Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Would You Ever Really Want to Date an Artist?

Posted By on Wed, Feb 20, 2013 at 6:04 PM

Elizabeth Alley
  • Elizabeth Alley

Would you want to date an artist?

I mean, really, would you? Sure, it sounds like fun going to museums, eating cheese cubes and drinking wine at art openings, and having stimulating intellectual conversations that the works themselves initiate. But that really only happens about once a month, usually the first Friday or third Thursday of the month. The rest of the time the artists are all grumpy because they received yet another, rejection letter or a bad review of their recent exhibition, or worse, no review at all. Perhaps they are frustrated that things are not going well in the studio or they ran out of money but still need supplies or that their gallery, if they are fortunate enough to have one, abruptly went out of business and are still owed $10,000 from previous sales and 15 pieces that were still in inventory of the now-defunct gallery.

Or, have you ever wanted to talk to an artist at their exhibition but were too shy, did not know exactly what to say, and did not want to sound silly saying it? Sure, most artists are easily approachable and willing to talk endlessly on and on about how great of an artist they are and how hard it is for them to endure in the studio and overcome the struggles of being a creator of beautiful and thought-provoking objects.

Or, maybe you just want the opportunity just to say hello?

Well, the Dixon is giving you the chance to be able to do such things. In their ever-increasingly impressive events in conjunction with the “Present Tense” exhibition. On Thursday, February 21st, from 6 to 9 p.m., they are offering up five artists for “Artist Speed Dating” as part of their Art After Dark series.

Elizabeth Alley, Alex Warble, Derrick Dent, Eli Gold, and Andrew James Williams will be available for five minutes for any and every person willing to listen to what they have to say and will answer any questions you are willing to ask. How great is that?

Expect to hear about sketching from Elizabeth Alley. She is obsessed with it. It is all she thinks about, for the most part. Derrick Dent may throw in a cheap joke about his B.O. (Don’t worry, he does not ever really stink. He is just riding his bike to the museum from Midtown.)

Plus, you will have another chance to see this exhibition and be able to hear from the artists themselves about their work.

Image Courtesy of Elizabeth Alley

Friday, February 15, 2013

Are All Artists Emerging?

Posted By on Fri, Feb 15, 2013 at 2:04 PM

Work by Alan Spearman
  • Work by Alan Spearman

ArtsMemphis will host an opening reception Monday, February 18th, 5:30-7:30p.m. for the "Emmett O’Ryan Award Group Exhibition." This exhibition features the work of 12 past nominees and winners of the Emmett O’Ryan Award for Artistic Inspiration.

O’Ryan, a founding board member of Metropolitan Bank, was an avid art collector and artist. Since 2011, the “Emmett” is given annually to an emerging artist recognized for his or her work and promise for future artistic significance. Nominees for the award were selected from local arts organizations. The only criteria that the arts organizations have to consider when choosing their one nominee is that the artist is emerging in their field and engaged in the community. A committee of Metropolitan Bank staff members and a member of O’Ryan’s family will vote on the artist to receive the Emmett. The selected artist will receive a $2,000 cash prize.

This year's nominees and their nominating arts organization are Thomasin Durgin - UrbanArt Commission; Eli Gold — Crosstown Arts; Andrew Meers — The Metal Museum; Bill Price — Memphis College of Art; Jared Small — Memphis Brooks Museum; and Alan Spearman — Indie Memphis.

Mary Catherine Floyd
  • Mary Catherine Floyd

Past winners of the award that are included in the exhibition are Mary Catherine Floyd (2011) and Anthony D. Lee (2012). Past nominees that are also in the show are Logan Hirsch, Brian Pera, Eszter Sziksz, and Amy Hutcheson.

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Thursday, February 7, 2013

I Am Sorry

Posted By on Thu, Feb 7, 2013 at 2:03 PM

Work by Ben Butler
  • Work by Ben Butler

I am sorry. I hardly ever apologize for anything even when I know I am wrong, just ask my wife.

Last week I said that the “Present Tense" exhibition at the Dixon, if nothing else, got everyone talking about the visual arts in Memphis, and that this was a good thing. I was wrong. Hardly anyone is talking about the art that was created in Memphis over the last decade. People instead are talking about who or who was not included in the exhibition. They are talking about the selection process, how some artists knew about it, others did not. (My work is included in "Present Tense.")

I have visited this exhibitions three times now and have been a part of, essentially, the same conversation on each visit. To paraphrase some of the comments, they were generally along the lines of, “Where is Tim Crowder? His exhibition [in 2010] was outstanding.” “Why didn’t the Brooks Museum organize this exhibition? Isn’t this the kind of thing they are supposed to do?” “What is so special about Tam Tran’s photographs and why did she get to include so many? They could have made room for at least two more artists by not showing so many of hers.”

Tam Trans Battle Cry
  • Tam Tran's Battle Cry

On a side note, I believe Tam Tran deserves a whole wing at the Dixon of her work in this exhibition. How often do artists in Memphis get invited to participate in the Whitney Biennial, the preeminent contemporary art exhibition in America? I can list them all using only my two middle fingers. Tram was also the youngest participant in 2010, the year she was included in the exhibition. We should want to see more of her portraits in as many places as possible, not less.

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