Ever have an artist that you thought was fun, fresh, interesting and smart? Someone you told all your friends & family about and thought was someone you could be interested in for their entire career? Then they move to a different city,Â make some money, Â get a grant/scholarship,Â suddenÂ increase in press or some otherÂ seeminglyÂ innocuousÂ change at the time. Then almost overnight you don’t know that person and the work is not just bad on it’s own but seemingly worse for what it could have been?
I was told years ago for some Jasper Johns was kind of like that in many people’s eyes (being a big fan myself I could kind of see it even though I still enjoyed the later work) but for me that person has always been Will Cotton.
IÂ rememberÂ seeing video and photos from one of his first major shows back in 1999 and reading Mark Kostabi’s article in Shout and thinking “I agree with Kostabi on something? This is a new feeling!”. Will’sÂ Candyland Landscapes were unlike anything else being made at that time and were wonderful in their unabashedÂ gluttony, scale, execution & humor. During a time when I had as much angst and gritty somberness/passiveÂ aggressiveÂ irony as any man could take durring the 90’s I liked this idea of slick, fun and cranked up to 11 sensibility. Hoping like Chuck Close he would disasemble the formula over time into a more non-representationalÂ approachÂ and I would get art I would want to do and see without having to do all that blasted hard work lol.
Will Cotton then it seemed to me, spent the summer of 2002 in Giverny, France, where he worked under a residency grant from the Monet Foundation and realized that women have these things called breasts, and they are beautiful and now that he has money the women who own these breasts will sit for him; he never looked back. Almost overnight the landscapes were gone, the witty humor melted and it wasÂ cotton-candyÂ sky is the limit on cheesecake. Most recently you will see his latest work as the cover of Katy Perry’s new album Teenage Dream.
In some otherÂ dimensionÂ of reality Will Cotton would have gone to an Analytical CubismÂ conference, fallen in love with geometricÂ rhythm and not breasts but who am I kidding, “you gots to pay the bills somehow“.
In Other News.
- The Museum of Science and Industry has a PR stunt underway where one person will have the chance to live in the museum 24/7 for a month with full access andÂ receiveÂ $10,000. All they have to do is interact with the visitors, blog, tweet and generally promote the institution, not to mention stay sane. Sound great? Well if you do the math, that it’s thirty 16 hour days of confined living; it equates to a 20$ an hour job. I guess it’s not bad but being theÂ unconventionalÂ event spokesperson for the museum, near constant walking, no personal internet & sleeping in the U-505 submarine or the coal mine mightÂ appealÂ to some but it looses the shine after a night or two for me. It will be interesting to see who they choose (want to lay odds its not a guy?) and how long it takes for that person to sour. Do I smell Bad at Sports office pool in the making? Some here think it is a great idea so keep reading I will try to keep tabs on this winner and how it goes :)Â read more here & here
- Theft of a $55 million Vincent van Gogh paintingÂ at the Mohamed Mahmoud Khalil Museum in Cairo, Egypt prompts talk of increased security. I am sorry but with only seven out of 43 security cameras functioning and none of the alarms attached to the museumâ€™s paintings working adding a baby monitor would constitute increased security? read more here
- RememberÂ the guy who bought the Ansel Adams negatives for $45 and a few weeks back the grandson of Ansel, Matthew Adams badmouthed them saying something akin to that they were worthless without the hand of the Artist to burn the final image? Well now the trust representing the famed nature photographer filed a lawsuit to halt the sale of prints. read more here
- Ed Marszewskiâ€”editor-publisher ofÂ Lumpen,Â festival host,Â gallerist, and general Chicago indie art world guy-around-townâ€”has remodeled Kaplanâ€™s Liquors, the Bridgeport bar owned by his mother Maria Marszewski since 1986, and reopened it with the name Mariaâ€™s Packaged Goods & Community Bar.
Maria’s Packaged Goods & Community Bar
960 W 31st Street
Chicago, Illinois 60608
The five year behemoth is upon us! Episode 260 kicks off with a discussion with Mary Jane Jacob and Michelle Grabner about the artist and studio. Then we turn the camera on ourselves and have a discussion about where we are and where we are headed, if anywhere.
Thanks for listening! It has been a great five years!
P.S. Cauleen S. you are a sad, sad, petty whiner. Grow the hell up.
The great part of the Art World is that it is in constant flux and endless energy. Artists and other members of the community create more commerce, impact, reach & community with $100 then most corporations can do with $1,000. The Art World cleans up and resets urban landscapes, moves when the price gets too high and then does it all over again. Lower Manhattan is a testament to the Art world and not anything City Hall has singlehandedly done. Yes there are aspects that can drive you mad; as in the endless herding of cats, debating fringe points of view that even Fox News would balk at and the deep seated hatred/fear of money or success. That said though, I would take a smart art world person over a smart MBA any day of the week. Ideas come and go but drive and tenacious originality/agility makes them a reality. Vegas was once a dream like that.
For good or ill there was once a dream to make Las Vegas an art capital. To make what was already a destination place for many into something that would include an art & culture discussion. During the time of the drive to reinvent Las Vegas as a family friendly, high culture venue, many casinos built collections and galleries to showcase great works for a small admission fee. Years later that proved to be a dead end. People didn’t want to pay to see works that were not of the highest order ofÂ notoriety while in Vegas and even fewer would make the trip with that as a priority.Â The casino’s multi-million collections now adorn the check-in areas and the galleries are reconstituted for other uses. Interestingly enough once again the poor artist comes along and is renting out the space to work in for later exhibitions in LA. You can read more here.
All in all though that is the Art World every day and the Business world every fiscal quarter. You dream what could be, do as muchÂ preparationÂ as possible, swing smart and hard and hope at the end of the day you get your investors more then they paid and build an core infrastructure that can grow into something more. Something better.
You go out swinging every day, hoping that you can find that one idea that is better then the rest and you can gladly spend a lifetime building into something that brings joy, growth and money to all who enter it. You suffer the pain, the failure and theÂ missteps knowing that she is out there just waiting to be found, thatÂ opportunityÂ to plug in your skills and view with the needs of theÂ community. Thats why we do this every day, that is the art world where dreams die daily so that other, better ones, might take their place for us all.
- The Brooklyn Museum continues to try to position itself better to increase traffic, now by extending it’s hours to 6pm on Wednesday’s and 10pm on Thursday & Friday from 5pm. They plan to hire a few more part time staff to cover the extended hours but state that the current budget and suggested admission will more then cover that added cost. read more here
- Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition on Picasso that just closed pulled in a record 700,000+ visitors over a 17-week period. This makes it the most attended exhibit since the Impressionist art show in 2001. read more here
- The Italian state and the city of Florence fight over ownership of Michelangelo’s David. read more here it is a fight that is akin in logic and the boredom of lawyers who need to charge hours to the battle between the FBI & Wikipedia over it’s use of their seal in a entry on the FBI this month. read more here
- Trafalgar Square’s fourth plinth contenders areÂ unveiled, a cake, a cock, a organ, a topographicÂ reliefÂ map of the UK, kid onÂ rocking horseÂ & a Field Marshal. The Bad at Sports oddsmaker’s take is as such: field marshal 1:1, cock, 2:1, organ 4:1, kid onÂ rocking horseÂ 6:1, cake 10:1, topographic map that can only be properly seen from above and below is nothing other then aÂ jaggedÂ white shape 1000:1, an artistic discussion that the general public will actually engage in and might remeber for more then a year…… priceless. read more here & here
This week: Tom and Amanda talk to NYC based painters Aaron Johnson and Ryan Schneider.
BAS sends mucho congratulations to the MacKenzie family.
I flew to Washington, DC this week for many reasons but while here made a point to see as much Art as I could and after a few galleries, museums and private collections some of which were sprinted through, some I could spend more time in I found much of the art venues to be a tad sparse Â and fragile. Lacking the solidity andÂ permanenceÂ you would think would come naturally in the nation’s capital.Â The one gem that stood outÂ surprisinglyÂ was The National Portrait Gallery.
I mentioned it last week in posting the video thatÂ Spielberg/Lucas produced to showcase their collection of Norman Rockwell works and planned to take time to see the show but had low expectations even though I did like the attempt to contextualize Rockwell as a directors painter. Â The Rockwell series was enjoyable andÂ pleasantÂ to see his paintings side by side with hisÂ preparatoryÂ drawings (which in many ways doÂ overshadowÂ the finished works) and the Spielberg/Lucas collection is a well curated and thought out collection with only a fewÂ stranglersÂ (works based on the four seasons) which could easily have been early purchases and they were smartly set aside in a small corner by themselves apart from the main body of work. I wish I could have photos to share but they were militant on retaining their photo copyrights and even chased me away from photographing the entrance to the exhibition from over 15 feet away (which is a all time high for me after 8+ years of trying to document things like this).
What made the National Portrait Gallery stand out for me above the various Smithsonian collections including the National Gallery (which is staffed by some of the mostÂ pleasantÂ customer service & guards I have everÂ dealtÂ with, makes you wonder if the fact that the recession hasn’t even scratched this town having anything to do with that disposition?) was that it was both a dense collection of works that were smartly pooled into thematic bite size chucks but also very romantic and intimate as a venue. A throwback to the turn of the century parlors of old where you felt you had a more intimate one on one with a artist or series of works.
The termÂ portraitÂ gallery is apt for portions of the collection but it’s just meaningless for a large part and gives a misconception of what lies under the roof of that building. Many of the works being smart or rarely seen examples of pastoral orÂ figurativeÂ 19th century works that feel fresher andÂ challengingÂ then their age would hint in this day ofÂ clinicalÂ detachment.
One of the interesting temporary exhibits in the museum was the annual portrait competition by various young artists, grad students and such. The work was surprisingly strong and continued to show the diversity that still exists in this 21st century bouillabaisse of style. About 20% of it wasn’t worth comment but much was fresh and well executed and even the parts that wereÂ derivativeÂ from more established but lesser known artists were still interesting.
For once as well the top award given by the public to Margaret Bowland’s girls in wedding gowns and white face was more deserving in some ways then the top juried choice. You can see a gallery list below. Have a great weekend!