TPG on Congratulations Pine Tree

Maysoun Wazwaz and Kate Rhoades are making a podcast- Congratulations Pine Tree – it’s the #1 Arts and Culture podcast in the Bay Area.

They are very fun to talk to and to listen to, and I’m excited that I can have them in my life more through my ears.

We’re on the podcast briefly this week talking about Compensation Foundation and the Present Prize.

Go here!

Rotterdam Experiences: Off the Press: Electronic Publishing in the Arts and DEAF

Last week the Institute for Network Cultures and Digital Publishing Toolkit brought us to Rotterdam to speak about The People’s E-book.  The conference brought together an interesting mix of academics, students, artists, practitioners, and a few other designers and publishers.  There was a focus on what are artists producing in terms of e-books, what different production workflows look like, and what the future for libraries looks like.  They did a great job documenting most of the conference, so I thought I would continue that trend.

program for the conference

You can view many of the presentations here:

You can see images of the days here:

There are re-caps of most of the presentations here and here


Making Epubs Easy with The People’s E-book: 

Oliver did a demo of the tool, explained pe-epub (the open source epub generator that we built for People’s E-book), and talked about Streambooks, our Tumblr to epub conversion tool.

Off the Press – Oliver Wise: Making ePubs Easy with the People’s E-book from network cultures on Vimeo.

As you’ll see in the video, we had a little trouble with the slides, but you can see them below!


Publishing Constitutes a Public

There aren’t photos or video from the Arts and Crafts Session organized by Silvio Lorusso, but our slides are below and you can read the full text of our presentation here.  Oliver and I spoke about our thoughts about publishers as a support structure for a public, our past work that relates to digital publishing, and how and why we focused on artists when building The People’s E-book.


DEAF: The Progress Trap

We also were honored to be a part of the DEAF (the Biennial Dutch Electronic Arts Festival) at the Het Niewe Institute in their TV Lunch Program.  It was more of a casual conversation about our practice as well as the others’ who were also a part of the conversation.

The exhibition at Het Niewe Institute to go along with the festival, whose theme this year was “The Progress Trap” was pretty great. I especially loved Revital Cohen and Tuur van Balen‘s work: 75 Watt.  They designed an object whose primary function was to choreograph its creation.

75 Watt – trailer from Revital Cohen & Tuur Van Balen on Vimeo.

Another favorite was also a video installation, by Gabriela Golder, entitled “Conversation Piece” which showed the artist’s mother – a militant in the Argentine Communist Party – reading the Communist Manifesto with her two young granddaughters.

CONVERSATION PIECE (the installation) from Gabriela Golder on Vimeo.

And Rotterdam has a pretty interesting mix of architecture. It was fun to be around.

Alternative Funding Strategies for Artists Class

On October 15th (a Tuesday) we’re gonna be breaking down what we’ve learned over the past seven years in regards to different funding models for artists and what the advantages and disadvantages are for each.  Come join us! 

Artists and cultural producers are increasingly turning to funding sources outside of the traditional methods.  This workshop and seminar will explore traditional and new models for funding creative practice and discuss their benefits and disadvantages.  We’ll also touch on the importance of developing social capital, along with practical strategies for building your brand and network. Participants should be ready to investigate their own support needs and be willing to contribute their own insight and experiences.

This workshop will take place over one 3-hour session with topics to include:

*Pros and cons of traditional funding sources

*Opt-Out Strategies: fee-for-service, barter, trade, co-ops, and secondary income

*Making Byproducts: production goods, economies of scale, and working with “middle-men”

*Selling your skills or surplus

*Community Supported Practice: Indirect funding, Subscriptions, MicroPayments, Crowdfunding

*Fiscal Sponsorship

*Leveraging social capital

Date: Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Time: 6:00 – 9:00pm
Location:  ProArts, 150 Frank H Ogawa Plaza, Oakland, CA 94612
Cost: $40.00 early registration (ends October 1); $50 regular registration (begins October 2).

Cancellation Policy: Full refund on registration fees up to 48 hours prior to workshop date. Fees nonrefundable after that date.

You can register for the class HERE.

We want to help you get your portfolio website up.

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.

You can read all about it here. 

Artists from this month’s AMP show + curator Dena Beard talk! March 22nd. @ProArts


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?


This talk will be broadcast live at
Pose your questions in person, via the website, email (, or twitter (@AMPatronage).

Hosted by Art Micro Patronage, a project of The Present Group.




Hand in Glove Conference
October 20-23rd Chicago, IL

Organized by Threewalls, Hand-in-Glove is a four day conference for independent visual arts facilitators working at the crossroads of creative administration and studio practice. It is a way to start a national conversation on grassroots creative activity happening outside of traditional institutions and spread the word about innovative organizing models that could be useful to artists and organizers.

Featuring keynote speakers AA Bronson and Nato Thompson, a pretty amazing lineup of panelists from around the nation, parties, food experiences, and tours around the city of Chicago, the weekend will not be lacking.

Oliver and I be speaking on the panel entitled Fundraising and Organizing Strategies, a pragmatic discussion on how to raise funds, solicit support, and implement experimental programs. As a group of artists, independent organizers and nonprofits, we’ll re-imagine the possibilities for creating a healthy, mutually- supportive arts system and designing programs that promote collaboration and community spirit.


Hand in Glove Conference
October 20th – 23rd
Geolofts, 3636 S. Iron St., Chicago, IL 60609

Panels: click here to view explanations and participants

Keynote lecture with AA Bronson and Nato Thompson
Local Arts ecosystems
Unconventional Residency Programs
Archiving artist-run histories
Fundraising and organizing strategies
Closing Remarks and Discussion with Ted Purves, Sarah Workneh, and Bryce Dwyer

Creavtive Conference for Entrepreneurs
August 5-7th San Francisco, CA

This August, the Conference of Creative Entrepreneurs comes to San Francisco, bringing three days of specific, hands-on programming aimed at helping creative professionals become better business owners. The conference covers both universal issues like small business taxes and intellectual property, as well as grander topics like Creative Collaborations, The Art of Publicity, and Getting More Done.

Oliver and I are on a panel talking about Alternatives to the Gallery for the fine artist.  Gone are the days when art was only available in galleries, museums, and the homes of wealthy collectors.  These days anyone can be a patron, collector or exhibiting artist through the myriad alternative art venues springing up around the world.  In this panel, we’ll talk about inventive ways artists can show their work and get funding for it, from art subscriptions to microfinance organizations to online exhibitions.

With multiple panels every hour, the hardest part will be deciding which session to attend.  If you’re interested in joining us to hone some skills, we’re happy to offer a discount to all of you.  Enter the code TPG15 in the discount code box to receive 15% off any ticket.


Conference of Creative Entrepreneurs
August 5-7
The Women’s Building
3543 18th St #8
San Francisco, CA 94110
CCE on Facebook

Dreaming up ideal art worlds: New Art Economy Summit and Potluck
Saturday, July 23rd

We’re taking part in this conversation this weekend.  Hope you’ll join us. Should be fun!

As part of her residency at Royal Nonesuch Gallery, Elysa Lozano (who works under the identity Autonomous Organization) will facilitate a moderated conversation which asks participants across the spectrum of visual art production and dissemination to present their ideal art economies and engage in a dialogue around how resources and value is distributed in the art world.


Patricia Maloney, Editor-in-Chief of Art Practical
Christian L. Frock, Founder and Director of Invisible Venue
Courtney Fink, Executive Director of Southern Exposure
Dena Beard, MATRIX Curatorial Assistant at the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
Kevin P. Clarke, Artist and Founder of Million Fishes Art Collective and MacArthur b arthur
Jayna Swartzman, Program Manager at the Center for Cultural Innovation
Eleanor and Oliver Wise, Founders and Directors of The Present Group
Elizabeth Sims, Artist, Educator, and Activist
Vanessa Critchell, Director (West coast) at Luhring Augustine Gallery

New Art Economy Summit and Potluck Details:

Saturday, July 23, 4-8pm
MacArthur b Arthur Gallery (due to space restraints at Royal Nonesuch)
4030 Martin Luther King Jr. Way Oakland, CA 94609.
The Summit begins at 4:30 followed by a potluck dinner at 7pm. Please bring your favorite dish!

Facebook Event Page
Autonomous Organization Residency at Royal Nonesuch

Interview with Rebecca Blakley

We sat down with TPG16 artist Rebecca Blakley in our home in Oakland, CA on November 12th, 2010.

icon for podpress  Interview with Rebecca Blakley [27:44m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

People and Places: A Symposium of Public Practices

Tuesday and Wednesday, June 29th - 30th, 2010
7:00 – 9:00pm, FREE!

Ann Chamberlain, Untitled Installation 2, 2006. Ink on graph paper, fifty sheets, 8.5 x 11 inches.

A two-day symposium in honor of former SFAI faculty member and artist Ann Chamberlain, People and Places launches a sustained inquiry at SFAI into contemporary public practices. Pursued in conventionally artistic or increasingly hybridized, permissioned or nonpermissioned, and publicly underwritten or privately supported ways, the work of cultural producers in the public sphere is ongoing.

People and Places is structured around a series of open-ended questions relating to this vital strain of cultural activity: What does it mean for a contemporary artist to work in public settings or to solicit exchanges with the general populace? How do notions of “generosity” as a mode of social interaction, of “storytelling” as a project of collective history, and of “community” as a way of defining common ground inform creative strategies of public engagement? How are such negotiations located in particular places and enacted within particular social and political contexts?

Taken up by practitioners who work with people and places in a wide variety of forms and approaches, these questions will inform three moderated conversations: Defining Community, Practicing Generosity, and Telling Stories. These conversations will culminate in a roundtable discussion.

Andrea Bowers, Glen Helfand, Jessica Hobbs, Walter Hood, Helena Keeffe (TPG #11), Julie Lazar, Malcolm Margolin, Jeannene Przyblyski, Pedro Reyes, Susan Schwartzenberg, and Natasha Wheat

SFAI  Lecture Hall
800 Chestnut Street
San Francisco, CA 94133
Free and open to the public

That Big Farm Called San Francisco" class='title'>That Big Farm Called San Francisco

Urban Homesteading, making your own Mead, SoEx Hootenanny and more…. “Canning is the new knitting.”

In class: CCA


Yesterday Oliver and I spoke at CCA for a little bit about The Present Group.  The class is a really neat investigation of different systems of exchange co-taught by TPG#5 critic Scott Oliver and Rachel Robinette.

One of the underlying questions was whether our project, as commendable as it may be, is sustainable.  Can the desire to learn about art be a powerful enough tool in marketing?  Can people wrap their heads around collecting artwork for the sake of learning about it rather than it be an investment, or a chosen work to keep in your home?

We’re still not sure.  We are still a small project, and we haven’t had as much success financially as some of our competitors.  But we believe that the system already exists for people to support artists whose work they know and like and collect their artwork in particular.   We know that we are asking a lot of people when we ask them to think that what they are supporting is the creation of art in general, not just the result that they receive.

The funny thing to me is that it doesn’t seem foreign.    Museum memberships and Season Pass holders to theatres work under this same assumption, and for a similar price point.    The main difference is that they aren’t filling up their home with anything.   Perhaps what we need to focus on is a way for people to support us without having to keep the pieces once they’ve learned about them.

Just some musings…

Interview With Helena Keeffe

Helena Keeffe was interviewed on August 23rd, 2009 by Oliver Wise and Eleanor Hanson Wise of The Present Group.


icon for podpress  Interview with Helena Keeffe - Part 1 [16:05m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

icon for podpress  Interview with Helena Keeffe - Part 2 [22:48m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

TPG Interviews are now on iTunes


Now you can easily stay up to date on our artist interviews, or explore our archives via iTunes.

Go if you can (6 days left): “In Real Life”

At Capricious Space
March 7–28, 2009

Art Fag City, ASDF, Club Internet, FfffoundThe Highlights, Humble Arts Foundation, I Heart Photograph, Loshadka, Netmares/Netdreams, Platform For Pedagogy, Private CirculationUbuWeb , VVORK, Why + Wherefore

An exhibition that invites innovative and independent online art initiatives to each come do a 4-hour residency inside the space of a gallery—attempting to explore how the distribution, production, analysis, and consumption of culture are rapidly evolving in an online context. In particular the exhibition aims to render the labor of these online practices transparent, providing “real life” access to these cultural producers, and overall inspiring public dialogue around their practices.

Capricious Space
103 Broadway
Brooklyn, NY 11211
(between Bedford and Berry)

Gallery hours (from March 7–March 28 only):
Saturday noon–8pm
Sunday noon–8pm

Plus special evening events:
Opening and Roundtable Discussion “Browser As Exhibition Space” / Saturday March 7 from 8-10pm
“Docent Tour of Art on the Internet” performed by Tyler Coburn / Friday March 13 from 8-10pm
Closing Party / Saturday March 28 from 8-10pm

Visit the online Calendar of Events for full details.

Does the fact that we produce artist multiples make them less special?

This was a question from an audience member at our talk at the Headlands. The idea was that many art collectors cherish the uniqueness of the objects they possess, and although some TPG editions consist of unique pieces, this is not a requirement for TPG projects. The moderator, Natasha Boas, fielded the question by noting the importance of the artist multiple in art history, as a way for artists to make money and spread their work among influencial collectors. As we represented the “least traditional” art model in the discussion, here are a couple less traditional ways to look at the question.

We view each artist’s project as the art piece, so the fact that each subscriber will not always receive a unique object is not necessarily our greatest concern. It is part of our agreement with the artists that the project will not be reproduced, so each art piece represents a connection between a specific artist, a specific group of subscribers, and a specific place in time.

Or to look at it another way, during the talk, Julio Ceasar Morales, co-director of the Queen’s Nails Annex, mentioned how his goal was that the art community would support the artist space as much, if not more, than the individual artists they represented. In both our projects, the framework for experiencing and creating art is as important as its individual parts. The framework is an artist’s work too. No one would ever argue that the social space and community Julio has created is less ‘special’ than the physical objects for sale. In fact, a convincing case could be made to the contrary; that it is more visceral, engaging, rewarding, and possesses a greater capacity for change.

What can an emerging artist do to get their work out there? Do you have any specific advice?

Asked by Marianna Stark of the Stark Guide

The way that I answered this question was

1. do your research: the information is out there
2. make friends

But I think I can be a little more thorough here. I think what Eleanor Harwood added was important and a good place to start:

have a good package.

Make sure you have a complete package, including images, a cv, and an artist statement. I think, though, that it is also becoming more and more important these days to have a website. This site can be fairly simple. You can even use blogs, such as wordpress, livejournal, or blogger, which are very easy to use and have lots of free templates you can start off with. You can create categories or pages that will separate your different bodies of work. A website is a useful tool for the person viewing your work, in that everything is in one place, you aren’t clogging up email with lots of images, and one can view your growth over the years. Also, it helps increase your visibility as galleries can link to your site from theirs, allowing people to gain a better idea of who you are.

Also, going into the idea of making friends, it (a website) is also a good networking tool. You can trade links with people you like and you can keep in close contact with other artists who you respect. Making friends in the real world can be very difficult for some of us. It is very easy to say, “go make friends,” but that is sortof hard to actually accomplish sometimes. But online, it isn’t quite as hard. I am realizing more and more that the artworld is built on connections between people.

Davin Youngs, TPG artist #5, is a great example of this. He tries to update his livejournal with a new photo daily. He keeps up with friends and other artists by monitoring their RSS feeds and commenting on work he particularly likes. And he has found through this network some online projects that have well suited him. He is part of The Ones We Love,, and Anything.

And now for doing your research: The opportunities are out there, you just have to find ones that suit your work. It takes a good amount of time and energy to do this, but art as a career is just that. Find galleries that work with artists like you and approach them, see if they have an open submission policy. We do. Eleanor Harwood does. SoEx does.

Lastly, I thought it could be helpful if I shared the places that we’ve found that list open calls. The only ones that charges money for submitting an opportunity art NYFA and Art Week. Most of them are free to view: Arts Opportunities Monthly and The Art List both charge fees. I haven’t found a great resource for artists in the Bay Area; it seems as though there’s a hole since the shut down of Artist Resource. Many people look down on open calls, but it is a good way for artists to start establishing those all-important connections and getting their work out there.


A Singular Creation
Art Deadlines List
Arts Opportunities Monthly ($20 a year- sent via email monthly)
Art Source

Art Week
Chicago Artist Resource
Fecal Face (under forums: Calls for Artists) (with tags: /call_and_events, tag/opportunities)
Fjord (under “member news”)
Arts Opportunities
TheArtList ($15 a year to view)
PortlandArt (mostly has Oregon-only listings, but occaional national listings as well)

Recap: Uncharted Waters

Yesterday evening we had the honor of joining a panel of some really great people. It was a great experience for us, not only in the opportunity to spread the word about The Present Group, but also to discuss with a diverse audience what it is to be in the art market today and how that could be and does seem to be evolving or changing. We were asked some great questions, and because it is sometimes hard for me to answer them on the spot, Oliver and I are hoping to address some of these questions over the course of the next few weeks on the blog.

Thank you to everyone who came out and joined us!

Happy Monday.

Uncharted Waters: Understanding the Emerging Art Market

On May 4th, Oliver and I will be participating in a talk at the Headlands Center for the Arts in Marin. I think it will be a good discussion. And there will be a very delicious dinner afterwards for $20 using organic, local ingredients. Click here for more details. Come and cheer on my nervous self! Here’s the promo bit from their website:

Date: 5/4/2008 (Sunday)
Time: 4:00 PM
Location: Headlands Center for the Arts

Ticket Info: $10 General Admission
FREE for Headlands Members

Eleanor Harwood, artist; Director, Eleanor Harwood Gallery
Julio Cesar Morales, artist; Co-director, Queen’s Nails Annex
Eleanor Hanson Wise, Co-director, The Present Group
Moderator: Natasha Boas, curator and art advisor

We all hear that the contemporary art market is booming with celebrity artists and star collectors, but what does that mean for the average person? We’ll talk to some Bay Area gallerists and art promoters who have established fresh approaches to the market, and take a look at how aspiring collectors can make informed choices about buying emerging art without breaking the bank. We’ll also talk about how artists can effectively participate in the market, in order to support themselves financially while remaining true to their ideals. Other topics of discussion will include approaches to curatorial practice in for-profit settings; how the art fair circuit contributes to buzz about regional scenes; and art practice and exhibition making as small business enterprises.

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