Friday, October 08, 2004

The Post's "Geek" art critic Michael O'Sullivan reviews Dan Flavin at the NGA.

The Washington Posts's Jacqueline Trescott today has a story on the "Funky Furniture Controversy" at the DC City Museum that was first posted here and by Jesse Cohen at ArtDC and discussed on the air yesterday at the Kojo Nmandi show.

I am told that the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities is actively looking for a place to hold the exhibit and may have an alternative space lined up!

The Vampire Keeps on Rising

(Thanks AJ).

This article in the Christian Science Monitor discusses an exhibition opening at the UCLA Hammer Museum in Los Angeles titled "The Undiscovered Country."

The show examines the role of representational painting in a post-photographic world by looking at 65 works by 23 painters from the United States and abroad over the past four decades.

"This is not the straightforward landscape and formal portrait that dominated art for so many centuries. Instead, it's a concentrated effort by artists to come to terms with a world suffused with real-world imagery - and find a new role for realistic painting within it."
This all simply means that for years a lot of influential people in the art world have been trying and insisting on denigrating painting, especially representational painting - but in the end, as it has happened several times in the vicious circle, painting refuses to die and suddenly it is back in vogue and trendy curators are scampering all over the place to find the painters they've been ignoring for so many years.

Not too mention some art critics who have made a career and name by pushing the "painting is dead" slogan.

I call this "Contemporary Realism." That is: realism with a bite.

And (shameless plug coming) if you want to see an artist whose works have been called "the leading edge of the new urban realists" by the New York Times, come see David FeBland's fourth solo with us at Fraser Bethesda. Opening reception is tonight from 6-9 PM as part of the Bethesda Art Walk.

As promised, here I will post all the different websites and shows that I discussed on the air at the Kojo Nmandi Show, together with Jeffry Cudlin, the talented young new art critic from the Washington City Paper and Dr. Claudia Rousseau, the highly respected art critic from the Gazette Newspapers. The audio from the show is here.

We started the show by discussing the "Funky Furniture Controversy" that I discussed here a while back.

Rather than re-hash what we talked about, the best thing to do is to review what Art.DC posted yesterday. This posting by Jesse Cohen tells the story from the horse's mouth. Please read it.

I then gave Kojo's listening audience the scoop on the fact that the same woman who is sponsoring the Trawick Prize for Contemporary Art has been so disappointed by the hired curators disdain for painting that she is in the process of deciding to institutionalize an annual art prize of $10,000 just for area painters (DC, VA and MD).

I then reviewed the main pockets of gallery concentrations in the area and the specific times when they host openings and extended hours. I explained that it is free, and that artists are usually present, many are catered, etc.

• First Fridays – Dupont Circle Galleries
• Second Fridays – Bethesda Art Walk
• Second Thursdays – Alexandria, VA
• Third Thursdays – Downtown area galleries
• Third Fridays – Georgetown's Canal Square galleries

I also announced that there’s a new Art-O-Matic being planned – It will be from November 12 to December 5, 2004. It will be at 800 3rd St, NE (3rd and H St.). Over 1,000 artists participated in the last Art-O-Matic. Open to all artists; more details at Art-O-Matic's website. This is great news for Washington, DC art lovers.

We then discussed some important new museum shows opening soon:

Ana Mendieta Retrospective opens next week at the Hirshhorn Museum. First major retrospective of Cuban-American artist Ana Mendieta. She was a "Peter Pan" child sent away from Cuba by her parents to be raised in the US away from the brutality of Communism and was raised in foster homes in Midwest. She then died a spectacular death by "falling" from the 34th floor of her home in NYC. I gave well deserved kudos to Olga Viso, who curated this show.

Dan Flavin Retrospective at the National Gallery of Art. Now until Jan 9. The whole issue of conservation was extensively discussed. The curator of the exhibition essentially says: "when the flourescent lights go out - that's it!"

• I gave props to Jonathan Binstock and Stacey Schmidt (curators of the 48th Corcoran Biennial) for looking in their own backyard. Selected area artists for the 48th Corcoran Biennial have been announced and (for a change) they include James Huckenpahler (represented locally by Fusebox Gallery, Colby Caldwell (represented locally by Hemphill Fine Arts), and Baltimore-based photographer John Lehr. Last Thursday I had posted all the selected artists here.

I also discussed some important gallery shows opening soon:
FuseBox: A group drawing show from Nov 6 – Dec 18 including drawings by Terence Gower, Jason Gubbiotti, Ulrike Heydenreich, Cynthia Lin, Joan Linder, and Nicola Lopez. Drawing, like paintings is suddenly the “hot” genre in the art scene. Next year they will have a solo by Ian Whitmore, a very talented young area-based painter.

Conner Contemporary has Erik Sandberg opening on Nov 19 through Dec 23. One of the most talented local young painters and one of my all-time favorites.

Kathleen Ewing has Bruce McKeig’s pinhole photography of urban parks. October 22 – Nov 27.

• There’s a new gallery in Georgetown’s Canal Square: Anne C. Fisher Gallery and next Oct. 15 they have the works of Phyllis Elizabeth Wright.

Tranformer Gallery continues to have an unique exhibition program. Jayme McLLellan and Victoria Reis have been doing a great job. Currently they have an exhibition of text based multimedia work by three Texas artists. Until Oct. 16.

• Friday, Oct. 8 is the Bethesda Art Walk – 19 Bethesda art galleries and art venues.

Kojo then asked each of us to mention our favorite area artists. I rambled on about Manon Cleary (represented locally by Addison Ripley) and Tim Tate (represented locally by us). Later on I added Erik Sandberg (represented by Conner Contemporary).

There was also a very spirited discussion between Jeffry Cudlin and Dr. Claudia Rousseau about abstract and representational art in the context of contemporary art. Get the audio of the show here.