Monday, June 30, 2008

Had a great time this weekend at The Blue Bayou watching the NC Blues competition to see who will represent the state at the national competition in Memphis. Discovered the amazing duo winners Jon Shain and F.J. Ventre (they do not have a duo webpage, here is Jon Shain's page, but solo he does more mellow acoustic stuff, and the duo was really hoppin'), and the group winner Valentino and the Piedmont Sheiks, who have a harmonica player who does things with that instrument I have never seen before (aside: isn't it amazing that there is only room for one Narcissistic Personality Disorder member in any band?).

Today, doctor's appointments and embroidering stars, which are SO close to being finished, it might happen tonight. Today got the first large, ornate gold frame to frame Art World Truths... looking forward to assembling & photographing tomorrow, then adding 5 new images to the webpage (dread).

Friday, June 27, 2008

This Week:
Completed the "thank you tie" for a certain gentleman who has provided me with some tremendous career opportunities as of late.

worked on my embroidered star piece, which still has a long way to go....
...and started sketches for a new painting.
In between, read "The $12 Million Shark: The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art". It will not be available here in the US until the Fall, but you can buy the UK version used. I recommend it highly.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Serendipity, Perseverance, and Luck

Been working on a bunch of things... will post some pics tomorrow.
Last month, I wrote about a serendipitous day when I got a great idea for a political piece (unusual for me), then got a call for proposals for a political show the very same day. I have been working on the piece for the past week, and stayed up late Tuesday to get as much embroidery done as possible for the in-progress shot, and put the proposal together, emailing it off in the wee hours of the morning to make the deadline. That night, it occurred to me more than once that I should just let it drop, go to bed and forget about trying to make the deadline. Today I found out that my proposal was accepted. The show is not till the Fall, but I will probably work on it for the next few weeks 'till it is finished, interspersing it with other projects, because thick embroidery on canvas wrecks your hands if you do it too many days in a row.

My sister recently gave birth to preemie twin boys (Will & Quinn), and they come home from NICU in 3-4 weeks, so I will need some embroidery to take with me on the road trip to PA, where I will going to help her for a few days.
I am planning a trip to NYC soon, and in addition to the must-see Bourgeois show at the Guggenheim, I hope I can make it there fast enough to catch "Louise Bourgeois: The Spider, The Mistress and the Tangerine" at the Film Forum.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Just granted permission for Blessed Art Thou to be published in the upcoming edition of this textbook... it is the fourth university textbook that will be printing the image this year! That's a lot of moustaches to be drawn on Angelina Jolie while sitting in the lecture hall.


A very long two days of pushing this project as far as I could in order to include in-progress shots as part of the proposal for an upcoming show (that had yesterday as its deadline). Tired. Sleep.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A great post at Ed Winkleman's today on switching gears in your work.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Someone just sent me this, from the Palm Beach Art Fair 4 months ago.


Friday, June 20, 2008

The Art Newspaper expounds upon the Orphan Works Bill, and it is scarier than I thought.


Ripped out the machine-made embroidery to replace it with hand embroidery.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Interviews with Female Artists

To The Editor:

While it was exciting to see your interview with Marlene Dumas, it was maddening to see so much space devoted to questioning her “validity” in the art world, and discussing the negative effect of Ms. Dumas’ art career on her child. Imagine a similar interview with Damien Hirst or Jeff Koons. It is precisely these kinds of subtle reinforcements that keep the “top selling female artists” lagging so far behind the top selling males.

Kate Kretz

GGRRRRR! A few weeks ago I made a comment about how interviews with male artists differ from those of female artists. To help prove my point, last Sunday's NYTimes Magazine featured an interview with Marlene Dumas, one that prompted me to send a letter to the editor last night. To her credit, author Deborah Solomon seemed to focus on pointing out that there might be some sexual bias in the art world:

"It has been eighteen years since Dumas made her American debut at the Tilton Gallery in New York, and the critical response to her work has been divided, more or less, among those who admire her earnest theatricality and those who deplore her theatrical earnestness. An art-world blog, Anaba, has taken to listing the names of Dumas’s supporters and detractors as if they were superdelegates charged with putting an artist into office. Are you pro-Dumas or anti-Dumas? 'All of the anti-Dumasers are men,' the blog noted in 2005, in a reference to a group of influential critics that includes Jerry Saltz, the art critic for New York magazine, who has described Dumas’s work as “flat-footed.” Peter Schjeldahl, the art critic at The New Yorker, says without remorse: 'She is a good second-rate artist. I just don’t think it has much that other people don’t have. There is a certain glamour of sexual perversity, but it seems a little thin to me.'

It may be late in the game to accuse male critics of sexism, a charge that smacks of ’70s-style boosterism while failing to acknowledge that women can be as sexist as men. Nonetheless, the charge persists, particularly among Dumas’s supporters. 'People either love Marlene’s work or hate Marlene’s work, and I think it’s a sign of a sexist conspiracy,' says Nicole Eisenman, a figurative artist who is now 43 and based in Brooklyn. 'There is an aspect of her work that is women’s work. It’s a mother painting her child, which makes it easy to dismiss.' She went on to say that Dumas’s work can easily hold its own beside the best male painters of her generation. 'I think she is as good a painter as Peter Doig' — a reference to the Scottish-born painter who receives nonstop raves for his conceptual landscapes — 'and actually, I think she is better than Doig.' "

As someone who has had flippant negative criticism about my work published on an international scale, I can tell you that reprinting these critic's comments again does Marlene Dumas a great disservice, even put to the service of trying to raise questions of sexism. I don't have time to go through past Koons and Hirst interviews, but I doubt that questions of their "validity" in the art world has ever been given so many column inches.

Ms. Solomon spent many paragraphs talking about Dumas' husband, who is also a painter, even though he has not painted anything in FOUR YEARS. (A John Currin interview MIGHT mention in one sentence that he has a wife who is a practicing professional artist in her own right.)

There are also several paragraphs devoted to Ms. Dumas' relationship with her daughter. The author points out that Dumas' daughter is studying child psychology (hint, hint), then proceeds to relate an entire conversation (about shopping!) between the mother and daughter, only part of which I reprint here:

"Dumas returned to the table, and we resumed our conversation, only to have Helena approach a few minutes later. 'I’m sorry,' she told her mother. 'I don’t want to interrupt, but we had a date.' She said she wanted to go shopping for a watch for her birthday, which was three weeks away.

'Not now, Helena, not now,' Dumas said with a hint of impatience (mine: um, I am talking to a reporter from the New York Times!), adding that she was in her studio until 3 the previous night and wasn’t feeling up to a shopping expedition. Then she turned to me and said: 'Every time she has a birthday — she still has that from childhood — she gets so into the birthday it overrides everything else. Whatever it is, if it’s a cat, if it’s a watch — can we please not think of that now?'

'I just like the window-shopping,' Helena said, and there was something touching about her persistence. The watch seemed as good a symbol as any for the predicament of a child who wanted more of her mother’s time."

Do we even know if Jeff Koons HAS any children, not to mention what they think of him and whether he gives them enough of his time?!

For all of the author's efforts to discuss Dumas' struggles, I would argue that it is the subtlety of what is emphasized in these interviews that keeps women artists where they are. Work to do. Happy Thursday.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Insane two days, had to put three packets together and get them out asap, started 2 new projects, AND trying to wrap up old ones. Lots of frame ordering. Today found tapestry fabric for one of the new projects. Off to embroider stars (over the ones that I just ripped out) while watching My Kid Could Paint That.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

From I'

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Danger of the Internet for An Artist Who Needs to Be in the Studio....

A really long page of Peter Greenaway quotes. (Bookmarked for an insomnia night)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

At Guardian Arts, Germaine Greer muses on the role of the artist's muse, and I am really enjoying the thoughts on virtuosity and nostalgia brought up by David Cohen in his reviews of Walton Ford and Neo Rauch:
"What should be made of the conservatism of artists such as Walton Ford and Neo Rauch, who are subjects of shows of new work in Chelsea right now?

The art world that prizes these men’s work is a self-consciously cutting edge milieu that is far removed from political conservatism, and yet these artists’ success is thanks in no small measure to bravura displays of skill in traditional idioms, to a fond nostalgia for past worlds that produced such styles and the competence to execute them. "

Friday, June 13, 2008

Got up at the crack of dawn, and went to our first Annual Hospice Sale with friends... it was unbelievable! The biggest fleamarket in the Southeast! No air conditioning, so we all lost a few pounds. I got GORGEOUS ornate frames for art, great vintage tablecloths, another bigger, crazier mirror to cover in glitter for the dining room, and many yards of black, blue and royal purple silk velvet for about 50 cents a yard (as opposed to $20/yd). All cheap!

But the big news today is that I am finally allowed to announce that I have been awarded a NC Artist's Fellowship! $10,000 to increase my production in the studio, which means hiring an assistant, among other things. I am thrilled beyond belief.

I am so happy with the slideshow walk-through thing that I put up the Frost Museum Show on Flickr as well. Looking forward to getting back to making some art this weekend.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

It case you missed it, there was a recent NYTimes article on the state of "professional artists" in the US with some interesting NEA statistics. Among the surprises:
"The only artists whose ranks declined since 1990 were, as a group, fine artists, art directors and animators, to 216,000 from 278,000."
and, "If every artist in America’s work force banded together, their ranks would be double the size of the United States Army. More Americans identify their primary occupation as artist than as lawyer, doctor, police officer or farm worker."
And, never a surprise:
"Overall, the median income that artists reported in 2005 was $34,800 — $42,000 for men and $27,300 for women."

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Virtual Studio Tour

Finished! Go to Kate Kretz Open Studio at Flickr to take the tour. In the upper right hand corner of your screen, you can click on "Slideshow". Once the slideshow opens, you can adjust the speed. If you would like descriptions of the images, go to "options" (lower right corner of the slideshow screen) once the slideshow opens and click the box for descriptions.

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A guard at The Carnegie museum slashed a Vija Celmins painting. (How a Vija Celmins painting could piss anybody off is beyond me.) He said it wasn't personal. The same thing happened to me early in my career (in my FIRST juried show), and I can tell you, if it is your painting, it always feels "personal". There should be a special ring in hell.......
(click to enlarge) Binghamton Press & Sun Bulletin, Sept 18, 1987


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Migraine. But received fantastic news today that I will be allowed to announce on Friday.
A great post at Ed Winkleman's today on "the day job" and how it affects gallerists' opinion of you.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Recovery from the Open Studio, by that Obscenely Ambitious & Proactive Artist in Burlington, NC

Always true to form, I slept 3-4 hours the night before the open studio, and 4 hours the night before that. Some of the projects still did not get completed, but I was fairly happy with how things turned out. When the last people left, we made a big plate of food, did minimal food storage, then took a three hour nap (Kevin had slept only a few hours more than me). I will be photographing today, and posting pics tomorrow or the next day on Flicker. It is tempting to finish one or two of the projects before the virtual tour. I am feeling the potential of a migraine, so I have to act fast.

Mostly it was a great art party for the friends that I have already made here (most of whom had never seen my studio), though a few brave souls drove to Burlington to walk into the home of someone they had never met before, and that was a treat. I had gone out on a limb and basically invited all the art faculty from the regional universities and many of the people I know from my SE Fiber Arts Educators group.

Being a part of the Miami art community for 10 years, then moving to rural NC has been a difficult transition for me: I usually had a big party at the end of every semester, and my house would be packed, sometimes overflowing outside, with art grad students, a few undergrads, art & creative writing faculty and Miami artists... it would go till I kicked people out at 3 or 4. Less frequently, I would have open studios, and it would be a more professional enterprise, with art displayed everywhere and a table with resumes, reviews, catalogs, business cards, and a sign-in book to add to my mailing list. In Miami, the people I knew brought collectors and other artists, I always met lots of new people, sometimes sold work, and usually got a show in a university gallery or some other opportunity out of it. I know it can take a long time to establish yourself in a new art community, and I decided to be proactive.

I did the Open Studio thing here yesterday, and it felt absurd and weird, as if "one just doesn't do that" in these parts. I know that my invitations got a lot of people from the universities to visit my website and see my work, which was part of the goal. A few people emailed me and said they wanted to come but couldn't make it (some had seen the MAD museum show in NY), can we meet for coffee, etc., so I will be making some new contacts as a result of the invitations. But I am feeling like a fish out of water today. One of my guests, who was born and raised here, but spent 20 years living in CA, said "People from these parts keep you at arm's length until they know what to do with you, where in CA, they accept you until they decide what to do with you". I am off to continue the clean up and photograph...

Saturday, June 07, 2008

These book autopsies by Brian Dettmer are pretty amazing.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Saw this clip this morning, and it has been haunting me all day as I ran errands. I remember late one night in Miami watching TV and seeing a lawyer say, "I have to say that if a client told me he had hit someone and didn't think there were any witnesses, I would advise him to drive away".
In the basement of a funeral home in Madison, WI, Sam Sanfiliipo has created dioramas of taxidermied squirrels doing all sorts of wonderful things. Via Extreme Craft.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Here are the curtain tiebacks I made with a 1950s necklace, augmented with some contemporary beads:
The dining room is starting to look like a tasteful bordello. It still doesn't have enough edge. The problem is this Early American dining set with matching curio and buffet that fills up the room... Kevin's Mom passed away 2 years ago, just when we were moving into this house sans dining room furniture. I could work with ANYTHING but Early American. I tried to replace the drawer pulls, but can't find replacements that fit. Eventually, the largest level of the curio cabinet will get a diorama, and that will help. I am threatening my husband with a tablecloth made of couture-quality orange rubber. I think that would negate the furniture.

Tonight will be a late night painting a (lame... using stencils, with possible augmentation) floorcloth to cover the spot on the kitchen floor where we have torn out a wall, and there is a hole in the linoleum.
Getting ready for an Open Studio is not unlike finishing a work: I have a vision of what everything is supposed to look like, and I am staying up late each night to try to get it as close as possible to that vision. Today: cleaning & setting up the sewing room to display fiber pieces, and reupholstering 6 chairs inherited from my mother-in-law (complete with plastic covers, which, of course, will come off).

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Thrift store mirror: $6

"Decorating Magic" Blue glitter: $4.25, ten years ago at Pearl Paint
A Magnificent Object that distracts you from the inherited Early American dining set:
pricelessly beautiful....

A slideshow walkthrough of the Chapman Brother's show at White Cube, "If Hitler Had Been a Hippy How Happy We Would Be".
The Hyperbolic Crochet Great Barrier Reef.
Both courtesy of Guardian Arts.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Open Studio Week

Working hard, but having lots of fun getting ready for the Open Studio, which will be held this Sunday. Today, finished painting a corner of the kitchen, went to the last thrift store I could think of & finally found the mirror I was looking for (I am about to go up to the studio to cover it with blue glitter) and deconstructed/supplemented a vintage 50s necklace to make tiebacks for my new dining room curtains (heavy cotton velvet by Target on Ebay, $12 for both). I will take lots of pics and post them to Flicker for a virtual Studio Tour that can remain a permanent link on my blog/website. Off to glitter bliss....................

Monday, June 02, 2008

Ryan Bigge of The Toronto Star asks, "Can subcultures still thrive in the glare of the digital age?"
JohnstonCoArts left this as a comment on a recent post, but thought I would bring it up front and center just in case you have not yet seen the Adolf Hitler watercolors that the Chapman Brothers bought at auction so they could alter them, creating the images Adolf "would have made if he were a hippie". I wish I'd thought of that. I wish I could own one of the new pieces.
At Artopia, John Perreault ponders Infantilism in art, brought on by a consideration of Keith Haring's work. Perreault wonders, "...and it does occur to me that all the Infantilists are men. Why? Because women associate art with moving forward into self-determination and maturity rather than with a retreat to the romper room?".

Um, men have that freedom because they never have to worry about their work "being taken seriously"?

Sunday, June 01, 2008

The Chapman Brothers are making a feature film, and according to Arifa Akbar at The Independent, it will be a comedy about the art world.