Archive for December 2016
The tide may seem relentless, sweeping hope away. As I wrote previously, my practice in the studio is essentially solitary, and that has isolated the work I have made in response to current events from most everyone else. I know that I am not alone in this regard, and I asked to see your art made after the election. I’d like to thank those who initially shared those responses with me.
As I’ve thought about this and talked about it with other artists it seems more important than ever to process and plan, in short, to organize our response through our work. ‘Our Art After’ the election should not stop at the inauguration. I would like to use this space to announce and promote the work of artists and exhibitions whose work has been affected by and stands in opposition to the elections of 2016. ‘Our Art After’ will also be documented as an online exhibition and archive via Tumblr, as well as offering support to other venues and exhibitions.
I am proud to announce that the first ‘Our Art After’ exhibition will be at the Arts Dojo of Kansas City to open April 28th, coinciding with the end of the new administration’s first 100 days in office.
To submit, please send the following via email to ourartafter [at] gmail.com or directly to the venues:
- 1 – 3 JPEGs of artwork for submission made between November 8th, 2016 and April 1st, 2017. (Please do not send links to websites).
- The artwork information (size, media, etc).
- A short statement of approximately 50 – 100 words about the work and how the election has affected your studio practice. This statement will be used in conjunction with the Tumblr archive, so please be as simple, honest, and direct as possible.
The deadline for Arts Dojo submissions is Midnight, April 2nd.
This open call is open to all media and styles. If you would like to include a video, web-based or new media project, please feel free to do so, although please understand that Arts Dojo and Tumblr may be subject to technical limitations. Complete details on the logistics for the physical exhibitions will be available soon. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask via the above email.
Following the election one of the strongest calls was for artists to continue to work, to continue to create in the face of results that are heartbreaking at best, and portending catastrophic consequences for our society and planet at worst. To create art, no matter what the style or idiom, is to reach out and try to communicate to another, to seek some common understanding. Demagogues have no use for understanding, for finding common ground; there is always a distinction between the artist and the work of art and then between that artwork and the viewer, and those gaps between art and life must be traversed for any communication to occur. That the viewer must reach out to an artwork makes it a poor choice as a vehicle for propaganda, but well suited as a means to transmit personal expression.
When I walked into my studio after the election I felt that I could not continue with business as usual. As much as my regular practice may have called for adjusting a red to a blue in one of my paintings, my rage, frustration and grief did not allow for that. So instead I took up small, unfinished collages that incorporated napkin fragments printed with the United States flag. Almost flat-footedly obvious at the beginning, as I have finished the first works in the Electioneering series my studio practice has gained some inoculation from current events and found myself able to work again, and as I am working I’m now looking forward towards letting these small works communicate and yell.
I know that I am not alone in this experience. Artists I know have been in the studio working, while also organizing, protesting, and speaking out. Many of us will March following the inauguration, but there will be those of us who cannot, and perhaps we can find a way to make the art we’ve made in the days and weeks after speak for us.
I would like to see the art you have made starting on November 10th and onward. I would like to see an exhibition (or perhaps several) open at the time of the inauguration that puts art and reactions on the walls as we are also putting bodies and ideas into the streets. Consider this an open call for work, for space, for anyone who has tried to process their situation by turning to the process in their studios. Send images or ideas to email@example.com. I do not know what will come of this, but it seems important to reach out.