A few thoughts about last nights panel discussion at Greg Kucera Gallery here in Seattle titled “Blowing up Demographics“.
The topic seemed to be about how moderator Mary Ann Peters felt the art dealers association art show “Century 21 : Dealers choice” was too White Guy centric and really the problem for her was not so much white but the guy. I think for most artists I know we are already so heavily excluded from that “Blue Chip” world that we rarely even notice that it’s not there in the morning. You can’t miss something you never had. Somebody said something about earning your place at the table, I say fuck your table I’m going to have mine to go. There was mention of institutional racism, the thought of which was soundly tsk-tsked, but promptly shoved aside for the question of why there is not more advocacy for the gays in art. Uhm, I think they have it handled. There was also the lady who was outraged that those nasty savage natives would dare deprive her of the privilege to ogle their most sacred items at the SAM. Now listen to me, the fact that you gotta pay to see them is means for disqualification. “But I got to see all kinds of dead africans and shit at the Met” Exactly the point, they dont want you white muffu@#a’s to steal any more of their stuff. Damn!!! There was also mention of the current show up in the Kucera space “Individual Demographics” which i guess explores the relationship between trying to sell shit from the backstock and a good PR campaign. Lawrimore guy was asked to posit from on high on the topic at hand. He relayed a wise tale of going to see “30 Americans” at ArtBasel Miami, He helpfully clarified that these “Americans” were actually of the African Variety and obviously recipients of affirmative action, ehrm, I mean tokenism. Now here is where I want to share my feelings with you, Any time a white person speaks of tokenism to me i feel like asking if that’s anything like nepotism. Listen just because you were excluded doesn’t mean we had to scrape the bottom of the barrel to get 30 quality black artists together. Shit I bet there are at least 75 out there. Now Lawrimore guy might not know them but they are there and in fact they are building their own networks. This is the point i feel was most missing from the conversation. Artists that have been excluded from the “inside” don’t really need to be in the room to do their thing. You see there are always more people, interesting, vibrant people out here than in there. We have the internet now to connect with patrons, fans, media, venues, what ever from across the globe. I think that art is in for the same paradigm shift as the music industry over who controls the distribution and promotion of what is being created. The more you want to play insider the more you are marginalizing yourself. Like one attendee said “Bring your own damn table”. Mine has got a good game of Three card Monte goin’ on.