Sara Tecchia Roma Discovers the Power of the Internet

by Art Fag City on December 17, 2007 · 27 comments Events

Sara Tecchia
Screengrab AFC

Boy, the democratic nature of the Internet sure helps out struggling emerging artists! Thanks to Sara Tecchia Roma New York for picking up on this trend and curating a show of U.S. Saatchi Online Artists titled “And Who Are You?”.

“You don’t have to pay a dealer 50% commission.” says the gallery’s quoted Saatchi PR even though the existence of the show testifies that all those collectors scouring an uncurated site, with limited search functionality, and no shopping cart function have not yet made the concept of a dealer antiquated. Unintentionally challenging the very concepts they wish to promote — “If you’re not in the loop, if you didn’t go to the right art school, if you don’t know the right people who have the right dealers, it’s very hard to break in.” — the gallery highlights artists who already have a robust exhibition history including Eric Doeringer and Jay Batlle both of whom have shown at the Whitney.

Of course, once the gallery starts promoting the artists suddenly the show concept isn’t so much about the democratizing power of the Internet as it is about examining pre existing structures of hierarchy.

“Whether thought to oneself or spoken to another, the question “and who are you?” can be the start of a cocktail party confrontation, an opening gambit for flaunting one’s own CV or the catalyst for a profound crisis of existentialist and creative purpose. Working in various mediums, each of the artists in “And Who Are You? Work from Saatchi Online” uses Saatchi Online as a platform to address questions about how the established art world parcels out or responds to value, fame, favoritism, integrity and pretension.”

Putting aside a weak exhibition concept – we all know how the name game works – the heralding of the online Saatchi site seems needlessly overblown, since the majority of these artists simply uploaded their work to the site and aren’t using it as an essential element to their practice.

In an interesting footnote to all this, The New York Observer reports And Who Are You? curator Ana Finel Honigman wasn’t too pleased that participating artist Kristian Laliberte of the collective Fame Theory lifted some of her unpublished writing to promote his fame calculator in a mass email. Laliberte claimed confusion in a later response while shamelessly promoting his own product.


  • http://www.stevenread.com stephe

    Ha Ha this is a funny looking show indeed! Have been dealing with this concept for a long time now, except as material I have used any website besides the most painfully OBVIOUS website (Saatchi). And having a Chelsea show including Whitney alumni to push this concept, now that is some funny shit! Too bad the ridiculousness doesn’t seem to have been done purposely. And too bad projects like this will get good press and credit instead of the true outsiders that this concept is best suited for. If a real nobody tried to use this concept for a project (like me?), nobody would probably listen, but it might conceptually succeed! Yet entities like Art Fag City and New York Observer wouldn’t be writing about it because nobodies don’t get written about, and so it wouldn’t actually succeed. Thus we have a beast like this Sara Tecchia show. Thus we have artists who shamelessly promote their own products.

  • http://www.stevenread.com stephe

    Ha Ha this is a funny looking show indeed! Have been dealing with this concept for a long time now, except as material I have used any website besides the most painfully OBVIOUS website (Saatchi). And having a Chelsea show including Whitney alumni to push this concept, now that is some funny shit! Too bad the ridiculousness doesn’t seem to have been done purposely. And too bad projects like this will get good press and credit instead of the true outsiders that this concept is best suited for. If a real nobody tried to use this concept for a project (like me?), nobody would probably listen, but it might conceptually succeed! Yet entities like Art Fag City and New York Observer wouldn’t be writing about it because nobodies don’t get written about, and so it wouldn’t actually succeed. Thus we have a beast like this Sara Tecchia show. Thus we have artists who shamelessly promote their own products.

  • Art Fag City

    Art Fag City doesn’t write only about those who have gallery representation and big names. In fact, you only have to look to the post below this to know that this is the case. Danielle Mysliwiec is in our masthead and doesn’t have a gallery.

    As far as undiscovered talent using web to network my feeling is that it can be effective, but it follows the same structures we already know: ie friend someone famous and engage them long enough to view your work. Saatchi Gallery is pretty low on my list of networking sites that expose me to great new talent due to it’s poor searchability. Esty.com, facebook and even myspace do the job far better. Artcat’s artists are regularly circulated on their main page throughout the culturepundit network. That actually helps

  • Art Fag City

    Art Fag City doesn’t write only about those who have gallery representation and big names. In fact, you only have to look to the post below this to know that this is the case. Danielle Mysliwiec is in our masthead and doesn’t have a gallery.

    As far as undiscovered talent using web to network my feeling is that it can be effective, but it follows the same structures we already know: ie friend someone famous and engage them long enough to view your work. Saatchi Gallery is pretty low on my list of networking sites that expose me to great new talent due to it’s poor searchability. Esty.com, facebook and even myspace do the job far better. Artcat’s artists are regularly circulated on their main page throughout the culturepundit network. That actually helps

  • http://www.stevenread.com stephe

    Did not mean to claim that Art Fag City only supports certain types of artists, but specific to the topic of art democracy and promotion on the Internet, meant to claim that had this Saatchi show been less hypocritical, it would have been less newsworthy, and the ‘unknown’ essence of it would therefore have continued. So writing it up for humorous conceptual fallacy, actually neutralizes its fallaciousness via publication. I agree that there exists a useful potential in some of these networking sites, but I myself am more interested in them as art ‘material’, not as ‘tool’, as this show seemed to also be purporting at first glance. On second glance I find their abstraction of the topic extremely boring, yet somehow achieving result. For my own efforts, I see the reverse, which is what I critiqued.

  • http://www.stevenread.com stephe

    Did not mean to claim that Art Fag City only supports certain types of artists, but specific to the topic of art democracy and promotion on the Internet, meant to claim that had this Saatchi show been less hypocritical, it would have been less newsworthy, and the ‘unknown’ essence of it would therefore have continued. So writing it up for humorous conceptual fallacy, actually neutralizes its fallaciousness via publication. I agree that there exists a useful potential in some of these networking sites, but I myself am more interested in them as art ‘material’, not as ‘tool’, as this show seemed to also be purporting at first glance. On second glance I find their abstraction of the topic extremely boring, yet somehow achieving result. For my own efforts, I see the reverse, which is what I critiqued.

  • Art Fag City

    Ah. Yes, I agree with you there. If the press release had been better put together there would be no story, and potentially no discovery of “unknown” talent. I also agree that writing it up tends to neutralize its fallaciousness. I still find it relatively interesting, but you know…Oh well.

  • Art Fag City

    Ah. Yes, I agree with you there. If the press release had been better put together there would be no story, and potentially no discovery of “unknown” talent. I also agree that writing it up tends to neutralize its fallaciousness. I still find it relatively interesting, but you know…Oh well.

  • Art Fag City

    Ah. Yes, I agree with you there. If the press release had been better put together there would be no story, and potentially no discovery of “unknown” talent. I also agree that writing it up tends to neutralize its fallaciousness. I still find it relatively interesting, but you know…Oh well.

  • http://anaba.blogspot.com martin

    just want to say – not that she needs any defending, but i know getting comments is gratifying – that paddy has featured my stuff (my art, not just links to my blog) more than once here… i don’t have a gallery, have never lived in nyc, have never met paddy, and we have no mutual friends that i’m aware of. crazy!!!

  • http://anaba.blogspot.com martin

    just want to say – not that she needs any defending, but i know getting comments is gratifying – that paddy has featured my stuff (my art, not just links to my blog) more than once here… i don’t have a gallery, have never lived in nyc, have never met paddy, and we have no mutual friends that i’m aware of. crazy!!!

  • http://anaba.blogspot.com martin

    just want to say – not that she needs any defending, but i know getting comments is gratifying – that paddy has featured my stuff (my art, not just links to my blog) more than once here… i don’t have a gallery, have never lived in nyc, have never met paddy, and we have no mutual friends that i’m aware of. crazy!!!

  • Denny Greenway

    Well, I’d b interested in reading Stephe’s pitch on how an artist is to proceed. I find the claim “Thus we have artists who shamelessly promote their own products.” puzzling. What else is an artist to do, wait for the next time consuming grant app who’s review committe consists of opposites? Imagine an old moderate Republican like Frankenthaler on the NEA selection committee surveying the work of some Clitino’s or Drag Kings. Please elucidate. I personally have found the internet useful, but I agree w/ the above, collectors w/ disposable cash are not trolling the art websites, and if they are, they are more likely to want to buy thru a bricks and mortar third party. I don’t know is this changing?

  • Denny Greenway

    Well, I’d b interested in reading Stephe’s pitch on how an artist is to proceed. I find the claim “Thus we have artists who shamelessly promote their own products.” puzzling. What else is an artist to do, wait for the next time consuming grant app who’s review committe consists of opposites? Imagine an old moderate Republican like Frankenthaler on the NEA selection committee surveying the work of some Clitino’s or Drag Kings. Please elucidate. I personally have found the internet useful, but I agree w/ the above, collectors w/ disposable cash are not trolling the art websites, and if they are, they are more likely to want to buy thru a bricks and mortar third party. I don’t know is this changing?

  • Denny Greenway

    Well, I’d b interested in reading Stephe’s pitch on how an artist is to proceed. I find the claim “Thus we have artists who shamelessly promote their own products.” puzzling. What else is an artist to do, wait for the next time consuming grant app who’s review committe consists of opposites? Imagine an old moderate Republican like Frankenthaler on the NEA selection committee surveying the work of some Clitino’s or Drag Kings. Please elucidate. I personally have found the internet useful, but I agree w/ the above, collectors w/ disposable cash are not trolling the art websites, and if they are, they are more likely to want to buy thru a bricks and mortar third party. I don’t know is this changing?

  • Denny Greenway

    Well, I’d b interested in reading Stephe’s pitch on how an artist is to proceed. I find the claim “Thus we have artists who shamelessly promote their own products.” puzzling. What else is an artist to do, wait for the next time consuming grant app who’s review committe consists of opposites? Imagine an old moderate Republican like Frankenthaler on the NEA selection committee surveying the work of some Clitino’s or Drag Kings. Please elucidate. I personally have found the internet useful, but I agree w/ the above, collectors w/ disposable cash are not trolling the art websites, and if they are, they are more likely to want to buy thru a bricks and mortar third party. I don’t know is this changing?

  • http://www.stevenread.com stephe

    Denny, with my “artists who shamelessly promote their own products” comment, I was quoting Paddy’s article where she described someone’s actions, and I was also punning my own self-promotion tactics. Traditionally it has been considered wrong to do it. I have tossed away that tradition, for a variety of reasons. And people despise me for it. You are exactly right – what else is an artist to do? Why not do it?! It is still a young information/communication age, we can do anything we want in regards to information dispersal, its new and exciting, why play the same old barbaric networking games? Most collectors, curators, publishers still go through the traditional networks, be it brick/mortar, institutional, or otherwise. They have to make sure they are making a solid decision, they are often afraid to put their own intuition and ego on the line, so they rely on the central art network for safe, secure leads because there is so much out there in the jungle of art. There is also turf protection, back scratching, dues-paying, turn waiting, academia, and other such structures which remain firmly in place, in opposition to any personal goals you may have to get your art and information out. I guess its all part of the fun. Its all information, and we can define and do anything we want with information. The structures of the art world, communication or promotional habits or whatever, can listed then resorted, remixed, redefined, republished… just like any other type of information. Will this cause change? Is it changing, you ask? Probably not for decades to come. That’s my 2 thousand cents.

  • http://www.stevenread.com stephe

    Denny, with my “artists who shamelessly promote their own products” comment, I was quoting Paddy’s article where she described someone’s actions, and I was also punning my own self-promotion tactics. Traditionally it has been considered wrong to do it. I have tossed away that tradition, for a variety of reasons. And people despise me for it. You are exactly right – what else is an artist to do? Why not do it?! It is still a young information/communication age, we can do anything we want in regards to information dispersal, its new and exciting, why play the same old barbaric networking games? Most collectors, curators, publishers still go through the traditional networks, be it brick/mortar, institutional, or otherwise. They have to make sure they are making a solid decision, they are often afraid to put their own intuition and ego on the line, so they rely on the central art network for safe, secure leads because there is so much out there in the jungle of art. There is also turf protection, back scratching, dues-paying, turn waiting, academia, and other such structures which remain firmly in place, in opposition to any personal goals you may have to get your art and information out. I guess its all part of the fun. Its all information, and we can define and do anything we want with information. The structures of the art world, communication or promotional habits or whatever, can listed then resorted, remixed, redefined, republished… just like any other type of information. Will this cause change? Is it changing, you ask? Probably not for decades to come. That’s my 2 thousand cents.

  • http://www.stevenread.com stephe

    Denny, with my “artists who shamelessly promote their own products” comment, I was quoting Paddy’s article where she described someone’s actions, and I was also punning my own self-promotion tactics. Traditionally it has been considered wrong to do it. I have tossed away that tradition, for a variety of reasons. And people despise me for it. You are exactly right – what else is an artist to do? Why not do it?! It is still a young information/communication age, we can do anything we want in regards to information dispersal, its new and exciting, why play the same old barbaric networking games? Most collectors, curators, publishers still go through the traditional networks, be it brick/mortar, institutional, or otherwise. They have to make sure they are making a solid decision, they are often afraid to put their own intuition and ego on the line, so they rely on the central art network for safe, secure leads because there is so much out there in the jungle of art. There is also turf protection, back scratching, dues-paying, turn waiting, academia, and other such structures which remain firmly in place, in opposition to any personal goals you may have to get your art and information out. I guess its all part of the fun. Its all information, and we can define and do anything we want with information. The structures of the art world, communication or promotional habits or whatever, can listed then resorted, remixed, redefined, republished… just like any other type of information. Will this cause change? Is it changing, you ask? Probably not for decades to come. That’s my 2 thousand cents.

  • Art Fag City

    Just so we’re all clear here, my description of Laliberte, shamelessly promoting his own product, is a direct response to the ickiness of this artist’s apology to Ms. Finel Honigman after he had plagerized her unpublished material. The direct quote below:

    “First off, I want to apologize to Ms. Finel Honigman for any confusion my email may have caused. With any new and exciting company, there is a lot of information and paper to go over. I was under the impression that I was simply taking existing company literature and reworking it for an email I sent to you introducing Famegame.com’s press release. At no point was I working under the assumption that I was taking language out of an as-yet to be published document. Due to the nature of fame theory, any verbage that is used has to be very specific, so naturally there will be overlaps. In this case, I want to assure Ms. Honigman that it was nothing more sinister than a mix-up. For the record, the same people behind FameTheory are also the creators of FameGame.com.”

    First of all, I have trouble believing the artist didn’t know he was borrowing language from an unpublished document (why on earth would a curator send materials to artists and not mention this), and even if it were published the depravity of the act would be essentially the same. The specifity of professional jargon as an excuse for this doesn’t fly for a minute, particularly upon reading the artists “reworking” of the material.

    Second, to use the form given to you to apologize for plagiarizing materials given to you for promoting a separate work, is well, really really gross. It also points to insincere regrets, since one of the complaints lodged in the first place was that he used her words to pimp a product she hadn’t endorsed.

  • Art Fag City

    Just so we’re all clear here, my description of Laliberte, shamelessly promoting his own product, is a direct response to the ickiness of this artist’s apology to Ms. Finel Honigman after he had plagerized her unpublished material. The direct quote below:

    “First off, I want to apologize to Ms. Finel Honigman for any confusion my email may have caused. With any new and exciting company, there is a lot of information and paper to go over. I was under the impression that I was simply taking existing company literature and reworking it for an email I sent to you introducing Famegame.com’s press release. At no point was I working under the assumption that I was taking language out of an as-yet to be published document. Due to the nature of fame theory, any verbage that is used has to be very specific, so naturally there will be overlaps. In this case, I want to assure Ms. Honigman that it was nothing more sinister than a mix-up. For the record, the same people behind FameTheory are also the creators of FameGame.com.”

    First of all, I have trouble believing the artist didn’t know he was borrowing language from an unpublished document (why on earth would a curator send materials to artists and not mention this), and even if it were published the depravity of the act would be essentially the same. The specifity of professional jargon as an excuse for this doesn’t fly for a minute, particularly upon reading the artists “reworking” of the material.

    Second, to use the form given to you to apologize for plagiarizing materials given to you for promoting a separate work, is well, really really gross. It also points to insincere regrets, since one of the complaints lodged in the first place was that he used her words to pimp a product she hadn’t endorsed.

  • Art Fag City

    Just so we’re all clear here, my description of Laliberte, shamelessly promoting his own product, is a direct response to the ickiness of this artist’s apology to Ms. Finel Honigman after he had plagerized her unpublished material. The direct quote below:

    “First off, I want to apologize to Ms. Finel Honigman for any confusion my email may have caused. With any new and exciting company, there is a lot of information and paper to go over. I was under the impression that I was simply taking existing company literature and reworking it for an email I sent to you introducing Famegame.com’s press release. At no point was I working under the assumption that I was taking language out of an as-yet to be published document. Due to the nature of fame theory, any verbage that is used has to be very specific, so naturally there will be overlaps. In this case, I want to assure Ms. Honigman that it was nothing more sinister than a mix-up. For the record, the same people behind FameTheory are also the creators of FameGame.com.”

    First of all, I have trouble believing the artist didn’t know he was borrowing language from an unpublished document (why on earth would a curator send materials to artists and not mention this), and even if it were published the depravity of the act would be essentially the same. The specifity of professional jargon as an excuse for this doesn’t fly for a minute, particularly upon reading the artists “reworking” of the material.

    Second, to use the form given to you to apologize for plagiarizing materials given to you for promoting a separate work, is well, really really gross. It also points to insincere regrets, since one of the complaints lodged in the first place was that he used her words to pimp a product she hadn’t endorsed.

  • Art Fag City

    Just so we’re all clear here, my description of Laliberte, shamelessly promoting his own product, is a direct response to the ickiness of this artist’s apology to Ms. Finel Honigman after he had plagerized her unpublished material. The direct quote below:

    “First off, I want to apologize to Ms. Finel Honigman for any confusion my email may have caused. With any new and exciting company, there is a lot of information and paper to go over. I was under the impression that I was simply taking existing company literature and reworking it for an email I sent to you introducing Famegame.com’s press release. At no point was I working under the assumption that I was taking language out of an as-yet to be published document. Due to the nature of fame theory, any verbage that is used has to be very specific, so naturally there will be overlaps. In this case, I want to assure Ms. Honigman that it was nothing more sinister than a mix-up. For the record, the same people behind FameTheory are also the creators of FameGame.com.”

    First of all, I have trouble believing the artist didn’t know he was borrowing language from an unpublished document (why on earth would a curator send materials to artists and not mention this), and even if it were published the depravity of the act would be essentially the same. The specifity of professional jargon as an excuse for this doesn’t fly for a minute, particularly upon reading the artists “reworking” of the material.

    Second, to use the form given to you to apologize for plagiarizing materials given to you for promoting a separate work, is well, really really gross. It also points to insincere regrets, since one of the complaints lodged in the first place was that he used her words to pimp a product she hadn’t endorsed.

  • http://www.stevenread.com stephe

    You are right, that is bad usage of information. While I did claim “we can do anything we want in regards to information dispersal”, there are lines, walking them is fun, but repeatedly crossing them at someone else’s expense isn’t.

  • http://www.stevenread.com stephe

    You are right, that is bad usage of information. While I did claim “we can do anything we want in regards to information dispersal”, there are lines, walking them is fun, but repeatedly crossing them at someone else’s expense isn’t.

  • Thomas Nigel

    There will always be snobbery in the art world. Let me tell you, the artist with the ‘us versus them’ mentality is just as much of a snob as the gallery owner who only takes prized horses into his or stable, or the magazine that seems to copy & paste certain names. I like Stephe’s grit in facing this issue. You know, when I was younger I would walk the streets of Chelsea and try to rub elbows with known collectors and gallery owners as they went about their day. This often resulted in unkind words again me and sometimes resulted in direct insults against me. You know how I got by? When the conversations turned sour I would look them dead in the eye knowing that if I wanted I could punch the back of their head through the front of their face. Artists need to keep their grit.

  • Thomas Nigel

    There will always be snobbery in the art world. Let me tell you, the artist with the ‘us versus them’ mentality is just as much of a snob as the gallery owner who only takes prized horses into his or stable, or the magazine that seems to copy & paste certain names. I like Stephe’s grit in facing this issue. You know, when I was younger I would walk the streets of Chelsea and try to rub elbows with known collectors and gallery owners as they went about their day. This often resulted in unkind words again me and sometimes resulted in direct insults against me. You know how I got by? When the conversations turned sour I would look them dead in the eye knowing that if I wanted I could punch the back of their head through the front of their face. Artists need to keep their grit.

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