Facebook IRL

Since they started using social media in 2009, painters have been able to connect directly with one another over vast geographic regions outside the gallery system and mainstream media. Facebook has been a particularly enriching community for many, a friendly place where artists discover each others work, form collaborative groups, and network without having to leave the studio. The latest exhibition to bring Facebook friends together “in real life” is “Going Big,” an exhibition comprising small abstractions by 111 artists, curated by artists Suzan Shutan and Susan Carr.

[Image at top: Suzan Shutan, courtesy of the artist.]

Susan Carr
The show reminds me of the exhibitions that painter Julie Torres (work pictured above) used to curate during Bushwick Open Studios. A natural organizer, Torres would invite her far-flung Facebook Friends to participate in sprawling exhibitions throughout the neighborhood and even find places for them to stay in NYC for the weekend.
This past year Torres declined to organize a show during BOS, preferring
(understandably) to concentrate on her own work, but it’s good to see other artists following her lead. 
Like Torres’ exhibitions, “Going Big” is an ambitious undertaking. When Shutan and Carr, from Connecticut and Massachusetts respectively, learned that the space at Central Booking was available, they moved forward by creating a Facebook Group for like-minded artists whom they thought would be interested in participating.  The response was overwhelming, although a few artists, not familiar with the DIY ethos, suggested that charging artists a fee to participate was unseemly. Shutan and Carr explained that the project was about community. When artists chipped in to rent a space, they said, it wasn’t the same as paying a gallery to exhibit their work. In fact, many of the participating artists already have plenty of exhibition opportunities, and the show wasn’t conceived as an opportunity to be “discovered.” Rather, it’s about sharing the work with one another.
Indeed, when young artists ask me how to get involved in the art community, my first piece of advice is to find a space and curate a show. Earlier generations were skeptical of a DIY approach, but Web 2.0 tools and social networking media have made it possible for each of us to build an art world of which we want to be a part. No one should be waiting for traditional opportunities to present themselves anymore.

“Going Big,” organized by Suzan Shutan and Susan Carr. Central Booking, LES, New York, NY. Through August 28, 2015. Full photo coverage is available at Joanne Mattera Art Blog.

Artists include Alan Van Every, Altoon Sultan, Andrew Small, Andy Cunningham, Anne Russinof, Arlene Rush, Assunta Sera, Barbara Laube, Barbara Marks, Barbara Slitkin, Bascha Mon, Bernard Klevickas, Betty Carroll Fuller, Beverly Fishman, Binnie Birstein, Blossom Verlinsky, Bonny Leibowitz, Brian Cypher, Cameron McMunn Coffran, Carl Hazlewood, Carol Radsprecher, Carol Salmanson, Caroline Blum, Carolyn Louise Newhouse, Connie Goldman, David Miller, David Taylor, Debbie Hesse, Dee Shapiro, Diane Englander, Donna Ruff, Doug Holst, Eliot Markell, Elizabeth Gourlay, Elizabeth Riley, Frankie Gardiner, Fred Gutzeit, Galen Cheney, George Blaha, Gerry McLean, Grace Graupe-�?Pillard, Heidi Pollard, Helen Crawford, Helen O�Leary, James Prez, Jane Catlin, Janet Lage, Jeanne Heifetz, Jeanne Tremel, Jill Vasileff, Joan Fitzsimmons, Joan Mellon, Joanne Mattera, Jonathan Cowan, Jonathan Edelhuber, Jordan Nodelman, Joy Bush, Joyce Miller, Judy Pfaff, Judy Rifka, Julia Schwartz, Julie Alexander, Julie Torres, Karen Schifano, Karen Schiff, Karleen Loughran, Kathy Goodell, Kevin Daly, Krista Svalbonas, Kyle Gallup, Laura Moriarty, Liz Pagano, Louisa Waber, Maggie Sullivan, Marc Salz, Marion Belanger, Mary Bucci McCoy, Meg Atkinson, Megan Geckler, Melanie Parke, Nancy Baker, Nancy Natale, Nick Gaetano, Noe Jimenez, Pam Farrell, Peter Reginato, Peter Williams, Phillip J. Mellen, Rashmi, Ravenna Taylor, Rebecca Young, Ricardo Paniagua, Richard Bottwin, Richard Kooyman, Rita Valley, Robert Gregson, Roy Staab, Ruth Hiller, Sky Pape, Steven Baris, Susan Breen, Susan Carr, Susan Cutler Tremaine, Susan Knight, Susan Post, Susan Scott, Suzan Shutan, Tamar Zinn, Taro Suzuki, Tracey Physioc Brockett, Valerie Brennan.

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  1. Thank you for writing about this wonderfully conceived show. I feel that all artworks are are basically "abstractions" but there are some "representational abstractions" (smile) in the exhibition as well.

  2. Thank you Sharon for your thoughtful words

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