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the

17 TIPS project

2012 Ellen Mueller CURATOR


© 2012 ELLEN MUELLER HTTP://ELLENMUELLER.COM ELLEN@ELLENMUELLER.COM ALL ARTWORKS CONTAINED WITHIN THIS BOOK ARE © THE RESPECTIVE OWNER(S). NO PART OF THIS BOOK MAY BE REPRODUCED OR USED IN ANY FORM BY ANY MEANS — GRAPHIC, ELECTRONIC, OR MECHANICAL, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO PHOTOCOPYING, RECORDING, TAPING, WEB DISTRIBUTION, MENTAL TELEPATHY OR LASER CATS—WITHOUT THE WRITTEN PERMISSION OF THE PUBLISHER. CATALOG DESIGNED BY: PHILRULES.COM


WILLIAM POWHIDA

TIPS FOR ARTISTS WHO WANT TO SELL

2010 / silkscreen on paper / 9.5" x 7"


what is the

17 TIPS project? This project invited artists to create works in reaction to each of William Powhida’s 17 tips for selling art. Over the course of 17 weeks, artists were given a weekly prompt based on one of Powhida’s original tips, culminating in a catalog and curated exhibition. The works included in the 17 Tips Project are diverse in media, including traditional 2D and 3D media, internet art, animated GIFs and video. A full collection of works can be found online at http://17tips.blogspot.com


curator

STATEMENT IN

2010, William Powhida, a Brooklyn-based artist, reinterpreted John Baldessari’s Tips for Artists Who Want to Sell, creating Tips for Artists Who Want to Sell (New and Unimproved). I stumbled across the work shortly after its debut, and it has been lingering in the back of my mind ever since. Given the persisting economic climate, and the political debate centering around the economy during this election year, it felt like an appropriate moment to examine the intersection of art and capitalism more closely through the lens of Powhida’s list. When I first started planning this project, I immediately thought of artists all over the country and wanted them to participate regardless of geography. Making the project opensource seemed like a natural step in terms of gathering a broad sampling of approaches and interpretations.


I wasn’t sure what to expect from artists, in that responding to a direct criticism of the art world might not be a regular part of their artistic practice. Looking at the works now, I enjoy how the bitter and stinging critiques are balanced by humor and playfulness in much of the work, which is certainly the quality that drew me to the original work by Powhida. I wonder if this commonality is the result of the game-like quality the project took on as the tips unfolded each week, or perhaps because of the cynical humor inherent in the tips themselves. In retrospect, the works that stand out to me most seem to fully embrace the cynical message, or question the entire premise of Powhida’s work. Heather Mahoney’s 48 Cents Per Ounce and Becky Flanders’ Daily Meditation #3 embrace the sexually charged imagery as directed. Capitalism takes center stage in the shiny Diamonds and Gold by Morgan Cahn, or the receipt-like Accept Capitalism by Ryann Slauson. Other artists effectively respond to the text of Powhida’s piece with their own text, as in Aaron Smith’s Is This Art and Joseph Young’s Moby-Dick, or, The Whale. Meanwhile, April Childer’s ART MAKE ART ABOUT throws the mirror-gazing of the art world back in our faces. We look forward to the debut exhibition of this project at the Sleeth Gallery in Buckhannon, West Virginia, November 6-15, 2012. Many thanks to William Powhida for so graciously embracing this critique. Ellen Mueller 2012


RE:

17 tips project As an artist who works with satire, sarcasm, and parody, I was a little scared when Ellen Mueller contacted me about her 17 Tips Project, an open invitation to artists to respond to my drawing (and subsequent silkscreen edition). Scared might be a strong word, but the idea of artists responding to each tip seemed like a recipe for disaster. The object of the original drawing was to humorously satirize some of the dominant practices, themes, and inner workings of highpriced contemporary art by referencing John Baldessari’s wry painting Tips for Artists Who Want to Sell. By comparison, Baldessari takes an academic, sociological tone about the content of figurative painting that re-emerged in the wake of the collapse of Modernism. Still, my appropriation of Baldessari’s well-known, textbased painting about painting is also a dominant postmodern


practice; the endless recycling of art, art history, and pop culture in a perpetual state of self-reflexivity. Tip 18 might be “Use everything. Use everyone.” The concept for Mueller’s project proposed yet another extension of using art to produce art. She presented my drawing as a framework for artists to respond to themes prevalent in contemporary art; money, controversy, the body, sex, identity, celebrity, post-minimalism, archiving, biography, and consumerism. I don’t think it’s my role to evaluate the quality of the resulting work from an open call, but I am less interested in the individual works than Mueller’s own act of appropriation; in using other artists to form a critical response to the issues raised in my work. I also read Mueller’s project as a question about the power dynamic between artists that plays upon the paradoxes of my own practice, which often exploits the power of others. Mueller has formed an associative chain between all of the artists who participated knowingly and unknowingly from Baldessari to myself to each of the participating artists and all of the artists, dealers, characters, and celebrities that the works in turn reference. In a basic curatorial sense, Mueller’s project has brought together a contingent of artists whose sincere, ironic, and cynical responses create a meta-commentary on the issues raised in my drawing. In a critical sense, Mueller has extended my own approach of using other artists as a basis for the work. While artists work within a long tradition, the art world tends to look at it as a generative process of progress, artists building on the work of others. This kind of analysis heavily favored by the market (critics, dealers, and art historians included) is a process of historicism used to develop the lineage


RE: 17 TIPS PROJECT CONTINUED

between artists’ practices. Roberta Smith demonstrates this process rather well in her recent review of the Wade Guyton retrospective at the Whitney. I think Mueller’s project proposes commentary that collectively addresses the ways in which artists (including myself) use the work, attitudes, material working conditions, reputation, and persona of others as subject for critique, which doesn’t necessarily build on history, but rather dismantles it to question the underlying values of art. It’s an important question that the participating artists have engaged in stretching back to Baldessari’s original, critical gesture. While this is also a form of historicism, it is not one in which value is affirmed by association, but one in which that value is questioned. In this way, I don’t feel used, but useful. William Powhida 2012


PARTICIPATING ARTISTS AARON SMITH APRIL CHILDERS BECKY FLANDERS BRIANA PHELPS CINDY MASON HEATHER MAHONEY JOHN ADKINS JOSEPH YOUNG KATHERINE LeFAVE KATIE ROSE PIPKIN LAUREN ALYSSA HOWARD LIAM DUNN MEGAN HILDEBRANDT MORGAN CAHN PHIL McCOLLAM ROBB FLADRY RYANN SLAUSON WESLEY WETHERINGTON


HEATHER MAHONEY 43 CENTS PER OUNCE

2012 / ink and gouache on colored paper / 9.5" x 7" Tip #1


KATIE ROSE PIPKIN

INVOLVE DRUGS WHENEVER POSSIBLE 2012 / ceramic, gesso, porcelain / 5" x 5" Tip #2


JOSEPH YOUNG

MOBY-DICK, OR, THE WHALE 2012 / 38pg. book (detail) Tip #11


LAUREN ALYSSA HOWARD

LIFE BEGINS... (C’ MON, Y’ALL KNOW IT’S TRUE) 2012 / graphite on matboard / 6" x 3.5" Tip #3


PHIL McCOLLAM

EAT YOUR PRAYERS AND SAY YOUR VITAMINS

2012 / animated gifs, HTML, CSS, jQuery / variable Tip #15


KATHERINE LeFAVE UNTITLED

2012 / colored pencil on paper / 9" x 6" Tip #6


MEGAN HILDEBRANDT

MONEY SIGN MONEY SIGN

year / medium / 9.5" x 7" Tip #


AARON SMITH NO HOMO ART

2012 / mixed media on paper / 8.5" x 11" Tip #6


ROBB FLADRY

RULE 8 (THE DARK KNIGHT)

2012 / digital image / 4" x 6" Tip #8


JOHN ADKINS THUMBS UP AND OUT 2012 / ink on paper / 3" x 2.25" Tip #2


MORGAN CAHN

[SHOW THEM SOME SKIN.][TITS AND COCKS!]

2012 / animated gif / variable Tip #4


AARON SMITH IS THIS ART

2012 / marker on paper / 25.5" x 11" Tip #12


BECKY FLANDERS

PRIVATEER FLAG; I BEAR NO ALLEGIANCE, MY BOUNTY BELONGS TO NO CROWN 2012 / nylon, brass, cotton / 60" x 40" Tip #7


MORGAN CAHN DIAMONDS AND GOLD 2012 / animated gif / variable Tip #2


KATIE ROSE PIPKIN NONSPECIFIC

2012 / photo collage, chemical alterations / 4" x 6" Tip #9


KATHERINE LeFAVE SPONTANEOUS

2012 / ink on paper / 6" x 9" Tip #14


MEGAN HILDEBRANDT

COLOR THEORY IS HARD

2012 / graphite on paper / 8.5" x 11" Tip #13


JOHN ADKINS

GLOBAL PENETRATION 2012 / ink on paper / 3" x 2.25" Tip #14


RYANN SLAUSON ACCEPT CAPITALISM

2012 / digital image / 555px x 1016px Tip #1


LIAM DUNN

WORTHLESS/PRICELESS 2012 / pen on paper / 298mm x 200mm Tip #1


JOSEPH YOUNG DRUGS

2012 / mixed media on book pages / 6" x 10" / 10" x 6" Tip #15


KATIE ROSE PIPKIN

ANYTHING LOOKS GOOD IN GLASS 2012 / mixed media / 9" x 6" x 6" Tip #14


BECKY FLANDERS

DAILY MEDITATION #3

2012 / archival inkjet print / 20" x 30" Tip #4


MEGAN HILDEBRANDT

SAMANTHA NELSON’S 14TH BIRTHDAY 2012 / ink on paper 6.5" x 13.5" Tip #7


WESLEY WETHERINGTON

DIAMONDS AND GOLD

2012 / pen and idle commentary on paper Tip #2


APRIL CHILDERS ART MAKE ART ABOUT 2012 / mixed media Tip #1


LAUREN ALYSSA HOWARD

ANT FARM

2012 / graphite / 4.75" x 6.75" Tip #14


ROBB FLADRY RULE 5 (TWILIGHT) 2012 / digital image / 4" x 6" Tip #5


PHIL McCOLLAM

THE FAITH IN HUMANITY POLL

2012 / interactive online poll / variable Tip #5


BRIANA PHELPS

I’VE ONLY RECEIVED DIAMONDS AND GOLD FROM A MAN WHO IS GAY 2012 / acrylic and glitter / 10" x 7" Tip #2


WESLEY WETHERINGTON TO WIT(T)- A DOG

2012 / digital video and surliness / 02:26 Tip #12


JOSEPH YOUNG THE PLAYER

2012 / wintergreen oil transfer on LIFE cereal box gamepiece / 7.5" x 6.75" Tip #10


RYANN SLAUSON DIAMONDS AND GOLD

2012 / digital image / 674px x 513px Tip #2


LAUREN ALYSSA HOWARD UNTITLED

2012 / graphite / 6.25" x 4.75" Tip #16


HEATHER MAHONEY WHAT’S A VAJAZZLE?

2012 / ink and gouache on colored paper / 9.5" x 9" Tip #3


LIAM DUNN

SCHIELE DIED AT 28

2012 / pen on paper / 422mm x 276mm Tip #16


CINDY MASON

KEEPING UP APPEARANCES

2012 / mixed media / 35" x 11" x 22" Tip #2


BECKY FLANDERS

THUS ROARETH THE MONSTER 2012 / inkjet on paper / 4" x 4" Tip #17



The 17 Tips Project Catalog