Sunday, January 22, 2006

CCS faculty show

99% of the time bloggin' is fun. It is just when a computer and files have a mind of their own that using a computer is not fun at all. Since getting this page to load took most of my morning I decided to have "Blank Canvas" do the critiquing. It is also helpful to have another artist review the show because I might not be seeing clearly in my computer rage.

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Blank Canvas:  When I first walked in to this show, I noticed an immediately different feel than most of the openings I go to around town. The pieces as a whole felt more developed and practiced than the work at younger artists' shows, but they also felt much more stale. As if the artists worked to a certain point and then plateaued - somewhere between 5 and 50 years ago. The sculpture above was one of the younger-seeming works. But it is very kidrobot ( and that is very '90s. Of course, I'm sure the reason for this show's timing was so that CCS faculty could have work up and show off during the Super Bowl. A carefully curated alumni show would have been a much stronger choice.

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The Ann Arbor Art Fair comes to town.
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The pieces on display were not exclusively by fine arts teachers, but teachers of all disciplines.
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I hope a lot of these were by the cooking teacher. What? CCS doesn't have a cooking program? These are all by teachers in the visual arts? Uh oh ...
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This piece was called "vase with tears," I think. The ribbon and little glass balls seemed like after-thoughts.
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This was one of a couple pieces utilizing womb imagery. It was also one of many pieces that could have used longer - much longer - gestation periods.
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CCS has an excellent, if over-exposed, furniture design department and this piece speaks to the apparently highly-skilled teachers in that discipline.
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one of the few pieces by the teachers that actually felt like it was made in a somewhat recent era. though it looked a little too hitchcock-film-poster to really interest me on its own terms.
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a nice piece from the painting department.
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the illustration piece on the left was well done but typical while the portrait on the right appeared hastily conceived.
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this piece was close to $10,000. I think because it's an antique? oh, no, it's new - it just looks 100 years old ...
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ccs' industrial design side showed up too. and it was, of course, quite clean, developed and finished looking. thanks to mrs. ford, it should stay that way for quite some time.
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using excel spreadsheets to make art was a cool idea - in the '80s.
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please stuff this painting back into its creative womb! it needs more time. or an abortion.

[the comments expressed and written by blank canvas do not necessarily reflect the views of detroitarts blog]
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the opening was packed. a group show of fairly old, local artists will do that. they make their kids come.
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there wasn't much abstraction at the show. you know the classic saying - if you paint realistic when you're young, you have no soul, but if you paint abstract when you're old, you have no secondary art fair income.


The part of the show in the CCS faculty hallway next door to the gallery was much better.

[I, detroitarts, will post and comment on pics of the hallway later]


Anonymous kit cloudkicker said...

bitter, party of one...your table is ready!

I'd like to see some of your work, blank canvas. Your cinicism* is refreshing because it's so in your an Andrew Dice Clay sort-of way.

*cynicism-An attitude of scornful or jaded negativity, especially a general distrust of the integrity or professed motives of others.

1:41 PM  
Anonymous Jessica said...

hey, just wanted to clear up a bit of possible confusion. i noticed the comment about ID (i don't think it was referring to the motorcycle rendering but rather the image above it). the three piece, mixed media was by nikki barbour, a faculty member of the fine arts sculpture department.

3:30 PM  
Anonymous topher said...

*golf clap*. harsh but honest review. CCS is one of the top art schools in the mid-west if not the country and this show appears to prove that CCS is comfortable in riding the $50 million Ford family donation instead of really striving for the best.
"I'd like to see your work" is a common comeback when an opinion is harsh, but one has to seperate the critic from the artist. Good or bad, honesty is refreshing.

6:34 PM  
Anonymous kit cloudkicker said...

I agree that an artist and critic should be seperate entities. And some artists should switch more of their attention to the periferrals that surround other's art (nolan simon).
I only say that I want to see blank canvas' work because they were introduced as an artist and not a critic. And it seems like they place themselves above everything that is being created. If blank canvas creates work, then it must be their idea of what is 'amazing', or they wouldn't be making it. I'm just curious to what exactly that is. There isn't much refreshing honesty in these reviews from blank canvas, just attempted schock-value.
For the record: I'm not an instructor at ccs, so my motives in saying this aren't personal. I thought that most of the work DID suck.

8:58 PM  
Anonymous blank canvas said...

I love and study art of many disciplines and am an artist in a couple of them.

an honest critique - and sometimes a somewhat "shocking" one - is good for any community. the critic need not be a named member of the group to offer useful commentary and (hopefully) foster productive self-analysis.

9:21 PM  
Anonymous John Azoni said...

Good review. Harsh and a little too negative and arrogant, but I can live with that.

I liked the part about the cooking teacher. I totally agree. I threw up in my mouth a little when I saw that. It looks like one of the faculty let her 14 year old daughter put something up. Maybe if it were in oils I could've appreciated it more, but it looked like it was done in cheap watercolors.

I wasn't too impressed with the show either. I was disapointed that gilda or nancy didn't have work in it. I love Gilda's work.

10:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if only dennis galfy was still at ccs to show his work, or matt holland, or joseph wesner, gilda's work is kick ass as well as joe bernard's ( some of the finest any where), nancy's work can be beautiful, mitch cope , clint snider, there is a ton of excellent work in the fine art department. too bad a lot of the other doesn't measure up. matt lewis

11:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find your cursory commentary to be rather bombastic and childish. Better to keep your canvas blank.

8:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, I remember when I found too.

8:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't it fun to learn to use big words?

9:38 AM  
Anonymous interested party said...

The show is there because of the CCS Centennial year, and the call went out to ALL faculty. There used to be regular faculty shows by department, but that stopped a while ago. I remember when the Center Galleries was in the Park Shelton; there was a Fine Arts Department faculty show that included full and part time faculty, and it was truly kick-ass. The fine arts faculty being practicing, exhibiting artists, their work will look more accomplished than the others.

This show up now had to be split in two because of the number of total faculty, and divided by the alphabet. A-L in the first show, M-Z in the second.

I agree with most of the comments, that the show is uneven. But that will happen when the theme is general.

9:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice comments, sounded very objective instead of the normal ranting.

11:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Finally an intelligent voice speaks.

1:32 PM  
Anonymous interested party said...

I, too, wish that former faculty members Dennis Galffy, Joseph Wesner, Matt Holland, Aris Koutroulis, Richard Jerzy, Tony Williams, Leo Mardirosian, Brian Nelson, Diana Alva, Jim Poole, Steve Benson could have been in this show;
Time marches on with a heavy gait, and sometimes rolls over the sweetest things unmercifully.

3:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is this a joke? Thisi is all that is going on in the Detroit art world to focus on? If the show sucked so bad, ignore it. Put a show that matters up. Or are we not informed of real movements? There were over 10 other art shows goingon and this one gets the center of attention? A faculty art show? I could go on but I have said enough.

4:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you care to find out more about the work of Dennis Jones check out the sites;,
dennisjones,, and There is far more to his work than this lame commentary would suggest.

12:30 PM  
Anonymous interested party said...

quote---["there wasn't much abstraction at the show. you know the classic saying - if you paint realistic when you're young, you have no soul, but if you paint abstract when you're old, you have no secondary art fair income"]

Blank Canvas, can you elaborate on this? Where exactly did this 'classic' saying originate?

7:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You read it somewhere. Where could it be. Keep looking I'm sure you'll find your source. A word of advice, if you're going to quote something 'classic' you should really know your source. Otherwise shut the fuck up!

7:27 PM  

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