Jimi Dams’ letter to his list about the changing status of Envoy Enterprises, and why “It’s Not Fun Anymore”:
New York gallerist Jimi Dams of Envoy Enterprises talks about:
His dissolution with the art world (and particularly the market and fairs); his one-a-day exhibition series, when he observed poor behavior in a curator, an early indicator of unraveling in a way that would continue to unfold through the art world; his story of switching from being an artist – which he had to quit due to health issues – to opening a gallery, despite being a socialist, with the financial support from the late Hudson, former owner of Feature Gallery; how he ran/has run his gallery as a former artist, including having pizza nights where all his artists get together and hash things out openly; his frustration with the priorities of graduate schools today, with an over emphasis on ‘professionalism’ and the like; his (rather firm) advice to younger artists on what they should do, advice that art students he’s spoken to have struggled to hear let alone accept; and how during his gallery’s openings, you won’t find him out in the gallery but in his office.
With the release of episode #197, guest Kate McQuillen is generously donating several signed editions of her poster, Night House. For $25 plus shipping*, you can own one, support The Conversation and receive bonus episodes of the podcast.
*To receive a poster, you can donate via PayPal for $35 – to factor in shipping plus paypal fee – (just click on Donate button to the right), or via Venmo or check for $32– please email theconversationartpodcast(at)gmail(dot)com for Venmo user name or address for check.
Night House project and poster info:
Set within the peaceful neighborhood setting of Oak Park, Illinois, Kate McQuillen’s large-scale, August 2015 installation, titled “Night House,” covered the front of a two-story suburban home with a printed image of a glittering, star-filled night sky. The installation sparked considerations of cosmic themes, dreams, and the outsized aspirations held by those who live behind ordinary suburban homes. The fundraiser poster was produced by hand using five screens; six inks (glow-in-the-dark, silver, varnish, yellow, white and a split fountain); dimensions are 16″ x 20″; and is printed on Neenah Eclipse Black paper. It is an open edition, signed by the artist.
Brooklyn-based artist Kate McQuillen talks about:
Moving to Greenpoint, Brooklyn from Chicago, a move she made rather abruptly though cushioned the transition with brief stints in Connecticut and then Boston; the turning points that led her to her move, including both art career opportunity and the breakdown of her marriage; how the intensity of her marriage falling apart led her to seek out talk therapy for the first time mostly on her own with just a little bit of reinforcement of the idea from a friend, and what she learned about herself once she found a great therapist (on her 2nd try); the sales of a significant amount of her work to Saks 5th Avenue through their acquisitions director, who came back around to buy even more work after that first major purchase, thus becoming something like a fairy godmother for Kate; baby steps in starting to date again after leaving her marriage; and how it hit her, in the middle of this past winter, that this (New York…Brooklyn) is her new life.
Along with co-host (and gallerist) Deb Klowden Mann, Los Angeles-based Matthew Gardocki, former gallery manager at Patrick Painter and Mark Moore galleries, talks about:
His decade-plus time working for two long-running L.A. galleries, the different management style of each, how he transitioned from one gallery to the other (they were across the parking lot from each other at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica), and how he became a good fireman (by getting really good at putting out fires); his experiences going to art fairs, both to sell and to sneak in a little travel; we talk about the viability of mid-sized and/or family galleries as business models, vis-à-vis the recent closing of Matthew’s last employer Mark Moore; various art world comparisons, particularly mid-sized galleries vs. the big galleries, the big galleries vs. museums, secondary market sales as a way for a gallery to survive (and how the 2ndary market has dried up according to Matthew), and the challenge of mid-tier galleries; how he’s looking for gallery work, and what’s come up in his interviews, including his availability as a father of a 2-year-old; the reliability (or lack thereof) of collectors making studio or gallery visits; gender bias in the workplace, and finally, Matthew shares a very unusual birth story (of his daughter) that you likely haven’t heard before.
Brooklyn-based artist Jean Shin talks about:
Gradually turning her Hudson Valley barn originally bought for art storage into a summer/weekend retreat; her extensive experiences with Brooklyn real estate including living and working in spaces all over Brooklyn, and leveraging various mortgages – starting with a “tiny” apartment in Carroll Gardens, before eventually buying a 1000 sq. foot storefront studio in Red Hook and a slightly larger apartment in Cobble Hill with her husband, leaving her settled (as long as there isn’t another hurricane); her massive public art project for the 63rd Street stop of the new 2nd Avenue Subway line in New York, including the $1 million dollar budget (which was comprehensive for fabrication, design, materials, etc.- she didn’t even earn 1% of that herself after all was said and done), and what it was like interacting with the public as the murals etc. were being installed…it was a project she worked on from 2010 thru the end of 2016; her working in labor intensive projects (with discarded ephemera), and the process of collaborating with museum curators as well as various assistants, including learning to trust the process of working with collaborators, and even trusting them enough to give them keys to the studio; and what it’s like serving on the board of the Joan Mitchell Foundation, addressing inequity where possible along the way.
Brooklyn-based artist and activist Grayson Earle talks about:
His unplanned landing in Brooklyn, where he couch-surfed into a commune-style house, and where he’s remained since moving to NY from California in 2010; his fluid relationship with the identity of “artist,” ultimately one he embraces because it affords him more opportunities that if he took on the identity of “activist;” his experiences with artist collection The Illuminator, including getting arrested while projecting provocative phrases challenging donor Charles Koch onto The Metropolitan Museum; his admiration for open source programmers, and the process of sharing software and information, and the choice, in his words, of being an artist who either influences culture or makes saleable art objects; his experience being onsite at the start of Occupy Wall Street, and his role procuring food for that first generation occupiers (including vegan pizza); interacting with the problem of where our tax payments go through his project Tax Deductible Expenses, which features Earle eating and/or drinking in a series of YouTube videos, with the receipt for his goods posted alongside; and his Illuminator projection of a holographic bust of Edward Snowden, in place where an anonymously placed actual bust was placed in Fort Greene Park, in turn making it an odd completion of the original piece (they wound up meeting the pair behind the bust of Snowden, which is now available as a file for 3D printing).
New York artist Will Cotton talks about:
His neighborhood of Tribeca, where he and his girlfriend bought a place, and how he’s seeing Chelsea galleries starting to move there; his studio schedule, and how he still allows time to be social and finds the need to be out – including providing face-time for collectors, et al. – even though he’s had gallery representation with Mary Boone since ’99; how he consciously keeps it down to just himself making his work (he does have an assistant, Emily, who handles the desk/administrative duties), because he’s seen artist friends turn into managers more than artists; how he builds his ‘tabletop maquettes,’ and one of his anecdotes in which he got in trouble for the overuse of a root beer waterfall for one his scenes; another anecdote involving discovering something inside one of the cakes from his maquettes, after its long-since dried shell cracked; the genesis of his using live models in his candy scenes, and how that’s both been fruitful and also gotten him into a little bit of trouble for accusations of exploitation; the ‘hedonistic and druggy’ (specifically vodka and cocaine) phase of his life, just prior to starting the candy land-fantasy work that’s become his oeuvre; and his gratefulness for his life in the studio.
Clearfield, Pennsylvania-based artist Rebecca Morgan talks about:
Her hometown of Clearfield, a financially distressed former coal town, where she currently lives in the home she grew up in with her mom, in between teaching gigs in other states, which affords her tons of time to work, but also feels like suspended adolescence; the liminal relation she has to the town, which both rejected her and she rejects, and despite those rejections she’s roughly the only one among her fellow school kids who’s still (for the moment) there; her dating life in all its challenges and even brutality, through dating sites and aps, and which include things like driving 4 hours to New York to go on dates with art dudes; how happy she’ll be to settle in just about any city EXCEPT New York, even though she went to Pratt and connected with the gallery that now represents her before leaving the city, and how her current home in the middle of nowhere affords her the time and space just to exist (vs. killing herself to survive in NY); how she doesn’t think she would have left NY had it not been for her landing gallery representation; her very substantial Instagram following: how she got there, what she posts, how she interacts with her followers, and how it gives her a presence, and even sales, even while living in ‘the middle of nowhere;’ her most impactful IG supporters: Juxtapoz magazine and Amy Sedaris; body image in relation to her self-portraiture, which ranges from naturalistic to over-the-top; and we close with an audio dating profile for Rebecca, where she makes her intentions known and I begin playing a little matchmaker.
Los Angeles-based art business writer Tim Schneider, creator of The Gray Market blog, talks about:
His nerd roots in the Midwest; “COINs,” which stands for “Collectors Only In Name,” who tend to be labeled villains for art flipping tendencies, as opposed to collectors such as hedge funder Steven Cohen, who ‘plays by the rules’ at least as perceived by gallerists, even though he’s also been known to flip works himself; his Gray Market blog, which he describes as “peeling back the layers of what we can see reported…traditionally, and asking: Why are people doing these things? What’s the strategy?”; choosing between screenwriting and art for a career, and why he chose the path he chose; how he navigates the art world as a professional skeptic and somehow still get access to the inside, where some of the most useful intelligence is; the prospect of becoming “the Anthony Bourdain of the art world;” his upcoming book, “The Great Reframing: How Technology Will––and WON’T––Change the Gallery System Forever,” which he’s self-publishing, because it includes time-sensitive information that can’t be wasted on the overly long traditional publishing process (the book is slated to come out by June 1st, on the Amazon Kindle platform); and what it’s like living in Downtown L.A. right by the Grand Central Market (directly downhill from MoCA, the Broad and Disney Concert Hall on Grand St.).
Hudson River Valley-based artist Anne Lindberg talks about:
Her relatively new (as of 2+ years) home in the Hudson River Valley, after having spent 28 years prior in Kansas City; her roots in Iowa City, where her mom was an artist and her dad taught at the University; her and her husband’s decision to move from Kansas City to Ancramdale, NY, partially engineered through their pied-a-terre on the Upper West Side, which her husband moved into when he started teaching at Parsons School of Design; her unusual home and studio setting, surrounded by farms, and how the move to rural New York has been a clarifying process in terms of her priorities and the downsizing of possessions; how because of her relative remoteness, especially in relation to NYC, studio visitors need to make a day of it, between the roundtrip train ride, ride from the station, and taking a walk in the neighborhood, in addition to the studio visit itself; how the Hudson River Valley in general, though particularly its light, which she describes as both amber and seeming to come from the side, affects her work; her unique process of using a 10-foot-long architectural parallel bar on a 10-foot vertical table that raises and lowers on an electric wench; how pivotal her participation in the Omi Residency Program was for her work; and the whole world of farmers in her rural neighborhood that have opened up a new community for her.