Daniel Heyman
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On the question of “balance” in art exhibitions.

For me as an artist, an art exhibition is like publishing a book; it represents the end of long hours of work and thought where my images leave my control and are presented to the public for consideration and judgment. Exhibitions are the dominant way an artist has to develop an audience for his or her ideas. I don't feel any more need to balance my ideas at the moment of exhibition than a writer does within the publication of his or her own books. I know that there are thousands of art exhibitions a year where viewers can see other artists and visual thinkers present their works for public consumption, and I know that my work will be judged and evaluated within this context. This reality seems to satisfy the balancing needs of a diverse and open society. Certainly no one would expect an historian or political commentator who presented a set of information and drew a set of conclusions in a book to couple within the same book an opposing volume from another author. A reader can easily read both points of view in different books and come to his or her own conclusions. Why we would should treat visual audiences differently confounds me, particularly in a place like Princeton, an institution that claims to assemble the most intelligent minds in the world for research and thinking both private and public. Shouldn’t we rather insist that those viewers use their minds to understand that one artist's work is simply that, one position among many? Of course I understand that curators work in a very different context than I do, and I accept their need to provide the “balance” required by those who run and fund their institutions. I hope and trust that when a curator chooses to balance one artist’s works against another’s the works are chosen are as serious in their examination of the subject at hand.

- Daniel Heyman, June 29, 2008


The choice of subjects is the most important moment an artist has for expressing himself – it’s the moment when he says, “This is what I am about.”

2007, Artist Daniel Heyman