Thursday, October 07, 2010

Look on the Bright Side. It Could Be Worse!

I just got an e-mail containing the following message from the US Department of State. When I read this stuff I always feel really helpless. I happen to be American. I live in Europe. It's not like I can cut my holiday short and fly home to avoid any possible dangers. I'm not a tourist. This is my home.

So instead of sitting here feeling all panicky and helpless. I thought I'd entertain y'all. Now, don't be skeered, but ask yourself....

Travel Alert
Bureau of Consular Affairs Europe
October 3, 2010

The State Department alerts U.S. citizens to the potential for Zombie attacks in Europe. Current information suggests that al-Zombi’ia and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks. European governments have taken action to guard against a Zombie attack and some have spoken publicly about the heightened threat conditions.

Zombies may elect to use a variety of means and weapons and target both official and private interests. U.S. citizens are reminded of the potential for Zombies to attack public transportation systems and other tourist infrastructure. Zombies have targeted and attacked subway and rail systems, as well as aviation and maritime services. U.S. citizens should take every precaution to be aware of their surroundings and to adopt appropriate safety measures to protect themselves when traveling.

We continue to work closely with our European allies on the threat from international Zombie-ism, including al-Qa’ida. Information is routinely shared between the U.S. and our key partners in order to disrupt Zombie plotting, identify and take action against potential operatives, and strengthen our defenses against potential threats.

We recommend U.S. citizens register their travel plans with the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy through the State Department's travel registration website.

This Travel Alert expires on January 31, 2011.
(Wait. Serously? WTF for? Is this the date world peace starts? Oh, Awesome!)

United States Embassy
American Citizen Services Unit
4, avenue Gabriel
75382 Paris Cedex 08

Telephone in France: 01 43 12 22 22
Telephone from U.S.: (011 33) 1 43 12 22 22

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Bringing Art Back to "Everyday" People.

Through the process of organizing Baang and Burne Contemporary’s first event, I’ve been asked time and time again ‘So who are Baang and Burne?’ To answer simply—they don’t exist. Instead our gallery takes its name from a cold-war era espionage term for covert demolition and sabotage operations. We altered the spelling slightly to make a tongue in cheek reference to Big-name art galleries that take their names from their celebrity directors. When I came across the term ‘Bang and Burn’ it seemed perfect considering that our whole approach is about doing away with all the barriers that come built-in to the traditional art buying experience.

So let’s take a moment to talk about the biggest barrier shall we?

I’ve been on the ‘inside’ of the art world for quite some time, but not so long that I’ve forgotten how confusing and intimidating it can be to shop for art. I’m not too proud to admit that there was a time not so long ago that even I was afraid to go into certain galleries in New York City. Let’s face it folks—the art snob intimidation factor at many galleries is quite high. I was reading an article not to long ago where even world famous/fabulous fashion designer Marc Jacobs was too intimidated to go shopping for art.
If Marc Jacobs found the experience of shopping for art intimidating, how on earth can a non-art, non-millionaire “everyday” person be expected to enjoy the experience? And buying art should be an enjoyable experience, no? I refuse to believe that the fun only begins when you unwrap and install it in your home. The buying is an important part of the process. When asked, most people would say that the main reason they don’t buy art is because if the price. In reality, I think at least 50% of the problem is the actual process.

The traditional model of selling art in galleries has removed people from the experience of art, let alone the experience of buying it. Aside from those people who are especially motivated to take a drawing class or enjoy painting as a weekend hobby, very few people feel connected to art in the same immediate way that they feel connected to music for instance. The whole experience of viewing, understanding, buying, and just interacting with art and the very real people who make art has become almost completely alien. And this alienation has become the norm. Am I the only one that finds this fact tragic?

So I'm just throwing this out there:

What can be done to make the art buying experience less foreign?
What should be done to make art more accessible to would-be collectors?

What can be done to demystify the art buying process?

What can be done to make the entire idea of “art” less foreign to the “everyday” people of the world?

Who the hell are “everyday" people anyway?

Monday, October 04, 2010

I Came, I Saw, I Baanged, I Burned.

August- September 095

I blame my lack of posting on my massive case of jetlag. Just in case you’ve lost track, I spent the entire month of September in the US, shuttling between NYC and the grand state of Indiana. Now that I’m home, back in the studio, in France, I wanted to post a short and sweet wrap up of Baang and Burne Contemporary’s first NYC event.

August- September 093

In short, it was fabulous. Jane Zweibel’s work filled the space perfectly and it was a real pleasure to have the chance to see it again. The guests were intrigued and enchanted by the art, the food, the environment, and by the very concept itself. I know I’m biased, but our event was one of the best art event’s I’ve ever been to. However next time I will put someone in charge of documenting the entire event from start to finish because I was so busy with the guests that I barely took any photos!

August- September 100

What surprised me is that almost every guest spent time in the flat files room handling and touching the works on paper. Even more surprising was how many people went back in to see and touch the work a second time after they’d made the rounds once. As it turns out, I’m not the only one who loves white art handling gloves. I think everyone put on a pair at least once.

August- September 097

August- September 098

By 6PM the lasts guest had all said their goodbyes. An hour after that the entire exhibition had been uninstalled and packed for transport. No muss, No fuss. And that, my friends, is how you Baang and Burne.

The next Baang and Burne event will be EveryDAY: Recent Artwork by Charlie Grosso and Todd Squires, and takes place in NYC on Thursday October 21, 2010 from 6-8 PM.

Unfortunately I won’t be there. I can't get on a plane for fear that I might actually be the first person in history to actually die of jetlag. But if you're interested in seeing soem great artwork and actually meeting and talking to some great artists, I know a guy, who knows a guy, who can get you on the invite list. *wink wink* If you’re in the NYC area and you want to attend, just drop me an e-mail, or you can just go directly to the website and sign yourself up to the invite list .