Sunday, December 2, 2012

I Wish

That I had been more daring in my twenties.
That I stayed in London.
That I attended Candace's wedding and the Graduate Show 2008.
That I shipped my chair home.
That I had been more fun as a big sister.
That I remained a voracious reader.
That I pursued writing.
That I had space and opportunity to pursue research.
That I could talk with Martin more.
That the perfect job would fall into my lap.
That visa laws were more flexible.
That nations of the world considered all of us global citizens.
That I had worn more sunscreen.
That I liked wearing my glasses.
That I could motivate to walk more often.
That I liked to work out.
That it was easy to write a cover letter or self appraisal.
That I had local friends.
That I was more creative.
That I could stop trying.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I Decline to Participate

I was in the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum today where the main exhibition is United States.  The theme of national identity is only one theme employed by artists' work here and the broader concepts of united and states are what underlie this exhibition.  While I was looking around I could occasionally hear bits of a recording of children reciting the US Pledge of Allegiance and it got me thinking just how much I hate those phrases.  Let me tell you why.

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands; one nation under God, indvisible with liberty and justice for all.

I pledge allegiance to the flag...
To the flag?  What about to the people, the citizens?  Nowhere in this pledge is there a vow to commit to the people of the nation.  We will pledge to a piece of cloth.  Less abstractly, to the Republic for which it stands.  I mean get the fuck out.  A republic is a governmental construct through which the people are represented and which acts as the forum for addressing the people's problems and institutes good policy to improve their lives and protect their rights.  Or should, anyway.  That's all nice and good but again that is not about making a commitment as a citizen to honor and respect the rights and lives of all citizens -- of all peoples who comprise the population.  This phrase is about generic loyalty to a government construct as if  the government is the purpose of the people when in reality, the people are the purpose behind good governance. 

one nation under God...
Now this is plain false.  Since the point has been made frequently enough, I will refrain from the details about the addition of this phrase coming in the 1950s.  Let's just review for one quick minute here, however, that this is not a nation under any god.  How do I know?  I've read the Constitution.  And while I am no scholar on the matter, I have read a little into some history about the views of the founders and their desire that matters of religion and faith be separate from public life, government activity, and not used as a measure for civic engagement.  Yeah, there was some disagreement on this but the fact remains this is not a nation founded on any belief in any god.

Further, to use this belief as a measure of one's civic engagement is improper.  If I go to work, pay my bills, respect the law, respect my neighbors none of that counts because I don't believe in a god?   So much for that commitment to the people of the nation.  Oh, right.

indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Unless you lived under a rock for the last four years you should know this simply isn't true.  Look at the political rhetoric against anyone who isn't white, against women, against Muslims and atheists, et cetera ad nauseum, and there's no way you can think there isn't a popular desire to divide and conquer.  Private, local militias are growing, domestic terror continues, hate groups gain popularity, racism has increased even among young persons, bullying, the "religious" using their dictates to persecute gays and immigrants, blah blah blah.  Indivisible.  Ha! 

Liberty and justice are a laugh.  To use just one example, let's look at the recent year of voter obstruction as practiced by the Republican party.  Members, pundits, elected officials have actually gotten on television and said out loud, to a national audience that they essentially want to reisnstate Jim Crow.  "Yes" is the answer when multiple party officials are asked if voter ID laws would have helped Romney get elected.  Some have even stated the party wasn't aggressive enough on this and that is why the reds lost the election.  And for all their misinformation about socialism and the rise of fascism under Democrats, suppressing the right to vote is a fascist tactic.  So, by the way, is factless propaganda.  It's not all Republicans who want to keep certain people from voting and it's not only Republicans who want it.  Plenty of home grown "revolutionaries" want the same thing -- and worse, they want to remove "undesirables" from society entirely.

How about an economic system that unfairly disenfranchises black and hispanic citizens?  How about a prison system that works in tandem with this economic structure to ensure that these people are targeted and incarcerated at disproportionately higher rates than white citizens?  Liberty and justice certainly cannot be the driving force behind an educational system that enables children in families of means and leaves behind the poor.  But it works better for the private prison system that there always be an underclass who is more vulnerable to committing crime than getting a good job and being fully engaged in our social life economically, academically, culturally.  Better, too, if they are pigmented so as to be more easily targeted as criminals. 

This pledge offends me.  It is offensive.  It is a petty utterance that does not encourage dedication to one another and makes our current reality seem only more outrageous.  I make no public utterance of it for any reason. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

New Dialogs in Art of the Contemporary

Post modern.  Post modern.  Post modern.  Post modern.  Post Modern.  Post Modern.  Post.  Modern.  Post modern.  Post modern, post modern, post modern, post modern.  Post-modern.  Post modern.  Revisionism.  Post Post Post Post Post Post.  Modern, post.  Ipso, modern.  Post facto.  Post modern.

Post modern, post post post.  Modernist, modernity, modernism.  Past.  Past post.  Post.  Post Modern.  A posteriori.  Posterior.  Behind.  Post modern.  Modern post.  Modernism, concept.  Duchamp.  Cranial posterior situational relativism.  Post post post.  Post post.  Post.

Post modern.  Warhol.  Post modern.  Warhol.  Post modern.  Warhol.  Post modern.  Warhol.
Post modern.  Warhol.  Post modern.  Warhol.  Post modern.  Warhol.  Post modern.  Warhol.
Post modern.  Warhol.  Post modern.  Warhol.  Post modern.  Warhol.  Post modern.  Warhol.
Post modern.  Warhol.  Post modern.  Warhol.  Post modern.  Warhol.  Post modern. Warhol.

Warhol.  Warhol.  Warhol.  Warhol.  Warhol.  Warhol.  Warhol.  Warhol.  Warhol.  Warhol.  Warhol.  Warhol.  Warhol.  Warhol.  Warhol.  Warhol.  Warhol.  Warhol.  Warhol.  Warhol.  Warhol.  Warhol.  Warhol.  Warhol.  Warhol.  Warhol.  Warhol.  Warhol.  Warhol.  Warhol.

Painterly post painterly post.  Post painterly.  Painted post, modern, post modern.  Post post.  Neo new.  Modernist post modernism.  Post post post modern modern modern.  Post modern.  Post.

Post modern.  Deconstruction.  Post modern.  Fluxus.  Post modern.  Contemporary.  Post modern.  Conceptual.  Post modern.  Relational.  Post modern.  Dialectic.  Post modern.  Mininalism.  Post modern.  Installation.  Post modern.  Performance.  Post modern. 

Post modern.  Post.  Modern.  Post modern.  Post modern post modern post modern post modern.  Post modern. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Conversation with a co-worker

Him: I was in the diner and this homeless guy was telling his friend about how his girlfriend was murdered and I was, like, uh, I'm trying to eat.
Me: Did you say that to him?
Him: No but it was disgusting. He didn't even order food and I was trying to eat.
Me: So this man was homeless and his girlfriend was murdered and you just made it all about you? And how it wrecked your meal?
Him: Uh, yeah.
Me: That's why I think you're a dick.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Open Letter to a Dick

Hey, Romney, I get a refund every year on my income tax but not on my payroll taxes which, on the average, constitutes about nine percent of a low wage person's pay. I don't get food stamps because I don't pay rent as someone lets me sleep for free in a walk in closet and 15.5k gross annual income makes me too wealthy for MedicAid; the temporary coverage I had came with a high deductible and I could use it only because I needed an expensive procedure that met the threshold. If I qualify for temporary restricted care again, I probably won't be able to use it because a $4,443 deuctible is absurdly high -- and purposely so.  I don't have a full time, full paying job because there are so few available in my field -- so, yeah, I think I am entitled to some government help, you stupid shit.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Cover Story

I recently sent a cover letter with my resume to an arts space in Harford, CT whose job ad asked for an "interesting cover letter".  What does that mean?  I don't know but here's the letter:

"You have asked for an “interesting” cover letter as part of the submission for the Visual Arts Manager position open at (deleted).  Interesting is such an interesting word.  In fact, defines it as “1. engaging or exciting and holding the attention or curiosity, 2. arousing a feeling of interest,” which I find is not interesting but boring, if accurate.

As it happens, “interesting” is used for a variety of meanings.  When one is uncertain of the quality or value of a subject, “interesting” is often applied.  It is also used sarcastically when a subject is decidedly uninteresting.  And while a person or thing may hold one’s attention, “interesting” is still too ambiguous to explain why one’s attention is held. 

It is curious then that you would choose such a word to describe the type of letter you are seeking from applicants.  I am sure that cover letters are boring and tedious to read – they certainly are that to write.  But wouldn’t you prefer something clever or amusing or creative?  Surely these adjectives better describe the art and programs (deleted) offers to the public, and reflect the manner in which the gallery seeks to connect with the Hartford community.  After all, it is called the “Creative Cocktail Hour.”  Surely, Real Board (Games) is fun and Improvisations are celebratory, not merely interesting. 

And why limit yourself to a selection of “interesting” candidates? Are you unsure of the qualities and experience you seek in such candidates?  Just what do consider interesting in others?  If you are hiring a Visual Arts Manager capable of juggling the daily tasks of the job, curious about art and current events, and eager to engage with the Hartford community then you need someone who is dedicated, creative, intelligent and possessing a fun, lively personality.  I like to think these are the traits that define me and are more specific about my ability and perspective than merely “interesting”.  I would like to work with an arts organization that embodies these traits and hires others who exhibit them which is why I am submitting my resume and cover letter to you.  

I would not be at all interested in working with (deleted).  I would, however, be delighted to work with an organization as exciting and important as yours."
I don't know if I will get any response to this but I have applied to this particular center multiple times with no response other than a curt we-said-we'd-let-you-know-if-we-cared when I attempt to follow up.  So this time I sent a risky letter and am not contacting them to see if they read it or have considered meeting me.  I don't really know anyone in that area who is involved with this center so my chances are greatly diminished from the get go -- this is not my excuse -- art is a stingy bitch, I know -- but at this point why not have some fun with this whole job thing? 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Disappointed; A Criticism

Recently, I attended a presentation at the Westport Arts Center as part of a group and our expectation was to hear about the exhibition Landscape: Scene/Reseen and various artists who contributed.  I rarely do these things and was rather excited by the opportunity to spend the day with people I admire, meeting others involved in promoting the visual arts and hearing their thoughts on the content in their own space.

We sat down in rows in front of the vista window and the Director of Visual Arts proceeded to ask us why we find art important.  Before any answer of substance was investigated, she was off on a very long diatribe about her own career and all the very impressive things she has achieved, important networks she has created.  I know this Prime Minister and that CEO and this group supports us thanks to my efforts. 

Don't get me wrong; in the arts these connections are necessary to building and maintaining an institution.   Having all those names and faces in your schmooze folder matters.  It matters a lot.  Those names and faces help get you the money and exposure your institution needs.  (There is a vicious cycle issue here at which I am sure you can guess but suffice it for now that these networks help.)

But that was not the reason for my being in that room on that day.  I was there to hear about the art work on view.  I was curious why they chose that topic and those artists and those specific works.  What makes the theme and those works meaningful?  What is the basic message you hope people take away with them?  How does that work resonate with you?  Here's something -- ask us how or why that work resonates with us, after all we did come to look at it.

But no, don't stop at merely telling us why your ego is so huge, please, indulge us with photos of you meeting with some of those very important people in those very special museums you mentioned.  I cannot begrudge a person for working so very hard and creating a real presence for an arts center and carving out a solid career for herself in the course.  But I can criticize the refusal to differentiate one type of audience from another.  I can criticize the fact that in the course of two hours we never had real opportunity to look at the art and discuss any questions or themes it presents.  We were there specifcally to view the exhibition and talk about it.  I was amazed at the arrogance it took to dismiss such genuine curiosity as if our interest in the art was secondary or meaningless.  Let's refresh; her first questions were why we care about art and why we are involved in the arts. 

When your own accomplishments become so important to you that you overlook the reason your institution exists, that you dismiss the interest and curiosity visitors bring with them then you are somehow failing in your real task -- to share the arts with the public.

I still don't know why I should go to the Westport Arts Center or why it is an important space or what kind of relationship they seek with the community of which they are a part.  I have no idea why the Center finds Landscape a relevant exhibition of works in the contemporary.  I do, however, have a suspicion that they are full of themselves in stereotypic Westport fashion.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Love Poem

I have this image in my mind
of me throwing my arms around your neck
and you wrapping yours around my back,
turning them toward my ribs.

I feel your weight
and hear your breath
and smell your desire.

And yet I don't know
who you are
or if we will ever meet
or if you even exist.

Monday, May 21, 2012

A Note to the Righteous

Dear Religious Leaders Opposing Obama's call for marriage equality, 
Religious and government institutions are decidedly separated here. You don't have to like it and you don't have to perform the rite for homosexuals if it is contrary to your religion. As a society, we don't all agree on the basis for morality or the need for religion. We do, however, have to live in the same space under the same civil construct and as such, the US Constitution is more important than the Bible, Qu'ran, Torah, and so on. You would do well to consider the relationships you foster with other people to be of more immediate significance than the private "relationship" you have with a "god".

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Letter to Connecticut Governor, Dannel Malloy

Dear Mr. Malloy;

I recently saw this petition pop up online and I think it is rather glib and abstract.  It certainly contains a lot of fancy rhetoric but what are the policy platforms?  What is your specific initiative?  Don't you think you should have perhaps included the background or relevant links on the issue?

Also, regarding the state of schools; that issue is connected to wage rates, the growing poverty in the state, under-employment, and hunger.  What are your plans to put adults back to full time work at full time pay, thereby enabling parents to properly house and feed their children so that they may perform at their best in school?  While substandard education may be a problem in CT, the problems behind the achievement levels and graduation rates go far beyond the structural context for formal educational systems.  It has been shown that personal financial instability and hunger negatively impact learning and achievement in school children.  I'll even start you out with a basic citation for that here.  

And beyond the scope of the state's schools, what are you doing for wages and personal economic wellness generally?  Clearly, there's not much if the legislature is any measure -- at least judging by this article in the Courant.

I don't like your politics and I wish there had been a better, more progressive candidate on the ballot last time around.  Perhaps you can win me over just a little with some answers.

(Writer's note: As of August 7, 2012 there still has been no reply from the Governor's office.)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Coffee House Recitation

There was a time when if it didn't cause you pain to get it out
it wasn't a legit experience.
Those days are gone -- gladly.
Now I am too old, the coffee sours me
and I wonder if the stomach spasm is just from the coffee.
I come to the tiny table with cliches and memories and the last traces of dreams.
Something pulls; I lean in, I lean back; something stays, retracts.
Moving; that's how things make sense -- moving in a sort of stasis in a singular place.
Spilling myself across the table.  Sloppy.

That hasn't changed -- the careless handling of containers.
But the contents have gotten hotter, darker, more acidic, bolder.
And it causes me pain to drink it in.
And I like it.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Soul Music

It comes to mind that there are those who can't grasp why atheists like songs that use words like "soul" or "miracle". It's easy -- atheists understand the concepts and the multiple meanings or interpretations of such things.  For example, there is no such thing as a soul in the sense of a supernatural, eternal being -- you simply don't have one of those.  But anyone can relate to soul as a fullness of one's passions or depth of emotions or totality of mental experience.  Something is soulful because the experience of engagement is a fulfilling moment.  

Same with miracle.  While there is no magic being performed, there are things that yet lack explanation and others that are simply so unexpected they seem almost impossible.  When they do happen, the occasions are amazing, grossly fortunate, astounding... close to magical.  So the atheist can appreciate the notion of this according to a secondary or casual interpretation of the concept rather than the literal or primary term.

And sometimes good music is just good music and it's easy enough to overlook these ideas and just enjoy a song.  

Monday, March 12, 2012

Occupy, An Internet Conversation.

It went like this:  I posted a link to Occupy New Haven getting an eviction notice. Follow the exchange and,  like usual, I make no apologies for my opinion.

EG:  It's about time they got off their lazy asses and get some kind of job. Anything.

Me:  Lots of them work -- they leave during the day and camp at night. Don't be so fucking ignorant. And, by the way, I have a job doing anything because I can't get meaningful, full paid work -- because the shift in most industries is to part time work for minimum wage. That's why I live in poverty so take your bullshit perspective and choke on it.

EG:  Americans have become over educated and afraid of doing what you would deem shitty manual labor. Well guess what, I went to the same college you did, got an art Ed degree and decided it wasn't for me. So I got a job working with my hands, learned a trade and joined a Union. I help build America and I'm fucking proud of my work. So when I hear I can't find meaningful work, it makes my stomach turn. Some days at work suck, from freezing cold to blistering heat. My life isn't comfortable and I don't bitch about it. I work my ass off so my kid can have a good and happy life. So get out of the fucking park that my taxes help keep clean and safe.

MB:  Manual and manufacturing jobs are scarce too. If I lost my job, I'd be GLAD for the chance to do manual labor. To put food on the table and stay in the apartment. AND because I would stop getting desk-fat. I'm no different than millions.

Me:  Yes, get out of the park and stop using your Constitutional rights. Very patriotic of you.

I'm not talking about manual labor vs another form. What you do for a living is the irrelevant part of the conversation; it's how much work you can get and how much it pays that matters to a person's ability to be self sufficient and pay his or her bills. Check just a little bit of news or statistics -- look at the history of wages compared to the cost of living over the last 30 years coupled with the reduction in benefits, including health care, paid vacation time and even sick days. Now, no one has to pay you for any of those things because they can hire staff at half price and half time.

That your life isn't comfortable is exactly why those lazy asses (as you call them) are out there -- so that even YOU can earn more to make your life more affordable and give you better quality of life overall as related to your job and living costs.

What makes my stomach turn is when I hear someone say ignorant things like get out of a park you pay taxes for when part of your taxes are used to preserve public space for, among other things, the purpose of providing a public forum for a redress of grievances. It sickens me that anyone still buys into the "boot straps" defense when that is a manipulative way to blame the lower income classes for inability to advance economically in an economic structure that is designed to favor those who run it -- and is protected because they can buy their politicians. Or haven't you been watching the primary season, for example? And it's okay to blame the little guy because self-determination is the American way but when the little guy takes to the public square to assert his rights he is suddenly called unAmerican and lazy. Fuck you.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What Makes It So Tedious

I am currently involved in a conversation on Linked In.  The question posed was, "what do you consider a successful artist?"

I am excerpting the dialog between myself and another person on the thread for the purpose of highlighting the immense irritation it is to network and meet people who call themselves artists, because so many of them have no idea what it is to consider art and its broader impact in any socially relevant, critical way.

I first answered thus:
A successful artist is an artist who creates work that is worth looking at -- meaning there is something to think about and reflect on. You could be totally cash poor from making what you do but your sales needn't define success.

Dude (Name withheld):
I totally agree with (her) first sentence "BUT" I have never met another artist that relied solely on sales for income that was always cash poor from their sales and thought they were successful. No gallery owner can be in business or a gallery sales person have a job if they cannot sell the art

You are talking about two different things in what appears an attempt to make one point. You should maybe define what you mean by success and then refine the discussion from there. I, for one, would never consider Damien Hirst a successful artist -- but I don't consider him an artist so the case for adjectives is moot.
I would like to know if you have ever been a professional artist and if so why not now. You may consider yourself an art critic but that doesn't make you an artist, I don't go to an art critic to see if my work is good or not, I talk to other successful professionals, I go to art festivals and gallery's to see what is selling and then adapt my style if necessary for a new trend to add to my work, then I look at my sales and net profit and smile.
It's easy to talk the talk with out walking the walk and pick and choose from a multitude of artists to suit your own personal taste.

I don't consider myself an art critic. I also fail to see why only an artist's perspective is to be valued in the discussion of art and its greater value to society more broadly.

This is exactly the practice that I find insincere and possibly anti-art: "I go to art festivals and gallery's to see what is selling and then adapt my style if necessary for a new trend to add to my work, then I look at my sales and net profit and smile." That states you are not in it for what you create but will be a chameleon to cash in on a trend. But at least you have clarified what you mean by success. From my perspective I call that a failure. But what do I know? I have no right to a perspective on the arts.

You are absolutely right your opinion doesn't count for much, as for being a chameleon I suggest you look at yourself as it is you that preys upon artists with your ego as to what is or isn't good, you pick and choose what works for you to make a profit.
As for keeping up with a trend, you are a fool not to adapt your talents as to what the public wants as well as doing what your heart desires.
Your art critic resume may impress a 7th grader or an up and coming artist that has no clue to the direction they should take but to a proven professional it's a joke .
You see unlike you I have walked the walk, every inch of it to be where I am and my advice whether or not used by another artist is sincerely given based on real life and experience to help them along the way.
I read your profile and experience, hmmm you took a course on Gallery
management but your work history is a visual store merchandiser ? LOL
You have spent most of your career showing off what is the new trend for a 
"home" furnishing company and yet you try to criticize me for adapting some 
of my art to trends in the art world ! What a piece of work you are !! And now 
you want to show the world what it needs in art ?
Idiots should listen and not speak but it seems that isn't the case with you .

Second Dude (Name Withheld):
(Dude), If I get this right, I think you are saying that an artist should judge their success criteria more on sales and modify their work to sell well. That is commercial success, no? Isn't that approach more of a designers role, all be it a creative and skilled one, than an artists, or perhaps that's just a UK perspective.

All I am saying is that we as professional artists "must survive" so if your sales are slow  then why not adapt your skills to what the public wants but in your own creative style, no matter what you create it is your passion and skills that make it unique!
For example lets say you lived close to the ocean and you paint solely seascapes and have been successful and satisfied with sales but now you have moved to the mountains and are still painting seascapes but your sales are way down because the people are buying the landscapes of mountains and valleys, can you as an artist not create a wonderful work of art of the mountains, it is still your creation and talent but you have adapted to live a more comfortable life.
(Withheld), you are correct, art is tough to sell these days, people are more concerned with buying gasoline and food and just don't have the disposable income they once did. Art is always a sensitive topic, why because we devote our lives to creating and want our work to be accepted and bought, "THE highest compliment you can pay an artist is to purchase their work" because then you know it means enough to someone that worked for their money to give it to you because you have created something they want in their life ! Do you think Michel Angelo would have been the great and successful artist he was if he had painted and sculpted in the style of Picasso?

If you looked at my profile you would know I took a course in curatorship AND I managed a gallery at a university -- that is a non-profit environment and open free to the public for viewing and educational programming. That gallery did not and does not sell any work or arrange the sale of any work. My duties there included assisting any number of faculty with Q&A when they held class in the space, acting as faculty aid during regular class times, acting as educator/organizer for students in the gallery course, as well as facilitating and teaching programs to primary and middle school students as requested by the art education faculty.

I do not make a profit on art, I volunteer as a docent in an edcuational program with a well established museum in the contemporary arts. It is a non-collecting museum so the focus is always in the most present concept of contemporary and they choose to show emerging and mid-career artists rather than established personalities -- so I know a little something about the current art culture. They do not host retrospectives, nor do they sell any of the work on exhibition.

It is likely (and decidedly so) that I will never make a profit on art as I am seeking to work in an outreach capacity with a community justice or ecological organization. But you read my profile so you should know that.

Working as a visual merchandiser is a thing I am good at and like and it pays bills. It also fits in with a broader definition of visual culture and has many duties in common with gallery management. And I am still seeking work as a Visual Merchandising Manager because it is easier to get a job in that capacity than find one in an arts institution. (And also because I like using the skill set needed for the job, which includes things like having to plan changes for an 80,000 sq ft space three weeks in advance based solely on a shipping manifest and truck schedule. Or adapt plans once they are set in motion to comply with safety and zoning regs. Or trouble-shoot floor changes for one location while being on site at another.) Working in such a position would also grant me more free time to develop my own art and research projects.

I suggest you get your facts straight about a person before attacking them.

Frankly, all of this is how I define success for myself generally but also as it pertains to working in an arts capacity.

As I said you know little about art and I need not waste my time and energy on a want to be social art diva when I can hopefully help fellow artist that are creating and trying to make a living.
As far as I'm concerned this is the end of the subject with you.

(That last comment made me laugh.  Oh, people are funny...)