Friday, August 24, 2007


The other night I visited an artist who told me that she was working on some new pieces about war. I was a little surprised, because so am I. But I shouldn’t be surprised -after all, we’re in the middle of one.

We talked about the difficulty of showing work like this. Commercial galleries can’t really show it much and I’m not out to blame them here. They might, as will museums, if the war (and especially the artist) is history.
My mind started drifting to fanzines or some other kind of publication. And then of course there are always telephone poles….

D.K. Row asks while reviewing a Baskin show:

In this current 21st-century era of war and extraordinary social and political upheaval, such earnest passion and emotional fire is perhaps what's needed…Because as much as it celebrates Baskin, this museum show also poses the question: Where are this generation's passionate, grand voices?

Well, I think they are out there. I mean, if two middle aged artists are making art about war, you can bet young people are doing it. It does, perhaps, take a lifetime to make a passionate, grand voice - and it may not be in the form of representational painting. But however it comes, it just doesn’t figure that well into the gallery system and it never did.

This all reminded me of the Propaganda exhibitions that Start Soma in San Francisco has hosted. They gather work from all over the world and right now, their third exhibition is taking place, posed for a grand tour (I believe it is coming to Portland, but the site doesn’t say where). My work was in the first Propaganda show they held in 2003.


Neda said...

Hi, you are absolutely right. I came by your blog and I really enjoy your collages and writings. I have been thinking about this very issue for a long time. Having grown up in a war zone and being a collagist for quite a long time, I have a lot of interest in bringing about artists voices to the foreground on this matter. Lovely blog. Thank you for sharing it with the rest of the world!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Neda! I think there are a lot of artists doing work which doesn't fit into the gallery system for whatever reason... their medium, their message, who they are...
I love galleries but they can only tell part of the story.


Anonymous said...

Lots of artists are doing important and passionate work on the subject of the human condition... Mr, Row that's GEEZER talk that people twice your age wouldn't want associated with them!

Deriding all "young art" as flippant is generally more flippant than the art it attempts to pidgeonhole.

Here are 3 contemporary artists that disprove the short-sighted attempt:
Thomas Hirschhorn
Hank Willis Thomas : actually on view at Organism in Portland
Inigo Mangalo-Ovalle

Anonymous said...

Thanks for mentioning Organism. Their present show is at the old Blue Sky space on
Hoyt, but I understand that they will soon a new permanent space in the same area.

This discussion has a bit in common with two over at Edward Winckleman here and here.

In his case, they are taking on if there is indeed a lower quality of art altogether these days - but I
think that to a degree, it still goes back to how art is presented and marketed and what people, in the end, get exposed to.