Bobby Anspach’s “Bobby’s World”. Image: Art F City
Last week William Powhida and I spent an enormous amount of time at the Spring Break Art Show. We had so much to say about the show we produced two podcasts and discussed many booths at length. In the first podcast, we give the lay of the land in art fair world (we discuss the character of other fairs, and SPRING/BREAK), identify themes, and get the bad art out of the way. We also collect a few pitches from those in booths, so those who couldn’t attend the fair could get a sense of what it was like. In the second podcast we go deep on a few booths and try to give a more thorough analysis of what we saw.
There are however some limitations to what we can do with a podcast, and one of them is visuals. Handily, Art F City manages those just fine, so in this post I assemble images of a lot of the work we discuss so that listeners have a few cues. That said, a disclaimer needs to be made: some of these photographs suck. I’ve tried whenever possible to use press images, but in some cases, I wasn’t able to make that happen. You’ll know the difference, and I’m sorry.
Hans Ulrich Obrist delivering his keynote at The Armory Show
The line for last week’s keynote lecture at the Armory Show was as long as the speaker’s resume; slated to talk was Hans Ulrich Obrist, artistic director of the Serpentine Gallery and arguably the most famous curator in the world. But since Obrist is a fixture at large art fairs, the huge turnout was a surprise. Having watched a few of his interviews online, I worried that the talk would be a pretentious ramble. My fears weren’t entirely unfounded, though no one could accuse Obrist of lacking enthusiasm as he spent well over an hour discussing notions of time, the archive, unrealized projects, and the Serpentine’s recent shows. Central to all of this was his belief in the freedom to experiment.
But Obrist’s talk had limited success in getting attendees fired up, likely because of the curator’s consistent failure to fully elucidate his themes. For example, he described Jean-François Lyotard’s 1985 exhibition Les Immatériaux at the Pompidou as exciting because it happened before the internet was invented, while neglecting to mention its central thesis about how “immaterials” (technology) alters our relationship to materials. An unrealized project by Lyotard, which Obrist said he’d be working on with Moderna Museet Director Daniel Birnbaum, would explore “the underside of communication” and would be “about noise, about distortion, about the dimension of experience, about frictions,” But no further detail was forthcoming.
But at least Obrist managed, in Lyotard’s case, to give the curator’s full name. Discussing the idea that government bodies should run artists’ residencies, the curator cited a project by two artists he referred to only as “Barbara and John.” As he told it, some time during the 1960s, the pair took up residency in Scotland’s parliament and convinced politicians not to clean up five toxic mountains of coal waste, instead suggesting they recategorize them sculptural meditations on the importance of renewable energy. “The world would be a different world!,” Obrist concluded to puzzled looks. (I later discovered that the project was Five Sisters by John Latham and Barbara Steveni, artists associated with the Artist Placement Group.)
While Obrist’s excitement, then, sometimes led to sloppy presentation, he also tended to aggrandize simple thoughts and actions, describing, for example, the thousands of interviews he’s conducted as “a process against forgetting.” He replaced the term “curator,” which he found limiting, with “juncture,” a word lent undue importance because novelist J.G. Ballard had once told him he preferred it. And later in the talk he praised the Serpentine Gallery for appointing a chief technology officer, as if this were a novel idea.
But while all of this was annoying, Obrist’s interest in making creative use of simple John Cage-like parameters still serves him well. In 2007, for example, Obrist and a team of other curators invited artists to contribute to a multi-authored opera called Il Tempo del Postino for the Manchester International Festival. Each artist was given 15 minutes to produce a time-based art work that would be showcased on stage. In another series, he used the framework of a 24 hour marathon, to create an event that focuses on a different activity each year be it interviews, experimentation, manifestos. In both cases, these parameters created accessible events that brought in huge audiences.
What Obrist didn’t discuss was the success of Do It, an exhibition conceived in 1993 as a prompt in which 12 artists were asked to writes instructions for artworks that other individuals and institutions could produce and exhibit. The project has since been made into a book and circulated internationally. In fact, it’s so popular, the exhibition might as well be a meme. In addition to its online version, created by Obrist in collaboration with e-flux in 2004, other iterations include do it (museum), do it (home), do it (TV), do it (seminar), do it (outside), do it (party), as well as some anti-do its, a philosophy do it and a UNESCO children’s do it. Last year, the exhibition made headlines once more when Independent Curators International (ICI), in collaboration with Studio in a School, announced that Do It would become part of New York’s high school art curriculum.
Given its potential impact on his audience at the Armory, this was a major omission. But for all Obrist’s excitement about making connections and experimentation, it seems conversation was a bit lower down the curator’s list of values. Obrist didn’t take questions after the talk, and when asked about the program afterwards, he snipped dismissively, “It’s already in the schools. You can find it online. ICI has all the information.” I followed his instructions only to learn that the program would be implemented this fall, and would impact about three hundred students. In the Spring of 2019, these participants will present their work at Hunter College’s East Harlem Gallery. The project has the potential to be a big deal, then, for a few New Yorkers, but I’m not sure we’ll see its originator at the opening.
Carol Cole, “The Dissection of ANI”, from the series “ANI (Anti-Nothingness Image)”, 1993. Clay, embroidery thread, linen, silk, and satin; 10 5/8 x 13 x 4 in. Courtesy of the artist.
Exciting news: I’ve co-curated an exhibition of Carol Cole’s work and collection at the Weatherspoon with Emily Stamey! This exhibition is long overdue, so I’m proud to have had a part in making it happen. Carol Cole: Cast a Clear Light opens March 3rd and will run through June 17th. If you have a chance to see it, make it happen. You won’t be disappointed.
Press release below.
Art has been my means of survival.
Carol Cole states this belief with conviction and demonstrates it with passion. For the past forty years, she has been creating and collecting work that affirms our human need for nurture, our shared vulnerabilities, and our potential for living generously. She calls this art humanist, and finds in it important antidotes to the universal ills of greed, neglect, and selfishness.
As an artist, Cole’s work is anchored in feminism, and she has developed a body of work that uses a single female breast as an icon of nurture. In multiple media, she morphs and transforms that icon from recognizable to abstract and back again. Each iteration employs the motif inventively to create images by turns poignant, witty, and irreverent.
In addition to making art, Cole is an avid collector, thoughtfully acquiring work by both nationally and internationally established artists and notable southern regionalists. Linking them is a shared attention to vulnerability; as in her own work, the motif of the breast is often present, but not definitive. Rather, a fearless commitment to addressing the human condition unites the range of artwork that she lives with in her home.
A native of the Deep South, Cole relishes the region’s artistic traditions. She is also, however, enmeshed in the New York art world. Rather than see the two as distinct, she weds them together, inviting her New York colleagues to North Carolina and championing the South’s artists and museums there. At the core of this connecting is Cole’s belief that one needs to share one’s joys and struggles, talents and resources, knowledge and curiosity.
In all that she does, Cole lives out playwright Tennessee Williams’s admonition: “Let us not deny all the dark things of the human heart, but let us try to cast a clear light on them in our work.”
Carol Cole: Cast a Clear Light is organized by the Weatherspoon Art Museum and co-curated by Dr. Emily Stamey, Weatherspoon Curator of Exhibitions, and Paddy Johnson, Editor of Art F City, New York.
This exhibition has been generously supported by James Keith Brown, Eric Diefenbach, and Geoffrey Wall.
The exhibition is dedicated by the artist to her husband, Seymour Levin.
Back in January, William Powhida and I recorded an episode of Explain Me on the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s new admission policy. Earlier that month, the museum known for housing some of the world’s greatest treasures announced its admission price would no longer remain “pay-as-you-wish”. As of March 1st, their suggested admission, $25 will become mandatory for anyone living outside of New York State. Children under 12 get in for free.
Given that there’s less than two weeks until this policy change goes into affect, we thought it might be a good time to release our discussion and revisit the debate. Because what came out of the debate, was not a picture of an institution starving for more funds, but wealthy museum with a board and President ideologically opposed to the free admission policy. Learning this changed my position, which was one initially in support of a change the museum described as an absolute necessity, to boycotting the museum for the month of March. While the admission increase doesn’t affect my cost of admission, it affects that of my family and friends from out of town. It is also entirely out of step with generosity of creative spirit that brought me to this city in the first place.
Over the course of the podcast, William and I discuss a large number of articles and the conclusions drawn by the authors. We go through the points rather quickly, so for those who want them at your finger tips, I’ve included them below.
Grey Matter’s Tim Schneider. Cites studies that claim cost is a secondary factor to why people visit museums. People cite lack of time and lack of transportation as major factors. Adds the caveat that structural discrimination may account for some of these factors.
Colleen Dilen Schneider. The original blogger who sourced studies that claim cost is a secondary factor to why people visit museums. Expect a treasure trove of studies, over use of bolding and zero caveating. Read at your own risk.
Salmon looks at the Met’s annual reports and finds that Weiss overstates the Met’s visitor numbers (which increased by 11.5 % thanks to the Met Breuer opening), and misleads the public about admissions revenue, which has actually increased by 13 %. He concludes that admissions isn’t the reason the museum has the deficit.
He also notes that the Met’s endowment has risen $170 million a year through investments, of which, over $100 million a year can be used for anything they want. Salmon concludes that the Met won’t suffer by making $10 million a year less because they are maintaining their “pay-as-you-wish” policy.
Holland Cotter at New York Times. New York residents would have to prove their residency by “carding” procedures, which he doesn’t like because “it potentially discriminates against a population of residents who either don’t have legal identification or are reluctant to show the identification they have.”
Roberta Smith at The New York Times. Rebukes the position that because other museums charge they should too, saying “Actually it should be just the opposite. Pay as you wish is a principle that should be upheld and defended, a point of great pride. The city should be equally proud of it. No one else has this, although they should. It indicates a kind of attitude, like having the Statue of Liberty in our harbor. It is, symbolically speaking, a beacon.”
It’s 2018, and you are likely starting to think about your taxes. You may also be wondering what’s in the newly passed tax legislation (officially the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” or TCJA) and how it’s going to affect you. Here is some help, specifically targeted for freelancers and creative economy workers.
To be clear, the 2017 taxes you file in the next few months will be based on the rules you already know. In other words, the old tax laws apply to the 2017 taxes you will file this year. The TCJA applies to 2018 and beyond, so this is for your planning for the coming year.
When you file your 2018 taxes (next year), most people will get an initial tax cut (that will expire in 2026), but the wealthy get most of the benefit. People in high-tax and high cost of living areas and those with kids may see their taxes rise. New York City artists with children, this means you. There are a lot of nuts and bolts reasons for this, which is what the bulk of this article is designed to address, but it’s worth spelling out the rationale for these changes. Your taxes may go up because Republicans are targeting blue states in an attempt to force us to cut our spending. They are giving a large, permanent tax cut to corporations, and the majority of individual tax breaks to the top 1%. This cues up a big deficit that they will later point to when they try to cut social spending. By delaying talk of spending cuts, they hope we will all forget who created this deficit and why.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is the biggest piece of tax legislation passed since 1986, and there is a lot in this legislation that is untested. Our understanding of TCJA will continue to evolve as clarifying technical memos are issued from the Treasury, and ambiguities are tested in the courts. I will do my best to give a freelancer/artist-centric overview, but understand that its full meaning won’t be worked out for a long time yet.
First, there are new tax brackets, and most people will find themselves in a lower rate. For example, a married couple filing jointly with an income between $19,050 and $77,400 is now in a 12% tax bracket, whereas until 2018, that couple was in the 15% tax bracket. Like the vast majority of benefits to individuals and small businesses, these provisions expire in 2026. As I mentioned above, the corporate cuts (specifically the C-Corporations, outside the scope of this article) do not expire.
To understand how the new bill works, its important to review the basic tax setup. All taxpayers get an initial chunk of their income tax-free. You can choose to either take the standard deduction amount (a fixed amount) or the itemized deduction amount (variable based on your itemized deductions such as mortgage interest, state and local taxes and charitable contributions). If your itemized deductions are greater than the standard deduction amount ($6,350 for an individual or $12,700 for a couple in 2017) – in other words, if you pay more in mortgage interest, state and local taxes, and charitable contributions than the standard deduction amount, then you can itemize your deductions and get a larger tax-free amount.
On top of that first chunk of tax-free income, all taxpayers, whether they choose the standard deduction or to itemize, get an additional tax-free chunk called the personal exemption. This is a set amount per individual in the household ($4,050 per person in 2017)- so a bigger household gets a much bigger personal exemption.
In the new law, the standard deduction is roughly doubled. It will now be $24,000 for a married couple, $12,000 for an individual. This is up from $12,700 and $6,350, respectively. This sounds great, but there are several reasons why it isn’t as good as it sounds.
Reason number one is that at the same time, the personal exemption is eliminated. This will mostly offset your gain from that higher standard deduction. In 2017, you get a personal exemption of $4050 for each taxpayer and most dependents in your household. So you don’t pay tax on that amount plus either your standard deduction or itemized deduction. For example, in 2017, a family of four who takes the standard deduction is not taxed on their first $28,900 of income (that’s the standard deduction of $12,700 plus 4 personal exemptions X $4050 each). In 2018, under the new law, that number is reduced to $24,000 (1 standard deduction of $24,000 + no personal exemptions). In other words, their taxes just went up. The bigger the family, the worse the impact.
The other reason the doubling of the standard deduction is bad news to a lot of taxpayers is that it will push many people who are used to taking itemized deductions into taking the standard deduction. To review, you get to choose between itemizing and taking the standard deduction based on whether your itemizable expenses exceed the standard deduction amount – if they do, you can get that higher deduction by itemizing. In 2017, if you had expenses like mortgage interest, state and local property taxes, or charitable contributions that exceeded $12,700 (if married) or $6350 if single, you would get to take those as itemized deductions. In 2018, those expenses have to exceed $24,000 (or $12,000 if single) in order to itemize. It means that all those people no longer get to deduct mortgage interest, state and local taxes or charitable contributions at all. And remember, no one gets the personal exemption anymore. So, previously, if you had $10,000 of deductible income and added that to your personal exemption, you’d have a $14,050 total deduction. In 2018, if you had $10,000 in deductible expenses, you’d be forced to take the standard deduction, and now only have $12,000 in deductible income. About 90% of all taxpayers will be taking the standard deduction on their 2018 taxes (up from about 70% now). So yes, as Paul Ryan bragged, the process of filing may be simpler for you now that you don’t itemize. But it’s a worse deal.
The child tax credit is doubled to $2000 per child under 17, and there’s a $500 credit for dependents who aren’t children (like college students, and aging parents). The credits aren’t indexed to inflation, so they will diminish in value over time (and expire in 2026). This may help offset the loss of the personal exemption, but that will vary based on a host of other factors like your tax bracket. Despite efforts to repeal them, tuition waivers have been kept in place, and student loan interest deductions remain intact.
Mortgage interest, if you still qualify to itemize deductions, is limited to debt of $750,000 ($375,000 if single) after 1/1/2018. Debt incurred before that date is grandfathered in at a cap of $1 million ($500,000 if single). To be clear, you don’t get to deduct the amount of your debt (you never did) – this is the amount of debt on which you may deduct interest. People in high cost of living areas will feel this most acutely – the house-buying dollars that got stretched because of the generous mortgage interest deduction rules of the past will shrink in value if properties in your range are selling for more than this debt cap amount. This is going to hurt urbanites, especially those just entering the housing market.
The moving expense deduction is eliminated, except for active duty military.
The bike commuting deduction is eliminated, as is the employers’ deduction for transportation benefits, like Metrocards.
The most deliberately partisan item in the TCJA is a $10,000 cap on deductions of state and local taxes (they have historically been fully deductible). This is a calculated effort to pressure blue states to reduce spending. And funding at the state level primarily goes to education, healthcare and the social safety net. The original proposal eliminated deductions of state and local taxes altogether. Although the $10,000 limit on deductions is better than nothing, the reduction of this deduction is a calculated effort to cause citizens of high-tax states (read: blue states) to pressure their legislatures to cut spending on healthcare, education and social programs, since they will no longer get the Federal tax break on all of it.
Until 2018, taxpayers could deduct all of their state and local taxes, in aggregate (meaning state income tax, plus local property tax, city tax, etc). The impact of this limit will be felt most acutely by high-earning people (who pay substantial state income tax) in areas with additional city taxes (like New York) or with high property taxes (like the New York and New Jersey suburbs).
It is a Federal reach into states’ rights to set their own tax priorities. I think citizenship includes caring for our society and promoting community values through, yes, taxes. So when I see an underhanded tactic to strike at states whose citizens of their own right choose to value education and the social safety net, I feel compelled to call it out. The $10,000 cap was added back to the bill as a concession to blue-state Republicans, because any citizen of a blue state whose Republican member of Congress voted for this bill will be rightfully furious.
Some people in these states rushed to prepay their property taxes in 2017. There’s dispute among tax professionals about what will happen – the audits and court cases will tell us in time. But most professionals think that you’re not going to get away with itemizing your 2018 pre-paid taxes this year unless your state or locality actually assessed the tax. You can check with your local department of revenue to see when the assessments happen. If you just guesstimated, you are likely out of luck. Many people will still try, and those are the audits I’ll be curious about.
Another thing to look out for is withholding from your paycheck. The IRS has yet to issue wage withholding guidance based on the new law, so many taxpayers will end up owing money even though their taxes went down. The issue at hand is that since your taxes may be going up or down in 2018, your withholding will have to adjust with it if you want to prevent a big surprise on next year’s tax bill. You cannot rely on the withholding you have currently, since it is based on personal exemptions and itemized deductions that are now gone. When IRS guidance is issued – likely this February – it will be very important to check with your employer and adjust your withholding on a new W4.
But there’s some good news for pass-through businesses—businesses that do not pay corporate-level income tax, such as partnerships, S-corporations and sole proprietorships – and yes, artists and freelancers filing a Schedule C are included here. There is a new Deduction for Qualified Business Income (QBI) (which expires in 2026), that allows you to deduct 20% of your “qualified business income” from your total business income. So if I made $100,000 in profit from selling paintings as an artist, I get to deduct 20% of that – ie, $20,000. This benefit is phased out for individuals making over $157,500 ($315,000 if married) in a number of service-based fields* As good as it is (and it is!) there are a ton of details and restrictions in this particular new provision, so know that you need to do research or talk to your accountant before you apply it.
Another major outcome of the TCJA is the elimination of the individual mandate penalty for not having health insurance. Interestingly, Congress simply set the penalty to zero, rather than repeal the mandate altogether. So the legal structure remains. Note however, that this doesn’t take effect until 2019. So even for 2018, you still need to have health insurance each month to avoid the $695 per family member (or 2.5% of income) penalty. Despite the Trump administration’s efforts, the IRS is still enforcing this provision.
* Those fields that will be phased out are: “Health, law, accounting, actuarial science, performing arts, consulting, athletics, financial services, brokerage services, including investing and investment management, trading, or dealing in securities, partnership interests, or commodities, and any trade or business where the principal asset of such trade or business is the reputation or skill of one or more of its employees [hello artists!].” Oddly enough, engineers and architects are specifically omitted from that list (they must have a good lobbyist).
DISCLAIMER: True tax advice is a two-way conversation, and your accountant needs to hear your full situation to apply the rules correctly in your case. This post is meant for general information only. Please don’t act on this alone.
Installation view, Maryam Hoseini, Of Strangers and Parrots, Rachel Uffner Gallery
On this episode of Explain Me we discuss a disastrous curator conference at SVA titled “Curatorial Activism and the Politics of Shock”, the Miami art fairs, and three shows— “Talon Rouge: Six Mexican Artists Revisit José Juan Tablada and His New York Circle” at PROXYCO, “Johnny Abrahams: Threnody” at The Hole and “Molly Zuckerman-Hartung: Learning Artist” and “Maryam Hoseini Of Strangers and Parrots” at Rachel Uffner.
Links and show images mentioned in the discussion below:
New Funny Original Donald Trump Song- Clown Version - YouTube
It’s a miserable day in American history. Republicans have passed a bill that will give corporations and wealthy millionaires massive tax cuts while reducing the services for virtually everyone else. They’ve included enrichment provisions that will benefit the president and senators who have been on the fence, and by lying to the American people. Previously, we’ve had presidents who wouldn’t condone, let alone encourage such actions. But this year, we have Donald Trump in office, a pathological liar, narcissist and mentally unstable dotard intent on leading us off a cliff. Naturally, he’s happy to sign a bill that benefits only him and his rich colleagues.
It’s time Donald Trump resigned. We have yet to see what will make this happen, but I hope artist Rachel Mason‘s video “Time to Resign” plays a part in making that happen. In this video she plays Future Clown, a character that can change the future. The character takes over Trump and splices together his words to produce a resignation speech. It’s the speech we all need and want to hear. Plus, it’s kinda catchy—useful for days like today.
Rachel Mason is an artist has interviewed and corresponded with some of the world’s most well known leaders, created busts in their likeness and performances and operas inspired by world events. She is the resistance.
Billy Grant’s art practice is expansive. He works in virtually every medium from painting, drawing and collage to sculpture, video, and performance. He collaborates constantly—his best known collaborative effort with the Virginia based art collective Dearraindrop which ran from 2001 to 2009. (Grant was one of three members of the group that included his sister Laura Grant and their friend Joe Grillo, and had originally been part of the collective Paperrad, in Boston.) In short, he is a force.
And that force was on full display earlier this year when he displayed a new body of paintings, in his two-person show with the sculptor and installation artist, Rich Porter at Safe Gallery. Grant brought his characteristic exuberance and obsessive attention to detail in a series of maximalist monochromes, which are created by attaching a paintbrush to the end of a drill. And we’ll experience it again January 19th, when his work is again on view, this time at Real Estate Gallery in a group show curated by Joe Bradley and Jeremy Willis.
This past week, I had a chance to sit down with Billy and discuss his childhood as an arsonist, how Dearraindrop evolved into a collective, his dedication to bizarre and unusual ways to make paintings, and why he’ll never be an abstractionist. I got right to it. Irena Jurek: So, you used to be a pyromaniac, and you nearly burned your neighbor’s house down?
Billy Grant: Well, just the garage! I put a smoke bomb in the neighbor’s trash, over the fence, by jumping on a trampoline, and I guess a chlorine bottle caught on fire. Just as the trashcan was starting to smoke, Joe Grillo arrived with my sister, Laura, who he was dating at the time. He and Laura tried to put the fire out, but it did not work.
IJ: So that was the first time you met Joe?
BG: Yes, it was. Shortly after that, my mother came home, and I told her that I needed some lemonade, to put the fire out. She called the fire department, because I had gone through a long pyro phase, and I think that she wanted to teach me a lesson. The house did catch on fire as well, and the trashcan became a melted puddle of plastic. I was only ten at the time and that event changed my whole life.
IJ: How did you decide to form Dearraindrop with Joe and Laura? Would you say it happened organically?
BG: We already made art together prior to Dearraindrop. It happened because we started having shows.
IJ: How would you say your work changes when you work in a collective as opposed to working on your own?
BG: I think that in the collective I have the freedom to be more confusing, and there’s a certain amount of feeding off of everyone else’s ideas. When I work alone, my ideas are based on ideas that I have always been interested in.
IJ: Your own ideas do seem very personal and based off of your own experiences. In your show at Safe Gallery, you painted your mother’s house, various memories, and animals.
BG: For that show I wanted to work with simple ideas. By reducing the colors and the composition, I allowed the material essence of the drill marks to take over the image. I was thinking about putting the material before the idea; similar to how you can look at a sand castle and think about the properties of sand. I wanted the paintings’ subject matter to be containers for this material, in which I filled the containers up with some kind of obsessive-compulsive gas.
IJ: That’s a really unusual way to think about making a painting. What’s curious about your new paintings is the process in which you make them by actually attaching a paintbrush to a drill.
BG: That process was the part that I highlighted the most in making these paintings. I also wasn’t making a solo show, and I took into consideration being that I was part of a two-person show. I created an extension or a simplified version of what I usually do.
IJ: Your paintings for this show do look more like objects, which in a way reiterates the physicality of Rich Porter’s sculptures.
BG: That was intentional. By making the paintings seem more like objects I wanted to creat a dialogue between Rich’s work and my work.
IJ: When did you first start making the drill paintings?
BG: I started painting with a drill about 5 years ago. I was experimenting with a lot of different ways to make a painting, and I was really interested in new tools for making work. It seemed to spring from my habit of trying to make the junk I collect somehow
useful. I often create reconfigurations of my junk, which I then usually just deconstruct or throw away.
IJ: These paintings are really animated, too. You achieved a sense of movement by combining the handmade with the machine.
BG: Yes, it seems like a recording of a drawing, because it’s a really simplified way of painting. I didn’t need to load the brush with a lot of different colors.
IJ: Most of them are monochromes or two-tone paintings, with a simple flat black or other one-color backdrop.
BG: I was trying to amplify the effects that I achieved when I made these paintings in the past. Simplifying them made them more succinct.
IJ: There’s also a time-based aspect that’s created by combining the handmade with the machine. Looking at the swirling motions of the paintbrush, I’m very cognizant of the record of time embedded in these paintings.
BG: Definitely. It reads as the movements of the brush against the canvas, which in a way structures a sense of time.
IJ: There’s also something very playful and irreverent about your process.
BG: Yes, I like to have my character come through in things I make. I couldn’t just make them straight up abstract, time-based paintings. I prefer to work in expressive art forms that encapsulate aspects of my personality, and I approach most things with a sense of humor.
Michael Dotson, Curves, Installation view, NUDASHANK
Attention Baltimore artists and organizers! Art F City is compiling our second city-specific zine archiving defunct artist spaces. For our first edition, we focused on Washington DC, and for our second we’ll be focusing on Baltimore. That means if you’ve run an art space in the Baltimore area that is no longer in operation, we want to hear from you. We want your story and your space in our zine. So fill out our survey, put together some pictures (300 dpi is best if you have it) and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org by January 15th. The full call below.
Look around the sanitized streets of any contemporary city, and there’s a secret, often subversive history at risk of being forgotten. What’s now the nanny’s room in Brownstone Brooklyn might’ve been a tiny gallery in a riotous punk house. An American Apparel could have once been home to a cooperatively-run storefront space. And undoubtedly, those renovated loft condos once housed artists’ exhibition and studio spaces. Our cities are elephant graveyards of generations’ of artist’s aspirations and hard work made temporarily tangible. We ought to remember the artist-run space.
Art F City is pleased to announce We Are SO Not Getting the Security Deposit Back: a Guide to Defunct Artist-Run Spaces, a series of zines and e-books documenting the often-forgotten places where art making and viewing once happened. We’ll be releasing editions specific to cities such as New York, Baltimore, Chicago, and beyond, but welcome submissions from anywhere. If you were once a proprietor of a now-defunct artist-run space, or know someone who was, drop us a line. Whether your blood, sweat, and tears are barely dry or have long ago been whitewashed over, we want to hear your story.
Submit answers to the questions below to email@example.com
Name of the space:
Where was the space located? (Example: an old auto body shop 1234 W. Fake Street, Sample, NY that had holes in the roof but great acoustics) How many times did you move?
How did the space come to be? Who was involved in the founding and operation, and why did you decide to start the venue?
What were some of the improvements/changes you made to the space, and about how much sweat equity and money would you estimate you spent? (i.e we spent 2 weeks building/demolishing walls, installing soundproofing for $2,000, etc.)
How long was the space in operation and what where the dates? (i.e. three years, 2005-2008)
How did the space function financially? (example: we rented studio/living space to other artists, we charged cover for events, we used a membership model, we were a 501c3 that received grant funding, we were an LLC that could pay our rent with art sales, etc…)
What did your neighbors think of the space?
What types of programming did you put on and how frequently?(i.e. visual art exhibitions on a monthly basis, noise music shows on the weekends, DIY theater a few times a year, etc)
What types of support (or not) did you receive from the local government or larger institutions? (invitations to collaborate with museums of nonprofits, grant funding from ___ organization, promotion, leniency in regards to zoning code, etc.. from the city government)
Did the goals of the space change as time passed? (ie: the space shifted from an exhibition space to a performance space.)
What was your most memorable show?
Was burnout ever an issue for those involved?
Why did the space close?
What was your biggest takeaway from the project?
What is the location now? (example: our former storefront is now a Dunkin Donuts and the apartments above are now condos)
Are you still working on this, or a related project? (The space reincarnated in a new location/name, we’re working with a different collective, etc…)
What’s the weirdest interaction you had with your landlord?
The Museum of Human Achievement’s Trump Babies. Image via: Leslie Moody Castr
In this episode of Explain Me William Powhida and Paddy Johnson talk about the 450 million dollar Leonardo Da Vinci of disputed authenticity and the Boyle Heights activists who follow artist Laura Owen’s from L.A. to New York to protest her non-profit 365 Mission while she visited The Whitney. Activists believe the presence of her gallery will lead to displacement. Additionally, we discuss the exhibitions listed below.