Thursday, May 15, 2008

Robert Rauschenberg is Dead

One of the several things I heard about Robert Rauschenberg was his storied penchant for attending opening receptions quite drunk, embracing patrons while wearing a porcupine quill jacket, and his temper tantrum when Robert Scull sold one of his paintings at an enormous profit. Enormous profit to Scull, but not to Rauschenberg.

""I've been working my tail off just for you to make that profit", Robert Rauschenberg said angrily to Robert Scull. Scull, a wealthy collector, had just sold Rauschenberg's painting "Thaw" at auction at Sotheby Parke Bernet for $85,000, and Scull had declined to give Rauschenberg any share of the proceeds. This was a painting that Scull had bought some 15 years earlier from Rauschenberg, at that time a struggling young artist, for only $900." Quoted from an article by entertainment and arts lawyer, Nicholas A. Carlin, entitled RAUSCHENBERG'S ANGST: THE CALIFORNIA RESALE ROYALTY LAW AND HOW IT AFFECTS DEALERS AND COLLECTORS, written for Art West 1995.

Rauschenberg agitated for some years on this point, but only California responded with a droit de suite lawDroit de suite is French for "right to follow," a law passed in the 20's when it was realized that the heirs of the artist Millet lived in poverty even though one of his paintings had sold at an enormous increase. Most protests against enacting such a law on a wider basis in the U.S. are based on the projected difficulties of administration.

What if there was something like ASCAP for visual artists? The process seems to work to distribute royalties to musicians.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Read About Me at Chicago Arts Lifestyle...

I've been interviewed for a blog on Chicago art and artists! Read and comment.

Mirjana Ugrinov, Art In Embassy Program

Wow, Mirjana Ugrinov's work is hanging in the Ambassador's residence in Belgrade! Thanks to the U.S. State Department's Art in Embassies program. I have been a fan and an admirer of Mirjana's work for years. By the way this painting has a title, The Correct Yes: based on the poem by Lois Roma-Deeley. Left Panel: Between Pearl Birds. Right Panel: Fear the Sun Turning West.

La Raza Visits Our Studio Open House

Left to right, Guillermo Carrillo, Basia Krol, Nancy Charak, Kevin Swallow. I look good, even in Spanish. Thanks to Guillermo Carrillo, a native of Columbia, one of the artists who works in our building of artist's studios, a reporter came from La Raza to interview him and the other artists in the building. Guillermo understands that if you invite the press and other important guests they just might come by to see you and your work. "If you don't invite them, how will they know whether or not to come?" That's my newest motto.
The article talks about Guillermo's history as an artist, his home town in Columbia, and the variety of art media, styles and ethnicities of the artists in the building.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Art Doesn't Have to Match Your Sofa

Photographer artist and blogger Jeane Vogel, says it best, “This year I added a line to my artist statement. Most people ignore it but a handful have made it a point to cheer. It reads: ‘Art should match your soul, not your sofa.'"

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Chicago Artists Month October 2008 is Coming...

As a member of several organizations here in Chicago, the ARC Gallery, the Ravenswood Art Walk and FOTA, I will be participating in Chicago Artists Month.

Every year the organizers announce and promote a theme; this year's theme is "Artists and Issues that Matter." Their quote runs: "These issues could be those of most concern/interest to the participating artists/organizations, including political, environmental, moral, social, global or personal issues."

As I have said before in a previous post Art for Moral Purposes, I am very uncomfortable with efforts to relate art and art objects to so-called higher purposes. As far as I am concerned, art is its own purpose, it is its own means to its own end. In fact I think it debases the art by attempting to squeeze it into categories that are intended to prove that art is useful.

The question of whether or not art is useful to society is not about whether or not art solves our moral dilemmas, or whether or not art helps us cure AIDS. It doesn't and it can't.

It is perfectly possible to view the work of the great impressionists, listen to great classical music and then get up in the morning and exterminate Jews and commit other atrocities. It is perfectly possible to be a monstrous human being and still make great art. Leni Riefenstahl went to her grave convinced that she did nothing wrong in using slave labor in her movies. And yet to this day, every sports program in television or in the movies owes a debt to her ground-breaking vision in Olympiad, very little sports photography since has been new. It can be argued that Leni invented and defined almost the entire genre of images and viewpoints.

In the Iliad and the Odyssey, Homer describes massacres and betrayals in limitless mind numbing detail. Woman captives are raped and enslaved. Babies have their heads smashed in. The causes of all the bronze age woe, Helen and Menelaus, end up living out their lives back again together. Does any of this stop us from reading and re-reading this story?

Let art be art without having to assign so-called higher moral values to it. As an aside, Rupert Brooke imagined what Helen and Menelaus' life was after Troy.