damn damn damages – or – art show woes.

I recently had a piece in a show at my local art center where I’ve been a member for several years. The show was kinda special in that (some of) the proceeds were to benefit a local animal rescue. I sculpted my dog, Loki. Worked hard on the little piece and my work earned an “Honorable Mention” at the show, where a fun time was had by all. Here’s a look at my girl…

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So come time to pick her up from the center and nobody can locate her. I went on down to the studio figuring they’d find her and let me know. What ensued was bizarre and troubling. Here’s what happened:

When they broke down the show, my sculpture was mistakenly sent to another artist living somewhere in Montana or Michigan (the location is unclear but distant).

She was packed poorly and damaged during shipping. Here is what they did:

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Loki was sent back to the center in a too small box and given back to me. The center’s executive director promised they would reimburse me for damages but later, reneged. If I wanted to be reimbursed the value (minus 40%), I would have to give them my sculpture for disposal. Really? If I wanted to keep her, I get nothing. So, you take my artwork, ship it out of state, break it, and then tell me I must resign it to the trash heap?

bleh.

I was told that this is the same as if she’d sold.
It’s not.

It was mentioned that I was very fond of it and didn’t want it to sell anyway.
Irrelevant.

They then offered me 30% of the value and I could keep my artwork because they felt sorry for me, but would be changing their liability policy so that if anyone failed to pick up their work on the last day of the show, they would not be covered. Yeah, that’s right. I’m a member. I work in the studio downstairs. I pay dues. I had the flu on pickup day and you can’t hold her or put her on my shelf? This somehow caused you to allow a moron to handle artwork and ship it willy nilly wherever? And blaming the artist will make it all better?
I say, fuck you, art center.

Basically, where it stands is here. I want to continue working with my sculpture guru and the great group of super talented sculptors, so I will take your paltry 30%, continue working in the studio, but that will be the extent of my involvement or support of the art center. I will never participate in shows, exhibitions or events again. I mean really…who would want to entrust their hard work in the hands of people who don’t understand or appreciate art?

Art is not just a commodity. Art is not something you toss out in the dust bin.

Art is blood, sweat, tears, love, hate, beauty and joy to the world and anybody that doesn’t understand that is a bloody moron and not to be trusted.
Ever.

Here’s my sculpture, “Waiting to Play,” repaired but not the same. I used epoxy to put her back together then filled in the cracks with Bondo (the stuff they use in body shops), built up and modeled the crushed foot, then matched up the patina. She not perfect and can’t be sold or exhibited,  but at least she’s resting comfortably at home.

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