Beyond/In

Beyond/In
is a biennial event that started some fifty years ago as a juried event
to showcase leading Western New York artists. It then transitioned to an
invitational exhibition featuring artists selected by a curatorial panel
before finally becoming a regional showing in 2005. This year, the event has
transformed once again into a showing of international art combined with
local and regional work. On Thursday, world renowned artist and
high-wire walker Didier Pasquette will walk between the statues of
liberty that sit atop one of the city’s historic gems, the Liberty
Building as an opening reception.

The high-wire walker is a proper choice as opening act for this once
city-centric event; the curatorial panel seems to be walking a thin
line with their new format. Some artists and art enthusiasts believe it
has become a competition for acceptance–a competition between regional and national artists. Some feel that their work will fall under the
shadow of the more “famous” artists. But I have also have heard murmurs that the
curators are tired of showing the same work over and over. Beyond/In has
become a confusing event for attendees and even for us writers; we just
don’t know what to expect year to year. In a search for the history,
one finds well-meaning evolution without explanation. This year already some reports claim there to be twenty-three venues hosting the event, yet
others say twelve. But perhaps the keep-you-guessing nature Beyond/In
has adapted is what keeps the event fresh. Unfortunately, only one
member of the curatorial panel was “available” to speak with me
regarding the chosen format.

Michael Beam, Curator of Collections and Exhibitions at the
Castellani Art Museum, feels that Beyond/In 2010 is true to the nature
of the original vision and the event’s long term goals of getting the
artists here the national recognition they deserve. He stated that if it
wasn’t for Louis Grachos, Director of the Albright Knox, and an
evolving format, the event would still be a small scale show happening
only at the Albright, and gaining no recognition. He feels that this event is good
for Buffalo in all facets– regardless of how the format has changed–because of the press, the attention and the scale of it. “If somebody
says tall, it’s short, if they say wide, it’s thin. Not everybody can be
included in a project of this scale, that’s the nature of it. So it’s
natural for someone who wasn’t included to be upset. I think it’s great
for these artists who have been included to be showing side by side,
because it will build dialogue and relationships.” And whatever the
event may be lacking in the local department, the Castellani is making
up for in their TopSpin series which gives emerging regional artists a
solo show with a full-color catalogue, opening simultaneously.

One Buffalo based painter stated that he was looking forward to
getting to know an artist whom he may never have met had it not been for
the invitation that brought her here. “There is room to learn from
someone who has a completely different perspective simply because of
their location. She happens to be from a part of the country that I’ve
always admired for its leadership in the arts. I want to know what they
are doing there that we could be doing better here.” Each and every
artist is sure to leave an impression, and the new blood in town for the
length of Beyond/In may mean sparked ideas are ignited into full-fledged
ventures, and actions may be taken to expand our arts scene.

But it was brought to my attention by another local artist that his
rejection letter was sent only after a debate between his work and the
work of another artist of international fame who could possible bring in
a tourism buck or two. As this was privileged information shared with
him by a friend involved with the process, he’s asked to remain
anonymous but offered his sentiments that he feels very slighted by the
event. As part of a larger collective that shows in the region often,
he has dealt with rejection as a part of his ten-year career, but never
in this fashion. “It’s the first time I’m certain the artist wasn’t
chosen on merit, but on personal–maybe political–agenda.” Do we run
the risk of losing our prominent exhibitors to bitterness?

The turnout for Beyond/In 2010 is still expected to be impressive as
it remains the one biennial event in the NorthEast to fuse together
venues and artists from various locations together for one singular
event and pinpoint Buffalo as being a destination for an ambitious art
show. Please share any insight or additional facts you may have in the
comments section. 

For a complete list of participating artists and schedules, please visit the Beyond/In website.

Beyond/In
Opening Thursday September 23, 2010
With special guest high-wire walker Didier Pasquette
6:30 PM, Liberty Building

—-

Image of works by Do Ho Suh and Bill Sack

Laura Duquette is a former ballerina who now dances with words
and punctuation. She has a knack for asking questions faster than the
speed of sound, and her interviews are often off the cuff and personal.
She is Co-Owner of 12 Grain Studio, a Buffalo based creative firm that gives typical web design a kick in the ass.

About the author  ⁄ Laura Duquette

8 comments
DOUG SARGENT
DOUG SARGENT

I'm not quite sure where you folks are coming from to be so negative, maybe you have never tried doing what Ms. Duquette does. Maybe try being positive for a change or are you professional writing critics?

I thought the article was well thought out and well written, although I miss the usual sense of humor which makes her such a great writer.

The important question here is:

With all of the great local sculptors why do I not see a metal sculpture artist on the list?

Maybe I just missed him/her as the website leaves a lot to be desired.

waldora
waldora

How difficult is the concept that 12 organizations worked collaboratively to have artists exhibiting in 23 venues?

4matic
4matic

As I've been saying, Duquette is a hack.

Travelrrr
Travelrrr

Welcome to the art world-it is cut-throat, political and competitive. Beyond/In is becoming more impressive each year and, if that is coupled with more international representation and recognition, all the better. Said painter needs to go back to the painting board and try for next year (maybe the rejection will help inform said painter's work.) Maybe an end result is that the bar is raised for some local artists and, for those who meet that challenge, more international recognition will follow.

07newbie
07newbie

The website (beyondinwny.org) is very good; each artist has a photo, a statement and an audio snippet relating to their artwork. There is a header for locations as well.

I think the confusion over the number of venues is due to several artists showing their work at satellite locations, separate from the usual galleries.

I'm looking forward to it!

WNY_Nick
WNY_Nick

thsi is what i got from this article.

1)Beyond/In is this Thursday

2)The high-wire act thats been talked about for years finally will happen.

3) some crybaby artist, using information thats dubious at best, has taken the opportunity to portray himself as a victim of corporate greed.

$10 says hes the only one with an agenda.

STEEL
STEEL

I have to agree. This story is a bit too rumor-mongery for my taste. The combination of world status artists with local and regional artist is a genius format which can only be positive for any local artist looking for exposure. It is also a great local festival which is bound to be copied around the country as it becomes more well known.

I think a little digging will turn up all the venues as well.

Ed Cardoni
Ed Cardoni

I usually don't bother with on-line cowards who hide behind cover of anonymity to make their negative comments, but in this case I feel I must set the record straight, since the reportedly rejected and therefore obviously disgruntled artist quoted herein (one of only three persons quoted in the entire story, which gives his remarks undue weight) is totally mistaken about the curatorial process of BEYOND/IN WESTERN NEW YORK 2010. He claims to be in possession of "privileged information shared with him by a friend involved with the process." Either the anonymous artist's anonymous source is less reliable than the anonymous artist believes, or he misunderstood what his source told him. In absolutely no case would a local or regional artist who might otherwise be selected on the merits of his or her work be rejected because of the inclusion of one of the dozen or so invited "international" artists. The extremely competitive submission and selection process for "regional artists" (700 submissions, 130 studio visits over two months, 90 local and regional artists selected) was conducted by a diverse curatorial committee entirely separately from the invitational aspect of this year's edition of BEYOND/IN, which the same curators also conducted. Despite the inclusion of these few invited "international" artists, MORE (not fewer) artists who submitted work were selected than ever before, and—despite the expanded definition of our region used since 2005—MORE (not fewer) Western New York artists—and MUCH more of their work—is being exhibited than was ever exhibited by the Albright-Knox in any earlier iteration of its WNY shows. All the artists in the show (over a hundred of them in all) were selected by a committee of local curators based on their collective judgment of the merit of the work submitted. It's disappointing that Laura Duquette lets one disgruntled (and misinformed) artist not selected for the show have the last word—and anonymously at that—in BUFFALO RISING's opening week story.

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