The image left is the map of the energy displacement of the Chilean earthquake. The image at right is Carolanna Parlato's Hyshot, shown on Color Forms, Part 2 , the post just below this one. (I made the connection when I saw both images on my Facebook page: the quake map via C-Monster; the painting via the artist). Wow!
This detail closed Part 1 so for the sake of continuity I'm opening with it here. The work is by Scott Richter, who has a tour de force show at the Elizabeth Harris Gallery in which pumped-up paintings flex their geometric muscle.
Some paintings by Scott Richter, above and in installation below. I love that they don't have to be big to be strong
Info and links are at the end of the postThe painting below is second from the left in the installation above. In some instances, as here, Richter has painted in oil on wool carpet, so while his paintings are about the paint--god, are they about the paint--they've got some internal support
Scott Richter, Clattertrap, 2008
with corner detail below .
. . . . . . .
You can get a sense of the scale below
. Upwelling, 2010 (shown in situ above) with detail below that shows you how the surface has been built through pouring
. . . . . . . .
Diane Ayott, Twice Forgiven, 2990, oil on paper, 16 x 22 inches
. Diane Ayott, Open Eyed, 2008, oil on panel, 12 x 12 inches
with detail, below .
. . . . . . . .
. Renee Magnanti, installation wall at "Waxed in Time" at Tenri Cultural Center
(The show, curated by Thalia Vrachopoulos, also includes Nancy Azara, Joan Giordano and Kathy Stark)
Renee Magnanti, Auspicious, 2010, carved encaustic on panel, 30 inches in diameter
Synchronicity being a particularly poetic feature of the Universe, there was a beautiful show at the Met, Cinnabar: The Chinese Art of Carved Lacquer, which I saw the week before it closed. Another little gift: I photographed with no intererence from the guards. Here's my favorite:
“Curators visit artists for all kinds of reasons. Maybe I'm planning a show and am considering your work; maybe I'm curious about work I've seen in an exhibition and want to see more; maybe I'm doing someone a favor or accompanying another curator on her rounds; maybe I'm actually interested in possibly offering you a solo show; or maybe none of the above. The important thing is to not read too much into it. I sometimes sense an impatience on the part of artists I've visited when nothing immediately comes of it. Curators have lots of other factors that influence whether or not they will work with a particular artist--often out of their control. Remember that if a curator visits you there's a good likelihood he/she liked your work to begin with. That may be all you get--at least for the moment.”
So take the visit seriously and be prepared for whatever does, or doesn't, happen.
. Directions: Provide them if you’re in a hard-to-find location. Be prepared to take the elevator down to meet the visitor if you’re in a building with a rickety lift (it’s reassuring to the vistor) or if the hallways seem foreboding (s/he doesn’t know the building the way you do). If you’re way out of the way, offer to pick up the visitor at the train station. A few across-the-river artists I know have even picked up dealers at their Chelsea galleries and driven them back after the visit
. Food: Some years ago Ivan Karp came to my studio on Saturday morning on his way to the gallery. I’d put out a small spread with coffee, juice and some breakfast nosh: bagels and cream cheese, croissants, fruit. He looked at it and said, “So you don’t think I had breakfast before I left for work?” OK, too much. (I had a full breakfast every day for a week.) On the other hand, water is always appropriate. And on a hot day, a cool drink is appreciated. I think that chocolate or fruit is nice, too. Make sure it’s set out on a clean space. Provide napkins
. Bathroom: If the dealer has traveled expect that s/he will want to use it. If it’s a shared bathroom, make sure it’s clean. Put in a roll of paper towel and toilet paper
. Heat or A/C: You may be willing to work in a barely heated studio in the winter or in 90 degrees in summer, but provide some kind of comfort for the person who makes the special trip to see your work: a space heater, a window fan—even a hand held fan, which most people don’t usually carry with them
. To clean or not to clean: You don’t have to overhaul the space—it’s a working studio, after all—but the visitor should be able to negotiate the space without stumbling. “I went into one artist’s space and felt as if I needed a miner’s hat,” recounted a dealer friend, describing a space claustrophobically full of stuff. If you’re using toxic materials, close them and ventilate. (You should be ventilating anyway.) If paintings are still wet, keep them away from a traveled pathway. Visitors who leave with paint on their good clothes—and most are working, so they’re dressed for work—will not be happy if your paint has ruined their clothing. Clean the chairs!
Now, On to the Work
There are a few ways to set up. Personally I like to ask the visitor ahead of time, “How do you like to see the work: all at once, a bit at a time, or do you like to be surprised? If you don’t ask, consider these options:
. Make it like a gallery visit. Don’t cram the walls. Show the work in a way that allows the dealer to see how your work would hold a gallery wall
. Create a salon show. There’s more work here, but it’s still an opportunity to “show” the work. Leave one wall empty (or provide an easel) so that you can move specific works there for closer viewing
. Show work in progress with a few finished pieces. For curators who are interested in process, it’s a change to talk about the how as well as the why
. By the way, don't leave out anything you don't want the visitor to see. It once happened that a painting I'd rejected was the only painting a dealer wanted. I let him take it and hated myself for months afterward
Pick a Chair
I make sure there’s a comfortable chair as well as a straightback chair for the visitor. Call me an armchair psychologist, but the person who goes for comfy is at ease in the studio visit process and likely to stay a while.
. I also make sure there’s a notebook and pen. Visitors like to take notes
. And did I mention to make sure the chair is clean?
. A small package with resume, statement, a CD with images, and a printout of the images on the CD; couple of reviews or articles
. A card with your contact info
How Long the Visit Lasts
I’ve had art professionals literally “stop in”—say hello, give a once over, and then leave. It’s a disappointment, but they don’t want to waste their time on a visit that will go nowhere. It happens. On the other hand, I've had studio visits last the afternoon. I once had a studio visit from a prospective dealer who spent five hours looking at everything, and then we went to dinner. I’ve been with her gallery for over a decade and had three solo shows there. If someone travels a long way, expect a reasonably long visit (see Food and Bathroom, above)
Studio Visit with Another Artist
Most of this same stuff applies when another artist comes to visit, though they understand—probably in a way a dealer or curator does not—just how much it takes to get a space presentable, so you don’t have to set up in quite the same way. But studio visits can and do lead to connections and opportunity, so take it seriously.
. Don’t have just anyone over. Your studio is as close to the inside of your mind as a physical space can get. I think about this when I blog about my studio visits. I want to give my readers a look into the artist's space, but I always ask, "May I photograph your bulletin board? Your in-progress work? Ideas and unusual techniques could, and do, get ripped off
. Some artists "hide the silverware," so to speak, to keep expensive expensive brushes or tubes of paint from disappearing. My feeling is that if you can't trust a visitor with your supplies, that's not a visitor you want in the studio. (Open Studios are, of course different because you are opening your space to the public. But the same caveats apply.)
This post began a month ago when I saw the shows of two artists, Richard Bottwin and Stanley Whitney. Both were in SoHo, Bottwin at OK Harris, Whitney at Team, and I was struck by the geometric brilliance of their work--Bottwin's so spare (and deceptively complex) as it juts out from the wall; Whitney's flat canvases so packed with relationships--color to shape, brush stroke to surface, layer to layer, field to edge--that they felt sculptural. Before I published it, I saw additional work that fit the theme and so I postponed the post. Then I saw so much more I had to revise the post to the one you see here.
Most of the work is what you would call painting, but there’s a strong sense of dimensionality in even the flattest work, Whitney's painting a case in point (just as there is a strong sense of painting in Bottwin's sculptures). Much of the work is geometric, even if there’s a sense of the organic about it. The hand is everywhere present, process is implied, and there is a deeply satisfying sense of materiality.
I wrote about Whitney's work just about a year ago. It was the first time I'd seen it. Whitney is like the Agnes Martin of geometric abstraction in the way he hews to his particulars: same-size canvases, same strong saturated palette, same kind of rhythmic composition--two rows of large blocks over two rows of more compressed shapes. It's easy to think you know this work until you spend time with it. I'm still getting to know it.
Matthew Langley at Blank Space: Installation view, above, and a painting I particularly like, below. More images on Langley's blog
Below: All Her Songs, 2009, oil on canvas, 36 x 30 inches .
Installation view: Lloyd Martin at Stephen Haller: Large work is Current, 2009, oil on canvas, 72 x 144 inches
Below, installation view with Quick Sand, 2007, 39 x 117 inches; both acrylic on white cedar shims with wire brads
Richard Bottwin at OK Harris through February 20
Stanley Whitney at Team; over, Jan 6-Feb 6
Roy Newell at Carolina Nitsch Project Room through February 20
Matthew Langley (with Heejo Kim) at Blank Space; over Jan 14-Feb 2
Lloyd Martin at Stephen Haller through February 20
Rick Klauber at Howard Scott through February 27
Scott Richter at Elizabeth Harris through March 13
In Part 2, next week
Carolanna Parlato at Elizabeth Harris Gallery through March 13
Christopher Tanner at Pavel Zoubok through March 13
Diane Ayott at Kathryn Markel through March 13
Renee Magnanti at Tenri Cultural Institute through February 27
Chinese Lacquer at the Met through February 21
A sample of recent email that made it through the spam filter:
Rupees? For Me?
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Maybe No Rupees After All
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Then Again, Maybe Just Maybe Those Rupees are Still There
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A Born-Again Senora from Kuwait
Estimado en Cristo,
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Miss Anita Has Something She wants to Discuss With Moi (It's Definitely Not Punctuation)
Friendship is not only because of feelings or what we have. but because of Understanding, sharing and Caring. friendship does not think distance, age or even colour. friendship is not just playing or chatting with each other. but friendship is hearing each others voice from the heart. A friend is a gift from God. someone who will cares as much as i do. i have read your profile and i became interested in you and i will like to know you more, i am miss anita, i want to be your friend please mail on then i will send you my picture and as well tell you more about me. Beside i have a special something i want to discuss with you, hope to hear from you soonest. with this address. (anitamabou@ deleted)
Five Bucks and Insurance Quotes From Ron
My name is Ron Park and I run an auto insurance business in Miami. Since you run a blog in Miami, I'd like to ask if you'd be interested in working out an advertising relationship with me.It's pretty simple. All I'd ask for is a blogroll link pointing to my website, [yadayadayada].org or a blog post with a link to my website from your blog. And after the links up, I'll send you $5 with Paypal. Easy as that. And I'll also throw in free insurance quotes for you! ;o)
Thanks for your time, and let me know if you're interested!
Gold Dust From Jerry Konoyima
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Screenplay for a Made-for-TV-Movie? [parens mine]
From: Miss Monalisa Wuko to you
Good day and how are you today? I hope fine? After going through your profile, permit me to inform you of my desire of asking you to be a guardian or foster parent to me and then help me out in what i am about to tell you. I know this may sound strange to you , receiving a mail from an unknown person, but my condition has forced me to do that.
I'm Miss Monalisa Wuko 19 years old, the only daughter of Late Mr. & Mrs. John U.Wuko. My father was a very wealthy cocoa merchant here in Abidjan, the economic capital of Cote D'Ivoire. He was poisoned to death by his Brothers on one of their village meetings, my mother died when I was a baby. Before the death of my father on March 2008 in a private hospital here in Abidjan, he secretly called me by his bed side and told me that he has the sum of Eight Million United State Dollars USD ($8,000,000) deposited in a suspense account in one of the big banks here in Abidjan.
He then strongly advised me not to seek for assistance in the investment of the money from his lawyer nor any of his friend here but to seek for a foreign partner from a country of my choice (outside our country, Cote D'Ivoire) that will assist me in the wise investment of the money. I have since left the money in the bank with the view of my making use of it for investment purposes after my education carrier here. But as you may be already aware by now, our country (Cote D' Ivoire) is presently at political crises. Rebels have already taken over the whole Northern part of the country and making efforts towards to capture the commercial center of the country, Abidjan, where i am now. For this ugly development in this country, i have now decided to take quick actions and have this money transferred out of this country before it is too late for me in doing that.
I now want to transfer it out and use it for investment purpose like real estate management or hotel management. Because of this i am honorably seeking your assistance in the following ways: (1) To serve as a guardian to me and then assist me transfer the money into your bank account.
(2) To make arrangement for me to come over to your country to further my education and then settle there parmanently.
If you accept to stand as my guardian or foster parent to me, i need not discuss on any percentage with you as you have to see the whole money as yours and then assist me invest it. But if you still want a percentage, i am willing to offer you, 20 % of the total money as compensation for your assistance. Please tell me if you feel the percentage i offered is not ok by you. As soon as i receive your concrete assurance to assist me with my proposal and also your full contact address/phone number, i will then give the bank your contact information and then tell them to transfer the money into your account as i want to come over to stay with you parmanently.
The bank will then contact you and communicate with you on the transfer. You shall then be giving me information on when the transfer will be over. I shall also send my pictures to you and shall also need yours own too. No matter what your decision may turn out to be, please i beg you to keep this highly secret for my safety, as I believe that those people that killed my Daddy are still after me. Indicate your willingness to help.
Thanks and God bless you.
Miss. Monalisa Wuko
And god bless us all, Miss Wuko
It's been over a year since Marketing Mondays started. I wasn't sure I could sustain 52 weeks' worth of ideas, but here we are seven MM posts into the new year and there are plenty more topics to consider and some to revisit.
Artist Karen Schifano suggested I revisit the topic of success. I first posted on the topic in June last year, but now that readership is way up (1600+ of you every Monday!) this seemed like a worthy topic to revisit.
The paradigm for success looks something like this:
Get a BFA.
Get an MFA.
Set up a studio in a large city, preferably New York.
Tap that font of inspiration to make art every day.
Exhibit in group shows.
Get a solo in a non-profit or small commercial gallery.
Receive some blogger attention.
Apply for and receive a Pollock-Krasner grant or other award that marks you as an up-and-comer.
Move from being an assistant to having an intern.
Have a solo show there.
Sell out the show.
Receive a great review in one of the print publications we all read.
Be the subject of a raging debate on one of the art blogs.
Have your dealer take your work to the art fairs, where big-name collectors wrangle for the opportunity to acquire it.
Hire assistants (no more pesky interns).
See your big-ass dealer sell your work for a six figures (maybe more).
Move to a larger studio. Make that a much larger studio.
If you're teaching, get tenure.
Apply for and receive a Guggenheim (because you really need the money).
Make the cover of Art in America.
Better still, hit the trifecta, AiA, Art Forum and Modern Painters.
Soar into another level with a MoMA retrospective.
Receive a MacArthur "genius" grant.
Renovate your loft after you buy the building it's in.
Get a second studio in another place--Greece, St. Maarten, Berlin, Rio--your choice.
Have your assistants do the work.
See your work be the subject of multiple monographs by high-profile art historians or critics.
See your work included in the art history books.
Watch your work go for seven figures and your bank account bulge.
Die happy and rich.
(Did I miss anything?)
Working two part-time jobs with no benefits.
Working a full-time job with benefits but not enough time to make art.
Making art but getting little attention.
Getting some attention but making no sales.
Making sales but never getting into the good collections or seeing your career advance critically.
Sleeping on a futon when you're 35 and all your non-artist friends are buying homes.
Not living and working in New York; it's an easier life, but it's not New York.
Not having a tenure-track teaching job, but struggling to patch together some adjunct teaching.
Not getting the adjunct teaching jobs.
Not getting the Pollock Krasner, Guggenheim or MacArthur.
Not getting on the cover of Art in America.
Not getting reviewed in Art in America.
Not getting retirement benefits because you never put in enough hours at any one job to be vested.
Dying with a studio full of art that gets thrown out when the landlord comes to clean out the space.
OK, somewhere between those two extremes is the career that most of us have, neither big-ass blue-chip nor its black-and-blue opposite.
And that's the topic of today's Marketing Mondays: How do you define success for you?
. Or is it something else--integrating art and life in a bucolic setting? Teaching, raising a family and showing every couple of years in a regional co-op gallery? Finding a way to combine your art and your politics? Working nine-to-five so that you can be free to outside of the gallery-go-round?
. Whatever it is, how close have you come to that ideal?
. Has your ideal of success changed during the course of your career? .
Yet when I step away from the associations, the cool geometric formality of each work invites closer viewing. In that light, it’s simply about what’s happening at the edge in relation to the rest of the field. Shape and color. And Schifano has a quirky, Truitt-like sense of color that maximizes her minimalism.
Apparently I'm not alone in the door association. “It’s true, they kind of loom and cover the walls here,” allows Schifano. “I think I’ve been in a transitional space mentally for a while, and so maybe they keep me company, support me in this. I think I’ve envisioned my life changing, the world changing. The paintings in hindsight have been ways of keeping that desire going without necessarily conjuring up an answer. Then again, I so also just look at them and see what works, what doesn’t, what could come next in the series.
“I couldn’t continue the series at one point because I was unwilling to see them as figurative. When I got over that, it all became easier.”
I’m thinking about all of this as we’re talking. And we’re talking not so much about art but about ourselves—we have some commonalities: Italian American daughters, with language and familial connections to the Old Country; we’re of the same generation; and we both work reductively..
Perhaps because of the less-is-more sensibility, we're both neat. You can certainly see that here. "I can't seem to think straight unless their order in my space," says Schifano. "I sometimes rearrange the furniture as a way of clearing my head." I can dig it. .
At the opposite wall, shown above and below, there’s a work table with a freshly gessoed canvas the same distinctive size as the others. On the wall itself there are some small relief works: monochromatic panels whose space is bisected by a flat orange line that continues on to the wall.
I ask: "How much of you is a minimalist and how much is a conceptualist? How much of you is a painter and how much a sculptor?" Of course I don’t expect numbers, but I am curious to know how Schifano places herself in the scheme of things.
“I think of myself as a painter primarily, who conceives of paintings as objects as much as illusions." she says. "I think I’ve come into my own in a reductive way. I’m now more interested in getting to essentials, in being direct and clear, saying what I can in as strong a way as possible while still being complex and sensitive. I have a strong analytical streak, so my working in an intuitive way as a painter—even while preconceiving my pieces more or less, I can keep my brain and gut in synch.”
“I also like to look at other artists’ work: Ellsworth Kelly, Blinky Palermo, Stephen Westfall, Donald Judd, for example. Seeing all that stringent work feels supportive and jogs me into being brave enough to take more chances.”
Schifano mentions a picture of her father—the man in the winter gear standing next to a large sculpture in the top right corner of the image above. “He’s almost 85 and still working on welded figure-size pieces after a long career in advertising. His favorite artist is Ellsworth Kelly. My mother, who was an art teacher, loves Barnett Newman. Good heritage, no?” Indeed.
I didn't want to take up all of Schifano's studio time on this afternoon. She works four days a week as a painting conservator, so studio time is precious. I thanked her (taking, with her good wishes, the rest of the salty chocolate bar she'd put out during our conversation). This is the view of the way out, below: A third elongated painting on the viewing wall and a cogent definition of space via the small wall/floor piece.
Want to see more? Schifano will be part of a two-artist show at Blank Space in Manhattan (with Paige Williams), April 1-30.