Monday, March 31, 2008

ArtCade-Sponsored Crit Night at AU

Jeffry Cudlin spoke at AU's Crit Night (artworks by Lana Stephens, photo taken by Emily Cunetto)

By Nikki Painter

Sunday night, March 30th, six first and second year American University MFA students presented work for critique by fellow classmates, students from George Washington University, the Corcoran, and local artists.

Area artist, writer, critic, and Director of Exhibitions for the Arlington Arts Center Jeffry Cudlin also participated in the evening’s events, taking time to inform the audience about opportunities to exhibit at the AAC and some upcoming events. Cudlin mentioned that many of the proposals for shows received by the center were not from Baltimore and DC artists, and that this was something that puzzled him.

Critiques were timed to last about fifteen minutes, and the students whose work was being critiqued opened the discussion with introductory comments about his or her art.

Installation by Lauren Rice (photo taken by Alex Ebstein)

Questions asked several times during various critiques had to do with origins and inclusion of pictorial elements. Were AU artists considering their use of (socially and historically) content-laden imagery?

Other questions that arose during the evening:

What kind of research are we doing about our work? What are we reading? What other artists are we looking at?

What kind of relationship do we want viewers to have with our work? How does a viewer interact with our work?

How and why are we choosing our materials? Why draw instead of paint and vice versa? Why not use animation?

How do you know when it is finished? What “looks” finished?

How do you differentiate yourself from your contemporaries who may be working in a similar manner?

Overall, questions asked during critiques were incisive and addressed important issues AU students continue to grapple with.

“Thank you” to Jeffry Cudlin for taking time out of his busy schedule to hang out with us and talk about our work!

Thanks also to Rachel Fick and ArtCade for sponsoring and organizing our evening- check out ArtCade Forum for another account of the evening’s events.

AND be sure to read another response to the evening at There Were Ten Tigers.

Thank you to everyone who came out- there has been some really great dialog started as a result of Crit Nights, and we hope to continue to get to know our community.


alex said...

Thanks Nik, sorry I was such a hothead about their posts, I just love you guys.

Artifice said...

Alex, no apologies necessary. I hope that the amount of discussion related to the Crit Night will be beneficial for future attendance of the events, and that could be really good for all of us- to get to know our community, make connections, and grow our work.
We love you, too!


Lana said...

Well, I love all of you. I think the crits were beneficial as well. It's always refreshing to gain new perspectives on one's work. However, I reacted negatively toward some of the blogging post-crit night. Of course we don't want to burn bridges, but people shouldn't start fires either. I'm glad Artifice has responded with such professionalism. Since we are all valuing criticism here, I feel obligated to offer some of my own. Sure the comments at the event were helpful, but they also seemed to stem from a prescribed, learned way of critting which speaks to the institution and less to the individuals in attendance. I think some of the questions and criticisms posed were repeat offenders which only serves to generalize. I don't think the comments made were harsh or overly challenging. I tend to enjoy a good bit of antagonism. However, the comments made post-crit were quite presumptuous, and again generalizing. It was an event definitely worth having and I greatly enjoyed the experience. It would be beneficial to try this event again in the future.