Margaret Kilgallen at Aspen Art Museum, Vail Art, Cupdate and More! | Sunday Reflection 5/26/19

Margaret Kilgallen at Aspen Art Museum, Vail Art, Cupdate and More! | Sunday Reflection 5/26/19

May 26, 2019

On Sundays I reflect. Sharing a lot today, so here's a quick breakdown...and stick around for a big CUPDATE at the end!

  • Instagram Propaganda
  • Margaret Kilgallen at Aspen Art Museum
  • Vision for Vail Valley's Art Community
  • Vorhees Drop Coming Soon
  • Racism and Bigotry
  • CUPDATE

I did not drink alcohol this week. I quit drinking over a year ago, which is something I never thought I would be able to say. The decision has made lots of differences in my life.

We had a photo shoot early this week. I've come to really enjoy producing lifestyle shoots; working with a variety of people to create content to share with you. I share some behind the scenes content on Instagram during shoots, but it's hard to capture the collaborative energy of strangers creating art together.

Ideas come out of thin air, and out of 1000 photos we might get a few dozen that will be used. Every shoot has been smoother than the last, and a core team is developing as we continue making this content a reality.

Instagram Propaganda

There are some people who think I spend every day in a hot tub with models. Those people are incorrect, but I find it intriguing what people think about me based on my fabricated online existence. Social media is just another arm of propaganda, where we can create any story we want to share.

Slinger often speaks about his intrigue with propaganda, citing it as an inspiration for his film Degenerate Art. Remember, I choose everything that gets posted on my social media, and I also choose everything that does not get posted. This is a very specifically curated process.

I considered going snowboarding this week because we got another few feet of snow. I decided against it in order to work, but I might get another chance next week. More snow coming...

Margaret Kilgallen at Aspen Art Museum

So here is a little story of how I ended up at the Margaret Kilgallen exhibit at the Aspen Art Museum yesterday. Mind you, I am virtually unfamiliar with Margaret Kilgallen and Barry McGee.

A few years ago I was introduced to RJ Rushmore, who among many roles, is a prolific art curator. I'm grateful for the friendship I have developed with RJ, and I hold his opinions on art very highly. We see each other a few times a year, and I cherish our conversations. On his last visit to Vail, he informed me of this exhibit in Aspen featuring Margaret's work. I still haven't had a chance to watch the film "Beautiful Losers" but it's high on my list.

Anyways, I've been trying to get to Aspen since January 12 to see the exhibit that closes June 16. Part of me was waiting for Independence Pass to open, my favorite drive in the country. Typically that happens Memorial Day Weekend, but this year it's delayed due to the snow. Yesterday I finally just got in the car and went, and I'm so glad I did. Shoutout to Jensen for rolling with me to spend more time driving to and from than we did in Aspen.

A Vision for Vail Valley's Art Community

I wish Vail had the thriving art scene Aspen does. I view Aspen as the model mountain town, so I'm working to cultivate the scene in Vail. In the two years I've been operating the studio in Minturn, I've hosted dozens of community open house events at my studio, planned and created networks for artists, and attended as many art events as I could. It's frustrating to me that we're lacking such an art scene here, but I'm optimistic about what I'll be able to accomplish with the local artists I've connected with.

Vorhees Cups Coming Soon

I've been working with my brother since I got back from California to create a blog post on Voorhees while working with my photographer Reda Ruokyte to get photos of his work to release at the same time. Pieces have been selling in the meantime, but I have some incredible work I'll be able to share with you this week. Thanks for your patience.

Racism & Bigotry

In my free time (which is a joke, because I don't have any) I've been studying racism and bigotry, exploring ways to make Drinking Vessels more intentionally intersectional. A big part of this is being mindful of norms that I've been socialized with since childhood.

I'm not sure I can articulate what I want to say on this subject yet, but I'm learning so much with the help of friends from many different backgrounds and the readings they've suggested to me. Right now I'm working on a book called White Fragility by Robin Diangelo and I have a long list when I'm done. I'd like to thank Josh @callmefag and Terasina @highartproductions for their incredible support in this challenging area of life that I'm trying to navigate.

Think About It

I'll leave you with some questions here to think about without getting too political.

Are you a man? How often do you discuss women's rights and issues with women?
Are you white? How often do you discuss racism with people of color?
Are you heterosexual? How often do you engage people of a sexual orientation other than your own?
What have you done to support a marginalized community, who aren't given an equal opportunity in life because of being a minority in one way or another?

I'm very fortunate to come from a place of privilege, so I'm trying to use that privilege to support people who are not as fortunate. If I see a post propelling racism or bigotry on social media I say something. When I hear a joke that propels these stereotypes, I'm not shy to mention that I'm offended, even if the group being marginalized is not one I'm personally a part of.

I'm not perfect, and I'm even guilty of cultural appropriation in ways I didn't understand when I was younger, such as having dreadlocks in high school.

Now that I'm conscious of my position I spend every day trying to be more mindful of the impact my life has on others. In my business this means featuring models of any racial background or sexual identity, trying to represent diversity in the brand. In my daily life this means considering my privilege when I act, trying to take into account the reality of people who don't have such privileges. 

CUPDATE

I've found a soft glass artist to work with and just got my first batch from Ryan Michael Irish in Oregon. Soft Glass is different from Borosilicate Glass in process, as well as aesthetic. Ryan's cups feature vibrant colors, and come in at a much more affordable price than most Borosilicate cups.

While we're on the subject of cups made from materials other than Borosilicate Glass, Melisa Beth Ceramics just dropped ten ceramic Grateful Dead mugs at the beginning of the week and only three remain. I didn't even have time to get photos and list the first few on the website but the remaining three should be up this week. Next batch will be sometime this summer, we hope!

This week I was able to add a masterpiece from Jason Lee to my personal collection. I've admired Jason's work for over a decade, and it's an honor to be working with him. I have an older goblet with a matching shot glass from Jason that I'll be releasing from my personal collection in order to make space for my new acquisition. Please contact me if you're interested in adding a piece or two of history to your collection. At under $1k this set is priced to move. I rarely offer pieces from my personal collection for sale, and might even change my mind if a few other things sell in the meantime.

Well this feels like it's dragged on long enough. I'm not really sure how to end these things.

Enjoy your Sunday,
Ben



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