Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Mendieta fron Tracks - by Chris Smith/Lee StalsworthI keep forgetting to link to the great review by the other Gopnik (Blake Gopnik that is), of the brilliant Ana Mendieta retrospective at the Hirshhorn Museum.

I went to the press preview last week and I am working on a review that will be published (once translated) in a dozen Latin American newspapers. I will also have it in English here.

Anyway, Gopnik is eloquent as usual in treating and placing Mendieta into the important high art context in which she truly belongs. If you go to see one museum show this year - this is it!

Blake also earned me $100, as I had made a bet at the Mendieta show opening reception last Wednesday, with a curator friend of mine, that Gopnik would use the description vagina dentata somewhere in the review.


P.S. I intend to use vagina dentata as well; it's just the perfect descriptor of Mendieta's artwork.

More Insight into the Barlow Firing

Anyone who has been reading DC Art News or Thinking About Art or DCist, knows that James W. Bailey has taken the firing of Philip Barlow, first discussed here on October 13, to heart.

So on October 18, Bailey wrote David Levy, the Director of the Corcoran, a 1,444 word, three-page letter on the subject, expressing his outrage. This correspondence, and the responses by Levy, add some perspective to the whole controversy. Read Bailey's letter here.

Dr. Levy responded immediately, and sent Bailey this email.

Oh dear...

If you know James W. Bailey, then you know that not only is he a terrific photographer, but also an incredibly passionate and verbose all-around good guy. So Bailey responded with a 2,751 word email the next day! Read it here.

And again Dr. Levy responds on the same day with this email.

And the final note from Bailey is here.

Annie Adjchavanich, who is the Executive Director of the WPA/C, today emailed a press release about the firing of Philip Barlow as the curator from OPTIONS 2005:

On September 23rd, 2004, an article appeared in the Arts Beat page of The Washington Post in which Philip Barlow, Guest Curator of the Washington Project for the Arts\Corcoran (WPA\C) Options exhibition, stated personal viewpoints and opinions that are in no way reflective of the exhibitions goals nor the WPA\C’s mission. In stating that he would categorically exclude any and all artists who participated in either the city-wide Party Animals or PandaMania programs of the last two years from consideration for Options, he has violated basic ethical norms of curatorial practice, which is in direct conflict with the Corcoran’s policy on Freedom of Artistic Expression, and subsequently the WPA\C’s, mission statement.

While it is the responsibility of a curator to exercise both professional and personal judgment in the selection of works of art, this process must be based upon the artistic merit and suitability of the works in question to the themes or purposes of an exhibition or its related materials. It is inappropriate to base curatorial decisions upon the political, social or intellectual opinions an artist may hold, upon an artist’s personal behavior, personal life, or relationship to the curator or to the institution.

The leadership of the WPA\C believes that Mr. Barlow has irreparably compromised his credibility as curator of this exhibition and respectfully accepts his decision to step away from the project and his responsibility as curator.

An announcement regarding the selection of a curator for Options will be forthcoming.

Annie Adjchavanich
Executive Director

Adam Gopnik at the Corcoran Tomorrow

Blake Gopnik's brother Adam, who is an award winning writer for The New Yorker magazine since 1986, and wrote a best-seller about the years that he and his family spent in Paris (Paris to the Moon), has a new book out and will be discussing it at the Corcoran tomorrow at 7:00 PM.

Adam Gopnik's new book is Americans in Paris: A Literary Anthology and it is a compilation of selections from three centuries of distinguished American writing about the French capital.