First and Scrapped Attempt at Curatorial Statement


Receiving package from Lena Ulanova in August

I went too far to anecdote Stuckism where my real desire is to pay homage to painters and gallerists and the many people who know and like both. I will redo it with a much simpler statement, and let the fellow Stuckists represented on the wall show their paintings. There will be a media room set up, looping 20-30 Stuckist videos. I want you to meet and greet each from his or her own seat.
Read it anyway if you like. There may be some points made for further discussion:

“By the new year I should be free to paint like a Stuckist again, unencumbered by the many chores, real and imagined, which envelope the curator/promoter of an art exhibition. Lately I have gone to bed thinking of morning work, dreaming it, midnight musing it, and waking earlier than early, eager to dive into it, relegating ordinary life of the day to a secondary role, and suffering for it.

I haven’t been much of a Stuckist lately, but rather a connoisseur of Stuckist paintings and personalities. Last week I drove down to Quintus for a planning meeting. Kathy had unwrapped the paintings from their postal packages, and laid them about the gallery, on the bar, against chairs and walls. I moved from one to the next calling out its artist’s name, maybe a title, and then a brief story about the painter—“Mark D. likes punk,” “Paul Harvey plays punk,” “No, that’s not a Bledsoe print; she paints with the patience of angels”, “Ah, Elsa Dax—This is ‘Charles Thomson’” “Look! J.X. Coudrille sent two paintings—he’s the one with the curly mustache, whose father was also a painter,” etc.

I recognized each piece by the hand of the painter, as any adult today could detect the Mona Lisa in a coffee table book or box of tissues, yawn, then turn the page, or blow his nose.

I looked at these Stuckist paintings with wonder and reverence, exactly how da Vinci and friends looked at the Mona Lisa before he died and the French King acquired it. The French Republic owned it for a couple centuries in the manner which a billionaire of today possesses a Basquiat—without any living connection—like reading a Tennyson love poem to nobody you ever loved 175 years ago.

Last year I audited a figure drawing class at a local college hoping to learn how to less fear the figure. I had recently received a grant award to promote Russian Stuckism to my community and beyond. One day before class I spoke enthusiastically about Stuckism and my project to a painting professor. Unknown Ron Throop from a basement in Oswego, N.Y., via Skype, was painting models posing in a painter’s studio in Moscow, Russia. We had communication without words, miraculously painting “together”, sharing the work online, acting as veritable artist ambassadors for our respective nations. The painting professor broke into my reverie, changing the subject while the light was still in my eyes. He told me that Stuckism would be nice, but nobody will ever make any money from it—not the kind of money that, for instance, “artist” so-and-so made that week selling just one painting. He admitted sharing his revelation to his students as well, that art and art making will always be judged on what its pretend market value is, or was, or would become.

And one of his tried and true teaching methods is to have students paint Kandinskys’, exactly how Kadinsky would expect his oeuvre to be copied.

Here at Quintus Gallery are living human beings who paint. I recognize their personal styles and approaches to painting, and am enriched by them. While curating this exhibition I have received an art education that no program at university could imitate without Stuckism, which is a sad state for eager students who are made to copy Kandinsky because the professor chooses to imitate celebrity rather than draw real things like trees and sky and humble human faces.

Please, if only briefly, look upon these paintings as I do—made by painters for their own sake. In my world, the ends do not necessarily justify the means. I have never viewed a painting without imagining the painter. If I cannot “see” him or her how I need to see them, in whatever state I deem that to be, whether painter staring out to sea, painter drinking a cup of coffee, painter scratching a chin, or taking out the garbage, then I do not consider it to be a work of art. There is not one painter here who has not delivered art to be exhibited. I can “see” the means of the painter in every piece, but only because I have imagined the painter behind the painting. Viola! Art!

Eat up this Stuckism. It is for you, and it is you also if you want it to be. Please watch some movies running on loop in the brick room, and learn for yourself about Stuckism because it is the exact opposite of what so many people misconstrue it to be.

Likewise, I urge you to decorate your homes and workplaces with paintings by painters you know or whom you wish to know. Begin a collection of art which has meaning for you. No more landscapes by unnamed painters in doctor’s offices. Every doctor should get to know a Stuckist, as every Stuckist knows a doctor. Above all, I ask that you promote this movement to save the art of painting. Too many unworthy people and institutions have their dirty mits in the arts for career and avarice, and above all, the mighty dollar, which is also pound, euro, yen, ruble, internationally fabricating art for business’ sake. Dollar wealth is arbitrary, the opposite of these paintings made by honest hands. Still, dollars do buy more paints and substrate, and also pay for international postage to promote international painting shows.”