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New Year’s Resolution… for Art

Image via: Wikipedia; Photoshopped by: Jes Standefer

Happy New Years!  I hope that you have had a very festive, fattening, and joyous holiday season.  It has been a week since we welcomed 2012, so it is back to eating healthy, sobering up, and working for the first time in three weeks.

Many of us start the new year with a resolution.  For many it’s to work out, others vow to not be late to work every other day, or for some just to cut back.   Personally, my resolution was to have a less cluttered house, and it has been a week I have not organized or tossed anything .

Image via: Life Magazine; Photoshopped by: Jes Standefer

With this in mind, I was wondering if it was possible to apply a New Year’s resolution to art.  I posed this question to those in the Chicago art community to see what their resolution would be for Art, the Chicago art collective, or their own personal art goals.

My resolution for art is for there to be more humor.  These are some pretty serious times we’re in with jobs still hard to come by, the country split politically, and our government deadlocked on what to do about the country’s finances.  There is a place for serious art, but I feel that artists are not seeing the lightness that can be expressed in art.  Fart and masturbation jokes aren’t just for a Judd Apatow movie.  I have already acted on this resolution in my own art by making work that causes the audience to laugh or at chuckle uncomfortably.  I would love to see these themes more in art and more widely accepted in the “capital-a” Art galleries.

The following are some of the responses that I have collected.  I would really like to know what you think art’s New Year’s resolution should be.  Please leave your resolutions in the comments section.  Let’s hope that our good intentions don’t go wasted and that we make some changes in art this year.

JC Steinbrunner, artist ( and curator of the Salon Series (  – I would say the community here needs to focus on innovative ways to make, exhibit and educate about artwork. I think Chicago has done this in the culinary realm. This city has staked its claim as a food innovator, not an arts center. The success of this is due in part to culinary practitioners focusing on new ways to make and distribute food from haute cuisine to underground supper clubs and the surge in neighborhood breweries to food trucks.

But what is the molecular gastronomy of Chicago art?

For the arts to do something similar, we need to focus on quality work and new ways to experience it. We need to target the people between the art fair riche and private collectors—new collectors; younger, interested parties and organizations.  Artists need to harness technological and business tools to promote themselves in addition to more mainstream opportunities such as galleries and art fair models. Galleries, art fairs and websites all have their place in the promotion, sales and reputation of artwork, but they are also fairly intimidating and/or sterile environments that make engaging with artwork difficult, at least for viewers who are not experienced collectors or practitioners. Artists in Chicago need to focus on bringing the conversation to the personal and individual, to create new contexts in which to bond with artwork. Everyone loves a backstory. If we can create a reputation in this city for serious artwork—which is already here—promulgated through additional, non-traditional means—artist-as-practitioner/entrepreneur/personality, artwork as living, relevant things—without getting “retail” and “market-y” about it, I think we can depict Chicago as a city that works … and sells that work. – 

Image via: The Impossible Cool, Photoshopped by: Jes Standefer

Ali Seradge, artist ( – I feel like for the artists in Chicago, we should stop kvetching about how the collectors don’t treat us like New York.  I feel like we need to be a little more creative, audacious, and much more aggressive.

Tempestt Hazel, cofounder of Sixty Inches from Center – My New Year’s Resolution (or wish) for art is that we have enough courage to put ego to the side and actively participate in the difficult conversations about the health of our creative environment, the value we place on our artists and what they produce, and whether or not that spoken value is reflected in real, tangible ways that are mutually beneficial for all involved.  I would ask that we as artists, organizers, curators, administrators, enthusiasts and all others who make up the “art community” challenge ourselves and one another to be creative in our approaches and discover new models to replace any broken or outdated art support systems that have failed in the past and continue to do so today.  Our activities and actions should reflect the change and improvements we would like to see happen around us, not feed the same tired beast that is weighing us down. And, you know, to lose 15 pounds by spring.

Cov, Bartender at Boiler Room  – Stop making cartoons.  I’m not saying that comics are not legitimate art, but Chicago has become really saturated.

Elizabeth Rose Bartsch, artist ( – Be more sincere.

Jennifer Patino, contributor to Sixty Inches from Center – My resolution for art is to find more ways to blend it with poetry so that it becomes more like Xochiquetzal, the Aztec goddess whose name means “Flower Feather” and refers to loveliness embodied both in imagery and sound.

Nicolette Caldwell, cofounder of Sixty Inches from Center – Over Obligated.

Image via: Shafe; Photoshopped by: Jes Standefer


I’ve found that there seems to be a trend with all creatives to feel the need to be involved in a million projects in order to feel like you are making progress within your career. Many of these “opportunities” are underpaid or do not involve any monetary compensation at all. They are called opportunities because in some way or another you should be able to benefit from the experience in order to open more doors for “better” opportunities in the future. With all of these open doors, I found myself at the end of 2011 banging my head onto my kitchen table thinking, “I cannot spend another year doing this to myself.” I’ve realized that really all it takes to succeed is to continue doing the thing you do best and to market the shit out of it. Because most of the time everything else just serves as a road block towards what I would rather be spending my creative energy on. So my goal for 2012 is a selfish one, and that is to better strategize my calendar and balance my life better in and outside of the art world — I need to become less involved to become more involved.

Emily Kozik, artist ( – Make it count: Show people what I’m doing, talk about what it is, actually think about it instead of just saying ‘I don’t know why I did if, I just like it’. I will start asking questions and not let my brain be so lazy.

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1 Response to " New Year’s Resolution… for Art "

  1. terenceswafford says:

    The one thing that keeps Chicago’s art scene from progressing in any kind of way is the complete lack of a real critical establishment.
    Artists can’t hope for the better judgment and taste of collectors to recognize works of merit.
    The established and would-be collectors in this area desperately need guidance and someone needs to step up and separate the wheat from the chaff.
    As it is, the most collected work is the worst the city can produce, and this has a demoralizing affect on artists. You find scores of people trying to incorporate what sells into their own work and this just makes everything suck.
    Chicago is however healthy and vibrant when it comes to music, theater, food, and film and this has everything to do with criticism.
    SIFC is in a position to do something about it, but first, we all need to get past Warhol.

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