I’m spending this snowy Sunday writing letters of recommendation for various positions, schools, etc.
This is a task I take ridiculously seriously – perhaps overly seriously. I only really write about people that I think are really fantastic and I only write for them for specific positions, situations, etc. Meaning, I really don’t send out the blanket So-and-so is a very hardworking and dedicated individual far above their peers blah blah blah letter to any and every school that someone wants me to, just to be polite because I was asked.
Anyway, one of the letters I was writing today was for an artist named Beverly Ress who is applying for a teaching position at a university outside of NYC. I’ve known Bev for several years and, in writing her letter, I remembered all over again just how much I love her work.
As I sat writing the letter, I couldn’t help but grapple with questions like, Why isn’t Beverly famous? Why the hell am I even writing this letter, anyway? Shouldn’t they just give her the job flat out because her work is so amazing? Shouldn’t she be writing letters for me instead of vice versa?
The answers to those questions that I came up with all made me really sad. She’s a woman (yes, I think this has a lot to do with it); she lives outside of NYC; her work doesn’t photograph well; her work is minimal and sedate although it often takes on difficult (ie, not-so-pretty) subjects; her work hovers between various formal boundaries of sculpture/installation/drawing which make it difficult to fit into the marketplace. She’s also just a really nice person who – while she’s really smart and articulate and certainly no pushover – isn’t a forceful schmoozer. She’s just a nice, normal person who cares deeply about her practice and it’s really annoying that somehow that’s not enough for her to be a big shot.
Anyway. It’s come to my attention that a fair number of people read this thing, so I want to use it to draw attention to an artist who really deserves it. Beverly is amazing. Below is an image of her work and it loses tons in the photo, but so it goes. She’s awesome.