WHAT WOULD BENIGNGIRL DO ABOUT ARTS COVERAGE?
The name of this blog came from a toy I found at the dollar store on High Street in Holyoke last summer. The story of that lucky find is on a page link to the right in my nav bar –>, or you can click here.
As the show, Cover Me, (posted about below) nears its opening reception tomorrow and I have more and more conversations with people about the issue and how I (and the voices in my head) feel about arts coverage and the local media, I wonder what Benigngirl would have done. I think she’d have smiled benignly and made her shy Barbie face. This blog is ironically named perhaps. I should change the name to Unfilteredgirl, or, UnfilteredCrazyLady.
I spent the day Thursday with Geoff Edgers of The Boston Globe who is writing an article about this exhibit. As I find myself more and more debating and discussing the issue of arts coverage (with real people and not just my other selves), I find that I keep coming back to the point that I tried to make so carefully in my curatorial statement (below), which is that this show is not an attack or even a strong criticism of local writers and/or papers but a respectful pondering of the issue and that as an artist I wish the arts coverage were more proportionate to the arts and artists needing coverage. I also wish the free listings sections were sufficient to accommodate all arts events rather than the arbitrary lottery system seemingly in place to fit space constraints. That way every event would at least get a listing.
I am not necessarily speaking for myself. I have had pretty good coverage, actually. And I am not a martyr either–I wouldn’t mind if all of my shows were covered, certainly. I took up this issue in a blog post because of all the comments I kept hearing from fellow artists and because I was the one with the arts blog at The Valley Advocate (advocate, advocacy, conjunction junction, blah blah BLAH). This is not a narcissistic show in which I enlisted the aid of a dozen fellow artists to help me complain about my own coverage. Although I am as narcissistic as your average person in the truest sense of the word which is to mean that I often fear that I don’t exist, rather than being in love with myself, which is the common misperception of the meaning behind the myth of Narcissus. Narcissus could not stop looking at his reflection because he was so aware of his insignificance and when he looked away from his reflection, he doubted his very existence. Perhaps arts coverage assuages our literal narcissistic tendencies rather than feed our egos? But this show about the lack of arts coverage is more of an all-for-one and one-for-all thing. It is not solely about my possibly non-existent self. It’s not about me, it’s about us.
Ha! The part above in blue made me laugh aloud because the other day a friend asked my advice as to how to tell a lunch date that he didn’t want to have a second date. He was going to use the old, “It’s not you, it’s me” line but I suggested he take a more dignified and less transparently cliche approach and go on a second date but talk the whole time with food in his mouth, wiiiide open.
Anyway-I don’t think my efforts will change anything and am not delusional that change can be effected (yet am admittedly delusional in general), but because this was an issue I kept hearing people discuss, I made a post in another blog about it and when dared to do so, I took on the task of putting on this show. I understand budgets and that news is all that a paper is obligated to cover and that there is too much going on to cover etc. But putting on a show in which artists use their art to address the issue of arts coverage is as valid as putting on a show of still life or extreme ironing (which I’d like to do, actually). And the subsequent discussions and opinions about the issue have all been enlighteningly philosophical and varied and all have validity.
If nothing else, it has stirred up interest and seems to merit an article by The Boston Globe. And so it goes. Of all the pieces I have sold, I miss Narcissivision the most.