Guest Contributor Heather Leigh McPherson / After a Saturday filled with manic art-spectating energy, I went to Untitled and attended a late afternoon panel at Select Art Fair, which presented a moment of reflection and listening. Moderated by artist, curator, and BOMB contributing editor Legacy Russell, The Artist, The Writer: A Conversation Between Creative Identities included my art-fair companion Amy Beecher as well as Bibi Deitz, Carla Gannis, and Marisa Olson. It was occasioned by the recent publication of the anthology BOMB: The Author Interviews.
[Image at top(from left): Beecher, Olson, Gannis, Deitz, and Russell.]
The panelists read excerpts from the book, considered the relationship between visual art and writing practices, and discussed artistic identity generally; specifically, Russell was interested in the deflated trope of the tortured artist and whether artists today can plausibly work from a position of happiness while skirting emptiness.
Panelists recounted their own experiences of our shared, inherited artistic postures, with Beecher incisively noting that if we tell ourselves we can only create substantive work from a single emotional condition, we are kind of screwing ourselves. Rather, Beecher said, she finds she works best when she’s comfortable being alone with her own psychic contents, whatever they may be. I find this is true for sure: outright depression can make one’s brain a hostile place to spend time, and the elation produced by new relationships or happy Life Events can make it hard to concentrate on the dogged work of one’s own familiar project.
I liked that this panel consisted entirely of women, was organized by a woman, but was not “about” women and made no claims to report on gendered art-world dynamics. I am a proponent of women or trans people or otherwise non-majority-identifying artists publicly addressing bias in the art world; but it is refreshing to see a women-only panel simply addressing art. Women represent a full range of artistic voices, not a class that is mostly useful for bias-checking. Cheers to the multi-talented Russell.
And then I went to Untitled.
The obsessive and ineffable Deb Sokolow @ Western Exhibitions was one of my favorite booths at the fair. See below more shots and details of the installation.
Two Coats of Paint’s Miami Correspondents: Rebecca Morgan and Heather McPherson (2014)Miami, Miami, Part I: Rebecca Morgan’s picks from Untitled and Art Basel (2014)
Miami, Part II: Heather Leigh McPherson Reports on NADA(2014)
From previous years:
Mary Addison Hackett’s Report From Miami, Day 1: Basel (2013)
Mary Addison Hackett’s final Miami round-up (2013)
Painter Tatiana Berg’s picks from Art Basel Miami Beach, 2012, Part I (2012)
Tatiana Berg reports from the satellite fairs, Part II (2012)
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