Sunday, September 13, 2009
When I first heard of Ludolf Grolle, it was through Morley Walker's article:
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.