Saturday, April 15, 2006

Yard art

I can't believe on April 6th I somehow missed the hard-hitting piece of journalism in Intake Weekly titled Liven Up Your Lawn by Sherri Pfouts. It wasn't, in fact, until a couple days ago during a conversation with a local artist that it was brought to my attention.

I am hoping to someday soon be a home owner, and you can bet your ass when you come visit that contemporary art will hit you from every direction. From the entryway, to the walls, to the bathroom, to (gasp) even the back yard. So in theory, and dismissing the ridiculously stupid title of the article, I support the idea of incorporating art throughout your apartment, house, or prison cell. The subtitle is really the best: Everything you need to know before buying outdoor art. Here's what we learned. Landscaping is important. Steel rusts. Size determines price.

Apparently artistic merit or conceptual thought should not be a factor in deciding permanent installations for your home.

A quick one page google search of the authors name teaches us from her myspace account that she likes "lowbrow art ,especially ,but I also get a certain thrill out of the old masters" and from a few hits down we learn she will be curating a show at Big Car this fall. This is clearly not a person just assigned to do a story on outdoor art, but someone who appears to have an interest in moving the arts forward.

Who is this article catering to? Idiots? Jack asses? the Hilberts? Does Ms. Pfouts think that because we have between $50 and $50,000 to spend on a sculpture we're just going to want something to impress our neighbors or match the landscaping? A recent article by Staci Hupp in the Indy Star says that only 26% of the population of Indianapolis has college degrees (compared to 51% in Seattle or San Francisco). So the logical conclusion is to dumb-down the reporting to cater to a population with a 6th grade education (my sarcastical words, not the reporters), but that's what we're left with. Intake has also refused to profile people over 35 because they are older than there target audience. WTF? For emphasis, I will clarify that wtf stands for what the fuck? Do they think that someone who has gone to college, been passionate about their work, pursued their masters, even gone on to get their PhD and maybe worked for a year or two (which after all of that put's them potentially beyond this mystical 35 number), are suddenly rendered uninteresting and irrelevant to people under that landmark age?

I'm starting to rant. But kudos to those that refused to be a part of this article that sparked this conversation, and shame on Katrin, Greg, et al, that might still think that all press is good press. You are talented artists that deserve, better yet should demand, more intelligent reporting. I'm as guilty as anybody as I look back at some of the fluff I've been quoted in so this needs to be a group effort. With some exceptions, The New York Times, Modern Art Notes, Cabinet Magazine, and a number of others maintain some sense of interest and credibility. Should we expect any less from anything published within I465?

If Intake and the like really want to cater to this younger, professional audience that a lot of us seem to fall into (yes we know the difference between culture and couture, have had breakfast at Patachou recently, and know when a Pinot Gris is more appropriate than a Pinot Noir), how about writing articles that might actually cater to that audience. Stand up people. I don't care if you're under 35 or under 65, buy and support publications that report topics of interest and maintain some semblance of intelligence. When all of the local papers at Starbucks have been replaced by the New York Times, maybe they'll start to get the picture.

36 Responses to “Yard art”

Anonymous said...
April 15, 2006 at 5:54 PM

You know, as far as I can tell, almost no press is good press. Or good enough press. It's very rare that an article portrays your work in a way that seems considered and intelligent. Please don't blame the artists, though. We aren't actually responsible for the quality and composition of the articles that are written about what we make. I think it is a sad and self-serving practice to refuse to speak about your work to someone because it might get written about in a publication that you find less complimentary to your taste and ego than The New York Times.

Anonymous said...
April 15, 2006 at 6:34 PM

I'm embaressed by some of the shit being written in this town. That is one of them. Thanks for having the courage to speak out!

Anonymous said...
April 15, 2006 at 6:43 PM

Uh, people in glass houses...

Liriodendron said...
April 16, 2006 at 8:18 AM

I do find the age emphasis thing in Intake silly. I don't think age defines the type of people that read Intake, and they are ignoring many of the people that might be interested in the publication who are over 40. As far as the writing style, I try to be positive and receptive, because I most certainly see many different kinds of people all around me, every day. I'm have accepted that they are not all like me. It's ok! (heh!) I take what information I can, and sometimes read between the lines (and pictures) too.

Anonymous said...
April 16, 2006 at 10:47 AM

At the very least, they are writing about some form of art, albeit not what you might consider art.

After all, they could have written yet another article about a bar, a basketball game, what kind of clothes we should wear, the latest DVD or same.

If you are so groinked about this issue, why not start your own little paper and publish it? We could use something in this town beside Nuvo and Intake. In Chicago there are more than 40 alternative news rags.

Christopher said...
April 16, 2006 at 1:48 PM

Not what I might consider art??? I am huge fans of some of the people mentioned in that article and love their work. My problem is certainly not with the artists or their work. My problem is with an article and a publication that simply gives lip service to the arts to feel like they are reaching a certain segment of the population, but in fact accomplish nothing.

I, along with a lot of people I have spoken with recently, am not satisfied that "at the very least, they are writing about some form of art" to quote anonymous above.

There is a demand for quality arts articles in this town. Over the past few months Ron Arad, Wim Delvoye and Amy Cutler have spoken to standing room only crowds. It would be great to see some of that covered and actually talk about the art.

Christopher said...
April 16, 2006 at 1:50 PM

Oh yeah, I don't want to start my own little paper and publish it. Haven't you heard blogging is the new black?

Christopher said...
April 17, 2006 at 2:11 PM

For an example of a perfectly acceptable article on the arts in Intake, please see the recent right up in the current issue on the 'Consumption' show at Madison Studios. Certainly not a review by any means, but informative and will hopefully get more people to check out some really strong work.

Christopher said...
April 17, 2006 at 2:24 PM

sorry I couldn't fiind a link online.

Anonymous said...
April 17, 2006 at 5:30 PM


You can chat with me about my credentials, my art interests and the numerous articles INtake has published about people over 35. Your comments are misinformed. Make sure you thoroughly do your homework, and read the entire article, not just a sidebar in INtake.

Sherri Pfouts

Anonymous said...
April 17, 2006 at 6:01 PM

Yeah, and do you guys think Greg Hull is under 35? And, how are artists supposed to know if the article they are going to appear in is going to be super fabulous or just okay? Should we all refuse to speak to anyone who isn't on your cool list? And could you please make that list public so no one breaks your code of what articles are important and well written enough to appear in?

Anonymous said...
April 17, 2006 at 6:11 PM

Thank you. I have no idea who just wrote that, BUT! I wonder this about dear Christopher. Has he written and published an art book? Has he traveled around the country curating art shows? Has he edited (and does he continue to) edit an international art magazine? I'd like to know your credentials, Chris, since you have so much to say. Your attention to detail is apparently lacking, as six sources in the main story were over 35. Four were under. More people over 35 will be featured in this week's INtake. And if you need past issue's links to people over 35, I'd absolutely love to show you them. Just let me know. Again, I suggest you read the entire story. And this time, pay attention: You might also notice when Bernie Carreno discussed picking an artist's style that you like. I believe Pat Mack (also over 35) said it, too. That was your original complaint, right? That style wasn't important? Read the stories again. You don't see how you originally missed this story, but I don't see how you missed everything written in it, apparently, if you did read it.

Anonymous said...
April 17, 2006 at 6:59 PM

Anonymous said...
April 17, 2006 at 6:59 PM

Regardless, I think Intake sucks. It's the paper to give the burbs a little flava of downtown. The burbs can all fuck them selves! I hate those stupid pictures and writers so fucking full of them selves... Except Meg. She has the best ass in Indiana! You go Meg!

Anonymous said...
April 17, 2006 at 7:04 PM

I was kind of touched by the part of the article where the artist was talking about how there is happiness in art. It seems really simple, and of course often there isn't happiness in art, but I don't think you find that kind of honesty in a lot of art journals. Somehow none of this is supposed to be making anyone happy. I get the idea that all we artists are meant to be thinking about is the progression of our careers.

Anonymous said...
April 17, 2006 at 7:15 PM


Thanks for writing that. When I got that quote from Bill Ryder, it made my day and my story. I thought it was a great point to share. Since I love art, I wanted to write the article ... not to reach a demographic as Christopher accused me of, but to have the chance to meet people like Bill, and I'm really glad I did. I'm a big supporter of artists - I wrote a book dedicated to women artists; my best friends and heroes -- like Robert and Suzanne Williams, Sara Ray, my husband, and more -- are artists, and I hoped to give people the idea that putting more art in their lives can only come to good. In fact, I never mentioned anything about decorating your yard with art to impress your neighbors, as Christopher mentioned. But amid all the talk about how much INtake sucks, I'd like to at least stand up for the people who work there ... there are artists, musicians, writers all on staff who contribute to and support the local scene daily, though no one seems to want to get past the bad reputation INtake has to actually figure that out. Yeah, there are stories that see print that most of us there don't really care about, but we're trying to reach a diverse audience, so sometimes we write about things that don't matter to us personally but might matter to a reader here or there, and other times we write about issues that really matter to us. Art is one of them for me. My free time is dedicated to supporting it and buying it. I love to see someone read only half the story and then try to rip it apart so they can join bandwagon status of hating INtake just to hate it. I do appreciate your help with the story, and your comments here.


Liriodendron said...
April 17, 2006 at 7:18 PM

Intake does make a deal about youth. Why do they even mention people's age? I remember when it first came out...seems there was touting of it's youth appeal.

I was in the Visual Fringe Festival at the 4Star Gallery last year. (heh!) Intake came to take pix the night before the opening reception, specifically to take pix of the younger artists, at least that was what I was told. No big deal to me....but age was mentioned.
There IS happiness in art! No money though....;)

Todd Bracik said...
April 17, 2006 at 10:55 PM

Shame on me for being in Sherri's article!? Who are you Christopher? What are you doing for this fine arts culture that you say exists? The fact is that Indianapolis does need an education in culture and the article was written at the level that it needs to be for the general Indianapolis public. If you don't believe me, come to my next sculpture installation and listen to the questions that are asked. If there is such a need for a more stuffy art publication here in Indianapolis, you should create it yourself. Thanks again Sherri. Todd Bracik.

Anonymous said...
April 18, 2006 at 12:00 AM

This is why blogging is the new bullshit. Anyone can buy HTML for Dummies and become a critic.

Neal Taflinger said...
April 18, 2006 at 12:03 AM

>There is a demand for quality arts articles in this town. >Over the past few months Ron Arad, Wim Delvoye and >Amy Cutler have spoken to standing room only crowds. It >would be great to see some of that covered and actually >talk about the art.

You must have not picked up the issue of INtake that featured my article about Ron Arads work at iMOCA and his speaking engagement.

Neal Taflinger

Christopher said...
April 18, 2006 at 1:06 AM

Yes, yes, yes Indianapolis! A dialogue about contemporary art!

You must wonder however, what it means when a random article on yard art yields three times the comments vs. an article about the new director of the IMA. Are we more concerned about moving the arts forward in Indy or making our neighbors happy?

Thanks to the Intake crew for rallying behind your cause,

Anonymous said...
April 18, 2006 at 7:08 AM

I wonder why you have nothing to say about about your own previous comments, Christopher. You keep talking about making our neighbors happy, but have nothing to say for yourself, which, I guess, since you initially wrote this blog at 11:45 on a Friday night says it all. Apparently Sherri should have dumbed down her article more for you, since the majority of people interviewed were over 35, but you couldn't figure that out, and since the article did talk about the artist's conception, but you couldn't figure that out, either. Shame on you Sherri for not writing clear enough for Christopher to understand. Shame on you Christopher for doing nothing more but sitting around on a Friday night to complain about someone else's work, then leaving off when things get heated. Now go out into the big bad world and get a life. Who knows. If you actually do something with yourself, someone might write a blog about it and blindly criticize it.

Little Mike said...
April 18, 2006 at 11:33 AM

Mostly, blogging is the new talking-to- yourself-on-a-street corner. A few passers-by get the message but that's it.

Seems to me, here on my street corner, that Avant Yard was a story about art in its purest sense--not made to get ego-puffing oohs in a gallery, not made for money--or not always--and generally not made to please anyone but the artist and his local squirrels. So, yeah, if your art focus is the exciting social whirl of glittering galleries and snappy art-school repartee, yard art will probably leave you cold. As will the lack of snacks at the opening.

As for the writing style, it's straightforward English. Admittedly, it doesn't have that signature art-school-speak about the juxtaposing of harsh, cadenced, near-military line with the searing free-flow of sanguine crimsons and sinister mollusc shadows that reveals a dramatic and didactic explosion of post-arboreal and neo-aquatic suffering, intimately exposing the artist's roiling inner emotional trajectory, nay, his primal drive to bring the stupefying horror of man's inhumanity to man into the gimlet scrutiny of the public eye.

You write like that, it might as well be in Etruscan. INtake is in English, not the dead language of academia. Good thing, too. English lets people read an art story without falling asleep halfway through or stopping to laugh themseleves silly. Even if you are an academic there's no excuse for writing like one. To most of us knuckle-dragging, English-speaking art fans, all that art-poof is just a smokescreen, and the real message is: I gotta write this art story to pay the rent, I don't know what the fuck I'm looking at or why, but if I throw enough baffling bullshit out there maybe nobody will know.

Finally, The New York Times--are you fucking kidding? The NYT is a real estate company with a newspaper attached, and an increasingly slipshod, lying-through-their-yellow-teeth newspaper at that. If that's your model for good art coverage, or good anything, you're beyond reach anyway--but hey, enjoy the snacks at the next opening.

wolfie said...
April 18, 2006 at 11:53 AM

whoa, christopher, if you were the hall of justice you'd totally be THE ELITIST, whose mission it is to misquote articles and rectify alleged wrongs done in the blossoming local art scene. way to go!

Anonymous said...
April 18, 2006 at 1:35 PM

I totally believe this argument is dead, we should talk about how hot Meg Roth is. Damn... is she married or something? Seriously.

Anonymous said...
April 18, 2006 at 4:04 PM

I totally believe it isn't dead. At least not for Christopher West, the curator for the iMOCA, who sits around spouting opinions while he "collects" and "supports" artists by taking free art from them. I guess the iMOCA didn't need any press anyway.

Anonymous said...
April 18, 2006 at 4:19 PM

Who's Meg Roth?

Anonymous said...
April 18, 2006 at 4:58 PM

She is the hottest writer for Intake, possibly in the entire city. Wait state.

By the way anonymous 3:04pm, was that a threat? Coz that's not nice specially knowing that you are one of Intake's people...

Anonymous said...
April 18, 2006 at 5:38 PM

I don't suppose Christopher's bosses would like to see him writing such nasty things about the press. I mean is iMOCA above wanting press too?

Anonymous said...
April 18, 2006 at 5:57 PM

You all are getting way out of hand. Everyone is entitled to his opinion and it does take a little more guts to attach a name to that opinion than to rant on anonymously.

Katrin (really gutsy)

Anonymous said...
April 18, 2006 at 6:06 PM

Intake Sucks!!!

nanotech (double really gutsy)

Chad said...
April 22, 2006 at 3:04 PM This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

casey said...
April 22, 2006 at 11:53 PM

Chad, You are so mean. I was thinking about crusading for ironic intelligent dialogue, but If your going to get up in my face.

Anonymous said...
April 23, 2006 at 12:52 PM

Chad you are not Meg, so fuck off.

Chad said...
April 23, 2006 at 2:00 PM This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Anonymous said...
April 25, 2006 at 11:11 PM

I want to go see the giant asphalt face! Anyone else want to go with me?

Jeremy Tubbs

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