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Letting Go (of Artwork)

How Long Do You Keep Your Artwork?

  • 1-6 Months

  • 1-5 Years

  • 5-10 Years

  • Forever!!

Thought I would share a poll as way to open this particular blog post. As I recently started cleaning out my studio aka Mom's garage, and had to let go of a few paintings. And they are large paintings. A neighbor of mine saw me tossing out my paintings as well as other garage crap, and stopped by to ask what I was doing with my paintings. In short I described that it was time to "let go" of my artwork. That it had served it's time in this world as a devoted Rolf piece and now I had to trash it. My neighbor understood but was very sad but my gesture. She almost seemed depressed by seeing this experience. I quickly told her of a William De Kooning story I read that said he would throw away paintings as quickly as he made them. Tossing them out of his NYC apartment window only for Robert Rauschenberg to stop by and ask if he could have them.

As artists, I believe it is a ugly, almost uncomfortable fact that we accumulate a large inventory of our work over time. Since I have moved a few times in my life, I am aware of a particular process. The process of letting go of my artwork. Yes, it hurts. Seeing your love laying in a pile of garage and quickly releasing that you hoped you had documented the work. And for me, I document as quickly as possible. I also believe that letting go of artwork, breathes life into new ideas and new adventures in art making. While I know many artists hold onto art, for years, to acknowledge a long tradition of art making, and if you have the space, go for it! But that shit doesn't work for me. I must keep my inventory low and my productivity high. I will say the works on paper have a long shelf life. I can store them easily. A few wall pieces exist to keep the ROLF Booth active and I have started a movement towards building sculptures again that began in May of this year. And those pieces will only survive 6 months, if I cannot find a space for them. Off to the dump you bastards!!

But to close, I am just curious how long other artists keep their own artwork? After exhibiting the work, and after documenting the work, does it stay with you for more than a year? That seems like a long time. Let me know....


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