The Digest – July 1st, 2012


I’m planning on writing a piece that lays out specifically some ideas about online business models since that seems to be an issue several people are thinking about these days. I’m not exactly sure why right now is some crisis point but nevertheless, I think it’s good to have these conversations. After thinking about it, I arrived at the conclusion that the best way for me to approach the topic would be to write about the business of LPV. I like to believe in transparency so I think it’s a good idea for me to share my strategy and how I view LPV in terms of economics, business and all that good stuff. I know those type of articles can bore people death but I think it’s important to share what I’m thinking.

On that note, you may want to read this conversation I had with Alex Sinclair of Digital Faun. He asked some interesting question, so if you’re curious about the ‘reblogosphere,’ check it out.  More on all of this later, for now, here’s The Digest. A bit slim this week.

Links of Note

Believe the Hype! How PR Took the Art World: You might want to yell at the internet after reading this piece.

In a way, PR exposes some of the fault lines of the art world. There’s the curator who sat down with a colleague of ours at a meeting that had been set up by a PR firm and said, “I don’t do the whole PR thing.” (“These days everyone asks me ‘Who does your PR?’” said a dealer at a dinner during the Art Basel fair two weeks ago. “My exhibition program does my PR!”) And then there’s artist Richard Phillips, the client of Michele Finocchi. “It’s not absolutely necessary for an artist to try to maximize the use of new media and the effectiveness of that use, where public relations comes in handy,” Mr. Phillips told The Observer. “But if you don’t, you’re not as much in control of your message.”

Once, the art world didn’t talk about PR. Now, it talks about the right PR. As visible as she would seem to be, the right PR is a stealth warrior. She is everywhere and nowhere. She is at an art fair near you, she is on the phone, she is in your inbox.

‘Kickstarter The Lastest Internet Scam: Oh man, I thank you The Onion! Listen, I know artists need to find ways to fund their work but right now Kickstarter and photography are getting out of hand. Every week there are more and more pleas to support projects and it’s starting to come off as nothing more than begging. This is not sustainable. People are going to get Kickstarter fatigue. I think people should save it for very special,  high level projects. Not to make a book or fund any old project. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in crowdfunding and appreciate what is doing but at there’s just too much PR happening on social media channels about crowdfunding. Let’s not get lazy people. Let’s at least think about what we’re doing rather than blindly copying the tactics of other people.

The Art of Industry: The Making and Meaning of Edward Burtynsky’s New Exhibit, ‘Oil’: Maybe you’re a fan of Burtynsky, maybe you’re not. I am, so I found this interview illuminating.

I think there is an anxiety about the status of the photograph amongst the new practitioners coming in. I have certain anxieties, too, of course, but, I think because I’ve had such an arc of existing work that I continue to build on as an artist, that I don’t feel as much anxiety about using the real world as my palette or as my template, to draw from. I don’t feel compelled to start staging my imagery or moving away from recording “reality” on some level in order to achieve a deeper subjective experience, and I think it’s because I came out of an analogue, more traditional way of approaching photography. Photography was a way to put a window onto the world and to enter into the world. For me, photography is a way to mine ideas that are things.

‘Photo-overload: Everyone’s taking pics, but is anyone really looking?: Why are you all so obsessed with this everyone’s a photographer, photo-overload business? Big deal. More people take photographs and the web makes it criminally easy to share them with friends Why am I sharing this? What is a photograph? Who am I?

We are living in a time of unprecedented visuality,” says Martin Hand, a sociologist at Queen’s University, and the author of the new book, Ubiquitous Photography. “The irony is that having a photo doesn’t mean you are going to remember. It feels like you have a vast repository of memories. But the number of photographs prompts a certain kind of forgetting.

The ‘Busy’ Trap: I was too busy to read this earlier but when I did, it became my favorite article of the week. I blame my busyness on ya’ll. If you weren’t so demanding and hungry to links about irrelevant shit like photo-overload I might have more time to go out and make some irrelevant, inconsequential photographs myself. Instead, I’m chained to a chair serving you people!

My own resolute idleness has mostly been a luxury rather than a virtue, but I did make a conscious decision, a long time ago, to choose time over money, since I’ve always understood that the best investment of my limited time on earth was to spend it with people I love. I suppose it’s possible I’ll lie on my deathbed regretting that I didn’t work harder and say everything I had to say, but I think what I’ll really wish is that I could have one more beer with Chris, another long talk with Megan, one last good hard laugh with Boyd. Life is too short to be busy.

More and more people in this country no longer make or do anything tangible; if your job wasn’t performed by a cat or a boa constrictor in a Richard Scarry book I’m not sure I believe it’s necessary. I can’t help but wonder whether all this histrionic exhaustion isn’t a way of covering up the fact that most of what we do doesn’t matter.

Not so long ago, I was wandering around Wyoming: Bryan Schutmaat found the scene of an Alec Soth photograph and wrote a short but excellent piece about it.

By poking around this estate, I was in a sense stepping into a photo and exploring it, something I tend to want to do when looking at good photography. Often I wonder what’s beyond the edges of the frame, what’s behind and beside the photographer that viewers don’t see, what half-truths are being told, etc.  In this case, there was just a desolate highway and a lot of nothing. The setting was almost eerie, and it was kind of impressive how well the real-life mood of the location fit Broken Manual’s narrative.

‘The Power of the Particular’: Ok, no fan of David Brooks, in fact I don’t like him really, but he does make a moderately good point about particularity.

We carry this need for paracosms into adulthood. It’s a paradox that the artists who have the widest global purchase are also the ones who have created the most local and distinctive story landscapes. Millions of people around the world are ferociously attached to Tupac Shakur’s version of Compton or J.K. Rowling’s version of a British boarding school or Downton Abbey’s or Brideshead Revisited’s version of an Edwardian estate.      Millions of people know the contours of these remote landscapes, their typical characters, story lines, corruptions and challenges. If you build a passionate and highly localized moral landscape, people will come.

©Janet Jarman – Marisol and the American Dream: One Photographer’s 15-Year Project [Time LightBox]


In No Great Hurry – 13 Lessons in Life with Saul Leiter TRAILER from Tomas Leach on Vimeo.