TIAMSA Blog: CAA 2019 TIAMSA Panel “The Studio as Market” abstracts ed. Julie Codell

At the College Art Association conference in New York City, Feb 13-16, 2019, TIAMSA, recently granted CAA-affiliate status, was allotted a 1½ hour panel session.  The organization’s committee selected the panel, “The Studio as Market” for 2019. The session was well-attended by 35-40 attendees.  This blog contains the abstracts for the panel itself and for each of the four papers presented on Feb 13.

CAA 2018 TIAMSA session “The Studio as Market” panellists (L-R) Sasha Davis (Executive Director, The Renee and Chaim Gross Foundation), Di Wang (University of Oxford), Julie Codell (Arizona State University), Andrew Stephenson (Independent scholar )

The Studio as Market

Julie Codell, Arizona State University

Artists’ studios have been the site of workshops, collaboration, promotion, mystery, and myth, at times considered hallowed, at other times, disreputable. They have also been sites of social, political, and economic transactions that shape aesthetic values and which shape artists’ social status and display and promote their works.  Artists invited critics, dealers, and patrons into their studios that combined a presumed mysterious creative energy with economic exchange while purposely misapprehending economic activities. This session will explore how artists from the eighteenth century on under dwindling church and aristocratic patronage strategically entered the “free” market by using their studios to promote and sell works in conjunction with creating marketable public identities to engage buyers and generate symbolic capital for their name and their work.  Topics can include the nature and function of the studio in the free market, artists’ strategies to both engage economic activities and misrecognize economics, the studio as a site of conflicts over agency in overlapping aesthetic and economic transactions or as an exhibitionary site to display the creative process itself, the studio’s combined production and reception functions, among other topics.


The Studio as Market: Victorian Artists’ Studios as Public Spaces

Julie Codell, Arizona State University

In this presentation I explore how Victorian artists used their studios as marketing tools in two ways. A vast number of photographs of artists in their large, richly furnished studios, a wing of their expensive studio houses in plush neighborhoods like London’s Kensington and Holland Park areas, were produced in periodicals and books on artists’ studios. In these photographs, artists were rarely seen in smocks or holding palettes, but instead were depicted in dress suits, often reading and surrounded by classical sculptures, books, and their own finished, and often well-known, paintings.  Secondly, they used studios to directly market their works, while also misrecognizing the commercial aspect. Through the new ritual of Show Sunday, well-to-do patrons parked their carriages at artists’ grand studios to view artworks in the studio. Visitors numbered into the hundreds on these days. Show Sunday combined exhibitionary and social rituals that reflected artists’ rising social status while disguising the art buying and patronage by the creation of the façade of a social ritual.

Francis Bacon’s London Studios – Before and after 1930.

Andrew Stephenson, Independent scholar

In my paper I consider the different approaches to, and status of, Francis Bacon’s studios before and after 1930. From 1929, Bacon’s South Kensington studio was a commercially driven space of decorative rugs, furniture and screens displayed for sale. Bacon (1909-1992) actively marketed his public identity as a fashionable interior designer through two group shows, the second photographed for an article in the Studio in August 1930 and applauded as embodying “the 1930 Look in British Decoration.” In 1931, Bacon abandoned interior decoration and destroyed almost all the studio contents. Bacon’s temporary London studios, occupied from 1931, of bare rooms and unfinished canvasses, were avowedly anti-commercial, reinforcing Bacon’s status as a professional painter. Drawing on Picasso’s 1920s biomorphic works and Brassaï’s photographs of Picasso’s studio in Minotaure (1932), Bacon’s images of disrupted space and biomorphic apparitions aligned him with Surrealism. Bacon rewrote his autobiography erasing his design past. Bacon’s last studio at 7 Reece Mews (occupied 1961-1992), reconstructed in Dublin’s Hugh Lane Gallery in 2001, supported Bacon’s claims to being the leading post-war painter of violent, sadomasochist themes and has acquired near-mythic status as a site of creative and homosexual activity in biographies, photographs and films of Bacon’s life.

Designed to Impress: Chaim Gross and the Studio at 526 LaGuardia Place

Sasha Davis, Executive Director, The Renee and Chaim Gross Foundation

In 1962, after wandering from studio to studio, American sculptor Chaim Gross (1904-91) renovated an industrial-use building in Greenwich Village, turning the ground floor into a studio and adjacent gallery. Gross worked with two Modernist architects, but strongly influenced design decisions. The first floor was designed to promote, with a long gallery of Gross’s work punctuated by a light-filled, sunken studio at the back. The studio at LaGuardia Place was a site for interviews, photoshoots, and visits from collectors and friends. The gallery advertised Gross’s skill and style, and he sold works directly from this studio. In Gross’s other studio a few blocks away he completed monumental plasters for casting. This unaltered second studio was not designed for visitation, but for work. The finished home and studio located on LaGuardia Place has been preserved as the Renee & Chaim Gross Foundation. Recent restoration of the sculpture studio skylight has revealed insight into Gross’s work on the building and his methods for creating a workspace designed to awe and entice visitors.

Lunch at the Artist’s Studio

Di Wang, University of Oxford

For the world-renowned Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang (b. 1957), known for his gun-powder drawings and spectacular installations, his studio lunches at his studio at East First Street in Manhattan have taken center stage in representing the artist’s media persona.  In my paper I examine the food “rituals” at Cai studio, from the lens of former studio assistants, dealers, and the artworks themselves.  I argue that the food for thought becomes a doppelgänger image of the artist and successfully perpetuates itself.  Playing with this versatile image, the immigrant artist suspends and maximizes certain aspects of his cultural identities.  Ultimately, the studio’s kitchen acts as a body of thinking, a space of Chinese knowledge, a site of exchange, as well as of intervention. Aesthetic values in the name of Chinese culture and Eastern philosophy are packed into the food like a steamed bun, where all ingredients of the social, cultural and the economic are cooked together and presented as a spectacle.