Critique Collective

Critique Collective is your source for information and interviews about emerging and established contemporary artists.

Tag: art news

Meet the Young Faces of Contemporary Painting

Undergraduate painting students at Syracuse University’s Department of Art are proving the lasting power of painting in the 21st Century.


Mary Luke’s Painting

Samantha Glevick's artwork

Samantha Glevick’s artwork

Maritza Feliciano's Paintings

Maritza Feliciano’s Paintings

An exhibition of recent work by students in the undergraduate painting major at Syracuse University is on display in the school’s Shaffer Art Building from March 2 – March 15, and the depth of talent is startling.

Jenna Race’s expansive chicken tryptic overwhelms viewers as they enter the senior show, evoking thoughts about meat factories and the way animals are processed and treated for human consumption. This tryptic, about twelve feet in length, possesses hauntingly accurate forms of repeated and disemboweled chickens rendered in oil paint and encased in hints of skin-like latex. A few feet away are Mary Luke’s expressionist portraits, which exist somewhere between Jenny Saville’s figurative prowess and Cy Twombly’s expressive force. They are followed by Talia Haviv’s paintings of nude men in suggestive poses, Julia Grosso’s bodily collages, Samantha Glevick’s works that question the meaning of home and identity, and Maritza Feliciano’s colorful depictions of nude women. Juniors, sophomores, and freshmen are displaying their work on the fourth floor of the same building, featuring a wide variety of abstract and representational painting talent.


The Wall at Syracuse University


Syracuse University Painting Program Undergraduate Juniors

Kevin Larmon, a Syracuse University professor and painting department coordinator whose work is featured in prominent art collections such as the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, is proud of his blossoming students. He claims that “this is the most exciting group of undergrads I’ve had in years.”

Despite the anemic economy and heavy college loan burdens, these students have followed their passion for painting. As a result, their work transcends the pastiche, market-driven repertoire dominating the safe establishment art scene. Led by lauded artists and professors Sharon Gold, Andrew Havenhand, Kevin Larmon, and Jerome Witkin, the undergraduate painting majors at Syracuse University are spearheading the return of stimulating, eccentric painting in the 21st century. From criticism of the average American diet to commentaries on internet politics and the use of paint in a contemporary fashion, there’s no denying that these paintings are energetically, dangerously, forcefully fresh, emphasizing the potential for the next generation of painters to reinvigorate the legacy of American painting.


Julia Grosso’s painting


Junior Victoria Carrigan’s Paintings


Freshman Hannah Moore’s painting


Junior Painting


Lilly Thomann’s artwork

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4 Problems with Contemporary Art on Display at Art Basel Miami

Art Basel Miami is taking the art world by storm. From mattress paintings to Rauschenbergs, Art Basel has it all. Collectors run amok as the Pérez Art Museum Miami opens to great success. Shouldn’t we all be happy to see such confidence in the art market today? Indeed, Twitter is blowing up in an baffling mix of praise, gossip, and terror.

No doubt, these odd and vaguely joyous emotions are all warranted, but some serious and systemic issues are on display at Art Basel Miami. So, without further ado, here are the five biggest problems with Art Basel Miami:

1. Cringe-worthy sales tactics

Take, for instance, Meg Webster’s installation, “Food Stamp Table.” Tactful titles are clearly a thing of the past. This artist displays an egg, ramen noodles, broccoli, and a can of Campbell’s soup as a $4.60 meal bought with food stamps. The price: $12,000.

Even if Webster had good intentions to inform her viewers of the hardships the working poor are enduring today, the price tag ruins it all. Perhaps the price could have been a $12,000 charitable donation or a canned food drive if the Paula Cooper Gallery really cared about poor people. Instead, one lucky rich guy can buy social justice at the fair and display the rotting broccoli for his friends in February while the gallery walks away with his cash! At the end of the day, this looks like abusing empathy for the poor as a marketing tool and smells like Rush Limbaugh’s armpits.

2. Inaccessibility for the struggling middle class

Even as the high rollers of the art scene think they are proving the greatness of our contemporary art moment, watching them incessantly schmooze over postmodernist art spits in the face of ordinary people. There’s nothing like watching a mass of rich, fuddy-duddy collectors, journalists, and dealers observing fine art on a beach in December while everyone else is huddled around a fire and trying to pay heating bills to turn the rest of us Marxist. For those who would like to see visual art reconnect with a broad swath of the middle class, art fairs that point out the ever-growing class problem in our country are not helping.

3. VIP Art Patronage

The art scene may be booming at Art Basel Miami, but it’s booming with rich people. This isn’t exactly a new trend for fine art, but it does represent the systemic movement we’re seeing whereby the new ruling class dominates the art scene. Even as Francis Bacon works sell for $142 million, emerging artists struggle with a a broken economy and masses of student debt. While this may not be a full blown return to middle ages, it would suffice to say that watching big names like Deitch and Diddy at the Art Basel VIP opening suggests that visual arts increasingly pander to the funding and enjoyment of the ultra-rich.

4. No one cares about contemporary artists unless Kim Kardashian instagrams a picture of them with North West.

Check out how much the Huffington Post, MTV, VH1, E!, Us Magazine, and New York Daily News had to say about North West and how little they had to say about the rest of the visual art. Call me a classist, but I’d rather see a photo of Jeff Koons with his artwork than with a baby who is famous because Kimye gave birth.

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