Thursday, August 21, 2008

Storage II

Yesterday my team of teenage assistants, led by the industrious Leah, helped me to complete the cleaning and reorganization of my painting storage, and it feels as if the studio can finally breathe—although now that everything’s so tidy it hardly looks like a project that would take weeks to do. I found it interesting that when, at Joanne Mattera’s suggestion, I wrote my first post about it, people were moved to comment, underscoring what an issue storage is for artists. Then, as I was sharing my elation at putting this task behind me with my friend, sculptor Matt Freedman, he commented that, “taking care of your work is a way of acknowledging your commitment to it, of being respectful toward it”—something I’d never thought about—and that “conservatorship is the final act of assessing a work’s value.” He was reminded of an anecdote I told him many years ago, about Louise Bourgeois pounding a table and saying, “We must defend our art!” That was in a different context completely—after I’d told her how I’d managed to keep a sexist contributor’s blurb about me from being published—but it works here as well. Yes, we must defend our work. Because if we don’t, who will?
Matt Freedman, Lost Puppy, 2006.

3 comments:

sid garrison said...

Carol,

Your post reminded me of the last line of the opening paragraph from a review in 2001.(See below.) It has remained lodged in my mind because I too feel it is import to take care of what you have produced. The idea of showing respect for your work can communicate the idea of value to viewers and hopefully buyers. For me, this also extends to going the extra distance in paying for high quality frames for my shows - even when it is a very painful expense (which it always is).

Sid Garrison
San Francisco




KARL BENJAMIN AT BRIAN GROSS

The Karl Benjamin paintings at Brian Gross are so bright you might want to wear sunglasses. What might surprise you is that the paintings, which look as if they were made yesterday, were actually painted between 1971 and 1974. They prove that Benjamin, who was born in 1925 and lives in Los Angeles, was both a fine craftsman and a careful custodian of his work.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2001/08/25/DD136693.DTL&hw=karl+benjamin+brian+gross&sn=001&sc=1000

sid garrison said...

Carol,

Your post reminded me of the last line of the opening paragraph from a review in 2001.(See below.) It has remained lodged in my mind because I too feel it is import to take care of what you have produced. The idea of showing respect for your work can communicate the idea of value to viewers and hopefully buyers. For me, this also extends to going the extra distance in paying for high quality frames for my shows - even when it is a very painful expense (which it always is).

Sid Garrison
San Francisco




KARL BENJAMIN AT BRIAN GROSS

The Karl Benjamin paintings at Brian Gross are so bright you might want to wear sunglasses. What might surprise you is that the paintings, which look as if they were made yesterday, were actually painted between 1971 and 1974. They prove that Benjamin, who was born in 1925 and lives in Los Angeles, was both a fine craftsman and a careful custodian of his work.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2001/08/25/DD136693.DTL&hw=karl+benjamin+brian+gross&sn=001&sc=1000

Martha Miller said...

This is very helpful to hear. I have struggled with being a good custodian of my work. And after a fire took 30 years of my artwork in 2002, I have felt equal parts Fiercely Protective and Devil May Care about the work that I have produced since the fire. After losing so much, so fast, and so dramatically, I view the fire as a collaborator - as part of my process as an artist. It's hard to stay precious about anything after an experience like that.
I read that Edvard Munch used to leave his paintings out in the rain and weather to season them...
and what is that line from Turbulent Indigo, Joni Mitchell's tribute to Van Gogh? It is a line from Vincent's journal, or a letter, perhaps. Goes something like this:
All my little landscapes, all those
yellow afternoons, piled up around this vacancy like dirty cups and spoons...