Wednesday, February 4, 2009
I'll be having a retrospective exhibition at the end of the month in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The work will span an era of 10 years, including brand new work. Plan on coming and tell your friends, this should be a doozy... more updates later....
Posted by Ted Stanke at 12:43 PM
Sunday, February 1, 2009
As corporate capitalism continues to crumble, creativity can once again breathe. Economic instability doesn't worry me, it excites me. I've never had anything resembling a steady income and have also never cared. Things fall into place, and I trust that will continue. I follow the path I'm on not sure where it's going, but enjoying the journey. This recent turn was a surprise even to me.
For the past 4 months, I've known that the storage unit containing a huge collection of my artwork was becoming more and more overdue. Unable to generate enough money to pay it off, I ignored the phonecalls and kept searching Craigslist for work. I knew something would happen.
In America, the work ethic was once superb, and workcrews all across NYC laid millions of cobblestones. In Europe, when roadwork needs doing, the crews pull up the cobblestones and then replace them again. Here, they just slather the stuff with asphalt: cheap and fast, all beauty aside.
As the months went by, and late fees piled upon my past due balance, I started to long for the easy way out. I would just walk away, let them auction it, and go forward with things. Like a roadcrew in Brooklyn, I was about to pour asphalt on it and smack it with the back of a shovel. Hampered by finance and the lack thereof, I came to accept never seeing any of this artwork again, and rationalized the loss by comparing my problems to those of the people in Gaza. Things could be worse.I would rebuild and recover, and would have no regrets. I was happy with this decision, yet I could not shake the feeling of grief. Everytime I remembered something else in that room I sighed deeply. So much effort, so much beauty, five years of rent, only to end in an anonymous sale to someone looking for things with resale value. The dumpster bill alone would be hundreds, simply to take it to a landfill. I imagined the reaction that whoever opened it would have, and took consolation in the thought. It would be quite dramatic, and possibly hilarious.First of all, the entire room is packed completely in with art and supplies. Moving aside the boxes, they'd see what appears to be an indiscernible mound of colorful junk.
Mixed into the junk are relics from the past and various books and electronic devices. To the untrained eye, it is difficult to comprehend, but properly appreciated, this vault contains priceless treasures.
Letting this all go would have been easy, yet now I'm bound to it more than ever. After spending the entire second Bush term in darkness, my portrait of America emerges and rubs its eyes, shaking off the musty feeling that hibernation has left behind, and once again existing as artwork, once more capable of inspiring awe and appreciation.
This art is huge, and any project involving it will not be easy, yet I feel a sense of duty to finish this project to a satisfying conclusion. The entire map has never been shown, and perhaps never will be, yet its link to the future is solid, and in time I will understand more deeply its significance, mysterious as that might still be.
When I decided to auction these sculptures to the highest bidder, I was hoping for a big break with the press which would get me the kind of exposure I'm incapable of generating myself. What happened was something else.
People from all parts of my life came forward to invest in my future by staking out a piece of my past. A small core group of longtime friends, some of whom have been out of my life for decades, came forward to show their support, and I look forward to working with them all to take this project to a climactic conclusion later this year.
The path continues, the struggle endures, the satisfaction remains. The immediate crisis has been averted but so much more work lies ahead. I will not stop.