Saturday, April 12, 2008

ArtTiVi has been added to the Art TV links to the right.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Truman Marquez', Some People Never Go Crazy,
prior to "Context" deconstruction exhibition

While the opening night deconstruction offers a public gifting of the art segments,
the cut outs reveal wall text and "under-painting" of seated figure shooting himself in the mouth. The figure is presumably the artist "going crazy".

Artists and collectors alike often speak of the last great “movement” in art and the next. Perhaps the “movement” we are in the midst of today is the “Commercialism Movement”. No matter what the astronomical price of the week, we can rest assured it has been artificially driven and inflated by the “king makers” ie. the dealers who guarantee auction houses a minimum for contemporary works sold to establish a market value. While this new paradigm sets the monetary value of fine art, the quality of the art is diminishing. The investment angle has become more monumental than the work itself in our pervasive commercial society. Collectors are buying art with the hopes it will increase in value. They're looking to inflate their egos by owning the next best thing even if they don't like it, respect it or understand it. It is no wonder artist are going of the deep end and making works with dung and bodily fluids or desecrating and gifting art. Buying art for too many is no different for some than buying real estate to flip or commodities trading. As an artist there are days when I’d like to erase the word “market” from the English language and as the recently appointed promoter for painter, Truman Marquez, I understand the art market – like it or not.
I came across the Fine Art Adoption website at DC Art News and found the public gifting of art conceived by NY artist, Adam Simon to be a revolutionary concept. It is a site which hosts portfolios of a select network of artists offering works available for adoption. This has brought an experience from last fall to mind when I met artist, Truman Marquez. It was at his sophomore solo show at CAN NY where the paintings exhibited were deconstructed at the opening. The attendees removed segments of the works with artist issued knives and templates exposing works behind the canvas and leaving the works in ruin on the walls. This public gifting art marked a turning point for Marquez also disgusted with the commercialism of the art world. He, like the creators of fine art adoption are just a few of the many artists and collectors who are disgusted with the “Commercialism Movement”. Below is an article I wrote following “Context” at CAN NY last November.

Performance art and public gifting of work – a catharsis
An accounting of Context at New Art Center, NY on November 8, 2007
It was with an authoritative gesture and a sharp blade that Marquez began the performance of his last experimentation with performance art. With irreverent authority he looked away from Call me Horse for Now while cajoling the audience with synthetic exhilaration he made the first decisive and expansive incision. The sound of the canvas tearing resonated like a mortal scream or the first cry of a newborn. Simultaneously the death of the painting surface gave birth to the newly created dissected and deformed works with wall text and secondary imagery. His year’s accomplishment hung mutilated before him as did his psyche when he surrendered control to the audience. This public gifting of art was undoubtedly disturbing for Marquez, exposed and incapacitated, as he and months of his most expressive work lay vulnerable to the desecration before him. The unabashed audience began to remove random pieces of the first canvas and four others with the provided templates and blades. While many coveted the forged segments referencing the masters, Gauguin, Cezanne, de Kooning and Pollock, others became more noticeably intrigued by the secondary works beneath the paintings which emerged with each cut. It was not the deletion of imagery but the addition of the windows which became more vital to the performance and the work as sub-messages in the form of wall text, found objects and paintings relevant to each piece were revealed with successive cuts.
The addition of the secondary plain in Context, contrary to the pure evisceration of work in the first performance, ConTemplate - 2006, contributed a new dimension both physically and intellectually. The participants rewarded with possession of each painting-ectomy were duped as it was evident the nothingness left behind possibly had more relevance to the finished piece and henceforth a greater significance. The removed segments became diminished out of context and of meaningless importance, henceforth value.

Marquez surrendered himself through the sacrifice of his work (a metaphor of the physical artist’s body and psyche) as an eager audience with disregard enthusiastically carved with a growing hunger like a feeding frenzy of piranha. A few participants abandoned the templates all together and feverishly carved and threaded sliced strips of the canvas intuitively into slits while the greedy covetously removed multiple segments. In a statement Marquez said, “…the paintings are surrogates for the artist, his person, his thought, his creativity. Offering up the canvases to be cut, the artist, metaphorically speaking, offers himself.” This intense emotional experience marks a psychological purging necessary to more clearly define himself and his impending work – a catharsis.


In Severed Voting Fingers Marquez implies a possible conclusion to the Iraq war. The fallen soldier lying dead in the shadows of severed fingers is a metaphor for the ineffectiveness of Western intervention. Furthermore, as a reminder of hopelessness, the crouching Iraqi woman severing her own “voting finger” along with others before her whose severed fingers on the bloody floor cast the shadows, speaks to the fear and uncertainty of democracy and surrender to insurgents. The wall text reveals the number dead and wounded (possibly in vane) while the surface of the painting accentuates dispiritedness of human sacrifice.

Call Me Horse for Now: The artist incorporates the segments of de Kooning, Pollack, Gauguin and Matisse before which are being taken by the figures with jousting poles in harlequin garb who surround a horse (representative of Marquez) charging through the center of the painting. The horse, analogous to the artist seeking direction as he charges away from the painterly elements referencing art history.

Kalashnikov Orb: Nail Rain Series: The depiction of Christianity under threat. A praying figure of a monk crouches near a corner in the shadow of an enormous orb with the lifeless body of Christ appearing in the surface of poles attached to its surface. Within the shadow of the orb’s poles is a hidden image of a Kalashnikov rifle referencing the violence of fundamentalist religious fanatics suggesting the doom of Christianity while nails are weightlessly suspended in a space without gravity of a surreal world.

The works of Marquez are compelling on their own exclusive of the performance incorporating the audience deconstruction. Socio-political and religious references swathed in surreal, optical illusions with an emphasis on an intriguing physical and intellectual perspective form a haunting beauty juxtaposed with disturbing grotesqueness. While the deconstruction aspect is essential for the revelation of the supportive work beneath, one might view the performance reprehensible as the unscathed work is significantly compelling on its own. Furthermore, the egregious desecration before preliminary consideration of the imagery is disturbing. Concealed imagery and the consequent artist intent is too easily misunderstood and then in a fleeting moment the ephemeral paintings are gone.

The performances were initiated as a psychological experiment to strip the artist of his control rendering him defenseless and exposed to reach a better understanding of self and artistic direction while perpetuating the public gifting of art and making an important commentary on the "Commercialism Movement". Normally paintings and artists are venerated, untouchable and guarded against mutilation but like a self-inflicted torture, Marquez watched while participants took control allowing himself to become completely exorcised to ultimately reach a catharsis. Marquez’ temporary psychosis spawned by “Contemplate” and “Context” marks a departure as he is resurrected to redefine Truman Marquez. More about the works of Truman Marquez on his Blog.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Ross Neher
Sforza I, 2003, 60"x 115 1/2", oil on canvas

I became familiar with the work of Ross Neher through Ronald Weintraub, a painter in Watermill, who has studied with Neher. It is no surprise Weintraub has acquired such a strong color sensibility having now seen the work of Neher. Additonal works and an essay by Barry Schwabsky about the work is on his official Ross Neher web site where in each work he manipulates of form and space through color in this series of achitectonic, cauffered imagery.

Ross Neher and I almost crossed paths at Pratt Institute. He had just earned his MFA when I was beginning my undergraduate studies there. When I left Pratt in 1980 Neher became Professor of Graduate Painting and continues teaching there today.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Geoffrey Baris, Photographer

Many of Baris's images are of water. Water is a constantly moving element, changing form, shape and color. He captures a moment in its continuously changing movement. It is through these frozen moments in time that the movement and reflection of water is transformed into and abstract form.

He uses his eye and the camera to allow the viewer to see another view hidden images that emerge from nature. "The true essence of photography lies beyond pure sight; it goes deeper into the soul, past everything known as color and form. I like to think that my photographs are all real images of natureseen from this deeper place within myself. Here I am able to find my connection to my soul.", says Baris. View more work by Geoffrey Baris.

There are days I feel like I'm swimming upstream tethered to a cinder block. These artists, Madeline Gins and Arakawa, are self inflicting such challenges in their house design in East Hampton. This article by Fred A. Bernstein appeared in today's NY Times. Be sure to click on the link and read the article and watch the slide show.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Marketing Checklist for Fine Artists
Your comments are welcome. Did I leave anything out?

1. Commit at least 8 hours per month to marketing or hire someone who will.

2. Acquire a Business Tax Registration certificate and Sales Tax permit allowing you to purchase supplies wholesale (write off expenses-keep your receipts) and charge sales tax (pay sales tax)if you are self representing.

3. Purchase your domain name ( and get web design assistance from to establish an online portfolio.

4. Hire a photographer or shoot your own work as it is completed.

5. Title your jpegs with your name, title, size, medium with underscores to separate so all the details are in the file name.

6. Juried archival sites like re-title, artists space, white columns and saatchi are good for exposure to other artists and curators. These sites are on the site along with many other useful links. Beware of the company you keep with unjuried sites like boundless gallery, fine art America, paintings direct - just to name a few.

7. Print business cards with your name, address, phone number, email and web address, to distribute.

8. Research galleries, museums and collectors to target and start a data base for mailing and phoning.

9. Beware of "vanity" galleries who ask for membership fees and payment for catalogues. A legitimate gallery which believes in you will be willing to take an up front risk and produce a catalogue at their own expense (or at least split the cost with you), pay for promotional materials and advertising and host an opening. Their investment is recovered in their commission so they have a vested interest in making a sale where as the vanity gallery without an investment has less incentive to promote a sale. If you are involved with a "vanity" gallery, think of it as a venue to show work and be proactive with your own promotion.

10. Beware of artists' coops (or vanity galleries with a large stable of artists) posting calls for entries. The existing artist stable may be guaranteed inclusion in the show. With limited wall space, there might be hundreds or thousands of submissions for only a handful of spots available. No matter how great your work is the odds of inclusive could be low. I know $35 entry fees are small but over and over it adds up so choose wisely.

11. Remember a gallery will sell your work to buyers but if you are seeking vast exposure, you or your publicist will need to sell "you the artist" to multiple galleries. With the internet, global exposure is more attainable than it has ever been. Most galleries will want an exclusive for a geographic area.

12. Negotiate a contract in writing with any gallery or representative with whom you become associated unless you thrive on danger. Don't do business on a hand shake or blind faith! This is a recipe for failure, being taken advantage of possibly legal action which costs more money and produces negative energy.

13. Read to keep informed at ArtCal, Artweek, ArtNews, Art in America, etc. These sites are on the site along with many other useful links.

14. Invest time in promotion or hire someone who will. Prepare collateral materials, send out cds and collateral materials to galleries, follow up by phone, research opportunities, connect with other artist live or virtually. Be sure your website address is published on all communication materials and keep it up to date.

15. Be aware of the local art scene if there is one.

16. Submit work to juried shows with a known juror.

17. Research and apply for grants that might be applicable.

18. Be computer literate. Use contact management software. Stay up-to-date.

19. Set deadlines/goals. Create a strategy to connect with art consultants, curators, galleries, museums with your work or hire someone who will.

20. Continually update your mailing list.

21. Go to openings at galleries who may be interested in your work and leave cards or postcards.

22. Create an Artist's Statement - Your Mantra and maintain an up-to-date bio/resume with exhibitions, education, collectors, and awards received.

23. Create a consignment receipt and bill of sale.

24. Create a pricing formula for your work.

25. Keep a catalogue of resources ie. framers, photographers, packers and shippers, printers, etc.

26. Be prepared for rejection...Don't lose momentum!

It's Raining at Cooper's beach!

I never really looked at rain drops on the car window until I went to Cooper's Beach this morning to remind myself that I live at the beach. I saw the ocean through the glass and also upside down in the drops. I love the immediacy of a digital camera, since my time in the studio has become so limited. This made me think of Ross Blechner's "cell" works.

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