I’m the King of Jubilee Jumbles

artist Nayland Blake natters on about art and other things

Posts Tagged ‘london

Five more questions – courtesy of Thor

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What, if anything, have you learned from your students, and/or the process of teaching?

Teaching continually confronts me with the dilemmas in my own process. When I talk to my students about their difficulties, their stopping places and moments of fear, I am able to see the similarities in my own situation. So from listening to the ways my students talk about what they do I have become a better reader of work. I’ve also learned not to spend a lot of time worrying about whether or not they like me. When I first started teaching I wanted to be every student’s best pal. That’s as bad as your parents trying to hang around with you all the time. Now I have better boundries around it all and it makes it easier for ervery one to relax.

What don’t you like about the art world? Are there frauds? Name names.

1. I don’t like the generalization “art world” as it lumps together many people who don’t neccisarily belong together : artists, certain writers, dealers, collectors, museum people, some notion of a public. We don’t talk about the “baseball world”. That being said, for purposes of answering the question I’ll talk about the group of people around the New York art market.
2. I don’t like assumed concensus, people who come to opinions without thinking about them. One of the galling things about being in the market is the unspoken assumption that everyone is on the same side.
3. I don’t like openings, which are really about people demonstrating to you that they showed up rather than anyone looking at the work in any real way. I go to very few, and when I have them I try to find some way to subvert them by doing a performance or something similar.
4. I don’t like the proliferation of prizes, art fairs and Biennials, for the same reason I dislike circuit parties.
5. I dislike the cult of youth that pervades the art world these days. It messes up my students, and it’s fair to say that art making is one of the things that you get better at the longer you do it. Do we want every field to have the emotional pitch of women’s gymnastics?

As for frauds; first let me say that I think it’s heartening that folks still worry about this. It means that on a deep level people want something important from art, given the way we have come to accept fraud in so many other fields as a matter of course. But in this case I think it’s hard to define fraud. On the part of artists I would say that there are failures, failures of nerve, imagination, growth, feeling. When someone tries to present these as not being faliures then I suppose you have a situation of fraud. For example, I think that for many years now David Salle has been treading water. His most recent show at Gagosian in New York was accompanied by an article in the New York Times that was full of praise for the development of the work. This I suppose was fradulent, in that it was intellectually dishonest. But when you try to talk about this as legal fraud you run up against a problem: who has been injured? The people who bought the pictures? The people who came to look at them? Also let me say that even if we could talk about fraud here the biggest art fraud in history could have gotten away with less in a life time than a VP at Enron could make off with in a week.
Here’s a clearer case: Thomas Kinkaide – the self proclaimed painter of light. Here is someone who has set up a huge business that traffics in asserted, simplified emotionality. It seems to me to be at its heart cynical and manipulitive of its audience on a level that Jeff Koons could only pretend to.

“me and my work”
“the types of work I enjoy”
“in terms of work”
“making work and seeing others make work”
Why not:
“me and my art”
“the types of art I enjoy”
“in terms of art”
“making art and seeing others make art”
Why this choice of words? Is this simply the vernacular from the “art world” that you’ve absorbed? What would Freud have to say about this? Discuss.

Two reasons: when I use “art” people tend to think only of my visual stuff, whereas I think of everything I do; sculpting, writing, teaching, lecturing, DJing, publishing, etc. as all being part of the same thing :”making work”. Secondly, “my art” just sounds too naff. I make things that make sense to me and then hopefully they will be useful for other folks as well. To the extent that they are then they become art.

Name some things that you personally “find really useful in a cultural sense.”
The plays of Richard Foreman – the books of Kathy Acker, Djuna Barnes, Samuel Delaney and Charles Dickens – the films of John Waters, Jack Smith and Terry Gilliam – the Music of Sun Ra, Patty Smith and the Velvet Underground – notebooks of Hokousai – the tattoos of Don Ed Hardy – the sock money – as a sculptor I wish I had invented it, and I still aspire to come up with something like it: a sculpture that just about anyone can make, that is ubiquitous and anonymous.

Who put the ram in the ramalamadingdong?

You know you did, dude.

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November 30, 2003 at 10:18 am

What I did, did I?

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Ok, so here it is: I now have three shows up: new work in London, retrospective at the Tang in Saratoga Springs, and collaboarative video installations in San Francisco. So i think i can say that the harvest season is over. Next official deadline: new two channel video piece for group show in Jan. This harks back to what things were like for me twelve years ago, except then I didn’t have the added workload of running a graduate program. I wish I knew some other way to work, to be honest. This week I was frantically getting the videos for SF made into DVDs and fedexed so that they would arrive on time, Meanwhile there was a huge opening in Saratoga, attended by my Mother and Sister as well as a number of friends. After the dinner, I djed a dance party for the Skidmore students, an interesting effort since the record collection I was using started in the early sixties and ended around ’91. Luckily they all came ready to dance, so the only real problem was that their hopping up and down made the turntables skip on occasion.
I think this post should be firmly filed under count your blessings. Although each of these projects brought up wildly varied emotions, moment to moment , each was an oppurtunity I am grateful for:a chance most people in my field don’t have. I wish that I could proceed through them with grace, rather than by causing drama for the other people who work with me. Drama through shutting down and being uncommunicative. Drama through waiting til the last minute. Yes, everything got to where it needed to be at the right time but it still is at the expense of frayed nerves, for people that I know and care about. SO here’s a public apology to everyone who deserves one.

(side note to the shrink: just noticing that I can’t talk about good news without talking about how badly I’ve behaved – that must get a bit tedious for you, eh?)

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October 19, 2003 at 11:38 am

Back in Black

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So it’s a week later, and I’m back from London. Washed ashore back in NYC. The jet lag is not quite cleared up. It’s 10pm now and in London it’s 3 am, much later than I stayed up any night I was there. So I’m woozy, and while I want to write about it all, I doubt that I can. The high points? All of the work coming together. Seeing drawings I hadn’t seen in two years or so. Feeling very very supported. A London fling. Finding (being taken to) Fox’s tobacco with it’s back room museum,that had a cigar in the shape of a pipe. There’s more, much but now? I don’t know. Note – first day without alchohol for a week.

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September 20, 2003 at 2:20 pm

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Off to London…

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Ok everything seems to be happening. Hard to focus. I am a meticulous packer, but the way I do it is to wander around, do a little then do a little more and so on. Doesn’t inspire confidence, not even in myself. Anaconda is on.One of the questions is do I pack to leave enough room to pick things up while I’m there? I mean I always do… ugh, this is useless!

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September 13, 2003 at 9:36 am

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Involuntary coaster bear…

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Now comes the frantic rush toward Saturday’s London departure. Weekend was spent trying to wrap up last minute loose ends, and seeing folks who were in from out of town: James Gobel, Didi. A swirl of artworld related hiking culminating in Sunday’s opening at the Sculpture Center: tons of people, a sunny afternoon, and hearentening art. At the same time, this week was truly the official beginning of the New York season and it seemed like everyone I knew was having an opening: friends acquaintances former students. Given that I can hardly bear to be at openings, and had to get my own (last-minute as usual) stuff together, I found myself continually apologizing to folks about not being able to attend. I’d so much rather see the show at another time when I can look at it. Peter Norton hosted a reception for the Sculpture Center in his apt , Thor graciously consented to go with me, and so the evening found us wandering around the 45th floor apt gaping at the views, eyeballing the art collection and downing canapes whose unifying characteristic was that they had all been designed to be circular and 3/4 of an inch in diameter.

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September 8, 2003 at 11:52 am