Going Solo

In February, the Newark Arts Alliance will host Cold Comforts, my very first solo show.

The paintings in the show will center on the theme of “food as consolation.”*

I’m delighted the Alliance elected to host Cold Comforts and glad for the boost it will give to my productivity.

There’s nothing like a deadline to put you in high gear.

A solo show, of course, can be a source of anxiety.

All eyes are on your work, especially those of critics.

One bad review can sink you.

But I’m with actress Jane Russell on that subject.

“Publicity can be terrible,” she said, “if you don’t have any.”

Emerging artists need publicity, because the art world is far too parochial.

A study by The Art Newspaper found that one-third of major solo shows held in US museums featured artists represented by just five galleries (Gagosian, Pace, Marian Goodman, David Zwirner, and Hauser & Wirth).

In the case of several large art museums, the percentage is twice and three times that number.

The study’s findings point to museum curators’ cowardice when it comes to exhibiting emerging artists’ work.

“Museums should be looking at a much wider swathe of artists”,  the dean of the Yale University School of Art said in response to the study. “Curators are abdicating and delegating their responsibilities to more adventurous gallerists.”

But I’m not aiming to hang in museums. My ends are simpler.

I’m aiming to hang in people’s kitchens, dining rooms, hallways, bathrooms, and home offices.

“To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing,” Aristotle said.

Like Jane Russell, I can’t stand for that.

And so I’m going solo.

Above: Wayne & Andy. Oil on canvas board. 10 x 8 inches.

Below: Jane Russell in The Outlaw. Photo by George Hurrell.

*We are what we eat, and what we eat softens life’s edges. But food is a cold comfort, transient and fugitive; for we are creatures of insatiable desire. — From my exhibition statement