Marketing Mondays: "Good Art-world Citizens"

Visiting the Minus Space gallery in DUMBO last week, I chatted with Matthew Deleget and Rossana Martinez, the artists who founded an online platform for reductive art which became the bricks-and-mortar gallery we were standing in. Deleget mentioned that all of the artists the gallery represents “give back”  in some way, whether it be teaching, mentoring, curating, or writing.
Deleget and Martinez were too modest to mention it, but "giving back" at Minus Space starts with them. As I was on the F train heading back into Manhattan, I remembered a recent Village Voice article Christian Vivieros-Faune wrote on Chuck Close, in which he quoted the eminent artist on the importance of being a “good art-world citizen.”
“Close's constant civic-mindedness has resulted in his appointment to the
President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, as well as his recruitment to mentor struggling schools for Turnaround Arts—a recent administration-led arts-education initiative that closely echoes the artist's own oft-quoted precepts,” writes Faure.
While most artists will not be involved with projects that are quite as high profile as lobbying the President while photographing him, there are many who have been and continue to be good art-world citizens, which is the subject of today’s Marketing Mondays post.
When I think of “good art-world citizens,” I think of sculptor Nancy Azara and painter Darla Bjork who were instrumental in founding and teaching at the New York Feminist Art Institute in SoHo in the Seventies, and who continue to host intergenerational salons for women artists; of dealer Edward Winkleman who offers advice to artists on his blog; of critic Jerry Saltz who hosts an online salon for his 5000 Facebook friends, most of them artists. I think of the artist and writer Chris Ashley, who maintains Some Walls, a curatorial and writing art project open by appointment in his home in Oakland, California; Ashley mounts four to six solo exhibitions a year and writes an essay for each exhibition. 
I think of the late Ivan Karp, who always took the time to look at artists' work and offer an honest assessment of what he saw. (His memorial will take place in a few weeks; see sidebar right.)
I think of Richard Frumess, painter and paintmaker, who started a small paint company in the basement of his Brooklyn building, moved it upstate to Kingston, grew it with partners, and for 20+ years has been dispensing technical and best-practices information to artists, along with creating a workplace that hires artists and gives those artists room to create workshops and curate exhibitions in its gallery, both of which serve an international community of artists; yes, R&F Handmade Paints is a for-profit company, but it gives back much to the community which supports it. This kind of generosity is true, too, for the Golden Paint Company, which gives back in similar good spirit.
I think of Paul Klein, Chicago art force and eminence gris, who sends out an arm-around-your-shoulder newsletter each month reporting on the Chicago gallery scene; of Philadelphia artists Roberta Fallon and Libby Rosof who have chronicled, supported, and cheered on the Philly art scene in their terrific Artblog; of Sharon Butler who takes time out of a demanding studio practice and teaching career to report on painting in New York City and elsewhere with her Two Coats of Paint blog; of artist Austin Thomas, whose community gallery, Pocket Utopia, was the first kid on the Bushwick block and is now on the Lower East Side.
I think of  painter Julie Karabenick who, driven by a passion to chronicle abstract geometric art, has created an ongoing curatorial project, Geoform, which is both an international resource and a living testament to the power of geometric abstraction. I think of Jackie Battenfield who founded a gallery in Brooklyn, ran the Artists in the Marketplace in the Bronx, and  nowtravels around the country offering advice and inspiration to artists at all ages and at all professional levels.
I think of all the artists who donate artwork, occasionally or regularly, to the endless good causes for which they are asked (though I rail against donating). I think of the artist curators, usually unpaid, who create exhibition opportunities for their peers. I think of tenured artists who teach in schools and universities, and especially of the hardworking but poorly paid adjuncts and art center teachers who encourage and inspire.
"Giving back” doesn’t necessarily mean giving it away for free (though good art-world citizens are rarely rolling in dough); it simply means returning some of your hard-won experience, mentoring, generosity or energy to a community where there’s never enough to go around.
Feel free to toot your own horn, acknowledge another’s effort, or comment in whatever way you choose.

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annell4 said...

Another good post!

Paul Behnke said...

Great post Joanne.
I would add Julie Torres and Jason Andrew to that list.

Sky Pape said...

Joanne, thank you for trumpeting these generous people, and pointing out the positive impact of their actions.

It's a good time to be thinking of what it means to be a citizen, of country, of community, and the responsibilities, repercussions, and yes - rewards - of active citizenship.

Christine Sauer said...

Thank you for this post! I've had the pleasure of taking a 2 1/2 day workshop with Jackie Battenfield thru Creative Capital which was terrific and also read her book "The Artist's Guide" (also great). I am grateful to her for sharing her insights and knowledge. Another good art world citizen is Alyson B. Stanfield whose blog dispenses wonderful practical everday info to help run your art business. I really enjoy Two Coats of Paint, so impressed with the range of work covered. All of these women have been inspirational. And of course I always look forward to your blog posts Joanne. I really appreciate your point of view on things and enjoy seeing all of the work you showcase.

EGH said...

I appreciate the time taken by "The Jealous Curator" ( and Christopher Jobson of Colossal to profile the work of artists they admire. They have a big reach, and use it to support the works of others (AND CITE THEIR SOURCES).

Anonymous said...

Wow, thank you so much Joanne! It was great to have you at the gallery. There are many more to add to the list, but I quickly think of Phong Bui from the Brooklyn Rail, Loren Munk from the James Kalm Report, and Rene Lynch and Julian Jackson from Metaphor and artObama. Muchas gracias! We hope to welcome you soon again.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Joanne, for another great post and shout-out! I don't believe being an artist, even a successful one, and being supportive of your community of artists are mutually exclusive. I second Rossana's list and would add Michelle Grabner, Don Voisine, and many more (more space needed). Who would your readers nominate?

Anonymous said...

I would add Hrag Vartanian to your list, for Hyperallergic, the online Arts magazine, and his curated shows.

kim matthews said...

I've said this on Joanne's Facebook page and will say it here: it's been my experience that the most talented and successful artists are also the most generous: with time, technical advice, marketing strategy, referrals-you name it. I feel sorry for people who think that artists are competitive and backbiting because they're clearly in the wrong crowd. Thank you, Joanne, for your advice and for introducing me via your blog and Facebook network to some pretty great people.

lisa said...

I would add Joanne Mattera to that list!!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post. I only wish Richard could 'see' it.

Julie Karabenick said...

Yes, Lisa, I would most certainly add Joanne to that list--way high up on it! Joanne's blog is a gift to the art world. It is so creative, thorough, informative and well-written. It's a pleasure to read. julie

Anonymous said...

"I would add Joanne Mattera to that list!!" +10

Sharon said...

Thanks for the shout Joanne. I'll add a few Connecticut folks: Chris Joy and Zachary Keating of the VLOG Gorky's Granddaughter, Debbie Hesse curator and cummunity builder for the New Haven Arts Council, and Jonathan Waters the founder of A-Street Gallery/West Cove Studios.In NYC,props to Sharon Louden for her tireless work on the College Art Association's Services to Artists Committee,which organizes panels and discussions that are free and open to the public during CAA's Annual Conference. And to all the others previously mentioned: You're all making things better. THANK YOU.

Linda Tharp said...

I would add David Cohen for both Art Critical and The Review Panel. The Review Panel gives us an opportunity to see critics making it up as they go, moderated with insight and wit by David.

Also, as a former steering committee member of the Annual Gowanus Artists Studio Tour, I'd like to add organizers of events such as the recent GO Brooklyn. It's a vast amount of work done mostly out of altruism.