Helping artists in down times, part I
Two of my favorite new artists I discovered with the help of Campari. No, not the name of New York's latest curator from across the pond, but the 150-year-old red alcoholic aperitif invented in Italy, the stuff of New York Times' Helene Cooper's villa dreams. "We proffer Campari-vodka-grapefruit juice aperitivos..." Cooper writes in her romantic story on how to score an affordable vacation rental in Italy.
Artists and alcohol have long had a productive relationship (go ahead and argue that), and Campari's long-standing "experiential marketing" initiative, House of Campari, is brilliantly set on supporting emerging artists, through grants and rallying audiences into galleries. In a boom market, this might get eclipsed by the insane stories of English artist Damien Hirst selling off his pieces for tens of millions of dollars--$100 million for a diamond-encrusted skull alone.With the art bubble going the way of Lehman Brothers, suddenly we need more Camparis, the "apertivos" and the art patron.
Last spring, I got to hear a haunting young woman with a haunting voice, named St. Vincent, play in a gallery with paintings by relatively unknown artists, curated by Campari. St. Vincent is the darling of independent music's Delphi--Pitchfork Media--and has a new song I keep replaying. In plain-speak, she's been blowing up. And I first heard her at this event. Before Kanye West's blog, via Ariston Anderston at Cool Hunting, gave praise to Matthew McGuinness's Casper Disaster, at this same event, I stared at it and wondered if there was any chance I could buy it.
Last month in Los Angeles, Campari had another exhibit featuring artists to watch, "First Look: An Exhibition of Emerging Artists from Los Angeles Galleries." Hopefully they keep this up -- the art world needs them to.
In more saving art news, the Los Angeles Times reports today that the California Community Foundation,in partnership with the Getty Trust, will provide $20,000 grants to10 mid-career artists and $15,000 grants to four emerging artists.
I gave this post a "part 1" status, in the hopes that I'll have more good news soon to deliver.