MSB brainstorming

05 January 2014

The Artist Project

First published August 8, 2007


Considering the fact that I just received the invitation, via email, for applying for the next Artist Project, this post is probably too late. It appears they have made some improvements, but the discussion many artists have been having about this “project” is very interesting and should be continued.... into the realm of artist responsibility and actual inclusion of artists important and powerful ways within fairs or any art exhibition venue.
I’m posting here a LIST OF IDEAS for improving the ARTIST PROJECT. Even contradictory ones. This is / was a kind of brainstorming, aiming to increase creative proposals while whittling down less useful ones. Anybody want to help still discuss such ideas?

Here are some of the responses. Including those edited from an excellent questionaire-email Norbert Marszalek organized. The discussion was/is primarily ocusing over at Klein's site, The Art Letter. Let's pick it up here and there and everywhere and get some clear proposals.

For me, it was a great experience ---- and YET, I agree with most of the criticisms such as those by Tony Fitzpatrick. Certain valuable complaints are about the artworld, art fairs in general, and how a project like the AP could be a prime meta-critical aspect of the fair. I do think that it would be possible to have an AP of "indy-minded" folks that kicks ass and furthers the cause of artist-power in a much more aggressive manner. Let’s start it off with the clearest and I think most important points, as made by Tony Fitzpatrick.

Tony Fitzpatrick:
My idea for the art project is that it should be open to all artists in all medias regardless of whether they are affiliated or not -- it should also be rigorously juried -- BY ARTISTS -- not dealers , not curators, not trade-show geeks....
this is my one and only idea for this and I think it is the only salient idea.

I want more independent artists with representation there next year.

Also, what if each of the participating artists in the Artist Project voted on 5 artists that they'd like to see be there next year, and then the winner gets a free booth the following year? It would only be $20 per artist to cover the fee, that is if the Mart didn't like the idea and cover it on their own.

I would like to see the Artist Project be much bigger – like 500 artists – of all walks, those represented by galleries and those not, and I still want it juried.

I like to see the litmus test be quality. Let’s create a way for artists to get a ‘participation grant’ to exhibit.

Let’s make it so big that people have to pay genuine attention to it. Let’s not have the majority of the artists be from Chicago.

Let us create some real change. Let’s empower artists and give them some momentum.

Let’s give ‘em something to talk about.

Make it physically part of Art Chicago to make it more accessible to serious collectors and dealers.

Accept the fact that some of the art will probably suck, especially with an expanded show and not dwell on it.

As it gains importance over the years, perhaps move it to a separate weekend.

Perhaps some cooperation with the local institutions. Shows awarded to select TAP artists.

I'm not sure how, but try to involve beginning collectors. Art competes with a lot of other collectible stuff these days (famous guitars, rare bicycles, cars, etc.). The show should promote the idea of collecting art.

I always had a vision of having another show the week after Art Chicago. The idea was to rent the walls that were already up. Not much would need to be done because everything is already in place. Think of it you could get 900 artists in there easy. Everybody has their own wall and you have plenty of space for sculpture. ... The only thing I didn't know is if all those gallery folk would hang around to check out the scene for new artists. Would the size of it keep them interested?

Norbert Marszalek:
Let's try to attract 1000 applications and jury in 350-500 artists. I wouldn't want the show to get too big...the show could end up having a wallpaper effect.

And yes, the show should always try to attract the "collector". Build it and they will come.

MSB again:
How about inclusion of a certain number of artist groups (such as the Sharkpack, etc.)? Self selected. It would probably make for some more cohesiveness, plus a form of self-jurying that might help foster quality.

Rusty Scruby:
I think the event really needs more variety to its structure overall. Such as, maybe each year, focus on a different city and have artists from that city with 5-10 booths showing together as a group; providing somewhat of a spotlight for that city.

Maybe there could be an online section.. the Virtual Artist.

Also, if there are going to be more artists coming in from out of town, possible 100s, are there ways to help artists find places to stay?

I don't think people would hang around for a second weekend. It would make it so that only people from Chicago would see it, and then it would be harder to get artists. I think it has to be the same time as Art Chicago.. Bridge, but I don't think it should be physically joined with Art Chicago. I think the AP needs to develop its own identity.

I keep wondering: The Merchandise Mart owns The Artist Project, so how much can our ideas impact things?

D. Fox:
(Rusty has) a good ambitious plan -- grouping the selected artists by city ... an international juried art fair of artists showing artists from all over.

One thing I think could be real fun would be a curators artist project, where I could have a $1000 booth in which I could bring in several artists. Like a mini gallery which would only last a weekend or if it did well enough could launch a new gallery.

I hope that the focus of the Artist Project will be Chicago. There’s lots going on here that deserves to be noticed. It’s a shame that there are only 50 spots in that show and to fill them with all out of town artists is really a "kick in the brushes" to artists here. Rusty Scruby:
the Mart needs to clearly define:

unaffiliated / independent / represented
Chicago / national / international

I'd like to know what the mission statement of the AP is.

Bill Dolan:
I think that there should be a part of the site where show visitors can purchase the work of artists after the show.

No comments: