April 15, 2015

Art Blogger of the Week: Abigael McGuire in Providence, USA

Selfie by Abigael McGuire

Abigael McGuire and I met online. No no, not on Facebook, but in my online class at Node Center. Yes indeed, it's the newest, avant-garde way to learn! Node Center - Curatorial Studies Online is directed by the genius Perla Montelongo and brings together people worldwide (+ you can be in your pyjamas and still attend class - awesomeness!). As you will read here below, Abigael is quite a character: she has an opinion (how refreshing!) and a sense of humour (yey!), and as you can see up here, she prefers to be in charge of the camera herself when a picture is being taken. All this is extremely promising for her emerging art critical career. Can't wait for her to produce those podcasts she has in mind... Check out her blog, and if you are visiting Providence, drop by the Hera Gallery where she is the director!

Art Scene

Providence does have a lot going for it as an arts city. It's the less expensive option for those looking for a cultured city with lots of things to do with music, theater, food (some GREAT FOOD HERE) and of course... art. There are many artists living and working here and I've heard that the amount of galleries is on par with Brooklyn per capita (Don't quote me on this). I happen to visit two of the most "worldly" spaces, Yellow Peril and GRIN galleries. They are really the only ones participating in the greater art scene with Yellow Peril going to international fairs and GRIN participating in an Armory Week satellite fair. There's also a non profit (AS220) space that has a 2-3 year wait list for artists to exhibit and they also offer low income spaces for artists to reside in. Many of the galleries work with locally based artists and this extends outside Providence too. One of my most enjoyable experiences was visiting an open studios tour in a rural area 30-45 min outside Providence and meeting the artists involved with that group. It's a small state with a lot of artists choosing to operate here rather than in higher priced NYC or Boston.

Blog

I started the blog because I wanted to be better at writing about art and I figured the best way to do that was to actually do it. Actually, your class gave me the courage to do so! So thank you An! I took the class with this goal in mind of starting the blog. I also want to go to grad school at some point in the near future and I thought the blog would help make me a stronger candidate for the more competitive programs. I'm not sure if my blog benefits art writing in general, but maybe if my humble little blog could inspire someone else to pursue their own art writing pursuits, then perhaps it would benefit someone. I've been very insular with my blog, which is silly as I should find my community, but there aren't many around me. I guess I need to start following more on twitter. He he. Fun side story: I saw that Roberta Smith was going to the Carl Andre show at Dia: Beacon the same day that I was on twitter! I later tweeted at her that the guards called me off entering an installation and she responded with a favorite! 
I write the blog now not to be critical necessarily of the artists, but to promote the happenings of what's going on in and outside the little Rhode Island bubble. I get very critical of curatorial decisions as I feel that it disrupts the work, but I'm new to the game and new in town so to speak. I don't want to be ruffling feathers at present as I've heard not so good things about the person who did come into town with guns blazing. 
I write the blog in search of my voice. I write the blog to keep me engaged and tethered to the art world. I write the blog because it keeps me sane even if I'm hustling to meet my deadline. It helps me feel somewhat productive. 


Expertise 

Oh dear! Well, I come at my blog as someone who's a budding curator and sees work not just for what it is, but how it communes with the rest of the work and the space as a whole. I've been the director of Hera Gallery for a year and a half now, so I've seen numerous shows come up and down here. I have my BFA in digital art and photography, but also an art history minor focusing on modern art and film. I've been going to museums with my extended family all my life and grew up surrounded by it at most of the homes of said family members. I am highly critical of photography, but I'm open to most things. I am also working on concepts for large scale installations, which is where my heart is at now. I guess to round that out, I come at this wearing many hats that all work together in some whimsical way. But I'm still young, it's to be expected.

Money 

Easy Answer- No. My blog is not monetized, but I'm contemplating how best to do so. I'm not interested in advertisements on my page, but thinking that Patreon may be an option so that I can be supported by my readers on a more sustainable form of crowdfunding. There are many podcasters, comic artists, and youtube creators who utilize it. I do not feel that my blog is there yet, however, as I only started it about seven months ago and am still building my readership. I have analytics, so I know that it's being read, but I'd like those numbers to be a little bit higher before I start holding out my hand for money. I'm not sure what I'd do for indirect income sources, but I keep toying with the idea of podcasting with artists (sounds like a bit of a redundant thing, talking about art without seeing it.... funny enough though, I love those podcasts that talk visuals without seeing it).

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