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Carolyn Weltman Art Blog

I went to MoMA today ...

by CarolynWeltman , October 31, 2010—12:00 AM

Topics: Exhibitions, MoMa, New York City, abstract art, art events, artists, change, collaboration, collectives, excitement, galleries, loneliness, museums, painting, world views

To see the exhibition of abstract american painters circa 1940 - 1960.

This exhibition is vast and with far too many paintings to absorb in one visit. (A topic for a future blog, do museums curate such large exhibits in order to bring people back and make more money?).

As a very figurative painter myself, I've always had issues with understanding abstract art and mostly have to follow my gut. For instance, I completely feel the genius of a Jackson Pollock but in an entirely subjective way. The passion shows through in his paintings but the paintings themselves don't make sense to me. I am a lot more comfortable with De Kooning's more figurative works as well as his colour palette. Painters like Barnett Newman leave me confused and uncomfortable.

However, I went deliberately to learn and feel that I did absorb so much from this exhibition. The biggest lesson of all was a realisation (a light bulb moment) that the artists involved in this movement were probably the last of a dying breed of artists. Immediately following this movement, art became corporate and big business and the very nature of art and artists changed. Today's artists by comparison are money driven and often paint for their audience rather than exploring their own passions and the needs of society.

It would be educational to interact with the artists on Artid and be able to discuss the merits of painting in a way that brings painting forward in a different way. By exploring both our techniques and the societal values of our works just as the group of abstract expressionist artists came together in New York city and in spite of their different styles in painting, were able to learn from each other and create a huge leap forward in painting and how the general public views art. (Of course, as many groups of artists have done throughout history).

Could a chat room embedded into Artid become the modern day coffee shop environment for us to explore our works together? So many artists work in isolation nowadays. Is there any interest, I wonder, in doing this or are we more inclined to make statements on our facebook pages or in our blogs that are explored lightly and glossed over for a day or two. Could we bring back the in depth passions of the discussions of our predecessors do you think? Or are we happy in our state of isolation to just make money and pay the rent?




  Caroline Henry ( homepage )

11/21/2010 * 16:48:37

I wouldn't discourage development of a chat feature on ArtId as I value the communication with artists in other communities that this site has already afforded me. I do agree with Jody that there is nothing like the face to face communication of artists over coffee (or tea or wine or whatever). Fortunately I have developed friendships with other artists who enjoy talking about art from many aspects. I'm from a small community, so I think the potential is everywhere. Look for or form art groups and within them look for your true art peers.


  Carolyn Weltman ( homepage )

11/10/2010 * 09:55:47

Thanks Mary, I will. I didn't realise it was different.


  Mary Lawler ( homepage )

11/05/2010 * 14:14:54

You are right Sophi, I did shut down the Ning site but I am referring to a different site called LinkedIn. On LinkedIn (which is a great business site), ArtId hosts two groups, ArtID-Visual Arts Community and Fine Art Professionals Exchange. About 100 of out members are already in the ArtId Visual Arts Community and it's a good place to get conversations going, some of them go on for a long time with people posting months later. You also get an email when someone posts a new comment so you don't miss anything. Give it a try.


  Carolyn Weltman ( homepage )

11/04/2010 * 17:13:48

Jody, you're right. a chat room is not nearly as good as those times when we gather, anais nin-like to hash over our projects. how else in a technology world do we handle it though?

Mac, i'm still wading through my dictionary but as soon as you're up for a coffee shop gathering, i'll be there with my paintbrush behind one ear and a notebook.

Jason, the next time you visit nyc, i'd be glad to go museum visiting with you.


  Mac ( homepage )

11/04/2010 * 11:30:02

Dear Sophi,

I don't mean to pick nits, but regarding the "corporate-ization" of art perhaps a fairer characterization might be that the creativity merged with the impulse to capitalize yields commodity decoration, vs. something legitimately catagorizable as art.

I think the perfect line you draw between those motivated by passion and those producing product is all that may need be said about it, but certainly one could spin a few lines in addition and come up with a more robust accounting for what art really is. We're surrounded by so many man-made things... artifacts, but not much art.

Regrettably, production of ephemeral junk in industrial quantities elicits in people a corresponding need for decorative relief of that junk's bland samenesses in pretty much equal measure. The instinct is to call decorative relief "art", but at the bottom of that assertion is, I think, some serious looseness about the term.

And you know me - I like things tight. ;)


  Jody Noelle Coughlin ( homepage )

11/04/2010 * 00:26:29

I hate my sense of isolation. I would love to be surrounded by fellow artists in a coffee shop setting. Unfortunately, an on-line chat room would not give me the feeling I crave at all, I don't think. It's just not the same. It's not the same as back in the days when my artists friends lived near me and we would get together and feed off each other's energy. It's sad, really. I remember deep down that feeling of coming alive around other creatives, but it is almost a shadow of a memory now and the very thing, I think, I feel is missing the most from my art. I don't remember caring about the money back then. It was so far from the point it wasn't even on the radar screen. Now? It's all that seems to matter for reasons I don't even understand.

It's such a lonely enterprise for me these days it almost feels like it's quitting time for good. I have often thought about moving to a city somewhere but then it becomes a question of uprooting my whole family and that's not good either.

Slinging burgers at a fast food place would at least get me in touch with real people again. Sometimes I wonder if that's what I should be doing instead.


  Sophi ( homepage )

11/02/2010 * 12:27:01

hi Mary,

Thanks for this information. I thought the linked in was abandoned recently as I received an email from you to that effect. Its also not the kind of forum I had in mind.


  Mary Lawler ( homepage )

11/01/2010 * 14:42:56

A venue as you describe is already underway in the form of a LinkedIn group ArtId - Visual Arts Community. Right now there are 100 members/subscribers some are ArtId members and some are not. But the discussion is always lively and sometimes heated and controversial.
ArtId Featured Blogs are automatically posted on the LinkedIn group site. Ithink this might be the perfect place to start some conversation. Some discussions have posts on them for over a year so it's not something that is quickly forgotten or lost in the shuffle.


  Jason Schakosky ( homepage )

11/01/2010 * 14:24:10

First off, I think the museums like to see a change just as much as the people do. And in making such money I am certain they are also spending it just the same.

I tend to feel that I understand Pollack's work. Sometimes it takes a twisted person to peel away and reach the center of a sick man's artwork.

I agree with you on the marketing front. It is a money driven world we live in. It isn't as though we value water instead of gold.

As for the envelop of communication, I am neither yay or nay. Chatting opens up a whole world of pros as it does cons. And there are much more cons which is why I applaud this service for not getting messed up in all of the hype of chatting.

A majority of artists on here are in the geographic area where they can get out and go to galleries and such but here in white bread land, things like that are non existent.


  Sophi ( homepage )

11/01/2010 * 14:21:17

yes please, Betsy :)


  Betsy Davison

11/01/2010 * 11:54:58

Good Question! Does the ArtId member network want a more in depth way to communicate and discuss the topics of artwork in today's world?

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