Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Market Space

Purchase Application
Powhida & Dalton
Graphite and colored pencil on paper
We will be selling this work to whomever makes their best offer based on their approximate income and rationale for ownership.  There is no fixed price point and we won't be insulted if (a) no one wants it, (b) you can only offer what you can afford, or (c) you end up paying the same as your Marc Jacobs handbag. 


  1. We're sorry you don't like the drawing, David! You may (or may not) be relieved to hear that it is not an actual application for use at the show (does it really look like one?). We made it because we needed an image to represent the still-not-existent show. It's intended to help get the conversation started.

    Like so much about this show, it has not yet been decided who will actually determine which hypothetical offers will be accepted of which hypothetical work we will hypothetically be creating. It might change day to day depending on who is on site.

    So I guess what I'm saying is, there's still time for us to use your other idea (of the blank page) if you're giving that one away too. It's a good one!

  2. I'm not speaking for Jen here.


    A couple of things from fucking idiot #1; the drawing is a representation of an idea, not a real application. I'm not the fan of your idea. I think the process should be a negotiation between the buyer and the dealer.

    While I thank you for suggesting the idea of the application, and I was happy you submitted it because I've been trying to convince Jen to sell the work based on a best offer. I think your idea gave her a feeling of permission to do something different, which I've tried to do in the past. I did a double-sided drawing for Platform Gallery at Aqua Art Fair that was made unavailable to rich collectors, and I instructed the dealers to accept the first offer from an art enthusiast.

    Here's were we really differ, you want the applicant to suffer and I don't want to put working-class people through the hell you are interested in. I want to create access for those who can't normally afford 'art'. I'm not out to try and punish everyone in the hopes of getting the ten collectors who usually come to Ed's gallery to fill out the application. I also don't want people to feel a sense of what they lack when they come to the gallery; ie money.

    So, back to your main point. I'm not interested in 'getting power' as an artist, I've got an unreasonable amount of control already with this show. As a fucking idiot, I want to make the process of buying art open to a broader audience than using the fixed price point model. I want the dealer to have to work in a different way by interacting with everyone on equal terms, not just an established collector base and have to determine if the person is making a reasonable offer based on their social class.

    So, to be clear, I'm not interested in applying your Chinese application torture concept to #class. And, also, it seems you never read the mission statement. Jen and I will be making a lot of work based on the process, dialog, and ideas that come from #class and commodifying. Apparently, it idea has worked in making you uncomfortable.

    Work Space

    As the show progresses, the individual artists Jennifer Dalton and William Powhida plan to participate in the market by making art work inspired by the information, events and discussions generated in the space. At the work tables in the space, in public, we will create small works on paper based on our interpretation and documentation of the evolving project. This work will not be priced in the usual commercial manner, premised on 'what the market will bear' based on our past work and reputations. Instead, we plan to offer our work to the highest bidder with no reserve. We may offer suggested guidelines for appropriate prices, such as one day of the buyer's income from his or her job, 0.1% of his or her net worth, etc. However, the buyers will be free to offer whatever price they see fit, and the artists will be obliged to sell the work at the highest offered price.

    Market Space

    There will be a clearly defined, physically marginalized Market Space within the gallery where these works can be displayed and marketed to those who would like to view or purchase them. Our transparent complicity in the market and the proximity of the think/market spaces to the work space will help steer the discussion back to the emotional conflict between ideals and reality.

    Well, David, it's got you calling us fucking idiots, so I imagine it will be a continuing point of contention to (mis)interpret other people's ideas. Good luck with your Chinese application torture idea, and I hope you make such good art that people will be willing to suffer to acquire it. Should be a great show!


    And, I do second Jen here that we may decide to change how we operate the market from day to day.

  3. This is Fucking Idiot #2 (Jen), who first must remind everyone including William that I don't need anyone's permission to do something "different"! Ahem!

    But it may be helpful to share where the two of us differed initially in our ideas for the show, and are still really working it out. I originally didn't want to offer anything at all for sale at this show. The way that William convinced me to agree to that was with the idea that we would price things unconventionally, on some sort of sliding scale. I have always attempted to make some of my work affordable to non-wealthy people, and for me this is a way to do that.

    I am with William in that I am not interested in making these normal people suffer. I liked the application idea, and I still do, because it privileges enthusiasm over money, for once.


  4. I had taken "fucking idiots" to be a term of endearment...but this exchange gets at the heart of something else we simply must explore in #class, which is the mythology that artists are a class of people with identical interests.

    We talk about "artists getting power" as if they'd share that power democratically, rather turn on each other in some fashion that made "Lord of the Flies" look like Sesame Street.

    Nothing unites disparate people like having a common opponent...nothing tears such fragile unions apart, though, like throwing something worth fighting for (i.e., power, resources, authority, fame, recognition, right of authorship, etc.) into their midst.

  5. First of all, a general point: We are all fucking idiots.

    Specific responses follow.

    William, Jennifer, and Edward:

    Thanks for your considered replies and best of luck with your show. I genuinely hope it's a success, and I'll be watching with interest.


    It's not that I don't like the drawing. I do. It's just that I thought it open to some criticism, which is not particularly valid criticism either, as it consists of how I'd do it differently, which leads me to...


    As I mentioned in my post above, I realise I'm not in any position to complain about what you did with my suggestion. What you do is up to you.

    However, I thought what you did do with it was funny, and said so. I also said how I'd've done it differently. (Note that I mentioned I have no intention of using the idea myself.)

    But this is rehashing what has already been said, and is boring. Let's assume that each other can read.

    I'm a little surprised that you seem to expect your show's visitors/participants to be mostly working class salt of the earth types who need to be coddled. I'm not familiar with New York demographics but imagine that those who have an interest in art but who can't normally afford it wouldn't be working class as such.

    Ye gods, if you can draw in a predominantly working class crowd, that'd be a real achievement, something no-one's ever managed yet. The cry would resound throughout the land: 'Hats off, gentlemen!'

    Regardless of the composition of the crowd, though, I think that making things easy for people does them no favours. Nietzsche didn't just come up with a good line, but was on to something important, when he said:

    To those human beings who are of any concern to me I wish suffering, desolation, sickness, ill-treatment, indignities – I wish that they should not remain unfamiliar with profound self-contempt, the torture of self-mistrust, the wretchedness of the vanquished: I have no pity for them, because I wish them the only thing that can prove today whether one is worth anything or not – that one endures.

    And, yes, continuing points of contention are also a good thing. It's good to see that you and Jennifer don't see exactly eye to eye. Hopefully, that will be fruitful.

    Edward: You've hit the nail on the head. On more than one occasion in the past I've been told that I shouldn't hassle other artists, or say mean things, 'because we're all in this together' or some such hippie nonsense.

    Live at war with your peers and yourself!

  6. Oops, the above comment was reposted, and I should've changed 'my post above' to a link or something.

    Damn your blog or mine shenanigans!

  7. David,

    As Ed can attest, I've made most of my career by being 'disrespectful' of artists, dealers, critics, and collectors; successful or not. It's the ability to reject the nobility and their limitations that allows the individual to find some freedom, often in the base that Neitzsche describes. I've been enduring Lionel Trilling's book "Sincerity and Authenticity" and find it a fascinating take on exactly what you are talking about.

    And man, yes, most of the people that come to look at art in New York are themselves working class people, even if they are artists. Education itself doesn't make you middle class. It's also not just a tax bracket, but most of the people I know, including myself, can't possibly afford the art that we often admire. Like to see that change for a few weeks. In all honesty, Ed has admitted that he can expect about ten collectors in during the course of a show that buy from him. The market is tailored and supported by the smallest percentage of its audience. We'd like to interrupt that, however briefly, not to celebrate the working class, but to acknowledge our own place in the hierarchy.

    So, I will take fucking idiot #1 as a term of endearment. I think Jen and I prefer to call ourselves such now. Your antagonism doesn't invalidate the criticism either, and as others have suggested, our show will be terrible if everyone is too respectful. Deference be damned and we will give as good as we take!

  8. That's an excellent response.

    There's nothing for me to add.

  9. IMHO the world brings more than enough suffering and anxiety for people to endure. We can't justify being shitty to each other on the basis of building character. I understand the desire to offer a challenge, but I prefer to offer that challenge from a position of respect. (William and I are honing our "good cop / bad cop" routine. How's it look?)

    The war brand "Operation Enduring Freedom" comes to mind. In the words of the great David Rees, how are you "enduring" your "freedom?"

    Jen (F.I. #2)

  10. I'll swap it for a British Baliffs letter. A list of all the artists househeld goods taken away, because they couldn't pay the bills.

    Bought from Apex 2007.