Tuesday, September 18, 2007

OK. (visibility rmx)

I didn't write anything when I first posted this image on Sunday. I was going to let the smartass irony of the photo speak for itself. But, well, James' dreadful experience at Capla Kesting over the weekend inspired me to throw down some words.

Hey. If a gallery wants to have a No Photos policy it's fine with me. I can think of a number of reasons why they'd want to do it. That's not to say that I don't think it's a bad, limiting move. It is. But it's a choice they're free to make. What truly bothers me about Jonathan LeVine Gallery is how the implementation of the policy detracts from the art. (Half of which, is quite good.) These crap pieces of copy paper taped to the wall of the gallery? Are these people serious? It's difficult to think of a more amateur approach. Maybe Post-It notes.

ADDENDUM: I just remembered something this morning. To be fair to the Jonathan LeVine Gallery, I should mention that, although this is their policy, when I asked them if I could take pictures of the excellent Adam Wallacavage show they were very accomodating when I explained that it was for a post on Fallon & Rosof's artblog. Their only requirements were that I didn't use a flash (Which I never do anyway.), and that I didn't take any close-up shots. The latter request was generated by the artist. No problem. They would have been well within their rights to have said "No.", and I would have respected it. I think my point here is that conversation was allowed. I can't ask for much more than that.


Anonymous said...

They're not the only gallery with street art connections behaving badly:


Heart As Arena said...

The jaw, it does drop.

Oly said...

You know, you guys, I'm starting to wonder if this might eventually become a trend.

I've only been denied by one gallery so far-- Pavel Zoubok.

I do usually ask beforehand, but I'm noticing as of the past month more people (assistants, etc.) starting to ask detailed questions about the "purpose" of the photography and wanting details of my site.

What about you?


bgfa said...

I've given up even considering prohibiting photos in my gallery, because of the ubiquity of cameras. It does begin to seem silly to stop anyone from shooting artwork with their silly low res phones or digital snaps. It's not like they are walking in with a full indirect lighting setup and shooting the work at full resolution for lithographic reproduction.

But it is basic protocol to introduce yourself before starting to shoot, even if it's just a snapshot. That tends to disarm any potential conflict.

We all go through phases. I know I went back and forth on this issue for years, finally deciding that the ubiquity of the technology trumps any attempt at control.

Anonymous said...

It would be pretty stupid for this to become a trend for galleries. It's how a lot of people "take notes" on what they've seen, and most of us make sure we show a decent image of the work on our sites if we publish something. Most galleries have lousy installation views, and the installation of a show is an important aspect of it.

Also, the newspapers and art magazines aren't falling all over themselves to cover smaller galleries and non-famous artists.

Heart As Arena said...

Bert: Well put. It's a tricky thing. The clicking can be a distraction and good behavior on the part of everybody involved is encouraged. I try my best to keep my clicking on the invisible side, waiting for other viewers to leave the room or whatever. And nice Simpsonization, by the way.

Barry: You said everything that I would have said in response to Oly and in general on this topic. Exactly. Especially the part about the newspapers and magazines. For me, one of the best things about art blogs is how they've introduced me to so much of the good stuff that's out there that I would NEVER have heard about in the mainstream press.

Anonymous said...

It is unfortunate that I had to forcefully remove James Wagner from the gallery on Friday evening. And I assure you that it was not something I enjoyed doing.

As per photos of the gallery or its artwork, we have a long standing policy of allowing it ( a quick google search for our gallery will result in over 2500 blog listings from all around the world, many with photos.)

James was removed from the gallery not because of his use of a camera but because of his actions, his words towards the gallery, its staff, and its artists.

Independent galleries like ours, need support from the online art community.

Heart As Arena said...

Mr. Kesting: Oh, dear. Well, I have to come right out and say that I’m going to have to believe my friend, James Wagner, in regards to the incident at your gallery. Simple as that. I've never witnessed a single action that would lead me to believe that he might behave in the way you've suggested. Also--James would be too modest to mention this--I think that this might be a good time to point out that James was a co-honoree, along with his partner Barry, in June at Nurture Art for his support of the arts community. I ‘m pretty confident that he wasn’t given that honor because of his abuse of gallery staff around town.

Similarly to James I started my blog to talk about the art that I see and the art that moves me. For subjects like the present one I have little time or patience, and it saddens me, not to have felt the need to enter the fray, but that there was a fray at all.

I will, however, end on a note of agreement with you. I could not possibly agree with you more on your point that smaller galleries need the support of the online community. I wish you the best of luck with that.

Anonymous said...

Gallerists should facilitate the flow of information and images to anyone interested in their artists' work - not waste their time defending a sad little fiefdom. I can think of nothing more self-destructive to a gallery representing young artists than to stand in the way of anyone who wishes to help bring images or information to a larger audience.

David said...

I am sensitive to the need for artists to protect and control their work. That's why I've respected spaces that restrict photography in certain areas per agreements with that particular artist.
I was dismayed that MassMoCa apparently has an outright ban on photography now, according to the security guard that I spoke with. He basically said that because of the Christoph Buchel controversy, they have banned photography throughout the place. I can't help but think that many of the artists showing at MassMoCa in July wouldn't have minded snapshots taken of their work, but of course I can't know for sure.

Anonymous said...

Speaking on behalf of the Jonathan LeVine Gallery, we are very sorry and surprised to hear what allegedly happened to James Wagner at Capla Kesting on the evening in question.

Please be assured, the policy of "no photography" at Jonathan LeVine is only enforced to protect the rights of our artists and prevent unauthorized re-production of their copyrighted images. There is good reason for the signage, as this is actually something that has occurred here in the past. Although it is illegal, there have unfortunately been instances where previous visitors to our gallery have taken hi-res photographs with dishonest intentions, and have made unethical profit by selling fraudulent, digitally re-produced copies of paintings and prints online. We are still fighting these battles and it is a continuing problem, hence the signage. If there is a better alternative, we are open to hearing suggestions, but to us it seemed to be the only simple way to protect our artists without making visitors feel unwelcome.

We also wish to make clear that our policy is certainly not intended to deter media coverage in any way, and we have never prohibited photography when taken by members of the press. If approached by a journalist or blogger, we have always allowed photography when it is to be used for press purposes. So, if you are a member of the Press and wish to photograph, please do not hesitate to approach the gallery attendant. We also have a professional photographer shoot installation images of each piece in every exhibit, which are all available for anyone to view on our website. Additionally, we gladly provide these images to journalists and publications, upon request, with permission to use for press purposes.

I hope this statement sheds some light on our stance, and clears up any misconceptions about our policy. Many thanks to all members of the greater art community, for your interest, coverage, and support. We do appreciate the opportunity to comment on this matter in public forum.

Maléna Seldin

Jonathan LeVine Gallery
529 w 20th Street, 9flr
New York, NY 10011

Mark said...

street art? what the f*uck is street art? there is no revolution. creativity is newness. newess is interesting. interesting becomes the norm. the norm is dull. it's all process. we eat our gods.