Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Monday, April 29, 2013
Sunday, April 28, 2013
Saturday, April 27, 2013
Friday, April 26, 2013
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Monday, April 22, 2013
1495. Attempts by Agnes to clarify the situation were ignored, and even when she tried to point out that her piece was listed in the catalogue as item number 724, the person she was talking to simply walked away from her without any reaction. She made two more attempts with other employees of the museum and finally gave up in frustration.
1496. The opening was on Saturday evening. Since the museum was closed on both Sunday and Monday, it was not until after school on Tuesday that she was able to find out what had happened to her picture. She went into the office and spoke to the secretary; it was the very same secretary who had pulled her by the ear three years previously. It was the same secretary whose face she would slap many years later.
1497. Like everyone else connected to the museum the secretary trotted out the same explanation about her work being rejected, and about the rejection post card, but Agnes could see for herself the explanation to what had happened to her picture. It was leaning against the wall in the office; the watercolor had shifted in the frame. The frame had to be dismantled and the painting re-positioned in the mat. She took it home and fixed it and returned it to the museum.
1498. The secretary said, "I am sorry about this, I had intended to call you about it but I was too busy with the opening and didn't have time." On the last day of the show her piece was put back up and on that day she went and paid it a visit, and brought it back home again. All these years later it sits on the mantle of her fireplace. The picture has shifted in the mat and is crooked but she prefers it that way and won't consider fixing it.
Sunday, April 21, 2013
1490. The opening was comical for her until a disaster struck. Having made her way to the far end of the small room to the place where her picture was, she discovered to her consternation that where her picture had been, there was just a small blank area of wall. The explanation for the missing picture seemed obvious to her, the powers that be probably decided to hang it in a different spot and so it became necessary to make her way through the entire exhibition and find it.
1491. This would had been a difficult project even if she had been clear headed, but she was far from it. She made her way through the rooms like a little mouse going along as close to the edge of the walls as it was possible in the crowd. She scanned all the wall surfaces in search of her little watercolor still life to no avail.
1492. It took her one-hour to tour the entire exhibit space, but her picture was nowhere to be found. It was impossible to be sure she had looked at every painting because of the tendency of pictures to suddenly shift position right before her eyes. She would be looking directly at a profile portrait head numbered 287, and suddenly it would disappear and be replaced in her view by a blue and brown sloppy abstraction number 278.
1493. The numbering of all the pictures in the exhibit offered her a solution to her problem. She found the exhibition list and proceeded to go once again all through the rooms, looking at each picture one at a time. Her picture was supposed to be 724, but there was no 724 to be found.
Saturday, April 20, 2013
1486. One of the strangest things about the opening was that everyone was drinking wine from little plastic cups. In a corner she found a table covered with a white cloth on which she found bottles of red and white wine, plus plates of cheese and crackers. She helped herself to the cheese and crackers, and also poured herself a glass of wine, something she had never tried before. After finishing her wine she made her way along the wall trying to look at each painting one by one.
1487. At each painting her way was blocked by little knots of well dressed people all talking at once who were oblivious to her attempts to get to the spot where she could view a picture adequately. It was even necessary to slightly bump into people to get them to move an inch or so to make way for her, this was difficult at first but became easier after her second glass of wine. Like a few years ago when she was thirteen, she was very curious what people were saying about the pictures.
1488. The conversations she overheard however had nothing to do with the exhibit or the paintings, as a matter of fact Agnes couldn't help but notice that nobody was looking at or talking about the pictures at all. When she finished with her third glass of wine she decided to work her way to the back of the main hall and go in and have a look at her little picture in the side room. Suddenly this became extremely difficult as the exhibit room began to sway and tilt in unexpected angles like a ship at sea.
1489. "So," she said to herself, "this is what happens when you drink wine, the museum room turns into a boat and none of the pictures stay in one spot. You have to have a look at them as they go by, and then wait till they come around again and have another look." There seemed to be something very funny about the tendency of the pictures to float along the walls, and this combined with her light-headed feeling made the opening seem to her to be very comical.
Friday, April 19, 2013
1483. But to return to Agnes and her first work exhibited in a museum show. What Buboni described was very nearly the truth concerning Agnes' still life painting. It was hung in a small room off the main room, and it was hung salon style along with numerous similar works, mostly still life watercolors and landscapes. She did not find it down in a corner or up by the ceiling, but nearly eye level over in the corner.
1484. She was not offended in anyway by the placement, on the contrary she was overjoyed to see it again in its new temporary setting. She only wished that it could have been in a better mat and frame but there was nothing she could do about it. The show was opened to the public on a Thursday after the installation had been completed, and the grand opening was scheduled for Saturday evening from 5 - 7. She told her parents, but they had expensive tickets to the theatre so they could not attend.
1485. She arrived at the museum promptly at five o'clock and found herself engulfed in the most peculiar experience of her life so far. The entire exhibit room of the museum was crammed with people wall to wall, everyone talking at once. Everyone seemed to know everyone else, and they were all extremely overjoyed to be seeing each other again. It was so crowded that Agnes could not even make her way through the masses of people to get to the room with her painting.
Thursday, April 18, 2013
1478. Buboni could not have been more correct about this consideration. His knowledge of the problems of gallery placement relative to the artists in a group show came from the many years in which he had been asked to be one of the judges for the many gallery and museum shows he and his colleagues were involved in. Buboni was often selected because he could be relied upon to represent a historical and conservative point of view.
1479. He said that many times his judgments had led to confrontations and arguments in the museum setting. "There is nothing quite like seeing an artist enter the exhibition space, their face beet red with anger. They scan the room looking for their enemy and their eye lights upon your countenance. Then, with measured angry strides they walk up to you quivering in silent rage and stand in front of you.
1480. They eye you up and down as if mentally comparing you to some insect they intend to crush, and finally their invective bursts forth. They rush from one partial sentence to another unable to decide whether they want to condemn your entire career, your personal life, or just the question of where you have placed certain of their works of art. Remarks bordering on death threats are common. The judge's response must be invariably the same.
1481. "My favorite reply," said Buboni, "was to suggest that they take their picture out of the exhibition as soon as they liked, and take it down to New York City, and get in the line with all the other artists involved in doing the exact same type of work, and hope it gets the recognition it truly deserves." "Because," he said, "no matter what one may be doing, someone somewhere is doing something similar.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
1475. Arguments ending in the slamming of doors, ultimatums, oaths to never darken your doors again, to speak evil of you to everyone. Artists are especially guilty of this kind of outburst, and there is hardly an artist's biography that does not contain examples of this type of scene.
1476. The exhibiting artist, unless it is their first time, never stops to consider that almost all of the others who submitted works were rejected. All the rejected artists are envious of the little painting hung down in the dark corner, salon style, they wish some day to arrive at that dark corner, but alas, a lifetime my go by and the dark corner of the exhibit hall will never be attained.
1477. But the artist down in the corner is insulted, and wants to have nothing to do with that gallery ever again. Such is the, "Theory of Relativity," when applied to the life of the artist, and their experience of the vagaries of recognition. One can't forget that Warhol was a great artist, but was consumed by fears that he was second best after Jasper Johns, feelings created by just such subtle considerations as to where in a room one's best works were hung.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
1471. This question of placement is actually more important than prizes and awards, blue ribbons and honorable mentions. A blue ribbon actually looks rather silly next to a painting, but where a work is hung is the most important message from the artist's point of view.
1472. Now imagine the feelings of the poor artist, whose work is hung in a set of pictures, four in a square, by four different artists. All of the pictures in the set are still life, or perhaps all are figurative work. This sort of treatment says, "This painting falls into, thus and so, category of work, it is, this sort of a thing." No artist wants to have their work placed into a grouping that categorizes it into a set of similar things done by other artists.
1473. Finally one arrives at greatest affront of all, your work is hung, "salon style." Salon style is a wall where hundreds of paintings are hung helter-skelter, as many as possible on the wall surface, from up by the ceiling right down to the floor moldings. The name, "salon" is derived from the French salons where as many paintings as possible were crammed into the exhibition space.
Monday, April 15, 2013
all the details of Agnes' story, still Buboni was so interested that he felt he had to interrupt me and expound on this exact point. Where in a show are works hung, and what does it signify to the artist?
1469. "Picture," he began, "that you are entering an exhibit hall to see a big group show in which you are one of the exhibitors. You have no idea how the people in charge of the exhibit have handled the painting you submitted. You enter a large room and in the distance on the far wall you see your painting all by itself, nothing to the left or right, nothing above or below it. This is what every artist, especially those consumed by vanity, wish to see."