June 5, 2007

Answers for foxhat13

Someone who calls himself foxhat13 emailed and asked:

"Is your interest in emerging artists limited to photography or do you look at painters as well? If so do you have a couple of names for me. [clip...] Also I'm moving to New York August 15th. Do you have any tips on how to find good artists?"

The truth is that I don't keep up with the non-photography parts of the contemporary art scene as much as I'd like to. If you were to press me I might mention someone like Natalie Frank. Critics imply she can't help but give into her pre-raphaelite urges to make things visually lush, but that's exactly what I like about the work... the thumbnail on the top of this post is one of her paintings. It's titled War. These are best seen in person.

I also like many artists like Rachell Sumpter whose work has a lighter feel, but is witty, relevant, and sometimes happily subversive. The piece below is titled Baghdad Boogie.

And then there are artists like Yang Shaobin who has recently been making portraits of miners in China (he's not exactly an emerging artist but...) who I admire but never think I'd like to own one. That's how I decide if I really love something. The desire to possess is my ultimate approval stamp.yangshaobin.jpg

As for finding out about new artists the easiest thing to do is to wander around NY with a gallery guide, mark the galleries you like, get on their mailing lists and start going to shows. And then of course there are scores of art blogs. One of my favorites is paintersnyc (2 of the artists above were blogged on paintersnyc) . The artists highlighted usually have new shows and the blog always inspires fun comment threads.

I painted (badly but of course with great enthusiasm) when I was in my 20's and in my own life the collection of specific paintings that mean something to me is much larger than the collection of iconic photos with similar impact so perhaps I should pay more attention to painting... and yet I can't help shake the feeling that contemporary painting forms almost no imprint on culture at large, that the canon is ossified, and that what's left is artists making art for each other or to be hung above sofas in fancy apartments... My wife says that today everyone thinks of themselves as an artist or a potential artist which might be part of the problem.

The reason photography is so exciting is that the canon—especially the art photography canon—is still largely unwritten. Photography is a medium in it's infancy and its artists don't suffer the weight of history nearly so much as those who paint. Also, perhaps just perhaps, because it transforms easily into bits to be seen on computer screens photography has a chance of staying relevant in a world less interested in the work of people who do something as archaically wonderful as putting paint on canvas.

posted at 11:39 AM by raul

Filed under: art

TAGS: painting (4)


06/05/07 06:22 PM

do you know of this site? thought you might like it.


06/06/07 10:38 AM

5b4 has been in my feed reader for some time...I'd recommend it to any fellow photo book junky

06/06/07 12:25 PM

I agree with your wife, actually. It's an old argument, but we've lost our sense of value in our drive to promote some sort of egalitarianism. Just because everyone has something to say doesn't mean we need to listen to everyone. I call it the Borders ever-expanding-magazine rack syndrome (Are you a brunette, goateed, bike-riding, married, electronica lover? You deserve a magazine!)
Note: my friends call me an elitist when I say the above. Sigh.

06/06/07 03:23 PM

Hey I love these. Love the photographer links too, but let's have some more painters, these are super and I want more.

Nice little rant/essay as well. I wnat to respond but I need to let my thoughts percolate.

06/07/07 04:55 AM

fsowalla - you might enjoy this photograph:


(and the others)

06/09/07 12:45 PM

Exactly. Thanks Iain.

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