What better way to celebrate 6 years of making art than to get that art into people’s hands at an extremely affordable (like out-of-control affordable) price? If you have ever wanted to buy something from TPG but haven’t, or might want to start checking off your holiday list, the time is now. From today until December 24th, our entire inventory is 20 – 80% off. Some of these editions have very limited quantities available (like only 1 left of Steve Lambert’s I want you to have this,) so get your orders in fast if you want your choice!
It is with a simultaneously heavy/proud/appreciative/relieved heart that we’re announcing the end of our little project, our subscription art service. With your help, over the past six years we’ve channelled over $34,000 into artist payments, critic stipends, and the production of new artwork. We’ve supported the creation of 21 artist projects (over 1400 individual art pieces) that may not have happened otherwise.
Six years ago, we were newlyweds with a dream, no business experience (or training for that matter), no connections, and no cred. Since then, we have learned an enormous amount, met and worked with some really wonderful people, and have no regrets. When we started there weren’t any active art subscriptions that we knew of. Now there are over 20. (In fact, we made a list! If you need an art subscription fix in our void, this is a good place to find the right one for you: thepresentgroup.com/ArtSubscriptionDatabase)
Over the years, The Present Group has changed its focus from solely an art subscription to a place for experimental projects focused on new ways to support artists and by extension cultural producers of all stripes. Over the past couple of years, our two major projects have shown quite a bit of promise. Art Micro Patronage gave people a chance to experience group shows of online artwork and donate to artists simultaneously. The Present Group Hosting has now given away $2324 to artists working in underfunded areas of the creative landscape.
We will continue this trend of being both a place for our own experimental systems and a place that helps to facilitate others’ experiments. We will continue making things, perhaps even create editions once in a while, and hope to begin collaborating more extensively with partners. We now know how to make a lot of things (like view master reels and transparent silk screened vinyl sticker sheets!) and hope to help others make things. We will continue to explore the area between art, activism, philanthropy, and commercial endeavors. If you have a project that may be a good fit for this type of collaboration, please get in touch.
Why are we stopping? We’ve never been able to pay ourselves, we work other jobs to keep it going, and after six years of burning the candle at both ends, the flame has started to flicker. We love this project and it has been hard to make this decision, but it is time to let it go. We’ve met many of you through the fairs, speaking engagements and shows we’ve been able to be a part of. Some of you have been with us since the very beginning or close to it and by that we’re extremely humbled. We would never have been able to accomplish any of this without all the people who placed their trust and faith in us.
At this time of Thanksgiving, we’re especially thankful for the enormous generosity and community of people we have had the privilege of working with, amongst, and for. Whether you decided to try out art collecting on a whim, worked with us as an artist, writer, or vendor, or helped spread word to your friends, co-workers, students, or family members, we’re enormously grateful for every one of you.
Oliver and Eleanor
P.S. We’re celebrating this end and 6 year anniversary with a giant sale! Check out our back issues for savings of up to 20 – 80% off.
For quite some time, Oliver and I have been talking about a project we’ve been calling Show Me the Money. Sometimes our projects take a lot of time living in the back of our heads before they become a reality. Years ago, we were thinking that it would be great to diagram out how the money works for different types of organizations, businesses, and artists in the art world just so we could simply see it. But that didn’t happen, or hasn’t happened yet.
At the beginning of this year, we started thinking critically about The Present Group and how it could change and adapt so that we could become more stable (more on that later). During this time, I started thinking again about Show Me the Money and how I wished I had already done it, how it seems so necessary, how I can’t believe someone else hasn’t done it. So I went ahead and emailed one of my favorite Bay Area platforms for conversation, the SFMOMA blog, to see if they were interested in the idea. Turns out, they were.
So today, I’ve posted a little introduction to the project as a whole. I’m really excited and slightly nervous about it all, but I am really looking forward to it. With a little bit of optimism and hope, I’m about embark on asking people to talk about a subject that almost everyone avoids: money.
Here’s a snippet:
The visual arts, as a discipline, is sometimes seen as a place where one can and should freely explore and produce independently of the market. It is with this optimism and drive to work without financial reward that so many people pursue the creation of their own organizational structures. This freedom can be a fertile and productive place from which to practice, but it comes with a price of perception and expectation: creative work is generally under-compensated (because you were going to do it anyway), general operating costs are ignored in funding proposals, installations are installed without fees, and exposure is offered as payment all throughout the chain.
..There is a prevalent belief in our country that if you work hard enough you’ll be able to “make it.” If you do something good long enough, people will notice. But as any artist, small businessperson, or organization head will tell you, this just isn’t true.
So we’ve decided to team up with Southern Exposure in order to teach a class on how to do just that. Sign up – space is limited.
This Saturday, September 15th, join us in celebrating Headlands‘ major accomplishment: 30 years of supporting art and artists. It’s going to be fun. This one day, family-friendly, artist-driven festival in the Fort Barry Parade Ground of the Marin Headlands will feature an array of artist projects, games, musical entertainment, bike & surf activities, artist-led hikes, hands-on projects, and local artisan vendor booths for the delight of party-goers of all ages.
This week we’ll be finally sending out TPG21 and will be using this opportunity not only to sell our backissues in a TPG Pop-Up Shop, but also to have a little release party of sorts, with a activity led from afar by artist Christine Wong Yap. We’ll be encouraging fair goers to take a moment to Celebrate Something in sparkles.
Over a dozen artists have been commissioned to present interactive contraptions, custom-designed pods, and games at the party. Curl up inside one of Suzanne Husky‘s “Sleeper Cells;” use plant-dye to design a custom handkerchief with TPG 11 artist Helena Keeffe; make a mini-succulent garden with Sausalito’s The Low Tide Club; and peruse original artist prints and multiples for sale by Park Life and The Present Group. Enjoy music, dancing, and tasty treats.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be getting some additional information from these artists and building a platform for the public voting phase. In the meantime, get to know the projects!
We Who Feel Differently by Carlos Motta
NSKYC by Mike Bodge
http://the389.com/10/3/ by Andrey Yazev
Cultural Differences by Taryn Simon and Aaron Swartz (declined to participate)
Cloaque founded by Carlos Saez and Claudia Mate
destructables.org by Packard Jennings
C RED BLUE J by Chris Sollars
HD Jellyfish Footage by Julian Dawe (declined to participate)
Peter Hasson: Praying Ping Pong by Jesse Nichols
www.putitonapedestal.com by Anthony Antonellis
Molteni Net Works by Maria Molteni and the New Craft Artists in Action
Sanctuary by Aaron Vincent Elkaim
Inverse Internet Operating Manual Live Artist Talk
7:30 p.m., March 22
150 Frank H Ogawa Plaza Oakland, CA 94612
Join the artists of Inverse Internet Operating Manual and curator Dena Beard to reverse engineer the World Wide Web. Cycling between physical and virtual states, they will impart daring instructions for browsing, poaching, crowd-sourcing, misusing our favorite non-site. Finally, exasperated, they may ask: how do we look at art online?
What started as a few vague ideas about the possibilities of micro-donations mixed in with questions about “collecting” digital artwork is now a full-blown, beautifully designed, web application for supporting online artists.
Art Micro Patronage is an experimental online exhibition space enabling you to view and support artwork that is ideally experienced on the internet. Built on the generosity of people like you, AMP is a vehicle for a new generation of art patrons, who are willing to associate their appreciation of great work with
actual dollar amounts, no matter how small.
We’re extremely proud, and also curious if anyone will use it. So please, check it out. Each month we’ll present a new online exhibition. And while you’re there, become a micro-patron of the arts by giving a small donation to the artists who pieces you like.
Rebecca Blakley’s Lichen Books: On the Road is showing at Western Exhibitions (Chicago) in July as part of the show, “People don’t like to read art.” The title of the show takes its name from a 2009 drawing (not in this show) by Deb Sokolow that humorously reflects on some viewers’ aversion to reading text in visual art works. While the use of text in contemporary art is fairly commonplace, the artists in this show move beyond the use of single words and phrases by working with paragraphs, lists, fully-formed narratives and book formats, asking viewers to take the time to actively read the work.
July 9 – August 13th, 2011
Reception: Saturday, July 9, 6 to 9pm
SUMMER Gallery Hours: Wednesday to Saturday, 11am to 5pm
Gallery Address: 119 N Peoria St, Suite 2A Chicago, IL 60607
After some riotous voting by the public (thousands of votes were cast), the top three finalists for The Present Prize have been selected! It was a very close race and up to the last minute people were pulling ahead and dropping behind by just a vote or two in either direction. Now the hostees will choose who gets the final prize. Thank you to all who participated in the process and congratulations to our finalists!
Christine Kesler’s recent work takes the form of full-studio installations of paintings and paper sculptures; this entails a great deal of re-purposing old work, and this in turn harnesses energies of destruction, rebirth, and re-imagining. Installations made of painted objects, found objects, paper constructions, and unaltered paintings, drawings, and panels, all exist to subvert the stability of painting and to create consciousness of using what is on hand.
Alison Pebworth is a San Francisco-based artist who paintings and multi-media installations are a part of an on-going investigation into the lost and obscured histories of America. She is currently in the midst of a long-term traveling road show, entitled Beautiful Possibility Tour. This traveling exhibition is an interactive project combining art, history, and anthropology and will engage various communities and public art spaces from California to South Dakota, and across the Northern United States and lower Canada. Beautiful Possibility Tour kicked off from Southern Exposure in San Francisco in March 2010, and the artist will be traveling through October. Pebworth has received many public grants and awards for her art and research practice, including from Southern Exposure and the Center for Cultural Innovation.
Lindsey White works in still photography, video and installation, offering subtle and often humorous insights into questions of truth vs illusion, found vs fabricated and synchronicity vs chaos. Her manipulations of materials and settings, by both analog and digital means, mixed with a keen eye for coincidence make for playful yet haunting images of the not so mundane everyday.
Lindsey White lives and works in San Francisco, where she teaches photography at the California College of Art. She received her BFA in Photography from the Pacific Northwest College of Art (Portland, OR) and her MFA in Photography from the California College of Art (San Francisco, CA). She has exhibited recently at the Pacific Northwest College of Art (Portland, OR), Southern Exposure (San Francisco, CA), the Kala Institute of Art (Berkeley, CA), the Headlands Center for the Arts (Marin, CA) and the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art (San Jose, CA).
Vote on the winner of the first Present Prize:
a $1K travel grant for a Bay Area artist.
The Present Prize is an intermittent artist grant funded by web hosting fees and awarded by the community of hostees with help from the general public. Each grant period will have a new theme targeting an underfunded area of the creative landscape.
For our first prize, we have teamed up with the Collective Foundation to create a $1K travel grant to a Bay Area artist in order to address a possible reason why Bay Area artists often leave the area after a period of “incubation”. Joseph delPesco, founder of the Collective Foundation speaks eloquently about the reasoning behind this grant theme on the SF Moma blog. (excerpt below)
“Unlike most first-world countries we don’t have a cultural agency at the state or federal level that funds artists’ travel. I have an untested theory that if Bay Area artists had support for mobility that they would be more likely to stay. While the last sentence may sound counter-intuitive, I think one reason artists leave is the relative isolation of the Bay Area in relation to the art centers. More to the point, It appears that most of the artists who have stayed are those who have been able to develop projects and find exhibition opportunities outside of the Bay Area.”
Nominees* for The Present Prize:
Ajit Chauhan, Alison Pebworth, Amanda Eicher, Andrew Venell, Christine Kesler, Lindsey White, Margaret Tedesco, Matt Borruso, and Nathaniel Parsons
We want to YOUR discerning eye!
This stage of the voting is open to all members of the public. View proposals and give us your preference in randomized arena-style matchups**. Voting is open until February 28th, 2011. VOTE NOW >>
*Artists were nominated by two groups of hosting clients whose fees contributed to the creation of this grant. Artists were then contacted to provide short statements about where they wanted to go and why, an image, and a weblink.
** One of the things we were concerned about regarding the voting process was that we wanted to involved the public, but didn’t want it to just be an online popularity contest. That’s why we decided on the head-to-head matchup style and a proposal-centered presentation. We hope that this encourages voters to more fully consider the proposals merits rather than simply voting once for their friend and leaving.
We’re enthused to announce that Steve Lambert will be our seventeenth artist! Lambert made international news just after the 2008 US election with The New York Times “Special Edition,” a replica of the grey lady announcing the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and other good news. He is the founder of the Anti-Advertising Agency, lead developer of Add-Art (a Firefox add-on that replaces online advertising with art) and has collaborated with numerous artists including the Graffiti Research Lab, and the Yes Men.
Yesterday President Obama signed into law HR 5297, the Small Business Jobs Act. A lot of it has to do with tax cuts for small buisnesses, encouraging investment and entreprenuership, and making it easier and to get small buisness loans: creating new funding for these loans and increasing the maximum loan amount that the SBA doles out. There are, however, some especially exciting things for small companies, artists, and freelancers in the tax cuts area. Hello health care deduction and total cell phone deduction. Bullets taken from the White House Blog:
*A New Deduction of Health Insurance Costs for Self-Employed: The bill allows 2 million self-employed to know that on their taxes for this year, they can get a deduction for the cost of health insurance for themselves and their family members in calculating their self-employment taxes. This provision is estimated to provide over $1.9 billion in tax cuts for these entrepreneurs.
*Tax Relief and Simplification for Cell Phone Deductions: The bill changes rules so that the use of cell phones can be deducted without burdensome extra documentation – making it easier for virtually every small business in America to receive deductions that they are entitled to, beginning on their taxes for this year.
*An Increase in the Deduction for Entrepreneurs’ Start-Up Expenses: The bill temporarily increases the amount of start-up expenditures entrepreneurs can deduct from their taxes for this year from $5,000 to $10,000 (with a phase-out threshold of $60,000 in expenditures), offering an immediate incentive for someone with a new business idea to invest in starting up a new small business today.
*A Five-Year Carryback Of General Business Credits: The bill would allow certain small businesses to “carry back” their general business credits to offset five years of taxes – providing them with a break on their taxes for this year – while also allowing these credits to offset the Alternative Minimum Tax, reducing taxes for these small businesses.
*Limitations on Penalties for Errors in Tax Reporting That Disproportionately Affect Small Business: The bill would change, beginning this year, the penalty for failing to report certain tax transactions from a fixed dollar amount – which was criticized for imposing a disproportionately large penalty on small businesses in certain circumstances – to a percentage of the tax benefits from the transaction.
The Present Group will be taking part in East Carolina’s Print Summit 2010: a three day symposium consisting of exhibitions, lectures, demonstrations celebrating the diversity of contemporary printmaking media. We’ll be showing Whitney Lynn‘s DIY Survival Kit as part of “A Survey of Contemporary Printmaking,” an exhibition that includes the work of some of the most influential and important printmakers working in the US today.
Matt Egan and Michael Ehlbeck, professors of printmaking at East Carolina University, brought together five individuals to co-curate an exhibition that would offer a comprehensive look at the innovations and excellence that are shaping the course printmaking today. Along with many other lectures through the weekend (um, Karen Kunc!), these curators will discuss the collection they brought together and take a look at the current state of printmaking.
Bill Fick, of Cockeyed Press and co-author of “Printmaking: A Complete Guide to Materials and Process.”
Beth Grabowski, Professor of Art at UNC Chapel Hill and co-author of “Printmaking: A Complete Guide to Materials and Process.”
Rockie Toner, former Dean of the Tyler School of Art.
R.L. Tillman, artist, educator and co-founder of “Printeresting.”
Matt Rebholz, Assistant Professor, Southwestern University, Georgetown, TX.
The Summit is hosted by the Printmaking Department of East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, September 9 -11, 2010.
“A Survey of Contemporary Printmaking” will be on view at:
Gray Gallery, School of Art and Design, East Carolina University.
September 7th through October 2nd, 2010, Opening Reception 7:00 Friday, September 10th
Panel Discussion for “A Survey of Contemporary Printmaking”
5:30 – 7:00 pm Speight Auditorium , Room 1220- School of Art and Design
Once a year, we produce a Subscriber’s Choice Edition. We narrow down the proposals to five and allow our subscribers and the past year of artists and critics to vote. I think we have a really strong group of proposals this year. Check them out here.
The finalists are:
We’re honored to be included in this roundup by Emilie Raguso of Oakland Local of Art Subscriptions in the Bay Area. There’s starting to be quite a number of us! It is really wonderful how this idea is spreading, and people are making it their own. Thanks to Emilie and Oakland Local, and Welcome to any new visitors!
Learn more about The Present Group >>
Lego Hello World
I wish all my printers were made of legos.
LIFE photo archive hosted by Google
Images from Life Magazine going back to 1860′s, hosted by Google
Coming Face To Face With The President
Well crafted story about an under-heard point of view.
In California, Pot Is Now an Art Patron
A new funding source for the arts – reaping big rewards and funding many projects. It’s pot.
Celebrity Book Club: A List to End All Lists
Because, well, it’s sortof awesome.
Are "Artists' Statements" Really Necessary?
The pros and cons about that nemesis for most artists.
This to That
You tell it what you’ve got and it’ll tell you what to glue them together with.
Work of art: Online store for buyers, sellers
Not the TV show! Kelly Lynn Jones from Little Paper Planes is interviewed on her project, gives us a cheat sheet to local affordable art resources.