Friday, April 14, 2006

Covering what?

I heard in an NPR discussion last week on Studio 360*. It was a discussion with Kenji Yoshino, who wrote Covering: The Hidden Assault On Our Civil Rights. The blurb on the website sums it up nicely: how we all distort our identities at some point in our lives—even if it’s just concealing a tattoo or pretending to like sports.

It got me to thinking about my experience in Morgan Lehman gallery. I had a really wonderful open, friendly and interesting conversation with someone** who seemed very much to be in charge there. I did however at the keep thinking "Don't ask my name, don't ask my name" You know why? Because I had sent them a packet a little while back. And as foolish as it seems, I didn't want them thinking that I was just there pandering. I was actually there in my capacity of 'viewer/blogger/collector,' not in the artist role.

Does that seem a bit strange? Should I be afraid to admit that I really like the artwork they show and that's the reason I sent my work in? And I am asking the prices on the works because I would really like to buy one?

It made me think how there are other ways in which I cover within the artist/blogger/curator/collector role. I think it is hard to be successful at all three at once, so I surmise that most who wear different mantles cover to a certain degree. I am often surprised to find out that an arts administrator is an accomplished artist, or the same for a curator, journalist, or critic. I am always well impressed with the accomplishment.

How do other artists handle it? Do y'all cover? Do you take advantage (and I don't mean that in a bad way) of situations?

*It took me a REALLY long time to figure out which program I had heard it on, all I could remember was that I was driving (it was a rental for getting my kitty to the vet) around the Lower East Side trying to get on the FDR, couldn't even remember if it was Friday or Saturday that I heard it!

**I really am not the type of person who knows whos who in the art world, which may be a good thing or a bad thing - I don't know. I am so bad with name/face recognition that when a celebrity walks by (it really does happen a lot here), if I even notice them, than I look at them and think 'Do I know them? Did I go to school with them?" I must look like a dumb puppy staring at them absent mindedly.

By the way, huge thanks to Tyler Green over at Modern Art Notes for giving my stats a bump today! Imagine my surprise, especially since I hadn't yet read through all of my rss feeds (including his) for the day. (And I know all of you bloggers check your stats too).

1 comment:

fisher6000 said...

Hey Eve,
Good question. I actually try not to think of this in terms of covering, although I know there is a lot of pressure to.

Honestly, I think this whole gallery/artist relationship is a pretty f***ed up power struggle, and I personally am trying to do anything I can to just sidestep all that crap and be a person.

Gallerists and art administrators put a lot of pressure on artists to be meek and powerless, and artists do the same to themselves. I do it to myself all the time. But what's wrong with asking about prices and starting a conversation with someone about the work because you love it?

Maybe I am being too much of an idealist... but you cover when you find yourself in a position of relative powerlessness. There is nothing powerless about your genuine interest.