Two weeks ago I missed two shows. Not two openings, but two whole shows. I heard DV8 gallery had what was “politically inspired” work. I never made it out, so I can’t tell if it was political or inspired. Then there was the Gallery Lombardi show featuring some savages from Kansas. The preview art on the gallery’s site looked as if it were Austin art. Were they Dorothy or Leslie? Who knows?
One night shows make it very difficult to get a gauge on local art. Time and timing is very important. Three hours to look at some show is not enough to get a good idea about what’s going on, especially if it is a group show, especially if it is a large group show and most especially if you have the booze a-flowin’. Thursdays seem to be art nights, but that’s not really ideal for going around to look for something that won’t be up tomorrow or on the weekend.
I know money is a big factor in setting up shows. I mean, I know that there are bills to pay and mouths to feed. And that’s why spaces like Gallery Lombardi and Bolm Studios rent out their gallery. They provide exhibition opportunities and pay their rent. But I wonder if the option to rent the space for one night is actually worth it? I mean you have to install and remove artwork, take care of catering, advertising, that’s alot of work for three hours of people standing around chatting with friends drinking your free beer. Sure you might sell some pieces, but is that really a step up from showing in coffe shops and hair salons?
I feel like the opportunities in Austin match the ambitions of the artists. A lot of what we see are artists trying to sell their work. I’ve got no beef with someone using their craft to put food on the table. But don’t expect the market to bend backwards for you when you demand one thing and work toward a different goal.
I like art that is exciting and challenging. I want to see things that ask a question but don’t necessarily answer any. Comments are okay too, as long as they don’t yell and beat me over the head. I guess what I’m saying is get back to work. Put more time in the studio. Question what it is you are doing and why. Look at more art. Make more art. All of this becomes evident in your work. Other artists will notice, gallerists will notice, and prospective collectors will notice.
The answer to what ails you is more work. I know copying an old Monet and painting a landscape in the Impressionist style is easier. Its also easy on the eyes, I get it. If that’s what you want, go for it. But get out of the way so others can kick it up a notch and go for those highly coveted spots. Don’t prevent change because you are nostalgic for the hippy days of Austin. But do stay friendly. Maybe everyone can be an artist, but not everyone can be a good artist. And thats what sells baby! Yeah!
Artwork or the art world,
I’ll tell you ’bout what I sees.