The small stuff is the best stuff. Like knowing what an artist likes to eat, where they paint, what bugs them, what they’ve just read. Strangely enough, it’s artists themselves who disagree: “The details of my life are so boring,” say the young artists Schmerler has met over the years at the New School (where she teaches a class called “Artists’ Writing Workshop”). “People can’t possibly be interested in hearing about me.”
This show looks to the resources of a nonprofit institution (where, ostensibly, artists’ best interests are always in mind) and begs the question: Why is it that what makes an artwork so meaningful-
to a broad audience-is often what makes an artwork incredibly personal and unique? Photographer Annick Ronsenfield claims that she just wandered downstairs one morning to find her mother eating a baguette. Yet (through Rosenfield’s eyes), mom wears a glazed- and utterly enigmatic-look that defies description. Orrie King’s incredibly intimate photograph of Sebi in Bed can’t help but make us wonder: who is Sebi to her—and subsequently, to us? And what do we do with Kurt Strahm, a former and well-accomplished painter, who claims he’s stopped making art because the whole prospect is just too futile. That said, he works diligently on his extensive blog (“restlus.com”), describing and categorizing every seemingly useless art-making idea he says he’ll never make. Maybe (as Strahm implies) the details, or what we’d like to call the purely anecdotal info, are really all you need?
Ten other artists-
from a note-taking traveler to a woman “See-er” (who makes artworks as healing documents for her clients)-are included in the show. And in deference to all the good advice (anecdotes, stories, aphorisms) these and other artists have gotten over the years, we’ll be distributing stories and saying (in the form of printed strips of paper) at random, to visitors at the opening reception.
Sarah Schmerler will lead a curator’s talk about Art as Anecdote as part of DUMBO First Thursday Gallery Walk on Thursday, March 1, 2007 from 6-8pm at BAC Gallery.