Countless people, tons of money, hours of training and years of therapy go into keeping organizations from being perceived of doing the very things they are, in fact, doing. Things everyone knows they are doing but as most people learned as kids there is a big difference between knowing something to be true and proving something to be true.
What if though, companies owned up to what they were doing and PR wasn’t pushed to spin? What if Letterman said he doesn’t care what you think of his sex life, either tune in and laugh or go to the other chin. If Facebook & Google reminded everyone that they are a company that makes it’s only source of revenue off of pimping your private information, its free remember? If Steve Jobs just finished the sentence he has been trying to say to consumers for years which is “I make the products I want and you will either like the simple walled garden I cultivate or go screw off, I owe you nothing. If I listened to you Apple would be smaller then Palm”.
Alas those days will never come since there are countless skilled and paid professionals who work very hard at refracting the actions of their organization in such a way that it is almost impossible for the average person to feel confident that anything specific is, in fact, happening. It’s a necessary evil that has a role until there are people that realize they shouldn’t just say whatever they might think in front of a Rolling Stone reporter, or that people really do start quiting jobs to spend more time with their family.
Till that day comes though, enjoy these films lol.
“Thumbing granite rocks into the womb of a marshmallow mermaid, sopping granite compound orgiastic waterfalls on the cotton fields of heaven.”
That is how the press release opens. Woah. This Saturday, August 8th, Scott Projects is welcoming London based artists Sopping Granite (Ben Vickers and Sarah Hartnett) for the show The First Letter of Every Word is You. Apparently, they exchange ideas via telepathy. Definitely check out their website, which seems to serve as part portfolio, part research notebook, and part collage.
Here is the link to the Facebook event page. Hope to see you there!
For crying out loud, can everyone just give poor Jerry Saltz a break and leave the guy alone? How exactly did he become the Christ figure of the art press, the one we look to to Save Us, the guy that’s gonna solve everyone’s problems, including those of the venerable Museum of Modern Art? From Saltz’s perspective, I’d imagine it’s all want, want, want, whine, whine, whine, all the time. “Why doesn’t Jerry have a blog?” “Why isn’t Jerry preaching to the wretched masses outside of his own Church of Facebook? “Why isn’t Jerry friending me faster?” (for that one, see comments beneath the post).
Jesus Christ (no pun intended), what if instead of ragging on Jerry, everyone focused on growing the communities they’ve got on their own blogs, Facebook pages, Twitters etc., and proceed with their own agendas from there?
In other words: ask not what Jerry can do for the art world – ask what *you* can do for *your* art world.
On Facebook, Saltz charged The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) with practicing a form of “gender-based apartheid,” based on the paucity of work by women artists hanging on the walls of the 4th and 5th floors of the Museum (the pre-1970 galleries). Here’s what he wrote:
Of the 383 works currently installed on the 4th and 5th floors of the permanent collection, only 19 are by women; that’s 4%. There are 135 different artists installed on these floors; only nine of them are women; that’s 6%. MoMA is telling a story of modernism that only it believes. MoMA has declared itself a hostile witness. Why?
The subsequent discussions that take place in the comments are really interesting and if you aren’t already aware of this whole brouhaha and want to be, I recommend you skim through it all and join in.
I have to admit I have mixed responses to the issue, as a post-post feminist or whatever the hell it is that I am. I think what I am, actually, is the lazy type of feminist who never thinks to count how many works by women artists are hanging on the walls of the museum shows I attend, including during my first visit to the Art Institute’s Modern Wing. So last week I went back again to take another look, and to get better sense of how the Modern Wing stacks up when it comes to issues of gender representation. (Note that due to lack of time I didn’t take account of the work in the Architecture and Design galleries).
On the third floor containing the European and Modern Art galleries, I counted just four works by the following female artists: Maria Elena Vieira da Silva, Suzanne Duchamp, Nathalija Gontcharova and Leonora Carrington. On the 2nd floor gallery featuring Contemporary Art from 1945-1960 there was Joan Mitchell‘s gorgeous City Landscape from 1955.
(So-called Modern works by women in the Modern Wing are kind of tricky to account for, because the period is divided multiple ways, between works exhibited in the Modern Wing and those installed in the American galleries in the main building, where, for example, a number of works by Georgia O’Keeffe are installed).
Unless I missed it, no female artist has been given monographic (i.e. dedicated gallery or grouping) treatment in the Modern Wing in the way that Robert Ryman, Bruce Nauman, Robert Gober, Kerry James Marshall, Mel Bochner, Constantin Brancusi and several others have. The closest was Eva Hesse sharing a gallery with Richard Serra in the Contemporary galleries (There are two sculptures and a drawing by Hesse here).
Women fare better on the post-1960, Contemporary side of things, as would be expected. Works by Mary Heilman, Ellen Gallagher, Sherrie Levine, Marlene Dumas, Cindy Sherman, Sue Williams, Cady Noland and Barbara Kruger hang in proximity to one another. In a gallery of contemporary paintings, there’s one work each by Margherita Manzelli and Lisa Yuskavage. Elsewhere in the Contemporary galleries, there’s a Vija Celmins near Sylvia Plimack Mangold‘s In Memory of My Father, an Agnes Martin and a Hanne Darboven (I actually missed the Darboven myself, but Lisa Dorrin mentioned it in the podcast and its listed as being on view on the AIC’s collections page).
The first floor photography gallery has another largish cluster of female artists, including works by Jeanne Dunning, Barbara Kruger, Liz Deschenes (2 works, including one that’s part of Gaylen Gerber’s piece), Rineke Dijkstra, Zoe Leonard, Diane Arbus, and Patty Carroll (also part of Gerber’s piece).
That’s my tally of female artists currently on view the Modern Wing. (Though I tried to be meticulous, I might have missed one or two works–please let me know if I did). So, you know, overall not great, but not completely dismal either. Their representation of women artists in the pre-1960 Modern & European gallery needs beefing up, but the great thing about permanent collection hangings is that they can always be altered and revised, along with the stories they tell.
But the question that’s really on my mind is this one: how much is “good enough?” Do male/female ratios always need to be close to 50/50 to get it right, or can the impact of female artists be measured in other ways, for example in the space and overall presence a female artist’s work is given in a gallery installation (a la the juxtaposition of Hesse and Serra)?
I’m curious about what readers here think about “the female issue” when it comes to permanent collections, in Chicago particularly. I’m especially interested in what female art students (if there are any reading this) may have to say – are you thinking about male/female ratios when you cruise the Modern Wing? Does it bother you that so few women appear in the pre-1960s galleries, or do you derive satisfaction from their collection in other ways?
Feel free to discuss your experiences at the MCA as well.
**Above image credit: Suzanne Duchamp, Broken and Restored Multiplication, 1918-19. Art Institute of Chicago.