Friday, May 22, 2009

Artists' Websites: Ana Serrano

Came across Ana Serrano's work through Regina Hackett and loved the cardboard work (that's a detail of Serrano's Chalino to the left).

Serrano recently graduated from the Art Center College of Design with honors, and currently resides in Los Angeles.

Visit her website here.

Aqui Estamos talk tonight

If you are around the Northern Liberties' section of Philadelphia later today, drop by Projects Gallery for my talk on the subject of Cuban art.

You can't miss the gallery. It's the one with the giant milk cross by Alejandro Mendoza hanging above it. Talk starts at 6:30PM.

Projects Gallery

The Power of Democratizing Art

Billed as the first arts competition of its kind to incorporate public voting in an online forum, the inaugural Baker Artist Awards recently invited artists from Baltimore and its surrounding counties to upload examples of their work to a Web site. More than 650 people responded, in disciplines as diverse as drawing, sculpture, painting, photography, video, film, animation, spoken and written word, dance, theater, graphic design and craft.

More than 35,000 visitors to the site then voted on their favorites, narrowing the field to a top 10, from which three were chosen by an interdisciplinary panel of experts to receive $25,000 each, no strings attached. Each of the seven runners-up got a check for $1,000. As with the MacArthur Foundation "genius" fellowships, the judges were anonymous. The money comes from the William G. Baker Jr. Memorial Fund, established in 1964 in memory of a Baltimore investment banker but only focusing on arts and culture since 2007.

And guess what? The results, on view in a bricks-and-mortar showcase at the Baltimore Museum of Art, aren't half bad. You can view, listen to or watch submissions by all 656 artists at But to fully appreciate the work of the top three prize-winners -- sculptor John Ruppert, jazz saxophonist Carl Grubbs and Hadieh Shafie, whose works here are in a variety of 2-D media -- you'll need to tear yourself away from your computer.
Read WaPo art critic Michael O'Sullivan here.

O'Sullivan also has another small piece on the same subject here.

An ailing art market

Since the financial crisis began, the art market has taken a series of severe blows and is now subject to various external and internal pressures. In the United States, for example, the fall in private subsidies to the Arts has led to significant personnel reductions at some of the most prestigious museums (the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles have both cut staff by 20%). At the same time, an enormous volume of cash that was fuelling the market has literally disappeared as the new ultra high net worth individuals in Russia, India and Turkey have seen their fortunes substantially diminished (by the end of Q1 2009, the world counted 300 less billionaires) and the banks have stopped financing acquisitions of art works: the giant UBS has closed down its art advisory pole dedicated to buying and selling artworks.
Read the analysis in here.