Today I’m ready for whatever life throws at me. A positive attitude and the right thoughts will attract all the right events into my life today. I am present in the moment and I will not be distracted by any feelings of regret or guilt. I am embracing fear and opening up to the energies of the universe. I love my life. I love my family. I love my friends. Everything I’ve been through has made me what I am and will be today.
I want someone who will take me places I have never been,
Who want to live in the moment with no regret.
We will escape to a far away land where English-speakers are scarce and getting lost is the only pastime worth keeping.
How mystical, magical that life could be.
That life is.
And kid, you’ve got to love yourself. You’ve got wake up at four in the morning, brew black coffee, and stare at the birds drowning in the darkness of the dawn. You’ve got to sit next to the man at the train station who’s reading your favorite book and start a conversation. You’ve got to come home after a bad day and burn your skin from a shower. Then you’ve got to wash all your sheets until they smell of lemon detergent you bought for four dollars at the local grocery store. You’ve got to stop taking everything so goddam personally. You are not the moon kissing the black sky. You’ve got to compliment someones crooked brows at an art fair and tell them that their eyes remind you of green swimming pools in mid July. You’ve got to stop letting yourself get upset about things that won’t matter in two years. Sleep in on Saturday mornings and wake yourself up early on Sunday. You’ve got to stop worrying about what you’re going to tell her when she finds out. You’ve got to stop over thinking why he stopped caring about you over six months ago. You’ve got to stop asking everyone for their opinions. Fuck it. Love yourself, kiddo. You’ve got to love yourself.
A commercial gallery space is essentially a store where art is bought and sold. In commercial galleries the artist only receives about fifty percent of the selling cost of their work, the other half goes to the gallery in which the art is displayed. There are collectives, called “rosters”, which are artists on contract for a certain gallery, allowed only to show at the gallery once within a certain length of time. In the Susan Hobbs Gallery, an artist will show his or her work for 6 weeks, after which time the next artist in the rotation would put their work up, the rotation takes about two years to be completed.
In commercial galleries like the Susan Hobbs gallery, artists do have a choice over the look of the show, but often these galleries still stick within the framework of “the white cube”. The artist whose work was showing during a recent visit explained that he drew a map and had a plan before the installation. Artists have a say in how the work gets shown, but still meets clean and precise layout. The only thing that really changes is that all the works are hung at different levels and ultimately that the artist chose where each work went.
There is little surveillance in a private gallery, generally there is no one at the front door, but someone in an office near the back or upstairs in the space. There are no didactics or labels in commercial galleries; most information is kept on a sheet of paper with a list of prices for the work. The work that has been sold will have a red sticker beside the title, and a blue sticker represents work that is on hold. Often a commercial gallery has an office upstairs or near the back of the building where an assistant to the gallery owner may sit. There is storage of works that have been showed in previous exhibitions, but have not been sold. Logbooks may be kept to refer to older works that are still for sale. Essentially, a commercial gallery is only about money, it isn’t about creativity or freedom of expression. The artists do have some control over aesthetics but aesthetics are chosen in a way to enhance a theme, to sell a series.
Commercial galleries are strictly for the buying and selling of artwork. Museums and public gallery spaces, like the Art Gallery of Ontario or the Royal Ontario Museum, have two contradicting motives. These public spaces attempt to show and celebrate creativity and expression from various cultural groups. However, there are often many sets of rules and guidelines in these institutions, addressing what is acceptable and non-acceptable behavior. Public gallery spaces emphasize expression but also limit it at the same time.
Public galleries emphasize creativity in various ways including curatorial interventions and didactic displays. Public galleries use certain curatorial techniques to address the institution’s standards on creativity and where they draw the line. Although once deemed the “white cube”, a public gallery space can be so much more than that. Since the late 1960’s, questions have been raised as to what a public gallery’s responsibilities are as to creativity. Since then, institutions have been much more flexible in the ways shows are put together. Take a walk on the main level of the Art Gallery of Ontario and you will find many galleries, each with a different curatorial premise and environmental design depending on the art displayed in that particular room. From room to room in the public space, the environment changes greatly. Within the room displaying Renaissance artwork, the ceiling is high, the wood floor is rich and beautiful, the walls are a dark, crimson red. The frames in the room are golden, and beautifully detailed; a sculpture sits in the middle of the room, emphasizing the skill of the work in the room. The environment and the artworks play off of each other to create a seamless and authentic theme to the room. This same idea is preformed through many rooms within the AGO. The Augustus John Gallery space, featuring salon work and impressionist paintings, support both contradicting works in the same space by separating them to opposing walls and adding a didactic to the entrance of the room to explain the imposition. A salon is mimicked in half the room by hanging works from floor to ceiling with dramatic frames and imagery. On the opposite side of the room, a simplistic approach exists, with only a handful of artwork hanging on the entire large space. In each room of a public gallery, the theme or time period or some connecting element is addressed to help emphasize the feeling of the works. This curatorial premise is extremely rare, if it ever happens, at commercial galleries.
Also at a commercial gallery, information about the artwork and the artist is posted almost always on a wall, if not, found in booklets in each room. This information, or didactics, is very accessible and detailed, including the title, artist’s name, and place of residence, medium used for the artwork, and possibly information on the theme or even questions about the work. Didactics in public gallery spaces are often made in attempt to educate the viewers. Not a single work has a price tag, because the works are often permanent to the institution or possibly in rotation between institutions, and are not for sale to the public. The artwork is not for sale, however, money is still involved in public galleries. The viewers of public galleries are still customers, since they have paid for access into the exhibitions, with various additional fees like coat check and special offers as well.
Although public galleries stress creativity and education, these institutions also have hidden motives. In the time that galleries were first created, intuitions were made to shape the people and show them how to act in public spaces. These institutions were made as a way to control a nation, quietly whispering what is acceptable and what is not. Many of the guidelines used to shape citizens into “moral” people are still crucial rules maintained in public galleries. There are assumed actions when entering a public gallery such as keeping quiet, not running around, and not touching the work. In public galleries, the paying customers are still under close watch, from surveillance cameras to security guards in each room. These rules and guidelines are constantly reinstated and assumed throughout the institution, much different from the almost free-from-surveillance feel of commercial galleries.
Both private and commercial galleries hang art on their walls, but other than that, not much about these spaces are the same. A commercial gallery works as a store, selling artwork and putting the use-value of the work above all else. In public galleries, all viewers are customers, each paying a small fee to be in the presence of masterpieces. However, with public galleries, education, use-value and expression are encouraged, where in a commercial space these ideas are thought of last. In both places, aesthetics play a role in presentation, but ultimately are used for different purposes. Commercial galleries are stores to buy and sell artwork and public galleries are schools, teaching about art as well as how to behave.
Refers to the issues of introducing and showing art that ultimately tries to rid itself of all traditional, assumed aesthetics of museums
Museums have hidden values and procedures that are strict and demanding
Artists in the late Sixties start to question institutional ethics and conducts
Institutions question the process-oriented work of these new interventions
Curators become interested in the evolution of artistic language
Exhibition becomes artwork by opening up the possibilities of a space that plays off of the art, emphasizing theme
Displaying techniques, catalogue design, advertising and the artist to institution relationships are all reimagined at the end of Sixties
A role to explore site
“The word art is becoming less of a noun and more of a verb.”
-Robert Barry, Conceptual Art and the Politics of Publicity
A desire arose to reduce mediationof institutions, which often tell viewers how to see an object and how they should feel
Institutions have strict guidelines on etiquette and ways art should be presented
Emphasizing and celebrating use-value is encouraged, usually seen less important than exchange value
Exhibitions become place of realization and context
Views of production and consumption shift
Exhibition medium with expressive requirements
Gutai Group1955-58 encouraged the development of process-oriented artistic practices, the action of expression becomes the art itself
Precursor to Happenings and Performance Art
Minimal sculpture and minimalism creates investigation between art and environment, but still in consideration to the white cube
Art made for exhibitions are time and site specific, made to be seen a certain way and for only set amount of time
The here and now of the show is what helps build a flow in theme and a seamless relationship
A shift in services by artistic institutions became needed from artists and curators
Intensity of artistic & curatorial research & experimentation grew
“A Multiplication of spatial and temporal contexts,…give visibility to a single art project”
Immobility, concreteness, and attention to characteristics of an environment, these are aspects that belong to site specific works.
Damien Buren: Work that doesn’t’t consider site risk “being reduced to nothing”
Modernist concept of display is disrupted, institutional structures are questioned
Artists and curator have more control over display habits, museum space is at the mercy of artist which are traditionally very strict and inflexible
Installation art invades space, space becomes material
“Neutral only in appearance”, institution idealize certain values, site-specific work began to challenge this within the walls of the very institutions in question
Didactic: golden standard, tells viewers what’s worth seeing and how to see it
Investigative: rare, working without clear outcome, used in order to learn something
Various ways of exploring spaces: artists create environments as theme to show, or bring art to urban landscapes, using the new environment to play off the work and create a relationship. Works also in magazines
Permanence is in question & temporality becomes a subject of interest, critiquing traditional notions that objects of art are always finished and durable
The focus turns more toward the process of making the art and how it came to be rather than the end result
The exhibition is a stage for the viewer, they are presented the space within a certain amount of time and context, at the end the work disappears, and is often destroyed, “since it cannot live on without arresting its flow.”
Emphasizes the fight against exchange-value
A sense of transience connected to site-specific art practices
Cannot move without shift of look and theme
“Exhibitions attain a more manifest character of specifity in opposition to the stability of museum display”
The artist has more noticeable presence in installation of exhibition
Making of art prevails over end result
Art and space work together to acquire a status
“the exhibition context acquires the status of the circumstance of the work’s coming into being”
Analyzing and criticizing institution’s role in presentation
Institutions influence how art is made and seen
Curators realize their sometimes intrusive roles
Artist-curator relationships change: collaboration in realization of works and shows. Curator becomes like artist
No longer a selection of works chosen by curator, artist may decide, or co-operate with the curator
Catalogues now contain interactions between the two
Adapt an attitude of support and involvement
Changes did not happen without criticism and controversy
Mediation between intuition and artists
Idea that works created for specific site and time, are created especially for this exhibition and will be destroyed after goes against the role usually held by an art dealer
A new way of working that establishes themes of the show
“Exhibition of an exhibition”
Rejects the falsity of “neutrality” in museums
“…the art of this period, which gave a completely new importance to the exhibition dimension, as well as to the evolution of the role of the curator, which in this view invaded, not so strongly the field of the artist, but rather that of the critic. The exhibition turns into the vehicle through which critical thinking about art is developed.”