You told yourself it was for narcissists but now the traffic alerts
are all on there. In fact, if a nuclear missile was heading directly for
your house, it would be on Twitter before you could put your shoes on.
Time to embrace the feathers, then. It’s social, so think of it as a
dancefloor full of people. In different parts of the room different
music is playing. They are line-dancing over there, bossa nova-ing here,
waltzing in the back. A new song comes up and everyone re-groups. Some
people attract little cliques, and when certain popular people take to
the floor, it gets the attention of the whole room.
So you arrive in the room and watch what’s going on. To help you,
Twitter gives you a search box to find people you might want to connect
with (@) and follow. Also a discover tag (#) with a list of trending
conversations you might want to join in on. You have 140 characters to
make your comment. It’s best to leave your tweet a little under the
character count, so that if people want to share it, or retweet (RT) it
to their followers, they have the extra space.
The only etiquette you have to remember is to be polite and reply to
people when they tweet you, then if the conversation has run its course,
So, dip a toe in the water, follow a few people, contribute a comment
or two and soon you’ll be in the swing, or the jive, or maybe even the
Launched with much fanfare at Art Basel, Miami, Art.sy aims to
introduce collectors to works by new artists. Using the same sort of
algorithms that Pandora employs to pick music, or Amazon to suggest
recommendations, Art.sy has categorized 15,000 pieces of work with 800
tags, or ‘genes’, ranging from content and medium to art movements and
Unable to spring for that Matisse? Plug in a couple of your favorite
artist’s works and Art.sy will come back with images you may like
costing anywhere between $150 and $3m.
But is it anything more than a party trick? Have they cracked the
algorithm to what makes collectors collect? That remains to be seen.
Currently anything that gets artists’ work out in front of the public
with the possibility of making a sale is to be applauded. The founders
have done everything they can to establish the credentials of the work
they showcase, so browsers can be reasonably sure that the works are
originals by artists with a track record.
Give it a try. Who knows whether something may find a place in your heart, and on your wall.
June 26, 2012
Hunter Drohojowska-Philp review of the new book by the very thoughtful art writer Peter Clothier. Howway, bonnie lad!
Peter Clothier, Mind Work: Shedding Delusions on the Path to the Creative Core, 2012, Parami Press, 192 pp., $18.
Peter Clothier, an art critic and author based in Los Angeles, has dedicated himself to blogging and essays, most often in The Buddha Diaries and in the Huffington Post. His most recent book Mind Work: Shedding Delusions on the Path to the Creative Core, published by Parami Press, is a collection of writings that simulate time spent in lively conversation.
Nominally essays, Clothier’s writing is done, he says, with an
awareness of his age, of his spiritual inclinations. He writes about
letting go of one distraction after another to get closer to something
that even he does not know. Some texts are musings on the violence of
video games or television shows, but at their most interesting, the
pieces are a frank stock-taking of his very self.
In emulation of a painter, Clothier writes a self-portrait in the
nude, noting the areas that are holding up and others that are going
down. He begins with his feet and continues the appraisal moving
upwards, bit by bit, describing in unsparing detail how he looks in the
mirror. “Arms. I have always been self-conscious about my arms. They
seem to me skinny, unmuscular — no matter that I have been working out
in my latter years, and have succeeded in strengthening them.”
Clother’s writing is intensely and increasingly personal, a position
that he defends not only in his own work but in that of others. This
position could be seen in the very title of his last book of essays
collected over 30 years, Persist: In Praise of the Creative Spirit in a World Gone Mad with Commerce.
Inspired by Buddhism, his writing often manifests his belief that
artists must create for themselves, even without approval from others or
financial reward. That is a message we can hear again and again.
HUNTER DROHOJOWSKA-PHILP is the author of Rebels in Paradise: The Los Angeles Art Scene and the 1960s (Henry Holt, 2011).
June 26, 2012
Much surprise at the announcement of the closure of Artnet
Magazine. Not a must read, it was none the less a useful tool. Fingers
are pointed at Skates Art Investment Review for its crushing assessment
of the magazines financials – it never once turned a profit. We hope Mr
Robinson takes his twitter feed and finds some new backers.
June 18, 2012
All set to attend Dwell on Design at the LA Convention Center.
Can’t believe it was a year ago that we knew for definite that the urban
chicken rebellion was a reality. Once the domestic fowl had two
designer coops showing we decided it must be official. With a bit of
luck there will be modernist beehives this year.
Dwell kicks off on Friday 22, www.dwell.com/dwell-on-desig
May 6, 2012
Left the brilliant sunshine behind to attend the Sunday afternoon
talk at Los Angeles Museum of Modern Art (LACMA) given by Christina
YuYu. In “Looking Back, Looking Forward: Contemporary Chinese Art” Ms.
Yu achieved the impossible and gave an overview of the past 35 years in
only 45 minutes. Luckily, she was very structured and clear in her
approach, illustrating her talk with some names and works that were
familiar to Western audiences.
Her talk had special significance for us here at Ajar Marketing.
We’ve spent some time talking about what defines the term ‘Chinese
artist’ – nationality? ethnicity? culture? We agree that artists who
have emigrated as adults from China are defined as Chinese, but what of
those who arrived in their country of residence as children? Or those
artists whose backgrounds are in Hong Kong, or like Judy, Taiwan?
An interesting show at the Vincent Price Museum of Art in East LA,
curated by Sonia Mak (recently of the Chinese American Museum, LA)
brought the spotlight to five little-known artists working from the
1930′s to the present day – the eldest is 101 years old. Round the Clock: Chinese American Artists Working in Los Angeles, explores the careers of George
Chann, John Kwok, Jake Lee, Milton Quon, and Tyrus Wong. The title
refers to the fact that the artists had to work around the clock to
make their own art, after putting in a full day’s work in their day
jobs. Personally I don’t think that things have changed much for artists
today, but the premise is that these artists were discriminated against
because of their race.
Of the five, one was born in the US and the rest arrived as children.
The majority had jobs as animators in Disney’s studios and all the work
produced in the 1930s and 40s, much of it as commissions from the WPA,
bears the hallmarks of the California Regionalist movement, predominant
in West Coast watercolor painting of the time. As their careers
progressed, two of the artists began to reference Chinese brush painting
and calligraphy in their work of the 1960s. The question is, did those
artists feel emboldened by the liberation ideologies of the time to
reclaim their cultural heritage? Was their practice of brush hidden
during the early Regionalist phase? And, most intriguingly, did they put
the stamp of their sensibilities on the films of Walt Disney, in
particular with their work on Fantasia, Bambi and Aladdin?
Is it even possible for a Chinese artist to load a brush without
feeling the weight of centuries standing behind their shoulder? Or are
we now at a juncture where Chinese art is so sought after, that
contemporary Chinese artists wherever they are located, can choose to
reference their culture, or not?
Round the Clock: Chinese American Artists Working in Los Angeles http://ow.ly/aPSZw
Christina YuYu’s talk organized by LACMA’s East Asian Council http://ow.ly/aPTd6
Greetings from London! Such a busy trip and so little time to see
art. Squeezed in a visit to the Yayoi Kusama exhibition at the Tate
Modern, where I found myself full of admiration, and unease, watching
her work unfold. The extraordinary pressures that she faced as a
Japanese woman making work in the contemporary art scene of the post-war
era, pushing through mania, obsession and finally retreating from the
world. Is there any more telling title for a body of work than The Self Obliteration Series?
The weather was superb, so I decided to visit the Freud Museum in
sunny suburban Hampstead. Freud’s consulting room is on permanent
display, just as he left it. A room crammed with books and small
sculptures. His collection followed his interest in atavars, ageless
symbols of human archetypes, and he collected from every culture and
civilization. What was not immediately apparent, was small mirror,
hidden behind some figurines on a side table at the foot of the
therapist’s couch. It allowed Freud to watch his patient’s face,
discretely. Yes, even this towering figure used smoke and mirrors to
work his magic.
A temporary exhibition of the work of Louise Bourgeois showed
upstairs with one of her spider sculptures in the garden. The Freud
Museum and Bourgeois seemed a natural pairing but sadly I thought that
her work was diminished by the setting. Suddenly the Freudian elements
in every piece became overwhelmingly dominant. The wall texts further
tipped the balance. I can imagine a visitor unacquainted with her work,
dusting down their hands – problem solved. There’s Ms Bourgeois banged
to rights, pinned down like a dissected earthworm. Nothing more to see
here. Move along…
Art Fair season in LA and we had our timing right. By chance, Chinese
New Year fell early this year and we were able to produce 新年快樂 cards to
hand out. It was a remarkably effective way of sharing something a
little special with the gallerists. Especially those from China who,
after a full week of speaking English, visibly relaxed when someone spoke
We not usually fans of Hallmark cards but a witty take on a
commonplace occasion can be useful as a gentle reminder. So, who is for
celebrating Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole Day on March 26?