Wednesday 27 May 2009

Art & Blogs & Atlanta & art

So I know it has only just begun,but I'm already keeping tabs on the new new art blog that Cathy Fox and cronies have corralled themselves in order to create-out of some strange sense of what? I suppose to them it's benevolence or kindness. They are doing us a favor,and in a way, they are. If you simply judge it based on the fact that somebody who can write is putting forth the effort.

It's the thought that counts....right?
Well,in this case there's definitely many sides to that.
Yes,it is true a blog is often a thankless act-and in many cases it is simply one of self-absorption,a place for varying degrees of respect to be brought to. Art itself is like this. It is also a gift to others. I must accept that this is what Cathy is doing...but so far it has only reaffirmed certain sensations.
Their blog is trying to come out of the gate showing a rounded sense of the word "cultured". It does this by focusing on a broader sense of the arts. Thus far,its posts already seem prepared to establish a sort of audience that I must confess-insinuates what I consider an enemy to the breath that art in Atlanta needs. The idea of painting an image of highly educated successful architects working abroad and dining in silly expensive museum restaurants...and nice coverage of how various symphony violinists are tuning their instruments oh so playfully. I understand this needs and deserves coverage. It exists-but then again-so does The Decatur Arts Festival. I simply hope the crew at this blog warm up and it gets some variety humming-and that it gets its mittens a bit dirty in our Georgia red clay. I hope they realize the freedom to explore and be brutally honest,to not be afraid to show an exposed path of learning- a blog represents this reality. I see the comment section on their blog is already attracting individuals whose only thoughts are of themselves-insipid requests about getting Cathy to do press releases and "look at my blog"rot-but no comments on the art written about.
A delusion that various Atlanta art pockets share as a bond is this idea that there is an art scene of respect here. There is not and this a constructive observation. Please do not fool yourself into thinking there is a system to incorporate yourself into if you are an artist. If you are an artist that wishes to participate,I'd say your first duty is to realize that we need to fertilize the soil before planting our---ART. What has always happened here has been perpetuation of Illusions. Someone establishes a title of critic or art writer or gallery owner and they have an opening and everyone attends and plays pretend. I know, one could argue all art is play pretend,and to a certain extent value increases in this manner-but that's another aspect we haven't even reached yet- because most of the art we stand around and play pretend with is still not entirely there yet. It slaps itself on the back for decades upon decades...we sight the successes of our Todd Murphy's and Steve Penleys, and our Kara Walkers and Radcliffe Baileys and Angela Wests and Sarah Hobbs and so on and so some cases these are amazing artists...but they often find dull teeth in our environment. I find myself forced to blame them and to look closer at why.There is a duty to reacting to our environment,not to some idea that you can become a messenger to other cities because you operate here. The work has to be local.and be local.
In some sick cycle, Atlanta has always found itself with sudden tourniquets in place. Partitioned into areas of delusion. They mean well,they really do. All of them do. All of our separate pockets.I've ventured across them and even published my own writing in and from deliberately different art pockets.
Look at the comments sections of various art blogs-true,you will find my silliness in a few of them-but what i more realize in this is the individuals associating,the individuals that- as an example "do know where eyedrum is"-are on a same team. Do they realize this? I think maybe not-but ultimately i think in some odd way it does not matter.I sense a large disparity in intellectual taste and respect,which is actually is being put in the open. A felt push is happening. They are observing themselves and being honest. I also sense a unity forming,one that people like Cathy Fox must realize. Many of the bigger figured galleries in Buckhead & Midtown wear this on their sleeves,a prime example being Tew-whose interest in interior design is no secret. This sensation exists in any scene,but In Atlanta,this sensation is what is praised. No attention to relevant meaning has ever been written about with critical individuated thought. It is most often safe descriptive "play for today" rubbish words.
The strength of work that I consider "Bridges" the scene, in places like Whitespace, are a blessing. I am also thankful for Saltworks- and even Solomon. Places like Beep Beep,Mint,Young Blood, and Alcove-represent a sort of staple. I find these sources to generate an energy,and beneath all of this is lays a foundation and represents a principle.I am curious to see where Wonderroot's energy goes...

A curiously timed post on another Atl art blog I visit brings up a topic concerning ,albeit loosely, the topic of artists and how uninhabitable the environment created by festivals tends to be. This was the observation anyways.
I think there is some confusion taking place here. Let's us just pretend for a second-and i don't think this is too much of a stretch-that those in attendance of festivals by and large have essentially the same mentality that is utilized by the casual observer of what used to be the arts section of the AJC. Festivals are primarily for the event of it all,the sunny day,the funnel cakes and the stroller, and fulfilling of the desperate desire to do SOMETHING. It is not about the art.And i will go you one further. The jurors of the art being accepted into these shows,well,they make certain that the art was it described by JC- "innocuous"..yes,innocuous. Nobody likes to think when they're scarfing down a ten dollar ten inch sausage and a co-cola. Was their some talent out there? Sure..there were some pretty things,but this builds towards something..I was not wearing my critical expectations of art in this environment,so it was not judged on those terms. I would almost go so far as to say that-for the purposes that would best serve Atlanta-what one sees at the Decatur Arts Festival-is not art. Anymore than what connotation Buckhead & Midtown galleries have irreversibly smeared over themselves. They have made themselves a static and necessary symbol to stand opposed to. Avant movements have always been ugly and launched from deeper needs. When the gap between life and art has closed in on itself.

I say the pressure is on those operating in and out of places like Eyedrum,wonderroot? to really gaze deep down that navel. To think locally and lets develop a closure with ourselves before trying to engage the world. Before thinking of ...uuugh..Money. in order to make money.

(above image credit to andy em-scattered work in process shamble sneaky snapshot)

1 comment:

  1. Yep, on all counts. And I like your reviews.

    I guess when we think of outdoor festivals, we of a certain age remember the days when the NEA threw money at site-specific sculpture for Piedmont Park and the show in the Bathhouse was sometimes downright edgy, while the rest of the Arts Festival was, yes, all cottony and feelgood and unbelievable, the guys from Touch of India REMEMBERED WHAT I ORDERED FROM THEM A YEAR AGO.

    But it was a nice mix that you just don't find in outdoor festivals since the original Arts Festival of Atlanta self-destructed.



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