Wednesday, August 25, 2004

This area arts activist and collector puts her money where her mouth is.

We need a lot more people like her to add to the Prize.

DCist reveals that grounds for a new area museum was broken last week.

It is the Negro Leagues Hall of Fame Museum.

While Jackie Robinson was the first African American player to play in the U.S. Major Leagues, and a true hero and trailblazer, I submit that this player was the first man of African ancestry to play in the US Major Leagues. He has been all but ignored by historians and his significant sacrifices and accomplishments remain in the dustbins of baseball history.

His debut, with the Washington Senators, was in 1935.

J.T. Kirkland reviews Conner Contemporary's Academy 2004.

A few days ago I visited the Art League gallery on the first floor of the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria.

The Art League is our area's largest arts organization (and one of the largest in the world), with several thousand artist members. This year they are celebrating their 50th anniversary; Congratulations! To join the Art League, click here.

But I went to catch their annual International Landscape Show, which this year was juried by Prof. Richard Crozier, from the McIntire Dept. of Art at the University of Virginia. Crozier selected 179 works for exhibition from a set of 709 pieces submitted by artists for his review. Crozier is also the author of the book Inventing the Landscape: From Plein Air Study to Studio Painting.

The genre of landscape art, which belongs mostly within the painting genre of the visual arts, has all but disappeared from contemporary art, where I submit the word "contemporary" has been kidnapped by those who dwell in the rarified upper crust of the arts world. In fact, I cannot recall the last time that I saw a contemporary landscape painting show in any of our area museums, although they are still quite common in independent commercial fine arts galleries here and there.

Landscape photography, for some reason, has escaped the total aversion shown by curators and critics to other forms of landscape art, and in fact, many of today's famous Teutonic surnamed photographers, with their gigantic, and mostly boring photographs adorning empty museums, could be categorized as landscape photographers.

But if your personal tastes draw you towards landscape art in general (and of a more intimate size), including painting, then there's no better show around this area than the Art League's annual landscape show.

Crozier awarded the Jay & Helen Risser Award to Drema Apperson for a piece titled "Spring Creeps Up the Mountain: May, Germany Vallery, West Virginia," while the Potomac Valley Watercolorists award went to Sidney Platt for a piece titled "Shadow Play," and the Washington Society of Landscape Painters award went to Audrey Hopkins for a piece titled "October Light."

According the Crozier, the award to "Spring Creeps Up the Mountain: May, Germany Vallery, West Virginia" was chosen because "of the artist's attention to specifics without a lot of detail. It represents a real experience."

For the other two award winning paintings, Crozier said that "Shadow Play" and "October Light" both "possess a really strong sense of light and work as abstract pieces. To accomplish both is difficult to pull off."

Maybe it is my personal dislike to the Teutonic-sized photographs that we are being force fed in general by many of our museum photography curators, but one of my favorite pieces in this show was a lovely small photograph by Peggy Fleming titled "Delphini, Syros Island, Greece." I like the intimacy of being drawn in to a piece, and being required to look at it closely, rather than the twenty foot stare required by the contemporary posterization and gigantization of photography. Like Dali said: "If you can't paint well, then paint big."

Another lovely landscape was an oil by Sara Poly titled "One Moment in Time." I've been observing Poly gain mastery over the media for several years now, and she has clearly conquered the many technical nuances of oil painting and has now begun to flex her creative muscles and offers us pieces that not only employ forbidden technical virtuosity but also a keen creative mind and interesting compositional perspectives to offer more than a "recreation" of a pretty landscape.

Other pieces that I enjoyed were Trisha Adams' oil titled "Potomac Sunset," which shows many of the attributes I used for Poly's entry, Angela Muller's photo titled "Kansas Wheatfield" and Nancy Wallace's oil "Stable Destination."

The exhibition is on display until September 6, 2004.

Art jobs

The Textile Museum in DC invites applications for the position of Director. Primary responsibilities reflect the Museum's strategic priorities: programming that promotes public appreciation of the textile arts; expansion of local, national, and international audiences; and fundraising to address current and future needs.

Qualifications: knowledgeable and enthusiastic about arts, textiles and cultural history; ability to envision and articulate exciting, innovative programming; 6-8 years senior-level administrative experience, including strategic planning and fundraising, in museum or comparable organization; outstanding communications skills to interact effectively with diverse internal and external constituencies. Advanced degree preferred.

Full position announcement available at this website.

Apply to:
Director Search Committee
The Textile Museum
2320 S Street, NW
Washington, DC 20008 or

Several other good job openings here.