Artist talk @ Agni Gallery, NYC this Saturday.
So I've decided (somewhat belatedly) to take a trip up to Agni Gallery to see The Blogger Show. You might remember that I mentioned considering going for the opening reception a couple of weeks ago. After all, this is the first time that I've had a piece in a show in a NY gallery. I didn't go, and ended up second guessing myself during most of that weekend. Still there were multiple reasons that I decided to skip it. My car needed a heck of a lot of repair work. There were several things that I wanted to see in town. Most convincingly, I had no one to travel with. I didn't relish the idea of driving into the big city by myself. I had asked my father if he was interested in going with me, but it turned out that he had other plans for the weekend. I could have crashed at his house that Friday night, and took a bus into Manhattan- but this seemed like more trouble than it was worth. After all, it wasn't like it was a solo exhibition.
But things have changed dramatically over the last week or so. I discovered that I would have this Friday off. I had already decided that I would go this upcoming weekend, but this fortuitous development makes the travel plans much more convenient. My father is going to be around, and he has generously offered his house as a way station, and suggested that he would accompany me on Saturday. I have also gotten my car fixed. M. had no problem with me going, so it was pretty much a no-brainer. I called John M. and let him know that I would be coming. I even said I'd do a gallery talk if he had any interest in planning one. He seemed excited because he had envisioned having other events during November at Agni, and he decided that he would do the talk with me.
I've given this type of talk before, and indeed the first time was at the Digging Pitt in Pittsburgh. I had co-curated a carnival-themed show, and was happy to speak about the way the concept had developed. Incredibly there were about 50 people in attendance. I provided a lot of historical context into the traveling carnival and sideshow phenomena in mid 20th century America. I explained why I felt personally connected to that aesthetic. Not surprisingly (for people that know him) John had a lot to say as well. It turned into a lively discussion, and a bunch of folks joined in. While I may have been a bit anxious when I started talking, by the end of the event I was rolling along pretty smoothly. The only disruption occurred when one of my more colorful friends interrupted me mid-sentence so he could get my car keys. Somehow that seemed to be in keeping with the carnival spirit I was attempting to convey.
I have no expectations that this Saturday will be anywhere near as successful as that previous event. This is Manhattan, USA for god's sake- the center of the western art world. And here's this little gallery in the Lower East Side, miles away from the centrifugal force of Chelsea. Is anyone likely to care about a completely anonymous artist from Pittsburgh, PA appearing at Agni? Not really. Even if we had any level of advertising and publicity, there is just too much else to do on the island (like taking an extra long shower, or getting a haircut). If you can make it, I guarantee there will be plenty of elbow room despite the gallery's modest size. Furthermore I'm not exactly sure what to say. I had supposed that I would speak about blogging, as that is the theme of the show. I could make quite a fool out of myself oin that topic.
Apparently I'm going to talk about my ongoing project- The Book of Life. At least that's what it says on the Digging Pitt blog. Yes, I have a blasphemer's audacity that allows me to form the conceit that I am actually re-creating that holy tome of judgment. Still I'd be remiss in my duties if I didn't point out that I haven't done this with any direct spirit of irony. I've been living with the creation of this piece for about a year-and-a-half, and the joke would wear thin quickly if I wasn't serious about it. The new work certainly relates to the piece I submitted for the Agni show. It's a bit odd to trace the evolution of my thinking since I completed the component drawings of Separation of Sinner and Saint over ten years ago. We lose sight of the long view so easily while we are obsessed with being "in the present". Even so, I'll probably make shit up as I go along.
The talk is this Saturday, November 24th at 5PM. Agni Gallery is located @ 170 East 2nd Street - New York NY 10009 - 412-389-0288.