Monday, April 16, 2007

From: The Gates of Memphis

Embarrassment is Conservative

Anointed Oil Auto Repair, Auction AvenueOver at Lantana Projects, Ian Lemmonds recently interviewed Frederic Koeppel, the art writer for the Commercial Appeal. In a question about getting people to pay attention to your art, he says:
Show as much as you can at spaces that are not embarrassing (no beauty salons, frame stores and pet shops).
But later, in a question about the changes in the Memphis art scene,
We have more alternative spaces, more independent and non-profit groups, more artists (and many of the same artists), but it’s clearly still a struggle to make and sell art in what is essentially an artistically conservative town.
Which leads me to this: maybe we're an artistically conservative town because we label mundane venues as embarrassing.


Because I think we should be an artistically progressive town, and because maybe is good enough for me, here's where we should show art:
  • convenience stores
  • car washes
  • parking garages
  • anywhere Louise Dunavant's paintings hang.
  • barbecue shops
  • MATA buses and trolleys
  • back yards
  • front yards (especially Prince Mongo's front yard)
  • public schools
  • ATMs
  • clubs and coffee houses.
  • feed stores
  • independent used bookstores
  • police precincts
  • pawn shops
  • churches
  • multiplexes
  • sidewalks
  • cafeterias
  • empty buildings
  • empty lots
  • Second Life
  • greenhouses and nursery grounds
  • tattoo parlors
  • anywhere Thomas Kinkade's paintings hang
  • junkyards
  • martial arts academies
  • where newscasters get their hair cut
  • the sides of the Pyramid
  • any setting of a Craig Brewer movie
  • any setting of a John Michael McCarthy movie
  • tanning salons
  • video stores
  • animal shelters
  • public libraries
  • City Council chambers
  • funeral homes
  • liquor stores
  • Chinese food buffets
  • sno-cone emporiums
  • everywhere else
Note: following my advice rather than Mr. Koeppel's will not only harm your career, but possibly the art itself. It could get stolen, it could get shot, it could get barbecue sauce on it.

But I just don't see how Memphis can build whitewalls around art and still shake artistic conservatism.

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posted by gatesofmemphis

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