Thursday, May 17, 2018

April 12, 2018


This is a pretty angry post.  For those good guys in the audience, know that I see you. 

I appreciate you NOT following in the easy footsteps of the patriarchy, but rather looking around you, thinking, and behaving in ways that are about fairness and justice rather than maximizing your own position regardless of damage to others.  Thank you for realizing there is enough room for personhood and respectworthyness for all.  For realizing that other people's personhood does not take away from yours.  Thank you.

 .  .  .

They're going to shut down the Michigan Union for a couple of years, to refurbish.  They were having special things going on, on April 12, so I went to see.  Unfortunately, I arrived early, and they wouldn't let me look at anything.

Fie on 'em.  I thought about the fact that the Union was created for men, and didn't allow women to even *enter* the place for decades, and I thought "Screw it.  Close it down, and leave it closed."

I walked across the street to the art museum.

They had a special exhibit of items left to the museum by Gertrude Kasel.  She was a gallerist and collector who had a special interest in working closely with living artists, and with introducing those artists to people in Detroit who could be persuaded to take an interest in contemporary art.

This piece is made of triangles of board, twisted into a spiral, with the corners of the top triangle joined (up in the air) by pieces of wire.

This is the part I like the best -- the shadows of the layered bits.  And the wood is pretty.

I am getting crankier and crankier about things I see in art museums.  I walked right by a LOT of the "rich white men's possessions" sectionS! of the art museum on the 12th.  But of course work made *by* white men is everywhere.  Gertrude apparently had a lot more women in her collection than one usually sees in art museums.  Good on her.

But still.  WTF.  Below -- two pieces of paper, stuck to another piece of paper?   Tell me this would have gotten into an art museum if someone other than a famous man had made it.  Go ahead, tell me.

I am sick and tired of the privilege of the patriarchy leaving very little room for anyone else to breathe, let alone make work of any kind that is valued.....................................

(This piece is three pieces of paper, each exactly one (1) color.  (The appearance of tints and shades is due to reflection on the glass over the collage.)  Feh.

I post pics to my Instagram account essentially every day.  With comments.  There was a bunch of conversation around my art museum posts from April 12........  I'm going to copy the conversation here, and make it blue.

I note that all of the Instagram commenters below are women, and I know for a fact that all but two of them have sold their creative work as at least part of their livelihood.  And those two may have, too, but I don't know it.

ineedorange -- I think I just had an epiphany. I have been arguing for years that a work’s size and its likelihood of being art are unrelated. And yet there is WAY more huge work in museums than there is small work. I have also thought for years that a LOT of stuff in museums is more about salesmanship of BS than about art. Here’s the epiphany: “making art” and “getting art into museums” are two separate endeavors. There is some overlap. But not nearly as much as I think there ought to be. If we want our work to end up in museums, we better make it really big, and we’d better devote significant attention to polishing our BS.

I got the following comments (and I responded to them).  In the rest of this post, the blue parts are copied in from my Instagram account.

rrvs -- I totally agree! AND if you want your work in museums you need a REALLY good artist statement or as you say...BS 

ineedorange -- And, I think, an artist statement better be designed for and focused on getting into museums, rather than explaining why we made the work, should those intentions differ  :-/ 

jms -- Uh, yeah! Likelihood also goes up if you are a white male.  Just sayin'.  Honestly, getting into museums seems like a useless goal to me.  I understand why someone would pursue it, but creating art is about so much more.  My 2 cents. 

ineedorange -- Yep.  I thought about the pale male aspect, but decided I'd been wordy enough.  :-)  I don't understand the want/need to "be in museums" either.   I suspect it's about recognition/respect/remembered-across-the-ages.  Agree with you that making the work is the important part.

cms -- Exactly 

s.f -- The Emperor has no clothes on.   Just saying... 

ineedorange -- You got that right.  I figure that 100 years from now, people will look at the acquisitions made now (and in the last many decades) and just shake their heads at an awful lot of it.............

Moving on.  Giving airtime to women.  Pamela Sumner.

Susanna Linburg.

Love the shadows.

I saw a much smaller (but very similar) piece by the same artist in the Cincinnati art museum last October.

This one's for you, Mom.

I spotted this scratch on the wall near the above.

ineedorange -- Pretty sure the above is an inadvertent scratch on the art museum wall. Bet if it were 6’ square they’d hang it in a gallery. Especially if we wrote it some good BS......
df -- Maybe I don’t get it, but seems like anything is called “art” these days.

ineedorange -- Pretty sure if it's big enough, obscure enough, and comes with carefully crafted (plentifully obscure) BS, someone can be convinced it's art....   A plain black canvas.  A pile of broken mirror on the floor. Etc...................  Why not an inadvertent scratch.   Why not a collection of photographs of inadvertent marks, blown up to 6' square?  With BS about how the accidental is not accidental, but is a mute statement that shifts the paradigm of importance away from the deliberate marks of those who cannot see beneath the surface. >:-) 

df -- Hey, you could have another career writing this stuff, @ineedorange

ineedorange -- Thinking about whether there's honor in selling BS.  Would the end justify the means, if one used BS to get people to do right things?   Pondering.  Wouldn't it be nice if I could take my BS-identification skills and could use *those* for good?   Not that most people want to have their BS ideas exposed as such..................  Or even their misunderstandings.  I remember correcting my grandpa's pronunciation one time (I remember showing him the big blue dictionary from the glass-front cabinet in the living room....).  I don't remember having the sense at the time that he was mad at me, but my grandma told me afterward that I should *never* correct my grandpa.  I was utterly baffled.  Didn't he want to be RIGHT?  Just one of my early introductions to the notion that many things matter more than being right to many people...........

(And I still don't understand that notion.........  I'm more conscious, nowadays, about picking a time and place to tell someone they are wrong about something.  But sheesh.  When it's me, I want to know, so I can be right the next time!)

Big room with very tall ceilings and furniture at the bottom.  Kinda weirded out by this very tall space with ... stuff ... only at the bottom.  Talk about quilts (as I will, momentarily) -- this space is begging for something nice and large on the walls.......................

Love Ray and Charles Eames' work.  I'm sitting in a thrifted knock-off of this chair as we speak.

As far as I know, there are no (NO) contemporary textiles in this museum.  I think I am going to start finding someone "in charge" every time I visit an art museum, and asking "where are the quilts?"  Art museums have a lot of work that is quilterly, but no quilts.  What's up with that?


ineedorange -- I am glad to see textiles. Why is it that there are no contemporary textiles in most museums?   Where are the quilts?  I am thinking we all need to be raising this question when we visit museums.

jms -- Good idea to speak up on that subject!

ineedorange -- Kind of thinking I need to add this to my museum-visiting practice -- finding someone in charge and asking where the quilts are.  Also thinking that it would be really good if more fiber artist submitted their work to every sort of art show.  If they only get one entry every so often, they can think it's a fluke.  But if they get entry after entry after entry, maybe the veil over their eyes could become more transparent?

jms --  I think fiber artists are submitting much more often than they used to.   I live an area with a lot of fiber folks; we do get into juried shows and even win prizes.  I think the barriers are coming down at the grassroots, which will filter into the institutional settings eventually.

ineedorange  -- I surely hope you are correct!

This is maybe my favorite piece in this museum.  Love the different colors of the shells.......  I want to handle it..........

This is a very quilterly piece, isn't it.  Yes, it is.  It's huge, and it's a collage, and it was made by a man.  Why is this in the museum, but no quilts?  Why?

Strips and squares of different textures, colors, and values.  Very quilterly.

ineedorange -- Why do they hang this enormous quilterly piece (made by a man), but no quilts?

d4y -- Oh come on, women’s art ? Are you crazy? It doesn’t exist, really. (At least we still have irony)

ineedorange -- Pretty sure the only way to become visible is to make a giant stink. Over and over....... I'm going to start making a stink every time I visit a museum. "Where are the quilts?" "Where is work made by women?" "Where is art curated by women?"

Love the shadows and reflections.........

I totally love Calder's work.  I fervently hope he didn't abuse anyone on his trip to and through fame and whatever.

This poor little stabile is entombed in plexiglass.  I was hoping there was some way for the air to move, but no.  It is suffocating in there, and totally can't be what it was meant to be.

I like the shape of this piece.

ineedorange -- No contemporary ceramics in the museum, either.  Being old apparently makes something be art, just like being huge...... 

d4y -- And colorless, too. Huge, brown, and old = art!

ineedorange -- Good point. And, of course, made by men for men.........

Walking away from the art museum with a bad taste in my mouth.

Squill by the Student Activities Building.

A few of the fish in the pond in West Park.  Thriving where they are not wanted. 

Me and some fishies.



At home.  Still thinking about art, and Art, and BS......................

ineedorange -- Palate-cleansing vignette.  Tiny.  New.  Arranged by a woman.   Screw the establishment.

cms -- Best one of all.

df -- Lyrical! 



Clayton Neff said...

As for the crap displayed as modern art now, most of it will NOT be on display in 50 years, much less 500. I think of it like I do "classic rock". There was a LOT of crap music made in the 60s and 70s, but you never hear it any more, because it wasn't any good (the B side of Inna-Gadda-Da-Vida, anyone?). The same thing is probably true with modern art.

I need orange said...


Wasn't it Arthur C who said that 90% of everything is crap? I think that's a low estimate...........

And any time the judges of what is crap are from one narrow slice of the socio-economic spectrum, well, a lot more crap is going to show up in museums. At least for a time................

Clayton Neff said...

Theodore Sturgeon, I believe.

I need orange said...

Ah. Thank you!