Friday, December 31, 2004

Vitamin Deficiency

Barry Schwabsky's ambitious international painting overview Vitamin P includes a total of 114 painters* living in 28 different countries, selected through a nomination process involving 69 nominators living around the globe. Best-represented nations are listed below, followed by each nation's number of included painters.

1. United States - 38
2. Germany - 17
3. United Kingdom - 17
4. France - 10

Six other nations are represented by three entries each, and the remaining eighteen countries are represented by one or two entries apiece(Cuba by one artist, China by two artists).

Slovenia is represented by three individual painters, all of whom reside in the Slovenian capital city of Ljubljana - population about 330,000. It shouldn't be surprising that the majority of the 38 U.S. entries live in New York City, but the number seems sort of high at 29. The rest of the U.S. entries consist of 6 Southern Californians, and one artist each in Las Vegas, Philadelphia, and Massachusetts. That's it.

Philadelphia, population 1,517,550** - one artist included
Boston, population 589,141 - zero artists included
Chicago, population 2,896,016 - zero artists included
Houston, population 1,953,631 - zero artists included
Miami, population 362,470 - zero artists included
Seattle, population 563,374 - zero artists included

Should I go on? The population of Florida is 16,713,149 - zero artists included. The population of Illinois is 12,600,620 - zero artists included. The population of Texas is 21,779,893 - zero artists included.

Why is it that artists living in Germany's Berlin, Leipzig, Hamburg, Dresden, Dusseldorf, and Cologne are represented in this book but evidently there are no painters worth including in Chicago? Don't lay all the blame on Barry Schwabsky, share some for the American nominators.

The book lists all the nominators and where they reside, including two Slovenian nominators who seem to be doing their best to discover, encourage, and support local artists. American nominators were:

NYC - 13
Chicago - 2 (Francesco Bonami and Dominic Molon)
Minneapolis - 1 (Douglas Fogle)
Austin - 2 (Dana Friis-Hansen and Richard Shiff)
LA - 4
Las Vegas - 1 (Dave Hickey)

Remember, this book project included two Slovenian nominators and three Slovenian entries. Who did the nominators of Chicago, Austin , and Minneapolis select - New York or international artist friends they want to get to show in their cities? Artists that might help further their careers and lead to better museum jobs in the better city? Did the New York nominators propose anyone outside of New York?

Tom Moody recently wrote that this "NYC vs. everywhere else" type post is tedious for those that live in New York. Well, sorry Tom, this post isn't for New Yorkers. Everywhere else, we should be recognizing those curators and arts professionals doing their best to help local art and artists become better - and running the useless ones out of town.

*actually there are 121 individual artists included. two entries are for two-artist partnerships and one is a five-artist collective.

**most population numbers given are currently higher. the philadelphia population quoted here is from the year 2000.

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