Finally some hard stats on women in the art world... basically 70% of represented artists are men
. I'm uncertain about how those stats bear out in Portland but it is definitely true that men generally get statistically more representation in awards and group shows (Portland2014 being just another example
, as is the far more consequential Whitney Biennial
). Why is this? I think it is generally the way women are penalized for being ambitious and or promoting themselves, whereas men are encouraged. It also comes down to complicated interpersonal politics (who has kids, who doesn't, who teaches with whom, a cultural preoccupation focus on the events in a woman's life rather than the work) that are almost always more loaded for women. In general, the dudes are simply less complicated even though to my eyes a clear majority of the strong to excellent artists in a place like Portland are women.
Check out this tiny self portrait Caravaggio snuck into
one of his most famous works. See?
Larry Sultan and Mike Mandel's altered billboards
Seattle buys some Ai Weiwei baubles
Namita Wiggers on Craft in the Brooklyn Rail
. First of all, the term accidental primitivism doesn't work, its terrible jargon. There is nothing "accidental" about utilizing a centuries old tradition, and it is a form of technology so "primitive" doesnt work either. In general the real problem now is craft's Masada complex, feeling like it has something to prove while at the same time the humble brag of crafting by hand is presented in such a passive aggressive way it suffocates itself. No, art and craft are not the same and its very good she sees this. Craft is a tool of civilization, Art (particularly the contemporary variety)is in many ways a manifestation of its philosophy and concerns. They aren't the same and requiring them to always be coupled sells both short in a forced marriage. Donald Judd was incredibly smart for separating the art and craft through delegation
, though he understood how important they were to each other's intrinsic necessities. I prefer a this kind of nuanced and compartmentalized approach. Overall, there is something insecure about always being an evangelist for the value of something in all cases that doesn't help one's argument. For both visual art and craft one major problem locally
is the way shows are often presented as; cramped, overstuffed, clunky and somehow lacking confidence. There are numerous examples up now and readers you can look forward to my next The Score series of reviews to highlight this issue again. Basically, belief and self confidence in what one does becomes the basis of what one does... if it is presented/hung poorly all the words in the world can't undo the underlying problem that looks uncommitted, distracted and worst of all lacking self respect. I reiterate this isn't a craft or contemporary art problem, it is a hoarder's kind of shielded insecurity. Anything can become a crutch if it leaned on too much... be it; craft, conceptual, academic, indie, DIY, identity, political, Abstract Expressionism, Pop or Minimalism, new media, Digital or "MFA outsider art" if it is just a kind of style rather than a more supple process with great integrity. It requires a case by case analysis and a sense of discovery within the work.
The link to the stats of represented artists is pointing to the Ai Weiwei article. Fix please? Thank you! I appreciate your calling attention to the stats.
*(note from admin... it is fixed, must have gotten garbled in one of the many later updates)