6.11.2012

Marketing Mondays: What Pisses You Off?

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Actor/director/writer/artist Vincent Gallo. Image from Fanpix website
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“Vincent Gallo participated in this year's Whitney Biennial by not participating.

"Jay Sanders, one of the curators, explains: ‘I always had the thought that maybe it would be an absent presence. I felt even if he chose not to enact anything, it would still have some potency.’

"Ah, go fuck yourself. Both of you.”


This comment by artist Jeffrey Beebe on Facebook made me laugh out loud. Then it inspired today’s post. It's a short post because it depends on you to complete it.

What pisses you off about the art world? And what, if anything, do you (or can you) do about it?


Jay Sanders, independent curator, at the Whitney Biennial press conference. Photo: Artnet

           

27 comments:

Nancy Natale said...

Well, that's an ingenious concept that you quoted. In fact I am participating in the Whitney Biennial right now myself by not doing anything. Just imagine how many of us are doing that! Why it boggles the mind! What a sack of crap!

Wow, asking this question really opens up a whole world of pissing and moaning. I hope you're ready for the deluge, Joanne. Get out the hankies and towels and the sedatives.

At this moment, nothing pisses me off about the art world except lugging all my work around and getting my studio back to square one. I'm sure a long list will occur to me later so I'll be back.

Ken said...

Vincent Gallo is not unique in this-- my participation in this year's Whitney Biennial was also enacted in the same fashion. I took the further step of not having it announced by a curator of the event, thereby exploring presence-by-absence more fully.

kim matthews said...

Poseurs, cynics, and hacks piss me off. Go fuck yourself, indeed. Go destroy someone else's sacred rituals,jackasses,so the rest of us can hear ourselves see in peace.

Anonymous said...

As an artist, I confess, I love most post-post modern concepts. But - we have to meet the public half-way. We are not *above* the general public and by not doing anything and claiming that that is our art, well, the public is really turned off by this non-art. So am I. It's silly and the powers-that-be need to turn their back on silliness. I'd like to think that art is above that. What's next, the profound exploration of my morning bowel movement? If you want to call yourself an artist, make some art.

It seems like artists are encouraged to use something that hasn't been used before and do something that hasn't been done before. OK. Sometimes. But it should be visual #1. I remember when an artist f**ked a collector and recorded it on DVD. That was the art. Bullshit!

Come ON Artists! Make something visual. And critics - quit jacking around and looking for something you've not seen before. Quit stretching the boundaries of art to where it is now, everything is art. The public is saying "No, everything is NOT art" and I, as an artist, am saying "back off a little, have some standards, require it to AT LEAST be visual".

I used to read "Art in America" but most of the articles were about Museums and Collectors. One article about an artist. So the artist is again at the bottom of the pile. Let me ask you, what art will be important from our time 100 years from now?

Not participating in a Biennial? I think not...

annell said...

Me too!

Kate said...

That the art world would not exist without artists, yet, unless you are a superstar, artists are on the bottom of the totem pole, status-wise. That, combined with the art world's lack of transparency and lack of some kind of board to enforce ethics, means that artists can be treated quite badly with little to no recourse.

Joanne Mattera said...

OK, you're making me laugh, applaud and commiserate. I, too, participated in the Biennial as a non participant; I have the non-work and non-pictures to prove it. (The emperor is naked and he's showing at the Whitney, right next to us.)

What piss me off are sexism and ageism, and as Kate noted, the lack of transparency, which means you never know whether it's you or your work, or you and your work, or an issue that has nothing to do with you and/or your work at all.

In terms of ethics, I have experienced worse from artists than galleries, though let it be noted that the artists in question are basically amateurs who wanted what I'd achieved for myself without putting in the requisite dues. Go fuck yourselves, indeed.

What do we do about it? Network. Share information, leads, ideas (but be careful whom you share them with). Come up with projects that create opportunities for ourselves and our peers. Be upfront and fair with dealers and curators--and know that are many wonderful folks in those roles who love and respect art and artists as much as we do. Acknowledge and support the good ones, share caveats and information about the bad.

Anonymous said...

Vincent Gallo is on a level beyond that which many stuck in the mundane mechanics of the art gallery and museum scene can digest. Clearly it is for this reason that we bear witness to so much 'indigestion' over Vincent Gallo's significant contribution to the Whitney's "Artists We Love To Pay Attention To" gangbang. It is a glorious thing to be awakened by a creative so sharp, so precise and prescient as Vincent Gallo. Vincent Gallo deserves nothing less than gratitude for his benevolence - for the insight he has bestowed upon all who focused their attention on the Whitney Biennial. It is a gift.

Vincent Gallo is kind, generous, brilliant and genuine. Vincent Gallo has filmed, written, directed, acted in and produced great films. Vincent Gallo has painted beautiful works of art and written witty and charming pieces of literature . The music Vincent Gallo creates for our ears is yet another of his amazing talents which serves to benefit our collective hunger for sonic nourishment. All of these truths are undeniable. These many gifts we already hold from Vincent Gallo should be the target of our focus. The Whitney Biennial received his name and likeness and somehow feel deserving of more. It is a curious reaction in light of all that Vincent Gallo has provided. You love Vincent Gallo and this is why you care. Be true to yourself.

Anonymous said...

No worries, as the non-participatory curator-in-charge of the Whitney Biennial, I've decided to bump Vincent Gallo's non-participatory artwork due to lack of discernible content. Can we finaly all agree that the WB is an irrelevant exercise of institutional ego? So work hard, hone your vision, honor true success, and pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

Anonymous said...

As Non-Participating President of the Shadow Board of Directors of the Whitney Museum, I overrule that non-participating curator's bumping of Vincent Gallo's phantom presence. Consider Gallo's ghost permanently re-installed, but in a fashion that will never be officially spoken of again in the Shadow Board Room. The silence surrounding it will increase it's significance.

Kevin Finklea said...

What pisses me off is simple. As artists in this country, we are neither respected for what we do nor given proper acknowledgement of our achievements. It isn't just a matter of money. It has to do with according respect to a committed individual who gives freely to a public that largely holds the artist in contempt.

As my dealer in Manhattan once put it: "just once in your career, you should have the experience that what you do is just slightly less sleezy than being a janitor."

Nancy Natale said...

OK, I'm back after non-appearing in the WB (maybe it's Warner Brothers).

What pisses me off is having to scramble to keep making a living while making work that I care about and having non-artists only ask me whether my work is selling. Why don't they ask me what I'm working on now, how much I love it and what I'm thinking about making next. That's a lot more to the point. Earning a living sucks and making art is better than anything. I hate it when they confuse the two.

(And furthermore I hate this new thing with the proving your not a bot because I could already barely read it before and now it's impossible.)

Mark said...

What the hell is "sleezy" about being a janitor?

beebe said...

What pissed me off about the Sanders statement is that he had to flatter himself and his power of prescience in the context of Vinnie G blowing off the Biennial. He couldn't just say, "Yeah, we invited the guy and he didn't deliver. I was kind of disappointed" Instead, he has to smear that ouroboric, justify-failure-as-success hypno-speak all over the place. It's strictly at a grad-school level, too.

I think this situation illustrates so clearly the kind of dysfunction that lards the highest levels of the art world. Sanders could easily be a politician or CEO at Goldman Sachs with that line of jive bullshit.

Kim VanDerHoek said...

The lack of women represented in museum shows, art books, juried competitions, plein air invitationals and the like. Most of my students are women, most of the people I went to college with (art classes in particular) were women and yet, amazingly the are only a few who are considered leaders in the art community.

I combat that by asking why we are so underrepresented, by naming several women artists as having influenced my work and by being a supporter of fellow women artists who are working today.

Also, I think it's shameful that we as a community have allowed the arts programs in our public schools to be cut out. We should demand that the arts be brought back into our schools.

For my part I participate in several events where the proceeds are split between funding local kids arts educational programs and the artists.

Anonymous said...

tHE System :::::: Museums, Institutions,Universitys.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kim, I agree with your comment. I'm sure the WB would describe the leadership & influence of female artists as being all the more puissant for its absence.

grovecanada said...

I think more people should non-participate in things...What pisses me off is all the participating in art by people who produce knock-offs, tracings, derivate, stolen, copies, or just plain terrible or derogatory work, that gums it all up for those with honourable intent & execution...Please, non-participate more...

Anonymous said...

We live in a society where the ultra-wealthy one percent use art to try to make themselves look cultured, respectable, and more knowing than the rest. Trouble is they are none of these things. With venues like the Whitney Annual the emperor's new cloths aspect of this becomes so glaring.

I make paintings slowly, working on them for months until they're just right. I have no choice but to charge a lot for them. I wish ordinary people could afford what I make.

mariandioguardi.com said...

Since I couldn't say it better myself I'll cut and paste grovecanada's comment here again.

I think more people should non-participate in things...What pisses me off is all the participating in art by people who produce knock-offs, tracings, derivate, stolen, copies, or just plain terrible or derogatory work, that gums it all up for those with honourable intent & execution...Please, non-participate more...

Joanne Mattera said...

I hear your complaints. Now to Part 2: What do we do about it.

For instance, Anonymnous 12:07 is pissed off at "Museums, Institutions, Universitys." Ok, but that's a pretty big swath of the art world to be pissed off at if you're an artist (or a dealer or a curator). What do we as artists do about this? Can we reach out? Can we curate independently in non institutional venues? Or in small academic venues that would be thrilled to have our work? Institutions are not monoliths whose doors are closed to everyone. They may not coe knocking, but we can find the unlocked door, the open door, the one that welcomes us.

And some of the women among us (myself included) noted the lack of opportunities for women.

Mark: There's nothing sleazy about being a janitor, but I think we can agree that the work is usually dirty and pretty much 100 percent unappreciated. Oh, hey, sound like being an artist!

Thanks, as always, folks for commenting.

grovecanada said...

Laughing...(Dear mariandioguardi.com said...)
In response to 'what do do about it?'...
I've just started writing what I really think about other artists & galleries...Instead of writing what I think will help me to sell better...
It is very liberating to just tell the truth...ie: I went to this show at this gallery & the fumes bothered my lungs & the work all looked like knockoffs...
Feels pretty good & maybe we all can tidy up the art community by pruning with our mouth swords...Sari Grove

Sari Grove said...

Um, " do do" was either a Freudian slip or a typo...Not sure, albeit a propos ...Sari

Anonymous said...

I definitely like - no, love - the idea of artists curating in smaller venues...Textility was wonderful, for example. We need to take back control from the crew running things now.

Joanne Mattera said...

Anonymous 12:31:

"Textility" is not an example of artists "taking back control." I co-curated that exhibition with the curator of the institution, which is an accredited museum. I worked with her, respect her immensely, and am pleased to have had the opportunity she offered me. That we could, together, offer an exhibition oppotunity, with catalog, to 28 artists is a beautiful thing.

Had I seen her or her instution as the enemy, I would never had the opportunity to work on that project.

Honestly, I think the most important thing artists can do is to stop thinking about dealers, curators and critics as enemies, as "other", and understand that we are all in this together.

Of course there are difficult folks in those arenas. And I understand that as artists who have experienced years of rejection, we often carry huge (and growing) chips on our shoulder. But the chip is a huge impediment to communication. When we stop thinking of our colleagues as enemies, our opportunities to interact with them become much greater. (The ridiculousness of the WB curator notwithstanding.)

donna said...

I agree with so many of the comments here- wish there was a "like" button!

Mark said...

OK Joan..its just that my dad was a janitor and there are lot of other jobs to call sleazy. I know this person misspoke but i just wanted to shout out for all the hardworking much loved janitors! Thanks