Help Desk

Help Desk: Are You Experienced?

Help Desk is where I answer your queries about making, exhibiting, finding, marketing, buying, selling–or any other activity related to contemporary art. Submit your questions anonymously here. All submissions become the property of Daily Serving.

Do you have any advice for an artist seeking an art teaching position? I have an MFA in drawing and work across all mediums. I once led a two-week workshop with college students, but all applications ask for at least two years of post-graduate-school college-level teaching experience. Any ideas how to burrow my way through the crust of the academia?

Bob and Roberta Smith. All schools should be art schools, n.d.

Bob and Roberta Smith. All Schools Should Be Art Schools, n.d.

Thanks for your question. In a recent conversation with a friend, I admitted that in the middle of our current political and humanitarian crisis, it’s hard for me to see the value of writing an arts-advice column—it hardly feels like I’m going to change lives here. But then I was reminded that we all still have to deal with quotidian responsibilities, including finding jobs so that we can support ourselves and others. I hope this advice gives you a useful direction.

Your conundrum is a classic catch-22: How are you supposed to get experience in teaching when all the teaching jobs require prior experience? To find the answer, I reached out to a handful of professors who have recently sat on hiring committees (all requested anonymity). If you’re serious about teaching, here are some strategies they recommend to help you on your way.

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Sarah Crowner: Touch the Tile

From our friends at Guernica, today we bring you an interview with artist Sarah Crowner. Author Elizabeth Karp-Evans and Crowner discuss her show at MASS MoCA (open through February 2017), her art-historical influences, craft, and constructivism. Crowner states, “I think that art history can be a medium that can be manipulated in the same way that a material, like paint or clay, can be.” This article was originally published May 16, 2016.

Sarah Crowner. Beetle in the Leaves, 2016; Installation view.

Sarah Crowner. Beetle in the Leaves, 2016; installation view.

Visual artist Sarah Crowner’s work has been described as many things: lyrical, hard-edge painting, primary abstraction, non-painterly. Curator Gary Carrion-Murayari coined it “Personal Modernism.” She has been declared a painter, a sculptor, and an installation artist during her career, but none of these terms feel comprehensive enough, nor do they do the artist, or her work, justice. Standing in front of Crowner’s abstract sewn paintings or her large-scale tile installations, one is filled with a sense of modernism’s profound influence on her work as well as with her deft ability to harness the energies of the natural world.

This spring, Crowner’s work will appear in two major shows; Beetle in the Leaves, which runs from April 16 through February 2017 at MASS MoCA (Crower’s first museum show in the U.S.) and Plastic Memory, which opened May 13th at Simon Lee gallery in London. Both exhibitions feature the artist’s sewn paintings—cut-up pieces of raw and painted canvas, reconfigured and re-stitched to form a new surface—as well as new tile works, installed both on the floor and hanging from the walls.

Read the full article here.


Shotgun Reviews

Coille Hooven: Tell it by Heart at the Museum of Arts and Design, New York

Shotgun Reviews are an open forum where we invite the international art community to contribute timely, short-format responses to an exhibition or event. If you are interested in submitting a Shotgun Review, please click this link for more information. In this Shotgun Review, Lux Yuting Bai reviews Coille Hooven’s Tell It By Heart at the Museum of Arts and Design, New York.

Installation view of Coille Hooven: Tell It By Heart. Photo by Jenna Bascom. Courtesy of the Museum of Arts and Design.

Installation view of Coille Hooven: Tell It By Heart.
Photo by Jenna Bascom. Courtesy of the Museum of Arts and Design.

Focusing on material-based art, the Museum of Arts and Design, New York, presents a range of contemporary works that cross the disciplines of fine art, crafts, and design. Current exhibitions throughout the museum emphasize transformation. Françoise Grossen Selects introduces the many influences that have formed the artist’s vision over the decades; Crochet Coral Reef: Toxic Seas demonstrates how our marine ecosystem has evolved under climate change. Voulkos: The Breakthrough Years showcases the artist’s exploration of clay as an artistic medium. Coille Hooven: Tell it by Heart addresses transformation and feminism, exhibiting fifty-five sculptures that range from vessels to figurative busts. The exhibition not only surveys thirty years of Hooven’s career, but also celebrates the maturity and growth of the female body through a medium connected to domestic life.

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Fan Mail

Fan Mail: Kyle J. Bauer

The sculptures of Kyle J. Bauer have a gamelike quality, a sense of earnest play rarely seen in work made with such formalist rigor. Drawing from maritime navigation and the idea of façade—both as the decorative facing of a building and as a superficial or false front—for primary inspiration, Bauer mixes bright colors and found materials to produce works that feel vaguely familiar, as if they were objects seen bobbing in the ocean off a childhood coastline. Amid their pleasing surfaces, the pieces retain visual tension; readings of the works often vacillate between fluidity and rigidity, stillness and potential energy, accessibility and impenetrability.

Kyle J. Bauer. Radar, 2015; wood, streamers, paint; 86 in x 22.5 in x 19 in. Courtesy of the Artist.

Kyle J. Bauer. Radar, 2015; wood, streamers, paint; 86 in x 22.5 in x 19 in. Courtesy of the Artist.

Whether they feel still or fluid, or both, Bauer’s pieces convey a strong sense of directionality. Upon looking at Mooring (2013), one might feel as though it were pointing to a specific place to which one might navigate, if only one could understand its symbols. The eye tends to read the piece from left to right, following the graphic black-and-white wavy lines through the mysterious, unyielding brown cube and shooting off along the strong diagonals of the bright orange dowels. Capsule-like porcelain cylinders hang from eyebolts screwed into the cube’s pegboard face, reading at once like cables in a switchboard and anchors or ballast. The effect is of an ongoing translation to which the viewer is not privy; the secrets of Mooring are safely protected by an inscrutable symbolism.

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Mexico City

La Ciudad Está Allá Afuera: Demolición, Ocupación y Utopía [The City Is Out There: Demolition, Occupation, and Utopia]

If we googled the word “megalopolis,” it is most likely that an image of Mexico City would appear in the search. The capital of Mexico has 9 million inhabitants, and a floating population of almost 2 million people who travel every day from the adjacent suburbs to study, work, and shop. This concentration of humans turns the city into a bustling social and cultural center, as well as a thriving economic node. However, this dynamism also entails a wide variety of problems, including irreversible pollution, poor transportation policies, economic inequality, and high levels of crime. The collective exhibition La Ciudad Está Allá Afuera: Demolición, Ocupación y Utopía [The City Is Out There: Demolition, Occupation, and Utopia], currently on display at the Centro Cultural Universitario Tlatelolco (CCUT), offers a critical commentary on the way this city is inhabited, shared, used, controlled, permanently reinvented, and represented.

Ishmael Randall-Weeks, Pilares [Pillars], 2014; reinforced concrete and carved books. Courtesy of Centro Cultural Universitario Tlatelolco, UNAM. Photo: Tania Puente.

Ishmael Randall-Weeks. Pilares [Pillars], 2014; reinforced concrete and carved books. Courtesy of Centro Cultural Universitario Tlatelolco, UNAM. Photo: Tania Puente.

Curated by twelve members of the National Autonomous University of Mexico’s (UNAM) Curatorial Studies Masters Program, this show, just like the city, refuses to remain static or neatly categorized. Instead, it encourages a constant confrontation of ideas around demolition, occupation, and utopia. These three axes are tightly interwoven, and can be observed simultaneously in the displayed artworks, as well as within the museum’s surroundings. The view from the main gallery’s window is of the Plaza de las Tres Culturas, an emblematic square in the city, where pre-Hispanic ruins meet a colonial church—all of which is framed by the Nonoalco-Tlatelolco residential complex, an utopian architectural project developed by Mexican architect Mario Pani in the mid-’60s.

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From the Archives

From the Archives – Beverly Buchanan: Ruins and Rituals at the Brooklyn Museum

On Saturday, millions of women around the world marched to protect their rights and make their voices heard for equality, pouring into the streets and carrying signs with messages both personal and political. In light of the energy their work manifested, today we bring you Lia Wilson’s review of Beverly Buchanans exhibition at the Brooklyn museum; unlike the signs and banners from #WomensMarch—many of which are now being collected by institutions and museums—“Buchanan’s works will age, erode, and integrate into the landscape, reminding us how much these sites have absorbed forever, and how the recovery of these stories is a project without end.” This article was originally published on December 6, 2016.

Beverly Buchanan. <em>Untitled (Double Portrait of Artist with Frustula Sculpture)</em>, n.d.; black and white photograph with original paint marks; 8.5 x 11 in. ©Estate of Beverly Buchanan. Courtesy of Jane Bridges and the Brooklyn Museum.

Beverly Buchanan. Untitled (Double Portrait of Artist with Frustula Sculpture), n.d.; black-and-white photograph with original paint marks; 8.5 x 11 in. ©Estate of Beverly Buchanan. Courtesy of Jane Bridges and the Brooklyn Museum.

A comprehensive and long-overdue exhibition of Beverly Buchanan’s work kicks off A Year of Yes: Reimagining Feminism at the Brooklyn Museum—a yearlong program of ten exhibitions celebrating the first decade of the museum’s Elizabeth Sackler Feminist Art Center. In a time when voices of misogyny and white supremacy are gaining renewed validation in national political discourse, exploring assumptions around feminism and what feminist art can be is more vital than ever. Buchanan’s work highlights unmarked and under-recognized histories of African American life in the rural South. Her practice is redemptive and recuperative at its core—each piece a poignant gesture standing in resistance to the currents of history-writing that prioritize white male voices. Beverly Buchanan—Ruins and Rituals is a rewarding exhibition to see, for in addition to giving a much-undersung artist her due, it also reminds us that expanding access to the national historical narrative is a deeply feminist gesture.

Born in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina, Buchanan spent a lot of her upbringing on the campus of South Carolina State University, where her great-uncle was the dean of the School of Architecture. She went on to earn master’s degrees in both parasitology and public health from Columbia University before working as a public health educator in New Jersey. While in New York, she studied with the painter Norman Lewis at the Art Students League, and found a mentor in Romare Bearden. Buchanan was a visible and known figure in New York’s art scene throughout the ’70s and ’80s until she felt drawn back to the South and resettled in Macon, Georgia.

Her practice traverses sculpture, earthworks, photography, and drawing. While certain bodies of work bear formal and conceptual connections to Post-Minimalism and Land Art, others share more in common with outsider and vernacular art that have drawn inspiration from Buchanan’s native rural South. Despite the range and resistance to classification, a clear through line is the artist’s commitment to testimony: her need to record, mark, and memorialize sites in the U.S. landscape that are embedded with suppressed or little acknowledged legacies of racism, violence, and neglect. Ruins and Rituals reminds us of the thousands of stories that remain untold in our national consciousness—some lost forever.

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Odd Jobs

Odd Jobs: Mary Reid Kelley

Odd Jobs is a column exploring artists’ varied and untraditional career arcs. For this installment I spoke with Mary Reid Kelley, whose videos explore the condition of women throughout history by reassessing canonical literary and historical narratives. Reid Kelley writes the scripts, designs the sets, props, and costumes, and performs the leading roles. She and her partner, Patrick Kelley, produce all of the videos. Her videos and installations have been screened, exhibited, and performed at numerous national and international venues, including the Hammer Museum, the Tate Modern, and the Wexner Center for the Arts. She is a senior critic at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design and a critic in painting at the Yale University School of Art.

Mary Reid Kelley. Priapus Agonistes. 2013 (still); HD video with sound; 15m9s. Courtesy of the artist and Susanne Vielmetter Projects.

Mary Reid Kelley. Priapus Agonistes, 2013 (still); HD video with sound; 15:09. Courtesy of the Artist and Susanne Vielmetter Projects.

Calder Yates: You were born in Greenville, South Carolina, and then went to St. Olaf College. What did you do after graduating?

Mary Reid Kelley: I was always a food-service person. After college I worked at a coffee shop in town. Eventually I got a regular waitressing job at a restaurant, which really worked well for me. I was able to work twenty or twenty-five hours a week, make enough to live on, and spend a lot of time in my studio.

CY: Is that what you did up until you went to Yale?

MRK: Yup, that’s what I did. And the restaurant—it was kind of a wine bar—I did a little bit of management. I think you can really learn a lot about people. If you have a job where you’re not miserable and you’re not getting stepped on and abused, which you’re vulnerable to as a low-wage worker in a lot of service industries, I think there’s a lot of opportunities for observation and benign spying.

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