Little & Large Phenomenon and Calder Jewelry at the SDMA by Patricia Frischer

Interpersonal Theory of Art

The weather may be hot most of the time in San Diego but we are all out in the cold without each other. Our Little & Large gathering created a palpable energy. You can almost see sparks of creativity flying through the air. This interaction is what we hunger for and our art is the food that ultimately satisfies us.

I went to two major launches for Alexander Calder last month. One was our own Little & Large launch where 450 artists and art supporter came together at the glamorous Se Hotel. The other was for about 250 VIPs invited to celebrate the opening of the Calder Jewelry show at the San Diego Museum of Art. I have pondered about the differences in the two occasions. I have also been wondering about the huge involvement that Little & Large engendered.

Those who are rich and maybe even a bit bored are drawn to the Bohemian chic created by artists. It was an impressive group who attended the Calder opening at SDMA. The staff worked very hard with stilt walkers, acrobats and gourmet food and drink, but only a few artists were invited. Ultimately it was the Calder jewelry itself that brought us together that night. The jewelry that this man created starting early in the 20th century, is starkly modern even today. Whimsical, royal, clever, adoring adornments seem to erupt from him and we are still happy to ogle 90 years later.

At the Little & Large launch the artists were present in droves and wearing their own creations. Professional models enhanced the work of just a few, but many more were encouraged to strut their stuff on and off the catwalk. The clothes, the jewels, the open air moonlight, the aquamarine lights of the pool, the Veev vodka, the 20 foot high projections of the jewelry and related sculpture, the video performance turned into flip books, the sexy salsa demonstration all contributed. But it was the budding collaboration, connections and kinsman ship that turned the evening into a love fest.

Why did this simple idea to ask sculptors to make a piece of jewelry and jewelers to make a sculpture develop into this large promotion at this particular time? The artists were hungry to try something new. The galleries were keen to generate publicity, especially offered for free. That is what we counted on. But could what happened be a coming of age phenomenon? We were already seeing the artists raising the quality bar of their work when challenged. Galleries are now able to work together as evidenced by joint art walks for example in North Park, Cedros Design, and Kettner. This momentum is now spreading to La Jolla, El Cajon, Oceanside and Carlsbad.

Could we finally be nearing a tipping point? We have everything going for us but buyers to support the work of all these dedicated professionals. The self confidence generated in promotions like Little & Large is, I believe, just what we need to take us over the top. Harry Stack Sullivan was a psychiatrist who developed a theory based on interpersonal relationships. His search for satisfaction via personal involvement with others, led him to characterize loneliness as the most painful of human experiences. Combining artists with art buyers means never having to be alone again.

Little & Large promotions and the San Diego Museum of Art Calder Jewelry exhibition are both on show until the end of 2009.


TaggerX Sept. 1, 2009 @ 8:16 a.m.

"Combining artists with art buyers means never having to be alone again."

With all due respect, I don't think that's what Sullivan had in mind. Personally, I think it would be novel to actually have a buyer as a friend. Unlikely. Tricky, if her/his money is even a small part of my motivation. Contamination.

But that wasn't the point of your piece. Figuring out some way to sell art was the point, and hopefully having fun and forming some kind of bond with buyers? It's about drumming up sales in the end, isn't it.

The aspect I did like about Little and Large idea was the slight shift from promotion toward attraction. As the economy strains, promoters get going. Buyers must be wary/tired, sensitive to the slightest indication of salesmanship disguised as anything but.

I'm wanting to say forget the buyer. Attract whoever you can however you can and let the buyers come or not. The traditional ways of doing art business are old boxes we need to think outside of.


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