Monday, July 16, 2007

Get a Marketable Art PERSONALITY

CBS Sunday Morning ran a segment on artist Michael Kalish. Actually, I think his art is very interesting and admirable. The story bothered me though. I don’t want to get into a bitter argument about the ugly machinations of the art world. I don’t have the energy or desire to get in a mouth-frothing tizzy about sexism, art world B.S., and media mania. I guess I am just writing about this to say I noticed all this while watching the show.
The first time my ears perked was when the reporter said “He is ONLY 34!” Wowy Zowy! Actually, this is probably why this story was covered by Sunday Morning. If he were 25, it would have been reported on the prime time news. Then it got better. Read the quote below taken from the print version of the story. I see he displays his work at a gallery with all male artists. Yeah. OK. No surprise. The gallery owner said he was the “chosen one” despite ten years of other artists begging for attention (my words). Then it gets really good:
”Kalish was chosen not just for his art, but also for his marketable personality.”
I am laughing as I type this. The truth? Huh? You mean artists aren’t chosen for their artistic genius? Hell NO! I guess you really can’t blame the art world. It is just a microcosm of the world at-large. After all, Anna, Paris, and now, POSH are not notable due to their intellectual or outstanding creative contributions to our society. They are marketable personalities. They satisfy our voyeuristic tendencies, which want a glimpse at lives more glamorous and interesting than our own. Although, I have to give Mr. Kalish credit. At least, he has created a solid body of artwork. So I guess we all need to be mesmerized by this new art star. We can live vicariously through his grand art life. This color-blind, license plate collector, ex-baseball player scouted by the Yankees and Braves has been inducted into the high-powered art hall of fame. He sells to celebrities and has his work shown in fancy, smancy galleries. I don’t begrudge him his success. Oh no! My only wish for him is that he really understands what is happening. The article states a personal quote:
"It's passion about something. It's not clicking in and out of life. It's not waiting in line. That's my motto: Get out of line.” Michael Kalish
Well, I hope he realizes there are thousands of artists out here that have the passion. They haven’t clicked out. They got out of line a long time ago. Yet that “hand” didn’t come down and pick them out. So I say more power to him! He has won the art LOTTO! Good for him!! I wish him big bucks and lots of luck. Oh wait; he is already a Lucky Boy!! He has a marketable art personality!
Excerpt from CBS Sunday Morning story:
“He certainly is not waiting in line and currently has work displayed at the Artworks Gallery, along with Chuck Close, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Picasso and Miro and Chagall.
"Michael is really the only coming artist that we represent," said Christopher Forney, the co-owner of the Artworks Gallery. "And while we've been asked for — every week for 10 years to do so — he's the only one we ever chose."
Kalish was chosen not just for his art, but also for his marketable personality.
"In today's age of media, it's an important element for an artist to also be a personality and in somebody who's actually portraying other personalities," Forney said. "It's interesting and important that he is."

Michael Kalish makes all of his pieces, like the portrait of Superman shown here, out of license plates. (
Click photo to read CBS story


Anonymous said...

Michael Kalish is the real deal. Talented and a personality to match. When you meet him you understand his passion for his art is real. I suggest that you interview him as he lives in L.A. and is very accesable. You watch he will be the next Andy Warhol etc. Michael has what it takes to be the next super star.
I can not say enough about him except what a exceptional and wonderful person he is.

Sheree Rensel said...

Well Anon,
I am sure he is a delightful guy! I never dissed him personally in the post. I even complimented his work. I doubt I will ever meet him, but I will take your word for it when you say he is "exceptional and wonderful". Actually, this post wasn't really ABOUT Kalish if you scratch the surface of the text. I do wish him rock star status and barrels of money.
Now I have a question for you. This is off topic but I am just curious. Why do people post as "ANONYMOUS"? Just wondering. Can you enlighten me on this issue?

Mad William said...

From the sounds of the Anonymous comment I would guess that they work for Michael or one of the galleries selling the work.

This is the biggest problem with the art world today. It has nothing to do with talent. Maybe it's just me not caring for todays pop artists because they are doing the same things that have been done for 40 years now. The images they use are someone else's work that these so called Geniuses paint over or in this case recreate with license plates. He's not even the first to do that. Does no one have an original thought anymore?

He may be talented and a nice guy, but what put him where he is, is the "marketable personality".

I hope he's laughing all the way to bank.

Anonymous said...

It was easier to click anon than take the time to give a false name. The info is true but real names are not necessary in the blog world.

I own several of his pieces of work.

Mad William is wrong, Kalish did invent this type of license art. If he does not think so than name names with examples of their so called previous work.

Kalish does plenty of original images.

He just met with Mohammed Ali and will be doing an original piece for Ali's personal collection. He also will be doing a poster with Ali for the Parkinson's association and will be donating the profits for the cause.

As far as scratching the surface, it takes great talent AND all the other pieces to become a giant in the art world. Personality is just one of the necessary ingredients, without it ones art just languishes.

My purpose of this blog is to set the record straight. Kalish will be as you say the next rock star of the art world and he deserves it. He works tirelessly

I am truly amazed at his grace and talent. The world only gets people like this once in a generation.

Thanks for your response and I hope I answered your question.

Sheree Rensel said...

After reading your latest response, I understand why you post as Anonymous. I wouldn't want people to know I wrote that either.
Obviously, you are a Kalish groupie. Your love has blinded you. My original post was about art PERSONALITIES. Not whether Kalish’s was a good or bad artist (whatever that is). His art is OK. However, Mad William IS correct. Using license plates in art has been around since they started putting them on cars. The same goes for cartoon imagery. That too is not original. Like I said before, I wish Kalish great success. I am just not all gaa-gaa over him, his work, or his fame. He is a regular person like everybody else.
Sheree Rensel
(Yes, that is my real name.)

Emily said...

Um, art is not about being unique. There is no way in the world you can ever come up with something brand-new. The only way to succeed is to do the same thing as someone else... only BETTER. You have to be the BEST. It's not about 'creativity' or 'originality,' because those things are RELATIVE. It's about bringing together ideas and making a statement.

Sheree Rensel said...

"UM" Emily,
Yeah. OK. Whatever you say. Please send me your website and blog URL ASAP. I would love to read and see your work and learn more about your philosophies. If you believe what you say, that is a great thing. I do too. I know what I am talking about. I have lived it. So please enlighten me. I want to see your stuff, your thoughts, your history. PLEASE, give me the links. After I experience your art life and history, I will get back to you to thank you for your incredible insights.

Celina said...