Artists are, logically enough, the centre of the art world. And that needn’t be simply for making art.
They might be collectors, often through swaps with other artists: earlier this year Gagosian Gallery memorably presented Antony Caro’s sculptures alongside the American abstract expressionist works which he had obtained through such exchanges.
Artists can act as gallerists, typically through artist-run spaces – come to that plenty of commercial gallerists are former artists – such as Dave Hoyland of Seventeen and Andy Wicks of the just-moved-to-Fitzrovia Castor Gallery.
Artists frequently curate shows. Often that reveals their own practise’s inspirations to illuminating effect, even if some such shows feel a little superficial in their selection criteria, i.e. if artists simply choose their friends without any obvious coherence beyond that. Two of this year’s biggest exhibitions – the Berlin Biennale and documenta 15 – are curated by artists: the former by Kader Attia, who reinforces and expands on his own work’s key concerns to stimulating, if sometimes overbearing, effect; the latter in a contrastingly free-floating way by the Indonesian collective Ruangrupa, who invited other collectives to invite others without imposing any themes, ending up with 1500 artists.
And artists may be writers – through the development of their own work and interests (Paul Klee is my favourite) or else more widely (Donald Judd was a leading reviewer). Turps Banana Magazine consists entirely of painters writing about painting, while it’s newer offshoot Mass presents sculptors writing about sculpture. Elsewhere at FAD this week I present painter Emma Cousin’s essay on Milly Peck’s show at Vitrine Gallery. Their studios are on the same corridor in Peckham, so granting Cousin a closely informed, though also notably wide-ranging, perspective. Overall, then – hardly surprisingly – the art world is the better for artists!
Art writer and curator Paul Carey-Kent sees a lot of shows: we asked him to jot down whatever came into his head