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  • It was a cold, Wednesday night in New York City, and I was an hour late for an art opening. Finally, I met up with my friend who was patiently waiting for me at a hotel on the upper west side holding a small exhibition for a local artist. After walking around, starring and pointing out pieces we liked, I decided to engage in the common dialogue when I usually attend exhibitions. And this is how the conversation started:

    Me: I’m not really drawn towards to abstract art. What do you think about the artwork?

    Friend: (long pause) How do you critique art? Do you look at the skill or craftsmanship? Who decides what is art and what isn’t?

    I sat there for a few minutes dumbfounded, asking myself the same questions.

    It was such a simple question-how do you critique art? Being an art critic I should have a straightforward list of how to analyze art for outsiders. I was at a lost of words. My response, “I suppose you do, but whenever I look at art I search for the message or meaning within it. Just say what you like and don’t like about the artworks-color, composition, anything.”

    From there opinions started pouring out. It sparked dialogue. Aroused the imagination. But the last question asked “who decides what is or is not considered art” is one that I’ve been fighting to answer. Sure there are different factors–culture, social movements, gender and political issues, etc.–that steer what fills the blank walls of large museum institutions, but there are so many artists and limited white space. I have spoke with, interviewed and seen hundreds of noteworthy visual artists whose art could upstage many artworks seen in acclaimed institutions. To answer the hovering question, this the vague hierarchy of what is placed in museums:

    Who hand selects the artists of tomorrow? The curator.

    Who determines the fame of the artist? Art critics.

    Who keeps the artist and artwork in demand and alive? We do. Everyone plays a role in catapulting or creating visibility with the arts for artists.

    Our feedback and interpretations of art is vital. (No, I did not share this lucid hierarchy of with my friend as this epiphany just came along.) It’s the artwork that speaks the loudest, making you stop and stare. Or one explicit or offensive painting that somehow you keep returning to it in conversation because of its conflicting content (my personal love/hate relationship is with Jim Nutt). Whatever message the art or artist is trying to relay, it is up to us–the viewers, the art connoisseurs, outsiders, students, whomever–to connect and decipher art.


    -Heather Liggins

  • Miami Art Basel is this weekend and, as promised below is the update about Art For Progress and Fountain Art Fair exhibit. Rounding up the art-infused session from Friday, December 2 through Sunday, December 4, let’s celebrate:

    Please join us again for the Fountain Art Fair closing party, smART, on Sunday, December 4th, 7-10:30pm. APF is proud to produce this special event, where we will bring you the best and brightest in fashion, performance art, music, and film!

    If you’re in Miami for the Art Basel, you don’t want to miss the exhibit and event!

    -Heather Liggins

  • Zef Noise, born Emilio Zef China in New York, was raised in Hobokin, New Jersey. This  electronic Violinist and vocalist is diverse in his artistry, tapping into all realms of music-improvisation, songwriter, and producer. Adding on to Zef Noise’s laundry list, he has collaborated with pop artist Keith Haring, Art For Progress, spoken word artist Jim Carrol, just to name a few. With his versatile sound from electronic, rock, hip hop to experimental, Zef Noise’s music can speak to everyone. To listen to more of his music, click here.

    -Heather Liggins

  • Possessed of a scrappy, youthful verve lacking in its more prestigious neighbors… Fountain was distinguished by a vintage street/self-taught aesthetic…ArtForum

    Mark your calendars! In less than a month, Art For Progress is going to be part of the highly anticipated Art Basel Miami participating in the Fountain Art Fair, “the installation-based exhibition of avant-garde galleries and art collectives,” from December 1st-4th. Last year, the Fountain Art Fair celebrated it’s 5th year anniversary featuring musicians No Age, G. Love, Ninjasonik, and many more amazing artists alongside.

    In closing to the art-packed weekend, AFP is hosting a party on December 4th at The Vagabond in Miami. The party will be a mash-up of art and music. With films curated by Daniel Maldonado, a fashion show featuring Lila Nikole’s swimwear collection, and funky beats dropped by Gatto, this party is one not to miss!

    Keep up with AFP, as we will share more details about Miami Art Basel.

    -Heather Liggins

  • Pictured above is Allyson Jacobs, Fashion Director of Art For Progress in the New York Daily News

    Art For Progress was featured in the New York Daily News today! Read the write-up about AFP supporting emerging artists and art education within New York City below, if you didn’t pick-up a copy today.

    -Heather Liggins