Friday, April 28, 2006

Brief report from the big D

More on this to come, but I'm in Dallas this week and there are a lot of good things going on here. In particular, the Modern in Fort Worth continues to be one of my favorite places to see art in the country, the Dallas Museum of Art is, as far as contemporary work goes, pretty weak but that will change in the future, the gallery system is not great yet but doing some exciting things and miles ahead of Indy, and some of the collectors here rock.

All of that being said, I still think Indy is in a great position to make something special happen. I know I've been referred to as a complete Indy optimist, but it's true. The stars seemed aligned. I've also recently befriended a pessimist so maybe that will all change, in the meantime, you're stuck with me.

I've got a few nice pictures that will be up when I return as well as more commentary. For those in Chicago, glad the fair is back on and we'll have lots to talk about when we all return.

34 Responses to “Brief report from the big D”

braingirl said...
April 28, 2006 at 11:00 PM

Ehyiyi! You know I love Dallas! Don't forget to hit the Nasher in Dallas for sculpture -- and if it's the right Friday night (the third Friday) they have one hell of a party with Late Night at the DMA. Don't miss the curator's personal "insomniac's tour" at midnight.

ellenweber said...
April 29, 2006 at 5:12 PM

I am glad to see your hopeful message for change -- and just blogged at brainbasedbusiness on the problems when negative folks join our ranks. All to say -- you'll want to guard your brain:-) from the pessimist who just joined ranks:-) Thanks for the ideas....

Hank said...
April 29, 2006 at 9:33 PM

From one of your readers here in Dallas, welcome to Big D and hope you have a great visit.

Lisa Hunter said...
April 30, 2006 at 2:19 PM

Fort Worth has an AMAZING group of museums, especially considering its size (smaller population than Indy). The city planners also did a great job of renovating the historic downtown (which used to be seedy when I was a kid visiting my grandparents there).

No reason why you shouldn't have big dreams for Indy.

Kyle ragsdale said...
May 1, 2006 at 2:00 PM

I used to work at a gallery in fort worth. I love the new modern there. I was also in Dallas this week and just went to 5 of my favorite galleries and I felt more excited about Indy art as well. I think there are more edgy inventive things happening here. most of the work I saw seemed more decorative. I didnt make it to any musuems but saw the smu grad show and it was ok. All in all I agree that I believe Indy is set toreally do great things. keep making indy a better place kids

Fat Slob said...
May 1, 2006 at 8:00 PM

"Keep making inday a better place kids."

Thanks, kyle ragsdale. Why don't you and Lisa Hunter (along with her photo) go take a ride on all the edgy invtive things happening here.

Please list some 'edgy invetive things' here in Indy. Were you as psyched from the Stutz gallery tour as I was?

Why should we have big dreams for Indy, Lisa?

Are there young, educated people moving to Indy? Uh, no.

Are young people getting educated here and then leaving? Yes.

It's been happening for as long as Indiana has been a state.

In love,
Fat Slob

Kyle ragsdale said...
May 2, 2006 at 2:18 PM

As otis said
if you dont like it here why dont you get the hell out

yes people and business are moving here
yes people are studying our city's revitalization. If you only come downtown once a year maybe you missed
Jose de Gregorios take on abstraction part chance part control
Lary Endicotts glorious big format photos
Craig Mccormick photo work using multiple negatives to create muliple views in one scene
Zack Bent is also one of my favorite photographers
Brian Myers postmodern still lives
Sam Sartorious always working and great
some new paintings on plastic
big cars synergy of young art and young music
flux brilliant shows in a tiny space
Casey Roberts fascinating use of photo chemicals to produce dreamy eerie landscapes
primary colors continuing to produce exciting art events year after year
Violet Aveline and Amy Hamlyn doing work in a technicolor playful fun and crazy style
Dee Dee Davis dark comedies in glass
Artur Silvas brilliant new vinyl installation with video near the circle
sponsored by the arts council which has done amazing things in recent years to bring public art to indianapolis
o and they also sponserd Jeff Martins found object sculpture window on penn
Judy levy vinyl drawings that are both politically edgy and comical
Lori miles sculpture always exciting use of materials
Melissa Parrott's clay sculptures that are like sea creatures in wild bright colors
Scott grows sculptures and paintings that mix automotive paint and abstract expressionism
maybe you would also like to know that we have a new contemporary museum in town that is bringing new work from all over the world
you also might want to check out the Ima
the new contemporary floor has a lot of new work and some of the artists are even from Indiana
maybe you should just get out more

Anonymous said...
May 2, 2006 at 3:45 PM

There you have it fat slob.
I must say I agree with Kyle, he just gave us an Indy Contemporary in a Nut Shell and considering that it's INDIANAPOLIS, That's pretty damn good.


Anonymous said...
May 2, 2006 at 9:52 PM

Otis who? I hope you are not qouting Otis Redding. Please.

"People and business are moving here." Really? Didn't the paper just publish how many people left the state? If you mean all of those chain restaraunts around the mall downtown, then I guess you're right. If that's what you think is "edgy," well then I haven't a leg to start on. I might as well stop fighting the fight and go out and buy a Pontiac Fiero and trick it out with neon lights so I can cruise the mall and the Mall! Oh, don't worry, I'll take a few laps around the circle just to see what's what!

What do I see when I visit your 'edgy' downtown? Oh, wait, let me get in my Fiero and check it out. I see nothing.

I'm not an Indy hater. I live here. But don't be silly. Look at what's really going on. Who in the hell is looking here for ideas? Maybe some other city that was horribly depressed in the 80s, some kind of city with a Jonathan Richmond "Lonely Financial Zone?" Well, then, they could take note of how well the chain restaraunts have done here. Hooters, Steak-n-Shake, the Hard Rock Cafe.

Eat it up!

You list 13 artist in the city that you like. I'm not going to debate these artists' merits. Really, though, what's the difference between engaging and great or important?

This new museum that shows art from all of the world? Is that the same one showing BP right now? Some guy who throws a bunch of gunk out on the mirror, then spanks himself and calls it cool while the rest of the city laps it up? Yeah. Has anyone even challenged his basic principle? That he creates made up people that represent his life. Abe Lincoln? Billy Bob? What are you going to do next, go to New York and tell me that the Mullet is back in style and that you like to eat corn on the cob?

And this "New" IMA. Uh, well ... it's awfully easy to look good when you follow crap. Did the past curator of contemporary art collect interesting things? Yes, she did. Holiday got the Viola, Walker, Paik, and others. What has Frieman done so far? 2 shows: Ernesto Neto & Amy Cutler. Go ahead and tell me those are ground breaking. Are they adequate? Yes. Are the good? Maybe.

Are they edgy? No.

Has Lisa Hunter and her picture ever visited our downtown?

Excuse me, but the Poison I got rocken' inside my tricked out Fiero is rocken' do I gots to go.

Fat Slob

Anonymous said...
May 3, 2006 at 11:04 AM

That's the most stupid thing I ever heard. By the way did you know that the Bill Viola at IMA(which was also shown by the "New Museum" you just mocked) was a suggestion of Rebecca Lyon and a recomendation of the Contemporaray Art Society? I'm sorry you're wrong. If you wanna take on the chain restaurants downtown, that's fine. But IMA and IMOCA is the one of the things in town that brings my hopes up. And when I say that, I don't mean hopes that Indy becomes a model of Chicago or NYC which I know both well. But hope that Indy develops it's own cultural identity. Ernesto Neto which has shown at the Vennice Biennial, and Amy Cutler's show were highly enjoyable and yes ground breaking in a way. The book co-published by the IMA is her first one. To end this in a true "onthecusp" style why don't you just get the FUCK out and quit complaining, you sound bitter and badly loved that way.



Kyle ragsdale said...
May 3, 2006 at 11:35 AM

Otis Gibbs is a singer songwriter from wanamaker
who lives in broadripple

Anonymous said...
May 3, 2006 at 1:48 PM

Bringing in big name artists from around the world doesn't make a city cutting edge, it makes it a city of astute followers. I agree that there are a few good artists here, but the best ones leave, because the culture here is lacking. I have no problem with people who think Indianapolis is on the edge of becoming something great. Austin wasn't thathot until pretty recently. But don't let's be in denial, people. And please don't list the second rate "major" artists that museums bring here as evidence that this is an interesting place to live. The interesting people have to LIVE here, not just agree to sell their work to us. (or LOAN it to us)

Anonymous said...
May 3, 2006 at 3:01 PM

It was your criteria, you brought up the artists names and mentioned what appears to be IMOCA as a refference.
I think you have to make up your mind.


Liriodendron said...
May 3, 2006 at 6:47 PM

This is sort of interesting, in a strange disjointed way. For me, the only thing to do is grow where planted, and let the chips fall where they may. Shrug. Why edgy>decorative?

Anonymous said...
May 3, 2006 at 9:10 PM

I'm not "anonymous," I'm Fat Slob, Nano. I don't know who that anonymous is.

What's the most stupid thing you've ever heard?

If you mean IMOCA showing a Bill Viola? If Viola is 'edgy,' to you I'm not sure what to say. If he's your point of comparrison to what is on the edge and therefore what is on the edge here in Indy, than I would say your eating with a spoon.

How many show in Venice or at the Whitney? Tons, every other year. Really, though it just makes them recognized (and easy for a museum to put on contract).

While my take on Indy may be sharp, I do not take anyone on personally. I'll take your thoughts on, but not you personally. I certainly won't insult you in the way you have attempted.

The Fat Slob

Anonymous said...
May 4, 2006 at 11:08 AM

Go ahead and be better than me.
I hereby move to have onthecusp install a phone line that we can discuss this shit in real time. I'm just sick of having to explain my explanations, sick of typing.
Did I hear second?


Anonymous said...
May 4, 2006 at 4:05 PM

Believe me, no one would mind if you didn't go on to explain anything. Just take a moment and be clear and thoroughly state your ideas ONCE. If the person replying is an idiot and doesn't get it, assume that everyone else reading understands that.
-Anonymous, who ISN'T FAT SLOB

Anonymous said...
May 7, 2006 at 8:55 AM

hey kids,

gramps has some questions:

When did decorative become such a bad word? Did this happen when an instructor at Herron told you it was thus?

If you take a piece of cutting edge work and put in in your home, doesn't that make it DECOR?

How much money do you think you can make with "cutting edge" work in this market? (I dunno about you, but gramps has gotta make a living. And it ain't gonna all come from grants.)

Why is smeared and badly chosen colors of paint on slabs of broken drywall by Grow considered "cutting edge"? (Raggy, this is for you to answer.) Is this because he's a fellow Harrisonian or Herronoid? Which association with you gets more points and/or should I go to Herron or get a studio in the Harrison?

If an artist is under 30, does that also make them "cutting edge"?

Two points for each question answered correctly. Zero points for silly retorts and venomous posts.



Scott said...
May 7, 2006 at 12:51 PM

Hello Gramps,

to answer a few of your questions from my stand point...

-Decorative in its self is not bad, but I believe that many people view that term in a more generic way. A term reserved for non art related pieces be it wrapping paper, textiles patterns, the type of works you see these people do on those home decorating shows when they say, "anyone can make art for their home". It is this connotation that I think people often resort to. Plenty of art can fall into that category at times and some great art could be deemed decorative. So, I don't think it is necissarily a bad thing. Why must Herron be an issue here at all? It seems to me that it is always the people who didn't go there that make having gone there an issue. I've never heard someone say they were better than someone else just because they went to Herron.

-I agree, all art once displayed in the confines of your home becomes in one way or another, DECOR. I guess that most artists would be concerned whether the owner actually cares for the art work or if they felt it was just the right piece to match the drapes.

-Not all forms of art are about making money. In fact many artists have tried to subvert the art market in someway or another so as not to allow it to become a commodity. That said, making a living from your art is a great thing. We all have bills to pay and supplies to buy. I just hope that one day I can make the art that I enjoy making and have enough buyers interested to allow me to make a living.

-(I'll let Raggy answer as you have specified) though I like my colors, badly chosen or not. haha.

-Age has nothing to do with quality art or being "cutting edge". That is absurd. And I think you know that Gramps.

Thanks for the lively chats recently.

Anonymous said...
May 7, 2006 at 9:17 PM

If I need decorative art I might as well just go to target and get a poster. Art needs to be about something, life, death, clean, dirt, shit, pain, depression, happiness, something. Decorative implies nothing except the fact that will decorete somewhere. That is crap, and thank goodness you have a nick grampa.


Christopher said...
May 7, 2006 at 11:27 PM

I think you're partly right nano, art does need to be about something. But, IMO, content without aesthetics is crap, aesthetics without content is double crap.

Monday said...
May 8, 2006 at 8:32 AM

In decorative art, aesthetics are the content, and this can be approached in a fluffly, fey manner or it can be taken to amazing places.

Kyle ragsdale said...
May 9, 2006 at 12:25 AM

gramps I agree with you on so many fronts.
I originally wrote to say I was excited about art that is going on
in Indianapolis, not really to debate cutting edge vs. decorative.
I do have some clarifications.
I didn't go to Herron. I went to undergrad and grad school in
I do love harrison center artists but I also like work that other people are doing in town. I also agree that age has little to do withwhether someone is cutting edge or not. I feel like marty sharp's work is mysterious and exciting and she is over 30. There are also a lot of
young artists making boring work.
My favorite works of Scott's are actually
the rocks that seem like gems and wild abstract paintings at the same time.
I also think that one of the real issues is not that people are not
making good work, but that patrons in indy tend to not support work that
is on the edge. I understand and agree that it is extremely hard
to keep making work and paying for materials, then having to store whole shows of more on the cusp things. I like decorative and beautiful work and I agree that the power of the work is not so much in the subject matter as it is in the skill, vision and thoughtfulness of the creator. I like work that deals with patterns, taking traditional decorative techniques and using them in more conceptual and innovative ways. I really like the idea of making work that is both exciting to the maker and the viewers. I love the idea of making work that people really want to live with. I think what happens to the work and with viewers after it leaves our studios is part of the real life of the
I think that we can both educate the general public and grow the base of people that are involved in the art scene and the larger art world. I've noticed that once someone buys their first art piece usually they get the bug and begin to be more involved and come to shows.

Anonymous said...
May 9, 2006 at 5:24 PM

In another words,
Become a factory and start supplying the demand of decorative shit. Oh, you already do that. There are few collectors out there who actually care about the artists and what the artist want to say or do, the rest want something nice to place above their couch. You can have those. I'll starve to death.

Liriodendron said...
May 9, 2006 at 6:39 PM

Mr Ragsdale....I remember the year you judged the IAC student show. You entered three of my pieces, Thank-you, that was fun! (I was near 50 at the time.) :) Did you enjoy that experience? I've always wondered what it feels like to be a it a burden, or a pleasure?

When purchasing art, I want something that moves/excites me when I look at it. The artist is simply the person who created it. Exactly what is it about them that I'm supposed to "care" about, besides their art? What am I missing?

Anonymous said...
May 9, 2006 at 8:30 PM

Clearly not worthy discussing this with you lirio. You just seem so fucking deteached from the real world... Just curious: where do you live?

Liriodendron said...
May 9, 2006 at 8:43 PM

The real world! Ha ha ha ha! Highly amusing. I'm just being polite.

Scott said...
May 10, 2006 at 1:03 AM


Thank you for your constant politeness; it never goes unnoticed by me.

you asked, "Exactly what is it about them that I'm supposed to "care" about, besides their art? What am I missing?"

While I think I understand what Anonymous is saying I don't think I agree with an aspect of it. I think that "art collectors" DO care about the art they buy and of course that is the type of patron or client I think most artists want and prefer. I think Anonymous is putting "art collectors" and people who just buy some art, "art buyers" into the same category. Art buyers, I believe are not necissarily interested in the art work per se, but more in how it will fit into their homes. Think, corporate purchasers, interior designers, etc. I think it is these people that Anonymous is most against catering to. And as an artist I understand that. I would certainly prefer selling art to an individual who wants the work, who enjoys the work, has a personal attachhment to the work rather than to someone who is buying work on a set decorating budget.

So on many regards I think you are correct as well. It is the art work you should care about above all else. And often times you can care less about the artist. I am sure that I would love to own some works of art by artists I would despise in knowing. Then again I think a lot of true art collectors like to have a growing relationship with the artists they collect and in that regard the artist becomes a supporting component to the art they make.

I hope I have interpreted both your points and questions satisfactorily...

Anonymous said...
May 10, 2006 at 6:54 AM

hey kids,

gramps is very excited to have gotten the ball rolling on these subjects. even Mr. Grow has posted a thread dealing with this now.

ol' gramps is good for sumpin'.

Liriodendron said...
May 10, 2006 at 7:27 AM

Thank you, yes you have!
Art buyers are more common than art patrons in the "real world" I live in. I consider myself an art buyer versus a patron, and the way the work looks is the most important issue. Though I would not purchase work from someone I found offensive, I would buy work from someone I didn't personally problem.

My Random House "Websters Dictionary" defines art as
"1. the production, expression, or realm of what is beautiful. 2.objects subject to aesthetic criteria, as paintings. 3. a field or catagory of art. 4. illustrative or decorative material. 5. skill in conducting a human activity. 6. a branch of learning, especially one of the humanities. 7. skilled workmanship or execution."

Aesthetic (re: definition #2) is defined as "1. pertaining to a sense of beauty or aesthetics. 2. having a sense or love of beauty"

I see the word "beauty" mentioned several times (and even the hated *D word* "decorative" ). I guess the term "art" is being redifined by some.....but what is the "real world" then, what we wish it would be, or what it really is?
Cheers...Lirio (Thanks Gramps)

Anonymous said...
May 12, 2006 at 8:49 AM

Back at ya, Lirio.

we need patrons and buyers. mostly buyers.

it ultimately doesn't matter who buys the work because i simply spent the money on cheap swill and even cheaper supplies and go create the next one.

my job is not to sit and worry about whether someone Understands My Big Statement. i could care less, because even if the buyer understands, there are hundreds of others that will see it that won't.

buy all you want, i'll make more. that's what i do. and once in a while, they are pretty and decorative and once in a while they actually SAY something. gramps doesn't bat 1000.

but neither does anyone else.



Anonymous said...
May 12, 2006 at 2:16 PM

art supplies? you buy art supplies? man i think gramps and lirio are either brothers or lovers.
either way, this argument is going down drain...

Anonymous said...
May 13, 2006 at 6:35 AM

Gramps is kinda odd and is off base sometimes, but why knock him for buying art supplies? Thats illogical.

Anon, you must have some issues about your brother or the closet. Either way, juvenile comments like yours are what make an otherwise interesting dialogue go south.

Lets hope your goodbye is permanent.


Liriodendron said...
May 13, 2006 at 1:34 PM

Holy fuckstain gramps! We're busted....We met at Hobby Lobby....

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