Tag: Class

The Critics Come to Hashtag Class

The Critic’s Panel
Please join Martha Schweneder, Jonathan T.D. Neil, Thomas Micchelli, and Christian Viveros-Faune to discuss the role of art criticism in relation to the art market.  We hope our central thesis “Art is luxury commodity for the wealthy that limits access to ownership, understanding, and participation…”  will function more as a question and a departure point for our participating critics.

Oh dear ! on the face of it this sounds very dodgy: an erstwhile blogger (me) who is an artist (me) doing a review of critics; really, really informed and influential (them).

But from the viewpoint of an unknown artist and ‘blogger’ (what’s in a name), with a relatively informed and critical eye, I can only come to this discussion from that angle.


Firstly though, I will mention one small person’s informed view of the general proceedings of the hashtag project discussions…. ‘when does the art part start?’. Indeed less words more art! couldn’t have put it better myself. But in the spirit of us grown-up’s preoccupation with debate, just a few more words…….

A note on the atmosphere of (all) the hashtag discussions so far, in that, they are by the nature of the Winkleman gallery space, quite cosy, the flow of debate is also relaxed but switched on (in general) and sometimes there is a tendency to ‘forget’ about the webcam in the corner, although not to the incoming tweets and messages from the wider audience.

This particular dialogue lasted for 3 hours, people certainly had things to say, no doubt about it, and quite a cross- range of points too.


The first comment was on the lines of, when at a cocktail party I don’t automatically introduce myself as an art critic. Hmmmm can’t help you their mate, I’ve got enough on my plate introducing myself as an artist.


Ustream still of the Critics debate

One that unanimously reverberated though, was similar in kind to that being bandied about by some journalists at the moment; the internet and dodgy content, money for informed work and defending the status quo (publications) or their source of bread and butter.

And although using terms like ‘clouds’ and the like there did seem to be a bit of a slipper and pipe attitude with references to the free for all on the internet (no doubt) and things like why should I be up for all that blogging, social media interwebbing stuff – I’ve got enough going on being a freelancer (excuse me shouldn’t that be more of a reason to?).

But was this more of a denial? that online work is significant in its presence if not in its authenticity (yet).Basically that there is a paradigm shift going on and they didn’t seem to want to recognise the fact.


Maybe I misunderstood? because I still can’t believe people – especially in the business of words and critic(al) information (as it seems, only in the arts comes with added power ) haven’t moved with this online information thought, even if it is fairly scary – bit like King Canute trying to hold back the tide.


Still, shrugging my disbelief aside I listened to other thoughts on the perceived ‘power’ of the critic their ability to build up and defame or change the way an artist works, in general shape the historical zietgiest as it happens.

Most were very concerned and defensive that as critics they had a responsibility to history and also to their moral code of ensuring impartiality and detachment even when reviewing friends or people they had an affiliation or affection with. I did notice a few tweets recognising ‘laughter at the thought of ethics and art’.

One genuinely helpful comment, that tried to set aside the meaning of a critic from (just) someone with an opinion, used the word ‘why’, on the lines of…. “as a critic I am passionate, I write about the work I am convinced about by being positive but you have to have or define your base line to say why you think X is bad and Y is good; why there is difference.”

In my book that is the whole point of having an opinion, not a gut feeling per se but the why.

Money was never far away, in fact I don’t think there was any one particular point in the whole discussion which didn’t give a nod to some manifestation of that; not being paid enough (obviously), and one that stood out with its deflector stance; as collectors being the gatekeepers of the art world.

Indeed, not critics then.


A lot more points were raised in detail and I shall be popping back and forth from this in relevant posts over the next few weeks.

But as the elongated discussion drew to a close. Being very informative, albeit philosophically, rather than in an actual hammering out of possible changes, a voice was raised …saying something like bloggers crave attention. Ouch!,  I read something similar by a writer the other week.

True not everyone is a writer, nor informed, but the general feel of that argument seems a poor attempt at stemming a tide (again) defensive and not very focused.

The line of thought then went on to discuss how the demand for popularising art is too broad – that there has to be a place for ‘high art’ or the kind of art that no one knows anything about, meaning some art is so inscrutable there is no translation. Even though some would want or desire it to be layman-ised and made accessible, really, connoisseurship and popularism don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Absolutely, but I was still picking up on, this vague or rather useful way of saying I’m in a (relatively) comfy place here and the need to defend it .

And in a different part of the creative globe this week Andrew Lloyd Weber offered similar defensive utterances on his new musical which has been berated by bloggers. Some of whom although termed bloggers are not necessarily joe public sat in the box room, but quite organised and ‘big’ concerns.

A sense of lack of control, me thinks. The article in the Observer likened the widening critical chatterings (and read somewhere else a reference to churnalism – rehashed news) to the new emerging coffee shops circa Charles the Second  who tried to get them banned. Baron Charles Louis von Pollnitz noted that the patrons of the quickly dubbed ‘penny universities’ “Talk of Business and News, read the papers, and often look at each other” they were in essence a cultural free for all.

The Guardian also rid itself of freelancers last year – one of whom  Paul Carr is now fully web user friendly, and it seems being paid enough by Techcrunch to stay semi permanent in LA hotels and the like. So overall I did get a sense of a fear of power being lost, trenching up into an Us vs Them mode .


Man Bartlett mentioned (tweeted) the other night that maybe one of the central issues of #class (the show and in the larger sense), should be the breakdown of the us v them mindset.


Hashtag Class; Balloon Burst with Man Bartlett

Bubble Nation!

Magda Sawon

Happy Gallerina

Man Bartlett’s

Balloon Burst

The third week in and there are so many good and different strands to the #class project – too many to do justice as they actually happen (I mean around the same time here) not literally blogging as they happen – multitasking way a step too far, not that I’m prone to juggling, logic being I’ve only got one pair of hands.


Anyway, would be a bit too much of a pit stop, so I will pay more due to some of the discussions in later posts. Suffice to say that Madga Sawon’s truthful  Q&A delivered from a plethora of questions sent by various forms including twitter, was a riveting, insightful and humorous look at her views from the perspective of a gallery/art dealer, more of that gem in detail in a later post…..


Happy Gallerina joined, as the balloon fest grew but unhappily for me I couldn’t catch her dialogue over the stream – would have been interesting –she joined in as ‘an employee’ of the gallery with her take on The Gallery Assistant – the lynch-pin in the structure that is the artists bread and butter. I did see a tweet that said she was scary! if I come across a link to her ‘performance’ I will add to be sure.

But the event that seemed to take the live biscuit this week so far was Man Bartlett and his balloons.

I can’t remember what the actual hashtag blog description was but it became obvious that whatever we had imagined – it was never going to be like the actual thing as it happened.

He ensconced himself in the gallery 24 hours before the big popping or bursting balloon event took place, with a huge pile of the uninflated  type.


NB; to self on getting a bit chicken egg with the definition of the word pop and burst, one meaning to burst out of, implying a mass ‘escape’ the other requiring an outside force to enable the ‘burst’.  Nuff! for the moment anyway.

So, from small beginnings he began to pump each one with air, tie it and place on the floor. This then took on the look of a pile of high wobbly things, as more and more were added. While the early evening events happened more were appearing – I say appearing because as the evening wore on and day became night and day again Man Bartlett disappeared behind what was now like an emerging massive balloon sculpture. Check the photos here by An Xiao as it happened.

I know I’m not the only one who thought similar, but as I tuned into the live stream in the wee small hours with my head set on I felt like Gerd Wiesler (Ulrich Muhe) in The Lives of Others, very clandestine and voyeuristic, watching art as it happened, and now, ‘informing’ on it.


Balloon 24 hr
Balloon burst


Later in the day as the Big Loud Bursting Event drew near, people were tweeting to the Man in the gallery as he added the final balloons. The whole event taking on a different kind of live performance art as the artist interacted with the ‘audience’ as the event took place. The tweets snagged here show a snapshot of things unfurling.

Tweets for balloons

Balloons film of film

Tweets 3

The time came and went very LOUDLY! (someone mentioned over my shoulder, unaware of the event visually ‘sounds like a drive by’) it took about 5 – 10minutes? I wasn’t counting, too busy watching and then Man held up the first balloon he blew up, to pop as the last one.


11-03-2010 21-40-54

the first balloon goes pop!


Tweets end


And, as Man Bartlett said, “it was my home for the past 24 hours”, the scraps were swept up and gathered so he could take his home, home.


Ready to take his home home

Good on you Man Bartlett! Was… amazing!!….. it truly was!

More in a couple of days….

On the horizon for in depth posts later; Magda Sawon, Market U and The Feminists Tea Party

Schedule and live stream here

Schedule mid march

Class, Artist An Xiao; Art and The Straight White Male


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.


An Xiao

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

Critics    Friday

And all day Saturday!

Judicial Review


The System Doesn’t Work

will try and do more cos is a one off!

live stream and whole schedule

Schedule mid march

Hope I get to all the  #class !!

Still More Hashtag Class……Nic Rad’s Celebritist Manifesto: live



But first a note on the streaming from #class


I was gutted to find that I was going to miss An Xiao’s discussion; Art and The Straight White Male (see #class blog) tonight cos of a birthday dinner 5 hour + UK time. Really, really, really would have liked to have heard that discussion because gender, and class and all things related are my reson d’etre, in my art and general day to day.


With this in mind, and what with people in the #class tweets etc., saying things like – I missed this or that – I decided to have a go at recording some of the events and posting here. I plan to have a go at recording An Xiao – hope it works this time because I tried for my own event and the thing crashed while I was  loading; so I lost it…. boo!.

Anyway will have another go and if anyone wants to give me a heads up on events they like/think they might miss – I can try and do the same; dm me @wendyhan me or write here. The quality will be the same as the ustream I receive complete with crowded voice noise and breaks occasionally – but in general the discussions and performances come over not brilliantly, but fairly clear.


This is a back-up thing cos I think maybe the hashtagers are getting the stream set up into ‘watch again’ mode as we speak. But I will have a go at this anyway.




I did catch Nic Rad’s Celebritist Manifesto last night; was a bit of a squeeze, cos was sort of getting ready for zzzzzz’s around then but really glad I did!! . Now being stuck in the sticks, in Nottingham albeit on the main train route to London ie; not being in New York (I guess is the reason) I hadn’t heard of him before this #class project.

Nic rad about


I found a copy of the performance for the event on his website, in advance (don’t look! yet) – I tried not to look at it – well just a sneaky peek – because I wanted to engage when the work was performed live……


And the info upfront thing never does it for me with art;  similar to when you go into a gallery and there is a pre- brief, if you like, by the artist in which you are made to, or feel obliged to digest before you actually engage with the work. Very much on my mind because a friend mentioned an exhibition with just such a take on engagement at Nottingham Contemporary at the moment (Star City a collaboration with, amongst others a Jane and Louise Wilson DVD from 303 Gallery) looking at the 60’s space race and eastern bloc related art, apparently the Wilsons’ piece was the only part that stood on its own without the necessity of explanation.


And this was a performance, so although the written manifesto does stand on its own, I resisted looking anymore and waited.

Was worth it ! got so much more from hearing the dynamic poetic delivery of the piece by the artist ……

So, what can I say I don’t want to spoil the liveness of this performance by linking to the written word, and commenting on it because with something like this you really have to see it and engage with yourself. But thinking about it people like Michael Horowitz and the like, printed and shared around at some point to communicate…. so here is, Celebritist Manifesto.

Nick rad manifesto

But I do recommend live! (even if my take was via web cam)

NB; Yeay!!! Nic just posted his audio link here; Celebritist Manifesto Audio

Will post on more events in a couple of days….. stay tuned!

More!….Hashtag Class Adventures



So far the past week has seen a whole tableau of stuff emerge at the Winkleman Gallery – I commented in my previous blog on the general to-ings and fro-ings. I was though, a wee bit preoccupied, if you like with my own contribution last Sunday afternoon/evening (depending where you were). Over the next couple of weeks though (until March 20th) I will post a bit more in depth on things that catch my eye.


What I have seen so far via the web cam has been very illuminating, interesting and thought provoking to the point I wished I was actually in the gallery to join in real time, but they seem to have things set up so that tweets, emails and the like can contribute from all over during and after the discussions take place.


So this post is mainly about my foray into the hashtag class project…via Second Life. I did do a blog recently on the pros and cons of this medium if you want more detail you can find on ‘More Social Internet Site Crumblings’. But the upshot is; its bound to evolve and other 3d virtual spaces may or may not take its place, but basically the scope is there for visual creativity on line.


I made a short film in SL also relaying these sentiments and more, which was shown at the gallery before we tried a live-virtual-link-up in SL.

Film lasts about 12 mins


Pessimists Optimists and Skeptics from DeborahAinscoe on Vimeo.


Now for the Fun Bit!

So mini talk over, cup of tea in hand, and link up here we go…into… organised chaos…no it was organised…to a degree but SL has a habit of – well being SL – bit like first life really only with technical gremlins –Ok that’s first life as well! – no difference there then.


Gallery talk aside we embarked on a virtual delve into 3d ‘art’ and representations of that.

And that’s about as serious as it got, it being the most bonkers art walk-talk I’ve ever been on, the crew being Jennifer Dalton, William Powhida, Ed Winkleman, Zachary Adam Cohen, Art Whirled and C-monster ..Oh and me, plus a couple of others who were trying to find us from the open invite to join up in SL on the #class blog. (if I’ve missed anyone let me know and I’ll add here).


So first port of call a trip to a sand box to get the idea of 3d build… William was straight off in an ‘activist- doing’ kind of way and promptly built a blue balloon dog (aka Jeff Koons’) I’m not sure, but I have a sneaky feeling this was maybe not a compliment to Koons. But an impressive, nay outstanding, balloon dog none the less!. Ed Winkleman got to grips with the edit appearance menu (I’m saying no more, but he chose a very fetching pair of shorts  – well due’s due –  it was a sand box!) then we took a hike to a 3d gallery. All this with the backdrop of the in world voice chat swinging from borderline ok – to a feedback Jimmy Hendrix would have been proud of.  God knows how it sounded in the stream but believe me it was much worse for us!.  Anyway taking in the images  and the general feel of the in-world landscape reminded me of the kind of art that Roger Dean has been doing since time began…..and the moving sculptural images (see below) akin to the fractally kind of stuff of, well, not much later.

Sand box balloon dog not
Pirats gallery

I know Roger Dean is still producing and that he has done loads of art work for games starting with Tetris. But I still don’t see any movement with this 3d animated art (in SL)  beyond that – maybe somewhere there is – I shall definitely be putting a 3d scout search on my radar until I do.

Fractally art

I think I heard Ed mention colour, through the epic feedback, which is a big point, like in animated film the colour can be sooo vibrant to the point of sensory overload – even when merged or put together well, can lose its meaning through lack of subtlety?, taking on (no offense to Roger’s landscapes) an other-worldly surreal detachedness.


So nuff of the 3d art and we teleported onward to more traditional art – a virtual reproduction of Dresden Kunstsammlungen – I didn’t know at the time, but it is apparently one of the most successful SL projects. They have, in minute detail reproduced the gallery in world.

Dresden stairwell
Main gallery

Trying to Navigate the grandiose staircases and taking in Kings of Poland and other Hapsburgy dignitaries of the bourgeois centuries  – I didn’t get to any of the Vermeers or Titians…..I crashed – too much laggy stuff, but one reboot later I was back in the mayhem of sound checks and bumping into walls.


So all that literal feed back in one afternoon required a more ear soothing taxi back to Irie Vibes (and my virtual gallery space) where we started.

Full circle, plus no feedback (relief) and some choons heading from the dance floor…. Ed was right in there with some serious dance moves….. and so the courageous hashtag crew took to the floor ….and with the palm trees waving and the sun setting over the sea (if you had your environment set to sunset that is)….and kicking to the beat ….I think I can say a good night was had by all.

Iries 1
Iries 2
Iries 3

Suffice to say if ever in NY I would definitely cut a rug (sans feedback a must though!) with the hashtag class crew….. Art Rools!  WOooooOOt!

More on coming hashtag class events on Sundays and mid week posts

Oh! and a link to Iries very useful guide to 3d build and tips

Its All About The Class

Hashtag Class



I have been twittering and face booking this event over the past week ; it being the Hashtag Class Project which has been organised by New York Artists Jennifer Dalton and William Powhida in the Gallery owned by Ed Winkleman

They have effectively gathered artists from all over, mainly through the internet and social media, to contribute to an event that hopes to dissect the meaning of class in relation to art and the business of art. With New York being one of those places central to the art market they felt the need to address the inclusiveness of this in the wider context of the ‘aspiring’ artist and/or the compliance of the finished works that are ‘accepted’ into this inner circle (for want of a better name) on the base or grounds of that inclusion.

Hash tag live images

It has taken them weeks to get all this organised and they now also have a live stream as the event takes place Wednesday to Sunday from 2pm-6pm EST and 7pm-11pm GMT on their blog.

The Gallery itself has been going since 2001 and has recently moved from Brooklyn to Chelsea – even though it is effectively in the New York equivalent of London’s Cork Street or similar, it is one of those galleries that seem more connected with the meaning of art than the eventual star rated price tag. The gallery owner has also, as part of this event, set aside time to view any art submitted to him for a minimum of 10 seconds and pass comment on each piece see his purpose built blog Shut Up Already I’ll  Look At Your Art!.

So I’m really chuffed that I am/was able to contribute (depending when you read this on Sunday 28th Feb 5pmEST 10pmGMT) with a piece done over the internet about the relevance of 3d digital art to fine art as a medium shrugging off art cliques, having wider appeal because of its increasing accessibility and demystification. I will have hopefully captured this on video and will post later.

Another part of the project is an ongoing written debate on chalkboards around the gallery – to which contributors offered their thoughts in writing to be disscussed rubbed out or added to, (hope mine’s not the smudged bit in the middle!).

Hash tag class second image

But if you get chance check out the stream and events calendar on their blog – I saw a really good performance art piece the other night called Warbonds by James Leonard done in the style (I think) of Samuel L  Jackson of the Pulp Fiction scene/Cypress Hill track ‘I will lay my finger upon you!!!’ only from stance and attitude of a southern accented pro war ‘evangelist neo con’ with Mickey Mouse ears, selling war bonds to the audience. Very scary and I wasn’t even in the real audience!. I think from hearing a later discussion the artist wanted to limit the audience in his performance to artists only – I guess the rest had to sit at the back.

So I’m looking forward to some top notch discussions and contributions, tune in if you can!

A really relaxed crowd, on the ball, and also comes complete with gallery puppies!.

snapshot of the calendar; see the blog for detail and live stream

Class schedule 1
Class schedule 2