Curt Clonts

Art Commentator

Curt Clonts was raised in Wichita, Kansas. He left in 1977 for Los Angeles where he spent time surfing, making art, and immersing himself in the punk music scene. He then moved to Okinawa, Japan, where he met, married his wife, Taeko, and they had the first of their three children. After leaving Japan Curt moved with his family to New Orleans where he started the monthly punk rock musical publication Public Threat, and also created and sold art. Curt then took a job in the coffee business in Dallas, Texas, where he also made and sold his art. After a move to El Paso, Texas, Curt then decided to relocate his family to his hometown of Wichita where they have lived since 1991.

After moving back to Wichita, Curt founded the College Hill Coffee Company, which he eventually sold. He then began to paint and create art on a daily basis. Curt became a member of Wichita's Famous Dead Artists (a Wichita art co-op). He founded Art Soup in which he would curate art exhibitions featuring working artists of the '90s. He co-founded The Tractor Factory, one of the seminal art studio/exhibition sites in Wichita's explosive '90s art scene. Curt also regularly contributed articles on art and music for Wichita alternative newspapers SEEN and F5.

In 2006 Curt became the Artist-In-Residence at Friends University and held this position until 2013. He also founded The Ginger Rabbits arts co-op during this time. Articles on Curt have been featured in The New Orleans Times-Piccayune, The Dallas Morning News, The Wichita Eagle, Juxtapose Magazine, and Punk Globe Magazine, among others.

Curt's art is included in the collections at the Wichita Art Museum, Emprise Bank, Center for the Arts, and many personal collections.

Curt paints daily in his College Hill home studio while listening to music at blaring decibels. He exhibits his work on a regular basis. He enjoys scotch, cooking, collecting art and books, grandchildren, and having regular coffee and discussing art with artist friends. He has a disdain for politicians, broccoli, and spending any money with national chains. He avoids telephone conversations at almost any cost.

visitwichita.com

The City of Wichita has released its vague budget-cutting plan and CityArts is presented as a prime target. In the plan, buried on page 41, is a simple paragraph, under the heading “Cultural Funding” which states that arts in Wichita have evolved since CityArts was originally opened. And that one option is to restructure CityArts operations. Estimated savings: $100,000 to $300,000.

My interpretation of the paragraph is that city government feels the arts in Wichita have evolved past a place like CityArts so it’s no longer needed, vital, or necessary.

Well, the City of Wichita is planning to take a chain saw to Wichita CityArts—that beautiful three-story complex in Old Town next to the Warren Theater. They want to close the gallery space and the small boutique inside for starters, and who knows what else. CityArts is a 20-year-old entity and it is the rock and cornerstone of the entire Wichita arts community.

When a gallery in New York City has been in business for 15 years they say, “Wow, what a great run.”  A 40-year gallery run in New York is almost unheard of. Now, when a Wichita man opens up a gallery and it lasts for 40 years he must be referred to as “Senex Artis” - the Latin for “The Old Man of Art.”

Artist Fred Wassall, born in 1904, moved to Wichita from his home of Birmingham, England, around 1926. He had visited his brother here and decided he liked the small town with the big city flair. 

Painter Tim Stone is incendiary. At least in the annals of Kansas art. A Tim Stone painting is ‘60s surf contemporary meets New York savoir faire, blended in a Kansas tornado, and best viewed while listening to “Mother of Pearl” by Roxy Music, over and over again. Does that put it safely in a caviar tin for you?

An invitational or juried art show happens when an art entity chooses a known artist to select submitted artwork, these days via e-mail, from other artists around the country. These electronic submissions are chosen with no context or point of reference for either the piece or the submitting artist. The chosen works make up the show and the known artist then juries the show and awards winners.

I want so badly to label the type of work Wichita painter Jack Wilson does. But nothing quite fits.

Wichita artist Charlie Lavacek died on January 31st of this year. My friend Charlie chose to die on the day of a total lunar eclipse with a super-blue blood moon, a sky spectacle not seen in more than 150 years. 

The Salina Biennial exhibition at the Salina Art Center is a super crisp show of technical and conceptual strength by 42 artists from 10 states up the middle of the country.

72 works out of 500 submitted were chosen and judged by Jodi Throckmorton who is Curator of Contemporary Art at the Museum of Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Ms. Throckmorton was the previous Curator at The Ulrich, here in Wichita. 

The geographical area of the 10 states involved might suggest an abundance of, or at least a hint of, regional landscape work, but this was not the case.

The new exhibition “Monet to Matisse,” now on view at the Wichita Art Museum, is lovely. On loan from the Brooklyn Museum, the show features 59 works from the French Moderns dating from 1850 through 1950.

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