Thursday, September 6, 2007
(pictured) Mark Creegan installation
The other day, I ran into Kurt Polkey. Kurt has always been one of my favorite people to talk to…he’s hilarious in a very low-key kind of way and he’s thoughtful and humble too. We got to talking about blogs and in particular the post here about the Dan Colen, Dash Snow *NEST* project Deitch.
I had pretty much lambasted it as a folly, transfigured by a voyeuristic youth-worshipping culture into something both greater and lesser than the original premise (tear up a bunch of phone books, take a bunch of drugs, try to be a hamster). But I’d also acknowledged that I hadn’t seen in person--admittedly not the most ideal circumstances under which to review artwork.
Kurt had actually just returned from a trip to NYC. Here’s what he had to say about the work “I read the blog about *NEST*, the show at Deitch. I saw that show! I tried to post a comment, but it didn’t seem to want to work for me today. The show was impressive in person, but not as impressive as others I’ve seen. The word I used on the blog was neat […] The idea I found more interesting was the class of the artists swaying the way the work was seen or understood. This is a topic I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. What if the artist was a woman or a black man? Class, gender, and race in art is a great topic for discussion.”
So I got to thinking about the cultural construct of the artist and how that ideal has changed over the past, say 30 years….but from my in-situ perspective about 10 years. If one uses Jacksonville as a microcosm of the art world, it’s interesting to see how the “players” have constructed and reconfigured themselves. This also falls neatly into place in the wake of *Portent, I said Portent* over at Pedestrian Projects and Kurt's call to arms.
Kurt decried the Jax., scene for being to “nice.” He wants to see blood drawn and he’s even got his own champion, local filmmaker Morrison.
So after a weekend to ponder *Portent* here’s are a couple of things to consider in looking at work (and not just this show):
a. Is the work new? Some of it (I’m fairly sure) has been shown before, or given pretty hefty web exposure. This isn’t a bad thing per se, as the interweb is a great way to connect people, and gain exposure, but in a show that purports to look forward, in a market this small, why exhibit previously shown works?...If all the work is new, maybe the artist(s) should consider the cost of churning out work for the sake of art shows, not for the sake of creative exploration.
b. Self-editing. I believe this is a problem many artists suffer from, and I don’t think it’s entirely their fault—I think the myths and monsters of art history have a great bit to do with this. Auction houses that regularly post sales in the hundreds of thousands for a great master’s sketch feed the myth that everything from an artist’s hand is worth saving and that’s simply not true. Back to self editing, while Kurt’s smaller drawn works were very successful in that they articulate his aesthetic within a finite framework, the paintings were disjunctive in that they were neither the overly simplified, quasi-political pieces of yore, nor a more full articulation of an evolved idea.
BTW Kurt, my champ vs. yours any day.