Clemens Weiss, who has been in Denver for the past two months as a visiting artist, spoke a few nights ago to a small group mostly composed of local artists-in-residence in a related program at RedLine . I showed up early and chatted with him for a few minutes before he went to look at one of the artists-in-residence work before his talk. Weiss, who shows at Ronald Feldman in New York, is an approachable, intelligent artist and of course, business person. He did not reiterate the ‘how to’ ‘s of many books on the market about the business of art. Rather, he spoke of his own journey, in Germany, his country of origin, and his adopted home of New York, where he became well established. He spoke about being creative as an artist regarding the business of art as well as being creative in the studio. Positioning oneself deftly, socially, and in terms of business is key, but he also cautioned, “what is good for the artist is not always good for the art”. He spoke of an irony that he has witnessed of artists having achieved some success who are disadvantaged by the relief of financial restrictions. After, finally having acquired a large budget with which to do work on a project, an artist no longer has the restrictions which often inspire “the mother of invention” and here-to-for untried methods of creating and problem solving . Weiss exuded confidence and indicated concern for a multiplicity of interesting ideas. He spoke of a theater piece he did which he approached as “Bringing an exhibition to life” versus thinking in terms of theater per se. Being on the cutting edge was clearly important to Weiss. When he spoke he wended his way around the general topic, telling personal anecdotes as opposed to abiding by talking points. Most importantly, Clemens pointed out that being creative in the business of art is as important for one’s career as it is in the making of art in the studio.
I enjoyed the evening and thanked Clemens for sharing his experience. I’m looking forward to hearing and seeing more of what’s in store at The Red Line in Denver.