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    A little over a year ago, artists Mary Clore, Kevin Warth and L Gnadinger were all working together at KMAC Museum. The 20-somethings’ conversations inevitably turned to what was going on in the local art scene. And, perhaps just as important, how little of that was being reflected in the media. “I think a lot of attention was given to art that’s more decorative, as opposed to all these really great conceptual artists we knew who were producing great work and having interesting shows throughout the city,” Warth says. The three of them were tired of seeing articles about horse art and things on bourbon barrels. So they formed a new online art-criticism journal: Ruckus.

    It started out as a mostly volunteer effort. Clore, Warth and Gnadinger would squeeze in time to review exhibitions between their day jobs and studio practices. They picked up a handful of guest writers, another contributor (artist Jessica Oberdick) and an editor, Kassie Alderson, who now works at the Portland Art Museum in Oregon. “So we’re really a cross-continental effort,” jokes Gnadinger, who is partway through a two-year fellowship at the Penland School of Craft in North Carolina.

    Ruckus entered 2019 with a grant from the Great Meadows Foundation and a plan to pay their writers and bring in more diverse voices. The founders say they’ll be publishing a wider range of content, such as interviews and editorials, and this month will release the first Ruckus Annual, a print publication with about 10 articles from the past year, which will be available on ruckuslouisville.com.

    What can you expect from a Ruckus review? “It is contextualizing that work with artists, theorists, ideas bigger than what’s in Louisville,” Warth says. Ruckus pieces can skew a tad academic (you may encounter references to Foucault and a paragraph or two of historical context), but you don’t need an art degree to engage with them. “Criticism, even negative criticism, really helps artists, because it provides accountability, and it incentivizes artists to work harder, to be thoughtful and intentional about what they’re doing, to really read and study and pay attention to what else is going on,” Clore says. “It benefits the community.”

    Ruckus is celebrating their one-year anniversary with a party at KMAC this Saturday. Click here to learn more.

    This originally appeared in the February 2019 issue of Louisville Magazine. To subscribe to Louisville Magazineclick here. To find us on newsstands, click here.

    Photo by Mickie Winters, mickiewinters.com

    Dylon Jones's picture

    About Dylon Jones

    Dylon Jones is a senior editor at Louisville Magazine.

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