Thursday, May 05, 2005

2005 VMFA Fellowships

Got my rejection from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts fellowship program today. Here are the winners in the Professional and Graduate categories -

PROFESIONAL Awards ($8,000)

Judith Baumann - previous post on Judith's work here. She has a good website but it's down. I'll link to it later.
Tom Chambers
Vittorio Colaizzi
Craig Dennis and Susan Eder
Matthew Gamble
Emily Hall - previous post on Emily's work here.
Joel Holmberg - previous post on Joel's work here.
Ward Howarth
Danielle Riede
Fiona Ross - currently featured in New American Paintings.
David Williams - how many can you win?? I think this is his third time in ten years!!
Melissa Worthington

GRADUATE Awards ($6,000)

Nathan Altice
Saul Becker
Benjamin Jones
Colleen Ostrander
Gillian Pears
Charles Roberts
April Taylor-Martin
Deniz Tirpanci

There were sixteen recipients of UNDERGRADUATE Awards ($4,000).

Four of the winners in the professional category are current VCU Painting graduate students. One of the winners in the professional category is a current VCU Painting undergraduate. I know of two VCU painting undergrads last year who applied for the grad prize, neither one eligible, both of whom won. The juror for the professional awards, Ingrid Schaffner, was a visiting critic at VCU last October and visited the painting grad's studios.

What is the point of having categories and residency requirements? How many of those grad students that won professional awards are staying in Virginia? Isn't part of the point of that category to support art and artists working in the state? I guess if only one or two students had won in this category I wouldn't say anything but with almost half something just seems wrong.

In the previous post regarding the selection of the OPTIONS 2005 show Libby Lumpkin writes "I suggested that, in addition to selecting artists from the official pool of applicants, I be allowed to tour the graduate school studios in the region. I know how difficult it is for young artists to keep abreast of all the exhibition opportunities available to them, and I wanted to make sure that no deserving graduate student would be excluded for not having submitted an application".

Libby, the grad students don't need any more help! The MFA programs today act as public relations firms placing students in galleries and shows, buying advertising, and setting up meetings. The MFA programs are all about the rankings; the marketing of the program and select students - to a fault. I imagine that most of the grads reading this are rolling their eyes but unless you're fortunate enough to secure a university position yourself that fantastic level of support currently enjoyed is going to dry up fast. I don't think it's good for you, it isn't good for me, and it isn't good for art. It only benefits the institution.


Anonymous said...

I understand your frustration......however the eligibility for the vmfa awards is based on what the candidate will be doing the following year. So students graduating this year are eligible for professional grants.

Furthermore, of course the grad program is a media machine...that what rankings are all about. In this nepotasmastiic arena it is certainly better to have your name attached to a known institution than an unknown. This may not be fair, but it isnt going to change. In this profession we will always be in competition, if not with other artists, certainly with ourselves. One can begin to understand how so many artists throughout history have gone completely out of their minds. Just think how Lee Krasner must of felt? Oh but wait, she was one of the chosen ones.

Anonymous said...

Martin - Would you rather they hurry up and leave town for an art city so you'd have less competition and a better chance? Your unhappy if NYer's win, and then unhappy when local's win. Why don't you just do a post that says "I am unhappy, I didn't win" and go back to your studio. It would save you a lot of time typing up names of the other artists and get to the point a lot quicker. Sometimes when a problem happens over and over again to a person- the problem is that of the individual, not the rest of the world.

Martin said...

anonymous #1 - thanks for the empathy and info.

anonymous #2 - I am unhappy. I didn't win.

You've way over-simplified some of my other positions though.

I am unhappy when ONLY NY'ers consistently win NATIONAL prizes juried by NY judges (like the Rome Prize). I AM happy for the students that won and am not saying any of them DO or DON'T deserve to win, but I can't pretend to not be bothered when almost half of the winners in the professional category are students enrolled in the same program recently visited by the juror.

There are six current 2nd-year grad students in the VCU painting program, four of whom won the fellowships. The other two must feel a little weird. I'm wondering why no sculpture grads had their work selected. Did they not apply?

I regret that you see these posts as just whining and hope that the majority of readers find these posts informative and an attempt to effect positive change.

Honestly, I've probably done more to raise awareness/promote Richmond art (yes, including my own) and the work of VCU student artists in the last six months than anyone else has done in five years.

friend of your blog said...

Martin, you have done a lot to promote Richmond art by mentioning artists (many of whom are VCU studients)and praising their work. There are few who care to look and fewer who care to write. I also think it is terrific and brave that you are honest enough to voice the unspoken concerns of many others. Please continue with the good work.

Anonymous said...

What's the positive change that comes from sour grapes? Do you really think your doing more then just whining? Really?

Quit kidding yourself. Your after all the wrong people and digging yourself a whole. "awareness/promote Richmond art" - by dissing local winners and grad students. Do you make a big "L" with your fingers when you see yourself in the mirror? What are you thinking?

Anonymous said...

What's the positive change that comes from sour grapes? Do you really think your doing more then just whining? Really?

Quit kidding yourself. Your after all the wrong people and digging yourself a whole. "awareness/promote Richmond art" - by dissing local winners and grad students. Do you make a big "L" with your fingers when you see yourself in the mirror? What are you thinking?

Anonymous said...

"All possibility of understanding is rooted in the ability to say no." -Susan Sontag

Person said...

Oh sad anonymous, at least learn spelling and grammar if you are going to write so much venom on someone's blog. You are the one who sounds dumb. Martin is brave and helpful. He plugs away with his goal, which is to question the system that seems to dictate the terms of the "artworld", that few people feel a part of. There is much conflict of interest and unfairness with art. Martin is extremely supportive to his fellow artists and I think he is a great person.

Anonymous said...

It's easy to sling venom as "Anonymous".

Anonymous said...

I may not be able to spell, but at least I get awards. Which is more then I can say for Mr. Sub Shop show.
I would say that Marin is the one who is slinging venom and encourages Anonymous. Maybe the students are better then all the local pro's?

human being said...

Anonymous. Get over yourself and your awards. Good luck to you and your self-righteous ramblings.

Anonymous said...

"self-righteous", not really. Just think it's lame that whenever something good happens to another artist that isn't some little local show Martin tries to take it down. This blog is lower then planetmegaultra / Artstar. It's like looking at a car crash.

Anonymous said...

anonymous is mean spirited.

Anonymous said...

So is Martin. He forgets he's writing about real people, they are just things that keep sending him rejection letters or taking his grants. It's not them who keep him from art stardom, it's his quality of work. Go ahead - defenders of Mr. Sub Shop show, defend him, but you know I am right.

Martin said...

My show at ADA overlapped my show at Stuffy's.

What artists/shows have I written anything so bad about? I was critical of H.T.'s paintings (see the next post) but other than that, who? A.F.? All I did was correct a glaring omission in a magazine article. It was ridiculous not to mention the relationship between the two people featured, especially given the topic of the article.

Please be specific about whom you think I've been so unfair to.

Anonymous said...

I'm talking about this post dummy. Do you read your post's and think about how they make people feel? You always make your loss turn out to be someone elses gain, instead of your loss just being your loss.

confused by award winner said...

I think that anonymous needs to chill out! I will offer a congrats on your success, but not on the jock-like attitude!
If you think that it is easy to crush someone and post nasty and hurtful anti- blog comments as an anonymous just think about how easy it is for others to not post them and talk about you behind your back. I want you girls know that I have nothing to do with any of this, but I do thank Martin for making me aware that I need to make sure that any and everyone need to see your works. You never know if that person is going to be on the next committee. You need to be out there and make you work seen! Even if it is a little unfair... even if you never knew it was going to be in a fair or unfair saga....

I think that this blog is helping get some information out in the world that isn't normally talked about. (openly anyway)

NYer's are getting more awards... and the studio visits DO seem to help those that get them... Lets just be honest. I would be a little bit bitter too if I was applying to things that I thought I had a fair chance at, but find out that the Juror visited specific people and talked to them and I am left questioning where was mine? Get off of your high horse and realize that if you didn't get an award that you too would be interested in knowing why and what you can do better to get the next one... this information is very important.

more important than being sassy and rude by saying:

"I might not be able to spell but at least I get awards"

Why do you feel like you have to defend yourself over and over if you feel it was so deserved.
And does it make you better than the others? I'm not so convenced it does.

Anonymous said...

You really got me figured out, confused by award winner, I do feel better, thanks for all the support. More then defend myself, I just would like Martin to know that I really love him and his bitter losses, everytime he gripes about some else getting a grant or show or good review, I imagine the face when he opens up his 1000th rejection letter.

confused by award winner said...

You sound a bit bitter yourself! I'm not sure why, but if this Martin character wants to mix a little of his life in with his blog that seems OK. I'm convenced that sometimes this blog thing might crossover into the realm of a diary.
I'm not sure if he has said anything about you personally, but revealing the secrets of the behind-the-scenes artworld is okay. I now know that the next time I apply for something out in the artworld, I might have great work, good statements, good resumes, but not have the upper hand when it comes to smooching and smoozing with the in-crowd. I need to brush-up on those (and maybe get my work out of my apartment) Grad school seems to be a good place to do just that.

Also I'm sure you will get the same look on your face when you get your 1000th rejection letter! Just pointing out another "I'm better than you jock-ism" from your mouth. You feel like your on top of the world and congrats, but you have had rejections in the past and will in the future. Good luck and I wish you many for that means you are still trying. I know that I will.

Matt Gamble said...

Martin, I think this blog is good. I like to see that people are having conversations about questions we all may be wondering. I won this year but I had no idea that Ingred was a Juror. She didn't even visit my studio, I was busy that day. I have tried for years to win this award. You would have to be silly not to try. I like to think that I won becouse of the quality of my stuff rather then I had some edge because I was at VCU when she visited. I like to think that I am very fortunate to be going to school with so many talented artists. I know that it's unusual for something like this to happen but I read about unusual things everyday, just pick up a paper, just read this blog. Anyway thank you for all the publicity I have never had someone take the time to expel about the things that happen to me. Take care Martin. Matt

Anonymous said...






Anonymous said...

Bet you still won't get in. It's not who you know, it's your work. Stop trying to shift the blame to others.

all knowing said...

dear anonymous. You are only half right.

truth teller said...

anonymous. You are tiresome. stop with the preaching.

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