Welcome to the new blog for Central Park Portrait Exchange! I hope to be adding content rapidly as the project gets up and running. The actual drawing performances may start as early as next week, the second week of May 2010. Keep an eye out for details!
Why this project?
I've been wanting to do a portrait exchange with artists working in Central Park for several years. As a drawer myself, I'm impressed by the speed and precision with which they work. Yet I'm also interested in the economics of art-making. These artists get paid one price, artists in Chelsea get another, and as a conceptual artist supporting myself with non-arts jobs, I frequently get nothing in exchange for my art!
On top of these issues, the City of New York and the NYC Parks Commission have forced my hand by proposing that most of the talented artists working in Central Park and in other parks be shut down. The time to act is now!
For example, New York City’s Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe told the New York Times on April 16th, 2010 that artists working in New York City’s parks are “selling stuff that you wouldn’t consider expressive art.” In other words, he believes they aren’t artists and aren’t protected by the first amendment. One way to challenge this assertion is to create an art project that highlights the quality of the work created by professional artists working in the parks.
And so, the Central Park Portrait Exchange is born.