Congrats to Jen Bekman on getting funding for 20x2001.
“I love the idea of taking the friction out of the art world,” said Mr. Conrad. “A lot of people want to buy nice things, but don’t know how. Jen has built a business from that, which is growing very nicely and has a lot of repeat customers.”
 In light of the new FTC guidelines for disclosure by bloggers2, a few somewhat relevent statements. 1. 20x200 has in the past paid $1200 to sponsor the kottke.org RSS feed. 2. I have linked to 20x200 and Jen Bekman’s gallery several times on kottke.org, for which Jen Bekman has thanked me, which is a good feeling, to be thanked, and perhaps that subconsciously predisposes me towards future linking because who doesn’t like to be thanked? 3. Jen Bekman is a friend. 4. I also know Caterina Fake, Zach Klein, and Scott Heiferman socially; they are a few of 20x200’s angel investors. 5. I am a resident of New York City, in which 20x200 is headquartered. 6. I have purchased art from 20x200 in the past. 7. I may have received a 20x200 print from Jen Bekman herself, either as a straight-up gift or as a promotional item. Honestly, I can’t remember if she gave me anything, what it was, or the circumstances of the giving. 8. I have received 20x200 prints as gifts from others. They are thanked. 9. I know my wife and my wife knows Jen Bekman. 10. I may have unwittingly posed for photos next to 20x200 artwork hanging in my residence or in the residences of others, giving the impression that I am endorsing said artwork. Apologies. 11. I have agreed to, at some point in the future, curating a selection of artworks for 20x200 and then chatting casually with Jen Bekman about my choices, an edited transcript of which will appear on the 20x200 web site. As far as I know, no payment for this service is forthcoming and if it was, I would refuse it politely. 12. Jen Bekman’s dog’s name is Ollie. So is my son’s. ↩
 Why just for bloggers? Do New York Times book, music, and movie reviewers disclose that they received review copies for free? ↩
On March 11, I will be joining Jen Bekman (of 20x200), Nicholas Felton (of those cool personal annual reports), and Rebekah Hodgson (of Etsy) at the next Dot Dot Dot Lecture. We’ll be talking about curating, aka that thing I do for a living.
Curatorial strategies are spilling out of galleries and museums and into our everyday design practices. As emphasis shifts from designer to consumer, the vital role of designer is often that of mediator, shaping ideas and content created by others into another user experience. How have these new pivots changed the role of designer from one of artisan to one of curator? Four lecturers speak to curation as a way of design life, and how their audiences learn from, are inspired by, and gain insights from it.
Come for the Felton, stay for the Bekman, and don’t mind me, my talk’s only 10 minutes long. (Actually, I just noticed that they’re “sold out”.)
Jason Polan, who you may remember from the series of drawings he did of every piece of art in the MoMA, has a unique 20x200 offering available. The larger editions are drawings and copies of his hand while the $2000 edition of 2 is described thusly:
I will come to your house and shake your hand. Two of these interactions will be available. After I meet you I will give you a certificate, to be signed by both you and me, stating the authentification of the encounter. This artwork is a collaboration between you and me. You will also receive a photograph that is taken the moment of our meeting.
20x200 curator Jen Bekman has more on this offering.
Jason’s work is about a lot of lofty ideas, but those ideas are grounded in the most mundane of media and happenstance. The ideas center around his ambitions to interact authentically with both the media he chooses to work in and the collectors who buy his work.
If you’re unfamiliar with the alternate side parking shuffle that happens once or twice a week in most areas of NYC, Jen Bekman has a good description of it. I’m convinced the New Yorker would go out of business if it weren’t for the shuffle…a lot of 6,000 word articles get read waiting for the meter maid to come around.
Opening Friday, June 22 at jen bekman gallery in NYC: A New American Portrait, “a group exhibition of photographs featuring artists at the vanguard of contemporary portraiture in America”. Curated by Jen Bekman and Joerg Colberg, one of my favorite bloggers on the topic of photography.
From over 220 entries in the Celebrity Mii Contest, the judges have selected their favorite celebrity avatar created with the Nintendo Wii. And the winner is Dave Curry with his Zach Braff Mii:
Judge Spencer Sloan of Goldenfiddle said of this entry: “What’s beautiful about this one is the truth in this piece. Yes, Braff, you’re a nose and some lip. Bravo to the artist for taking a risk.” Judge Jen Bekman of the Jen Bekman gallery said of the Braff: “There is this eerily human quality - I mean it really looks like him, as a person, in a weird way.” The Braff Mii was not the most faithfully rendered celebrity Mii but with a few broad strokes, Curry created something more than the sum of its parts and ventured close to art. Well done. As the winner, Dave will receive the Wii game of his choice and a 3-D statuette of the Zach Braff Mii provided by Fabjectory.
Here are some other entries the judges felt strongly about (i.e. the runners-up) with commentary:
Jack Black by both Brandon Erickson and Shane Walsh
Jen: “Faithfully rendered.”
Spencer: “The artist really captured Black’s unsettling feline qualities with confidence and skill, and for that he/she must be congratulated.”
Condoleezza Rice by Alex Chang
Jen: “The Condi one looks like her and also is a caricature at the same time, embodying the devil-essence that surely corrupts her soul.”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Stephanie Goins
Spencer: “This one is like the Mona Lisa. I cannot escape her glazy stare, try as I may. She’s perfect in every way.”
Woody Allen by Adam Preble
Jen: “Great, immediately recognizable, somewhat of an easy target though.”
Frida Kahlo by Adriana Tatum
Vito Corleone by Benjamin Lim
Jen: “Don Corleone came close to being my top pick before I decided that he too, was a bit too easy.”
Steve Zissou by Mark Husson
Spencer: “Nice work on the hat, I guess, but the moustache is weird. Plus, no pock marks. And Stevie definitely needs him a frown.”
Admiral Ackbar by Eric Eberhardt and Mike Boccieri
Spencer: “Admiral Ackbar is fantastic, obviously, because I immediately knew who he was, and maybe you didn’t. I’m interested to find out whether the artist went in with Ackbar in mind or saw him in some of the available features. Very well done, indeed.”
Klaus Nomi by D.J. Ross’ girlfriend
Spencer: “The Klaus Nomi is a strong work but possesses little confidence. This Klaus is all fear.
More timid mime than weirdo alien swagger.”
And here are the rest of the finalists that the judges had to choose from. You may notice a few excellent cartoon entries…the judges felt that while they were worthy finalists, they did not merit the top spots because of a lower degree of difficulty involved in their construction (i.e. making a cartoon character with what is essentially a cartoon editor).
From top to bottom, left to right: Velma from Scooby Doo, Hannibal Lecter, Jack Skellington from A Nightmare Before Christmas, Dick Cheney, Tom Cruise, Hulk Hogan, Jennifer Wilbanks (aka The Runaway Bride), George Costanza, Charlie Brown, and V from V for Vendetta.
Missing from the finalists are the multiple Michael Jacksons, Hitlers, Satans, Walter Sobchaks, Beatles, and Kim Jong Ils. So many Mii versions of all these people exist online that it didn’t feel right including them in the final round because they were both too easy and too easily copied from elsewhere.
Finally, a personal favorite that didn’t make it into the final round:
David Foster Wallace by Nick Maniatis
I get the feeling that in the Maniatis household, there are a lot of Wii Tennis matches pitting Wallace and Hal Incandenza against Tracy Austin and Michael Joyce. Awesome.
Thanks to everyone who entered and to the judges for deciding amongst such a strong field of entrants.
There has been a recent rash of technology and creative conferences whose speakers are mostly white males. The lack of diversity caused Jen Bekman to compile a list of women speakers for your conference. If you’ve got a technology or creative arts conference coming up and need some diversity in your speaking lineup, this is a good place to start.