Thursday, December 8, 2011

Its a Mad Mad (Art) World

I’ve written about this before and it is time to write about it again….the insanity that one calls “the art world”. So many examples, so small a text limit, but I shall try and be brief (which also keeps down the level of bitchiness as well). Let us visit the most recent three….

Case number one: The return of a pastel under glass. Earlier this year we had the case of Shipwreck who went on an unforeseen journey out west. He finally came home intact if not a bit dusty. No harm no foul except for the loss of an exhibition opportunity. Now we have (case pending so I can’t identify the piece) who survived his ride to (cpsicitp..shorter version of the above disclaimer), but did not fare so well on his return trip.  It was one of those shows where a shipping agent is used to unpack and transport work to the venue and repeat the process in reverse upon closing then send the work back. We artists have to pay for this service so I should expect good service by a knowledgeable company correct? Dummy me. Same crate as always, same packing materials, same everything except the image inside.  This crate made bad tinkle tinkle noises when I started to open it, much like the sound of shattered glass.  Shards of sharpness to a lot of damage to paper, mat board, metal framing and of course pastel, to the point of saying hello dumpster, good-by contents. Owner files claim with the Transport Company and notifies the shipping agent of the situation. Transport Company is great, shipping agent sends a reply email that even a first grader would say is bad. I get that emails are a bit more casual, but capital letters and a bit of grammar would be nice. Owner explains the issue (and obvious mistake of packing on their end) and they say (sort of….) “oops sorry, we use that type of container all the time, no problem”. Well gee, I happen to have a photo of my container and it is not that type, here look at the picture. I ask for at least a refund of my fee required by the show for their services and check into their insurance liability. Hmm…never heard back. Wonder why?  Situation still pending so I can say no more……

Case number two: The shows that advertise in the big glossy trades, that send emails via a reputable agency and give all the right answers and info to qualify for legitimate status.  The website checks out, the juror checks out, the prospectus checks out…all tests are past. One thing not checked (by me, my bad) is the previous exhibitions page. The numbers would have made sense and a mistake on my part bypassed, but alas, I was delinquent and did not follow my own rules. Dutifully I go through the process of application. Results come back….”we had over  ----- entries (triple digits) and the juror selected – (only two pieces over 10, you do the math). Half were photos….., remaining 2/3’s were craft and the rest were paintings, you can do the math on that too. (the answer is 2 in case you forgot how to do story problems) Guess I should have looked at the gallery space better and figured it had to be the size of my bathroom to only hold 12 works.  Funny however, those stats are very similar to a show I wrote about recently. Maybe it is time to find a new job or reclassify my media.

Case number three and worthy of a full blog: That TV Reality Show looking for the next Great American Artist….don’t try and deny that you watch this…we all do.  Last night’s episode was very revealing in regard to attitudes toward “art”.  The contestants were told to make art to hustle on the streets in order to make some money. The look of sheer shock and insult on their faces was hilarious. Evidently “Art” is only in galleries and not meant to be for sale or accessible in the vicinity of the general public whose grubby little hands and uneducated eyes might come in contact with their almighty message. Most of these “artists” struggled with the concept of what to make and what to sell that would be “art”.  I can’t recall who won, but the most successful was the girl who sat and did quick portraits in pencil and watercolor. Wow, what a concept! The underwear, the nudity, the conceptual message, the paper hats….all got beat by a simple act of direct connection, watching an artist at work on something that people (the unwashed, uneducated and unsophisticated included) can relate to. Bravo girl (oops, did I just give that away?)  Yeah, this show is going to get its Blog time, big time here pretty soon.

But before one thinks that all is not right in my art world, I have recently made connections to do a couple of shows, one involving a whole new line of work for me. It always feels good to have a goal and a deadline, no pressure means no production.  Just a weeee bit more pressure would be nice, but at least it is starting to drizzle on my dry spell.

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