Optics

by Anthony Haden-Guest

“Visual things stay put, whereas sounds fade.” -Steven Pinker

We live in a visual age. The time of words and poetry has faded and given way to imagery, bright colors, a constant and at times overwhelming feast for our visual cortex. In a visual, digital age, art and artists have the opportunity to seize the moment, to use their innate talent for the creation of visual offerings in a way that can contribute to the oeuvre of the 21st century and beyond. These are days of constant creation. A time when one can be lost and found at the very same time. The world is wide and thirsty for input.

Anthony Haden-Guest is currently curating an upcoming exhibition due to open in September. He also continues to write and draw, often melding the two media. Haden-Guest self identifies as a cartoonist rather than an artist. Of cartooning he says, “the moment a cartoon starts looking too mcuh like art it stops being funny. There’s no reason why a cartoon shouldn’t look good on a wall…but it’s got to make its point…it’s about delivering the content.” Haden-Guest’s work sometimes strikes back at what he sees as an art world turned corporation. Despite this, Haden-Guest does believe that this is a very good time for art. “Art is one of the rare activities…that will survive,” he says. Haden-Guest firmly believes that those who can work with images are well-equipped to survive in our modern times. Of his writing, Haden-Guest says he feels a kinship with the likes of Lewis Carroll, Edward Lear, Ogden Nash, and other rhyming poets. Haden-Guest says that visual literacy has increased on the whole over the last several generations while poetic literacy has been on a slow and steady decline. Poetry, once the language of writing, is now often lost on the average reader. On the back of one of Haden-Guest’s many books is a quote from his brother that reads, “Boring, pompous, and a complete and utter waste of time, I don’t know what my brother was thinking.” This tongue in cheek “review” is an apt crystallization of Haden-Guest’s intelligent humor. To hear more about Anthony Haden-Guest and to hear live readings of some of his poetry, listen to the complete interview.

Sharon Arnold is a Seattle based writer, curator, and artist. In 2011 she founded Bridge Productions, an online gallery of curated boxed sets. Each handmade boxed set contained two works by different artists paired with a literary offering. This was done at a time when galleries were closing across Seattle in an attempt to build patronage and excitement among those who are new to the world of art collecting. Arnold took some of her inspiration from the music industry which packages bands in such a way as to promote an intimate experience for the purchaser. Bridge Productions evolved into a brick and mortar space. This is the first year that the boxes are not on offer but the space itself is still up and running. An artist herself, Arnold strives to work with a broad range of artists and host guest curators to ensure that as many voices and communities are represented as possible.  Bringing in other curators also helps expand the gallery’s reach. Arnold is careful to allow each curator in residence a chance to become intimately acquainted with the space in which they will be working. For the upcoming show, the artwork will not be for sale. In this way there is an opportunity to connect with the work outside of the realm of commodities. “My philosophy is really to motivate art and artists’ careers and curators through collaborations and my job is to find a way to sustain it and support it.” Arnold does not consider herself an art dealer, rather she is a collaborator and promoter of art and artists. Most of the funding comes from gallery sales though Arnold does also receive some patron support. But for the most part Bridge Productions is a self-sustaining business. That said, Arnold does admit that her way of life is a constant hustle. She supports herself through freelance writing and recently began teaching at Cornish College of the Arts. Arnold embraces the freedom available to her to run many kinds of art programs in order to reach the broadest audience possible. Finding ways to get people excited about art as well as comfortable and safe is her constant mission. To hear more from Sharon Arnold, listen to the complete interview.

A Few Words to Keep in your Pocket:

Embrace the present moment. Let the insatiable yearning for visual sustenance guide and carry you.

Interviews are available on iTunes as podcasts, and for Android please click here. All weekly essay pieces in a shareable format are here. The full archive of interviews here.

Books to Read

What are you reading? Add your titles to our reading list here. You can find Anthony Haden-Guest’s many books here. Sharon Arnold is looking forward to reading Curatorial Activism by Maura Reilly.

Opportunities

The Festival les Instants Video is holding a call for participation from video artists around the world. The festival focuses on video art and electronic poetry. For details about this year’s festival call and submission guidelines, visit the website. Deadline is June 1.

Deadlines

Weekly Edited Grant and Residency Deadlines – review the list here.

 

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