Call to Arms, an open letter from Paul Klein

June 4, 2007 · Print This Article

Art Protest

The City Council is on the verge of passing an ordinance that is bad for Chicago, bad for its citizens and particularly bad for the art community.

We have proposed an alternative ordinance that will not be considered unless you act.  We are the following groups: Bad at Sports, the Chicago Artists Coalition, Lumpen, Sharkforum, ArtLetter and others to be named soon.

Short Story:

Mayor Daley and the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) have proposed a terrible ordinance to modify the Public Art Program.  The stated reason makes no sense: that the meetings were open to the public was cumbersome and unnecessary in their judgment.  That the previous ordinance existed for 25 years and that the City has an exemplary art collection they deemed irrelevant.

  • It “privatizes” the the selection of public art by eliminating all Open Meetings.
  • It means the DCA does not have to post thorough information on their website about upcoming commissions.
  • It will remove transparency and accessibility from the Public Art program and  art commissions.
  • It eliminates voting, democracy and public recourse.

Unless the art community acts the City Council will approve their proposed ordinanceon the 13th of June.  The best way to prevent this from happening is for artists to

stage a large rally at 5:30 PM Monday, June 11th at the Picasso Sculpture

and a letter writing campaign to make the Mayor and the Aldermen aware of what Chicago artists think and want.

Full Story:

  • Visualize 100’s of Chicago artists rallying around a single cause – Artists’ Rights.
  • Have you ever read about a large group of artists speaking out publicly with one voice?
  • Think about the media coverage.
  • To a large extent the events of the next ten days stand to significantly affect the future of Chicago artists (and Chicago galleries that care about their
    Chicago artists).

Here’s the deal:

In mid-May at the request of the Commissioner of Cultural Affairs (Lois Weisberg), Mayor Daley proposed an ordinance to revamp the Public Art Program. 
This proposed ordinance is bad government, bad for Chicagoans and particularly bad for the Chicago art community and artists.

Shortly after the ordinance sailed through committee (despite us “winning” the discussion) a few of us succeeded in having the measure postponed by the City

WELL, the issue is coming back up for a City Council vote on June 13th.  We’ve spoken to a number of aldermen.  Most aldermen think: If the artists don’t care, we don’t care.

It is possible to change the system and it is not going to be easy. 

It is time to step up or get stepped on.

As an artist or a member of the art community in Chicago, or elsewhere, if you ever want to able to apply for a commission, or give a damn about your peers
being able to, now is the time to act:

  • Appear at a RALLY FOR ARTISTS’ RIGHTS on the Monday the 11th at 5:30 at the Picasso
    – 2 days before the City Council meets to vote on the 13th.
  • Write letters to the Tribune & Sun Times editorial page.
  • Write a letter to the Mayor
  • Write a letter to your alderman. Speak to your alderman.
  • Speak in favor of Our New (alternative) Ordinance supporting Artist’s Rights
  • Send an email to me or a member of our team telling us what you think. We’ll count them, print them and share them where they’ll hopefully make a difference.
  • Under the pretense of streamlining the selection process, the DCA’s proposed ordinance means the DCA does not have to have “open meetings” to give or get any information to artists about upcoming commissions, nor answer to anyone about selected commissions.
  • They do not have to put information on their website anymore (they’ve been doing a horrible job putting out information so far.)
  • They do not have to allow artists to apply for specific projects.
  • They do not have to respond to the community.
  • They do not have to be responsible for their actions.
  • They do get to keep their inbred selection process whereby they dip into their archaic database, pick whoever they want, sometimes repeatedly, and not have to tell artists why or how they chose or choose.
    If you are going to write a letter, here are some key points.
  • No fair, honest or open consideration of Chicago artists
  • No Open Meetings.
  • No useful listings of commission possibilities
  • No applying for a specific commission
  • No knowing why you weren’t considered
  • Under their proposed new ordinance, the finger-pointing will shift from the DCA to the aldermen because alderman will be asked to have ward forums to discuss art commissions in their ward. This will be an added logistical and financial responsibility for the alderman they may not want.  The aldermen will be responsible to post notice of the forums (many don’t have web sites). They will have to pay for postage out of their own pockets. They will have to host and attend art meetings in their wards. They will have to put up with the potential for dividing their community over art issues. These selfish reasons may be sufficient reason aldermen will defeat this ordinance June 13th – if they are informed.
  • If the aldermen think you care, you will be heard.
  • If the aldermen don’t think you care they will automatically vote with the Mayor and pass this ordinance assuring a closed doors, patronage system where those who are favored will get the most commissions.  It will not be based on quality, or a competent committee considering your work.  Instead of a democracy we’ll have the Department of Cultural Affairs acting like a country club, picking who they want, why they want, without opening up the selection process and broadening the amount of art they can consider.
  • The artists suffer.  The City suffers. The community suffers. The DCA gets a free ride.
  • Think about Chicago’s reputation in the rest of the country.
  • We are already being discussed by National Public Art Administrators
    • We will be a topic of discussion at the National Public Art Conference in Las Vegas.
    • Is this going to look good for Chicago in the rest of the country?
  • How about internationally?
  • How about the Olympics?
    • Every Olympics has a large Cultural Olympics held concurrently.
    • Do you think the Olympic Committee is going to be favorably impressed with this ordinance?
  • You and the Olympics
    • Hidden in the bowels of their ordinance is a distinction between Percent for Art and Public Art. The DCA has succeeded in keeping this totally vague. All Percent for Art (a specific term) is part of Public Art (a general term).  Only the Percent for Art must have public forums.(Percent for Art applies to money spent in City government buildings and land.  But Public Art also includes money for art not for city property yet still administered by DCA – like housing to be constructed for Olympic athletes – which could be billions of dollars.) Can you say cronyism?
    • Well get this: According to their proposed ordinance they only have to have forums (namby-pamby discussions with not binding authority and no vote) with Percent for Art. Okay, but for Public Art they don’t even have to have any forums at all.
  • Who do you think they are trying to take care of?
  • Actions speak louder than words.

Paul KleinDo
you understand why the Mayor doesn’t care about you – the Chicago artist? Or why the Alderman don’t, or the rest of the world for that matter?  Because you haven’t made yourself seen and you haven’t made yourself heard enough.

It is time again to assume responsibility for your career, to take a stance.

Can you visualize the impact just 500 artists showing up at a rally could have globally?

Do you realize the publicity Chicago artists can get?

Do you grasp the impact the discussion of this ordinance will have?

You can either shape your future constructively or get screwed.

It is up to you.
Paul Klein

219 Responses to “Call to Arms, an open letter from Paul Klein”

  1. johncurrin Says:

    What a waste of time

    Get over yourself.

  2. […] To The People Wow. With all that’s going on in Chicago, the less than enthusiastic reactions to both of the TCA State Artists of the Year and the events […]

  3. […] As posted on Bad at Sports […]

  4. John, how long do you, John, let the system do it to you before you stand up and say “enough?” If a sufficient number of us feel that what Cultural Affairs is doing is too much in the wrong direction we can alter the situation that you have to endure. Of course it’s easier for us to stay home and do nothing. I don’t think this is a waste of time. It is part of a process with lots of possibilities – many we can’t even imagine. Odds are we lose the first round; but what happens if we have sufficient mass that we get written up in the international press? What if a dozen Chicago artists get written up in the London Times and end up making sales overseas? You could help make that more likely. See you Monday. Paul

  5. Paul,

    I have a baby doctor appointment in the afternoon, but if I can be there, I’ll be there!


  6. Paul -did you see he Kimmelman article on Richard Serra NYTimes? I love the category Serra creates for all contemporary art involved with Duchamp -“post Pop Surrealism”……I’m guessing he is thinking of hacks like, in fact precisely, John Currin –

    -why bother responding to some anonymous dolt who would want to identify himself via this creator of laissez faire dreck?

  7. Mr. Currin– Fuck You.

  8. Mr Currin more likely than not = one Erik Weasel

  9. or the same kind of pussy…..

  10. Bad at Sports Says:

    Attack John Currin all you want, however lets not make personal attacks on people other than anonymous schmucks on our blog please!

  11. johncurrin Says:

    Josef Goebbels would be proud of the work Paul Klein is doing demogaging this issue.

    If you are a student of the ““If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it” school of information dissemination you would get an A+.

    Will Leni Riefenstahl be there to film this monumental event on Monday ?

    Given there have been all of ten posts on this, some by the same failures (Tony F.), I do not think police barricades will be necessary to contain the crowd.

  12. johncurrin Says:

    Sorry Tony, you are of the wrong gender for me to engage in intercourse so you can put your tube of KY back in your pocket.

    But your use of the language speaks volumes about why you were run out of Chicago and had to grub around New York to eeek out a living.

  13. Currin -little creeps like you are so easily dispensed with -all that is required, are the facts -cockroach repellant for an insect like yourself.

    Tony Fitz run out of town? hmmm….. funny -I saw him at his studio up on Damen Avenue just yesterday, finishing a drawing collage for Steve Earls new cd, and then there was that wonderful not to mention substantial piece he wrote for the Chicago Tribune last month…….

    eeeek out a living: lets see: Tony’s last show in Brooklyn….24 drawing collages…..sold out the day after the show opened…..beautiful write up in the NYTimes…..anyone who knows Tony, is aware that each new piece he makes, hangs on his studio wall for about half a day at best- before its sold -and its Tony who decides whether or not it is sold to someone here, or elsewhere-

    the last dealer Tony had in Chicago? Rhona Hoffman -he dumped her.

    What is it with these retarded attacks on Tony and me? I have asked this question before of other idiots on other occaisons but, is there some group of the mentally challenged who get together and think this shit up -or did you manage to come up with this all by yourself? Seriously, is this the best you can do? pathetic.

    wrong gender? how about wrong species?

  14. Such idiotic, childish, kiss-ass comments as those by “JC” above should be simply deleted by BAS, I feel. He doesn’t even have the guts to sign his own, or even a very creative, name and then gets vicious about someone else wanting something “digusting” like open information in a Democracy, oh how threatening — what a creep, with a rather limited ability to write English as well. And then spurious Nazi similes, by which you can see how little he actually knows of history. Pretty clearly a “nice” private school lad.

    JC — try to get a brain and some real courage in place of your cowardly whining from the shadows.

    Good luck to you all. Get going! I can’t fly all the way in, but I’ll be there in spirit and try to help get the word out.

  15. I was interviewed about Public Art on The Wizard, WZRD yesterday for 20 minutes. (click on the note)

    The interviewer, Effie Mihopoulos, was nice enough to get me a copy, which I’ve uploaded with her permission.

    It’s a pretty good discussion, with lots of starting points for further conversations, but I sure talk fast.


  16. excuse me guys…. while I go back to my studio and eek out my meager living : )

  17. is it just me or does ‘Justin Chin’ and ‘John Currin’ seem lit by the same 20 watt bulb?

  18. John Currin Says:

    Oh wow, a CD cover ? Will the next commission be to design the new Capri Sun Juice Box label ?

    As for the ability to write “English”, I have always been told that the use of profanity is a sign of a limited vocabulary, so you should look at the man in the mirror.

    And sorry if my private school education and references to other propagandists in history went over your head, in future posts I will keep it to your art-school level education.

    And how ironic that in a discussion about freedom and transparency, there is a sentence about censoring the posts of a poster you disagree with ?

    “comments as those by “JC” above should be simply deleted by BAS, I feel”

  19. I did’nt want to delete your posts Mr. Currin — you have every right to be an asshole in whatever forum you choose– to quote you: ‘Get over yourself’. i find it ironic that a guy with so many trenchantly held opinions hides behind a fake name.

  20. In fact, Mr Currin, my address here is 2124 n. Damen– the door is open , if you’d like to express your dislike to me face-to-face… what do you say hard-guy?.. would you like a shot at the title?

  21. So, JC — it appears I nailed you on the private school thing — I thought your nearly inchoate phrasing seemed rather SAIC. And my education in several universities is NOT “art school.” I really laughed at “over your head.” Your references are known to everyone on earth, you cretan, the only head it may have gone over is yours, except that you apparently don’t have a head, unless it is “where the sun doesn’t shine.”

    Your puerile endeavour to insult has an attempt at logic that would infuriate third graders, who generally are much more sophisticated than your own “cerebral” capacities I’m certain. People calling for open discusion and democratic institutions are equal to fascist propagandists? Try an think that over, if indeed you can do such a thing.

    I did not feel your opinion should be deleted, just your posts because, frankly, they are so incredibly imbecile, and so amazingly inerudite as to be embarrassing. You are only humiliating yourself and thereby casting aspersions on all artists. Which is most likely the reason why you didn’t use your real name, as most dim-witted cowards are wont to do. Perhaps you should change your pseudonym to “Asinus maximus.”

  22. Bad at Sports Says:

    Seriously folks, I’ll take the fucking blog down if it is going to degenerate to name calling. I will not get in the business of removing posts and crap like that. I know most of you personally and you know me to say what I mean and mean what I say and hope you have enough decency to abide my wishes on this. TAKE THE PERSONAL ATTACK SHIT OUTSIDE. Exchange phone numbers, set up a fight by the flag pole whatever you need to do, but don’t do it here.



  23. Richard -there is a simple way to solve this problem: all the personal stuff begins with a few cowards using pseudonymns -why not just identify Currin if you know who he is -and in the future develop more stringent policies for inclusion on the blog- along with insisting that people only be allowed to post who are known entities-

    -if you were to expose Currin here and now, your problem would be solved.

  24. Currin… I’m sure you also think its no big deal that MOMA just acquired one of Tony’s drawing collages, and that glowing Roberta Smith NYTimes -main review…more eeeking out a living right?

    as for language….shall we start by quoting both Michael Phillips of the Tribune and Hedy Weiss (Sun Times) -discussing Tony’s brilliance on stage in Mary Zimmerman’s Secret in the Wings -or in Stud Terkels Race -both mounted by Lookingglass and both, of which he starred in? Or how about the simple fact that Tony has more big screen credits than any other actor currently in Chicago…..

    anyone who actually knows Tony Fitzpatrick is aware of how formidable, well read and just flat out smart and eruidite this guy is.

    if you are so smart or such a tough guy, why not prove to us all you aren’t simply cyber garbage -lets see you take Tony up on his offer-

  25. johncurrin Says:

    Thank you “Bad at Sports”, for calling out the ones that have not anything of substance to say except for profanity and name-calling. In as much as I have done neither, I will take it that your slap on the wrist is not directed at me.

    At any rate, such use of the language and the anger by Brandl, Tony, Shark, et. al. is giving your board a bad name, or is it living up to it ? I take it Bad at Sports is an attempt to glorify what was an embarrassing phase of life for young men that were, in fact, bad at sports as young men.

    Knowing how cruel children can be, the psychological scars of always being the last one picked for teams in gym class, or throwing a ball “like a girl”, etc. have indelibly and permanently scarred the Brandls, Tonys and Sharks of the world, they find solace as an adult by their use of big words and tough language to compensate for their shortcomings as real men. You should really seek some professional help. In the meantime you should continue to post as an outlet for the years of repressed anger and humiliation you must have suffered for being bad at sports as a lad.

    I, for one, hope that those who perform the moderating duties for this site do not, in any way, censor Brandl, Tony and Shark posted comments.

    In my opinion, they exhibit a wealth of symptoms common in a manic-depressive personality and, in this type of personality disorder, the patient desperately needs a harmless outlet in which to vent his or her radically shifting emotions.

    For them to be summarily denied this outlet would, no doubt, lead to their acting out these potentially harmful, erratically changing moods in the real world and could very well result in them causing harm to others and/or to themselves.

    The minimal cost to those who visit this site, of tolerating the less than lucid ramblings Brandl, Tony and Shark posts, is, I believe, well worth the benefits, those being a reduced potential of them having a critical episode among others, thus risking the real possibility of harmful consequences.

    As the condition Brandl, Tony and Shark is suffering from is rarely treatable without the patient’s co-operation and compliance with standard treatment regimens, something I suspect they would not be willing to accept as in their best interest, the better alternative is to continue humor them and hope that, at some time in the future, they will recognize their abnormal condition and seek professional assistance.

    And no Tony, there would be no sense of accomplishment in engaging in the pugilistic arts against a guy that looks like he is one bratwurst away from a coronary. Even though you have been in New York that did not change your last name to Soprano. Stick to designing matchbook covers.

    And Brandl, you can return the thesaurus to the library – stealing Reference copies of the collection is illegal. I hope you did not get a paper – cut on while leafing through it, it could impair your love-life. But your ‘Rosie Palm” should be well calloused by now anyway – well, the two fingers that YOU would need anyway.

    Finally, regarding the rally, I hope that you have all the necessary permits, insurance and approvals from the authorities. It would be a shame for something catastrophic to happen and all the groups and individuals stirring up this fire and brimstone rally become personally and severally liable. It would take the commissions from a host of milk carton covers and fine-print credits in B-movies to cover subsequent damage and injury claims.


    free from obscurity and easy to understand; the comprehensibility of clear expression [syn: clarity] [ant: unclearness, abstruseness] 
    2.  a lucid state of mind; not confused 

    -just to point out to Mr Currin -it is he who seems confused; I for one have answered his ad hominen attacks on Tony, with simple, clear facts -which of course he like any heckler, chooses to ignore….like for instance, the fact that calling what Tony is doing as ‘eeeking’ out a living ….or your ‘b’ movie comment…why generalize like someone who doesn’t understand even the basic idea of critical thinking in argument?…unless maybe you just don’t. Here let me help you: what movie are you discussing…. Jonathan Demme’s Philadelphia? Or Normal lives with Jessica Lange…..or perhaps US Marshalls with Tommy Lee Jones….is that what you are referring to? what planet are you from Currin? Your comments intended only as insults, could hardly be anymore incoherrent or, factually wrong and, completely off base.

    -there is no point in arguing with you -from your pseudo psycho-babble of your most recent post to your initial posting equating Paul Kleins idea of a small art demonstration to Nuremburg…its clear that it is you Currin, doing the playing without enough marbles…

    and last, knowing the people at BAS, the rather close relationship they have with both Tony, and Mark and to a somewhat lesser extent with me (I do not work with them as both Tony and Mark do), I think your notion that you are being supported in your cowardly and small minded-not to mention feeble and pathetic attempt at mudslinging, is wishful thinking at best on your part. You, are either completely disengenuous or, sincerely deluded.

  27. You know Currin……you seem to really have a thing about Tony: are you some kind of deranged fan or something? You seem to know all about him…

    -reading your posts, I feel bad for Tony. You would think that mere chance would drum up a better, higher quality enemy for him than you……can’t you at least focus, and try for even just one, half-witted attack giving some slight evidence of thought or simple intelligence?

  28. Sorry Richard– I’ll try to behave. …. I think I’ll go have lunch— maybe a brat.

  29. johncurrin Says:

    Hmmmmm….what a coincidence. “The Shark” posts at 10:08, Tony posts at 10:09.

    Either this board is being sock-puppetted by one schizophrenic person or the Shark rolled over and gave Tony a loving tap on the shoulder to bring this post to his attention as they shared a late breakfast in bed.

    Nevertheless, calling me interested in any form or fashion about the career Tony F. has on the periphery of the arts is like the pot calling the kettle black, considering the fact you feel compelled to defend him so vociferously at every turn.

    Unless there is a “special” relationship between you two.

  30. so now you are using this blog to post your sexual fantasies on….nice -I seemed to have touched a raw nerve Currin….whats with this hard-on you have for Tony?…..what? Did your hero not pay enough attention to you at some opening? So now you’ve turned against him?

    -I’m still waiting for some form of attack that doesn’t sound like it was written by a snotty 8th grader -can you manage?

  31. John Currin, I asked you a question after your initial post and you haven’t responded. I want to know how much abuse by those in power you personally would have to endure before you spoke out and sought to rectify the situation. Please answer that question. For me, that threshold has been crossed when those purporting to be arts administrators seek to limit the rights of those they are supposed to serve. How about you?

    And also, I see no reason for you to be posting here whatsoever. I don’t get that you are interested in art. To me, it seems that you are solely interested in game playing and I acknowledge that you are rather good at it. My suspicion is that you work for the Department of Cultural Affairs, that you know the artists are correct, that you are personally threatened, that you cannot constructively or cogently argue against the artists’ position so you take cheap, pot shots instead. If you think me wrong, please tell me why you are posting here.

    Thank you.

  32. 500 in cash to the person who tells me ‘John Currin’s’ real identity– and can prove it.

  33. John Currin Says:

    Paul, one may ask how you administered 2MM in public money in when purhasing art at McCormick ? What was your open process ? How did you get appointed to that position ? Tell the truth.

    As for Tony’s offer of a reward, that is a lot of windmaster sign boards to design. And given the history of some posters here to welch on paying off challenges, I do not think you will get many takers.

  34. ….kidding…. kind of.

  35. John, I have no problem answering your questions. But let’s take these in chronological order. You go first. I asked you two questions. Answer those & I gladly answer you two. Paul

  36. Oh give me a breakl JC, the delusionary mind here is yours. Those words which apparently you find too scholarly or something, are mine, in my head; perhaps they are too much in discussion with the likes of you, but I AM a “scholar” as well as an artist (and completing a diss and learning Latin at the moment – so maybe too much of that bleeds over inadvertently) — but don’t worry, I type so poorly that I usually screw up my posts anyway! — however, you seem to assume that anyone other than you is uneducated, and yet scream the minute someone’s vocabulary challenges you. — While your own posts are so cliched and poorly thought out that I am amazed that you find yourself to be so intelligent — even to the point of preaching!

    It is not my fault if you have to use a dictionary to read other posts. I’ll try to remember to make it more elementary for your reading enjoyment.

    Richard, this is decidedly NOT mere name calling, no matter how vicious the terminolgy becomes. In my case, I feel it necessary to call out a clearly self-aggrandizing, egomaniacal middlebrow for what HE is. Read between the lines: he simply hates Klein and Tony F, thus me because I have sided with them, and is trying to couch that in rather sophomoric attempts at pop-psychology.

    There is not even one infinitesimal iota of logic, or even simple clear-thinking in any of JC’s vicious ramblings. So the slap on the wrist is simply a slap on the face of a coward (hidden behind a pseudonym), one too self-obsessed to realize it.

    Once again, I must ask: “Since when are people calling for open discussion in democratic institutions equal to fascist propagandists?”

  37. By the way, I’m sorry to admit to Richard, Duncan, Amanda and Chris, that I never was bad at sports — I’m sorry! I was okay, sometimes even good.

    Am I “out” as a foreign correspondent? And Tony F was positively GOOD at sports — darn. There go the Damen Ave and Central Euro bureaus!

    Now should we seak therapy for that?

  38. John Currin accuses us of Gestapo tactics for challenging Chicago’s PUBLIC Art Department whose Deputy Commissioner states:

    “Public art is a gift to the public from the government.”

    “We’re the ones who have been working day in and day out with this process. We’re the ones who are most aware of its issues and we’re in the best position to determine how to address them.”

    the “public is not well served by a vote”

    I see fascist, elitist proclivities John, but not on our side. We care about open and honest dialogue and access to information for Chicago’s artists and public. We stand with the Better Government Association. We use our real names and stand up for what we believe in. We don’t hide behind a pseudonym or make policy in a vacuum.

    What do you stand for?

  39. mike kaysen Says:

    In the words of one half of the founding members of BAS, “For shame, for shame”.

    It seems to me that this is one of those times when we should put aside our petty personal/aesthetic differences and try to find a bit of common ground on which to stand. The common ground at this time being that, once again, we have “king richard” (daley) and his court doing what “they think is best for us”; that just-so-happening to be exactly what is good for them.

    City Hall is taking these actions without debate and with very little input; not very democratic at all. If they truly wanted to make things better, cityhall would find out how they could improve things, make more details available, increase access (within reason, of course).

    Instead, they work in the cover of dark, behind close doors in smoke-filled rooms and they make things less open and less useful.

    “jcurrin” shame on you. I can see that your intent is to cause a dustup with the sharkforum/Klein camp. In good fun, maybe I could enjoy the exchange because, hey, lets face it, sometimes it IS funny. There is that voyeuristic appeal; like looking at an arrest or a car wreck. Truth be told though, I am VERY bored by that whole thing and am of the opinion that, at this point, the “Shark-baiting” is doing far more harm to our community than it is providing even fair entertainment value.

    There is a time and place for that sort of shenanigans and this is a really BAD time and place. You succeeded only in clouding the waters with that turd of a post and derailing the point of this entire issue; that being that our government is attempting to hijack a PUBLIC process and shield themselves from responsibility and accountabilty. This should be unacceptable to the ENTIRE public, not only artists!!! After all, it is their money too. Instead, no one hears about it and the action goes forward without coverage and debate. Can you say “rubber stamp”??

    Shame the rest of you for rising so easily to the bait and continuing the schoolyard-level exchange. What could have been an interesting and fruitful discussion devolves into the usual backbiting and drivel; “I’m bigger than you, so there” (tongue). I know I have said it before but, until we can get past this sort of crap, we will continue to be a weak community, inside and outside of the city.

    The end result is what? You have allowed the discussion of a rather important issue to be hijacked and obfuscated into non-existence, embarrassed our community in the very public realm of the internet and succeeded in pissing off our good friend Richard.

    Again, for shame, for shame ……….

    Now, go back to your respective classrooms and write 100 times “I am sorry for acting like a simple tool and will try to CONTRIBUTE to the community in a responsible manner in the future.”

    I expect to see you all at the rally …….


  40. Excellent comment Mike Kaysen!

    And again, good luck and good rally!

  41. Excuse me Mike, but I take issue with several comments you make: first of all, there is no Klein/sharkforum camp -I will do for you precisely what I did for ‘johncurrin’ and that is, point out simple facts to you: sharkforum was created by Dave Roth and myself when Paul Klein kicked me off of artletter -namely because I called him out on his disasterous and ill fated absconding with and then ultimately ruining of an idea that was Tony Fitz’s and mine -CAF- I agree with Paul on some issues -and completely disagree with him on a whole lot of other issues.

    Even given that johncurrin seems interested primarily in going after -not me but Tony, I agree with you, the sharkbaiting stuff is stupid -and really unfortunate in its distraction, considering that what I post is usually substantive -and always done by the not very bright who are rarely if ever capable of any kind actual argument or sustained discussion…I’m afraid the sport is always mine if you actually read what is written and how easily dispensed with these fools invariably are-

    Perhaps my error is in having grown too fond of whatever small pleasure there is to be found in taking down these plebians -one at a time.

    I will also point out to you that I consistently try to keep and return topics to being on point -and please note in terms of community, that I have been at times almost the single voice in Chicago talking about the ongoing hegemony of the institutionalites -as epitomized in the new BAS cure for insomniacs -Gerber/Grabner….trying to make Chicagoans aware that these hackneyed, stale academic aesthetics -are over -basically everywhere but apparently, here.

    btw -a perfect antidote for the Grabner/Gerber tedium is any of a number of articles/interviews out right now concerning Richard Serra. I for one think his description and dismissal of all Duchamp based aesthetics being practiced today (questions of authorship, context, etc) as “post Pop Surrealism” -is perfect.

    As for the demonstration tmw -this is one issue where I do agree with Paul and Tony -THOUGH! there is much that does need overhauling in the city arts program…the bureaucracy does need to be done away with -and, not everything needs to be or should be public. I say let them revamp things- not everything they are attempting to do is bad! -but give us some imput as to how that happens. We should argue for a good website that allows artist to know of pending commissions -with specificity,-and has an overview of activity within the program -and, a public meeting quarterly.

  42. I concur, with Currin. Klein has alternative motives. His present career is directly associated with Chicago public art program. He should share the process he used when purchasing art for the McCormick Place expansion. Hell, he should make public his cut.

  43. The notion that I have an alternative (or even ulterior) motive is interesting, but wrong. When I read in the Tribune last month that Department of Public Art Commissioner Lois Weisberg would be retiring soon I made no secret about being interested in her job, even though I didn’t think I stood much of a chance of getting it. Then the DCA came up with this proposed ordinance that I think is insulting to Chicago artists and public and embarrassing to the City. Choosing to help organize a rally to focus on the folly of the Department of Cultural Affairs doesn’t likely help me get Ms. Weisberg’s job. I am obviously taking a strong stance on public art and I think it is an important issue. I hope we get a lot of attention. Some of that attention may or may not be good for me personally. That’s life. I’m okay with that. I stand up for what I believe in. I put it out there and then see what happens. I don’t think that constitutes an ulterior motive.

  44. Shortly before I closed my gallery in the Spring of 2004 I received a phone call from one of the McCormick West architects asking me for the names of art consultants who might be able to handle the job of placing art in the 2,000,000 square foot expansion. I gave them the names of 4 art consultants I respected and then asked that my name be added to the list.

    I think my first interview was in July 2004, a 2nd a month or so later and a 3rd in October. I was selected in November of 2004. My recollection is that before the 2nd interview I was told that the Art Review Committee felt “compromised” by the expense account they’d provided for the previous building’s art program because of the cost of shipping art, and that maybe I should shop locally. In my 2nd interview I suggested that McCormick interact more with the City and its artists, that they use solely Illinois and Chicago art (McCormick is a combined city and state entity), that because of scale all artwork be commissioned and for marketing and branding reasons all content be about Illinois and/or Chicago.

    I was told the total art budget would be two million dollars, that my fee would come out of that and that there would be sizable expenditures necessary for infrastructure changes to accommodate the art.

    I believe 8 to 10 individuals were considered. We were instructed to name our fee and that the fee would cover all expenses for shipping, travel etc. I’d heard that at least one person said they wanted $300,000. I calculated my expenses at $30,000. Because I really wanted the job I asked for $200,000.

    Two of us were selected as finalists. There was a 3rd interview and then a vote. I heard the results were exceptionally close.

    I wouldn’t say that my art selection process was Open with a large “O.” I’d say it was semi-open. It was not a Percent for Art program. I reported to a committee. The committee made their selections based on my recommendations. McCormick is not a building that is open to the public the same way a library is and does not serve a neighborhood. It is national and international in its focus.

    Having been an art dealer in Chicago for over 20 years I know a lot of Chicago artists. And I wanted more input. I put out a call for artists. I asked every gallery in the city to nominate artists and send images. I went to the Department of Cultural Affairs and asked if I could go through their database. I spent 4 days in their database looking at slides, getting addresses, writing down names and sending letters. I asked scores of collectors who focus on art by Chicagoans to suggest artists. I reached out to the arts groups in communities physically close to McCormick and asked them for suggestions. And I asked artists directly.

    In total I had about 500 Illinois and Chicago artists submit images and information. From that pool I sought to have a high level of quality representing a range of mature and young artists, with an array of media, styles, aesthetics, ethnicities, age, gender and points of view.

    I narrowed the pool down to 75 artists with the intent of getting to approximately 25. I presented the 75 artists to the Art Review Committee for their input. They responded to each and every artist. I listened and took notes. They commented about things I hadn’t considered. They had valuable pragmatic input.

    I removed some people from the 75 and added a few others. I was looking for a balanced, diversified selection that met their criteria. I began a balancing act of assigning specific locations to individual artists and asking artists for ideas of the type of art they might like to make for the situation. And I calculated how much money should be spent on those specific individuals.

    I concluded that 50 works of art (some – mostly photographers – have more than one piece) by 30 artists would be right. For my presentation for the committee to make selections I had 35 artists with the intent of their selecting 30. They selected 30 of my top 31. One artist subsequently chose not to accept a commission so another artist was added.

    Over 1.4 million dollars was spent on art. The remaining portion was spent on electrical (wiring and lighting), drywall modifications, art storage, installation, signage plaques, miscellaneous small expenses and my $200,000 fee.

    Most of the art has been installed. The building opens this summer. McCormick was great to work with. The architects designed the building with art in mind and created large areas for it to energize the concourses. Because everything was commissioned there is a lot of very large art all the way up to a painting 10 x 100 feet and single photographic works as large as 16 x 10 feet and 6 x 28 feet. There is more painting than anything, 5 photographers, 4 or 5 new media electronic works and a couple of sculptures, though they don’t sit on the floor. Every art installation is accompanied by wall plaques that have explanatory text which was written and/or approved by the artists. The art is accessible and is Illinois or Chicago content specific. I gave the artists huge lists of possible subjects that are on the Chicago Public Library website and let them choose their own content. They were not confined to the list. They chose their own content. Subjects are all over the place: The Columbian Exposition. Lake Michigan, the Chicago River, endangered or extinct Illinois animals, the northern migration, Bronzeville, Chicago jazz and blues, Chicago industry and commerce, the L, Nelson Algren’s book “Chicago: City on the make,” the Loop, Chicago architecture and more.

    The artists included are Nick Cave, William Conger, Susanne Doremus, Dzine, Ken Fandell, Doug Fogelson, Scott Fortino. Kariann Fuqua, Diana Guerrero-Macia, Marc Hauser, Michiko Itatani, Preston Jackson, Cheonae Kim, Vera Klement, Evan Lewis, Robert McCauley, Patrick Miceli, Herbert Migdoll, Jason Peot, John Phillips, Sabrina Raaf, Dan Ramirez, Jason Salavon, Lincoln Schatz, Paul Sierra, Peter Stanfield, Bob Thall, Pala Townsend, Bernard Williams and Mary Lou Zelazny.

    I am very proud of the artists and art at the McCormick Place West Expansion. I hope you get to see it.

  45. The issue isn’t really who specifically is doing the curating/selecting for the city or DCA, it’s about keeping the process open, transparent, and answerable in a meaningful way to the public (the public is the buyer not the recipient of a gift — it’s public dollars being spent to buy the art and pay the curators, etc.) — the people holding the jobs will change. DCA can find other ways to improve efficiency that don’t take away meaningful opportunity for public participation, including posting more tailored calls for artists designed to streamline what they are considering for particular projects.

  46. johncurrin Says:

    Paul took a great deal of column inches to basically say that the City of Chicago, Department of Cultural Affairs should “do as I say, not as I do”.

    Where were the open meetings, the minutes, the notices, the Requests for Proposals, etc. ?

    Sounds like someone pocketed $200K and was able to distribute goodies to all of his friends.

    Good for goose, good for gander ?

  47. John, you seem intent on missing the oblivious. McCormick is NOT a public building. There was a McCormick Art Review Committee. Half the ten members were appointed by the governor – the other half by the Mayor. I reported to them. With them we created a selection process. They participated in and approved the selection process we came up with. Do you understand? The people appointed by the Governor and the Mayor approved.

    Art for Public Buildings is a different story and should engage the Public. It’s pretty simple John. If you are buying art for your house, you don’t need to get the public involved. If you are buying art for the corner of your block you do. Essentially, I was commissioning art for McCormick’s house.

    I have a lot more than 30 friends, John. There were a lot of people who received McCormick commissions that I’d never met and some I’d never heard of before. There are a 1000 artists I count as friends who did not receive a commission.

    I’m pretty certain you actually do understand John but just prefer to be annoying. I asked you a question 45 posts ago and you haven’t yet answered. In fact, you haven’t yet said anything constructivem at all. Talk about a waste of time!

    What’s most important is to focus on the horrendous policy put forth by the Department of Cultural Affairs and not be further distracted by the antics of someone who enjoys getting attention for being a nuisance.

  48. “…someone who enjoys getting attention for being a nuisance.” And who is too craven to sign his real name and, moreover, clearly not very perspicacious. (Look it up buffoon.)

    AND answer a question or two, if you dare.

  49. johncurrin Says:

    Funny, I did not think a message board that is read by apparently 4 or 5 regulars was a proving ground for a doctoral diss defense.

    Anyone who has watched the old “Leave it to Beaver” televison program would remember Ward’s use of the word perspicacious (actually it was perspicacity) in reference to Fred Rutherford, so I would not give myself an arm cramp patting myself on the back for using this particular multi-syllabic word. Try again.

    At any rate, Mc Cormick is very much a public building. But keep telling the “big lie”.

  50. Was that the guy who played Lumpy?

  51. johncurrin

  52. johncurrin Says:

    Fred Rutherford = Clarence “Lumpy” Rutherford’s father.

    He (Fred) was an obnoxious, overbearing, grandiloquent, pompous, pontifical, self-absorbed, jerk.

    Maybe that is the connection between our resident wordsmith and his use of this particular word. Life DOES imitate art !

    However, something tells me this Brandl fellow is, with his insistence on typing with his dictionary by his side, overcompensating for something.

    Kinda like the 50 year old guy that buys the red corvette or the phallic-ly challenged (size-wise) male who does not quite m who drives a big honkin’ SUV.

  53. yawn

  54. johncurrin Says:

    I am not surprised that something over your head would bore you.

  55. Oh yes, I’m sure that’s quite so Mr. Currin. I’m not very smart.


  56. johncurrin Says:

    We are often bored with what we do not understand.

  57. If you say so.

  58. I don’t know how you all see it, but when it comes to the children, Wu-Tang is for the children. We teach the children. Puffy is good, but Wu-Tang is the best. I want you all to know that this is ODB, and I love you all, peace.

  59. JC —- yawn yawn yawn. Get a life. Then you can stop projecting all your childish, thick-witted sexual fantasies onto others. Seek therapy for your strange half-baked, babbling and perverted imagination.

  60. John Currin Says:

    Hmmmm, the lady doth protest too much methinks……

  61. Look how fixated — the coward can’t let anyone use her/his words against her. Why that might actually resemble an ability to think.

    I have tried to follow the advice of Proverbs, “Argue with a fool, lest he feel wise in his folly.” But now I shall give up; it is simply mean to debate with the mentally deficient.

    To put it in the style of word usage for which the cowardly JC seems to keep clamoring, those on her/his level:

    “You are, like, stupid, bitch (or dude), get it? And a sicko scaredy-cat too. So I quit.”

    Let’s have real discussion here again.

  62. Have we lost the ability to have an argument without calling each other expletive based names? C’mon ladies and gents pull it together. Beat each other up with argument instead of the sad base sniping.


  63. Richard –

    I agree with you, but how can you have a civil arguement with a troll? I use the term in it’s internet usage – an individual, almost always posting under the protection of a pseudonym, who seems to have the singular goal of creating disagreement.

    This individual has demonstrated an unwillingness, or an inability, to engage any real debate in a meaningful way. The ad hominem attacks, refusal to respond with specificity to any remark which serves to rebut their statement, suggesting small penis size and the like. Come on – it’s just cowardly and childish.

    Are you defending the poster, or the principle?

  64. John Currin Says:

    At this point, to use the churlish vernacular of the wise Sage Mr. Brandl – eat feces and die.

    The ordinance has passed.

    All of you can cry in your beer.

    Good triumphs over evil.

    And yes, the opposition has been truly noted and will be remembered.

    My work is done here.

    I will leave you to go back to the circle-jerk that usually defines the discussions here.

  65. Thanks for playing. Shame on us for caring about accountability.

    I honestly can’t imagine how good has triumphed over evil.

    Somehow I don’t imagine you expounding on that.

    Funny how you’d likely be more cogent and accountable if you didn’t hide behind a pseudonym.

  66. David,

    My position is neutral, I am defending no one. I don’t want this forum to turn into some that consists only of name calling and baiting. I’d like to keep the anonymous posting option available but won’t be able to if people keep posting under the names of others, and if the discussion devolves to pointless stupidity. So, once again, because it didn’t work the last five times, I am asking the people who use this service, that we produce, at our own expense, for no reward, to be respectful enough to not act like assholes while in our house so-to-speak.


  67. OK, as a part of the BAS staff, I’ve had about enough. I was a forum administrator for 3 years and I have seen about a million yahoos like johncurrin. Let me tell you everything you need to know about johncurrin.

    Paul, JC does not work for the DOC. He is 17 and lives with his parents. He posts to about 50 forums a day under 20 names. He’s been blacklisted from another 20 sites and just moves onto a new one with a new handle name. See how short his posts are? The johncurrin nut jobs of this planet get the greatest satisfaction by seeing how many and how lengthy a response they can get with as few words as possible. They don’t even read the response, they just come up with something new to get a rise out of people. 99.9% of the time they make gay inferences.

    Trust me, everyone, this guy is a dime-a-dozen-forum loser. FOR YOUR OWN SANITY JUST IGNORE JACKASS POSTS. I PROMISE THERE WILL BE OTHERS, AND THERE WILL BE MORE POSTS. But the more you respond, the more they stick around, and they more they are ignored, the more they go away.

    Remember, no one ever reads the blog a month after it’s posted. We could yank down the archives of comments and no one would notice, so don’t worry if someone says something crappy about you and you don’t respond. No one is reading it. Forums are not for posterity.

    All my love,


  68. johncurrin Says:

    The vote was 39-11 on the side of right, Katie my self righteous board operator. If it will not matter in 6 months, I might add, what difference does it make whether or not you find it on the internet?

    Anyway, I must go now, I have 49 other sites to post to yet today and another 19 nom de plumes to create. But first I must finish my milk and cookies, after all, a growing boy needs his nourishment.

  69. I haven’t commented much on this particular issue -and though I support Tony in particular and do agree that there is a need for transparency and for some public in public art, I also feel a certain degree of ambivalence about all of this -hence my declining to speak the other day at Daley Plaza. Probably my attitude is self serving in the sense that I know I have been blacklisted by the little fiefdom that runs things down at the Cultural Center for years- (not that I really care-I mean, I think Bill er… William Congers work looks fabulous and couldn’t be more appropriately seen than festooning the walls of the Cabrini Green Police Station – I just don’t happen to think its…….ME!) so none of this really concerns me. And also, I understand from people whose knowledge on this particular issue I respect, people who have been involved on selection committees, how overwhelming the bureaucracy has become.

    Having said this, Mr Currin, for the sake only of argument, why do you think that ‘right’ prevailed today?….I’m just wanting to hear your reasoning behind all the vitriol- why you believe what you believe- I think in articulating your position, you would do everyone, yourself included, a favor.

  70. John Currin Says:

    It is pretty straightforward:

    I read the ordinance and read the opposition communiques and was puzzled because the opposition points did not address the ordinance. The ordinance increases public input in the process.

  71. -through our respective aldermen, yea, I took note of that as well -though given your average artist’s basic complacency, I wonder how well it will all work…….I thought a quarterly open meeting -and a revamped, comprehensive website might be far less cumbersome way of doing business, more fluid/viral hence effective…also it would allow for much flexibility in the messiness of decision making posting information but sparing all, or at least some of the gory details…-not everything should be public!…what about when the conversation is about rejecting an artist? -does anyone want that out there for mass consumption?

    I’m a big proponent of creating more infrastructure for the art world here via cyberspace…I really think that doing so is the key to giving Chicago the international presence you would think it would have…a way to make our local doings available to the world -like they do in NYC -via more traditional media- I urge the city to embrace the idea of helping to create the most cyber-forward looking art scene anywhere- we have the perfect situation here to implement such a solution.

  72. You’ve got me there, I have yet to read the ordinance. And me an f-ing lawyer.

    Is there a link?

  73. I’d like to hear someone explain how the McCormick Place isn’t a public building.

    If you read the history of McCormick Place ( ) you will learn that from the outset, the building has been financed and refinanced many times, with public bonds and public monies, including this one: earmarks of “$4.8 million a year in cigarette taxes”

    Smoke ’em if you got ’em! But first, tell me how this building isn’t public property?

  74. John Currin Says:

    Paul Klein, we await your response to G. Russo.

  75. We’ve got two issues here that warrant a response.

    The ordinance which just passed City Council just might increase public participation. It says there will be two forums. One needs to understand the difference between a “forum” and a “meeting.” Meetings have to have notices posted about their timing, and have to have minutes. This gives the public the ability to see a record of what transpired and a means of holding the committee responsible. A forum is a discussion with no vote, no minutes and no ability to scrutinize what went on. As such, though public involvement may be increased, the public loses all the “power” it formerly had. (Richard, here is a link to the ordinances:

    Secondly, I agree that McCormick is a public building, paid for with taxpayer dollars. However, it is rarely, if ever, open to the public. It exists for those attending a convention. In my mind the goals for the art in McCormick are different than the goals for art in a public location. McCormick was created by an act of the State government. The art in McCormick is not a percent for art and they didn’t have to include any. The MPEA board chose to include art because it augments the building. Essentially, the public won’t get to see the art in McCormick as much as I would like. How much I don’t know yet. Yet one million convention attendees per year will. It seems appropriate to me that the art selected for inclusion there conforms to the wishes of those who own the building – that would be the Metropolitan Pier and Exhibition Authority (MPEA). I was hired as an art consultant to provide suggestions to an Art Review Committee. That committee made the selections. That committee reported to the MPEA Board in a public meeting, with minutes, etc.

    Conversely, when art is placed in a building that is open to the public, or exists outdoors in a public place, the wishes of those that use the building or see the art outdoors in a public place, or live in that neighborhood should be considered. And their opinion should count.

  76. John Currin Says:



  77. Thank you John. I accept your apology.

  78. Pardon us for jumping in here, but how exactly do these two statements square with each other?

    “McCormick is NOT a public building.” – Paul Klein – Jun 11th, 2007 at 10:58 am

    “Secondly, I agree that McCormick is a public building, paid for with taxpayer dollars.” – Paul Klein – Jun 14th, 2007 at 6:24 pm

    Maybe the “In my mind” qualifier following the latter statement provides the wiggle room here, but that seems a bit shaky as a foundation for coherent discussion.

  79. Well, they sure don’t appear to square very well.

    in the first statement, I was focusing on the fact that the building isn’t “public” because the public doesn’t have unrestricted access.

    In the second I agreed that the building is public because it is paid for by taxpayer dollars.

    I do think there should be a relationship between how a building (or public space) is used, who has access to it and how it impacts the neighborhood it exists in and who should have input and a say in the art that goes there.

    Regardless, if the project is paid for with taxpayer dollars the public should be entitled to review and pass judgment on how their money was spent. This review process can take various forms depending on the nature of the project. Two that come to mind are an independent review panel appointed to protect the public interest or a public meeting where the public can participate in and/or observe the decision making process

    The new ordinance provides for neither of those two.

    I apologize for the confusion and will try to be more clear.

  80. Who does MPEA get their authority from? “The Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA) is a municipal corporation created by the Illinois General Assembly. Its Board of Directors is appointed by the Governor of Illinois and the Mayor of Chicago.” They may ‘own’ the building, but it still sounds public to me.

    If your argument is that “when art is placed in a building that is open to the public, or exists outdoors in a public place, the wishes of those that use the building or see the art outdoors in a public place, or live in that neighborhood should be considered. And their opinion should count” you should have framed your Call to Arms around the public having say over art they are going to see in the public spaces they frequent, as opposed to giving artists a say in the process. This whole argument against the council resolution is without a line of consistent reasoning.

    I’m for transparent democracy, but I am also against bureacracy. And public art can’t be any more transparent, since it is public. If you don’t like the art they buy and install, vote for someone else.

  81. G. Russo, – There were at least 2 main points in objection to the new ordinance.

    1. was that there should be transparency. The public should have a say. It needn’t be overbearing but the public should have recourse. With the new ordinance the public is powerless.

    2. artists should have thorough information about upcoming commissions – and an extension is that artists should be able to apply for a specific commission and not just have to submit their images to a database from which the DCA would choose. With the new ordinance this is up to the discretion of the department and I’m cautiously optimistic.

    I don’t believe there was anyone who suggested artists should have a say in the selection process, though they have heretofore served on the Public Art Committee which passed final judgment on who got a commission. There is no longer such a committee. All decision making resides with the Department of Cultural Affairs.

  82. Just a side-note, rather non-partisan, but many of these arguements are starting to mirror the conservative beef against the NEA.

    The salient question, I believe (not discounting the value of gov’t. transparency and accountability) is this:

    When taxpayer dollars are being spent on art, what is the most fair process in the selection of that art?

    To my way of weighing it there are 3 main groups in question:

    1. The taxpayers
    2. Those who will see the art
    3. The artists

    I’m not being snide, but I really want to know – should all artists have the right to apply for these commissions? It’s a genuine question, and not meant to be leading.

    As an artist I’m inclined to say yes, but as a fan of efficient government and a patron of the arts (who feels pretty strongly that there have been some AWFUL choices in both pieces and placements) I wonder.

    THIS, I think, is where the rubber meets the road. It’s not about Paul, and whether or not his interest in this matter is personal, public or some hybrid. I’m willing to bet that he’d agree, and those of you out there who want to attack this issue by tearing down Klein are missing the point, IMO.

    I’d like to see this question argued – what is the method which gets the best art selected, thus supporting those artists who really need the support and by extension enriching the public environs?

  83. A side note on the meaning of “public,” which has been pretty much covered perhaps – there’s a difference between public access and public funding.

    The problem with this whole thing is that, any way you slice it, you must end up with a smallish group of elites who are left to make the call. In the end someone’s getting picked last for the kick-ball team.

  84. One of the interesting things about the McCormick Place situation is the jury; I understand Greg Knight was on that jury -but that it mostly consisted of businessmen who knew nothing about art. Which, goes a long way in explaining why the three largest commissions went to a. the Brittany Spears of the Chicago Art World -aka ‘Dzine’….to b. Bill Conger and, c. Dan Ramierez -and though the later two are obviously a cut above the Peter Max meets Judy Legerwood ripped off speciousness of Dzine, nonetheless, the work is all pretty corporate ‘office art’ looking stuff…..

    when I saw the contract, dolling out payments in these idiotic, small, increments -only, when condition after condition were met, (stretcher bar built, inspected 1,500.00, canvas attached to support 500.00 -etc!) with -specifically concerning me the addendum -that I keep my work ‘uplifting’, I felt bad for the other artists involved who couldn’t afford to do what I did -which was to crumple the thing up and toss it in the trash.

  85. btw -thanks Currin for finally getting on point with some specifics…. a way more interesting discussion happening now in part due to your doing so-

  86. The Shark’s slamming of the artists chosen for the McCormick Place prove that selecting art with public monies or for public consumption is a difficult task, which is why I feel the DCA did this and Daley supprted it. Doing so by committee, whether composed of business or art people, will undoubtedly end up with either the blandest, middle of the road shit; or the most popular, less challenging work. I’d rather have a few professionals, namely the DCA, chose the work.

    If people don’t like the work they choose, or for that matter the process, vote for someone else. Hell, just vote. Less than one third of the city voted last election, I think that gives Daley a free ticket to do whatever the hell he wants.

    I’ll take Roth’s question: “what is the method which gets the best art selected, thus supporting those artists who really need the support and by extension enriching the public environs?”

    I don’t feel public work should be used mainly as some sort of welfare support for artists. Roth might be generalizing, but if we used these commissions primarily as a means of support we’d have no Picasso, Calder, and many other big names that make our city’s public art so great.

  87. Picasso sucks

  88. Russo -actually we are on the periphery of an even more interesting topic -with even larger societal implications: how have we gone from things like the Picasso -or looking back a few centuries -Jacques Louise David -or, Gericault….or, Michaelangelo……how have we gone from substantive and bold to innocuous and bland eye candy/office/corporate art that seems to be all we as a society can tolerate in public spaces?…..and why is that? -its certainly not true in other mediums -film for instance…

    -it was interestng when I did the Aon Tower -the art committee was young and fairly sophisticated -they wanted the work I do with figuration -which I did for them along with some completely non-objective biomorphic forms..(they all thought I was mad to make backup work….at first that is!)….needless to say after a few hysterical secretaries and clerks screamed 9/11!…the non-objective went up…..funny I just sold one the initial figurative paintings I did for them this week -its headed to LA, now the Aon people (-particularly I hear, the founders of the company) love my paintings…..I wonder if they even are aware they got the lesser works?

  89. Before critiquing artwork it is usually a good idea to see it.

  90. Excuse me Paul, I am all too familiar with the work of which I speak, having seen numerous examples of the work of each artist I mention over a period of years, even decades-

    Hopefully, some of the photography and smaller scale paintings (which includes some excellent artists) will redeem the dreary, corporate safeness and sameness, and/or specious eye candy of the large scale painting chosen.

  91. G. Russo –

    For the record, I don’t think public art should be a device to provide welfare for artists. My point is that some artists are WAY more deserving of support than others.

    I think my question remains, coupled with Wesley’s – we have become pretty ignorant and intollerant as a culture.

    Oh, and “May” – thanks for th incisive observation. Did you get a toy with that Happy Meal?

  92. I disagree, our culture has always been intolerant, and I would argue it is even less so. It took Janet Jackson’s tit to make people rethink, for a moment at least, what indecency is. As for painting, sculpture, et al, I might agree we have become slightly less daring, but I don’t think that is dependent upon taste. The Picasso was panned when it was unveiled; Cloud Gate less so. Granted, Cloud Gate is ‘interactive’ and a lot more ‘fun’, but it is an easy target for the conservatives to question why the public is paying or allowing a giant glob of mercury to sit in a park. it was critiqued to this end in small amounts, but overall, was quickly accepted. Same with Crown Fountain and the Gehry bandshell. I already anticipate Shark’s response, that all these works are shit, blah blah blah. But that is taste.

  93. Nor do I think we have become any more ignorant that we already were. Just different tastes.

  94. G Russo …huh? -what are you talking about?…….I think Gehry is daring and, terrific -in fact what we should ask ourselves is why the MCA wasn’t designed by him -as he was one of the competitors- if you know anything about Gehry, you would know how deeply influenced by painting he is -and as a matter of fact -he is very much part of the whole Venice Beach art scene that I am more than acquainted with and have at times been part of….

    “we have become slightly less daring “ that so:!? are you kidding? might I remind you of the iconography to be found inside the Sistine Chapel as one example?

    -the fact is, film, architecture and even furniture design exercise far greater aesthetic push than most visual art today…figuration/violence/love/death -all the big subjects that are fine in literature or filmmaking today, and are essentially banned from public art outside of the museum. I see it as a way in which the underlying puritanism of American culture which Robert Hughes discusses in American Vision -manifests itself.

    Comparing the Picasso sculpture with its “enemy of the people” aesthetic position with some piece of decorative fluff is, inane.

    I like Annish Kapoor – I think the piece is beautiful not, decorative -like the works I criticize……. I do think Jaunme Plensa is a little a fountain, it certainly fall way short of Buckingham now doesn’t it? -I share the first floor lobby with him next door at the Aon Tower…..check it out -he really mailed that one in….all said, this is work. Plensa and Kapoor, on another level from the decorative pattern painting/office style minimalism I was discussing.

    The goal of a work of art is never about taste. Which is not to say its not about beauty -because it is! I guarantee you that when Gericault painted the Raft of the Medusa -or Rembrandt painted his final self portraits -they weren’t all hunkered down worrying about creating a ‘tasteful object’….sheeeesh….I’m talking about that branch of philosophy known as aesthetics…and what is art….I’m not talking interior design…good god! Its about aesthetics: clarification of conciousness/ a war on decadence, allowing us to see what we mean -and where it bows to public demand and becomes mere entertainment or eye candy, it enters the realm of craft -where creating tasteful objects to please is the primary goal.

  95. lets talk about this some more….Crime and Punishment -the novel: a matter of taste, or a study of categorical imperatives?…..

    Guernica -the painting: a matter of taste, or a an embodiment of the dehumanization of war?

    what is art? what is entertainment? and how are they different?

    Here; I’ll give you a clue: what is art? what is craft? what is intentionality? And in this way, how do these two respective disciplines vary? -think about it.

    -you owe me for the What is, and What is not Art? aesthetics 101 moment Russo……sheeeesh!

  96. gosh, thanks oh wise Shark.

    “the fact is, film, architecture and even furniture design exercise far greater aesthetic push than most visual art today…”

    I agree, so we are only less daring, perhaps, in visual art.

    Now please enlighten me, oh wise one, the difference, or the relationship between taste and aesthetics? You seem to have a problem with my use of the word ‘taste’. Funny thing, for a Shark. Perhaps aesthetic preference would be, um, more palatable?

    And, I don’t think art is chosen based solely on content without consideration of the form, which is determinned by personal taste, erm, sorry Sharky…’aesthetic appeal’.

  97. since when is ‘form’ and the realization of form predicated on taste?… you think for instance that the form The Death of Ivan Illych takes….the short novels formal qualities are about taste? -I thought it was about artistic expression concerning the differentiation between truth and fact, how to live, how to die and Tolstoys best ideas on how to provoke and unpack and fleshout -imagine, these conditions and write about them……I doubt he was involved in making something ‘tasteful’…..sheesh!

    -I think the pared down form, his employment of metonomy and synecdoche is in itself a precursor to modernist ideas of essential form- technique is for later Tolstoy, contingent upon, derives from and is conflated with and subservient to expression-

    we could discuss and compare for instance The Death of Ivan Illych with say Pollock’s Autumn Rhythm -or one of Serra’s tilted arcs…yes they are all elegant constructs -are all supremely psychological and existential in how their respective forms are arrived at……is there an element of ‘taste’……one could say so as an afterthought perhaps -but not as intent -simply because these works of art have much bigger fish to fry -whale shark size fish! and their formal qualities derive from their aesthetic trajectory – not, from a preconditioned allegiance to a craft based goal -to make something ‘look good and tasteful’ or, ‘read well’…..not to say they lack craft….but where either works ultimate mastery resides is quite beyond ‘taste’……

    -rather than me giving you a course in basic aesthetics on the BAS blog, the idealist philosopher RG Collingwood has interesting comparisons to make in The Principles of Art or try reading what Tolstoy had to say concerning his own work or, what Richard Serra has to say…I don’t see ‘taste’ in his list of verbs…….

    and sorry aesthetic appeal? what do you mean by that?….would you discuss a great piece of writing with the sentence ‘it appealed to my taste?’…..thats retarded-….discussing art -either its formal concerns/ its existential conceits, its relationship to subject matter or to perception itself…is not about being entertained, formally or otherwise. Its more than that.

  98. btw perhaps the most influencal approach to conciousness and being -and the forms apprehended and expressed to be found in modern literature is the work of TS Eliot…-deeply influenced by the philosopher FH Bradley……not unlike in its arrival and placement of conciousness/the forms evoked and inhabited, to the vision of Mondrian for instance-

    once again, not, a matter of taste, but of being….

  99. “of being”?!


    “Mr. Chariman, I propose the council purchase the painting by Mr. Wesley Kimler, as it best expresses our…being.”

    How the fuck is this in any way related to Klein’s Call to Arms?

  100. No, of course not -but it would- just as Serra recently noted, speaking of the artist who was seminal to him, Pollock -and how he made us greater by our coming to understand and value his definition of ‘what’ painting is; – how he made it neccessary for us to rise to the occaison, thus through form, expanding our sense of self-….just as Tolstoy or Kafka or Mondrian are good because they speak to, and unpack what it is to be human -(we men and women, in a state of being,) as in human being; expanding how we perceive ourselves, thus allowing us the opportunity to live with a greater sense of who we are, of truth …which is why people like Picasso for instance have described art as a form of war -a war against decadence -and by that I mean collapse of meaning, the idea being that an aesthetic experience involves clarification of conciousness, that the more successfully it accomplishes this fundamnetal aspect of being human, the better, more profound is its form -duh….!

    and how does this relate? How about trying to get a plebian to have a slightly more sophisticated sense of aesthetics, so that we can have a halfway intelligent conversation-

  101. “-duh….!” You say.

    Such eloquence, I can’t keep up!

    Originally this wasn’t a discussion of aesthetics, it was of public art. But as usual, Kimler ruins it with his rants and his lecturing.

  102. right…..when you can’t have the conversation -find someone to blame……everything I have said above is not only substantive and reasoned, -but also, pertinent to thinking about public art -however far it sailed over your head.

    I will remind you, you started this exchange with a completely ill-conceived, entirely off-base, moronic rant/attack upon me, stating erroneously how I wouldn’t possibly like Gehry, Kapoor etc…

    did I respond to you with an attack? No, I attempted to have a reasoned discussion with you -obviously more than you can deal with. Why is this not suprising?

  103. “reasoned discussion”


    halfway intelligent


  104. anyway, back the McCormick Place. Public or not? Subject to the rules that govern other public buildings? Why or why not? I think publicly funded means publicly controlled. Whether or not the public visits is something entirely; what’s important is that the art is publicly funded.

  105. awwww -and I was being nice!…..good question -asked in a completely straightforward manner…..I’m interested in this question as well Russo -and so for a moment, we are miraculously, on the same side: well Paul, which is it? Public or not? Was the funding part of the 1% program, or, was it entirely private funds? Well?

  106. There’s an awful lot I don’t know about how McCormick is governed, controlled – whatever.

    McCormick is paid for with taxpayer $; through the sale of bonds, I think. It did not have to have art in the building. It was not a Percent for Art project. I’d say it is publicly funded. It is not like other public buildings. Here’s where I start speculating: I think it is a hybrid; both State and City, but not really a part of either one. Not sure.

  107. “but don’t they have to comply with the 1% law?”…..”or, are they above that- the law I mean,” enquired the circling shark with a toothy grin…

  108. You put forth a quote that that doesn’t appear anywhere previously in this discussion – at least i can’t find it when i do a search for the word ‘comply.’

    McCormick was created by state government, but they’ve got city people involved too. Maybe that’s only on the Art Review Committee. I don’t know the details. As far as I can tell they jump through hoops to comply with all applicable laws.

  109. I am curious as to how the jury was selected… there ended up being a bunch of businessmen who knew zero about art calling the ultimate shots in the selection process, instituting these draconian not to mention humiliating guidlines for payouts etc……

  110. I was told 5 members of the committee of 10 were appointed by the Mayor and 5 by the Governor.

    I think if you accept the fact that McCormick is more accustomed to contracting for concrete than art their contracts weren’t all that bad: 5% when you sign, 15% when you begin work, 30% when you are 30% done, 60% at 60% done, 90% at 90%, 95% after installation and payment in full 3 months out. (most artists went directly from 60% to 95%.) And their payouts are like clockwork. Concrete. Think concrete.

  111. Just out of curiosity, how many of the 10 people on the panel have any background involving art? I understand Greg Knight is on the panel…….anyone else?

  112. Slightly more than half. They were confident of their opinions. They provided a handful of good suggestions. Some others had convention and community experience. They are proud of the art. They were quite agreeable with the art I was proposing to them. They were easier to have an elevated aesthetics discussion with than most collectors I’ve spoken with. Art can have lots of purposes. What I put in my house isn’t going to be the same as what I put in McCormick. The issues are different.

  113. slightly more than half: transparency! lets walk the talk and hear some names- who are they?

  114. Because of where I sit in the McCormick hierarchy it would not be appropriate for me to say – at least w/o asking and I’m not convinced this is worth asking about. I don’t think you’d know a single one of their names beside Greg’s. Some of them reflected the building’s interests and some the neighboring communities’. There were numerous kinds of balances. They did a good job. Let’s leave it at that.

  115. where, is the TRANSPARENCY! asked The Shark…

    just who were these ‘art experts’…. hmmmmmm?

    Enquiring minds want to know!

    were we not just down at the Picasso having a little demonstration this last week concerning lack of transparency? Or am I somehow mistaken?

  116. I’ll look into it.

  117. it was actually just Paul, Greg and Judith Kirschner drinking scotch and throwing darts at a wall covered with artists’ slides

  118. Russo -I think you’re being hopelessly optimistic

  119. johncurrin Says:

    Sounds like the McCormick setup and selection of art is exactly what the protest was about last week.

    The adage about people living in glass houses comes to mind.

  120. -art experts-

    “at least w/o asking and I’m not convinced this is worth asking about. I don’t think you’d know a single one of their names beside Greg’s.”

    hmmmmmmm…having floated around in the art world here for some time, how can this possibly be so? asked the circling shark ever so politely……

  121. Art Experts? I never said the committee had art experts on it. Greg Knight is the only person on the committee that’s an art expert. I said over half were ‘conversant’ in ‘art.’ I also said art has lots of purposes. In a building like McCormick it’s not Art for Art’s sake. A million people will see the art there every year. 99% of them wouldn’t be able to name a living artist. The art needs to be accessible. The trick is to place good art that non-art people can appreciate.

  122. How conversant? Just who are these people -and why weren’t there art experts involved?…Seriously! On a committee of 10 people selecting art, 1 person who knows what they are talking about?

    ‘the art needs to be accessible”….in terms of the large scale painting installations then, you must mean, keep it polite and innocuous, decorative eye candy….kind of like visual muzak!

    god forbid that any of those million people coming through each year might actually be provoked into thinking, or challenged in their assumptions, or perceptions…we couldn’t possibly have that! wur amearikuns! We have the need to waddle through life with our brains swaddled in pampers…….

  123. However, you know how that goes with “art experts” — here in Europe too — they are then usually “experts” (generally only due to their history of “connections”) and from the same-old same-old clique and chose the same old names.

    But it would be nice if every art choice were done in “glass houses,” and it would be nice if the media would even consider covering them.

  124. As I recall I was not the only artist told to mind my p’s and q’s and keep it ‘uplifting’ (doesn’t this sound oddly enough like bygone days in the Soviet Union?)

    …..what happened to Dawoud Bey?…too scary and tough for McCormick place….wasn’t that it? sheeeesh!


  125. Here is a link to Weisberg’s comments on the ordinance. I’m not so convinced, but see what you think.

  126. Couldn’t Dawoud Bey have taken portraits of plumber union members and other potential visitors? Uplifting photos, without the plumbers cracks showing. I’m sure he would have been chosen if has been willing.

  127. William Conger Says:

    The Shark champions Tolstoy’s art theory and yet disparages public art that will be viewed, sometimes, by the non-art audience. For Tolstoy the only real art is that which “infects” the viewers with the artist’s feelings, and those feelings (what feelings are he does not say) must be religious, christian, and aimed at bettering the bond of human “brotherhood”. The test of the art quality rested in the sincerity of the artist (despite being unproveable). Tolstoy said most so-called art was really not art because it didn’t follow his theory. Examples of bad art for Tolstoy included the works by Shakespeare, Milton, Brahms, Michelangelo, Manet and other like losers. He did not like difficult art that appealed to a tasteful art elite. For Tolstoy art has to convey the simple feelings of everyday life in some infectious way that is accessible to everyone. Everyone! Shark must have just been having a bad day when he contradicted his hero’s art theory.

    The Shark also likes Collingwood despite, apparently, the fact that Tolstoy and Collingwood hold nearly opposite positions on art. Collingwood claims that art is only the idea of the artwork in the artist’s mind. Everything else is lesser, mere craft, and not art. The artist’s job is to use craft to explore and express personal feelings and through such craft, enable viewers to discover similar feelings in themselves. Collingwood doesn’t care for overtly emotional artmaking which he regarded as mere entertainment, “The artist never rants”, he said. Just because we can’t find any evidence in Collingwood to support the sort of importance Shark gives to process, ranting, expressionism, etc., doesn’t mean Collingwood would have disagree with him since, after all, only the idea is art and if Shark has that idea, well, that’s it. Good stuff, huh? Solipsism at its best for Collingwood and for Shark.

    But theories of art definition are very interesting. Fun to explore. Always instructive. Never mind that they ALL fail to define art in some critical way. Art philosophy students often begin with Tolstoy’s What Is Art and Collingwood’s Principles of Art because they are so full of obvious problems, uncritical assumptions, and solipsism. But what the heck, with Shark’s twisty ventures into old timey esthetic theory, he might be looking for warmer, shallower waters. I hear he’s even showing with Judy Ledgerwood in some fancy Chicago hotel restaurant (as mentioned in some bling-stuffed Society gossip magazine). How Cool! You have to admire an artist who cares about the reaching all the public as Tolstoy did, bonding with humanity and his fellow painters.

    William Conger

  128. RG Collingwood was a late idealist philosopher in the grand manner who expoused contrary to what you state, an expressionist ideal of making art. Your comments Bill -in particular Collingwoods notions of the relationship of craft to art, only describe your lack of of understanding of his position.

    Tolstoy was not unlike any of his fellow realists in making art that was ‘the enemy of the people’ and at the same time for the people….in that it challenged their complacency. Obviously he considered his work -specifically in the work I noted, as an enemy of decadence -shattering the mirror which society/individuals see itself/themselves reflected in- he could not be more clear as to his intent. Tolstoy was involved in making art, not craft derived decorative entertainment.

  129. I think you are completely right about Tolstoy, who was a wonderful writer, but a jerk — and not a very logical one — as a theorist.

    Interesting comment William, perhaps, but Collingwood did not really claim that “that art is only the idea of the artwork in the artist’s mind.” Well, yes, he sometimes tends that way — but he generally was more of the opinion that the artwork came about through the concretization of the initial impulse —especially as his ideas get mixed into the “official” Croce-Collingwood theory:

    That the artist “hones down,” so to speak, initial impressions/ideas; this coming-into-being-made is called an “expression” (NOT about feelings though, as in Expressionism) and gives us the particularity and thus, gives us the art, whereas the initial idea is at the level of an “vague” impression. I don’t find that solipsistic at all — although true Conceptual Art certainly is (as has often been pointed out even by admirers).

    Wesley’s rants are not philosophically based, but emotionally and, in fact , morally and sometimes aesthetically. He sometimes mistakes aesthetic issues for moral ones and often go off at tangents difficult to follow, but there isn’t any philosophical problem therein, I think.

  130. Mark -you are closer to being correct about Collingwood than Conger is though you are still missing the complexity of his ideas concerning expression/the object/work of art/ the aesthetic experience resulting in clarification of conciousness -if, successful. You also happen to be dead on wrong concerning where I’m coming from -which at this moment, in this discussion is completely philosphical in its ideation. In fact, I find your comment about my rhetoric being emotive rather than philosophical to be condescending and insulting..

    Tolstoy used theory like an artist, to forward the trajectory of his own particular aesthetic. -like I do. I’m not confused like many members of the consensoriat seem to be. I am not a philosopher, I am an artist.

  131. I’m of course aware Mark that you are near having you phd in theory….that does not make you the only person on this blog who has studied philosophy- and it seems rather clear to me that in the strangely cranky and straightforward/ zero bullshit corner of aesthetics where Collingwood had his say, I would dare to guess, I have spent the greater amount of time-….he is an interesting philosopher to consider when it comes to aesthetics -and perhaps at no time more so than now considering the times we live in…

    Everything is a trade off Mark -you’ve spent more time with the latin/phiolsophical tracts -I have spent more time applying what I know to the practice of making art….I don’t denigrate your practice, give me the same consideration-

  132. -a final thought, since when haven’t aesthetics been involved with ethics?…..its called philosophy, and is, a conflation of its respective branches…its not a matter of con-fusing anything to consider the morality of a particular aesthetic position.

  133. William Conger Says:

    Collingwood, according to Richard Wolheim (who was at Northwestern the year before his death) makes the work of art something inner or mental. The external artifact is not art. There is a separation between mental work of art and external artifact and that means the “link between artist and audience has been severed. There is now no object to which both can have access, for no one but the artist can ever know what he has produced.” Collingwood’s Ideal theory “ignores the significance of the medium…whereas the entities posited by the Ideal theory are free or unmediated.” (Wollheim). I think these are big problems. The Ideal theory is solipsistic because no one but the artist can justify the mental work of art. Also, how can anyone conceive of an artwork without visualizing it in some medium? Collingwood’s default position on that was to claim a difference between a mental sense of a medium and actual medium. And even supposedly pure mental artworks are preceded by memories of other actual art objects, in some medium, and that again clouds the primacy of the purely mental art idea. The whole Ideal Theory rests on notion that it is possible to have ideas independent of a means to express them. It is a solipsistic view because there is no way to know what the artist’s mental artwork and any medium is a lesser surrogate.

    However great Tolstoy was on all other respects, in the field of art theory he was a a philosophical failure.. He rejected ideas of beauty (pleasure without desire) and “taste” (art for art, etc) as signifiers of art. Unlike Collingwood, At least he made room for the art object, the “external” thing that transmits (infects) the viewer with the artist’s feelings. So far, OK (yet Tolstoy does not say what feelings are). But then Tolstoy’s wheels go off track when he presumes that the valid feelings, the valid infections, are christian/religious and centered on the Brotherhood of man (again, undefined). Whatever the Brotherhood for Tolstoy, is it is certainly based in the simple feelings all people have. His is a plea for honorific common popular art for the average person and a rant against historical “high art” with its insider notions of “Taste.” Tolstoy’s theory is not a theory in the true sense because it is untestable, an assertion of his “taste” and completely subjective, solipsistic. Tolstoy had rules for art and they were rules that no important artist ever followed, even when they tried (VanGogh?).

    Frankly, I don’t think serious artists give a damn about art theory as such. They are solipsistic. All art theories with their inclusions and exclusions are left at the studio door. You do something and then you wonder, now what? And then you do something, and you just look for the surprise. Whether or not it’s art is simply not an issue. The object of painting is painting. A good painting is as publicly open and as privately opaque as a rock. It eludes meaning even as it pretends to require it.

    Yes, there is an ethical dimension to art theory and that’s usually a very big problem. On one hand it leads to sentimental stuff like Tolstoy demanded and on the other it replaces the art object with something verbally incidental to it…as for example, the “contextualizing” paintings of Gaylen Gerber, I mean paintings that are equivalent stand-ins for words. In such work you can say what you see, perfectly. Mostly, paintings show what can’t be said. Maybe the only ethical aspect worth considering is the act of the artist, always an act of severe, unsayable criticality, however messy or neat it may be. Hmmm. Is Collingwood still here?

    We’ve had a generation or two of theorists and what’s left except tons of words and confused young artists who try to illustrate the artworld “discourses”. I don’t care about painted discourse, verbal meanings, what the painting “says” and in that respect at least, Im uninterested in public didactic art. I care about what a painting is, its presence, and indifference to “meaning”. I think good art puts a sword to your throat. Cheery, bouyant, or grimly dark, it’s always menacing nonetheless.

    William Conger

  134. How is it possible for a aesthetic judgment not to be a moral judgment? It’s not made in a vacuum. Whether we admit it consciously or not, aesthetic judgments correspond to our sense of life, values, etc.

  135. why don’t you try Collingwood according to Collingwood?…..what Collingwood contends is simply that it is the imaginary experience evoked by the medium -(if memory serves me correctly he brings up Beethoven.)..and points out its not the notes as much as it is the imaginary experience provoked..which is obvious -when we listen to say the violin concerto or ‘Emperor’….it is the emotions that well up, remembrance of things that are imagined, is what we hear -surely not mere notes. And we then take this with us having experienced it.

    -Collingwood contends that all art begins with the body as medium – with dance being the most primary art form…..movement lacking purpose in order to have meaning -and what is meant by meaning?..Simple, that art functions on a primary level as a way of cleaning -flexing, our ability to perceive, of evoking who we are as imaginary beings, that we might live with greater depth and breadth….after one dances, one becomes more aware of, or imaginarily reconfigures who one is standing in line buying beans at Jewel…..Collingwood in otherwords is not looking for answers in terms of meaning….he is looking for a greater more robust imagining of who we are. That we might have the opportunity to live in a greater truth by meaning ‘more’.

    -not unlike Tolstoy who by btw used his theories that you both find so lacking to make art that some have found reasonably interesting- perhaps for Tolstoy the philosophy was an afterthought-

    The nice thing about RG Collingwood is, he is not a theorist. He is an old fashioned philospher in the grand manner who wrote what for him was an aside; a quick book on aesthetics designed to cut through much of theoretical flim flam of his day…..I studied The Principles of Art with the new critic David Nye Brown who is also now deceased. His take on Collingwood was different from Wollheim.

    And btw -Collingwood discusses taste in a way completely sympathetic to Tolstoy’s notions…which, I happen to agree with-… for some of his more odd and eccentric notions…I refer you both back to the work…worked for him now didn’t it? Perhaps you both could learn something here….his thinking was pretty wild -and often at odds with his work….or perhaps not-

    I would like to see you make a painting Bill that put a sword at someones throat -unfortunately I don’t think I’ve noticed that kind of danger or pictorial daring-do or drama happening with your work…words like polite’ or mannered -even well mannered, come more readily to mind…if nothing else, the are certainly competent …well wait, perhaps when you were borrowing from my drawing collages (as you have at times readily admitted,) you were close to something fierce…..

  136. William Conger Says:

    I was making cut and torn collage paintings in the 1950s. There were quite a few others doing that then. It was sort of common practice, actually. I continue my theme with them and have shown them in several venues. Face it, Wesley, neither of us is the originator of painted collage. It’s a 100+ year genre of artmaking but not as worn out as preplanned paint drips or illustrative faces.

    William Conger

  137. “put a sword at someones throat”

    when have you done that, Sharky?

  138. Shark, you are right that for Tolstoy philosophy and so on was an afterthought, and of course we have to mostly judge him by his art itself, but as soon as someone begins to spout theory, we get to judge that too.

    I did not mean to insult you, sorry that you read its so, — I stated it falsely. I meant you sometimes conflate formal quality with morals. And even vice versa. That is, I know from our discussions, which I enjoy, that you sometimes suggest that simply because someone’s art is sometimes weak that all their thoughts are wrong. That just isn’t so — although I’m with you fully on the “quality of production comes first.”

    But of course you are correct, and I agree, that all decisions, even in art, are to a large extent ethical ones. My statement was too poorly phrased. Oops.

    On other points, simply because I have also spent a lot of time in the theoretical realm does not mean that I have painted or installed or whatever any less or less seriously than you or anyone else. Thesre actions are not mutually exclusive. I entered the theoretical ring as a form of self-defense, after a fashion, seeing myself as an intellectual, but mostly a painter — and the Neo-Cons didn’t want that to be possible.

    Your Collingwood, Wesley, is closer to the way I understood him than the way William describes him — but I find Lakoff and the Conceptual Metaphor people and their “embodiment” notions better thought out than Collingwood with or without Croce anyway, and more useful nowadays.

  139. Russo its clear you wouldn’t know it if I had….though it is Mr. Conger who makes that claim-(perhaps you should try reading more carefully so you get the people right) as you are a non-entity in the art world here -all you have is this small opportunity to shoot your mouth off- hope you are enjoying your big moment-

    Bill -I take back what I said concerning the knife at the throat claim of yours….you are right! Recently after being involved in a minor traffic incident, I found myself at the Cabrini Green Police Station, looking up I saw not one but two of your paintings and I thought to myself ‘self, if Conger makes anymore of these tired, all the same looking, corporate, formulalic paintings that if nothing else, serve the function of making Frank Stella look like a complete genius, and if I have to look at them, I might just commit hari kari’-

    and btw, since-lots of people have made collage, why did you come up to me at the Union League Club in front of Vera Klement and others and announce quite publicly how my work had influenced you…well?… I said, I thought when I saw the work aside from reminding me of me, you were on to something.

    And look, I know everything about your work is preplanned and completely safe and careful…..when you make comments about the same being true with me, you are projecting-

  140. actually, sharky, you’re wrong on both accounts

    you don’t even know who I am

    but I do know you

    everyone does

    which doesn’t make you an ‘entity’

    just a full blown psychopathic egotist

    who does nothing BUT shoot his mouth off

    aon aon aon

    big whoop

    what else have you done lately?

  141. MSB -one of the advantages to the ‘new critical methodology’ expoused by Mailer and other less well known members of that group, was the insistence upon context: Tolstoy makes a lot more sense when considered in the familar to him, while rather exotic to us, context of his life…of course all of the Russians of that time were amazingly conflicted, complicated artists…juggling not only coming out of a thousand years of serfdom, but also the influence of the Germans and the French among the Russian aristocracy, along with the decline of their own monarchy and the dawning of the 2oth century…..its interesting to consider Dostoyevsky’s relationship to the Fourier, Petrashevsky, and then after his near execution, the transformation to his anti-utopian humanism…with Tolstoys not dissimilar evolution-

    also interesting is the evolution from social realist to more of an elitist stance the happens with Dostoyevsky….and I say that in terms of his ethical progression as a novelist. Perhaps with more success and greater clarity than Tolstoy-

  142. Russo -well then tough guy, quit hiding your cowardly self behind the pseudonym and show up here as yourself…come on big mouth…put up or shut up

    what have I done lately? -probably more than your sorry self as ever done…but since you seem so obsessed with me -you can figure that one out for yourself. -here, I’ll give you a clue; you can start with yesterdays Chicago Tribune Magazine-

  143. btw..since you make the claim to know me, shouldn’t you already have the answers to your question? why do these ‘Russo’ posts have ‘I’m a loser’ written all over them?

  144. wow! a picture of you at Art Chicago! I’m soooo jealous! You made the social scene pages! Can I have your autograph?

  145. still waiting russo….put up or shut up, mr brave guy hiding behind the pseudonym…..

    just pathetic; sure you can have an autograph- who should I make it out to? The coward skulking behind a fake name?

  146. for a shark, you’re quite defensive and easy to distract

    i thouht sharks had thicker skin and more focus

    i don’t think you’re a shark at all

    more of a puffer fish, perhaps

    at best a large mouth bass

  147. obsession…how’s that working for you Russo?

  148. self-obsession is working pretty good for me!

  149. William Conger Says:

    Shark’s judgments on art are truly worthless because they are saturated with himself and hateful of other artists. He knows nothing of my work or painting process and his efforts to ridicule it are just boring and crazy. He can’t get distance from his vile hubris. Nothing new there. Shark’s been insulting every artist (curator, dealer, collector) he hears of for decades and has poisoned every opportunity to help energize Chicago art. Pay attention, artists! Shark preaches individualism but hates all artists — and their work– who actually are individuals. He invited me to be a regular member of his Sharkforum but then began his usual spewing of insults when he discovered I wasn’t going to be the flattering a patsy to his bellicose psychodrama.

    As for my take on Tolstoy, I quoted his own words. Collingwood is more interesting, agreed, but the basic problems with his theory, and the Ideal Theory, are well-known. Any critical anthology of general aesthetics will explain them in plain language.

    Chicago still needs good art discussion. Any chance of that?

  150. Not a chance, Bill! Sharks rules these waters! Chomp! Apex of the art world, here I come! Chomp! Can’t wait for someone to take me seriously… chomp! No one can comprehend my brillian mind! Hell, if Collingwood and Tolstoy came back from the dead, I bet I’d have to correct them on their own theories, those plebs!

  151. Bill -fuck you.

    You bet I took you on at sharkforum when you came on at my invitation (-which btw significant others on the forum questioned,) – and began kissing among others, Jean Dunning’s behind -which is not what you do in private -as we both know. Fact: you cornered me at Ed Paschke’s funeral to literally rage on about how you were treated by Dunning and company – I won’t list the people here in Chicago -people who you know, who lost respect for you when you pulled your gambit on sharkforum -suffice to say there are some pretty serious art world people who became disgusted with you, and were happy to see you gone from sharkforum.

    Painting: Your particular methodology of divide and conquer has never been what I found interesting in painting. You might have made a hell of a stain glass designer..but your stiff, formulaic use of later day cubism done with cartoon based color, with zero skill when it comes to moving paint around -beyond rudimentary application, has for me always seemed like a provincial version of one moment in Frank Stella’s world. I’m not a fan. Oh I’ve heard your proclamations -how your work never comes up for auction blah blah….and I have watched you get quite abusive to Leslie Hindmans underlings when your work the head of her fine art dept said at the time ‘why doesn’t that guy try and make a different painting than the one he has been making for the last thirty years and maybe he would get better prices……’

    Yea at times I am probably have been and am pretty crazy-big deal! Who isn’t? -but you know what? fuck it! at least, my work has grown and changed -unlike you Bill, I have made some really good paintings, and some real clunkers, some really bad paintings! But, at least I have pushed myself, and not been afraid to fail. Can you claim that? As evidenced by the work, I think not. At least, I’m not an academic on autopilot making the same slick, empty painting over and over again with an incredibly pompous attitude to all except those in power -and then its smooochie smooch time isn’t it Bill?

    There is certainly a place for what you do. I think your work is perfect over at the Cabrini Green Jail, and I think there is a very good reason why it was chosen to be there; not too hot, not too cold, just right…..institutional office art; hell, just looking at those tedious affairs is like doing time… don’t even have to lock people up -just make them stand at the front desk and stare up at those things for awhile .

    And last, let me address another of your falsehoods: there are any number of artists, curators, critics who I enjoy complex, long term relationships and deep friendships with, can you make that claim? Personally, I have never heard any curator speak of you at all, whether bad or good…artists who you know, curators who you know…just more of your shooting your mouth off…

    as the cliche goes, good is the enemy of great -and thats just what I see when I look at one of your paintings -they certainly aren’t bad…..but they aren’t that great or even very good either…in my opinion, for all the reasons I have listed above..I see what you do as what has sufficed for abstraction in a town that for a long while hasn’t been much of a painters town. Unlike me, I haven’t seen you showing on the west coast for instance -where there is more painting -and I cannot imagine you getting much of a reception there if you did. -I know its shocking to you that I would take you on -but that person you verbally abused at Leslie Hindmans -is one of my best friends…you see Mr Conger, the difference between you and I,- beyond my complete superiority to you as a painter, happens to be, -you, are polite Bill -to all the right people….Me? I’m not nearly as politic as you Biil, but what I am, is pretty much honest and straightforward in what I think, with everyone.

    And finally, Bill, in terms of who has created change here in Chicago, and who has given away power to all the wrong people – just look in the mirror pal…..what have you done for the art world here other than give away the program at northwestern to a group of artists you privately are infuriated with while you publicly fawn over them? well?….its disgusting. I have zero respect for you. So go ahead -try an rail against me as the one who has spoiled everything for all artists here…(you sound oddly enough, like Dick Cheney trying to incite fear as a way of influencing public opinion, why am I not suprised?)…but, you might want to consider two possibilities -1. people just aren’t that gullible or easily lead, and 2. even if you could turn the whole planet against me, its not going to make those paintings you do, anymore interesting, or any better.

  152. Thanks for proving Conger’s point!

  153. The Shank/Russo: funny thing about anonymous posts: the people who post them are always less than anonymous -with nothing to hide beyond their basic lack of anything of interest. If they actually used their real names people would care even less than they already don’t.

  154. Hi Bill. I am quite aware of where to find resources. I have read all of Collingwood’s works and most essays related to them — but it was all about 20 years ago, so maybe I’m forgetting his exact words — and he is usually mixed with Croce, — I find it interesting that you do not mention him. I mostly read recent aesthetics now, which I find more stimulating to our current artistic problems. Check out the Journal of Aesthetics sometime, if you haven’t.

    Wesley does not hate all artists. But you and he sure seem to hate each other. Too bad. I think you both have far more important “targets” to attack.

  155. William Conger Says:

    Mark, I know Collingwood is often linked to Croce and the Ideal Theory. I think all aesthetic theories offer something valuable. They each reveal important aspects of the various problems in the philosophy of art. Did I suggest anywhere that you, or even Shark, don’t know Collingwood’s stuff? No. I simply questioned the seeming contradiction of finding common ground in Tolstoy’s art theory and Collingwood’s. But I do think both were solipsists in the claim that the essence of art resides in the subjectivity of the artist. Tolstoy’s position is simply not philosophical because he does not define his terms, basically relying on a “because I say so” argument.

    Yes, there are “targets”. One of them is the view against diversity, not only in broad esthetic positions, but in particular modes of art. My views on current academia in art were expressed in a lecture I gave at the Northwestern Block Museum more than a year ago, upon my leaving teaching altogether. Basically I think that the new MFA is almost worthless because there’s no curriculum — I call it the “uncurriculum” — and thus there’s nothing specific to learn and nothing identifiable to perform, or practice. Most MFA curricula are now “talking” curricula with the subject being the whim of the teaching artist and the measure of quality being the dominant market taste, selected by whim and the visibility of visiting artists, critics, etc. In every other academic discipline, the student must demonstrate mastery of some “essential literature or methodology” against which individual progress and research is measured or defined. The hip MFA programs now talk about “post studio and deskilling” as a way to privilege theory — really just aimless talk. I think it’s a big mistake to “deskill” art practice for the sake of ideas or talk theory because I can’t see how any thought can be independent of some external medium that shapes it. (This is a criticism of the Ideal Theory). Just as I deplore the deskilling of art practice so do I deplore the extreme in the other direction, the “instinctual, doing my own thing expressing myself” approach because no form of artmaking is without a history of its practice and its contextualized ideas. Art theory and art practice are equally interdependent; neither precedes the other. I still believe in artists as artists. They are not sociologists, anthropologists, linguistic illustrators of words and patronage issues, and many more, including the recent fashion for psuedo-science. That leaves plenty of room and ambiguity for “visually creative” activity.
    Contrary to popular academic tradition, art programs follow and do not lead the reality of art developments. I think students are misled by the fiction that their MFA puts them on the cutting edge of artmaking. The sooner that fiction is removed the sooner a real art curricuum can be devised.

    Another “target” is Pals before art. When no clear art interest is being developed, and no one is aiming to clarify what art ought to be tomorrow and the day after, and IF it can be at all, and everything careerwise depends on networking simply because no other way of sorting out quality exists, and when the “anything is art” idea dominates, ignoring the fact that not everything can be art in every time, it’s buddy time. Want a career? Get an art buddy and a few pals who are well placed in the art world. Talk to them constantly. Get more pals. Then make something unart. Buy it, order it, steal it. talk it. Avoid art history. Avoid solitude. Don’t cross a Pal by speaking your mind. The artworld is like a 17C court where gossip and fussy intrigues subsist on money and favors.

    Another “target” is hatred between artists. Aren’t we all in the same survival boat? It’s so easy to mock others and their art. And art is the most vulnerable thing out there because it has no purpose beyond being art or proposing itself as art. Nothing protects art — except artists who make it. Hit? Hit back! What would one expect? After 50 years in my case, my work is my life, every trickle of my blood, and even my family’s in their faith and support. Expect my civility but not timidity.

    And the best “target” is to be optimistic. It’s a spectacular thing to be an artist. No matter what!

  156. carcharodon carcharias Says:

    well Bill you finally managed to say some things of interest -that aren’t all linked to your own self interest- I agree with you down to the timidity part -we both know that its too little too late when it comes to that particular issue concerning Northwestern and concerning you-

    I understand that you are dedicated: its OK that we don’t like each other or, each others work…your ‘civility’ at times has been more of a negative than anything-

  157. hmmmmmm…..did I say that?

  158. …..Tolstoy is not philosophical…..if I have learned nothing else on BAS, how glad am I to have stuck around for this little gem…sheeeesh!

    “Don’t cross a Pal by speaking your mind.” -and what happens if you do? Bill gives a wonderful illustration of what can happen with his utterly nonsensical fabrication, concerning someone who had crossed him..namely, Me!…
    “crazy. He can’t get distance from his vile hubris. Nothing new there. Shark’s been insulting every artist (curator, dealer, collector) he hears of for decades and has poisoned every opportunity to help energize Chicago art”

    huh? I just don’t care for your work Bill -no need to get ugly or start lying, making false claims…..what happened to all of that civility? What about the truth? Like the truth that I have done more for the Chicago art world, in particular the painting scene here, by even lifting my little finger than you have done in decades of professorial and/or painterly complacency!

    see thats the difference between us once more Mr Conger -my attacks upon you have to do with what I believe to be true -yours on me have to do with what you think might serve you at the moment- which is where I have problems with you: your methodology, how you operate; I say what I mean, while you, are ‘polite’. Too polite for my taste. Both on, and off canvas.

  159. William — do you have a “hard copy,” a written version of that presentation you made about the MFA? And can I have a copy to read. I’m collecting things like this in relationship to art education and yours would interest me greatly as you outlined it here.

  160. shark. you’re a very nasty man. this blog used to be interesting, now it is just depressing because of your rants. i won’t be looking at it again.


  161. Ann Onymous Says:

    Two, one, two, three, four
    Ev’rybody’s talking about
    Bagism, Shagism, Dragism, Madism,
    Ragism, Tagism
    This-ism, That-ism, is-m, is-m, is-m
    All we are saying is give piece a chance,
    All we are saying is give piece a chance
    Ev’rybody’s talking about ministers,
    Sinister, Banisters
    And canisters, Bishops, Fishops,
    Rabbis, and Pop eyes, Bye, bye, bye byes
    All we are saying is give peace a chance,
    All we are saying is give peace a chance
    Let me tell you now
    Revoluton, evolution, masturbation,
    Flagellation, regulation, integrations,
    Meditations, United Nations,
    Ev’rybody’s talking about
    John and Yoko, Timmy Leary, Rosemary,
    Tommy Smothers, Bobby Dylan,
    Tommy Copper,
    Derek Taylor, Norman Mailer,
    Allen Ginsberg, Hare Krishna,

  162. William Conger Says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever said anything about not liking Wesley’s work. I try to separate the work from the person, even when the person is wildly antagonistic, although I don’t suppose it’s fully possible. Anyway, it’s true that I’ve admired a few of his collages and have said so to many, including art writers. I even bought one of his paintings from a Block Museum auction in which he participated along with me, Ed, Tony, and Judy. I gave it to my daughter. Yes, I’ve been influenced by lots of art and even more by everyday things and events. I don’t think I’ve ever disparaged anyone and their work as he has mine and me. Despite the pounding blows, his attacks are even sometimes funny — that bit about the jailhouse– but of course that sort of thing is not criticism. Art needs to be examined for what it actually does and not what someone thinks it should do or maybe even what the artist says it does (remember the Intentional Fallacy). As for our art’s ultimate importance, the jury is still out for us all, even Wesley. Which is why we can only propose our work as art. It’s that conditional status of art that is so vulnurable and so challenging and therefore deserving of our hesitation, if not protection. Grand appraisals of new art, pro or con, ring hollow.

    I don’t hate Wesley. But if I was tough enough and young enough I’d punch him out, a really hard blow, just once! Imagine it happening right now! Afterwards, I’d buy the beer.

    Moving on…..

  163. Look, I would like to end this little soiree’ by bringing this all back home:

    a. Paul drug us all down to the Picasso the other day to protest what he described as a move by the city to have less transparency in the city arts program at the dept of cultural affairs

    b. I then after the fact, posed several questions, the first being to Paul; namely, where is the transparency at McCormick Place? Who, were the people on the jury, what were their respective qualifications, how were they chosen? Simple, relevant questions.

    c. I then noted how odd it is that in film for instance, Children of Men, Pan’s Labyrinth, Other Peoples Lives etc… even a great mainstream war film like Blackhawk Down we are able to have art that speaks to humanist concerns -something that used to be common in the visual art of painting -but no longer is. I experienced this first hand at The Aon Tower -which has a lot to do with why I find this all interesting….why is so much of our public art now relegated to the eyecandy variety? -and btw I also noted that there were any number of terrific artists doing smaller projects at McCormick Place -no doubt hung up high -but the truth is, the major painting installations are, innocuous and safe….more about being ‘pretty and easy on the eyes than about beauty and/or anything profound. I wondered why this is.

    d. I brought up RG Collingwood and Tolstoy as they both in their own manner addressed how art could work in society, within culture. In particular Collingwood is useful in his description of ‘what art is not’

    e. I think its fine to have a little war concerning aesthetics and of course it is going to get personal: if anything, what has hurt Chicago and so many artists here -is the closed mouth, frightened, overly and overtly polite way in which our art world here is conducted.

  164. That’s your best post yet, Shark.

  165. William Conger Says:

    Is that the Shark Chorus? Shark’s “best post” still uses unexplained, derogatory, dumb remarks in speaking of art he doesn’t understand or may be jealous of. I sure don’t want to stir up another round of his grandiose anger. So please, Shark, now just go paint a black ghost or something to vent your hatred.

    Some art celebrates life in the midst of hard lived and complex reality and so who needs the constant degrading and ultra simplification of the discourse by Shark? There was nothing in his little “war” about aesthetics itself and way too much personal insult and posturing to be interesting. Way too depressing. For a few hours it was me as victim, tomorrow it’ll be someone else, on and on ad-infinitum. I can recall at least twenty years of his saving art through insult.

    People say that a democracy is the condition in which differing views can co-exist in reasoned and respectful debate. Not so with “Shark”, the great new humanist, the follower of Tolstoy’s United Brotherhood, the uplifter of all Chicago art. Our savage warrior spokesman! (Here the chorus sings a sweet praise). So very depressing. It makes me want to go look at my Jeanne Dunning piece or my Judy Ledgerwood painting and Ed Paschke and Tony Fitzpatrick prints and drink scotch. I’m desperate for a little fun.

  166. that’s being generous

    his repeated tirades against Conger, et al, prevent any form of discussion from occuring in Chicago. Notice the lack of comments on his forum? He completely shuts down any attempt at discussion by making it about himself. He’ll try to blame anonymous posts, but it is really him and anyone with any sense knows that. I take part in several online forums, and anonymous posts don’t cause an interruption of dialogue. Only with meglomaniacs like Kimler does it matter and actually affect dialogue, due to his obsession with knowing who it is, just so he can attack and embarrass them.

    In all sorts of blog-worlds (sports, politics, education, etc.), people are allowed to remain anonymous. Kimler has affectively shut down dialogue in the art-blog-osphere with his onslaught of e-attacks on his own forum, Art Letter, and now Bad at Sports; about the only thing he has accomplished in the past decade.

    but once he himself is attacked, he digresses and tries to go back to the original conversation.

    too little, too late, and too typical of el snarko

    Like an actual attack, a swift punch to the snout or eye can scare the fish away. I like Conger’s idea and think someone ought to do the same to Kimler.

    Chicago would be better off, the art world entirely, without el snarko.

  167. …shank -why don’t you come over and try it tough guy? I’m in the phone book…..skulking behind your pseudonym tossing out threats wooOOOOooo….. your such a badass-

    as for what I have accomplished over the last decade…..of course you have no idea of what you are talking about – want to talk museum shows, paintings sold, articles written, events staged and created both in the art and theatre worlds? -Of course not -because a creep like you can’t deal with facts…….like I said before, the irony of anonymous posts -is, that the losers who do it have nothing to hide, Mr nobody other than a coward-, your attempt to have a say with anonymity is simply because no one would listen to you if they knew you you were -or, aren’t.

    Bill I understand your work quite well, not to mention other superior practioners of the same basic pattern/decorative genre and have seen numerous exhibitions of it. Lari Pittman being probably the best painter working in your particular arena…. And then there was the hard time I did over at the Cabrini Green Police Station….your work does have a time transcending quality…..20 minutes did seem to drag on to what seemed like ten years…. Go look at the lame work of the artists that you privately bitch about and publicly fawn over -you should! After all, they are your legacy-

  168. btw shank -sharkforum gets what I believe are far more unique readers than our good friends here at BAS- when Dave Roth and I set up the site after exiting from artletter, we decided we wanted an ezine not, a blog site -so we do not encourage and often edit or omit comments altogether -as none of us there have the patience of the BAS people in dealing with garbage like you.

    Lari Pittman Bill; notice how he doesn’t paint the same piece over and over again….the detail and scale shifts? the varieties of paint application -the exceptional use of color? Critiquing your work, is, a simple thing… there, is ambition Bill, and then, there is painting; think about it.

  169. Wesley’s my friend, and I have no conflict with Mr. Conger (although his whirlwind tour through Sharkforum did add some unnecassery work to my already over-large list), having had very little contact with him or his work. I really do think this whole blog would be better served by the two of you taking this outside. Personally I couldn’t give a damn what the two of you think of each other – I’m interested in art and I wish we could all go back to talking about that.

    As for anonymous posters who launch vitriol at others – any argument as to the fairness and/or veracity of your claims is taken out at the knees by two important things – 1. There are often factual errors in your accusations, and 2. It’s both personal and impersonal at the same time, both in the worst possible ways. Wesley knows how I feel about this – I think he’s most persuasive when he keeps it above the belt. But he is what he is, and most anyone who’s heard his name knows what that’s about. I do agree, to an extent, that the invective often does more harm than good. Some battles are worth fighting, others not so much. Thank god there are people around like Wesley when the fight is worthy. It’s unfortunate and messy when that energy is misdirected.

    But anonymous turd-throwers are pussys, plain and simple. I’ve spent a ton of time, more than I care to admit, blogging anonymously on the subject of politics. But there’s a very big difference – everyone on those blogs is anonymous. Making an overt threat of violence is entirely different when you’re ready to place your name behind the threat. Otherwise you’re quite simply demonstratinig cowardice.

    What’s funny about all this is that, for all his barking and biting, it’s more often than not his detractors who place the conversational focus on him. Wesley’s quick to defend himself, and he’s (in my opinion) often too quick to attack, but he has demonstrated an ability to focus on salient, non-personal points. When he does that even his enemies are likely to give him props.

    Additionally, those who refuse to post because they’re afraid/pissed off/disgusted/whathaveyou with Wesley’s style are only serving to let him “win.” Funny enough, I don’t think that’s his intention, but only he can tell us. The thing of it is that more artists ought to be willing to fight for what they believe in, and that fight often starts at home.

    Finally, Sharkforum is not a blog, and it was never intended to be. Furthermore, Wesley neither controls nor comments on each post. There’s quite a bit of mythology out there, and the notion of Kimler as Tito is one of the more amusing ones.

    One last detail – shame on you William for suggesting physical violence to anyone. I think you know better.

  170. William Conger Says:

    I sort of like what Roth said. But I can’t do physical violence to anyone. I’m 70 and trying to stay healthy enough to paint every day and enjoy my family. It was an imaginary cartoon to punch out bossman. A fun one too.

    Shark has said it at least twice — that my work is the same ptg. over and over. My 40 yr. retrospective will be at the Cultural Center in 2009, and that will give Shark an opportunity to eat the words of his lie. And I’ll give him a personal tour while he’s eating.

  171. Conger -I liked the small work of the early 90’s best -the studies/collages…..the paintings for me -lack variation -I believe I have seen at least 5 full scale exhibitions…but lets take the focus off of my stated indifference which, is simply my opinion- I also feel you are the strongest of the 3 painters doing large-scale work -and unlike Dzine for instance, I know you actually paint your own paintings- which, is a good thing -especially if you are going to call yourself a painter-

    I was visiting with my long time friend/enemy/near brother Tony Fitzpatrick today….discussing my comments on public art -and I asked him -what would it have been like if the large scale pieces were a Fitzpatrick, a Golub, a Kimler, a Marshall…and I could add, a Klement…..I think it would make for a far more challenging, visually more dynamic -more everything…an installation that people would come to see and discuss….I think the work that was chosen was a choice to avoid any form of controversy -in fact, I know this is indeed the case from my own interaction with the jury…my argument concerning this really isn’t all that personal -I find American culture and its aversion to visually powerful humanist work out in the public to be interesting and more about avoidance than anything aesthetic.

    Daves comments are as usual, cool-headed and dead on -there is a kind of unspoken idea on sharkforum that we are going to keep the grief quotient down low; I for example cannot imagine Lynne Warren tolerating this punk shank for half a sentence before hitting the delete button-

    and finally congratulations on your having a show at the cultural center Bill -of course Tony is having one as well…..I personally don’t understand Tony’s desire to show there -or yours for that matter -but then the upstairs will provide you with adequate space to exhibit -and I do feel given your long career, that it is well deserved.

  172. I find American culture and its aversion to visually powerful humanist work out in the public to be interesting and more about avoidance than anything aesthetic.

    Now this is a fascinating topic, and it makes me wonder if the reason for this is that we often, as a culture, confuse the humanist with the populist.

  173. One more thing to William – I know your suggestion of violence was innocuous, but it introduced the topic, which was seconded by this anonymous coward “Shank”:

    I like Conger’s idea and think someone ought to do the same to Kimler.

    I personally challenge you to either use your actual name or retract the comment, Mr./Ms. Shank. Otherwise you’re being an irresponsible jerk.

  174. Dave I appreciate the intent but give it up -you’re trying to converse with a piece of trash.

  175. btw -your humanist-populist comment -is dead on -thats the problem

    the large scale paintings at McCormick Place were chosen with the primary criteria of don’t challenge, do not offend, keep it ‘uplifting and light’

  176. I am not a chorus, as is clear by my other comments, William, so don’t bs. You know I like your works and find many of your comments interesting. BUT I did indeed find that to be the clearest and best statement of Wesley’s contentions in this whole run-on-blog here, — many of his points I agree with, others I do not, — but MY point was that it was a CLEAR comment, rather than harangues such as you have been doing, rather than attacks like Wesley has been doing, and rather than just plain nastiness such as the Fake Mr Currin and I myself did earlier.

    In the future can we all try to get to substance more by:
    – writing less so-darn-long and quasi-academic (Mr Conger)
    – writing less so-darn-long personal attacks (Wesley)
    – being less undirected and childish (JC)
    – being less (over-)reactive and uselessly nasty (Me Myself!)

    There are some great thoughts here, but we have all buried them in viciousness (except perhaps Dave Roth and some of Tony’s and Kaysen’s).

  177. “irresponsible jerk”? Ha! That coming from someone who continually serves as Kimler’s stooge, defending the ass time and time again. I can’t believe two tough acting, loud mouthed Chicago art-jerks are so bothered by such a silly comment. Kimler doesn’t give one thought about how he makes others feel, from Conger to Kirschner, now everyone has to dance around to please the creep and his stooge. What a joke the both of you are! Go back to Sharkforum and post some pictures of scary fish.

  178. FYI, there is a new show posted worth listening to and commenting on. Maybe its time to refocus the energy here people.

  179. You’re entitled to your opinion, of course Shank, and I won’t argue with you about your accusation (this fool ain’t running that fool’s errand). On more than one occasion I’ve called Wesley to account for his actions, both privately and in public fora such as this one. If you’re referring to me as a “tough acting, loud mouthed Chicago art-jerk” then I just don’t know what to say about that, except that I’ve not expressed a desire to visit violence upon anyone – you have.

    I defy you to demonstrate even one example of my being either tough-acting or loud mouthed – I’m typically described by friends as being somewhat quiet. If you’re going to take a position try to defnd it with something real.

    My point remains unchallenged – anonymous flaming and threats is a pussy move – grow some nerve and own your opinions – YOU are the one acting like a tough-guy, not me. I’m not here for invective or insult.

    I just call it like I see it – what, of value, have you added to this conversation? You hate Wesley – ok, we get it. What else ya’ got? Do you know me? I doubt it.

    By the way, just for the record – I agree that Wesley gives little thought to the effect his actions have on others, and I’ve told him so. He and I are different, and none of my points should serve to condone that disregard. Regardless, none of that gets you off the hook for being a pussy – why don’t you demonstrate the courage of your convictions, muster the courage which is currently supplanted by self-rightous indignation, and screw up the nerve to put some skin in this game? You know who I am – I’m willing to state my honest view and suffer the barrage from the likes of you. If that’s being a tough guy then perhaps you’re right after all.

    So I say put up or shut up – otherwise your spew of bile comes off as childish shrillery.

  180. wah!… wah!….that mean old shark hurt Judith Kirshners feelings …wah!…wah….boo…hoo….just forget about the generations of artists marginalized, careers compromised or destroyed, mediocre, academic conceptual 101 championed here in order for Judith and her curatoral lapdog Rondeau to have their little fiefdom…..he hurt her feelings! …boo ….hoo

    _I told you Roth -garbage, and not very smart garbage either

  181. I just want to know which Stooge I am. I’ve always been partial to Shemp – can I be Shemp? No – wait! I want to be Iggy! He was a Stooge.

    Thanks for the compliment Skank. And Skank – you’re still a kitty-kat. Screw up your nerve and put some skin in the game. For the record, I neither excuse not endorse Wesley’s methods. He is who he is, and it’s not my ox to gore.

  182. Hey, just an FYI we are NOT LIMITING posting here, there is some glitch with the blog that is eating people’s posts. We are looking into it. Until we have fixed whatever the problem is I would encourage you all to write your rants in word or some such thing and paste them into the blog so they aren’t lost if things are still f-ed up.


  183. I’m sure Dave ‘shank’ doesn’t know mw either…..hey shank -why don’t you go find a lynch mob to join? Don’t like what someone thinks, try violence -isn’t that your deal?

    Look Dave, you disagree with my methodology -thats your business -and as sharkforum is not made up of the like-minded on every topic of discourse, I think it healthy. For me, my thought does come with a type of vengeance….thats what keeps me entertained. Usually when I am confronting something or someone, I’m not looking to show them a comfort zone -contrare’ I’m a big believer -as Mr Conger noted in a certain Sun Times article, in the take no prisoners approach.

    if we are going to continue here, how about that public art as art? or as window dressing, discussion….

  184. Speaking of public art in Chicago, check out this 1943 installation at Union Station.

  185. William Conger Says:

    Thanks to Bill Dolan for putting up that photo of 1940s Union Station showing all the planes suspended from the ceiling. I saw them many times as a kid…always loved it. The sight was truly spectacular. Good “propaganda” public art because it suggested overwhelming air power. Sometimes during the War fleets of actual US warplanes would fly over Chicago and “bomb” the city neighborhoods with weighted red-white-blue streamers. Then the kids would pick them up and tell the “Block Captain” of the Civil Defense, usually someone’s mom or dad. where they were found. The aim was to try to estimate damage if enemy bombs actually fell. I think the kids and the pet dogs rarely turned them in. I turned mine in because my mother was the Block Captain. She had a white helmet and an arm band and kept a big poster showing enemy bomb styles pinned to the pantry door. Seems so odd now. But those planes….unforgettable!

  186. Great story William!

  187. Thank you for that story. It makes the photo even more meaningful. I think that proves the importance of public art. It inspires, influences, triggers important/fond memories and more. I’d like to see the planes reinstalled.

  188. Holy crap! That is amazing, I wonder where they all are? I suspect somewhere, in a warehouse, these things are crated up.

  189. It’s a little hard to get a sense of scale, but man that’s a powerful shot. I can hardly imagine what it must be like to look up in the sky and see all that mechanized death, raining down ordnance.

    I took a walk down to Dearborn and Adams this morning to commune with the Calder. It just reinforces the value of public art, and really demonstrates how crucial it is to have that process run by people who know what they’re doing.

    Everything about Flamingo is dead-on right: placement, scale, color, it all works. It makes other pieces seem really plopped down, like the Hunt at Randolph and Michigan, or the Di Suvero pieces buried in Millenium Park, or the criminal placement of the Serra in Grant Park (which just recently was flanked by a colonnade of Port-A-Potties).

  190. Michael Hardesty Says:

    Dear David.

    “I took a walk down to Dearborn and Adams this morning to commune with the Calder. It just reinforces the value of public art, and really demonstrates how crucial it is to have that process run by people who know what they’re doing.” (D. Roth BAS)

    Public art operates on many levels, from community based works – i.e. Project Row House, which in my mind better serves the “Public” to works like the Calder. It terms of social sculpture the 1943 Union Station sent most through a nostalgic walk, but at the time it was woven into our social understanding of our world – powerful.

    “Really demonstrates how crucial it is to have that process run by people who know what they’re doing.” (D. Roth BAS)

    It is not only the powers that run a small portion of “public art” it is also our responsibilities as artists to engage public in a meaningful way.

  191. Agreed Michael. My vision of a healthy public art program would involve a department with good leadership and direction, while allowing for critical input from the public.

  192. Right, and that leadership is totally lacking at the moment.

  193. “Right, and that leadership is totally lacking at the moment.”

    exactly -but lets face it, this is a much larger issue than who is running the dept of cultural affairs here….as I previously mentioned, I find it fascinating that even our most mainstream films -like Blackhawk Down or, Saving Private Ryan can address issues of life and death, war and peace, violence, love……but we as a people cannot deal with who we are in terms of much of our public work (I too, am a big fan of the Calder -and agree the placement of the de Suvero’s is an abomination)….but this is really not work of the present (granted de Suvero is still active -but his aesthetic was really complete 3 decades ago-)

    back to the point I intially made: I happen to believe and think that the large scale painting selection at McCormick place, like much corporate type lobby art we see in our time, was, fear based. Don’t create a scene, don’t ruffle any feathers, do not provoke….. Can one even imagine the reception something like Sistine Chapel with its religous content/homoeroticsm/ hellish figuration and simple hellbent fury would receive today?

    when you consider the wholescale level of denial american society is living in, how art can function, its easy to grasp the magnitude of our failure -as artists, as a culture.

    its interesting, no?

    almost equally interesting is the threats of violence directed at me for bringing this up…..whats next now that we have successfully done away with the writ of habeas corpus, lynch mobs and jack boots?

  194. Michael Hardesty Says:

    Dear Wesley

    “Lets face it, this is a much larger issue than who is running the dept of cultural affairs here…. as I previously mentioned, I find it fascinating that even our most mainstream films -like Blackhawk Down or, Saving Private Ryan can address issues of life and death, war and peace, violence, love…but we as a people cannot deal with who we are in terms of much of our public work”
    (WK AKA Shark bas)

    There are many sub-cultures that create “our” culture, within these sub-cultures we surround and create an idealized version that we as individuals operate from, some prefer to control or censor, some embrace blindly, some embrace raw experiential output. I agree there is a much larger issue – A Public Art Program could also be used to disseminate information, act as a facilitator of community growth and understanding/education – not for approval, but an engagement with our city.

    The McCormick place has little interest to me –

  195. hear! hear! ……and as it stands now, talk about dysfunctional…somehow today I was recalling those stupid cows…..didn’t money from the 1% get siphoned off and funneled down that moronic drain?

    ….there is discussion I believe in re-doing Navy Pier: why not make this a major issue for the cultural community here? LETS TAKE IT BACK -make it a major issue for the next majoral election. Lets face it, for all the Mart is attempting now, the failed fairs, our problems as an art world here, we have been fighting an uphill struggle since the pier was taken away from the adults and turned into that abomination/suburban shithole/ cash cow kiddeland from hell, and since the braintrust over at the MCA the board of directors passed on Tadao Ando, Frank Gehry, Rem Koolhaas, and instead gave us Joseph Kleihaus… could this possibly have happened? We need a new building!

    I agree Michael we need a way more activist, intelligent, engaged and aware and just plain serious public art program. A program that as you suggest, facilitates and educates- I can get behind this -far more than the ineffectual protest downtown last week-

  196. “almost equally interesting is the threats of violence directed at me for bringing this up”

    boy, you really are dumb. Threats of violence were because you say such rude, hostile things about people like Conger and whoever else you have chosen to target or blame for your own problems (read: Kirschner).

    You make a good point, that painting and visual art in general has been pacified, but that is not why Conger suggested he should hit you, and I agreed, so don’t try to make yourself a martyr. You’re simply a jerk.

    As for your point, I would suggest the reason why much of visual art has been pacified is because other cultural forms, mainly popular entertainment, has become too violent, sexual, etc. Visual art has become a refuge of sorts. BUt thats just one possibility, and I don’t even believe it to be the main reason.

  197. shank -I’ll tell you whats dumb, every cowardly kiss ass post of yours -all directed at me -including your lynch-mob, thug like utterances all done from the safety of your chickenshit anonymity…what a creep. Obsessed with me aren’t you? Every posting of yours is about one thing: me. I have a really good idea of who you are. Why don’t you try getting a life?

    Like most truly stupid people in the art world here -including those peripherally involved as I’m sure is the best you can claim, you confuse what I think about the art world here with my personal world as a painter. I had a very good week in and out of the studio, with the sale of a single work for instance, paying the rent on this considerable and beautiiful space for another year…working on a new series of collages and, a very large article about my work set to appear this fall in a terrific magazine …personally I have no complaints and anyone with half a brain knows that about me.

    “Visual art has become a refuge of sorts”…..oh really? talk about flat out dumb- its art as therapy now; is that what you think? Beginning art 101 here we come.

    there must be some kind of kiddee blog you can you can take part in -Dave Roth, myself and others have attempted to get you to show evidence of even an ounce of actual intelligence -which you have failed miserably in demonstrating that you possess.. why don’t you flit off to the shallow end of the pool where you belong?..the adults are having a conversation.

  198. William Conger Says:

    Past public art is scarcely a model for present public art. However it’s interesting that the publicness of past public art centered on what has been termed “the civic religion”. This is the appeal to public interests, in a national sense, that rise above sub-groups and are exemplified in commemorative deeds, important “civic” people, leaders, and the like. It should astonish us that 275,000 people atended the unveiling of the President Grant Equestrian Statue in Lincolon Park, but such unifying public events were common in the 19C. Popular “civic religion” movies may take the place of those equestrian statues today but the theme of lurking nationalism and reinforcing public pride and power in overarching symbolic form does continue. Yet it is a theme at odds with late modernism and perhaps that’s one reason why it’s so difficult to know what public art can be now that is not a severe critique of the civic sensibility hidden in celebratory form (like Oldenberg’s Bat-Column).

    Since I was there when the model planes were hanging in Union Station, amazed as a kid, but having learned later that they symbolized the inevitable Victory Flight, and not a bombing raid except in abstract threat to a projected enemy. Chicago industry was building many war planes and so the display also honored the “home front” production.

    Manipulating public awe and fear through public art is not a contemporary habit. The fake bombing of Chicago could not have happened in reality because no 1940s enemy plane could fly directly to mid-America. It was research for determining likely US bomb damage on foreign cities. But the noise and the hoopla kept everyone on edge, reinforced by periodic “blackouts” practice sirens (still Tuesdays at 10 am) and weird events like the very public transporting of captured German soldiers with big black or red targets painted on their shirts, the gory photos in LIFE magazine of Japanese atrocities, the blatant war posters everywhere, the tin can collections, and all the rest to keep Americans psychologically at the “front”. A few years later there were Nike missles at Belmont harbor, supposedly to shoot down Russian Bombers carrying A-Bombs. That was public art, too. No one explained how a missle with a 25 mile kill range would stop a falling A-Bomb from evaporating Chicago. The Nike missles, utterly useless, nevertheless did the job of Civic Religion — a big dose of awe and fear for the easily distracted citizen trying to live a decent life.

    Is public art just art in public space or is it addressed to some imaginary persona of the civic identity? I am not a fan of art to serve the utility of so-called public economic needs, as has been suggested here. That responsibility cannot be shuffled under an art rug. But I do agree that the definition or function of public art is much more difficult to define today than it was years ago. Something changed with the Picasso sculpture; namely, the new burden of art in public space that is really without a public in mind.

  199. Public art can also be inextricably linked to a place. The Picasso has become as much a symbol of Chicago as the official seal, the “Y” or the Chicago Flag. Can one think of it without thinking “Chicago?” It’s Chicago’s hood ornament, if you will.

    It’s ironic that Pablo never set foot in this city.

  200. and as with much good art, (think of the recent rehabilitation of Richard Serra’s reputation as a public artist,) the Picasso, which began life (to once again paraphrase Henrik Ibsen “as an enemy of the people”) has now been embraced, the piece having the effect of making us collectively greater as we grew to see it…of transforming in the way good art can, our understanding of who we are. It confronted and challenged peoples peceptions, prejudices, assumptions and in the end, imaginations, it redefined, it offered up as it still does, an aesthetic experience.

    perhaps the best work out there inhabiting city spaces, creates its own public -as in the instance of the Picasso, which for that specific work, would mean, the entire city of Chicago.

    my fear is that we no longer possess the tolerance or strength as a people to allow the aesthetic experience to happen, thus the dumbing down, and retreat from challenging public works. Not that all work needs to be -Kapoor for instance, however the ability to have any work at all that challenges our preconceptions about ourselves or art, seems endangered.

  201. btw -I would really differentiate between what is propaganda and what is art…sure there is surely art that has a row to hoe -that is what naturalism is -from Zola to Brecht and Shavian discourse to Ayn Rand….this stuff is usually highly stylized, two dimensional cardboard cutout in its character, and leans more towards being a form of craft ie ‘entertainment’ created to have a specific effect, whether frightening the public or, influecing opinion in various other propagandistic ways, to attempting the creation of some form of eutopia, than to truly challenging aesthetics-

    usually only some of the voices are heard in this kind of work, there is a puposeful omission of the universal, and what is usually being attempted is a physical kind of change in the world, rather than an imaginative catharsis-

  202. William Conger Says:

    Dumbing down of public works? Except at the new McCormick Place. Why assume that the new work there is not challenging? Why accept what one person claims about work he has not seen? Yet, as Shark himself says about the Picasso, the work will ultimately “have the effect of making us collectively greater as we grew to see it…”

  203. “granted de Suvero is still active -but his aesthetic was really complete 3 decades ago”

    that’s the pot calling the kettle…

  204. “Why assume the new work there is not challenging”: first, I am referring to the three large scale painting installations Bill, nothing more, and whether you agree with me, my opinion is not an assumption, my being more than familar with the respective works of the artists I mention..

    as for pointing and laughing -how glad am I to not be a part of the art world Mr Hirst inhabits. A world no doubt, when looking at the completely insane auction prices, about to go down in flames. My comment on de Suvero was in no way meant to be derogatory -but simply my pointing out that he reached his aesthetic maturity in a different time from now -something which actually, I have only recently been able to begin to approach in my own work -as people who are actually familar with what I do, know.

  205. William Conger Says:

    I think the Gutzon Borglum bronze sculpture of Gen. Sheridan at the Belmont/Sheridan Rd. park site is one of the best public monumental works in America, if not elsewhere too, at least for its formal aspects. Its “civil religion” power has faded with changing social values.

    It may also be the last major equestrian sculpture in America, c. 1923. Look at it from any position and see how alive the contours are and how organic the whole is and how forceful the mass is. Few realize that this is not a recast of an earlier work of the same subject Borglum did in D.C. which pales by comparison, being, as Shark says of much public art, flat and unexpressive. And I don’t think many people today would admire Gen. Sheridan so much, despite heroic Civil War victories. because of his later ruthless treatment of Native Americans, etc.

    Borglum, most famous for the Mt. Rushmore heads, is not well regarded as an artist today, unfairly, I think when we really look at this late masterpiece. It’s a great example of successful public art albeit less resonate with our time. Few look at this piece but tens of thousands are now treking to Mt. Rushmore, a poor example of art.

    I certainly agree with comments re aesthetic maturity. It does not mean that the aesthetic is frozen; it means that it has become fully articulate.

  206. Your description of Borglum’s sculpture brought to mind what Smithson once said, that size determines what an object is but scale determines whether it is art.

  207. that’s a great quote. just a reminder of how few artists these days really understand proportion.

  208. W. Conger– your apt phrase, “the imaginary persona of the civic idenity”, is a key problem, and so difficult to define (though the ‘public sphere’ has been approached by so many thinkers), and I tend to agree that monumental sculpture is becoming obsolete. Personally I enjoy it but it is not a popular taste– is that its appeal? Why does so much public art seem like a prescription of “good taste” upon “the public”? I’d like to promote artists that know how to maneuver through this new idea of the public:

  209. Packard Jennings – the Tyler Durden of the art world.

  210. There are even some things worse than plop sculpture. Most “public art” or “Kunst am Bau” as it is called here in Switzerland is highly decorative geometric crap (like Mosset’s three two-story-high diagonal green stripes on one building) or, more recently, cutesy-pie Neo-Conceptual art like Zaugg’s text works in the Gerber image above, or some kind of little addition that requires an hour of curatorial explanation to even notice it. To which the correct response is usually a “knowing” consensus-clique chuckle. Not my idea of aesthetic appreciation.

    What’s the problem with just buying things like good paintings or photos or sculptures or installations and putting them up, rather than insisting on bureaucratically-pleasing site-specific-justified art (which usually is not really contextually specific, which is far more important)? I love to do things site- and contextually specific, but most Kunst am Bau is only nominally so, not truly so.

  211. One of the finest pieces of public art is in danger of disappearing. “Spindle” is going to be removed to make way for a Walgreens.

  212. Bill, unless I missed it, there wasn’t one mention of the sculptor’s name in that article. Curious… who was the artist?

  213. The Tribune has an article on it today and mentions the artist, Dustin Shuler. There is also a little more info and history than the article I previously linked.,1,3249415.story

  214. Marshall Mcluhan Says:

    Applause for J Currin for not only being inventive, but intelligently sniffing out the fact that this troupe seems to spell trouble, seemingly corrupt, pointlessly abusive, defensive , disrespectful & repetitive noise.Change the tune, at least do something, something different.

    Bludgeoned to death with hacking at art theory & history, gasping for air amidst such irrelevant lecturing.Over & over again. Start a book club or weekly review already.
    Really.We GO to lectures, consciously, pay for them, talk about them.Host lectures.

    Not even an ounce of harmony, or a sense of our fully diverse fabric of reality, of which we all submit to, which is why it is likely you saw so few at the plaza.

    I suggest you all make your blog exclusive & shut it off from the public, this sounds exactly like what you need, set up a password so ONLY certain fish may post.THEN prove to the world what you have intended to prove through bashing skulls into barbed wire & post your amazing results to the public!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!At least you won’t be scaring all your seemingly wounded “retarded & idiotic” (lovely terms by the fish) readers away. Secrecy & mystery gathers attention too!
    Enough with the whining about anon- anon has a VAST history of which we are NOT the architects. merely observers. merely observers.
    You might have gotten a little creative, inviting all of us to arrive with polished butchers cleavers & canvas aprons, a cam corder & something ridiculously unpractical & or practical & extraordinary to express, truly, in favor of the beauty OF the absurd.

    Discord, takes comprehension of it’s mechanics, planning & how it may or may not facilitate authentic change.

    A full awareness & sensitivity to think, to then enter into desire, which in turn compels one to trust in something tangible, alive & vital.

    Many , not all, involved in the arts WORK (in every sense), IN the arts, thus, those that work hard in the arts, inevitably, have some financial or social successes that one may create & utilize as questionable spectacles. In this instance, undermining any sort of thorough & completely- ( if it must be, BRUTALLY ) honest, contextual exploration, of the realities at work, the times, of anything for that matter, etc.
    & people have always bought ANY ART THAT THEY WISH.

    If someone wants to buy what one may view as bad work, there is nothing one can do about it & insulting artists is very provocative, but do it in the nude, to their face, brandishing clips, & whips.

    We like to read about interesting collectors, they exist as well.

    A hypocritical gang running in circles of lackluster & obvious patronizing rhetoric.

    So, why not just, get creative.Realistic.
    Depending on the individual these two simple qualities have been known to succeed on occasion.
    In hand with decently consistent sincerity, even greater the odds, that is if one does not wish to enter into success via corruption & lies, abuse & belittling of human beings.
    With issues regarding the environment & an end to this war & the tremendous horrors in Sudan, Africa & let’s not forget Joseph Kony, etc, i could go on & on. The era of big fish and krill is OVER. A good suggestion. Over. Done. If anything have a sense of humor. American psycho.

    I am surprised i even read this, & it’s safe to say no one in their right mind could possibly imagine reading this in it’s entirety.
    Who’s magnificent brain are we trying to pick any ways guys?

    The individual or “being” who i found the most lucid & interesting, is William Conger, i suggest following his lead once in a while & again, as to ensure “art” discussions that may be worthwhile.He is engaging, regardless of what anyone has to say about his personal life & career, choices, human existence, it’s a fact, he is engaging & interesting.

    No small feat when you are a human being.
    If anything, humbling ourselves, is surely a way towards improvement.
    Try your hand at being fiercely humble, see where it gets you.This is suggested for all of us, the mad, living & deceased.Just the attempt, is magical.

    & i like overly polite in some instances, one garners a great deal when in the presence of individuals with their own unique brand of being anally overly polite. & Conger does not remotely seem overly polite.
    & I am also not alone in that i like a certain kind of ass hole, i like a certain kind of unforgivable bastard that has such outrageously & amazingly high concepts of thought &/or belief & morality, especially the ones that are HONEST.& why are they honest? It benefits the sorts of results that they seek in their lives. & it takes tact to get away with being an interesting & pleasant ass hole to be around. Craft.

    All the generalizing, & all these diatribes simply amount to wandering self interest & an inhumane, cold & uninspired attitude to art.Which could be interesting for a WEEK & with several anomalies of context.
    So rarely breached in ANY ART WORLD.
    It happens & when it does it is an awe, for all of us, a life altering thrill & a reality that does not manage, to take place- here.
    Try not to take it for granted.

  215. Uh, yeah, right. Thanks. You really cleared everything up faux-Marshall. Jesus.

  216. God my fucking head hurts after reading that.

    Thanks Amy.

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  218. John Currin Says:

    Just checking back here after a couple of years and want to report that the world did not explode after the ordinance passed.

    Seems now, with 20/20 hindsight, like much ado about nothing….

  219. Gotta agree there with faux-John Currin, altho hindsight is perfect, etc.

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