Announcing the "Young Methuselah" Award for Longest Documented Period of Emergence by an Artist (This isn't a cynical category, but a hopeful one; because of the art world's perennial boneheadedness, you can still be a "new artist" for a very, very long time.)

And the winner is:

Scott Grodesky, who was the subject of an "Openings" column in Artforum in 1992 (which "introduced the work of artists at the beginning of their careers"), and is included this month (Jan. 2004) in "First Take: 12 New Artists" in the same magazine. "First Take" selector Carroll Dunham tries to account for this absurdity by explaining that Grodesky's work has "evolved" over the past 12 years, so he needs to be reevaluated as a new artist. Go figure.

Runner-up: Judith Eisler, whose first one-person show in NY was in the Luhring Augustine viewing room in 1995. She is also included in "First Take: 12 New Artists" in the January 2004 Artforum. I'm afraid to even look at the resumes of the other 10.

And as long as we're handing out awards, the Sixth Day Award for the Shortest Documented Period of Emergence by an Artist goes (somewhat belatedly) to Jennifer Pastor, the subject of an 1996 "Openings" column in Artforum. She was included in the Whitney Biennial (for many artists a career milestone) exactly one year later. Just keep working, people, none of this makes any sense.

UPDATE: A second runner-up for the Young Methuselah Award, Gareth James, has been named. Please see the comments to this post for a real laugh.

UPDATE 2: A friend of Gareth's says he's still emerging so I guess it's not so funny. The intimidating-sounding blurb for the architecture course he teaches at Cooper Union fooled me into thinking he was already there.

- tom moody 1-04-2004 2:29 am

oh sure, jump all over the awards show theme. I know you link to me a lot but now I deserve, nay, (that's right, "nay") demand one!
Yeah the whole emerging artist thing has puzzled me ever since I got to New York. It seems more like a flexible tax bracket - like your accountant might say, "let's keep you under 60 thousand this year so you can still be emerging." Great detective work sniffing out the details and exposing what I always expected. We need to set up a system by which you can tell if you're still emerging. like a list of questions and if you answer enough right [or wrong] you're "established"
1. Has a collector/gallerist ever offered you coke?
2. Does your car transfer power from "the wheels that slip to the wheels that grip".
3. Have you never concidered eating your pet.
Okay I'm not sure what question three tells us but building a psychological profile isn't easy.
- joester (guest) 1-04-2004 8:17 am

I'm just building buzz for the highly anticipated PreVie awards announcement by...stealing your idea.

Another "new artist" listed in Artforum is Gareth James, selected by Whitney curator Debra Singer. It's just too weird. The magazine describes him as an "up-and-comer" but here's his bio from the Architecture Department of Cooper Union, where he teaches (didn't he also teach in the Whitney Independent Study Program?):

Coordinator of Public Programs, Assistant Professor, Adjunct Faculty.

Professor James is an artist and writer based in New York. He has exhibited extensively in museums and galleries in the United States and Europe. He is a frequent collaborator with Storm van Helsing. His writing has appeared in Texte zur Kunst (Berlin), Made in USA (New York), and Purple (Paris). Professor James teaches ARCH 205, Advanced Concepts.

Recent exhibitions of his work have been held at Kunst Werke (Berlin), PS1 (New York), The ICA (London), The Wolfsonian (Miami), and is represented by American Fine Arts gallery in New York. His most recent publication is an anthology of essays I said I love. That is the promise: the tvideo politics of Jean-Luc Godard (2003).
Obviously he has to emphasize his experience to keep a teaching job but be forever green in the art market. In the latter arena, as you suggest, it's essential to stay "new" which equates with "hot," as opposed to "experienced" which equates with "washed up." It's all pretty silly.

(This is so good I'm adding him as second runner-up for the Young Methuselah Award.)

- tom moody 1-04-2004 9:22 am

I think it's another Gareth.
- joester (guest) 1-05-2004 5:34 am

According to this roster "Gareth James" was an artist in the Whitney Independent Study Program in 97-98, along with Matt King and others. So he's been emerging for at least 5 years. This blog entry dated 8/15/03 talks about walking across a bridge with "Gareth James of the Whitney ISP." This 2002 email to "Gareth James, ISP" is replied to by "" This is just from a cursory google search; I'm sort of curious to know if teachers or administrators in the ISP can be considered "up-and-coming artists," and for how long. I should add, the work I've seen of his looks pretty interesting: the mag should think about profiling him as a grown-up, maybe.

- tom moody 1-05-2004 6:07 am

Wow, Gareth is working a Cooper. Good for him. He's your weakes argument, I think, as an artist he may still be emerging. Otherwise I'm totaly on board the rant train.
- joester (guest) 1-05-2004 8:26 am

What argument? See Update 2 above.

- tom moody 1-05-2004 9:54 am

Yeah, it's not like I actually read, I just pick out the verbs and nouns, then start complaining.
- joester (guest) 1-05-2004 7:01 pm

The "friend of Gareth's" is YOU, my friend. In the Heisenbergian state of bloggeristically determined "emergence" that's the power you have.

- tom moody 1-05-2004 8:59 pm

as usual, im less than certain.
- dave 1-05-2004 9:22 pm

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