Art Review’s Power 100 [Insert pouty face here]

Art Review's 'The Power 100'

Okay, I’m just going to get on my soap box so please feel free to move on if you’re not interested, I totally understand and won’t be offended. To forewarn you, this is a rant. At least I’m my own number one fan, eh?

Here it goes…

Having committed myself to writing everyday, I’m finding the Bay Area art world rife with events and happenings worth writing about. There’s so much going on and all types of genres within the arts and so many different venues. I’d like to think the West Coast knows how to take a space the size of a modest one bedroom apartment bathroom and turn that into a gallery AND have performance art in the space. Or, turning a garage into a space that becomes fertile ground for cultures and sub-cultures to interface and question art – together. Only in San Francisco. There, I said it AND we’re (I’m talking about the Bay Area) is great at establishing a sense of community in the arts. I may feel differently if San Francisco suddenly became the prima ballerina on the world stage (yes, I watched Black Swan and it was wonderfully intense, thank you for humoring my metaphor) but here’s when I start to get a bit disheartened.  I start looking outside my environment…

Los Angeles. Chicago. New York. France. England. Italy. China (yes, they’ve got some crazy amazing art AND they make almost everything we wear or use – shouldn’t be much of a surprise that they are creating a lot of art).

Sigh. Big huge defeated sigh.

Aspiring to be a professor in the arts? Talk about swimming upstream! All the meditation in the world doesn’t ease the fact I have so far to go with my aspirations especially since I counted about 6 people of color in Art Review’s The Power 100. Also, the #1 spot, typically, doesn’t even go to an artist, historically, it has gone to a gallerist! Larry Gagosian was #1 for 2010 (I know he’s been #1 quite a few times). I need to do a bit more research but the Power 100 solidifies that art really has to be part of a market, a trade, and survive as a business. Joking aside, someone who grew up poor and struggling isn’t exactly going to go out of their way to find out who Marina Abramovic (#35 – love her work, by the way) or Okwui Enwezor (#42 – was a Dean at the San Francisco Art Institute) are. I guess that’s where I want to do my part. Somehow. As much as I hate going through that list, I have to do it. I have to. I wonder how many of those individuals did NOT come from affluent families or didn’t have much opposition to pursue their passions? I know, I know. In the arts, you can’t compare yourself and you just have to work hard (like anything else).

Art takes time. Being a part of that larger dialogue takes time. I’m starting to understand and be patient. 

My point: As much as I have a passion for the arts and would love to affect change through teaching it, I feel that I have to encourage people to go looking for the art that resonates with them. Engage people (friends, family, strangers, bloggers, artists, whoever) in the conversation. Most importantly, to not be afraid to write what’s on my mind and from the gut even if someone is offended, dismayed, disturbed, or in direct opposition with what I say. The conversation is what ends up being the most imperative part. 

After getting this off my chest, I’m feeling a lot better. I mean, Art Forum did start out in San Francisco! Many great things do come from this little (but mighty) City by the Bay. 🙂

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Author: Dorothy R. Santos

Dorothy R. Santos (b. 1978) is a Filipina-American writer, editor, curator, and educator whose research interests include new media and digital art, activism, artificial intelligence, and biotechnology. Born and raised in San Francisco, California, she holds Bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and Psychology from the University of San Francisco, and received her Master’s degree in Visual and Critical Studies at the California College of the Arts. She serves as one of the editors-in-chief for Hyphen magazine. Her work appears in art21, Art Practical, Daily Serving, Rhizome, Hyperallergic, and SF MOMA's Open Space. She has lectured at the De Young museum, Stanford University, School of Visual Arts, and more. Her essay “Materiality to Machines: Manufacturing the Organic and Hypotheses for Future Imaginings,” was published in The Routledge Companion to Biology in Art and Architecture (2016). She is currently a Yerba Buena Center for the Arts fellow researching the concept of citizenship. She also serves as executive staff for the Bay Area Society for Art & Activism and board member for the SOMArts Cultural Center.

6 thoughts on “Art Review’s Power 100 [Insert pouty face here]”

  1. Yeah, you probably do have to “encourage people to go looking for the art that resonates with them.” I personally would love some encouragement. Everything I know about art I learned in a freshman survey course a loooooong time ago. I’ve never heard of any of the people on that list. I’d like to know more about them though. And, if you’re taking requests for post topics, I’d also be interested in how you came up with the title of your blog and what it means. 🙂

  2. I can relate somewhat to what you are saying. I like to search out the art that inspires me and seems beautiful to me, as well as stuff that doesn’t. The beautiful letdown, though, comes in that I will never create art that looks like the art that I like. It can be depressing at times… but at least it can be a aesthetically beautiful depression.

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