Marketing Mondays: What's on Your Mind?


I started Marketing Mondays on January 13, 2009, after having written several posts on the the topics of professional practices and the art business. Two-and-one-half years and some 114 columns later, here we are. The topics, all live linked, are listed on the sidebar.

Is there a topic you'd like to see me cover? Or a covered topic that you'd like me to revisit? Heavily researched posts are usually out of the question, since I write this blog in my "spare time." But I have a lot of information in my head--you don't work in this business for 30 years without retaining quotes, contacts, gossip and minutiae--and a fair number of contacts who will respond to an email query, so it's possible that I have or can get what you need.

Please post your requests in Comments section.  Thanks.


Rhomboid Redux

At The Big Show 6 at the Silas Marder Gallery, Bridgehampton, through June 22: Karen Schifano, Lower East Side, 2011, oil on canvas, 10 x 8 inches
Image courtesy of the artist

Rhomboid Rumba was a big hit last week. I loved curating it. So when images continued to arrive, I was tempted to extend the idea into a second post. Then as I was out and about, I photographed a few more.  You know what that means: mas, mas y mas. So . . . this post is a Diamond Deux, a Parallelogram P.S. And it just so happens that many of these works are in shows that are up now.

At the Met, Richard Serra Drawing: A Retrospective, through August 28: Richard Serra, Untitled, 1973, paintstick and charcoal on paper, 50 x 38 inches
(c) Richard Serra;  photo: Ben Blackwell; image from the Metropolitan Museum of Art website

At Matthew Marks, in the small gallery next to the Jasper Johns exhibition, a selection of work including this one: Ellsworth Kelly, Yellow Panel, 1980, oil on canvas, 118.5 x 94.75 inches

At June Kelly Gallery, Ex Pluribus Unum, a solo show by James Little, through June 21: James Little, If Only . . ., 2010, oil and wax on canvas, 72.50 x 94 inches
(I love how that sextet of attenuated and sharply delineated parallelograms slices through the orange ground and then merges abruptly into the quieter rhythm of the softer stripes)

At the Painting Center, now over: Wall Works, curated by Stephen Maine: Gary Petersen, Tipping Point, 2011, acrylic on white wall, 103 x 176 inches

At Lennon,Weinberg through June 11: Stephen Westfall, installation view of Seraphim: Paintings and Works on Paper 

Gloria Klein, Untitled No. 2, 2008, acrylic on Arches, 22x30 inches
Image courtesy of the artist

At D. Wigmore Fine Art, in Pioneers of American Abstraction, 1930s-1940s, through June 30: Ilya Bolotowsky, Geometry in Green, 1937, oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches
Image from D.Wigmore Fine Art

At OK Harris, in American Abstract Artists 75th Anniversary, through July 15:
A selection of artists
Love, love, love that diamond painting on the right: Henry Brown, Threshold 

At Greenberg Van Doren through June 24: Alan Shields
Alan Shields, Pheebe's Natural Swimming Action and Diet Limca, both 1980-81; acrylic and thread on canvas, and acrylic and thread on cotton belting with aluminum, respectively
Photo via the Steven Alexander Journal, where his review is posted


Marketing Mondays: Artists' "Slide" Files

Back in the days of 35 mm slides, I conscientiously submitted my work to slide files like Artists' Space and The Drawing Center. Exactly one show came out of it: an artist-curated exhibition at a not-for-profit gallery in Tribeca at the moment when Tribeca was poised to become the next SoHo but never did..

Not long after that, most organizations made the switch to digital. By the time I got around to making the switch myself, I had a website and found that I could get pretty decent traction on my own with a judicious postcard campaign and good online images. I never looked back.

When Google arrived, the art world cracked open a whole lot wider. We discovered one another--and dealers and curators discovered us--in ways that hadn't been possible before.

So when Donna Dodson, the Boston-based sculptor, asked me recently if I'd ever done a MM post on contemporary "slide" files--cyber venues such as Saatchi Online (its slogan: Discover art. Get discovered), as well as digital files at the same venues where I once had slides--I had to say No.

Well, that's not a post. So I asked several dealer friends if they had used institutional image files recently.

"Why should I? I have Google," responded one dealer, clarifying that if his interest in an artist's work was piqued at an art fair or in other looking, he'd do an Internet search on the artist and then, possibly, contact the artist. Said another, building on the first remark: " Why should I use Google? I have my gallery artists' referrals, which lead me to artists' websites." Well, OK, then.

A few dealers mentioned having initially seen artists' work in New American Paintings, and I can tell you from personal experience that I have responded to dealers who found my work via a thematic Google search.

In looking over some MM posts, I was reminded of a dealer who quietly follows artists on Facebook, a strategy which, it turns out, is not all that unusual. And in a visit with a curator recently, I saw her personal files firsthand; there were postcards, articles and even printouts from online sources, organized by theme and artist.

Anecdotally, then, "slide" files seem to be going the way of actual slides.
So now I turn the topic over to you:
. Do you still have your work in image files?
. If so, which ones?
. How often do you update? And how easy is it to do so?
. Have you ever used one for a project you were working on?
. And here's the big question: Has your inclusion in a file led to an opportunity of any consequence?


Let it Rain

Pat Steir, detail of Winter Group 2: Yellow Gold and Red Gold, 2009-2011, oil on canvas

Well I'm as tired of this rain as the next person, but Pat Steir's recent paintings make me feel better about the weather. If  it's going to be this wet, I'd just just as soon revisit her droplets and rivulents, gushing surfaces and atmospheric mist from a nice, dry perspective. The work you see here is from Pat Steir: Winter Paintings at Cheim and Read in February.

Installation view, Winter Group 2: Yellow Gold and Red Gold and Winter Group 5: Dark Green, Red and Silver, both 2009-2011

Detail of Winter Group 5: Dark Green, Red and Silver

Installation view of Winter Group 3: Red, Green Blue and Gold, 2009-2011, oil on canvas

Winter Group 4: Green, Gold, Red and Blue, 2009-2011, oil on canvas

Detail below


Marketing Mondays: How’s Business?

Not everyone's doing this well

If the reports are to be believed, sales at the Miami fairs in December were up from last year, as were those during Armory Week in New York City in March. The dealers I talked to in Miami all claimed to have made enough to cover their costs and many, if not most, to have turned a profit. This is a huge turnaround from the past few years, when grim-faced gallerists returned home from even the smallest fairs some 30-large (or more) in the hole.

In the galleries, it’s up and down. “Finally, things are turning around,” says a dealer friend who sold “almost nothing in 2010.”  But don’t get too excited. Says another, “I haven’t sold a thing in six months.”

Artists, I want to hear from you:
. Have you seen sales of your work improve this year?
. Are these sales via galleries or via such entrepreneurial undertakings as open studios, DIY shows, private sales or booth-and-tent artist fairs?
. Is small selling better than large?
. Are prints or works on paper selling better than painting or sculpture?
. What are you hearing anecdotally from artists and dealers about the state of business in your city?

Posting anonymously is fine. I'm going to post anonymously myself. With your help, we’ll get a sense of how artists are doing right now.


Rhomboid Rumba


Gabriele Evertz
R-Split-SCd-24, 2010, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 24 inches
It’s no secret that I’m interested in diamonds. My entire current solo show, up now through May 28 at the Marcia Wood Gallery in Atlanta, is full of them—squares turned on their axis, along with some elongated parallelograms of the shape you might describe as harlequin. But this post is not about my work. It’s about what other artists are doing with these shapes. As often happens, one’s personal interest becomes larger than oneself.

Gilbert Hsiao
Untitled, 2007, acrylic sprayed on wood panel, 24 x 24 inches

Ken Weathersby
 181, 2011, acrylic and graphite on canvas with removed and flipped area, 30 x 24 inches

On Facebook recently I asked my friends who work in geometric abstraction to send me an image of a recent work of theirs in which the diamond or rhomboid is a significant element. I thought that using Facebook in this way would be an interesting angle on an interesting angle. I wasn’t after dictionary precision (rhomboid: a parallelogram with adjacent sides of unequal lengths, or an equilateral parallelogram; diamond: another name for rhombus); I flunked geometry in tenth grade and never looked back. Rather I was, and am, interested in an artist’s visual interpretation of those shapes.

Over the course of a week, some five dozen images appeared in my inbox: compelling shapes united by their geometric aggressiveness, wooze-inducing angles and/or on-point position. Unlike rectilinear shapes with angles perpendicular to a horizontal plane, diamonds and rhomboids are wildly dynamic, punching through their perimeters to capture the space around them or holding it with equipoise, or sometimes both. Elongated shapes play with our perspective. Eccentric angles skew with our perception of plane. Actual dimension further confounds our expectation of planarity.

Louise P. Sloane
Navajo, 1984, encaustic, 48 x 48 inches
Joanne Mattera
Romb, 2011, encaustic on panel, 45 x 45 inches

I selected 34 images that appealed to my sensibilities while at the same time underscoring and expanding the concept of the post (the genesis of which is exemplified by my own image, above). The images that best fit my concept found a spot in the lineup; the best of those made me adjust my thinking about the lineup itself, for here the scrolling sequence is how you see the work, a very different visual experience from the white box installation or the catalog page-turn.

The works in this scroll-down reflect a variety of ideas: tectonic shift, Archimedian displacement, spiritual thinking, a textile sensibility, references to the body, constructivist principles, optical challenge, formal push/pull, and the pure pleasure of geometric abstraction.  Materiality, another of my interests, is very much in evidence here as well. What follows is a curated post, Rhomboid Rumba.

George Ortman
Blue Diamond, 1961; oil, collage and wood on masonite; 60 x 48 inches 

Grace DeGennaro
Indigo Series #38, 2010, gouache on paper, 30 x 22 inches

Karen Freedman
Ruche 0399, 2011, encaustic on panel, 12 x 12 inches

Mary Judge
Tumulus 1, 2011, powdered pigment on folded paper, 8 x 18 inches.
J.T. Kirkland
Fracture_009, 2011, acrylic and polyacrylic on maple plywood, 46 x 23 inches

Evan Read
 Untitled (Concentric Rectangles N. 1), 2011, inkjet on photo matte paper, 17 x 32 inches

Laura Moriarty
Sinkhole, 2009, encaustic on panel, 8 x 10 x 6 inches

Gudrun Mertes Frady
Cool Blue, 2009, oil and metallic pigments on wood, 18 x 18 inches

Dennis Meier
2011-04-09 111, 2011, digital image

Don Voisine
 Off Register, 2010, oil on wood, 16 x 17 inches; courtesy McKenzie Fine Art, New York City.

Steven Baris
 Nested Forms #7, 2011, acrylic on shaped plexiglass, 13 x 13 inches

Marc Cheetham
Untitled, 2011; acrylic, canvas on canvas, 19.5 x 19.5 inches

Richard Bottwin
Facade #6, 2011, ash veneer on birch poly and acrylic color, 17 x 27 x 8 inches

Ted Larsen
Cross Bar, reclaimed  steel and annealed wire, 23 x 31 x 3 inches; courtesy Clark Gallery, Lincoln, Mass.

Altoon Sultan
#13, 2011, hand-dyed wool and egg tempera on linen, 11.75 x 13.5 inches

Lynda Ray
Red Trace, 2007, encaustic on panel, 40 x 48 inches

Julie Karabenick
Composition 93, 2010, acrylic on canvas 45 x 45 inches

Sharon Butler
Brightly Colored Separates 2, 2010, oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches

Jeanne Heifetz
Geometry of Hope: Cobalt, Emerald, 2009, acid-etched glass hand stitched to stainless steel mesh, 20 x 20 inches

Debra Ramsay
In Half Twice, Black with Blue, 2011; various papers, cotton thread, pins; 16 x 10.5 inches

Bernard Klevickas
Untitled (emergence), 2010, cut-up plastic food contrainers and aluminum pop rivets, 19 x 15 x 3 inches

Chris Ashley
Black Drawing 22, 2009, acrylic on paper, 14 x 11 inches

Rachel Beach
Stack, 2010; oil and acrylic on plywood, reclaimed lumber; 51 x 17 x 10 inches

Connie Goldman
Arena 111, 2007, oil on panel, 23.5 x 20

Jeffrey Cortland Jones
Hoke's Run, 2011, enamel on acrylic panel, 12 x 12 inches

Matt Morris
Amuse-bouche, 2009; spray enamel and paint, yarn poppom, map pin on wall; 41 x 96 inches

Oriane Stender
Self/image (large collarbone), 2001, photographs and thread, 31 x 20 inches

Ward Jackson
Point and Line to Plane, 1963, acrylic on canvas, 37 x 37 inches; Courtesy David Richard Contemporary, Santa Fe

Doug Holst
Untitled, 2009, acrylic on wood, 12 x 12 inches

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