The art world is gearing up for the Whitney Biennial this month, a mammoth exhibition of 103 contemporary artists who in some way communicate the present moment in art. Of the 103 artists chosen, 38 are women. Although that’s only 32%, the reaction t…
“Art is the one place we all turn to for solace. We turn to it constantly, whether you are listening to music, or pop in a film; you want to escape reality, and if you thinking deeply, you want to engage in art in a complex way. Art allows us to navigate the more complicated parts of our lives in a way that is more palpable. We don’t go to the movies just to see a movie; we go for the experience. I’m very interested in the experience. Art has saved my life on a regular basis. I wanted to offer that experience to children, to enlist them, to show them the possibilities that are in the arts, to persuade them to pursue it for both their own personal salvation and for changing the way we are understood.”—Carrie Mae Weems (via tobia)
Jemima Kirke of TV show Girls discusses how women have always made art, even if they’ve been absent from the history books (and gallery walls)
The narration is overly simplistic, to be sure, but still some good thoughts here. Especially enjoyed the Margaret Harrison interview—more of that, please!
(This reminds me of one of my all time pet peeves: the construction “women artists”. Or “women doctors”. Or “women” anything, really. I know it’s generally accepted, but would we ever say “men artists”? Shouldn’t it be “female artists”? Or “women who are artists”? Or “artists who identify as women”? Does this bother anyone else?)
Yesterday Indianapolis Monthly tweeted a link to an article about The Art Assignment that appears in their January issue in which they referred to me as “@realjohngreen’s wife.” It ruffled a few feathers, with some reminding @IndyMonthly of my twitter handle (@SWUSUG) and others voicing the preference that I be referred to independent of my husband’s online accomplishments.
I was instantly flattered by the support of my twitter followers and their insistence that I be evaluated on my own merit. But the truth is complicated. Indy Monthly did tweet about the article without referencing John; it’s just that John only saw the tweet that mentioned him. He retweeted it; more people read the article, and now more people know about The Art Assignment. Everybody wins!
But then it gets stickier. We can’t deny that Indy Monthly, and—by extension—me, have used John’s twitter fame for our own benefit. That’s pretty much what twitter’s all about, though, isn’t it? And there’s also the fact that I am indeed @realjohngreen’s wife. I married John in 2006, before he had even begun making YouTube videos, and way before I had any idea that he would develop a densely layered online life and following. (I did, however, suspect his writing skilz would get him somewhere.)
I’ve had a career trajectory separate from John’s, and he and I have really enjoyed rooting for each other in our distinct realms. When we met, I was working at an art gallery in Chicago, and he supported me in my endeavor to go to graduate school to study art history. He quit his job at Booklist Magazine to move to NYC with me, and encouraged me through many dry papers on art theory and sparsely paid museum internships. When that was over, we moved to Indianapolis—a city in which we knew no one—so that I could accept a curatorial position at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, where I worked for six years. He’s been an invaluable reader for me throughout the process, asking hard questions and not letting me get away with abstruse insider art language (like using the word abstruse). And in turn I’ve been an important reader for him, critiquing and helping to plot many versions of stories that have and have not made it to press.
Truth is, we’ve been collaborating for a long time, just not formally. Since the early days when John would lurk around the art openings for the gallery I worked for drinking free wine, he and I have had an amazingly fun time together visiting galleries and museums, talking about art, and meeting interesting artists, curators, art historians, and gallerists. When the opportunity arose to work together to develop a video series about art for PBS Digital Studios, I jumped. I bring the art expertise, and John brings the Internet video savvy and—let’s be real here—a not insignificant social media following.
Over the past several months since I quit my job at the IMA and started working on The Art Assignment, John and I have experienced the plusses and minuses of shared marital enterprise. I’ve learned John’s creative process is fueled by doubt and anxiety, and that we need separate offices. But we’ve also had a great time doing things we were already doing—hanging out with artists, traveling, talking about art—and things we never thought possible, like creating video about art that is simultaneously smart and accessible.
As our premiere date for The Art Assignment rapidly approaches, I’m genuinely thrilled to put this new project in to the world and have an active, open, and nuanced conversation about art. And I’ll be doing it both as @SWUSUG and @realjohngreen’s wife.
An unfolding landscape of arrow signs drawn with smudgy charcoal. To be published with Printed Matter, a nonprofit in NYC.
Supremely pleased to share with you this kickstarter campaign for a new artist book by Kim Beck. It’s an extension of her project NOTICE: A Flock of Signs that I worked with her to develop at 100 Acres at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. I’ve seen a number of the drawings and know this book is going to be stunning. This thing must happen!
So when we first started dating more than a decade ago, Sarah and I had to hand out Halloween candy at her boss’s house, and because her boss lived in a very fancy neighborhood, there were a lot of fancy Halloween costumes.
And one kid—maybe eight years old—came dressed as Napoleon. Little dude…
Over the past few days I added some important symbols to the phone booth. The first is an image used by one of my personal favorite artists, Cai Quo-Qiang. I had the opportunity to see his retrospective titled I Want To Believe at the Guggenheim back in 2008, and it was one of the best…
“Stop thinking about art works as objects, and start thinking about them as triggers for experiences. (Roy Ascott’s phrase.) That solves a lot of problems: we don’t have to argue whether photographs are art, or whether performances are art, or whether Carl Andre’s bricks or Andrew Serranos’s piss or Little Richard’s ‘Long Tall Sally’ are art, because we say, ‘Art is something that happens, a process, not a quality, and all sorts of things can make it happen.’ … [W]hat makes a work of art ‘good’ for you is not something that is already ‘inside’ it, but something that happens inside you — so the value of the work lies in the degree to which it can help you have the kind of experience that you call art.”—