Sunday, July 25, 2010

Another list

And now that I am essentially finished with 100 Washington Artists, one of the main lessons learned is that the futile job of putting together a "fair" list of 100 artists in such an area so full of talent and creativity is full of landmines.

Like I told you readers when I first announced the book: I was about to make 100 friends and piss off a few thousand artists.

Since announcing the list a while back, I've recognized that I probably fucked up the list by around 5-6 artists who should have been there, but are not. I take the blame for that, which is a nice way of saying that the folks who unofficially helped me to put the list together... ahhh... also never mentioned those artists.

But the flood of emails (and even some phone calls) telling me how I should have had this artist or that artist in the list has identified a significant number of blue chip artists that will ensure that volume two of the book series is not the "second 100 DC artists" - In an odd way, by the time I am done with volume two, I think that the danger of having a tiered set of artists (where the first volume is the "best" 100 and the second volume the "second best 100") will be minimized significantly.

Now I know about some really big name artists who live in the DMV but for whatever reason don't show here and are truly blue chip international artists. Now I know about at least another dozen brilliant artists who are second to none in the DC area.

So I've got a good start to the list for volume two; thanks to all of you.

Because I have been and am an art dealer, in compiling the first list I had to deal with the issue of including artists in the list with whom I've had/have a dealer relationship now, in the past and perhaps even in the future (if I ever get to open an art gallery again). In doing list one, I thought that it would be grossly unfair to exclude them from the list, because then the list would be truly flawed and it would be a huge hole in anyone's list and immensely unfair to the artists in question. But I was attentive and harder on some of the candidates that fit that bill, and I'd say that only a tiny percentage of the final list represents that category, and yet I can think about another half a dozen artists who could have been in the first list and will now be in the second volume.

Like I told John Anderson in the Pink Line interview, nepotism is part of making any list and I challenge anyone in the DMV who fantasizes about doing an objective list of any sort. I addressed that in the first volume by putting a disclaimer in the introduction which identifies the issue. Also, every single artist in the list has a website listed as a contact point. Where an artist is represented by a gallery, the contact info is for that gallery. For unrepresented artists, the contact info is the artist's own website. Not a single contact info for a single artist points back to me. I stress this here, because the usual cowardly anonymous flame throwing commenting about me "pumping my bank account" has already started in the comments section of the CP blog post about my list. Check that out here.

And in the end, it is my list, and everyone hates making lists, but I was the one who busted his ass with 100s of hours in the preparation of this volume, which I believe is great start to document 300 or so deserving artists in the cultural tapestry of the DMV.

The list for volume two has started; suggestions welcomed.

9 comments:

Rogerrr said...

I think you're doing a great job.

Anonymous said...

Wow! people have a lot to say about this! Good luck with the book, Lenny. Adam Dwight

DcArtist said...

lol it doesn't matter who is on the list, as long as you feel they were right... but this does give you a chance to make a part 2..

100 Washington Artist 2011!!
lol time to take submissions now!!

Anonymous said...

If anyone doesn't like Lenny's book, they can always submit their own book proposal to Schiffer Books

http://www.schifferbooks.com/newschiffer/proposal.php

Anonymous said...

Tthere are lots of other Schiffer publications that Lenny has nothing to do with that include many DC artists.. How come no one is talking about those books?

Anonymous said...

Whatever is left out of ranking, jurying, selection, among the unnoticed strengths of Washington artists, is probably of greater interest to anyone attuned to risk-taking artists, the 'outliers' who actually define "what's going on," the "transgressors," who are pushing art. A bimodal curve, or 'distribution' lies within an assured 67% of a normal distribution. You are dealing with the norms expresssed in a highly politicized area. Rather than continuing to pursue a range that will not challenge the arts or challenge any other city, you might hesitate, for once, and think about a book that values the marginal, the peripheral, the seekers and transgressors to any book 'already written' and highly predictable.

Lenny said...

Last Anon.

What a brilliant idea!!! Thank You! That is exactly what I should do in one of the future volumes!

It's gonna be a lot harder and difficult, but most good ideas are...

Suggestions welcomed.

Terry the Artist said...

objective?
list of artists?!?
waa ha ha ha
ha ha ha ha
ha ha ha ha
ha ha ha ha
ha ha ha ha
ha ha ha ha
ha ha ha ha
(inhale)
ha ha ha ha
ha ha ha ha
ha ha ha ha
ha ha ha ha
ha ha ha ha
ha ha ha ha
list.
objective.
yep.

Rogerrr said...

ah Thank you Terry for reminding me of what I meant to say in the beginning -- any list of artists is going to be by it's nature extremely subjective...so fussing about it is kinda silly