Friday, December 02, 2005

Party on Saturday

Studio One Eight has a "Holiday Kickoff Champagne Party" which will take place tomorrow, Saturday December 3rd, from 7-10pm.

The party is for "Threesome: A Girl, a Guy, and a Gay" at Studio One Eight, which is a new gallery in Adams Morgan located at 2452 18th St. NW in DC. The show features new paintings and drawings by Dana Ellyn Kauffman, Gregory Ferrand and Scott G. Brooks.

Sounds like the place to be on Saturday night!

Tate is the word that we've heard (part III)

This is the last weekend to see Tim Tate's third solo exhibition, currently on display at our Fraser Gallery Bethesda.

Sales have been brisk, and nearly half the exhibition, which consists of 45 pieces, is sold. Tate's previous two solos have sold out, and this one (which is by far his largest exhibition ever) is well on the way.

500 Glass ObjectsBut there's more good news: as a result of this show, Tate will be exhibiting next year at Vanderbilt University.

Furthermore, two of his narrative wall panels have made their way to the permanent collection of the University of Virginia Art Museum, and we're now negotiating with two other museums for more acquisitions (none of them are DC-based museums... sigh).

And two of Tate's pieces will be part of 500 Glass Objects, to be published soon by Lark Books and edited by Susan Kieffer.

The show was reviewed by Dr. Claudia Rousseau. Read that review here. And the Washington Blade also did a nice article about Tate. Read that article here. And WETA TV did a little television piece.

I tried really hard to convince Jessica Dawson to come by and look at the show, but so far she has ignored all three of Tim Tate's shows (more on that later).

And, as many of you know, the new proposed baseball stadium is slated to land right on top of the current location for the Washington Glass School (Tate is the co-founder and co-director), and they're being kicked out through the eminent domain trick.

Their original intent was to move the school to Prince George's County in Maryland, but they are now working on an even better opportunity in Arlington, Virginia.

In the interim, the Washington Glass School will be holding classes in their temporary home at the Arlington Arts Center.

They will be reopening on a larger scale somewhere between March and June of 2006 with double the classrooms and triple the kiln space! This incredible opportunity came upon them quite suddenly, and I will keep you posted as to the status and exact location as soon as all papers have been signed.

Meanwhile come see the show before it closes next Wednesday.

Video Killed the Radio (and Art?) Star

Video killed the radio star
Video killed the radio star

Pictures came and broke your heart
Oh-a-a-a oh

Bruce Woolley and the Camera Club

Michael O'Sullivan's eloquent review in today's WaPo makes a powerful point about art videos. Read it here.

And it got me to thinking.

I don't hide the fact that most art videos (which I have sometimes called artists' home movies) leave me pretty ambivalent, especially as I try to view them as art, rather than entertainment.

In the nearly 70 year history of artists' home movies, I can probably count in one hand the number of them that I would even remotely consider as something more than a low budget attempt at making a film, and most of those on that list start before the VCR was invented.

Nonetheless, it is a fact that most of the voices in the art world that count and weigh in a lot heavier than mine, do still view video (pun intended) as the leading edge for creativity in the modern dialogue of the visual arts (even though the genre is now in its 7th decade).

Witness the recent video overload in the Whitney Biennial list as the most recent evidence.

History lesson for anyone born after 1980 or so: Before everyone had VCRs or DVD players in their homes, if you wanted to see a movie, you generally had to go to a movie theatre, and many American cities had a seedy neighborhood where porn theatres were concentrated - when I was a kid in Brooklyn, that seedy area was in and around Times Square in NYC.

And just like video killed the radio star, it also killed seedy porn theatres all over the landscape but concurrently it gave the porn industry a huge new life that they had never hereto dreamed of and also gave them access to the privacy of the home as it eliminated the requirement to visit a seedy theatre in order to view a porn movie.

And as O'Sullivan intelligently deduces, now the Vlogging Revolution hands us all a brilliant opportunity to once and for all do for art videos what VCRs and DVDs did for the porn industry (in a sense), but in this case remove them from our galleries and museums and put them on the web, where we can watch them whenever and wherever we want!

This is a win-win situation for nearly all.

Not for us mossbacks, but it will open up gallery and museum space for other artsy stuff, whatever else "new art" may be lurking out there now disguised as technology (I predict some sort of hologram-type stuff). And for art video aficionados, it will deliver an exponential growth in the genre, as millions of weekend arts and crafts projects now take to the web and populate millions of Vlogs full of new videos.

And as soon as your Aunt Elvira (I do have an aunt so named) sets aside her weekend watercolors and oils, and picks up the new family digital camera (now fully capable of recording movies) and starts making art movies by the millions, I can guarantee that curators will leave tire tracks on their way to find something "new" in art.

The allure of the "new" in art has been an interesting topic for discussion over at Thinking About Art, and I found the below comment by Lou Gagnon right on the point of the issue:
Innovation, in technology, is important in that it offers "new" tools and techniques. What is made with these new tools and techniques is typically derivative of what was made with the old tools. Most innovation is fueled by a desire to make an existing process more efficient.

Humans have been mixing pigment with fat to document the human condition for tens of thousands of years. The innovations of fresco, oil or acrylic are derivative improvements. Photography offered efficient alternatives to painting in the already established need to document contemporary life (events, people and places). Video offers alternatives to photography in that the linear format has the potential to distribute a more explicit narrative.

Efficiency and effectiveness are not the same. The limit to a tool's effectiveness is in the imagination of the maker. In art, I believe effectiveness is measure by the power of a work to engage people. Does the engagement temporarily distract someone from his or her daily existence or does it shift his or her paradigms and actions? Work premised on technology will be irrelevant when the technology changes. Work premised on the human condition has the potential to be timeless. Have there been innovations in light, color or form? What about fear, love, desire, freedom or apathy?

The "new" in art is that unique intimate engagement between an individual and his or her relationship with these larger issues. That fragile union between the ephemeral and the eternal is magic.


Later today I am going to delete from the DC Art News BLOGroll all those listed bloggers who haven't posted stuff in months.

Why BLOGrollem if no blogging takes place?

At least my deletions will be because of lack of activity rather than pettyness.

Elephant Dung

We've all been bored to death with all the attention that some American museums have been getting online due to a variety of unethical lapses, deaccessioning of artwork, construction or deconstruction, parking lots, etc.


And over in that odd amalgamation of countries and peoples known as Great Britain, they're having their own issues (pronounced the BBC-way or eesssssius), with the Tate spending well over a million dollars (£705,000) in acquiring Christopher Ofili's work The Upper Room, which is partly made by using a few dozen dollops of elephant dung.

It's not the elephant doody that is the issue, but that at

"...the heart of the affair is the fact that, when The Upper Room was purchased from him for £705,000 earlier this year, Ofili was himself a Tate trustee. This, critics say, represents a major conflict of interest. It also seems to contradict official Tate guidelines, which say: "Even the perception of a conflict of interest in relation to a board member can be extremely damaging to the body's reputation."
Read the story in The Independent here.

About ten years ago, something somewhat similar (in my opinion) on a much lesser scale, happened here in DC as a result of a very generous donation left in the will of DC area artist Gene Davis to the then-named National Museum of American Art (now called the Smithsonian American Art Museum).

Read that story, published in 1995 in the WaPo, here.