Sunday, February 10, 2008
Do you like this story?
Preface: This post centers on an anonymous comment left in two different posts recently. I felt that it brought up concerns that have been expressed to me before and deserved a more public platform that would not be hidden in the comment section of some older posts, as some people may not revisit those comment threads to read this dialogue. It is not my intent to come off as disrespectful in my reply (though possibly a tad bit of sarcasm may be thrown in). I may be on the defensive side with my response, but, I'm human...
Perhaps as you make your way to Chicago or other destinations, you may want to stop by a few galleries that you've ignored and review their work as well, even if it means saying something honest or possibly negative. Below is a list of galleries regularly having monthly or bi-monthly shows you could review or include on your list of "gallery openings" but choose not to:
Gallery One 36 (Westfield)
CCA Gallery (Zionsville)
Art in Hand (Zionsville)
Blue Egg Gallery (Carmel)
Magdalena Gallery (Carmel)
Lake Street Gallery (gary)
Prima Gallery (bloomington)
Kuaba Gallery (downtown)
Wug Laku's Studio & Garage
Sugar Creek Art Center (thorntown)
Artistic Spirit Gallery (downtown)
C.W. Mundy Gallery (Nora)
Eckert & Ross Fine Art
Franklin Barry Gallery (downtown)
and many more, if you look around.
When you choose to ignore all of these venues, it creates a very exclusive art community on your part that is centrist in attitude and puts a wall between you and the rest of the art community who you may feel isn't "edgy" enough for inclusion but are totally valid and who's artists are creating good, solid art (and in some cases, actually making a living at it).
Building an art community means including all of the art community, regardless of whether or not you happen to like the art being created.
Well, I guess I shall field this one for the On the Cusp team, but where shall I start. I'll begin with a response to your statement:
"you may want to stop by a few galleries that you've ignored and review their work as well, even if it means saying something honest or possibly negative"
In this I thank you and wish more people had this spirit. I too would prefer more honest and possibly negative criticism over no criticism at all. It is this dialogue that drives us forward and possibly sheds new light on our own work. And it is one of the driving factors for me in creating this blog.
That said, and before I get into my pretentious, possibly elitist, and centrist point of view, I would like to point out a few things about the list of galleries you have listed above. In all honesty, I have never set foot in many of them, there are a few I have never even heard of, and one of which I have mentioned in posts previously and is included in the list of 9 galleries in our current poll (I considered adding info on their recent opening in our list but do to the way their web site is set up it makes it impossible to cut and past any text, so I did not include it). Of note, from that list, only 2 maybe 3 of those venues has ever sent me any sort of press release. I do not have the time to go searching out this information for them. As it is, I have a hard enough time attempting to write about the shows I am interested in and those venues that do send me regular press releases. (Note: we have a section devoted about out press release policy located in the Contributor section in the right hand column of this blog. For those on the list that are IDADA members, we always have a link to the IDADA map on our site.)
Anonymous then states: "When you choose to ignore all of these venues, it creates a very exclusive art community on your part that is centrist in attitude and puts a wall between you and the rest of the art community who you may feel isn't "edgy" enough for inclusion but are totally valid and who's artists are creating good, solid art (and in some cases, actually making a living at it)."
You once again may be right. I have centrist views when it comes to art. I come at art from a more post modern perspective and tire of first, second and third rate art stemming from a modernist tradition. I tire of plein air painting, too. I do not feel all art is on equal grounds at all times and in all contexts. This is not to say that the type of art I do not readily enjoy is not valid, well made, or enjoyed by a lot of people. People have differnt aesthetic sensabilities and want art that affects them in different ways. There is a reason why Thomas Kincaid and Norman Rockwell are beloved by many. Most people who love their work will never even have heard of the top artists in the art world I enjoy. Mention Richard Serra to them and they will stare back at you with a blank expression. I fully give my support and admiration for any and all artists and or maker of things who gut it out day in and day out, despite whether they get praise of pay. Being an artist is an uphill battle despite which audience you are after and the type or quality of work you make. So I do not hold myself higher or better than these artists just we have different desires of context. If we are to put this dialogue into the current art magazine perspective, On the Cusp is interested in the worlds of Art Forum, Flash Art, Frieze, Parkett and not The Artist's Magazine, Raw Vision, American Artist, or International Artist. Each of these magazines has a focus and excludes a segment of the broader arts community but each has its own dedicated audience as well.
As for building an art community, I am all for it. I do what little part I can to do so. It is for this reason that I started to curate art shows, organize collaboative artist projects, start this blog and volunteer my time with different art organizations. I felt it wasn't enough to just be an artist in this community and wait for it to change, or evolve. I felt it was my duty to be more proactive and help shape the community that I wanted to be a part of. But this blog can not possibly be everything to everyone. It can not be all inclusive. As it is, I am currently writing 90% of the posts and have a hard time keeping up with the posts I want to write and focus on without the burden or pleasure of writing about venues outside the scope On the Cusp originally set out to write about. On the Cusp has no budget, and no one is getting paid to do this. All of our writing is done out of our passion and interest in the arts community but right there at the top of our blog, in our header it states: On the Cusp, Contemporary Art Indianapolis. Our intended focus has always been on "Contemporary Art". The deffinition of "contemporary art" is something that I understand is difficult to put into words and that is why words like "edgy" are often thrown into the mix, adding just as much confussion. We have had this debate often and most likely will continue to have this dialgoue for sometime as perspectives about art and the art world evolve and change. In another feeble attempt to explain the term contemporary art please read this article. While this article still leaves some things unanswered, I hope it has shed some light on my perspective.
All of this is not to say that On the Cusp is never going to include those venues and or the artists that they show. Some of the artists they show we have mentioned or reviewed in the past. As I stated before, some of those venues I have never been to, some I have never heard of and perhaps I am missing out on some interesting "contemporary art" in that mix. Only time will tell. I must humbely disagree that for an art community to grow that it needs to be all inclusive. I feel each segment of the art community should find new ways to grow and improve in such ways that benefit their vision and the direction they want to go. This is not to say we need to have some adversarial divide, only that we all must follow our hearts and make our little segments of the world as nice as we can.
Thanks for the dialogue. I hope you do not mind my honest and possibly pretentious perspective.