Friday, July 18, 2008

miscellaneous stuff noted

Christopher Knight, on Marlene Dumas, for the LATimes - "The earliest painting dates from 1984, when Dumas, then 32, picked up a brush again after a five-year hiatus"

Another (female) artist who stopped for a while, and came back strong. Agnes Martin stopped for seven years, Emily Carr stopped for fifteen years.

I once attended a lecture at which Jerry Saltz advised if you don't work for a year, you are maybe a year better, but if you don't work for two maybe you are not an artist (that is not an exact quote).

Dorothy Spears, on Steven Parrino, for the NYTimes - "In eight years and five solo New York shows, his former dealer José Freire said, he sold only two of Mr. Parrino’s paintings, one for $9,000 and the other for $10,000"

I'm always curious how artists support themselves, especially those that are living in super-expensive NYC. What was Parrino doing for money?

RELATED: a job, PLUS... what is your job - anaba post asking artists about jobs, recent Winkleman post on jobs and something (in comments) about not supposed to be having one, somehow. Lost me.

Greg Allen pining for the supposed days when "an energetic young painter would declare his presence with a work three or six years in the making, not three months"... wtf?

Chris Ashley posted a Bruce Conner video in memory and tribute to the recently deceased artist, and the next day received a comment from his widow's lawyer requesting and demanding it's removal. Again, WTF. This is the artist who cobbled together films from other filmmaker's footage, right? The artist known for bucking expectations, rules, and regulated behavior?

I'm reading a Thomas Disch book - The M.D. - after learning of him (and his recent suicide) on Eric Gelber and Tom Moody's blogs... it's good. Tom Moody is great for book and movie recommendations.


Anonymous said...

parrino was supported a good amount of that time by his wife, who worked full time.

Anonymous said...

Who is the freakoid Eric Gelber that you keep mentioning? If I were you I would stay away from him.

Steven Fama said...

Bruce Conner had watched his films, as pirated and posted on YouTube, and did not like how they looked. At points, the films were a distorted, pixelated mess. He repeatedly asked YouTube to take his films down.

I hope this answers your WTF question.

Anonymous said...

Kind of ironic that an artist who heavily relied upon appropriation, using other people's images without their permission, would be bothered by such a thing. Regardless, I hope he R.I.P.

zipthwung said...

Steve Famma might have answered the WTF question but I'm still thinking WTF. Can people be that clueless? I guess so.

I'm familiar with the whole medium specific debate about film vs. video vs. painting vs. the real thing - keeping up the argument just seems like art history. I suppose artists these days aren't so preoccupied with the immortality of their aura.

Anonymous said...

Art History does not help Artists.

Adeaner said...

SoooOO ? how DID Parrino support himself ??
by the way, I'm a fan of his work.
I too took a year off and was the better for it. spent my time searching the web and studying other artists . . . . . .

Martin said...

steven fama is doing a great job of scouring the internet and turning people off of bruce conner.

when i die and i want my work to disappear and my reputation sullied i'll be sure to have pre-directed my estate to retain someone similar.

kelli said...

I worked at a bank for a long time. Don't feel bad about having a day job Martin. There are a lot of people in the art world who either married for money or had family money and there are all sorts of strings attached in terms of how they behave and the types of work they make. Independence is something nobody can take from you or give to you.
If you do decide to marry well though Shanehneh gets my vote.

Admin said...

Bruce Conner was a great artist who made several distinct and important bodies of work. His work in film, of course, does not fully, and arguably does not adequately, translate to video, especially on the web. I have seen most of Conner's films projected several times over the years and I know the difference. But where can those films be seen now, and how often? That opportunity is becoming rarer and rarer. Film programs and repertory movie theaters are disappearing. How much longer will actual film projectors be employed? It seems to me the estate should be prepared to address this question: how will Conner's work be seen, how will it live?

I appreciate that Conner did not like the look of his films as video on the web. But I believe that any truly interested individual knows the difference, just as that individual knows that seeing a JPEG of a painting on the web is not the painting. Without current technologies I'm afraid that Conner's film work risks becoming not only inaccessible, but even invisible. If that was his wish then it must be respected, but it's hard for me to imagine that.

What if Enrico Caruso's estate had stipulated that his recordings could only be heard via wax cylinder? What if Hitchcock's estate forbid his films to be seen via DVD? What if Robert Creeley's estate said that his poetry could only be read on the printed page?

Any lawyer representing an estate is not in the position to argue for or against the estate's wishes; he must simply follow through with what he has been asked to do. So the beef here is not with Steven Fama.

I wish to convey to Ms. Conner my sympathy for her loss. I was not comfortable being in the position of posting a video using current technology at a time when Conner's family wished otherwise. I didn't like the feeling of possibly further adding to their grief.

At the same time, however, I stand by my position that I was not posting the video. I was only posting code, which enabled YouTube to show a video on my blog. I was happy to do that. Content on the web is mine to use until it's no longer there.

One would think that the estate would appreciate those who pay homage. Typically, an estate's role is to make sure an artist's work lives. I'm sorry to see that that does not seem to be the case in this situation.

Tracking content on the web is an increasingly futile task. In the long run it can't be done. I know this from experience. That may be difficult to accept, but it's the nature of the beast. Take down notices are whack-a-mole: you hammer it down here, and it pops up in three other places. I understand the estate's wishes, but I think that in the long run those wishes will wither away, not Conner's art.

zipthwung said...

"I'm afraid that Conner's film work risks becoming not only inaccessible, but even invisible. If that was his wish then it must be respected, but it's hard for me to imagine that."

I'm no expert, but maybe we can now classify his film based work as ephemera. That's how it should be right? You can't take it with you, as they say.

It takes money to be an artist apparently - that's what they would have you believe.

If you make work from multiples or singles, from plastic cups or plaster blocks, from garbage or from store bought merchandise, from traditional "art" mediums or the newest technology, from dog shit or your own shit, I think its fair to say it's a mind set, and not totally a medium thing. What is art anyways?

All the arguments on Winkleman
criticizing artists who "complain" about their circumstances were self serving. Where were the helpful suggestions? The critique of the star system? The Institution? Themselves?

One commenter blamed the school system for heightened expectations - and in fact they are right. If one school takes the higher ground, there are a host of others who will turn that ground to mud (SVA advertises on the subways! How crass is that?)

I am fortunate in that I am not saddled with student loans (And I didn't heroicly pay my way through school with work in Alaska - like that would cover it).

They used to say "there's always the post office. Now I guess you could work at Starbucks - But they are in trouble, right?
Who hire's MFA's anyways? Fucking unemployable.

Anonymous said...


1. meeting as many peers as possible to increase your chances of success in the art world (usually a futile goal).

2. learning how to speak 'art speak', during crits or by emulating professors, etc., so that you can dazzle the gallery owner, curator, or peer with connections (usually a futile goal).

Anonymous said...

Interesting that his wife supported him (if it's true). Many wives who were also artists supported an artist. It almost takes two people (at least) to get something out there. Recently I saw a local artist rise from rather unfocused work at a crappy gallery to totally focused work in a great gallery. Then I slowly unraveled the thread.... he got married... wife is an artist but also even more importantly a great graphic artist by day... she designs his catalogue and incredibly slick website and also supports him.... the results are pretty impressive. Someone indeed got an art career.


Anonymous said...

Facts about Parrino from people who knew him:


--Tom Moody

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that link Tom. Really interesting to read about how things were in NYC in the 70s and 80s.

Anonymous said...

Let's correct some disinformation from your anonymous poster at the top of this thread. According to Lisa Ruyter, co-founder of Team Gallery, Parrino was not married while at Team, so the statement that "parrino was supported a good amount of that time by his wife, who worked full time" is 100% wrong.

(Ruyter's comment is on the Schwarz thread I linked to above.)

--Tom Moody