Sunday, March 28, 2010
Approaching Museums and Galleries: Commercial Galleries Part 1, and
Approaching Museums and Galleries Part 2
Joining the Group
If you want to retain a high degree of control over your exhibitions, and you enjoy working with a community of artists, an artist-run cooperative art gallery may be something you might consider. There are many different variations in artist-run galleries, so you want to visit several to decide if they are a good fit.
Most artist-run galleries cover their expenses with monthly dues, and rely less on sales for getting through slow periods in the economy. Some group galleries have a limit on membership size, others do not. Some artist-run galleries are very selective about offering membership to applicants, others flexible. Accordingly, a gallery with an unlimited membership might not offer anything but group shows. Others provide a solo exhibition on a regular scheduled basis.
I am the most familiar with the artist-run gallery Bromfield Gallery (founded in 1975) in Boston - because I am a member. Members have a solo exhibition approximately one every other year. They can hang a work in the Members Gallery area for 9 months of the year, and participate in two larger group exhibitions twice a year. There are print files for addition work on paper to be shown at the gallery. Members meet once a month to conduct gallery business, including reviewing the work of artists applying for membership or visiting artist exhibitions. Members also participate in staffing the gallery approximately once a month, helping out at opening receptions, and other business details. Members pay monthly dues. Members are generally located within a reasonable driving distance, but long distance members have options also.
Other cooperatives in SOWA Boston include Kingston Gallery and Galatea Gallery. Kingston Gallery opened in 1982, and is structured similarly to the Bromfield Gallery. Galatea Gallery opened recently, and has a multi-tiered membership structure. In Rhode Island, you can find Hera Gallery, active for 34 years.
If you are interested in long distance membership, several options exist - a little diligent hunting with a web search engine will uncover them. These are a few that have supported artists that I know personally. One well structured gallery, Lana Santorelli Gallery in Chelsea NYC, is not a true membership gallery, but is artist-run and curates shows from open submissions. A.I.R. Gallery in NYC is a gallery supporting women artists with a wide range of membership options, as is Woman Made Gallery in Chicago.
These options are all different from traditional commercial galleries. You can best judge which might be the best fit by visiting as many of both types as possible, asking plenty of questions, and then deciding which style suits your schedule and personality. And if neither option appeals to you, you can consider other alternatives to galleries - curating, grants and other thinking-outside-the-box options. More on that in another post.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
For March and April of 2010 in "Nan Freeman Master Drawings: Process", everyone gets a fresh glimpse at the hidden side of powerful drawing. The working master drawings in graphite, finished charcoal drawings, and finished acrylic paintings of several projects are on view at NK Gallery. In particular, the drawings for the development of the incredible Bridge of Hope mural at the Brigham and Women's Hospital are featured. Each life scale bird bears a medicinal plant, and is meticulously designed. One drawing of a pelican carrying a pumpkin vine utilized three sheets of large scale drawing paper; a recent admirer at the gallery found it compelling as an ultimate "blueprint of how to build a bird". The delicate tones of graphite are deceptive, the mark making is strong, confident and springs to life. (Image shown is "Screech Owl with Clover", 2009, copyright Nan Freeman, presented with permission of the artist)
Nan Freeman is the Director of the Post Baccalaureate Certificate Program at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, and as senior faculty, teaches Drawing at the School also. She welcomes mural projects for both the home and commercial setting.
Friday, March 26, 2010
I found Other Peoples Pixels by looking at wide range of artist websites. This simple clean design tool appealed to me from the very first, and I really got hooked after I started to play with the free trial.
To see how it works, go to my webpage and click on the "Design" logo in the upper right corner - all the info and the free trial sign up is there.
You can quickly do the free trial - and that is what I did to start.
It is a website designer template environment created by artists, run by artists - but the end-user does all the designing very easily! No one to wait for to plan the work, no one to pay every time you change - and I can change mine in literally seconds if I want to. Obviously it is not going to solve everyone's web needs, but they are perfect for me, and many artists. When I was ready to move from the free trial to a live site, they do the transfer of the trial to real domain name within two days - in my case it was under two hours.
I designed my current website in under two hours. Although I still need to upload many of my more current art jpegs, the framework is there, and there are literally an infinite number of ways to design it!
I wanted to mimic the look of the blog I designed to "brand" a style, so I used similar colors.
They pay the fee for the domain name that you choose, and if I ever leave Other Peoples Pixels, they happily transfer the domain to me if I desire it. If you do a lot video and sound, you currently (March 2010) pay $260/year for 8000 artworks, but for less capacity needed it is $160/year for 2000 artworks. They host your site, provide support for the editing environment, and pay for the domain and setup fees, etc.
This option works for me in both money and time expenditure, and I admire the many ways to instantly change the look of the website, almost everything is flexible, and frankly - fun to create.
Once you have a website you also have to consider - what next. One book that helps you consider how to handle the website further is Effective Websites for Artists and Art Groups by Bob Nicholson. Just as leaving your artwork hidden in a closet will not be beneficial, you also want to insure your website does not get buried in the vast collection of other artist websites - there are simple possibilities to help drive meaningful traffic to your website.
(And I am happy to report the old homepage I created on Comcast was finally completely disabled by someone, somewhere… and I can happily focus on my new site.)
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
Although Boston does not have the exact equivalent of New York’s Armory Show, we do have a fantastic fair duo coming up. The Boston Print Fair is paired up with the art and design show AD 20/21, and will be showing in Boston at the BCA Cyclorama on April 8-11, 2010. Consider attending the Gala Preview, its for a good cause - benefiting the Boston Architectural College. When you are there looking for the affordable way to be "livable and stylish", watch for artist Louise Weinberg’s work at Booth #29, then see her “Spheres Series – Emerging” at NKG in May 2010. (pictured is Spheres Series – Emerging #6 2009, oil on canvas, 18"x18", image courtesy of the artist)
And in keeping with the plan to have Boston become a more lively art scene, we clearly need something with a touch of humor - like the Art Handlers Olympics glorified in “Ready, Set Hang: The Heavy Lifting In On”! Boston certainly has its own share of underpaid art handlers, and art grad students paying off loans too…
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Living in both the San Francisco and Los Angeles area of California provided me with invaluable access to a design aesthetic commonly referred to as the Arts and Crafts Movement. The title of this blog in fact pays homage to the subtitle of architect Will Price’s monthly magazine “The Artsman” (1903-1907). Price believed houses would be modern if they fit the life one lived, and that a home could have everything it needed without costly materials and exaggerated details. Reformer and designer William Morris is credited with the primary tenet of the Movement: “have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
The revival of this Movement at the end of the Twentieth century has abated. However, in this period of economic destabilization, the spirit of its ideals, if not the actual visual appearance, remains relevant. In a recent Boston Globe article, South End designer Meichi Peng is highlighted for her uncanny knack for what is both “livable and stylish” in our current times. Notably, she works to create environments that are modern but not sterile. Key to this effect is the use of a few items in the design that are truly one of a kind art or craft.
This effect is something that almost anyone can achieve, if they rethink the use of generically available home décor. For someone wanting to make their living space uniquely theirs, the most limited budget would be better served with one striking element of original art over a plethora of inexpensive reproduction prints or sculpture. You don’t have to travel far afield like Peng to achieve a personal style – in the Boston Area we have an embarrassment of riches with countless open studios events that can provide a ground floor for entering into the art arena. Armed with a map, and good walking shoes, all you need to do your research and hunt is both time to spend and a willingness to explore. Shortly, the Fort Point Open Studios will be here (May 7-9), followed by the SoWa Art Walk on May 15 and 16. In the fall, you will see the greater majority of the studio events open, after hard working artists and designers have spent the summer preparing to show their work. If you live too far outside the Boston area for these open studios, many urban and suburban regions hold similar events at some point in the year. They are different than fairs or art festivals – open studios are designed for the viewer to see the working environment of the artist and directly contact the maker of the object.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
I have traveled to New York as do most Boston artists. I appreciate the variety and diversity I see there. But I don't particularly want to see the New York look cloned onto Boston, I want the Boston look to become both more energetic, experimental, and more unique as its own style of value in the world.