Monday, January 4, 2010

#class is coming

On or about February 20, 2010, we will transform Winkleman Gallery into a think tank for approximately one month, complete with blackboards, work tables, beer*, coffee-makers* and a mini-fridge*. We solicit your active participation in this project if you are an artist, critic, art dealer, collector, academic, art-lover, art-hater, or member of the general public.

We need your help to find answers to such questions as:

*Is contemporary art a luxury commodity for the wealthy that limits the possibility of ownership, understanding, and access based on class, education and geography? If so, why exactly is that a problem?

*Why do people keep making art (or writing about it, or showing it, or caring about it) even when they don't ever earn any money from it?

*When/if artists do manage to earn some money from their work, why does it sometimes make them feel queasy to sell their art to wealthy collectors?

*If New York is the Belly of the commercial Beast we despise, why are we paying so much to live here?

*Why do we keep going to art exhibitions when we don't like 90% of what we see?

*How much of "hating the art world" is simple sour grapes and how much of it is because the art world really is gross?

*Why on earth would anyone pay more than, say, 200 bucks for a painting?

* Is it 'selling out' to go to the Bahamas with a collector or design his yacht? What if you're kinda broke and this might be your only chance to go to the Bahamas?

* What are some possible viable alternatives or modifications to the current commercial art market system? What's wrong with Capitalism? Isn't it great!?

We will be hosting a series of presentations, discussions and other art-like events. Do you have an idea for a discussion or an event? Are there any special talents you'd like to share or topics on which you'd like to hold forth? Do you have a karaoke machine? Please share!

THIS IS NOT A REGULAR OLD ART SHOW! Don't send us your art unless it features relevant performance, can be written on a blackboard with chalk, or involves a lecture.

We can't do this without you. We don't have any answers but we want to facilitate the coming-together of wildly varying people, over beer if possible. Let us be the President Obama to your Boston policeman and Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

If you have any ideas, please post them here or email us at

Come forward!

All best,

J & B

*not yet approved by our host and subject to possible financial, safety and/or legal issues.


  1. Us vs. Them syndrome is one thing that jumps out at me initially. Those on the "inside" will have no part or comment nor care to raise a brow. Those (of us) on the "outside" will speak louder, but most likely only to each other. But WE are the inheritors. So it is necessary.

    To widen the circle.

    Democratize the innards.

    I still wonder if any of this matters. But I like talking about Art, and I like seeing Art, and I like listening to others talk about Art. So I will collect the above thoughts and synthesize them. As soon as my yacht slows down to an appropriate speed for thinking. :)

  2. I'll be happy to present on how social media is going to democratize and flatten the art world.

  3. let's get a shredder so we can shred art & ideas and fill the gallery floor with confetti.

  4. that sounds exciting but i don't want to go to new york :D

    lebenskünstler had an entry about "art versus work" that i thought of first as relevant to some of these points:

  5. åd paperkin,

    We can add text, quotes, or other data to our think space at the gallery that you post or send us at
    No need to come to New York to participate in the dialog.

    This is also a fine screed on the distinction between work and doing things borrowed from Kevin Regan and Ellen Letcher of Famous Accountants, Bob Black's "The Abolition of Work"

  6. ZAC is on to something (although not sure I entirely agree). I like the idea of documenting/doing *something* with the events in META fashion, realtime, online...

  7. We plan to document everything (in multiple ways, crunching any data we collect) and also hope to stream the events online.


  8. art shred* - anyone can participate, provided the work(s) is an original. works on paper & poetry welcome...

  9. Jen: Cool.

    celso: I might be into that. One of my labor intensive ones, even... But I would want to really ritualize it somehow, and then do something with the shreds (besides just burn them)...

  10. I'm curious what you guys think about this NY Times piece by Roberta Smith where she argues that the amount of good art is increasing because there are more total artists.

    It made me wonder about this point:

    "Why do we keep going to art exhibitions when we don't like 90% of what we see?"

    If 90% of art at galleries and fairs is bad, do you think the ratio is improving, as Smith suggests?

  11. thanks Man, I think it could be a good way to let artists let go of their works too. we don't have to burn them :) just scatter them on the floor for others to walk on or take if they want. There should definately be a ritual aspect to it and/or even a discussion before each work is destroyed.

  12. Things that this has made me think of:

    Joseph Beuys chalkboards. The differences/non-differences between teaching on a chalkboard, writing/drawing on a chalkboard, and making art on a chalkboard?

    Cory Arcangel's artist lecture performance at NuMu.

    Think Tank recently held at UGA Lamar Dodd School of Art.

    In Theory "talk show" recently organized at Texas A&M's School of Architecture.
    more at

    And rather than literally destroy artworks, scatter, confetti...why not have critiques like in art school. Think orals at the MFA level where an artist must prove to that he/she deserves a Masters in Fine Arts. Critiques are marvelous performances.

    Oh, last one! The name of this is #class. I'm curious how all this relates back to twitter?

  13. The rest of these questions/ideas require a more thoughtful response than I am capable of at the moment, but right off the bat I love the idea of critiques in the space. Copykt, would you like to emcee one or more critique days?


  14. CopyKT: Like the idea of not actually destroying the works. I was beginning to want to retract that. Although a crit could get tedious/ugly/painful/etc.

    I'm guessing it relates back to Twitter as that platform is designed to be conversational (and usually rather informal). Whether that context can/should be taken further as specifically relates to Twitter (which is maybe what you're asking) is another question.


  15. Jen, Thanks. I'm excited about what you're doing and about where #class can go. I'll unfortunately be in critiques of my own and am not really in the position to work on something for #class now. Regrets.
    Run with it, though!

    Man, Nope. I'm not positive having literal critiques of artwork would be most productive in what #class is trying to accomplish, either.
    But I think it's a good diving board. I feel some valid parallels can be drawn between that system (education, evaluation, subjectivity/objectivity, authority, assigning value to work) and systems within art/the art world that it seems #class wants to question.
    When the thought of "destroying" artwork came up, I thought of an artwork or artist getting "destroyed" in critique. And then the performance that goes along with all that. Got me thinking.

    ; )
    Good luck #class!

  16. A central issue of #class is access/lack of access to the inner circle. For those of us outside the NYC area, geography is the barrier (in terms of both this project and the NY art market in general). I'm really hoping you'll be able to live stream the events in the gallery, even if it's simply a Ustream from and iPhone. It will mean that those of us not in New York will feel more included and can more fully participate in any twitter conversations. Perhaps we can even congregate at a viewing/tweeting party. - Art Whirled

  17. *yes (auctioneers)
    *for art
    *don't know
    *nyc is nice
    *no motives
    *too much anyway
    *why not?
    *bahamas is an art center?
    *ha! *what is wrong with the system*?! . the system the system itself is wrong. you've to come out of the system