The Cost of Things: Museums

The new Kehinde Wiley exhibit opens at the Brooklyn Museum in a few days and I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek. (The “Press” sticker is still attached to my sweater, so that I get to feel momentarily better-than-garbage when I glance at myself in a mirror.) The show is breathtaking, full of everything from sculpture to stained glass. Highly recommend.

The Brooklyn Museum is a 10-15 walk from my house, next to the equally awesome Botanical Gardens. I have lots of fondness for both institutions. Do I belong to either? No.

It’s dumb! Or, more specifically, I guess, it’s penny wise, pound foolish. But it’s so hard to know what to buy memberships to. If I could I would buy memberships to every cultural institution I like to spend time at: the Brooklyn Museum, the Botanical Gardens, BAM for sure. Maybe the zoo in Prospect Park? Maybe the Brooklyn Children’s Museum? Both are great places to take a toddler with endless amounts of energy. The aquarium?

Too many choices! I close down and do nothing. 


Three Tourists Bought Art From Banksy’s Anonymous Pop-Up Shop in Central Park This Weekend

On Saturday, an old man set up a stall in Central Park near Fifth Avenue selling "spray art" for $60 per canvas. He was able to sell a few canvasses to three tourists for a total of $420—which isn't so bad for someone selling street art. Graffiti artist Banksy revealed that the stall was actually a one-time pop-up shop that belonged to him, and the New York Post reports that the art could be worth as much as $31,000.

I Didn’t Think Art Could Make Me Rich, But I Thought It Might Pay Some Very Cheap Rent (Nope)

After graduating college, I pulled together a poetry tour of the East Coast with three friends. We couch-surfed and split small sums from homemade book sales and venue entry fees. Our biggest check—$2,000—came from working with a small city’s public library. That money made it possible for us to break even after a month on the road, but only just. It was a start, we thought.

Years later, one friend is in graduate school for archival science; another is in school to become a Unitarian Universalist minister; and the third works at cash-for-gold stand in the mall. I schedule appointments at the office of a moving company.

None of us have been able to rely on writing as a sole source of income. None of us have jobs in the arts that pay our rent. There was a time when this would have surprised me.


Chatting With Artist Darren Bader About His Donation Boxes at the 2014 Whitney Biennial, Cats and Money

I interviewed artist Darren Bader over email as he prepared for his next exhibit at the Andrew Kreps Gallery, where he'll have a show opening in the middle of May. We talked about his work, his current piece at the Whitney, and how a person makes money as a conceptual artist. We also talked about cats.

Crowded Transportation; The Chinese Workers Who Make the Toys

This photo is from German artist and photographer Michael Wolf, who I discovered via Tyler Cowen. It's part of a series of photos of people crammed into crowded Tokyo subway trains. Also incredible is Wolf's installation "The Real Toy Story," which consists of 20,000 toys made in China and bought in California that Wolf attached to a wall with photos of the workers who made the toys. Really, all the photos in his portfolio are terrific.

The Best Parts of Cities Are Free

Sarah Mirk spent a month in New York doing research for a book she’s writing (gonna be dope).  She also drew a little love letter to NYC detailing her favorite bits, and it is delightful!

Let’s all go on walks and notice the little things this weekend. And then draw pictures of those things. And then stare at the pictures and smile, both at the memories, and our still-full (or, less-empty) wallets. And then send the pictures to me.


Money As Art

Mark Wagner is a collage artist who uses dollar bills as his material. While watching this, I kept thinking, "ahh, isn't it illegal to destroy currency?" (Yes.) But it's art.

What Kate Bingaman-Burt Buys

Today I came across artist Kate Bingaman-Burt's site, which chronicles some of the thing she buys, as well as a period of time when she was drawing all of her credit card statements.