Monday, June 26, 2006


From the comments section, below:

I can paint but the art world around me tells me its not good enough or in vain with(for) the current aesthetic.

I have hard time right now dealing with people in the art world as my BS meter is getting more acute as I get older.

Welcome to the club.

This weekend, an artist friend and I did some halfhearted opening-hopping in Williamsburg. Critical velocity was not achieved. Quote from friend, "I don't want to stand around Pierogi waiting to get invited upstairs."

I, being the art world innocent that I am, didn't even know Pierogi had an upstairs. I will never be part of the 'in' crowd at Pierogi, since Pierogi only shows artwork that looks like lichen. I like lichen, but I don't paint like lichen. What is, is.

Then we wandered across to B & W. In B & W was a life-size white machette of a bathroom, made out of plastic, foam-core and Mylar. In the back room were some respirators painted white. In the courtyard was a white model house, set on white Styrofoam beams, surrounded by a forest of aluminum poles.

We decided that it must be one of those exhibitions where you have to read the text to understand what is going on, except that we didn't care enough to read the text. I glancingly noticed that one of my ex-boyfriend's friends was there; the ex-boyfriend of my ex-best-friend, in fact. We didn't acknowledge one another. He's a vacant, philandering twerp.

Then we went to that gallery that's in a garage; the one that made a name for itself by showing the sculpture of Britney Spears giving birth. The bad one. I forget the name. The garage gallery was showing about six paintings on plywood; they were round, they were silly, they looked like fake surrealistic clocks for your child's bedroom.

As we walked away, I told my friend, "I feel better about my own rate of productivity, now." I could have filled up that gallery three times in six weeks, at that rate.

Sunday the two of us went by P.S. 1. There were hundreds of people schmoozing on the patio, and dozens of people looking at the art. My favorite part of the art was the John Lurie exhibition; the paintings looked like bad five-year-old art at first, until you looked at the captions. My favorite was "Three dentists thinking about the same squirrel." It is not easy to precisely evoke the mentality of being five years old.

On the first floor and in the basement was a panoramic retrospective of 'body art.' I am sensitive; I skimmed a great deal of it. My friend declared, "I'd seen most of those actual pieces before." Both of us lived for extended periods of time in the Bay Area; "over it" does not quite cover how we feel about 'body art,' particularly the 'shocking' photos of people doing boring retro things like bondage, cutting and fisting. 'Body art' bores us silly. It precisely captures the mentality of being two years old, and focused with great fascination upon one's own ejecti. Living in the Bay Area, you get people doing 'body art' on your back patio, when you happen to live above Folsom Street.

Let's just say it doesn't speak to us. Or that it's speaking: it's going 'blah blah blah blah blah. Blah.'

For quite awhile now, I have had an inchoate sense that the 'art world' is not about art; it is about high school. Or rather, there are tiers of the 'art world' which precisely resemble high school, and that's fine for them. Not only do I not wish to engage with these tiers, I can't. We're not speaking the same language.

But then, I've never run into Anselm Kieffer at an 'art world scene' opening, so I don't feel too bad about it. Lee Bontecou fled the 'art world' several decades ago, and one piece of hers inspires me more than a whole museum full of tinned shit. My uber-hero, Isamu Noguchi, spent half of his later years in a quarry in rural Japan, and the other half in a courtyard in Queens.

People, friends, real artists all--the 'art world' has nothing to do with being an artist. Nothing. Let us tell ourselves this every morning until we truly understand it.

Now, who would like to come to Serena's apartment for dinner, weekend after next? Anyone with the taste and discrimination to read this blog is invited. We 'art world' outies must nourish and encourage one another.


KJ said...

Thanks for the invite... would love to come! Unfortunately, being from outside the center of the art world... waaaay outside, doubt that I can make it this time. Did relate to your descriptions of the Willamsburg gallery openings, however. A group of other 'outside of NYC' artists ventured up that way to see the Gates in Central Park. We were led around Williamsburg but a friend who lived there and decided that we might as well not bother trying to make the scene... or even try to relate to it, for the most part. Enjoy reading your take on it... maybe in a different lifetime.

painterdog said...

"I have had an inchoate sense that the 'art world' is not about art; it is about high school."

It sure is about high school.
I'm up in Boston and if your not in the right clique your out of touchor out of luck.

I know a painter who is into "working it"... the scene that is,(his own words) and he has managed to get teaching jobs even though he is incompetent and can't draw, and he has managed to get his mug on a local magazine cover. The work is pretty bad, hes able to talk 'art speak' very well. Plays it up and is seen at all the (right)openings that he thinks matter to get him someplace.

He is part of the 'cool art clique'.

I have to admit I half admire people who can do this and part of me loaths their false smiles and kissy kissy acts. It is very insincere as he is always looking for ways to undermind people to get ahead, like some form of poison ivy taking over your garden. A real 'Gordon Gekko' of the local art scene on a small and insignificant scale.

I am bad at this, I can't bring my self to kiss ass as I don't like the smell(and dogs do it better anyway) and I like the color of my nose to not be a shade of poop.

painterdog said...

Ok now that I got that off my chest...
sorry for being pissy and bitchy.

I just could not help myself after reading the comment about the high school and art scene analogy.

Chris Rywalt said...

What's the date on the weekend after next? Because I'd love to come.

painterdog said...

Hey thanks for the invite...
Sounds interesting, your brave inviting total strangers to your house.

I live in Boston as you know by now, so its kind of hard to get away at the moment.

painterdog said...

oh i forgot serena,
I have this other site that i have some newish work on.
you can check it out is you want to.
its very different from the other stuff.

serena said...

Hey Chris, I was kinda taking a poll to see if there were enough interested folk for me to SET a date. Maybe Sunday the 9th? Danny? Oriane? David G.? You out there?

serena said...

Hey painterdog, those are beautiful. Keep posting them. I don't have any money, but I'd swap you a mandala for one of those.

painterdog said...

sure we can trade there not very big.
I have to admit that two bottom ones are from the early 90's. The top 2 are from this year and they are done from memory.

They are from Vermont. Used to live there.
I have a lot of work from Vermont, watercolors, oils.

some work from scotland but thats real old.

danonymous. said...

Hey good morning Serena. I'm a "go" for the Sunday the 9th., Thanks. I could make salad, I make great salads.

serena said...

Okay, Sunday the 9th at 7 PM-ish is the time--Sunday evenings are early evenings. I'll make pasta with some sort of marinara, Danny brings salad, everybody else can bring wine. I'll post directions.

Painterdog, I think my favorite was the second from the top, with the sort of reddish cleft in the ground.

Oriane said...

I can do sunday the 9th. Sounds good, I look forward to it.

painterdog said...

Hello Serena,
well there is life for artist outside of New York...
Check out Sophie Jodoin, who I think is French Canadian and shows mostly in Canada. She is amazing and its interesting how many artist there are up in the north country that we never hear about who are worth checking out.