Friday, June 30, 2006

Some thoughts on Leroy's Work

Both David and I thought that Leroy's work had to be in this show. Carnivals are often popular entertainment for people going through rough times. The traveling fairs and circuses sucked money out of people who could hardly afford it. But it seems like something in them made them feel like they had to go. I think a lot of it was a desparate need to celebrate life in the face of death and try to laugh at things you are afraid of or just a desparate need to escape for a while.

LeRoy lived moved to NY in I think 1985 and lived there through the 1990's. I met him once at a gallery in Brooklyn. The reality of AIDS was inescapable and devastating. These pieces are made with collaged photo's LeRoy took himself. The online images do them no justice.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Le Roy "King of Art"

Carnivalesque: A Grim Guignol
Focus on LeRoy "King of Art"


LeRoy "King of Art" - Exclamation Points


If you've been following the blog, then you already know that the Carnivalesque exhibit has just one week left. With David Grim's steady vision, Digging Pitt was able to mount an exhibit that included the gamut of visions, dreams and nightmares associated with the Carnival theme.

LeRoy's work stands out as much for his unique installation as for its singular vision. His Exclamation Points examine the sideshow quality of a time in the not-so-distant past at a not-so-distant place of an experience that has become less distant in the intervening years. Can you hear Liberace's piano while Gotham burns? In Exclamation points, LeRoy casts irony in the form of bittersweet nostalgia.

Below are detail shots of Exclamation points as well as a statement by LeRoy "King of Art"



















Details from Exclamation Points

HOLLA BACK EXCLAIMATION POINTS:
FINDING HUMOR IN THE DARKNESS OF THE GAY 90’S

LeRoy "King of Art"

Parties during the Gay 90’s were super fun and really fabulous but somebody was always dying. Gay men were dropping faster than their flies. So we dressed the sickies up as Movie Stars, pranced around in women’s clothing and cackled at The Grim Reaper! These photos are a record of Gay men surviving in the early years of the AIDS Crisis. Cupcake, Lovey Poo, Lady Hell, Barbara Merman, Christina Heyworth and Quentin Crisp are a few of the drop dead gorgeous superstars you’ll recognize. Don’t miss the killer devil boiz and fan club porn stars photographed moments before they dropped dead.

Profuse decoration has frequently been associated with “gender bending” it has become a sign of “queerness as used in current academic parlance. (Fox 1) I began decorating profusely in my childhood at Girl Scout Camp, always a superstar in the Pixie tent. I continued decorating during my years in New York City. Magazines! Launch Parties! Night Clubs! Dog Shows! Last week I decorated these exclamation points with some pictures from my Gay 90’s scrap book. I also used polka dots like Yayoi Kusama or Leigh Bowrey would use. Kusama’s polka dots signified the sexual disease of society “red polka dots…like the spots of disease. This is the attitude of the human race toward sex, which is sick.” (Jones 2)

I used obsessive repetitive stapling to attach the dots and photos. The repetitive action of stapling, stapling, stapling is a way to try and hold on to something that is slipping away. The psychedelic head shop day glow colors and op art patterns are nostalgic for utopian attitudes of the 60’s sexual revolution which revolted in the 80’s with AIDS.

1. Fox, Howard. Lari Pittman, LA, CA: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1996.
2. Jones, Leslie C.. Transgressive Feminity: Art and Gender in the Sixties and Seventies, Abject Art Repulsion and Desire in American Art, NYC, The Whitney Museum of American Art, 1993.

Doo Dah Days!

Doo Dah Days!
Stephen Foster Music and Heritage Festival

Allegheny Cemetery
Saturday July 1st
12:00 P.M. -to- 5:00 P.M.








The Lawrenceville Historical Society, together with the Allegheny Cemetery Historical Association and WDUQ, are presenting the inaugural Stephen Foster Music and Heritage Festival. Doo Dah Days celebrates the life and music of one the most influential song writers in America's history, while helping draw attention to the history of Pittsburgh.

Larry-ville is not without its heroes. This weekend, we get to celebrate one of them. The Doo Dah Days festival promises to be an interesting exploration of Stephen Foster's life and music. Four folk bands will be performing renditions of Stephen Foster's music in the cemetery, there will be trolley tours and a clock ceremony.

Stephen Foster was born July 4, 1826, on his family's estate, high on the
hillside above the Allegheny River. This estate was located in Lawrenceville,
which later became one of the largest, most historic communities in Pittsburgh.
He developed a love for music at the age of three or four, and from that point
forward there was no stopping him. Foster is considered by many to be the
world's foremost composer, and is the only person to have written two state
songs - "My Old Kentucky Home" (Kentucky) and "Swannee River" (Florida). - From
the Doo Dah Days website


Specific information about the day's events, performers and directions are on the Doo Dah Days website. And hey, Digging Pitt Gallery is just blocks away from Allegheny Cemetery. So stop in and say hello while you are in the neighborhood.

Don't Mess with Me!

I am having trouble with blogger!! I can't believe they are messing with me.

Me: Yes don't they read this blog. I am a time bomb!

Me: I think a lot of people are reading this now, John.

what's included? who's included? Continued

So, like What is included in a gallery. What can you show, what should you show and what can you sell. I guess that's the big stuff one has to deal with when one starts a gallery. As, I said. I think the exclusive " this is the world's best artist/hottest artist" niche is sort of being covered and as I said, It's not why I wanted to start this place.

Me: So Why did you start this place? As you said it wasn't for power.

Me: That isn't exactly what I said. I meant that the particular power of choosing artists
and picking work was not my motivation. I like power and I like money. I never had much
but it looks attractive. I also love revenge.

Me: Oh, Gross! I knew you were a greedy dirt bag. I can't believe I sleep with you.

Me: Well, I don't love it either but that's life. So I actually thought that this would be a good way
to make money-- at least a little.

Me: Admit it this place is a rip off of another gallery. You are just a piece of work. And what's up
with the revenge stuff?

Me: So, you know I had sort of a hard time getting my work out there.

Me: Yes, we were broke-- didn't have the money to photograph anything (still broke send
money) and then I heard about this place.

Me: It looked like heaven to me.

Me: Me too! Wanna hug?

Me: Gross.

Me: So we thought this was the greatest thing. Here was a practical way for artist's to get their
foot in the door.


To Be Continued

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

More Dead Canaries

Oh look they are dropping out of the sky. So sad.

Can you teach a dumb birds new tricks?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

what's included? who's included?

Once again I am off on a subject that is too big for me to cover in one post. Ed got me thinking again about the art world as it now exists and the role that I want my gallery to play in it.

A few of his recent posts touch on the issue of who and how artists are included in the "system". This has been a big question that I have thought about a lot both before and and now after I started my gallery.

One of the first questions is did I or do many dealers do it for money? No. It's not accidental that a lot of conemporary dealers have familiar names like Boesky. ( yes it's that Boesky!) they are often very rich. Many are not, so what motivates them? A high % like Ed love art and also the social scene is not to be ignored as a factor. But, I think a good guess is that power is the driving motivation. The power to say that this is good and that is bad. I think this is a vital role, someone has to make choices and back them up. Dealers, curators and critics play that role.

So, is that the reason I started my gallery? NO. I think that the artworld needs something like a farm team. Some practical way to try to show the stuff that is worth seeing and some practical arena for experimentation.

To be continued

Sunday, June 25, 2006

What the hell is this?

I just came across this thing online by linking through one of Joerg's great posts. It's called the Artist Pension Trust. Honestly, I am sort of confused and intimidated by it but also very interested. Does anyone have any comments on this and could they put the concept into more understandable terms? I think I sort of get the jist and it makes a bit of sense. Artist's contribute a certain number of works into a "pool" and recieve income over time as the art in the pool is sold. Basically it's all about diversification.

I want to aplogize to my readers in that by now you can see that most of my post's are not so much about art as about money and the practical issues facing artists. It just seems like not many people concern themselves with this stuff.

ABNY

I would like to publish stories, reviews and info on art scenes outside of NY. The current codename for the operation is ABNY-- Anything But New York. Please send ideas to my contact email.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Remember the closet

Me: You have to remember the closet.

Me: I wanted one!!

Me: You lived with your mom and you dreamed of the day you could have your own. But, hooking up with the three roomates you needed to make the rent was too hard.

Me: Did you see Bloggy's post? It's the gorilla in the room that no one talked about. But, now I guess the rooms are so small that he's sort of hard to miss.

Me: Funny, you don't hear of dealers talking about it much.

Why am I Here 2

Back from NY. A really short trip, but I did one great studio visit with an artist who will be in my September show.

Me: Oh I heard about that, the one with all the artist's who were from here or spent time here! Admit it NY is great.

Me: Yes it is. But, we should talk about Lisa Hunter's blog post-- I want to remind you why we left.

Me: You mean the closet. Don't make me talk about it.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Carnival Tells a Story

Byline: Alice Winn

At Digging Pitt Gallery, curator David Grim's tales of carnival illuminate a seductive underworld of desire. Images conjure up a chaotic place where the pursuit of fun and cheap glamour becomes the aim of life, where futility is felt within the circling motion of Ferris wheel and merry-go-round. Grim's own color photographs, close shots of fairground attractions, approximate views into the glistening viscera of this shadowy realm. His carousel imagery takes viewers inside the insanely whirling machine, beneath the metallic hoofs of hideously grinning, prancing dummy horses. In Florence Barry's painting "Norweigan Day at Kennywood", a rollercoaster-full of Edvard Munch's screamers turns that magic isle into an island of lost souls. Richard Schnap's collage "Surveillance" features a perverse, authoritative clown peering in at viewers through Venetain blinds, part nebbish, part noir-nastyboy. Victoria Cessna's painted contortionist, struck by a sickly light suffusing a narrow frame, is a fragile figure, simultaneously trapped and transcendent, evocative of the transient thrills that beckon from within the secret confines of carnival.

Carnivalesque: A Grim Guignol - Closing reception

Carnivalesque: A Grim Guignol
Closing reception: Saturday, July 8: 6-9pm

Carnivalesque: A Grim Guignol
Carnival - a burlesque world of the odd, the unique, the strange, the macabre' and the fun. Have some fun with Digging Pitt Gallery and the Carnival exhibit. Shills and carneys, barkers and roustabouts jigging to the blatting of the cally-ope. Come one, come all! Digging Pitt Gallery invites you to submit your art for the gallery exhibition. The exhibit will be curated by Digging Pitt artist David Grim.

Joins us at Digging Pitt Gallery on July 8 at 7pm for an artists' talk, featuring David Grim, Carnivalesque curator extraordinaire!David will be joined by artists included in the Carnivalesque exhibit. More information about the exhibit and the artists can be found here. And as a special treat, Digging Pitt Stuff artists will be present with Stuff Flat Out! All in all, a really exciting day in the gallery.

Carnivalesque: Artists Talk

Joins us at Digging Pitt Gallery on July 8 at 7pm for an artists' talk, featuring David Grim, Carnivalesque curator extraordinaire!

David will be joined by artists included in the Carnivalesque exhibit. More information about the exhibit and the artists can be found here. And as a special treat, Digging Pitt Stuff artists will be present with Stuff Flat Out! All in all, a really exciting day in the gallery.

See you on July 8!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Fanfare!

Introducing -
Susan Constanse
(ta-da!)

John has referred to me variously as friend and sidekick, but my real role is gallery minion. I'm the nut-and-bolts at Digging Pitt gallery, as well as one of the gallery artists. I gotta tell you, I have been enjoying reading John's posts over the last week. Very funny, irreverant and relevant.

I told John that I would post on his blog while he was off biting the apple, so here I am. I also told him that I would guest post interviews for the Digging Pitt blog, so here is my first one.

me: Do you have any tattoos?

me: Well, no. I did have one airbrushed on during the Three Rivers Arts Festival last weekend. It was of a parrot.

me: Airbrushed tattoos don't count as real tattoos. What's the matter? Afraid of commitment?

me: No, pain. I'm a real wimp when it comes to self-mutilation.

me: Why do you think tattoos have become so popular over the last fifteen years?

me: Well, people need a little color in their wardrobe, but since artists are anly supposed to wear black, this is the only way they can get it.

me: You seem to be on the insede track about artists. Are you an artist?

me: Yes indeed I am!

me: Where can we some of your work?

me: Why, on the Digging Pitt Gallery website, of course.

me: Hey, thanks so much for your time.

me: No problem. Now, let me see. What did I do with John's meds?

(Stay tuned for more of these relevant and thought-provoking interviews.)

Stuff Flat Out!

Byline: Susan
Drop by Digging Pitt Gallery on Saturday, July 8th and check out Stuff Fla- Out! Cool buttons, pins, jewelry, craft items, t-shirts, handbags, scarves, ceramics, glass, ornaments, dolls, toys and other stuff from crafters all over Pittsburgh. - 12-9pm

Artists&Crafters whose stuff will be flat out for the event are...
Crystalla Armagost
Florence Barry
Sean Barton
Christine Bethea
Biko
Mick Colabrese
Susan Constanse
Amber D. Coppings
David Gonzalez
Thad Kellstadt
Ladyboy
Frank Magdic
Elina Malkin
Scott Munshour
Nulf
Dalene Sauers
Jessica Sommer
Laura Stuart
Joshua Tonies
Jude Vachon
Jamie VanderMolen
Bob Ziller

Pictures!

While I am in NY. My friend, Susan will be putting up some pictures. I like Pictures a lot, but the big people are trying to stop me from p--

Me:You haven't even tried John. You just think they will stop you.

Me: They are watching me.

Me: I know

Me: Pictures and normal behavior soon.

If a tree falls?

I am back and still wired but now I am drunk too.

Me: This is wrong. John, you shouldn't drink and blog.

Me: Who are you--My Mother?

Me: So, I am changing the subject to like other stuff that I am pissed about.

Me: What now?
You are full of anger.

Me: So grasshopper, If a tree falls in the forest an--

Me: yada, yada

Me: Like if shows happen and no one shoots them. Did they really happen? If a gallery exists and has great shows, but doesn't have a website---

Me: This is wrong, John. Art is an end in itself and these shows have meaning to the people who see them. You aren't saying that only things that exist online or in the media, really exist? Are You?

Me: Ok, this is really meant to be a practical discusion, bozo. What I mean is that, I live in a town in which the vast majority of galleries don't put images online.

Me: A lot don't even have websites.

ME: Yes, and I know a lot of them are broke. But, some of them are not-- Some of them are major institutions. I mean they spend on all kinds of stuff, ads, cards, posters.

Me: It is frustrating! You were hoping to have lots of online art reviews, but this isn't to practical if people can't see any images.

Me: Yes, It makes me want to drink.

Me: I think I understand John. Tell me about your father, John.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Off meds again

So, at this point you can see I am off my meds again. Ed's post sort of sent me spiraling and having flashbacks. I think It's safe for people to come in my gallery but I am not sure. I have cleared my desk of sharp objects.

Me: For god's sake John take your meds. This is dangerous.

Me: I don't need them. I am normal, ( sort of ) It's the art world that's nuts or sort of rigged to make you nuts.

Me: Wht do mean, John?

Me: I mean, suppose someone had a job that requires one to give total attention to and put one under huge financial pressure to invest in school, studio supplies etc.... And, suppose that the chances of making eaven a bare living at this job was almost zero.

Me: But you love the job?

Me: Yes, but I love other things too. Let me finish. You can be rude! So, like this job likely doesn't pay shit, actually you are sort of paying to have the job since you are losing money or making a little. Then imagine that you had to always worry about losing that job, because you could be dumpted at any time. I mean you dealer says they love you ( the dealer, in my case was not Ed and I don't know anything about him. He seems like a prince. ) and are going to support your work.

Me: Doesn't the dealer live under the same pressure? Isn't it Tough for them?

Me: But isn't this sort of an unequal relationship?

Me: It could be-- Maybe, the artist is rich and the dealer is poor.

Me: That could be, You are right the dealer is under a lot of pressure too. They have invested in a space, ads and sit there investing thier time. Let's just say that the dealer is likely richer than the artist or has investors who are. The dealer also likely has other artist's in the stable and other stuff to sell.

Me: Ok, that's a rational assumption.

Me: Yes, It is! See I am not crazy!

Me: But, You are too hyper. Let's get a beer.

Me: OK, but who is buying?

To Be Continued

Loyalty

A post by Edward Winkleman , made me remeber why I am here. It's about the recent trend of artists leaving thier dealers and deals with the issue of loyalty. I think Ed now has about 85 comment's on that post so he touched a real nerve.

The issues that are involved deal with the deepest level of the art world and touch on the reason's I left NY and decided to start my own place. But, I think this issue applies to all human relationships. Please read it class! I will be commenting on this.

Trip To the Apple

Making a quik trip to the Apple and will not be blogging untill at least Saturday. I will not be shooting shows or anything like that. My camera sucks and I wiil be swamped and honestly NY. doesn't need it. Susan may post some gallery news.

NY's bloggoshere is pretty huge and includes a good number of awsome sources and a few people who shoot shows in a great way. I actually have hardly tapped into it. Anyone not familiar should likely start with bloggy and James Wagner and just follow the links. They have been at this for a long time are pasionate about what's happening.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Images from Carnivalesque

Don't you wish you were here?

Todd Pinkham: Mom and Dad

Nick Brungo: Boxing Girl

David Grim:Texas Road Show

David Grim: Grab the Brass Ring

Marci Ghering: Patriot Clown

Alice Winn: What Lies Beyond

Florence Barry: Norwegian Day at Kennywood

Warhol and Wood Street

Thanks to Brent Burket, I can show a few great images from the Warhol and also from the Mike and Doug Starn show at Wood Street. Do bloggers have to walk around America at thier own expense and shoot everyone's shows for them? Let's wake up people.

Anyway the shots are stunning. This is Pittsburgh.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

offsite shows by gallery artists

Here are two Downtown Shows that include gallery artists. I want to apologize but from what I could see, niether gallery put any images of the shows online. I hope that no one is mad at me for trying to break the self imposed bubble that Pittsburgher's seem to love.

One show I have not seen yet, which is not something I should be forgiven for. Chances are very high that it's damn good.

Artists Upstairs June 2nd--July 14 . Haven't seen, but it includes two pretty amazing local artists in my files. Alexandra Etschmaier and Anna Divinsky. Alex has a large instalation in the show.

Three Rivers Arts Festival Gallery This claimed to show "The Best of Pittsburgh" and they will take some crap for that. But, It is a strong show. It includes file artists-- Adam Grossi, Fabrizio Gerbino, Chris Craychee, Josh Tonies and Anna Divinsky. Brett Yasko makes a pretty awsome statement using the gallery windows.

Off Meds

Meds are bad so I am cleansing myself. So i may have more "interviews". I want to have like real interviews, with real people ( who are blond or famous ) but these people don't come in here.

I also want to apologize for not posting more images from my gallery artists. I haven't figured out how to do that too well. I think the big people are trying to stop me and it's some kind of plot. If you are behind it--Stop!!

Me: Take Your Meds!

Me: I don't need them.

Three Rivers

Check out my Friend's posts on the Three Rivers Arts Festival.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

NY Art Scene 1974--84

Does anyone around have any thoughts or memories of the NY scene, 1974-84? I certainly remember the trains. Seen Vs. PJ on the #6 line. Seen was the ultimate king! I remember Kieth Haring everywhere. I really didn't to the East Village at all, because my mom who was a school nurse on the lower east side said not to. Everyone knew that you didn't learn to read in Alphabet City.

The High School I went to in Queens, the talk was all about Rapp and was it music. The guys from Run DMC, who I think were in my school sure thought it was. The crew of music teachers sobbed that it wasn't. I was listening to old Who records and the Dead, but beating the brat sounded cool.

One of my favorite shows as a kid was Welcome Back Kotter. The show that personified the sort of self loathing and shame that NYers seemed to have for themselves and showed so vividly what suburban America thought of cities. Why would this guy go and live in city? That was the whole concept. Everyone who liked NY must have been crazy or gay or on drugs. I didn't get that at all, to me it was obvious that suburbia sucked so bad and that NY was so great. But for the most part, NYers themselves didn't think so.

But the blunt fact was that the city was damn dangerous and not a joke.

I remember the period afterwards a lot better and I know one thing. A lot of the people who believed in NY are now insanely rich.

Warhol Show

I'm back and feeling better.

Check out the Show at the Warhol now. The one on the NY art Scene from 1974-84. It's just so relevant to this city at this time and also so relevant to artists.

That was a time when NY wasn't loved by too many people. It was also the last place in which artists were not being followed around by real estate developers. Although, I was living in NY at that time. I was a kid for most of that period and lived in Queens. In a place Archie Bunker would have felt more at home in than the Ramones.

I will post on this again and hopefully have some links or something, if i can figure that out.

Why am I Here

This post will confirm what most of you who know me already know. I am crazy and I talk to myself a lot. So this an interview with myself about Why I am here.

Me : John, you were a somewhat succesfull artist represented by a major NY gallery. Isn't that What every artist wants? Why are you here?

Were you being abused? Did someone try to touch you in a bad place? You were in NY! Don't you listen to Frank Sinatra-- It's the place. How could you have ended up here?


Me: Well, now that is a great question--you are a great interviewer.

First, let me say that I was not abused by any of the galleries that I dealt with and DT, treated me well. They gave me nice shows, got me in good collections etc... . I think that I was imagining a level of stability and security in the relationship that they could not provide.


Me: What do you mean?

Me: Can I lie on this couch here?

ME: Yes.

ME: I think I am the kind of artist for whom the whole thing has to be all consuming. What I mean is that I actually was trying to make this my full time gig for life. I guess, I thought that was realistic. I thought that I might have some predictable income, have a life and push my work in the way I wanted-- all of that takes money. Which brings up the main reason I left, life in NY is not right for artists anymore!!! I meean I juusty c#$%!

ME: Time to take your meds John. Let's take a break

To Be Continued...

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Carnivalesque: A Grim Guignol


Carnivalesque: A Grim Guignol
June 8 - July 8, 2006
Opening Reception: Saturday June 10 - 6-9pm
Closing reception: saturday, July 8 - 6-9pm

View carnival images by David Grim
View other carnival images

Carnivalesque: A Grim GuignolCarnival - a burlesque world of the odd, the unique, the strange, the macabre' and the fun. Have some fun with Digging Pitt Gallery and the Carnival exhibit. Shills and carneys, barkers and roustabouts jigging to the blatting of the cally-ope. Come one, come all! Digging Pitt Gallery invites you to submit your art for the gallery exhibition. The exhibit will be curated by Digging Pitt artist David Grim.

Join us at the opening reception for special performances by:
Phat ManDee
Andrew the ImpaledOriginal
music composition by Andres Ortiz-Ferrari

Artists included in the exhibit
Florence Barry
Kate Bechak
Christine Bethea
Nicholas Vincent Brungo
JJ Burns
Chuck Busha
John Calandra
Connie Cantor
Victoria Cessna
Francis Crisafio
John Eastman
Gus Fink
Marci Ghering
Carl Goldman
Gloria Gomez
David Gonzalez
David Grim
Jennifer Howison
Jeff Katrencik
Thad Kellstadt
Paula Garrick Klein
George Kollar
Sarah Emily Kuntz
Ladyboy
LeRoy, King of Art
Laura Jean McLaughlin
Chris Mozley
Michael Ortoski
Kyle Pattison
Todd Pinkham
Karri Roberts
Reverend Daisher Rocket
Richard Schnap
Bruce Siskawicz
Jessica Sommer
Kathryn Strutz
Laura Stuart
Jim Towns
Robert Villamagna
April West
Alice Winn
Chris Zarchansky
Bob Ziller

Curator, David Grim
The traveling carnival reached it's archetypal form between the two world wars. Originally they were included as part of the midway of a traveling show or circus, but due to the economic malaise of the country were scaled down to truck-convoy sized proportions. There were dozens of companies plying this trade at each and every crossroads, junction and pisspot across the land.

Of course the impetus of each and every carnival operation was the need to separate the rube or mark from his/her money. In order to do this all manner of con games and amusements were employed. The sleight-of-hand, manipulation and distortion belied the expectation of magic in the hearts of the non-suspecting.

The lures of the carnival were varied, but they can generally be considered in categories. There was the glitz of the rides... the ferris wheel and merry-go-round for the kiddies... There were the games of "chance" which were, without exception, rigged. And there was the haven of the true artists and performers... the sideshow (also known as freakshow, or "ten-in-one"). No doubt there were the grindshows (cooch shows) for the adult men to tuck surreptitiously in, as their children gorged themselves on cheap unwholesome food. But for our purposes, the "ten-in-one" must gather our focus.

A traditional "ten-in-one" was contained under a tent with a platform outside, at its entrance. On the platform, the "talker" would unravel his spellbinding spiel of sensationalism, weaving strange stories into the sensibilities of the spectators. His job was to "turn the tip", which simply meant to generate a paying audience for the show inside the tent. Of course the promise was the product, not the reality. Once the crowd had been admitted, an emcee would introduce the acts, one-by-one. These included all sorts of natural born human oddities as well as "working" attractions (those type of practitioners like mentalists, contortionists, sword-eaters, strongmen, etc, that could be easily replaced).

The sideshow invariably culminated with the blow-off. It's purpose was to get the crowd out of the tent, and the next group of rubes in. For a nominal additional fee, the audience would be offered a phenomena SO STRANGE and MIRACULOUS that they would NEVER FORGET it AS LONG AS THEY LIVED!!! This was usually a "pickled punk" (fetus in a jar, malformed or not), or a hermaphrodite (sometimes even authentic!). Of course those who took the bait were sworn to secrecy so that they would taunt their friends into sharing the experience of being fleeced for the additional blow-off fee.The more I think about the entire phenomena, the more parallels between the carnival and art worlds become painfully obvious. I'll spare you the hopefully unnecessary and long-winded elucidations. Curator's statement - David Grim

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Why am I blogging?

Well, I have to be honest, I heard that this might be good for my business, and not just from the same guys that told me to buy Enron. The reason is that no one else here seemed to be doing too much in the way of a culture blog here and I thought it would be the right thing to do.

The goal of the blog is a lot like the goal of the gallery. I want to break down barriers and honestly this city has got them in spades. The "right schools" you have to go to. The "guilds" you must join etc... Blogging seems to be about throwing stuff out there and waiting to see what people think about it and that is what this is about.

Starting Blog

Hi, This is John and I started this m- , I mean Blog. I have been meaning to do this for a while and have decided to finally dive in.

The blog is meant to be a free forum for my gallery artists and have a lot of the vibe that I intended for the gallery. I throw stuff against the wall and sort of see what sticks to your eyes or mind or whatever. I intend to be inviting gallery artists and others to contribute to the blog. The thoughts that they enter will be thier own and will only be mildly edited to keep the "kill the---" comments out. My first fellow contributor is Susan Constanse, who dove into the blogosphere a while back.
Digging Pitt was started by New York artist, John Morris, with these goals:

1) To create an open-ended, accessible way to introduce the creative output of the region.
2) To create an affordable and practical way for people to see and buy the works of emerging artists.
3) To create a viable way to introduce work to audiences outside of the region.
4) To create a forum for experimentation and artistic collaboration between artists.

Too often galleries and museums act as the places where a passive art "audience" is force-fed the work they "should see" as determined by a small base of curators, dealers, critics and collectors. The logic is inexorable and brutal: shows are expensive-therefore only certain artists can be worthy of the huge investment. How are these artists found? In previous shows dictated by the same logic. The result is a largely closed loop with few entrances. (Such as coming through the "right MFA" program.)

Outside are the huge bulk of artists, often with very worthy work for whom the system is almost impenetrable.

Digging Pitt is meant to act as a one of the new holes in the gallery system. A place where the works of new emerging and under recognized artists can be seen. It is modeled after the legendary Pierogi2000 gallery in Brooklyn. It is a do it yourself gallery, requiring the viewers active involvement to come to life.