Boo Hoo! ….a brief note on streaming/recording…..
Ok my attempts at recording the stream are proving a bit gremliny – well worse than that – An Xiao’s event this Saturday which I set to record had in total a whole 35 minutes of interrupted stream, virtually half – I have listened to it again but I am afraid I missed too much of the discussion to get the whole picture.
I will have a brief say on what I did get; but I fear that the main points having been lost and the essence is really in being there at the time.
What I did pick up on was extremely interesting though
So, the blurb for the event;
Background, Identity and the Straight White Male – (Suggested by An Xiao ) As William Powhida wrote, “The complexion of the art world is a lighter shade of pale, and despite the Whitney Biennial’s gender parity all is not well in the market.” Artist An Xiao would like to invite an open table discussion about how artists’ identities and backgrounds influence the perception, reception and display of their work. How do factors like perceived race, gender, age, socioeconomic status and sexual orientation affect our experience of the art world? To what extent *should* an artist’s background be considered? We welcome those of all backgrounds with open arms to talk about your art, which could be worth making the implicit explicit. This panel will be moderated by writer Joanne McNeil.
One guy’s talk on his public art ‘installations’; Hector Canonge sounded really like the sort of stuff you would see and then do a double take on because it made you think. He did one piece of work at an intersection of road and placed directional messages on billboards and also neon, I think, close approximations of signs that would normally be seen in that space only with different messages; things like ‘ladies in intimate system’ and ‘huge males only’. As he called them; messages of identity or constructions of identity.
The artists then gathered for a mini talk, James Kalm being one Raghava KK, and Hector Canonge. They did a Q&A and one of the questions resonated with me about the survival value of name tags or identity tags like gender, race and sexual orientation. The gist being that you cannot help but be nuances of these but art in itself has to do with survival of you as a thinker and a person, retaining identity of everything about yourself.
Then the question ‘so does the straight white male have it all?’ Yes!! was James Kalms’ reply but he echoed that as artists he sees the art world as a tribe and you choose to belong as an artist; it reflects society in general (although he didn’t touch on artists who found it relatively easy to pursue or join that world) so straight white male balanced with black, or gay or whatever.
Another question was raised about audience and artists performing or making their work because they would be appealing to that. This was dismissed as a no, because the work comes first and then you see who is interested, although a later question did reveal that around the world there are differences in perceptions of art ‘western’ and ‘eastern’ for example and those perceptions are clearly different – but the artist cannot manipulate that fact – they do their work because they are absorbed in that culture and reflect the society they live in etc., absorbing different levels of their current environment and retaining others from their previous (an immigrant for example), a constant mix.
James Kalm pointed out that obvious things like a name is an actual tag or reference to your background and that nobody knew who he was at first so his name didn’t matter and as he produced for the art world and not a public audience, as it were, so the work has always come before the name (albeit his pseudonym). Hector Canonge also mentioned that as his first name was Hector – being named after the doctor who was present at his birth – this had proved a cultural blip for him if you like, because when exhibiting for Hispanic events – he is told but you’re name isn’t Hispanic enough!.
One question did touch on the more obvious thing of what I would call compliant art, that of dressing up your art to follow the zeitgeist, and this covers a whole variety of areas including gender, cultural background, and survival ie; the pressure to perform to or comply with the zeitgeist.
So the main thread running through this talk culminated with, as artists should you show you’re culture, gender, etc in your work and through your artist persona.
Nuances abounded but all related to a mix of factors; the main one being I am an artist first.
This rang true with me. A writer mentioned the other day in an unrelated matter that she is a writer first but she can’t help being female so her work will be lit by that but she is not consciously writing about being female. The same sentiments also echoed at a talk I went to at the Hay a couple of years ago by Tariq Ramadan, when he was promoting his book he mentioned ; I am a muslim, I am a vegetarian, I am a writer, I am Professor of Oriental studies at Oxford Uni, I bring many things to the table, and, if literally at a dinner with friends someone asks about me, my answer would be the appropriate ‘bit’ of me, a vegetarian perhaps or even a writer but no one specific of those elements predominantly being ‘who I am’.
More in a couple of days
Looking out for ;
Man Bartlett, Wednesday and Thursday (I’ve got this balloon thing going on!)
Magda Sawon’s discussion Wednesday
Market U Thursday
Labor Class Friday
And all day Saturday!
The System Doesn’t Work
will try and do more cos is a one off!
live stream and whole schedule
Hope I get to all the #class !!