Summer Readings Winter Fears

I think it is ok if I just go ahead and say it: Saying you are an artist (in Berlin) is kind of the equivalent of saying you are Greek right now. Try it out. The minute your conversation with somebody at an opening gets interesting tell them “I am an artist you know”. (The reaction will also be similar if you go for: “I want to have your baby”): Frozen smile, short inhale mid sentence, panic look, body weight shifts away from you, side glance for somebody else to talk to. Hell, I react the same way myself. There are just too damn many of us out there, too many, too desperate… how did this happen?



left: Francis Alÿs "Turista", México D.F., 1996 right: Greek President Guard in national costume, paroling in front of the parliament. Gas mask to my knowledge is photoshopped .
I happened to be a (very small) part of a Monopol cover story last year. I got thumbs up from every one I know about it, and some I did not know. The story was about artists as blood thirsty zombies, but I had the feeling nobody seemed to mind or even acknowledge this fact. It could have been a list of Berlin’s top child molesters for all people cared, it did not matter- I was in Monopol…I get it somehow, but then, no, I don’t. Where does this power come from?
I don’t know when exactly, but somewhere in the past decades artists started occupying the bottom of the, (for lack of a better word, I am going to call it): The Ash Kissing Pyramid A.K.P- or rather: the Circle of Ass Kissing C.A.K. Artists to curators, curators to gallerists, gallerists to collectors, collectors to artists (though top artists different than bottom artists). Of course it is actually more arbitrary than that, as it can be anyone to anyone at all times, depending of who needs what from whom, the direction of the A.K can change as randomly and quickly as in a spin the bottle game. Who is next?

Carrie Bradsaw “I couln’t help but wonder…”
I got asked three times this week: “What does Berlin need to finally happen?” It seems this is the next question after Where is Ai Wei? nobody is inclined to answer (or can answer) but everybody just has to ask. I was in this talk in Udk last month and one of the students asked me: How do you know what kind of themes to address, how do you know what is contemporary? I think that was his academic way of asking: how do you become popular, successful?
 
Winter fears

left: 03.08 The mayor of Lithuania's capital, Vilnius, has been filmed using an armoured vehicle to crush an car parked illegally in a cycle lane. The stunt was shot over the weekend for a popular Swedish TV series, 99 Things You Should Do Before You Die. right: http://photoshoplooter.tumblr.com/
There might still be people out there that haven’t heard. Art forum got cancelled this year. Yep. The parallel show you have been organizing at the end of September will now be parallel to nothing, which can actually work better. I told a friend I don’t want to live in a city without a big art fair, even Athens got it together at some point or another. He said this is one of the stupidest things I have said. This has nothing to do with us (with us artists). I was not consoled, but he actually made a very useful distinction.
There is this exclusivity, elitism in the art scene which is not only completely insane it also results in a stiffness very very unlikely of the actual subject. Art making is an urgent need, it is an open, free process. Showing and dealing art on the other hand, have to obey to so many norms and rules, and follow specific groups of interest (see Index, see the whole Art Forum fiasco, the gallery war, if-you-are-not-with-us-you-are-against-us-scandal-in Basel etc)...That might all be well and good and maybe this is the only way things can work on that level; (although I highly doubt it), but like my friend said, this has nothing to do with us (us artists). It has mostly to do with fear, distrust, keeping appearances and whatever else the market is based on. Art, when it works, is kind of the opposite of fear.
If you come to think of it, the whole art scene, as it works right now, is as beneficial to (us) artists as the light to the moths that surround it on a warm summer night;  And yet we seem unable to resist...
 
Summer Readings
 
 

Unfinished Business, Emilie Trice 2011
UNFINISHED BUSINESS
an art project
23. August 2011, 4pm - midnight
at SRS/ artitu.de (Cuvry Str. 3-4, Berlin)
Emily Trice has been on the right side of the tracks for 5 years. Aspringing gallerina, curator, writer and party girl; One night in bar 3 she surprised me by saying: I am an artist you know. After the third in a row gallery she was working for closed, Emily decided to leave Berlin. But not before curating herself in her first solo show with all her professional visiting cards, write a manifesto about collectivism in the art scene and explain the difference between NY and Berlin and how Berlin is or can be better.
You should go to this show, it has the ambition to be scandalously refreshing, + it’s going to be the first after summer re union of the (expat) art scene. You should buy one of the works offered in very very small prices intended to be sold out by the end of the evening) but first you should read what she has to say in a very open, honest attempt to figure out what is what; She loses the thread a couple of times in personal reminiscing, but she is a good writer, so you will even enjoy that.  
von hundert
www.vonhundert.de
art critic magazine, comes out 3 times a year
Download pdf online or buy in pro qm/almstadtstraße, barbara wien/linienstraße, bücherbogen/savignyplatz, walther könig an der museumsinsel, do you read me?/auguststraße, motto/skalitzer straße
You should read this issue of von hundert, cover to cover. In fact you should learn German just to read this or throw it in an online translator if you are impatient. Just read it. Editor and artist Andreas Koch, was the co-founder of the legendary Producers Galerie Koch&Kesslau.  (If I am not mistaken, they were even nominated best booth in Art Forum back in the days; closed in 2004 when everything else was starting). Andreas is a pioneer in the scene in many ways and somebody who can explain exactly what is going on and why. And this is what he is doing in his article about Art Forum- Provinz in Berlin 

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