Sunday, September 13, 2009

Latest Development



When I first heard of Ludolf Grolle, it was through Morley Walker's article:

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/entertainment/arts/banking-on-success-53785742.html

I found this article to be intentionally provocative. It made Mr. Grolle sound like a cliche scam "artist". Talking more about his padded bank account and wardrobe more than the actual art or history of the artist. The article was so over the top, I didn't believe it! It made me (and a few others) curious enough to go and see the show. Why would Morley spin it like this? Is this Ludolf fellow as bad as he seems? When I first stepped into "Imprimatura" I was looking very critically. I was able to see that, to my surprise, this person had made aesthetic choices (definitely some well informed ones), had lots of work completed, and was likely a real artist. It left me, and others on this blog without any clear answers. We've said this or that about the art, artist and exhibition, batting around a few possible explanations, and at times being rather careless, and even rude. That seemed warranted to some degree after reading an article like that! An article that ended with a condescending line like, "This show is for all the suppressed artists of Winnipeg...They have to make their own success. They can't just sit around and wait for it to happen."

That seemed audaciously dismissive of lower income artists, like myself. As though they/we just hadn't tried hard enough. It also seemed to measure 'success', with too narrow of parameters ($).

Anyhow, back to life, and work and to put the Grolle incident behind me. Then some time later ....ring ....ring.

Ludolf Grolle called me on the telephone (Sept13), concerned with our responses. We had a long discussion about what has happened here, and really, it's amazing. The spin* Morley put on his article may have been to cause controversy, question the support of Winnipeg's art community, make Grolle better known in Winnipeg, or just meanness, I'm still not sure. What I did gather was the person who he was writing about was not accurately depicted. When I spoke to Grolle, he was very genuine and articulate (seriously nice, smart guy). Not an insensitive, uber rich banker-artist swindler. Ludolf Grolle has practised art his entire life, and even if the outcome bewilders you, please recognize it is as valid a pursuit as yours or mine. These are the moments that historic artists have often questioned (see our discussions about Duchamp,Twombly, or Art Reinforcement), where one person's ideas about quality do not match with another's. Include a (perhaps intentionally)confusing newspaper article, and be prepared for misunderstanding. I would like to personally apologize on behalf of myself and the contributors of this blog for being led down this path. Really for me this is a very powerful example of how being open minded to others is so important. I'm sure if any of us met you in person (judging from our conversation) we would get along very well (considering our shared interests in art). It goes to show you how susceptible personal opinion is to influence.

*At this point I still have some questions I'd like to ask Morely, but after contemplating my own previous, too-hasty judgements, I will refrain. Besides, his 'creative embellishments' may very well be (excellent) art.

47 comments:

D.Macri said...

I often forget this blog is public, with possibly hundreds of viewers. It feels like our own private forum at times.

gldstr said...

Wait a second. He called you on the telephone? How did he get your number? If he's checking out the blog, I would reccomend nominating him as a new member! Good work Dave.

c-dog said...

I would recommend adding him as a member too. He should at least have the privilege of experiencing the club of truth and the scalpel of love on a more regular basis.

wolfBoy said...

heh. why not, eh? then he can see we're not as jerky as we may seem from the outside, but in fact sort of prickly-loveable. gruff, but endearing.

plus, he's already (unwillingly, perhaps) contributed more then about half the names listed as contributors, so, i mean, that sort of already makes him a member.

i too, tend to forget that anyone other than a handful of us ever looks at this thing. sorry, ludolf, i'll buy you a pint if ever i see you, and then you can throw it in my fat stinking face. :)

J Norman Culleton said...

Well said David.

D. Sky Onosson said...

good on ya, Dave...

TheBlueMask said...

Get Morely on the blog too!

cara said...

great post.

cara said...

I was just scrolling down to read the comments that were referenced about the Imprimatura exhibition, and found that the pictures remain but the comments have disappeared.

Is that just a glitch or did they get deleted?

Anonymous said...

Someone reported the comments abusive and have been removed by a system administrator.

TheBlueMask said...

There was a post before the last one

TheBlueMask said...

If I had stumbled upon those kind of criticisms about myself, I'd prefer they stayed. Macro shed light on the situation, causing some humble apologies. I see no benefit by deleting the comments that created a reaction (that provided better insight to the article). I think we should be able to stand by our word, or acknowledge or mistakes. At the very least, give the author of the comments the option of deletion. it would be a hell of an intro if he decided to join ALFA now. I think he should, as well as Morely.

c-dog said...

F-ck, honestly, erase your own comments, but don't erase mine, I said nothing bad, and even if I did, I wouldn't want you to erase what I said.

Once again, I will say it: Blog sanitation is for losers.

astounded said...

The comments have been turned off, if you're so passionate about everyone behaving like assholes go back in and turn them on...

Quitmoanez said...

Will do.

Ludolf Grolle said...

Dear ALFA Members -
Thank you for your critique.

David, Thank you for taking my call, I enjoyed our conversation.

Wolfboy thank you for the offer of a pint, but I would far rather drink it than throw it, furthermore I am not a prissy prima-donna [contrary to some belief] out to avenge or belittle in anyway.

Cara and all of you please know that it was not I who reported the comments as abusive or asked to have them removed.

I do agree with Blue Mask and C-Dog. The blog and the sentiment should stay True - whatever is said, everyone must be allowed to express their opinion and to delete anything would take away from the truth, even deleting one’s own comments would leave a gap. If you are passionate enough to express it then so be it and let it stand. It would be like destroying part of a work of art - no matter if it was one of my tacky pieces. One thing however is that if you wish to express how you feel have the courage of your conviction and at least level the playing field by not posting items anonymously.
Hopefully - everyone will agree that EVERYONE should be able to express themselves freely. One thing that does bother me is that false accusations not based on fact or first hand experience but based on rumour or hearsay can spin in any direction; and in making such allegations or claims the writer then might lower themselves to have written something somewhat similar to the type of article or work they are so disgusted with.

As far as the original comments go, I initially chose to observe and not respond. Some of the comments hurt me deeply others were very fair and while perhaps not complimentary to my work certainly seemed to express how that person felt and while perhaps not the most pleasant experience for myself or anyone else being critiqued, it is their opinion and they are entitled to it. There are pieces I love that you might hate and vice-versa.

Please allow me, however, to comment and express my views on the original critique:
Yes David I use a roller [GROLLER] I also use brushes, cardboard, combs, toothbrushes, old towels and many other things. Some pieces take five minutes, some take hours, days, weeks, months. As I mentioned in our conversation, a piece created in a minute or a lifetime maybe equally pleasing or abhorrent to the beholder, nonetheless does that invalidate the art or the sentiment? My claims are not false, however I am - to my mind - not a pompous, arrogant, amateur “BS-er” who awards himself accolades or makes claims of exhibitions, sales, shows that are untrue.

ludolf Grolle said...

Whether my work seems amateurish or hobbyist to some or all is beside the point, the fact is I have painted since I was 3 or earlier. When I was younger I wanted to be a dancer, I was laid up in bed with pneumonia [and other things] for 2 years; during which time I drew and drew and coloured and painted. At 11 my art teacher, Ian Colverson [who subsequently ran the Post Graduate Masters Program at UCLA and Bradford and is is MOMA, the Tate and some other Galleries] helped me try to develop. I then continued my studies in Chelsea and Camden and spent a lot of time in sketch clubs and art clubs and night school to pursue my love. I spent years going to the Victoria and Albert in London drawing-trying to draw- the cast of Michaelangelo’s David and other casts. It has been a hard road and not easy. I got a day job to support my family but continued to paint and draw. I realise that some will love, hate or be indifferent to any artists work including my own. I know there are many that will be classed as better or worse. I also am aware that there are some pieces of my own that I dislike - which in the past I used to destroy. Qua the latter, I was told by someone I respected not to destroy anything [tantamount to erasing comments on a blog] as someone would appreciate them even though I did not.

However Morley decided to write the article was up to him - I did not realise I was going to get such a huge spread, and hoped for at best a couple of paragraphs somewhere inside the Arts section and the very least just a mention for the exhibit.

I cam to Winnipeg 6 or so years ago and retired and decided to turn to painting full-time, therefore whatever the quality of my work I am a professional artist and have been since 2006. Some may say well if you have studied art for 50 years you could do better, or gee your works is pretty crappy and it was a wasted effort. So be it - like many of you, this will not stop my passion nor will it stop me painting.

However I came across or however you felt I was portrayed is just a question of perception and personal judgement. One important aspect was that it was not my intention to come across as arrogant, pompous or condescending. It was not my intention to come across as someone who hated Winnipeg or looked down on any of the art community here or anywhere else. I personally make it a point of trying to be in touch with and help the community in which I live, I make it a point to try to get to know my fellow artists and learn from them - no matter how and or at what level they are perceived to be or consider themselves to be.

My point was to try to organise a show with sponsorship without taking from the community, but to raise the funds myself through corporate sponsorship and to further create an awareness of the wants and needs of the visual arts community. To try to get more people to buy-in to supporting the arts.

I am not trying to detract, deny or brown-nose in this - I merely want to give you the chance to hear what I truly believe to be sentiments....directly from ME.

We all try to market ourselves in one way or another, be it posting to a blog, having a beer with others, putting on a show. Is there anything wrong with that? I don’t think so.

ludolf Grolle said...

I have looked at a lot of the work by artists on this site and many other artists; some of which I love, some of which I like, some of which I do not like, possibly you might feel the same way.

I know I have the courage of my conviction to disregard all other work and to purely paint, I do this to share my heart and my art for those who wish to enjoy it or view it; even for those who wish to discredit and mock it. It is not financially driven however if I do not sell my work I will not be able to pay my bills. Some feel selling art is wrong, I do not. Some feel that working at another day-time job and not dedicating yourself to being an artist is hypocrisy or wrong, I do not. Many will tell you that I am passionate about Art - not just my art - and that I try to help leverage the promotion of Art and in turn also try to do my little bit for the community. You know
Sometimes when you cry no one sees your tears.....
Sometimes when you are worried no one sees your pain....
Sometimes when you are happy no one sees you smile.....
But FART just one time .............!!!!
Please do not judge anyone on just one fart - however big or small!

I love Winnipeg, although I find it hard to sell my work here, I sell mostly outside Winnipeg. I try to make my work affordable and accessible, not making reprints or giclees, as I would like everyone to be able to own an original, and to this end many pieces are also donated to various individuals and charities.

With regard to the pre-simulationists, they actually exist they are a small group of some 100 people worldwide mostly writers and poets but currently there are 5 Winnipeg artists who are members. I am not a founder but a co-founder, I am not head of the group nor do I claim to be. It is somewhat like being a member or co-founder of an on-line blog.

I was sad that there were “gatecrashers” or plans to sabotage my event and that no one introduced themselves - be up front at least there is no need for the underhandedness some of you accuse me of. I feel we were polite to unknown faces and that there was no “snobbery” or elitism conveyed to people who were there. Personally I hate “Art-Snobs” and the ad-hoc pretentiousness that tends to accompany them; I have a hard time with those bureaucrats who wield the power of art in communities, those who may never have had a creative feeling or moment in their life other than deriding, negating, or generally being indifferent to those who keep them in their jobs. There are many “societies”, associations and the like who fly the banner of supporting the arts that are no more than mutual masturbation cliques totally self-indulgent with a disregard for all I stand for.

ludolf Grolle said...

I have looked at a lot of the work by artists on this We do not always have to suffer for our art, but somehow we always do a little. I share my work as it comes from my heart, of course I want to be accepted and loved like many others HOWEVER if I have to never show my face and stay locked in my basement to do what I love, or if society or the community in which I live chooses to make me a persona non-grata or an outcast then so be it. I know what is in my heart and I will never stop painting, drawing, writing and creating. Thanks for allowing me this opportunity, I value it. There is so much more I could say and I want to say; however I do not want you to hate my writing as much as you hate my paintings.
Know this, I admire and respect many well known, and lesser known artists in this community and elsewhere and yes whoever said “there are 50 guys in Winnipeg that would blow this guy out of the water” I agree. Geoffroy Ettienne Dextraze’s drawings, Ken Hildebrand, Lois Hogg, Jordan Miller, Rodrigo Pradel, Wanda Luna, Winston Leathers, Lorne Roberts, Linus Woods, Shawn Berard, Helma Rogue Raiders, Janice Kenworthy and many others whose work I have come to know and admire.

Please do not judge me until you have met me. and I will try to do the same. Say whatever you wish about my work, I will do the same.

I hope to meet you all one day, if I do not recognise you please say “hello” I will do the same. for those who made disparaging remarks about me personally and / or anonymously “BITE ME!”

Sincerely Ludolf
Ludo@mts.net

wolfBoy said...

oh, crap. now wolfboy (a.k.a. lorne roberts) feels like ten times the jerk, and wants to throw a pint in his own fat stinking face.

hi ludolf. welcome aboard, and accept my humble, contrite, bent-to-one-knee kissing your ring and asking for forgiveness apology.

:)

wolfBoy said...

p.s. i will soon be posting a selection called "eating crow/your own words."

it's an old family recipe.

Ludolf Grolle said...

I know Lorne - not hard to reconcile a Wolfboy collage with a Lorne Roberts collage! ;-) Also the style of writing gives it away. No worries your opinions are just as valid as mine and the next person. The only thing that hurts is offensive personal remakrs and accusations that are based on rumour or hearsy without having verfied the facts. and yes to some we are loved and to many we can be BS Jerks and wallies; but when the rumours of a personal nature start it might be nice to say - "look Ive seen his work i dont like it or i love it or i think its crap - but let me see the man and judge the behaviour for myself - then you can justifiably say " ive met Ludo he is a jerk, or Ive met Ludo he is ok.
'Tis only fair. I personally limit myself to only commenting on the work and then only commenting on the things i like about it.
I did try to call you several months ago to meet up as I was extremely interested in meeting with you but whoever answered told me that you were far too busy to meet with the likes of me. So we are now up to three pints and possible a packet of Salt and Vinegar Crisps.
"L"

TheBlueMask said...

An excellent rebuttal!
Critics will always be a part of this territory. Something ALL artists must be prepared to accept. Even when they border on personal attacks, they will always be around. I can't say I've ever really felt insulted when I've been told I suck. I choose to take it as a challenge, just grow another inch of exterior armour. This isn't a unique situation here. We have gone for the throats of each other before, and will again. I hope you stick around this blog Ludolf. This was a real eye opener, lessons to be learned all around.

plischk said...

i feel like this debate has shifted to one about morality, to its detriment. politeness and consideration are important in social interactions, but should not inform art criticism on this blog. do not let guilt be your censor!

D. Sky Onosson said...

Welcome aboard. I didn't really participate in the conversations(s) that precipitated all of this, though I was paying attention.

I think one thing we can all take away from this - be very careful about believing what you read in the media. Even when presented in a truthful and fair manner, we can put our own spin on it in the reading.

Ludolf Grolle said...

plischk I am with you in this. Guilt should not be a censor but the truth should be as should conscience. Just because you like someone you do not have to like what they do, or vice-versa. While art criticism need not be driven by social etiquette [one would hope that this would be observed without saying] and while the art critique rendered on this blog is wonderful [no matter how it falls] is it not equally valid to say that if this blog is about art criticism and should not be swayed by social interaction that it should also not be swayed by false rumour and stoop to insult. I love some of your work but hate you as a man, I hate some of your work but love you personally should merely read: I love your work, i hate your work. Having said what you said about critiquing the art, perhaps it is also fair to say that we are not here to critique how each individual contributes to this blog or to try to control what they write or how they write it. Critique does not always have to be a personal affront, cynical or contrary.

cara said...

I have to agree with plischk here.

While, I agree and am equally happy to apologize for any personal attacks on mr.Grolle, (and admittedly I could have been more polite and constructive about my opinion rather than saying "eck, although I was sort of just echoing a gut reaction to it, in the flow of a lively conversation)I still stand by my initial reaction to his work.

I'm frustrated to see us scrambling around to undo what is actually very important, generative conversation that happen on this blog.
Yup, sometimes we all come off as assholes. absolutely but I think it is really important to have a forum to say things, off the cuff, without the pressure to censor ourselves or be guarded about what we say.

Whether mr. Grolle is a nice person or not, which maybe he is or maybe he isn't, should not make his art any more or any less open to criticism. Granted that criticism should be about his art, however the newspaper article that many of us were commenting on was low on ART content and high on self promotional content. So, it is no wonder we were commenting on Grolle the person over Grolle the artist. I won't list all the axioms of fame here, but they apply.

word verification: selfarti

interesting.

ludolf Grolle said...

totally Cara!!! Stay REAL!! LRG

D.Macri said...

I think if someone wants to leave or delete a comment (of their own), they should, but I certainly don't want to have anything I've said, written in stone (unless I use a chisel). I want to be able to change my mind. That's one of the things I like about art ideas and this blog, they remain malleable.

Ludolf Grolle said...

Granted that criticism should be about his art, however the newspaper article that many of us were commenting on was low on ART content and high on self promotional content. So, it is no wonder we were commenting on Grolle the person over Grolle the artist. I won't list all the axioms of fame here, but they apply.

Dear Cara - one important thing... I did NOT write that article, granted I did accept it.
ps No need to apologise - why should you. If people put themselves out there in public view, blog or newspaper or art show they should be open to many different reactions. "L"

c-dog said...

So is Ludolf a member yet?

If you so wish, and it is clear we do, please send one of us an email and the invite will follow.

My thoughts are that if you write it, you own it, regardless of whether you delete it. This is digital stone.

And I think my compadres were reacting more to the article qua Morley, than to anyone's art.

And I was reacting to my need to disparage WPG these days. And for that, I apologise too.

:)

Ludolf Grolle said...

My e-mail address is Ludo@mts.net I only know David's address. Don't you need to vote or something?
I am happy to join if you're all happy to have me here.
"L"

Quitmoanez said...

All you have to do is post.

wolfBoy said...

in that case, ten or so of the names in the contributor list should be axed, imo, since they've never posted or commented.

Quitmoanez said...

I agree.

D.Macri said...

i don't think we have to go delete members, maybe they're on vacation. Or sleeping. =P

(sending Invite to Ludolf)

wolfBoy said...

so let's send invitations out to fifty or sixty more people we know in the art community and list them as contributors too.

and while we're add it, please start listing my name next to yours on the title cards for all your paintings.

D.Macri said...

I liked the first suggestion. Sending out a bunch of invitations sounds like a party. The only reason I'm here is to share and communicate, not to stake territory or ownership in something material (which is a problem I would have with your name on my paintings -they be mine, no sharing -except collaboratives, which I love - if you want to do a collab, move back to Winnipeg).

wolfBoy said...

my names belong on your paintings in the same way that 10 or so names on here belong under the category of "contributor".

this blog IS something material, and just like your paintings, it's something i've sweated and fretted and worked over for years. and so i have no problem with staking territory or ownership over that-- ownership that exists collectively, amongst those who actually have contributed in some way beyond being a cool art person we know, or beyond having posted once three years ago.

since this is, i assume, a democracy, we now have two votes for and one vote against.

the polls close in thirty seconds.

(hee hee. just kidding about that last part).

D. Sky Onosson said...

uh oh, I better get posting.... ;)

Captain Goldstar said...

Wow. This could be the best Alfablog moment ever.

Sincerely,
Captain Goldstar

D.Macri said...

So if this vote goes through you will go and remove all the people who have never contributed, or just that haven't lately? Do you know all the contributors even? It feels weird that I invite someone to be out voted and have the invitation revoked. Can't we just leave them? I don't see the harm. They aren't after your hard worked blog, I'm pretty sure.

D. Sky Onosson said...

I don't see any harm in leaving them. However, I do feel in a way like a second-tier Alfaer, in that I was only indirectly connected with the Label Gallery, and am not a visual artist (well, aside from some dabblings in photography) - so I wonder how much of a vote I should have, maybe just half? lol

If all those threatened with removal banded together, they could vote Wolfboy off of the island!

D.Macri said...

I added a small part in a collaborative painting recently. It would be really weird to now see that work with all the contributors except mine credited, and be told that what I added was not enough to be mentioned in the glorious title card. I wouldn't even know where to begin with who should and shouldn't be on our contributors list. I would LIKE it to be anyone who clicks the accept button, and isn't hostile or totally deranged.

and GLDSTR, greatest moment. maybe, maybe not, but this is a record breaker for comments on one post I think.

jc said...

Truly excellent!

Anonymous said...

Ahhh, exactly what I was afraid of, turning this into an episode of Survivor!

Anonymous said...

good quote =

"You have to trust yourself. There's a lot of trust involved, and sometimes artists seem arrogant because they trust themselves to let it out. It takes a kind of egomaniacal arrogance to do that. You can really get lost if you don't have that kind of confidence in yourself."
~ R. Crumb