The Season of Spring
I stopped in my tracks when I saw him. It was years since we last crossed paths. A smile stretched beneath his tawny beard. Our eyes met, reflecting shared memories of teenage spirit and gallivanting around Los Angeles: Sneaking into shows and not getting kicked out; Playing with fire and not getting burnt. Today Daniel Rolnik (we called him “D-Rol” back in the day) still seeks adventure, but in new ways: discovering and sharing art as a curator and critic. He’s written for LA Weekly, Hi Fructose and Beautiful/Decay to name a few. His vibrant passion, earnest warmth, and innovative way of connecting people to art has earned Daniel the title of ‘world’s most adorable art critic"— we at Magic Powers couldn’t agree more.
Daniel’s current exhibit at Flower Pepper Gallery is The Season of Spring:
“I sent 138 artists from all over the world blank art packs which they filled with 2 original works of art and bonuses like pencil sketches, zines, buttons, books, rings and other awesome art objects. I believe there is a wonderful connection between a work of art and the artist that created it.”
Gathered inside the exhibit, Daniel led a discussion with guest speakers on the future of art in Los Angeles. The turnout was incredible: Shoulder to shoulder, sitting on the floor and spilling out the door; art fans showed up in droves to participate. Join the conversation with highlights from the panel— social media’s effect on the art world, increased accessibility, and the blurring of art and craft.
ROLINK – A recent thing happening is the emergence of the art fan. They’re collectors – but not the traditional kind who pay a crazy amount.
MORET – Daniel and I were sharing photos [of the exhibit] on Instagram and the response was tremendous – why? Because this idea that art is accessible? That art has a new price point? We’re embracing new mediums and new ways to purchase. There is definitely a shift happening.
DAICHENDT – The traditional idea of not having artists in the gallery, spacing the work far apart and not having windows into the real world gives the illusion of historical value. The artist is becoming central to these art fans, along with their personality and getting a glimpse into their studio. There is a difference and it seems to be happening on the lower end, which is why so many people are lining up for those free prints outside the gallery. It’s exciting and more accessible.
GLEASON – When you glamorize art too much you lose the core thing you came to art for. When it’s all about the glitz and the fans and the openings… when you have layers of glamour, you do lose it- it’s gone and suddenly you are left with nothing. Like sugar, it’s not going to feed you.
PICARD – Who are the most important and powerful group of people in the art world? Is it the museum? The collector? The gallery owner?
AUDIENCE – The artist !
DAICHENDT – Artists always say that…
PICARD – There is a feeling in Europe that the curator is the most important person in the art world… other than the artist.
AUDIENCE Q – Should artists reveal their work over social media before a show?
MORET – A friend of mine had a show in April. There was a feature on her in the LA Times. Her key piece in the show sold before it even opened. There’s always going to be the question of how much do you show before? On an editorial level I like to tease people. Give the faintest suggestion of something incredible. But Lisa is a great example - that collector bought it sight unseen. He just saw the little picture in the LA Times and that was it! Then everyone wanted that piece.
ROLNIK – Elizabeth McGrath’s two pieces in this show both sold before we could hang them. It’s great when artists keep posting things on Instagram. It’s a sign you’re creating work, which is awesome because there’s always something new and exciting to see.
GLEASON – Showing your art on the internet is like cleavage. Raquel Welsh never took her top off and she’s still in the news. How much you show may somewhat reveal a level of desperation and need for attention. At what point are you giving everybody everything they want without getting anything you want? It’s something to think about.
PICARD – As a buyer, I once found an artist and his work through Facebook. A friend of his posted a picture of his artwork. I saw it, and got to the studio that way.
AUDIENCE Q – Does it help or hinder to categorize your art?
GLEASON – I don’t think the artist should pay attention to the dialogue; the artist should make the art not ‘read the book’ or engage in historical nuances. Absorb life and give it back to us as art. Too many definitions will destroy you.
PICARD – In a world where every boundary has been broken down virtually– there used to be a thing called craft… and art. That separation is gone. The more we move on, and the more the millennials take over, the fewer boundaries there will be.
ROLNIK – I don’t like boundaries. From a marketing standpoint however, it is helpful to focus on a genre you fit in to. You’ll have more success with posts and blogging. It’s a double-edged sword. I’d like to erase boundaries and make it all about art and we get to choose as a collective consciousness what we like. Yes it’s hippie, but I’m wearing a shirt that says HI I’M DANIEL – it’s ridiculous (made by an artist in the show).
MORET – LA has this amazing narrative in the writers who once lived here and the architecture that hasn’t been torn down, and this constant ability to evolve freely without social constraints that are so confining. That’s the beauty of Los Angeles and why we’re sitting here and choose to live here and make some attempt at writing about or making or curating art. It’s because of this infinite possibility the city has that is so palpable.
The mash up of art, craft, and design is happening all around us. From street art to sculpture to industrial design, art is seeping into different mediums everyday. Where there is intention there is art. Keep sharing. Keep digging. Keep making.
The Season of Spring Exhibit: March - April 4th 2014 (11am-7pm) at Flower Pepper Gallery - 121 E Union St, Pasadena CA 91103
Panelists: Mat Gleason (Art critic, Founder of Coagula Art Journal), Marlene Piccard, Jim Daichendt (Professor, Author, Art Critic), A. Moret (Editor-in-Chief of Installation Mag), and K. Nyugen.
Photography by Chris Mortenson