Critical Mass 4 Exhibition

(Shreveport, LA) – Nowhere will the artistic energy be greater in Northwest Louisiana than @artspace and ARTSTATION in downtown Shreveport February 25-27, when more than 100 performing, visual and literary artists from ten parishes bring their best of show to the Shreveport Regional Arts Council’s (SRAC) 4th annual Critical MASSexhibition.
Critical MASS is an annual critic series hosted by SRAC to advance professionalism in the arts in Northwest Louisiana through a system of formal critique.  Nationally acclaimed critics review the exhibited work of some of Northwest Louisiana’s most talented artists and name a “Best of Show” winner in each category of performing, visual and literary art.  SRAC awards a $2,000 cash prize to an artist in each of the three categories to support a solo Exhibition/Presentation in Coolspace @ artspace and an advertisement featuring the selected Artist in a national publication.
Critical MASS 4 opens its Live Performing Arts Showcase Thursday, February 25th, at 5:30 p.m. at Central Artstation at 801 Crockett St. and then premiers theVisual and Literary Arts series Friday, February 26th from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. @ artspace at 710 Texas St in downtown Shreveport.  The Critics’ Award Presentation of “Best in Show” in both literary and visual arts will be revealed at 7:30 p.m. Friday evening.  Those attending the Arts Showcase will get a sneak peak of restaurateur Jason Brady’s latest venture, Parish Taceaux in a catered buffet during the Friday evening event.  On Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m. @ artspace, nationally acclaimed critics will present a Critics’ Review of the importance of art critique.
The critics chosen to review Critical MASS are vital to the value of the annual critic series.  “This feedback is an essential element for a thriving, progressive arts community,” said Jay Covington, President and Publisher of The Forum magazine.  “It helps us know what we can achieve and how it will be received in the world of art outside of Northwest Louisiana.  Critical MASS is one of the most important tools regional artists have to hear legitimate and constructive feedback of their work—and that of others—from renowned professional arts critics,” added Covington.
Critics for Critical MASS 4 have been selected through a curatorial process lead by nationally renowned critic Robert L. Pincus, Ph.D., former critic for the Los Angeles Times and the San Diego Tribune.  This year’s critics are some of the most respected in their fields and include Gwynned Vitello, Publisher of the international art magazineJuxtapoz and Mark Lowry, former theater critic for the Ft. Worth Star Telegram and co-founder, editor and chief theater critic for Theater Jones in Ft. Worth, TX.
Robert PIncus returns to SRAC’s Critical MASS as literary arts and lead critic for the fourth consecutive year.  He oversees the program of talks and exhibitions by visiting critics, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, designed to cultivate arts criticism in Shreveport.  “Arts criticism creates an inviting bridge between the work that artists create in all disciplines and the potential audience for that creative work,” said Pincus, when asked about the value of art critique to an area such as Northwest Louisiana.  “When critique is well done, it can expand a region’s art audience in
communities both large and small,” added Pincus.  Robert Pincus has garnered many journalism prizes for his art reviews and commentary, including the Chemical Bank award for distinguished newspaper art criticism.  He has a combined Ph.D. in English and Art History from the University of Southern California and is the author of a seminal book on the artists Edward Kienholz and Nancy Redding Kienholz, entitled On a Scale That Competes With The World.  Pincus has written regularly for Art News and Art in America for three decades and is a regular contributor to the Los Angeles based cultural journalism PBS site, Artbuond.  He is currently a visiting professor at California State University Long Beach teaching a graduate level course to students working toward their MFA entitled Writing for Artists.
Mark Lowery is uniquely qualified to review the Critical MASS 4 performing arts showcase.  In addition to his role as a founder of Theater Jones, a website created to fill the void in arts coverage left by diminishing print media in North Texas.  Lowry is a member of the American Theater Critics Association and serves on the ATCA Executive Board and on the Harold and Mimi Steinberg/New Play Award panel. He also serves as CEO of Cloudbusting Media, Inc. and is a frequent contributor to theDallas Morning News and the Ft. Worth Start Telegram.
Gwynn Rose Vitello, who will review the visual arts of Critical MASS 4, hails from San Francisco where she owns High Speed Productions, a company started by her late husband skateboarding revolutionary Fausto Vitello.  High Speed Productions is the creator of Thrasher and Slap, magazines that catapulted the skateboarding culture into the mainstream, as well as Juxtapoz, a groundbreaking urban art magazine.  Vitello is a savvy businesswoman in the fast-morphing publishing world, where the quick turnover of digital content outpaces the posterity of glossy pages.  Thrasher andJuxtapoz are the world’s largest-circulation magazines of their genre.
When asked why she feels critique is important, Vitello comments, “After I’ve watched a movie or seen a concert, I always swing back to check the critique of a favorite critic.  I do the same after visiting an art exhibit. A deliberative, constructed perspective contributes a thoughtful viewpoint and revisits the entire experience.  I hope I can add a perspective that illuminates both the big and the little picture.”  
Following the Arts Showcase on Friday evening, the nationally acclaimed critics will present a Critics’ Review of the important of art critique, which begins at 10:00 a.m. Saturday morning, Feb. 27th @ artspace and is open to the public.  Each Critic’s review of the final “solo” work is published in The Shreveport Times and The Forummagazine.  When asked why The Shreveport Times has supported Critical MASS by publishing the critical review since its beginning four years ago, President and Publisher Alan English said, “Showing that our artists keep step with artists in any city on the planet encourages the entire community and is needed for economic development.”
Publisher of The Forum magazine, Jay Covington also commented on why it is important for his publication to publish the critique.  “We are an avid supporter of the growth of the arts and the creative class in our area and are honored to share with our readers the critics’ opinions and reviews of those artists that have been found to have a strong vision and a talent that sets them apart.  It is another level of professionalism for the local arts community and we applaud that,” said Covington.
Admission to Critical MASS 4 is FREE.  Enjoy the Live Performing Arts Showcase Thursday, February 25th, at 5:30 p.m. at Central Artstation, the Visual and Literary Arts series Friday, February 26th from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. @ artspace and the Critics’ Review On Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m. @ artspace.  For more information, visit or call artspace at (318) 673-6535.