Friday, November 20, 2009

Opportunity for Artists

Deadline: February 15th, 2010

Wanna be in the permanent collection of the Brooklyn Art Library?

We’ll send you a lined Moleskine journal. Fill it up with a narrative of some sort and send it back to us. It will be shown at the exhibition and then permanently reside at the Brooklyn Art Library for the public to see.
Details here.

Things that piss me off...

When you spend an hour framing something under glass, and no matter how much you clean and blow, there's always some debris under the glass trapped between the glass and matted artwork.

One worse than that: you've finally checked it a million times and it's all good, and so you go ahead and finish the framing, turn it over, and discover a hair that has magically materialized under the glass.

One worse than that: So you take it all apart and get rid of the hair, and re-do it all and check it and it looks great. And so you seal the back of the frame, put all the hardware on and bubble wrap it for transportation to the Miami art fairs.

Then you remember that you've forgotten to photograph the new artwork for your records and in order to have a digital image for the Certificate of Authenticity and the gallery's website.

Makes my head hurt...

Come again?

I was just looking at a contract sent to me by an artist. The contract was in response to a "portfolio review" for a group show in a New York City gallery.

The "curator" for the group show was very complimentary of this artist's work and selected a few pieces for the show. So far so good.

The contract details the following (somewhat edited to avoid court costs):

* Press Release will be written for the NYC group exhibition project and distributed via e-mail to World Art Media mailing lists consisting of select museums, galleries, curators, dealers, collectors, writers, art publications, artists, and art fair organizations around the globe. This release will be posted on www.---------- and other websites such as ......... to announce the event.

* ------------ Newsletter Listing announcing the ------ Gallery group exhibition mailed to subscribers in the U.S. and Europe.

* ------------ Daily Newsletter Listing announcing the group exhibition mailed to subscribers in the Far East.

* 500 invitation cards designed, printed and distributed for the show.

* Reception hosted by ------- Gallery.

* Artist’s Reception hosted by -------- Gallery.

* Review / Article: Selected writer will view the exhibition and write an essay on the participating artists’ works and the exhibition. This article will be published both online at ---------- and in print in --------- Magazine.

* Complimentary copies of the magazines with the feature article mailed to artist’s address.

Schedule & Payment Options

Total of $1,900 includes all features listed above. A deposit is due upon acceptance and signing. The payment can be made in full latest by --------.
The hefty $1,900 fee to exhibit immediately makes this gallery (and this show), a "vanity gallery" and certainly a "vanity exhibition" as the artists that will eventually end up in this show will be there based on their ability to fork $1,900 each to cover the costs of what are essentially the normal costs associated with running an independently owned commercial fine arts gallery.

That makes this a vanity show. This by itself is not illegal and there are dozens and dozens of vanity galleries in NYC operating mostly on the dime of the exhibiting artists.

But what caught my eye was the fact that the contract claims that a "Selected writer will view the exhibition and write an essay on the participating artists’ works and the exhibition. This article will be published both online at ---------- and in print in --------- Magazine."

The magazine in question is what (until now) I thought was a reputable NYC-based art magazine. I am puzzled as to how the organizers of this show, months ahead of the exhibition itself, already know that a writer from ------------ Magazine will write an essay about the group show and publish it both in the magazine and the magazine's website.

Words count. The contract never says "review." Instead they use the words "essay" first and then "article." So it appears that the author of this "article" or "essay" is in fact being paid by the organizers of the show to author the piece.

Paying someone to write an essay for an exhibition catalogue, or an essay for an artist's book, etc. is an ordinary event and happens all the time and I myself have been paid to do this dozens of time.

Paying someone to write an "essay" or "article" for a magazine devoted to write about art and artists and art reviews is (in my opinion) something else and I feel dishonest. The fact that the piece would appear in print in this magazine immediately relays to the readers that the author is writing about the show because of its merits (or because it is a bad show) but in all cases from a critical or examinatory viewpoint.

Not because the organizers paid him/her to write about the show.

Makes me wonder if (a) is this a common practice at ---------- magazine? or (b) if not, do the editors know that this writer is doing this?

Only way out of this mess: That the "article" or "essay" is a paid advertising page, and "boxed" in by a line all around it that says "paid advertising" as some newspapers and magazines do when someone takes out an ad and the ad looks like it's an article.

Makes my head hurt... any comments?

Update: The artist in question just discovered that the "curator" actually works for the magazine!

Makes my head hurt...

... an Arts Council project that typifies the standards we’ve come to expect from publicly funded art. Jarvis Cocker, the country’s foremost socialist pop musician, was sent to the Arctic for “inspiration” and to raise planetary consciousness, along with another two dozen artistic luminaries:
The ambition of the expedition was to inspire the creative team to respond to climate change... It was an amazing journey; 10 days of artistic inspiration, debate, discussion and exploration.
The ecological insights gleaned by Mr Cocker?
Men have produced a lot of great art over the centuries, or whatever... but... an iceberg kind of, basically, pisses on it.
Apparently this was a $250,000 publicly funded art project. Read all about it here.

Opportunity for Artists - Last Day to Apply!

Deadline: Nov. 20th, 2009

BlackrockIf you read this blog then you know that I've been always very impressed with the BlackRock Center for the Arts gallery's 1500 square feet of exquisite gallery space. With its high white walls and beautiful windows strategically placed, this gorgeous gallery allows in just the right amount of natural light. BlackRock Center for the Arts is located at 12901 Town Commons Drive Germantown, MD in upper Montgomery County, about 20 minutes from the Capital Beltway (495).

They currently have a call to artists and the call is open to all artists residing in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC over the age of 18.

Original artwork only. All work must be ready for sale and to be presented in a professional manner to the public at the time of delivery.

This call will cover exhibits in the gallery from September 2010 through August 2011. An exhibit may include one applicant or a combination of applicants, based on the judgment of jurors (i.e., 1 or 2 wall artists may be combined with a pedestal artist). A jury will select the artists and create eight exhibits to be included in the exhibit year. The jury panel is comprised of my good friend and gallerist Elyse Harrison, Jodi Walsh, and yours truly.

Jurying: First Week of December
Notification: Early January
Exhibit Year: Sept. 2010 – Aug. 2011

How to apply: All correspondence will be done by e-mail, so contact Kimberly Onley, the Gallery Coordinator at and ask her to email you a prospectus.

Don't wait to the last minute! Get the prospectus now!