The Present Prize #3 is open for Nominations!

At the beginning of this year, I spent a good amount of time trying to figure out how I could fund some of the projects I was working on and wanted to continue with. These were largely research based projects that I considered part of my practice. But since these works were harder to situate strictly as artworks or as social science, they were very hard to fund.  Fortunately, I’m in a position to help give that opportunity to someone else!

Our practice as artists is dependent on what we produce. But there are times when we need only to explore, where the result is so far from the horizon, that we cannot see it. While often these times can be extremely productive, it is hard for most artists to justify a step away from the exhibition schedule, from deadlines, and from the scene in general in order to dedicate the time needed to fully know a subject.

“To really see something differently, it takes a tremendous amount of work, to understand what is in fact what you are looking at. I make a new project every five years and I think a lot of artists don’t work that way. So many of us are on deadline. I did that as well but in these long term projects I try to understand as much as possible and that takes time. If you really want to understand something and really get into the idea, it takes a long time to investigate any idea or methodology.”-Trevor Paglan

It’s time to reward someone for taking the leap to pursue something complex, for doing the research, and taking the time to learn. Let’s acknowledge the time and commitment an individual is putting forth in order to gain and ultimately share knowledge for the betterment of all of us.

“… art practice, in its most elemental form, is an educational act, for the intent is to provoke dialogue and to initiate change…to vision anew what is possible, but in a way that allows others to share the view.” – Graeme Sullivan

All of our web hostees are invited to nominate two artists that are doing exceptional research as their studio practice.

If you would like to participate in this prize as a non-hostee, you can buy in.  For $25 you can nominate two artists, vote in both the public and final private phases, and contribute your entire amount (minus transaction fees) towards giving an artist a little extra time to research. Learn more here>>

New Project: The People’s E-book

Last fall, we went to a conference in Seattle and presented on a panel called Moving Forwards by Looking Sideways: Creative Thinking in Museum Digital Strategy.  This was a great opportunity for us because one of the things we’ve been thinking about a lot is ways that we might partner or work with museums to do projects that would benefit larger communities.   One of our co-panelists, Greg from Hol Art Books, brought up the idea of Museums employing and/or creating space for artists and startups in residence allowing the museum to not have the responsibility for “crazy” stuff they might do, but also gain the rewards of the programming, energy, and community building that these small groups might generate.  The artists or startups on the other hand get a little time and money to activate collections and larger audiences that are normally beyond their reach.  There are some examples already in place for this.  We love this idea and have been talking it up a bit, but something we’ve learned is that museums move slowly and in order for something like this to get implemented, it will likely take years, not months.

Live Museum Soundtrack, Machine Project at the Hammer Museum, 2010-11

Meanwhile, little guys like us and Hol Art Books can move pretty fast.  We hung out a lot with Greg while we were at the conference and spoke a lot about e-books – what they are, how they’re programmed, and why artists aren’t making more of them.  We quickly realized that they really are an untapped medium and started thinking of all the e-books that we should start making.  One great thing about them is that there is already a funding mechanism built in.  People are used to paying for books and e-books and inherently understand that transaction.  Yet they are built on html and the structure is open enough that there is room for a good amount of play, as long as you allow for the fact that the different readers, just like different browsers, each have their own set of rules.

Greg has had an idea floating around for an e-book builder that would allow many more people to start to play with creating, publishing, and selling e-books.  It would make creating an e-book as easy as writing a blog post. But he needed a partner to build it, and as this project fits nicely with our mission of creating systems and tools that facilitate the funding and distribution of artist projects, we offered to be that partner.

Tonight, we launch our very first Kickstarter campaign to fund the creation of that project, The People’s E-book.  Help us realize this dream. There are some nice rewards that will encourage further learning, collaboration, and publishing of e-books at all levels.  E-books for everyone!


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!

If the Bay Area is the Capital of Art Subscriptions, then the Mid-West is the country it should be located in.

A couple of weeks ago I made the claim that the Bay Area is the Capital of Art Subscriptions.  I still think that holds true.  HOWEVER, the mid-west is a burgeoning center for them as well.   After the debut of and Springboard for the Arts’ Community Supported Art last year, two more CSA style art subscriptions have popped up:  CSA Chicago and Risograph CSA.

CSA Chicago is a program run by Threewalls.  It asks shareholders to invest directly in the arts community with a “buy local” mentality. Each share costs $400 and subscribers receive 6 artworks over three months. Each artwork is a limited edition of 50 and shareholders receive a random selection from participating artists. Subscriptions are limited to 100 per year. CSA Chicago’s season is from April to June 2011.  The pilot year of participating artists include Conrad Bakker, Sara BlackEdie Fake, Jessica Labatte, Laura Mackin, Eric Fleishchauer, Aay Preston-Myint, Pamela Fraser, Steve Reinke, Dan S. Wang, Jason Lazarus, and Jesse Harrod.

Included in the monthly box:
2 signed and numbered original works of art by contemporary Chicago artists (6 total over three months)
Coupons and ephemera from local artist-run and creative businesses
Essays contextualizing the work

They will be having a launch party on April 30, 2011, in conjunction with Art Chicago/NEXT Art Fair from 6 to 9 pm. The event will feature food, drinks, music, the 1st editions of all 12 works for auction and a chance to meet participating artists.

There is also a special deal if you sign up before April 30th ($50 off)

Risograph CSA is a project out of Grand Rapids, MI.  I think it will be run by and out of the Division Avenue Arts Collective.  The Risograph CSA project will commission 6 artists and artist groups to produce prints for an art subscription service. A total of 60 editions will be made per image on a Risograph Digital Duplicator. Of those, 30 will be available as subscriptions at rate of $120 per year for 6 pieces. Remaining editions will be given to participating artists and sold individually. If the subscription sells out, each artist or group will be paid $400 and 50% of the sales from the individual pieces.

Collectors will have the opportunity to pick up their newest acquisitions at the bimonthly CSA pickups and listen to a talk by the month’s artist. These events will be held in conjunction with that month’s Sunday Soup to augment that evening’s programming.

At the end of the second year there will be a retrospective gallery show at The DAAC featuring each of the 12 works commissioned by the Risograph CSA Project.

Unfortunately they don’t seem to have a website or they are not quite up and running yet.

Wringing Art Out of the Rubble in Detroit

Detroit doesn’t cease to fascinate me.

Subcription Art Spreads: Minnesota’s “Community Supported Art”


Exciting!  Another player on the subscription scene, St. Paul’s Springboard for the Arts and have teamed up for a hyper local version of this idea to support local art, artists and collectors.   Over the course of 3 months, collectors will receive 3 boxes containing (I think) three works each.  There are 9 artists who will be commissioned to make an edition of 50 and the cost for a share is $300.  It is pretty exciting to see that their network is so involved that they sold out in less than 12 hours!  And they are already taking reservations (for a $100 price) for the fall season.  Similar to Art in a Box, they will have local “Pick up Parties” at different art organizations, furthering the feeling of being part of a community.

From their press release:

The goals of the CSA program are to support artists and to create a community of engaged local arts supporters.  CSA supports artists: in the creation of new work, to establish relationships with local collectors and patrons, and to participate in the launch of an exciting new model of art support and distribution.  CSA Share member benefits include multiple works of art from local emerging and mid-career artists at a fantastic value! Additionally, CSA Share members have the opportunity to develop relationships with the local artists and art community, discover new artists, explore a variety of disciplines and support artists’ careers and a vibrant community.

Alula Editions: A new art subscription & An open call


TPG #11 artist Helena Keeffe has teamed up with Amber Cady to start Alula Editions, a new art subscription whose focus is to work with artists to create repeat patterns for textiles. They collaborate with individual artists and also organize participatory group drawing activities in order to create textiles that defy expectations and move beyond purely aesthetic considerations.

They have an Open Call for Submissions with a deadline of April 28th, and artists receive a $500 stipend.

Starting off with a bang, Alula Editions was a recipient of this year’s Southern Exposure Alternative Exposure Grant, will be collaborating with artists in Portland, Oregon to create the official tote bag for the Open Engagement Conference at Portland State University, and will be printing their first edition as part of a residency at the Headlands Center for the Arts.

They haven’t figured out their pricing structure yet, so subscriptions are not yet on sale.  But you can get on a mailing list so you will be the first to know when they are.  The first work is projected to go out this summer.

Welcome Alula!

Open Call For TPG13 – Deadline 11/9/09

Our next review date for TPG13 is NOVEMBER 9th, 2009.

The Present Group, a quarterly art subscription service, seeks proposals from artists for projects that are reproducible in intent. We are looking for projects that will result in a limited edition, artist multiples, or a single work that consists of multiple parts. Every year TPG subscribers receive limited edition works from 4 different contemporary artists. A $500 honorarium is awarded to each season’s artist. Artists must submit a proposal to submit[at] or via USPS: The Present Group Attn: Submission 593 8th St. #3 Oakland, CA 94607.

For more information please visit:

To download full submission guidelines:

Sounds like a good show: Domestic Disturbance

Opens Wednesday at the Worth Ryder Gallery at Berkeley* and curated by TPG 3 Critic Anuradha Vikram!  “Domestic Disturbance” brings together an intergenerational group of artists from across the United States whose work addresses the difficulties of balancing public and private life.


The parameters of work are changing rapidly in our time. The boundary between professional and personal time is no longer clear. Increasingly connected by ubiquitous technology, we are on the clock 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.  For artists, these distinctions have long been blurred. Lived experience has been among the chief concerns of art in the late 20th century. This maxim of art-as-life takes on new dimensions when considered in light of the new telecommuter economy.

Each of the artists in Domestic Disturbance employs these strategies in a unique way, applying psychology, performance and humor to work that comments succinctly on the way we live today.

DOMESTIC DISTURBANCE – October 7 – 31, 2009

Reception: Wednesday, October 7, 5-8 pm

Artists: Abigail Feldman, Emily McLeod, Kara Hearn, Sonya Rapoport, Desirée Holman, Stephanie Syjuco, Jennifer & Kevin McCoy

Worth Ryder Gallery
University of California, Berkeley
116 Kroeber Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720

Gallery Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 12-5 pm

Photo credit: Jennifer & Kevin McCoy, I’ll Replace You, 2008. Video. 16:40. Courtesy of Postmasters Gallery, New York.

*the gallery is also accepting curatorial proposals: Spring exhibit deadline is October 15th!

Whoa – restricted access twitter art – a new arts funding model

The Brooklyn Museum has a Twitter Art Feed!  Every month they welcome an artist to utilize twitter as a medium for their work.  This is wrapped up as part of a benefit for their 1st fans program- where you get to go to parties and meet artists, skipping ticket lines and such.  They call it a “socially networked museum membership.”  So you get some of the benefits of being a museum member without the high price and free access to the museum.  It is $20/year to join.  I’m not sure how they handle the yearly resubscribing – do they just block people and then allow them again?

The part that seems so great to me is that people have to pay to see this twitter feed.  And that is the only way that people are going to be able to see those artworks  Now, it seems from their open call that the artists would be doing this for “exposure” which I do not like.  I could be wrong about this, but there is no mention of money on the submission form at all. However I love this idea and it is really simple.

It does seem as though they’ve gotten some backlash for charging people to see their twitter feed.  But I don’t think they are explaining it right.  If they were giving money to the artists and it was clear that the money that people would be paying was giving them access to art and not just a twitter feed, then I think people would be more open to it.  People pay $20 to get into museums all the time.

I came upon this through Maryann Devine’s smArts & Culture blog.  She did an interview with An Xiao, one of their 1st Fan twitter artists.  Xiao used the twitter space to think about the evolution of communication and the similarities between twitter and morse code.  She tweeted in morse code for a month. You can watch a short video of her explaining the project below.

Go here for more info on 1st Fans.

Go here to follow Brooklyn Museum on twitter.

Go here to follow An Xiao on twitter.

Short call: May 1st Deadline!

C’mon, work it, work it!  This round we choose the top 5 or so proposals and then have the subscribers vote.

Rhizome | Open Call: Eyebeam Residencies Summer / Fall 2009


Become a resident artist at Eyebeam! The New York art and technology center announced an open call this week for the Summer/Fall 2009 term of their artist residency program. Each resident receives a $5,000 stipend and 24/7 access to Eyebeam’s digital design and fabrication studios. For more information, check out their FAQ. To start an application, go here. For those living in New York City, Eyebeam will host a “How To Apply” Forum on April 16th at 7pm with past Eyebeam Resident and recent Residency curatorial panelist Robert Ransick (Bennington College, Vermont) and current senior fellow Steve Lambert (Parsons/The New School and Hunter College). Deadline for applications is May 15, 2009.

Posted via web from thepresentgroup’s posterous

The idea of Art Subscriptions: Individual artists are getting into it.

I have found two examples (via Exposure Compensation) of artists taking cues from the art subscription model as a way for a community to help fund their work and then reap the benefit of that support.

Dalton Rooney has started a Print of the Month Club.  He’s got some interesting ideas: tiered involvement- you can sign up for 3, 6, or 12 month intervals, and he allows subscribers to occasionally skip a month if they aren’t interested in that month’s piece.

CStein is trying out another method- he asks for a monthly $10 payment support, and then at the end of the year you can get two prints from a selection he puts up for subscribers, or you can apply your contribution towards buying any other of his prints (though they are typically more expensive)

The power of collective support can be huge- and subscribers reap the benefit in lower cost works for their collections.  Hooray!

Call for writers: new Flash Points topic wants you! | Art21 Blog

Attention writers! Our newest Flash Points topic, Contemporary Art + Economics, launches next week. This time, we’re opening up the editorial process and inviting you to participate. Have an idea for a post? Interested in what’s going down on Capitol Hill or how the current economic climate has affected the arts closer to home, in your own community? Propose a Flash Points blog post and have a chance to be featured on this site.

Posted via web from thepresentgroup’s posterous

Is Detroit the new artist’s frontier?

There’s been a bunch of hubub about it lately: NPR, CNN, The New York Times, 20/20, and on.  Mitch Cope and Gina Reichert, a couple living and working in Detroit, are generating a lot of attention with their effort to create a new perspective on Detroit: as a place for artists.   They are living it too.  Because of the unbelievably cheap cost of lots and buildings, they have bought up a bunch in a one block area (two empty lots for gardens, one as their own home, one or two which they bought just because they were so damn cheap- then sold to friends, and one to create a new model of affordable, off the grid living: Powerhouse- which is to become a community art center and artists’ residency program)

Camera Obscura in the Powerhouse

Continue Reading »

Rhizome Commissions deadline April 2nd

The goal of the Rhizome Commissions Program is to support emerging artists by providing grants for the creation of significant works of new media art. By new media art, we mean projects that creatively engage new and networked technologies to works that reflect on the impact of these tools and media in a variety of forms. Rhizome defines emerging artist as artists who exhibit great potential yet are not fully recognized within their field. Commissioned works can take the final form of online works, performance, video, installation or sound art. Projects can be made for the context of the gallery, the public, the web or networked devices.

Apply here!

Web hosting that supports artists.


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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.

Notes on Portraiture in the Facebook Age

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.

How to make a Daft Punk helmet in 17 months