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October 2004, 24 posts, 577 lines


(from a friend in Poland, land of new isms:) (Actually, I would like to start a counter-movement /jno)

Artists of the World, Get Paid!

Evil people have been spreading the notion that artists should starve for their art while art dealers get rich on their work. Commercialist artists of the world stand in opposition to this view and have therefore sketched the following manifesto:

The history of hitherto existing art is a history of a struggle of interests - painters and art dealers, sculptors and sponsors, in a word, the exploited and the exploiter, have stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary art movement or in the commercial exploitation that followed.

Money makes the world go round; money is what everyone craves; money is on everyone's mind and it is money that defines whether an individual can claim success in life. With this in mind, Commercialism set out to reform art - one of the few aspects of life in which many still pretend that it is not money they are after. In fact art is all about money, and has been since history began. Artists have always lived off their customers and sponsors, and largely did what they were told to do. The modernist rebellion of the 20th century was undermined and then destroyed by art dealers. But the failure was predestined: art and money go hand in hand, or they don't go at all.

The Commercialist movement aims to restore the natural course of things, and to tear down the pretense that art is something unconcerned with the day-to-day realities of life. Commercialists do art to make money, and they are not embarrassed to say so out loud. Why should it be a problem for artists to admit that they want to live as well as the rest of society? Artists have the same needs as stockbrokers and doctors - they have to eat, have a roof over their heads, and they are just as entitled to want the good things in life. This is a consumer-driven economy, and Commercialist artists want to get the benefits that stem from it.

To achieve this aim Commercialists produce art that is sellable - and that means it is as varied as the people who buy it. Deer in sunsets for the proletarians, inoffensive abstractions for corporate offices, cutting-edge experiments for the intelligentsia. What changes is the attitude of the artist - Commercialists do not submit to propaganda spread by the rulers of the art world, who insist that a vague feeling of satisfaction should be sufficient reward for an artist's efforts. Commercialists demand cash.

But Commercialism also shows the beauty and the power of money. The modernist tradition tells artists to draw inspiration from the world around them - what could be more characteristic of today's world than a focus on the economy? We are all part of the world market, which determines every move we make. We do not grow our own food - we eat things supplied by the market; we do not build our own houses - we have places to live thanks to real-estate trade; we do not go hunting and gathering - we work in the job market.

Some say emotions are what art should deal with. Commercialists have no problem with emotions. But what is more laden with emotion than economic life? Every day, people tear out their hair because a split-second decision has landed them millions of dollars in the red. What bigger joy could there be than knowing that your ship has come in and you can do what you want - and not what you have to scratch out a living - for the rest of your life? What greater despair can there be than being hungry and destitute - the happy poor are a myth created by people who have never had to work in their lives. It is time to tear down this myth.

Sign the great Commercialist Manifesto! []

Author: Simon Cygielski szymon at


I have been preaching the militant arming of the artistic population for years. The time is now!!

We need to stop asking for funding and start taking it. No more slide trays, typed applications (who owns a typewriter anymore), receipts turned it, etc. etc....

The time to rise up is now!

Please send all donations to:

Richard Holland's The Association for Arming those in the Arts You can Paypal this e-mail address with your support

At 11:05 PM 10/3/2004 -0500, you wrote:


On Mon, 4 Oct 2004, Richard Holland wrote:


Right on! Already the movement is fracturing! I will forward your comments to Simon. There will be an initial exhibition (sans dealers and other art-leeches) in Warsaw on Oct. 16 (Simon tells me). Contact the author (email address in previous post).

He tells me he is also starting work on a "anti-commercialism" manefesto.



On Sat, 11 Sep 2004, Kathryn Born wrote:

K: Sorry I am so late in responding. We got hit with a thunderbolt, but you know about that already. I think it would be super to post reviews of shows, even in yr one-line style. I looked at yr site, but couldnt make much of two lines of type about flash-something. Sorry - text browser.

I was actually expecting these reviews or things to appear right here at OG. Am I wrong.. or should I get a graphical browser?



Jno, you're asking a bunch of artist-types whether it's worthwhile to use a graphical browser?


group at wrote:


On Tue, 5 Oct -1 erik at wrote:

Er,.. er... sorry. I was hoping I could get away with that -- just imagine the image. But I would, all the same, love to see Kat's one-line poems expand into critiques, aphorisms, anecdotes, slams, and whatnot. It would beat images of tomatoes or blue ribbons.

gallery A: "This show sucked like gravity"

gallery B: "The art it was on the sidewalk (out the window, off the wall)"

OK, I better turn this over to someone else. Bulka used to run things nearly as brief as these in some rag. /jno


This may be the most brilliant review of anything I have ever read in my entire life.

It makes me want to take up smoking crack and re-evaluate my life.




All this is making me realize that I've been wasting my life making art, when what I really need to do is spend my time writing manifestos. And doing performance theft.

Only one line. That's all you get on this planet. You have to say it all in one line, and you can be like Joyce and that line can be 30 pages.

Well, this review I tried to do sucked, Jno. I did a good one I never published. What worked in the first one that I couldn't re-create was trying to do a totally personal view of installations. Wacky-subjective reviews. In the original I think I was at Rhona Hoffman and there was an installation with a short row of fake shrubbery in a bed of glass that has been worn down by the lake. What do they call that? Sand glass? You know, like beer bottle glass that looks like smoothed- over little pebbles. And one review was about running into someone I know at the gallery, someone who knew me and Tilly, and she was telling me it wasn't my fault that Tilly died. Then she said "Every time I tell you that it's not your fault that Tilly is dead you look away. Look at me. It's not your fault that he died." But every time she said that I looked back down at the row of shrubs and the green and white glass stones. It was soothing to see. It was soothing to look at when thinking about who is responsible for death.

And that was how I reviewed that installation.

Not Coterie fodder.

It's just that for me, to try to explain experimental work in concrete terms doesn't work for me. So I'm trying to find something that does.

But anyway, Jno and RH, I re-attached the link, that's why you couldn't see it. I'm courting an artist for my next project and I didn't want to say anything controvercial, so I xxxxx'd out my comments. [] -10-04.htm

And I will just add as an FYI to the group that I am working on a new project and I am sparing you all of my anxiety and emotions regarding the RE - FLUX thing. I have learned my lesson that it is frowned upon to share personal feelings about art and life with othergroup. I'll keep it all very business-like, very impersonal, just like everyone wants.

Keep your cards close to your chest so no one will see what you have.



First, anyone who can write art reviews as aphorisms will, more than likely, get my support.


There is already someone in new york publishing fluxus items under the Re-Flux name. Her name is Barbara Moore, she was instrumental in Something Else Press, and one of the nicest art world people I have ever met. She is publishing the old flux kits that were never meant to be limited editions.

She also sells great books.



Well, it looks like she's ReFlux and I'm RE - FLUX. (space around each hyphen), and it's a festival. So I think I'm clear. I'm sure somewhere in the course of art history there has been more than one exhibit that called itself the Exhibit Exhibit. It would be crazy for her to be doing work based on other people's work, with a name based on their name, and then turn around be totally proprietary with it.

I see a lot of attempts to replicate Fluxus exactly. I don't see anyone attempting to do Fluxus metaphorically. Probably someone is.



well ok, then you are in the clear. But maybe I wasn't clear:

she actually did the original work with them, and her late husband, Peter Moore, is the reason we have photographs of most of the performances. She's not taking someone else's stuff, she is the someone.


that's awesome. One thing that makes me sad as I do research on Fluxus is that the entire movement, in the entire lengthy duration, was strapped for cash. And now, after the fact, money and critical approval is coming to them. I'm glad someone who was there getting some credit (and not just in the monetary sense).



On Tue, 5 Oct 2004, Kathryn Born wrote:

I'd rather have you get drunk and spill yr guts on-line. It aint often we get some real life stuff. You can always ask the editor, when you wake to the cold morning-after, to remove the comments from the on-line archive. And all will be forgotten anyway in a hundred years, maybe in 5, or next week, anyway.

I loved the situational review of the shrubbery and glass.

IMHO /jno


On Tue, 5 Oct 2004, Kathryn Born wrote:

I dont know what I am commenting on. Some years ago a prior curator at Gallery 400 asked me if I "was influenced by" Fluxus. I had no idea what Fluxus was. But I once stenciled a art shipping crate with "Gravity Flux Matrix, do not drop" I have no idea what a Gravity Flux Matrix is, either.


Jno, as always you are very kind.

And don't misunderstand, my snitty comments aside, anyone can see by the archives that no one has ever directly reacted poorly to me doing personal disclosures on OG, it's just that no one else is really doing it. The biggest surprise for me about OG is that as the 2 years I've been posting on this thing have passed, I've seen more and more names from this thing showing up in respectable projects. People on this list have curated strong shows and are the forces behind some of the more progressive spaces in town. And I'll say what I've always said, that hearing about personal experiences would be helpful and interesting to me. I have an adequate social life, but I don't know anyone who's really curating or organizing projects, and when I do meet people at events, it's loud and a lot is going on and it's difficult to talk.

So this seems like this would be the place for it, but for some reason it's not.

At the same time, we go a months without anyone saying anything, and it feels like a disconnect. Like the silence partially stems from the fact that the board is not useful to people in that sense. It keeps the discussions on the abstract, and that can get dry.

But these are all things I've said before. The only new question I'll ask is if the reluctance to give real-life examples from people's own projects is due to a worry that they'll be seen as a shameless self-promoter?

2 asides-

1. Is Michael Thomas around? Where is Dogmatic? How is the move going? 2. The name ReFlux (whether spelled like that, or in capitals with hyphens) is no cakewalk of a name. Everyone says, "Oh, like the medication...", and I'm like, "Yes, my show is the manifestation of the feeling of bile rising in your throat".



On Wed, 6 Oct 2004, Kathryn Born wrote:

LOL. Other jolly notes: I removed FYI and Picks yesterday. We almost went down the tubes. Good thing there is a backup file. I removed the og-list rather than the fyi-list. Ah... never mind. Fixed.

Time is dilating again. /jno


Hey Othergroup,

Long time no post. I want to rant about the commercial art world and how the market is simply not capable of supporting the most interesting and beautiful art work of the day, and how it is really important that artists (hell, all cultural workers) take a creative approach to economy, but I have no time at the moment.

On the contrary, I actually want to promote a commercial interest that seems to have, in fact, taken over a significant portion of a gallery in my neighborhood. What? you might ask, Mike Wolf the, at times, fuming anti-marketeer is calling for the support of a commercial cause?

Yes, the Black Water Cafe is a new coffee joint on Western Avenue, smack dab in the middle of the Acme Art Works gallery. (Currently on view, til the 30th, The Pale Student of Unhallowed Arts or, The Frankenstein Show , curated-at least in part?-by the talented Bert Stabler and featuring works by people you probably know, some really nice drawings, and some really dull drawings, among other stuff.)

Well, I really want this place to stick around. The coffee tastes sooo much better than that Dunkin Donuts crap I ve been suffering with for years. The woman who runs the place is great. So I am recommending that you stop by, have cup of Fair Trade coffee, a pastry, and look at the art. When your done, walk across the street to the Dunkin Donuts and point the place out some of the bleary eyed Bucktowners who seem unable to notice a good thing when it settles on there block--holed up in their armory-shaped condos as they are. And, hmm, should we tell them cops about it? I ll leave that up to you.

That s the Black Water Cafe, 1741 N. Western Ave. Yummy!

Happily, Mike


I'm sold, I'll wander in and spend some of my limited, no real job dough.

At 09:14 AM 10/20/2004 -0600, you wrote:


I would have to agree with Mike that Acme is developing nicely is a promising development. I'm curious to see how things continue there. But can anyone explain to me why Neal Whitacre's interesting drawings in that show appear as color copies? Did I not look closely enough? It looked like all of them were copies, which I have to say I found a little unfortunate.

Soon to be father Paul Nudd turns in some nice inappropriate drawings of deformed looking babies (which are not color copies of real babies).



On Wed, 20 Oct 2004, Mike Wolf wrote:

I really expected this post to be about how all those little art galleries were being squeezed out by corporate giants, sort of like how video stores are -- and expected an announcement for some outfit like "Art R Us".




Since we are discussing commercial interests and hard earned money.....if anybody is looking for a job my company is currently hiring. We need admin staff, sales people (bilingual English/Spanish would be great!), and anybody who can write a business plan for our clients (we are a consulting company). The salaries begin in the low to mid 20s for Admin, upper 20s for sales, and upper 30s for operation analysts, all depending on experience. It is a solid paycheck and in River North so you can visit art galleries on your lunch time. Send your resume and 3 references to hr at and you can check out our site at

We represent a number of clients including a gentleman from Zimbabwe who is importing arts and crafts from his native country. He is having a one night event at the old Flatfile gallery this Friday, with food, drinks, a silent auction and an African dance troupe with drummers. It isn't your ordinary art opening.....

In addition to a wide variety of other clients, we a portrait artist whose studio is in Pilsen, so we are not your ordinary consulting company.

Sorry if anybody takes this the wrong way.....I'm not trying to plug our company, I'm just trying to offer help if anybody needs employment.


--------------------------------- Do you Yahoo!? - Register online to vote today!


"End of the Line" Opening Reception at the Johnsonese Gallery on Saturday November 6th from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm.

End of the Line, a group show, examines the concept of urban-suburban culture clash in America. The show runs from November 6, 2004 through January 1, 2005. The show features works by six artists, including Stephanie Dean, a 2004 International Photography Awards winner.

There's been much talk during this election cycle of red states and blue states. Is conservative versus liberal the core cultural divide in America? Or is the real divide where the commuter lines end and the cul de sacs start? This show will examine the culture divide between suburban and urban America.

Stephanie Dean's photographs depict suburban boys coming of age-or are they suburban boys emulating their own idea of hip urban boys? Janet Ecklebarger's fiber quilt collage depicts suburban sprawl, where the new subdivision meets farmland. Doug Goessman's paintings offer non-traditional interpretations of American cultural icons. In Doug's world George Bush becomes Bozo and Uncle Sam becomes a war monger. Chris Knight's controversial photographs question widely held views of cultural institutions. Are the Boys Scouts really a modern day reincarnation of the Klan? Jennifer Marie Rich's paintings represent the conflicting pressures of society on young women. As a young student Jennifer wonders, can a woman really eat McDonald's and still look like Barbie? Jordan Scott's mixed media assemblages about war emphasize both the isolation of the individual soldier in combat, and the anonymity they face from both the people who control them and the people who confront them.

The complementary reception on November 6, 2004 is open to the public from 7:30 to 9:30 pm with hors d'oeuvres, wine and political music.

The Johnsonese Gallery is located in Lake View at 867 W. Buckingham Place (on the lower level), at the corner of Clark and Buckingham, just north of Belmont-approximately 3200 north. Look for the State Bank of Countryside on the main level.

Regular gallery hours are Wednesday 5 to 9 pm and Saturday noon to 6 pm. Appointments are always welcome as well.

Johnsonese Gallery 867 W Buckingham Place Chicago, IL 60657

773.525.5877 info at


Jeez, no Othergroup posts in forever and when one finally shows up it's just an exhibition announcement? But since you asked - "Are the Boys Scouts really a modern day reincarnation of the Klan?" I thought maybe the Boy Scouts were an earlier Christian incarnation of NAMBLA. But really this might be a 'Chicken or an egg' situation (note that 'Chicken' was not intended as a bad NAMBLA pun - sorry if anyone took it that way). Which came first? Are the KKK that much older than the Boy Scouts? What else do they have in common aside from their expert abilities to tie rope into elaborate knots?

Okay, enough obnoxiousness. What I really want to write is to call attention to the presence of rarely seen great art - at the Museum of Contemporary Photography. Their new show "Camera / Action" has some excellent stuff in it - early Vito Acconci and Chris Burden videos - some old classics that are hard to see. And the dumb overblown Erwin W rm photos are at least fairly hidden on the third floor. But the highlight for me - in part because it was so unexpected - is the documentation from Tehching Hsieh's "One Year Performance (Time Piece) from 1980-81. Hsei is an extraordinary and uncompromising artist whose works are few but they are all profound, mind-blowing when one considers what it must have been like to carry them out, and raise compelling questions. Time piece is a work where every hour on the hour for an entire year, Hsei punched a time clock and stood to be photographed alongside it. Of course this means, no sleeping for more than an hour, no leaving the house for the more than an hour - FOR A YEAR. In addition to including a couple of his time cards and documents from the project (he includes stats about the times he was a little bit late - or early - to punch in), the show includes a DVD of the great film that was made from all the photos that were taken. I hadn't seen the film in about 12 years and it's a classic. Hsei shaved his head at the beginning so you see all of these jittery photos put together - his hair slowly grows during the year, the hand on the time clock whips around, and the time cards in the holder keeping filling up with punches and being replaced. A whole year condensed into 6 minutes. Great great stuff.


and this kills me because I'm going to be out of town. Hsei is giving a lecture!! Holy shit. This is rare, people. It's Wed. November 17th at 6:00 PM at the Museum of Contemporary Photography. Will someone please go and report back? I'd love to find out what he has been doing (or not doing, or doing to himself) lately.

Oh yeah, and post something. That's what this thing is for right? Marc



Thanks so much for the alert, Hsieh's work was huge for me, and so hard to find. I heard that his last piece, announced on Jan 1 2000, was that he hadn't made any art for 10 years, so I'm curious to know what he's up to now. I hope someone goes and reports, as I'll be out of the country (and not just because of election results).


Here's the question I'm curious about - HOW do you pronounce his name? Every time I have to mention his work I kind of slur it to make it hard to hear...

Kevin Hamilton UIUC

On 10/31/04 6:20 AM, "Marc Fischer" wrote: