Alex Olson and Dianna Molzan

| 1 Comment

After the Laylah Ali talk, I had been fairly excited to see what the next talk would consist of, especially with it being through the Walker, whose exhibits I often thoroughly enjoy. Unfortunately, the talk ended up being one of the most frustrating, unhelpful, and at times even infuriating things I have taken part in.

As a preface, I think both of these artists are immensely talented. After looking at their work both in Painter, Painter and online, I was impressed by their brushwork, the subtlety of their patterns, and especially Molzan's examinations of how the canvas and the piece interact. That said, I felt that neither of them wanted to be at the artist talk, and were downright hostile towards the audience.

For much of the talk, both of the artists and the moderator seemed to be embroiled in a private conversation, referring to private jokes, leaving sentences unfinished and speaking in very general terms about their work. Sometimes, one of the artists would speak for a good bit of time, but I would feel that almost nothing had been said at the end of it. Both artists appeared visibly uncomfortable for much of the talk, and didn't show much of their own work at all, making it fairly difficult to connect what they were saying with concrete examples in their work. I understand that a certain level of foreknowledge is expected, but to expect everyone in the audience to know their entire catalogue well seems a bit silly to me.

The breaking point of the lecture came for me during the question and answer portion, however. After a woman asked a question, that although a bit oddly worded, had a good point, those on stage absolutely savaged her and her question. As someone who appreciates hearing artists talk about fellows who challenge them and intrigue them, I too was curious to hear what artists in the exhibition Molzan and Olson found interesting. So when Molzan flippantly dismissed the woman's question as "from the American Idol mindset of wanting to compare everyone and pick one winner," I was frankly offended and shocked. I was thankful when the lecture ended and I could leave.
In the end, the talk served for me as an example of what not to do in an artist lecture: do not treat your audience poorly, do not create a private club on stage, do not only half-heartedly engage with the proceedings, and most of all, do not enter unwillingly. I was extremely frustrated directly after the talk, but continued reflection has made me glad for the lessons I learned that day.

-Trevor Spriggs

1 Comment

Thanks for your comments, Trevor.

I couldn't agree more. I left the talk angry, which I thought was a really strange response to have. Usually I leave artist's talks enlivened or unaffected, seldom negatively affected. It is a shame, and it bothered me that instead of thinking about the artists' work, my mind mostly went to the dynamics on display at the talk. It's a pity.

I would have especially liked to hear the three discuss how the medium of "painting" and the idea of "the canvas" have been pushed to new limits, something that was very consciously being explored in the curation of the show and in these two artists' work.
-Allison Ruby

Leave a comment

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by sprig024 published on April 4, 2013 4:07 PM.

Diana Molzan / Alex Olson was the previous entry in this blog.

Alex Olson & Dianna Molzan is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.