Oh yes I did! I did make my way over to "Cool Guys like You" Jennifer Dalton’s recent show at Winkleman Gallery.
This is only after I criticized one of the works in the show by way of a Facebook snippet. Edward Winkleman, the dealer representing
, was quick to respond. Winkleman attempted to school me on what he felt was an unorthodox approach to art criticism by suggesting I might want to see the show before making any comments. Dalton
Although the work in question is a conceptual piece and was clearly outlined before the opening via a combination of a couple of blogs as well as the gallery website, I decided to swallow Edward’s instruction and play by the rules…sort of. I did physically go to the show, but I forced myself to stay within the confines of the piece in question “What Does an Important Person look like?” 2011.
The installation consists of selected screenshots of "Daily Show" guests. Male guests are framed in gold and women guests are framed in silver. The idea is to highlight a lopsided format that apparently favors the males. Ironically, the women outshine the men on this stage by way of standing out. It is this visual twist from
that keeps the didactic piece from flopping completely. Good visuals are always cool but it’s the concept and the working process that is lackluster. Dalton (intended or not)
One post crasher on Edward Winkleman’s Facebook page suggested that “it would have been far more interesting to see Jennifer compile a [current] list of women who can match or surpass the contributions to the specific areas of which the men are being highlighted or at least conduct the study on a longer time line to give it a stronger punch.” Good point and I don’t think this guy was even an artist.
So to insinuate that gender disparity in this case might be the result of the “boys' club” phenomena is delusional. I think "Daily Show" correspondent Samantha Bee’s observation gets closer to the truth of the matter when she stated that "I just know so many female writers who never submit, and I'm not sure why."
Now I will play Norman Mailer and suggest that the testosterone factor might be an overlooked impetus involved in asserting yourself, making your voice heard, staying on top etc. All of which is necessary when vying for attention in the highly competitive world of Television. When we talk of war or domestic abuse there is no problem slapping that supposedly inherent aggression label onto men. Could this biological edge tip the scales in other areas as well?
Here is something a little closer to home that
might want to WTF about: The Winkleman Gallery (all artists) list has a 7 to 12 ratio... in favor of males. This takes into account the male/female collaborators. Now I am assuming that her dealer is not forgetful or lazy, so what gives? Maybe Dalton might want to consider pointing the dirty stick at her own gallery, now that would be fun! Dalton
In short it is a complex world we have been thrown into, a slippery culture that is continually in flux. One really has to be on it to be able to connect the dots successfully and consistently. As a conceptual artist it is far too easy to fall prey to pseudo social science and take on the boring role of 'quota queen'.
My advice to artists in this genre is do your homework cause’ when the tale of the tape is shown, solid artists like Maria Eichhorn, Janine Antoni and the Guerrilla Girls for example will make many of you look sissy.