Artist Dan Wang on Asylum NYC's Youth Focus
Chicago-based artist Dan Wang (opening in the Hyde Park Art Show this weekend) has this follow-up to Brett's comments on the Asylum NYC art show:
mostly agree with Brett's comments. I would add this thought: why the emphasis on "young" artists? While not stated as a condition for eligibility, the site does declare the selection of "ten young artists" and at least one of the artists in her statement describes herself as a "young talented artist," as if youthfulness were the preferred condition of applicants. Now I fully understand that younger people have it more difficult in many areas of life and career, but given the award of a three-year residency permit, I have to question this trace preference for youth. Because when it comes to immigration, youth is generally an advantage. Developed nations, by and large, do not want old people coming to their shores to live out their days using the public resources of a host country without having contributed the better part of their working lives. If you are wanting to move to the US or Canada or New Zealand or other developed nations but you are over 50 and without recognized skills, and without family to receive you, and without a wad of cash with which you can buy property and/or start businesses that will employ people, you are basically out of luck. There must be quite a few artists out there in just such a situation. Seems to me that the award would be more meaningful if spread across a wider range of ages on the upper end, especially given the reality that artists often possess real but unrecognized skills, and tend to accumulate and/or sharpen more of those skills as they age. These all look like worthy recipients of the award, that's not the issue for me. But to bring in older folks who could move with the momentum of a long but under-recognized career, and in that way make an immediate contribution to the host society and in the process dispel the prejudices that govern the administrative apparatus of immigration--now that would cool.


VISIBLE in Chicago, Brett Bloom's Thoughts on Asylum NYC Art Show
For anyone in Chicago, Saturday April 29, we are presenting Visible Collective's work and a talk on Post 9/11 Security Panic, Loyalty Tests & the Muslim "Outsider". Talk presented at Mess Hall at invitation of Temporary Services who do phenomenal work (we are in a show together @ Yerba Buena, San Francisco).

Brett Bloom of TS had this response to the item I sent yesterday on the AsylumNYC art show:
Naeem, I saw this in the Sunday Times. It really pissed me off. Is it really all that different from all the other ways art gets presented in NYC and elsewhere. It feels like more of the same to me. I don't understand why people think that creating this competition is a good thing. So much brutal, evil competition already exists in this country. Why turn it into frivolous art entertainment? It is really pathetic and indicative of how inept the art world is at dealing with real issues. I much prefer the activities of the Sans Papier folks in France or the Universal Embassy - do you know about this? It was really amazing. I think it was shut down years ago, but a bunch of folks occupied an abandonned Somali consulate building (when Somalia collapsed into a non-state or warlord-state, whatever it is now) in Paris, housed people without immigration papers and began issuing universal passports - much more creative than this exhibition. Any way, the decadence of the NY art world is sometimes deeply infuriating. See you in Chicago soon, Brett

Another member of the SHOBAK listserve wrote to me pointing out that none of the artists were from countries where there could be a 'security' problem getting a visa-- i.e. artists from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.