Thursday, May 21, 2009

ms. pink line

Hoogrrl was in the WaPo this morning, and is quite possibly shopping at Target right now. Read all about it here.

Her advice about the D.C. art world: Show up for things. Sounds good to me.


Blogger Unknown said...

I love Philippa but this is bunkum: "My theory is the more you show up to stuff, the more comfortable you become, and people start recognizing you," Hughes says. "You become a part of the scene."

Yes, look at art. But personally, I can't think of anything more horrid than being a part of the scene. If you want to look at and think about art, look at and think about art. If you want a scene... bleh. Art is valid on its own absence the party/opening/scene BS. Artists deserve that.

4:49 PM  
Blogger jhcudlin said...

Well, I guess that depends on what we're calling a scene, and what purpose that entity serves.

I think if you're going to be an artist, or a curator, you need a peer group--not so you can pal around with them and feel validated, but so that you have an environment in which various creative types are jostling with one another, exchanging ideas, and competing. As a curator or an artist, I want as many opportunities to interact with people whose work I admire--and in whose future production I'm interested in--as possible.

So openings, art parties, whatever, to my mind can serve the purpose of giving you a chance to see who your peers are in a low-pressure social situation--not in a studio visit, or a crit, or an interview or whatever. And that's useful.

But hanging around art, listening to a DJ, just for the sake of it, or to soak up the atmosphere, I can take or leave...and attending a function with hundreds of yelling, drinking people is obviously a terrible, terrible way to see art.

And since I get the sense that you just want to see the art, I understand why you're saying this.

I will add one final note: Lots of artists I know are socially challenged, if not completely dysfunctional. Let's not begrudge people who spend most of their time in a funny little room that smells like solvent, by themselves, tearing their hair out as they fuss over eccentric objects, the chance to feel like maybe, possibly they have normal social lives. ;)

5:34 PM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

I've had more than one person tell me they hate schmoozing, they think meeting people is fake, they don't want to be part of a scene. I understand what they're saying. I am congenitally predisposed to staying at home and never seeing any human beings to whom I'm not directly related by DNA.

But I'd say getting out and seeing art and meeting artists and curators and gallerinas and whatnot is actually helpful -- schmoozing in the positive sense. Not that you should attempt to make friends with people you don't like, or should be nice under false pretenses. But you will, by going to openings and galleries and purposely talking to people, you will meet people with whom you connect. And those can be good connections, good friendships.

Personally I've found I do more art -- can't say if it's my best or not but more -- when I'm in a studio with other people. Just having other people who know when I show up or not makes me show up more often. I had a studio in my bedroom for years. I averaged a painting a year, maybe two. I got a studio and started putting out two or three paintings a day even though I had to commute to get to it.

Then again, gallerist Valerie McKenzie once said that she tells her artists not to go to galleries. Go to the studio, go out to eat, hang out, but don't bother going to galleries.

9:44 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

My broader point is that the work is important, not the scene. It is with the work that it is most important to engage, rather than the scene. We owe that to the artists.

10:17 AM  
Blogger jhcudlin said...

Well, I have to disagree. I think openings would be so much better if we could get rid of the art and replace it with something fun--jello wrestling, maybe.

I'm also thinking about ending the AAC's exhibitions program and converting us into a karaoke bar.

Oh, and from now on, this blog is about monster trucks. Vroom!

10:35 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...


I just hate the scene because I think it actively discourages engagement with the work. I'm a crusty old crank, I know.

11:13 AM  
Blogger jhcudlin said...

I hear you. Stay crusty!

11:23 AM  
Blogger jhcudlin said...

>Personally I've found I do more art -- can't say if it's my best or not but more -- when I'm in a studio with other people. Just having other people who know when I show up or not makes me show up more often.

Boy, do I second this. Having other people around & making their art makes me feel flat-out bad about myself.

I think all artists need the occasional low-self-esteem kick in the teeth to make them produce.

My best work comes from deadlines and fear of inadequacy. The rest of my studio time is mostly divided up between fussy indecisiveness and absently listening to music.

3:13 PM  

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