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A Gift

As you may know, I am a regular contributor to Hyperallergic, the online art magazine that has come to be a significant landmark in the artworld landscape in the last few years, as print coverage of the visual arts has shrunk dramatically. (Just last week, for example, Art in America merged with its rival, ArtNews).

One of the features I write is called A View from the Easel, for which artists from all over the world submit a photo of their studio (no people), and a short description of the space. It's one of the most popular things on Hyperallergic now, regularly getting 1500 Facebook shares. A few weeks ago, I received an envelope in the mail sent by someone whose View was published in June:


The artist is Alan Neider, and the work in the catalogue consists of assemblages of plaster and collage on cardboard. They are reminiscent of Robert Rauschenberg's assemblages, though with more colour. My quick response to the work is that the pieces that contain looping shapes seem less cohesive than the ones that consist of aggregates of more discrete shapes. I can't exactly say why: maybe the looping diminishes the visual energy a little.

Regardless, it's a nice thing to get an unsolicited gift once in a while. And it reminds me that ultimately, most artists of any calibre make art in that spirit: not as a career move or a money spinner, but as a gift, to someone they know, or to the world.

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