October 30, 2009

Warhol stung by rejection, too?

Category: artifizzartifizz admin @ 6:14 pm
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(Thanks to  “Letters of Note” for bringing this letter to light.)

MoMA rejection of Warhol's drawing "Shoe"

MoMA rejection of Warhol's drawing "Shoe"

The art establishment — the nouveau art establishment, New York’s MoMA — rejected Warhol. In 1956 — the same year Jackson Pollock was given a memorial retrospective exhibition at MoMA. Any surprise, really? It’s ironic in hindsight, of course, and worth reporting if for no other reason than to remind aspiring artists that those we now hold in high esteem weren’t always held so high; were not instantly recognized as extraordinary. Let’s not even consider consensus on genius in the art field — such recognition will never be universal or permanent. One artist proclaimed genius by some today will be reviled by many tomorrow. Or, vice versa. Warhol is one of them, Basquiat is another; there’s Pollock, the derisively named Impressionists, on and on: reviled at first, worshipped later, then torn down again as befits the zeitgeist of the moment.

I know these are the words of a dilettante neophyte, but if well-informed critics so often prognosticate inaccurately, how does one judge contemporary art? The same way we judge established art when we see it for the first time: by the intensity of the delight or despair,  rage or joy the work provokes. Successful art resonates similarly to many viewers over a long period of time. A common reaction, over and over, fixes the artwork in the collective memory; establishes it. This despite the harsh malign of the haters, the self-serving, the enemies of the new, the inevitable friction impeding progress. How does one judge contemporary art? If you ask me, I’d say: ignore the critics, run in the opposite direction of the herd, and focus on that enveloping wave of emotion when you grant a creation your undivided attention.

October 28, 2009

Who are you, artifizz?

Category: artifizzartifizz admin @ 12:16 pm

Visitors must wonder, who is this artifizz?

Well, here’s the short-ish version (five minutes!):

This is mainly a one man show. In the past, I made a living writing software for the auto industry in Detroit — that’s faded a bit. As a better alternative, I decided to devote some time to work that might make the world a better place.

Art is food for the soul; it’s essential and we’re underfed. Art is grossly under funded and underexposed in the U.S. — Americans don’t give artists and artisans their due. Those who conger up beauty with their bare hands should be cherished. Instead, we too often scoff at hand-crafted creations and choose, instead, mass-produced, plastic junk. Junk that disappoints almost the moment the wrapping comes off. Consumers need to know they can find art and craft works — things that last while honoring our sense of aesthetics — at modest prices. So, I hope my part will be to offer a little more exposure and a little more prosperity to artists and artisans. After all, they make life a lot more live-able for the rest of us.

I know artifizz isn’t the next Google — it won’t make billions, or even millions — and I know there’s competition. But I think artifizz will bring something fresh to the online art and artisan crafts world: a user-driven central location, a clearinghouse for art news, events, opinions, trends and inspiration; and lots of well-executed art and craft work, of course.

The membership will be global, but the focus will be local. When you log in, the site will remember the location you chose, and show you content specifically from that location: artists/artisans, galleries, art fairs, and museums — and all of their events, blogs, and forum topics. You can even see maps that show the locations of our artists, artisans, and organizations  so you can plan visits. And, you can instantly zoom into different regions, or zoom out and see the global view.

For would be members, be assured that we will not show egregiously bad material on artifizz (I hope to have museums listed, and their boards will go nuts if material on the site is offensive or tasteless) — so, your work won’t appear amidst truly foul neighbors. On the other hand, we’ll give careful consideration before rejecting anyone’s work. I know rejection sucks — I do some writing myself, so I speak from experience — and I wouldn’t turn anyone away without a second opinion. Also, if you decide you really hate the work on artifizz and don’t want to be a part of it anymore, you can always remove your pages — there is a delete option.

Finally, full disclosure: we do charge a commission on works that are sold using our shopping cart feature. The commission, 10 percent, is modest by standards of art galleries, which often charge between 20 and 50 percent. We also don’t expect huge volumes of works to be sold (we think artists will benefit from exposure on our site, and go on to make sales locally and through galleries and fairs), and most items on the site will sell for under $1,000. This will, I expect, translate into a modest bit of revenue that I hope will justify the time spent coding and maintaining the sales features. Of course, you can show works on artifizz and label them “Sold,” “Not for sale,” “Contact Us,” or just bump up the price to cover the commission and you still get the essential exposure every artist or artisan requires to become self-sustaining.

And that brings me to the expected source for the remainder of the revenue necessary to keep this site alive: exposure. We offer artists and artisans the option of “featuring” their work or event on the home page, and on the artifizz photo and video pages. Featuring works and events permits a big bump in exposure for a modest cost: (US)$4 for a regional feature, (US)$7 for regional and global combined, per week. Members can show their work or events on the home page — either in their region, or globally — whenever they think its a good time to bump up traffic to their pages.

We don’t charge for image, video, or audio uploads, and we don’t limit their size. And we offer “Sharing” links on artist/artisan, gallery, museum and art fair works and events pages, so you and your friends can attract eyeballs to your pages by adding links on various sharing sites such as Facebook, Twitter, DiggIt, etc. without paying artifizz a dime.

I hope you’ll give artifizz a chance, and work with me to grow this site into the art nexus this planet cries out for.

Thanks for your indulgence!

Jim Welke

founder & admin


October 27, 2009

“Capitol Reef” mural in Utah’s Supreme Court

Category: paintingartifizz admin @ 3:15 pm

Sean P. Means, writing for the “Salt Lake Tribune” outlines the controversy that surrounded an $80,000 publicly funded mural painted in Utah’s Supreme Court chambers by V. Douglas Snow in 1998. After some to-ing and fro-ing,  a curtain is used to conceal the mural when the court is in session.

Here’s a shot borrowed from Mr. Means’s blog: Culture Vulture

Capitol Reef: mural by V. Douglas Snow, 1998 (source: Culture Vulture)

Capitol Reef: mural by V. Douglas Snow, 1998 (source: Culture Vulture)

Read the article here: Culture Vulture: The art cover-up that wasn’t

The “Capitol Reef” mural controversy reminds me of Diego Rivera’s “Detroit Industry” in the Detroit Institute of Arts (a private enterprise). It was commissioned by Edsel Ford in 1932 and prompted shrill outcries from the museum board — among other things, Lenin appears in the mural. Now it’s considered “the finest example of Mexican muralist work in the United States” by the museum. Have a look:

Detroit Industry: mural by Diego Rivera (1932)

Detroit Industry: mural by Diego Rivera, 1932 (source: Detroit Institute of Arts)

Still, with their permanence, murals seem like a questionable choice for publicly sponsored artwork. It’s a certainty that the work’s popularity will wax and wane over time, and during the wane times, the municipality is stuck with the work in prominent view. Would not paintings, sculptures, or other portable work make more sense in public places, and leave muralists to work for more appreciative audiences in private spaces?

Municipalities would retain control of public spaces, and, and worst case, the municipality could sell the work (probably at a loss, and then years later will rue the day if the work skyrockets in value).

October 6, 2009

Got an opinion?

Category: Artartifizz admin @ 9:22 am
Tags: ,

We encourage you to practice the art of the essay here — classic syllogisms and all.

Carefully formulated ideas are appreciated. Grammar and punctuation a plus, but not demanded.

Topics? How about the purpose of art?

Don’t forget to select a category before you “Publish” your essay. The category check boxes are on the right side of the “Post” form.


October 2, 2009


Category: textilesartifizz admin @ 12:33 pm

ideas & opinions about textiles…


Category: printingartifizz admin @ 12:33 pm

ideas & opinions about printing…


Category: installationartifizz admin @ 12:32 pm

opinions and ideas about installations…


Category: ceramicsartifizz admin @ 12:31 pm

reflections on ceramics go here…