Copy

❄️ When a snow day turns into snow week ❄️

Hello painters,

As you may know, this was a rough week for Texas. We got battered by a once in a century snow storm that slammed the power grid and water supply. Fingers crossed this doesn’t become an annual ritual.

Plenty of places had the arts angle of this disaster covered. Artnet wrote about Museum of Fine Arts Houston staff sleeping at the museum to ensure the temperature controls were protecting the artwork.

A sleepover at work doesn’t sound ideal, until you realize that Texan homes are built to shed heat and stay cool. Our house dropped down into the low 50s for the majority of this week. The houseplants didn’t love that, the humans didn’t either.

Believe me when I tell you I had a great newsletter planned out for last week. But the lack of internet (and heat, and electricity, and, and…) made it difficult/impossible for me to get it to you. That’s an incredibly minor problem compared to what a lot of people went through last week, but I felt sorry to miss sending a letter out to y’all 🤠

This week I have a lot of articles for you to read until I can get the rest of my thoughts in order. Thanks as always for reading this letter, and keep scrolling for a grab bag of art links from the past week.

Above two photos from winter wandering last week

Paintings links and news

This article from Artsy reports on a collection of black abstract artists whose work is now fetching high prices at auction. The author observes that “It is past due that these artists… figure into the narrative of abstract painting in the United States” and while that is certainly true, it’s certainly not the case that auction prices can or should be the determinant of that.

This article frames high auction prices as a victory for social progress, and links these prices to a confirmation of artistic worth. As you can read about in this article by the NY Times of the former street artist turned plastic toy impresario KAWS, auction price valuations are treated as confirmation or validation of artistic worth… but by whom? People looking for a stable investment, right?

The Artsy article nods its head toward the importance of institution and scholarly support coalescing around an artist to verify their worth. But the journey on the road to determining artistic worth is long and arduous and requires a whole host of people, not just auctioneers and investors.

I encourage you to explore the black artists listed in the Artsy article, but I also encourage you to read articles about record setting auction prices with a skeptical eye.

Hyperallergic has a long running feature showcasing artists’ views of their easels from around the world. I enjoyed this week’s feature because imagining an enormous studio in the middle of the desert in Arizona is appealing to me after a week encased in ice.

The artist from Brooklyn featured also invented a very novel and potentially distressing storage solution that involves stashing paintings and drawings underneath a very large red rug.

Above, the AbEx painter Grace Hartigan photographed in her studio

Mason Currey is back with another one of his excellent creative advice columns. This topic deals with the difficulty of finishing off a project and then feeling completely adrift.

There are a number of wonderful quotes from painters Helen Frankenthaler and Grace Hartigan that I would love for you to see. (And if you have an advice for the letter writer, this blog consists of a wonderful community of artists and writers that are very generous and open to hearing all perspectives.)

“I will often get back to painting after a break and panic and not know where I left off. I seem to start at day one again. I sit around and sharpen pencils, make phone calls, eat handfuls of pistachios, take a swim. I feel I should, must, will paint. It is agony. It is boredom. I become impatient and angry with myself, until I reach a point of feeling I must start, make a mark, just make a mark. Then, hopefully, I slowly get into a new phase of work.”

I love this quote from Frankenthaler because it so closely hews to how I feel about my own relationship to procrastinating and working. There’s often periods where other responsibilities take me away from painting, and getting back into it feels very hard, even though art-making is something I want to do very much.

Eventually it builds up to a point inside where I can’t bear the idea of doing anything else besides art-making, and that’s when I’m able to throw down all other distractions and pick up the paintbrush.

I want to work on a system where I can lower that threshold. So that when the procrastinating is building and building, it can’t build for very long before I feel I can dive back into art making.

One commenter suggests taking a class in something you’re new at, or not as skilled at, so that you have freedom to return to the beginner’s mindset. It’s possible that after feeling like a beginner for a while, you’ll want to return to the type of art-making where you feel most skilled and proficient. I like that technique.

Not painting, but still abstract: the genius of Thaddeus Mosely is reviewed by John Yau in Hyperallergic. Yau incisively probes the history of Mosely’s work, which consist of large hand carved sculptures made out of salvaged wood. Mosely, at 95, is still working out of his sculpture studio in his (and my) hometown of Pittsburgh.

Mosely’s efforts as a sculptor were championed by John Arkus, the director of the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh from 1960 to 1980. Although, as Yau writes, Mosely’s work “was all but invisible in the commercial art world” he was still given a one-person show at the Carnegie which received praise from many, including famed sculptor Isamu Noguchi.

While institutions like the Whitney or MoMA don’t have any Mosely sculptures in their collection, Yau insists Mosely’s “work more than holds its own with his celebrated peers”

Brian Donnelly, aka KAWS, is the artist mentioned earlier in the NY Times article about auction prices spiraling out of control. Donnelly was first known to many in the art world as an art collector. It is partly because of Donnelly that the work of Martin Wong, an underappreciated artist who died of AIDS in 1999, is more widely known. Of course artists can and should be advocates and champions for their own work, but it’s a special person who chooses to do that for others who don’t command the same kind of attention or audience.

The takeaway for an artist, like an abstract painter for example, is that you cannot think about what other people are going to think of your work while you’re making it. Writing applications for grants and for exhibition statements is so difficult because you’re put in a position where you have to argue for your work’s importance and the purpose of it’s creation, while often that motivation is hidden from the very artist who is making it.

Above painting by Martin Wong

Brian Donnelly, aka KAWS, is the artist mentioned earlier in the NY Times article about auction prices spiraling out of control. Donnelly was first known to many in the art world as an art collector. It is partly because of Donnelly that the work of Martin Wong, an underappreciated artist who died of AIDS in 1999, is more widely known. Of course artists can and should be advocates and champions for their own work, but it’s a special person who chooses to do that for others who don’t command the same kind of attention or audience.

The takeaway for an artist, like an abstract painter for example, is that you cannot think about what other people are going to think of your work while you’re making it. Writing applications for grants and for exhibition statements is so difficult because the artist is put in a position where they have to argue for their work’s importance and the purpose of it’s creation, while often that motivation is hidden from the very artist who is making it.

Finally, take some time to look through this article about the multidisciplinary artist Roni Horn. There are too many quotes in here to pick just one to feature, read the whole thing over your morning hot beverage: Roni Horn Shares a Timely Record of Solitude.

If you enjoyed this newsletter, you can click this button below to show your appreciation by adding to my tip jar:

Chip in a few $$$

All electronic music this week, from the artist Vegyn.

Vegyn - Debold
Vegyn - Olbass All Bass
Vegyn - Save Yall Ready Know What It Is
Vegyn - Text While Driving If You Want To Meet God! (full album on YouTube)

That’s all for this week folks. See you next time, and happy painting
(° ͜ʖ͡°)

Instagram iconTwitter icon

Copyright (C) 2021 Tuesday Night Painting. All rights reserved.

Update Preferences | Unsubscribe

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp