Current artists: Amon Azizov, Wei Chen, Qiao Fu, Gao Min, Guo Kun Sheug, Artashes Karslian, Ji Yin Jin, Li Qun, Lin Ruo, Dean Lu, Ren Jien-Guo, Jorge Rivera, Sharif Sadiq, Peter Walsh, Xiang Yue Chuan, Dario Zapata, Zhuang Xuemin

Organized by Peter Walsh, Ongoing.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Finally! A Video Post for the Central Park Portrait Exchange

Finally! Over a year into the portrait exchange and I've finally produced a video post for the blog.

What took so long? Too many stories to tell!

I've been struggling to sort out what needed to be said and to figure out how to keep a clean narrative that can convey the rich complexity of all that has been going on. There's the story of the portrait exchange itself. There's the story of the ongoing legal battle of artists versus the city and the Parks Department. There are the stories of each artist working in the park and my story as the organizer too. There are stories about drawing and the different portrait techniques being used. There's the story about where each artist came from and how they trained. And more.

In the end, I decided to start with the story I began with when I originally imagined the portrait exchange. What makes art valuable? What happens when two artists meet and engage each other in a reciprocal artistic exchange using the same materials at the same time and place under the same conditions? It's both a competitive and a collaborative situation. What will these portraits look like together as more and more exchanges are completed?

Here is the first of what I hope will be several videos.

My thanks go out to all the artists who have participated so far (and to those who will participate in the future too!). Also special thanks to Kathy Brew and Roberto Guerra for their impressive video footage, to Louise Ma for her cheerful willingness to lend a hand and to help with Mandarin translation on the spot in the park, to all the photographers who have helped so far including Alex Ramirez-Mallis and to all my friends and allies who helped vet the video before I set it loose in the world, including Christopher Quirk, Hope Ginsburg, Deidre Hoguet and Emily Walsh.

Peter Walsh