Dear Domino, I'm probably not the first to say this, but it's not you -- it's me. You know I love you, what with your frequently updated FREE shelter site and its endless galleries of "Quirky Kitchens" and "Inspiring Paint Palettes." I check nearly every day to see what gratis goodies you may have for me, but lately I've been a little disappointed. No, not in Nick Olsen's fab blog (he is a cheap bastard after my own heart), or in the Germinatrix' foliar delights. No, it's YOU, Domino. Who do you think you are? Actually, who do you think I am? Do you think I have $1250 to spend on a 7"x9" (not even a square foot!) painting featured in your "Affordable Art Gallery?" I see that you snuck the word "relatively" in front of the "affordable" part, but that don't make this ok:
To add insult to injury, you blithely recommend displaying the whole grid to make a "striking statement." WTF?! I see 50 pictures there, times $1250 each, equals $62,500. Sure those little cans are cute, but do you think my last name is Hilton or Trump or Cheney? Besides, if I had that much money, I'd probably spend it on an Andy Warhol print.
Then there's the photography you're featuring. Maybe you are aware that I am was a photographer, that I, in fact, used to teach photography (not that I'll ever get hired for a job again after writing this letter).
I'd like to pretend that I might even know something about photography, but I am confused as to how this is "affordable" "art"? $4000 for a digital print of trees? $6000 for a monitor calibration pattern? $1200 for a 9"x12" photo of a shirt? (Actually, Domino, that shirt kind of looks like my old work... let's talk, ok?) So, maybe I am just another starving artist and maybe I'm just a little miffed that I can't whip a 6k print out of my back pocket (hey there, it's me again -- I'd be super happy to print some $6000 test patterns right up for you. I'm nothing if not accommodating. Call me!), but is this honestly the best you have to show from the Unaffordable Art Fair?
A "collage of a French bulldog made out of French paper scraps. Just take a moment to process that." Uh, no, not when you reduce it down to kindergarten terms, and though he is... cute, not for $6000. And I definitely do not have $5500 for "Bright Trees" (I could have a life sized Robert Longo lithograph for that price!). Do you think I am drinking the Suzani flavored kool-aid? To make matters so much worse, I know you could have shown better art from the Carrie Haddad Gallery, like some work from Jean-Marc Superville Sovak or Stevan Jennis. They even carry Laurent Millet, for Chrissake!
Let's see: $700 for a 16"x20" original toned Laurent FREAKING Millet print, or $5500 for "Bright Trees." Hmm. Did I mention that I may be slightly biased towards photography?
Domino, all is not lost. There are a few gems to be found within your slim pickens:
At least I think this work is good. I just don't happen to have $1300 for a 30" square papercut, although I wish I did. Someone needs to pay Anna Howarth for actually working. And Anders Knutsson's acrylic on linen painting of the tree is kind of amazing and not so much bright as wise and brooding, which I personally appreciate (plus I really like trees. A lot). $2500 is pretty expensive for those of us with modest real budgets, but at least he offers a $400 print. Maybe he can afford to do that since he sells through his own studio, and not some bloated gallery that takes a 50% cut of your hard earned money. Not that I've ever been shafted by a gallery or anything.
But do you know what's really hard to swallow? It's that we, your adoring readers, are yearning for great, affordable art now more than ever. Not to depress you, but have you been reading the news? The economy sucks and the dollar is worthless. I know that taste is subjective (and hey, I guess cost is relative, too), but would it kill you to throw in some awesome Etsy picks? (click for bigger picture)
1. Grand Array poster, $20. 2. Oh My Cavalier! print, $26. 3. Valerie Galloway hand colored print, $25. 4. Huldra Press painting $80 (sold! but others available). 5. Berkeley Illustration print, $15. 6. katnicolas photograph, $150. 7. Pam Glew original screenprint, $490 (reproductions available for $25), 8. Jerry Cargill, Selenium toned Silver print, $25.
You see? It can be done.
A bitter and burned out fame whore who still loves you.