OK... here it is...
1) I've been visiting Chelsea almost every week day for the past 3 weeks during lunchtime. On each visit I get to see about 10 shows, sometimes less, sometimes more, depending on if anything catches my eye. Today's visit was the last straw though. Art sucks. Let me re-phrase, the contemporary art in Chelsea sucks. It all looks the same. It all looks bad. Of course, that's not entirely true. There's some really nice work up at McKenzie Fine Art right now but I saw that last week. Between yesterday and today, not only has the weather become brutally cold, but the shows I've seen in Chelsea stink.
It makes me wonder, what's the point in even making art? If the resulting outcome is such disgustingly awful art, maybe we should all just stop. Right?
I've had multiple people (people "in the know" as it were) tell me I need to move to NYC (or LA) if I plan on being a serious, well-known artist. They don't mean it as badly as I made it sound. Two people in particular have asked me who the big-name young artists are in D.C. I began naming some and all I got was blank stares. These names are ones that everyone in D.C. would ooh and ahh over. But, in the grand scheme of things, they aren't even on the art map. The closest, I think, is Dan Steinhilber and that's because he's had a couple of museum shows. But I don't think he's had a solo in NYC or LA (right?) and still the people I talk to up here don't know him. Now that I think about it, maybe Chan Chao would get close?
But seriously people, name the "top" 100 artists. The artists you respect the most. Any DC artists register? If they do, are you living in DC right now? Thought so. So the question is, if you're a young contemporary artist living in DC, why will you be any different? I'm asking myself that now. Is this a good thing, bad thing, or no thing?
So I've recently thought about moving to NYC. There are affordable places to live in Queens and that's 15-20 mins from mid-town. In 3 years of searching in DC, I havent found a single thing in the same proximity to "mid-town." But after all these visits to Chelsea, do I really want live in NYC? Will my work get better? Will it get worse? Will it be seen by more people? The more I think about it, an artist needs to move out to the country, make the best work he can, and maximize the internet to get their work out in the world. Maybe that's what I'll do...
I know one thing. I'm boycotting Chelsea tomorrow at lunch. Yeah, that's right. I'm sure they'll miss me. What should I do instead?
2) One quick story from my time in NYC (which overall has been great)... last Friday I met with the owner of a fantastic ground floor gallery in Chelsea. This is a gallery I really respect. Anyway, I was showing him some images of my work and I began to talk about my process. He interrupted me, and said (paraphrasing), "Son, I'm not an idiot. I don't care how you made it or how it came to be. I just care that it is here before me and that it moves me deeply." Amen and amen again! Needless to say, this owner/gallery in an outlier in today's world. And bless him for it.
3) Last night an artist stopped by my show and we got to talking about artist statements and how he struggles with them. He told me about a gallery in Brooklyn that he was talking to and that they thought an artist statement was critical. They said that galleries use them to determine which packages should be looked at.
I told this artist that any gallery that looked at a statement before the images was not a gallery for me and I felt it shouldn't be for any other artist. If a gallery can't determine for itself if they want to look at the images, well, the art world is in more trouble than I thought.
4) After Ed posted about gallery lighting, I started paying closer attention to it. Today I noticed that most, if not all, of the big galleries had all-over lighting. Meaning, the light was equally distributed through the space. I don't like it, generally speaking. I probably lack a bit of sophistication in this respect, but I like the feeling that I'm in a gallery, not just a room. I like the drama of spotlights. I like having my attention focused on a work. Why light a bare expanse of wall? I don't know. And when the work is bad, I need all the help I can get to actually look at it.
Come to think of it, the all-over lighting works pretty well with sculpture, I think... but I really dislike it in a painting/drawing/photography show.
5) If you care at all about art (or perhaps the state of the art), you'll go read Franklin's latest post. One of my favorite snippets:
There's no cliché in art like the cliché of challenging cherished clichés.
6) And last, can someone please name an example of a "new media"? Seriously, are there any truly new media? Is there something I'm not thinking of? I'm tired of "new media" being assigned to video or sound installations. I honestly believe that video and sound art has got to be the most boring art out there. Maybe there was a time when it felt "new," but that day is long gone. I don't want to take anything away from video/sound art (quality-wise), but can we drop the "new media" title until an actual new media comes along? Please?