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Monday, February 06, 2006

submitted for your annoyance

UPDATE 9/06: i've gone through here and removed x's real name because when googled, this post was like the first thing that came up... and it is unfair to scapegoat x so much. if anybody leaves any new comments that name x, i will delete them. x is a fellow struggling artist, not a bad guy.

PART ONE:

Oh! I missed a fourth one of X's glowing VCU reviews! From VCU Arts e-League Newsletter -

Carolyn Henne is the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs at VCUarts. She exhibits her work in many venues in Virginia as well as nationally and internationally. Her October 2004 show at the ADA Gallery in Richmond received positive critical reviews by Paul Ryan in ArtPapers and by X in Sculpture Magazine. In January 2006, Henne will exhibit in Berlin, Germany, at the KunstOffice Gallery.

X sent me, a while back, a pissed-off e-mail about this post so now I'm excited to maybe submit an FOIA request to VCU and compare all of his positive VCU reviews of the last three years with how much he has been paid by VCU for his various visiting artist gigs within that same period.

X on Relativity for NYArts Magazine
X on Katharina Grosse for NYArts Magazine
X on Collaborative Concepts for NYTimes
X on Carolyn Henne at ADA for Sculpture Magazine - no link yet, but I will scan it later.

Write a review, get a teaching gig, write a review, get a teaching gig, write a review... what's wrong with that? I am paraphrasing X's e-mail to me because he told me I can't publish it. I wrote back that he wasn't much of a reviewer. He wrote back "lose my e-mail". He e-mailed me first! Anyways X, please don't e-mail me either, you can leave a comment if you want.

How dare I question his critical integrity!!!

Funniest Funniest Saddest Thing - I heard on Friday that Joe Seipel was going around the galleries with a NYTimes art critic, my friend said she heard it was because the critic was meeting all these Richmonders in Miami at Art Basel and wanted to come here and see what all the Richmond fuss was about. It was, I'm told, X!!!! Joe Seipel is the Senior Associate DEAN of the VCU School of the Arts! UPDATE 3:20pm: An anonymous commenter thinks the visitor with Joe Seipel might have been Stephen Rockwell, painter and publisher of Dart magazine, based out of Toronto.

Is Stephen also doing a paid visiting artist gig or lecture while he is here?

Hey, University of Richmond readers, do you think Siepel took the NYTimes/Dart guy to any of your shows?

PART TWO:

I’m also looking forward to seeing what the hell Richmond shows Dinah and Paul Ryan will be covering for Art Papers, now that Paul has had his show at Reynolds Gallery and joined the VCU faculty. Paul has had Morris Yarowsky's old job since the start of the Fall semester.

Recent Richmond in Art Papers -

Jan/Feb 2006 - VCU faculty member Stephen Vitiello at VCU's Solvent Space - Dinah Ryan
Nov/Dec 2005 - 4 VCU faculty members, curated by VCU faculty member, in Relativity at VCU's Anderson Gallery - Dinah Ryan
Sep/Oct 2oo5 - Katharina Grosse at VCU's Solvent Space - Paul Ryan

From Art Papers website stating editorial guidelines -

a) The editors will not consider submissions in which a writer: writes about his/her work, the work of someone with whom the writer has a personal relationship, the work of someone with whom the writer has a financial relationship, any gallery that represents his/her work, any relative, any gallery institutionally related to the organization employing the writer or a colleague in the institution employing the writer.

Holy Shit! This might be the end of Richmond in Art Papers! I am so curious about what they will have in the March/April issue!

I'm planning a kick-ass sequel to Meatballs at Stuffy's, I'll be sure to let you guys know.

RELATED: my Carolyn Henne post, not mentioned in the above excerpted newsletter along with the other two reviews. Also - me on Relativity here and here, on Paul Ryan here and here, on Stepen Vitiello here.

Fellow VCU faculty member and Reynolds Gallery artist Ron Johnson on VCU/Reynolds colleague Paul Ryan for NYArts Magazine.

SPECIAL PLEA to Critics - Please please feel welcome to visit Richmond and see art here and write about it. VCU puts on some very good shows but these reviews by VCU employees or wannabe employees mean NOTHING. It trivializes everybody's hard work.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I believe that the guy that Joe was taking around was Stephen Rockwell, painter and publisher of Dart magazine, based out of Toronto. Yes, he is friends with D. Dominic Lombardy, but so what? Friends communicate with each other about the things they are interested in, and Lombardy is obviously interested in Richmond, and more specifically VCU's role in Richmond. Rockwell has been publishing the Dart magazine for like 8 years and they like to highlight smaller communities that have thriving art scenes. Apparently they have been interested in doing a Richmond issue for a while. Of course he would spend a good deal of time at VCU and with Joe Seipel, VCU and the artists associated with it are an integral part of the thriving art scene here in Richmond.

James W. Bailey said...

Martin,

This post is priceless!

That new editor of Art Papers made it fairly clear in the most recent (and revised) version of the magazine that her focus is globalized. The reviews aren't divided by regions anymore. Sadly, I'm not sure where Richmond fits into her world-view! :)

James

P.S. It's not illegal or unethical to translate (using Google, for example) Lombardi's email into another language and publish it. I'd recommend Russian. Only because Google's English to Russian back to English translator seems to generate, for some strange reason, more obscenities than the author intended!

Anonymous said...

for the record: carolyn henne deserves to be reviewed as often as possible because she is one of vcu's - and by extension, Richmond's - best resources.

martin said...

Anonymous' Numbers One and Two - I am in complete agreement with both of you on both VCU and its artists being an integral part of Richmond's art scene and Carolyn Henne's being a fantastic artist and great person.

These artists and the local art scene would be better served with less grease.

I wish Surface Charge, Carolyn Henne, Relativity, Barbara Tisserat... ALL the shows - would be reviewed/covered much much more.

Curious said...

I'm going to play Devil's Advocate for a moment. I agree that pay-for-criticism lacks little difference with the pay-o-la we saw with radio in the 1950's and today in the sense that the most connected and supported work becomes supported over the "best," and that is a flaw in how we perceive Art. I would argue, however, that we are at a time that is a far-cry from Modernism or any other meaningful attempt to form consensus in our minds of what is "good" art versus "bad" art; as best that I can tell, we are simply in a time of recognizing "art" simply as "Art" and the "good" art is best supported simply by a well-prepared resume with an MFA at the top. So in these post-modern times, or post-postmodern if you will, I cannot help but often come to the conclusion that much in the ways of criticism and art-relation as we once knew it many-times falls flat, and it is the art-promoters... the saccharine sweet-tongued praisers and well-financed gabbers who seem to "garnish" their "fair" share of attention. My point is not whether or not this is right, but where is the room for criticism in a system that doesn't recognize value outside of the auction house?

Secondly, you go to great lengths to attack the veracity and integrity of the claims of many critics who use the system in their favor to promote the art that they know and like. Ignoring the morality or subjectivity of your feelings towards the critics, my question becomes simply "is this fair to the artist being reviewed?" Is there good art being thrown into the crux of this promotion machine that you feel may be tainted by these connections? If one of these unfair critics did happen to stop by your studio based upon either their acquantaince to you through VCU or via this blog, would you wholeheartedly turn them away? If D Dominic Lombardi dropped his grudge against you tomorrow and sang praises of your work in his next review, what would your feeling be? Is your entire sense of values and the lengths you go to voice them not, directly or indirectly, just another promotion tool to further your own agendas outside and independent of the quality of your own work?

martin said...

Curious - Thanks for your comment and questions, and I would like to try to answer them, but most of your post confuses me. The isms are always a problem.

At first I think I might agree with what you are saying, then I think I disagree. What are you saying? I'm not sure.

I will try to address the questions I can answer definitively:

No, none of it is fair to the artists being reviewed. The unfairness to the artists is part of what upsets me.

No, I wouldn't turn away anyone who asked see or possibly write about my work.

My feeling, if D. sang my praises tomorrow, would be one part pleasure, one part pride, and one part confusion.

No, my entire sense of values are not just a promotion tool to further my own agenda. Wow. I'm not even sure what my entire sense of values or agenda even is. You are not talking to the man with the plan here. I guess that means my answer would have to be I don't know. You are making me wonder about values and their evolutionary/social function.

I will grant that yes, this blog, is in part a promotional tool.

Anonymous said...

It is a simple fact that no art magazine makes money. They don't have the circulation.

The pretty glossy pages and high quality images that are necessary for showing art work cost a ton of money. Some of these folks (Sculpture Magazine, etc) have grant money, advertising money, endowments, etc for some of the costs of publication. Membership dues also contribute, but that simply doesn't add up to production of a magazine plus salaries for writers, editors, mailroom guys, accountants, and all the other people that put in time and effort to produce these magazines.

Many of these magazines don't have endowments, grants, or enough advertising, et al for producing a quality magazine (dArt, and others).

Articles are usually funded through someone in the community - unless you are in NYC or LA. It is a fact that if an article appears anywhere in an art magazine from outside of the "art centers" someone paid to have it written, and it was not the artist's "merit" that brought the particular writer to their show.

It is simple economics - art doesn't make money, if we want art articles/magazines/writers and we want them outside LA/NYC the $ has to come from somewhere - and all art, with the possible exception of outsider/visionary art, is dependent to some degree, on a wealthy upperclass with $ to burn.

Sad but true, in the scheme of things art isn't pro-football, or construction or medicine. It is not a basic need to most people, it is not entertainment, someone with $ and interest has to be willing to invest- that's the world.

It isn't always as we (artists) would like it to be, but it's the system we have - if you have a solution on how to get the funding for magazines/travel to various cities for writers and production costs, let me know.

I am pretty sure that you don't intend to come across as complaining, (god knows I think the system needs work as well). What we need are concrete solutions - actual, practical methodologies for avoiding these conflicts of interest, and ways to solve the problem not just a listing/citing of the intstances of the problems. Otherwise you achieve nothing, and the system stays the same - I think most people in the art world would welcome another method of doing things given a viable alternative.

But we need to give them another means. Another way to do what they do and still make enough money to continue to do what they do.

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