January 24th, 2020


Brown to Red Songbirds


Not Exactly a Sheep

So in a scene right out of The Fresco, a restored painting made people freak out.

It went from a reasonably normal sheep with a halo to a freakish chimera.  People are talking about the eyes being too human, but it's not just the shape or direct glare.  What they seem to have overlooked is that sheep have eyes on the sides of their head, while the original has forward-facing eyes like a human.  The result is downright creepy, as unnatural creatures often are.  And when you consider that the Lamb of God was supposedly carried by a human woman, that is some pretty icky interspecies activity.

Hanging Art

Here are some thoughts on hanging art so it looks good.

We tend toward themes.  The living room with its rustic brown-and-green tones has nature and fantasy art.  My office has fantasy and science fiction art.  My partner's office has his collection of animation and magic art.  That way it's easier to create an appealing spread.

Fixing It Right

Princeton portraits lacked diversity, so they added some portraits of the college's blue-collar workers.

Any lack of artistic representation can be resolved in this manner.  Not enough black people, women, queers, poor people, seniors ...?  Make.  Display.  Fix.

That means every unbalanced display that doesn't have a thematic reason for it (e.g. Famous Women will have only one gender) is unbalanced by choice.  The moment anyone points out "Hey, there are 62 paintings here and all are white," it's time to fix that or admit to the bigotry.

Poem: "Mr. Ian Woon and the Excellent Adventure"

This poem is spillover from the February 5, 2019 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by prompts from wyld_dandelyon and Dreamwidth user Alexseanshai.  It also fills the "talented" square in my 2-1-19 card for the Valentines Bingo fest.  This is the free perk for the January 7, 2020 Poetry Fishbowl, originally hosted by Dreamwidth user Dialecticdreamer.

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The Art Industry Is Sexist

Overwhelmingly, glaringly, all but universally sexist as in "your work isn't worth real money" and "you don't deserve to be in museums or galleries."

This is easy to fix, if people wish to do so, because there is lots of women's art out there. 

If you're an artist, put women in your work, especially if you are female yourself.  Promote the work of women artists.  Got a show at a gallery or museum?  Check their content to see what the balance is.  Favor those with diversity.

If you're a teacher, use examples of art from all genders, and not just the standard canon that everyone is tired of anyway.  Go grab some current stuff to illustrate your points. I've done this for a class at least once, using art by people I know as well as others, so at least one each of male and female in the mix.

If you're an art collector, even on a small scale, go count your content.  What's the gender balance?  (I think mine actually leans female.  Hmm, I need to watch for some two-spirit art though.)  If it's not close to half-and-half, consider seeking out women's art the next time you go shopping.  If you can't find any, bitch at the proprietors for being sexist.  Then tell them you're going to shop online, where there are lots of women selling their art.  Send them an image of what you bought and rave about how it is better than what they had in their sexist art store.

If you're a gallery owner or museum curator, go count your content.  Is it roughly half female, give or take a few percent for other sex/gender identities?  If not, it's sexist.  Go fix that.  If you have the power to fix it and you don't, you're an asshole and why we can't have nice things.

If you like museums and galleries, you can help.  Count the content.  If it's not roughly half female, nag the fuck out of people in charge.  Make a stink.  File a complaint form.  Did you pay money to get in?  If you did, demand a refund because you thought you were going to see a decent display of art, not a sexist show.  You probably won't get your money back but you will embarrass someone.  Tell them you are about to pan them on social media and then send them a copy of your slam review afterwards.  Detail your count and encourage readers to boycott the place until it stops discriminating against women.  Hunt down places that offer equal representation, or specialize in women's art, and review those too, encouraging people to visit them.  Send the sexists your glowing reviews of their competitors.  Is it a publically funded museum?  Many are.  If so, complain to the funding organization, or a civil rights group that monitors the government, about giving money to bigots.  Ask to send the money to inclusive institutions instead.  Then tell the offending institution what you did.  Punish them  for being a bunch of sexist pigs. 

Regarding themes: some shows and institutions have a specific focus.  If they have more than one, there should be a balance between featured men and women artists.  If it's monofocal, you're pretty much left to pester people to launch more institutions focused on the work of women, since stamping out thematic art exhibits isn't a great idea.  Lobby the funding organizations to cease funding new ones that only feature men until after equity has been achieved.

The people in charge may not give a flying fuck about women, but they certainly care about their reputation and their bottom line.  Reputation is everything in the art world, where value is created entirely by popularity.  They are deathly afraid of being seen as unfashionable, undesirable ... so last century.

You can do the same thing for ethnic diversity, socioeconomic status, or whatever else you care about.

Collecting Art

This article talks about exclusivity and transparency in the art world.

Ah, fuck it.  If you want to collect art, avoid the high-end feeding frenzy.  Shop local.  Hit your street fairs and small galleries.  Find the nearest art store and get to know people there.  If you attend conventions, look for artists in the dealer's room or art show.  You can get original art for much less, it's often of good quality, and you have the opportunity to spot greatness before 7 billion other people run the price through the troposphere.  Think about how many now-famous artists were ignored their whole life.  Maybe you'll find the next one.  Plus you can chat up the artists and meet fascinating people.  I suppose there must be boring artists out there somewhere, but I have yet to meet one.

One of my online friends is Ravenari who does Australian totem art among other things.  I also love Megan Lee's "science rock star" art, which I collect on T-shirts.  The centerpiece of my west wall display, over my office desk, is a folk art braided rug in fire colors that I found at a thrift store.

Don't let other people tell you what to like.  Get out there and find your own likes.

Poetry Fishbowl Report for January 7, 2020

This month's theme was "short forms." I wrote from 1 PM to 5 AM, so about 14 hours allowing for lunch and supper breaks. I wrote 22 poems, and I finished everything. \o/ I am really thrilled with how well this went, as it left me plenty of time to work on the year-end material. I plan to revisit this theme next January.

Participation was pretty good with 22 comments on LiveJournal and another 48 on Dreamwidth. A total of 18 people sent prompts. There were no new prompters.

Read Some Poetry!
The following poems from the January 7, 2020 Poetry Fishbowl have been posted:
"Broken Light"
"Creep Over the Rise"
"first touch of microfyne"
"four seasons haiku"
"Molly Finn"
"The Nature of a Cat"
"On the Head of a Pin"
"One of Those Questions You Just Don't Ask"
"smoke, fire, water"
"The Three Nevers"
"To Call a Halt"
"Trump of Doom"

"Mr. Ian Woon and the Excellent Adventure" (February 5, 2019 Poetry Fishbowl) (linkback perk)
"The Great Growling Engine of Change" (Polychrome Heroics, August 6, 2019 Poetry Fishbowl) (free epic)
"Elegant, Mysterious, and Beautiful" (Polychrome Heroics: Officer Pink, May 7, 2019 Poetry Fishbowl)
"Where Dark Meets Light on the Turning Edge" (Polychrome Heroics: Kraken, November 19, 2019 Poetry Fishbowl)

Buy some poetry!
If you plan to sponsor some poetry but haven't made up your mind yet, see the unsold poetry list from January 7. That includes the title, length, price, and the original thumbnail description for the poems still available. All sponsored poems have been posted. This month's donors include: [personal profile] fuzzyred, [personal profile] shadowdreamer, [personal profile] janetmiles, [personal profile] technoshaman, [personal profile] bairnsidhe, Anthony & Shirley Barrette. There were no new donors.

The Poetry Fishbowl also has a permanent landing page.