Saturday, September 25, 2004

Darth Vader Grotesque in the National Cathedral

Darth Vader Bust by PlunkettI kid you not.

Grammar.police has a really funny posting discovering that there's a grotesque of Darth Vader in the National Cathedral!

I didn't know this!

It was sculpted by our own Jay Hall Carpenter (who is a damned good sculptor by the way), carved by Takoma Park's Patrick J. Plunkett and placed high upon the northwest tower of the Cathedral.

Makes my head hurt.

I have to eat some crow in reference to some of the issues raised in my earlier posting defending Art-O-Matic; I've since corrected those particular issues. My recollections as to the sequence of events and causes involving Glenn Dixon's on-air comments on the Kojo Nmandi show and the reasons for his subsequent review of the show in the WCP were incorrect, and Dixon pointed this out to me.

I have apologized to Dixon, corrected the posting, and below now publish Dixon's email to me in order to clarify the issue:

Dear Mr. Campello:

I'm writing regarding your posting yesterday about Art-O-Matic. Although you didn't identify me by name, it is no secret that I was the Washington City Paper critic who spoke about the 2002 exhibition on the Kojo Nnamdi Show in November of that year.

You are guilty of misrepresenting my comments and distorting the facts.

That I had not yet attended that year's Art-O-Matic was not something I hid from listeners. In fact, I prefaced my comments with a disclaimer:

"I've gotta say, I have not seen the current Art-O-Matic yet, but I've been to the first one, and it nearly killed me. There is a serious quality issue. It's not a very kind show to viewers. You have to wade through a lot of dross to get a few gems. The first year there were maybe two or three artists out of all of them that I really cared about."

I hadn't intended to weigh in on Art-O-Matic, but found myself in a situation where to keep mum would have been to offer tacit approval to the rather boosterish comments of my fellow guests, Joe Barber and Peter Fay.

By the time my 2002 wrap-up appeared in City Paper in late December, I had seen Art-O-Matic--not at the urging of my editor or because of some supposed scandal, but because I wanted to know if my misgivings were justified. What I wrote was this:

"After dragging myself through Art-O-Matic the first year, I vowed I'd never repeat the experience. But I went again, largely because I felt a little guilty about warning Kojo Nnamdi Show listeners off it sight unseen (although I was upfront about not having visited the exhibition at that point). I needn't have been so scrupulous. If anything, Art-O-Matic, as a visual-art event, had gotten even worse, more sprawling and more amateurish."

Again, note that I was completely forthcoming about the fact that I hadn't seen the show at the time of the broadcast.

The fact that streams and tapes of the Kojo Nnamdi Show and full texts of my writing for City Paper can easily be accessed or ordered online suggests that you made no attempt to check your mistaken recollections against the facts.

This little flap is indeed the result of an ethical lapse, but it is yours alone. You owe your readers a retraction and me an apology.


Glenn Dixon

Want to go to an opening tonight?

Curated by Faith Flanagan and Allison Cohen, and opening tonight at Dot Projects & Artwork (501 Ninth Street - NE, Washington, DC Phone: 202-546-0334) Saturday, September 25, 6:00pm to 9:00pm is a preview of the exhibition Hot Damn - Fresh Art featuring work by:

Noah Angell, Virginia Arrisueno, Ken Ashton, Lisa Bertnick, Christine Carr, Franck Cordes, Kathryn Cornelius (performance at 7:30 p.m.), Mary Early, Djakarta, Kevin Kepple, Peter Loge, Jayme McLellan, Dylan Scholinski, Trish Tillman, Kelly Towles, Leigh Van Duzer, and Joan Van Sledright.

Absolut Hell by Helen ZughaibAnd next Saturday, the Museum of Modern ARF in Arlington has an opening reception on October 2 from 6-9 PM for "Breaking the Silence II: Questioning Power Now More Than Ever."

The show, which runs until November 14, includes work by Martyn Turner, Claudia Olivos, Helen Zughaib, Scott Brooks, Steve Lewis, Kathleen Stevenson, Negar Assari Samimi, Richard Notkin, Jim Magner, Ruth Trevarrow, Mark Planisek, Tara Campbell, Joroko, Roger Cutler, Ruth Kling, Chris Britt, Chad Allan, John Aaron, Eliza Brewster, Daniel Penaloza, and Young Artists from Palestine and Israel.

The Museum of Modern ARF is located at 1116 N. Hudson St. Arlington, VA 22201 and can be reached at 703/528-4800.