Archive for the Rejection is not my favorite thing Category

Advocating with an open mind and heart: Discussion of the Clay Greene vs Sonoma County case

Posted in Activism?, Communication, Confusion, Life Performance Art, Philosophy?, Rejection is not my favorite thing, Special People, The meaning of life, Thoughts with tags , , , , , on April 23, 2010 by Admin

You know Mo… nobody gives a shit until something affects them.

It’s just unfortunate that people could think it doesn’t.  — Joe






Me: asking for an investigation and review seems not too much to ask.
Yesterday at 7:57am ·

Me: And I really hope they are not trying to fix their huge PR problem by blaming the victim, though it would not be a new tactic, sadly.
Yesterday at 7:57am ·

Me: THAT said – that there is the teeniest possibility at all that they might be somehow blaming the victim – I feel more strongly than ever that a thorough investigation need be commenced immediately. Due process. That’s all.
Yesterday at 7:58am ·

Me: and I am happy to have this conversation all by myself, if necessary. Just like I do in the shower.
Yesterday at 9:57am ·

WNS: there’s no excuse for not honoring their stated wishes, or for selling off someones’s belongings. having worked for the sonoma county social services dept., albeit in another section, i am surprised by their behavior- the people i met were decent and caring.
Yesterday at 10:37am ·

Yesterday at 10:59am ·

WNS: sonoma county social service workers – yes, but hopefully not the ones who perpetrated this evil
Yesterday at 11:04am ·

Me: either way – if the allegations of abuse are true or not – a full investigation seems very necessary. It can sometimes be just one person leading the pack. sigh.
Yesterday at 11:11am ·

MC: Hi Mo – I agree about an investigation, but I just don’t think this would happen to a heterosexual couple. If Clay were a straight man with no legal charges made against him….it just wouldn’t happen. It upsets me too because I want Clay to be a hero, and he probably isn’t, but he might still be getting abused by the system. Here’s a blog from the NCLR and their statement about the case.
Yesterday at 11:42am ·

MC: Thank you for talking about the complicated side of the case. Sometimes I can be a cheerleader, but somehow (how do you do it?) you’re advocating with an open mind and heart. Awesome.
Yesterday at 11:45am ·

Me: From the NCLR, “In every case our clients are human beings, and they are not perfect, which is why we all identify so fiercely with those we represent. At the time of Harold’s fall he had already been experiencing some degree of mental impairment, and had been drinking. He fell down the stairs and became angry when Clay wanted to call an ambulance because he was afraid of what the result might be. (And as it turned out, he had good reason to be.) The paramedics who arrived on the scene suspected the possibility of abuse. But that suspicion was false.”

powerful and well-written.

Yesterday at 11:51am ·

Me: I got an email from a legal rep for the County who made some strong negative allegations, and then said he could not comment on the case in any way
Yesterday at 11:52am ·

Me: well, being well-aware of my own faults (and working on them daily), and mysteriously down 2 friends since getting on this soapbox, I am aware that maybe there are sides we don’t know and that causes reticence. so ignoring that such allegations exist would be hypocritical; as if I believe only one side about a case I have no first-hand knowledge of…
See More
Yesterday at 12:11pm ·

MC: Hmmmmmmm… Yeah, this thread does seem to be a dialogue :)

My brain and my belly say that this is homophobia, and at the same time the alcohol and abuse complications make me wary too. I think HE was abused by the system, but he’s not a hero. I want to support him, but I understand if the soapbox feels wobbly.

But on the other hand: several of my gay friends signed and passed around the petition and none of my very outspoken gay friends have spoken against it. And the FB page has, like, 17,000 people. I think maybe the humble petition goals were set high, but…….
See More
Yesterday at 2:38pm ·

TF: I’m listening Mo and I am also too sensitive about this sort of thing. I was so upset about this that I couldn’t sleep the other night. I signed two petitions and sent an email to the county and also re-posted the information on my page and did also take notice of what little notice was taken. It’s hard not to feel too small to make a difference in such an immutable world.

What happened to this couple is one of my greatest fears. To have an accident and be torn away from my partner and home is something that gives me constant anxiety. I am from South East Texas and my entire family is composed of religious fanatics, who in no way respect my relationship with Amy, and I am most certain that given the event of an accident they would unremorsefully ignore her all together.

I have always had this false since of security that if I made her my Power of Attorney I would be safe. Now with this current incident (and in a State I’ve always thought of as liberal), it seems that not even with the proper legal documents is a non-heterosexual couple safe. A soap-box is what is needed.
Yesterday at 2:46pm ·

Me: thank you TF. I saw your signature at the beginning and it warmed my heart. And I totally feel that same fear as I chose not to make any of my relationships sanctioned or licensed by the state. As a heterosexual yet “not lawfully wed” person with legal papers in the works to ensure that my assets go to my intended recipients, and a ‘family’ I have not seen in 7 years now (nor received any assets from in any way), I too share this fear. I am also preparing legal paperwork for my care as my spinal condition deteriorates and the thought that I might have to legally divide my assets now also scares me as I’d like to keep my assets till whichever day, however close or far away such division might be necessary, and not have to sign them away yet but such stories seem to indicate that, for my own protection and that of my assets, this might not hold up.

As for allegations of abuse, well, Harold suffered from early stages of dementia and I have an uncle with Alzheimer’s and I go to his house a few hours each week to check in on him and do laundry and use the bathtub (as I only have a shower the size of a claustrophobia-attack-inducing elevator) and on some days he does not know who I am and the day will come when it is not safe for me to go there because if he doesn’t know who I am, he could rightfully though deliriously decide to protect himself and attack me. And that could be misconstrued by the first responders on the scene as abuse by one of us though my only crime would be to simply be in his home and his only crime would be fear and self-protection. So these allegations could possibly be just that and, since reports are written by responders and not involved parties, could possibly portray a false situation.

Yet again, the petition merely calls for an investigation AND said review of said applicable laws.

And, my dear, we need to get together. I will email you separately about that. Thank you very much for your words and your concern for my little foray into petition-ism. :-)
6 minutes ago ·

Me: the options were up to one million and though people were saying “Go for the top!” I was afraid and scaled it down thinking, “Well I have 450 FB friends and they have friends and I have many Gay and Lesbian friends and also have unwed friends in long-term relationships and etc, so I thought 100,000 was actually low given the larger population. I was naive in thinking word would spread. I shoudl have known though, as I tried this once before years ago and people were upset at being asked. I was encouraged by how many people seem willing to join fan pages for simpler things.

Does money (inadvertantly) validate art?

Posted in Activism?, Art & Competition, Art Critique, Communication, Confusion, Misadventures in Art, Narcissisim, Popular Culture, Rejection is not my favorite thing, The Process of Art on March 15, 2008 by Admin

How many times can Horton hear a Who? Is consistency a valid measurement of art, even if selectively applied? What, at the end of the day, is actually being judged?

I have a point. And it’s not about me. It’s about artists. And art.

Big, possibly pointless and ridiculous, idea at the end. Although, my last ridiculous idea did generate some crazy coverage and discussion…

Last night at the fabulous reception at The Northampton Center for the Arts featuring work from Dean Nimmer’s upcoming book, Art From Intuition, I had a conversation with a friend who went to The Fuller Craft Museum last Wednesday for an application review.

The (edited by me, in seafoam green) text for the event reads like this:

ASDGFH, Executive Director of The Qwertyuip Gallery, will walk through the jurying process for the ZXCVB Artist Awards. She will discuss how the jurying process has changed with the digital age and share a selection of award applicants, and critique their submissions .

This lecture is free.

50 cent at the barmitzvahSince once again I forgot my camera and therefore do not have pictures of the reception, I will insert random images from other things here to illustrate, incongruously perhaps, this post. Pictures make everything more interesting. Especially this picture from when 50 Cent compromised his street cred by performing at a 10 million dollar barmitzvah for a very lucky girl who got to dance next to him on stage and which was captured by a cell phone camera even though no cameras were allowed. He looks like he is trying to hide.

Anyway-this friend, who I will call Petunia, because I did not ask him for permission to use his name and report on his reporting of the event and because I just love the name Petunia, reported back to me on the application review because my application was among those reviewed. As a matter of fact, I was something like the last set of slides reviewed or perhaps the among the last – I did not manage to log, in my WhyWhyWhy brain, what my exact place was in the lineup. I like being last though so for the sake of this post I will call myself last.

Anyway-as they flashed my slides on the screen Petunia of course recognized my work. He said that the curator said two things: My photography is inconsistent and her main comment/criticism was, “How many times can you apply glass to an appliance?”

Amelia EarhardtAt the after party for the reception this statement made for a lively and somewhat hilarious discussion with fellow artists, people, and governors. The first response was, “How many times can you apply paint to paper?” Exactly.

To that was added, “How many times can you apply glaze to ceramics? How many times can you fire things in a kiln? How many pieces of furniture can you make? How many times can you make a silver teapot? How many times can you carve stone? How many times can you shape metals into jewelry or trees or sculpture? How many butter dishes/figurines/self-portraits/collages can you make? How many surrealist landscapes can you paint? How many still-lifes can you paint? How many videos can you make? How many installations can you install? How many drawings can you draw? How many times can you apply movement to a performance piece? How many times can you apply words to music?

I think you get the point. I am starting to get it myself.
I could call out every famous, infamous and other artist as a respected example of doing the same thing over and over. Let’s take Joseph Cornell; How may times can you glue together found objects? It’s often thought of as exploring a concept or theme. It’s often thought of as a cohesive body of work. It’s often thought of as working Cultural “council”within a genre. But this is all according to my first grade art teacher so there’s that. I will give myself 1000 points for creating my own genre even though by doing so I don’t fall neatly into grant categories and this affects my grantability. I will give myself no demerits for this post though. I am not being defensive and I am not defending myself so much as defending artists everywhere who do the same thing, repeatedly and over and overly. But I am addressing and somewhat debating the critique of my work. I don’t think that addressing a critique of my work makes me defensive. have you ever had a conversation with someone who invalidates every point you make by automatically taking the opposite stance and then, when you try to explain yourself, says, “You’re so defensive?” That’s one way to “win” a debate I suppose. I think it makes me a mere person who longs to thoughtfully respond to critique of my work which, I would hope, was a thoughtful and constructive addressing of my whole what I do-ness. It’s all so addresserly and thoughtful.

I will call this phenomenon a post-ly genre debatiquecal thought post. Ok–I will accept a handful of demerits for once again mangling a word from the english language and for my redundancy tendencies. Someday I will cash in all those particular demerits in some way and get myself some sushi and a new pair of shoes with fresh heels which I will immediately start grinding down in the bizarre and destructive way that I do. I turn shoes into little rocking chairs and I blame it on my spinal disorder since I don’t walk with my neuroses. Well, I guess I do, hand-in-hand, every day, but not literally. Currently I have no shoes with complete heels and that is a budgety thing which leads me to the next part of the critique, the photography of my work.

I am not saying that I deserved this grant and should have gotten it. I am saying that I should be rejected because of the quality of my work and not because of the photography of my work or, because I am exploring a consistent theme or genre.
VoltaireI had this whole email debate with a person at the Massachusetts Cultural Council last year (I lost); What is more important? What is being judged? The art? Or, the photography of the art? I have a lunch date next week with the Governor of Massachusetts to discuss this particular issue. He has promised to buy me sushi, but not shoes.

Ok–that lunch date is imaginary. But Deval and I have often imaginarically (500 demerits) debated whether or not state grant money should be need-based or solely merit-based and whether or not the art itself is of utmost importance or if the judgment of any art should be based on the photography of said art. He doesn’t know of any grant money available to fund photography of art deemed worthy of the most professional photography and he gets the intellectual concept that it becomes a fiscal cycle and chickens and eggs and omelets. Does the best art come from artists with trust funds? Does the best art come from otherwise funded artists? Does the best art come from poverty? Or, as I suspect, is money irrelevant to true art? Or, again, as Deval and I both suspect, does the best art come from the soul regardless of financial or other circumstance? BUT, the ability to afford frequent reshootings of your work so that it is all “consistent” and has the same lighting and vision is enabled by money.

My photography was called out as inconsistent. It was said that jurors like to see consistent photography of art. That’s funny when you consider that the in the same review I was called out on the over-consistent nature of my work. So, the art should not be consistent but the photography of it should certainly be consistent. This confuses me. This confuses my inner child who still always asks, “But, WHY?” and still gets the reply, “Because that’s how it is”. I cringe whenever I hear about, “how it is”.

oldnew_large.jpgMy work weighs fuckloads. It is also really delicate. The work in the slides reviewed at this talk was made over a period of 5 years. It was photographed professionally by different photographers and in different settings and all of my photography is really excellent and was shot by really talented people (How many times can you be talented?). You know those contests where there is some large glass container of jellybeans or buttons or snips and snails and you are asked to guess how many are in it? Guess how much it would cost to rent a 14 foot truck and two brawny Chippendales (how many times can you put on tight pants and a bowtie?) and bring my work to a photography studio and leave it for a week to be photographed (How many times can you take pictures of things?) on the same paper and by the same vision of the same photographer in the same lighting and vision. Lastly, on the money topic, does not being able to make enough money to support myself in a fancy photographer-ly fashion and spending all the money I do make on conservation-grade, museum-quality adhesives and fancy glass stains from France mean that I am also somehow invalidated as a grant-able artist? I wonder if the desire for money and the ability to go get it resides on the side of the brain I use less? <–Ok, that bit was defensive.

Of course we have to figure in that I’d have to leave the Chippendales at the photography studio for the week so they could wrestle my 350 pound fridges onto the paper and off again for each shot and then they’d likely request a per diem for food and travel expenses (How many times can you eat lunch?) Then we have to add back in another truck rental and those expensive Chippendales again to move all of the work back to my studio. Closest guestimate wins a set of hand painted wineglasses by Yours Neurotically. (How many wineglasses can you paint?)

I am willing to bet it costs more than I spend on almost-expired food at Deals and Steals for one year. One last comment reported back by Petunia: my work does not seem to have evolved but, again, is consistently the same. Hmmm. I thought I was making great strides especially when I covered the cloth bag of the vacuum cleaner with glass by first fortifying it with fiberglass and resin and bondo and hours of careful sanding of the resulting, ever-shifting landscape/canvas. I think it is time to move on to my next career as an auto bodyist.

giant_cat.jpgAfter this post I guess I’ll not be applying for that same grant next round. But I’d rather rant than not, and I’d rather not keep spending money on stamps for applications. The money spent on a stamp would buy 2 almost-expired power bars at Deals and Steals and some days that constitutes lunch. And as I struggle to write this post with my wireless keyboard which is all wonky because it needs new batteries and which keyboard makes it bearable to use my 500$ laptop (and only computer) I find myself wondering where those next batteries are coming from.

I HAVE AN IDEA, (which means everyone should duck): Why don’t we arrange an event where grant rejects do the flip side of an application review? Why don’t we do a curatorial review and invite all the curators in the whole world to be the audience. This event will be free. <–No, scratch that. The curators will pay $1000 each to come and I will get caterers from non-struggling restaurants to donate fabulous food and wine and the proceeds will go to a special grant fund which will be awarded to artists of exceptional work exhibiting soul and search and wit and yet which does not fiscally afford special photography and who lack the financial means to buy professional and consistent photography? We will require tax returns and those who show no earnings because they are supported by spouses or trust funds will not be eligible. The recipients must have true and demonstrable need. I am interested in supporting the truly hand-to-mouth artists who still determinedly pursue their art because they can’t imagine not making art. And by art I mean art for art’s sake and not work altered solely to make it saleable. Amen.

I don’t know what it is like to be a curator on a grant jury. I do know what it feels like to be an artist and to struggle to afford photography. I can’t imagine having everything shot at once. I wonder if we lose sight of each other’s perspectives and the whole concept of art. I expected this rejection but I expected it on the grounds that the other applicants made better work, better suited for the aesthetic ideals and conceptual intent of the gallery and grant, not because the other applicants had better and more consistent photography.

Disclaimer: I applied for the aforementioned grant online and no stamp expenditures were incurred so any suggestion of missed lunches is false and in no way bolsters my argument.


Posted in Outsider Art vs... Art?, Rejection is not my favorite thing on August 8, 2007 by Admin

Because I never got my MFA and this can and possibly does (in ways never put into writing or spelled out, of course) affect my status as an artist, I am intrigued by the concept that art which does not evolve from formal training is often referred to as, “Outsider Art”. In Europe such art is referred to as “Autodidactic” and while this seems a more genteel term, it it testimony to the notion that a degree can validate the work and that there are terms which act as fences between two groups.

I have studied art my whole life but not always within the parameters of a formal degree program. I just take classes here and there and read whatever I find. This haphazardery means there are places which will not look at my work, my CV having preceded me thus trumpeting that missing batch of capital letters. Also perplexing; outsider art is often used to refer to persons working with certain materials like, glass, ceramics, and the like.

I have discussed this phenomenon with friends; preparators at prestigious museums, super-credentialed fellow artists, professors at weighty art schools, and the consensus seems to be that it is the integrity and conceptual intent of the work rather than the educational background that is of utmost importance.

So who then is making such distinctions? Well, word is that this is what some grant programs use as criteria for narrowing down applicants. And that’s another discussion best covered if one were to get jurors at granting organizations to speak anonymously.

Meanwhile my friend Chris Willingham, Adjunct professor of Art at HCC; Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts, Bard College, Annandale, NY, MFA Sculpture, 2000; Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, MA, BFA, Art History (Concentrations: Non-Western Art, Critical Theory), 1996, Painting, 1995; Greenfield Community College, Greenfield, MA, AS Art, 1991 emailed me the following in a discussion about insider vs. outsider art:

“These labels (Outsider, Folk, Naive, etc) are a mendacious attempt by the intelligentsia to recoup a perceived purity as commodity and evidence of their own of broad-minded integrity… Cultural fetishism masquerading as noblesse oblige— makes me sick. Outsider artists are not to be envied (they’re often destitute, dysfunctional or insane) and they certainly can’t be imitated; Folk and Naive artists have a mediumistic purity that emerges from the basic primitive need to make a mark and any resemblance to conventions is coincidental or an honest distortion.

My feeling is that it is disingenuous for the academy, the market or any coterie of status-seekers to drive a style into that area– it’s not authentic and in the case of those of us who know better, it devalues our own motivations and cheapens the work, not to mention the insult to true artists of other types. In a way, its like the old aesthetic argument against white people playing the blues: if you’re not born to it, you can’t do it. Of course, that’s not always true, but the relatively limited number of exceptions may prove the rule. Praise and testimony given in interpretation may be eloquent, but not authentic.

As Arthur Danto (recommended reading) the aesthetic philosopher has observed, a quotation can never be profound, or if it is, that fact owes to the conditions of the quote, the act of which itself has no intrinsic content because it functions as a stop-gap in the absence of a meaning emergent from its natural source. So I say make the work that makes your life meaningful and let others interpret it as they may– “Posterity makes the masterpiece” (Marcel Duchamp). Be yourself and be proud. In my case, I’m white and I’m lame– and when I play the blues it only sounds soulful when I’m playing with the full awareness of my limitations and go on singing anyway.”

Point taken and from a lot of formal education.


Posted in Rejection is not my favorite thing on August 8, 2007 by Admin

Monday, June 04, 2007

It’s grant-rant time at the rejection-go-round.

Rejections are hard, I have established this in this blog. I got another grant rejection yesterday so today’s topic is an outward-facing inner review of just why, again. Grant rejection letters make you wonder at the validity of your work and since applications are due months before rejection letters arrive, they mark the end of a long process of balancing between hope and cynicism.

It’s like being thrown off the psychic mechanical bull at the square dance, after a long stomach-churning do-si-do of hope and faux disdain, which feels like tectonic plates heaving upwards and landing on each other in an ever-changing balancing act of daydreaming and cynicism.

“One plate meets another along a plate boundary, and plate boundaries are commonly associated with geological events such as earthquakes and the creation of topographic features like mountains, volcanoes and oceanic trenches.” ~Wikipedia

The plate boundaries are like the zones between this possibility and resignation. When applying for a grant it is important not to get ones hopes up, yet to remain optimistic. This state demarcates a plate boundary and, this is where the possibility of a psychogeological event like a meltdown, or perhaps an emotional rockslide, can occur. This is also where the creation of topographic features is possible, like a pile of confidence or a budget for professional photography. Photography is important.

*They* say that you are only as good as your worst slide. I have some really bad slides and I have some good slides. My work is huge and heavy and costly to have moved. My studio is not set up for photography and hasn’t enough room for a photographer and equipment. And then one needs to have a budget for photography.

The ABC grant people have informational talks where they show slides that are good and slides that are bad. I bet mine are shown in the bad category since I often take my own pictures for lack of ability to hire a photographer for each piece. But what about the work? I have been told by a coordinator at the ABC grant council that the work is important BUT the photography MUST be extremely professional. It must have proper lighting and be taken from the best angle and must be of utmost quality or the work is not considered. I get that. It can’t be a hack job.

I strive for these things. The pictures on my website look pretty nice. Some were taken by photographers, but not all. This makes inconsistency in my slides. Maybe there should be a grant to award photography for artists who cannot afford to have their work photographed. But then at some point is not the artistry and skill of the photographer an element of the work actually being granted? But maybe its not the photography of my work that wrote yesterday’s letter. Did I ever think of *that*? Well, yes, in my newly more-humbled than usual state.

I have decided to test this; I am going to win the lottery and then hire a team of photographers from New York City to come and spend a month shooting my work. Then I am going to apply for this grant again and report back here next year. Since this grant is not need-based my winning the lottery will not affect my application. But then I won’t need the grant. But then, maybe my ego will. Need-based grants get a wide variety of applicants too.

There are 3 types of plate boundaries; Transform boundaries (in which case the plates slide past each other like ships that pass in the night), Divergent boundaries (plates slide apart from each other like childhood friends), and Convergent boundaries (think sliding toward, like people running toward each other across a field of flowers, with a soft-focus lens).

I think my plate boundaries are divulgent because clearly I am wallowing in self-pity. But I am not whining, just *reasoning aloud* with myself.


Posted in Rejection is not my favorite thing, The "Cover Me" exhibit on August 3, 2007 by Admin

As I handle my latest rejection it feels cold and heavy, yet it burns. I guess you can get burned by dry ice so that makes sense. As I pass it back and forth from hand to hand to hand (I have three: the left hand, the right hand, and the “on the other hand” hand), it feels oddly familiar, like so many other rejections. The pain is familiar. The color is bleak. No Titanium (smiley face) Yellow for rejection. I guess rejection, no matter the source, feels cold and heavy. And pouty. I am totally pouting and I am really good at it. It’s a talent I suppose. I have so many, it almost seems unfair. I am writing country songs in my head about, “Your rejecting heart”, and, “My Head Hurts, My Feet Stink, And I got rejected” and I could reword the whole list of the worst country song titles to fit my descent into reject despair. Although my feet don’t really stink. Although my head does hurt and I did get rejected.

Speaking of songs, as I write this, that Amy Winehouse song, “Rehab” is playing in the background but in my head the lyrics sound like, “They tried to make me go to rejecthab but I said, No, no, no…” and so I resolve to pout for 15 more minutes and then get back on the grant wagon.

My next grant rejection isn’t due till May 15 and the rejection after that is due June 15 so there are gaps in between scheduled rejections to be all happy and smiley, only to be filled with country songs and pouting on all the 15ths. See how the number 15 keeps coming up? I guess that’s my unlucky number. I will wallow in 15 foot limpid pools of wallowing. Then, rather than go to rejecthab, I will climb out, tired, poor, yearning to be awarded.

Meanwhile, in order to have more rejections to put on my calendar, and to make me feel all lofty and anticipatory, I will send out more grant applications. I will try to find only ones that notify you on the 15th of some month. Today is the 10th and I got this rejection letter today but on some Mayan or Maori or other calendar somewhere I just know it is the 15th. And it is an M calendar because Mo starts with M.

Thinking of grant winners and losers makes me inevitably think, let’s have a show of rejected artists! Like, how the MCC sponsors a show of grant winners, let’s have a show of grant losers!

Funny, I should mention that: in my last post I said, “Let’s have a show about non-coverage of the arts!” and my big mouth got me put in charge of that show. Secretly I am thrilled to be organizing that show, but it is not cool to be so openly thrilled about such things. It is far cooler to pretend to be blase. How do I balance faux blaseity with my inherent neurosity? Who do I talk to about this? Shit. Life is hard.

%d bloggers like this: