Marketing Mondays: "Sold!" and other Annoyances

These three questions, all from artists, seem to form a triumvirate of cyber protocol, so I decided to address them together. However I am one voice—and I have no interest in setting myself up as the Dear Abby of the art world—so your comments are more than welcome; they're essential.
Q: What is your feeling about artists listing prices on websites?  One part of me thinks it is unprofessional, especially if you have a dealer that you work with. Another part of me thinks it helps folks know if they can afford the work. --M.Z.
Your website is a visual display of your current work, with a selection of related information: reviews, a statement, a resume. If you have a dealer, why are you posting prices on your website? Provide a link to the gallery and let the dealer decide if s/he wants to include prices on the gallery website (some  do, some don't). Let the dealers work with a potential collector. They know how to gauge interest, how to  encourage sales, how to close a sale. And some may be in a position to offer a creative payment plan that enables a new or skittish collector to make the leap.

If you don't have a dealer and wish to make sales through your website, you probably need to establish a dialog with potential collectors. Posting prices is not likely to do that, but talking with them might. I'd like to know how other artists do this. Do you show work in a price range, identifying each work by price? Or do you show a selection of images without prices and state the price range?

On thing I'd add is that if you are actively selling off of your website, there's not much of an incentive for a dealer to establish a relationship with you.

(And having said that, I'm going to tell you that later this summer I will do a support-this-blog fundraiser here—as I did last year with "Send Me to Miami"— my way of raising the funds it takes for me to cover the time and expense of maintaining this blog. I’ll offer digital prints for those who donate over a certain amount. It will be a selection of work available for a fixed period for a specific project. It’s not quite a sale of work, but it’s definitely an exchance of art for a donation. I let my dealers know, and they are supportive because it’s a specific project. Otherwise I happily leave the sales to them.)
Q: I know of a professional artist who has sold her work to collectors in the past, and now has put her work on I cringe at thought of this. But in this economy I realize artists are doing what they feel they must to promote themselves. So now I'm conflicted. Have you done anything like this? Would you?--K.M.

I would not personally sell my work on Etsy. But artists are at all different points in their careers, and selling on Etsy might well work for an artist at the beginning of her career, or for one who has a line of prints or jewelry or something that lends itself to selling in this way. Also, there artists who sell more commercial work under a pseudonym, whether on Etsy or through gallery/gift shops, or in one of those bright and shiny commercial galleries with the $29.99 sofa paintings. I’ve not done that, and I don’t recommend it, but I’d be interested in hearing from any artists who do. (Anonymous posting is fine if it’s to share information.)

A post script here: Did you see my post on DIY? I suggest all kinds of ways to work, show and sell.
Q: Is it OK to shoot those boors on Facebook who insist on posting pictures of their work with SOLD!!! every time they sell a painting? Not only is is annoying, it makes me feel crappy because I haven’t sold anything in a while. --Y.L.

Hold the buckshot, Y.L., though I understand the sentiment. It’s one thing for artist friends to share news in conversation or via email about sales or other professional achievements—that’s communication between colleagues—but the incessant “sold” announcements on Facebook, usually by the same small group of honkers, are annoying. They strike me as a desperate cry for validation. I have two suggestions: Ignore or defriend.
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Wondering Why I Haven't Posted This Week?

Updated 5.27.12

I'm in the home stretch for the International Encaustic Conference, which I founded and now run in Provincetown with Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill. The Outer Cape, with its fabled light, has lured many artists over the past century--Hoffman, Hopper, Frankenthaler, Motherwell and Tworkov, to name a few--and continues to attract many contemporary artists who live and work there, as well as others who show regularly at the galleries in town. There's also a surprising number of plein air painters who dot the dunes from early morning to the last rays of the setting sun. (Provincetown curls in on itself, so the sun both rises over and sets into the water.)

It's the ideal setting for 11 days of all things wax. Even the moon is waxing! In addition to next week end's Provincetown conference, there 12 galleries in town showing work in wax or encaustic (look for the wax ball logo in the window), and workshops before and after in Truro. Oh, and I'm curating a show while I'm there: Improbable Topographies at the Rice Polak Gallery. Here's a sneak peek, below, and a link to the exhibitions page here on the blog.

Curator's essay. Click to enlarge

So my postings will be sporadic through mid June. Marketing Mondays will continue, however. And when I get back I'll spend the summer posting about what I saw in New York City, New England--and Provincetown--all spring.


Marketing Mondays: A Curator is Missing

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No, this is not a police emergency.  But a

curator  may be   missing   from your

announcements and  resumes.  This post,

like many, was  inspired   by what came

across my desk recently.

In an email announcement, Artist A listed all her upcoming shows, three of which were curated. I love the way we now have the tools to promote ourselves to a receptive cohort. But something was missing from her exhibition listings: the names of the curators.  

Artist B sent out a postcard with an image of his painting, which is included in a curated group show. I appreciate that he took the initiative to spotlight his work within the context of the  larger exhibition. He smartly included the names of all the other artists, but in what I think was a mistake--or at least a breach of art world etiquette--he left off the name of the curator, something the official exhibition postcard did not.

Artist C--that would be me--was compiling the gallery notebook of artists' statements and resumes for a show I'd curated. I was surprised to see a name missing from the exhibition on several artists' resumes: my own. Uh, your work didn't get into that show by magic.
Consider the role of the curator
Whether artist, independent, or institution-affiliated, a curator has viewed the work of dozens of artists to arrive at the selection of artists whose works then become an exhibition. Curating a show is as difficult and as time consuming as creating a solo show. If you don’t leave off your own name from an announcement—and I know you don’t—it is inexcusable to leave off the name of the curator. 

Curators remember this oversight. “I have a shit list with the names of artists who did not have the courtesy to credit me,” says an independent curator who, for obvious reasons asked to remain nameless. “I work every bit as hard conceiving and creating my shows as artists do with theirs. If an artist doesn’t respect my effort, I am not likely to include their work in another project.”  Moreover, says the curator, “we talk among ourselves, just like artists do. No one wants to have their efforts disrespected by omission.” 

Artists and independents, particularly, work for little or no pay and most handle everything involved with the show, including the onerous administrative tasks. Some assume the added responsiblity of a catalog. 

A few tips
Informal conversation with curator and dealer friends has allowed me to glean these nuggets:

. Include the name of the curator on your resume and all printed material about the exhibition. Yes, I have heard the occasional dealer tell artists that it's not "academic form" to include curatorial credit. Well, this is not academia. The more popular opinion is voiced by the academic curator who encourages her students to give "credit where it's due."

. It’s understood that dealers curate the exhibitions in their galleries, so it’s not necessary to acknowledge that, but if they curate a show in another venue and you’re in it, include their name as curator

. Relatedly, sometimes you’ll see a gallery crediting its director or principal as having “organized” a show in the gallery. It’s likely that an organized exhibition falls outside the parameters of the usual gallery-artist show, which means that more curation is involved. It’s also a way to acknowledge the work of a gallery employee who has assumed the organizational role in the show. If a gallery credits the organizer, you should do the same

. If you have curated a show, put that listing under “Curatorial Projects” or similar category on your resume, rather than under “Selected Exhibitions.”

. If you have curated a show you’re also  in, it’s OK to include your name in both places. But if you're in the habit of putting yourself into every show you curate, you will diminish your credibility as an artist and curator. (Every art professonal I talked with mentioned this as an issue.)

As always, your comments are essential to this conversation.

In a related Facebook discussion, the issue of acknowledging jurors came up. Juried shows and curated shows are very different.

. A juried show is selected by a hired juror who make selections from a pool of submissions. Usually the artist has paid to submit their work. The juror may be a curator, but she may also be a dealer, artist, academic or other art professional. She must make the best possible show out of what she is given. Given the size of the submission pool and the conscientiousness of the juror, the job may take from a couple of hours to a day or two. Based on the size of the show and the prominence of the juror, and whether or not there's a catalog or essay, it's your call whether or not you put the juror's name on your resume. My opinion: curators and dealers, you put on; the local artist jurying the local show, not necessary.

. A curated show, on the other hand, begins in the mind's eye of the curator. The curator conceives the entire show and then makes it happen, a process that may include online research, studio visits, copious emails with each prospective artist, a vetting process and decision making, more communication, gathering of support materials, shipping, installing and more. The curator should certainly be listed, even if she's Josephine Schmo from East Podunk. She made the effort and took the time to include your work. If you can list the exhibition title, you can include her name. This or that art professional may tell you otherwise, but when you consider the vision and effort involved in the curation of a show, it's foolish and boorish not to. 
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"Rolling in the Deep" at Kenise Barnes Fine Art


Coming Up for Air, 2010, encaustic on panel, 24 x 60 inches

I am one of four painters--along with Christine Aaron, Cecile Chong and Lorraine Glessner--showing in Rolling in the Deep at Kenise Barnes Fine Art in Larchmont. All four of us work in encaustic, and while our styles are different, the medium we share has a richness and depth--hence the title borrowed from Adele.  (Added 7.2.12: Read D. Dominick Lombardi's Huffington Post review here.)

Aaron takes you deep into the woods. Chong mines a multicultural narrative via vignettes that ask you to look more profoundly into their meaning. Glessner immerses you an orgy of beauty. I want you to melt into the color.
From my own collection, Uttar 229, 2004,
encaustic on panel, 18 x 18 inches

Here I've posted four pages from a PDF catalog published by the gallery. You can obtain the entire catalog by emailing the gallery. My new painting, Coming Up for Air, is on the cover. This new work will be joined by three works from my own collection, from the Uttar series. Scroll to the bottom to see more. The exhibition will be up through July 21.

 Opening page of the PDF catalog of Rolling in the Deep, above, with a page from each artist below

Above: Uttar 230
Below: Uttar 234
Two more paintings from my own collection that we're showing, both 2004-2008, encaustic on panel, 18 x 18 inches


Kevin Finklea: Active Equipoise

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My introduction to Giampietro Gallery in New Haven came at the Scope Fair during Armory week in New York City. Though I was unfamiliar with the gallery, I was impressed with the work: strong paintings and sculptures by established midcareer artists. So when I learned that my friend Kevin Finklea, who shows at Pentimenti in Philadelphia and Thatcher Projects on 23rd Street, would be having a solo show there, I made a point of going to see it. I drove, but you could easily take Amtrak (hint, hint). The show, titled All the things that cannot be said, is up through May 25.

Panorama of two walls

Finklea creates small geometric sculptures in painted wood. His concerns are “color and balance,” which he more than achieves Viewing them at eye level and at various points above and below, I felt a desire to touch them. I couldn’t, of course, so the act of beholding them with my eyes became an almost intimate act. Contributing to this sense of intimacy are the sensuousness of the wood—though Finklea told me that some of the pieces started out as scraps from other projects—and the lusciousness of the color, which I’d call saturated pastels of similar value.

The formal concerns of the work keep it from become too intimate, yet the sheer gorgeous of the materials leave the gate open in a way that rigorous reduction does not. It’s a balancing act that keeps the viewer in a state of active equipoise.

For the Will of Persephone #3 , 2012, acrylic on poplar and pine
Detail below

Left wall: Pelikan for Palermo #4 , 2012, acrylic on birch veneer baltic plywood; Free Falling Divisions #18, acrylic on poplar with plywood backboard

Above, vertical piece closest to floor: Geary Street, 1963, 2012, acrylic on sapele; the two other works on this wall are identified below
Right of door: Turk Street, 1967, 2011, acrylic on mahogany and birch veneer plywood

Free Falling Divisions #20 over Free Falling Divisions #15, both 2011, acrylic on poplar and plywood

For the Will of Persephone #1, 2011
Below: View of these works from the alcove

Foreground: Pelikan for Palermo #5 , 2012, acrylic on poplar; midde: A List of Things We Said We Do Tomorrow, 2011, acrylic on poplar; left: For the Will of Persephone #2, 2011, acrylic on baltic plywood
Below: detail of For the Will of Persephone #2

This work is on the fourth wall of the space, between two windows:  Free Falling Divisions #19, 2011, acrylic on maple and basswood, 10.5 x 4 x 3.5 inches


Marketing Mondays: "Educating the Public"

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On top of a full workload in the studio and often an outside job, some artists seem to feel—or are peer-pressured into thinking—that it’s their responsibility to “educate the public.”  I’m talking about providing talks or demonstrations in conjunction with an exhibition or open studio, or even creating events specifically for education.  

The topic comes up today because of two recent situations:

Situation 1:  Discussing the solo museum show of an artist who works in encaustic, I heard several artists say, “The artist really should give a demonstration so that the public will know how it’s done.” Really?  Does Jasper Johns give encaustic demos when he has a museum show?  Did Louise Bourgeois give tips on marble-carving when she had her shows?  Did Rembrandt give demos to the public on his glazing technique?   

Here's how the public gets educated about art: Museum curators prepare wall texts to inform gallery goers of the historical or technical points of the work. Docents, from the Latin word docēns, to teach or lecture, take small groups around particular galleries within a museum, sharing facts and encouraging discussion about the works on display. Most museums have programs specifically designed for school children, and many have free-entry evenings for adults sponsored by one corporation or another. Audio guides are available for a small fee when docents are not. In the galleries, dealers inform themselves and their staff about an artist’s work so that they can speak knowledgeably about it to any visitor who asks (one of the reasons you need to provide a cogent artist statement). 

Art schools may provide open studios with demos, talks or workshops. These events are designed to attract potential students, but members of the community are usually welcome to attend. Not-for-profit galleries may have, as part of their funding, a program specifically for community outreach. Great! These are precisely the institutions that should be educating the public. And if these institutions want to engage artists to speak about their work, demonstrate a technique or teach a class, it is their responsibility to come up with the funds to pay you.

If you're an artist, your job is to make the art, to find a venue in which to show it if you don't have a gallery, and to create interest in getting folks in to see it. When you focus on demonstrating, you are deflecting attention from content and intent, effectively saying, "I don't know how to talk about the work so I will show you what I do."  What's the takeaway for a viewer? That artmaking is easy? Or that it's hard? Where's the engagement with the art? And isn't engagement what you're aiming for? By the way, the artist whose exhibition precipitated this discussion gave a talk about his work and how it relates to contemporary art and practices, not a demo. 

Situation 2: In a recent Facebook conversation about Open Studios, the discussion turned to which artists would be giving demos to “educate the public.” Artist and blogger Nancy Natale was having none of it: “I have stopped doing open studios because I find it too disruptive and without any real benefit to me. Call me a curmudgeon but I don't feel that I have any duty to somehow enrich the neighborhood by opening my studio for people to walk through and look around.”   

In an email exchange later, Natale expanded her position: “It would be one thing if we were supported by the public in some way, but it's another to be expected to just open our doors for entertainment." Amen.

 Artists who are looking to fill workshops or sell instructional books or videos are likely to feel differently, as are those who depend on tourist dollars for sales. That's fine; for them an open studio or demo is advertising for what they have to offer.

Call me a curmudgeon, too
I’m not against educating an art-going public, but it's futile to bring out the dogs and ponies for people who enter a studio or gallery with dripping ice cream cones while declaiming loudly that their five-year-old could do better or asking "What does it mean?" without really listening to your answer. Doing a soft shoe for museum-going tourists more interested in flash-photographing themselves against Picasso-as-a-prop is equally as futile. You can't compete with ignorance. 

Educating with a Purpose
Here's a win/win: Some artist grants, particularly at the local or regional level, come with an educational stipulation. In return for financial support you're required to give a talk or provide some sort of teaching experience to the community that gives you the grant. That seems fair to me.

Given the decrease in arts funding everywhere, I applaud artists who come up with ways to educate the public while creating work opportunities for themselves. For instance, I could imagine an entrepreneural artist launching a Kickstarter or USA project within a PTA or alumni association to encourage members of that community to support their (the artist's) educational project. The funding organizations provide the structure for community organization, and their time-based fundraising period creates a legitimate sense of urgency.

Here's another: As I was writing this post, I received an interesting email from the A.I.R. Gallery in Brooklyn. Topic: Enriching Your Home with Art.  “A.I.R. Gallery hosts a workshop on how to begin buying art that enlivens your home or office. Join us for this exclusive opportunity to view affordable works by contemporary artists and get tips on buying art. A.I.R gallery staff members and artists will be available to answer your questions and offer advice. Gallery Director Julie Lohnes demystifies the art gallery and discusses how to search for art you will love. Barbara Siegel, artist and Associate Professor at Parsons The New School for Design, explores drawings and other works on paper through creative examples selected from the gallery's flat files. Jeanette May, artist and faculty at the International Center of Photography, presents contemporary digital photographs and traditional silver prints, and discusses photographic media, techniques, and editions. Light brunch included in workshop fee of $20. Workshop limited to 25 participants.”  

What I like about the event just described is that the presenters will show and discuss art related to acquisition, something that demos do not do. A range of art will be presented for discussion; in this context it's perfectly appropriate to address the artist's technique as it relates to a particular body of work or a specific piece if the question comes up. More pointedly, there’s a signup and fee, which requires a commitment on the part of the public. I think A.I.R.'s concept hits all the right notes. If you’re going to “educate the public," make sure the public wants to be educated. 

Over to you.

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A Tour of "Lush Geometry"

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View from the entry: Richard Bottwin, Carole Freysz Gutierrez, Louise P. Sloane

I cover a lot of exhibitions and art fairs on this blog. I don't call them "reviews" so much as "reports" though I do, of course, have and share my opinions about what I see. I'm more careful when I show you an exhibition in which I'm participating, as in this post. Here I'll take the "tour" approach. We'll start at the beginning and walk around. I'll connect a few dots, share what I know. My opinions I'm keeping to myself. (Well, except that I think this is a beautifully curated show and I'm delighted to be part of it.)

So, welcome to Lush Geometry, up through June 1 at dm contemporary in Manhattan. The gallery is on 29th Street, a bit too far east to be called Chelsea but an easy walk from there. Doris Mukabaa Marksohn, the owner and director, has put together a show that focuses on the luxurious aspects of reductive geometry: brilliant color, rich surface, tangible materials, repeated pattern. Participating artists are Steven Baris, Richard Bottwin, Carol Freysz Gutierrez, Louise P. Sloane and myself.

Full-on view of Louise P. Sloane's work, which is shown at an angle in the opening photo:  Blue Compose, 2010, acrylic gel, pigment and gouache on gessoed paper, 23 x 22 inches

Above and below: We're walking into the gallery with a closer view of some of Bottwin's sculptures on the left wall and in the second gallery. What you can't see is that there's a wall of windows opposite Bottwin's work, so while the gallery lights maintain a certain level of illumination, the light in the space changes throughout the day

Two by Bottwin
Above, shown on left wall: Profile #2, 2008, acrylic and zebrawood veneer on birch plywood, 16 x 13.5 x 13 inches

Below: Parallel #1, 2006, macassar ebony, acrylic paint on birch plywood, 15 x 8.5 x 9 inches

The installation shot just below this image gives you a good a sense of the inside/outside relationship of color to wood

From the center gallery we look into the far gallery, with views of work my me--the blue diamond--and two more sculptures, including a floor piece, by Bottwin

Below, a view of four new paintings from my series, Diamond Life

Diamond Life 18, 2012, encaustic on panel, 22.5 x 22.5 inches

Closer view of the Bottwins and my two paintings: Diamond Life 17 and Diamond Life 19, both 2012, encaustic on  panel, 22.5 x 22.5 inches

I made these paintings especially for the show, cleaving as closely as possible to the title. The lushness of my painting material, pigmented wax, has luminosity and visual depth; I counterpointed it with the hard-edge geometry of the pattern

Diamond Life 17
Diamond Life 19

Moving to the back wall, which you saw in the opening shot, we see this painting by Carole Freysz Gutierrez: Layers 35, acrylic on canvas, diptych, 30 x 90(?) inches

Panorama of the two galleries: Freysz Gutierrez, Bottwin, Sloane, Mattera, Bottwin, Freysz Gutierrez
Use this panorama to orient you as we walk back through the middle gallery and into the project room, where you'll see work by Steven Baris

Two paintings on paper by Louise P. Sloane

Below:  Red Red Violet, 2009, acrylic gel, paint and gouache on gessoed paper, 30 x 22 inches
Known for her paintings, which have a more dimensional surface, Sloane's paintings on paper are nonetheless texturally and retinally dramatic

View of the Bottwin wall from the opposite direction. With Bottwin's work, the opposite direction usually reveals a surprise, like the "wood side" view of Profile #2, shown in a different orientation earlier in the post

(I visited Bottwin's studio a couple of summers ago and wrote about it here.)

We've walked along the "Bottwin wall" past the entrance to the other side of the gallery. Now we're peeking into the Project Room, aka the "Baris Room" for this exhibition. That's Joseph Whitt at the desk.  My Diamond Life 21, 2012, encaustic on panel, 22.5 x 22.5, is on the outside wall

Below: Two by Steven Baris
Left: Rhizome D31, 2012, oil on mylar, 24 x 24 inches; right: Nested Forms #12, acrylic on shaped plexiglass, app 15 x 30 inches.

Below: Closer view of Rhizome D31

Installation from the Rhizome D series, all 2012, oil on mylar, 24 x 24 inches. With a sense of perspective, Baris's geometric forms suggest a depth that is enhanced by a marked and chromatically modulated field; image courtesy of dm contemporary
Below: Closer view, where you can begin to see the markings and subtle color variations within the surface

 This last one was too good to pass up. Eva Lake, visiting from Portland, Oregon--in town for her solo at Frosch & Portman on the LES--stopped in at the opening. Her manicure couldn't have been more perfect


Marketing Mondays: Do Something

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These hands belong to artist Tim McFarlane of Philadelphia. Did he sit around waiting for a residency to be offered to him? No. He took two weeks off from his day job and created a residency for himself. And the work he did is fabulous. Image from McFarlane's blog

Pissed off at what you see as inequity in the art world? Do something! You can demand that institutions do this or that, but the real change comes when artists, dealers, critics and curators—but especially artists—make those changes themselves.

Last week in Marketing Mondays, I proposed that we think about career success like a mountain range, with many peaks (and valleys) rather than as the pyramid that leaves out 99.9 percent of the art world. One of the commenters posted this:  

"The real issue here is that we, the art community as a whole, need to stop letting the New York art world define success for us. We need to demand that institutions look at art with a wider scope."

I agree that we don't have to let others define success for us. And I understand the anonymous commenter’s frustration, but the anger, which is almost palpable, just stagnates. It does no good to be pissed off and rant without actually doing something about it. Demand what? Demand how? Demand when? So, with due respect to the commenter, I’m posting a fleshed out version of the response I posted. I hope you will add your own comments here. Some thoughts about doing something:
1. Write a blog
The artist-published art blog is one of the great hierarchy flatteners. Why? It's free to readers, for one thing. And it's filling a niche left by many print publications that are shrinking or ceasing publication altogether. Want an audience for what you write? Make your blog so good that people will want to read it and return to it. This is your opportunity to write about art that's important to you. That's what I try to do with this blog.  Will I singlehandedly change the art world? No. But I contribute, as you also can, to a dialog that’s lively and increasingly more inclusive.

Consider these blogs, presented in alphabetical order (and pace to those great bloggers I didn't list; there are many more links on the sidebar of this blog):
. Anaba, by artist Martin Bromirski. Want to know what’s going on in Bushwick? Williamsburg? The Lower East Side? Newark? Hudson, New York? Bromirski is there.
 ArtBlog, by artist/writers Roberta Fallon and Libby Rosof. The Philadelphia-based duo champions the art and artists of their city. Enthusiastic and thoroughly professional, "Liberta," as they sometimes refer to themselves, offer visibility and critical support to emerging and established artists. They take ads, which fund writers who contribute to the blog. They’re even expanding to offer art tours.
. Art Fag City, by writer Paddy Johnson. AFC takes a non-reverential look at the New York art world. I don’t always agree with her point of view, but I love that she calls it as she sees it. Through hard work, a lot of reporting, and good promotion, Johnson has created a blog that is influential and widely read.
. Gorky’s Granddaughter, produced by Christopher Joy and Zachary Keeting. The author/editors describe it as “a documentary art project." They’re not letting the New York art world define success. "We visit studios and talk to artists,” they say. Indeed, they even post this: “If you’d like . . . to recommend an artist who deserves an interview, please send us an email through our websites.” Great!  But spend some time with the interviews first. Each is a visit with an artist who is doing good work and has interesting things to say about it.
. Hyperallergic, edited by Hrag Vartanian and published by Veken Gueykian. This “blogazine” emerged out of Vartanian’s blog but has a strong presence now as an e-magazine. You’ll get the scoop on Bushwick, street art, new artists. It started with two guys and a vision. They didn’t “demand” anything; they observed, reported, opined and created an online publication that continues to grow. Kudos.
. Painters Table, edited by artist Brett Baker, takes what it sees as the best of the blogosphere and provides a link to the original post. It's a digest for art. I love it.
. Two Coats of Paint, written and edited by Sharon Butler. A painter and art professor who also curates and mentors, Butler covers a large swath of the country. On leave from the Connecticut institution where she is a tenured professor, she divides her time between New York City and Washington, D.C., and shows in Miami, Bushwick and Seattle, among other places. She writes about students, small galleries as well as large, and includes links to articles written by others. It's  a go-to blog for a wide range of news.

There are many other blogs I could mention, but I’m just going to link to them here: Steven Alexander, a painter and art professor who writes about art in New York City, from well known to unknown;  Carol Diehl, a painter with one foot in Manhattan and the other in Western Massachusetts, who contributes to Art in America but also writes funny and witty stuff for her blog; Lynette Haggard, a Massachusetts-based artist who who does interviews with artists from throughout North America, some of whom you’ve heard of, most you haven’t; Tim McFarlane, who writes intimately about his own work and that of others; Massachusetts-based Nancy Natale, opining, curating, writing about shows you have heard of and some you haven’t (a post: on Hedda Sterne, the only woman pictured in the famous Ab Ex portrait, "The Irascibles" came with an exhortation to send Stern good wishes for her 100th birthday; the artist died shortly afterward, heartened, I like to think, by the words she received at Natale's urging);  Joyce Owens, an artist and teacher from Chicago, who knows a lot about a lot and has the experience and writing chops to back it up.

2. Write for a print publication
Does it have to be Art in America? No, and it probably won’t be. But there are many local and regional print publications that would be happy to have an artist with good writing skills contribute the occasional or regular article. Will you be paid? Maybe. Will you be paid well. Definitely not. But if you want some say in who and what gets written about—you will have the editor’s ear—get out there and do some writing. Many print publications also have blogs whose content mixes original writing with excerpts from or links to the print publication. For instance, Boston-based sculptor Donna Dodson writes for the Boston Globe Business Blog, offering an artist’s point of view on art, fairs, and sales. 

Even among the established publications, writers find ways to bring a point of view that specifically looks for the non hierarchical. Look at how Holland Cotter has changed the face of arts coverage at the New York Times, writing about "ethnic" art, craft, covering art made by women; in other words, looking for, and finding, topics that are not part of the established order. (He received a 2009 Pulitzer for this kind of coverage.) Look at what New York Magazine critic Jerry Saltz has done in creating a Facebook dialog with artist, dealers, critics, curators--a dialog that spills over into his witty and irreverent writing for the magazine. Almost singlehandedly Saltz has shattered the wall between critic and artist, revealing in the process that while critics’ words may carry a good deal of weight, they are just as poorly paid as the people they write about. Establishment?  We are all in this together.

In New York City, David Cohen edits the influential Art Critical  an "online magazine"  (as opposed to a "blogazine," a distinction that may be one of branding alone). A number of artists, critics and art historians write for the publication, and Cohen presides over a monthly Review Panel at the National Academy. While some of the exhibitions reviewed are by big-name artists, others are not. But it's all work worthy of being considered and discussed. Check the magazine's sidebar for podcasts of recent Review Panels. Germane to this discussion: Why not organize something similar for the art in your city?

Regionally, look at how Mary Louise Schumacher, writing for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, writes about the art in her city. Her JS Online blog, Art City, in not remotely New York centric.

3. Do it Yourself Projects
Look at the DIY projects and popup galleries that are doing interesting things and getting attention. I wrote a long post on DIY projects here recently, which includes thoughts about creating a solo show, curating in bricks-and-mortar-spaces as well as on line, starting a gallery, creating a catalog, organizing an art fair, giving yourself a residency and more, so I’m not going to repeat the information. But I love that the person whose DIY residency inspired my original post (that would be Laura Moriarty of Kingston, New York) in turn inspired Tim McFarlane (Philadelphia) to do the same. McFarlane wrote about his experience here. Perhaps he will inspire another artist, or artists, to do something similar.

4. Find and Support Alternative Projects
The "demand" here is on your time (and maybe on your wallet). If you don't want institutions defining who and what is successful, get out there and support alternative spaces, not-for profits, and experimental events and projects. Here's an example from the LA Weekly Blog: 25 Alternative L.A. Art Spaces to Check Out Now. Not in Los Angeles? Find out what's going on in your area. Before you demand that institutions look at art from a broader perspective, you should be doing the same thing. Quick: Name three unsung artists in your city who are doing strong and interesting work. (If they're all white and male, your own perspective isn't broad enough.)

So while organized demands can make institutional change--against sexism, racism and ageism, for instance--no New York institution is going to give up its own perspective just because somebody doesn't like it. But you have autonomy and power. Do something. Give yourself a residency. Occupy a storefront for a month with a popup show. Stake out a slice of cyberspace and write about artists you think merit attention. Learn to promote yourself. Network. Find common ground with other artists, and with dealers, curators, critics. Curate a show. Formulate a plan, make it interesting, enlist others to work with you, and make some change.

This post is just the beginning of a conversation. I hope you'll add to it.

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