Saturday, January 31, 2009

Bradley Peters@ Melanie Flood Gallery curated by Amani Olu

Photo by Bradley Peters

Bradley Peters, Untitled, (mother and son with shopping cart), 2008

Artmostfierce went to this show last Wednesday and liked Bradley Peters photographs and its stories behind them. They have also editions available of the whole series of  11 x 14 for only $600.00 USD. For more info see press release below or contact Amani Olu or Melanie Flood.




ARTIST RECEPTION: Wednesday, January 28, 7pm – 10pm
ON VIEW: Wednesday, January 28 – Saturday, February 28

ARTIST TALK/MEET & GREET: Thursday, January 29, 7pm – 9pm


186 Washington Avenue @ Myrtle Avenue (Fort Greene/Clinton Hill)
Brooklyn, NY 11205 / Map /

GALLERY HOURS: By appointment only
DIRECTIONS: Take the G train to Clinton/Washington Station and walk three blocks north towards Myrtle Avenue

Melanie Flood Projects is pleased to present Home Theater, an exhibition of photographs by Bradley Peters, curated by amani olu. In his photographs, Peters attempts to understand the mysticism and complexities of his past through photographing strangers and members of his family in mundane scenarios. Presenting his subjects with fragments of personal anecdotes and vague details as to why they are being photographed, Peters waits for an emotional state of boredom and frustration to set in, creating an environment for spontaneity and personal nuances to surface. In the resulting images, the artist captures his subjects in the tense, yet theatrical space that exists between the traditions of Henri Cartier–Bresson’s decisive moment and staged color narrative photography of Crewdson, D’Corcia and their contemporaries. There are no answers or well-packaged explanations of what Peters’ work represents. Instead, like the artist and his subjects, the viewer also becomes a part of the struggle to understand and interpret what they see, feel and think.

Bradley Peters was born in Columbus, Nebraska, in 1979. He received a BA from the University of Nebraska—Lincoln in 2004, with degrees in both Psychology and Art. In 2002 and 2003 he was awarded the UNL Creative Activities & Research Experiences Grant. He is also the recipient of the Jean R. Faulkner Memorial Award, the Gold Award from the Midwest Society for Photographic Education and the Richard Benson Prize. He is a 2008 graduate of the MFA program in Photography at the Yale University School of Art.

About the curator
amani olu, 28, is the founder and executive director of Humble Arts Foundation and the former director/curator of BOND STREET GALLERY. Originally from Philadelphia, he relocated to New York City in August 2005 to establish Humble as a resource for emerging art photographers. From 2003 – 2005, he published b.informed, a quarterly lifestyle magazine that combined elements of documentary photography, graphic art, music and fashion. He lives in Brooklyn.

About Melanie Flood Projects
Melanie Flood Projects is a contemporary art project space operating from the Brooklyn home of Melanie Flood.

The gallery strives to bring artists and art lovers together in a space that is more personal and relaxed than a traditional gallery setting. In this space visitors can enjoy art displayed in a unique manner that juxtaposes art with life, centering on the aesthetic dialogue of fine art with the haphazard existence of a personal home setting, bringing out contrast and difference, or meshing in unexpected ways.

The aim of Melanie Flood Projects is to create a fresh and informal meeting point for looking at, thinking and talking about art.

For additional info or visuals, please contact Kate Greenberg at

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Current State of the ART Market Series # 6 with Art Collector/ Fellow Art Blogger- MAO

MAO-Modern Art Obsession

This is installment #6 of The Current State of the ART Market Series. ARTmostfierce's dear friend , fellow blogger and ART collector, MAO has few things to say about it too!
Being more private than most of us, MAO will remain as MAO. I do not hide behind my blog name maybe because like rice and beans, I am almost everywhere my personality is more out there...
MAO opinion is important as a season Art collector and his involvement in the Financial Market, a great combination for these series.

Modern Art Obsession art blog was one of the inspirations for ARTmostfierce to create a blog.

Lets see what MAO has to say!
Ruben Natal-San Miguel- How long had you been collecting art? What made you start?

MAO-MAO has been collecting art and photography for about 12 years.
We've always been interested in art, but it was while working at Dreyfus Mutual Funds that we got to meet John Szarkowski from the photography department at MOMA. He helped curate their corporate art collection, and seeing the amazing photography collection in our offices got us interested and eventually totally obsessed about art collecting.

RNSM- Modern Art Obsession is a pretty popular Art blog ...what is the main purpose behind it?

MAO-The initial purpose of the Blog was for MAO to keep a record of all the art we liked, collected and experienced. But over time the Blog has become a great way for MAO to meet and interact with other art collectors, artists, and gallery people around the world.

It's also become a fun hobby and an inexpensive way for MAO to contribute (in a small way) to the art world.

RNSM- Has the Economic downturn slowed down your collecting ways? Has it changed the way you buy and what you like to buy?

MAO-No.. We're still collecting at the same pace, and in the same way. But maybe our collecting dollars go a bit further today, and galleries are a bit more appreciative of our business than they were a few years ago.

But clearly times are changing, it's amazing, today some galleries actually now say "Hello and Welcome" when people visit their gallery.

RNSM- What do you like to collect the most? Painting? Photography? Sculpture? Drawing?

There's no one "thing" we like most to collect. Our collection includes photos, paintings, drawings, sculptures, books, installations, etc..

MAO-We collect art that makes us think.. art that challenges the viewer, art that typically has multiple levels of meaning, and messages.

RNSM- Do you think that some people in the Art establishment (like the fashion industry)are more concerned with appearances vs. who has the real desire of buying art and by being, lets say, artificial and plastic are missing out the real clientele? is there a lesson to be learn from it? I do!!!!

MAO-Saying, "one who has the real desire of buying art..artificial, and plastic" sounds like a judgmental question. And who are we to judge.. Judy!!

MAO thinks collectors buy art for all sorts of reasons, and those reasons can change greatly over time. For each person it's a personal decision, and we think any person who buys a work of art is still helping support the art establishment, weather they learn from it or not.
We've never liked the concept of a gallery discriminating between one collector over another, but, it clearly goes on. MAO doesn't think it's appropriate for anyone at a gallery to determine who's "real" or who's an important collector..and who's plastic and which collector is artificial.

MAO believes that in an art gallery, open to the public, they should always treat each client with the same respect, and work on a fare, first come, first served basis.

RNSM- You are involved with several non for profit there anything that you would like to be done different regarding the sale of art works?

MAO-MAO thinks the organizations we're involved with are doing a great job.
Sadly, non-profits are going to have a difficult time the next few years.

RNSM- Do you think that the prices of art works are currently coming down? Art Market price stabilization?

MAO-Yes.. prices are coming down for most artworks. We're in a recession. The price of everything is coming down, real estate, stocks, Oil, NYC dinners, Broadway tickets, etc.. so should art prices.

We've just seen the beginning of this art recession. It's going to be slow, and it's going to take several years for the contemporary art market to adjust to a more "normalized" price structure.

RNSM- What would you recommend to someone who wants to start an art collection now during this economic climate?

First, do your research !! Read..Read..Read!! Visit lots of Museums. Take your time. Talk to lots of other collectors. Start small and slowly.

Second, buy only art works you love.. cause you're going to own them for a long time. Don't ever collect or buy a work of art, expecting to make money from it, or just because the price of the work looks cheap. Frequently, buying an art work cause it was cheap that you didn't love in the first place, will tend to end up in the back of the closet very quickly.

RNSM- What kind of art media do you recommend to be more affordable to collect and why?

MAO-MAO likes all art media.

RNSM-From your professional experience, involved in business and the market...what is your opinion regarding the Art market with these current economic times ? Any suggestions for the Art industry? What do you think is going to happen next in the art business? Price re-adjustment? Discounts behind close doors?

MAO-When MAO was in college, we always said, "The size of the always commensurate with the size of the party!" Well.. it's been one long, huge art party the last 10 years!

MAO's outlook is very gloomy, but sadly we think it's unavoidable at this point.
The entire world economy is in recession.. maybe even depression.
The rich are not so rich anymore. Many Billionaires from 2007 are not billionaires today. Many wall street, and hedge fund art collectors have been totally wiped out.

Million is the new Billion... Small is back in style!
Shabby is chic again!

We predict, some of these previously, "important" art collectors will be selling their art collections.

MAO thinks the next round of art auctions in NYC are going to be very disappointing, possibly a total disaster, with less than 40% of the works for sale able to find buyers. This will occur, even with auction houses pushing down their pre-sale estimates as far as possible.

Prices for most contemporary artists work are probably going to drop 20-50%.
Art dealers are going to have to start reconsidering the pricing of their inventory..and the prices of new art work from their established artists are going to have to be brought down to be in line with these new auction prices. This process will take some time. Right now dealers are offering "discounts".. but that's going to evolve into the initial prices being lowered to more realistic levels.

For example.. if a significant work from a working established artist, sells at auction for $20,000 at a big public auction house, how can a dealer price all the new work for much more? We expect this to happen to even the most important "Hot" artists working today.

Several art dealers are going to shut down, probably at least 10 to 15%. We may even see some galleries merge together. Several artists are going to find themselves without galleries. Art fairs are going to get smaller. Museums and other Not-For-Profits are going to have funding problems. We're going to see more institutions selling parts of their art collections to raise funds for operations.

MAO's suggestions to the art industry is somewhat darwinian, it's to adapt ASAP. Change your expectations. Cut costs now, Bring prices down now to reasonable levels. Now is the time to be innovative, but maybe it's not the best time to organize a pure concept show. But first and foremost, be vigilant in cultivating good client relationships, and providing high quality client service. The ones who adjust quickly to this new economy will survive, the others, well, they'll go the way of the subprime mortgage, and parachute pants. They'll be just a footnote in art history textbooks.

RNSM- Are you seeking now to collect more emerging artist work than mid-range and established one? Why?

MAO-We don't really "collect" emerging artist work. Any emerging art work we own, was more a part of the MAO philanthropic efforts to support new artists and galleries we appreciate.

So, we do own some new young artists work..but, it's not the main focus of our collection.

RNSM- Any artist that you haven't collected work yet? Can you name it? Why?

MAO-There are only 40 or so artists in the MAO art collection. We preferred to collect artists work in depth rather than one of everything by everybody.

RNSM- Do you consult with dealers, fellow bloggers, friends, partners or anybody before making an art purchase?

MAO-YES. We talk to as many people as we can.
And additionally MAO always consults with our beloved partner, Dr. Quiz, before we buy a major art work. Otherwise MAO has learned that frigid cold winds tend to blow through the MAO love nest household.

RNSM- Do you think some art dealers need to do some re-adjustment with their attitude towards potential costumers? Why?

Well.. actually.. MAO doesn't think attitude filled dealers need to adjust anything, cause these galleries who are not friendly, which cast negative attitude toward collectors and artists visiting their art shows..will probably be gone soon.

MAO thinks, many art dealers do need to take a lesson from WalMart (the worlds most successful retailer in history). We find art dealers frequently forget, the CLIENTS are important to the business. Every gallery should almost have a professional greeter, standing out front saying.. "Thank you for coming..and if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask!"
There's no cost in being nice, this is just common human curtesy, and sound business.

RNSM- As an avid Art Collector what would you like to see right now in the art market? Better work ? Better prices?

MAO-YES! Both!

RNSM- You are quite an art book collector also...Do you recommend people be involved in book collecting as well? Why? You think it is a good time for it now?

MAO-Yes.. MAO Loves Art Books.. Particularly, first edition, signed art photography monographs. It's a great way to learn about the artists and experience their work.

Sometimes owning the photobook is better than owning an artists photograph. Many single photographs don't stand well on their own, the photobook is a complete thought.. a complete artistic statement.

Today, is a great time to start collecting rare Art Books. Prices are already down at least 10-15%. We think these are undervalued art objects. With technology, and the digital age, books are slowly disappearing from our society. Most artbooks are published at an economic loss, and they frequently require donations to be created. In these difficult economic times, new high quality books are going to become increasingly rare.

Additionally, auctions,and the Internet (websites ebay, photoeye, abebooks, etc) make it very easy to research, collect and trade art books.

MAO thinks rare photobooks are a great way for young collectors to start. They are at a much lower price point, so very affordable, and they are easy to store. Plus they bring a little bit of the art museum into the collectors hands! Each art book is like a mini-art collection, and clearly we can't get enough of that!

RNSM- Any final thoughts MAO?

MAO-YES.. for all those eager young artists (and gallerinas) reading this blog who are very interested in having their art work featured in the MAO Art collection... we we have a very liberal donation policy. Please contact Dr. Quiz for shipping instructions.

RNSM-Thanks MAO!

Tonight 1/30/09 CARA PHILLIPS @ Hey, HOT Shot @ Jen Beckman Gallery

Photo- Cara Phillips-Before & After Room Beverly Hills, 2007

I started collecting Cara Phillips work and now so you!

Her photographic series addresses very important themes about how our society obsesses towards beauty and self-image. Most hey, Hot Shot artists usually do a 20 x 200 edition so, keep an eye in case Cara does one. Her work in my opinion is highly collectable, due its different imagery and beauty themes series . Being also one of the top 50 Finalists from Photolucida's Critical Mass 08 , there is a lot more to be seen from Cara!

See you tonight!

Hey, Hot Shot! (volume iv, edition ii) Showcase is tonight, January 30th, 2009, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Jen Bekman Gallery.
Edition ii Hot Shots

John Mann

Donald Weber

Hosang Park

Cara Phillips

Yijun Liao

Work will be on view through Saturday, February 14th, 2009

Jen Bekman Gallery
6 Spring Street NYC

Gallery hours: Wednesday – Saturday, from noon to 6:00 p.m.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Bert Teunissen Limited Edition @ Witzenhausen Gallery New York

Estremoz #4, 27/03/2002 12:36
by Bert Teunissen

Go and get one!
A must have for such a good price!

Bert Teunissen Statement
Portugal I visited two times, once in 2002 and another time in 2003.
The first trip was done in the Alentejo, the second in Tras Os Montes.
In estremoz I found the cooks of the military barracks enjoying their lunch.
Portugal was by far the easiest country to work in; the people were most friendly and they kept inviting us for drinks, diners and talks."

Limited edition:
Bert Teunissen
Estremoz #4, 27/03/2002 12:36
Cibachrome print
11.7 x 16.7 in. (29,7 x 42,4 cm)
Edition of 60 each
$ 380 (€ 290)

From the series of "Domestic Landscapes"
In 1996 Bert started to make a series of photographs that were made in houses ...
read more

For more info please contact:
Witzenhausen Gallery Amsterdam +31 (0)20 644 9898
Witzenhausen Gallery New York +1 (212) 239 1124

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Current State of the ART Market Series # 5 with Photographer/Writer and Fellow Art Blogger- WILL STEACY

Photographer/Writer and Fellow Art Blogger- WILL STEACY

Photo- Will Steacy-Liz, Philadelphia, 2007, from the series All My Life I Have Had The Same Dream

Photo by Will Steacy- Kimball, Chicago, 2008, from the series Down These Mean Streets

This is installment #5 of The Current State of the ART Market Series.It is the turn for Will Steacy, Photographer/Writer and Fellow Art Blogger . ARTmostfierce wanted to show a side of Will that most people don't know. I consider Will a friend and he often, gets stereotyped as a bad boy of the art world. Besides being a talented photographer, the Will I know, is way far from any of those misconceptions. Let's see what Will really has on his mind!

Ruben Natal San Miguel-What gets Will going these days?

Will Steacy-Jumping out of bed everyday with the intention of creating, to learn and discover something new. Lately, I have become fascinated with New York City telephone booths. No one really uses public pay phones anymore since everyone has a cell phone and these booths have become, one of the last semi private places in the city. The window in my old apartment used to look out onto not 1 but 2 phone booths and the angle from my window allowed me to see over people’s shoulders and what they were doing. At all times during the day, I would watch people go into these booths and shoot up, smoke up, do a bump, sell drugs, get a blow job or simply take a piss. It will be 2 in the afternoon and people just walk by these booths completely oblivious to what is happening inside. It’s crazy! I love it!

RNSM-As an emerging photographer/writer/artist in NYC , what are your thoughts about the current state of the ART market?

WS-I think it is a unique and interesting time for younger artists right now. I think there are going to be more opportunities for young artists to show their work in various venues as people are turning away from larger price tags and looking at art that is more affordable by young up and comers, people trying to invest in that Randy Moss 21st draft pick. I think we will start to see more and more group shows, which are an “emerging artist’s” best friend, as galleries might be hesitant to invest in one body of work. But there is a flip side to this as well. Emerging artists will always be fighting that uphill battle to pay rent, student loans, travel expenses, film, processing, printing, framing, self promotion, credit card bills, etc, etc, blah, blah…aka the realities of being a young artist. And in a slow economy finding the sources to fund these things may be a more difficult than usual, but maybe not, maybe it’s just always hard. And there seem to be more and more young hungry photographers these days all fighting to get their work out, so the competition is tough. And while every emerging artist jumps at the opportunity to show their work, I think it is important in these times to take a step back and put things in perspective. Are they ready, is the body of work ready to be seen, can they afford it, what are the risks involved? As the focus may turn to the plentiful pond of emerging artists, how long will this trend last, will it backfire for an artist whose work is not developed and still maturing and they are never heard from again, or will it be the key that unlocked the door to a successful career?

RNSM- Do you think that this is a good time to develop more visibility and generate a stronger collectors base vs. lets say, have more sales of your work and develop new body of work?

WS-Well, my perspective is skewed here. My main focus is always to be working and making photographs. And whatever comes out of that work will happen later. There are many things that go into making a body of work and many things that go into having that body of work seen, recognized and ideally purchased at some point down the line by collectors. I think it is a juggling act between making work, funding the work, promoting it, and supporting yourself. At first it can be difficult and confusing, but eventually you get used to it and then you start throwing more and more into that juggling act to keep things interesting and to be constantly growing and evolving. But I think the most important thing is the work.

RNSM- You had recently a pretty good limited edition sale that in my opinion was the inspiration of and motivation of other artists because, it was pretty successful ...Would you like to share some information about it? What was the main reason ? Who guided you? Why you think it was so successful? You know everybody stills talks about and I think it set a precedent for others.

WS-Last October, I had a print sale through my blog in a last minute effort to raise money to support the costs of moving. My landlord had raised my rent a ridiculous amount, which was out of my price range, and I needed money to help cover the costs associated with moving. So, a certain friend/collector (you!) recommended having a print sale, which thanks to many contributing factors including luck and good timing, turned out to be a success. I think my timing was great, I announced the sale on my blog just days before all of the economic turmoil and bailout talks began. I also relied completely on the power of the blog/Internet and word of mouth. I asked all of my blogger friends to help spread the word and let people know about my sale, which was for a good cause, another factor that helped. Without all of the support of my friends, I know the sale would not have been as successful as it was. I did something similar to this a couple of years ago to fund my work in New Orleans. I wrote a letter to friends and acquaintances asking to help support the work I was doing and in exchange for a donation I was offering prints at half price. Many people choose to donate and then choose a print from the work I was making, this also was a success and supported a year’s worth of work. In these circumstances I think everyone wins, the artist is able to either continue making work or simply get themselves out of a tight situation and the collectors/buyers/supporters come away with a piece of art at a very affordable price. I think timing is key and I think there is a level of professionalism that must go along with it, at the end of day people are giving you money and it is important to respect that, the details matter, especially if you want people to come back.

RNSM-Does your writing influence your photography work? If so, Why?

WS-Writing and photography are two mediums that over the years have become one for me. While most may be familiar with my images, it is the words that got me there. Both words and images are an integral part of my process. During the course of a project I fill tons of notebooks with ideas, plans, notes, experiences, dreams, etc and I continue to fill these notebooks as I make photographs. I am writing as I am shooting and it is my writing that I return to between trips/shoots. The words allow the pictures to happen, they are the bridge to the other side.

RNSM-Are you interviewing somebody now?

WS-I am working on several things at the moment. My next piece examines the life of a camera and the story of the photographs that have been made with it. From a war photographer who ended up committing suicide because she was so plagued by what she saw and photographed to the young aspiring photographer who recently received this camera as a Christmas gift. Some of my other pieces are pretty abstract and test the boundaries. Lately I have been thinking about holding on to them and putting them all together in one place. The Internet and the blogs these days seem to be only scratching the surface of their potential and possibilities. There are great opportunities to rethink and redefine media as we know it, from the basic to the large and grand. We’ll see what happens.

RNSM- Where do you see yourself 5 years from now? What would you like to be doing then?

WS- I hope to be chasing my dreams and pursuing whatever it is I’m interested in. I always have planned on becoming a barber and opening up my own barber shop when I’m old and it’s one of those barber shops that is never really busy, or there is just no rush, even if you are waiting, you are relaxed, reading the paper or having a cigar or flipping through a Playboy. I have always loved to get my hair cut and found it to be such a relaxing experience. And all my old buddies hang out there and we argue and remember the good old times. And it’s not one of those stupid stylish places, I really am not that good a barber, I only give three kinds of haircuts, no matter what you ask for you are either going to get a buzz, short on the sides and long on top, or just a little off the top. Who knows where I will be in 5 years, shit, I don’t know where I’ll be in 5 days.

RNSM- As part of the bohemian downtown set is your work and life a pure reflection of it or just a setting for inspiration?

WS-I’ve lived in a city all my life. There is a certain energy and feeling in the air in the streets, bars, restaurants, parties, coffee shops, gallery openings, clothing shops, alleyways, rooftops, etc, that doesn’t exist anyway where else. While perhaps a lot of it is just people fronting and trying too hard to look cool, there is something refreshing about this energy and spirit, and that’s what keeps me here. And there are certainly times when things get to me (usually March and the last of the cold weather) and I need to get away. But no matter how long I’m gone or how often I talk about moving to another city, I always am secretly excited to come home and never have the balls to leave here for good. I never shoot where I live, it’s too familiar, a big part of when I shoot is discovery and the excitement of the unfamiliar.

RNSM- They say sometimes your work can take over or mirror your personal life is that the case with you ? Or you are just walking a fine line through it?

WS-Ahhh, the gift and curse of being an artist. I give myself to my work, it is what I am here on this Earth to do and the only way I know how to do it is to dive in head first. And while this is the greatest feeling in the world and nothing makes me happier and feel more alive than to be creating, out exploring the world, there are other things in life than my work that I regret having not paid enough attention to. I have lost women I loved, I have been barely able to pay my rent some months, I disappear from friends for weeks/months, blah, blah, because I have allowed this spirit inside me to take over. I have always believed that somehow it is all the same thing, my life=my art=my love. But there also have been times when it wasn’t easy to let this happen either. While working in New Orleans over the course of a year, there were times when making a photograph became so painful that the only way I could do it was to sit in my car after a shot and cry. That was how I got through that year and was able to process it and move forward. And when I got back to New York after each trip, it always took a day or two, sometimes a week, to reemerge myself back into reality.

RNSM-How important do you think is for an artist to understand the business side of the art business and why?

WS-I think it is one of the most important things there is for an artist to understand, outside of his/her work. At the end of the day art, like anything else, and as much as we would like to think otherwise, is a business. Plain and simple. And I think for many artists, including myself, the business side of it is something completely new and something that doesn’t come natural. It took a while for me to accept that “my art” was a business too. I remember the first time I sold a picture through my gallery and I remember feeling wrong about it, like the two shouldn’t go together, but that quickly passed. And there are also many artists who have an amazing natural business sense and who totally get it. And those are great friends to have when you need advice!

RNSM-You have been doing some assignments and commercial work...Can you tell us how is that going and if it affects in some way your fine art work?

WS-Yes I have some steady commercial clients whom I shoot for on a regular basis and there of course are some days when I would much prefer to be working on my fine art projects, but I just remember that it could be a whole lot worse and that I am lucky to be able to make a living with my camera. Working with a client and basically turning an idea into a photograph has taught me a great deal. I love solving a visual puzzle and looking and thinking about things that I probably wouldn’t be interested in otherwise, it makes me a better photographer.

RNSM-Do you have any idea of how the ART market will change and how?

WS-I don’t know what will happen. I am a rookie, I haven’t even been in the game long enough to fully understand the magnitude and intricacies of whatever changes will occur. Looking at the art world in the past 50 years there have been many changes and I think that the one thing we can always count on is that the art world is constantly evolving and as trends/ideas/tools develop and change over the years so does the art market. As conceptual art gave way to the abstract painters in the 80s, there was a craving for the object, something people could hang on walls, and juxtaposed with some thick collector wallets guys like Schnabel, Fischl, Salle, Halley made a fortune. Again timing. But as we enter a digital age in a recession I am curious and excited to see what direction artists will go and how the art market will respond.

RNSM-Can you tell us what are you are working on now?

WS-I am working on the first chapter of a series of projects exploring the journey. I am in the middle of a project titled “Down These Mean Streets” in which I am traveling to American cities and walking from the airport to the city’s (cultural/economic) center at night. I am interested in the abandonment and neglect of our inner cities and how the effects of a post industrialist society have impacted or even shaped our ghettos. The walks have gone from being frightening and at times uncomfortable to thrilling and in the process of testing my own limits and fears, I have learned a great deal about myself. I hope that in this body of work my viewer will also come away with a sense of empathy. While I do not offer any solutions to the problems of our cities, perhaps there are none, a lack of empathy and fear have lead us to where we are now and so if we can come away from these images with a sense of compassion this project will be a success.

RNSM- Will, thank you for talking to us and lets know more about you!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Current State of the ART Market Series # 4 with JON FEINSTEIN, Co-Founder-Humble Arts Foundation/ Curator /Photographer

Jon Feinstein -Co-Founder-Humble Arts Foundation/ Curator /Photographer

Photo-Dad by Jon Feinstein

Photo- Joe- By Jon Feinstein

As installment #4 of The Current State of the ART Market Series , ARTmostfierce had a Q & A with the mutli-talented Co-Founder-Humble Arts Foundation/ Curator /Photographer,Jon Feinstein. Lets see what is in Jon's mind these days!

Ruben Natal-San Miguel- Please tell us for those who don't know what an ART curator job is all about.

Jon Feinstein-Photography curators, specifically in the emerging art photo world, are responsible for organizing and editing coherent bodies of work from what is increasingly becoming a vast sea of new young photography. I am interested in examining trends in photography and using different work to explore larger issues in the world in an innovative and sometimes abstract way. As the Internet has democratized the hell out of the photography world, it is the curator's job to sort through this work and organize it into an exhibition/ publication that makes sense to the outside viewer.

RNSM-Jon, as a curator for Humble Arts Foundation a non for profit organization... What kind of strategies you are implementing for the shows and the selection of the limited edition print program?

JF-At Humble, I oversee all of the decisions on selecting work for our various projects, from the online group shows to limited edition prints and physical exhibitions. For the online shows I organize and curate work that I think is interesting or innovative from hundreds of submissions each month.
The process differs for online and physical exhibitions, and for our limited edition prints. Since our online shows don't follow a literal theme, I tend to select photos that play off of each other and have a linear relationship to one another. The majority of these images come in via open submissions, but I occasionally contact a photographer if I am particularly drawn to their work. For our physical exhibitions I tend to come up with a specific theme. Often this stems from conceptual trends or patterns I observe in the emerging art photo world. For example, the show I curated most recently, "Things Are Strange", used mysterious and sometimes unsettling work to parallel the current state of political and social affairs in the world. The limited editions are another story---the work selected for those is much more heavily focused on the market. I'm definitely considering what buyers--both seasoned and emerging--would want to "hang over their couch". There is definitely more attention paid to color palate and I may be slightly more reluctant to sell work that is less visually appealing and purely conceptual.

RNSM-When curating a show are you taking in consideration that the work will sell considering the current economic times vs. just a mere theme inspiration?

JF-Saleability plays a minor part--but with shows right now, I'm more interested in producing a tightly curated exhibition than catering the exhibition to the buyers. My main concern on this end is showcasing strong work that pushes photography's boundaries and potentially has a place in photography's history to come.

RNSM-Are the shows curated by you inspired by an expression of the current times we are living?

JF-Definitely. The show I mentioned earlier, "Things Are Strange," was entirely founded on current political and social uncertainty. It did not necessarily include transparently "political" photos--there were no images from Afghanistan or poverty in America, nor were there any election related photos. The photographers instead used mysterious imagery to comment on these issues with a much more abstract sensibility. Another show I co-curated was "31 Under 31: Young Women in Art Photography"--a show that sought to give further exposure to young emerging female photographers.

RNSM-You are also a photographer, what kind of approach you are taking while promoting your work in this economic climate?

JF-I've always been a bit shy about promoting my own work, mainly because the emerging art world is so fiercely competitive that I want to give other photographers a shot with the projects I'm curating. With the exception of the Collector's Guide which is coming out soon, I generally leave my own work out of Humble's projects. But as far as promoting myself, I generally send my work out to bloggers and curators whose eye I respect--the same goes for submitting to competitions. Since I've always had a "real" job in addition to making work and curating, the market itself has little affect on my work, and I'm less concerned with making work that will sell or help me pay the rent.

RNSM-Are you also involved with the price point of the editions? If you are, are you aware that people are buying less and that the price tag is what is either driving potential buyers in or being getting turned off by it?

JF-Amani and I negotiate the price points with each photographer. We strongly believe that if a buyer is truly inspired by the work, the price tag (assuming it's in the "affordable" range) will not bear as much influence--at least with seasoned buyers. I know that various online sales venues have been lowering the price point on emerging art work, but I don't think this has affected our sales in the least. The mass produced reproductions that are starting to flood the market seem to be less targeted to a buying community that can build the traditional artist-patron relationships that have existed in the past and more towards people who want pretty or interesting posters on their walls. As our editions have become more and more popular, we've actually (against the advice of numerous people) increased our price points, and begun limiting our editions to editions of 5 from what was originally editions of 10. As our prices have gone up we've actually seen sales increase, and are starting to sell out of editions that originally had only one or two sales.

RNSM- Since you are selecting works for shows...Are you following any art market trends for selecting the work so the end result will translate on volume sales?

JF-Not at all--while this may sound overly idealistic, for the shows I'm curating, I'm most interested in showing interesting innovative work, and less interested in curating a show geared specifically to collectors. That is not to say that I do not select saleable work, but with exhibitions specifically, I am most interested in picking work that is best suited for the theme of the show.

RNSM- How will you react If somebody gives you a theme title to follow while curating a show and a whole list of artists to chose from?

JF- I would love to curate a show based on a predetermined theme--provided that it was a theme I felt qualified to curate from. I think there are maybe three themes I would refuse: Abandoned buildings, photography of street art/graffiti and reflections. Otherwise I'd give it my all!

RNSM-In your opinion...What kind of photography or art in general has the most sales and investment potential right now?

JF-Tough question. I've noticed that portraits (excluding nudes which seem to do quite well) are less and less popular with buyers. I think this goes back to the "above the couch" concept, and many buyers are uncomfortable buying portraits that directly confront the camera. Emerging photographers who are pushing the boundaries of photography while still making beautiful images seem to be a sound investment as well--for example, Michael Buhler Rose and Hannah Whitaker are making some of the smartest and most visually inviting work on the market right now, and have received a great deal of attention for their work, which only helps to increase their investment potential. Any photographer who is getting consistent and frequent exposure online, in print and in the physical gallery world, and appears to have staying power is a solid investment.

RNSM- What are your thoughts on the Art Market future forecast? What do you think people should focus or shy away from?

JF- "Emerging Artists" has become a hot phrase right now. As I'm sure you've noticed, emerging art competitions, blogs, online projects and magazines are sprouting up every day, and more and more online print sales projects are emerging as well. I feel as though people are going to soon refer to it as "the emerging artists industrial complex" in the next few years. It's also interesting to look at the current print-sales industry in the context of Walter Benjamin's "Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction"---as so many new online sales projects surface, as more "ridiculously low priced" projects come to fruition, photography as a "collectible product" may gradually decrease in value. For photographers who are interested in maintaining the monetary value of their work, I do think it's important to limit the edition runs if they are hoping to increase the monetary value of their work. I don't necessarily think there is a problem in making an edition of several hundred prints of one photo (and in cases where these sell out, I think it can be a great way of earning some quick cash for young photographers---I know I've bought a couple of cheap editions to hang on my wall) but I definitely think it hinders the longevity of the value of the photograph. Also, I think Gelatin Silver prints are the next big thing for the emerging art photo world--they are one of the closest things photography has to art-objects---to that end, keep your eye out for some amazing black and white work from Tim Briner!

RNSM-Jon, thank you for your ideas and thoughts!

Monday, January 26, 2009

DeathWatch Stalks Galleries

OMG!!! this is exactly what we should not engage during this current economic climate. A blogger killing the art business!
Please read and not promote!

Virtual Schadenfreude.
By Alexandra Peers Published, Jan 25, 2009
New York Magazine

As if art dealers weren’t upset enough about falling prices, now there’s short-selling of galleries. Last fall, the How’s My Dealing? blog (which rates gallerists’ treatment of their artists according to anonymous informants) began a gallery “DeathWatch” thread—and dealers are on edge over its retailing of unsubstantiated rumors. “Everything about it is ghoulish,” says Edward Winkleman (whose Chelsea gallery has not been mentioned), adding that posting the name of a troubled gallery could contribute to “accelerating” its demise. The blogger, an artist who calls himself Buck Naked, says that he allows most posts (guided by what the site terms “my sense of the commenter’s sincerity”). But he claims the operation’s been “fairly predictive.” Two galleries put on DeathWatch in October have closed: Plane Space and Roebling Hall. (Three weeks ago, Roebling dealer Joel Beck e-mailed his artists saying his debts “cannot yet be addressed … probably for some time.”) Yet one gallery was listed as “R.I.P.” only to have that designation reversed. DeathWatch is fueled “by bitterness and revenge, but I check it almost every day,” says a Chelsea dealer, who suspects some artists post because they haven’t been paid for sales. “A lot of galleries are on the edge—I worry what’s getting them through is that they’re spending the artists’ money.”

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Current State of the ART Market Series # 3- Amy Stein- Photographer/Educator/Blogger

Amy Stein-Photographer/Educator/Art Blogger and Writer

Domesticated- Book by Amy Stein from the Domesticated Photo Series

Photo- Amy Stein-From the Halloween in Harlem Series

This is the third installment of profile /interviews for The Current State of the Art Market Series.

The turn this time is for Amy Stein whose great innovative photography goes beyond the wall and into the classroom and the world of publishing. Amy's DOMESTICATED book is a hit and so it is most of her photographic series like Stranded, Halloween in Harlem and Domesticated. Let's see what Amy has to say!

Ruben Natal-San Miguel- As an Educator, Do you ever discuss with your students topics regarding the Current state of the Economy and its impact in the ART market?

Amy Stein-I think it important to be as honest and forthright as possible with students and give them the fullest picture I can of what is required of an artist these day. Part of that education is an understanding of the market. On occasion a student will bring up the topic in class and I will address it to a point. A ready access to information and a heightened demand for immediacy has too many students focused on the market when they should be focused on making work and pushing their vision. I try to temper their market fixation tand refocus their energies back to their art.

RNSM- What about as a Photographer?

AS-As a working photographer you canʼt help but discuss the market with gallerists and fellow photographer friends. Many of my friends hit our stride during the boom years and thatʼs the only reality we know. We are still coming to terms with this new reality.

One thing Iʼve noticed is that uncertain times leads to a rise in gallows gossip.

RNSM- Has the current economic climate influenced your current photographic and your teaching approach?

AS-Not really. I have been mostly lucky as interest in my work continues to grow despite the collapse. What Iʼve discovered over the past few years is that there are only a small handful of artists who can make a decent living just selling their work. Most everyone else augments their income with commercial and editorial assignments, teaching, or regular jobs. I teach because I love to teach, but I also need the paycheck and the health insurance. A lot of emerging artists believe that they will be able to become full time artists and live this extravagantly bohemian existence just from the sale of their work. Itʼs a nice goal, but itʼs the exception not the rule.

RNSM- Have you notice any change in your students projects as being a direct reflection from it?

AS-I havenʼt seen the art market influence my students work, but I have to believe as the overall economy continues to drag down and the effects become more widespread, it is bound to inspire a project or two.

RNSM- Do you think it is important to instruct fine art students some or more business courses so, when they hit the professional and job market are better suited for?

AS-I think itʼs very important that they have the tools to market themselves and a good sense of how the industry works. I think this information is necessary, but it needs to be taught within the context of growing and sustaining your vision as an artist. You need to know how to sell yourself and your work, but more importantly, you need to know when you are ready to jump into the fray. You need to know the ins-and-outs of the business, but you also need to understand that all steps forward are not necessary or good for your career in the long run.

Both the SVA and Parsons where I teach address the market by offering courses by gallerists, reps, and folks who come from the business side of things.

RNSM- Who are your major inspirations for your work? People who you admire the most?

AS-My inspiration and admiration comes from the same sources: Alec Soth, Zoe Strauss, Brian Ulrich, Jeff Wall, and Robert Adams.

RNSM- Your blog is one of my favorites, I think it is mostly because your educational approach to it after all I come from a family of professional educators...Do your students read your blog?

AS-The ones that know whatʼs good for them do.

RNSM- What do you think this is a good time for an artist to do during this economic recession? Lower its prices? Had the dealer offer discounts to encourage sales? Develop smaller sized work @ lower prices? Increase visibility? Generate a art collectors base?

AS-The best thing an artist can do is make work. Ultimately, that is the only thing we have complete control over.

I would discourage people from lowering prices if they have already sold pieces because collectors will hunt you down and kill you. Photographers should print their work as appropriate for the content, not based on market conditions.

I think this is the best time to maximize your relationship with your gallery. You are in this together and both will benefit from your long term success, so work out a plan that you are both comfortable with and doesnʼt undermine your past or future achievements.

RNSM- As an Art collector ...Are you now seeking to buy more due the current discounts going on or you are waiting for a re-adjustment in the Art market?

AS-I am always looking for steals, but have learned to be a smarter collector. I focus on buying the exact pieces I want to own, not more affordable pieces by the same artist.

RNSM- Who would you like to collect the most from and why? Any names?

AS-Robert Adams is my personal hero and I would love to own several pieces from his American West series. Robert, if you read this, send me an email and weʼll trade.

RNSM- Does art collecting influence your work in any way?

AS-Colleting doesnʼt influence my work. They are separate pursuits. However, I imagine it does influence my teaching and the artists I choose to present to my students.

- Has these times affected the creativity in photography work? Has it motivated you in a new and different direction or it is just business as usual?

AS-My Stranded series is influenced by the current state of our country, so in that sense yes. But, I never let the market dictate my output.

RNSM- Some of your students in a near future will be hitting the streets for the real world. What is the best advise you can provide to them?

AS-The best advice I can give them is to focus on their work. Beyond that it is important to find a community of artists you like and build a network of support. Also, follow the lead of young photographers like Grant Willing and Alana Celii with Fjord and Shane Lavalette with Lay Flat and create your own opportunities.

RNSM- Your book Domesticated is a great one...Was it hard to conceive?

-I didnʼt start the series with the intent to create a book. When I won the Critical Mass prize, the opportunity presented itself and I jumped. It took over a year to edit, sequence, and design the book.

RNSM- Any more books coming up?

AS-I have just finished my Stranded project and have begun the daunting process of editing for a book. I have over 100 images that I consider worthy of publication, but I would like to edit it down to a solid 70 before I start sequencing. I am going to build an editing wall in my home where I can live with all of the images in smaller sizes and move them around at my leisure. I hope to have a maquette ready to take to publishers by the end of 2009.

RNSM- Your Halloween in Harlem series are one of my favorite ones...What made you start them and why in Harlem? Are the series still in progress?

AS-Most of the images for that series were shot in East Harlem. Until the 2nd Avenue subway comes online in 2015, it will remain the only area of Manhattan that still is affordable for working families. I lived there for two and a half years after I moved to New York with my husband. It is such a rich and vibrant part of the city and on Halloween the area is alive with activity.

While I was living there I was struck by the similarities and differences between Halloween in Harlem and my experiences as a child. There are lots of children in costumes bouncing around the neighborhood, but instead of going door to door they go from check-cashing places to liquor stores. I really wanted to capture this experience and this time because I think things will be radically different once the new subway is done and that part of Manhattan becomes much more attractive to developers.

I will probably keep going back to shoot for a few more years.

RNSM- Do you think the Art blog community can help in some way to pull together and help endure this current economic climate? How? Why?

AS-I think there is value in blog commiseration, but more importantly it is valuable to share innovations that might transform the industry. Anytime there is a shakeup like this, people tend to respond in two ways. There are those that do everything they can to return to the previous normal and there are those that try to create a new normal. I think there is worth in both pursuits and the art blog community will be a good resource to share strategies that return us to some kind of normalcy.

RNSM- What are you currently working on?

AS-Right now I am all about Stranded and getting that ready for a book. This spring I am going to start on a new large-format project that should be radically different than my previous work. I want to finish that by the end of the year. Also, I am going to start the grant process to secure funding for the companion series to Domesticated.

RNSM- You seem to travel frequently...does that influence your work?

AS-I am a traveling machine. Of late, I have been asked to be a visiting artist at a number of schools across the country. It is a lot of fun, but it keeps me on the road and away from my husband a little too often.

I work in projects, so I tend not to shoot as I travel unless I am traveling specifically for a project.

RNSM- Any final thoughts?

AS-Whatʼs the deal with talking babies in commercials? That crap must end now.

RNSM-Thank you Amy!

The Image Is Erotic. But Is It Art?

Courtesy Louis K. Meisel Gallery
“Devil Doll” by Mel Ramos. A small career survey of Mr. Ramos’s work continues through Jan. 31 at Louis K. Meisel Gallery in SoHo.

Over the years, I had seen the work of Mel Ramos mostly in auctions and always found his illustrations and paintings rather campy, naughty but, in a endearing way, not really offensive to women. In my opinion, he was just trying to enhance the power that women can have in society with their femininity over men, kind of the same way Helmut Newton portrayed women as superwomen in his photography work.I found this article interesting because now I realized how, he paved the way for superstars artist like Thomas Ruff and Richard Prince to be so bold while, portraying some of their sexually charged work.Please read article below from the NY times written by  KEN JOHNSON

Published: January 20, 2009

WALKING out of a Mel Ramos exhibition the other day, my companion remarked on how benignly amusing his paintings now seemed. Back in the 1970s, when she was a younger, more fiery feminist, his works infuriated her.
. A small career survey of Mr. Ramos’s work continues through Jan. 31 at Louis K. Meisel Gallery in SoHo.

Times have changed, although Mr. Ramos evidently has not, judging from a small (19 pieces) career survey at Louis K. Meisel Gallery in SoHo that includes paintings from the early ’60s to the present, as well as luminous painted cast-resin sculptural versions of some of his classic images.

Mr. Ramos is still painting naked, pneumatic women emerging “Birth of Venus”-like from candy-bar wrappers and banana peels, riding oversize cigars like horses and otherwise toying with the lubricious responses of his viewers. What is different is that a 50-year history of ever more sexually provocative imagery in art and popular culture at large makes Mr. Ramos’s paintings now seem comparatively innocent and even wholesome.

Although he seems to be continually hovering just outside the club door, the serious art world’s velvet ropes have never been let down for him.

Mr. Ramos always painted on the teasing edge between acceptable and unacceptable taste. In the early ’60s he made Pop-style paintings of Amazonian comic-book heroines like Wonder Woman and Sheena, Queen of the Jungle. Thickly painted in vivid colors within sharp contour lines, statuesque women in scanty costumes appear in posterlike compositions with their names spelled out in big, graphically charged letters. In the current exhibition, Cave Girl poses in a white fur-trimmed leather one-piece suit in front of the monumental letters of her name, which look as though they were carved from stone.

Unlike the women in Roy Lichtenstein’s paintings, Mr. Ramos’s sirens were not just enlarged, slightly modified copies of comic-book images. His innovation was to model their bodies on those of real women — movie stars like Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe or anonymous magazine models. So despite their nonrealistic comic style, Mr. Ramos’s women had an erotic presence that comic-book women of the day never had.

Playboy had recently become an object of mainstream popularity, a nudie magazine with literary content that smart men and women could peruse without embarrassment. As if rising to the challenge, Mr. Ramos soon began painting photorealistic pictures juxtaposing Playmate-like nudes and brand-name commodities against blank or nearly blank backgrounds. In a highly condensed form they embodied the Playboy ethos: the smartly produced blend of intellectual sophistication, discerning consumerism and fun-loving hedonism.

Mr. Ramos essentially plateaued at that point. He became a famous yet second-tier Pop Artist, and he continued to recycle the same basic formula over the ensuing decades, even up to the present. But as feminism rose in the 1970s, his reputation declined. While his advocates may have argued that his paintings satirized the use of sex in advertising, he made a certain image of heterosexual male fantasy far too explicit.

An artist like Tom Wesselmann could get away with repeatedly using the female nude by flattening, fragmenting and otherwise abstracting the figure and thereby making it a conceptually loaded sign rather than a pornographic image. But Mr. Ramos kept the figure intact and sexually desirable, and as such his work was too close to a kind of soft-core illustration for the serious art world’s taste.

In the 1980s, a decade in which feminist theory more powerfully influenced art-world thinking if not popular marketing, the chances of Mr. Ramos’s being seen as anything but an outmoded sexist Neanderthal were nil. If any bodies were going to be sexually objectified, they would be those of men — see Mapplethorpe, R. — or, if those of women, they would appear drained of life, as in David Salle’s paintings. (Eric Fischl’s cinematic, psychologically charged paintings of domestic sex scenes in the ’80s were exceptional for their Freudian candor.) Then, around 1990, there came a change, which you might have thought would have cast Mr. Ramos in a more sympathetic light.

In 1991 Jeff Koons exhibited “Made in Heaven,” his series of sculptures and big photographs representing himself and the Italian porn star and politician known as Cicciolina, then his wife, having sex. In 1992 Madonna released “Sex,” a lavish book of photographs in which she acted out stylishly fetishistic sex scenarios.

In the early ’90s Lisa Yuskavage’s erotic fantasy pictures of nubile half-naked young women made their debut, and not long after that John Currin moved from painting yearbookish images of anonymous girls to painting outrageously goofy pictures of women with ridiculously oversize breasts.

So-called pornographic imagery is ubiquitous in art today. Hilary Harkness’s lesbian S&M narratives, drawn and painted with old-masterly refinement; the photographer Thomas Ruff’s pixelated pornographic imagery, downloaded from the Internet; Mr. Currin’s own recent X-rated paintings. A recent exhibition of montages by Richard Prince featured much-enlarged images of naked women from trashy vintage pornography and fragments of de Kooning paintings and drawings of women.

The fault line running through all this involves the question of the “proper” use of sexual imagery in art. Do we ever allow it as an end in itself, or must it always be redeemed by some aesthetic, social, moral or ironic purpose? Can pornography be high art? Indian and Japanese artists raised it to that level in pre-modern times; literature is loaded with great erotica, from the Marquis de Sade to “The Story of O.”

On the other hand, whether because of aesthetic convictions, prudery or politics, the modern art worlds of Europe and America have not appreciated the idea of art made for sexual arousal. But why should that be any less worthy an aim than, say, trying to inspire religious feelings? Mr. Ramos may not be the answer to the contemporary sex-in-art question, but he surely b