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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

mysterious process

Tyler on a Diebenkorn show -

"I'd been looking forward to reviewing the San Jose presentation of show. But when no one at that museum returned three weeks worth of calls/emails, I gave up".

What does that mean? Is there some process involved other than (1) seeing the show, followed by (2) blogging your thoughts?

He saw the show, right? It was number one on his 2007 top ten list. Maybe it has something to do with getting images...

21 comments:

Tyler said...

1.) Definitely images.

2.) List of works in the show -- why would anyone wanna look like a goof for misnaming a piece?

3.) Like any responsible reviewer might, I had questions about a few pieces, about the condition of several pieces, potential differences between SJMA and Harwood checklists, etc.

BTW, I think it's funny that you wouldn't just email me to ask this question.

Martin said...

because i want artists to be aware of the process.... why some things may or may not get reviewed.

maybe provoke a discussion among art reviewers.

thanks, see ya.

Tyler said...

Couldn't you have accomplished the same ends with an email, instead of by blog-ambush?

C said...

I wonder if MAN gets comments like this ("blog ambush") from Roberta Smith?

Anonymous said...

Plenty of blogs, including MAN, write about other writers, critics, articles, museums, museum directors etc etc and no doubt issues are raised which could have all been squared away by an email. But that is not what happens...

Anonymous said...

whiny bitch

Anonymous said...

Here is a description of my process. I see the show and make sure that I get a checklist and any other press stuff before I leave. You never want to depend on them to mail you stuff. Images usually get mailed at a later date. But I make sure to make contact with someone and make it clear to them what I need. Usually if not always they are happy to oblige, for obvious reasons. I know that David Cohen my editor has taken images from websites (and credited them of course upon publication) to use with my reviews because the gallery or museum doesn't get back to him quickly enough. If I go into a gallery and the gallery staff are particularly snotty and turd like I will often walk out after quickly taking things in. I am only human after all.

So yes, gallerinas and gallerinos who act like their shit doesn’t smell can be real turn offs, especially when they seem like you are bothering them because you need more information or have a few questions about an artist's working technique. The most common question I have for gallery staffers is “How did the artist make this?” Does an especially friendly staff person who helps me get what I need without coming across as god's gift to humankind influence my perception of the art? Probably not. But if a museum refused to give me a catalog for an especially complicated show to write about, say some show that covers a wide historical period or many different makers, then it makes things so difficult that I would consider not doing the review.

The museums used to piss me off because they refused to provide a free catalog when they realized I wasn't writing for the NYT. The MoMA was notorious for doing this (at least to me) maybe a few years ago, but they have really improved things. They have even gone so far as to send me (and other critics I assume) a checklist that I can use to request future catalogs. It is about freakin' time. Maybe with all of the bad press they have realized that they should not shit on a critic no matter who they are writing for.

Also, you don't want to talk too much with the people who work at galleries if you are reviewing one of their shows because it could influence you. "Oh that person was just so nice, how could I pan their show?" Also, certain gallery owners can be really annoying, the ones who talk too much and practically try to write the review for you before you leave. It is best when they say nothing, unless I need some questions answered, and when they provide me with every scrap of writing that has been produced on the artist being reviewed.

Sorry for going on for so long. I have many anecdotes I could share but this ain’t my blog.

Anonymous said...

I forgot to sign the previous comment.

Eric

Anonymous said...

correction: Images get emailed not mailed at a later date.

There is a fifty fifty chance the gallery will have images ready when I am seeing the show in person.

E.G.

Anonymous said...

I don't want to give the wrong impression. I have reviewed shows in galleries that were packed with trendy a-holes when I was there looking at the art taking notes. In one of these situations, the gallery gave me a press kit (no free catalogs mind you, even though they had at least one to give) and I wrote one of my stronger reviews of the show. The 'nice' people behind the counter (glorified clerks) were not friendly at all, but the review was still positive in the sense that I took the art as seriously as I possibly could, with my limited intelligence. Eventually the MacArthur Foundation approached me to write a recommendation for the artist I reviewed based solely on the one review I wrote. I did not provide one simply because I had never done a studio visit with the artist or wrote about other works by them. The show I reviewed had only one work of art in it. which took up the whole space. That is why studio visits are so important, along with providing free catalogs to all critics. Did you hear that you cheapo gallery owners? Another two edged sword is when you actually converse with the artist while standing in front of their work. You don't want to bond with them too much because it might compromise your bullshit detector and ability to be perfectly honest. However, artists obviously provide invaluable information about the making process that gallery staff usually can't provide. More often than not gallery staff get very impatient with people (me) who ask multiple questions about how something was made. I don't want to make guesses about materials used. I want to get the facts right in the review because if I am wrong about basic things why would my ideas have any credibility.

Eric

Anonymous said...

Procuring images: My editor deals with this. For my writing process, I use color thumbnails the gallery gives me when I see the show or web images available on their website to refresh my memory about certain formal details. I take notes just in case images won't be available during the writing process. I often complete a review and submit it before the editor gets the high res images from the gallery. I would rather have my review posted in a text only format rather than not have it published at all if no images are forthcoming. Again though, this has never happened to me. I believe that critics can get a bug up there ass if they feel like a gallery or institution isn't respectful towards them, if they make it a huge pain in the ass to get what they need, but I really think that the only thing that is entirely mandatory is seeing the show and looking at it closely (with everything else I have stated previously taken into account).

Eric

vc said...

I'm grateful to Eric for this info on the process, and to Martin for opening the subject for all to view. We wouldn't have had this if he had asked his question with a private e-mail.

Martin said...

that was great eric, thanks.

here is a collection of eric's reviews for artcritical.com -

http://artcritical.com/archivebyauthor.htm#gelber

and here is some of eric's recent art -

http://ericgelber.livejournal.com/

Anonymous said...

Thank you for providing your readers with the opportunity to speak openly about how the art world works.

Anonymous said...

Holy cow. I forgot to thank you for listing the links to my creative output. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

A. Lewis said...

eric has the right idea of the process....sounds like he's put a lot of time and effort and thought into formulating the idea... not to mention typing it out! my word!

ericgelber said...

I am not sure why a.lewis provided a link to a credit card company. The humor was lost on me. Obscure hyperlink humor. A new invention! Actually I guess it has been around for quite some time now. Oh well.

Martin said...

eric - that is probably what is known as a robot. nobody wrote that e-mail, it is a program designed to scan blogs and make almost comprehensible sentences. they tricked you into looking at their advertisement.

ericgelber said...

A program wrote that shit?!?! Wow that is scary. I ordered twelve credit cards through that hyperlink. I better cancel them right now. Just kidding. Or am I? Who am I? Who are you? Are you the real Martin?

Anonymous said...

"Blog Ambush!!!!"

Is Tyler Green a two faced cunt or what? How many times has he "blog ambushed" writers and critics and other bloggers in his "Hit and Run" blog?

Didn't he get CVF fired from the Voice after a classic blog ambush of the worst kind?

This guy makes me sick in his ability to dish it out buy inability to receive it when it's due.

Dick Puddings

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