Culture: June 2006 Archives

When I first came to New York in 1989, I found it hard to believe that artists -- whether visual artists, actors, dancers, etc. -- could afford to live here. Given the real estate prices of today, those seem like the cheap halcyon days. I worry very much about the ability of NYC to remain an arts capital when it is so expensive for people to live within 3 subway stops of Manhattan. Those patrons and collectors that support new art are unlikely to venture out that far unfortunately. Williamsburg is so close, and I still hear people talk about it like it's Kansas.

From Crain's New York I learn that Williamsburg's Galapagos is trying to do something about this.
In an effort to keep up and coming artists in New York, Galapagos Art Space in Williamsburg plans to meet with the Department of Cultural Affairs tomorrow to begin lobbying for government aid for emerging artists.

Executives at Galapagos, which presents 140 performances a month attracting an average of 8,000 people, say New York City is at risk of losing its status as an international cultural capital because beginning artists can't afford to live here anymore.

"There's not the inflow of young artists moving in the city like there used to be," says Robert Elmes, director of Galapagos. "The conversation at this point isn't whether or not there's opportunity in New York, but just what other city they should go to."

Mr. Elmes says his theater has already seen a significant drop in proposals from college students or recent graduates to come there and present their work.

Instead, young artists are heading to places like Pittsburgh, or even overseas to Berlin, which has been aggressive about promoting itself as an affordable hub for emerging arts.

When we attended the Whitney Biennial press preview, I was struck by the fact that the curators travelled to Berlin to visit American artists' studios. I know a number of people that find it cheaper to live and work there part of the year, while still showing with a New York gallery. One example is D-L Alvarez, who shows with Derek Eller Gallery.

On a related note, James and I are troubled by our ability to see as much emerging art as we once did, since we don't own a car. Many interesting Brooklyn galleries are increasingly spread far away from each other, and from a convenient subway stop. As an example, check out this map from WAGMAG. Visiting VertexList, Klaus Von Nichtssagend, and Outrageous Look in one day is quite a trek.

Related to my earlier post on the rich and their hunger for art/bohemia, I learn that W Magazine will have its first-ever art issue this fall. I believe the LTB Magazine will be called Culture and Travel, not Art & Culture as the NY Post says.

W magazine's first-ever art issue is slated to hit newsstands in October, and will cover major artists, auction houses and dealers.

Some may chalk this one up to a simmering rivalry between James Truman, the ex-editorial director of Conde Nast, and Patrick McCarthy, the editorial director of stablemate W.

Truman is now the CEO of LTB Media, a company that has as its flagship Art & Auction. He's also introducing his newest magazine, Art & Culture, in September, but is said to be struggling to find ads.

McCarthy denies any rivalry with Truman. "It has nothing to do with that. We've had this on the drawing board for nine months," McCarthy said of W's art number.

Still, he concedes, it is a first for W. And while he'll be covering the art world, he said he'll be going to the same high-end fashion advertisers.

Gustavo Artigas

Gustavo Artigas, Rules of the Game, 2000-2001, video still

I think this has already been mentioned on Artnet, but I just now realized that Roebling Hall is closing its Williamsburg location after the next show. From the press release for the show:

Celebrate the Final Gallery Opening at Roebling Hall, Williamsburg! This Saturday June 3, 6-8pm preview party


This portion of the show is the last exhibition at Roebling Hall’s Brooklyn gallery.

This makes me almost as sad as when Schroeder Romero left. It's the end of an era. I fear Williamsburg is turning into a yuppie playground, but without anything like the public transit of much of Manhattan. I'm sorry my schedule and the crappy weather discouraged me from attending William Powhida's eulogy tonight.

Flush with cash from all of their tax cuts and asset appreciation, the rich need new ways to entertain themselves. Pretending to be more connected to bohemia and artists appears to be the new black.

James Truman, formerly of Condé Nast, is starting up a magazine for LTB Media called Culture and Travel. Here is an excerpt from a Anthony Haden-Guest column in the Financial Times.
So to Culture and Travel. Truman was editorial director of Conde Nast for 11 years. How will the new title differ?

“We’re going to select the audience, 60,000 people, from proprietary lists that we’re compiling of art lovers, people who are very involved in culture, people who travel, rich people.” Another explosive laugh.

And the critical content? “It won’t be an art magazine in the sense of having reviews. It will work off the cultural calendar somewhat. But really it’s a travel guide for creative people. And those people who want to live a creative life for a few weeks.”

This reminds me of an article I saw in Business Week about Ian Schrager declaring that "design hotels" are over, and "art hotels" are the new thing. Read the Chelsea Hotel Blog for more on that story.

This page is an archive of entries in the Culture category from June 2006.

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