WHEN ART SUCKS
Finally, someone has the balls to openly criticize bad contemporary art ["Where Did All the Art Go?" September 1, 2010]. Usually, opinions of bad modern art are kept hush-hush because no one wants to be known as the person who did not like or understand the next Van Gogh or Duchamp.
SPACES, with its course of non-objective art, is being steered into a black hole with an empty gallery and a void of imagination. My last visit was most dull: There was a group of small empty theater sets without actors performing. That's what you see if you're not there for the opening "art performance"; for the next six weeks, there's just an empty set, and you scratch your head, thinking "What did I miss?" I like avant-garde art, but to fill a gallery every few months with just ideas and one-time on-site performances sucks. This might be cool in New York, London, or Berlin. But this is Cleveland, a place were things are built.
TALENTLESS BOHEMIAN ART STUDENTS
Art needs to be entertaining. I ran a commercial photo studio and art gallery called Gallery 0022 in the early 1990s on the third floor of the SPACES building. I was inspired by SPACES' "Art Without Walls" and its building. Those shows were drawing large crowds and stirring a lot of talk about art and artists.
My gallery also drew very large crowds and sold some work. However, the gallery needed to be subsidized by my own commercial photo business. I felt that it was important to keep the "scene" lively and controversial to stimulate conversation about art.
There should be no rules about how to run the show, but if it is not entertaining, people won't come or buy. I have been bored by SPACES' shows since Susan Channing left. Come on, SPACES: Let's get the party started again! There are so many great memories of the shows in the early '90s. Today's art walks are so contrived: way too many venues with way too little decent art. Art is a craft, and galleries provide a venue for true talent.
Above all, Cleveland needs to have fewer galleries, more curators, and fewer art students with no talent seeking the bohemian lifestyle.
THE SPACE AT SPACES
Anyone that has owned, fixed-up, or maintained an old home or building knows and understands the hidden expenses that lurk within a structure built without modern considerations in mind. Central air? Sprinkler systems? Stairways not built from combustible wood? How about insulation? New windows? Do you have any idea concerning the expense of maintaining a wooden elevator built in the early 1900s? My point: Selling a building that is not meeting the needs of an organization can actually be more beneficial than clinging to a property that is draining its resources. Why should SPACES focus on being a landlord when it's trying to support experimentation and local artists?
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