The current "Interface" exhibition in our Bethesda gallery has really been drawing a diverse and constant flow of visitors, including several schools who have come in groups to see the show.
And Claire Watkins amazing magnetism-based kinetic sculptures have really been drawing the "oohs" and "aaahs" from nearly everyone. Watkins is a recent graduate of VCU's highly acclaimed postgraduate sculptural program, ranked number one in the nation (I am told).
The hypnotizing sculpture of the rotating magnet, hanging from a plastic, clear bracket and attracting a set of ever moving, dancing needles has clearly become the star attraction of the exhibit.
To me, the interesting thing about this sculpture is the fact that it will never be the same once de-installed and re-installed in whatever collector's home it ends up in (it's still available for sale by the way). When the sculpture sells, Watkins will have to go to the collector's home and install the work in a chosen area.
I suspect this will be a placement chosen by both artist and buyer, and brings some interesting questions to the whole classification of the piece. For example, a smart thing for the collector to do, is the video the whole installation event, as I found it fascinating to see Watkins weave the installation of the sculpture in the gallery's corner space. It would be particularly interesting to see her re-create that, in a different space (someone's home) once the piece sells.
On the gallery’s main wall, her other three sculptural arrangements hang: two triptychs and a diptych. They are ink and acrylic etchings on a copper plate, floating away from the wall, projected from a plastic armature that hides a small motor. The hidden motor rotates a small magnet, and this magnet, in turn, causes pins and iron filings to dance and move on the surface of the etchings.
And the interesting thing that I've noticed over the days since she installed the pieces, is that the metal filings, pins and other metallic objects that dance and move on the surface of the etchings... ah... move! So it seems that the movement is not only driven by the rotating magnet behind it, but also by the ever changing magnetic fields of the Earth itself.
What does this mean? It means that these sculptures are never, ever quite the same at any given second; they're always evolving and changing and moving. One day the filings have climbed atop pins and radiate outwards; a few days later a lonely pin has drifted away from the pack, and so on.
Watkins, who now lives in New York City, is currently speaking with several New York galleries and I am sure that we will continue to hear great things about this talented young artist.
"Interface" runs through February 8, 2006.
Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Conner Contemporary Art is damned pleased to introduce the work of Fatima Hoang, Michael Magnan, Maki Maruyama, Annie Schap, Zach Storm and Matthew Sutton in Whippersnappers – an exhibition of young, bright, culturally astute artists who, in their opinion, rock.
There will be an opening night reception at Conner Contemporary Art on Friday, February 3rd from 6-8pm, and the show runs through March 11.
Adrianne Mills and company had a load of fun painting some bodies last weekend at the Anne C. Fisher Gallery in Georgetown. See loads of images here.
By the way, the person getting painted is the very talented artist Michal Hunter.
There's still time to catch "Bodies of Work" at the gallery, and see some of Mills' intelligent photography on this sensual subject. The show runs through Feb. 11, 2006.
Society for the Arts in Healthcare
Provides grants and free technical assistance to local arts agencies partnered with health organizations to establish or enhance existing arts and healing programs.
Programs may range from artist residencies, exhibits, concerts and bed-side crafts activities in hospitals to artists working with visiting nurses, hospice and nursing homes.
For more information or application forms, contact:
Society for the Arts in Healthcare
2437 15th St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
Phone: (202) 299-9770
College Art Association
The College Art Association assists artists financially in completion of MFA and Ph.D. programs. Grants of up to $5,000 are awarded to individual artists.
Deadline is ongoing. For information, contact:
The College Art Association
275 7th Ave.
New York, NY 10001
Phone: (212) 691-1051
Monday, January 30, 2006
Update: Trip cancelled!
Airborne today and heading to the Left Coast. A rather unplanned trip! And it bugs me that I'll miss the opening of what sounds like a very interesting exhibition opening this Thursday at Nevin Kelly Gallery.
Nevin Kelly Gallery will open an exhibition of works that gallery owner Nevin J. Kelly acquired in a recent trip to Poland. The show, which began its run on January 5, features works by five Polish artists who have been featured in past exhibitions, plus works by a recent graduate of the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts who is new to the gallery. A mid-run reception will be held on Thursday, February 2, from 6 until 9 o’clock at the gallery’s exhibition space, 1517 U Street, NW in Washington.
Please go, and someone email me a review of the exhibition.
Opportunity for Artists
Deadline February 24, 2006
John A. Wilson Building Accepting Submissions for Art Collection. The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities is currently accepting applications for the Wilson Building Public Art Collection. The Wilson Building is located downtown at 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW.
The historic building serves as the headquarters for the Mayor and City Council for the District of Columbia. The works purchased through this call for entries are specifically designated for permanent installation in the Wilson Building.
Download the application here.
I have some thoughts and opinions on this terrific opportunity, so more on this call later.
Saturday, January 28, 2006
Friday, January 27, 2006
I just found out that Ken Oda died on January 15, 2006, and this obituary in the WaPo is astonishing to me in its absolute lack of mention of Oda's massive contributions to the DC area arts scene through the publication of the Ken Oda Art Newsletter (KOAN), which for many years was the main documentation of what the Greater Washington area visual arts was all about.
You can add a personal note about Ken online in his WaPo obit here.
The Ken Oda Art Newsletter and later on the Ken Oda Art Newsletter ArtWOW website were for many years the strongest documentary voice of what was going on in the visual arts around here.
Ken Oda gathered a diverse group of writers, assigned reviews, interviews and article ideas to them, and then sent us around the Greater DC area to cover what was going on in our galleries and museums. He then assembled all of our reviews, cut and pasted a magazine together, had it printed and then hand delivered the magazine to nearly all galleries in the area as well as posted them to his many subscribers.
He was tireless in his zeal to expose to the public the great art scene that was and is the Greater DC area, and was one of the first voices around here to actually do something about the apathy of the mainstream media in covering our visual art scene. As an editor he was fair and sensitive to all points of view. Oda and I disagreed on nearly everything that dealt with contemporary art, and his tastes and mine (in art) were world's apart. Nonetheless, we shared many a glass of wine and many a beer discussing these differences, and his ability to always keep an open mind, and refrain from pushing his own point of view to the exclusion of others was one of his greatest gifts as an editor, art collector extraordinaire and friend.
At one point Ken burned out from the publishing demands and the magazine ended; I am told that a complete set of the KOAN Art Newsletter is now part of the archives of the Library of Congress, as a reference tool for historians and people who want to know what was going on on our area's galleries and museums in the 1990s; to a detail and granularity that none of the newspapers ever covered (and it has gotten significantly worse since then - back in those days both the "Galleries" column and the "Arts Beat" column were weekly columns and both of them focused on the visual arts).
And then Ken became one of the first to take his crusade to expose the DC art scene to the world on the Internet, and somewhere in the late 90s he started ArtWOW, with reviews, interviews and a message board, which for a long time was one of the only online voices to discuss and talk about DC area art.
Ken's illness took us all by surprise, and a few weeks ago most of the writers and friends who knew Ken Oda gathered to pay an homage to Oda. I recall that he looked frail, but was happy and loquacious as ever. In retrospect I now realize that Ken was probably hiding not only a lot of pain, but also making all of us feel better and secure about his presence.
Ken Oda will be missed, but his footprint and his legacy on the Greater Washington area art scene lives in the minds and hearts and resumes and bibliographies of the thousands of artists whose shows were reviewed in KOAN over the years, as well as on the silent thanks of future historians who will have access to the past issues of his newsletter to find out what the visual arts in Washington, DC were all about in the 1990s.
Farewell my friend, and thank you!
Update: In defense of the WaPo's short notice about Ken, the WaPo tells me that "although it falls under 'obituaries' on the site, it's technically what we call a "death notice" in the paper (much shorter, with bare-bones biographical info -- it doesn't even have his age!!). If a true, bylined obituary had been written, I'm sure his contributions to the art scene would have been mentioned."
Create an e-annoyance: go to jail
For the SOB who has recently kidnapped my email address and is now sending mass emails out to everyone (including me): annoying someone via the Internet is now a federal crime.
It's no joke. Last January 5, 2006, President Bush signed into law a new prohibition on posting annoying Web messages or sending annoying e-mail messages without disclosing your true identity.
So starting January 5, 2006, it's apparently actually illegal to flame someone under a false name in a blog's comments or any other place.
"The use of the word 'annoy' is particularly problematic," says Marv Johnson, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. "What's annoying to one person may not be annoying to someone else."
For some bastard to kidnap my email address and then send out mass emailings is annoying not only to me but also to everyone who gets it as if from me. I'm gonna find you buddy, and then I'm gonna take the new law into my own hands and kick your ass.
Read the story here.
Two New Caravaggios Discovered!
I just finished reading Jonathan Harr's superb The Lost Painting.
The book is the story, told by Harr masterfully as an art detective story of sorts, of the discovery of Caravaggio's The Taking of the Christ in a Jesuit residence in Ireland.
I strongly recommend it if:
(a) you like a detective story,
(b) want to learn a little about Caravaggio's life and
(c) want to learn a lot about restoring a painting.
Also note how even great masters can make an error when dealing with the figure. Look at the painting and then observe how the arm of Judas, as it hugs Christ and is partially covered by the metal-clad arm of the Roman guard, is way too short as the foreshortening has been completely screwed up by Caravaggio. Maybe that's why he's looking so intently at the scene (Caravaggio is the man holding the light in the extreme right of the painting).
But now (thanks AJ), the BBC tells us that: "Art historians have spoken of their shock and delight after two paintings discovered in a French church were found to be by old master Caravaggio. Pilgrimage of Our Lord to Emmaus and Saint Thomas Putting his Finger on Christ's Wound have hung in the town of Loches for nearly two centuries."
Read the story here.
Thursday, January 26, 2006
Washington Sculptors Group
The Washington Sculptors Group is one of the most active and talent-loaded artists' organizations in our area.
I have been hearing good things and need to take a trip to Pepco’s Edison Gallery to see the Washington Sculptors Group and WPA/C's Sculpture Unbound Show.
But before I forget, I also wanted to mention (so that everyone can get this on their schedules) about Sculpture Now: 2006, an exhibition of the Washington Sculptors Group, juried by by my good friend and ubercurator Sarah Tanguy.
The exhibition opens on Feb. 6 and runs through May 5, 2006, but the opening eception is Thursday February 16, 2006 from 6:00-8:30 pm, with a juror's talk at 7:30 pm, on that same night. The exhibit will be at:
1050 Connecticut Avenue NW
(at "L" Street)
Washington, DC 20036
(Red line to Farragut North)
8:30am to 9:00pm, Monday through Saturday
Tanguy said about this exhibit:
"...the 42 selected works offer insights into the Washington Sculptors Group’s current interests as well as a spectrum of approaches, materials, and themes. From figurative stone studies, mixed media installations, to abstract steel compositions, the exhibition explores science and math, and to a larger extent nature, the self and culture."
Wanna go to an opening tomorrow?
The Arlington Arts Center's "Deja Vu: A New View" opens tomorrow with a reception for all 81 artists from 6-9PM.
The exhibition is a "robust exhibition of artworks created in the last three years by 81 artists who exhibited at the Arlington Arts Center before its expansion and renovation. This large and wide-ranging invitational show brings together works in sculpture, painting, drawing, collage, fine craft, photographs, prints, installation and video, offering a unique overview of the new works of many artists who are now familiar to the public. Some of the artists included are Foon Sham, Rebecca Kamen, Pat Goslee, Patrick Craig, Erik Sandberg, and Marc Robarge."
The exhibition runs through March 18, 2006.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Millennium Arts Salon
One of the really good benefits in living in such a vibrant art scene as the one that surrounds our Greater Washington, DC area is the astounding number of art venues that keep adding great positive things to our cultural tapestry.
One such good venue, and one that is new to me, is the Millennium Arts Salon, which is directed by Juanita and Mel Hardy. Their vision states that:
Millennium Arts Salon supports artistic expression and advances cultural literacy through its art programming, which includes exhibitions, gallery talks, and interviews of visual and performing artists, writers, art critics, and other prominent individuals in the arts.See their 2006 Calendar of Events here.
Back from NPR
Just back from doing about 45 minutes on the Kojo Nnamdi Show discussing the Greater Washington area visual arts and artists along with the City Paper's art critic Jeffry Cudlin and the Katzen's Jack Rassmussen.
If you missed the show, you can listen to it on WAMU 88.5 FM by clickling this link for the first part and the end of the show here.
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
He Who Owns the Walls (can censor it?)
A couple of weeks ago I told you that the Mid City Artists were holding their Winter Art Exhibition at the Results Gallery at Results the Gym Capitol Hill.
And Anne Marchand attended the opening together with artist Angela White and were surprised to discover that (as Marchand reports) they were:
"Surprised when two of Angela's oils on canvas weren't hung by the management because a certain part of the male anatomy was visible. A classical nude by Regina Miele was also NOT hung by the management." Today in the WaPo's Reliable Source column, Amy Artsinger and Rozanne Roberts pick up on the story first reported by Marchand in her Blog.
The WaPo's Reliable Source reports that:
...it's in the club policy: "Because of our family-friendly environment, we don't hang artwork that adults wouldn't feel comfortable discussing with their children," said Sarah French , director of operations.Apparently that also applies to paintings and drawings.
White's a "great artist," said French, but crossed the "no nudity" line: "You've got to be clothed outside the locker area."
See Adrian Parsons' post on this same subject here.
Monday, January 23, 2006
On the air on Wednesday
Later this week (on Wednesday, January 25, 2006) I'll be on the Kojo Nmandi Show discussing the Greater Washington area visual arts and artists as I usually do once a quarter or so. Tune in to WAMU 88.5 FM around 12 PM (noon).
If you have any questions or art issues, you can call Kojo during the show at (800) 433-8850 or you can email me questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
After the show I will post here all the websites and information that we discuss on the air.
Kirkland on PostSecret and Campello
Thinking About Art has a review of the amazing PostSecret phenomenom and also of my recent exhibition.
Read both of them here.
Sunday, January 22, 2006
There's a new gallery in town. Nowuno Gallery is located at 403 Constitution Avenue, NE in DC and can be reached at (202) 546-9071 and website here.
Nowuno represents the work of Henrik Sundqvist, Amanda Kates, Laurence King, Aaron Brophy, T.H. Gomillion, Eileen T. Wold, Robert Lindsay, Heather Levy, Jay Rees, James Green, Vèrta Reyes, and Rebecca Tiffany.
By the way Heather Levy is currently having a solo show at Gallery Frame Avenue, located at 4919 Cordell Avenue, in Bethesda (through Feb. 3, 2006). Read Alexandra Silverthorne's review of that show here.
Cosmos on Erickson
The fair Heather, from Two Timing the Cosmos, has a really eloquent review of the current Bruce Erickson exhibition at our Fraser Gallery Georgetown farewell show.
Read it here.
By the way, Heather is a pretty good photographer on her own right. See her work here.
Yuan Fu and the Katzen opening
So last night I went to the multi-opening reception at the Katzen Arts Center (I love that building by the way! And about time that we have a place in the DC area where one can actually park for an opening - for free - in less than a minute). And it was packed to the rafters with everyone and anyone in the DC area remotely interested in DC visual arts.
I saw and talked to most DC gallery owners, collectors, bloggers and artists (I skipped the grubs), and while talking to the talented Mary Coble (represented locally by Conner Contemporary and who is soon heading to Costa Rica on vacation and has learned that if you spell S-O-C-K-S, it literally means (in Spanish) "That's what it is."), I discovered that she's a vegetarian and thus I told her about the recent epiphany that I had while visiting Yuan Fu Restaurant in Rockville.
I will have to return to the Katzen and spend more time looking at the great exhibitions currently on display there. More on that later.
But, as promised to Mary, more on Yuan Fu Restaurant now.
I am not, have never been, and will never be a vegetarian. I respect people who are, but I am not one of them/you.
So it was with somewhat of a slight trepidation that I allowed myself to be invited into Yuan Fu a few days ago.
It was amazing Chinese food!
I had a culinary epiphany!
Let me tell you about it: To start, there's a little explanation about the food on the cover of their menus. It almost apologizes because all the dishes are labeled as if they were actually chicken, pork, seafood, beef, etc. and it reassures the public that it is all 100% vegetarian (they use gluten, tofu, vegetables and tofu skin for their dishes) and no MSG is used. They also discuss that they use less oil that the average Chinese restaurant, and there is even a special Non-Fat section of the menu.
And then you open the menu, and see the photos of the dishes; and they all look like the "real thing."
In other words, the kitchen artists at Yuan Fu actually take the vegetarian ingridents and shape and mold and color them to look (and taste) just like the real thing; it's an amazing feat of culinary trompe l'oeil and trompe la bouche at the same time!
I first ordered an assorted plate of appetizers, and my eyes couldn't believe that I was not eating duck, sausages, spring rolls, etc. I also ordered the roasted duck and cilantro rolls (which came with plum sauce... yummy) and they were delicious as well!
Then for my main course, we ordered Moshu Pork and Mahi. The pork dish looked and tasted like pork, and that nicely crisped skin on the Mahi was actually seaweed!
And the staff was great! When I actually ordered in Chinese, I thought the entire kitchen staff was going to come out and chat. The Chinese lady who owns the place came out, and then started talking to me in Spanish, and we began to discuss the significant number of Cuban people of Chinese ancestry, and how Chinese Cuban food has evolved into an interesting branch of culinary rarity.
Anyway: I loved this place and will return many times. Go visit them often.
Yuan Fu is located at 798 Rockville Pike, in Rockville and it is open Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. A lunch special is available from opening to 1:30 p.m. Telephone: (301) 762-5937 or (301) 762-5938.
Saturday, January 21, 2006
To Roanoke, Virginia- based artist Susan Jamison, who has has joined Irvine Contemporary.
Jamison's work came to the attention of Martin Irvine through the Seven exhibition last year. Her striking and provocative egg tempera portraits of women and large panel paintings have received extraordinary acclaim. The selection of her works that Irvine featured at Scope/Miami sold out in a few hours.
Susan's new body of work, including her egg tempera panel paintings and new drawings, will be on view in a solo show at Irvine in May.
Friday, January 20, 2006
One of the things that I could always count after nine years in Georgetown is the fact that I would get 2-3 parking tickets a year.
And tonight I got the farewell parking ticket from the highly efficient Ubermetermaid Storm Troopers crack squad of Georgetown parking enforcers. It brought back memories of the day that parking meters went from expiring at 6:30PM to expiring at 10PM (no notice given) and the orgy of tickets that followed; or the two or three times that a massive truck would take a spot and a half of the space on 31st Street, just before the Canal, but I would get the ticket because my van's rear end would then stick out a foot past the "no parking" sign.
But tonight, when I arrived at the gallery, I found the primo Doris Day parking spot (so named because I always noticed how in the old Doris Day movies everyone always seems to find a parking spot in New York City or wherever the movie takes place, right in front of where they are going). And so I park, and feed the meter six quarters before I notice that it is blinking "fail."
So I tape a piece of paper over the meter, explaining what the issue is, and then proceed to unload the van. In between the time that it takes to carry a few bottles of wine from 31st Street to the Canal Square, on a return trip I find a shiny new ticket from Officer Johnson, and the note gone.
A ticket for $25 samolians as a farewell gift from Georgetown to me.
Thursday, January 19, 2006
Opportunity for Artists
Deadline: February 24, 2006
Wilson Building Public Art Program Call for Artists: The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities is currently accepting applications for the John A. Wilson Building Public Art Program. The works purchased through this call for artists are specifically designated for permanent installation in the Wilson Building.
For more information and an application, please visit the Commission's website to download the Call for Artists and application, or call 202-724-5613.
And then there was one...
The final exhibit at the Fraser Gallery Georgetown opens tomorrow, Friday January 20, 2006 with an opening reception (from 6-9PM) for Bruce Erickson, winner of the 2005 Georgetown International Fine Arts Competition. The exhibition closes on February 15, 2006.
Catriona Fraser and I opened the Georgetown Fraser Gallery in 1996, and for the last ten years our gallery has been one of the key independent fine arts galleries in the Washington, DC area. A second, larger gallery, four times the size of the Georgetown gallery, opened in Bethesda, Maryland in 2002.
Since 1996 we have been working hard to deliver the best in contemporary realism, fine art photography and narrative glass sculpture in the region. Additionally, the galleries have become one of the the premier exhibit spaces for contemporary Cuban and European artists.
"The location is only one factor in the success or failure of a gallery. Our gallery is now a destination for collectors because they appreciate our knowledge of contemporary artists working in this region and most importantly: we have a realistic understanding of the art market here. The relationships that we have with both the artists that we represent and our collectors is something that can’t be developed overnight... it takes time, honesty, integrity and a lot of hard work," said Catriona Fraser.
The Fraser Gallery in Georgetown will close at the end of the February 2006 exhibition, which appropriately enough brings the Washington, DC debut of Pennsylvania artist Bruce Erikson, winner of the Eight Annual Georgetown International Fine Arts Competition, juried and selected by Jack Rassmussen, Curator and Director, Katzen Art Center at American University.
2005 has been the galleries’ best year ever for sales, as well as a record number of museum acquisitions and the highest number of published reviews about our exhibitions ever both in the U.S. and abroad.
As our region continues to grow and expand with more fine art galleries opening every year, we feel confident that both our artists and collectors will continue to benefit from our commitment to the visual arts in this region as we focus our energies into one space in Bethesda.
Catriona and Lennox
I've been hearing good things and hope to drop by soon to see "Pictures of Nothing: Abstraction," new paintings by Rosetta DeBerardinis on exhibit through Feb. 28 at Ozmosis Gallery, 7908 Woodmont Ave., in Bethesda. Gallery hours: Tues. - Sat. 12:00 - 6:00 PM and by appointment. For more information go to www.ozmosisgallery.com or call 301-664-9662
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Tapedude gives DC streets a sugar rush
Mark Jenkins has been at it again.
This time he has transformed the parking meters around the Department of Energy into huge lollipops.
See them all here.
"Who Do You Love?"
Ian Jehle is moderating a series of art panels at DCAC and it's time for round two this coming Sunday.
On Sunday he's moderating the second panel of the four part panel series "Who Do You Love?" This one will focus on abstraction. The scheduled panelists are: Jonathan Bucci, Isabel Manalo, Jiha Moon, Jack Rasmussen & Robin Rose.
The event starts at 7:30 in the theater at DCAC. Thanks to everyone you made it to panel #1 and to the first group of panelists: Richard Chartier, Kathryn Cornelius, Jeffry Cudlin, Brandon Morse and Jefferson Pinder.
7:30 pm, DCAC, 2438 18th Street NW, Washington DC 20009 - (202) 462-7833
Jan 22 - Part 2: Abstraction, not Abstraction - panelists: Jonathan Bucci, Isabel Manalo, Jiha Moon, Jack Rasmussen, Robin Rose
Feb 5 - Part 3: Using the Figure - panelists: Lisa Bertnick, Nekisha Durrett, Allison Miner, Michael O'Sullivan, Erik Sandberg
Feb 12 - Part 4: Installation, Site-specific - panelists: Mary Coble, Jayme McLellan, Ira Tattelman
Talking points will include:
- "Who's your great grand daddy?" - artistic lineage: personal and public
- "Within these hallowed halls" - public museums as the apex of the art venue pyramid
- "Raphael is my copilot" - technique, refinement and presentation vis-a-vis the Old Masters
- "The boys and girls of spring" - the influence of major collectors (Phillips, Mellon and others)
- "What's not to love" - gaps in the DC artistic paean
- "And now ..." - where does individual practice and our local art scene intersect the contemporary art world?
Scheduled panelists include: Lisa Bertnick, Jonathan Bucci, Richard Chartier, Mary Coble, Kathryn Cornelius, Jeffry Cudlin, Nekisha Durrett, Isabel Manalo, Jayme McLellan, Allison Miner, Jiha Moon, Brandon Morse, Michael O'Sullivan, Jefferson Pinder, Jack Rasmussen, Robin Rose, Erik Sandberg & Ira Tattelman.
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Campello Comes Down Tomorrow
My current exhibition at the Fraser Georgetown space comes down tomorrow.
Below is the review of the show published in the last issue of the Georgetowner newspaper by John Blee:
The Obsessions and Duende of Lenny Campello
F. Lennox (Lenny) Campello, one of the lynchpins of the DC art scene, is having a show in Georgetown at the Fraser Gallery (1054 31st St. NW, Tues. - Fri. Noon - 3pm, Sat. Noon -6pm).
Campello renders mythic scenes with mystery. He has complete mastery of his medium and works on a ground that seems to come from deep dreaming.
Campello writes on his dcartnews.blogspot.com, the premiere art blog of DC, "For some reason snowy days seem to inspire me to get down and draw. And I was up and early this morning and finished (a) somewhat silly drawing."
The drawing, "Woman on the Moon About to be Swept Off Her Feet by a Flying Bald Man," has a relation to Goya's darkness, or duende. Unlike Goya, Campello does not offer a social or political message. Like Goya, he creates enigmatic juxtapositions of figures or figure and space (as in "Another Obsessive Jackie Kennedy Portrait"), hinting at something disquieting.
Campello states "Myth is one of the driving forces in my work! I love it when someone discovers a bit of legend, or history or religion through one of my works."
Being a gladiator at heart, Lenny takes on some of the major myths from Marilyn to John the Baptist to Frida Kahlo to Saint Sebastian. He is fearless.
His Frida Kahlo is an homage to the Mexican artist and icon. The work presents a calm Kahlo, but in its off-placement on the page there is something that makes it not quite rest-in-peace. It is Campello's uneasy atmosphere of dream that is as much the subject of the work as the stormy Kahlo herself. Campello has been drawing Kahlo since 1977. He has also done hundreds of portraits of Marilyn and Che.
In his "Saint Sebastian" it is the flight of the arrows that is as much the drama as the piercing of the flesh of the poor saint. The enclosure and evocation of the space in the drawing is again the subject as much as the arrow's fight and their unfortunate trajectory.
Campello's drawings from the female nude, including "An Unmarried Woman" and "Woman Thinking of the Sun" present a different aspect of this artist. Here there is a quiet and devout sensuality: a worshipper at the source. (through January 18, 2006)
Adrian Parsons has a new arts blog: In the City for Art and a Job.
And already Adrian has gone dumpster-diving and come up with some good art!
Sunday, January 15, 2006
The Mid City Artists are holding their Winter Art Exhibition at the Results Gallery at Results the Gym Capitol Hill January 17 – March 12, 2006.
The Mid City Artists are a group comprising some of Washington’s most exciting artists whose talents are helping fuel the art scene in the City’s dynamic Dupont/Logan corridor.
The diverse group of visual artists, sculptors, and photographers participating in the Winter Art Exhibition at Results the Gym Capitol Hill includes Sondra Arkin, Jody Bergstresser, Kristina Bilonick, Tanja Bos, Robert Cole, Gary Fisher, Glenn Fry, Charlie Jones, Betto Ortiz, Anne Marchand, Regina Miele, Mark Parascandola, Byron Peck, Brian Petro, Mary Beth Ramsey, John Talkington, Peter Alexander Romero, Mike Weber, Angela White & Christine Williams.
Please join them for an opening reception held for the artists Thursday evening January 19, 2006, 6:30 – 8:30 PM at the Results Gym, 315 G St. SE, Washington, DC 20003.
Saturday, January 14, 2006
Brit painter wins inaugural Sovereign Art Prize
British painter Susan Gunn has beaten 30 shortlisted competitors from 22 countries to win 25,000 euros (a ton of dollars) in the first ever Sovereign Art Prize.
The prize was set up to celebrate the best in contemporary European painting and raise funds for the arts.
"This is a beginning for me... I'm not represented by a gallery yet and that's the next step," said Gunn.
Read the story here and see all thirty finalists here.
The opening for Interface: Art & Technology last night was very packed, and the whole performance of "Hopscotch" by Trawick prize winner David Page at 7PM was very interesting (and well-documented by the many people filming it). More later, but meanwhile here are some photos:
The above is one of four magnetism-driven sculptures by recent VCU Sculpture program graduate and now New York resident Claire Watkins. In the piece, a plastic armature suspends a square magnet, tilted askew, which is then rotated slowly by a hidden motor. The needles approach the magnet from several angles throughout the corner of the gallery where the sculpture has been installed, and float towards it, attracted and suspended by the power of the magnet. And as the magnet rotates, the needles dance a sensual dance driven by the magnetic fields of the ever-moving magnet.
In this piece, Hutchison has created a series of oil paintings of his eyes, looking in various directions. Working with Edwards, he has then created a video of the eyes that is governed by a computer program written by Edwards, that allow the eyes to follow you as one walks in front of the piece (it has a motion detector); as the eyes follow you, a hidden voice whispers to you.
Friday, January 13, 2006
Missing Close Calls with Big Money Art
Martin Bromirski at Anaba has found a piece of art in a Richmond Thift Shop by an artist apparently included in the 1973 Whitney Biennial.
Makes one wonder about the path for that piece, or what has happened to that particular artist (Lester Van Winkle). Read it here.
Finding (and sometimes missing) great artwork at unexpected places is one of the great thrills of an art lover's life... I think.
It has crossed my path a few times in the past.
First time: And I'll admit that I am not sure if this is a great piece of art, but it sure is an interesting and challenging one! Here's the story: When I was a student at the University of Washington School of Art from 1977 to 1981, as most of you know, I was already a rare but active Kahlophile, seeking and loving everything dealing with Frida Kahlo.
I can't recall where, I think it was in Bellevue, Washington, or perhaps in Richland (or one of the other Tri-Cities) in the desert area of Washington state, in a thrift shop, I found a large oil of Frida Kahlo (not by Frida Kahlo, but of Frida Kahlo) done in 1956.
The oil was framed, and inscribed on the back of the frame, was the notation (in Spanish) declaring that it was a portrait of Frida Kahlo de Rivera, commenced in 1949 and finished in 1956 (a few years after her death). I've spent countless hours trying to track down the artist who did the piece to no avail. But when I do find out who did this really early oil portrait of Kahlo, I hope that it will be big.
Oh yeah... (in case someone out there can help), it is signed by someone named "S. Goldbar" or "S.Golbor."
Second Time: Now it's 1986 or 1987... and I am at Post Graduate school in Monterey, California. And my then sister-in-law Donna came to visit, and we dropped by a small auction house in Monterey.
Donna liked a framed piece that was identified in the auction catalog as a poster by R.C. Gorman.
I looked at it and told Donna: "This looks like an original to me."
We discussed it for a while, and after me admitting that I wasn't a fan of Gorman (and she was), I agreed to bid for her (as the auction was to take place after she would have left Monterey).
To make a long story short, I won the lot for her for around $10; and it was - once I took it home and unframed it - an original piece just as I had suspected.
I took a Polaroid of the piece, and shipped it (along with the art) to Donna, telling her that she now owned an original R.C. Gorman, and she should contact the artist and send him the Polaroid and ask about the piece.
So I shipped it to her, and she apparently contacted Gorman, who wrote back (happy to find out where his original pastel was), confirming the piece's provenance.
That pastel must be worth a few tens of thousands Benjamins now...
Third Time: I think that it was in 1989, and I was living in Scotland and went for a weekend stay in Edinburgh and while there I visited the Royal Scottish Academy’s annual exhibition, which was opening on the same day that I arrived at that beautiful city.
They had two paintings by an unknown Scottish ex-miner named Jack Vettriano, and they reminded me of a very tough Hopper. I actually tried to buy them but at the last minute I chickened out.
They were around 300 pounds each (maybe $500 each at the time), and (as I had just received a huge heating oil bill), I talked myself out of buying it. They both sold on the first day of the exhibition.
Those two Vettriano paintings are probably each worth around a couple of million dollars today.
Fourth time: And Donna comes to visit me in Scotland, where I lived until 1992.
I am living at the Little Keithock Farmhouse, near Brechin, and I was hooked on going to the bi-monthly auctions in Panmure Row, Montrose by Taylor's Auction Rooms.
And we went to Taylor's Auction Rooms while she was visiting, and she liked one of the lots.
As I recall, it was a dirty mezzotint, correctly identified as a 19th century mezzotint by Landseer, with the subject of horses. It was framed in a handmade frame with broken glass, which had punctured and cut the mezzotint.
"Ah..." says Donna, "bid five pounds for me."
Donna leaves... auction comes up.
And I win it for her. Only one bid for five pounds.
And I bring it home.
And I take it out of the frame.
And (hidden by the moulding) I see a pencil note (and the seal) by Landseer's printmaker asking how Landseer likes this proof of the mezzotint, and I see Landseer's response, essentially approving the proof.
And (later after I ship it to her), Donna finds out that the Landseer proof of the mezzotint is worth a few thousand pounds (after it was restored).
Fifth time: And later on I became a good friend of Ian Taylor, who was the owner of the auction house.
And they even auctioned off several of my originals works of Scottish landscapes that I painted while I lived near Brechin in Angus.
And because of him (well, because of his auctions) I subsequently met Catriona at the auction house. And at the moment and and in the process of meeting her, I missed my bidding opportunity to win a sweet deal in winning an auction of an original watercolor by Jack Butler Yeats that sold for fifteen pounds!
Anxiously waiting for the sixth time.
Another story: Chris Goodwin relates that
My story isn't quite so dramatic, but was fun nevertheless.Email me your stories if you have some good one!
In late 2004, I was at Weschler's auction house and saw a large portfolio of posters, most of which were worthless and in poor shape. On top, though, and there for everyone to see, was an austere black and white geometrical image of Tony Smith's gargantuan sculpture "Gracehoper."
The poster was from the Detroit Institute of Art and commemorated its installation. Anyhow, I noticed in one corner what appeared to be a small signature by Tony Smith in white conte crayon.
I got the lot of posters for $35. I contacted a couple of his dealers and they verified that it was his signature and one of the dealers bought it for $450. Not too bad....
Thursday, January 12, 2006
Interface: Art & Technology
Yesterday I dropped by our Bethesda gallery to pick up some artwork that had to be handed to our delivery department (in other words me), and while there I ran into three of the artists installing work for our show opening tomorrow.
As I discussed earlier, this exhibition has been in preparation for over a year, and will showcase some truly amazing exercises of what happens when a talented artist meets technology.
I met the fair Claire Watkins, whose novel work first amazed me when I discovered it at the re-opening of the Arlington Arts Center. For Interface, Watkins has created two sets of works. In the first, she continues to explore the line of work that I first saw at Arlington - that is, wall sculptures that use hidden motors and magnets to deliver a visceral and organic pieces where metal shavings and pins move and dance on top of the surfaces of the works, in a constant and shifting and moving (almost organic) sculpture.
In a second piece, Watkins really pushes herself. She has installed a hanging wall bracket, from which a powerful (if small) earth magnet hangs. At an angle from the wall, and anchored to the wall, a series of threated needles float away from the wall, suspended in mid-air by the power of magnetism. It is minimalism at its purest and most elegant form!
And Trawick Prizewinner David Page continued to build the massive machinery that has everyone on the square abuzz.
Looking like some sort of medieval instrument of torture, the installation and performance will be take place tomorrow during the opening from 6-9PM. After that, DVDs of the performance will be available.
The exhibition includes new work by barely emerging artist Kathryn Cornelius (I'm itching to see her new video on the subject of technology), Claire Watkins, Scott Hutchison, Thomas Edwards, David Page, Philip Kohn and Andrew Wodzianski.
Don't miss this opening tomorrow at Fraser Bethesda from 6-9PM. See ya there!
Artist Housing Survey
The Cultural Development Corporation (CuDC) partners with developers to create affordable space for area artists and their families.
Currently, CuDC is hard at work cultivating new artist live/work housing projects in the District of Columbia and they need your input.
As CuDC begins to consider design specifications, amenities, and renting/owning expectations, an increased understanding of artists' specific needs is critical to the success of these projects.
Please visit this survey page to take this important survey.
Also, please join CuDC staff and other area artists to learn more about CuDC's current projects at one of the following Live/Work Housing Information Sessions:
* Tuesday, February 7, 2006, 6:30-8:30pm
* Sunday, February 26, 2006, 1:00-3:00pm
Both sessions will be held at the Mead Theatre Lab at Flashpoint: 916 G
Street, NW, convenient to both the Gallery Place and Metro Center Metro
stations. For more information call 202-315-1324.
Coming to the Katzen
The American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center is already asserting its presence in our region under the guidance of its savvy Director and Curator Jack Rasmussen. The Katzen is and will continue to grow as one of the most important art venues in the Mid Atlantic.
And next week they open their 2006 year with three equally interesting exhibitions; from their news release:
Remembering Marc and KomeiAll three exhibitions will open to the public on Wednesday, Jan. 18 and continue through Sunday, March 12, 2006.
This exhibition introduces the outstanding art collection of H. Marc Moyens who, with Komei Wachi, owned and operated Gallery K in Washington, DC for nearly three decades until their deaths, months apart, in 2003. Mixing local and national artists with Europeans often known better abroad than in the United States, Moyens and Wachi eschewed fashion in favor of the offbeat, the magical and the visually arresting. This selection, the first of its kind since Walter Hopps curated a show of Moyens's holdings for the Corcoran Gallery of Art in 1969-70, encompasses surrealistic/fantastic images by Ernst Fuchs, Jess, and Sandy Skoglund; expressive, metaphorical and raunchy figures by Lisa Brotman, Roy de Forest, Jean Dubuffet, Fred Folsom, Jody Mussoff and Joe Shannon, and diverse abstractions by Edward Dugmore, Tom Green, Pierre Soulages, and Ken Young.
From the Studio
This exhibition will showcase work by the 21 artists who make up the studio faculty in the Department of Art for the 2005-2006 academic year. The work addresses a wide range of contemporary issues through painting, drawing, sculpture, and multi-media installation. Exhibiting artists include: Tom Bunnell, Zoe Charlton, Mary Cloonan, Billy Colbert, Tim Doud, Ben Ferry, Sharon Fishel, Carol Goldberg, Lee Haner, Kristin Holder, Tendai Johnson, Deborah Kahn, Don Kimes, Isabel Manalo, Mark Oxman, Randall Packer, Luis Silva, Jeff Spaulding, Robert Tillman, Seth Van Kirk, and Susan Yanero.
Comic Reality: Political Cartoons by Ibero-American Artists
This exhibition presents more than 100 new or never-before-published political cartoons from 20 Latin American countries, Spain and Portugal, by Ibero-America's best-known practitioners of the genre. Chico Caruso of Brazil, Oscar Sierra of Costa Rica, Elizandro de Los Angeles of Guatemala, Jimmy Scott of Chile, Pancho Cajaz of Ecuador and others, present humorously incisive images leading the charge against hypocrisy, the misuse of power, scandal, incompetence and buffoonery.
Beck's art nominations announced
The nominations for this year's Beck's Futures contemporary arts prize have been announced.
The thirteen artists up for the £20,000 award include sculptors, film-makers and illustrators. I cannot think of a single American art prize where illustrators would be included as "fine artists," as in our nation, we tend to segregate illustrators away from the fine arts.
I think that is silly.
Of the 13 artists, only two come from the Americas: Mexican installation artist Stefan Brueggemann and Brazilian photographer and filmaker Flavia Mueller.
Read the story here.
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
The Year in Review
- We were informed that painting was hot again (yawn).
- In DC, Kelly Towles was (and still is) hot at Adamson in his first solo show.
- In Germany, some street cleaners were punished with having to take modern art lessons when they erroneously threw away some public art that they thought was abandoned garbage.
- I almost became an eunuch.
- Anne Ellegood was selected as one of the new Hirshhorn curators (I still haven't met Anne).
- I started raving about PostSecret.
- The Arlington Arts Center re-opened after a long refurbishment hiatus.
- We were told that painting is no longer hot.
- I revealed how I once fooled a curator by guessing her choices.
- Hot DC painter Ian Whitmore had a great solo at Fusebox.
- Isamu Noguchi opened at the Hirshhorn. Gopnik hated it; I liked it.
- I raised old issues about missing DoD art.
- A new gallery opened in DC: Shigeko Bork MU Project.
- I urged artists to contact their elected representatives to support the artists' bill making it possible once again for artists to receive a fair market value deduction for donated works.
- Local blogger Kriston Capps raised issues about me contributing gallery announcements to DCist, so I quit.
- The then new WaPo Style editor Deb Heard promised to re-assess gallery coverage. We're still waiting.
- I reviewed some Seattle galleries.
- The exhibition "Faces of the Fallen" caused a lot of angst and opinions.
- The 48th Corcoran Biennial opened.
- The National Portrait Gallery announced their portrait award competition.
- I curated a worldwide homage to Frida Kahlo.
- Lida Moser became our best selling photography show ever.
- I threatened to kick another blogger's ass.
- The Katzen Arts Center was about to open.
- Melissa Ichuiji caused a local stir with "Stripped."
- Blake Gopnik had an idea for the Corcoran and the Corcoran responded. And then Bailey interpreted it for th rest of us.
- I was asked to curate Seven for the WPA/C.
- DCist almost outed Borf.
- The Corcoran director called it quits.
- Olga Viso was chosen as the new director of the Hirshhorn.
- A local artist told us about the Worst New York Gallery Experience in History.
- Joe Kabriel won the inaugural $10,000 Bethesda Painting Prize.
- Kodak announced that all black and white silver gelatin photographic papers have been discontinued.
- Seven opened.
- The WaPo explained why Blake Gopnik does not review our area art galleries.
- I kicked a Neo wannabe out of the gallery.
- Borf was arrested.
- I reported from the International Comic Book Convention.
- I discussed the impact of subject matter.
- Michael Brand was chosen as the new head of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
- I explained what a "gallery backer" is.
- We began art auctions to help Katrina victims.
- Hot DC artist Jiha Moon opened at Curator's Office and also took the $10,000 Trawick Prize.
- Warhol Legacy: Selections from The Andy Warhol Museum opened at the Corcoran.
- A list of things that make me go mmm...
- Testudo is coming.
- Options 2005 opened. I reviewed the show here.
- Mark Jenkins got in hot water over plastic excrement.
- Andrew Wodzianski had the first DC podcast of a visual art show.
- I made a proposal to the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Nothing heard so far.
- Hot DC sculptor Yuriko Yamaguchi opened at Numark.
- The city announced $4 million in additional arts funding.
- Alice Neel opened at the NMWA.
- PostSecret was the second highest ranked blog in the world.
- Hot DC artist Tim Tate opened his third solo at our Bethesda space.
- Blake Gopnik announces a new category of artists: "barely emerging."
- The Galleries column moved to Saturdays.
- Terry Teachout wrote about art blogs and art criticism.
- A new gallery opened.
- The Art Bill passed the Senate.
- The Smithsonian debuted a new arts blog.
- I discussed the Vlogging Revolution.
- The Whitney Biennial list was announced and a reader broke it down. No DC area artists were included.
- Paul Greenhalgh was selected as the new Corcoran director.
- I wrote how video killed the art star.
- The Hirshhorn finally added some DC area artists to its collection.
- PostSecret WPA/C show opened in Georgetown. It became (easily) the most heavily attended non-museum visual art show of the year.
- Borf pleaded guilty.
- JET Artworks closed.
- What Your End-of-the-Year Top 10 List(s) Says About You