RED + SHINY
ISSUE 69 Sept 18, 2007
A REPORT FROM THE PHANTOM ZONE
by STEVE AISHMAN
Editor's Note: This installment of Steve Aishman's "Report
From The Phantom Zone" may have been written in collaboration
with his wife and long-time Big RED contributor, Heidi Marston
"It's amazing how much you can get done when you don't
care who gets the credit."
-- Richard Hettrick
What does it mean to collaborate in the art world today? When
does it matter who did what? At what point is the gallery part
of the collaboration by hanging the work in their space? Is Big
RED a collaborator by promoting the arts?
Yesterday I edited a video piece for a friend who didnt
have the time. Today I asked someone to write a press release
for me. Tomorrow I am hanging an exhibition for another artist
who may or may not be able to be there. Collaboration happens,
whether you know it or not. Every time you ask someone if they
have an extra sheet of paper for you to write down an idea, that
person has collaborated in the actualization of that idea. Then
you make a new piece of artwork from that idea and you have to
ask someone to photograph it so that you can get it into a gallery.
The gallery accepts the piece, they hang it on the wall and then
someone writes about it and Big Red publishes it. Now how many
people are involved in the world seeing your piece? Do you care?
If you deny all of those who are involved in the making, promoting
and exhibiting of your work, you are denying the energy they have
infused into it. My husband asked me to help him write
his column for Big Red this week. At some point he left, and he
was gone for a good 6 hours. At this point, for this week, its
my column. People may think he wrote it, but sometimes you just
cant care who gets the credit when you have to get something
When groups like the Miracle5, (who work collaboratively on each
exhibition they have), are asked Who did what? they
dont start pointing at pieces saying, oh I did that
piece and she did that one, because that would take the
energy out of it. The Miracle 5 is a wacky superhero-themed collective
which formed a couple years back and has shown in galleries all
over Boston and each time it is a new and exciting experience.
The mystery is part of the fun, part of what makes it interesting
and what makes it collaboration.
When you start thinking about it, someone else is always involved
in what we make; the guy on EBay who just happens to be selling
that set of dear antlers you needed, the friend who decide today
was the day they were going to throw out that spool of wire you
were coveting, or your husband who decided today is the day he
is going to ditch you, and trick you into writing his article
Collaboration is an opportunity: an opportunity to tap into the
ideas, talents, and energies of others and a chance to share in
someones success. If you are looking that kind of chance
to collaborate, artist Brian Burkhardt has the venue. Burkhardt
is putting together the third Word of Mouth exhibition. The exhibition
is open to all and will be in Miami during the Basel Art Fair.
Word of Mouth is designed to help artists get an art fair on their
resume. Take a chance, dont half ass it, just make
a piece you want shown and send it in. Here is the link. Maybe
just by mentioning it in this article someone will participate
and in that case I will have collaborated in that persons
artwork being seen. The opportunities are out there if you are
willing to share the credit, and sometimes let go of it completely.
However, sometimes collaboration doesnt work out to everyones
benefit. I am pretty sure that Steve received (and accepted) all
the praise for last years Thanksgiving dinner that I made. Chopping
carrots alone does not make it a collaborative effort!