Friday, October 28, 2005


There's a ton of openings next week, but meanwhile, Carol Brown Goldberg opens tonight, at Osuna Art & Antiques in Bethesda. Opening Reception is from 6-9PM.
Marina Abramovic, Lips of Thomas - At Curator's Office - Image Courtesy Sean Kelly
And this Saturday, October 29th from 6:30-8:30pm is the opening of "Me, Myself and I: Artist Self-Portraits from the Podesta Collection" at Curator's Office (that's Marina Abramovic's Lips of Thomas at Curator's Office - Image Courtesy Sean Kelly.

Power of the Web

JT has a pretty spirited discussion ongoing over at Thinking About Art about Ms. Blake's comments on my criticism of her work.

Read it here.

Conner at Artissima

Conner Contemporary Art will be participating in Artissima XII, International Fair of Contemporary art in Torino, Italy, November 11-13, 2005.

For the new entries section of the Fair, they will present new oil glaze on wood panel paintings by Erik Sandberg, digital photographs by Julee Holcombe and drawings by Avish Khebrehzadeh.

Hidden Track

Hidden Track is a new art book by Robert Klanten about to be published.

The book's pre-publishing publicity states that:

"the book illustrates how urban and street art have recently broken even further out of the subculture and are being featured more often in galleries and museums worldwide. It analyses how these public art forms are being perceived in an international art context and investigates the fundamentally different forms of presentation that this new context demands."
Artists featured include Dave Kinsey, Barry McGee and Mark Jenkins' Storker Project.

As far as I know or can remember, two of our area's art galleries (us and David Adamson) have recently featured street artists, and I included a couple of them in Seven. I am curious as to who will be the first DC area museum curator to curate, organize and/or include a street artist in a DC museum show.

But when and if they do, I bet they will go to either NYC or LA or London streets to look for the street artists; after all their streets are better than our streets.

Update: I am reminded that there was one other street artist show in the District a while back that we don't want to forget: Ron English at MOCA in Georgetown. English is in many ways a "founder of the movement" and took on Camel Ads. His work was also featured in that movie "Supersize Me."

There was also the documentary ("Popaganda: The Art of Ron English") in a small DC film festival. Showed English doing his billboard wheatpaste overs and they had interviews with Mark Clark, Slash from Guns n Roses, and Jonathan Levine.

Sheila Blake Responds

Options 2005 artist Sheila Blake responds to my criticism of her work:

Dear Lenny,

It's possible to look at two thousand, or 20 thousand paintings and still miss what looking is all about. Fortunately for me, Libby Lumpkin has that ability but I wish you'd at least concede that there are some things that you don't understand -- (I love Vermeer, but that has nothing to do with my intention; The tradition I work in has much more to do with Bonnard and Rousseau, Birchfield and Wolf Kahn).

My paintings can be looked at forever and they'll keep yielding up new things. The most superficial way of seeing them is that they're paintings of my back yard. (Although if you came out to my back yard, that's not what you'd see.) What I'm doing is constructing a reality and if you'd let yourself enter into the paintings, really walk around in them, you'd feel the air, and a specific moment in time. If you look up at the sky there'd be the surprise of that particular sky and the whole configuration of buildings and trees creates spaces that you can wander up to, through, even around and be endlessly satisfied. And there is also an ominous quality -- spring isn't the pastel spring that you think of, but some almost acidic feeling of being oversaturated with the moist air. Winter has to do with the rhythm of the bare branches and shadows and the golden light hitting the tops of the trees and sometimes a feeling of gloom. If you look at the pastels, the information is in them; they are my point of departure, but then the paintings are re-imagined to create a new reality.(That's not kudzu on the tree -- it's Virginia creeper, but what's on the real tree is English ivy. The crepe myrtle I lifted from Pinehurst N.C. along with the loblolly pine.) And then there's the light. The way I use color to create light has everything to do with the most subtle color interactions.

It's easy to dismiss as the cliché' of "light" -- but who really does this in the way I do? My color isn't representational, but creates a light and atmosphere which can be felt. I've never seen it and I'll bet you haven't either.

I'm writing this because I'm so disappointed at the superficial way you have categorized and dismissed my work. It's clear from your critique that you are either unable or unwilling to immerse yourself in a deeper way of looking.

I'm going to quote Jed Perl here: "the more an artist asks us to look at a work over a period of time, the more a work drops beneath the radar screens that criticism has set up to track the contemporary scene."

I have the highest standards for my paintings. I mean every single brush stroke. I've been a painter my whole life; I taught at Duke for years and at the Corcoran.

I know what I'm talking about. My hope is that you'll think about what I'm saying and take another look.

Sheila Blake