Friday, June 27, 2008

Art Blog: Art and the ECONOMY

I know about this. I have lived through it. I just posted a comment on another blog about the differences between the 70’s and 90’s recessions. Holy macaroni!!! Yes, I am old enough to know and understand all this because I lived through it!! Also I know this too shall pass.
Today I got an interesting email that included the following quote:
“During these hard economic times, the Gulf Coast Museum of Art understands that families in our community are being forced to make difficult choices with their money. Sometimes these choices involve the elimination of cultural and entertainment outings, in lieu of food, healthcare or gas. As a way to make some of these choices easier, the GCMA is pleased to announce that we will be offering free admission to our galleries during the month of July”.
This is exciting news even to me. I can go up to the GCMA and get in free. WOW. That is cool. I am going to do this. I really am. They have some interesting stuff up there. In fact, this museum is one of the BEST in this area, in my opinion. OK. So I am putting it on my calendar now. Go to The GCMA next week. (Maybe I can find a place to have a low cal lunch too???) Sounds like a date to me!! :-)

Click to Enlarge
Money, money, money!!
Anybody who says “Money doesn’t buy happiness” is full of SHIT!
You bet your bippy it makes a difference!
Every time I pay a bill, I laugh and smile. I know what it is like not to have ENOUGH money!
OPRAH, are you listening? It irks me to no end when OPRAH plays down her economic status. Oh yeah. RIGHT. Having money does matter, BIG TIME. Even though OPRAH pretends there are other things more important, I just laugh and say yeah dream on!
Oprah, huh?? Are you for real? Have you forgotten? Are you lost in Oprah LA LA LAND? It doesn't really matter if you hear me. You know I am right.


Martha Marshall said...

LOL! Sheree you are so right. This too shall pass and money does talk! I hope you get up to the museum. It's one of my favorites too.

Hey, my husband said something incredibly profound when I was being all philosophical about being an artist and whether I wanted money or fame. He said "Just get rich, because if you're rich enough, fame will take care of itself." I'm now thinking about Oprah. Which came first for her -- fame or money? Hmmmm.

Sheree Rensel said...

Oh I know for sure money talks. Even though I am barely middle class, I know for sure I get much more of what I want and get treated far differently than when I was totally, 100%, piss poor!

GCMA: am going to the museum next week. I am going to do a "Field Trip" video about my adventure.

Fame / Fortune: You know, I NEVER thought about this before. Now you have me thinking. Did Oprah get rich or famous first? Another question could be is she so famous now BECAUSE she is so rich (as opposed to her interviewing skills)? I don't have anything against people who are rich. In fact, I say more power to them. I think a lot of artists are confused about this fame vs. fortune issue. I am shocked to see how so many artists condemn and speak so viciously about Damien Hirst. I wonder if they are jealous because of his fame or are they envious of the money he makes via his art. Hmmmmm...Chicken or the egg? Interesting!!

gilda said...

Oprah was famous first, then the riches came, but in very quick succession. She had a major public forum even when she was just on TV in a smaller market...then she moved up the TV food chain, was in THE COLOR PURPLE and whoosh!

Fame and all that goes with it is relative. Where I am, I have a certain amount of local 'fame', whatever that is. Most people know me, because I teach in a visible school, have works in visible collections, and, I think this is the most important part of the equation, I have LASTED! Longevity is a very important factor for those of us who are not Oprah or Hirst or Kara Walker or Koons. It means that we will be 'considered' when the time comes. In the mean time, keep blogging, keep self-publishing, keep keeping your name out there!

As an aside, google Stanley Twardowicz. I am sorry to say that I had never heard of this artist; his name came up because I have the Detroit Institute of Arts as a Google Alert. Evidently this artist came from Detroit and was friends with an artist I knew from here, Zubel Khatchadoorian. Twardowicz had a very long, very interesting art career. Knew and worked with Kline, DeKooning, etc. He just died at the age of 90. When I read about him I wished that I had become aware of him sooner.

The fact that I wasn't familiar with him means nothing. I assume that there are legions of fabulous artists out there, working, living, interacting, enhancing their communities---artists whom the 'fame machine' will never move up to what baseball players call "the big show", but who have great careers and wonderful lives.

The other day I was interviewed by a young arts writer. In the course of our conversation I mentioned the name of the artist Benny Andrews. He had never heard of him. Benny, who passed away about a year ago, had been a tremendous force in the national arts community, as well as being an influential visual artist. Benny had galleries all over the country, and sold his work constantly. I knew him because I studied his work when I was a student, and also, later, because he was represented here by my gallery and would always come to Detroit when he had a show here. I was amazed that this writer had not heard of him. But then I realized that, even though Benny was 'out there' [at one juncture in his career he headed the NEA Individual Grants Program!] he was still relatively invisible because he was an African-American artist whose works were basically autobiographical---not sexy, or controversial. And this man was reviewed regularily in ArtNews and Art in America!

I have come to the realization that I am one of those artists who will be considered because I am "still here". I just take it from month to month, making plans for shows, contacting galleries that I work with, looking for opportunities. I can't live off of the sales of my work now...I sell a piece only every so teaching pays the bills. But the longer I am a presence and the more it is pushed, who knows? Maybe when I am 90 the Met will come calling.

Sheree Rensel said...

Oh Yes Gilda, There are so many "kind of" famous artists out there, it would be hard to count. However, the community of people who know about them is very small compared to the media frenzy surrounding other types of "celebrities". On the video "Who Gets to Call It Art", John Chamberlain mentions this same thing. He speaks of how FAMOUS artists are famous and have "name recognition" only to an extremely tiny audience.
Shoot, even some people who should know famous artists don't. I remember sitting in an art teacher meeting reading "Art in America". I flipped open the page and there was an advertisement for Joan Mitchell exhibition. This art teacher leaned over and said "Oh so that is what Joni Mitchell's paintings look like. I knew she was a painter as well as a singer!" I just looked at her with my face all scrunched up. I said "This isn't the work of JONI Mitchell!! It is a painting by JOAN MITCHELL, you know the abstract expressionist painter?????" As she looked at me, I could tell from her face she didn't have a CLUE!!!
To me that is scary!!!

gilda said...

That IS scary. And she was an "educator". Sheree, our work will never be done, even though our efforts may be the equivalent of spitting into the ocean to make it rise. The funny thing is that it DOES rise when we do that, but the effects are not apparent to us.

By the way, thank you for including the link to Art Squeeze....because of this link, I became aware of Lori Ballard and her photographic works. I would never have found her otherwise

Sheree Rensel said...

I know you are right Gilda. Everything we do makes a difference and it isn't really apparent what is happening in the background. This reminds me of when I first started this blog. I thought I was the only one reading it. Then with time, I started adding widgets and taking a look at blog stats. I can't believe people actually visit this site.
In regards to the Art Squeeze link, my pleasure. I am not into photography, but now I remember GILDA THE PHOTOGRAPHER!!!! LOL LOL

gilda said...

I'm just so happy to see another one of us working, showing, living a good art life!

Sheree Rensel said...

AIN'T THAT THE TRUTH!! I know I have mentioned this to you many times before, but it sticks out in my mind. Remember that grad seminar we were in and Egner sat with his feet up on the desk. He said something like "Ten years from now it is doubtful if even five of you will still be making art!"
Well, there is you and me. Who are the other three??? LOL LOL LOL LOL

Love you!!!

gilda said...

Carol Backus [now Pylant], Nancy Mitter,...I cant think of anybody else

Sheree Rensel said...

Oh I remember Carol and Nancy. I can't think of anybody else either!

gilda said...

Wait...I should be ashamed of myself! Let me do a better accounting!

I heard from Michael Jackson, he is working at the Smithsonian. Do you remember Holly Branstner, Ed Fraga, Jim Pujdowski? Ed just curated a show at The Gallery Project in Ann Arbor. Nancy wants Holly to do a workshop at CCS; she would be commuting from her studio in Toledo. Jim is the lead art teacher at University Liggett High School.

Lila Kadaj is teaching art in the public schools and painting in her studio/home in Dearborn; Kurt Novak is the head Art Director of the Wall Street Journal, and has a website of his photographic portraits. Michael Gardner, now known as Saffell Gardner, has a studio in Highland Park. Stephen Goodfellow just sent an email announcing his moving his studio to Ann Arbor; Lowell Boileau is the administrator of DETROITYES.COM, and recently had a large painting in the Work:Detroit gallery. Betty Brownlee and Tricia Soderberg just opened a show of paintings at the Bohemian National Home exhibition space.

Yolanda Sharpe has been teaching in the fine arts department of the State University of New York in Oneonta, combining her painting career with operatic singing performances!

James Stephens recently had a solo show here at the Lemberg Gallery; he is living in Chicago.

Valerie Parks is in the Education Department of the DIA; Doug Bulka also works in the DIA, in the Conservation Studios.

Hey Sheree, maybe we should have a reunion!

Sheree Rensel said...

NO NO NO Gilda. They all went to Wayne and are artists, but they weren't the grad program when I was. In fact, I don't think some of them even went to grad school. I am not sure. You would know better. I was out of Wayne earlier, so maybe they went to grad school (?) later on.
Even so, I think Wayne did a good job of getting out more artists than a lot of schools!!

Gilda said...

I made a mistake about listing James Stephens; he went to CCS. I knew him first from us both being in the Broadway Gallery, and before that, he worked at the art supply store on the corner of Warren and Woodward.

I had forgotten you were in the grad program a little earlier---I don't recall just who was in your class. The ones I mentioned were at Wayne at various times...Lila, for example, was in the grad program ahead of me.

But I am glad that so many of us finished the program and branched off into various corners of the art world. Still creating!