I went on a mini adventure Friday night, attended the Scott Miller exhibition at Convivium 33 Gallery and then my usual shenanigans ensued.
I tried to take my friend to what I called, “the worst bar in Cleveland” but they had cleaned up quite a bit since my last visit. You could actually see the floor. Darn.
By the way all you Cleveland arty farty people and galleries: it seems that “Crash” aka “Dr. Pee-pee” aka “Ben Who Knows” has been making the rounds not only to art openings, but to lectures at the medical museum, law school alumni association events, invite-only charity events and CPAC grant events (which he will promptly leave once realizing no alcohol is available). I tried to get a photo of him at Convivium33 but he ran off. Please please please, don’t put up with his nonsense, and call the police the second you see him. He’s been kicked out of my studio building by security TWICE and yet he still comes back and tries to steal whole bottles of wine. Don’t know who I’m talking about? Hmmm, I think you do, he even has a Facebook “Fan” page: HERE
For those of you attending the opening reception for “Ephemeral Antidotes” on Saturday, January 7th, there will be copies of my book available!
Taking inspiration from artists of the Renaissance to Rococo periods, contemporary artist Arabella Proffer has re-imagined the mannerist portrait with a pop surrealist twist. After researching fashion history, heraldry, and peerage protocol, she went on to create her own world parallel to that of old world Europe. Concocting a family legacy — ancestors that could belong to anyone – it has become an impulse and a passion the artist continues to explore, adding characters and stories to her ever-growing private empire of punks, goths, and nobility behaving badly.
As a young punk Arabella Proffer observed firsthand how important fashion was to groups that supposedly rejected being labeled. Their uniformed rebellion became commonplace; tattoos, piercings, bizarre hair colors… all have gone on to become high fashion. As a lover of Elizabethan portraiture, she wondered what it would have been like if the aristocracy of centuries past had taken to these fashions, looking rebellious, shocking, regal and grand all at once as a reminder of their legacy.
“To get a tattoo or piercing is expensive even in the modern age,” says Proffer. “These would have been considered status symbols for only the very rich in centuries past, and thus, they’d want to flaunt them in their commissioned portraits. A king or queen would have had the biggest Mohawk and sleeve tattoos, that’s how I imagine it. These are very tribal adornments, but if marketed as a luxury, you can bet the royal courts of Europe would have taken it to an extreme. I wanted to combine the ancestor worship perpetuated by noble families with my love of old portraiture and punk imagery.”
Included are over 40 portraits created between 2000 and 2011, their stories, family trees, map and more, as well as a foreword by Josh Geiser of Creep Machine and Paper Devil.
Apologies to those of you who have pre-ordered and have waiting, they’re coming! You can order from Amazon, but I suggest direct from CooperativePress.com
This is happening on Saturday, Jan 7th for those of you in Cleveland at www.wrgcleveland.com
I’ll have 2 portraits in it that I have yet to display at a gallery, it’s a one night only affair, so mark your calendars. I’ll be in San Francisco at my solo show there, so I’m sorry to miss this shindig.
Well, moving with the trend of more art galleries closing, two that have represented me have already closed this year. A third one is shutting the doors, and although they didn’t rep. me, I was a fan of their exhibitions and surprised about the news. It is sad when people can no longer see work in person in larger cities where the rents are so high that it impedes any gains the artists or galleries make in order to continue exhibiting in the future.
In various parts of the country the rents are fabulous, people who run exhibition spaces sometimes own the building or even live in the space and they do it as a labor of love (hence many good Cleveland galleries that have survived the economic downturn), but it might not be an area where there are serious collectors or art lovers. It is a catch 22: high rents that deplete any sales or low rents but low sales to go with it. Chicago dealt with the high rent problem where by people started to have apartment galleries; it might become a further trend if the economy keeps going this way — depending on how people feel about strangers using their bathroom and combing through their medicine cabinet.
Guilty feelings about buying artwork, or collecting objects that might be considered frivolous, is unnecessary. A lot of people earn their living making art, teaching it, writing about it, and selling it, so you should never feel guilty but instead consider yourself a patron, and be proud of that fact. Many galleries are going under because they didn’t play fair, they cheated people, or had no business managing or taking anyone’s money — those I do not feel sorry for. But, despite the art market corruption and prices on some artists becoming ridiculous — or someone like Steve Wynn buying Sly Stallone’s abstracts for $40,000 each — there are plenty of people who are not Damien Hirst or Sadie Coles HQ who need all the help they can get and whose works can cost less than a flat screen TV or even an iPhone. Certainly, their work will last longer than any electronic gadget.
My friends came up with a great idea yesterday to start a collection agency for artists, when galleries and curators don’t pay up. Sadly this has been happening more and more, and this is the first time I can remember when I have heard more than one story about bounced checks from galleries. Eep!
Though I worked at a snazzy Melrose Avenue art gallery for a short time, boy did I learn about greed, and the stories, oh the stories. Even artists who were considered well respected and famous; not being paid for a sold out show; having works on loan to museums without payment; gallery owners taking money and losing it in the stock market. In fact I had my own incident with the sculptor John Buck who, as it turns out, hadn’t been paid by my boss in 2 years or more. I of course had no idea, but it was an uncomfortable situation to be in when he stormed into the gallery and my boss was not in — embarrassing and a tad frightening too. Of course there are the galleries that are a delight to work with, who are reliable and pay without you ever having to ask, who actually like art, are fun, and embrace the artistic community. It is the greedy and badly managed ones that ruin it and give the industry a bad reputation; the art world is populated with just as many sleazy people as the music industry ever was. You never want to think this as a young artist starting out, but boy do you learn.
So speaking of which, How’s My Dealing is a great resource for artists about galleries and art fairs. They just finally added a Los Angeles section, but it is still in the works as far as a comprehensive list. I haven’t visited the site in a while, and now they have a death watch for what galleries are going to go under. Though I feel guilty about finding humor and joy in the misfortunes of others….maybe I’ll file it under: Entertainment. There, now I don’t feel as bad.