Wayne Michael Reich

Writing ∙ Photography ∙ Art

The Revolution May Not Be Televised (but you can still wear your Che hat.)

“A revolution is an idea which has found its bayonets.”
– Napoleon Bonaparte

Hello Blogiteers!
I have been one busy little Artbitch, let me tell you- the past three months have been simply abuzz with frenetic and somewhat random activity, running the gamut from moving my work-space to a location closer to my Lair of Snarkitude (IE: five minutes from my house) while simultaneously carving out rehearsal time for my gig hosting FFNL at Bragg’s Pie Factory way back in May.
That’s on top of keeping up with my artistic commissions, planning my newest show for its debut in January, working my day gig framing for art galleries,  along with feeding my five book a week reading habit.

[That would be big thick books with no pictures, and a whole lotta words. Seriously… I think I may have a real problem on my hands.]

Doing the FFNL gig was a blast- I had a great time, enjoyed working with the cast, and in a display of   genuine friendship, even invited NT’s Mangling Editorzilla Amy Silverman to the show. Naturally, Amy had more important things to do, like not publishing that series of articles she had pledged to write that praised PHX, so she couldn’t attend, and that was a shame… because I apologized to both her and NT for my stance against them.
As has often been noted, I am the milk of human kindness, so what did I say exactly? Well… here’s my original self-written script, and as you will soon come to realize, it just dripswith warmth and sincerity:

“Good evening! I am your host, Wayne Michael Reich- welcome to FFNL, the comedy sketch show that dispels the myth that stoners have no work ethic.

Now some of you may recognize me from the PHX art scene, or possibly from the 2008 independent documentary “Hi My name is Ryan”, where I was cast against type as the villain,  but lately, more people seem to be associating me with my monthly blog, known as “Artbitch”- where I offer sweet, gentle, and ultimately kind, advice to those well… less intelligent and /or talented.

Speaking of which, in the past- the Phoenix New Times has slammed me for being as they see it- a tad arrogant and somewhat egotistical  To be honest, being called arrogant by the PNT is sort of like Charlie Sheen telling you that you’re banging way too many strippers.

.But, I am truly regretful, because after years of bad mouthing PHX, the PNT has started to actually cover what happens in downtown… granted, they didn’t do this until after I began treating them in my blog like one of Chris Brown’s girlfriends, but I digress.

In fact, last month- they sponsored a truly magical evening dedicated to showcasing PHX’s’ unique Culture and it’s Artists, hosting their event in the most logical place that one might think of for celebrating all things Phoenician… Scottsdale.
 In their defense however, it’s not like there’s an art space in all of Downtown that has the ability to hold 200 people, right?

Now, as much as you might think I should, I’m not going to mock this event which they glibly named Artopia, and I’ll explain why- first: in a true Artopia, there would be no PNT, and second- I have to call it as I see it- sure, it boasted four entertainers, a few buffet tables, and a DJ, but with all due respect, where I come from, that’s not really an art event…

That’s a bat mitzvah without a budget.

But no matter- tonight is all about righting my wrongs, so let me start by apologizing directly to the paper itself. Previously, I’ve labeled the PNT the Pennysaver with Porn, and that was just short-sighted on my part.

Granted, I may have implied that overall, their cultural reporting lacks a few minor journalistic details like integrity, competence and truth- but I’m not suggesting that they lie….

 I’m outright stating that they just make shit up.

But to cast their unique quirk in a positive light, their lies are usually way more entertaining than the majority of stories that they “write”. Plus, there’s also many crucial differences between the PNT and porn-

for instance, most people aren’t truly embarrassed to leave Porn just laying around on their coffee table where anyone could see it, and the PNT does serve as an invaluable resource –

if I ever need to know where I can get a lap-dance and a happy ending massage, while simultaneously having a car stereo installed, it’s obvious who I would turn to, that’s right…

 the only local newspaper you can read with one hand.

But my sincere regret wouldn’t be complete without also apologizing to the PNT’s mangling editor (sorry, that’s managing editor) one Mrs Amy Silverman.

Now, to be honest, our relationship is a bit strained, and I think I might be at fault… somewhat.

By way of example, I once may have said that she owned stock in a Dalmatian farm…. just so she’d have puppies on hand to eat, and I was wrong to say that.

Turns out… Amy’s really a cat person. Who knew?

I’d also like to apologize for poking fun at her use of the Twilight novels as her personal fashion guide.

 In retrospect, dressing like a love struck tween and wearing sparkly sneakers is a bold move for a woman pushing fifty who isn’t a drunken eccentric, or the owner of a lesbian bar .

And there’s also the matter of my pet nickname  for her, that being Editorzilla, which is of course- an obvious reference to the Japanese Sea Monster, Godzilla.

Once again, I was wrong. There are many crucial differences between Amy and Godzilla. 

For instance: one is a scaly, coldblooded, fire breathing monster from the darkest depths who, when it makes landfall, destroys the local community- and the other… is Godzilla
 So once again- my deepest apologies for the unflattering comparison.”

Now my detractors say that I can’t be nice, and right here’s concrete proof that I’m just a big softie at heart. But as the old adage goes, there ain’t no rest for the wicked, so a well-earned siesta will just have to be put on a back burner until my need for rest outweighs my need to network.

In other words: never.

Anyone who knows me well also understands how much I like to work the floor, and boy oh boy, have I been working it- popping up everywhere in the manner of an artsy whack-a-mole on crack, meeting old friends, making new ones, and being both gladdened and saddened by what I’ve been observing within the Arts community.

The stuff that makes me sad is the usual laundry list of complaints, all of which have already been covered in my previous blogs ad nausea, and therefore won’t be re-addressed here- except to say that certain Galleries and their so-called “Artists” really just need to be taken behind their ol’ meth sheds and ruthlessly given a double tap to the face so that we can all just start with a fresh slate and a clean conscience.
We all know who you are, and trust the Artbitch- it’s WAY overdue, you impotent candy-asses. 
Now, for the stuff that makes me glad, it’s really more about people finally waking up and paying attention to what I’ve been screaming about for a while now. Granted, the majority of these people still aren’t doing anything about it yet, but at least it’s a topic of discussion, and that’s a start.

But thanks to the efforts of fellow Artists Luis Gutierrez and Glen Allen, there’s also some progress on increasing the financial stability of the scene, thereby escalating the possibility of our local Artists making a decent living for a change.

I’ll explain.
Its time to raise the standards in the PAS (PHX Art Scene) and in my humble opinion, its been a long time a-coming. As Andy Warhol once stated:
“To be successful as an artist, you have to have your work shown by a good gallery for the same reason, say, that Dior never sold his originals from a counter in Woolworth’s.

It’s a matter of marketing, among other things. If a guy has, say, a few thousand dollars to spend on a painting . . .

He wants to buy something that’s going to go up and up in value, and the only way that can happen is with a good gallery, one that looks out for the artist, promotes him, and sees to it that his work is shown in the right way to the right people.

Because if the artist were to fade away, so would this guy’s investment … No matter how good you are, if you are not promoted right, you won’t be one of those remembered names.”

Currently, there’s a few of us drafting a “manifesto” of sorts- a call to action, as it were. Essentially, it’s a list of minimum standards for both the Artists and the Galleries to follow in regards to the way they’ll conduct business in the future.

Yes, I said “business”.

Whether you like it or not, the other side of creative endeavor is the marketing of said creations, and its about time we all just suck it up and accept that. If you’re one of those Creatives who thinks money is the root of all evil, this isn’t going to be the faction for you, and that’s okay.
It’s no longer Amateur Night.
One thing the PAS has consistently lacked is professionalism, and this Manifesto seeks to rectify that.  The professionals are in the house, so it is time to step up your game and get with the program. The standards we’d like to introduce would cover all aspects of the business relationship, along with an integrated check and balance system to make certain said standards are being met.
Now, I can already hear some of you whining, and all I have to say is this: just shut the hell up before I jam a spork through your empty head. The reason why the PAS is universally ignored by the Art World as a whole is actually quite simple: we concentrate way too much on the after-party and not enough on the show.

Sure, there a few notable exceptions, Paul S. Wilson’s recent exhibition at Willo North Gallery standing as an excellent example of  true professionalism, but overall- the PAS embodies all the style and flair of a second-hand Yugo.

And it’s just as desirable.

I’m sick of half-ass efforts, pretentious (and ultimately useless) Patrons, and hack artists who think that the only requirement to put on a good show is to wear black and drink a lot. And this lack of focus needs to change, come Hell or high-water.
And here’s how we’re gonna do it.
For regular readers of my screeds,  this is familiar territory- I’ve been offering solutions and suggestions in regards to the PAS for over two years now, and if all goes well, many of those concepts will find themselves woven into the fabric of the as yet unfinished Manifesto.
What can I say? I’m a Visionary.
I’m not going into detail yet again about what needs to be done, as there’s no need to flog a dead horse, but  lets just touch upon a detail or two. To start,  the Artists need to bring their “A” game, all the time every time. Not just in regard to the work they produce, but also in how they approach presentation, pricing, and dealing with their potential Patrons.

In other words, a sense of professionalism inherent in everything they do. But they’re not the only ones I’m taking to task. The Galleries in this town need to jack up their efforts as well, and that right quick. This relationship is symbiotic- if one fails, they both fail.

So what do the Galleries need to do to ensure that this doesn’t happen? Well, acting more like a business and less like a social club would be a good start., for one. Standard retail hours would also be beneficial, but I’m a pragmatist in regards to this.
The reality of the situation is that most spaces in this town are run by either Artists with very little business acumen, or Art Lovers who work a day gig, sometimes solely to pay the rent for their space.

I do understand that after a hard day in the metaphorical salt mines, very few people want to work an additional shift, even if their heart is in the right place. At the very least however, these Galleries need to be open on the weekends.

Ideally, that schedule would consist of Friday night, all day Saturday, and Sundays by appointment only, if so desired- and not just once or twice a month either- this sea change needs to happen every weekend, all year long.  

As I said, more like a business and less like a social club.
Promotion is also key to this rebirth of the PAS, a crucial component that so far, has been woefully underutilized. The Galleries and Artists need to start making a joyous noise that’s loud enough to put PHX on the map as a must see destination for Art Lovers and more importantly, Art Buyers.
Of course, these are all just hypothetical musings.
As of yet, the Manifesto is in the process of being created, and that’s where you come in. We want input- your input. One of the best ways to improve the PAS is to find out what it really needs, and  the best way to do that is to cull ideas from the source.

Artists. Galleries. And Patrons*.
[Note: when I say Patrons, I am in fact referring to the select few who actually buy Art, not the drunken Hipsters who infest our scene like a gaggle of skinny jean wearing wood ticks.]

So, here’s something to ponder. Over the next few weeks, I want to hear from you, and in detail. Got an idea? Let me know. If its good, it may just become a stone in the foundation of a new and better PAS.
Have a complaint? I want to hear those too, believe it or not. The only way we’re ever going to improve our overall situation is to get our machine stripped down and make it lean, mean, and profitable.
I say we get that sucker in the garage and just go all shades of medieval on it.
Therefore, if you have a minute or two to add to the growing dialogue, drop me your thoughts and musings at: Darkreich@Yahoo.com and I’ll do my best to stay on top of your responses over the course of the next few weeks as we carefully craft what will hopefully turn out to be a new chapter in the history of the PAS.

Viva La Revolución.

“In a revolution, as in a novel, the most difficult part to invent is the end.”
– Alexis de Tocqueville