Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Quarter-Career, 1990-2005

I want to formally announce that I am at a quarter of a career. I'm at a point where I've started to take note of different artists (see below) being referred to as "mid-career", and some of them haven't been working much longer than I have. This frightens me because they are famous and I am struggling. Maybe I missed the boat. Check out my latest rejection.

I need to buy some time to catch up or something to some of these midcareer artists only five years older than me, so I'm declaring myself at a quarter of my career. My mid-career point will be in 2020 when I'm 52. It's all done in fifteen year increments. I'm finished in 2050 when I'm 82. Here's my resume.

Am I still an "emerging artist"? I guess so. The best definition I have seen yet of "emerging artist" is Dieu Donne's "an artist who is professionally unrecognized but stylistically evolved". What is the opposite called, an artist who IS professionally recognized but NOT stylistically evolved? I know they exist! Does anybody have a suggestion?

I am ready for my Quarter-Career Retrospective if any museums want to get in touch with me.


Richard Polsky refers to Tony Fitpatrick as a mid-career artist. Fitzpatrick was born in 1958 and has been showing since 1985.

The Whitney's press release and Susan Freudenheim's 2/13/05 NYTimes review both refer to Tim Hawkinson's Whitney exhibition as a being a mid-career show. Tim Hawkinson was born in 1960 and has been showing for two decades.

Arthur Lubow's 04/03/05 NYTimes Takashi Murakami profile announces a midcareer retrospective of the artist at LA's Museum of Contemporary Art scheuled for 2007. Murakami was born in 1962.

Michael Kimmelman opens his 3/4/05 NYTimes Thomas Demand review with the sentence, "a dozen years ago, Thomas Demand, whose generally stellar midcareer retrospective opens today at the Museum of Modern Art, was studying in London, at Goldsmiths College." Demand was born in 1964!!!

Andrea Fraser was born in 1965 and had a midcareer retrospective in 2003.


The California Community Foundation offers definitions for both mid-career and emerging artists seeking fellowships on it's website -

"a mid-career visual artist — defined as an artist who has seven or more years of active professional participation in his/her field. Artists must have documented exhibition history, publications or other significant proof of professional accomplishments."

"an “emerging” visual artist — defined as an artist who has up to seven years of professional experience in his/her field. Artists must demonstrate outstanding artistic ability and potential to rise from a challenging or obscure position or condition in the community."


Anonymous said...

Mid-career is not a point; it's a range, which in my estimation is actually the bulk of one's career. Meaning, there's plenty of time for any number of things to happen from complete neglect to outrageous fame and back again.

As for emerging, that's a moving target and depends on who's handing out the money/accolades/shows. I heard Kara Walker described as "emerging" last year.


Anonymous said...

The market has all the power, and it's capricious as hell, as you've noted. Being a recognized artist today is no indication of being a significant artist, ever.

All you have is your work. Nothing outside that is real.

Anonymous said...

Go Bill. It's true. Martin, do you read Ed Winklemans' blog? Today's post was stellar and addresses some of the problems artists trying to show are dealing with. Very helpful. What do you think about it?

Anonymous said...

Bill. That is so true. Thank you.

carolyn said...

Dude, I got four years on you and I'm still and counting considered an "emerging artist". I imagine they are hoping I'll give up the ghost one of these days. Too bad.

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