Friday, December 11, 2009

between a blog and a hard place

tonight I come to you as a way to look back at what has transpired here.... what "here" means is for you to decide.

I began this art venture because of my frustration, and that of others... or so I thought...

being pro-active is sometimes understood as talking about being pro-active... but not all actions are created equal....... good intention is not good enough, a level of commitment is warranted... is it possible to do so, when writing is one small part of all the many thing you want/like/need to do?

I first thought I'd be writing about all events I went to, an ongoing art report with a bite, but as these posts came to life and people began to respond, I found myself in a difficult place.

not sure if it is possible to write about everything, every time, everyone, and say all that needs to be said.

tonight I went to three events at the Russell Industrial Projects, where the new MONA satellite site opened, with a print and video exhibition by Christo & Jeanne Claude.... quite amazing what the director, Jef Bourgeau, was able to get, considering that his museum runs with zero funds. (btw, all donated works at MONA are for sale, and the funds will revert to future museum events)

what else can I say about it? can I critically write about a place that has been supportive of my own work?

right next door was the solo show titled "vestiges" by Lauren Rice, at the org.contemporary gallery. I really like this show, the works on paper being my favorites. a few weeks ago in a studio visit and was awed by the 2D work, but the sculptural pieces wonderfully transformed themselves in the gallery installation.

as always I ran into a river of people I have spent some considerable time with, in Detroit, around the country, and even abroad... small world, as they say...

can I critically write about a show at a gallery that showed my own work a few months ago?

here is the heart of the problem... this is a small, intimate art scene in a large metropolitan area... with access to a good calendar and/or Facebook, a car and willingness to venture out in the cold (or in the heat during the summer), and with a lot of persistence, one can easily get to know a lot of the local art scene. acquaintances are made, friendships forged.

I have met so many wonderful people here, and I keep meeting them...

as much as we all want to have a critical exchange around here, are we ready to do so, face to face, or via an interface? are we ready to air the dirty laundry, so to speak? can we take the heat? can we separate ourselves and take in the criticism as a learning experience?

or is this best left to do so with a few close friends at a bar, a restaurant, or someone's living room, over a bottle or two of wine? do we want to have a critical discourse in the area in the hopes that our own work gets a good write up, or even a bad one, and rise to fame via infamy? what will all this accomplish? and who is the right person(s) for the job?

on my way out of the Russell I stopped at the Detroit Industrial Projects (DIP). I ran into its director, Jeanette Strezinski, who is one of the nicest person you can ever meet in town. her smile just warms any room she is in. she told me that in the upcoming year the DIP will feature mostly solo shows by local and regional artists.

and did I tell you that her step-daughter was a student of mine?

then the thought of expressing one's opinion at the cost of hurting someone's hard work came to my mind. should I write that I thought inappropriate (or odd at best) for a Kresge Fellow to be selling work for less than $200 bucks in a group show? or was that the deal of the century? or yet a further dilution of yet another attempt in this region to reach for a higher standard? I drove home and realized I forgot to take pictures of that show, and felt really crappy...

I thought that the last entry in this blog should be fully illustrated....

but not everything ends up the way you set out to go about at the starting line.... I got so immersed in my thoughts about the art scene and this blog, whether I should continue or stop it altogether, that ended up driving two miles past my exit.

eventually I found my way home, and my way into this window... and a way out of my head... instead of reading my impressions, go see these shows and tell me what you thought about them, perhaps we can have some wine? or whine?

what happens after here, whatever "here" is supposed to be, is for me to think about for now...

and for you to, eventually, find out.

happy Hanukkah to you all!

1 comment:

  1. Wow. I love this post. It's refreshing to hear someone even frame the problems and the questions so honestly. We bumped into some problems when Ground Up was going on so long ago - sometimes we had friends writing about friends, and being afraid to raise any critical questions. In other cases we had people taking any crticism very badly, with heated exchanges in letters to the editor. My policy at the time was that anyone could write about whatever show they wanted to cover, and that I would publish any letter to the editor that was signed - no anonymous bitching. Bottom line in my book is, I admire anyone who has the courage to speak up as long as they're being constructive; acknowledging any possible conflicts; and taking responsibility for whatever they commit to writing by putting their name on it.

    Thanks for sticking your neck out and sparking the conversation.