Sunday, May 9, 2010

dear anonymous...

similar words were used in an open Facebook newsfeed by Jerry Saltz in relation to the recent $106 million Picasso purchase in auction. his post so far has garnered over 840 "likes" and 396 comments, two of which are mine (the first a response to his original statement, the second a response to a response to my comment). in case you were out of the loop, here is what Jerry wrote and shared:

Dear imbecilic anonymous telephone bidder who paid a record $106 million for a 1932 Picasso @ Christie’s. You think you’re an art lover. Sorry. Had
you taken $106 mill. & bought a gigantic building in the West 40s in NYC: 500,000 sq. ft.; & simply rented space
ONLY AT COST to 100 good galleries & 100 artist studios you’d have changed American
art & the American art world, forever.

Enjoy the painting.

- Jerry

I will not comment on his statement here because the proper forum, at this time, is Facebook itself. but I will write about what this situation made me think, which I find oddly inspiring (much like good works of art, where you end up wiser after experiencing it, almost surprisingly so).

you see, Jerry is not a "friend" of mine on Facebook. but, for some reason, his post appeared on my newsfeed. I imagine that a while back I sent him a friend request, which he was not able to deny or accept because he simply had already too many friends already (this is what the social network told me this morning during my second attempt to "friend" him). this might actually be a glitch, but sometimes Facebook incorporates someone's threads onto one's newsfeed while one waits for a friend request response (I got the same from Bravo's Andy Cohen, though he actually replied to my request with a personal "I am sorry" email, very touching in so many different ways; coincidentally enough, Jerry is a judge for Bravo's upcoming "Work of Art" reality competition show, a Project Runway with visual artists).

what has been great about Jerry's comment is the discussion it has engendered, which has been varied in tone, opinion, and depth. I only read a portion of the comments (less than 100), but really enjoyed the way in which people openly and simultaneously criticized the subject matter and the author's stance. what I also enjoyed was what I perceived as being the generosity of the author himself as well, of not setting limits to whom has access to his account and its contents. this is a similar spirit to what I want to happen in ART-SIGHT. my goal has been to create a forum for lively discussion among everyone who encounters this blog, with my entries serving as points of provocation.

in these past six months I have experimented with many approaches and formats for writing (mainly divided into re-views and e-terviews). I have already discussed the difficulties of writing about the community one exists from within. and the verdict is still not out as far as what method will be the one chosen by me, or most prevalent.

a few months ago I decided that I would not respond to comments posted on the blog. I felt that there was the possibility for creating the impression that I always wanted to have the last word on any given discussion (which has actually never been my intention). this choice was pretty much cemented until I read some of Jerry's responses to the comments to his thread. it was great to read how he actually considered what was posted, and, in more than one instance, how he reformulated his original writing to expand and focus the discussion, or shift his perspective. his approach has made me reconsider my position. from here on, if the response to any given blog of mine is extensive and enlightening, I might throw in some post scripts. I do hope that more people read and feel comfortable with sharing their thoughts.

one other aspect of this blog in relation to comments posted by readers is the notion of anonymity. a dear friend of mine told me that, as a rule, she was against the ability for anonymous comments and replies. what she meant was that if someone had something to say, they should own it and not hide under the mask or disguise of being "no one". in theory I find that appropriate, but in practice that would leave a lot of people out of this blog's loop. of course, if one considers the fact that this blog has only 19 official followers, who might have better things to do with their time, adding more restrictions (such as the need for a gmail account) may further limit its potential audience.

but so far the anonymous replies have been the most unsettling of all, because they have seemed to be almost completely off topic, or rather, focusing on me or my formal choices, rather than on the content and/or the subject of my writing. the beauty of Jerry's Facebook thread was being able to see who wrote what, and the possibility to find out more about that person by clicking on their names (and even "friending" them). in the next few months I will turn on commenting restrictions (one that will ask for people to have some sort of identification to post comments) and watch what happens.

in the past I have received, via email, some great responses to this blog that were not made public. sending an email directly to me is an option for the ones who wish not to create an official access to this blog, should someone not have already the proper verifications for posting a comment. if/when that happens, I will respectfully ask if it is okay to nominally quote their emails on the thread.

sometimes figuring out what something is, much like looking at great art or making art, becomes in and of itself the point of it all, rather than getting to a point of complete and clear certainty on something. this quest should be ongoing and fluid. I believe this approach, of simultaneous critique and wonderment, from within and without, is one I aim to bring forth and maintain with ART-SIGHT, and in this process, learn more about myself, my community, blogging, and contemporary art. content-wise, I will attempt to create a balance between blogging on local/regional art activities with national/international events I have the opportunity to personally attend, with the intermittent exchange with an artist/scholar. my goal is to write from a place of honesty and humility, with a dash of humor and the occasionally loving poke (to use another Facebook-speak terminology).

I hope to hear and learn from you.

don't be a stranger!

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