medaglion di Cosimo de Medices from Botticelli's Ignuto


the politics of art

back2001 1999

page  compiled by updated 09/29/05

‘ A great international rip off for the rich amateur artist: Beware!’ -- NYTimes arts forum participant

cariatide.©1999 Donald R Ricker from a drawing by A Campi

    ‘It is worth pointing out that 521 artists from 31 countries exhibited 1434 works in the last Florence Biennale in 1999. More than half of the artists participating succeeded in raising sponsorship funds for their shares. But it is much easier for artists in other countries to receive government financing than it is in the USA, which gives everything to a single artist designated to go to Venice.  Cuba is one of the countries that will be represented for the first time in this 3rd edition of the Florence Biennale. In fact I am in contact with the Director of the Bienale de Havana who is interested in our self-financing formula as a means to break the grip of the closed sensational-style loop that is content to keep 98% of the world's creative talent at home waiting to be called to that nonexistent 'free lunch'.  40,000 visitors saw the '99 Biennale over its ten day duration. Shows, sales, and publications ensued. For many artists, meeting the International Jury was well worth it - even better than a New York City cocktail party because their works are hanging on the wall. ’--- JTSpike

A spirited discussion in  New York Times on the Web Forums/ Arts/ Visual Arts and Architecture/Artists and Exhibitions  reveals the tensions and apprehensions underlying the conflicting notion that invited artists are the source of funding for the Biennale in Florence.  In Alaska we call it a potlatch or some say pot-luck ... you'll get plenty of my opinion if you read through this rather lengthy text. Enjoy!

iansummers - 10:09am Feb 1, 2001 EST (#3234 of 3249)

Bennettmaz I will not defend Krasnow. I do defend the artist's right to challenge our beliefs of where the limits may be. And sometimes that is not acceptable to most of us. At first, I was offended and remain uncomfortable even posting it on this forum. You are right about the holocaust. He does evoke its horrors. That is what struck me as I realized that this installation was made from human skin. I immediately thought of Gein/Lechter. That is, of course, repulsive.

artnose - 10:26am Feb 1, 2001 EST (#3235 of 3249)
I received an invitation to exhibit my paintings in the Biennale Internazionale dell'Arte Contemporanea in Florence this coming Dmber 2001. I was told that I was nominated and accepted for the exhibition. At first I was quite surprised and excited about going to Florence as an "invited artist" to show with an international group of artists. Previously my work had been included in the Venice Biennale. But to my surprise I read on to see that I had to pay a registration fee of $1700 dollars! What an honor this was. I sent an e-mail asking did this fee also include the hotel and airfare? Please explain. I never received a reply. Here's a great international rip off for the rich amateur artist who needs to have multisyllable credit on his resume. Artists beware! I figured it out that with air fare and hotel reservations in December your cost would be over $3000.00 dollars. It would be better to buy an ad in the NY Times with this money asking people to shake your hand at noon at a major art gallery in NY. You will get a greater reaction for your money than going to Italy in the winter to drink wine with the "nominated artists" sponsered by Arte Studio of Italy.

donar01 - 07:09pm Feb 1, 2001 EST (#3242 of 3249)
better to buy an ad in the NY Times with this money asking people to shake your hand <
tnose --- Don't let K shake your hand, you might be missing something. It isn't the attitude that art is about stretching the limits (of credulity, revulsion, bafflegab, etc) that marks the masters. I believe you should accept the honor of the nomination to FloBi if you are unable to take advantage of it please do not needlessly dis this. Is it so bad to meet your peers from around the world and exhibit in Europe? Many seem to object that there is an expense for the artist, yet believe me the artist is always the engine of art industry... I don't remember your work at the Venice Biennale, were you budgeted the $350000 that Ms Hamilton was last year by Arts International, USIA, PEW & Rocke? She was the ONLY artist to represent the talent of America.

arthead3d - 02:21am Feb 2, 2001 EST (#3243 of 3249)
Go for the Flo-Bi... Maybe you can get local funding from a civic organisation to make the trip (Lions Club, Kiwanis, Etc.)in return for a slide talk about the whole thing. No money out of pocket and an adventure in Italy to tell about.

jtspike - 02:45am Feb 2, 2001 EST (#3244 of 3249)
It is worth pointing out that 521 artists from 31 countries exhibited 1434 works in the last Florence Biennale in 1999, staged as always at the historic Fortezza da Basso in the city center. More than half of the artists participating succeeded in raising sponsorship funds for their shares. But it is much easier for artists in other countries to receive gov't financing than it is in the USA, which gives everything to a single artist designated to go to Venice. (By the way, the Canadian representative to this year's Venetian Biennale is at risk because the $300,000 estimated expense has not been raised.) Cuba is one of the countries that will be represented for the first time in this 3rd edition of the Florence Biennale. In fact I am in contact with the Director of the
Bienale de Havana who is interested in our self-financing formula as a means to break the grip of the closed sensational-style loop that is content to keep 98% of the world's creative talent at home waiting to be called to that nonexistent 'free lunch'. For those as desirous as Artnose to shake hands, 40,000 visitors saw the '99 Biennale over its ten day duration. Shows, sales, and publications ensured. For many artists, meeting the International Jury was well worth it - even better than a New York City cocktail party because their works are hanging on the wall. For further information, visit John T Spike Director Florence Biennale

markmalmgren - 07:49am Feb 2, 2001 EST (#3246 of 3249)
jt. I'll gladly pay $1700...send me an application, mark

arthead3d - 10:02am Feb 2, 2001 EST (#3247 of 3249)

batman7171 - 02:15pm Feb 2, 2001 EST (#3248 of 3249)
jtspike , I have some friends in Firenze I intend to visit soon,didn't know about the biennale,is it going to take place this year?And,do you know of other cultural events that are worthwhile this time of the year? thanks

mikiestore - 02:18pm Feb 2, 2001 EST (#3249 of 3249)
(I've paid more, for less.)

james395 - 03:43pm Feb 2, 2001 EST (#3250 of 3298)
JLinFL. On Feb 1st., Artnose posted a comment about the Florence Biennale and was this person ever wrong about an event. I have made some contacts there that made it well worth the trip and the expense. I am sure the guys in Florence could get sponsors who would also determine who shows there but this is completely different. The artists run the show. The judges are some of the best I have seen at any recent competitions anywhere. Dear Artnose, seek help before you write about something you know nothing about. JLinFL

jtspike - 01:44pm Feb 3, 2001 EST (#3254 of 3298)
To Batman7171... I've just returned from Rome to see the best show currently on in Italy, The Giustiniani Collection. Vincenzo Giustiniani was one of Cavavaggio's most important patrons, ultimately owning 12 of his pictures. They've recreated his collection to give us a unique opportunity to see six of Caravaggio's pictures briefly together again. Firenze is a permanent show, of course. Go first to San Marco to see the frescoes by Fra Angelico.
The Biennale d'Arte Contemporanea takes place from December 1-10 this year. Barbara Rose is curating a 'show inside the show' this year consisting of a trio of 3 video&installation -- exciting new talents, none of whom have every seen the other's work. We'll all get the chance to judge for ourselves.

artnose - 04:45pm Feb 3, 2001 EST (#3255 of 3298)
To all my critics who are so willing to spend over three thousand dollars to appear in a vanity art exhibition in Florence Italy that lasts only two weeks during the winter holidays when no one in the art world is in town. I really am surprised how easily you are misled to joining the winning circle of international mockery . As P.T. Barnum said so well, "there's a fool born every minute."

There is no justification for such a fee of $1700 for this show.You exhibit four paintings with people who have no past record of exhibitions of noteworthy value. There will be no reviews of this exhibition in Art News; Art in America, Flash,or the Italian art forums.This show is for the profit of the few who would sell you the Leaning Tower of Pisa if they could. They would even help you make it look straight. Look, go to Italy anytime, stand in the middle of any square, and hand out your drawings free of charge. You'll meet more influential people this way and probably get invited to some great dinners. Also make sure you look "arty". ( Hey, Europe is no longer the center of art, its here, America. The USA. ) You may even get a write up in the Florence local papers. More so than showing at this vanity fair. Wake up, you can buy an art exhibition in any city in the USA. you deserve more if you believe in what you are doing without having to pay over three thousand dollars for a two week night stand and stay in a hotel without heat. Is being "famous" for three minutes still so important?

evabradd - 02:38am Feb 4, 2001 EST (#3257 of 3298)
I agree with artnose concerning the vanity Florence exhibition. I was also surprised so many on this forum were advising the artist to go. I thought that any time someone asked you to pay your own money to exhibit your art you should walk the other way. Look in the back of any schlock art magazine (such as Art Calender) and you can find scads of "offers" to exhibit your work for a fee. Is showing in Florence so important all of a sudden? Why not take the $1700 and just go to Florence (as in a vacation).

donar01 - 12:45pm Feb 4, 2001 EST (#3258 of 3298)
no reviews of this exhibition in Art News; Art in America, Flash,or the Italian art; people who have no past record of exhibitions of noteworthy value; hand out your drawings; international mockery<
art only knows --- BanK! Zoom! Right to the moon, Alice! Please offer your insider perspective
on why this attitude is so prevalent among critics and the hoi poloi? Because an artist finances his own work, it loses authenticity to the point of it being necessary to exclude it from exhibition and cannot be reviewed? The fact that these so called current events magazines pull a sniff and ignore on this issue contributes to its own stupidity. The light of knowledge is perhaps the most illuminating one, and the international exhibition system & its funding STINKS!

Oops, did I foam up there? Eva, every artist I know has at one time or another been asked to contribute entry fees, sometimes even to be rejected. Per Winston Churchill, "We have already established your occupation, mam, we are now negotiating the fee."

Save on the fee, don't represent yourself at the third truly international biennale of genuine artists with very impressive qualifications, the only one in which an international jury awards recognition.

But, please, if you must go to Florence to hand out your drawings, do it 7-16 Dicembre so that you can visit the Fortezza da Basso and enjoy the fantastic panoply of the best art (and artists) the world has to offer.

Vanity, vanity, all is vanity . BTW, did I mention that my installation, Dog Heaven , was a tail wagging success? I counted over 100 wet nose prints on the glass ... - 02:36pm Feb 4, 2001 EST (#3259 of 3298)
Your all so right about all the costs of exhibitions for artists. Artists should be paid to have shows, not the other way around. Ive never paid to have my work exhibited. Its just a con to make money off artists, shouldnt fall for such con-artists. Their are enough good art gallerys throughout to world. The problem is some artists are a little lazy when it comes to making the necessary contacts. Its important to realize that the creative process behind good art being put on exhibition is not finished at the easel. Richard Lee Barton

giznad2 - 05:54pm Feb 4, 2001 EST (#3260 of 3298)
Florence: I was accepted to exhibit in the Florence and decided that my $1,700 would be better utilized else where.

However I don't think we should be so quick to discredit the Florence. I believe it's a genuine attempt to collectively promote the arts to an international market, but $1,700 entry needs to be validated better by the organizers in it's attempt to be value added.

I suppose 3 minutes of fame is better than none, but as a marketing opportunity there are much more effective ways to promote oneself for $1,700 - as artnose said, you can buy an exhibition for that amount of money. The organizers actually suggest that you make application for funding via an arts council grant and at the end of the day this will determine weather I get to see Florence in winter as an official representative of my country!

For the past 12 months we have been organizing the 2001 International Digital Art Awards (IDAA), a TOTALLY FREE event! It has been well supported (for it's inaugural year ) by international Press, galleries and leading art professionals who entered. I'm confident that at the end of the day our artists will enjoy at least 4 minutes of fame if not 5 or 6 or 7! GIZ

donar01 - 09:49pm Feb 4, 2001 EST (#3261 of 3298)
Ive never paid to have my work exhibited<
bart --- You have been fortunate to have made your living without paying a commission to those galleries which represent you on their walls... Here is an excerpt from a note I received from another person doing due diligence: "I've written to a few artists who participated, like yourself, hoping to get an accurate account of the legitimacy of the event. The reviews, so far, have been encouraging, with one exception. -This artist, despite his grievances, said he would return."

Here is what Herr Bence Fritzsche of the German art magazine Atelier said when I asked about his slamage in Grauzone, or Grey Area: 1. the artists have to pay: thats unusual and not serious. 2. the entry-jurors get paid for suggesting artists. thats not serious. 3. the biennale exhibition isnt well organized, after all reports. we get none positive information!

Now I'm almost sorry I had so much fun, and met with so many opportunities. Certainly, money was spent; may we each decide what is well spent.

donar01 - 10:07pm Feb 4, 2001 EST (#3262 of 3298)
funding via an arts council grant <
Mr Danzig --- The Alaska State Council on the Arts saw fit to assist me with substantial financial support. Assisting artists exhibiting abroad is also the assigned function of Arts International . Those who make inquiry here will be told that support is given to only one biennial in a country and that Venice is the major one and will receive the cash. This reasoning, from an organisation which receives nearly $4,000,000 in funding and allocates less than half of that to artists, leads to the ignominy of being artist from the world superpower, supposed 'art center', which does NOT support the 50 artists. Even though this money would be less than a third of what is spent on a single talcum powder artist, who incidentally is now on the FACIE group of executive decision makers on this subject.

Beyond all that, I hope that you will be able to represent your work at the Biennale even so. This calumnized director and arts organisation has had the courage to acknowledge digital work as a legitimate new category in fine art. You have argued eloquently on behalf of this same premise.

donar01 - 10:16pm Feb 4, 2001 EST (#3263 of 3298)
aargh --- Here is what my local museum director said when I showed her my Fifth Premio Award in painting: "Did everyone get one of these?"
Artists math: rental of the premier exposition hall in an expensive tourist town for 12 days for the 10 day exhibition: budget enough to pay your square foot costs for 500 space devouring enthusiasts, each feeling their 2m x 3m too small. remember publishing costs of the catalog, an impressive volume edited by a man whose books are the top shelf standard in art history.

robinetti2 - 10:25pm Feb 4, 2001 EST (#3264 of 3298)
Artists should never pay to exhibit their work, unless it is a cooperative gallery situation where the artists are owner/members, or they are putting on their own show. Of course there are costs to exhibiting (rent, announcement cards and other promotional costs, photography, etc.), but that is (one reason) why the gallery takes 50 % of the sale price - because they cover these costs in the hopes of making sales. A less established, younger gallery might ask the artist to share some costs, such as the postage for sending out the show announcements, but a legitimate commercial gallery does not ask for the artist to put up money in order to exhibit. That is what a vanity gallery does.

robinetti2 - 10:29pm Feb 4, 2001 EST (#3265 of 3298)
As for the value of simply being in a place with a lot of artists & dealers (someone above said it was worth the $1700 to meet all those people), going to one of the international art fairs (and they are not just in NY; Chicago has a really good one in May, and there are many in Europe) and looking around is a good way to see a lot of dealers and what they show. That would be a more valuable use of your money. Or, like someone else suggested, just go to Florence with the money.

melaniefranklin - 09:16am Feb 5, 2001 EST (#3266 of 3298) Arts and Leisure Host
Speaking of international art fairs, the Armory Show is coming up in NYC (Park Ave and 67th St.), February 23-26. It'll include some of the best international contemporary art galleries. This event was founded several years ago as the Grammercy Art Fair, but it outgrew the Grammercy Hotel.

My $.02 re: artists paying upfront fees for an exhibition--Buyer Beware! There are vanity galleries and events that are just out for your money, so be careful when people request money upfront.

markmalmgren - 10:28am Feb 5, 2001 EST (#3267 of 3298)
Here is my 2 cents worth re the Florence Show:

As a prolific painter, I have been very aggressive in trying to place my works in the past 3 years. Hundreds of letters/emails/photos/slides/phone calls later, I can report very limited success.
I too, hold the practical (and purist) view that paying to have your work exhibited can be a bad economic decision. Vanity galleries have little incentive to sell your work since their commission is already paid by your "wall rental" fee. However, there are some other considerations here that I think are worth mentioning:

1. The charge that The Florence Biennial is a "for profit" show, and thus suspect, is silly. All of the shows mentioned including ArtChicago, ArtMiami, ArtPalmBeach, and the Armory Show are for profit.
2. There are very few venues for individual artists to show their work in an international setting. The key here is whether you have alternatives. Some artists do, but many don't.
3. Having the Florence Biennial on your resume is worth something. Perhaps this show will evolve into a very respectable international venue in years to come.
4. There are many intangibles here also. Florence is a very beautiful city and a whole lot cheaper than Venice to eat, drink, and be merry.
5. Italy has very few museums dedicated to contemporary art. I suspect that young Italians are hungry for this genre.
6. I, too, have solicited feedback from 1999 participants and have had 4 very positive responses and one fairly negative one.

Each individual artist has to evaluate the situation and make an informed decision. Simply slamming this show as a "for profit" and "vanity" show does not help.

robinetti2 - 02:31pm Feb 5, 2001 EST (#3270 of 3298)
Melanie- A slight correction to your post: The Armory Show (the one that started as the Gramercy Art Fair) is at Piers 88 & 90 (12th Ave. & 48th St.). The ADAA Art Show is at the Armory at Park & 67th. They are on at the same time and are both worthwhile events. The ADAA (Art Dealers' Assoc. of America) show is very blue-chip, comprised of very established dealers.
The Armory Show (at the piers) shows a wider variety of dealers including younger, more experimental galleries and has a lot of foreign dealers, particularly from Europe.

Re Mark Malgrem's post: I did not mean to slam the Florence event. I really don't know anything about it, only what I've read here. I agree that artists should gather all the available information and assess their own goals. I was just adding my 2 cents to the mix. From my perspective, I feel that a young artist (and I mean young career-wise, not necessarily in chronological age) might want to participate in entry-fee-required juried shows just to get some lines on his/her resumé, and to get some exhibition experience (but I'm talking about a fee to enter your work, like $25 that helps defray the cost of the show, not a fee of hundreds of dollars or more to participate), but that eventually you want to move away from those kind of shows and toward more
professional quality exhibitions. Only you can decide when that time comes for you. And, obviously, you have to decide what your goals are in exhibiting. There are many kinds of exhibition venues (Open Studio events, cafés, cooperative galleries, corporate lobbies, commercial galleries, etc.)and every artist needs to determine his/her own needs.

bennettmaz - 08:03pm Feb 5, 2001 EST (#3271 of 3298)
robinetti2 --- any suggestions for first exhibits? whether paid or not, as you say some lines on the resume would be good about now.

robinetti2 - 09:21pm Feb 5, 2001 EST (#3273 of 3298)
bennetmaz- As far as the entry-fee shows go, I would look for one that is at a reputable non- profit space with a juror whose work you know and respect, as an artist or a curator. That way, when it goes on your resumé, it can read "Juried by __________". By reputable non-profit space, I mean either a city or county-funded community center, an artist-run or cooperative gallery. Try to find out what kinds of shows the space puts on other than the juried show. Look at their track record (always a good idea before showing somewhere, even at the higher levels of the art world), find out what kind of work they have shown, if their shows ever get reviewed, if they are respected in the community.

If you apply, get accepted and are then asked to pay more money, I would say don't do it. That's generally not the kind of venue that's going to be beneficial.

Back to "a juror whose work you know" above: To get to know artists, curators and writers, start looking through art magazines. National mags include Art in America, Art News, Art Forum. Some international mags include Frieze & Flash Art. Some good regional mags: New Art Examiner in Chicago, Art Papers in Atlanta, Art Issues in Los Angeles. You don't have to subscribe, you can go to a good library once a month and peruse. If there is a professional art school in your area, usually you can walk in and look at mags in the library without showing school ID, as long as you don't try to check them out.

Best of luck. ps I'm leaving now; I'll check back in tomorrow.

bennettmaz - 06:27am Feb 6, 2001 EST (#3274 of 3298)
thanks robinetti2! i'm off to become the new jeff koons!! j.k. your info is a great start and i do appreciate your meaningful response.

markmalmgren - 09:06am Feb 8, 2001 EST (#3288 of 3298)
More on the Florence Biennale. In researching the above event I found the following information about John Spike, the founder of the Biennale.

He clearly is an art scholar. It is hard for me to believe that he has suddenly changed horses and become a money hungry promoter. While there may be some concerns re expenses and logistics with the event, those should be balanced against the rare opportunity for individual artists to present themselves and their work to an international audience.

John T. Spike Art Historian: John T. Spike is a noted historian of Italian art of the fifteenth through the eighteenth centuries. In 1979, he earned his PhD from Harvard University with a thesis devoted to Mattia Preti, the seventeenth-century painter known as Il Cavalier Calabrese.
In recognition of his authoritative studies on Preti, Spike has recently been named an honorary citizen by Taverna, the artist's birthplace. Since 1989, Dr. Spike has been General Editor of The Illustrated Bartsch, the multi-volume compendium of European prints executed before 1750. He is also the author of four of the more than ninety volumes published to date.

In the course of his career, Spike has organized many exhibitions of Italian art and has read lectures at important museum around the world, including the Pinacoteca Nazionale, Bologna; the Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence; the Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth; the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York; the Musée du Louvre, Paris; the Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart; and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. Dr. Spike serves as permanent consultant to the Museo Civico di Taverna, the Museo Civico di Urbania/Casteldurante, and the Cathedral Museum of Molina, Malta. He is the Director of the Biennale Internazionale dell'Arte Contemporanea in Florence.

Dr. Spike has written numerous articles and reviews on a wide range of topics for art historical journals, especially the Burlington Magazine, FMR, Il Giornale dell'Arte and Quadri e Sculture. He has recently published major books on the Florentine Renaissance: Masaccio (Abbeville, 1996) and Fra Angelico (Abbeville, 1997). His books on other Italian subjects include A Connoisseur's Guide to the Met (co-author, Paul Magriel; Random House, 1988) and Fairfield Porter : An American Classic (Harry N. Abrams, 1992).

Since 1989, John Spike has resided in Florence with his wife, Michele, and their son, Nicholas.

donar01 - 12:42pm Feb 8, 2001 EST (#3289 of 3298)
re Spike --- Did we mention Harvard? Here's a link to Masaccio , from which you can see a broader selection of his books by clicking on the author's name under the title at the top of the page. (believe me?)

artnose - 09:11pm Feb 9, 2001 EST (#3293 of 3298)
My last word and testament on the Florence Bienniel:

It is a "rare opportunity" for any aspiring artist to spend $1700.00 as an entry fee to show four small paintings along with over two thousand other paintings in a large hall with a fancy name. Any group show this size is the kiss of death of individuality. There is no value to show "internationally" unless you already have a track record as an American artist with a gallery affiliation, or a new discovery by a well known critic. You cannot build a career in Europe that has any following here in the USA.

Its a dead end as far as creating a career.In the entire history of American painting and exhibitions such as the Corcoran Biennial, and the Whitney Biennial no artist has ever been asked to pay a fee. No where in American do you pay an entry fee unless you are a racing horse, or planning on winning the world wide poker championship in Las Vegas. Sponsership is not the question, or the need to pay a fee. This is flagrant commercialism based on knowing there is a market for wannabe artists who have no understanding of the history of exhibitions of creative work. The Director of this Florence Biennial should be ashamed of himself for selling space on a wall to hang over 2000 paintings and calling it an"exhibition." This is mass hysteria at its best. Its pure vanity. Vanity, vanity is now sold everyday as a comestic enticement to the ignorant by these international hucksters . Get on line, they always can use another poor soul to sell "international glory "at any price for the most tranparent of values: pride and ignorance.Better you give to the Red Cross.

jtspike - 07:26am Feb 10, 2001 EST (#3295 of 3298)
re: selling space on a wall...and the Florence Biennale

Actually, the walls are rented from the Fortezza da Basso, which owns them. The first 100 artists' shares go entirely to paying the rent on Florence's most prestigious exhibition space, a Renaissance fortress. And that's before putting up the walls or switching on the lights. 40,000 people attend and it's a fact (but only for those who believe in art) that good work stands out and artists make many, many contacts, as several have already said in these columns. One art critic compared the effect to the Paris Salons...Delacroix emerged, Cazes sank back.

re vanity. To say that investment in one's own career is vanity...I can't think how to respond. When the Sensation artists rented a South London warehouse to show their work and pooled their money to print a catalogue, was that vain? Artists have to show, I'd have thought. It would be nice if some multi-national corporation agreed to write a blank check to bring to Florence every talented career artist who desired to show, but until that day this show gives artists the chance to take matters into their own hands.

The Italian state gives $10,000,000 to the Venice Biennale and then charges rent on the national pavillions. In recent years, only one USA artist has been chosen at a time. I leave you to figure out the odds. Venice is great, but after the opening, everybody goes home. It's like an Olympics where the winners are pre-announced as a convenience to the pr department. Over ten intense days, the artists of the Florence biennale interact with Florentines, colleagues, critics and a huge international audience with nothing at their backs but their own work, take it or leave it. There are concerts, collateral shows, excursions and the Uffizi.

There is a tough, distinguished international Jury. To take a prize you have say something that Veronika Birke (Vienna), Barbara Rose, Teresa Coco Ortega (Valladolid), David Rubin (New Orleans) and I can agree on. And the Florence biennale is growing because the artists like it and talk about it.

re: being ashamed. That's a forceful remark. Artnose is commenting ex cathedra and pseudonymously on something he has never seen. I've seen the Biennale, I'm sticking with it, and I'm proud to sign my name to it.

kg7er - 03:33am Feb 15, 2001 EST (#3330 of 3334)
Manid: So how are the book sales going? Better than my art sales, I hope. I was invited to participate in the Potato Creek, SD, Biennale next year, so that may give my non-career a much-needed booster shot. At $49, the Potato Creek affair is something even I can afford.

Do they have a Biennale for art books? Ronski

crrobbin - 04:19pm Feb 22, 2001 EST (#3526 of 3528)
Florence Biennale - an eyewitness account

I was asked to be a member of the scientific committee in the summer of 1998. My initial excitement over being selected to be on the committee was tempered when I read the fine points of the contract, which said that artists would have to pay their own way. I decided to proceed with nominations of artists because I trust John Spike's professionalism and I felt that I should give the artists the chance to make up their own mind.

I considered hundreds of artists, some without gallery affiliation, and many with gallery representation in San Francisco and Seattle. Of my selections, the artists that chose to participate in the show reflected the same mix of artists: early in their careers, and well established artists.

I attended the exhibition to see how it would come off and to judge for myself whether putting my reputation on the line was worth it. As one might expect, the art at the exhibition was a mixture of incredibly strong works, good works and some works that were not up to the standard.

It is difficult in a new venture to predict how successful the venture will be and in what way. It turned out that the artists who accompanied their works to the exhibition and stayed the week at the exhibition profited enormously. Many of the artists who did this came away with sales of works and exhibitions in a variety of foreign countries. Most of this was accomplished through the artists own efforts at networking with other artists at the show. These artists were deeply appreciative to me for nominating them to the Biennale and felt it represented a turning point in their careers.

The artists who sent works but did not attend the exhibition profited too. They also brought their works before new audiences of critics, dealers, collectors and the public. Especially important was the exposure to the jury, made up of several individuals who represent important collections. Any artist should jump at the chance to show their works to someone like Veronika Birke. (If you are not familiar with her name, let me just say she has a very high position in one of the world's best collection of works on paper, and who do you think makes puchasing suggestions for the collection?!!!)

In the end, I am supportive of the Florence Biennale. I think it has the possibility of becoming a very significant show, one that provides exposure to new audiences, and provides camaraderie and networking possibilities to artists. For the viewer, the inclusionary nature of the exhibition create a unique, rich, true and complex tapestry of works of art being produced by artists in and outside the world's main art centers- an endeavor we should all support.

Success stories of those who participated: (that I am aware of) an article on emerging artists in Arts and Antiques - that resulted in sales of all of the works in the article and more, another had all of her works in the exhibition purchased by a New York designer, another had several of his works purchased by a top Italian collector. I am sure there are many more, of which I have no knowledge.

p.s. The compensation I received for finding the artists for the Biennale just about covered my phone bills to galleries and artists, and maybe a tank of gas to drive to San Francisco to look at works. It in no way compensated me for my time, or for any of my trip to Seattle to search out  artists there.

arthead3d - 12:07am Mar 1, 2001 EST (#3599 of 3619)
Hey Giz, I was just responding to your floating bowler hats line. Technology always affects the art that comes after. Television and acrylic paints are both technologies that have had a major impact on art.

I believe Magritte would have loved working on a computer with all the amazing potential it contains. You are right in assuming the hurried pace of most people today, few will pause even long enough to smell the roses. Art is not an elitist occurance, but an aquired taste available to all who are willing to absorb what it has to give. Life is about living and art is a life enhancing experience.

Work like you don't need the money. Love like it's never going to hurt. Dance like nobody's watching.

giznad2 - 12:16am Mar 1, 2001 EST (#3600 of 3619)
my faith is restored arthead!

My statement about "floating things and bowler hats" is my experience so far with most digital art. That does not mean it shall always be the same. And it is limited to my experience. I expect my experience to expand as practically all of the 25,000 or so commercial photographers in the US are experimenting with Photoshop and other programs let alone countless art directors, designers, illustrators, professional and amateur artists. The opportunities to see high quality digital art is also expanding to include museums and galleries as you mentioned.

My own hands on experience with this software has been limited to retouching scans, color correction, graphic design projects, and other technical applications. I use the computer to alter my scanned in sketches quickly. This saves a tremendous amount of time and allows me to see  possibilities that I may not have seen before. I have, of course, played at painting digitally. It just doesn't excite me.

I agree with the concept that it is wrong to limit understanding. And I truly believe that it does not matter how an image is made; that the image must stand on its own.

You used the words "emerging with appropriation" in your first response to me. I am not sure what you mean. Are you speaking of images created for a specific use? Or are you speaking of art which appropriates images elsewhere as an element in the final piece?

I appreciate your feedback and have visited IDAA's website. There are surely some conceptually strong images in the collection. I want to congratulate you and all the participants. It must have been an enormous undertaking requiring strong beliefs and lots of passion. Ian Summers

marquardt16 - 10:26am Mar 1, 2001 EST (#3603 of 3619)
Sometimes, a person can be declared a "national treasure " in Japan, after a lifetime of superlative accomplishment , on individual artistic merit profoundly enlightened ! -Mark

donar01 - 01:05pm Mar 1, 2001 EST (#3604 of 3619)
experimenting with Photoshop <
just as you say ---

It is horrifying isn't it? Those not familiar with Adobe and it's mathematical codification of the artistic skill base might not know you can 'filter' a photograph into a simulation of a dozen mediums on an unlimited number of surface textures with a dozen traditional techniques in a variety of established styles,some of which comes out quite convincing. Then you have an equivalent range of technical & mathematical filters which can perform miracles too wonderful to summarize here.

Steve, how do your jurors decide the level of skill involved in selecting an effect and applying it to an appropriated image? Is it based on dpi of the final output?

iansummers - 02:42pm Mar 1, 2001 EST (#3605 of 3619)
>you can 'filter' a photograph into a simulation of a dozen mediums on an unlimited number of surface textures with a dozen traditional techniques in a variety of established styles,some of which comes out quite convincing.<<
Yep! Did you ever get to use Photoshop's Midas Touch filter that turns a mediocre image into gold? ;~) Photoshop can greatly enhance and expand vision when in the hands of an artist. Ian Summers

giz-art - 12:18am Mar 2, 2001 EST (#3610 of 3619)
Everything is happening on the board at once and NYT's decides to deny me access - sheeez!

Donar: - in regards to assessing the technical skill of an image - In simple terms, it is subjective and limited by the jurors own experience. However, I was more than satisfied that the collective experience presented by our jurors to evaluate a cross section of digital styles were adequate and "sympathetic" in their knowledge, dedication and process. The judging criteria was not limited to technical process alone. Jurors had to consider numerous elements in the scoring process that would provide a fair and balanced result - but having said that, you cannot escape personal bias an individual may feel about a particular work. I think the results from the IDAA have reflected a positive outcome towards promoting digital art. There were the usual logistical issues of coordinating artists, jurors and sponsors on an international scale! GIZ-ART

jtspike - 03:52am Mar 2, 2001 EST (#3614 of 3619)
Thanks for the link, but please don't confuse Nato art with Natoarts, one of the most brilliant conceptual art projects ever launched. I suggest that digital artists have a look at it too.

Technique is a language; there are masterpieces in every technique and every language. Masterpieces -- aka memorable works of art -- are determined by the quality of the ideas they impart. Back to the literary model: superior technique means more tools at hand, but a vast vocabulary does not mean a book worth reading. If Caravaggio were interesting because he was 'realistic and painted dark shadows', Theodore Ribot and a thousand French academics of the 19th century would be ranked right up there with him. If anything, they were more realistic than Caravaggio, so that can't be the key, no matter what you heard in Art History 101.

arthead3d - 05:19am Mar 2, 2001 EST (#3615 of 3619)
I was confused, thanks. NATO|arts

NATOarts is an international arts organization which seeks to promote global security and stability through the exhibition of works of conceptual art. It is governed by a nineteen-member board of directors, with representation from each of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization member states.

NATOarts was founded on April 4th, 1999, by unanimous motion of the North Atlantic Committee (NAC 79:5C, Article three). As an organization operating under article twenty-three of the United Nations 1971 Oslo accord, NATOarts is not affiliated with any sovereign state, but instead is governed by a board of directors subject to international law.

NATOarts accepts submissions of works of art in all media from artists in any stage of their careers; the only requirement is that submissions deal with issues relevant to international security and stability.

markmalmgren - 07:05am Mar 2, 2001 EST (#3616 of 3619)
John Spike made two interesting comments:

Masterpieces -- aka memorable works of art -- are determined by the quality of the ideas they impart.

superior technique means more tools at hand, but a vast vocabulary does not mean a book worth reading.

I'm not an art historian or art scholar but in my understanding and experience, every person makes a very quick judgment whether he or she likes a particular work or art and then that opinion does not change much, if at all. If that is correct, then something is going on that is beyond the normal rational thought process. It is something intuitive and emotional that emanates from the object to the observer.

The two best definitions of art that I have come across are:
art is soul, materialized
art is attitude

It is as if the artist "imparts" a non physical element into the work. And if the artist is successful, that element resonates with many observers. Technique is useful, but it is not the element that makes art art.

pgunkel1 - 08:20am Mar 2, 2001 EST (#3617 of 3619)
Well, now we know what happened to all that ancient statuary in our museums — from Greece, Egypt, etc — that has mysteriously lost a nose, face, head, or limb! Idols were being smashed by bigoted or anxious simpletons in the ages between, as a Warfare With the Imaginary that scholars conceptually overlooked.

At bottom, I suppose, nothing is more fearful to the brain than the visage of another human being who really mirrors one’s own bedeviling self. — Patrick Gunkel


• “Afghans Smash Ancient Statues, Defy World Appeals”
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) — The radical Taliban movement began smashing all statues from Afghanistan (news - web sites)’s rich cultural past Thursday, turning its back on urgent international appeals to save the ancient artifacts.

In Kabul, Mullah Qudratullah Jamal, the ruling Taliban’s information and culture minister, said centers where the campaign had been unleashed included Bamiyan Province -- site of two soaring statues of the Buddha hewn from a solid cliff that are the most famous relics of Afghanistan’s history. “All statues will be destroyed,” he told reporters. “Whatever means of destruction are needed to demolish the statues will be used.” “The work began early during the day. All of the statues are to be smashed. This also covers the idols in Bamiyan,” he said.

jtspike - 09:33am Mar 2, 2001 EST (#3618 of 3619)
to — Malmgren and Gunkel

your good observations are complementary...they weren't and aren't smashing statues in protest to the way they're carved.

Next time you go to the museum, have a look at the eyes on the most forceful portraits -- they often show sign of having been scratched by passing lunatics (not necessarily art critics) who couldn't bear being stared at.

On the other hand, Clement Greenberg had the colors stripped off of David Smith's sculptures, because that fit better with CG's reading of DS.

donar01 - 02:58pm Mar 2, 2001 EST (#3620 of 3620)
in the name of g*d ---

Thanks for your sincere and satisfying reply, G*Z, re the juror process. It seems like a bubble sort algorithm sometimes! You erudite types are the GREATEST.

Hopingly our august hosts will drop the free ad for Ms Cox soon, but since it's there I've gotta blab. I understand that there is a sedir prayer which normally asks the blessing of being able to distinguish the holy from the profane. If sedir falls on sabbath then the distinction is between holy and holy.

Dang ol' second commandment, man, forbids any ol' graven image...

markmalmgren - 07:50am Mar 12, 2001 EST (#3655 of 3655)

Last week I invited 125 people (by email) to attend a show/sale of my work at my house on St. Patrick's day (this coming Saturday). In addition, a had 75 flyers printed that my local gallery will distribute. I hope to have 25-30 people show up.

I am going to have over 135 of my paintings distributed around the house, some hung, some just propped against the floorboards. The vast majority (100) are 16 x 20 inch canvasses that I usually do in lieu of a sketchbook. The canvasses only cost $3. These will be priced at $75 each.

In the invitation, I told everyone about the Florence Biennale and I also said that the purpose of the show was to raise funds to attend. The people are mostly friends and they all know that I don't need the money to go. But, so far, the general reaction has been one of support and enthusiasm.

I'll let you know next week if that support and enthusiasm translates into sales. Has anyone else here ever done anything similar? Results?