Saturday, June 28, 2008

Know Blood for Oil

Repetitive Pump in Purple, 2006, Acrylic on Canvas, 12" X 36"

The text, though difficult to read, is about Randy Cunningham, a congressman convicted of accepting bribes for war related government contracts.

As time moves on and the fog dissipates, information floats to the surface. This information suggests the worst as reported by Bill Moyer.

During the first gulf war I considered myself lucky as I was on my way home from a west-pac when Iraq invaded Kuwait. I missed my girlfriend and thought I finally knew what it was to be an American. Believe me, no one knows what it means to be American until they've been away from it, they only suspect. I paid my respects to those who gave their lives for my country in Pearl Harbor as we manned the rails when we pulled into port. I lost countrymen and acquaintances over the Mariana Trench off the coast of Japan as their helo went down and no bodies were recovered. This time was served in the defense of my nation; it was an honor to serve.

Along with that honor comes a certain amount of trust. I trusted, as as most sailors and soldiers do, in the judgment of our civilian leaders to be deployed in our nations defense. Now I've come to understand that defense is not always clear as at times service in small military actions can defend my nation such as a call to certain commitments for the United Nations. Yet I trust that these too are for the protection of life and nothing less. This service is not for a way of life (and by that I do not mean fundamental values of my nations such as liberty and equality but in the sense of certain conveniences we've come to expect as Americans, like football on Sunday or disposable coffee cups on our way to work) but for life itself. My trust appears to have been betrayed as my service has been at least partly for the protection of American business interests. As if I was not defending my country or the freedom of my countrymen but the market for a few industry leaders. Now, I must point out this does not mean my service was not honorable or that the lives of American servicemen and women that were lost or altered in the service of our country was in any way less than honorable, I am saying that the trust we put in our civilian leadership has been betrayed.

No blood for oil! It has not been shed for oil but for country. Those that betrayed our trust must be held accountable. They know there has been blood for oil.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Artist's Community:Show Space

The second thing an artist's community needs is a place to show the artwork. This pretty much goes without saying that when the space is made available for making artwork eventually that artwork should be shared with the rest of the community. The most conventional way for this to happen is through two methods: The first is the time honored art galley and the second is an art fair. Either display or setting has its strengths and its weaknesses which I'll explore in the following paragraphs. I'll also propose an additional display opportunity that I've not seen that I think should be entertained by a community.

Art fairs or street fairs are great opportunities for artists to get out there and meet people interested in art. It is also an enjoyable way to spend a nice sunny day (I enjoy camping and barbecues and liken the art fair experience to a little of both). For artists this provides an opportunity to exert some control over what is shown and how it is displayed. On the other hand the context in which the artwork is shown is determined by the organizers of the event and the artists' booths often appear a little like a side show where the main event might be the local restaurants, corporate contributors' booths, or kettle corn. For the most part, however, art fairs do make the display of art by local artists an event and an opportunity for those without gallery representation a place to show their work to the public, therefor they are necessary and desirable.

For those with gallery representation I have little to say because this traditional meeting place for art and art collector is, strongly and rightfully, in a good position both financially and socially. My only suggestion to gallery owners is, perhaps, to provide and publicize greater openness to the public for a greater overall understanding of art by the public. I do understand the interest in the exclusivity between collector and private gallery. I've also enjoyed the availability of public galleries in the area. In most cases a small membership fee is attached but I find the benefits of this small fee understandable and seldom insurmountable (especially when compared to the fee for some art fairs- Wow!). Perhaps a little more civic planning would help funnel some tax dollars into or consolidate these galleries into art districts or areas that may, in fact, benefit both the galleries and the local stores, restaurants, and community. (Did I contradict myself? Very well, I contain multitudes!- but then, it is a matter of priorities)

I would like to interject the idea that public galleries could and should promote art collecting by celebrating the collectors themselves. By this I mean providing a mild competition open to collectors for recognition of their savvy discretion and taste. Perhaps a juried event based on theme- around local art collection, course- like a contemporary surrealist collection, seascapes, landscapes, political/social awareness, etc. This would be a chance for collectors to show their collection, receive accolades and reward for their support of local artists without having to invite an entire community into their home.

This last idea is to suggest collaboration between artists' communities and local retail outlets such as furniture stores. Although I believe the best way to see art is in the home with the time to look and think about it, galleries and museums run a close second. This does not mean that other settings would not provide an opportunity to see and appreciate art. I'm sure we've all heard the "that'll match the sofa" story that many artists find offensive but the fact is there are some artists that do not mind such a thing and, in fact, create accordingly. For just such artists an association between the artists' community and local retailers would help these artists find a place to show their work to the public. With a little education, salespeople may also help inform those in the community that may know little about art understand it and appreciate in more. This may even benefit the artists disinterested in matching sofas reach a new audience; and, like I mentioned before, it may help a person picture the work in its best setting, the home.