Monday, December 11, 2006

Opportunities for Artists

Deadline: December 15, 2006 - Second Annual Works on Paper at Muse Gallery in Philly. Details and prospectus here.

Deadline: December 29, 2006 - The 2007 Bethesda International Photography Competition at Fraser Gallery in Bethesda. Details and prospectus here.

Deadline: January 12, 2007 - 3rd Annual National Painting Drawing & Printmaking Competition at Palm Beach Community College in Florida. Details and prospectus here.

Deadline: January 15, 2007 - Erotica 2007 at MOCA DC. Details and prospectus here.

Deadline: January 31, 2007 - Chinatown In/Flux 2009. An exhibition of site-specific art installations in Chinatown Philadelphia. Details and prospectus here.

Deadline: March 16, 2007 - Art on Paper at the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences in New Jersey. Details and prospectus here.

Deadline: March 30, 2007 - Art at VMRC at the Park Gables Gallery in Harrisonburg, VA. Details and prospectus here

Atlanta Contemporary Art Center looking for new boss

Deadline: January 19, 2007

The Atlanta Contemporary Art Center is seeking applicants for the position of Excutive Director.

Details here.

Call for Proposals

The Delaplaine Visual Arts Education Center in Frederick, MD has a call for Exhibit Proposals for Solo or Small Group Shows. There are five galleries in the complex.

Exhibit selections are made by the Center’s Exhibit Selection Panel, comprised of working artists and arts administrators, which convenes 3-4 times per year. Final decisions may require a studio visit when necessary. They are currently scheduling two years in advance.

For details and submission information, please contact Diane Sibbison at 301.698.0656, ext. 115, or by e-mail

Art Job

The Washington District of Columbia Jewish Community Center is looking for a Gallery Director for the Ann Loeb Bronfman Gallery (a 600 square foot space in an urban Jewish Community Center).

The Gallery Director is responsible for mounting two to three shows annually, working collaboratively with other arts professionals to create related public programming and classes, staffing the Gallery Board Committee, developing a long-term exhibition and fundraising plan, and carrying out all administrative aspects of the gallery.

Previous gallery experience required. Knowledge and understanding of Jewish traditions and history preferred. Position start date is January 2, 2007.

This is a full-time position that includes benefits and free gym membership. Email resume and cover letter describing experience to or fax to 202-518-9420. No phone calls.

This is how it is supposed to work - Part I

Those of you who are regular visitors to this site know that one of my constant concerns is the poor relationship between DC museum area curators and DC area artists, and the rarity of interest by most DC area museum professionals in their own city's art scene and artists.

Like anything, there are notable, but rare, exceptions.

And one of the unexpected benefits of the Trawick Prize and the Bethesda Painting Awards has been that they have "forced" the hired DC, VA and MD museum professionals and curators to look at the work of artists from the region; some amazing success stories have spawned from that exposure. Area artists should be very grateful to Ms. Trawick for all that she has done and continues to do for the fine arts around the capital region.

But getting back on subject and generally speaking, most of the DC area museum curators and directors still find it easier to catch a flight to another city to look at an emerging artist's work from that city, than to take a cab to a DC area artist's studio or visit a local gallery.

I think part of this is because, again with an exception here and there, most of these curators came from other parts of the nation and overseas, and they tend to bring their regional familiarities with them, rather than discover new ones (it takes a lot of work). They are also part of a curatorial scene where little risk is taken, and the herd mentality reigns supreme.

As a result, one can count in one hand the number of artists (local or otherwise) who have had their first ever museum show (or any museum show) in a DC area museum. And yet, even major museums (such as the Whitney in New York) have given artists their first museum solos, although this is becoming rarer and rarer.

Example: I know that I wasn't the only one amazed to find out that the Corcoran's Sam Gilliam retro was the first solo museum show (at the tail end of his career) by arguably DC's best-known painter.

And I am sure that the fact that Jonathan Binstock's PhD work was on Gilliam had a lot to do with the Corcoran's decision to focus a solo on a DC area legend. Bravo to Binstock and Bravo to the Corcoran; more please.

The rarity of local focus is also caused partially because of the fact that DC area museums generally tend to think of themselves as "national museums," rather than as "city museums," like all other major cities in the world have.

We have no Washington Museum of Art, although the Corcoran, because of its position as a museum and a school, and since the arrival of Binstock, has focused a bit more attention on the Greater DC art scene.

Furthermore, because of the sad lack of coverage by the DC local media of the DC local art scene and events, museum professionals have to spend more personal time (which they often lack) to "learn" about DC area artists and galleries, rather than learning from reading, as they do about what's going on in NYC and LA and Miami and Seattle from the national magazines, or perhaps the coverage that those cities' newsmedia gives to their local arts, and even from reading the Washington Post's chief art critic coverage of other cities' galleries and museums, while he is allowed to avoid writing about Washington galleries and artists.

And so it takes an "extra" effort on the part of a DC museum curator to get his or her interest aroused on any event in the local scene. Some of it is networking (a big name museum donor requests a visit to a gallery or a studio), some of it is financial (they are paid to jury a show), some of it is media-driven (such as the rare positive review in the even rarer newsmedia coverage) and some of it is accidental (such as a curator admiring the work of a "new" artist in a LA gallery only to be told that the artist is a DC artist).

All of these have happened in my experience.

Here's a little test.

Next Wednesday, December 13 at 7:00 PM, Ned Rifkin has a lecture at the Corcoran on "Modern and Contemporary Art".

I've met Mr. Rifkin many times and he's a really nice, likeable, intelligent and well-traveled person. He has been the Smithsonian Under Secretary for Art since January 2004. In the DC area he also has been the Curator of Contemporary Art at the Corcoran from 1984­-1986, Chief Curator of the Hirshhorn from 1986-­1991 and then Director of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden from 2003­-2005. So he has spent nearly ten years of his exceptional career as an arts professional in the nation's capital.

I'd like someone to ask Mr. Rifkin the following question:

"Mr. Rifkin, can you quickly name for us about five contemporary artists from anywhere and five contemporary DC area artists whose work you admire and why?"

If anyone does ask, please email me his response.

Tomorrow I will tell you a happy tale of a DC area museum curator who has shown interest in the work of a very talented and hardworking DC area artist and how it happened, which is how this process is supposed to work.

The Power of the Web

"Quite suddenly and by accident, photographer Arthur During is huge on MySpace.

Around May or June, a mysterious Internet hiccup landed one of During's photographs in the top slot on Google when people searched for "rain image." Through the power of Google, that photograph – of raindrops seen through an airplane window – has since shown up without permission on hundreds, perhaps thousands, of MySpace pages."
Read the story here.

And this is what you get if your search for "rain image" today.