Does your art have a shelf life to it? How often do you feel the need to make new work to show?
Of course our art has a shelf life to it - AND - no it doesn't. This question is one of those things where I straddle the fence of both sides. Does art have a shelf life to be shown publicly? Yeah, unfortunately it does. Does that make the work any less important? Heck no. If the work is relevant to what I'm currently doing, it is important. Important enough to be shown? Not likely. The hope is that the work relates but can stand without whatever came before it. But if it is that important perhaps it is an opportunity to revisit the work, whether conceptually, materially, or to rework the piece itself. I haven't really done this yet in my career, I'm still really young and haven't acquired years of good art. However, I see myself doing that in the future. That's one of the reasons for keeping everything and not throwing it out. It might be bad art right now, but it could be good art in a few weeks, months, years, etc. Everything has some kind of potential- so keep it. (I really wanted to throw some crap away that I made in the fall but the other grads made me keep it. I'm sure I'll thank them later down the road. But it really was crap.)
I haven't reached a point in my career where I make work just to be shown. I think that will come with some more maturity on my part. Graduate school is hard sometimes, so this past year I just worked to see what I would make; without the intention of showing the work in a gallery space. I ended up with some really good stuff. I find that when I work without the pressure of fitting into a particular "call" for art, the work is stronger. I've tried unsuccessfully to make art just for shows. I usually sketch a lot but don't follow through with any of it. It is something that I am committed to working on however. My goal for this school year is to show more, first locally (because that's usually easiest) then regionally. I think if I do my research the right way, if given enough time in advance, I might be able to follow through with some of those ideas in response to artist calls. That's the plan anyways. A faculty member recommended that I set aside "X" amount of money a month to apply for shows since its rare to find one without a fee. She said even $10 a month is better than nothing (but $10 is a really good thai meal after a had day in the studio -- so you see how I might struggle with this plan?).
Most galleries require "new" work made without 3-5 years. Easy for me, I don't like most everything I made past 5 years ago. I just try to make as often and much as possible- because artist blocks are a real thing and they SUCK.
I am a contemporary artist focused on the intersection of art and science in Lexington, KY.