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An alternative studio practice for the 21st Century

I am greatly inspired by the Abstract Manifesto written by Rebecca Morris http://joshuaabelow.blogspot.com/2011/02/rebecca-morris-abstract-manifesto.html. It feels as if it came from a place that all true art thinking comes from. Some deep moment that has been sparked. Chicago Critic Pedro Velez tweeted the manifesto one day – that is how I came upon it.

I have thought about the manifesto often. Looking at the fall preview of ArtForum which seems more of circus than usual (“not my circus, not my monkey”, friend quote) and vacuuming the house which is filled with numerous varieties of fall mountain dust and also my studio (“I work from home”, Grabner quote) – I then think of a conversation with a dear friend in Santa Fe who asked me for my thoughts on slow art.

S l o w   A r t

Where is the relationship here? It is the juice holding the pieces of the Morris manifesto, Velez Tweeting, ArtForum, Santa Fe, slow art, stew.

Here is my proposal (not a manifesto) for a studio practice in the 21st Century.

Let’s stop writing grants or having others writes grants for us and let’s get jobs.  Stop the incessant socializing, ass kissing and pretending we are not; dinners, cocktail parties, openings, Expo’s, and traveling.

Be in the studio and make work. Stop relying on the market which is a circus tent the size of all continents combined. Get off of the “I need to be seen” train and do what you love. If being seen is what you love, go into theatre which visual art is not. Check with Abramovic on that one – she will tell you. And she is correct about a lot of things- those who don’t like her are jealous as hell that they did not think of it first, don’t really understand what she is doing and wish they had her stamina and work ethic.

If  we gave up all the sundry crap that comes with being a “professional” artist – we could make work that was about something significant.  As I have mentioned before, 10 years from now if you read an AIA or ArtForum produced in 2013, most of those folks will be gone with the wind and I don’t mean dead and famous. I mean unknown.

What did you become an artist for? – What was the purpose? It is a choice. Did you get caught in the big tent? Making big work, for a big audience, to be seen in a big magazine, and to be collected by big collectors? Many of us acknowledge that this is a ridiculous system – yet we continue.

How about a year of slow art? The money you would save by cutting out all the stupid extras will more than pay for materials.

Try looking, seeing, researching, making, living, producing, engaging one to one with people you truly value. Be in the studio when you are in the studio.

Forget the circus, take off the costume, have a bowl of soup – do some reading – make some work and think about not being recognized for your work.


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