Friday, May 27, 2016

Small thoughts, growing larger

As I was reading The Art World Demystified, I kept gasping and thinking "Oh, I could never do that!" That thought ran through my mind almost as soon as I started reading. And then I thought, "Pay attention to when you think that!  That just may be the very thing you need to pay attention to."

And, so, I am paying attention. I am a polite, sometimes self-effacing feminist 1950's chick. While I was trained up to be a well educated professional of some kind, the role models were limited by the times: teacher, nurse, housewife.  Not explorer, breadwinner, CEO or inventor. Even in the late 1970's I remember a female friend who did not make partner in the accounting firm because women were not offered partnerships.

I am almost 66 and while I will still be polite, I am going to start asking for what I need and may even deserve (gulp!  Really?) Actually the asking has begun. I did not get a response, but I asked.  That was the big step.  It took me a couple of days of dithering and writing and re-writing the bold (for me) letter. It felt so good to put it in the mail.  It was a small thing, but it was a step.

SO, what ideas are growing larger?

I am seeking venues for my installations (Her)Suit , the Ophelia Project and Eros and Thanatos.  I actually do this all the time.  But the change is in how I am approaching the research.  It is time to reduce the number of "pay for play" competitions and juried shows on my resume.  Danielle is researching commercial galleries and I am researching college and university galleries and area museums in drivable distances.

I am looking for a temporary space to hang (Her)Suit so I can both show it locally and shoot some good photographs and videos for future proposals.   I have 2 recommendations.  Do you have any ideas?

I am reconsidering how the artworld has worked for years.  I know that the artist/dealer relationship has changed markedly. I know that while artists still garner respect through representation by highly respected galleries,  but alternative ways of exhibiting work are becoming increasingly important. Pop-ups, artist-run spaces, community actions...

I am also looking at how art is funded. Self funding and self representation have worked pretty well for me up until now.  However, the work is becoming more and more complex and more and more expensive to accomplish.  I am looking at grants, patrons, foundations, name it, I'm considering it.

Meanwhile, I need to keep making new work. So, onward, ever onward.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Thinking about a lot these days...

Art-A-Whirl 2016 is finished.  It is a two and a half day extravaganza of art-looking, eating, drinking and art-shopping.  It began 21 years ago as a studio crawl.  It has grown into the largest studio crawl in the nation, I hear. It has become bloated, perhaps.  Every inch of available space outside the rented studios appears to be rented out to artists who do not work in the buildings year round.  As a result it is more like a huge, unjuried art fair.  There is artwork of all stripes and all qualities, from beginner to very advanced.  There are greeting cards, suncatchers, children's artwork and awe inspiring monumental art.  It is truly a mixed bag.

I have exhibited three times now, I think.  Twice in the Northrup King Building and, this year, in the Grainbelt Bottling House Building.  I participate when my work has required renting a larger studio than my home studio.  As a gallery/museum artist, Art a Whirl is not a big sales event for me.   But, it still is valuable.  My goals were to show the new body of work and to collect information. And I was pleased with the results.

So, here is what I am thinking about beyond the last couple of days:

I will be reporting here on how I am going about re-booting my art career.  I have been an exhibiting artist for the better part of 40 years, starting in art fairs with pottery and moving on to artists books and installations in galleries and collections.  190 exhibitions, 30 of the solo!  Most of my artists books have gone into collections.  There are still a few hanging around the studio that will go out to Denver this week to join a wonderful project that takes the books out to underserved communities.

I still work in installations and longterm projects that accumulate momentum and meaning over time. These are harder to place.  I have always been a self-represented artist...whatever that means!  I do show in galleries across the US, but I am my own agent.  It has been up to me to get my work placed.

Currently I am reading the books and watching the Youtube videos by Brainard Carey, garnering ideas for moving forward as an independent artist. Tonight I will be starting an online class with Creative Capital, taught by Sharon Louden, an author I have really enjoyed reading.

I invite you to follow along with me and participate in the brainstorming ahead.  Stay tuned.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

New York exposure

I Dwell in Impossibility #14
Even as I continue to write unsuccessful grant applications (perhaps some will be successful again one day) and dye wool for Shepherd's Harvest Festival and shrinkwrap artwork for Art-A-Whirl, I keep sending show proposals and competition entries.
This week I heard from 2 New York the affirmative!  Hooray!

I Dwell in Impossibility #14 , a collaboration with my son John Hensel, will be showing at the venerable Ceres Gallery.  I have wanted to show there ever since I heard about them more than 20 years ago.  The 12th annual National Juried Exhibition has given me the opportunity.

Ceres Gallery
547 W. 27th St. suite 201
New York, NY 10001

Juror: Carmen Hermo, Assistant Curator for Collections, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
May 24 2016 thru Jun 18 2016
opening reception  May 26, 6-8
My Mother, Myself
My Mother, Myself, a digital embroidery, will be exhibited at the First Street Gallery, in their National Juried Exhibition,

National Juried Exhibition
June 23-July 16, 2016
opening reception June 23, 6-8pm

526 West 26th St. Suite 209, 
New York 

The juror, Lori Bookstein, viewed 2,200 works in curating this exhibition.  Cool!

Competitions are not necessarily great career builders, but, hey!  It gets the work seen so it can begin to tell its story.

If you are in the New York area...Please go see the shows!  I'll be slaving away in the studio out here in Minnesota while you party for me;-)