BPIGS, first issue budget plan - June 2010

“The identity of an artist doesn’t have to be a truthful one, they believed. (about Duchamp and Man Ray) What they were doing was unpicking the conventions.” Jennifer Mundy, curator of Duchamp, Man Ray, Picabia Tate Modern

"Everything is true, only the opposite is true too; you must believe both equally or be damned." Robert Luis Stevenson, author of Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

"The madder Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets!" The incredible Hulk

left: Alisa Margolis Bside cover March 2012; right: Tjorg Douglas Beer June 2011


Hallo, ich bin Johan Könnig

One can only dream of the time (or I dream of the time) when just one’s name renders any further explanation useless, as it already contains all the information, history, false and true facts about your person. In fact you don’t need to say your name at all, because everybody knows it already.

Hello, I am Jonny Cash

Until that happens however, I, we, the rest of us, have to feel around in the dark for the defining outlines of ourselves and the people we meet.

I am sorry who? 

The curators battle I at Grimmuseum Berlin; The Bpigs Vote, what people voted here


DEFINITIONS – an attempt at defining the BPIGS project

In high school it was What kind of music do you like?
In South Korea it is How old are you? (there is a very strong respect thy o/elder code)
It is maybe the social equivalent of dog sniffing- What these questions really seek to find out is: where do you classify, and most importantly where do you classify in comparison to me. Are you a friend or a fiend?*
In our circle it is the question Who do you show with?
For gallerists : Where is your gallery and Who do you show?

In every initial contact you have 3-5 seconds to name drop your way into establishing your status. There is a rather complex and widely misused terminology (ex: underground, young, upcoming, established, blue chip artist and/or gallery; We will go in detail on that in the upcoming series Art Language) to “help“ you get there. The correct use of these terms and the ability to “correctly“ go through the sniffing questions without blinking, (do not fool yourself this is by telling the truth), is maybe the sunny, boring side of what we call the art scene.  The incorrect use of these terms in endless combinations, the split between what the words you use mean and what they signal, and let’s face it, the endless possibilities to undermine the whole damn thing...This is the dark, twisted side of the art scene, and this is where Bpigs moves.

A good friend and excellent artist once told me that you have to define what you do, if you don’t, people will do it for you. I never really agreed.

CURRENT ISSUE cover by Witte Wartena "Berlin Art Week 2012"

Strip it Down series- by Martin Skauen

What I thought about Bpigs when it started:

Get the project funded by it’s memberships. Call it pigs at first, then bigs- nobody will be able to tell the difference acoustically. (the very accurate acronym Berlin Independents Guide actually occured to me much later).
Spread confusion. Get the (power)cards reshuffled. Educate. Motivate.

What YOU think Bpigs is (in your own words)
-       off spaces guide
-       event newsletter
-       great journalism
-       very important blog in Berlin
-       very important in Berlin
-       social entrepreneur
-       whatever it is you do, you are good at it
-       a gossip column
-       Vogue’s gossip column
-       Great essay/Good Analysis
-       the audacity...your oppiniated style of bad art journalism, bad art criticism
-       and judging from the miscelaneous requests we get, many of you also think bpigs is the yellow pages.

What has actually happened in these two years?  

12 published  issues, starting from the known format of this other guide and moving, away from the lawsuit, to a smaller and smaller, now comfortable pocket size and since 5 issues in color. Three Speed Portfolio Viewing events, where artists meet curators in 10x15min long sessions with surprising results and high success rate. The first Curators Battle, where two of Berlin’s most talented curators (in my oppinion) Aaron Moulton and Carson Chan faced off eachother curating two different shows with the same artists. The public could vote and explain their votes—and voting they did! Moulton moved on to by the director of Utah Museum of Contemporary Art and Chan to curate the 2012 Marrakech  Biennale. What else... Index updated their website, started a newsletter and is now “accepting“ more project spaces, then Bigs updated it’s website and started accepting galleries. We composed a Berlin/Art Hate-o-meter, (also a Like-o-Meter that was not that popular), a Love/Post Love compilation, and a 2012 Resolutions list we have yet to fulfil. Endless Pigs Tips, interviews and a NYE Masquerade Ball, where nobody remembers exactly what happened.. Through all this, admittedly some toes have been stepped on- your responses, scold and enthusiasm have been a constant companion, we have posted your mails in the first year on Thanksgiving, and will continue to do so.

Leap-Pigs NYE 2012 masquerade ball

What is coming next?

Map Berlin’s independent scene (you can actually already register your space for free here). Get more artists to write for bpigs. Produce an art scene pin up calendar, (which will be sold as an edition, fundraise the money to bribe the artists to write for bpigs). Create an app. New blog series: between an Art Language Lexikon and Public Relations for dummies: step by step through all the important milestones in an artist’s life (how to find a gallery, how to sell your first painting, how to quit your gallery etc) A new interview series, with hopefully honest reports of how established personalities "did it". Start a New York branch (berlin-brooklyn independent guide-bpigs). Next Speed Portfolio in June and when we find the time, the curators and the space at the same period, yes! There will be a Curator’s Battle2.

So what is Bpigs?

Bpigs is all of the above (since you think so) and none of it really. While there is a definite informative character in this project, its performative character is way more important. Any resemblance to journalism is surface deep at best, and it is on purpose so (as far as my texts are concerned at least). I like in fact the idea of bad journalism - as in bad painting, but let's not go that far. And if we were to define art criticism, as a form of poetry where every word is weighed in in it’s place, has at least 4 different interpretations levels, and their sum up can be endlessly re-shuffled without getting closer to one meaning- no, this is not it either. When I was asked in an interview how do I conciliate my work as an artist and my work as an cultural developer (?) I said I don't see any difference. The question was cut from the interview, which was both rude and kind of short sighted.  Because, to me, this is exactly what this is. A beautiful, chaotically multi layered, real life art work in progress. Surprisingly (or maybe not surprisingly) the most pissed off of your reactions got closer "your audacity“. Audacity is in an artist’s job description.

You can’t hide between the artist label! (a friend said).

I damn well think I can, (if this is hiding). This is one of the few good things about being an artist, this and playing with colors until you are 80.

Strip it down- Martin Skauen

Thanks to all the Bside artists so far!!! Marc Bijl, Aids 3D, Kimberly Clark, Kinga Kielczynska, Ignacio Uriarte, Alisa Margolis, Tjorg Douglas Beer, Sebastiaan Schlicher, Sibylla Dumke, Juliette Bonneviot, Martin Skauen and Witte Wartena.



Berlin Independents Guide is an artist run communications platform. The exhibition guide comes out every two months and is distributed for free in project spaces, galleries, institutions, and bookstores. Listings are accepted from project spaces, galleries, art institutes and art related venues in Berlin.
For more information and prices have a look here.
info(at) - Postal address: BPIGS at Blogfabrik, Oranienstrasse 185, 10999 Berlin / Respect the environment, please do NOT send printed invitations or posters.