Monday, May 2, 2011

A Worthy Question at Artinfo: What Does "Emerging" Mean, Anyway?

There's much important news to discuss today: Osama Bin Laden's death, the Canadian election, etc. I'll assume that readers of this blog have voted or are planning to vote (though if you haven't, please do! Also, you may want to use this Michael Maranda–recommended matrix of where the parties stand on arts as a reference point), so it's time to turn to the *really* big question of the day: What does "Emerging" Mean in the Art World, Anyway?

I had been thinking about this off and on since a gallery owner took exception a few months back to me referencing one of their artists as "emerging" and questioning, in that context, what might happen when the artist "matures".

Lucky for me, some helpful research by Julia Halperin at Artinfo has saved me from actually doing my own post on this point. I was referred to the feature through always-also-helpful Art Fag City. Here's an excerpt of some of the definitions Halperin received:

"Between unknown and overexposed?" - Roger White, artist and co-founder of the journal Paper Monument

"Any artist who has a gallery but is not yet fully supporting themselves with their work." - Becket Bowes, artist

"An artist you may not have heard of or an artist you may have heard of. An artist under 35 years old, unless s/he has been in the biennial, unless that was basically his/her first major show, unless the work is at a price point above $50,000? No auction record? A young artist; an old artist who never had a solo show; or an old artist who has shown a lot, but in venues you don't recognize." - Sara Greenberger Rafferty, artist

Halperin also speaks to auction house representatives and academics. Their responses are worth reading over at Artinfo.

Overall, I look forward to what other commentary this new AI column on terminology brings up. Especially "contemporary"!

(Image of dictionary from Kingdom of Style)

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