Irv on Artists and Life

Irv has left a comment on the “Crazy Artists post” that deserves to be a post, rather a comment. So I’m hoping you don’t mind Irv! (I would of linked to your site, but I’m guessing that you don’t have one?)
People that use blog aggregators like BlogLines to read their favorite blogs probably miss a lot of comments that readers have, so here’s Irv’s..

There was a time when the commitment to work above all was accepted as appropriate for a wide range of occupations. Today it is to be found among members of a smaller percentage of occupations but the total number has grown so greatly that it is hard to judge whether the percentage of people involved is greater or lesser than in the past.

What has changed are the norms, that is the ethical expectations, applied to all members of society. Some of the older among us may remember the social reports and novels (made into film) which portrayed the clash between the traditional work ethic and the newer family ethic coming into ever greater influence. This was seen to have maximum impact on the role of worker and the role of husband (we are speaking of the late forties and, in particular, the fifties) vis-a-vis his wife, and, even more strikingly, between the husbands job and the needs of his children.

Of course, the tension of role conflict not only became greater along these lines, but the new expectations favoring a career for woman versus the wife, and, most particularly, the mother role, has added dimensions of conflict beyond what we imagined in the fifties (with the beginning of which I became a professional). The artists role is archetypal in all these respects. Artists are given greater leeway for deviance from the norms when they are “geniuses”, GREAT ARTISTS, but I doubt (but do not know) whether the vast majority of serious, dedicated, often quite skilled, artists are given the same latitude. I would guess that not being a Van Gogh, Picasso, or.. (insert the names of your choice) the artist who puts his work above his family roles is defined as egocentric, lazy, irresponsible or whatever characterization has been developed in the particular subgroup. In fact, I would hypothesize that those with the greatest ambition for success, whether scientist or artist, is unable to function normally in the family, if normal is defined as consonant with the most generally accepted norms for the general society.

To turn to the question of eyesight and type of art produce, or any of the many statements one sees proliferating in the media, you must remember that the media now assigns people to read the key professional journals, almost every university, research organization now has publicity agents (whatever their label) and the public, increasingly committed to fact not fiction, has an omnivorous hunger for information about itself and its special members. That being the case, hypothesis is treated as fact, what are essentially pilot studies are treated as if they had demonstrated the TRUTH, and anyone, wise, foolish, informed, ignorant, can be cited as an intellectual Messiah.

The process of science has many safeguards against all these, and more, abuses, as artistic work-groups have when the are well organized (and when are they) against the charlatan, the fake, the fraud.The Truth or science is not the truth of art, though both have learned much from the other (at least, if we think of the social sciences, I would not say the same of the physical or natural sciences). Neither is the TRUTH of religion or the many forms of thought, such as Myth,which have enabled people to live in an ever perilous world.

I suppose what I am saying is that Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, Durer, and company, had a much clearer path, no matter how difficult, because they knew themselves to be workman turning out a product, and that their commitment to the family, which was primary for them and everyone, allowed them to concentrate on the work role because it contributed to the family’s welfare in the best way possible for them. The artist today is beset by conflicts of commitment far beyond what they faced. We face many more situations in which society has not yet created an accepted order of priority leaving the individual lonely and afraid, inevitably guilty through no self-fault because faced by irreconcilable (at this moment, in this place) social expectations.
Tennis Anyone?
(Trivia question, what film actor of cult status spoke that line (and many like
it) in his earlier Broadway career?)
By Irv

>> Being an Artist

Portrait of Adele Block-Bauer

Mario Naves of the New York Observer has written an interesting article about his experience with the most expensive painting in the world. His first thoughts of the $135 million painting by Gustav Klimt were of a piece of cloth covered with colored mud..
Overpriced and Erotic, Klimt’s Idealized Adele
“Once upon a time, a fellow billionaire asked Mr. Trump why he’d never amassed a collection of art. Why, in fact, wasn’t he interested in art at all? “You know what a Van Gogh is?” asked an annoyed Mr. Trump in return. “It’s a piece of cloth with some colored mud on it.” NY Observer
>> Famous Artists, Art Collecting

Turkish Artists Online

Here’s some more artists by country. I’ve gone looking for artists in Turkey this time, so I hope most of them are new to people.
I spent a while in Turkey and found it interesting how a lot of artists seemed to embrace elements of both the east and the west, just as their largest city, Istanbul straddles both the east and west. Here’s some paintings I did of Turkey a few years ago too.

  • Gizem Saka – She is an interesting artist that I mentioned here before.
  • Orhan Taylan – An establish Turkish master painter producing nice figurative works.
  • Ismail Acar – Realist Turkish painter influenced by the Sufi poet Rumi and the Whirling Dervishes.
  • Nevin Cokay – Istanbul based figurative painter of slightly quirky works.
  • Melvlut Akyildiz – Painter and sculptor with a sense of humor and very interesting paintings.
  • Can Goknil – Turkish painter and book illustrator using themes of mythology, fantasy, and history.
  • Elcin Unal – Artist moving between abstraction and figuration quite easily.
  • Erkan Genis – Turkish artist painting impressionist works.

See previous posts of Australian, Canadian, or American Artists online.
>> Contemporary Artists

BP Portrait Award Winner

bp portrait awardI know the winner was announced at the end of June, but here’s a post about the BP Portrait Award for 2006. The paintings will be exhibited until September 17 at The National Portrait Gallery in London. ArtDaily

The winner was the English artist Andrew Tift with his “Kitty” entry. The sitter is Mrs Kitty Godley, the first wife of the painter Lucian Freud. So the experience of sitting for an artist probably wasn’t new to her.
The winner received £25,000 for first place and a £4,000 portrait commission at the National Portrait Gallery Trustees’ discretion.
Andrew talks more about the portrait and Kitty Godley over at his blog.

“I wanted the portraits to be very natural, as if in conversation with thoughts being visibly absorbed and formulated. During a conversation our expressions and physiognomy are constantly changing and I thought that a triptych would be the perfect format to explore this idea.” Andrew Tift
>> Lucian Freud, Art Competitions

Fair Use or Copyright Infringement

Lile from has written about an artist/photographer friend that went to court over a copyright infringement and was told it was a case of “Fair Use”.
Here’s the story..
“An artist brought a case against the San Jose Mercury News for copyright infringement because they published his art without his knowledge or consent. It was published in conjunction with a book review of a book that contained a copyrighted photo that belonged to the artist and photographer, Christopher R Harris. The copyright notice that was printed with the photo in the book was removed when the image was published by the Mercury News paper.
When the artist confronted the paper, they said that they were unwilling to compensate the artist and suggested that the artist “sue” them if he wanted to pursue the matter. So he did just that! Unfortunately the jury ruled in favor ot the newspaper saying that it was a case of “fair use”.
There’s also a more detailed plot of the whole story here.

The San Jose Mercury News also published an article about the outcome of the case here, with this quote..
“It means a lot,” Chadwick said. “This is a classic example of how newspapers use material that is sent to them every day. If a photographer or photo agency had veto over the use of these kinds of images, then newspapers would just stop using them and readers wouldn’t get the visual information.”

>> Art Controversies, Photography

Artist Pension Trust Interview

artist pension trustI recently asked the new CEO of Artist Pension Trust (APT), Bijan Khezri a few questions about the organization and how it could benefit artists.

1. Could you explain what the Artist Pension Trust does and how it would benefit artists?

APT is a barter-based program in which artists are selected to contribute 20 works of art over 20 years. Operating on the financial principle of mutual assurance, artists benefit from the sale of their own works in addition to sales from other artists whose work is invested within their Trust.

2. What criteria do you use when accepting or selecting artists?

There is no specific criteria. Artists are approached by a Trust-specific Selection Committee consisting of artists, curators and other experts from the art world. Each Trust has its own curatorial committee. Artists may also apply themselves; applications are available for download at

3. Will the works be exhibited or leased while held by Artist Pension Trust?

Any work that is deposited with the Trust will be available for loan to museums and curatorial projects making every effort to support the artists’ career development.

4. Is it possible for an artist to decide to leave or can an artist be forced to leave the trust?

Artists may chose to leave the APT program, but can not be forced to leave other than for non-performance of their contractual obligations. Artist Pension Trust designed a program that rewards loyalty to the plan and the artists who participate. Artists who withdraw from the program before fulfilling the required contribution of 20 works over a 20 year period will receive appropriate benefits, based on the length of their participation and the value of the works they contributed.

5. Are there plans to open more trusts in new regions around the world?

At this stage, we have a very good coverage of the world’s leading art metro-poles. Are we open to considering additional centers? Absolutely. But for now, our focus is on growth and fine-tuning our existing operations.

6. Why are you qualified to lead APT, Bijan? And what plans do you have for the future of the company?

Whilst my professional background is in finance, I have been running publicly listed companies with significant multinational operations. I have also been collecting young emerging art for many years. Indeed, APT is right at the junction of three of my most passionate interests: finance, art and globalization.

In terms of plans, I believe, there are short, medium and long-term objectives:

a. In the short-term, I would certainly not want to miss the opportunity to fine-tune and improve what we have. Any business, but a start-up one, in particular, should constantly ask: what can we learn to do things better? And then we have to implement changes effectively.

b. In the medium term, I want this Company to be globally integrated. To date, we are a sum of Trusts. The arts market is increasingly global, and we need to be a gateway to any art center in the world for every single artist participating in any one of our Trusts. We are the world’s only financial services organization that can add value to the artist, globally.

c. In the long-term, I want this Company to be the world’s leader in a whole range of financial products focusing on the needs of the artist. To date, artists have very limited access to financial products such as mortgages, for example. The banking sectors’ innovation and willingness to step into this market have been compromised for obvious reasons: lack of liquidity, lack of market intelligence and risk averseness. Our model of pooling the interests of artists will prove to be the key to launching a whole range of financial products. Our global reach together with an unparalleled access to location-specific intelligence on the arts markets, will make us a natural force in a growing segment of the banking sector. The Trust is our first product.

Thanks Bijan
For more information on the Artist Pension Trust (APT), see there website here.
>> Art Interviews, Being an Artist

Neue Galerie’s Most Expensive Painting

The most expensive painting in the world is now on display at the Neue Galerie in New York. “Gustav Klimt: Five Paintings from the Collection of Ferdinand and Adele Bloch-Bauer” will be on show through to the 18th of September.

The museum has also had to announce that they will be opening an extra day each week (Wednesdays from 12 till 4pm) to keep up with the high demand of visitors. The star of the exhibition (Portrait of Adele Block-Bauer I) is surely attracting a crowd that doesn’t usually spend much time in art galleries. The gold beauty must be hearing comments like “Oh, that’s not worth $135 million” and “What a waste of money”, but at least she is getting people looking at art.
>> Art Museums, Famous Artists

To Eat Crow

to eat crowI haven’t heard of the saying “to eat crow”, but Jafabrit has used it to get back at her daughter over a minor squabble. It basically means that you have to admit that you were wrong about something.
After telling her daughter that her drawing was “decorative”, her daughter replied that one of her sculptures looked like a “Martha Stewart Project”. Here’s Jafabrit’s reply..

“Insulted I demanded she apologize. She would not. HA, I would get my artistic revenge, so I made a soft sculpture of her tongue. I stole one of her tongue rings and stuck it through the canvas tongue, and attached a handstitched canvas crow to it. It proudly hangs in our living room and continues to amuse us.”
Read more about it here..

It’s one of the great things about being an artist; you can vent your anger or get your point across without resorting to monkey behavior. World leaders probably should be artists. When one leader gets mad at the other, he/she can send them a painting, poem or song expressing his rage, rather than sending him a bunch of bombs.

I also discovered what a Jafa Girl is too..
“Create whatever we want, whenever we want, however we want WHENEVER WE ARE IN THE MOOD.”

>> Contemporary Artists, Being an Artist

Modigliani Exhibition

modigliani exhibitionAmedeo Modigliani is showing at the Royal Academy of Arts in London until the 15th of October this year. The exhibition is a summary of paintings from his short career, with famous portraits of Jeanne Hebuterne, Beatrice Hastings and Paul Guillaume among the works on display.
Be sure to check out the Modigliani movie too. It wasn’t the greatest artist movie I’ve ever seen (Basquiat still holds that title), but it’s still very watchable.
Curves and angles
“Modigliani’s technique of stylization – its candid asymmetry, its shared cubist elements, its uneven eyes, the jigsaw fit of the nostrils to the outline of the upper lip – is to spike the mannerist touches with plausible and vivid realistic detail. Diego Rivera’s eyes are two navels sunk in flesh, the plump fish lips areminimizedd by the fat moon face. His beard is a seethe of ants. There is an element of brilliant pudgy caricature. Rivera resembles his photograph, but he resembles Modigliani’s painting more.” Guardian
>> Museum Exhibitions, Famous Artists

Post Secret and Supporting Artists

post secret blog
I could relate to this postcard over at the Post Secret blog. Not because I’ve ever been in a band or lost a lover because of being an artist, but it is an issue that comes up from time to time.
Artists often have to sacrifice a lot for their art, including those that don’t believe in the work we do. I don’t think it’s important for our loved ones to love our art, but I do think it’s important that they’re supportive.
The person in the “stupid band” above has probably improved since breaking up with the creator of the postcard. Or he/she may just be a masochist and simply attracted another pessimistic partner.
Here’s some more Post Secret fun here, here, and the Post Secret book here.
>> Blog News, Being an Artist