Sunday, May 19, 2013

the crap show we call art.........

Warning!  
A rant is coming and it isn't for the faint of heart.  

Spending most of my Spring on the road and neglecting my usual Spring activities I've had the opportunity to see LOTS of pottery, art and exhibits.  Still in the full "art" pilgrimage mode, we started Friday night at the Lakeland May Show.  There were a few stand out pieces; Michael Romanik's "Oriole and Poplar" was drop dead gorgeous!  Loved Diana Bjel's pieces; "Horse" and "Coca Cola Virgin".  Loved Anthony Mitri's "Corn"!  If I had $5,000 I would have bought it but then I just heard somebody in Zephyrhills, Florida won over half a BILLION dollars and alas, I live in Paine Falls, Ohio.  Nuts!  Loved Bette Drake's; "Bowl" too.   Why did I love these pieces?  They were extremely well made and they had integrity!  There were over 400 pieces juried for this show, I believe 80+ were juried in.  I saw the rooms, yes rooms of "ART".   As my dear friend observed recently; "I wouldn't hit a running dog in the ass with that work!"  Don't tell me it's subjective either.  Crap is Crap!  I may put that on bumper sticker or tattoo it on my forehead.  If you're going to claim you make "ART" make it well, make it with integrity.  Maybe we need a juror just for 3 dimensional work?  Dunno........ 

Left the May Show and worked our way over to 78th Street Studios........ First stop Tregoning Gallery. Interesting show, a few wanders, wouldn't call it packed.  We got a glass of wine and toured the exhibit.  Did not rock my world but was well executed.  I had a chance to talk to Mr Tregoning, lovely man.  We were introduced via the bartender; a chatty guy as any bartender should be and asked if we were artists.  Nope, a potter, whence enters Mr MP and asked; what does one need to do to show work in the gallery.  Ok, he is director of operations in the world of construction and he not one to beat around the bush.  If you do beat around the bush in the world of construction it can cost millions and sometimes billions.  So lay it out there and I do love that...... but wait this is my world!  And this is just not done!  One makes an appointment and follows up!  But again...... alas, the door was flung open I was in, up to my neck.  The very nice man asked what I did.  I responded Ceramic Art, I knew pottery was not going to fly.  He rolled his head back, looking skyward and said:  DECORATIVE ART IS DEAD, I NEVER TOUCH IT!  Well OKEY DOKEY...... moving on as I never pick up dog poop either.  Note to self, GOT IT!  Then I was given a lecture on;  Cleveland is now the hot bed of the art world and hundreds, yes, hundreds of artists are moving back to Cleveland because there are so many venues to show work.  Well knock me over and show me the door boyfriend, I believe I have my big girl panties on backwards and I will leave you your illusions.  But, Hey, you are clearly making a living off your gallery so party on, without me!   

I had had enough and looked for Mr. MP who was just pouring another glass of wine and having a lovely chat with the bartender...... still.  I walked over and said I've had a lovely chat and was now educated on the Cleveland art scene and I was ready to retreat to Paine Fall and my flock of chickens.  
He gulped his wine, saying telling the bartender;  Wow, tell this guy he missed a great opportunity.  And that is why I love him as he carries his pom pom's everywhere and right out there where you can see them....... and he is my biggest fan!  

We walked out and into the studio scene of W78th.  We wandered through studio after studio looking for something, anything that screamed;  'I AM ART!"   We returned home to watch Harry Potter and drink bourbon out of my Will Swanson shino yunomi.  I rolled it in my hands and relished the weight, the glaze, the caress of the edge on my lip, the finished bottom....... swoon and gulp!  

I worked in the studio all day yesterday and rolled this stuff around in my head.  I keep thinking I am getting old because my work takes so long to complete but NO!  I strive to make every piece like Will Swanson's yunomi.  Pieces with integrity, well made, make me go weak in the knees and that takes a long time.  I will spend a day carving one teapot, yeah I know I'm not going to make much money on that teapot but when it's done I gonna be happy!  The weaving is going to compliment the pot or it gets hammered.  

Is taking this much time worth the effort?  Maybe I'm the idiot and should just start slapping stuff out with quirky names to make a living.  Maybe it's time to go back to functional and just get stuff out there.  

After Boston, I know the paradigm has shifted in our world of shows and fine craft.  Can I afford an expensive show and take a loss or is there a better way to present functional art and non functional art? Stuff well made that makes you swoon and gulp!   

so again......... Crap is Crap and beauty is not in the eye of the beholder!   
Yup, the emperor is wearing new clothes ........ again! 

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey girlfriend...you need to let the poop fall where it may and make what you like, not what makes your mother feel good about you, or god help you, what makes beret-wearing Jean-Paul in Gallery FlimFlam stop in his tracks.

Sandy miller said...

Well you get an A-wo-men from me on that one ..... However just make sure it's well made and is executed superbly :)

Allen Kradlak said...

Thank you, for your unvarnished appraisal of the May show and 78th street studios. I have a piece in the show at Lakeland and a room full of ceramics at 78th street. I smiled when I reread the warning at the top of the post. Harsh and direct the way a rant should be. Hopefully my bruised ego will recover. I agree that Diana Bjel's stuff is amazing. Love your work and enjoy reading this blog.

Sandy miller said...

Hey Allen! Thanks for taking the time to post your thoughts. As with every show there are things I love and pieces I just scratch my head over. I rolled this around all weekend and thought does this need to be out there? I'm thinking, Yes. Art schools are cranking out grads fast furious, much like 'ART' is made (not all but a fair amount) is it ok to spend 4 or 5 years teaching theory and not get around to execution? Do I want to buy your therapy?

I got Jim Triner's, "Infinite Love". Not so much, "Jaguar Scone" or "Diablo"........

That said; Mary Urbas deserves a round of applause for taking on such a show, it is daunting the amount of work juried. I did walk around and take notes before the program and shockingly I supported three of the jurors awards. There was quality work in the show but Yikes there was quite a bit that could have been left behind.

Johnson House Herbs & Art said...

Kudos, oh brave one! Your assessment of "crap is crap" is a true one. Your work does leave one with weak knees, I assure you. And photography suffers much the same indignities here in the northeastern Ohio area. Our art community of galleries is full of arrogant wannabees that make a living off other artists, but never manage to create their own art unless they are producing crap under the pretense of calling it art. I've been accused of perfectionism and mediocrity in my work. Like you, I want to create images that make one swoon or sob or somehow have a life-changing experience when viewed. I don't make any money, but I have been know to profoundly affect an occassional person viewing my work. You will be able to stand before The Great Potter and say you gave it your utmost for the talent with which He blessed you.

Johnson House Herbs & Art said...

Your estimation of "crap is crap" is dead on. You truly are one whose art leaves one weak in the knees. I am sick of the arrogance of many galleries in the northeastern Ohio area who promote junk under the pretense of calling it art and put down anyone who points out that the pretenders are what they are, crap. Photography suffers much the same indignity in this area. I don't make any money at what I do. I, too, desire to create images that will leave viewer weak in the knees or somehow change their world for the better. I'm tired of viewing people's personal demons and expecting me to pay money for their torment. I still intend to stand my ground for perfectionism and quality. You are not alone in the quest for high caliber art work. Loved your rant!

Tracey Broome said...

Ugh, I don't even know where to start to comment here, so I will just say ugh!
My other pet peeve that I could rant on for days are the shows around here with the same clay artists every single time, I know so many great potters that are rarely in most of the shows the galleries in NC put on for clay. It's a blog post I keep putting off, cuz it might get ugly!
Rant on, girl!
Xo

Sandy miller said...

Well I guess I hit a nerve because I just came in from the garden and my mailbox is pretty full; some good, some offended. Whatever floats your boat as long as you keep it on your side of the lake :)
Ya know when I was plugging away at this craft years ago I remember thinking; I just wanna make a mug, a good mug. Today; I just wanna make a mug a good mug......... if somebody else likes it, great.

Oh and I know this little rant probably got me banned from more then a few venues, thought about that before I hit the publish the key.

I think there should be a side out rotate on jurors for all shows!

Maybe we need a blog ranting camping trip :) LOL!

Sandy miller said...

Well I guess I hit a nerve because I just came in from the garden and my mailbox is pretty full; some good, some offended. Whatever floats your boat as long as you keep it on your side of the lake :)
Ya know when I was plugging away at this craft years ago I remember thinking; I just wanna make a mug, a good mug. Today; I just wanna make a mug a good mug......... if somebody else likes it, great.

Oh and I know this little rant probably got me banned from more then a few venues, thought about that before I hit the publish the key.

I think there should be a side out rotate on jurors for all shows!

Maybe we need a blog ranting camping trip :) LOL!

Murr Brewster said...

I'm living on a street in what is now called the Alberta Arts District and we have street fairs once a month in which people can set up card tables and arrange their crap on it. My husband and I walked through a particularly bleak section of this without a word, and when we got in an open stretch he said "THIS is what you get when you tell young Heather how wonderful her artwork is all her life."