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Thursday, February 22, 2007

White Columns Artist Registry... Matthew Higgs

Is White Columns Artist Registry still active? I saw the following anonymous complaint in the comments section of this Edward Winkleman post last month -

"A friend of mine (not me, I swear) submitted her work to White Columns registry and still hasn't gotten a yes or no in over two years, despite repeated follow-up emails."

Maybe that person has the wrong e-mail, or is not getting through for some reason? I wonder if the friend tried submitting again? I'm hoping it is a goof because I submitted stuff almost two months ago and was wondering how long I might wait before I should expect a response. This is my second time to submit, I have a rejection letter from the previous curator, Paul Ha, from maybe 1998, before they had the on-line registry. Matthew Higgs runs it now.

I browsed through a bunch of the artists on the current site, many are familiar names. Some of them have updated their pages recently - it's a do-it-yourself thing - but a surprising amount of artist's pages have been dormant for two or three years or more (a lot of those dormant pages are the work of artists who have since found commercial representation in NYC, and have probably just abandoned their sites).

So... what is the deal? Does anyone know? Are there a lot of other people who have sent stuff and are all waiting? Has anyone had anything at all happen in the past four years or so (or not) from having their work included in that registry? I am NOT trying to harsh too much on White Columns, the shows and art are excellent, just want to know if the registry program, curating shows from it, is phased out... kind of bummed if so...

From the White Columns website -

"The purpose of the registry is twofold: as a source from which White Columns shows are curated; and as a resource for curators, dealers, writers, and others who are seeking the work of emerging artists."

NONE of the artists included in the most recently closed (Jan 9 - Feb 10) exhibitions are included in the Artist's Registry. That includes the four artists who had their own shows, and the seventeen artists included in the Rita Ackermann curated group show.

Actually, it doesn't look like any of the artists in the current shows are included in the registry either. I guess, if the main gallery is showing "writing for and/or on record sleeves", and another space is featuring the late Felix Gonzalez-Torres, that the under-supported artist thing may be not so high on the agenda anymore.

Oh shit, I just googled another one of the current artists, someone shortlisted for Beck's, invited to do a project at Frieze, and included in Saatchi's collection. And this is the second time he's shown at White Columns since 2005!

I remember seeing the White Columns booth at NADA in Miami in 2005. It was sparkling white, set up like a solo gallery show, featuring the (wonderful) work of Aurie Ramirez. It was totally empty, except for Matthew Higgs sitting at a table in the center. I guess Aurie Ramirez would say thanks, if she spoke in a language that anyone could translate, or if she even gave a shit.

The full (anomymous) comment from Ed Winkleman's blog -

"Also worth noting, as Holland Cotter did in a recent review of a Triple Candie show, that the the supposedly alternative spaces are becoming more and more like commercial galleries. Specifically, they seem to be showing more "name" artists and fewer lesser known emerging artists.

White Columns under Matthew Higgs, for example, seems largely to have abandoned the practice of drawing from its curated artist registry when putting together its shows. It's becoming rare, now, to see artists from the White Columns registry on display at White Columns.

A friend of mine (not me, I swear) submitted her work to White Columns registry and still hasn't gotten a yes or no in over two years, despite repeated follow-up emails. Is this bad management, or is it because Mr. Higgs has decided that unknown emerging artists applying to the registry are no longer a priority?

This is not to pick on White Columns -- they are getting favorable reviews for their shows under Mr. Higgs, so why not? I'm sure their funders love it. But for emerging artists hoping that alternative spaces will give them their big break, the increasing commercialization of these spaces noted by Mr. Cotter may not be good news"

UPDATE 2/22/07: WHITE COLUMNS IS AT THE ARMORY FAIR... maybe a few people can ask Matthew about what is up with the registry?

Oh man, it is so sad that White Columns has left blank the "who i'd like to meet" question on its Myspace page.

12 comments:

Fiona Ross said...

Hi Martin, I've applied to White Columns and have kept my applications current and updated and have resubmitted at least 4 times, but have never, in 2 years, gotten a yes or no, even after emails and phone calls. Very odd, as colleagues and friends have gotten rejections/acceptances in that time. A mystery...
I like the Artists Space registry better!
F.

michael cambre said...

martin,
i used to get letters back before the online thing began. then i submitted to it and never got a response. when i came to ny in '99 i never missed a show there for years. sadly i no longer even visit. i thought i remembered reading some comment a long time ago about higgs changing the art world in one year or something to that effect. wc certainly seems different.

martin said...

hi fiona! i'm on the artist's space thing too!

michael - yes, that was a jerry saltz babylon column... higgs says something like he is going to change the nyc artworld in 24 months... he probably cringed when he later read it.

Michael said...

Last summer I submitted materials, was accepted, appeared on the website for a little more than a week and then somehow I disappeared.

The Aesthetic Poetic said...

Dear Martin,

Great blog, and very well written. Just wanted to say thanks for linking to us in your most recent article regarding Aurie Ramirez. I will add your link to the aesthetic and if you feel like it you can link to us as well.

Anonymous said...

I'm still waiting for a response too after 6 months. I called and they said they just hadn't gotten to it. people who have numerous galleries in NY and elsewhere are still listed.
For example: Franklin Evans, Astrid Bowlby. I was under the impression that it funcioned as a sight for emerging artists without representation.

martin said...

well, i just saw on the art fag city site that one of the artists featured at white columns' armory booth is british artist simon evans. simon shows with jack hanley, and elsewhere...

matthew, also british, shows a lot of not-under-supported british artists...also, he seems to have a nice relationship with jack hanley gallery.

again... i actually think he is a very good curator and shows some excellent artists... but... his interests don't seem to relate much to white columns' stated mission.

who else is white columns showing at the armory?

wouldn't it have been nice if they kept on top of their registrty thing and higgs selected un-represented artists from that to take to these art fairs?

Barnaby said...

I got an acceptance letter a week after I applied.... think I've been in the registry since... I would say 2000...hasn't done shit for me except occasionally put me on some gallery mailing list...

well I mean I know it has made some curators ..aware ..of my work..ever since it moved online..so..there's that...

martin said...

hey barnaby, so you did it under a previous curator... paul ha or maybe lauren ross.

Barnaby said...

yeah so..it was the end of 2001 ..so yes ..Lauren Ross..(at one point I met with her of that I am positive..)

I will say it seemed like there were a lot more artists shown from the registry at the time..

Joel said...

I found a great interview with Matthew Higgs on ArtKrush. Check it out.

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