ArtLog Collect 2009: The Booze Trail

by Art Fag City on April 22, 2009 · 6 comments Events

Luke Murphy, Art Fag City
Luke Murphy‘s Certainty Shelter at Canada. Installation view.

I’m not a collector, but I didn’t mind taking advantage of last Saturday’s extended gallery hours for ArtLog’s Lower East Side Collect 2009. Geared towards art newbies, ArtLog promises to liquor audiences up (a complaint amongst many dealers) and pre-select galleries worthy of a visit. The atmosphere is relaxed and the dealers aren’t behind their desks, which tends to be less intimidating to those wanting to ask questions.

Not that every gallery had such luck.  One anonymous dealer tells us a so-called “Princeton Scuzzbag” took it upon himself to school his girlfriend on the art.  “It’s all done in photoshop,” he told her gravely, (and incorrectly).  Visibly impressed with this new found knowledge, she replied, “Do you think this is post-modern?”  The comment prompted a make-out session.   No one I spoke to reported sales.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Dylan April 23, 2009 at 6:08 am

What a wonderfully lopsided post, Paddy. I praise your rhetorical
efficacy and reckon it’s a funny post, but I think you’re (possibly
purposefully) a bit unfair here.

Right now at the top of your ‘Fresh Links’ sidebar, you link to a
couple articles both describing ‘grim economic times’ within the art
industry.

Characterizing Artlog’s event as being geared toward ‘art newbies’ is
a jab in exactly the wrong direction given the state of the market.
‘Newbies’ is clearly here meant as a slight. Everybody working in art
these days should be going out of there way to welcome new folks into
galleries and museums. I’m not suggesting we dumb things down, but we
should be creating environments that give people the opportunity to
learn more about current practices and to inspire them to dig deeper.
It’s also likely that we’d all benefit from opinions coming in from
outside of the snow globe. The exact thing that we all should not be
doing is re-enforcing oft-expressed complaints about the art industry
being insular and unwelcoming. There are people out there who don’t
spend every waking minute immersed in “A-R-T” and those are the people
who keep this industry going largely.

Drawing particular attention to the fact that our generous beverage
sponsors, the galleries themselves, and we/Artlog provided drinks is
also a bit odd. Its a 21+ event. It’s was a Saturday. People come to
an opening expecting refreshments of some kind. Each of the galleries
that participated serve wine at their regular openings. There weren’t
tequilla ice luges and dudes doing keg stands that I heard. It’s a bit
sloppy (pun intended) to single this out as you’ve done. If the
presence of drinks lacked a certain refinement or polish that you’d
have preferred, I apologize and would likely blame it on the fact that
this was a fairly large scale event organized with few resources and
just a handful of staffers trying to take care of a mass of folks.

We don’t make claims about pre-selecting only those galleries ‘worthy
of a visit’ on the Lower East Side. Au contraire, we are as inclusive
as possible. We invited nearly every arts organization we could find
down there to participate (limiting really only on basis of
walkability). In the end, 29 galleries, the New Museum, and the Lower
East Side BID all chose out of their own free wills (and perceived
self-interest) to work with us – most of them for the second straight
year. Faulting us for pretensions of exclusivity is entirely off the
mark. I might understand if you took the opposite tack on the other
hand (too much to see & too little cohesion, perhaps, but then again
that diversity is one of the traits that makes the LES such a great
context for these galleries and this event aimed to spotlight that
context. I digress.).

The ‘Collect’ events we organize at Artlog (one word without funky
caps, btw) are in fact geared toward creating a fun, relaxed,
inclusive and neighborhood-wide social atmosphere. These are not
private tours for a handful of big ticket collectors (who still often
don’t buy anything). These events are here to bring more people into
the fold, to put more eyes on all the great work being produced today
and to broaden the reach of arts galleries/organizations in New York
City. And that’s precisely what we did.

I actually wasn’t there in New York on Saturday – I’ve been
sequestered for several weeks on the West Coast writing code; Artlog
is first and foremost an arts technology company and not a distributed
art fair company or something like that. We put these events on (this
was the 4th or 5th big one) largely because they are fun and a way to
help the organizations that we do work with every day (struggling as
everyone seems to be right now). That being said, close to a thousand
people turned out and most everyone I’ve heard from had a good time,
saw some art they enjoyed and met new folks. All of the galleries to
whom I have spoken were extremely stoked. If any gallery was upset
about the event, they haven’t brought it to our attention. We
obviously want to make these as beneficial as possible for everybody
and would change just about any aspect if it makes sense in the
future.

As for the lack of sales “reported” to you, that sounds like a fairly
unreliable survey, but as I said Artlog is here to bring folks
together and to let the galleries do the business of selling their
work. We can’t really be responsible for whether or not work is sold.
It’s true that I personally know two people who bought work that night
and heard from a third gallery that they sold a (small) piece to a new
collector (and I’d expect more work than that was sold), but by the
same token Artlog doesn’t claim responsibility for any of that either.

Not to underplay all the hard work that went into planning, marketing
and running the event on our side (and by LES BID, the galleries, the
New Museum and others), but I think the stakes for this event were
low. We are not trying to change the world here. It was meant as a fun
afternoon/evening and a chance to stimulate business and discussion in
a local way and that’s exactly what it was. Particularly given the
market right these days, I think it’s misguided to cut at the achilles
any arts organization looking to help the community unless they really
deserve it.

But, hey, thanks for coming! If you saw any work on Saturday, I’d dig
hearing your impressions – particularly since the work was a big part
of the day, since I was out in San Francisco and missed the whole
event and because I do enjoy your writing.

-Dylan (One guy on a small team of well-meaning people at http://artlog.com/)

And to follow up on the subject of the “Princeton skuzzbag,” that’s particularly reckless synecdoche. It’s ridiculous to use that scene as a representation of the lot of the attendees. Following that line with the ‘No one I spoke to reported sales’ bit is unnecessarily mean-spirited, Paddy.

That all being said, he stole my best pickup line; I am glad it worked out for him.

Reply

Dylan April 23, 2009 at 1:08 am

What a wonderfully lopsided post, Paddy. I praise your rhetorical
efficacy and reckon it’s a funny post, but I think you’re (possibly
purposefully) a bit unfair here.

Right now at the top of your ‘Fresh Links’ sidebar, you link to a
couple articles both describing ‘grim economic times’ within the art
industry.

Characterizing Artlog’s event as being geared toward ‘art newbies’ is
a jab in exactly the wrong direction given the state of the market.
‘Newbies’ is clearly here meant as a slight. Everybody working in art
these days should be going out of there way to welcome new folks into
galleries and museums. I’m not suggesting we dumb things down, but we
should be creating environments that give people the opportunity to
learn more about current practices and to inspire them to dig deeper.
It’s also likely that we’d all benefit from opinions coming in from
outside of the snow globe. The exact thing that we all should not be
doing is re-enforcing oft-expressed complaints about the art industry
being insular and unwelcoming. There are people out there who don’t
spend every waking minute immersed in “A-R-T” and those are the people
who keep this industry going largely.

Drawing particular attention to the fact that our generous beverage
sponsors, the galleries themselves, and we/Artlog provided drinks is
also a bit odd. Its a 21+ event. It’s was a Saturday. People come to
an opening expecting refreshments of some kind. Each of the galleries
that participated serve wine at their regular openings. There weren’t
tequilla ice luges and dudes doing keg stands that I heard. It’s a bit
sloppy (pun intended) to single this out as you’ve done. If the
presence of drinks lacked a certain refinement or polish that you’d
have preferred, I apologize and would likely blame it on the fact that
this was a fairly large scale event organized with few resources and
just a handful of staffers trying to take care of a mass of folks.

We don’t make claims about pre-selecting only those galleries ‘worthy
of a visit’ on the Lower East Side. Au contraire, we are as inclusive
as possible. We invited nearly every arts organization we could find
down there to participate (limiting really only on basis of
walkability). In the end, 29 galleries, the New Museum, and the Lower
East Side BID all chose out of their own free wills (and perceived
self-interest) to work with us – most of them for the second straight
year. Faulting us for pretensions of exclusivity is entirely off the
mark. I might understand if you took the opposite tack on the other
hand (too much to see & too little cohesion, perhaps, but then again
that diversity is one of the traits that makes the LES such a great
context for these galleries and this event aimed to spotlight that
context. I digress.).

The ‘Collect’ events we organize at Artlog (one word without funky
caps, btw) are in fact geared toward creating a fun, relaxed,
inclusive and neighborhood-wide social atmosphere. These are not
private tours for a handful of big ticket collectors (who still often
don’t buy anything). These events are here to bring more people into
the fold, to put more eyes on all the great work being produced today
and to broaden the reach of arts galleries/organizations in New York
City. And that’s precisely what we did.

I actually wasn’t there in New York on Saturday – I’ve been
sequestered for several weeks on the West Coast writing code; Artlog
is first and foremost an arts technology company and not a distributed
art fair company or something like that. We put these events on (this
was the 4th or 5th big one) largely because they are fun and a way to
help the organizations that we do work with every day (struggling as
everyone seems to be right now). That being said, close to a thousand
people turned out and most everyone I’ve heard from had a good time,
saw some art they enjoyed and met new folks. All of the galleries to
whom I have spoken were extremely stoked. If any gallery was upset
about the event, they haven’t brought it to our attention. We
obviously want to make these as beneficial as possible for everybody
and would change just about any aspect if it makes sense in the
future.

As for the lack of sales “reported” to you, that sounds like a fairly
unreliable survey, but as I said Artlog is here to bring folks
together and to let the galleries do the business of selling their
work. We can’t really be responsible for whether or not work is sold.
It’s true that I personally know two people who bought work that night
and heard from a third gallery that they sold a (small) piece to a new
collector (and I’d expect more work than that was sold), but by the
same token Artlog doesn’t claim responsibility for any of that either.

Not to underplay all the hard work that went into planning, marketing
and running the event on our side (and by LES BID, the galleries, the
New Museum and others), but I think the stakes for this event were
low. We are not trying to change the world here. It was meant as a fun
afternoon/evening and a chance to stimulate business and discussion in
a local way and that’s exactly what it was. Particularly given the
market right these days, I think it’s misguided to cut at the achilles
any arts organization looking to help the community unless they really
deserve it.

But, hey, thanks for coming! If you saw any work on Saturday, I’d dig
hearing your impressions – particularly since the work was a big part
of the day, since I was out in San Francisco and missed the whole
event and because I do enjoy your writing.

-Dylan (One guy on a small team of well-meaning people at http://artlog.com/)

And to follow up on the subject of the “Princeton skuzzbag,” that’s particularly reckless synecdoche. It’s ridiculous to use that scene as a representation of the lot of the attendees. Following that line with the ‘No one I spoke to reported sales’ bit is unnecessarily mean-spirited, Paddy.

That all being said, he stole my best pickup line; I am glad it worked out for him.

Reply

Art Fag City April 23, 2009 at 1:42 pm

Hi Dylan,

You are projecting derision on “newbies”. The sentence that follows describes the atmosphere as relaxed, and I liked it for that. It seemed like the point was to make galleries a little more accessible to those who don’t see art every day, which seems like a worthy cause. Extended hours on a Saturday help that imho.

My understanding from the artlog write up on the event was that a Phillips de Pury expert selected galleries. What was his/her role in the event? I don’t have a problem with any of that and nothing was said to that effect.

The point made about drinking was not exaggerated for effect. What I didn’t say in that post was that several galleries told me that people were calling in advance to ensure there was liquor at the galleries. SEVERAL dealers complained about the booze trail. I did not come up with that term on my own for the post, that was a participating artlog gallery.

I’m really sorry that this post doesn’t show artlog’s efforts in a more positive light. I like what you guys do, and hope you continue doing it. However, you might address the issue of booze in the next permutation of this event, as it was clearly an issue for many many galleries. I can not imagine that exhibition spaces filled with drunk people help sales. No claim was made that the lack of sales I observed was a comprehensive account. It represents maybe 8 galleries I visited.

Reply

Art Fag City April 23, 2009 at 8:42 am

Hi Dylan,

You are projecting derision on “newbies”. The sentence that follows describes the atmosphere as relaxed, and I liked it for that. It seemed like the point was to make galleries a little more accessible to those who don’t see art every day, which seems like a worthy cause. Extended hours on a Saturday help that imho.

My understanding from the artlog write up on the event was that a Phillips de Pury expert selected galleries. What was his/her role in the event? I don’t have a problem with any of that and nothing was said to that effect.

The point made about drinking was not exaggerated for effect. What I didn’t say in that post was that several galleries told me that people were calling in advance to ensure there was liquor at the galleries. SEVERAL dealers complained about the booze trail. I did not come up with that term on my own for the post, that was a participating artlog gallery.

I’m really sorry that this post doesn’t show artlog’s efforts in a more positive light. I like what you guys do, and hope you continue doing it. However, you might address the issue of booze in the next permutation of this event, as it was clearly an issue for many many galleries. I can not imagine that exhibition spaces filled with drunk people help sales. No claim was made that the lack of sales I observed was a comprehensive account. It represents maybe 8 galleries I visited.

Reply

Dylan April 23, 2009 at 4:44 pm

Hey, Paddy, thanks for your response.

Just quickly about phillipsARTexpert.com. They graciously had a street art expert point out some 15 or so notable street art works in the LES. We then plotted those points with their descriptions on the program. The idea being that if folks are running around the LES from gallery to gallery it’s great to let them know about the work they pass outside on a daily basis without thinking about about it twice.

We did this with Phillips last year in Williamsburg and people really dug it so we did it again this year in the LES. I haven’t heard from anybody about it this year (didn’t ask), but I can only assume that it was again a nice thing for folks.

If the copy on the website misled you, I’ll take responsibility for that. Apologies. The ‘gallery selection process’ tho is as open as possible and entirely free (we don’t charge the galleries for participation; though they’d pay for extra hours of staffing and anything they’d like to serve).

Reply

Dylan April 23, 2009 at 11:44 am

Hey, Paddy, thanks for your response.

Just quickly about phillipsARTexpert.com. They graciously had a street art expert point out some 15 or so notable street art works in the LES. We then plotted those points with their descriptions on the program. The idea being that if folks are running around the LES from gallery to gallery it’s great to let them know about the work they pass outside on a daily basis without thinking about about it twice.

We did this with Phillips last year in Williamsburg and people really dug it so we did it again this year in the LES. I haven’t heard from anybody about it this year (didn’t ask), but I can only assume that it was again a nice thing for folks.

If the copy on the website misled you, I’ll take responsibility for that. Apologies. The ‘gallery selection process’ tho is as open as possible and entirely free (we don’t charge the galleries for participation; though they’d pay for extra hours of staffing and anything they’d like to serve).

Reply

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