2.16 / Attempting the possible is not terribly exciting. Attempting the impossible is exhilarating.

May 5 2011


I am inclined to consider the National Endowment for the Arts of the 1960s and ’70s as a mythical creature. For my generation and the one coming up, the NEA is little more than a castrated, sacrificial animal that the Republican Party trots out to the altar anytime the national budget comes under review. But while the money is gone, a surviving legacy of that era is the creation of artist-run initiatives. These days, such projects are mostly seeded by what Christine Wong Yap calls strategic optimism—aspiration coupled with a directed, pragmatic plan. It also suggests defiance in the face of financial reality, which, as Art Practical and Open Space will broach May 12 in the third part of “Shop Talk,” can be grim for artists. But in this issue, we cover two new Bay Area spaces (the People’s Gallery and The Popular Workshop); and it is sunny outside. Defiance, it is. Enjoy—PM


San Francisco and the Art World of Tomorrow, Part 2

San Francisco and the Art World of Tomorrow, Part 2

By Zachary Royer Scholz

Using networking to expand available resources is more than simply a way to allow artists to stay in San Francisco who might otherwise have to leave. Such network-based thinking actually supports leaving by fundamentally changing the creative communities’ relationship to those artists who depart.

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Portrait of an Artist, Wily and Engaged

Portrait of an Artist, Wily and Engaged

By Christine Wong Yap

These artists are subject to common economic realities—they pragmatically negotiate them, and will most likely adapt their tactics as time goes on. They do not elect a marginalized position, nor are they oblivious to the market or the larger world. They occupy multiple strata in the art ecology, motivated by intrinsic rewards and a sense of agency and generosity.

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