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February 2006, 38 posts, 1077 lines


you get old. you get jaded.

the art that we know is about exploration and discovery and innovation and new ideas.

the older you get, the more ideas you've had or done or seen or read about. It's much easier to be an energetic artist at twenty than at fifty because the arena of ignorance is bigger.

commercial recognition may indeed encourage production of product, but that's all it is. bizniz. fukit.

what is missing is the expansion of the horizon of interesting ignorance. If there were a good enough argument afoot the experienced codgers would weigh in.

If it's all just pop-culture crap for the elite sub-culture, why should we care? We're too old to be rock stars. We realize that philosphers and geniuses are recognized a generation or more after they're dead, so we'll head for the high road.

I'm still "doing stuff" , but my creative energy is going into learning about compost and beet wine.

until the artworld can come up with something to compete with microorganisms.


For those interested but unfamiliar with the Painter's Painting video on the NYC art scene 1940-70, please take a look. During the interviewing of the artists (Newman, Rothko et al) they are asked when they did their first solo show. If I recall correctly, 45 years of age was the youngest. My point is that I believe the issue of what is being shown by whom runs in cycles.

I have a suggestion to potentially address the current discussion. If anyone is interested, I can organize a show at the University of St. Francis's MPAC Gallery for the 2007-08 exhibition, potentially titled "Old Farts" (for Jno) or "No ! at #$&* Under ??" (30 or 40 or 50). We currently are showing an exhibit entitled Chicago Sampler organized by the Gallery's curator, Paul Erschen, that includes solely 20 somethings. The gallery has shown a number of Chicago based artist and tends to generate regional press.

To see the gallery info:


Anyway, if you have any interest, please send an e-mail or give me a bell.

Chester Costello, Chair Department of Visual Arts University of St. Francis 500 Wilcox Street Joliet, IL 60435

Work E-mail - mcostello at Home E-mail - refocus at Office - 815.740.3821

On 2/1/06 12:38 AM, "michael bulka" mfbulka at wrote:


On Tue, 31 Jan 2006, michael bulka wrote:

So what would it take? What requires a sudden flare-up to happen? The following was an earlier email exchange with another artist. Here are her original comments..

My comments:

I dont know exactly. I have also seen others do it. Especially people who do interesting things in art school and then end up with related jobs where they do not have time and soon no inclination to continue making art.

Having a sponsor, like a gallery that believes in you and will continue to show your work, helps -- it will keep you plugging away. But if you dont, it is difficult to get motivated. Even Ansel Adams said, "you have to have an assignment." Adams has Nancy Newhall.

But then, also, the presure of a gallery can lead to "having an assignment" that you do not want to do. Artists dont like to receive orders, and galleries just want you to do more of whatever you were doing, without consideration of the fact that things might get boring, or that you simply "are done with that."

Last, even without a gallery to egg you on, it has to be so discouraging that your work only gets shown infrequently, that very few people really look at it and appreciate the work that went into it. And if you really do something well, you will get much more appreciation from a few commercial sponsors.. but then it isnt art any longer.

Being in school, and at least having teachers and students review your stuff actually is a genuine boost, and will keep you going for a few years, but then comes the cold lonelyness of the real world -- few people will have anything to say. If you do politically motivated work, or deal with social concerns, it soon becomes passe', and time passes you by.

I think making art for a lot of us is like writing a textbook on some arcane subject. When you get to the last chapter, there is no more to say and you wonder, when you look at others who keep plugging away at their texts or writing appendices, "why are the _still_ doing that?"

The only way to get past our avocational approach to making art is to make it into a profession, a lifelyhood. Then you will always be producing more paintings because you will always have more customers wanting more paintings, for example. But then, by our standards of "an artist does whatever she wants," it also no longer is art.

Comment: But as Bulka wrote, on commercial work, "pft", or something like that. /jno


I think what I said was like "bidnez. fuket". Translated into sober talk, that means that if it's just about the continued manufacture of product, or making enough money from art that a useful expenditure of time is not neccessary, I'm just not interested in the discussion.

What I thought we were talking about was why a lot of people quit caring enough to get their minds or hands dirty enough to make a new thing, whether it will be seen or sold or not.

I miss seeing students, who were doing things just because they could, or might could. Doing pieces almost as pranks to get a reaction from the teacher or the students. Making the same mistakes and discoveries we are bored with, but for thier first time, and creating an electric energy. (Sure, I didn't see it every day, but, still.)

Somehow, they get the idea of a career, and instead of pranks or exploration they are interested in impressing someone they see as a stepping stone to some fantasy and all the great energy is gone.

The best thing about art is that is is unneccessary, that it exists only because someone thought it had to, and was willing to do it. I'm still interested in jno's question (as I understood it) of why some folks who used to make stuff come to think that there is just no need to make any more.


On Wed, 1 Feb 2006, Michael C. Costello wrote:

I love the idea. How about, 'retired artists' -- that could include anyone who has given up on the idea of making art. I am assuming that you really want to address the question of why some people no longer make art. or why critics stop writing after 10 years, or why some galleries just give up.

Of course you are up against the fact that you are dealing with people who have been 'out of the studio' and out of circulation for some time, and cannot be found. A 'call for participation' will not be seen by them. So how do you find these delinquent artists?

Additionally you might be stuck with 'old stuff.' A show called, 'recycled?' or 'art of the {name your decade}.' Even if you find these people, they might be reluctant to show old work, unless you have an emphasis on the idea of overdue retrospectives. I dont know the answers.

If the emphasis on 'fresh meat' -- which seems to be a given for most shows -- needs to carried over to this showing of geezers, you could ask for Bob to do work like Tom, and Tom to do work like Sam. Although it might be enlightening to see how people interpet the work of peers (and I have seen shows like that), it would require the geezers to actually produce something. They are not going to go for that in their 'I dont do art' state of mind.

Perhaps to ask for art about why they are not making art would be more interesting, or at least highlight some conceptual aspects of the current system of showing only up-and-coming artists (as if curators have any better idea of what will last). But it might start to address the questions of 'why' that Bulka wanted to continue with.

That is so .. you know.. typical of the whole art scene, the continued emphasis on the new.

Anyway, there are some questions posed here. I'm hoping the intellectuals will weigh in on these topics. I have no clue on the starting point. I also have no clue on the need. How do ex-artists stay in the system? Do they teach? I suspect, yes.

I remain, clueless --/jno


Then Jno said, "I remain, clueless."

Clueless is indicitive of being lost which presupposes finding or being found. All you have to do to find something is to look for it, something that artists are uniquely good at doing. Besides, you're too damned grouchy to curl into your own navel so perhaps you need to reengage as a curator. Take the problem away from studio practice entirely and apply it elsewhere Jno. DB


I am an artist who stopped making art for about 8 years. It was very difficult to get started again. VERY DIFFICULT.

I've been at it again for about 5 years... and only now do I feel like I'm getting my stride back. That is, feeling as confident in my work as I know I once did.

I think one of the reasons that it was so hard to start again, is that when one is working, daily in the studio etc.... there is a kind of being "plugged in" to your ideas... I could say that the world you are living in, (for me as a painter) is a kind of virtual world, where the work you are doing, is connecting to ideas, art work, artists, life etc... that is just part of the making. So, the making of art, isn't simply making an object... that's the least of it... but working on art engages this whole virtual part of your being...and you see these connections in the work.

Stopping making art, isn't simply stopping making, but is also a kind of losing this other "virtual" world, which gives what you are making not just a context for yourself, but more than that, a force, a reality, that justifies itself.

For me, stopping making wasn't a decision I made. It happened gradually, ( I wan't go into details here)... I was just shocked one day, when I realized I hadn't made what I thought was a really good piece in some years. Of course I had been pursing other interesting things in life. But still, it was a kind of shock... to think, wow, I havn't done anything in years...

So, why start back? It's much more difficult... the gallery contacts are gone, the critic contacts are gone, most artists contacts are gone....

Well, making work isn't about any of that... that's external...

I guess I'd say I feel more like " who I am" when I'm making work...paintings.. I'm only just now, (after about 5 years) getting back to where I have anything like the "virtual" world of engagement I had before... that is where the work is exciting an real for me.. Would I like to show, sure. Now, more than ever. I think I see things as more fragile. I'ts likely that I won't get that many more shows, and likely I won't get the show at MOMA I had hoped for. But being a painter still feels great to me. What the art world does etc... I'm not too worried about.. I'm much more worried about what to do next in my painting...

Now, I wish I had never stopped... but one thing I did learn by stopping was that ... well, I'll just say, being able to work, and be engaged in my painting was something I took for granted before... now I don't take that for granted... I value the engagement, and wouldn't take anything for it. I see just being in the studio as a rare and valuable opportunity, I won't give it up so easily again.

Wade Chandler


In the spirit of the Uncomfortable Spaces...lets try and do this. As Jno points out, there is a number of potential avenues...

On 2/2/06 10:35 AM, "jno" jno at wrote:

My Take revolves around a number of issues (age, acceptance, etc.)...but "Failure" could be central. Hey, Beret International did "Beret's Worst Show"...why not a show devoted to failure? This is a part of our process? Day to day.

If any parties are interested in showing their worst failures or addressing the topic can contact me.

In regard to contacting other flailing obscure over-the-hill has-been artists in solitude, we can use word of mouth or run an ad.??? I am looking for individuals. Pure to their evolution, regardless if it is dormant.

This practice needs some type of voice...regardless. Comments are welcomed.

Chester Costello


I like the idea of a failure show. Not necessarily in terms of works made in the studio that never made it out, but the works that made it into shows and were proferred to the public, and the artist realizes at some point that the work was in fact a failure (idealogical failure, aesthetic failure, or realizing the work was simply a relationship outburst or an attempt to get laid) (like my own works -- except the tactic aint workin so good these days). A catalog or some writeup could help viewers understand why these works are categorized as failures by their makers.


Michael C. Costello wrote:


In the spirit of Beckett then

worstwork ho

I'm in.


Let me clarify,

That is, if you are talking about a show of the Unlessenable least best work.

I'm in.


--- jno jno at wrote:

The first problem is that the artists that you are interested in are the ones not interersted in doing a show.

You may have to stage a raid on our homes and steal either art or gardening, home repair, pets, children, meth labs, scrapbooks, or whatever activity takes up the attention of lapsed artists.


Or perhaps you could get off your ass and do something. Your paintings rock. So why make us beg. DB


On Thu, 2 Feb 2006, Michael C. Costello wrote:

They also ran "The Best of Beret, Part II" -- the was no "Part I". Are any Galleries in Chicago doing that sort of art-scene spoofery?

I would have to seriously think of what would be my **absolute** worst. /jno


On Thu, 2 Feb 2006, michael bulka wrote:

That's funny. But are we not already headed for "stuff I didnt wanna show?" Sounds like another Beret exhibit. /j


For those interested, I have secured the USF MPAC exhibition space for a late November-December show. Title, focus, etc. can be sorted out over time. I will try and write-up a summary and send out. The working title for the show (unless someone has a better suggestion) can be one of the following:

I have a number of e-mails from othergroup and if anyone wants to begin spreading the word, please feel free to pass on my info.

Chester Costello E-mail: refocus at

On 2/3/06 12:41 AM, "jno" jno at wrote:


People give up making art for many reasons, some good, some bad. Among the bad reasons are down-at-the-mouth attitudes about the art world, lack of recognition, and especially the paranoid feeling that the art scene is somehow rigged and evil. Sure, there's a certain amount of failure, unfairness, misunderstanding for anyone in any field and while it's understandable to be discouraged or annoyed, it's foolish to give up an endeavor that is at the root of one's identity. A good reason to give up as an artist is to realize that some other pursuit is more important to self-identity.

When giving up artists say the price of keeping at it is too high, that the artworld is all rigged anyhow, they are just seeking someone or something else to blame for their own lack of ambition or confidence. They're feeling sorry for themselves.

All artists complain about their work and careers and grumble about others' seemingly unearned success or failure. But whoever gives up -- and proposes to exhibit his or her art failures as is suggested on this list -- probably secretly wishes that someone will pronounce those failures as newly discovered successes. What an insipid idea! They are looking for a pat on the back and encouragement to get back to work. Everyone likes -- and needs -- recognition and it's sensible to seek it. Doing so is not selling out if it's done to create an audience for your work and not simply as a all-out appeal to an established audience. But the motivation to make art must come first and must usually be prolonged through periods of neglect and doubt. Audiences for new art develop slowly. This is not a profession for overly needy personalities.

Maybe I'm just lucky or am a bit numbed by long experience but it would never cross my mind to give up as an artist. It never was a thought and won't be. I can't imagine ever wanting to be part of a show devoted to failure, a self-defined degradation of one's life. I say its a very bad, very negative idea to present a show of self-selected failures. That's a cynical and depressing concept, a caving in to bitterness and self-abuse. I think it's also a real waste of time and space to schedule an exhibition venue for such a dumb idea. Putting on such a show would earn scorn from serious artists and nothing by ridicule from the art world and its audiences.

I've been an artist for over 50 years and every day I am still eager to get into the studio and see what can happen. I'm never at a loss for ideas or ambition and I feel that my project is a lifetime endeavor regardless of incidental events. I realize that I've always had solid emotional support from my wife and family and have had a fair measure of artworld success but I've also had the full share of disappointments and neglect. As any real artist knows, it's inner confidence and motivation and a true sense of commitment to art that make it possible to work without fear or desperation. The self-loathing that ultimately expresses itself in such weird notions as a planned exhibition of failures, of the crudely stated "old farts", is an embarrassing expression of self-pity and an insult to any artist who practices art as a moral act of life.

Go ahead and give up if that's what you want to do but don't expect to be taken seriously as an artist or don't waste good space and exhibition opportunity for others by showing your own work you don't respect.

William Conger


Good for you, Bill. Claire Krantz


Let me point out a couple issues here. Firstly, there is potentially "old farts" who may participate. However, in a previous e-mail I stated:

If any parties are interested in showing their worst failures or addressing the topic can contact me."

I am confident that the exhibit will not be solely a selection of artist's worst output. There will be those who take my call very tongue-in-cheek and those who address the issue with a great deal of seriousness. I see the topic as one that most artists fear and that is rarely addressed. I see this action as a counter to what is currently central in driving the artworld. In this dialogue, I have read that so much emphasis is put upon early success...and that is what we see in the galleries, museums and other exhibition venues. Honestly, I am also tired of just seeing crap turned out that is supposedly clever or just gives a nod to the NYC Artforum clique. Thought, craft and a bit of comedy are needed for initiating this type of exhibition.

In regards to insulting artists who practice art as a moral act of life...I see this as an entirely different discussion. If I am insulting some artists, well so be it. This is certainly not the first time that I have stepped into questionable terrain...nor will it be the last.

This is not a waste of good space and time. The gallery is at an educational institution and will be useful on a number of levels. I cannot remember ever hearing or seeing faculty or anyone else address the issue of "failure" during my studies. This type of discussion would have been very useful. I am confident that this will be one of the more interesting and productive exhibits I have organized.

I am already receiving queries about the let the games begin!

Chester Costello


Okay, I think an exhibition of older artists, or artist who have had other career paths which have led them away from standard gallery practice is a great idea.

However, in my opinion, what is being discussed here comes off as "Sour Grapes: the exhibition" or "We are second rate and pissed off about it". While I don't think the artist interested are really guilty of either, I'd caution the collective group as to how you want to come off, because it sounds a whole lot like an exhibition of sub-par work driven by bitterness which will detract from the talents of the artist within.

Now, if the idea pursued is to be a show of "failed experiments" there has to be a way to present it in a more interesting light than that. Every artist has studio full of bad crap that stays in the studio for a reason. Why show the crap unless you can contrast it with the artists typical work, or in some other way that is interesting, seeing a show of people's C-grade crap smacks of waste-of-time to me. Hell if I want to see bad work there are a dozen art schools in town with undergrad shows full of work that doesn't quite cut it, and despite what the commentary has been here there are plenty of art students who haven't become blood-lusting careerists yet, maybe not grad students, but students none-the-less. I can see a great show arising out of "Not my media" where you have painters doing video and sculptors drawing and whatnot, challenging the artists to try something outside their usual genre. But that seems like a tangent discussion.

SO, I think these two ideas, the older artist idea, and the experimental work idea being bandied about are both interesting and I would love to see those shows, but I urge caution so they aren't so easily pigeonholed as exhibitions with an axe to grind.



Mr. Costello is motivated to organize an exhibition centered on the theme of failure and giving up at an educational institution . Why? Because he is sick and tired of young artists on the fast track to success, one characterized by cleverness, etc. He is also interested in the subtle concept of artistic failure and the failure of a given work to meet an artist's intent or standard. And he's interested in a little "tongue in cheek" cleverness of his own, at the expense, apparently, of participating artists. He claims it would be an educational exercise to show the artists' choices of their worst work. Hey, what's the dumbest think you ever did? As a theme for an exhibition it strikes me as a jokey imitation of some TV show.

The contrast between the sense of personal failure and how failure is defined in social terms is an issue in anyone's life. If we're reasonably adjusted to reality, we learn, I suppose, to close narrow the gap between what we feel about our efforts and how they are rated by others. It seems perfectly sensible to me to decide that at given times in any endeavor our self-esteem is a little ahead or maybe a little behind the approbation of society (or artworld, profession, etc). But when the gap widens and seems to yawn ever larger, trouble ensues. Either the personal view is unrealistic or the societal view is very flawed. Even in art, it's not all that common for a societal view to be excessively wrong because success or failure of, say, an artwork, is ultimately defined by society and not by the artist who made it. Societal judgment may change but whether it strays closer to or further away from an artist's own self-judgment is likely nothing but coincidence. I don't think the two sides of the gap -- the personal versus the societal -- can ever be conflated. After all, there is always the I, the self, and the Other.

So, put on a show that presents work that worked against the grain of recent art (I doubt if that is possible in this era of pluralism) and is therefore judged failing or irrelevant by some artworld (art societal) standard and limit the exhibition to artists of a particular generation, but why stick it to the artists by saying in effect that their low self-esteem is justified by art world dismissal of their work? Or, even worse, why play the fantasy that the projected and pretended societal judgment will be reversed by the exhibition? There are two possible responses: 1. Yeah, this work sucks and those old fogey artists are real losers. 2. Oh, wow, this crap is really good! It's not crap after all, it's great, ergo the artworld and all those shallow-minded kid-artists are the crap. Any way you play it, this proposed show is at the expense of artists and art. That's always a bad idea.

Incidentally, James Elkins is writing a book on the idea of failure in art. I'm not sure what his thesis is -- I'm not sure he knows what his thesis is -- but he'll say something interesting, to be sure.

William Conger


and to think this all started with a simple question by


So long as we are talking about the youth fetish, James Rondeau AIC curator talks about the youth cult, the Focus series, and why Michael Asher fits in the Focus series, during an interview that will be available on a certain program that shall go un-named on this list (posting this Sunday show #23), lest certain people who read this list rise up in violent repetitive lament. You should check it out as it ties in to this discussion.


On Sat, 4 Feb 2006, Richard Holland wrote:

OK, _one_ person brought up objections. Three regulars un-subscribed.

This is a smiley -- :)




OK, _one_ person brought up objections. Three regulars un-subscribed.""

What! Me exaggerate!! No way. Considering how docile this list has gotten, that *is* damn near rising up with pitchforks and torches.


dang, left my pitchfork in the barn.

I like the Old Farts idea. didn't at first, but now I'm curious to see what the work looks like. who the farts are. what they've been up to. There aren't nearly as many places to show as people who make, so even by the numbers there is bound to be attrition. Careers ebb and flow. I don't think that equates to failure, or failed experiments. Its just letting work that's been hidden see the light of day. For that matter, look at Puryear at Young, and Faulkner at HPAC.


On 2/4/06, Richard Holland rholland at wrote:


The following is an abstract and call for the exhibit generated via this forum. Please feel free to pass on. I want to thank all persons who have voiced concerns, offered criticism, or support in this proposed exhibit. Regardless of where one stands in this, there is obviously a need to address the topic. I have already received interest as previously mentioned and have invited a couple persons whose work deals with the topic outside of Chicagoland. As you will note, I have expanded the parameters.

Curator's Call:

This exhibit will look at interpretations, practices, the psychology, experiments and other factors related to "failure". Who are the gate keepers today? Is the world getting you down?? Do you just feel like a big ZERO??? This project will look at: imperfection, major mistakes, personal tragedy, beautiful losers, disappointment, the weak, inadequacy, the defeated, bankruptcy, underachievers, prodigals sons, going bust, frustration, has-beens and bad bad artwork. The exhibit will run in late fall 2006. Open to all media. No fee for submission.

Attention: Chester Costello E-mail: mcostello at

Persons can send slides or e-mails with web links for consideration to the aforementioned address. Deadline for submission April 15, 2006.


Re Something To Do With Failure:

So how will the selection be made? Who decides what will be exhibited and what standards will be implemented? If the curator acts as the jury then his decisions will exemplify his notions of failure -- see his long list of pejorative sumptoms in his prospectus.

In the past, exhibitions have been stimulated by much of the same frustrations that underlie Mr. Costello's proposed show, albeit not with the same degree of defeatism. They were usually no-jury type shows that avoided the filter of predetermined judgment and actually did enable new art to be seen or at least weakened the hegemony of official artworldom. I recall a huge no-jury show at Navy Pier in 1957, I believe, consisting of thousands of artworks. It was a phenomenon! That year it replaced the annual Exhibition of Artists of Chicago and Vicinity due to unrelenting complaints about the narrowness of the AIC jury choices. One of the discoveries of that show was the appearance of untrained, naive, or outsider art that ultimately influenced, in part, the 1960s-70s Chicago Imagist Style. I suggest that Mr. Costello hold a no jury show if he really wants to gather work that covers all the motivations and categories he describes in the prospectus. If he receives too many enties for his venue, then a lottery might determine the choices.

Yet the issue of why some art fails, either for the artist or for a public, or for the "artworld" (as institutional authority) is indeed a topic for discussion. It is a topic surrounding questions of criticality involving aesthetic, ethical, sociological, psychological (psychobiological/neurological) economic, and political contexts, at least. These questions may be hinted at in visual art but only metaphorically. They are the questions that beg for the directness of language and the literature dealing with them. Mr. Costello's proposed exhibition is better suited to a symposium and a call for papers, not art.

William Conger

--- "Michael C. Costello" refocus at wrote:




(I reset my email width to a non-standard of 55 spaces)

(just to accomodate those stuck with Macs and other non-standard crappy email composer systems)

William Conger should not be neglected (addressed to michael costello), for he has been around as an established artist for many years, etc, and we should thus hear out his objections and proposals. Neglecting his initial vituperate response, I think I like the proposal for a symposium or set of papers -- as much as I like the idea of a show. Maybe both can happen.

None of this of course addresses the initial question, "Why do artists stop making art?"

Also, heed Bulka's warning, "The first problem is that the artists that you are interested in are the ones not interersted in doing a show."

As interesting, I think, is his proposition that other activities have replaced art-making, as, "You may have to stage a raid on our homes and steal either art or gardening, home repair, pets, children, meth labs, scrapbooks, or whatever activity takes up the attention of lapsed artists."

A show of the displacement activities (again, if the subjects could be found) would also be interesting, especially since I would imagine that the new activities would continue with the attitudes and practices native to an artist's education. "Artists think differently (from normal people)" says Claudia George -- but others have identified the same.



On 2/5/06 1:57 PM, "jno" jno at wrote:

Both could happen. I could even look into options of hosting out at USF?? However, my first interest resides in the show.

In regards to neglecting Mr. Conger, I believe he has been a quality influence on initiating the proposed show. If anything, he has opened up the topic and offered a couple resources for me to look at (e.g. Dr. Elkins). Whether Mr. Conger believes that the topic can be addressed in art or in written form is a personal opinion.


On 2/5/06 1:57 PM, "jno" jno at wrote:

Both could happen. I could even look into options of hosting out at USF?? However, my first interest resides in the show.

In regards to neglecting Mr. Conger, I believe he has been a quality influence on initiating the proposed show. If anything, he has opened up the topic and offered a couple resources for me to look at (e.g. Dr. Elkins). Whether Mr. Conger believes that the topic can be addressed in art or in written form is a personal opinion.


--- "(((polvo)))" polvoarte at wrote:

Yes, and we've gotten off track. Giving up is just giving up, you do it a lot - quit smoking, or give up trying to quit smoking; you find a better, or just different, radio station, or brand of coffee, or internet provider, or neighborhood, or lifestyle and give up on the old one.

As much as I like William Conger's comments and enthusiasm, and hope for Chester's show, giving up doesn't neccessarily imply failure, low self esteem, envy of younger artists, or any of that stuff. It's just change. Change is good. Change is life.

Chester - if you want tokens of alternative activities, I can give you a tub of compost I don't know where to put and some jugs of half-made wine. Maybe show that along with tokens of the art and criticism I used to do. If enough former artists did that, maybe a pattern would emerge. That could be a cool show.

Maybe Conger and Claire could show a painting from ten years ago and a painting from last week, and we could talk about evolution within a genre/along a track, and evolution that slips outside of art.



My apologies for those who have read part of this e-mail previously.

None of this of course addresses the initial question, "Why do artists stop making art?"

Agreed and I may not answer the question with the proposed show. Honestly, I am much younger (38), actively working, have not considered stopping, but familiar with failure. This topic, failure, is what I am personally interested in looking at through the proposed show. The artworks do not even need to be failures, but can discuss an incident, view, or a something that defines the subject - failure.


For some reason, I am having trouble sending a full e-mail. The following is a continuation from that sent previously...

Also, heed Bulka's warning, "The first problem is that the artists that you are interested in are the ones not interersted in doing"

Jno, Michael, et al...I am pretty certain that I can track down something you have made (in your possession or not) that addresses my proposed project. For instance...a copy of Jno's "Burnt Toast is Spent Bread" print is lurking out their somewhere and falls firmly within my outlined definition for the exhibit. Plus, please remember, I am much younger and a rather determined individual who runs much faster than each of you. I will retrieve something (bad or not bad). I will certainly want to follow-up in coming weeks about the half-made wine (Bulka) and other offers that have been sent.

Again, thank you for the comments...they are certainly useful during these early stages. I received no less than 50 inquiries since making the initial call. I believe the call is now posted at CAR, and Chuck Thurow has sent it out to HPAC persons.

I am always open to additional comments and suggestions.

Chester (Alamo & Costello)


Excellent. This is a strategy and attitude worthy of the Uncomfortable Spaces.

It's not quite standing on the shoulders of your predecessors and then killing them, but it's a start. Wasn't art something like that back when it was fun?

--- "Michael C. Costello" refocus at wrote:

...I am pretty certain that I can track down something you have made (in your possession or not) that addresses my proposed project. ... Plus, please remember, I am much younger and a rather determined individual who runs much faster than each of you. I will retrieve something (bad or not bad).


On Wed, 8 Feb 2006, Michael C. Costello wrote:

(".. is lost bread") It is funny to have others pick your worst. (See MoCP for the print.)

I wanna see a show of "the last items contributed to an auction for a gallery that went under anyway."

Wow. Readership must extend beyond the few who actually prattle.

IMHO, Bulka should contribute a 55 gallon drum of Gespatio soup, or whatever that cold tomato mix is called. /jno



Chester - get St Francis to pay for ingredients, give me a place to work, and a clue about the menu - I'll cater the event.

Jeez, what am I geting into?




Chester - get St Francis to pay for ingredients, give me a place to work, and a clue about the menu - I'll cater the event.

Jeez, what am I geting into?