Artspotting

Artist Alexandria Smith -vs- Gallerist Reginald Ingraham

URGENT: Artist Alexandria Smith accuses Gallerist Reginald Ingraham of ‘theft’ and unethical business practices.

*Original content in this post is not the property of RelinquishingJunk Blog and was published by Terrence Sanders of ArtVoices Magazine and the artist Alexandria Smith*

Dear Friends & Colleagues,
I am an artist-activist that publishes an art periodical for visual artists to have an independent voice, a ‘platform’. Sometimes the voice is ‘art’ and sometimes it’s the ‘business of art’. This letter is about the unethical business practices of gallerist Reginald Ingraham that I fear becoming more commonplace in our art community.

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I’m talking about ‘theft’ of an artist’s works in exhibition or on loan. A WTF disgusting trend that seems to be gaining momentum-unpunished, but I feel not for long, with the indictment of Bill Lowe to lead by example. (http://www.wsbtv.com/…/buckhead-art-dealer-indicted-…/nnbGy/) Bill Lowe and Reginald Ingraham both sold an artist work with the artist not being paid and or works on loan for exhibition never returned.


In September 2012 artist Alexandria Smith exhibited at Reginald Ingraham’s LA gallery in Chinatown. It’s been 3 years and Alexandria has not been PAID for her artworks sold and artworks never returned that were unsold. The work is apparently locked away at Reginald Ingraham’s storage space in Los Angeles?! To date (3 years) Reginald Ingraham has offered nothing but excuses, one after the other, leaving Alexandria feeling taken advantage of and disrespected with no affordable or accessible recourse known available to her.


A serendipitous brief encounter in New York put us face to face. Alexandria asked me to assist her in the return of her artwork and I agreed to help her right this wrong.
Gallerist Reginald Ingraham should be held accountable for his actions. He is wrong and should not be rewarded for his greed, dishonesty and blatant contempt for artists including Alexandria Smith with continued support from unsuspecting artists and collectors.


Alexandria Smith will consult an attorney in filing criminal and civil charges against Gallerist Reginald Ingraham for non-payment of sold works and the illegal confiscation of works not sold or returned to her.
Best Always,
Terrence Sanders


 

The FACTUAL & TRUTHFUL accusations in Alexandria Smith’s own words:

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July of 2012, Reginald Ingraham emailed me and shared he was an admirer of my work. He then made me aware of his previous experience as a curator and gallery owner. He stressed the importance of visibility for black artists and gave the impression he wanted to be a beacon of light, a strong platform in the art world. Then he asked to mount a solo exhibition of my work for the grand reopening of his gallery in Los Angeles. I was worried about the timing, but couldn’t pass up what seemed like an incredible opportunity. We agreed to a solo exhibition of my work for the period of September 13th – October 20, 2012. Our agreement called for a 60/40 sales split in which I would receive 60% and he would receive 40%. In addition, we agreed to split the costs of shipping my works to Los Angeles and back to New York. Reginald would retain my work for 6 months after the show closed and any unsold work would be returned after that period.

It is now September 2015 and I have endured years of verbal abuse from Reginald concerning the return of my work and monies from sales. I have experienced a range of inappropriate and disrespectful behaviors including: being hung up on in the midst of phone correspondence, berated, or ignored each time I have tried to contact him. He has provided multiple excuses as to why there is an active THREE YEAR DELAY of the return of my artwork and payment for sales, all of which followed with another empty promise that he would return my work.


The unfair abuse and treatment of myself (and other artists) by Reginald Ingraham has gone on too long. To date, Reginald has 14 of my works in his possession unless he sold them ALL without my knowledge; paintings, collages and small drawings made from 2010-2012 totaling an exact amount of $25,440. I have received a mere 8% of the sales in payment since 2012. The current situation is unprofessional, hurtful and exhausting. I simply want my work back and sales owed to me.
Earlier this year in March, Reginald phoned me after ignoring my calls for a year with two propositions for a resolution. One, that he would send me the remaining artwork back and we could call it “even” in regards to the money he owed me, IF I mounted another solo exhibition at his gallery in which he would cover all costs. The second option was that he would return my work to me and we would work out a payment plan. He would pay an agreed-upon amount of money per month for the money he owed me. Of course, I opted for the latter. To this day, I haven’t received any payments from Reginald, nor have I received any of my artwork.


Over the years, I have been surprised by additional information about sales from my 2012 exhibit. A collector who purchased a painting from Reginald exclaimed how excited they were to be able to finally meet me after enjoying the painting they purchased that is hanging in their home. Meanwhile, I wasn’t aware of this sale nor had I received my percentage in payment of the sale.
I have decided to speak out as the first artist to show with Reginald after his reopening and subsequent relocations because multiple artists have fallen victim to him and his pitch, not just me. Reginald preys on emerging artists who largely don’t have gallery representation and are eager for the opportunity to show on the west coast. Many of the artists he takes advantage of are wooed by his mission statement, in which he claims to be an advocate and supporter of black artists. This is exactly how, like many others, he reeled me in. I was fooled.


I refuse to be silent and stand by while artists continue to be preyed on, victimized, manipulated and scammed by Reginald Ingraham. I know for a fact that I am not the only artist that has been victimized by Mr. Ingraham. I hope that many others whose work he illegally holds in his possession and/or who haven’t received their percentage of sales will come forward so that we can finally put an end to his manipulation and offensive business practices. Legal action is necessary to right Reginald Ingraham’s many harmful wrongs.
Thank you for your continued support.

Alexandria Smith

 

 

 

 

DOUBLE TROUBLE: NEON FRIENDSHIPS

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“Before I began research for this book I was not consciously aware that women were aggressive in indirect ways, that they gossiped and ostracized each other incessantly, and did not acknowledge their own envious and competitive feelings. I now understand that, in order to survive as a woman, among women, one must speak carefully, cautiously, neutrally, indirectly; one must pay careful attention to what more socially powerful women have to say before one speaks; one must learn how to flatter, manipulate, agree with, and appease them. And, if one is hurt or offended by another woman, one does not say so outright; one expresses it indirectly, by turning others against her.

Of course, I refuse to learn these ‘girlish’ lessons.”
― Phyllis CheslerWoman’s Inhumanity to Woman

 

Friendship has changed astronomically since the advent and frequent use of social media. A simple “like” here and passive aggressive facebook comment there can make or break digital-faux-friendships. Exploring the idea of friendship has recently hit home for me personally especially in regards to female relationships. A book I read a while back titled Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman by Phyllis Chesler explores the often-toxic nature of feminine relationships from that of a mother and her daughter to co-workers. Something I still struggle with today is the complexities and difficulty of maintaining friendships with other women especially women closer to my age. Some of my female friends in the past were emotionally immature, insecure, irrational, lazy and horrible communicators. As a result most of my close friends were male or with significant cultural disparities like myself. Gender aside when I do witness unadulterated friendship I reconsider my role in my past and present relationships with others.

Double Trouble: Marion Lane and Rochelle Botello is a collaborative and platonic fusion between painting and sculpture. Marion Lane (painter) and Rochelle Botello (sculpture) first met a year ago. Since meeting, over the past year they shared a studio space that acted as a catalyst for them to be engrossed in constant conversation about their individual work. This organic aftermath is this fascinating and sometimes unbelievable two-person show currently up at Coagula Curatorial in Chinatown.

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Marion Lane and Rochelle Botello

The unbelievable part for me is the fact that two women, in the Los Angeles art world, came together to benefit one another through untainted collaboration. I myself have collaborated only with males and continue to seek out collaboration with my fellow male artists precisely for the reasons explored in Chesler’s book. In grad school a fellow grad student (sculptor, we’ll call her Tiffany) made the class stand around for 30 minutes in her studio to critique something that was obviously not finished and done in a procrastinating haste. When I was probed to speak during the crit I stated honestly the “work” we were looking at was completely uninteresting to me. Those were my exact words. Subjective. It was pretentiously titled “Untitled” and had nothing to go on past that fact. We didn’t know what it was or what it was trying to be; the piece was deaf, dumb and mute. I couldn’t articulate anything further, lacking conversation about the work, eventually we moved on. Days later I was told by another grad student that Tiffany was enraged and accused me of personally “hating” her. Of course I didn’t know her and neither of us made any substantial attempts at getting to know one another so burning the calories required to actively hate someone was not on my agenda. This is but one example; I’ve tried working with all-female-led groups before via student clubs and hanging exhibitions and for the most part the emotional outbursts and constant drama-dripping passive aggression prevented me from actually getting work done and progressing at all. I am obviously biased. I grew up with a single mother who acted the part of loving mother and straight-edged father. She never subscribed to the insidious games most women played with each other and so I was bred ignorant and intolerant to these Olympic-worthy games as well.

Then there’s the introvert in me that gets panic attacks at openings and consumes copious amounts of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. It’s clear from work being made right now that there’s a refreshing paradigm shift taking place when it comes to definitions of friendship. A connection formed by intense and even obsessive interests, like art, can prove to be more incentive for genuine friendship despite gender.

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I’ve never kept female friendships- as far back as preschool, my best friend has been male. For most of my life it’s been an interest thing- I’m an engineer, a geek, an introvert, somewhat socially awkward or shy. I don’t have interest in going shopping or chit-chatting about entertainment, or getting a pedicure or doing whatever girls do when they get together. Because I don’t have a high social need, I don’t make phone calls or “keep in touch” well enough to maintain the obligations of female friendships. Want to talk ideas, technology, complete a task or play a board game together, and pick up where we left off from whenever we last saw each other? I’m in- but this isn’t what women do, from what I can tell. -JB

Then you have the Los Angeles art scene, which is very gender-neutral when it comes to scandals, hurt feelings and neglected egos. Meeting both artists and seeing the work in the same space flabbergasted me. Eavesdropping on a few faux-hipsters that entered the gallery before the crowd arrived:

“Obviously she’s unable to decide whether she’s a sculptor or a painter but at least it all looks like a cohesive body of work” –Beer-T-Shirt-Faux-Hipster Dude-Face

That was the most fascinating part though, people walking in thinking it was a solo show and that one artist did all of the work. Botello’s sculptures are erratic yet precise. May the art gods be ever praised for bringing the neons! Botello uses bright duct tape and paper to form the contours of the paper sculptures underneath. There’s a subtle line too which carries you through each of the pieces and throws you onto the walls where you’ll see Lane’s paintings winking at you. The paintings themselves are sexy, with organic shapes lined with toxic color. The surface has a matte encaustic look but dull color juxtaposed with hot neons similar to Lynda Benglis’ Fling, Dribble and Drip 1970. Lane is a painter. She creates intricately poured acrylic paintings that are collaged together to create complex layered forms that are organic, playful and multifaceted. When you move around to see the paintings you’re thrust almost immediately back to Botello’s scuptures. Botello creates paper-collaged sculptures that are constructed and pieced together using unremarkable materials.

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Fling, Dribble, and Drip  |  February 27, 1970 Life Magazine  |  13 1/4 x 10 1/4 in. c © Courtesy the artist and Cheim & Read, New York

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Marion Lane, I Am A Bird, 2014

The collaborative intuition seen in this show is pleasantly shocking to me; a genuine nod to authenticity. Are you going to see good painting? Damn good painting. The kind that stimulates physiological responses. This work resonates and lingers, coming up at odd moments and conversations days after seeing it. What I have been thinking about a lot more lately is how our definitions of friendship and expectations following have changed. We see so many different parts of people’s lives depending on the social circles in which we swim. You might only have access to someone’s digital self, that which you are allowed to see on social media. You might work with someone, go to school with them, participate in an exhibition with them, etc. When you throw a collective obsession in the mix honesty and intimacy is to be expected regardless of gender, devoid of societal norms. I would argue Chesler’s definition of a female relationship wouldn’t apply here, in the odd ecosystem that is the Studio.

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THIS WORK REMINDS ME OF:

Christian Tedeschi 

Michelle Carla Handel 

Emily Silver

Deborah Lambert

Adela Andea   

Images: Rouzanna Berberian and Internet Freebies

Coagula Curatorial
974 Chung King Rd,
Los Angeles, CA 90012

September 6 – 27, 2014

INSIDE THE OUTSIDER

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Many artists struggle with control and the lack thereof, but the outsider artist almost entirely circumvents this dramatic relationship with the act of unadulterated “play”.  The most common artist statement is something along the lines of  “I’ve been making art ever since I was a child.”  Everyone makes art as a child but very few continue to play. Every artist plays but very seldom does that organic act become the work or if it does, it does so conceptually and eventually with pretension. Although Ike E. Morgan has been labeled an outsider — a folk artist devoid of rules and aesthetic control — it’s apparent his hand maintains an untainted process of play.

Morgan initiated his inclusion into the art world as a long-term patient undergoing treatment for schizophrenia at the Austin State Hospital. With a battered yet ambiguous past, Morgan coped with mental illness by turning to art making as an excretory mode of expression. When you look at his work you become the outsider.

In Presidents and the Mona Lisa presented at the Hutto-Patterson Exhibition Hall, Morgan uses materials and processes that outdated traditionalists would frown upon. Using cheap poster board saturated with greasy oil sticks and water-based inks Morgan creates childlike portraits inspired by photographs from literature and magazines.

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The physicality of the portraits is sinister yet sweet with his frank use of materials. Closer inspection reveals drawings in ballpoint pen and grease stains akin to high fat foods left in a brown paper bag. In every portrait he renders the flesh of the figures in different and apparent directions and colors; some crosshatched, others contour banded. With natural light, colored shadows are cast on the paintings themselves because of the texture and angle of viewing. The color theory makes no sense and nor should it; planning to play is an oxymoronic idea anyway. Morgan’s work reeks of haste, repetition and a need to communicate, bypassing its need to be archival.

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Morgan’s African American background calls for attention, as well. In America, we grow up seeing the same “white” faces over and over again, often in positions of power. We carry their images on our currency and rush to see them in our museums. Something that should appear one way to the normal eye is quickly and frequently reimagined to tell a different story; not one devoid of white privilege or supremacy but one leveling the playing field with color.

His work lends to the allure of observing something outstandingly different; however, don’t be confused; you’re not here to gawk voyeuristically at an outsider to determine his outsiderness or even whether he’s worth the hype. You’re here to witness an interpretation of life and how that patina is applied to famous figures.  The outsider is counterculture — someone who observes and reproduces innocently, without grandiose theories and stifling standards. Morgan speaks a dialect at first not easily understood until you step inside of the outsider by seeing the work.

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