Thursday, January 31, 2008


Derek, John, Sarah. Let's do it again some time. Even if the audience is just the four of us participants I think it might be worthwhile.

Art 101

I am not saying that artists should be making work that viewers are expecting to see. I am saying that artists should not make work without any consideration of what the viewer will see because of a common existence.


Alright Kids. I gotta get back to work. It's been fun, and I look forward to re-reading this tomorrow after watching some new media.


Nope, mIsses. I don't believe the mAsses are educated

sarah, are you looking for this...?

they might have red arrows somewhere in the following web platform.

I hope you meant "education for the mAsses"

Education for the Misses

John - If one is to create a new media work based on what the viewer is prepared to experience, then isn't that akin to painting big red paintings because we know they are selling around the corner? I guess the point is that we, as artists, should always make what we are compelled to make regardless of viewer preparedness or expectation. Our job is to surpass and shatter expectation, for the viewer and for ourself.

a new media query

so I know this is the way of the blogosphere ( I was hoping to work that word in here tonight) but I wish I could go back and draw red arrows (like the ones JetBlue uses to show where they fly) over the page to better direct the viewer. Where on Blogspot are those fabulous red arrows...Justin, Derek, John you all work in new media...where are the arrows?


sounds like the genre is being defined here?

who is wearing the badge?


I certainly don't want to imply that art institutions are ignoramouseses. Nor do I want to propose that They don't serve a purpose. I guess the root of my comment is that everyone wants to get in on that newest poop as soon as they can regardless of the implications or responsibilities. The genre of new media seems to be a new catch-all for things technological much in the same way installation served artists not dealing with painterly or sculptural tendencies. As artists, we move forward and we expand our breadth. Institutions and galleries have to keep up if they want to stay in business. An hopefully they will or we will have to start our own Television station.



Education for the viewer or the artist?


Who is it that needs the education, I would would say both the creater and the experiencer.

TV is bliss is probably correct in that we are now in an age where all of us are surrounded by technology. That creates both a problem for the viewer and artist. For the artist, the problem lies in the fact that we as a society are accustomed to technology and subconciously have expectations on what we are about to experience. As an artist working in these mediums, there has to be an awareness of what it is the viewer is expecting without ever knowing that they are already predisspossed to those expectations. As the experiencer, the problem arises in the fact that if they have seen a new media work before, they jump to the assumption that they already know what all new media work is to be.

New media

Dear Mr. Gallerist, How new is the media that you as an art institution are familiar with? What stage of the new in new media are you in these days?Who was the artist and what was the last example of that new media that you exhibited? What challenges did you face with that? If my work is really new media shouldn't you ideally have more challenges than that. Are you ready?

TV is bliss

John- Allow the viewer? The viewer is not really engaged with you at all. There really is no chance of "Allowing" the viewer to do or not do anything. If by viewer you mean institutions, then the answer is yes, they would like to think they do understand that new fangled media work. It seems all to apparent that most don't when invited to do a show and there is not a single extension cord in the joint. On another note there may be the assumption that if one understands TV, they understand new media work. Ahhh, the benfits of cutting art education funding...

that is a good slip! You may need to try it on before you take it out!


I am an intelligent being...

post-studio / genre

When I talk with other artists, including my students, I don't find myself sticking with genre when bringing up work that might interest someone. My first impulse is...this other artist I've come across seems to be interested in some of the same things that you are. Genre /medium/etc. more often than not seems beside the point .

Let the CHiPs fall

I guess I was predisposed to saying "I'm a sculptor." I have since edited my response to "I'm an artist." Perhaps I should re edit myself to respond with "I an intelligent being who is capable of examining my environment, culturally, physically ,and emotionally resulting in a creative manifestation which takes many forms." He did have a very CHiPs-esque moustache...


When the dealer asked what you did it seems like you jumped to form. In a world in which genre doesn't matter why not just start with the content?I 'm very interested in _____________ so I make art.
Maybe the dealer was an undercover cop...

posting parties and badges

Badges would be a great idea!!! Let's make some of those to pass out at openings.
I agree with Justin, Posting party is fun...good times.

lost, but not forgotten

I am sure that we have all heard the adage that once your work leaves the studio, it no longer belongs to you. I think Genre's are an easy way for the public, at least those who don't have an acute sense of deconstructing and internally catgorizing works of art, to make sense and file information.

Genre for the people

I think it is a little dangerous though to allow the viewer to simplifly a work to it's genre. For a work to be reduced to merely to a style or medium is to completely miss it's meaning, impact and power. As new media work becomes ever more prevelant in the more established institutions, especially those in middle America, I hope that it is not reduced to the old addage 'I understand new media, therefore I understand this new media work'.

By the way...

this posting party is kind of fun to participate in. Maybe it should be done at regular intervals.

I wouldn't say there is a cop guarding the boundaries. But I can say that a dealer once asked me what I did, when I said "I'm a sculptor," He responded with "That's the hardest stuff to sell."
I didn't see him wearing a badge, incidentally.

if not now then when?

Semantics aside.
given that our practice is derivative of theories and discipline. Once work becomes public, is that the point in which genre plays a role?

Circling back.

My post on Theory might actually have some inroads into the discussion of genre. Is there some kind of cop that guards the boundary of genres, media, or disciplines? If not, do we ever internalize one and fight needless battles with (or make attempts to evade) that cop ?
My apologies if this reads too self-serious and paranoid.

Yo, Web.

Who invited Merriam Webster?

To dicipline

10. to train by instruction and exercise; drill.
11. to bring to a state of order and obedience by training and control.
12. to punish or penalize in order to train and control; correct; chastise.

Not bad.

If we are 'to art' then maybe there should be 'to dicipline'. Perhaps it would have a thoughtful and positive impact on some of the work I am seeing in this glutiness art market if painters were drilled with their brushes and sculptors were brought into obedience with a bronze hammer.

Genre can also mean "of the paople" referring to the fact that it is of lay man's access. One of the things I like about the awareness of genre in my studio practice is that it allows me to explore new topics without using the same old tired approach. In a sense it is a state of mind as Sarah said earlier. No one really gives a shit what your work is "about" as long as they can find some semblance of connection within the work. That, in turn, becomes what the work is about. Haven't we all been bored or in between pieces in the studio to the point of doing something for the sake of keeping your hands busy? A lot of that stuff never makes it out of the studio to see the light of day but it is informative towards other stuff. I have to admit I have made simple sculptures about plants or flowers in a simple effort to work in a medium I don't tend to focus on. Does that make me particular to the Genre of Botany art? I think not... But it is a sense of discipline that compels me to stay busy and make something, even if it belongs at an arts and crafts fair.

Re: ism

Pluralist to pluralism.
Fatalist to fatalism.
Artist to artism,

Of course it's all shorthand and all contingent to how the terms with isms are being used. The "use value".

I'm glad you're here Derek and Sarah. Sorry if I'm kind of stumbling about a bit till I can tune in to the conversation at hand. Thinking out loud. Digressing...but I'm with you guys and thinking as I'm reading and typing.

dis·ci·pline Unabridged (v 1.1) - Cite This Source - Share This
dis·ci·pline /ˈdɪsəplɪn/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[dis-uh-plin] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation noun, verb, -plined, -plin·ing.
training to act in accordance with rules; drill: military discipline.
activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training: A daily stint at the typewriter is excellent discipline for a writer.
punishment inflicted by way of correction and training.
the rigor or training effect of experience, adversity, etc.: the harsh discipline of poverty.
behavior in accord with rules of conduct; behavior and order maintained by training and control: good discipline in an army.
a set or system of rules and regulations.
Ecclesiastical. the system of government regulating the practice of a church as distinguished from its doctrine.
an instrument of punishment, esp. a whip or scourge, used in the practice of self-mortification or as an instrument of chastisement in certain religious communities.
a branch of instruction or learning: the disciplines of history and economics.

verb (used with object)
to train by instruction and exercise; drill.
to bring to a state of order and obedience by training and control.
to punish or penalize in order to train and control; correct; chastise.
[Origin: 1175–1225; ME < style="FONT-VARIANT: small-caps" href="" minmax_bound="true">disciple + -ina -ine2]

Re: Genre

Genre is sometimes called discipline. Who disciplines whom? Should discipline be conceived of simply as a noun? It's a verb too. And sometimes it is useful, but the synonyms and etymologies should be investigated.

Pet Theories

"Theory" has alienated so many intelligent people because "theorists" often approach their "theories" as if they were laws. The apex of this approach seemed to coincide with an interest on many people's part with "Political Correctness." Both tendencies seemed to turn many artists into cops...a job that has never interested me. "Theory" at least might be rehabilitated if we think of Theory (capitol T) as "pet"theories... thought experiments. Thoughts that we can play with. In that sense I think that theory is implicit in my daily existence. Perhaps you might find this to be true for yourself as well.

To Genre, or not to Genre

Theory is a bad six letter word for some people. Much in the same way that derivative is to many artists. The word "T"heory tends to possess a certain amount of cultural personal space. The word "T"heory implies that one must have a certain amount of intelligence to engage. The premise of "Pet Theory" carries much less baggage and allows fuel displacement engineers to be a part of the conversation.

I suppose you could apply the concept of theory into almost anyone's everyday life, even a fuel displacement engineer's. I happen to have a personal theory about crossing the street (not one I want to get into now.)


That is lovely and I completely agree. I don't even want to insert obvious jokes.
Now in search of this "truth" perhaps we could team up with Art Fag City and pitch some ideas for the artist reality show that is somewhere in the pipeline...perhaps it could be a reality show based on searching for "truth" and at the same time a high selling point...specifics can be ironed out later.

To Genre, or not to Genre

I have a difficult time relegating myself to a particular genre. Meaning that in order to truly investigate a subject requires a broad exploration of differing media. That is to say that investigation via the camera's lens (photography) speaks to a particular topic in different ways than say using audio. Yet both are effective in revealing certain attributes of a particular subject. I do agree that one should not limit themselves to one medium. It seems to lead to a narrower vision of how things exist. Art seems to be about many things. Among them is making things that are pretty and nice to look at. But often it is about looking at the world in ways that are not obvious. So it seem s logical that in a culture where media shows us imagery and feeds us doctrine, artists should skip the Genre train in an effort to compete for the "truth."

I am not sure what the opposite of -ism is, but I do know that it denotes the action or result of ____. A state of ______.

ism schmism

Why'd you have to go and bring up an "ism" Derek. Never mind the plural part, it's the "ism" that makes me cringe. What is the opposite of "ism"?

To Genre, or not to Genre

Genre is a tricky beast. It used to mean you made work about a certain subject. Some might think it is merely a fancy way to say "kind," or "type." Genre has shifted from naming works representing daily life to works of a certain ilk (i.e. Matthew Barney makes work of a particular genre.) I hate to bring up the "P" word, but pluralism lends a hand in blurring the lines even where Genre is concerned.


what is a genre?

A year ago, I have to admit that "genre" was somewhat of a sore subject. Since then, (and a self help book later) I believe it to be more a state of mind than anything. It's an illusion and only used for others to categorize after the fact. It should be unimportant to an artist, and probably is. And in such a case should be a dead subject. But for fairness of argument I will give it a once over.
Where there is profit there will be boundaries to separate the expensive stuff from the not so expensive stuff.
So what is most expensive?
What is slightly less expensive? so on and so forth down the ladder.
Tada, this is where genre's exist.
(This same platform I would assume functions for education as well.)

As far as genre and the studio practice

This is compelling, why are the sculptors painting, painters making installations so on and on...why? Because the genre simply doesn't mean anything! Not knowing how to make a video does not stop me from wanting to learn in order to finish a piece. At some point we knew nothing and figured that out...why categorize oneself? It's hard enough to make good work without restrictions.

So, what medium do you work in?

I have found over the years that small talk in social situations amoung non-artists have begun to be a bit awkward over the years. Inevitably the conversation amoung two strangers ends up wiht the question, "So, what do you do?" The question is simple and innocent enough at first glance, but unfortunately the conversation usually ends uncomfortable with a blank, bewildered look on thier face and an awkward moment of silence as I give up trying to explain away thier puzzled look. I am a sculptor, who hasn't really sculpted an object in many, many years.

I am an artist working in audio and video installation and consider myself, a sculptor. It has been a long time since the age of the traditional artisan of the Renaissance, so why is it so hard to get past the traditional stereotypes of genre after several hundred years and almost as many movements (as it seems at times). I can no longer see an advantage or reason to classify the various arts into genres and yet I do it myself. I claim myself a sculptor because I am sculpting space, environment and experience, but I do not use the traditional materials or tools of a sculptor. In a generation of artists who are using any and all mediums to create their work, as well as adpopting new mediums all the time, perhaps it is no longer useful to claim one genre or another.

It was not that long ago that everything that was not painting was lumped into sculpture and now I am seeing a similiar phenomenon with 'New Media'. What is the problem with calling it art?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Daily Con - The Blog, Opening January 31st on an Internet near you.

Daily Constitutional is proud to present Daily Con - The Blog, Premiering January 31st, 2008. Opening night will feature artists and Daily Con contributors; John Henry Blatter, Derek Cote, Stuart Keeler, Justin Lincoln and Sarah Mizer, engaged in a live discussion about issues and topics that are important to Artists right now. Daily Con - The Blog will be bringing you the same quality, thought provoking content that you have come to expect from the Daily Constitutional, but in a more timely fashion that is in tune with our fast paced and ever changing world. In an effort to continue to provide an outlet and forum for the Artist's voice, the Daily Con will be featuring critical dialogue, by Artist, for Artists. In addition to criticism, you will find Art, Rants, Raves, Artist's thoughts, Letters, Manifestoes and various other Gobbledygook.

Submissions Wanted for Daily Constitutional Issue #6, "By Proxy", the next Deadline is Extended to Feb. 15th.

WANTED: Artist’s Writing, Artists who Write, Text-Based Work, Manifestoes, “Classified Ads”, Letters to the Editor, Comics, Jokes, Food, Issue Specific Proposals, Multi Issue Ideas, Rants, Raves, Gobbledygook and other STUFF. Writings and submissions wanted for publication. Daily Constitutional is an artist run project consisting of the publication of a magazine in themed issues. Selected writings will be published along with relevant images. A short bio and contact info will be included on the contributor’s pages. The selection process is loose, approached collaboratively, and is carried out by a rotating panel of six fellow artists. For additional information and guidelines please visit us online at

Rolling Deadline for the next SoundCast.

Daily Constitutional reviews submissions for SoundCast on an ongoing basis. Please allow 8-10 weeks for a response as to the status of submitted audio works. Audio works should be mixed for two channel listening (i.e. Stereo). There is no length limit to the audio works, but remember people will be downloading them and large files might be a deterrent to listeners. For additional Information and guidelines please visit us online.

Daily Constitutional, Issue V, Delusions of Grandeur is Out Now! Hot off the presses is the newest issue of the Daily Constitutional.

"Delusions of Grandeur" is our best issue yet including the standards you have grown to expect, like the Editor's Letter, Dear Mom (by Derek Coté), Manifestoes (by Anne Gutt, Timothy Jackson & Elizabeth Jordan), Jest (by Natty Bumpercar & Dave Miller) and two new items, a column by Edward Winkleman and The Daily Lib (by Fernando Sanchez & Sarah Rebekah Byrd Mizer). Again we bring you the Special Projects section with works by invited artists Jack Risley, Taylor Baldwin and Ester Partegas. The Chorus contains opinions, rants, works, stories, interviews, friction, mania & fodder by Stuart Keeler, Rachele Riley, Kate Elizabeth Bentley, Megan Webb, Sally Larson, David Grainger, Emma Harvey, Ryan Dent, Hannah Brown, Valerie Zwart, Noel Fignier, Veronica de Jesus, Steve McPherson, Mark Cooley & Leah Oates.
"Delusions of Grandeur" is now available online at for $4.28 plus s/h or get a one year subscription for $10.28. The issue will also be available at various outlets including Printed Matter, the DCCA, Under the Table, DDR Projects, Chop Suey Books, Quirk Galley, Main Art and others in the coming weeks.

Friday, January 25, 2008


Based on activities I've recently been pursuing and advocating to my students (spread throughout 3 departments at VCU) I've become enamored of Web 2.0 hype. You know, flickr, youtube, social networking sites, blogging.The Utopian impulses involved in that rhetoric and sensibility do ignore all sorts of privacy issues and corporate co-modification, but I still think artists should be entering into it in good faith.
I think of Walter Benjamin as a proto-blogger. Pointing to selected links and sequencing them over time has such critical and political potential. Even if that practice constantly points away from the artist/curator/ blogger it can say as much or more than an extended personal diatribe.
That's generally how this wonderful curator works

I've been using the following blogging platform with my students for it's ease of use, design sensibility, and how it allows me (on the back-end of the blog which they call the Dashboard) to get feeds of all my students posts as they happen. In other words the site aggregates like an RSS feed, but on a massive yet personal level.

This is mine

Finally I'll leave you with a link one of my first year art students left with me.

It definitely shares my wonder, trepidation, and excitement .

Thursday, January 24, 2008

value vs. valuable

Over the last couple of years of gallery and fair hopping, trying to keep up as much as my schedule will allow, I have begun to notice a common thread. Blingiddy, Bling, Bling Bling! Between the mirroring of objects, placing things in front of or atop mirrors; the re-emergence of neon; the resin encrusted painting; the large flashy photograph; or the bejeweled sculpture; something has got to give, and hopefully, it has. I am sure by now, you are all aware that Damien Hirst has finally sold his diamond encrusted, platinum skull, for the tune of $100 million, congratulations Damien. So are we done now?

Before you write to complain or to inform me of something I have not addressed, just let me say that I realize that there are many more aspects to this work than I will be addressing, within this limited space. That being said, the excess and flash that seems to be running rampant in contemporary art, cannot be a product of our time, as it was in the 80’s when the cash was flowing, the economy was boomin’ and everyone wanted to be livin’ large. The last time I tuned into the society around me: I was under the impression the US was in an unpopular war and finding fewer and fewer friends around the world; economies the world over were flirting with recession; finding clean water was beginning to be a serious problem; and, oh yeah, the planet may be self destructing due to our poor choices.

But, man does that skull look cool.

The question is not whether Hirst’s skull is valid, rather, I am asking if artists still have any idea what the difference is between value and valuable. It is not my intention to declare that all art must be socially responsible in order to be of value. However, by simply adding or using materials that are, or appear to be, valuable, does not add value to a work of art. While encrusting a work of art in diamonds does make it cost more. Does it really give it more importance? Meaning or merit? By adding the valuable to give a work value is treating the work as merely a commodity. It becomes something traded for self-gains with little more consideration. Hence, leaving the work with little value. As an artist, I understand the desire to be able to afford the basic necessities of life. Furthermore, to afford said necessities through the sale of work, I am sure, is a common goal. However, if that means covering a work in gold leafing just to make it look like it has worth, maybe you should reconsider what it is that you have made. Instead, might I suggest instilling value into a piece, simply by making a better work of art?

Someone once told me that History was merely the story of the things that our predecessors deemed worth preserving. That being said, what will be the stuff of today that we choose to preserve? How will that shape the way our descendent remember us? In a world where the news of the i-phone, trumps that of a war, or where there is more debate over the tribulations of Britney Spears, then that of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad.

I hope that the time has come once again for artists to find themselves compelled to create out of passion. It is time for the artist to re-introduce content into the work of art. With that being said, I will leave you with a little something from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, 2000, that may need a little consideration.

val·ue - n. 1. Worth in usefulness or importance to the possessor; utility or merit: the value of an education. 2. A principle, standard, or quality considered worthwhile or desirable: “The speech was a summons back to the patrician values of restraint and responsibility” (Jonathan Alter). 3. Precise meaning or import, as of a word. - tr. v. 1. To determine or estimate the worth or value of; appraise. 2. To regard highly; esteem. See synonyms at appreciate. 3. To rate according to relative estimate of worth or desirability; evaluate: valued health above money.

val·u·a·ble - adj. 1. Having considerable monetary or material value for use or exchange: a valuable diamond. 2. Of great importance, use, or service: valuable information; valuable advice. 3. Having admirable or esteemed qualities or characteristics: a valuable friend. - n. A personal possession, such as a piece of jewelry, having a relatively high monetary value. Often used in the plural.

Etymology: Middle English, from Old French, from feminine past participle of valoir, to be strong, be worth, from Latin valre.

What's in an Opportunity?

First, it would be helpful to define what an opportunity is for us. Perhaps it is a chance to share the results of one’s fervent laboring in order to disentangle one from their thoughts. Depending the on content and context, an opportunity might be a chance to speak to, or enlighten the masses, even if it may only be to the cultured mass. It might just be a call for the mingling of ideas by way of collaboration. Then again, maybe it really is just a chance to further a career through resume building and exposure. I may be nostalgic here, or perhaps outright naïve, but I still believe in what I do, more so than just the outcome.

The studio is a place of solace, refuge, and reflection, of myself, and the world in which I exist. Time spent in the studio is therapeutic. It offers me a chance to work out, rationalize and expel that, which occupies the space between my ears. Somehow the act of moving a thought, from the mental to the physical allows it to vacate, leaving room for new thought, experience, and memories. However helpful this process may be, it is not a complete act until the results of my labor can be shared and experienced by others. Nor are the thoughts totally purged from my mind until the physical manifestation can be passed on to another, leaving but a mere trace memory of their former self. An opportunity for me is a chance to complete my process as an artist by way of interaction between viewer and art.

This interaction between art and viewer is also seen as an opportunity for those that use their artistic endeavors to make commentary, in hopes of making an impact on the world around them. Artist as activist is not a new role. With an acute eye and adept mind for criticism, the artist is well suited to bring attention and insight to subjects sensitive to social and political awareness or interpretation, or even to the plight of man and/or nature. While changing the world, or even the minds of those around you, may seem like a tall order, it is perhaps possible with a collaboration of like-minded people. My previous encounters with collaboration have led me to test the waters of the artist commune, to experience their possibilities for myself.

Ok, so maybe the utopian togetherness envisioned in the 60’s and 70’s has died, along with most of the communes, but there is power in numbers. A single voice will always be lost in the crowd, becoming a small part of the whole, which has grown to be mere white noise. The more one surrounds themselves with like-minded people saying a similar thing, the more likely they will be heard above the noise. For some, opportunity is the chance to work with others towards a common goal. With this in mind, the collaboration has the possibility of unlocking minds and/or a dialogue for a greater goal that outweighs the individual idea.

After considering all the possibilities for opportunity, why has the motto ‘I got mine’ been adopted into the mantra of the artist? As I look around me, the culture of the art world is beginning to resemble that of the business world, not one that is fueled by a free flow of ideas. The individual artist’s attention has become focused on the next big show, or how to get gallery representation, rather than creating work from inspiration and ideas, all this in the name of becoming a part of the bull art market. When the artist begins to value a career based on fame and monetary gain, over one founded on content, ideas and beliefs, an entire society suffers.

What is the Daily Constitutional?

Literally, it is something that one makes time for on a daily basis for the betterment of that individual’s health. The most common interpretation would be a daily walk. And, of course there is the slang definition, a shit. It has been a year and a half since we started out on this project and I continue to get the question, “What is the Daily Constitutional?” I have struggled to answer this very question since I first envisioned this publication, and like most pieces I have worked on; it is only after I have had time to step back from a work and see it as a viewer that I can begin to understand and appreciate it.

It is difficult to answer a question over and over again when you are not totally sure of the answer yourself. Therefore, for simplicity and to ease my discomfort with this question, I had adopted the answer, “It is a publication for Artist’s writings and Artist’s who write.” This sounded good to me, but it is no clearer or concrete than the slogan in our masthead. I needed some real ammo to be able to answer this question. Besides that, are we really just another art ‘zine? I hope not. When I think of art magazines, the big ones come to mind first (Artforum, Art in America, etc.), and that is not what we are, nor what we want to be. I am not here to give you the lowdown on what is going on in the Art World. Nor is it my interest to dig up dirt on the latest and greatest hot poop in New York, Berlin, London, or where ever the dope art is being created at any given moment.

Perhaps the publication is something like a printed gallery. Occasionally we receive a submission, looking for us to print the artist’s portfolio as they look for another way to score in this new careerist Art World where resume building seems to be more important, at times, than the work itself. I can understand this as I am just as guilty as the next person of trying to get a break. Although, to view the publication as nothing more than just a gallery in print form, does not give due credit to the ideas of the artists involved, nor to the contributors that have submitted ideas, writings and projects, because they want to be a part of the publication and believe in what it has become.

Now that we have finished the third issue, I can begin to step back and view the publication as a reader. Finally, I have a grasp on the skinny of what the Daily Constitutional is. Each issue is another work in a series; it is a collaboration between our readers and the artists that make up our editorial staff. The editorial staff for each issue, consisting of Derek, myself, and four rotating artists, is collaborating with all of the artists who have submitted to our open call. Here is how the collaboration works: The submissions we receive from fellow artists are looked at in their entirety and once discussed, are used as sort of the ‘raw material’ (for the lack of a better word) for the collaboration. In return, the six artists, who make up the editorial staff, chose from the submissions to use as building blocks in creating a new cohesive piece in the series (the next issue). Because of this format and approach I feel the publication has developed a free and open format for a diverse, engaging and enlightening reading experience with new things to discover in every issue.

With that said, here is our third issue. I hope you enjoy it. Others in the publishing industry have told me that the third issue is the hardest and most pivotal issue; “The first two are easy, but if you can make it through the third issue you might have a chance.” So, thank you to everyone that has helped to make this issue a reality and let the scuttlebutt begin.

Words; vocalizations; communication; speech; vernacular; lingo; jargon; tongue; dialect.

As I reflect upon the task at hand, communication (through the act of writing), I begin to wonder how it has come to be so difficult. Language is one of the most essential skills, we as humans have, to be able to coexist within society. It is something we begin to learn at birth and continue to try and master throughout our entire lives. Verbally, every interaction we have becomes an orchestrated dance, choreographed by the accepted rules and regulations of an individual society. The give and take of the dance, acting and reacting, processing and reprocessing, comes to a virtual standstill, and we the participants become wallflowers when stripped of the visual clues that are our partners lead. With the written word, we can no longer rely on gesture, expression, tonality and pitch to clue us in to what we do not understand, to correct us when we miss a beat.

The written word relies on the mastery of language, mutual understanding and the amount of imagination the reader brings to the text. It is self-doubt of my own level of proficiency, which makes writing such a personal chore for me. I have been working with text, language and dialogue in my work for over seven years now. With pen in hand, I am still overwhelmed with fear and anxiety, every time I pull out the yellow legal pad or sit down in front of the computer. There is no partner to lead me or to respond to, I must dance alone, alone with my thoughts. The solution I see is to take on both roles, that of writer and reader.

In order to choreograph, you must first learn to dance. Once learned, you must be able to see the performance for yourself before sharing it with others. You too, must take on this dual role, one of the writer and reader, but not just the reader of any text, the reader of your own text. It is one thing to read quietly to yourself, but to really understand it, you must read it aloud. Stand up and project your voice until it can be heard. Let it resonate.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Letter from the editor, Issue I

During the past ten years, while making art first in the Midwest and now in the South, I have begun to realize two things. The first is that we artists seldom write about our art and art-making in a forum that is available to anyone else. This task has been given over to the critics, theorists, curators, and gallerists. The second is that artists feel an overwhelming pressure to become a part of one of the major metropolitan art scenes in order to attain success and legitimacy.

I have taken on this publication project in order to provide my contemporary colleagues with the opportunity to once again have a voice in the art world. Artists’ writings used to be an integral part of the art-making process. It was a way for artists to work through ideas, to record their thoughts, and to share these ideas and opinions with others. Even today, past writings by artists resurface: in studio conversations, in seminars, while relaxing over a drink. Whether it was Smithson or Judd, Man Ray or Duchamp, the letters Picasso and Braque exchanged or the manifestos of the Surrealists and Dadaists, they all had something to say—and they wrote about it.

Artists are continually reading and conducting research during the art-making process, especially now that the information age has made this process so much more accessible. They are looking for inspiration, ideas, influences, context or perhaps even originality. Is it fear, which prevents them from putting their words down on paper for others to see? Is it that the starkness of the written word on a blank piece of paper is too definitive and that they run the risk of being misunderstood? But allowing ourselves to be interpreted by others, it seems to me, is far more dangerous than speaking up as individuals. Perhaps the published manifesto should be revisited, or can we still do that, now that we are in the 21st century?

One chilly day last October I was sitting on a panel discussion consisting of an emerging gallerist, an established gallerist, a non-profit director, an independent curator, and a contemporary curator of a major museum, all from Middle America. They all had the same advice: artists must move to New York in order to establish their careers. This is brilliant, let us all move to New York and squash any chance of individuality, because if we are all one, there can be no more dissent. My question is this: Aren’t there museums, art centers, galleries, and various other opportunities in every city across this country, and in fact the world? I find it hard to believe that the culture and arts of these places exist only to mimic those of the big city or that they are incapable of developing an identity of their own. The culture of our worldwide society is as diverse and as individual as each of us, and I strongly believe that the art world as a whole should reflect this fact.

My intention with this project is not to discount, bash or replace the critic, writer, museum, gallery, or even the art scene, for they all have their place in today’s art world. Instead, I seek to allow the artist themselves to have a place for their individual commentary on the art and culture of today. I believe that with an equal voice we can work together to understand the culture of our times.