by Jen Graves
on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 2:45 PM
Oh, dear—artist talks can go south in a million different ways. SAM member Patricia Churchhill sent this pissed-off email about last night's talk with artist Nick Cave and Cynthia Rowley. She's right that some artists are better off not talking. Cave—my recent podcast here—was neither great nor terrible when I talked to him. It sounds like the uncomfortable presence of money and luxury in art and fashion came up—but not quite up enough.
I knew we were in trouble when the moderator didn’t know how to pronounce Schiaparelli. Confimation came with the inane slide show of celebrities, (exactly what did Liza Minelli have to do with it), which was suppose to substantiate the importance of cross-pollinization between the art and fashion worlds.
Two strikes could possibly have been forgiven as small town Seattle introduces the main event: a discussion between Nick Cave and Cynthia Rowley. One hoped the two of them had some relationship, some history, something to say about each other’s work. Yeah, one could hope. These two people had virtually nothing to say to each other or to us.
The most substantive sense was that they spend their energies trying to market stuff no one needs. How about a sticker book for $34.00. How are those selling??? Or maybe Cynthia Rowley candy????
Finally, the moderator irritated everyone who had paid $10 or more a head and made an effort to get to the museum, (on a night when the galleries where the fabulous Nick Cave exhibit could not be seen — great planning), by saying that, really, we couldn’t hold up Nick and Cynthia because they had to get to the airport. As if they were doing us all a great favor by submitting to our attention.
Sometimes the artist needs to let their work speak for himself and stay out of sight. I had waited to see Nick Cave the night of the REmix party and gave up after twenty minutes in the hot crowded gallery. Maybe he was better solo, but maybe he was even more arrogant. This was an embarrassing non-event for the museum. Next time just have a reception for the donors and leave me out of it.