Dear Art World,
I would like to begin by apologizing in advance for letting you down, unfortunately we lack the financial backing we’d like to have, we have a small gallery here at Bystander, we’re working out of home on this thing.
Even more offensive to you, Art World, we’re going to hang the show in our home. But let’s be honest, the artists we chose can’t always paint masterpieces, sometimes they have to create some trash, make some mistakes, and well, if you laugh at the art or call it trash, that’s okay, it’s the name of the damn show. And you know what, Art World, we don’t really give a shit what you think, because according to most of your superstars everything they do is art and sometimes when they’re together they can’t help “pooping out art.” Right Terrence? So here it is, Trashed, stripped down and honest for the world, or the six people who show up to see.
The art world is flush with clean walled galleries, relaxed dealers standing with arms folded in the center of it all happy to discuss the importance of a work, the social and political significance of a photoshopped hi-res photo of some woman’s cooch spray painted and a pregnant woman peeing in the woods, or some specific drawing of a city's subway system, a blurred abstraction of a bird-on-a-wire, and maybe some words painted in clever phrases over bars of primary colors. The artists are in the business of flying from Berlin to LA to NY then on to Venice, and so on, as I’ve overheard or been boasted to at Mandrake on La Cienega. So how does a scrappy aspiring writer with aspirations towards owning a gallery finagle a group of rising art stars to show their work in his house?
For several years now I have been what I believe could be called a non-card-carrying fringe member of the exclusive art world. What that means is that I have attended more galleries that I care to remember, have seen the rise of art stars, gone to MFA open studios and plenty of house parties inhabited by complaining artists in every corner. To say it is a world I am fascinated by would be an understatement.
When a friend of mine challenged me a year ago to stop talking his ear off about what I felt was good and bad, right and wrong and the things I characterized as self-indulgent about the art world, and to begin writing good, well thought out criticism. I took him up on the offer, albeit not as often as I should’ve, and in addition I created the account I use on Twitter and the name of this blog, Artbystander. In that process I have met enthusiastic and ambitious artists, critics and fans, too many to name. These people have been an integral part in enriching my daily life and I thank them all for it.
Now, with another conversation being had on a Friday night after I’d had a few whiskeys and my friend in New York a few Makers deep as well, I blurted out the idea of having a gallery inside my house. A good idea, we both agreed, but how does one find artists interested in participating?
At the start I was without direction. Just a guy who thought it would be cool to have an art show in my house. I would randomly post to Twitter that I was looking for artists. And I received several replies of encouragement, but no artists came forward offering up their work for me to shill from the walls of my Silver Lake residence. A second conversation with an artist friend who was cleaning out his studio projected us forward to Trashed, or our hashtag on Twitter, #trashed. It took a few weeks of posts, ubiquitous quotes from art world public enemies and heroes, but eventually people started writing me and all of a sudden I had a group show in the works.
When I lived in New York and spent an inordinate amount of time with two artists and their friends from Syracuse University, I became obsessed with sitting in bars and scribbling on paper placemats, bar napkins, scraps of paper, etc… We’d try to trade drawings for drinks, start conversations with women based on some Sharpie’d work on a napkin, an incendiary work about some fraternity looking dude squeezing some poor NYU girl’s ass, we’d draw up some date rape work and the waitress would laugh, take it and bring us a free pitcher of beer.
My friend would say that work was “trash,” but to me it was art. So when I heard he was cleaning out his studio throwing out scraps of notes and sketches I offered to take it all and hang it in my house as a gallery show. He was up for it and Trashed was born. Now we have artists from all over participating and I’ve written what some may call the TRASHED MANIFESTO:
The show isn't meant to look clean or organized. It's meant to be studio trash, ramshackle and bare for the world to see and appreciate. Like looking at a skeleton or a gutted building. The raw materials. The individual parts rather than the sum of those parts. The idea of failure resonates in everything we do as aspiring artists, but begging the question, "what is art?" Also begs the question, "At what point do we fail as artists?" Perhaps the artist will send me art that didn't sell, or pieces they didn't think made the cut for a major gallery show. Or, maybe it's really trash, failed sculpture or collage, studies in color or maybe a notebook full of communist ramblings. Really, it's up to them to decide what the trash in their life is.
Trashed will let people know it isn't all finished product. That work goes into the art. That we're studying, learning, and progressing as artists and people
We will be holding an opening and closing reception and will be scheduling appointments with people interested in the art. The opening will be held on JUNE 12, 2010.
Some ground rules for the art. This is all going to be living in my home, so nothing that will rot, invite insects; strong smelling items would be bad too. Art will be mounted on the walls and items may be placed on the floor as well.
No framing any of the “trash.” In fact, if it feels right we may collage it into one big piece or maybe not. I want this show to feel fresh and well, like trash. But, really to the artist it may be trash, but to art fans it is not and that is my goal, to give them a chance to own art.
Finally let’s introduce you to the artists participating in Trashed. As we receive materials I will post to the blog previews of the flotsam we receive. Trashed is:
Jonathan Allen: (http://www.jonallenart.com/)
Leticia Bajuyo (http://www.leticiabajuyo.com/)
Jennifer Dalton (http://www.jenniferdalton.com/)
Jennifer Faist (Jennifer Faist on Art Net)
Olympia Lambert (http://olysmusings.blogspot.com/)
William Powhida (http://www.williampowhida.com/)
Garric Simonsen (http://antipainter.com/home.html)
Mark Venema (http://markvenema.com/)
Jeff Woodbury (http://www.jeffwoodbury.com/)
Please welcome them all to the show. Most importantly the thing you should come away with when you visit Trashed and you see the work on display, is that this is Trashed, we aren’t saying we’re important or that you should stop and take notice of us. But, what we do say is that if you do decide to stop and take notice, well, you will be pleasantly surprised. Art isn’t just for people that own multiple homes, employ hundreds of people and drive European SUVs to polo matches on the weekends during the summer. No, art is for those sweating it out in beer halls and back rooms, believing in singular moments versus bodies of work. TRASHED and the art it contains is for those who find the holy in oily puddles, desperate kisses, blurred red lights in drunken diver bars. TRASHED is for you, the person reading this right now.