I’m a sucker for an open bar, so I was delighted to receive an invitation to attend the Living Art Exhibition‘s opening event yesterday evening at the Red Bull Loft in NYC. The concept is an interesting one: a live event in which visitors watch on in a lounge-like atmosphere as artwork is created by a variety of emerging artists who themselves are competing. Competing for what you ask? Well, in this case, the top four- as voted by the spectators- compete live during the Central Park Summer Stage events, thus receiving further public exposure. The ‘top’ artist receives $20,000 and a commission for a mural on the side of a Manhattan building.
The crowd was as eclectic as the booze offerings (Colt 45 beer in ironic, individual brown paper bags was served beside Svedka vodka concoctions); in attendance were lots of media people, music industry folks, older gentlemen in suits from the supporting Alchemy Properties and some skinny boy art types, to name just a few. The DJ played a combination of hip-hop, classic pop and dance. The MC you’d more likely find at a Brooklyn rap show than a Chelsea art exhibit. Looking around, I couldn’t help but wonder to whom they were actually marketing the event, which will be transformed into a public gallery space until June 19th. Another fundamental issue struck me: do the artists really produce meaningful, thoughtful work in a competitive forum of this sort? Clearly not. But who wouldn’t want the publicity? This was all about pretty and accessible paintings, advertising, and an entertaining environment– and by those standards it was a success.
More information, including the gallery schedule, can be found at www.artbattles.com.