Meta-Practice, Values

How to be everywhere at once, or not

Inspired by a walk around Chelsea and CAA, here are a few thoughts about how artists of a certain level are able to sustain multiple galleries and fairs…

Variations and editions

At Doug Aitken’s show at 303 Gallery, the list of works stated that all artworks, except for the site-specific installation, were multiples. Text works that could have been fabricated by sign shops were editions of four, plus two artist’s proofs. Other text works that might involve more chance, such as a piece with broken mirrors and another foam piece that was partly carved by hand, were variations, plus artist’s proofs.

The way Aiken and many contemporary other artists edition sculptures seems  pragmatic—there is so much research and development that goes into each work, and so many venues for international artists, that being able to exhibit and sell the same work is advantageous. Yet, these editioned sculptures would never be displayed next to each other, or heavens forbid, in the same fair at different booths—like the earliest fine art print editions, the whole concept of an edition is to create scarcity and value. I’m curious if collectors feel like they’re buying originals, are concerned with the fidelity to exhibition copies, or are simply less concerned with purchasing copies, especially of industrially-fabricated works.

(The show itself was dazzling in the video as well as in person, but not especially affective. I believe a critic for the New Yorker found the show to be resemble window displays, and I got the same feeling. There were intimations of destruction, but no danger. In the large hole drilled out of the concrete gallery floor, the milky water was lit from beneath, as if a hot tub. One text work was set behind a faux wall with a cartoonish circular hole cut away; the drywall was filled with pebbly rubble painted white as if on a theatrical set made of Plasticine.)

A few rules make disparate drawings a series

Of particular interest at Mark Dion at Tanya Bonokdar:

1. The vitrines with marine encrustations that were on view in International Orange in San Francisco are now highly salable objects in a Chelsea gallery. (Also, I believe  those were clearly indicated as collaborations in San Francisco, a fact not obvious in NYC.) The settings are so different I found it humorously ironic. Fort Point was bitterly cold, practically in the Pacific Ocean than abutting it. The vitrines were lit in a theatrically dim light, which minimized Fort Point’s peeling walls. At Bonokdar, the pristine gallery housed a number of vitrines and installations, all of which were perfectly installed and maintained. The change of context from the edge of the continent to the center of a commercial art world demonstrates a fluidity that contrasts greatly with so many artists I know who exhibit in odd places in the Bay Area.

2. Dion makes preliminary sketches for his various public projects and commissions—from the UK to San Francisco’s Balboa Park—in red and blue colored pencil. Who knows why, but the effect is that a room with dozens of such drawings hung salon-style looks fantastic. A simple set of rules increases the volume of exhibition-ready work.

Conflicts of Interest Vs. Conflicts of Self-Interest

At the College Art Association conference a few weeks ago, I attended a session called “The Future of Art Magazines” (see GalleristNY.com’s write-up). A comment that has stuck with me is that people play so many roles in the art strata, that it can pose dilemmas to critics. For example, critics who are also curators may worry that they can’t negatively review certain institutions that they might work with, or risk offending artists that they might curate or be asked to curate. I wondered if this was an actual conflict of interest, when the potential of a partnership is merely a potential. Perhaps it would better be phrased as a conflict of self-interest?

Of course people do this all the time. Yet the frequency of self-interested behavior doesn’t make it right—call it Darwinian, hustlin’, or playing the game, it’s also selfish, opportunistic, and small.

To be big, one must imagine that other people are big, too. That artists or administrators won’t be offended if you write a negative review with honesty and integrity. Whether others are in a position of power or not relative to yourself, people should be able to handle direct, open communication with judiciousness and discretion. In my recent correspondence with commenters on Temporary Art Review, I have been trying to encourage artists to give feedback directly to residency administrators. It seems a reasonable thing to do, except for a fear of retaliation that is not a part of the art world that I would like to participate in.

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Research

Off Cuts, Part 2

Some more odds and ends to mull…

In my London art trip, I was intrigued by about two collection-based venues; both in Camden and both new to me. The current shows were interesting enough, but I am more intrigued by the spaces and the ambitious, cutting-edge contemporary art they will show.

David Roberts Art Foundation is “an independent, non-profit foundation” founded in 2007 and seems to aggressively collect and exhibit contemporary art, including the work of younger artists. I really loved the experimental, questioning nature outlined in the exhibition pamphlet:

a museum is a production site, a site that not only presents and describes an existing context, but generates new contexts, a site where artists, curators, critics and other stakeholders can produce, share, discuss, act and interact, where visitors are co-producers, and where the machinery of exhibitions produces prototypes, experiences, catalysts for thought….

I liked this too:

An artwork is a system that cannot be reduced only to an object or an index (certificat, instructions, etc.). It also includes the histories (material and conceptual), the trajectories (physical or virtual) and the narratives (past or to come) generated by the artwork: this is what this programme will research.

And:

Study is not an attempt to capture or seize but a methodology of encounter and the insistence on the provisional as both form and content within the process of research.

Read more here (click on A House of Leaves. First Movement).

Gerhard Richter Fuji, 1996 Oil on alucobond. David Roberts Collection // Source: davidrobertsartfoundation.com.

Gerhard Richter, Fuji, 1996 Oil on alucobond. David Roberts Collection // Source: davidrobertsartfoundation.com.

Small but stunning Richter on view in A House of Leaves as of two weeks ago; it’s an ever-unfolding exhibition so who knows what’s on now?

While DRAF is housed in an industrial brick warehouse in an alley off of the high street, the Zabludowich Collection is sited in an imposing church in a residential street.

Founded in 1994, the Zabludowich Collection “exhibits in venues in the UK, USA and Finland” and “actively creates new opportunities for audiences to engage with emerging art.”

Matthew Darbyshire, Showhome, 2012 // Source: zabludowiczcollection.com.

Matthew Darbyshire, Showhome, 2012 // Source: zabludowiczcollection.com.

The current exhibition by Matthew Darbyshire featured sets made of printed vinyl CG streetscapes. I was most interested in the Showhome installation, involving mass manufactured chairs and high-end interior design decorations. It was familiar yet preposterous and sad. There’s something interesting in packaging showrooms’ theatricality in art exhibit’s pretentions of perfect, timeless viewing experiences. The exhibition as a whole expressed some of the suffocation of consumer culture, and I couldn’t help but feel some of that coldness and repression as I left the show.

This detail of The Tempest (~1862) by Peder Balke. It’s a seascape, maybe one of the most unlikely genres of painting I’d be attracted to. But the elegance, brushstrokes,  simplicity and evocativeness is what gets me.

Stephen Chambers’ gold leafed potato print, on view now at the Royal Academy of Arts in the Artist’s Laboratory.

Two faces, carved with simple marks. Maybe a man and a woman. Despite the elemental form, I still read the faces as deeply empathetic with each other, united in the way that lifelong couples are.

Potato prints are a basic form of printmaking, one that could be the first type of printmaking children experience. The idea of gold-leafing a potato print is so absurd it’s brilliant.

The show features a 70-part screenprint mural, nice stuff, interesting timeless narrative vignettes.

Richard Artschwager’s Tower II (1979)

A theoretical device for communication. Nice pairing with Demand and Opie. Plus a daringly bright aqua wall. Go Tate!

Richard Artschwager, Tower II, 1979 (center), with a photo by Thomas Demand (left) and Julian Opie's You See An Office Building 4 (1996). Tate Liverpool.

Richard Artschwager, Tower II, 1979 (center), with a photo by Thomas Demand (left) and Julian Opie’s You See An Office Building 4 (1996). Tate Liverpool.

San Francisco or London?

Notting Hill.

Notting Hill.

Love this message.

Shoreditch.

Text: ESPO in Shoreditch.

Jason Evans‘ photo/installations.

By chance, I stumbled into The Grange Prize exhibition at Canada House.

It was a group exhibition featuring the work of four finalists for a major international, contemporary photo prize. I was most attracted to Jason Evans’ work; it was the most playful and mixed-media, using wall graphics, texts, objects, and loud colors. The combination unfolds in a way that I think asks the viewer to engage the experience in a more multi-sensory way.

Here are some of his casual, snapshot-like photos. I think they work better en masse.

Jason Evans. // Source: jasonevans.info.

Jason Evans. // Source: jasonevans.info.

Jason Evans. // Source: jasonevans.info.

Jason Evans. // Source: jasonevans.info.

Jason Evans. Installation view. // Source: jasonevans.info.

Jason Evans. Installation view. // Source: jasonevans.info.

Curiously, I couldn’t bring myself to cast a vote. The show seemed too small; there’s not enough work on view to get a sense of each artist’s scope and capacities. (The winner was announced; her work seems to demonstrate photographic skill the most apparently, but with the least compelling subject matter and use of materials for me personally.)

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Community, Impressions, Travelogue

Points of Reference: West Coast

Some aesthetic impressions from a Portland-San Francisco tour:

Looking east up the Columbia River Gorge, from Crown Point in Oregon, USA. Author: Hux. // Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Looking east up the Columbia River Gorge, from Crown Point in Oregon, USA. Author: Hux. // Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Columbia River Gorge. The more I visit grand vistas, the more I understand Romanticism.

Landscape paintings don’t usually affect me—but imagine living in a crowded, dirty city in the Industrial age, then exploring such vast, stunning locales like the Columbia River Gorge, the Catskills, or the Lake District in the UK. Post-postcard, post-Ansel Adams, I might be desensitized to the images of these places, but I never fail to experience awe—smallness in light of something greater—when I visit these places. It seems natural to want to capture the grandeur and qualities of light, as much as preserve the environment for future generations. [Go Parks!]

Ryan Pierce. Preview image for New World Atlas of Weeds and Rags. // Source: ElizabethLeach.com.

Ryan Pierce. Preview image for New World Atlas of Weeds and Rags. // Source: ElizabethLeach.com.

Get excited:
Ryan Pierce: New World Atlas of Weeds and Rags
Elizabeth Leach Gallery

Portland, OR
Through June 23

Really happy to catch the solo show of my CCA MFA classmate. Ryan specializes in hard-edged, post-apocalyptic narrative painting over luminous Flashe washes. He constructed this show around weeds, with tight botanical renderings of thistles, milkweeds, etc., as well as giveaways of pesticide-resistant seeds. My favorite paintings were from a sequence featuring the sun and the moon. I sensed some Charles Burchfield-esque visionary heat.

Karl Blossfeldt, Adiantum pedatum, Maidenhair fern, young unfurling fronds, 12x. // Image source: PortlandArtMuseum.org. Caption source: karlblossfeldtphotos.com.

Karl Blossfeldt, Adiantum pedatum, Maidenhair fern, young unfurling fronds, 12x. // Image source: PortlandArtMuseum.org. Caption source: karlblossfeldtphotos.com.

Karl Blossfeldt’s New Objectivity photos of botanical geometry.
70 Years/70 Photographs
Portland Art Museum
Through September 9

My knowledge of photography is a bit anemic, but this means that I get to enjoy many discoveries in the repair process. Blossfeldt’s images were a delight. See more at karlblossfeldtphotos.com.

Portland Sewing

The short: Private lessons with Sharon Blair. Highly recommended.

The long: My sewing knowledge comprised making clothes for Puffy, my stuffed Crocker Spaniel, under the guidance of my mother. (Mom’s an excellent seamstress who made some of my favorite childhood dresses. She still uses a Montgomery Ward Singer dating from the late 1970s/early 1980s; to change stitches, she manually changes a baffling array of stamped metal gears.)

Remarkably, this experience, along with much experimentation, has girded me through sewn sculptures and ribbon projects over the past few years. In the same time though, I’d accumulated a battery of questions about fabrics and techniques. Sharon, the instructor, patiently answered them all. She has tons of industry experience, and started the lesson with a quick history of sewing machine manufacturers. <Tool nerd swoon>

I got a crash course in cutting and sewing, and practiced three of the six kinds of fell seams, which will be critical for an upcoming flag project.

The Marianas (Michael Arcega and Stephanie Syjuco), Montalvo Historical Fabrications and Souvenirs (A Pop-up Shop), 2012. // Source: StephanieSyjuco.com.

The Marianas (Michael Arcega and Stephanie Syjuco), Montalvo Historical Fabrications and Souvenirs (A Pop-up Shop), 2012. // Source: StephanieSyjuco.com.

The Marianas (Michael Arcega and Stephanie Syjuco)
Montalvo Historical Fabrications and Souvenirs (A Pop-up Shop)
Montalvo Project Space
Woodside, CA
Through July 20

Friends’ first collaboration. It’s good. Go see it, and bring cash!

Allison Smith, Fort Point Bunting, 2012. // Source: international-orange.org. Photo: Jan Stürmann.

Allison Smith, Fort Point Bunting, 2012. // Source: international-orange.org. Photo: Jan Stürmann.

International Orange
FOR-SITE Foundation
Fort Point
San Francisco
Through October 28

Really good show in an amazing site. Go! I went on a foggy, chilly Monday (no crowds) and it was lovely.

My favorite was Allison Smith‘s Fort Point Bunting. Each of the 75 swags is accompanied by quotes from servicewomen printed on linen and framed in waxed canvas cording. The narratives were empowering. While military intervention is fraught, this insight in the battle for equal access to combat is pretty thrilling.

Stephanie Syjuco‘s International Orange Commemorative Store (A Proposition) establishes a standard of finish and level of production that is sublime, and should have most artists quaking in our boots. Anadamavi Arnold‘s crepe paper gowns were magnificent. I read Kate PocrassAverage Magazine off-site, but found it to be the most entertaining and insightful look at the Golden Gate Bridge. I also loved Andy Freeberg‘s portraits of workers on the bridge, for the diverse, recognizable subjects, rarely-seen perspectives, and cool tools.

Fort Point’s history and vistas were great to explore. I enjoyed how the show engaged the site, so that viewers browsed historical/permanent displays in the course of visiting the exhibition. I expected a strong show due to the roster of international artists; I was pleased to find that the projects that resonated with me most form a collection of articulate, accomplished female artists.

Robert Kinmont: 8 Natural Handstands (detail), 1969/2009; nine black-and-white photographs; 8 1/2 x 8 1/2 in. each; courtesy of Alexander and Bonin, New York. Photo: Bill Orcutt. // Source: bampfa.berkeley.edu.

Robert Kinmont: 8 Natural Handstands (detail), 1969/2009; nine black-and-white photographs; 8 1/2 x 8 1/2 in. each; courtesy of Alexander and Bonin, New York. Photo: Bill Orcutt. // Source: bampfa.berkeley.edu.

State of Mind: New California Art Circa 1970
Berkeley Art Museum
Through June 17

I’d heard rumors that this is the best show  many locals had seen in a long time. Unfortunately, I had only one hour, so I didn’t have the quiet mind required for uncovering the historical significance of the performance documentation and historical ephemera that ran through the show.

I loved that the show brought the major West Coast art initiative Pacific Standard Time up to Bay Area. Also, it’s not often you get to see an major survey exhibition about California art that doesn’t have a Los Angeles bias. I enjoyed learning more about seminal artists like Gary Beydler, William Leavitt, Bas Jan Ader, and Guy de Cointet (these de Cointet text drawings are fantastic, backgrounding Tauba Auerbach’s text paintings). It’s always nice to see Bruce Nauman‘s video pieces installed—here, Come Piece, two closed-circuit televisions with different halves of their lenses taped off.

The only thing that struck me negatively was the way that political art (works by artists of color and feminist artists) was the last thematic section. The architecture of the last room especially made the agit-prop David Hammons seem like an afterthought. I can’t pinpoint it, but I suspect that the early earth and performance work relates to a spiritual quest in merging art and life, and I intuit a bit of a woo-woo factor there, reinforced by the fact that my contemporaries who are especially fond of these artists tend to make transcendental works themselves.

Robert Bechtle, Potrero Hill, 1996; painting; oil on canvas, 36 in. x 66 in. (91.44 cm x 167.64 cm); Collection SFMOMA, Ruth Nash Fund purchase; © Robert Bechtle  Source: http://www.sfmoma.org/explore/collection/artwork/104616##ixzz1xQHskP3n  San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. // Source: SFMOMA.org.

Robert Bechtle, Potrero Hill, 1996; painting; oil on canvas, 36 in. x 66 in. (91.44 cm x 167.64 cm); Collection SFMOMA, Ruth Nash Fund purchase; © Robert Bechtle Source: http://www.sfmoma.org/explore/collection/artwork/104616##ixzz1xQHskP3. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Robert Bechtle, Potrero Hill (1996)
SFMOMA 

Bechtle is a perennial favorite of the SFMOMA’s, and mine too. This late, great painting—on view in the second floor galleries—is like five paintings in one. The JPG doesn’t do it justice. Bechtle’s understanding of reflected light and surfaces is phenomenal. This work was the highlight of my SFMOMA visit, along with Anthony Discenza’s The Effect in  the contemporary language art show, Descriptive Acts.

I expected that The Utopian Impulse: Buckminster Fuller and the Bay Area and Parra: Weirded Out shows would be more extensive. In fact, the Fuller show has two huge wall graphics that leads to a room of fantastic, large screenprint posters and transparencies. That’s followed by a group show by local, contemporary designers that is so un-related visually that my companion and I assumed that we’d drifted into the permanent design exhibit. The Parra exhibit is a massive mural, that is lovely and loads of fun, but I would have loved to see some works on paper, to get a little more intimate with the person behind these famous graphics.

I also would have loved to see more of Mark Bradford‘s video and performance works, especially documentation of his intervention at the San Diego-Tijuana border, though those could have been in the Bradford show I just missed at YBCA. The extensive selection of Bradford’s collages helped me understand the depth of his innovation with the materials (posters and curling papers) and tools (rope and power sander).

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Sights

This Saturday in San Francisco

Positive Signs, 2011, glitter pen, fluorescent pen, foil print, gridded vellum, 8.5 × 11 in / 21.5 × 28 cm.

Positive Signs, 2011, glitter pen, fluorescent pen, foil print, gridded vellum, 8.5 × 11 in / 21.5 × 28 cm.

Artists’ Talk
In Other Words
Sat, March 24, 2pm
Intersection for the Arts
925 Mission Street (at Fifth), San Francisco CA 94103
Exhibition extended through 3/31
Gallery hours: Tue–Sat, 12–6pm

In Other Words is a group exhibition that looks at language and its capacity to clarify and confuse, convene and separate, inspire and discourage. By exploring a range of areas concering the influence and evolution of language in our lives—the impact of technology, the obscurity of industry-specific terminology, the psychological internalization of language, and the recontextualization of language—the artists in this exhibition demonstrate through a diversity of media the many ways in which we strive to communicate to each other.

Katie Gilmartin, Julia Goodman, Emanuela Harris-Sintamarian, Susan O’Malley, Meryl Pataky, Alex Potts, Cassie Thorton, Annie Vought, Christine Wong Yap

Read reviews on SFGate, Zero1 blog, and the East Bay Monthly.
View opening photos on ArtBusiness.com.

hope for good, allow for even better, 2012, ribbon, thread, pins, 51.5 × 47 in / 1.3 × 1.2 m

hope for good, allow for even better, 2012, ribbon, thread, pins, 51.5 × 47 in / 1.3 × 1.2 m

 

Opening reception: Sat, March 24, 3–5
Winter Art Walk 2012: Sat, March 24, 12–5
Voices of Home
Jenkins Johnson Gallery
464 Sutter Street (between Powell & Stockton), San Francisco, CA
Gallery hours: Tue–Fri 10–6; Sat 10–5
Exhibition: March 24–April 28, 2012

Each of these artists visually articulates works inspired by their diverse and rich cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

Artists: Noel Anderson, Kajahl Benes, Elaine Bradford, Elizabeth Colomba, Jamal Cyrus, Nathaniel Donnett, Zak Ové, Leslie Smith III, Devin Troy Strother, Felandus Thames, and Christine Wong Yap.

 

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Community, News, Travelogue

In Other Words, in a few pictures

Grateful for few days of art, sunshine, and friendly faces in California.

Thanks to everyone who came out to check out In Other Words at Intersection for the Arts in San Francisco. I really appreciate the interest and support! I think the show looks fantastic—all respect due to Kevin Chen, gallery director; Intersection staff, and the other artists for their thoughtful contributions.

The show continues through March 24, with many public events—most are free or sliding scale.

Here are a few snapshots, with better photos to follow on my site….

Positive Signs at In Other Words, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.

Positive Signs greets viewers at In Other Words, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.

Positive Signs at In Other Words, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.

Closer view of Positive Signs. In Other Words, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.

Another set of Positive Signs at In Other Words, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.

Detail: Positive Sign #16 at In Other Words, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.

Detail: Positive Sign #16 at In Other Words, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.

Detail: Positive Sign #16 at In Other Words, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.

Intersection Gallery Director Kevin Chen (center) delivered thoughtful comments, connecting the show's linguistic theme with the gallery's location in the San Francisco Chronicle building.

Intersection Gallery Director Kevin Chen (center) delivered thoughtful comments, connecting the show's linguistic theme with the gallery's location in the San Francisco Chronicle building.

Susan O'Malley's sandwich boards. In Other Words, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.

Susan O'Malley's sandwich boards. In Other Words, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.

Another project by Susan O'Malley involved semi-hidden placards. In Other Words, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.

Another project by Susan O'Malley involved semi-hidden placards. In Other Words, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA.

Meryl Pataky had a nice pair of installed wire works, whose shadows spelled positive and negative words phonetically.

Meryl Pataky had a nice pair of installed wire works, whose shadows spelled positive and negative words phonetically.

More photos, including the infamous pinkie cam treatment, on Alan Bamberger’s ArtBusiness.com site.

Snapshots of other exhibitions I enjoyed…

Kinetic media installation by Mario Ancalmo, SECA 2010, SFMOMA.

Kinetic media installation by Mario Ancalmo, SECA 2010 exhibition, SFMOMA.

See also Ancalmo’s show at Eli Ridgeway Gallery; don’t miss the lower level installations.

Deflated balloon dog by Jeffrey Songco, Steven Wolf Fine Arts.

Deflated balloon dog by Jeffrey Songco, Steven Wolf Fine Arts.

No photos, but worth checking out: Gina Osterloh’s solo show of studio photos and a documentary about blind massuers, connected by her interest in dysfunctions of the body of  and Richard T. Walker’s video at ybca.

…as well as inspiring studio visits…

Studio visit with Stephanie Syjuco.

Studio visit with Stephanie Syjuco.

Spool holders, hooray!

Spool holders, hooray!

Studio visit with Michael Arcega. Baby, the artist-designed and -made collapsible, outrigger canoe, under a pinata-disco ball-hybrid. Not to mention an envy-inspiring woodshop in the studio.

Studio visit with Michael Arcega. Baby, the artist-designed and -made collapsible, outrigger canoe, under a pinata-disco ball-hybrid. Not to mention an envy-inspiring woodshop in the studio.

Mini disco ball, wood glue, and the story of a sailing expedition at Michael Arcega's studio.

Mini disco ball, wood glue, and the story of a sailing expedition at Michael Arcega's studio.

Free crate + casters + door + sawhorses = two tables that fold into one. Genius.

Free crate + casters + door + sawhorses = two tables that fold into one. Genius!

Plus, (aerial) Geometry vs Abstraction.

Geometry

Geometry.

Geometry detail.

Geometry detail.

Abstraction.

Abstraction.

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Meta-Practice, Projects, Research

Should I Stay or Should I Go? on Art Practical

Art Practical, Should I Stay or Should I Go? Christine Wong Yap

My feature on artists staying or leaving the Bay Area is finally out in the current issue of Art Practical. Thanks to the interviewed artists—Michael Arcega, Pablo Guardiola, Stephanie Syjuco, Emma Spertus, and Jenifer Wofford—for their time and insight. And a deep bow to Editor-in-Chief Patricia Maloney, Copy Editor Victoria Gannon and the rest of the Art Practical team for their support and guidance!

“Should I Stay or Should I Go?”
Feature story published on
Art Practical, Issue 2.10

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Art & Development

Friends who rule

I’ll bend my posting-about-art-mostly rule to express gratitude (which is not entirely unrelated to my art practice, since positive psychologists advise the maintenance of gratitude journals.)

Like in a past stint in New York, I’m again surprised to find myself among many transplanted and visiting Californians. If it seems odd to be among Californians in New York—maybe it’s cheesy and inauthentic, like hanging out at an ex-pat internet café in Bali—I am unapologetic about enjoying it. Sure, I have been meeting new people and cultivating a community here, but I am also very thankful for the old friends and acquaintances that I’ve been able to rely upon—who I know, and with whom I am known. In a new environment with emergent reflections, it’s comforting to share a rapport and background with friends.

Kinship is invaluable to me. I’m so thankful to have or have had:

Fellow Bay Area artists to relate to about navigating New York.

• Grad school classmates who are mutually supportive, and who I can rely upon for no-B.S. responses to art projects. As grad school fades further in the past, relationships with esteemed peers become more precious. I would trade no amount of money or power for the certainty of some of my cohorts’ opinions. To know and trust someone enough to ask them “Does this suck?” about my latest work in progress, and to be confident in the rigor of their critique and their knowledge of my history are truly priceless.

Longtime friends—and new friends—of deep integrity, who live life with enthusiasm, curiosity, adventure, courage, vision, insight, and conviction; who are unapologetic intellectuals; who talk and listen with warmth and generosity. I’ve been inspired by their dynamism—to learn more about cognitive science, to enact my principles more often, and to buttress my values. As ET put it, “Being nice matters.” New York is filled with ambitious people; I hope that I won’t get inured to the sight of boorish self-promotion and transparent displays of power-hunger.

• A steady stream of visitors. When I left the Bay Area, I knew I would miss everyone. But having friends, family, and art community members come to NY has eased the transition.

Colleagues. It’s neat to know that so many people—especially CCA alum—are operating in so many parts of the NY art world. The implication is that I’ll find a place soon enough; and with their help and generosity, I feel like I’ve already started down a path.

Of course, I would be adrift without those in California who continue to reach out, and put in the extra effort to maintain long distance friendships.

(With apologies to MW for lifting the post title.)

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