Monday, August 15, 2005

NYArts Magazine on Bednarek and Stidolph, PLUS

Michael Paulson on the Cynthia Broan show for NYArts Magazine -

"other standouts in the show include Melanie Stidolph’s large-scale digital photos and Sarah Bednarek’s screenprinted couch. Stidolph’s picture of a white horse and its foal has a strange intensity (due in part to its ethereal, washed out color-scheme) that refuses to be immediately characterized as "doing" this or that. The sincere beauty of the photo counterbalances the My Little Pony irony of the subject matter. Bednarek’s couch rises above a great deal of the "crafts"-oriented work one sees today, largely because of her talent for understatement. The piece features a repeating pattern of woodsmen, hooded flag bearers, and shotgun-toting thugs in various sylvan settings, tricked out in a nauseating shade of forest green. All of this might have ended up as simply sarcastic in less capable hands. But the bland subtlety of the figuration lends the work an eerie normalcy–it would be easy to have a seat on the couch without even noticing the creepy cast of characters in their paramilitary Arcadia"

Bednarek and Stidolph were my two favorites from that show too.

Richmond Related -

X on Relativity for NYArts Magazine - My look at the same show here and here. Unfortunately I never got around to writing more specifically about the work of Sun-Tek Chung and Chris Norris, but I understand they will be showing together this fall at ADA Gallery. I'll try to get to them then.

X on Katharina Grosse for NYArts Magazine - I blogged Grosse's lecture here and here. More photos of the installation are here.

Who is this X and how is it that he missed Meatballs at Stuffy's??? Oh wait, X is working for VCU and the two shows he covered are VCU shows. How much money is VCU indirectly paying for these reviews? Maybe I should save up and buy one too? X previously covered a VCU rental show in Beacon for the NYTimes - I don't think he was working for VCU yet.


Anonymous said...

What do you mean Lombardi "works for VCU?" Does he have a position in the painting dept?

Martin said...

Anonymous - Not full-time, he worked there as a visiting artist over the summer session.

Anonymous said...

Get over it. Personally, I'm glad to see a public insitution like VCU make the same art world connections as Yale, Chicago, etc. If you don't like the way the art world runs, stop involving yourself in it. Don't read reviews, stop chasing after galleries. Make work in your basement and show it at coffee shops and on your mom's fridge.

Martin said...

Anonymous #2 - Ugh, are you saying Yale, Chicago, etc also hire "critics" to write "reviews"? So sad.

Why are you anonymous anyway? Did you have a fake review someplace?

Pete said...

I would like to know why it is automatically assumed that when someone is outraged or pointing out bias and questionable influences in the artworld, that they are a loser. Anonymous, as someone who enjoys pandering and going along with things as they are, are you very very successful? Is everyone supposed to play along and smile and never challenge anything in a completely illogical and fucked up system?

"If you don't like the way the art world runs, stop involving yourself in it."

Anonymous, are you serious? If we don't like the way our government runs, are we supposed to pretend we don't notice and not argue or protest? Or if we don't agree with how a corrupt corporation is run, we are supposed to ignore it? The art system is totally flawed, almost anyone in it will admit that. Everyone is aggravated at some point, at whatever level they participate. I personally love it that Martin is brave enough to question things under his own name, standing behind everything he says. Unlike you.

Postmodern RVA said...

Art-worlders currently gain respect by using the system. This is an old argument, not just here, but altogether a cliche.

Everyone hates a good brown-noser or the person born into riches, or the guy who knows someone and gets a leg up. I hate to break it to you guys, but this is not only how the art world works, but how the whole world outside of your naive Utopian sensibility tends to work. Why? It's human nature and it's efficient, and efficiency is good economics, and good economics = really good chance of thriving.

Why does it work that way? Here's an example: Two people, Michaelangelo and your best friend/spouse, each are holding a time-bomb set to go off in 30 seconds. You're given that it takes 25 seconds to diffuse the bomb and can only save one... which is it? One of the world's greatest artists never-to-be-replaced, or the someone whom you've known since the 5th grade?

It's human nature to please people. It's human nature to reinforce what you're already familiar with, it's human nature to help what you already know and are invested in, it's human nature to support an organization or institution long-term, and it's human nature to help out a friend before we take the extra time to deconstruct and aptly criticize Your really great friggin' idea. Yes, we're weak, but human beings are one-thousand times more likely to be competitive, sociable, and successful than to recognize or invent subjective notions of "brilliance," and most brilliant people (like Frida Kahlo and Carravagio) aren't even recognized until long after they're dead, and most people simply don't have time nor the ego for that.

Ride the snake.

If you're really sincere about your opinions, you'll use that energy to make better art. If you want people to be recognized whom you think should be recognized, then band together and recognize them. Make your own club. Otherwise you're just wasting your time.

Anonymous said...

What's funny in these comments is that getting famous and being a big hit are only the icing on the cake of making art. Sure, I'd love to draw all day and not have to work, but it seems like too often the chase for a listing in Scene and Herd becomes more important than actually making something cool.


PS I also think it's funny that whenever someone points out a nepotistic situation the reaction is always 1. Thats the art world and 2. You're a loser. You could react 3. You're right, that kind of smells.

Anonymous said...

Make better art, make your own club? That is the obvious. Martin makes his own club by having a blog. People come to his site to comment and argue. People are more aware of Martin now that he has a blog than before.

Obviously Martin is "playing along" to some degree, but questioning what seems fishy to him. He sets a good example of how to participate - he does it on his own terms, from outside the major art centers.

Anonymous said...

Ride the snake. Great advice.

Whitney Lynn said...

Ok, so while it's fair to say that Lombardi's decision to write about Bednarek and Stidolph was influenced by studio visits at VCU, I don't think it's just to then intimate that the artists are without merit. Writers are not issolated beings, and of coarse if they meet with someone who is able to explain her/his work it helps the artist's chance of exposure. However, I think it is unreasonable to assume that either artist didn't have a chance of a good review without Lombardi's connection to VCU.

Martin, I hope you know that I appreciate you - and your blog - but sometimes you confuse me. I know you think it is biased that most recognized artists are from NYC, but at the same time you make disparaging comments about VCU's system of drawing well known critics and visiting artists to Richmond. Without VCU, Richmond would hardly be a blip on the art world's radar (in truth, it still is hardly a blip..). Unfortunately, the number and caliber of galleries/alternative shows in Richmond is not enough to draw attention without the help of institutions of culture.

I suppose I'm just confused what exactly is the root of your frustration - is it the game of who knows who? Is it VCU's exclusion of introducing you to the same people? Or is it the need for an MFA union card in general?

Of coarse the system of recognition is flawed, but what do you propose to change it? I don't think VCU is doing anything scandalous, but perhaps I'm just missing your point...

Martin said...

Wow, Whitney, I don't know where to begin. I can't even get past your first sentence. You need to read my post again and if you'd like we can delete your comment.

Lombardi DIDN'T write anything about Bednarek or Stidolph or the show they are in. Stidolph has NO AFFILIATION with VCU, she's British. Not that it is related to anything Lombardi has written, but I don't think he has ever met Bednarek either.

I'm not intimitating that those artists are without merit AT ALL - they were my FAVORITES in the show and I've previously posted positive things about both - please click on the links at their names.

I'm sorry if that post confused you. Maybe I should have made the top half and the bottom two separate posts? Do others think I was saying something negative about the artists?

Whitney Lynn said...

Sorry.. I guess I just didn't read the post clearly and was motivated more by the comments to respond..

Anonymous said...

don't all these types of posts just stem from martin's lack of career? he's stuck in the ultimate denial about his lack of career, that it's based in problems with the art world instead of his mediocre art.

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