This is what happened.
I received an invitation to a talk at a gallery. Like many of you, I receive mass invitations for these things all the time. But this was different: it was going to be an “intimate” evening, and the speakers would be none other than Ed Ruscha and James Rosenquist, along with the artist, a painter named Theo Wujcik. Wujcik had shown previously at Galleri Urbane in Dallas, but I was only vaguely familiar with his work. The title of his show was Blue Chip. Hm.
Normally I would never travel to another city for a gallery talk. But: Ruscha! Rosenquist! I had met both artists about a decade prior, at a party in honor of Walter Hopps at the Menil Collection. I was eager to have the opportunity to meet them again.
I figured the A-list Dallas art people would be there, because, you know: Ruscha! Rosenquist! When I drove up to the gallery, there were maybe eight cars in the dark street outside. There was no valet. It dawned on me that I might be overdressed. Inside, there was no sign of any museum directors or collectors with their own quasi-museums. These appeared to be nice, normal people. Friends of the gallery.
The show was a series of large paintings, each either a portrait of a famous artist or an homage to his style. The name of the subject was painted in block letters across the canvas. Both Rosenquist and Ruscha were represented, along with Hirst, Warhol, Koons and others. Stylistically, they referenced both Ruscha and Rosenquist. They were—it must be said—not very good. There’s not much to like with art about art, and even less with art about the art world. And really: do we need more starfucking? Whoever this Wujcik guy was, I just hoped he was more interesting than his paintings. All I knew was that he’s the same generation as Ruscha and Rosenquist, and has been a mainstay of the Tampa, Florida art scene for many years.
The audience was asked to take our seats. Ruscha and Rosenquist sat at a small table at one end of a room that’s roughly 30 feet square. I had to agree with the billing: this was certainly intimate. They both looked a little stunned.
It was at this point that I noticed a computer monitor on a pedestal, and realized there wasn’t a third chair at the table for Theo Wujcik. The gallery director Ree Willaford stood up and, clearly moved, announced that the artist himself was not in attendance, but would be Skyping in from his hospital bed in Tampa, where he was being treated for cancer. With dawning apprehension I realized the reason for Ruscha and Rosenquist’s stunned expressions– they had traveled in for their old friend, lending their illustrious names to his little show of un-great paintings in Dallas, and he wasn’t even there, because he was seriously ill, too sick to travel. And now they must see this grim thing through.
I imagined the same realization rippling through the crowd. But—the show went on, because it must. We were all going to stay positive and put the best face on things. The Skype video was connected, and the artist Theo Wujcik appeared on the monitor, filling the screen. He was on a bed in a hospital gown and he looked frail.
After a long and tedious introduction by a curator/moderator, which was meant to clarify Wujcik’s importance but which only made everyone fidgety, Ruscha spoke briefly, and fondly, about his friend Theo, who was a great printmaker at Graphicstudio in Tampa. Ruscha also noted that Theo liked to go to the dog track.
Then Rosenquist, who is known for his eloquence, said this:
Well, first of all I would like to commend this small gallery for trying to impart humanism into the community. I served 6 years on a council of the National Endowment for the Arts. And when a Senator or Congressman said, “what good is art anyway? Why don’t we fund liquor stores? They make us feel good, don’t they?” My standard statement was, “An artist provides an abstract mental garden for other people to think, live, work, exist in, so if you fund the arts, you might impart a little humanism into your own community.” And this is what it’s really all about.
Rosenquist then spoke of Theo’s amazing skill as a printmaker, saying that he’d worked at all the main print studios in the world, “but Theo was the best.”
The curator/moderator said, “Let’s hear from Theo.” We all turned to the computer monitor. He spoke about his art for a bit, then lost his train of thought before announcing he was out of breath and couldn’t talk anymore. He laid his head against his pillow. There was a pause. Then a hand with a Styrofoam cup appeared in the video and held it up for him to sip out of a straw.
And this… was funny. A hand with a cup moving onscreen—it was comic timing straight out of a Will Ferrell Funny or Die video. Removed from any personal connection with the artist on the computer monitor, sitting in what felt like a bizarre situation, I was struck by the ironic, inappropriate dark humor of it all, and I silently giggled to myself.
But then, Rosenquist turned away from the screen, looking into the middle distance and exhaling audibly through lips rounded in an O. He looked like he might weep. And in a sudden, sobering instant, I realized we were watching someone watch a friend die.
The room was still and uncomfortable. We were witnessing someone presumably at the end of his life. And we were also witnessing his two old friends, confronted with his frailty, containing their shock and sadness in this artificial public setting, in this little gallery, in this strange city. The normal motions of such a situation (panel—funny story—insightful observation) didn’t feel right. There was nothing for these guys to say. It was too late to talk about their friend’s work, and too early for eulogies.
The room was quiet.
And then, in the stillness, someone in the audience fainted.
Those of us sitting closer to the front heard a little commotion, and turned to see a few people huddled around a figure on the ground. Um—ah.
And even though the talk had barely gotten going, the curator/moderator said “I think we should end this now. I think we should end this now.” The man who had fainted recovered, and suddenly it was all over. Theo’s Skype was disconnected, Ruscha and Rosenquist stood up from the table, and the audience dispersed.
And it was the weirdest night I have ever spent in the Texas art scene, hands down.
As I sat there, trying to digest what had just happened, my gaze drifted over to Theo’s ROSENQUIST painting. I thought about how he knew so many of these “blue chip” artists. Throughout his life he had run with the best of the best, but whether from lack of ambition, bad luck, his own demons, or his artwork just not being at the same level, he had ended up without a star of the walk of art fame. Clearly, he was a powerful personality, a family man, adored by those who knew him. Why wasn’t he as famous as his two friends? Did he need money? Was he hoping that some of these paintings would sell? I thought about him undergoing treatment for cancer.
Anyone who has experienced the death of a loved one recognizes the intense, distilled clarity that comes in that moment, when all the unimportant things (meaning pretty much everything outside of the people we love), fall away. And in the bizarre intersection of art world fame and insignificance that was this evening, I realized that I had been the craven starfucker, traveling to see two famous artists without regard to the point of the event, and assuming I’d visit with the movers and shakers of the Dallas art scene. I was the one with the unseemly ironic reserve. I was the one wading around in stupid, cruel art world bullshit.
In the moment when Theo Wujcik, the great technical printmaker and beloved personality, laid his head on his hospital pillow, none of it mattered: not Rosenquist’s or Ruscha’s fame, or Theo’s lack thereof, or his late-career paintings, or the Dallas art scene, or the fainting guy in the audience, or me. What mattered was that brief, clean, quiet moment when Theo went silent and everyone in the room held our breaths. We were all in this together.
In memory of Theo Wujcik, January 29, 1936 – March 29, 2014.
Special thanks to Stanton Storer and Susan Johnson for their help with sourcing photographs.
Rainey Knudson is the founder and publisher of Glasstire.
3/8/14 Correction: The original version of this article incorrectly reported that the paintings in the show “Blue Chip” were executed in China.
Thanks for the thoughtful commentary
Just to clarify the paintings were not created in China, they were painted by Theo in his studio in Ybor city where he’s painted for over 25 years and in fact was painting on his knees getting in and out of a wheelchair doing the final dots and lines and on quite a few the paintings also Ed Boucher and Mr. Rosenquist knew that Theo wasn’t going to be there two days before the event
Sorry iPhone malfunction, let be resume without the iPhone creating words for me, hopefully 🙂
Mr Ruscha and Mr Rosenquist knew prior to coming to Dallas that Theo would not be here, Theo went into the emergency room two days before the event. They came out in support for a dear friend, colleague and to promote his recent series ironically titled “BLUECHIP”, Theo started with detailed drawing and portraiture in the beginning of his career, moved to abstract and pop influenced paintings, and now perhaps his final series he incorporated both genres, sorta full circle.
Mr Rosenquist has collected Mr Wujick’s art over the years and in fact just recently acquired another, he also curated a 30 year retrospective at the St Petersburg Museum.
Wujcik’s recent suite of 8 etchings “snooze you lose” recently exhibited in NY at Gagosian at Ruscha’s recent show ” Ruscha and Co. “.
Theo is in many major museums such as the Whitney, the Boston Museum of Art, the MOMA to name a few. Google him 🙂
He has painted everyday, every night for over 45 years, as Rosenquist said “if he had come to NY with us his story would have been different, Tampa is a cultural wasteland” but Theo never deterred loves to create, he does it with passion and love and has never stopped no matter what, I admire him deeply.
Yes, the evening was a bit “strange” from normal panel protocol but it was meaningful as Mr Rosenquist also said ” I’d like to commend this small gallery for trying to impart humanism into the community” and that’s exactly what the night was about.
I was thrilled to become friends with Ed and James, have intimate conversations and exchange stories that I have heard from Theo over the years and find that we had similar paths in our first jobs etc.
Thanks again for your insight and thoughts.
Bravo Theo !
One of the best things I’ve ever read. Thanks RK
Hello my name is Frankie and I am Theo Wujciks daughter. I read the poorly written, inaccurate, and incredibly insensitive article you wrote regarding my father. It doesn’t appear that you know much about any of the parties involved and so I would like to clarify for you. Ruscha and Rosenquist have been dear friends of my father since before I was even conceived. The three of them have all learned from one another and explored the art world together. While Ruscha and Rosenquist have made a real name for themselves my father has as well. You may think this is due to “lack of ambition, bad luck, his own demons, or his artwork just not being at the same level” but the truth of the matter is he chose not to be apart of the “blue chip” world. He was married twice with three daughters in total. You could say my dad got a late start in the art world only because he had a wife and two daughters to tend to while Ed and James were able to focus soley on there art. He worked as an art professor at USF for 30 years but never stopped painting. Here’s the thing though, this is what you don’t know about my father, not that I would expect you to, but he isn’t in it for the money. He never has been, to him it was always about the art and what he loved. What I’ve observed as his daughter is that he sells his work to friends, when he needs to make room for more paintings, or on occasion to have extra money to do something nice for a family member or friend.
Now my father is dying. He’s struggled with cancer once before but now at this point he has no chance. During his Skype he was still fighting for his life and you had the audacity to call it humorous. I understand you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting my father, and I also understand it is your job to review based on what you experience, but you would never say cancer is anything like a Will Ferrel sketch.
Ed Ruscha and James Rosenquist are my fathers best friends, both were very aware of my fathers illness and knew in advance my father would not be attending. So don’t pretend to be able to read their expressions and claim they were shocked or confused. They went not to “add value” to my dads work by attaching their names to it but my showing support to a dear dying friend whose work they both love and admire.
Maybe this won’t make a difference to you, which is fair enough, but as a twenty year old women watching her father die before her eyes I feel the need to say something. I cried reading your mean spirited article. Although you might see my response as a biast one I assure you my father is a great man, and a great artist. I only wish you had the pleasure of meeting him and the insight to understand his work. You have no idea though how happy I am he never had to read your pathetic article, written only to show your value and then attempt to show your realization of your false world.
Frankie, what a beautiful and eloquent response! We feel his absence in a profound way here in Ybor City and Tampa, the art world in general. Your Dad lived his life with passion and integrity, evident in his decision to stay rooted in the city he loved, near his most-beloved. After reading Ms. Knudson’s article, I felt pity on her to be living in such a state of disconnect from humanity. May you find peace in the love and light being bestowed upon you and your family by so many …
Kudos on your eloquent response. Rainey Knudson is nothing but an embarrassment to oneself as a human being and even more embarrassing as a writer for the arts. Maybe the only reason she founded glasstire is because no other self respecting publication would even consider her writing for them.
I appreciate your words, the tone of this article made me sick and sad. So many assumptions, and in the end solely about the author’s ‘revelation’ near the end. I continue to experience disbelief at the title of this article, and saddest is the assumption that ‘fame’, whatever that means for each artist in their lives, is the only validation. And to imply the only reason for a show was that an artist might need money ..and on and on ..somehow RK you have totally missed the point of so many things.
I agree with Susan for as I read RK’s article several points she made struck me as odd and uncomfortable. There is nothing humorous about a gloved hand of hospital staff giving solace, in a styrofoam cup and a straw, to a man dying of cancer. Oddity and a certain black sarcasm perhaps, but not funny. Sometimes when something is about to hurt too much or is too close to our fears one brakes the tension by throwing the rock of laughter. I have soften observed this phenomenon in theaters and the result is that the single note that ties it all together is cut in flight to save one’s pain.
From Rosenquist’s commentary I was pleased to hear the word “humanities”. Finally! Are we over calling certain things elitism? Can we now look at our cultural legacy, be proud and don’t apologize while accepting today?
When all is said and done, I will still say bravo Rainey for bringing this amazing moments to all of us.
And, bravo Susan Johnson for bringing a human and more focused picture of your dad to our knowledge.
You know zis vas zuch a gut article! I really love ze funny joke about how ze man viz canzer can’t drink by himzelf but needz zomeone to help him! hahahhahaha! Zat vas zooooo funny! I zink I peed myzelf a little.
Here ist unt link to ze vebpage of ze artizt zo you can zee more of hiz art if you vant.
What a nice, movingly honest and well written essay! Thank you, Rainey, for having the courage to admit and question your own motivations, expectations, and reactions in such a thoughtful way. I had never had any reason to have heard of this man before, but to paraphrase Arthur Miller in Death of a Salesman, how nice that in a small sort of way, attention has been paid to his accomplishments.
Theo was an inspiration, a hero to more people than many will ever know.
That man you saw on the monitor was dancing at the Castle and keeping up with the 20somes just a few months ago.
“I want to be Theo when I grow old” is what we said when we were 20, when we were 30, and still say today.
This was devastating news to hear today, that the man we so proudly told our kids about, and introduced to them when they were becoming adults and spoke of to multiple generations, that he left us to take the final walk home.
Rest in Peace
You will be missed. You will always be an inspiration to all.
Say hi to Robin from Gladys and I, he will be there for you and you will be in good company.
My condolences Susan. I am so so very sorry.
I’m glad that Theo never had to read this ignorant and self-aggrandizing drivel . Shame on you. Do some research before you write because it’s evident you have a very limited frame of reference.
Thank God Theo did not read this article. It is of the “What a clever boy am I” variety, self serving. I wish you could have met Theo, gotten to know him and his work. The one thing you got almost right in your article is the starfucker part, except you wouldn’t know a star if one came down and vaporized you.
Ruscha and Rosenquist held Theo not only as a dear friend, but a Master and a peer, and if nothing else, you should have respected that. My heart goes out to Susan and Frankie for having been subjected to this at the worst of times.
How could the author do this? Not.Quite.Human. Rosenquist had it right: Art humanizes us. Long ago, in a way the author may never understandñl, Theo had become a living work of Art.
Rest in Peace dear friend and colleague …….Thank you Frankie for such a loving, eloquent and intelligent letter about your dad, he was an amazing man, father, mentor and last but not least artist.
Read the recent article on Glasstire written by Lucia Simek, We appreciate that you at least researched the artist and took the time to ask questions to write about Mr Wujcik.
I wish you would have taken your “weird experience” and used it as an opportunity to research Theo. It would have made for a wonderful profile on a dying man who has made a GREAT contribution as an artist and educator.
I’m not quite sure why you would have received an invitation to speak at an opening if you didn’t know the artist or his work. It is evident at the beginning of the article that you had an agenda…to rub elbows with Ruscha!Rosenquist! Perhaps that is all that matters to people that are always receiving invitations to speak, they forget the reason for the invitation as they are clawing their way up the social ladder. Such ego.
I was sickened by the reference to a Funny or Die video. Are you so far removed from humanity that you really thought this was funny? I can only hope that you might just take a moment to do some research on Theo Wujcik and perhaps even extend an apology to the family for such a crass and uninformative article.
You should be fired as a columnist. Your article is terrible and shameful. Obviously you have no empathy in your bones and zero art historical knowledge. Once again, I think you should be fired. Your article is poorly written and distasteful. I don’t know how you were invited but in the future, I will make sure that you aren’t invited to any events I am associated with. Kind regards, DG.
As we’ve already discussed, Davenport’s stewardship of this publication is already encouraging the proliferation of a stealth anti-intellectualism. Now this.
Thank you Frankie… You said it all! All my love to your family, Michelle
Knudson lost me at “Normally I would never…” This is the type of statement that has given Glasstire a recent reputation of being far from the intellect but not from pretension.
The tone never stopped, as the article serviced only her own unwillingness to skip a joke. What it produced was lazy and insensitive journalism.
A re-read would have demonstrated that the last paragraph was not quite the emotional recompense Knudson needed to counter multiple paragraphs of endorsing her own starfucking–which apparently comes at the cost of an intentional ignorance to Wujcik’s practice and legacy.
I found the piece refreshingly honest. As people in the “art world,” it’s our job to judge critically based on aesthetics. It’s sometimes difficult to keep in mind (and find empathy for) the actual artist who made the work. Thanks for being brave enough to admit your own shortcomings and preconceptions without wavering on the quality of the work.
please don’t throw the word brave and the word courage around referring to someone who is simply typing on a computer from a cooshie starbucks or an air conditioned home.
Theo was my mentor and my inspiration I talked with him almost weekly. I will miss him dearly. My deepest sympathy goes out to his daughters and family.
Frankie, your father was an uBeR aRTiSt & human being. Tampa is in mourning, shocked our beLoveD Theo is gone. He’s left behind a BIG empty void – who will guide/mentor future artists? My heartfelt condolences to you & your mama.
Susan and Frankie, I am sorry that you came across this poorly informed write up. If Theo would have read this, he would have been slightly disturbed, then would get right back to work.
Just to clear some things up, I am going to focus on the top four things about this article that I find very disturbing and completely inaccurate:
Made in China
Where are you getting your information? Theo built every stretcher, stretched every single canvas, and painted every bit of information. I’ve been fortunate to work in and around many artists in my life and not a single one of them works like he did. He enjoyed every aspect of making a painting, even the grunt work. I don’t think your statement is directed toward his work ethic, but I just wanted to make it very clear to anyone who reads this that Theo had no assistants and didn’t outsource production to China.
Theo chose to stay in Tampa because he had everything he needed: family, ample studio space in a community he loved (Ybor City), funds coming in from his service with the military and from his retirement as a tenured professor. He CHOSE to stay in Tampa because he cared about the things that matter the most, family and the work. ‘Lack of ambition’, ‘bad luck’, and ‘not being at the same level’. You couldn’t be further off the mark.
In the past 8 years that I have grown to love and admire Theo, he has introduced at least 7 different styles into his massive body of work. Rosenquist himself was envious of Theo’s freedom as an artist; Theo had no jealousy whatsoever toward Jim’s success. Theo jumped headfirst into painting in the late 70’s and his gallery at the time, Brooke Alexander, didn’t support this transition. Rather then be the galleries bitch, which is the path most often traveled, Theo broke with Brooke and continued to follow a path all his own, one that would be dominated by painting.
Giggled to Myself
Am I missing something here, should I be laughing? I wish you would have taken more time to explain why exactly you thought Theo’s paintings were ‘not good’ rather then make a joke regarding his imminent death. Hope you got to fulfill your desire to meet Rosenquist! and Ruscha!.
Sure, Tampa is not a hotbed like NYC, LA, or Berlin. However, it’s fucked up in all the most interesting ways and has produced an incredible amount of talent. Theo is at the top of the list. Rosenquist, as well as countless others, may think of Tampa as the ‘cultural wasteland’, but that can make for rich content.
Theo was able to pull in aspects of Ybor City culture, one that was built and continues to be fueled by sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll, in a way that was incredibly poetic and relevant. He borrowed from art history as much as he did from popular culture, a synthesis of old and new that was highly thoughtful and technically proficient.
Theo did it his way!!!!
Long live the king of Ybor City. You will forever be in my thoughts.
What reprehensible garbage! Your comparison of a dying man being given a a sip of water to a “Funny or Die” video literally made me sick. What kind of creature are you? Just because you don’t care for someone’s art doesn’t give you license to make fun of him on his deathbed, especially in a piece that you know his family and friends will read. Disgusting.
Weird? No, not weird. Human. Real.I would give you the benefit of the doubt and say that you were simply ill-equipped to deal with anything so authentic but your gross insensitivity leaves me outraged and not inclined to such generosity.
Does someone have to be an “A-Lister” and live in a big city to count in your shallow pond? Your tone-deaf, poorly written, self-aggrandizing and worst of all, thoroughly inhumane take on this event is reprehensible. If you have even a small clue, you should issue an apology to his loved ones, be they A-List or not.(Most ironic that you use the word “starfuckers” when it is clear that you are exactly what you claim we “don’t need more of.”) Your mention of A-Lists speaks volumes about your priorities. I’m sickened to think of his loved ones reading this drivel while coping with their grief. To Susan, Frankie and all Theo’s loved ones: He was an inspiration to everyone in our scene for decades and we were lucky to have him. Condolences.
I do not want to also be seen as mean and insensitive and as someone who writes off the cuff, and yet, that was the meanest and stupidest article I have run across. Ever. And since you made the article about yourself I say Shame on Rainey
Here’s what a story is. You go to a blue-chip geriatric art-world cluster-fuck, and, if the evening had progressed as planned, there would have been no story, just chats and lies. It doesn’t go as planned however. The artist is in hospital in Tampa, with cancer and on Skype. The paintings aren’t that good, but his famous pals show up and do their befuddled best. Theo was a great printmaker, a ground-breaking printmaker to whom Ed and Jim are much in debt. They have honored that debt over the years, and do again. Now, down at the last, the straw and the styrofoam cup are the major props. The art occasion becomes a human occasion that has some honor in it. It’s a story.
I agree…there was a story here and it was missed. Rainy told the story of her own uncomfortable experience at Theo’s expense…and his family’s. And the Glasstire audience might have been better off too, with a more dignified representation of Theo…an artist who practically died with a brush in his hand and SKYPED in to a gallery talk from his deathbed!
Dear Ms. Knudson,
I don’t remember ever making any web post that used a four-letter word. Until now.
You are a waste of space and one sick fuck.
And an embarrassment to the art community of Texas.
Those feelings were how I felt reading the story. I have attended lectures and seminars for all the wrong reasons and have come away feeling like a nitwit.
*whistling and scrolling through glasstire*
“this article’s still going?”
what’s going on in this thr—
“I felt pity on her to be living in such a state of disconnect from humanity”
“What kind of creature are you”
this must be rhetorical
“an embarrassment to oneself as a human being”
“I think you should be fired”
talk about self aggrandizing, keep your corporatism at the contemporary
“You are a waste of space and one sick fuck”
jeez dude, don’t spill it on my floor
how about, instead of jamming up the comment stream on the sidebar, you all do somthing effective and let the article slide off the radar. it’ll just fade away. then:
a) no more children will be exposed to the article that has so viciously damaged your own psyche
b) no more interesting conversations will be covered up by your self righteous “as i was helping things” venom. a couple of these aren’t so bad but, allan mccollum, i don’t get why you said that.
I feel a lot of pity for Mr.A. McCollum.
His “sick” essay on the goings on inside his small world
(in his head) make him the great example of what not to be..
Thanks Rainy for your interesting story!
And Mr. Hickey comes in with his”genius” assessment, as would be expected, get the story as perceived at the moment. As ever, thanx, Mr.Humanity.
Rainey you have taken a hit and we are awaiting your responses. Your take was as clever as a glasstire on the ever witty Glasstire. Is Jade the new Black?
May the artist, his family and many friends rest that he was loved.
First of all this is the problem and a TREMENDOUS conflict of interests. When the owner of the blog /”non profit” is also reviewing shows and also married to a an influential texas artist. I am sorry how can one take any of this seriously ? I was equally appalled by this unprofessional ill informed review. In fact I was equally appalled by the comments to the public on a “glasstire” tour of he art fair headed by Bill Davenport. I had several collectors on that tour come to me apologizing for him. Basically Bill Davenport deplored the booth and the “young” artists I show. In one breath he was saying that we were cynical, fast and not serious artists and in the same breath look to RE gallery as to what is happening in the Dallas art scene. A double passive aggressive whammy. You guys need to do your
Wanda, this article wasn’t a review.
Correction this was a tour of the Dallas art fair led by Bill Davenport of Glasstire and coordinated by Chris Byrne. Which doesn’t surprise me apparently he was forced to invite me and the artists I show to the art fair.
Justin, I said that because I was horrified by what I perceived as Knudson’s gross insensitivity to the friends and family of Theo’s, her unprofessional disinterest in researching any of the facts, her disgusting need to find humor in a very sad situation, her self-centered shallowness, her admitted social-climbing in the context of a tragedy. And now I’m a bit disgusted by what I see as her phony attempt to cover up much of her ignorance and meanness by re-editing her review much later to create a more “positive” spin. But I reacted too quickly due to the rage I was feeling, and I shouldn’t have used the four-letter word, and I apologize for that. And I don’t know Knudson personally, so my reactions are probably not well informed. But this review was shameful and pointlessly hurtful to the people who cared so much for Theo.
This article has not changed from its original publication, except for the correction as noted at the end.
Finally, a response!
You just got a response (if you call it one), because her and Glasstire in general are group of gutless self promoters. As an art supporter I come to this site in hopes of seeing information on art exhibits in a state I travel frequently, but only find constant self glorification and a buddy system that makes Texas Art seem trite and crappy. There needs to be a competitor to this charlatan ASAP.
Unlike Allan McCollum, I have a sailor’s mouth. Fuck you, fuck your bloated ego and fuck your piece of crap reporting. This was not a review. You were an invited critic to review a show. But since you apparently fancy yourself a self-righteous storyteller of cultural significance, as is obvious by your response above, I, as a reader, would like to say, that I found your story of death, friendship, love and art to be offensive, weak at best, and more importantly lacked any skill in navigating and exploring deeper into your “strangest night in the art world” (which, by the way, nice rip off on Sarah Thornton’s book title).
You people need to chill the hell out!
Really, boss? Seth, I have held my tongue until now. I guess I had hoped this stupid thing would go away. It hasn’t and it won’t. As Theo’s widow and Frankie’s mother, I decided to say my peace. Did I gain anything from being equally obnoxious… yes. My daughter laughed, rolled her eyes at me, corrected my mistakes (since she didn’t get to on her own comment) and gave me a hug. Somehow this made our first Father’s Day without Theo a little lighter… funny timing that a thread should show up in my email box from this article today.
Seth the rage you are seeing comes from the shock and pain of reading Rainy’s insensitive remarks. Her silence at seeing the hurt she caused is even more shocking. Every time another comment appears it all gets stirred up again…the anguish and emotion. A part of me is glad to see that people aren’t quite letting it go or letting Rainy off the hook. This article was big bad gaff..at best.
Using Seth’s chill-out line as “Comment of the Week” only extends the passive agressive nature of this article & increases the obvious issue of bias of this “non profit.” Attempting to diffuse the situation through a joke & ignoring all of the other commentators is another spit in the face. But it brings more views, Right?
I so agree w this point, I came to this today bc of that self-promoting comment and link, and I find it fascinating that RK does not feel any sense of obligation to respond at this point. That is part of what creating discussion and a forum for dialogue is about, remaining actively engaged, responsive, available ..or at least that is how one remains a respected part of the dialogue.
I understand friends and loved ones of the late Mr. Wujkic being upset at his untimely death, but really, this article was not about Theo Wujkic, it was a critique of artworld snobbery- directed by Ms. Knudson at herself. The vitriol directed at her misses the point.
oh please, your cleverness is lost on me, Chris Sauter. the “vitriol” you accuse me of doesn’t at all miss the point. this was hardly a critique of the “artworld snobbery”. she was invited to review a show. that’s the point. i am not offended that she apparently doesn’t think much of my late husband’s, Theo Wujcik (check your spelling), work. i, and our family, are offended by her deceit and her callous, even tortuous, style of writing about an event that was actually enjoyed by Jim, Ed, Margaret Miller (ummm… the moderator she so carelessly dismissed), our daughter Frankie, Theo, myself and everyone else in attendance. how dare you presume to think people commenting here are so stupid as to miss the point RK was “trying” to make. and how dare you regard our loss as untimely and our grief misdirected. do yourself a favor and save your cleverness for your superficial, small town mentality, “artworld” cocktail party chit chats.
Respectfully Chris… It’s best NOT to defend this article or try to excuse it. Horrible things were said about a dying man. This article should never have been written. The author’s revelation (as described toward the end of the article) might have helped her see this. I can only assume the decision to publish it was made because controversy brings readership
(you’re welcome glasstire).
Susan, she was invited to an artist talk not to review a show. I am not/ was not being clever. I did not say your grief was untimely. Your attack on me is totally uncalled for.
Chris… you obviously have some sort of inside knowledge that I am not privy to. I was under the impression by Theo’s dealer and by Raniny that she was there to review a show. It’s very possible i missed something here as I was totally focused on Theo’s care, comfort and happiness. You are correct that you did not say that my grief was untimely. As i pointed out, how dare you say that Theo’s death, our loss in my reply, was untimely. You know nothing of his life, illness, and ultimately graceful death. You also stated that we may be upset, our “grief” in my reply, is over Theo’s death. Wrong. Our grief, or as you prefer to think of it, our being upset is a poorly written self-serving article. Your comment is public and I felt my response was called for. I actually looked at your work online and find it interesting. Surely you can’t be a dope. I can only guess that you are standing up for RK because she is a friend and/or has reviewed your work favorably. I am certainly not looking for enemies here. But I don’t appreciate being dismissed as upset or not getting it and now say my response to you is uncalled for.
My response comes only from reading the above article. It has nothing to do with any relationship I may or may not have with Ms. Knudson. I honestly don’t understand the very harsh responses this article has been given. That is all. From what I read, the author gave an honest recount of her reactions to the event, warts and all. She then realized by the end of the evening that her responses were ridiculous, writing: “I was the one with the unseemly ironic reserve. I was the one wading around in stupid, cruel art world bullshit.”
She is giving us a cautionary tail to be more conscientious because in the end we are all people.
I think when someone reaches the end of a life, all ultimately want that life to be celebrated ..and this piece was not a celebration. that is why it is unsettling and strangely surprising to read, and why when you defend it, you will also seem to lack a basic empathy.
Chris you might have a different reaction if the dying dying was someone you love. In her cautionary tale about the cruel art world…she was cruel.
what grade are you in, Chris? do you really think this mediocre article serves it’s audience as a “…cautionary tail (sic) to be more conscientious because in the end we are all people.”??? good grief!!!
Yes. I do.
I find the way Mr. Wujcik chose to live his life, and the way he chose to spend the last months of his life to be inspirational. We should all learn from his example. I can only hope that Mrs. Knudson will learn something from the reaction of the many people she has greatly offended.
When your most vehement defenders are not so great regional artists and a blow-hard critic, mostly known for his theory that the value placed on art by the market is a reflection of the aesthetic value of the work, and later tries to revive his failed career by blaming women and minorities for everything that has gone wrong, you are probably in poor company. Again, I hope that we can all learn from this. And as we wade through this name dropping, starfucking, cruel art world bullshit, come to this conclusion: it doesn’t have to be like this.
Thanks for the insult Mr. Cochran. You are obviously a better man than I.
You might become a great artist. Playing the What? game, and ignoring the inhumanity of the ‘story’, whether it was intentional or unintentional, won’t get you there.
What’s really stunning, is that neither RK or CS and others enthralled by this so-called lesson in humanity, seem to be completely blind by the cruelness of this article.
So many comments, not deserved. Seriously though who has the means to compete against this site/non-profit? There are a few commenters here who are better writers than 90% of Glass staff…
Arts and Culture doesn’t quite do enough
Paper City is a joke
Culture Map is mediocre at best
Artshound is not critical, just posts events
Someone keep them honest
WordPress (http://wordpress.org/) and Blogger (https://www.blogger.com/features) are free, Tony. Start writing.
Touché, GodPan, touché
Tony Flaco … not deserved?
Glasstire should indeed be called to the carpet on this. They published an articled disgracing a dying man … an accomplished artist loved and admired by many. This article caused a lot of people pain.
I would agree that we should keep things clean (except you Susan Johnson–fire away!!!) I want to say this again. This article should never have been written. And there should have been a public apology a long time ago. I am hoping GT make better judgement calls in the future when it comes to the question of what to cover and not cover.
Another atrocity. On November 23rd 2012 GT reported that Casey Williams came out of his come and recovered from West Nile Virus. This was untrue. His family was devastated by this. He remained in a coma until he died on January 1st. This is horrible reporting (hello basic fact checking) and it is another example of poor judgment. GT when it comes to dying artists…please leave well enough alone. You clearly don’t have the grace to deal with it.
My news bit on Casey Williams’ recovery was based on facts published by Fox News, as cited in the article. I apologize for any factual errors in Fox’s news piece, and my failure to re-check their reporting.
Thank you Sharon, that pretty much sums it up.
Mr. Davenport, It seems fairly clear that the gist of the complaints is that glasstire uses Fox News as a model, and now we know it is also a source. I don’t think some of the goings on here are a reflection on Houston, as a whole. I love the town, and love how well it supports the arts and artists that make up its community.
Thanks Steve, thank you for not judging htown based on Davenport and Knudson’s mediocrity and lack of taste.
My my my
Sad statement GT, rip Theo
You are not getting off this easy, Rainey!! Mark it 0!
I have no connection to any of this; i just popped in thru the web. I’m not sure what proved so offensive about this article and am kind of astounded by the ensuing grotesque cat fights. It strikes me as strange that formerly artistic revolutionaries can’t or won’t see the addition of one more empty eulogy about their relative, for what it would be, a meaningless act of print. Seems to me, Knudsen tried to represent something different–ironically–something more ponderous and thoughtful with blemishes about the man and the scene. That’s way more honesty than the typical maundering clergy speaking Derridean epitaphs about someone he/she never knew. That’s all my dead friends ever got.
Thanks Knudsen and thanks Glasstire.