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Wednesday, October 31, 2007
  Artist Press Kits for Media and Art Galleries
Art Fag City (Paddy Johnson) recently posted some good tips for putting together artist press kits and press releases. She points to a number of posts and articles online that offer some good advice on the topic..

There's a list of tips by Jen Bekman, some good advice from Edward Winkleman, information on sending press releases to bloggers and art critics from Tyler Green, and some more tips at Art Fag City. It's probably best to start with her post here though, as she talks more about each link.

I mentioned Justin Gignac's artist press kit and his success with selling New York City garbage art earlier, which is worth checking out.
>> Artist Marketing
Monday, October 29, 2007
  Art News Round Up
I haven't been posting as much as I should lately, but there has been quite a bit happening around the world..

>> Art News Round Ups

Thursday, October 25, 2007
  Comments on Doris's Crack
tate modern crack in the floorOne of the things that keeps me interested in updating BgArt News Blog is the comments that people leave. In a recent post on Doris's Crack at the Tate Modern, I said that artists can sometimes ramble on a little too much. And that is fine if you feel like reading an essay, but it shouldn't be necessary to understand the work.

Anyway, some people left some interesting comments on the post. (not everyone reads the comments, so I'm re posting them below)

Anonymous said "Not only do artists at this level of "seriousness" simply preach to the choir (I think the majority of people at art exhibitions already share the point of view of the artist), but I have become increasingly intolerant of artists, usually half my age, trying to function as a moral agent for me and usually with such grand, sweeping themes as "war is bad", "AIDS is tragic", etc.,just name the cause and the obvious response. It would seem that I champion art of lesser substance, but I argue that since no artist has control over anyone's response, and since there are literally millions of quotidian things and events the meanings of which could provide any artist with plenty to address, why not look for substance that is a little harder to find. The efforts of most artists trying to raise awareness seem to me mostly pathetic and ineffectual. Though I risk rendering all of the above into idiotic ranting, I might add that I am a sucker for beauty that is hard to find and see."

Coxsoft Art said "Grandiose statements don't hide pathetic attempts at art. They merely irritate. A true work of art hits you, and you don't need any patronising codswallop to back it up, although I would be interested to know of any scientific explanation as to why a work of art hits me the way it does."

Marscha said "For me, these "explanations" of art have the opposite effect: they destroy all pleasure of looking at a piece of art uninhibitedly. The whole process of letting art make its way through your mind and leave an impression of any kind is frustrated, and they let you end up wondering about the "essay" more than about the piece itself."

HellyUK said "I know what people mean about causes being associated with artwork and to some extent I agree. However I think this artwork illustrates division, in a very literal sense (as well reminding me of earthquakes and natural disasters)rather well.

Artists are encouraged to have explanations with their artwork. It's a catch twenty two situation really: if you don't write one people think you can't define your own artwork, if you do it can seem as if all artwork is about a set number of 'themes'."

Jafabrit said "I don't think I would have needed an essay to see that the crack represents a divide of some kind. However it looks like a divide, a crack, created by nature rather than a cultural/social attitude created by humans. So I am not sure it works for me in the context the artist wanted, even after reading the explanation."

Lev said "An interesting thing, this crack. I don't have a problem with people falling into it - in fact I am quite pleased that public artworks that are a touch hazardous are still allowed to exist.

But I agree with all the comments about the total crap talked about the meaning of the work. Aesthetically, it is in fact quite pleasing - I for one don't need anything more. I certainly don't need pseudo philosophical/socio-political explanations - in fact such things just make me think much less of the artist, and even less of the curator.

But one has to ask why artists and curators think such nonsensical verbage is required? Is it because so much of the art we see is empty - we look at it, and most of us respond at best with a kind of bemused shrug. We think there's nothing much there in what we see and then we read the attached verbage in an attempt to understand why the assembled ugliness has been deemed worthy of a place in a gallery. The verbage just invites us to feel stupid for not seeing the embedded meanings, which are almost always invented after the fact. The artist almost certainly made this work because they liked the look of cracks and thought that making a really big one, indoors, would be pretty interesting to look at. That should be the end of the story, though the vacuousness inherent in that goes against a whole industry of curators, critics and institutions.

I think if a work of art is empty looking, by which I mean one that provokes neither real feeling nor real thought nor real appreciation, we should just leave it that way, without words. It might be bad art, but at least it's honest. Let emptiness be it's own ghastly message. There's plenty of that about."

My Conclusion: It's often the comments where the intelligent things are being said! Unless it's a spammer selling Viagra or offering you a good deal on a loan! (I delete them eventually though)
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
  Famous Singers that Paint
bob dylan paintingsLauren Cochrane is thinking about singers and their art. Asking if we would take any notice if they wern't already famous..

Lauren mentions the works of Pete Doherty that he made with his own blood and Paul McCartney's expressive figurative paintings.

"Whether or not these notables would ever grace the walls of such esteemed institutions if it weren't for their day jobs is questionable." From the Post here..

Coxsoft Art also recently mentioned an exhibition by Bob Dylan in Germany. (the image used in this post is a painting by Bob Dylan)

I don't think you can generalize too much with the issue. The paintings of some singers should be taken more seriously than others. I think the problem is that the singer probably uses painting as a relaxing sunday pursuit, and because they're famous, their manager suggests selling them.

It's surprising how many visual artists use music as an alternative form of expression and vise versa. I guess we all draw from the same well.

Here's some other famous rockers and rollers that pick up the brush on Sundays..

I know there's a lot more, but it's late and I can't think of anymore famous singers that paint.
>> General Art News, Celebrity News

Monday, October 22, 2007
  Salander-O'Reilly Galleries - Lawsuits Galore
Robert has pointed out an article in the NY Times about the art dealer Lawrence Salander and his Salander-O'Reilly Galleries. A judge has closed the doors of the gallery as dozens of wealthy clients have lined up to sue the high profile art dealer. Everyone from John McEnroe to the landlord of the gallery (RFR Realty) are seeking claims.

In the NY Times report, Lawrence Salander says that the claims have been made by "friends of mine or people I thought were friends, all of whom have always been paid for the pictures I sold for them. I’ve paid my bills for over 40 years in this business and I will continue to."

Justice Richard B. Lowe III closed the doors of the gallery just before their 580th exhibition, which had a painting attributed to the old master Caravaggio as its centerpiece.

The judge and several lawyers working on the case did a tour of the gallery today, to make sure the art is safe.

"The lawyers and Lowe agreed to permit a gallery employee to regularly inspect the art and to make sure Salander-O'Reilly's humidifier is working, Mollon said in an interview. The gallery is under 24-hour surveillance by court-ordered private guards stationed outside." Bloomberg

It is expected that Salander will file for bankruptcy.
>> Controversies
Friday, October 19, 2007
  Crack at the Tate Modern - Doris's Crack
tate modern crack in the floorThe crack in the floor at the Tate Modern has swallowed its first victims.

The Guardian reported that an onlooker said "We saw the first poor victim, a young woman who went into it with both feet up to just below her knees. She had to be dragged out by her friends,"
"Unbelievably, as we watched to see whether she was OK, an older woman deliberately stepped on it (she later told us, amazingly, that she thought the crack was painted on the floor) lurched forward and landed on the ground. She had a sore wrist to show for it."

I wonder if the Tate Modern is paying extra insurance for this installation? A hole in the ground is an insurance disaster waiting to happen.

The installation is by the artist Doris Salcedo and is called "Shibboleth" or has been nicknamed "Doris's Crack" (which makes me giggle.) There's a video interview with the artist here at the Tate.

After looking at the pictures of the crack in the floor, I didn't get the impression that this is a work about race or society, but the artist believes there's more to it than an interesting hole in the ground..

"Salcedo is addressing a long legacy of racism and colonialism that underlies the modern world. A ‘shibboleth’ is a custom, phrase or use of language that acts as a test of belonging to a particular social group or class. By definition, it is used to exclude those deemed unsuitable to join this group"


"In breaking open the floor of the museum, Salcedo is exposing a fracture in modernity itself. Her work encourages us to confront uncomfortable truths about our history and about ourselves with absolute candidness, and without self-deception." Tate Modern

I'm not anti-installation or anti (challanging) contemporary art, I just wish artists wouldn't take themselves so seriously. It's an interesting crack in the floor of a museum that makes visitors look down. It makes me think of a scary few days I had in Turkey, when there was a massive earthquake. It probably makes floor repair men think about hard work.

I just don't think artists should try and complicate their work.
>> Exhibitions, Controversy
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
  Sex as Art or Just Porn
Sex in ArtThere's an exhibition on at the Barbican Centre of arts in London that explores the subject of Sex. "Seduced: Art and Sex from Antiquity to Now" shows the porn art of Jeff Koons, Pablo Picasso, Nobuyoshi Araki, Francis Bacon, Robert Mapplethorpe, Rembrandt van Rijn, Andy Warhol and more.

"Seduced explores the representation of sex in art through the ages. Featuring over 300 works spanning 2000 years, it brings together Roman sculptures, Indian manuscripts, Japanese prints, Chinese watercolours, Renaissance and Baroque paintings and 19th century photography with modern and contemporary art." Barbican

I found it interesting that the exhibition has a MySpace page and the Barbican gallery has a Facebook page. A lot of art museums and arts organizations have failed to take full advantage of the Internet so far.
>> Art Exhibitions, Old Sex
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
  New BgArt News Blog Logo
New Art Blog logoI have decided to go with this logo for BgArt News Blog. It's basically Logo 1 from the logo post here, with a few small changes. It's not bright, flashy, or complicated, which is what I was after. I wanted it to sit quietly in the corner and do its job without drawing too much attention to itself.

Thank you very much to those that emailed me and left comments on the Logo Help post. Christine K, Douglas, Jafabrit, Coxsoft Art, Matt, David, Julianna, Tina, A. Tuzztimonial, Nicholas, Tammy, BigRock and Anonymous all helped in the decision.

Also, thanks for the support and suggestions regarding the petty letter from the art magazine that seems to be afraid of the blogosphere. But no, I don't wish to take it any further. I probably needed a new logo anyway ;-)
Monday, October 15, 2007
  ArtReview's Power 100 2007
ArtReview Power 100 2007ArtReview magazine has released their annual Power 100 list of important people in the contemporary art world.

The first four influential arts people on the list are the same as last year and Damien Hirst is the first artist to appear (6th), followed by Jeff Koons (13th) and Richard Serra in 19th position.

Here's the top 20 people on the ArtReview Power 100 for 2007

01. François Pinault (1)
02. Larry Gagosian (2)
03. Sir Nicholas Serota (3)
04. Glenn D. Lowry (4)
05. Eli Broad (6)
06. Damien Hirst (11)
07. Charles Saatchi (7)
08. Jay Jopling (19)
09. Steven A. Cohen (32)
10. David Zwirner (16)
11. Sam Keller, Cay Sophie Rabinowitz, Annette Schönholzer, Marc Spiegler (5)
12. Brett Gorvy & Amy Cappellazzo (12)
13. Jeff Koons (10)
14. Iwan Wirth (14)
15. Michael Govan (33)
16. Harry Blain & Graham Southern (54)
17. Matthew Slotover & Amanda Sharp (8)
18. Tobias Meyer & Cheyenne Westphal (23)
19. Richard Serra (73)
20. Daniel Birnbaum (31)

The rest of the Power 100 list can be seen on the ArtReview website here.

I also just discovered that the ArtReview magazine has something online called ArtReview:Digital, where the whole magazine can be viewed online. They are offering 6 issues for free at the moment (with no credit card needed to sign up!). At that price I found it hard not to sign up.

Here's a few older posts from the BgArt News Blog archives..
ArtReview Power 100 2006
ArtReview Power 100 2005
ArtReview Power 100 2004

>> General Art News
Friday, October 12, 2007
  BgArt News Blog Logo Help
An international art magazine that has a very similar name to BgArt News Blog (just take off the word "blog" and join the first two words together) has kindly asked if I could make it clear that I am not linked to their company in any way.

I thought my bad grammar and holiday snaps might have already alerted readers to that fact that I'm not part of a larger company. But I have agreed to change my logo as the words "art" and "news" are highlighted in my current logo, which could make some think that this is the blog for the ARTnews magazine, which it is not, obviously..

This is the old BgArt News Blog logo..
BgArt News Blog logo
I admit I'm not a logo designer, but I don't want it too complicated anyway. Any feedback on the logos below would be appreciated..

(Logo 1) Here's the logo that I liked the most..
BgArt News Blog logo

(Logo 2) Here's another one that I didn't like as much.. (it might also emphasize the words "art" and "news" which is what I'm trying to avoid!)
BgArt News Blog logo

(Logo 3) I liked this one less than the one above..
BgArt News Blog logo

(Logo 4) And I probably liked this one least of all..
BgArt News Blog logo

Update : (Logo 5) Tina suggested moving the oval over on the old logo to highlight "news blog"
BgArt News Blog logo

Update 2: (Logo 6) Christine K suggested some red, which I also like.
BgArt News Blog logo

Update 3: (Logo 7) Ana suggested this version below.
BgArt News Blog logo

(Logo 8) Samina suggested this logo..
BgArt News Blog logo
Update 4: I ended up going with a new version of logo 1 and said more about it in this newer Blog Logo post. Thank you very much to those that helped with the new logo.. I love you all!! ;-)

Are there any logos above that I really shouldn't use? Any that I SHOULD use? Any changes?
Thursday, October 11, 2007
  Red Bull Art of Can Competition
Red Bull Art COmpetitionHere's an art competition for those hard working artists that use Red Bull to keep them going in the studio; it's the Red Bull Art of Can competition. It's not for everyone, but for the artists that drink their product (I have personally never tasted it) and those that don't mind mixing with the corporate world, it could be good.

"The annual Red Bull Art of Can contest and exhibition challenges laypersons to professional artists to create a piece of original artwork that is inspired by or made from recycled Red Bull cans. No limits are placed on the artists, and their only guideline is that each creation evokes the spirit of Red Bull or utilizes the can in some way."

265 artists submitted Red Bull works of art to the Red Bull Art of Can in Philadelphia. They will be on display at the Fuel Collection from the 20th of October. There's more information on entering the Red Bull Art of Can competition at their website here.
>> Art Competitions
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
  Free Art Print from Hazel Dooney
hazel dooney printThe Australian artist Hazel Dooney is offering a free art print to download from her website for the third time. It's a drawing from her sexually explicit series that caused some reaction when she exhibited them in Melbourne, Australia recently. The print is called "An Outline Of Kelly, Later"

The print can be downloaded from her website here. If a print downloaded from the Internet isn't original enough for you, the artist will sign it for you if you mail it to her studio (the address is on her website).

The artists says "The last time I did this, it caused a lot of ill-tempered discussion among artists and dealers who felt I was devaluing art by distributing it without cost or any intermediary control (read, gallery) to 'the masses'. My response was pretty predictable: #uck 'em!" Hazel Dooney

Here's the post to the last art print that Hazel Dooney gave away.
>> Contemporary Artists, Australia
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
  Michael Dickinson's Turkish Court Case
turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip ErdoganThe UK artist living in Turkey Michael Dickinson has had his court date moved forward to March 2008. Coxsoft art news says that Mr Dickinson appeared in a Turkish court yesterday, two police officers testified that they had seen the offending works displayed, and now the judge will consult with university arts professors on the matter.

A possible prison sentence isn't something that I would like hanging over my head for another five months. It's probably not a good thing for the Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan either, especially if he really is offended by the collages that insulted his dignity. The collages might have been seen by a few hundred people if Michael Dickinson hadn't been charged, but now they are being seen by many thousands of people all around the world. The media, bloggers and website owners love nothing better than a controversy, so they're happy to mention the story.

I have already mentioned the story twice (Artist Charged - Prison Time for Artist) and will mention it at least one more time in March next year. But if the case was just thrown out of court like it should have been, the incident would have never been spoken of.

There's a petition for the artist over at MungBeing for those that would like to show their support for Michael Dickinson. They also have more information on the whole silly saga.
>> Turkey, Art Controversies
Monday, October 08, 2007
  Hunter Valley Winery and Nelson Bay Photos
It's good to get away from everyday life once in a while, even if it's just for a couple days and not too far away. There's not much art news in this post, but I felt like posting some photos.

At the end of last week I went on my own mini wine tour in the Hunter Valley, which is less than 45 minutes drive from where I am now. The Hunter Valley is best known for its Shiraz and Semillon wines. I then went to a place called Nelson Bay, which is also about 45 minutes from where I live, but close to beaches and the ocean.

my car in the shade
I stopped at Petersons Wines cellar door at Mount View and parked in the shade.

hunter valley vineyards
Here's a closer view of their vineyards.

back block shiraz 2000
I ended up buying a bottle of "Back Block Shiraz" 2000 and a bottle of Merlot from Petersons Wines, so I guess you could say I'm a red wine drinker.

Angry Magpie
This little guy is a Magpie. During nesting season the parents will protect their young by attacking you from behind. This young one wasn't very happy with me taking his photo, but his mother wasn't too bothered as she kept on looking for bugs in the grass while I chased her little one around with a camera.

Laughing Kookaburra
This guy is a Kookaburra, taken outside the place I was staying at in Nelson Bay. They make a loud laughing sound which is pretty bizarre for those that haven't heard it before.

photo of the ocean and rocks
This was just a couple minutes walk from where I was staying.

Sea slug in a rock pool
This slimey little guy is a Sea Slug found in a rock pool (it's not a good idea to be touching things in rock pools in Australia though, as a lot of stuff can cause serious pain or death!).

Rock Formation
Rock formation that looks like a face.. See the eyes, nose and mouth? Or do I just have an active imagination?

pelican on a light post
This Pelican looked quite comfortable sitting on the light post.

australian native flower
Australian native Grevillea in flower.

And that's the end of my little photo journey..
  Art News Monday
I have missed a few posts as I went away for a couple days to get some fresh air, so here's what has been happening around the world..

>> Art News Mondays

Tuesday, October 02, 2007
  Do or Die List for Artists
I recently posted a list of tips for artists by Robert Genn. He was talking about coaching for artists and suggested a few things that could help an artist.

In the comments, Karl said "Dion, this is the feel-good list. I want to hear the real in-the-trenches do or die list." So I thought I might try and add to the list. It's not a serious list that an artist should live by and it's not a complete list, so please do add to it or criticize it by leaving your comments (and I might repost a more complete list if some good tips are added)

Do or Die List for Artists

Here's a couple from the first post..

HellyUK says "Don't worry if you think an idea has been done before, do it anyway." I think people will always come up with similar ideas at the same time and people can limit themselves by not making the artwork they want to make because it's 'been done before'. A lot of things have been done before, but it won't stop me doing them again, everyone re-interprets things differently anyhow.

Nicholas says "That is great advice for artists but I think that having a personal coach removes some of the learning process that makes a great artist."

Add your own "in the trenches" tips for coping and growing as an artist..
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