Results of the II Art History Contest for Art Critics

Stedley Art Foundation held the Art History Contest for Art Critics for the second time. The participants were invited to write on the topic of the counterposition of contemporary and traditional in art. In the course of the first stage the experts of the Foundation chose 10 best papers out of the 28 submitted. The authors of the 10 chosen papers attended master-classes on editing and art criticism during two days. After that, in the course of the second stage, the participants had to re-submit their papers, respectively edited in accordance with the knowledge and practical advice received from the lectors during master-classes.

The 10 finalists are as follows: Oleksandr Chepelev, Vitalii Yankoviy, Kateryna Busol, Natalia Shostak, Alina Shelkovina, Valeria Lazarenko, Maksym Ivanuha, Andriy Bobrykin, Ruslan Goriuchkin, Dmytro Bogachuk.

The jury determined the winners. The members of the jury were: Olga Balashova, art critic, NAFAA lecturer, Kateryna Stukalova, art critic, Kateryna Botanova, Director of the Foundation Centre for Contemporary Art, chief editor of online-journal KORYDOR, Volodymyr Ermolenko, philosopher, seniour lecturer of the National University of ‘Kyiv-Mohyla Academy’, Valentyna Klymenko, journalist, coordinator of the Contest, Borys Gryniov, collector, Oksana Barshynova, head of the NAMU Department of the XX-XXI Art.


I prize – Kateryna Busol. ‘Contemporary vs. Traditional Art.’ The prize from the Italian Institute of Culture in Kyiv, a partner of the Contest: a trip to the Venice Biennale of contemporary art.

II prize – Natalia Shostak. ‘Contemporary vs. Traditional Art: the Level of (Mis)Understanding.’ The prize: a 5000-hryvnias check from Borys and Tetiana Gryniov, the collectors.

III prize – Andriy Bobrykin. ‘No Barbarians at the Gates.’ The prize: books from the Stedley Art Foundation library.

III prize – Valeria Lazarenko. ‘Museum Today vs. Museum the Day before Yesterday. Representing Art.’ The prize: books from publishing house Rodovid.

Grades of the Jury

Kateryna Busol – 56

Vitalii Yankoviy – 23

Oleksandr Chepelev – 44

Maksym Ivanuha – 40

Andriy Bobrykin – 48

Ruslan Goriuchkin – 26

Alina Shelkovina – 38

Valeria Lazarenko – 48

Natalia Shostak – 55

Dmytro Bogachuk - 37


Commentaries of the Jury on the process of assessment:

Kateryna Stukalova

#5 (Andriy Bobrykin) – 7

The paper proves that the author is well aware of the history and context of contemporary Ukrainian art, can work with sources, find interesting twists and turns of contemporary art system and soundly analyse them. Notwithstanding the fact that the analysis of contemporary developments is clearly subjective, even manipulative sometimes, the paper as a whole seems very independently and professionally written.

#9 (Natalia Shostak) – 9

The paper is written on a rather topical issue for contemporary Ukrainian art – its interaction with the wide audience, variants and ways of tuning the dialogue with an average viewer, prospects of overcoming the so-called ‘elite position’ of contemporary art. The paper is based on the acute issues of art life, moreover – on the personal experience of working as a guide at contemporary art exhibitions, as well as on interesting practical remarks.

Borys Gryniov

#4 (Maksim Ivanuha) and #5 (Andrey Bobrykin) stand out because they share two qualities: originality and awareness. These two authors have demonstrated the ability to elaborate a frame and formulate a context of a certain art phenomenon. As this-year Contest was dedicated to art criticism, the aforementioned two qualities proved to be paramount to me. Many interesting texts were submitted this year. However, some of them were overloaded with surnames and some participants failed to handle the facts fluently.

Kateryna Botanova

1 prize – #8 – Valeria Lazarenko

The author chose an interesting way to narrow a wide topic and provided a sound and balanced analysis. The text gives a lot of points to consider and invites one to continue thinking about the topic.

2 prize – #9 – Natalia Shostak

The participant chose an important and topical aspect of the general topic set, provided good examples and demonstrated maturity and balance. Her independent and accurate conclusions give a pleasant impression as well.

Oksana Barshynova

I decided to award the first prize to paper #1 (Kateryna Busol) for its soundness, all-encompassing analysis of the problem, the ability to firmly formulate the issues to be analysed and logically evolve them throughout the whole text. It is also important that Ukrainian context was used for illustration and analysis. As an art critic, I also appreciate the ability to explain one’s thoughts in a clear and interesting way, which is well demonstrated in this paper, in my book.

Second prize – #5 (Andriy Bobrykin). The author chooses an interesting route, singling out the topic of barbarianism (referring, in the end, to the topic of this year Istanbul Biennal) as the leading one for contemporary Ukrainian art. He looks at it from a standpoint of art practice and in a social context. He is also fluent in facts and combines them in a unique way.

Third prize – paper #3 (Oleksandr Chepelev). The skeleton of the article is rather interesting: it is built on counterpoints that gives polemic character to the text as a whole, however, not as acute as one would like it to be. But the author definitely has a potential to be an art critic, he possesses something that one might call ‘professional intuition.’ What I particularly like is the point about the correspondence of an artwork to the ‘tune of life’ as the main proof of the greatness of an artefact. This quality of an artefact overreaches its social resonance or content and refers, in my opinion, to the endless meanings and feelings that are indispensable to a real work of art.

Olga Balashova

All the participants who made it to the finals are truly worthy of praise. Writing critical texts is a particular practice that, apart from necessary background, requires courage to accept the responsibility for one’s statement. It can only appear to be easy. The participants that I would call the winners (#4 – Maksym Ivanuha, #1 – Kateryna Busol, #9 – Natalia Shoshtak), can, in my book, not only formulate and argue their opinion, but also are ready to be responsible for it. I guess it is a solid ground to start from to become a professional art critic.

Text #1 (Kateryna Busol) reassures with its soundness and logical argumentation of its positions. The text about the cinema – #4 (Maksym Ivanuha) is less sound and sometimes even naïve, but the way the author saw and shaped the problem are very encouraging all together.

Valentyna Klymenko

1 prize – #9 (Natalia Shostak)

It is very often that the texts of art critics resemble the minutes of a conspirator club, that is why text #9 stands out for the clearness, firmness and logic of the narration. Also, the mentioned paper demonstrates the independence of thought and only APPROPRIATE use of ideas and facts borrowed from other sources. The problem of mis-meeting and mis-understanding between the art and the public are laconically looked at through museum context, due account paid to personal experience of the author and latest developments in the field.

Finalists of the II Art History Contest

Andriy Bobrykin, journalist, interpreter. Since 2011 – a chief editor of an independent online-resource As an interpreter and columnist Andrij worked for information agency Interfax-Ukraina, BBC Monitoring, Art Ukraine, onlilne-resource Chastnyiy Korrespondent, took part in the re-launch of Ukrainska kultura journal.

The name of the paper: ‘No Barbarians at the Gates.’

Dmytro Bogachuk, National Academy of Culture and Arts alumni, holds a Master Diploma of Art Historian and Expert, a second-year PhD student writing his PhD thesis on photography, professional photographer.

The name of the paper: ‘Contemporary vs. Traditional Art. Contemporary photography of Andrey Belkov.’

Kateryna Busol, lawyer, specialises in International Law, academic interests have always lain in the field of international legal protection of cultural property (restitution, repatriation of artworks etc.)

The name of the paper: ‘Contemporary vs. Traditional Art.’

Ruslan Goriuchkin, a second-year Master student at KhNEU, specialises in Computer Technologies and Systems of Publishing and Printing Industry. Ruslan is interested in art, synesthesia and psychoactive functions of art.

The name of the paper: ‘How to Write an Article for an Art Contest for Art Critics on How You Cannot Choose a Topic.’

Maksym Ivanuha, graduated from the Lviv National Ivan Franko University, Faculty of Journalism, in 2012, as a film critic contributed to Lvivska Gazeta, Ukrainskiy Tyzhden,, kievreport etc., wrote more than 100 different papers on cinema, resides in Lviv.

The name of the paper: ‘Contemporary vs. Traditional Art.’

Valeria Lazarenko, a four-year Bachelor student at the Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko University, Faculty of Psychology, studies intercultural communications, psychology of cultural codes, psychology of cultural identities. Valeria takes part in academic activities, participates in the conferences, volunteers at art events of various kinds. Valeria teaches creative thinking course at a lyceum.

The name of the paper: ‘Museum Today vs. Museum the Day before Yesterday. Representing Art.’

Oleksandr Chepelev, artist, comes from Alchevsk, resides in Kyiv.

The name of the paper: ‘Two Views at the Present Times and Tradition’

Alina Shelkovina, a PhD student at Kharkiv National V.N. Karazin University, Department of the Theory of Culture and Philosophy on Science, author of the articles for specialised Philosophy and Culture Studies journals, curator of art projects-finalists of youth festival NON STOP MEDIA and МУХІ.

The name of the paper: ‘The Esoteric vs. Commercial: the Boundaries of Comprehension in Contemporary Art.’

Natalia Shostak, culture expert, the National University of ‘Kyiv-Mohyla Academy’ alumni. Natalia works at the National Art Museum of Ukraine and PinchukArtCentre, is interested in gender studies and contemporary photography.

The name of the paper: ‘Contemporary vs. Traditional Art: the Level of (Mis)Understanding.

Vitalii Yankoviy, independent artist, used to be a columnist and editor of art resource (2011-2012), resides and works in Vinnytsya.

The name of the paper: ‘Realist Graphics vs. Pshy-Graffics.’


The award ceremony where the name of the winner was revealed was held at the National Art Museum of Ukraine on 8 November.

Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Italy to Ukraine Fabrizio Romano, Director of the Italian Institute of Culture in Kyiv Nicola Franco Balloni, founder of the Stedley Art Foundation Stella Beniaminova, director of Rodovid publishing house Olena Osypchuk, artist Pavlo Makov, artist Tiberiy Silvashi, art historian Olga Petrova, artist, editor of Ukrainske Mystetstvo journal Victor Khomenko, journalist Natalia Katerynenko, Director General of the National Art Museum of Ukraine Mariia Zadorozhna, Deputy Director General in Education Maryna Skyrda, Deputy Director in Exhibitions, Partnership and International Projects Yuliya Vaganova, coordinator of the Contest Valentyna Klymenko, member of the jury, Director of the Foundation Centre for Contemporary Art, chief editor of online-journal KORYDOR Kateryna Botanova, director of HUSS typography Kostiantyn Kozhemiaka were in attendance.

Partners of the Contest: Italian Institute of Culture in Kyiv, Borys and Tetiana Gryniov, Rodovid publishing house, National Art Museum of Ukraine, online-journal KORYDOR, Art Ukraine, Ukraintske Mystetstvo.

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