Small (Art) World

While in Chicago a couple weeks ago, I was able to view the School of the Art Institute of Chicago's MFA Thesis Exhibition upon the recommendation of my colleague, art historian Dr. Thor Mednick. He had been at the opening the week before and actually purchased this piece by artist Carly Silverman:

Keep in mind this MFA class is huge, well over 100 candidates, the show spanning a couple floors of a couple buildings. Thor had described the piece, and I found it. As I approached I noticed two people in folding chairs in an apparent critique of the work. I recognized Jerry Saltz right away. He is an art critic who visited a class I had in grad school at Parsons. He told us we were already a part of the art world, not just emerging, not on the outside. I started reading his reviews of shows in various publications and found them highly enjoyable, educational, and accessible. OK, and severely entertaining. Reading them made me want to look up artists and pop culture icons and art movements if I wasn't already familiar, in order to see what he was seeing, Seeing Out Loud as in the title of his first collected reviews. I went on to share his reviews with my Art Theory class, as an example of written critique. Bonus that I can tell them I met him in NYC. And now here he was again, discussing this artist's work, the very artist whose piece was purchased by my colleague the week before. Crazy. So I stuck out my hand and said hello to them both and how I was already connected to them both. I mentioned that the work brought Alex Katz to mind, and Jerry exclaimed they were both talking about him, much to my pure delight that I was able to see what Jerry saw, that I was still a part of the art world, maybe even a bigger, more-contributing part, of the art (small) world.


  1. Small world, indeed. I was talking with some friends recently about the fact that there are very few truly famous (ubiquitous) artists. Fame seems to be attached to personalities (usually due to boring/childish behavior) rather than their work. The artists I can think of, who have truly made it into the mainstream in the past few years are Shepard Fairey, Banksy, and Ai Wei Wei - all of them famous for their legal troubles more than their work. Rather than whine about this (which I do frequently) we should enjoy the fact that noone is out of reach - you can bump in to critics/artists that you respect if you are hanging out in the right spots. Thanks for the reminder, Josie.

  2. ... not to say that the artists mentioned are boring/childish, just that they are famous as personalities, not for their work.

  3. Josie, YOU my friend, are an inspiration. It is so refreshing to see and hear about someone close to me living their dream. I see your dream unfolding in parts. . . I watch your journey. I read and listen with wide eyes and fill my mind with pictures of wonder. Thank you for a piece of peace, my friend.

  4. YES, Kyle. These jolts of inspiration that come from "hanging out in the right spots" are crucial for me as an artist. I must stay connected, or I feel isolated and become lazy and won't be engaged and won't make work. It's so precarious. And even when I'm in the right spots, I need to be my own biggest cheerleader: "Do it, you can say something, interrupt that crit and shake Jerry's hand and introduce yourself, you have something to say".

    LeAnne, I adore you and your journey. I'm glad I'm on it with you, friend.


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