Friday, September 16, 2005

Nicholas Kuszyk

Nick Kuszyk, originally uploaded by Bromirski.

Nonesuch, currently showing Peter Corrie, also has work by a number of other artists, including some of Nick Kuszyk's small robot paintings.

Nick is well-known among young artists in Richmond for his robot paintings and t-shirts; he has made hundreds of them. The one pictured above is dated 2005 on the back and is numbered something like 353. Does that mean it is his three-hundred-fifty-third robot painting or the three-hundred-fifty-third from this year? In any case, it is still working. There are good ones and boring ones, some have more personality than or a different mood from others, the backgrounds are becoming more involved. What I'm trying to say is that it seems like he is still working at them, enjoying making them, they aren't yet being made by rote.

This sort of method, discovering an artistic building block like these robots seem to be, is sort of like nanotechnology with it's aim of design and creation from the molecule up. All of these little robot paintings of robots building themselves (and fighting, playing, etc) may be adding up to something. What's crucial is that the artist, once he reaches eventual critical mass with these little robot paintings, breach the Kuzyk quantum gap, defined as "the failure of of real materials to live up to their theoretical potential". Next time you see a bad something by one of those "lots of" artists, doing that "lots of" thing again of taking lots of something and piling it all together until they have a bigger something, just say, "how unfortunate, they weren't able to breach the Kuzyk quantum gap" (Tara Donovan usually breaches the gap).

Okay, now for the more jealous bitter negative part of this post. If this type of talk bothers you stop reading.

Nick was recently awarded a Pollack Prize for Excellence in the Arts, which honors artists in the Richmond metropolitan area. They give out prizes in a number of different artistic disciplines, including two in the visual arts: one to an established artist and one to an emerging artist. Nick received the prize for an emerging artist. Nick moved to NYC about a year ago! Even VCU's own website announcing the awards states -

"Kuszyk’s paintings, drawings and murals of robots have attracted significant attention in the Richmond area. Kuszyk, who lives in New York, also has had two well-attended shows at the McCaig-Welles Gallery in Brooklyn"

C'mon! I know he used to live here, is deserving, and has certainly made a positive impact on the local art-scene, but what about supporting the many artists who are living and working here? Isn't that the idea of the award?


Hans said...

It's maybe a robot, but not a painting.

Martin said...

Grisjz - Oh, good one! In the U.S., in this case, we say "oh, snap!".

I love your Tusheti blog. Tusheti looks beautiful. I want to visit Tusheti.

Hans said...

Martin, I love to learn jargon, tell me, what this means: Oh,snap!

Yes, Tusheti is great, next saturday I am there, for the Cattle drive down to the winter pastures. Soon to be winter in the Mountains. Come next year. From July to Beginning of October its safe.

Anonymous said...

Re: the Kuszyk Quantum Gap, I can think of lots of Fibers artists, famous and not, who have unfortunately not breached the Kuszyk Gap. In fact, when I was in Fibers at UArts, I can remember the faculty actually recommending the "lots of" technique to those with no inspiration. Sad but true.

Unknown said...

Among the street art crowd, repeating an image over and over and over... is a way to saturate it into the minds of those that notice: http://www.streetsy.com/tag/robot/

In street work, variety is more interesting... like Swoon provides: http://www.streetsy.com/tag/swoon/

If it has to be repetitious, make it a tag/signature. Consider the simplicity that Mutante provides: http://www.streetsy.com/tag/mutante/

Nick's work is not interesting... which is not a good thing at all. His show three years ago at ArtSpace was intersting. Did you see that? (It was more about what happened than the work.)

A hefty congrats does go out to Nick... since he does deserve some recognition for initiative and drive.

If he is on a mission to keep doing robots, it may work out after another five years... who knows.


Not sure what to say about the Pollack award not given to a local artist. Since it is a young award, you have to strategically give it out... so you can gain more attention for it, right? It may be another marketing tool of VCUarts.


The Kuszyk Quantum Gap is a strong theory. What about the Kuszyk Paid His Rent With 20 Robot Paintings theory?

Anonymous said...

The Pollak Prize has nothing to do with VCUArts. It is awarded by a jurors who are recognized in the community and sponsored by RIchmond Magazine.

I think you make a good point and you should write a letter to the editor of RIchmond Magazine asking about the criteria for the award. It is a new award and the magazine welcomes feedback from its readers.

Martin said...

The selectors for this round awarding VCU grad Nick Kuszyk and VCU sculpture faculty Elizabeth King were VCU painting faculty Richard Roth and VCU grad and sometime faculty Heide Trepanier, the previous year's winners.

Not to say that any of these people are not deserving, but it most certainly is VCU selecting VCU.

This is the eighth year of the awards.

Unknown said...

Well, Roth was the new head when Nick started at VCU's painting department... and Trepanier was going through Grad Painting at the time.

Nick was a highly visible student for lining the halls with his paint/drawing robots.

At the time, there were only a few students who were able to rise above and find a good work ethic.

I am sure the award will change, if each year the jurors change.

Anonymous said...

Only in America is "a good work ethic" grounds for artistic laurelization. Good ideas, innovation, and personal vision should be criteria for such an award, but more and more artists are primarily rewarded for their visibility, strategic appearance in the right shows, memorability of style, etc. In other words, for their business acumen. American art at this point in history is shallow and awash in hype because, like its political system, it mirrors the values of Madison Avenue and the public relations industry.

Unknown said...

Sure. Sure. Incisive words from an anonymous voice. The truth hurts.

Maybe some of the greatest ideas are forming in the marketing and consumer product realm... and artists are populated by poor marketers? Or good marketers with a bad product?

Work Ethic and Challenging Professors

When considering art school, a "good work ethic" means you are not skipping class to go home and spend the remainder of the day smoking pot and playing video games. So, my work ethic bar was not set very high.

VERY few professors challenged students. Sometimes, the ones that did challenge were wrapped up in strictly issues about the essense of "paint"... and other personally bound theories about what it means to be a painter.

(About VCU, from my experience... Wolfgang Jasper was the most challenging professor... and Don Crow the most intuitive.)

In other news...
Ranking Up

Kuszyk could rank up if he changes his work completely... his robots would gain in value.

Trepanier can rank up if she takes her blobs to the streets... but changing her style could bring her art rank down.

ArtFacts Ranking

Anonymous said...

It seems like Richmond will never appreciate it's own unless they are validated elsewhere. Small town insecurity maybe....

Anonymous said...

And on what planet are artists entirely able to make a name for themselves without stepping foot outside of their own hometown? I always thought that a completely valid measure of success was that your name was recognizable outside of your own home.

Unknown said...

Richmond has always had insulated pockets of artists. Whether related to 1708 Gallery or aligned within non-corporate cliques.

Only recently have more groups been popping up that give the street-level Richmond art scene a connected vibe.

My favorite examples are... Flicker, 804 Noise, and ADA Gallery... and the list is growing.

Nowadays, I am looking to leave Richmond myself... and it is my ultimate gift and responsibility to the local arts community... to remember Richmond. If I can attain any small fragment of success and simply namedrop Richmond in an honest/humble light, I will have done better than remaining in town floundering for another 10 years.

Richmond always feels like it is 15 years behind other cities. Moving out of town could be like walking into the future. Upon returning to town (as needed), I will report to you what the future is like.

The greatest need is not to simply recognize Richmond's artists, but to figure out how to assist them in coming up with stronger ideas and making them realized. I assume, that kind of stuff happens through community... which is building up around town.

I ask VCU: What will you do with the next batch of graduates who leave your school and settle in Richmond?

If VCU can help those folks stranded in town to create and foster community, then they will be doing themselves a greater service than patting themselves on the back when faculty and out-of-town students are laurelized.

To counter any complaint against VCU, the problem is not that they do not have open arms towards graduates... it is that there is little relationship fostering between VCU and the artist community. Some say, they discourage relations between the school and community (ADA Gallery may be helping to change that... along with 1708, but I have never "connected" with that community).

Anonymous said...

VCU picks VCU, yep profoundity is contagious here. Don't settle in Richmond, why would anyone want to live out their artistic careers here? I have enough celebrity here without pushing for it, by just working my work and being here. I don't think Robot Nick needs any more written about him, I do enjoy hearing about his BK shows but everyone I know besides me has a piece by him. I just don't think that production expunges creativity. Anyone can keep making the same thing on different colored backgrounds and give these robots different arms. Nick is an enormous talent that is put forth more from his mind and speech than his style.

Anonymous said...

This is approved correspondence #2493 from R Nicholas Kuszyk's internet representative team member #4:


Thank you. R enjoys reading about himself.

Yes, he felt a bit strange receiving the pollock award. He hadn't moved to NY when the selection was made. By the time the award came to the public he had relocated to Brooklyn. R greatly appreciates the award, as he considers Richmond his home. He spends much time still in Richmond. He owns property there and plans to return to reside. R thanks you for discussing him as a subject. He appreciates "the wasted energy". It is the "fuel" that he runs on.

"Awards are awkward." a quote from R Nicholas Kuszyk's Pollack award ceremony speech.

A: Number 353 in a show of 434 paintings at Mccaig-Welles Gallery in Brooklyn, July 1 2005.
(197 paintings sold)

Official R Nicholas Kuszyk Rumors:

The robot guy is working on a 250 page narrative Rrobot book (consisting of no words) with Abram's Press. Scheduled to come out in the spring of 2007.

Rrobots.com is being revamped into one of the most epic experiences on the web. Slated to be completed in Feb 2006. The head web developer responsible for Futura 2000's website, and Tokion's new website (not yet launched) won the bid in late August. R himself has said of the new website: " It's going to dwarf the TokioPlastic site by a thousand!"
He has reportedly spent $27,000 on the site thus far.

-----end correspondence #2493-----

message #2493 has been approved by Rrobots.com

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