Monday, August 29, 2011

Male Bounding, Riverboat Gambling, & Tranny Paintings

We all know the fate of Borders--> Bankrupt!

I know it’s been old news at this point, but it didn’t really hit me until last week. Is the Kindle to blame? Do Americans not read like they did just 10 years ago? Or did Borders not adapt the changing tide of consumerism? I think it is a combination of all three, either way I am sad about it. I love bookstores, big or small, new or used.

Whether it’s the limitless selection, super market feel of the once mighty Borders, or the local, iconic, often filled with funky odors, used bookstore like Beers Books, I just dig bookstores.

If you don’t enjoy reading with a good cup of coffee (or whatever you like) or you have never lost valuable sleep because you just HAD TO KNOW how the book ended, then you’re a soulless robot!
You should stop reading this and go watch Keep Up With Kardashians or Basketball Wives, because none of those bitches read and I’m sure you can identify with the characters on that show.

No wait, I’m sorry. Please don’t go! I didn’t mean to say that, I’m under a lot of stress and sometimes I lash out. You know I love you. See that’s better…and by the way I didn’t mean all those things I said about your mother. I’m sure she’s a saint and I look forward to meeting her once she's released from prison.*

Borders held a special place in my heart because of my Father. Once a month my mother has dinner with a few of her girlfriends, so when they have ladies night, my father and I have our own, mini guys night out. I speak with my father often, I see him at least once a week, we have a great relationship, but our monthly Borders evenings were special.

Just father and son talking about art, politics, women, how to make beef jerky, and river boat gambling.
Ok the last two items I stole from Step Brothers. 

This never gets old btw:

The point is, my father and his father never really had these type of bonding moments. Thankfully my father made sure that didn’t happen between us and for that I am grateful. There are other book stores obviously, and we have a backup, but still it won’t be the same without you Borders.

Sad Face Yes, But 70% Off Rocks!
On the upside, the going out of business sale, allowed me to get something I have been longing for, the Jenny Saville book! It was sandwiched between all those stupid “How To Draw Vampires”** books, and it took some digging, but I found it! Art critic/philosopher/writer Donald Kuspit coined the phrase “New Old Masters” in his 2004 book “The End of Art” and placed Saville in that category among icons like Lucian Freud and Odd Nerdrum.

It’s hard to ignore large work and it’s even harder to ignore when it’s a painting of a tranny!
Beautiful Technique + Large Scale + Art That Might Makes You Slightly Uncomfortable= Fucking Rad!

Imagine DeKooning and John Singer Sargent had a baby, and that child tapped into the side of humanity that deals with our disgusting, visceral, aggresive nature. Redemption is not likely, and even if it were, we would probably squander the opportunity.

And yet when you see a painting like the one on the left, entitled Passage (10ft x 12ft in size btw) , you are forced to reflect on your own mortality and realize that there might be hope for us. It's a small glitter of hope the size a skittle, but still it's something.

In the coming year I plan on tapping into my more aggressive side and while I don’t plan on copying Saville per se, I do plan on letting go, not giving a fuck, and not caring about the outcome, positive or negative.
I have torn this book apart and in doing so; have found my new favorite artist quote...

“Painting is what it is. When it’s really good, it makes your eyes widen, your breath deeper. You know you’re standing in front of something incredibly important about your existence but you don’t know why.”
-Jenny Saville

More Saville goodness.
* This actually happened to a friend of mine...nice one Ben.
** Damn you Twilight!
All paintings copyright Jenny Saville. "Step Brothers" copyright 2008 Columbia Pictures Industries

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Attention All CA Artists!

Do you know about the California Resale Royalty Act?
Unfortunately the answer is usually no. Let's change that shall we!
The California Resale Royalty Act (Civil Code section 986) entitles artists to a royalty payment upon the resale of their works of art under certain circumstances. This California law is unique in the United States, although it is a well-established legal right in some other countries of the world. The right of artists to share in the appreciated value of their works when resold is important both in principle and in dollars.
However, in part because many artists are unaware of their rights and in part because some artists are reluctant to assert their rights, money due to artists has gone uncollected.

How It Works

The California Resale Royalty Act provides that, with a few exceptions, the seller must pay the artist (or, in some cases, a deceased artist's estate) five percent of that resale price. Certain sales by an art dealer will not generate a resale royalty.
When the gallery or auction house cannot find the artist, the royalty payments are sent to the California Arts Council to distribute to the artists, if it can find them. Monies where the artists cannot be found are used for Art in Public Places.

Circumstances Generating a Royalty Payment

Under California Civil Code Section 986, an artist shall be entitled to a royalty upon the resale of his/her work of art provided that:
  • The artist at the time of the sale is a United States citizen or has been a California resident for at least two years.
  • The seller resides in California or the sale takes place in California.
  • The work is an original painting, drawing, sculpture or original work of art in glass.
  • The work is sold by the seller for more money than she or he paid.
  • The work is sold for a gross price of more than $1,000 or is exchanged for one or more works of art or for a combination of cash, other property, and one or more works of fine art with a fair market value of more than $1,000.
  • The work is sold during the artist's lifetime or within 20 years of the artist's death.
At the same time, however, the Resale Royalty Act does not apply if:
  • The sale is the initial sale of the work and the legal title of the work at the time of such initial sale is vested in the artist.
  • The resale of fine art is by an art dealer to a purchaser within 10 years after the initial sale by the artist to an art dealer, provided that all intervening sales are between art dealers.
  • The sale consists of a work of stained glass artistry permanently attached to real property and it was sold as part of the sale of the real property to which it was attached.
Although some sellers, either out of lack of awareness or intransigence, have failed to pay resale royalties which were owed to artists, countless artists have successfully collected resale royalties ranging from $50 to several thousand dollars. It is impossible to determine precisely how many royalties have been paid and how many have not because distributions are often made directly from the seller to the artist, bypassing the CAC. Nevertheless, it is clear that compliance will improve as more sellers learn the circumstances under which they must pay this resale royalty and as more artists understand this law and become willing to assert their rights.

Case Studies

For example, in 1981, when Ghiradelli Square in San Francisco was sold, artist Ruth Asawa
was paid a $5,000 resale royalty. That sum represented five percent of the appraised value of the fountain she created some years earlier which had been sold along with the rest of Ghiradelli Square.
Another interesting case involved Sacramento artist Jack Nielsen. His sculpture was part of an office complex whose owner went bankrupt. When the real estate, including his sculpture, was sold in foreclosure, Nielsen sued claiming that, although the office complex had declined in value, the sculpture he created had appreciated from $30,000 to $125,000 and he was entitled to a resale royalty. He won.

Seller's Obligation

Under this law, it is the seller's obligation to locate the artist and pay the royalty due. If the seller is unable to locate the artist within 90 days after the sale, the seller is required to pay the royalty due the artist to the California Arts Council which attempts to locate the artist. The funds are held for the artist for seven years. If the artist fails to claim the money due within that time, the money reverts to the California Arts Council for use in its Art in Public Buildings Program. Artists may also donate their resale royalties to the California Arts Council.

Recommendations to Artists

Artists should attempt to maintain current records of the location of their works of art. Of course, this is invaluable when artists wish to assemble their art for the retrospective, but it may also help artists learn of the resale of any of their art.
Please be aware that artists have a legal right to know the name(s) of the buyers of their works, even if the works are or were consigned to a gallery at that initial sale. (See the California Penal Code, Section 536.).
To start this tracking at the initial sale of a work, it is always good to include in the contract between the artist and gallery a phrase such as "The gallery agrees to provide the artist the name and contact information of the purchaser." Artists selling their own work directly may wish to stipulate to the purchasers "If the purchaser subsequently sells the piece, the purchaser agrees to notify the artist."
When the transfer or sale information is obtained, artists may wish to write the new owners to ask for notification of when, or if, the piece is sold subsequently. When sold, the buyer turned seller may be willing to give the artist the second buyer's contact information, allowing for the tracking process to continue.
To help track sales, the artist may wish to subscribe to auction houses' announcements of sales of their type of work. Many times upcoming sale information is posted on the internet as well.
Artists should periodically Google their names in quotations with the word, "art" or "artist." For example, the Google search would be for: "John Doe" artist. Doing so may help the artist track sales information on gallery or auction websites, which sometimes record sale dates and prices. Artists may then contact the gallery or auction house to verify that a resale royalty check is being sent, if a royalty is triggered under the circumstances of the sale.
In addition, artists should check with the website, Here artists may use the searchable database to find out about sales of their works.

Legal Help for Artists

It should also be useful for artists to know that the California Resale Royalty Act entitles an artist to recover reasonable attorney's fees if a successful lawsuit is brought to recover the resale royalty. Most often, a letter from a lawyer advising the seller of the law's application is sufficient to assure payment of the resale royalty. If the artist does not have a good lawyer, the artist is invited to contact the California Lawyers for the Arts a statewide nonprofit organization, which among other services can provide a referral to a lawyer.
For more information, contact the one of the CLA offices:

  • San Francisco (415/775-7200)
  • Santa Monica (310/998-5590)
  • Sacramento (916/442-6210)
Artists are encouraged to assert their rights under the California Resale Royalty Act. The information on this page is not to be construed as legal advice. Please consult your attorney for legal advice.
So now you know! Go forth and make sure you get paid!

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Dear James Franco, I Call Bullshit!

This whole thing makes me want to vomit.
So actor James Franco wants to be an artist. I mean he REALLY wants to be an artist. I have no problem with creative people who explore other mediums, hell I have always wanted to try acting and plan on doing it some day. Most of my art buddies have diverse talents and dabble in different mediums. But when someone uses his or her fame for evil, steps into the professional art arena with no discernible skill or sense of craft and expects to be taken seriously, I have a problem with that.
Mr. Franco has teamed up Praxis (Brainard and Delia Carey), a conceptual art duo from New York to bring us the Museum Of Non Visible Art (MONA) and either it's an extremely shallow con, a hoax, or these ass clowns want to be taken seriously.

Here are some excerpts from their kickstarter page:
“The Non-Visible Museum is an extravaganza of imagination, a museum that reminds us that we live in two worlds: the physical world of sight and the non-visible world of thought. Composed entirely of ideas, the Non-Visible Museum redefines the concept of what is real. Although the artworks themselves are not visible, the descriptions open our eyes to a parallel world built of images and words. This world is not visible, but it is real, perhaps more real, in many ways, than the world of matter, and it is also for sale.“As these non-visible works of art are bought, exchanged, and resold, they open our eyes to the unseen universe that exists at every moment, and we can share that universe. It is like finding the code beneath. We exchange ideas and dreams as currency in the New Economy. In the near future we will invite more artists, writers, and others to contribute works to the Non-Visible Museum so that it can keep expanding. You can sign up on our website to be on the mailing list. For now, we want to tour this museum in the U.S. and Europe. For each exhibition, we will give a tour of the Non-Visible Museum, describing to all those in attendance what they are looking at and imagining. As this tour grows, we will continue to collaborate and add new works. Thank you for reading this far and dreaming with us."
Important Note: When you contribute to this Kickstarter project, you are not buying a visible piece of art! You will not receive a painting or a film or a photograph in your mailbox. What you will receive is something even more fascinating: The opportunity to collaborate in an act of artistic creation. You will receive a title card with a description of a piece of art, as well as a letter of authentication. You may mount this card on a blank wall in your home or gallery. What comes next is up to you! The artwork comes to life—and takes on full personal meaning—in your imagining and describing of it, both to yourself and to your visitors. You may also choose to sell the non-visible artwork to another collector, to exhibit it elsewhere, or to lend it back to Praxis when we take the Non-Visible Museum on tour…"

Let me get this straight, you want people to send you REAL money so they can take part “in an act of artistic creation” with no tangible piece of art to show for it aside from a title card with a “description of a piece of art, as well as a letter of authentication?” Wow.

Jesus Tapping Dancing Christ has the contemporary art world gone insane? I’m all on board for conceptual art that challenges people, but this MONA is just intellectually lazy nonsense.

I know Border’s just went under, but we still have books. Practically everyone between the age of 14 and 60 in America has an ipod or some sort of personal listening device that works. Shit you can listen to books on your ipod. The device or book is a tangible thing that one can use to image the story or song lyric right? If you’re listening to early Jay-Z rapping about slinging crack on the block and somehow you imagine Jay delivering said rhymes dressed up like a giant cheeseburger with a cartoon monkey taped to his head*, fucking go with it!

Sky’s the limit you crazy kid you!
Anytime you use your imagination with regard to art, congratulations, you have participated “in an act of artistic creation!” But asking people to participate in this “project” is a Ponzi Scheme. What makes me even more enraged is the fact that this project is fully funded with 24 days to go until the deadline! I have seen several worthwhile projects on Kickstarter go unfunded while all artists I know have several jobs because their passion hasn’t paid off in a dollars & cents way yet. But right now, at this very moment, there are 100+ people walking this earth whom ACTUALLY GAVE THEIR HARD EARNED DOLLARS TO THESE ASSHOLES!

Personally I think all these people should be rounded up and set on fire. Or permanently fixed like you would a stray cat/dog. I don’t want these people breeding due to their lack of IQ points.

And this, this just kills me.

Despite the website's disclaimer, "…buyers will not receive any tangible piece of art and will instead be presented with a written description of their purchase," someone still bought something.
New media producer Aimee Davison liked MONA’s idea, “We exchange ideas and dreams as currency in the New Economy” so much that she dropped $10,000 to purchase a card describing the idea of “Fresh Air.”

The invisible piece is described as:
"A unique piece, only this one is for sale. The air you are purchasing is like buying an endless tank of oxygen. No matter where you are, you always have the ability to take a breath of the most delicious, clean-smelling air that the earth can produce. Every breath you take gives you endless peace and health. This artwork is something to carry with you if you own it. Because wherever you are, you can imagine yourself getting the most beautiful taste of air that is from the mountaintops or fields or from the ocean side; it is an endless supply..." Etc. That is not a typo. Aimee Davison paid $10,000 for a card about the “idea” of fresh air. I don’t think I’m overdoing it when I say Aimee Davison should be sodomized by a grizzly bear until death occurs.

If she somehow survives I doubt she will able to have children; but just in case her ovaries should be removed. **
I sure wish I had that fresh air card when I was in Shanghai years ago. The air quality was so bad the concierge advised us not to leave the hotel that day because of the smog pollution index. We said,” Oh we’ll be fine,” and went out for a stroll. Ten minutes later, less than 6 blocks from the hotel, I coughed up phlegm that was blacker than 1000 midnights.
Too bad I didn’t have a fresh air card. ***

It Was Fun While It Lasted
Washington has just passed legislation that they claim saved us from an economic meltdown.

Hooray for the USA right? Bad news is our credit rating still dropped and we’re still passed the point of no return as far as our national debt is concerned. Unless something dramatic happens, our place as the land of opportunity will slowly come to a halt. Historians will look back and say,

“Dude, you remember America right?

Remember how hot and successful she was?

Yeah man she was beautiful, what the fuck happened? 

Partied too much and lived beyond her means bro. Fell in with the wrong crowd, got in debt with shady people, and it just wore her down trying to keep up. 

Sad stuff man, but remember the kind of parties she used to have? Yeah man, they were epic…those were good times.

But I think another, less obvious sign of our impending fall from grace can be seen in “art” projects like this one. I made reference to this in my review of the 2010 Whitney Biennial.

Art has been poisoned by social appropriation, aka, the emphasis on its commercial value and its treatment as upscale entertainment (insert endorsement from movie star James Franco) turning it into a species of social capital. Co-opted by the commonplace (MONA & the simple act of thinking/using your imagination) art loses its uncommonness.

Art also been undermined by the belief that all one has to do is have a “concept” to be an artist, which suggests that the concept of artist, as well as art, has lots its clear meaning. This is why so many people (Praxis/Brainard and Delia Carey), think of themselves as artists, for everyone, after all, has a favorite “concept,” especially about some person, place, and thing they know. When this happens, ANYONE can become a “serious artist, “ for there are no longer serious criteria for determining seriousness in art.

If our art reflects the “American Psyche”, and that collective psyche lacks morality, compassion, grittiness, or the ability to relate to the rest of the world on a real level and is too top heavy with the “spend now don’t worry about the future, I want to be famous as all cost” mantra that has been building since the mid 1960’s, then we might as well grab our ankles and learn to say “Yes Sir, may please have another” in Mandarin, because we are doomed as a nation.
Michelangelo once said, “A man paints with his brains and not with his hands," so maybe Praxis and Franco are onto something and I shouldn’t talk of the movement like it is a complete scam. 

Perhaps I will even give it a try. If anyone is interested in my art or my creative projects that don't yet have a tangible for, I charge $40,000 (OBO) and only accept unmarked 50-dollar bills.

*I'm just joking Jay-Z you're that man. But this might be a cool painting!
**After her ovaries are removed and ground up for pet food, I will present her with a card that asks her to imagine what it's like to have ovaries again...picture how much those kitties enjoy munching on your tasty baby making can use this card to reflect anytime you like.
***I'm going back to Shanghai with trailer full of Fresh Air Cards for the low price of $5000 each. Forget paying me dues and finding my own way as an artist, I'm going to cheat my way to the top.