How to Talk About ART: Say “URGENT”

Just got an e-mail from White Columns re: “An Unmissable New York Reading” it opens with a quote from one of the artists on the roster for the event:

“Passion in writing or art—or in a lover—can make you overlook a lot of flaws. Passion is underrated. I think we should all produce work with the urgency of outsider artists, panting and jerking off to our kinky private obsessions. Sophistication is conformist, deadening. Let’s get rid of it.”

~Dodie Bellamy, from ‘Barf Manifesto’

“Urgency” is the latest hue and cry among the avant garde of a yet unnamed movement in the arworld that is pushing a resurgence in subjectivism — drive driven art, passion and necessity as virtue.

Let’s work hard to coin a new term for this so we can amend the text books. I’m putting in my vote for: URGENT art. Too obvious? Duh!

Like the Depends of the creative community, our galleries and pundits, collectors, and even artists, are hoping we can absorb the urgent flow of uncontrolled effluvia that should be drilling into us in the upcoming months. We can only pray for a few Dargers.

Well, we needed SOMETHING to replace “gesture” — and “interventions” just don’t sell as easily as the all blood sweat and tears you can blarf onto a canvas. More for your money: why collect pictures of re-enactments when you can pick up a pack of whimsy at the art fair?

Thing is, I’m rooting for more visuals in my visual art. I think I’d really dig some really poignant, really voyeuristically appealing canvasses. I think I’d prefer them to all the ugly, visually dull, eggheaded, artist-statement-dependent stuff I’ve been forced to look at.

If I can’t have my conceptual art and see it too, then maybe I’ll settle for the inside of somebody’s closet.

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Quote of the Day

“Art to me is a humanitarian act and I believe that there is a responsibility that art should somehow be able to effect mankind, to make the word a better place.”

~Jeff Koons

Ford Foundation Sees Art As Community Development Plan

Photo of Luis A. Ubiñas, by Michael Falco for The New York Times

Over the next ten years, The Ford Foundation plans to distribute an unprecedented $100 million to the nationwide development of arts spaces and artist housing.

The Supporting Diverse Art Spaces Initiative will help arts supporters build and renovate spaces, but it will also place a new focus on the economic benefits that follow from developing affordable housing for artists nearby these spaces.

According to Ford Foundation president,, successful economic turnarounds follow the arts, especially when communities support their artists.

Ubiñas gave Stephanie Strom, New York Times reporter, the example of the Boston Center for the Arts which offered studios to artists in the 1970‘s when the South End neighborhood was in ruins. “Then the Boston Ballet was added, and performance space for other kinds of arts organizations, and what was a struggling neighborhood characterized by housing projects is a bustling community.”

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