ones aren’t among the most vulnerable, and your priorities right now are non-life threatening, nor about serious economic hardship, it could be possible that they’re first-world problems. Trying to stick too stubbornly to your plans, being upset and inflexible about disruptions, and prioritizing personal gains or achievement goals might be over-investing in relatively minor concerns (over which you probably have limited control anyway).

It’s important for everyone to work together to flatten the curve of COVID-19. Personally, I’m relieved that employers, businesses, and organizations are temporarily closing to mitigate the spread of the pandemic. (This is a great example of society leading when government is flailing.) It’s a time for cooperation and making sacrifices for the vulnerable—as well as their caretakers and all health care workers.

Optimism

Recognizing when to be optimistic, and what we can control.

When to use optimism

Everyday, we’re evaluating risks and making decisions.

I love optimism, optimists, and being optimistic whenever possible. Still, I recognize the limits of optimism. When grave consequences are at stake, be wary of being too optimistic. (Trump’s bluster and uninformed overconfidence are so disrespectful of people’s intelligence and the gravity of COVID-19.) If you’re making a decision that could impact health—yours or society’s as whole—err on the side of caution.

Drawing on gridded vellum. Title: When to use optimism. Red circle

From Positive Signs, a series of 60 drawings interpreting positive psychology research and more. 2011, glitter and/or fluorescent pen with holographic foil print on gridded vellum, 11 x 8.5 inches.

On the other hand, if you’re making a decision with lower consequences, choose optimism. For example, maybe you want to check in on an elderly neighbor but you’re worried about social awkwardness. In the best case scenario, it’s welcome and helpful, and you both feel good. In the worst case, it’ll be awkward, not that big a deal.

What we can control

As Karen Reivich, PhD and Andrew Shatté, PhD, define it in “The Resilience Factor,” being optimistic is to believe we control the direction of our lives.

A drawing in bright chartreuse with a

From a suite of drawings I’m currently working on about resilience.

There is a lot we can’t control right now—travel restrictions, closures of businesses and schools, and diverted plans.

So what can we control?

We can be creative in fostering connection despite the disruptions. For example, sharing photos of families instead of photos of empty shelves and commiseration memes (H/T artist Risa Puno).

We can gather resources and share knowledge.

We can try to use time at home productively, such as brainstorming ways to generate income. [Artists can work on applications, update websites and CVs, and improve art storage and inventory records. For example, I recently make boxes for art that I’ve been meaning to pack.]

Or, we can choose to see the restrictions on movement as a chance to rest, reflect, and practice self-care (such as using yoga instructional videos on YouTube instead of going to the gym), or doubling down on our support of neighbors and our communities.

We can choose to take steps to manage anxiety, and stop obsessing about coronavirus news (H/T artist jenifer k wofford).

Reaching Out

For Reivich and Shatté, reaching out is both a skill of resilience as well as a use of resilience. One definition they offer is to enhance the positive aspects of life.

A colored pencil drawing in green and black. Shown: of an arm reach up with the text,

From a series of drawings on resilience currently in progress. 2020, colored pencil on paper, 12 x 9 inches.

We are in an unprecedented time, when everyday brings scary news, anxiety is high, and everyone is coping with uncertainty. This is a recipe for poor mental health. Balance the negative with positive: connection, joy, humor, generosity. I love the videos of Italians singing from balconies, and Iranian doctors dancing. These are much-needed reminders of the human spirit and resilience.

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Art Worlds

Commendations: NYC’s Public Artist in Residence (PAIR) Open Call

The program design and the open call of New York City’s Public Artists in Residence (PAIR) demonstrate refreshingly pro-artist principles. 

It all boils down to trust and transparency.

Artists are Leaders

Inspired by an artist-led initiative, PAIR supports artists to step outside of the cultural sector into municipal collaborations.

PAIR is based on the premise that artists are creative problem solvers. To that end, DCLA embeds socially engaged artists in New York City municipal agencies to utilize their creative, collaborative art practice to offer innovative solutions to pressing civic challenges. Launched in 2015, the PAIR program takes its name and inspiration from the pioneering work of artist Mierle Laderman Ukeles, the City’s first official artist in residence (1977), with the NYC Department of Sanitation.

This is a unique residency. What a wonderful legacy for Mierle Laderman Ukeles’ iconic work.

Let Artists Be Strategic

The open call describes necessary characteristics of successful applicants.

Artists who are able to be flexible, adaptable, and can maneuver through different situations and populations are encouraged to apply.

Many open calls are intentionally vague. They want to cast the widest net possible and let the jurors decide. Or, some open calls are transactional; the gallery wants to generate income via the entry fees, so they are disincentivized from stating their curatorial interests out right.

Applicants and jurors benefit when calls result in quality over quantity.

Budget Transparency

The call clearly states the budget.

PAIR funding per residency is $40,000: $20,000 for the Research Phase and $20,000 for the Implementation Phase. Funding is inclusive of related project expenses (e.g., printing, fabrication, equipment rental, wages for collaborators, video production, etc.). The selected artist(s) are responsible for managing the project budget and submitting invoices. No additional funding is provided….

Sometimes institutions like to be coy about the total budget available—it gives them more wiggle room to move funds around as needed. Or, they’ll say, “up to [X amount]” is available, and then artists have to justify what they ask for.

When everything is up for negotiation, artists—honored to receive an opportunity and unsure how much is available—can get the short end of the stick.

Trust Artists to Manage Budgets

They will just disburse the funds to the artist. Artists don’t have to explain or justify every expense.

All funds ($40,000 total) are paid directly to the artist, who manages all program costs.

This is, hands down, my favorite way to handle funds. Just give artists the money!

If a city agency can do it, then I have hope everyone else can find a way to do it too.

The alternatives—submitting reimbursement requests with receipts and line items—can add up to a lot of administrative labor and stress. (For example, one institution refused to reimburse me for expenses for which I submitted scans, rather than hard copies, of receipts.)

Don’t Overstretch

Since they advocate for artists to be paid fairly, they encourage solo artists rather than collaboratives.

DCLA advocates strongly for fair artist wages. Given that PAIR awards are fixed, we strongly encourage individual artists to apply for PAIR, rather than artist collectives that would have to share the award. Collectives are still welcome to apply, knowing the financial restrictions.

They’re acknowledging that $20,000 for a year-long project is not enough of an artist’s fee for multiple artists.

Pay Yourself

This call recommends that the artist’s fee be 50% of the total budget.

We encourage artists to take a $20,000 artist fee and use $20,000 for the project budget. However, it is up the to the artist’s discretion to use the fee as they see fit.

Stating the proportion, and making it a generous proportion, are radical. Many artists are unsure how much to pay themselves, because they are often expected to underpay themselves.

(When I was an undergrad, a teacher told our class that his grant application was unsuccessful because his artist’s fee was too much of the total budget. The message was: “Don’t pay yourself too much, or else you won’t get paid at all.” In fact, underpaying myself and using my own capital to subsidize ‘opportunities’ has been part of most—but not all—of my experiences.) 

The message here is: “We value artist’s labor”—and not just in theory, but in practice.

 


Addendum:

This program was created by Tom Finkelpearl, former Commissioner of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

There’s a lot that I don’t understand about politics. One thing I know: New York City is worse off having lost two top talents: Tom Finkelpearl and Andy Byford.

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Meta-Practice

Notes from a Juror: New Glass Review

I recently served as a juror for New Glass Review 41. In the interest of making the art world more transparent, here are some of my insights from that process.

Entry way to the museum, with a long path framed by bare winter trees.

Corning Museum of Art. This is a great museum—the largest museum of glass in the world, in fact—and their new contemporary galleries are especially gorgeous. Well worth a trip to Corning, NY!

Invitation

I was honored to be invited by Susie Silbert, Curator of Postwar and Contemporary Glass at the Corning Museum of Glass, to be a guest juror for New Glass Review 41, an annual exhibition in print.

Three books, with images of glass sculptures and installations on the cover.

Past issues of New Glass Review 38 & 39, and New Glass Now.

To be totally honest, I was surprised by the invitation. My practice infrequently overlaps with glass. But I trusted Susie’s instincts as a curator and that the perspective I could bring was welcome—that it was OK for me not to be an expert in glass or a glass practitioner, but that my art practice and writing practices could be a good launching pad for worthy contributions nonetheless. I’m OK with being a weirdo outsider in this process (though I would love to return to making hot glass again in the future).

Jurors

There were four jurors: Susie, me, a US glass artist/writer, and an international curator. (I’ll let CMOG reveal the full list of jurors.) We all brought different bodies of knowledge, interests, and perceptions to the table. I found the mix of our backgrounds and where our curiosities lie to be very educational in the jurying process. I was a little intimidated at times, but I also knew it’s OK to be humble and honest about what I don’t know. By the final round, I felt that all our perspectives were different and valid, and that was very freeing for me. I am learning that approaching with curiosity is always a good way to go.

Process

The process was fascinating. There were 978 total entrants. Each entrant could submit one to three images, so we reviewed a total of 2,599 images! The jurors were asked to select 100 images for inclusion in New Glass Review 41. See the art competition odds here.

I was curious as to how this would be accomplished in two full days of meeting in person at the Corning Museum. As with most feats, it was possible because of the invisible labor of support staff—namely, Violet Wilson, Whitney Birkett, AV crew and others. They had done a lot of preparation and were heavily involved in technical, behind-the-scenes work to make the jurors’ jobs smooth and on schedule. (I also appreciated that there was catering to help keep our energy and focus up.)

Round One: Overview

In the first round, we did a quick look only at images; we didn’t look at statements or the title, year, media, dimensions, etc. This was just to see everything and get familiar with the entries. If you can believe it, we started at just after 9 AM and finished by noon.

A note about the format… In this first round, each ‘slide’ of the deck contained one entrant’s images. If there were three images, it filled the ‘slide’ well. Some people submitted photos of one artwork: an overall view, and detail views. Others submitted three different artworks. This is not a distinction that made a big difference to me. But, if there was only one installation view, with no details, it seemed to be a missed opportunity to fill the screen with more visual information. Conversely, when only cropped views were offered, I wanted to see an uncropped image to understand the full extent of the object.

Round Two: Initial ‘Keepers’

In the second round, jurors were asked to voice whether we’d each like to keep none, one, or multiple images to see again in the next round.

We went through all the entries again, this time, with supplementary texts. If I remember correctly, titles, years, media, and dimensions appeared under each image in this round.

An artist’s statement was shown on a large monitor. To be honest, we really could only skim the statement in this round. The shorter, clearer statements, with headers identifying sections, worked better for me. When entrants submitted works that looked disparate, brief statements about each work or project were helpful. I found long, narrative paragraphs too wordy and rambling for my tastes.*

We also stated if we had personal connections with the artist in this round. We recused ourselves or shared relevant context if necessary. I recused myself from advancing artists who I had personal connections with in this round and round three.

Round Three: Cull to 250 Images

The next day, we spent the morning narrowing down the number of images to 250. We went a little slower, spending more time reading the statements. I think this is when we really got a sense of the artist’s intent. Spending the time in this stage really made the final round easier. We went past our scheduled lunch time, and I’m grateful that the support staff bore with us.

Round Four: Final Selections of 100 Images

In preparation for the final afternoon, the staff printed our selections of 250 images and taped them to the walls. Then each juror was given a colored dot sticker and asked to select 25 images to make up the 100 selected works to appear in New Glass Review. Jurors are also asked to write a few sentences about 25 works, and it was generally agreed upon that the works we picked in this stage are also the ones we would write about.

A window case behind glass of nine printouts, each bearing a photo of glass art, with colored dot stickers below.

Sample printouts with dot stickers from past jurying processes on view in the exhibition New Glass Now | Context.

There’s an element of chance in this final stage. Some works that I wanted to choose were already picked by other jurors by the time I made it to that area of printouts.

Full disclosure: In this stage, I selected some artists whose work I had previously recused myself from. I felt that if the other jurors advanced it to this final stage, it was fair game for me now.

We were also given the chance to add an unlimited number of dots to other juror’s selections, so our initials would appear next to the works. This also had some element of subjectivity—I noticed that sometimes jurors spoke favorably about some works in early rounds but didn’t add their dots in the final round. For me, for better or worse, the many small decisions, considerations, and a certain level of decision fatigue gave way to gut instincts by the end.

Observations

I think this process is really efficient for the time frame available. One constraint is that some images that may have benefited from clarifying statements were cut in round two. But given the enormous task of whittling down images, the various subjectivities, positions, and interests of the jurors, and Susie’s varied concerns related to the history and role of New Glass Review in the glass field at large, I’d say there’s a generous mix of rigor and chance in the process. No artists should be discouraged from applying again in future years.

I appreciate the democracy and transparency embedded in the New Glass Review.

Signage that states, "Methodology for Selection. New Glass is democratic in a way that few curatorial projects are. Usually, exhibitions are initiated by one curator who solicits art work from an artist they have researched. By contrast, any artist can submit to New Glass, and all of the artists are given equal consideration. Instead of one curator selecting, New Glass invites a group of people from outside the Museum to select from these submissions. The selectors do not have to agree about every work, instead a piece can be accepted to New Glass even if it was chosen by a single selector. The selections of each panelist are identified in both the New Glass publications and exhibitions, including this one, by publishing their initials alongside their choices."

A didactic text from the exhibition, New Glass Now | Context.

Advice: Apply!

In the process of preparing to be a juror, I reviewed New Glass Review 38 and 39, as well as New Glass Now (sort of a super-version of New Glass Review 40). The juror’s selections varied widely. I would not want any potential applicants to feel that New Glass Review favors any particular look, style, medium, or technique.

This year’s jurors were fortunate that the jurying coincided with the New Glass Now | Context exhibition on view in the CMOG Rakow Research Library through January 3, 2021. This exhibition is a great overview of the history of New Glass Review and how it and CMOG have been formative in fostering the field of glass art. It’s also interesting to see how Susie is shaking up things with new energy.

A case with "New Glass Review 1" in vinyl, displaying the first and most recent issues of New Glass Review.

A display from the exhibition, New Glass Review | Context.

archives

The exhibition, New Glass Now | Context, includes this display showing that all submitted entries become archived at CMOG. This is a really generous additional benefit. Even if works are not selected for publication, they become part of this institution’s archive, available to researchers. I really loved Lenka Clayton’s and Jon Rubin’s  “Fruit and Other Things” project using the archive of past entries to the Carnegie International, and I would love to see artists and researchers dive into the New Glass Review archives for future projects.

I see applying to competitions as a skill that artists develop with practice. Personally, I think it’s fair to advance entrants who are skilled in photographing and presenting their works to their best competitive advantage; writing clear, concise statements that add to the works rather than undermine them with cloudy thinking or contradictory info; arming themselves with knowledge about the formats of the submission and review process (hint: this is the point of this blog post!); and strategizing appropriately.

This skill can be learned by attending professional development workshops (and applying that knowledge!), going to info sessions whenever available, practicing the art of writing, investing in good documentation, not waiting until the last minute to apply to an opportunity, being strategic about which opportunities you apply to rather than taking scatter-shot, cut-and-paste approaches, and asking fellow artists to give feedback on your submissions.

A Caveat

The jurors were asked to share feedback about the process. It sounds to me that the organizers are interested in making improvements, so the application may shift slightly in the future. These notes reflect my experience, during this one particular jurying session of New Glass Review, solely.

Takeaways

Each juror will submit an essay on our perspective, as well as short statements about 25 of our selections. I appreciated the opportunity to articulate what I’m interested in as a viewer, and what I saw in the works I selected. I think this is a unique aspect of juried artist’s competitions that makes a jury feel less de-personalized. As an applicant, I always appreciate getting any feedback or encouragement, but most organizations don’t have the capacity to give feedback. I can’t think of any that includes jurors’ direct responses  like New Glass Review.

I felt honored to be part of the process. I am coming away with a lot of images and knowledge about contemporary glass art from the past 18 months. I’m very grateful to learn about so many glass practitioners around the world, to be exposed to so many artists’ artworks and practices. I hope that New Glass Review 41 acts as a starting point for readers to learn more about these artist’s practices.

I’m grateful to all the artists for preparing entries with care and intention.

Huge thanks to CMOG, Susie, Violet, Whitney, support staff, and the fellow jurors for such a wonderful opportunity, the great support, and generous hospitality.


*Addendum: Unsolicited Advice on Writing Artist’s Statements

If you’re interested, here are some writing strategies I’ve picked up over the years.

One strategy is to print out your artist statement, use scissors to cut out each sentence, and then cut out any words that aren’t necessary or communicative. This is nice for artists who like to work with their hands. Also, taking it off the screen and making it mechanical can help you focus on individual words and phrases.

A chart in the shape of an inverted pyramid with three sections. The top section states "Most newsworthy. Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?" The middle section states, "Important Details." The bottom section states, "Other background info, general info."

The Air Force Departmental Publishing Office (AFDPO) derivative work: Makeemlighter // Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inverted_pyramid_(journalism)

Another method to try is to use journalists’ inverted pyramid. (See graphic and link at right.)

The last tip is to use headers. Think of them as signposts for navigating a text. Usually, setting the header in all capitals and extra space are enough to distinguish it from body text, if you can’t style the text otherwise.

(While Susie emphasized that we’re selecting artists, not writers, to me, clear writing is an indication of clear thinking. I like to know what artists are thinking about their work and what they are trying to do. If they can’t articulate it clearly, I can’t understand the work as well. I did allow some leeway for non-native English entrants in this regard.)

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Art Competition Odds

Art Competition Odds: The Corning Museum of Glass’ New Glass Review 41

The Corning Museum of Glass’s New Glass Review 41 received 978 entries, from which 100 images representing 100 artists were selected.

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Selected images represent 1:9.78, or 10.2%, of applicants.

See all Art Competition Odds.

Read “Notes from a Juror: New Glass Review 41.”

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Art & Development, Art Worlds

Casey Jex Smith’s life timeline

Utah-based artist Casey Jex Smith shared a life timeline showing his time to make art compared to career and family benchmarks, student loan debt, and gallery representation.

Multiple timelines showing birth 1976 and other benchmarks, time to make art, student loan debt, gallery representation

Timeline by artist Casey Jex Smith, courtesy of the artist

He contextualized it with:

Really satisfying to create. Just trying to communicate the trade offs in life when trying to be an artist. Artists need more data points to make their decisions —more transparency and honesty from institutions they trust.

I’m always for artists having more information, being more transparent, and self-aware of their conditions in a way that is informative. This is a great visualization and generous gesture of transparency.

What I noticed about Casey’s data visualization:

  • The sharp drops in time available for art after each child was born, and the cumulative effects of reducing his time.
    • Actually, I’m impressed he’s still able to find 10 hours per week for art.
  • The staggering amount of student debt from the MFA from SFAI. How loan interest grew or stabilized the debt amount while teaching, and a reduction in the balance starts only after working at a tech company.
    • Some friends are involved in organizing adjunct instructors for fair pay at art schools—this really puts teachers’ sacrifices in perspective.
  • In the underwear-shaped part of the timeline (ha!), he had up to four galleries representing him. Each relationship lasted during a limited, post-grad-school period—the total interval almost equal to the time passed since then.
    • When I went to grad school, there was a sense that having a gallery represent you was like being “saved”—you’d be set up, and your precariousness would become limited. But that seems like setting yourself up for disappointment. Some galleries close, some relationships don’t work out. Artists are responsible for sustaining our own lifelong practices.

This is a really interesting exercise, and I hope it inspires other artists to make their own visualizations. They could be following Casey’s example, or about other aspects of their life as an artist.

For more inspiration, see the zine I made in 2015 based on an Artist’s Personal Impacts Survey I conducted.

Learn more about Casey’s work at caseyjexsmith.com. Thanks, Casey, for sharing your timeline with me and other artists!

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