Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Sittin' on a Fence, Art for Clarion


Matt Gonzales from the Indianapolis STAR has just written a piece regarding this post and the different perspectives on the "Photos for Health" project. You can check it out online here.

The Indianapolis Business Journal has posted on the topic as well, here.

I'm just sittin' on a fence
You can say I got no sense
Trying to make up my mind
Really is too horrifying
So I'm sittin on a fence

[lyrics, Rolling Stones]

PREFACE: I have been thinking and rethinking how best to approach the following topic since it was brought to my attention. After much discussion with numerous members of the arts community and doing some research and interviews, I then found myself contemplating even further on how to write such a post. When at first I set out to write about this I was pretty sure where I stood in this debate but after talking with numerous people and chatting with some friends who are not involved in any way with the local arts community and most likely never will, I found myself questioning my own personal stance on the topic and more so, what is the purpose of writing about it on this blog. Is it news? Maybe, but I would like to view this post and its subject as a catalyst for how we think about the arts and in particular how we think about the arts in the public/private sector. Why? In all honesty, I hope that this post will inspire a conversation, a dialogue of different perspectives, while leaving out any sort of name calling, anonymous flames absent of any constructive content. I finally have to just trust the process and hope that our readers are willing to have a constructive conversation. So here it goes...

Much talk has been going around both the local art and design communities the past couple weeks that has generated some heated debates. All this concern is centered around a new project called Photos for Health, which is to acquire art works for three new Clarion Health buildings. As you can imagine, three hospitals, that is a lot of wall space for a lot of art. Heading this project, is Jacquline B. Anderson and her new art consulting firm. I lay this out here simply as the base for the following discussion.

The set up being... Artists, doctors, patients, or anyone else interested in contributing to this particular art acquisition process, will be able to submit images online to a web site in which works will be chosen from. Works that are believed to be beneficial, "therapeutic and palliative in health care" will then be chosen for display in the hospitals. Clarion gets art for their hospitals and those who contribute their work to the process and get chosen will get the pleasure of knowing that their work may in fact help heal and or inspire peoples lives. That in a nut shell, is the framework for this particular scenario.

So what is all the fuss? The concern and issue raised by several artists, dealers and others in the arts community (note the design community has their own set of issues) primarily center around a few issues. Many of the artists and galleries, are most upset by the fact that the artists will not be compensated monetarily for there accepted submissions and this sort of process may in fact be a bad prototype in which to pursue such projects. [Those artists who submit their work perhaps should consider their submissions as a donation, similar to the donations artists may make to an art auction.] The other big contention is that Clarion is not in fact acquiring art works but digital prints. The works chosen from the submission process will be printed out from the submitted files and framed for hanging. These are the most discussed points concerning this project and I must say that people have expressed some very strong opinions.

It was posed to me, that we begin by asking, what is Clarion Health seeking? In practical terms, I would assume that Clarion is looking to fill three of their new buildings with art for their walls for a set amount of money in a set time frame. I honestly do not know what their budget is, which does limit my insight into the mindset of the project. Many corporations and hospitals simply buy posters on the cheap from catalogs, and quite often from out of state suppliers. Some in fact purchase works by artists, and some like RxArt go all out and create unique experiences within hospitals. In all practicality, RxArt most likely involves a lot of time and much more money than the other options. Is it not possibly, for the better good of the patients, to give them the best art possible if in fact it can help in their recovery. Obviously, art is more of a luxury, we should all be used to that fact, but I only hope that when it comes to health care, that hospitals do not choose staff and equipment with cost and time as the deciding factor.

Despite all of this, the private sector is not obligated to help the arts community, so should we feel obligated for them to purchase local art? This is a tough one for me on one level. I think the private sector should want to help, but free of feeling obligated to do so. Helping the local arts community helps build a stronger moral. Then again the private sector should be able to spend their money how they want. I certainly would want to spend my money the way I wanted. But not knowing the budget allocated for these projects it is hard for many to understand this process. Is the budget that Clarion is giving to the project adequate for the scope of this project?

I feel that we find ourselves debating over what sort of pie each of us likes when we are being served cake. Is it fair to criticize a project for what it is not, rather than what it is? This is often a fault of much art criticism. We tend to bring to the table our own concepts of what should be and attempt to discuss the art on those terms rather than the terms the art presents to us.

The problem for me still has to do with semantics. Are we really talking about art here? What separates the works used from being art to merely being posters. Might posters be art? I for one say, yes. Posters can in fact be art and there are a number of artists who work with the idea of posters as art. But what are we talking about in this particular context? If artists do not get to oversee the final product and approve the final product, is it still art? To compound further this concept and the issues concerning "original art" I would like to recommend the following article, "A New Definition for Original Art". This particular article brings up some of the many issues around the idea of "original art" and what that means in today's art world. These lines are constantly blurring in the contemporary art market but I do not see that it has blurred so much, to convince me that these hospitals will be receiving “original art” in any way. In my personal opinion, once the artist loses the right to approve the final output, the quality control, and other deciding factors that go in to making a work of "original art" then we are left with merely decoration.

In the end it comes down to this. The “Photos for Health” project is in fact upfront about their intentions to use the submitted images in the manner they desire and they are upfront about not compensating artists or other image providers with any form of monetary payment. In all fairness, despite personal views of how this project will be perceived, who will be or not be affected, or whether corporations such as Clarion Health should attempt to do more to help foster the arts in the community, the project is laid out as it is and any artist who is not satisfied with the project should simply not submit to it. For those who feel it is still a worth while cause and do not mind donating your work to the hospital, then by all means, gather up your images and prepare to upload them soon. The patients and those who roam the hospitals deserve the best art they can get, and I for one hope they get it, though I have some doubts that the general process presented here is the best way to achieve the final goal. If art truly can help in the healing process, then perhaps we should, or rather hospitals should invest more money into quality art works. After all great art lasts.

The topics peripheral to these debates, I feel we need to further discuss are the issues of artist health care, legislature to change artists tax claims to donated art works, and corporate incentives to purchasing and or supporting the arts. Perhaps these are things we can discuss further and in more detail in future posts.

38 Responses to “Sittin' on a Fence, Art for Clarion”

Mark Ruschman said...
March 4, 2008 at 5:14 PM

I hope this Clarian development will generate reponses from the arts community. My initial reaction is, why would anyone participate? My years of experience in the local visual arts community would leave me to believe that this request for images/art(?)will fall on deaf ears. In all likelyhood, will probably get more than a few people upset. While there are many worthwhile causes out there, has Jacquline Anderson made the case to the arts community for this program to succeed? Maybe that's not important and the participation of local artists is not a priority. If that's the case, where has Jacquline and Clarian been for the past 5 years while everyone else is trying to make Indy a desirable place for artists to live and work. These new buildings could be a tremendous opportunity for Clarian and the visual arts community to work together for the benefit of all.
Hopefully, before this gets too far along, Jacquline will sit down with some local artists and get their input on "Clarian Photos for Health". I think it needs some work.


The Dude said...
March 5, 2008 at 7:52 AM

Ramble on.

I'm not sure what the beef here is.

If you want to participate -- if you are an artist or not -- then participate. Send them an image if you want.

What they've done is hire JBA as their "artist." You'll just be working for her.

e said...
March 5, 2008 at 8:28 AM

This is an example of "you get what you pay for." It's also just one of the lesser cases against socialized health care. They have the right to choose their decor. For now, I have the right to select my health care provider.

Christopher said...
March 5, 2008 at 8:36 AM

After my first read, there seems to be a big contradiction here. Clarion states that art is important in the healing process, yet not important enough to pay for it. My initial impression is you get what you pay for.

I doubt this model will work. They will probably get "art" (or their definition of art) on their walls but in the end, who cares? I'm guessing the people who feel better after viewing this work will not be the patients, but those who think they are giving a great service to the artists for the exposure. Ho hum.

I think this is an important issue and needs to be discussed, but perhaps we should also focus on the businesses and organizations that are having a positive impact on the local community like Wabash College who just purchased a lot of work from artists in Central Indiana and Katz & Korin which not only bought local works for their office building but continues to donate space to iMOCA.

Lirio said...
March 5, 2008 at 10:05 AM

This could be a place for some of the perfectly wonderful older images that artists might tend to neglect for their New! Fresh! Improved! stuff.
When I'm at a hospital (staying or visiting) the art IS nice.....but not "that" important.
You do get what you pay for ;) ....but then we've all heard about the evils of astronomical health care costs.....

Carla said...
March 5, 2008 at 10:17 AM

Sweet deal!

Mark Ruschman said...
March 5, 2008 at 10:47 AM

For those of you who don't think this is a big deal, what if other institutuions, large and small follow suit. If you want artists, galleries, etc... to stay in the community, this proposal does nothing to further that cause. Think about it, we're talking about three buildings with hundreds if not thousdands of opportunities to place original artwork. To dismiss it without a conversation with their curator is a sad commentary on the local art scene.

Anonymous said...
March 5, 2008 at 10:55 AM

i wonder how much the art consultant is making....

Paul Klein said...
March 5, 2008 at 8:01 PM

Were I an artist, I'd be more than glad to participate for the good and the glory of helping patients heal and recover, just as soon as all the doctors there provide their services for free too - as well as guaranteeing that they will provide me and my family with free medical services as long as the art is in place.

I think this is an horrendously bad publicity move on the part of Clarion (no clarity in their brain!). They seek to take advantage of artists and unfortunately they’re too many artists who will let them.

I would prefer a hospital be stupid and have no art than be naive and think that this course of action is the right way to go.

Do you think they are reading these posts?

Doug Arnholter said...
March 6, 2008 at 8:39 AM

A simple business question should Clarion move forward as outlined by Scott...

If Artists are not paid for work, how will we afford health care?

This is more than an art conversatioin, it our means of financial support.

The Urbanophile said...
March 6, 2008 at 5:25 PM

There seems to be a prevalent view that the local community should support local artists by favoring their work over out of towners. While I'm all in favor of Buy Local as a concept, I think there are serious problems with this.

Firstly, we see the same dynamic at work across every segment of the community. Local contractors expect to be hired for road work, which is why projects like Accelerate 465 will take six years to get done. (The contracts must be parceled out in tiny chunks to that Indiana's small fry contractors can bid on them). It's a similar story for consultants, developers, architects, etc.

I believe this has had a material negative affect on the built environment in Indianapolis. For example, while most of the world's premier cities today are hiring the world's greatest architects to design their major civic structures, Indy has stayed with a locals-only-need-apply approach. That is one reason why architecture in Indy is workmanlike at best, and the city doesn't get anywhere near the press of say Louisville with the Humana Building and Museum Plaza, Cincinnati with their contemporary art museum, and Milwaukee with its art museum. (I'm often critical of starchitect work, but I think that gives Indy the option of insisting on a higher standard there).

In other words, this is just pork. I don't think the solution is to allow even more constituencies such as artists to line up for their turn at the trough.

Rather, the right approach is to insist on excellence regardless of the origin of the work. Giving local artists a competitive pass is bad for them and bad for Indianapolis. Local artists need to earn the right to get their works chosen. Obviously all things being equal, or maybe even just reasonably equivalent, I'd rather go with the Buy Local approach.

I believe Indianapolis artists can win their fair share of commissions. There is truly great work that has been done. For example, I believe the Warehouse District stop light masts were designed locally. That is simply the best design in use anywhere in the world I've seen.

I'm in favor of true and open competitions that are bringing the best of both local, national, and international art to the city. Local's shouldn't be rejected in favor of a "name" from elsewhere, but too much of a helping hand is not good either.

I realize this probably isn't a popular view, but I believe it is where we need to go across the board.

Anonymous said...
March 6, 2008 at 5:25 PM

I find this kind of "patronage" of the arts to be henious in the extreme.

I'm getting really tired of Indy organizations always asking for donations and freebies from artists, the very folks who have the least amount of money to do so. It shows the contempt and/or ignorance of our local business people when it comes to decorating (and let's face it, that's what it really is) their spaces. Rather than purchase or commission works (such as Community Hospital North has done) or choose to purchase art based on concept/theme (such as Lilly has done many times) Clarion has totally WIMPED out, taken the cheap road and insulted artists and photographers as a community.

I blame the brainless consultant who instead of doing something honorable like steering them to CREATE a budget and BUY art from local artists, has guided them to steal low-res prints from the net. Don't try to tell me the money isn't there, just dig deep into the C.E.O's pockets, you'll find plenty of it.

This is a crime!

- angry artist

Jacqueline Buckingham Anderson said...
March 6, 2008 at 10:48 PM

The Clarian Health project 'Photos for Health' has apparently been misunderstood by a few (mostly anonymous but obviously impassioned) members of the arts community as an attempt to undercut professional artistic expression. That's not the intention, and no one is asking the local arts community to give work away for free. We're not in fact asking for the participation of anyone in particular. Clarian is asking people to share photographs they've taken of the natural environment. That's it.

There are millions of square feet of corporate space in and around Indianapolis. The office decor programs in headquarters, commercial developments, and hundreds of other private spaces are normally overseen by interior design firms, whose choices, to my knowledge, haven't been the subject of art world scrutiny--but combine to be a multimillion dollar sector of the economy. What passes for art in most corporate spaces aspires to very little other than unobtrusive decor. Artists in our area will not be put at a competitive disadvantage if Clarian's decor is voluntarily produced by amateur and professional photographers instead of by makers of off-the-shelf mass-produced images, who produce work for hire and call it a day. Motivational posters are routine in lots of corporate environments and health care facilities: http://www.everythingofficefurniture.com/moprofde.html. And that is what we are displacing, not original works of art by professional artists.
The use of the word 'art' in 'art initiative' probably set off some bells. Unfortunately, there is no definition of art that will address the concerns of those who have expressed unhappiness with the objectives or proposed outcomes of this project. Nor does anyone own the right to declare what is or is not artistic. Art production needn't conform to the 19th century image of a solitary painter looking for a patron. If the selections dominating this year's Whitney Biennial are a bellwether, much creative work being championed today is experiential, ephemeral, and emphatically anti-market.
I'd encourage those who are concerned about our project to consider this: the advent of social networking via the Internet is redefining who can decide what visual images are suitable for particular decorative purposes. Photos for Health may be upsetting some people not because it is actually taking work away from artists--which it obviously is not--but because it is among the earlier explorations of how social networking will change creative expression by and for a wide public.
If you review Flickr's Creative Commons licenses, you'll get a sense of how big this revolution is. Millions of photographs on Flickr are licensed for use by anyone for any purpose. Our project is born of that spirit. Instead of opposing the use of the web as a tool for social awareness and public participation in creativity, it would probably be a more productive use of time to think about what makes one's work distinctive. On the other hand, if office space is where an artist hopes to end up, he or she may find work assisting companies specializing in interior decoration.
Clarian Health has the right to favor images of the natural environment, as they have done in this instance. I know few worthy artists would would rush to sign up for such a limitation at the outset. This program is very focused. Which is not to say it is meant to be exclusionary--on the contrary, it's meant to welcome creativity from everyone. Just like a blog--like onthecusp. If the mainstream media's top journalists and writers are worried that free content on the web is displacing paid writers, then I wonder why so many of them are blogging. Social networking is only going to build more tools and more porosity between professionals and amateurs, just as onthecusp, an important forum for Indianapolis, does every day.

Jacqueline Buckingham Anderson

M. Ruschman said...
March 7, 2008 at 1:14 PM

No Mrs. Anderson, it is taking work away from artists. Your program will reduce drastically the opportuinities local artists have to market their work to Clarian. Over the years, Clarian has purchased original artwork as they build and remodel their facilities. As it appears, Clarian has found a way thru your advice to fill their walls with free reproductions. Not something Clarian should be proud of. I think Clarian would be well served if you as their art consultant were to meet with local artists and dealers to discuss this program in more detail. There might be some common ground we can discover.

Anonymous said...
March 7, 2008 at 1:43 PM

It's not undercutting artistic expression that is upsetting Jacky, it's the fact you and Clarian are ignoring the wealth of great artists our city has thru this scheme.

Who is better equipped and skilled to create and show work than we are? Amatuer photogs and the like or the incredible number of artists and photographers residing in Indianapolis? Apparently you've decided the former.

This is nothing more than a clever end-run for you to make the most consulting dollars you can from this project while assuring Clarian stays within their pre-determined budget by making the slice of pie for art the smallest dollar amount while your slice stays a nice, big piece.

A win-win, Congrats!

As to your suggestion that we seek interior firms to help decorate corporate spaces, give it a try yourself sometime and see where you land. I've personally sent out hundreds of packets to these firms with little or no response and I'm more than qualified to do this type of work and have already done so many times in other cities and a scant few times here through lucky networking.

As you already know, most of this city's interior firms use nearly half the art budget to fill their pockets and then find the cheapest prints they can, have them matted and framed and mark them up more than double to sell to their clients. Rarely, a small amount is left to purchase a "showcase" piece or two of original art for the lobby or other high-visibility area.

Who makes the bulk of the money? The design firm, the print publisher, the frame company (which may also be the design firm/consultant or gallery, i.e. Limited Editions)and the broker for the deal.

Who makes the least? As always, the artist, especially if it's a litho print. On average, a print sold through a publisher nets the artist about 10 to 30 dollars each, if that much. If they are lucky enough to sell an original, they get half or less of the selling price and are almost never privy to what the buyer actually paid for their work.

And, if you are foolish enough to try going around the broker/design firm and go direct to the buyer? Get ready to be blacklisted forever by every design firm or broker in the city. I've seen this happen to two artists in Indy already.

It's consultants like you who make an already difficult art game even harder.

-still angry artist

Paul Klein said...
March 7, 2008 at 7:27 PM

Ms. Anderson,

In the spirit of this project, are you providing your services for free?

Do you think you are better than those you are soliciting?

I respectfully believe that you have your head screwed on backwards. Please, think about what you are doing and what you are saying. It is not too late for a smidgeon of wisdom.

- Paul Klein

Anonymous said...
March 8, 2008 at 6:25 PM

Ms. Anderson,

I think your argument is weak. You start by dumming down what you're soliciting "Clarian is asking people to share photographs they've taken of the natural environment. That's it." to later on make reference to the Whitney (your husband's former employer) and a favorite place to see "real art of our time", let me quote you so you don't forget: "this year's Whitney Biennial are a bellwether, much creative work being championed today is experiential, ephemeral, and emphatically anti-market." making your own argument very confusing.

The very structure of this concept is disturbing and deceiving.

Real Journalism stands for what's just and true, not on the fence like Scott who suffers from Indianapolisville Syndrome (like me, signing with my nick). So at this time I'll call on the real media in this town, the Indianapolis Star, NUVO's David Hoppe, or even the Raphael dude who corner crooks around town, to do an expose on this absurd manipulative semantics that JAB is using and Clarian is going along. Wake up Clarian, this isn’t good for business, the arts community is small but loud, or at least you can be sure I am.

I will create a website where hospitals in the area can submit their services, and according to my health needs I will give them the chance to serve me "for free". After all I have done so freagging much for this town and it's only fair to give some of these corporations the opportunity to "heal" me for free. I'm sure they're going to flock in with submissions.


Anonymous said...
March 8, 2008 at 10:42 PM

I am also a local artist who is deeply offended by Clarian's attmept, via Ms. Buckingham Anderson, to obtain free art. As a very well-educated, conceptual artist I also do not need to be reminded by Ms. Buckingham about 19th century painting practices or current efforts to make "anti-market" art. I also read yesterday's NYTimes review of the Whitney show and plan to be in NYC in a few weeks to see it. I do believe that the exhibiting Whitney artists will likely sell any of their "experimental" and "ephemeral" art to collectors who wish to purchase their work.

And I would ask Ms. Buckingham Anderson to spare me the lecture on relevancy and Flickr. The artists and writers who choose to use Flickr or any other web application are making that choice, because it is part of their own artistic intentions. If Clarian and Ms. Buckingham Anderson would like to curate a show emphasizing "social networking", more power to them. But they do not have either the intent or the expertise to do so. Nor can anyone convice me that they are intersted in this at all.

I find Ms. Buckingham Anderson's comments to be digressive and manipulative. The issue here isn't about using the web as a source of distribution, it is about slyly trying to bully us into thinking that we aren't up to snuff if we don't understand the intellectual underpinings of Clarian's invitation to submit work for free.

If too many corporations, hospitals or public buildings fill their walls with meaningless imagry, then these institutions need to address their surroundings with more care and funding. Clarian could lead the way with a holistic approach to exploring funding for art. And perhaps Ms. Buckingham Anderson can help them find a way to make a more "distinctive" statement about their own enviroments.

I must also say that I wonder why Scott sat on this issue for so long...he's known about Clarian's plans for several weeks. Why did we have to wait for him to "sit on the fence", before he wrote about Ms. Buckingham Anderson's efforts. I am aware that Ms. Buckingham Anderson flatters On The Cusp several times in her statement. Ahh, flattery will get you....

I only hope that Clarian and Ms Buckingham Anderson will go back to the drawing board and do some fundraising. Then they can purchase whatever healing photographs they want. Perhaps they will also consider meeting with local artists and dealers to explore a more productive path to reaching a resolution that considers both the needs of the artists and the requirements of the Clarian facilities.

I do know of an excellent mediator who could lead these discussions, but she charges a fee.

Anonymous said...
March 8, 2008 at 11:03 PM

I think the arguments posted here against the program are very insightful and I tend to agree with them. However, if I can manage to step back from the situation and ignore my irritation at the fact that I think Ms.Anderson is trying to manipulate artists into participating for free, if I remove Ms. Anderson entirely and imagine this program were simply sponsored by a hospital staff member, I might not find it so offensive. Doctors DO often volunteer their time to help the sick, consider Doctors Without Borders. I see no reason why artists shouldn't do the same, as long as the setting is somewhat outside of their normal place of business. I think taking a picture of some trees FOR FREE and having it hung in a hospital would in no way diminish me as a professional artist. I think it's the packaging of this idea that is so irritating, and the fact that an ART CONSULTANT is being PAID came up with it. Why is it that the Arts Professionals always make out better than the artists?

Scott said...
March 9, 2008 at 12:00 AM

Perhaps Unwin has a point. It is about the packaging that most upsets people. If the term "Art" was removed altogether, the concept that images as being theraputic was absent from the equation and rather than an "Art Consultant" heading the project they had a "Decorator", would we think differently? Would we even notice? I am not exactly sure we would.

I happened to enter a few corporate businesses these past couple weeks, none of which had real art on their walls. Why are we not having this argument everytime a new corporate office is being built and filled with some crap posters of 3rd rate post impressionist knock offs. Are we having this discussion now because it is Clarion Health and we expect more from such a corporation or are we having this discussion because Jacquline is heading it and we expect more from someone so in touch with the arts? I think it has a little to do with both of the above. Do not get me wrong, I do not think that this model of practice should become the norm. But I have rarely gone into a corporate business, hospital or otherwise, and seen what I thought was great art. Of course there are some great corporate art collections out there like Fidelity or Progressive. It would be great if more companies looked at art the same way, but this is rare in the corporate realm. I think we should ask ourselves why. How do we convince corporations to spend their money on procuring "Art" over cheap decoration?

As for my sitting on the fence, and why it took me a few weeks to write my post, it is simple. I have been busy with other things. When first approached about this topic all I could have done was post second hand information which would have been absent of any insight on my part. So, I decided to ask around about it, talk about it, think about it, email some people to get their take on what was being discussed. And in fact I chatted with Jacquline via email with several questions. I felt that it was my responsability to approach this post with some knowledge of each side, and figure out my own thoughts on the subject. At first I was highly upset with the concept of the project and was firmly on one side. Slowly, I realized I was nolonger on such polar sides of the issue. To me, it is not a black and white issue. I found myself questioning things outside and beyond this project and feel that it is this area in which we should focus. After all I feel it is easier to change the future than it is to change the present. So yes, I am sitting on the fence.

Anonymous said...
March 9, 2008 at 11:48 AM


Would the fact that George W. Bush and his pitbul dog Dick were board members and worked for the oil industry in the past change how I feel about this war? Fuck yeah, because the war simply would not exist. So no, we can't separate the two.

If we start using the word "If" that would help us make sense of almost anything in life e.g. "if" we replace the word art for cars and Clarian for NPR maybe we would have a very different take on this whole thing. Well of course.

Jackeline being the wife of the leader of the most important visual organization in this state, should know better.

Plus it's not about what doctors choose to do with their lives and how much time they decide to donate to other causes. It's about an expanding corporation that offers a vital sercive to this town (not complaining about capitalism here, just bare with me). Now that they "need" (were persuaded to) these healing reproductions for their clients (patients), they send out a paid consultant lecture us about charity and how much less than art a picture of a tree is to then pull a relevance reference on anti market? I have been to private collection Ms. Anderson and I'm sure you have too. You know the irony of it just makes the collectors go crazy over it. Tomorrow, if I go uninsured to their practice how generous will they be with me? To talk about healing is a detour.

Scott, you can't be serious about his not being a solid issue. You go round and round and I still do not see your grey.


Lirio said...
March 9, 2008 at 2:26 PM

Wow! :( After reading all this, I say let the doctors do the decorating. It's depressing that someone so close to IMA is coming across so anti-artist.

Anonymous said...
March 9, 2008 at 7:28 PM

I am not an artist but regularly visit local galleries and when I see something I love and can afford I buy local art. I've read all the comments and am still unclear on one thing: Is Ms. Anderson actually asking artists in particular for their work, or is the project geared more toward the general public? If she is really systematically knocking on the doors of professional artists asking for their work for fee then I don't really see how this project will ever get off the ground. If it's the latter then I don't see the harm in the casual hobbyist photographer contributing some pictures of flowers or sunsets. Again, I’m not an artist but I don’t think that getting the general public to contribute to a creative endeavor is a bad thing. If contributing pictures of flowers or trees will help sick people I say sign me up.

Jerry Points said...
March 9, 2008 at 9:16 PM

Because the proposed Photos for Health project suffers from poorly presented objectives and goals, the result has been individual interpretations that may or may not reflect what the project wants to achieve. The word “art” has been used as a synonym for the submissions the consulting firm wants to receive, when, in fact, what they want are amateur images (at no cost) that can be cheaply reproduced and framed. That is not art or professional, but, it may indeed be what Clarian wants to cover their walls. The result may or may not be palliative or healing, but by taking the route Clarian has chosen, that’s their choice and risk. The individual viewer will decide whether “it worked” or not.

But does this proposal sadly neglect an opportunity and potential leadership role in a city filled with talented professional artists of every medium? You bet! This could be a prime opportunity to use a public space to further expose the eye of the public to professional art. By working with the professional arts community, the consulting firm could very possibly develop a plan that would both enliven the blank walls of Clarian buildings as well as provide artists with the remuneration they deserve as professionals.

To present this project as an “opportunity” for artists to, once again, donate their art for the good of the cause is to diminish the role of art and the years artists spend honing their craft. If this project is a call to the public to submit their “Kodak moments” then say so and spare professional artists the unnecessary guilt of not donating to a “good” cause.

Anonymous said...
March 9, 2008 at 9:19 PM

Well, it's not the fact that she is or isn't knocking my door for art. It's the miss opportunity that she is creating. The idea that anyone can create art and place it at a public place, diminishes years of hard work from people who are dedicating their lives to this profession.

Let's all just talk to our hair stylist about our issues and skip therapy, it's all the same right?

Anonymous said...
March 10, 2008 at 6:43 AM

I think I get it--artists in Indy are entitled to a piece of the action every time there's a project up and running. Talk about entitlement issues!! Too bad the rest of the city's economy doesn't work that way. THen we could all be rich, no business would ever close, and it would be just like we were promised in art school: 'if u can draw this dog'...Is everyone is owed something? Lots of grousing here...

I wonder why the ACI gets away with Opie, Otterness, Booker, Peter SHelton at the Library and nobody grouses that local artists are passed over when there's public money being spent. That's a real issue, folks.

Anonymous said...
March 10, 2008 at 9:50 AM

Last anonymous is a real misinformed one. Again, follow the conversation. Clarian is entitled to do whatever they want. What we are talking here is about a deceiving move on Jacqueline's part which could set a precedent for other organizations. It's not about getting local art (although that could be nice), it's about calling something what's not and missing an opportunity while one person makes all the money and several others don't. You can't be an artist or you just don't understand what's going on here to have posted that last comment.

Constance Scopelitis said...
March 10, 2008 at 3:51 PM

I would like to come at this subject from a slightly different angle. Let's call it "more food for thought". For those reading who don't know me, I feel I should describe my art and my history in a short explanatory blurb. I graduated with an art degree from IU Bloomington. I am the only woman in my working class family to have a college degree and much to my parent's dismay, my degree was in fine arts "for God's sake". As Valerie Eickmeier talked about in last Sunday's Star Magazine, I am an artist who paid my dues both figuratively and monetarily. I have never taken a break, a hiatus, or hardly a vacation where I did not keep working. I am committed and whether other artists have any appreciation for my figurative work or not, I have earned the right to call myself an artist. This brings me to my point. What has been our roll as artists in the community of Indianapolis in creating this monster we are now so passionately fighting? We have to look at ourselves. We have created an atmosphere of devaluing our art for many years by hanging works for free in every coffee house, restaurant and silent auction. We should have boycotted the "art fair" scene long ago when the shitnack booths cropped up and the Kettle Korn guy was right next to your own tent. We have lost our way. We are such generous spirits and genuinely nice people here in Indy that we have somehow given the impression to those who have enough money for art supplies and a rented studio, that "they too can be a real artist". Now, I will take some real heat here for my next statement, but there is such a glut of mediocre and bad art in this town that our buying community must surely be confused. As much as I want to believe, "the cream will rise to the top" sometimes there are just too many of "us" out there. What happened to the concept of WAITING until you genuinely find your voice, your hand and your style or statement? This environment has cultivated a First Friday Community of loyal wine and cheese partakers who will either never spend a dime on a purchase or their ceiling is no higher than spending $800. I am not saying in the least, the community owes us a damn thing, I am saying be smart about your art and take it to a place where it will most likely be appreciated. Many years ago I had to get real with what my own art is about. I paint monumental nude figures. Do you think I will ever be hanging in the Indianapolis International Airport? Will a bank invite my work to hang for free for the pleasure of their customers or for that matter will the bank be corporately purchasing my paintings for the lobby? Will any children be healed at Riley Children's Hospital by my figures? No. I took my show on the road 10 years ago. You can't believe how cool you can be as the new "outsider". Art is a psychological game. The homegrown artist is rarely respected. I love my peeps in Indy. The immense and brilliant talent, the intellectual minds and creativity here is the best. I think the Midwest breeds this kind of art mind (the reason JBA said she liked the idea of raising some kids here). So, let's raise the bar VERY HIGH. We can only benefit. Quit having studio sales and have enough pride to wait until you're art is "ready". In closing, I realize the definition of art and artist is an age old conversation. I am totally supportive of anyone who would like to take a class and learn something so enjoyable as the process of making art. I pray there are differences we can all learn to see and appreciate as professionals or amateurs, hobbiests, dabblers....
In closing, the Clarion concept is not for "us". I did not consider it for a hot second.

Anonymous said...
March 10, 2008 at 4:49 PM

The point here is not weather it is for us professional artists or not. It is about the lack of preparation of Clarian, asking for free reproductions, instead of budgeting for real art. If it's Indiana art or not, I don't really care.

Lirio said...
March 11, 2008 at 12:13 AM

I like shitnacs.

Anonymous said...
March 11, 2008 at 1:34 PM

I submitted some of my photographs, which I consider art. I don't know if others will, and that is why I submitted them. I am not presumptuous enough to call myself an artist, and I do not make my living through art. Does that exclude my photographs from being legitimite art? IF they take my art, I wish that Clarian would have chosen to compensate me in some way. They are making it clear that they will not. I asked if a viewer wanted to buy a piece, if they would refer them to me and they said yes. The bottom line, though, is this: I am doing this for several reasons. I want my work to be seen. I want to share. I took these photographs because they mean something to me. If they can mean something to someone else, then maybe I have just done something nice. I hope that I am not stepping on anyone's toes in the art community, as I have great respect and admiration for artists of all types...(some of my best friends, well, you know what I mean).

Anonymous said...
March 11, 2008 at 7:26 PM

You don't have to be presumptuous to be an artist. You would know if you were one. This isn't the right place for the discussion if what you do is art or not. I think that you did the right thing to give your stuff away for free. If you think your photographs that you said "mean somthing to you" are worth nothing other than the exposure, then this is the right project for you. Other professions have unions that protect people from doing exactly that.

And that is what Clarian will get. They are not thinking of their employees or patients' quality of life getting these reproductions of dubious quality. Not sure they are thinking at all. And that's how scary in this town, your credentials don't even have to be your own.

Anonymous said...
March 12, 2008 at 12:04 PM

As an Indianapolis native who grew up in a family that greatly values the arts and has given a tremendous amount of patronage to the local arts community, I am ashamed to read so many nasty, elitist and self-righteous drivel being spouted by certain local artists.

Clarian (which by the way, I have no connection with) is not trying to "get art for free," or reduce the opportunities for local artists to have their artwork displayed. Rather, they are creating a unique opportunity for the general community--non-artists and artists alike--to participate in creating public art. Not ever public art display needs to be a grand commission by a professional artists, nor do I think this project will set any precedent for local companies to try to decorate on the cheap.

It is simply offensive to suggest that only professional artists can create art or that Clarian will only receive inferior photographs because they are not paying for them. There are many extremely gifted amateur photographers who would be delighted to have an opportunity to have their artwork prominently displayed in a public space and this in no way pushes out professional artists. Clarian has already said they will have other artwork in the building and certainly it will include art from professional artists.

Indianapolis is VERY supportive and proud of its local professional arts community--financially and otherwise. It is most unfortunate that a handful of artists in the local arts community wish to distract the public from their art by behaving elitist, self-righteous, and entitled. Your energy should be directed toward creating art and promoting it, not in petty bitching.

Anonymous said...
March 12, 2008 at 1:56 PM

Signed: Quintessential Naive.

Anonymous said...
March 12, 2008 at 2:03 PM

I love Shitnacks, too! :)

Anonymous said...
March 15, 2008 at 10:51 AM

constance s.,

hanging art in coffee shops and resturants are all some artists can afford to do. and it's done in the hope that we can possibly sell one or two of the pieces, not give them away. much like any other "gallery", the art hangs for free, but sells for a profit. surely you know this and do this as well. craft fairs disguising themselves as Art Fairs (as much as I loathe them) are just another way for some artists to get their work seen.

Would you have had Degas or Picasso or Klee WAIT until their voice was found? Many great artists in the past showed their work long before their work solidified into something we all recognize now. Showing work is part of growing as an artist, to see the resulting effect or hear back comments, to find out how you react as an artist and grow from it. I'm afraid if we all waited until that magical moment, we'd starve. Your own path was just that: your own. I congratulate you on it. But it's not necessarily the path that every artist can or should take.

I agree, Indy is full of mediocre - dare I say BAD and horribly amatuer - art. But the cream will and has risen to the top.

This Clairian silliness is just another symptom of a town's art community growing up. Give indy another 30 years or so, we'll be OK. If Clairian's art business process was mature, they'd have recognized JBA's amaturish attempt at something "new-agey" and rejected it.

Anonymous said...
March 16, 2008 at 12:58 PM This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

M Ruschman said...
March 22, 2008 at 2:55 PM


Given the attention this topic has received on OTC and in the arts community, do you think it deserves a follow up on your part. Have you any news for us or thoughts on how this project is progressing or where it's going.

Mark R

All Rights Reserved OnTheCusp.org | Blogger Template by Bloggermint