Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Ok, there wasn't a lot of food at tonight's salon, but there was some great art. Coming in from Ohio, Hildur Asgeirsdottir Jonsson brought us additional samples of her beautiful work and described the process of weaving, painting and needlepointing. I brought along some files (Peggy Cyphers's file, Kate Drendel's, and Manfred Fuchs) from Pierogi. I passed the files around with a pair of white gloves so that folks could get a closer look at some of the artists.
Bethany Bristow described some of her other projects and clued us into Glowlab. This was the first salon that started at 6:00 pm and ended by 8:00 pm. It's probably the most serious one yet, but still informal and very artist-to-artist.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
After a studio visit yesterday, I decided that I need to concentrate on showing artists that don't necessarily
have a studio-based practice. I need to show artists that work more like me or rather artists that work in a different vein.
The studio I visited yesterday could have been the studio I worked out of 10 years ago. It was like a pastiche of an artist's studio, with tea pot, seltzer water, and postcard images on the wall. If Pocket Utopia is a different type of space, then I need to show different types of artists; one that isn't so comfortable in their surroundings. I believe good art doesn't come out of a comfortable place. It doesn't make sense to take your average studio artist and put them in an unusual gallery space.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
The wonderful, fabulous interns, Audra and Matthew, are in charge this weekend (expect a guest blog to follow by Matthew). I am spending the weekend researching
pocket utopias. I will have more to report this Wednesday night at the next "Excuse me, you have art in your teeth," salon.
Pictured above are my mom and Carter Foster from the Whitney!
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
I come home from being at Pocket Utopia and I have drawing on my mind. One practice influences the other. Sunday at the gallery was neighborhood day, which ended with a studio visit to Andrew Hurst, who lives and works across the street.
I've met more neighbors, in addition to Andrew, from the day-care operator on the corner to Yvette, who's lived in the hood for over 25 years, and her 13-year old daughter Victoria who brought in her sketchbook. It's a process, or as the next artist exhibiting at Pocket Utopia, Lucas Reiner, refers to it as a work in progress. Pocket Utopia and ATfreespace are ever-changing and evolving.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Pocket Utopia is an extension of my social practice (from perches to pocket utopias). It is a social sculpture. It is also a gallery and a post-studio residency for artists that blurs the lines between artist, dealer, gallerist, viewer and participant. My blogs, this one and ATfreespace are my written and conceptual or theoretical companions to the spaces and the practices.
My work doesn't always contain an object, the viewer plays a part. Sometimes I serve up art, life and/or egg rolls. I don't want any artist to feel used by these fertile and flexible movements of my life and work. I like helping other artists and try to say "yes" to them and their ideas. I am going to keep it interesting. At Pocket Utopia we don't blame or criticize, we fix and do. There are several ways to support Pocket Utopia and many ways to get involved.
Friday, September 14, 2007
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Although the skies are blue over Pocket Utopia right now, the ground underneath me is looking a little muddy, so let's clean it up. I think a lot of artists out there aren't finding what they're looking for and chances are they're not going to find it at my Pocket Utopia. My suggestion is, make your own Pocket Utopia (and that's really the ultimate goal). Draw it, define it, and share it, just do it.
Now back to my Pocket Utopia where I've decided to try and say "yes" to artists and that is proving difficult at times. Rewarding but difficult because what I am really asking is for artists to say "yes" back. Why is that so hard? It seems to mean trouble (not all the time) but I am reminded of Dr. Seuss's "I had Trouble in getting to Solla Sollew." The main character comments about his journey and I concur, "I learned there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead and some come from behind. So I said to myself, 'Now, I'll just have to start to be twice as careful and be twice as smart. I'll watch out for trouble in front and back sections. By aiming my eyeballs in different directions.'"
Where are my glasses? Now back to my own self-defining, trouble-free, quiet-time, during Grant's nap-time!
Sunday, September 9, 2007
The show contains a variety of work from drawing and painting to
collage, prints, and photography. In a true democratic spirit, Austin
pulled the names from a hat, using a formula to choose an even
sampling of work from over 900 artists represented in the Pierogi Flat
Files. One would expect a muddled show of incongruous work, this is
not the case however. The show is strong and visually flowing. There
seems to be an overall theme of visual mapping where systematic
processes emerge. In a way, the pieces all exist as drawings. And
drawing is just that, marks revealing maps, interiors and movements.
Like little hidden worlds, drawing allows artists to work out what
can't always be worked out in real life. Paper allows us to defy
gravity. It allows us to dream.
With childlike urgency, Claudia Barthoi mixes stitching with paint and
pencil, drawing circles around legs and raindrops (perhaps teardrops?)
grappling with ideas of preservation and fleeting moments. Peggy
Cyphers uses a process of concentric rings meticulously drawn on mylar
overlaying two structures at once to reveal abstract biological growth
patterns. And Bill Gerhard, using the sun as drawing tool, exposes
black construction paper to form minimal shapes, a recording device
reminiscent of Olafur Eliasson's Sun Machines. And there are more,
from cubical desks to magic marker robots. How do I choose just one?
As I was closing shop, grabbing the padlock and keys, trying
desperately to narrow my decision, I noticed a small light coming from
the corner. A world within in a world. The most captivating work in
the show is the space itself, like a drawing, revealed from an
unexpected discovery. In trying to make sense of what is at our
fingertips yet just out reach, holding on the desire that things can
be different—a truly utopic idea.
Thursday, September 6, 2007
I have numb-thumb this morning after an evening of pushing thumb-tacks gingerly into the walls to hold up 24 drawings. I've decided that real artists put thumb-tacks through their drawings.
In the end, the most interesting part of your artwork might be the back. Like this anonymously painted picture of Christ pictured above from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I love this backward view. I think the show at Pocket Utopia (or as Grant says "Pocketofia") looks great!
Monday, September 3, 2007
Labor Day found the family at Home Depot. A clean and freshly painted floor is going to do a lot for the space.
Before and after we open this Friday night, a few other artists showing at Pocket Utopia have other openings. Theresa Hacket is having a solo show at Florence Lynch Gallery, Fred Gutzeit is showing at the Mansfield Arts Center in Ohio, Clement bagot has a show at Galerie Premier Regard in Paris, and Hildur Ásgeirsdóttir Jónsson is showing at the William Busta Gallery in Cleveland, Ohio. Artists showing in New York, Ohio, and Paris, are my type of artists!
Saturday, September 1, 2007
Grant (2 year old) is sleeping (mothering effects my social space practice and gallery-running as much as it does my other art-making practices). When I first approached the Pierogi Flatfile I was totally overwhelmed. Even by the third time I approached the File I was totally overwhelmed and really every time I walk into Pierogi I am totally overwhelmed. Thank god they serve vodka at their openings!
The file has 900 artists in it, maybe more. I had to come up with some sort of structure to review it. Mike (husband) entered all 900 names into a spreadsheet, then we determined that 88 artists was a representative sample, so he had a computer program select 88 artists randomly. With a list containing the 88 artists in hand, I went looking through the files and guess what? I was still overwhelmed. I sat immobilized for weeks as the opening date of Pocket Utopia approached. Finally, I selected 20 artists from the 88 randomly selected artists because that's the number of artists that Pierogi showed in their first show at Four Walls.
My process might seem random, but I think that's how the art world works. Funny, the computer didn't select my name. I've had work in the Flatfile for about 10 years. I always try to put new and my best work in, and maybe that's why the 20 artists I chose are consistently good. It took me awhile to figure out how to choose them and then how to contact them. I had to bully the staff a little when Joe wasn't around but finally I got in contact with everyone and am looking forward to meeting them.
When I told them about Pocket Utopia and asked them to participant in my first official show out in Bushwick they ALL said yes! And for that I am grateful for curating carefully and taking my time to look.
The image above is by Peggy Cyphers, Bio Brain