All my dimes are adding up…

I won’t tell you where I found them, but they’re shiny and earning interest.

Here’s a recent shot from my studio:

IMG_0783

A lot of people will tell you that the contemporary art market is full of greedy, ego-centric, shallow, amoral miscreants.

This might be true, for the most part.

Somehow, however, I have been able to find a number of individuals firmly established in the higher echelons of the contemporary art world that are people of integrity and honorable character.

This comes from both sides – artists and dealers. You may know that I am involved with a couple of critique groups and arts organizations which have exposed me to a number of outstanding artists – both in terms of their work and themselves as individuals. It may be easier to achieve this reputation as an artist, coming from the pre-supposed underprivileged starving status. Unfortunately, we artists can just as easily be slimy, debaucherous leeches ourselves.

I have had less exposure to people working on the gallery and museum (I’d say professional, but I’m trying to include myself in that category also lately) side of the market. The majority of the stories I have heard have not been encouraging.

This evening, however, I was reminded that I do, indeed, know quite a few outstanding people working in this area. I had a studio visit from a friend whom I was able to get to know over the last 7 years or so by doing IT consulting for the gallery she worked for. It was the first time she had been over to see my work, even though she had been familiar with it for quite some time. Over the recent weeks, in talking to her I have had the opportunity to learn more about her conception of the artist-dealer relationship and how she sees her role in it. It was great to hear someone talking about the process of learning the value of developing the relationship with the artist and their career, along with how a responsible gallery takes their role in the art and artist’s development seriously and what that looks like. She does it because she loves it. She loves the work she’s promoting and the cultivation of the artists she works with.

How refreshing. What a pleasure.

For a moment I thought, what an anomaly…what a rare find. A person who actually cares in the art world. Then I realized that I know another woman who works at a prominent gallery that I believe really cares also. Then I remembered another, more recent friend working her way up the ranks with just as much respectability. And then there’s my former roommate, who managed a gallery for several years and the collector friend and the curator friend and the critic friend and the historian friends.

If you look for it, there is real richness to be found in the art world. Do not be fooled or disillusioned that it is only a wasteland.

I’m realizing that as well as making art for myself (and this is a realization to have made) I am forming a team of other people who the work is also for, in a certain sense, because they are the people I want to have involved in the conversation and I want the conversation to be rich.

Eagle ate the otter.

Word.

-W

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Turning it up to 11…

Howdy.

*quick note* I’m looking for one of the instruction booklets that Rudolph Stingel created for his retrospective at the MCA Chicago and the Whitney Museum in NY. If you happen have one and will sell it or photograph/photocopy it for me, you’ll get a special prize of awesomeness and gratitude.

So last weekend I went to the bi-annual CIVA (Christians in the Visual Arts) conference.

If you just rolled your eyes, hear me out…

It was dope.

You may know that I like to nerd out about contemporary art and…well…drink beer. I got to do both here (although we did have to wait and go off-campus for the beer). It turns out that I’m not the only one who enjoys this, apparently, as there were quite a few who motored through a severe lack of sleep to burn the candle at both ends.

OK, so here were some of the highlights and my guffaws:

Miroslav Wolf was the opening keynote and is more like Dave Hickey than I thought.
As it turns out, we also shared the same dorm suite and of course I met him as he had just finished going for a run and the only thing I could muster enough genius to say was that I had left my running shoes behind. I suggest to those reading who don’t bother to inquire as to who your roommates will be, should you elect the economic option of a conference to share a suite, to prepare yourself with a question or two for the keynote speakers, in case you happen to run into them unexpectedly, say, in your room. I feel like I was tossed a golden opportunity (although for what, I don’t know…spontaneous rigorous theological debate?) and ducked.

Dan Siedell was also a presenter. I actually had a question for him, but in keeping with my acts of genius, I failed to actually deliver it. What does hypostatic union mean anyway? You may have heard me recommend his book, God in the Gallery. I still do, even though he confessed that he would change about 90% of it today, if he could. It’s a book that needed to be written, especially for those who don’t have a background in art. I do, but I still find it useful. It was great to have the opportunity to meet him and talk. It turns out that we have a few friends and acquaintances in common.

– For me, one of the main highlights was connecting with people. I have friends in the organization I only see sparingly because of distance and these types of events are good for reconnecting. Also, it’s great to meet new people who have similar interests. The times outside the scheduled conference events ended up being as engaging as the conference itself. That’s where you can really hash things out, you know…in the lunch line. Seriously, from what it’s like to relocate and take on a full course load in rural Idaho to the challenges of working for an art superstar, an inquisitive mind (or in my case, a jerk) can learn a lot.

– The NY art discussion group (sponsored by CIVA) was re-formed at the conference to much raucous discussion. It turns out that we have opinions – strong ones. Shouting aside, we motored through a lot and had a great time.

So all that’s to say that it was worth it. I knew it would be, but it’s always a pleasant surprise when it proves true.

If you went, what did you think?

keep in touch.

-W

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On the Death and Resurrection of Painting

“Sincerity is the new irony.” – Dayton Castleman

I’ve been painting a lot lately.

Here’s my contribution to the conversation.

boxes1

It’s untitled as yet.

I post it so I can be implicated in what I say and people can have a visual grain of salt to take this post with.

Last Saturday I had the distinct pleasure to meet Edward Winkleman, of Edward Winkleman Gallery. A friend of mine was in town and her, another friend and I toured Chelsea for a while and stopped by Winkleeman Gallery so she could say hi and keep in touch – she’s an acquaintance of his (I’m a fan).

It was great to put a face with the name. Edward blogs and is good at it. If you’re an artist, you’ll benefit from reading it – especially his advice for artists.

It was also interesting for another reason. He’s currently showing paintings by Christopher Lowrey Johnson which place themselves in a conversation about the unease of suburbia – “contemporary anxiety.” What struck me was a comment Winkleman made to the effect that these paintings were also about the impending deposing of painting from dominance. [*note* that was a gross paraphrase of a statement I didn’t write down, so I invite correction, but I think it was true to the general idea.]

full stop.

OK, so I had also just seen the Josh Smith show at Luhring Augustine Gallery. It was one of those shows where I couldn’t form a solid opinion of it right away, but the sense we got was that it had a lot of energy as a show, but individual pieces might fall totally flat if you pulled them out and stuck them in your living room. You’d have to make sure you got a good one and, slightly agreeing with Ken Johnson, I’m not sure Smith knows (or cares) which ones those are – although I suspect he does.

So when you see a show like Smith’s that really questions what’s good or bad and sacrifices the individual work for the group, and even questions the material and validity of painting, itself, to a degree, you might understand how Winkleman’s statement might peak my interest. Does Smith’s show reiterate the predicted impending doom of painting? How do Johnson’s paintings fit into this argument? What the hell am I supposed to do?

Well. I guess I kind of agreed. I mean, there’s a lot…a LOT of bad painting out there right now. Dumb painting. Purposefully naive or bad or romantic – either for its own sake or for irony or out of actual ignorance of how bad it really is…or maybe spite. I can’t recuse myself from the possibility of contributing bad paintings, but I’ll at least say that I have painted over at least 10 in the past month.

Plus, critics have speculated that with the market overblown in the last few years, it’s allowed for a lot of poo to be passed off for gems. Dave Hickey would be happy to see someone start picking out the dimes instead of buying the whole litter box (see Revision Number 5, “Quality” in Art in America…or try to find it online in futility). So maybe the market downturn will cause people to react against bad painting. Maybe some legitimately good painting will get weeded out in the process. Maybe people have been sick of painting for a while and it’s just coming to a head. Maybe quality will win out, we’ll have to see.

I recently had a curator tell me that everyone’s looking for painting to be smart again. I don’t exactly know what that means, but it’s pretty easy to find dumb paintings and I’m pretty tired of them too.

Back to Smith and Johnson. Is there significance there? I think so. I think Josh Smith, like a lot of the artists in the New Museum’s Unmonumental show…and a lot of artists, generally, are really questioning conventions of art and painting on a fundamental level, but they also seem to be reiterating a (if unstated) desire for beauty and, dare I say it…truth. I say this because some of Josh Smith’s paintings are beautiful and I think that’s as purposeful as the ones that are ugly.

Because beauty might be the only truth some people have (or maybe the only way to conceive of truth) and even though lots of people are beating it to absolute death, beauty is still what it is and we still want it. Reality might be shite but we hope and pray that some real and true beauty is out there or in there or under there (underwear?).

…and this is where the lightbulb goes off in my head. A friend had mentioned mentioned Derrida recently, and how deconstruction wasn’t all bad, because at least it helped us question power structures even if you didn’t like reading its literature. This reminded me of my recent reading of theology based on Derrida. It helped me describe what might be happening and how to process it.

You do it with fear and trembling.

You question it and then re-question it and then, possibly, if you can (if you allow yourself to) [if a possibility is possible] you make a statement {or a painting} and you float it into the conversation fully knowing the weakness of your own fallibility and language and structures but nevertheless fully hopeful that you may have hit something beautiful.

…something true.

That would be something to fear and tremble about.

It would also be a reason to paint.

So I’m not stopping.

-W

p.s. I think the implications might be bigger than that, but you can only get so grandiose on a blog post without looking like a total jackass.

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What’s going on…

Howdy.

Lots of stuff going on this week.

Well, two things going on this week.

1)I’m in a group show opening Tuesday (tomorrow, yes).

Quality Service: Artwork form the staff of the Cooper Union School of Art
February 24-28, 2009
Opening Reception:
Tuesday, February 24, 6-8pm

The cooper Union
6th and 7th Floor Galleries
7 East 7th st
New York, NY 10003

Gallery hours 11am-6pm, Tue-Sat

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2) The IAM conference.
They’re calling it an encounter, but it’s a conference.

Where:

Downtown New York City
Evenings: Tribeca Performing Arts Center (199 Chambers Street)
Daytime: Downtown Conference Center (157 William Street)

When:
February 26-28, 2009

I’m often skeptical of these conferences before they start but end up liking them by the time they’re done. The speakers are usually pretty great and you end up meeting interesting people.

Saturday I’m giving a talk on Art, Design and Social Responsibility – summarizing some of my experience from teaching last semester at Parsons.

-W

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Dave Hickey is my friend…

Actually he’s not. I’ve never met him. OK, so even if he doen’t know it, I’m his friend and if he want’s one, I’ll give him the t-shirt to prove it.

That’s all to say that I’ve really enjoyed the articles I’ve read by him recently and his 2007 lecture at Frieze Art Fair was great.

This month he’s contributed a piece to Art In America calling for collectors and dealers to start (to grossly summarize) sifting the dimes from the poo. Rather than freaking out about the market and prices and closings, etc. Hickey’s asking for the crap to be culled and for people to start taking a stand for something again instead of buying everything in order to hedge their bets.

Fine with me.

Here are some shows of artists I will happily stand behind and promote:

Julie Allen @ McKenzie Fine Art opens Thursday, Feb 12.

Julie’s sewn constructions are joy to encounter and rarely leave you without tugging at another conversation altogether. This show promises the bonus of a drawing that might could make you cry.

Rico Gatson @ Ronald Feldman Gallery I’ve become familiar with Gatson’s work within the last 5 years and find it increasingly beautiful and provocative. I’m excited to see this new video work.

Alfonse Borysewicz @ DFN Gallery This is a group show titles Abstract/Nature. I had the privilege of meeting Alfonse and visiting his studio recently. It was a great experience. This is a guy who seriously knows from paint and why.

I’ve got a couple of small pieces going into a group show at Cooper Union on Tuesday, February 24th. I think I might hang some of the new work from my studio, but haven’t quite decided yet. You haven’t seen it yet and it’s dope.

OK, here’s some meat and potatoes.

ArtForum this month has a couple of articles relating to painting that you should probably check out if you paint, draw, collage or something near those. In fact, I think it’s a pretty important conversation, although he seems to give Twombly more credit than I think he’s due.

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A HIDDEN RESERVE: PAINTING FROM 1958 TO 1965
Achim Hochdörfer
#
1000 WORDS: JOSH SMITH
Michelle Kuo

There’s also an article on Martin Kippenberger.

yeah, you should start actually reading ArtForum again.

oh, and here are some blogs you should be reading (…pushy today, sorry, I drank more coffee than usual).

Matthews The Younger. Rob’s based in Philly, but don’t hold that against him. He like’s Bonnie Prince Billy, pulled pork, and makes work to be jealous of. Not only does he also know his music, Matthew Fisher contributes from time to time and that’s a serious bonus. Fisher knows what it’s about and explains it well.

Daniel Siedell’s blog. If you’re a Christian and make art, you need to read this and his book, God in the Gallery. If you’re not a Christian and make art, you need to read these so you can get some proof that we’re not all Kirk Cameron.

I know there’s more, but I’m still getting started and if you send me links I’ll probably post them.

readysetgo!

-W

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hello, my name is Wayne…

It’s been so long since I posted that I figured I should re-introduce myself.

Last year really kicked me, between work, umami, studio work and teaching. I’m not teaching this semester and it feels like vacation every day. Not that I didn’t like it. I really did. It was the most challenging and best thing I think I’ve done in a while. If I get to, I’ll teach Design and Social Responsibility again this fall, but it would be nice to focus on something I feel more confident in.

brief update:

With all my (still very very little) free time, I’ve stepped up my studio practice, turned a new corner and am ramping it all up, including seeing and studying more of what’s going on.

I’m also studying color theory again and set aside the photograph as source [uh huh].

My friend James Romaine stopped by my studio and holy cow is he a good person to have over to look at your work and then go to MOMA with to see what other artists are doing. When it comes to contemporary art, he knows his poo.

Beth is still awesome, in case you were wondering (she’s pretty consistent).

OK, here’s why I started posting again…

Today at lunch I saw this show at Team Gallery.

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I thought it was dope.

Mainly, I was looking around to see what was up in the neighborhood (relatively, it takes too long to get to Chelsea during lunch) and noticed it on ArtCal.com. Team has always been solid and since I hadn’t seen their space since they left Chelsea, I thought I’d take a look.

I’m not going to give you a full review, but I was particularly interested in Stanley Whitney’s pieces. He’s the senior member of the show and it’s evident that he’s been studying color and paint relationships for a long time. The paintings have a strong presence and resonate in interesting ways.

That’s all I have for today.

slow start, but it’s a start.

word.

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Wind in the sails…

Hi folks,

It’s been a few, I know.

Let’s just say it’s been a bit of a whirlwind lately.

…sold some work, got some work in a show, starting a company and still trying to keep up with my teaching. That’s actually not too bad, considering.

Work is work.

The show is coming up this weekend in Chicago and my friend, artist Gene Schmidt, and I are flying down for the opening and to tool around for a couple of days to refresh our memories.

tomorrow = light rain, 51 degrees. Not as bad as I thought.

Saturday, 60 degrees! Finally, some sign of spring.

here’s the lowdown:

For immediate release:

Opening: Saturday, APRIL 5th 7-10PM At Alogon Gallery
“The Strange Place”
curated by Dayton Castleman

With works by: Rob Matthews, Keith Crowley, Gene Schmidt, Rubens
Ghenov, Alert Pedulla, Wayne Adams, Mark Dixon, Tim Gierschick, and
Ben Volta

Including: A dialouge through essays with Dayton Castleman, Jim
Elkins, and Kevin Hamilton. Also, an interview with dealer Rowley
Kennerk – all available online after the show.

“The Strange Place”

Alogon Gallery asked Dayton Castleman to curate a show after
witnessing a discussion that took place between him and James Elkins
on the topic of Christianity and art. Elkins’ book On the Strange
Place of Religion in Contemporary Art speaks to the difficulty that
contemporary art discourse has in dealing with religious subject
matter and how generally the two are incompatible. We asked Dayton to
curate a show that explores this subject and James Elkins to share his
thoughts about the show in writing. The interest is not to inspire
belief but rather to try and address the issue of belief and ideology
in the wake of the post-modern condition, to try and establish a
language and dialouge around belief that does not need to always
shield itself with either irony or the conceptual aesthetic of
neutrality. Is it possible to use the wisdom gained from decades of
active deconstruction towards a renewed investigation into the realm
of possibility?

In Dayton’s words:

The Strange Place is not meant to suggest some kind of final word or
solution to the issue (of religion and art). It is impossible to avoid
the complexities of language, and I’m not presuming to transcend that
difficulty in this show. What this show does is fill a concrete place
in contemporary art—a real, material, dimensional space— with the art
of religious people. I don’t intend the show to operate as a polemic
toward some religious end, but as an occurrence that could serve as a
discrete point of reference within an ongoing conversation.

**The opening hours of the show will be from 1-4 on April 6th and April 13th**

I’ll try to post the essays next week.

Here are some pics:
geneschmidt.jpgGene Schmidt
rob.jpgRob Matthews
albert.jpgAlbert Pedula
blogpictures010.jpgTimothy Gierschick
gene1_e_smsq.jpgWell, that’s one of mine.

I sent 3 portraits and a couple of videos down.

If you’re in the area, stop by or give a call, I’d love to say hi.

word.

-W

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