Thursday, February 3, 2011

MZB - Paint by Color - Part 3

At what point are you willing to put your beliefs on the line and vote with your feet? You know, stake all with no safety net; put all your chips on one number? Sound a bit dramatic? Life is dramatic. Well, that’s where we are. Margaret Zox Brown’s Paint by Color exhibition is the dividing line of my career. Clearly my last two blog entries regarding this body of work evidence significant literary departure from my standard critiquing format. Why the change? Choice. When finally we are willing to risk all for our beliefs, passion becomes the mainstay of our diet. Why else offer our necks to the guillotine?

Only the Director here at Knapp, I am responsible for carrying out the directives of the owners, Barclay and Rebecca Knapp. And While I enjoy certain measures of autonomy, keeping these privileges requires results and execution of their vision. Forsaking safety, protocol and possibly relationship, in the name of exceptional art, I have made an executive decision that is outside their consent. The Knapp’s like Margaret’s paintings a lot, however with the caveat that they are expensive for the Philadelphia market.

Holding to my Grandfather’s adage, “No risk no reward,” I have placed my head into the mouth of the lion. Forging ahead, without the Knapp’s blessing, contrary to their vision, I have hung Margaret’s show. No, this is not blatant disregard for their authority. I have remarkable regard and respect for their perspective. I am more than appreciative of the opportunity they hey provided for me, and their trust in me to meet the responsibilities of my position. This is not a struggle for power. This is however an exercise in “voting with my feet.” Putting oneself in Harm’s way demonstrates commitment. In the end, isn’t that what making art is all about; a demand for a committed response.

An outspoken champion for the Philadelphia artist, I find in remarkably ironic that it is for a New York painter that I have drawn my line in the sand. Ultimately, the line represents great art. If I am not willing to take a hit for world class art, than I need a new occupation. Let’s get serious. This is about livelihood, for the artist, the gallery – everyone involved. There is no time for passivity. As a Director, I would be remiss if I withheld this exhibition from Philadelphia based on price alone. Is Philadelphia worthy of my commitment? I don’t know. In the end, I have to face myself in the mirror and live with my decision.

My decision, more than being about Philadelphia, is about the value of fine art and the opportunity to promote the finest artwork available. Folks, in my estimation, this is some of the finest art available. I am staking my reputation on it.