Victoria McKernan jumps into the Artomatic debate:
Blake Gopnik's review of Artomatic was so sensitive and insightful.For the record: Past and present Artomatics have yielded artists who have been subsequently selected for the Whitney Biennial, for the Corcoran Biennial, and for DC area galleries such as Alla Rogers, Conner, Fraser, Fusebox and Numark, as well as museums such as the Whitney, Hirshhorn and the Renwick.
I'm looking forward to more.
What is he planning to take on next? - handicapped greeting card art? Nursing home poetry collections?
Such Diogenic wit ought not to be wasted.
Of course this is a big, sloppy, mish-mash exhibit full of trite and naive dross.
Hello! - welcome to our species.
Overwhelming mediocrity punctuated with occasional genius is our pattern in everything from art to politics. The brilliant thing about art is that it is not a finite universe where bad work pre-empts or excludes good. The human brain is not some shoe rack in danger of being filled up by one giddy splurge at Payless.
"What is the useful purpose," Gopnik asks, "of showing work by anyone who wants to have it seen?" Oh gosh, maybe something like opening up a door to a world beyond homogenized drone existence; indulging in something called a creative spirit, and suggesting that spirit is present in each of us, and with some exercise, coaxing, or just play, could possibly flourish?
Could you run that one by your exhaled committee Comrade Gopnik?
Perhaps that flourishing will only ever produce lame paintings and bad collage but is that such a threat to fine art that it ought to be so vigorously repressed?
I envision troop storming the aisles of Michael's crafts, carpet bombing Towpath painters and raiding cubicles across America to snatch away Aunt Maggie's watercolor pansies!
Does he know about knitting clubs springing up all over town?
Joe Blow the baker was not painting during the Renaissance because paper and pencil, let alone paint and canvas, were largely unavailable to the unwashed masses. It could be that four years of Artomatic have not yielded a single brilliant artist, but 400 years of European civilization have given us only a handful.
I wonder how many Reubens or Raphaels could simply never get their hands out of the kneading trough?
This is not only a grudging and mean-spirited screed, it is fundamentally wrong to suggest that a dozen Michelangelos are starving now because of the diversion of public funds to support Artomatic. How much money did the National Gallery spend to mount the current Dan Flavin show, which, in my humble, plebian opinion could have been constructed by chimps raiding the lighting department at Home Depot?
It would be great if more "established" artists would participate in Artomatic, but for whatever reason they choose not to. It would be great if more people supported more artists in general, but they don't.
It would be great if everyone in the world were supremely enlightened and shared Mr. Gopnik's exalted artistic standards, but I'll settle for the glorious mess of artistic play that results in so many people participating in a show like this.
I sincerely hope Mr. Gopnik has no children, or at least no refrigerator.