OK, pop quiz.
1. D.C. has a vibrant indie design scene: true or false?
2. Which of the following might describe a typical day in the life of a D.C. designer?
A. Moderating a panel at a graffiti art show, meeting a band on your record label for lunch, and making some logo sketches for that new wine bar opening down the street from your office.
B. Traveling the world taking photos of your world-famous dj friends on tour, filming a documentary about disarming land mines, and building a web site for an airline.
C. Curating a roaming art gallery, hosting a live-art “happening,” and just plain having fun.
D. All of the above.
Answer: D. All of the above.
Do any of the above apply to you? If it seems as crazy and far off as a moon landing, maybe you should ask yourself this: who says that designers can only be, well, designers? AIGA DC wants to let you in on a little secret: everything you need to break out of the mold is within your reach. And what’s more, you can find it all here in D.C. —if you know where to look.
Join us next week at an exclusive*, VIP event with practically unrestricted access to five of D.C.’s most progressive DIYers:
• Moderator Philippa Hughes of the Pink Line Project will give you the “in” on D.C.’s independent art scene
• David Fogel of Eighty Eight D.C. will let you in on how he brings art to life
• Jayme Mclellan of Civilian Art Projects has got the lowdown on what it takes to start a gallery
• Nick Pimentel and Brian Liu of ToolboxDC will rant about their uncompromising approach and the inspiration for their eclectic creative experiences, and will mix it up afterwards as the evening’s DJs, Yellow Fever.
The common thread between them? They all followed their passion and refused to be limited by how things are “done” in D.C. Don’t miss your chance to learn how you too can get a little soul in your life—and your design—without selling out.
Attendees at this event will be limited to 30—small enough to literally rub elbows with the panelists. So what are you waiting for? Sign up now!
Pricing Information (At The Door)
Student Member: $50
Non member: $65
Apparently the reason why you are ignored by New York gallerinas when you pop in for a visit is that they are much much too overworked to pay any attention to you at all, according to this New York Times article. Also, 99.5% of you won’t buy any art when you’re walking around Chelsea anyway so why should they bother even greeting you when you come in the door.
I know I can’t afford to buy anything at mega galleries like Gagosian so I don’t really expect a sales person to indulge my curiosity, although it would be nice if they could take a few minutes to explain the works to me. Regardless of the chilly attitude, ask to see the artist statement, which is usually if not always helpful. It’s really important for art collectors and art lovers to explore shows at the high-end galleries because it’s part of educating yourself on what’s considered the best in the contemporary art market. It’s also critical for collectors to look at art in galleries at every level to hone your eye and to better understand the process by which artists rise up through the gallery system. I am especially fond of the emerging gallery scene in the Lower East Side, where one of my favorite galleries 31Grand is located. The LES feels like a friendly neighborhood but also has great art. And of course, we have fantastic contemporary art galleries in DC where you can always find an approachable gallerist who will answer your questions and help you learn about contemporary art.
The Washington Nationals won their first regular game in the new stadium last night with a dramatic home run by Ryan Zimmerman! Great fun! I was really disappointed by the blandness of the new stadium, though, especially the two giant parking garages that front the entry. The design looks a little hasty. But when you walk inside and see the whole park open up and you smell the sizzling spicy sausages, all is well with baseball.
Thanks everyone who came out to Wreckfest@Tiffany’s on Friday! I’ll post pictures as soon as I get them back from the photographer. In the meantime, thought you might like to give your opinion on whether graffiti belongs in art galleries on a blog called yesornodc. They’d also like to know what you think about the DC art scene in general.
My good friend Heather Stephens is featured in the New York Post‘s Page Six today! Her gallery is 31Grand and they show one of my favorite artists, Adam Stennett. The current show by Barnaby Whitfield is pretty darn good too. Check it out if you’re in New York before April 19. At 143 Ludlow Street, in the Lower East Side.
Great article in Sunday’s Washington Post about how to start an art collection on a budget. Unlike buying a designer handbag or an HDTV, original art won’t go out of style or become obsolete, and it can cost less too! Most of all, having original art in your life can inspire and challenge you intellectually in a way that no other material object can, because art is about so much more than the object itself. Works of art are the creative expression of ideas and a good idea is worth more to me than a new pair of shoes.
The New York Times‘ Michael Kimmelman wrote an excellent article about Miuccia Prada as art patron. Prada has established a foundation that annually commissions two large-scale, ambitious works from great contemporary artists, such as John Baldessari and Nathalie Djurberg, who would not normally have the money or opportunity to create such works. Rather than simply buying up art to amass a collection of trophy works, which she could easily do, Prada encourages artists to produce new art. As collectors on a much smaller scale, we may not have the money to become patrons at this level, but I think we have an obligation to support artists beyond simply buying art. We can become part of the creative process by thinking of small creative ways to provide artists with the resources they need to create.
I like what Kimmelman writes about fashion in art too.
She also used to like to say that fashion is fun but frivolous, and fundamentally commercial, while contemporary art is serious and intellectual. It’s the mind-set of the 1968 generation: well-to-do, educated Europeans proving their modernity by prizing innovative art but disdaining fashion, notwithstanding that they were, and still are, as clothes-obsessed as anyone.
You might argue that Prada has the current art-fashion equation exactly the wrong way around. In any case, her stance (and who can say just how uncalculating it is?) has reinforced her status as a highbrow designer and a fashionable patron, playing to fashion’s endemic insecurity and to the art world’s eternal yearning for fashionability. As the New Yorker writer Michael Specter once phrased it, the clothes, shoes and handbags promise people “a better, hipper version of themselves,” which, for many of today’s Prada-clad art collectors, is the promise of acceptance in the art world, where Prada and her husband, Patrizio Bertelli, are like royalty.