I DON'T WANT TO GO TO CHELSEA
Stamps made in 2006; Installation developed and planned 2016
Custom stamps; bungee cord; ink pads; audio player and micro speakers, homosote, sheetrock, lumber, hardware
This work is a playful commentary on the dominance of the gallery system. While we know that the artist is centrally important in the success and continuation of the art market, that market's current trajectory impinges upon the autonomy of artists so much so that one could say that in one way or another, artists are continuously compromising. I want to make sure to clarify that I am not placing artists in a separate or special class, rather I am addressing the core principle that much of the reputation of the art system is based upon: that the artist is free to create the art they want to make. This is one of the tenets of art that can be attached to financial value; one cannot measure autonomy. However, if artists are making works that adhere to trends in the way that, for example, fashion designers tend to, then they are literally bracketed in that practice and cannot claim true autonomy. The art system dominates not just the material and psychic terrain of the artist, they also dominate geographically. In many 'art centers' (which are cities that feature a lot of museums and galleries, and usually an art fair) around the world, galleries congregate. NYC has perhaps the best example of this available. Until the 1970's, the gallery district in manhattan was in midtown. Soho became the new gallery district due to low costs sometime in the 1970's. Once fully developed into an outdoor mall, galleries needed to move once more, and settled in Chelsea. For the last 20 years, Chelsea in NYC has become synonymous with commercial galleries. If someone even remotely connected to art says "I'm going to chelsea" this is art speak for going to see exhibitions. My work counters that norm. I don't want to go to Chelsea.
The text below was presented as part of this installation. It was rendered as a drawing, and printed out for viewers to take.
Do you feel disenfranchised by the pressures exerted upon you that ultimately describe to you the nature of your viewership, your choices, your participation? Do you wish you had more understanding of contemporary art production? Do you want to have the opportunity to participate somehow in the processes of art making? Is it not an important but hushed truth that without a large number of viewers a work cannot become a vital part of its’ era? Doesn’t collective memory create an artwork’s relevance? Is it not true that without such, artists and their artwork are purely solipsistic? Do you feel the very real physical and mental distances created by the demands of an aloof art market; deep, wide expanses demand of you all you are in exchange for a ticket to ride? Do you wish to defeat this tyranny? A coup begins with a conversation. An artwork should always invite and spark conversations. What if that work spawns its own demise? What if the tenets of that conversation intend to make way for a new revitalized form of art-discourse? It could begin very simply. Its entirely possible: think of it – you are empowered with the ability to make the mark that creates this piece, yet that mark denigrates the system that this piece is assumed to be ingrained within. If that system is almost entirely one of either visual or auditory consumption, and that system’s product is aimed at the viewer through a variety of inter-political factors concerning money and popular taste, then where lies the relevance of the viewer populating this system? Surely therein describes a linear progression and bleak future for fine art towards a streamlined market exchange as is represented by the structure and status of the antiquities market-which is also a hierarchical economic structure, and entirely populated with a subset of the general public, but most importantly-demoting art’s potential as a publicly held, or owned, illuminating/emancipating property into products that are only consumed privately, enjoyed for idiosyncrasies like pure commercial value and rarity which, pored over and coveted as a fetish are nevertheless external to art’s indigenous attributes within society: a mantle pushed upon the responsibility of art; an ill-fitting context dislocated from the content of artworks, but affixed to enable the continuation of a market, eventually the general public’s, (including artists) experiences of the same exquisite products are relegated to viewing simulacra via mass reproduction, consequently this mass-form of fine-art consumption or participation (essentially further distanced) becomes embroiled within the critical composition of subsequent artworks, pushing this issue of detachment into the private, ‘real’ art consumption experience, exploding and lampooning the contextual privilege for a moment, before this too becomes absorbed as a form, so if art’s relevance really is created through collective memory, should we not take some time and allow the generators of that reality to understand form through visceral participation, an act that creates meaning, memory and a wish to say I don’t want to go to chelsea.