Saturday, March 31, 2007

A couple more Eakins could be heading out of Philly

"We're not a museum. We're not in the business of art education. That's what Thomas Jefferson University president Robert L. Barchi said in November in explaining the university's decision to sell Thomas Eakins' The Gross Clinic."
In spite of the fact that the sale of The Gross Clinic sort of blew up in their faces, according to the Philly Inquirer, "Barchi says that the school intends to deaccession two other pieces in the multimillion-dollar collection: Its remaining Eakins works, Portrait of Benjamin H. Rand and Portrait of William S. Forbes."

In fact Barchi stated that "We do not intend to sell any of our artworks other than the Eakins paintings, even if approached."

You can view a slide show of some of the art at Jefferson in this this website and you can read the excellent Inquirer report by Peter Dobrin, the Inquirer Culture Writer here.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Frida Kahlo Coming to Philly

Sometime in mid February 2008 (and running through May) at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, "the first American exhibition solely dedicated to Kahlo’s work in over a decade... will explore the relationship between her art and her life by examining hauntingly seductive and often brutal self-portraits in addition to works that amplify her sense of her own identity."

The show is coming to Philly from the Walker Art Center, where it was curated by Michael Taylor; from Philly it will travel to SFMOMA. I am a little disappointed that this show is not traveling to any DC area museum (it would have been a perfect blockbuster for the Corcoran or for the NMWA).

Lenny Campello is one happy camper. Read here how I became an addict of her work when I was 19. Below is "Seven Fridas," a huge drawing that I did in 1980-1 while at the University of Washington School of Art (click on the image for a larger version of the drawing).

It depicts Kahlo in seven incarnations as Nordic, Moslem, African, Punk (hey! it was 1980), Native American, Vulcan and Beatle. It is currently in the collection of Seeds for Peace.


Seven Fridas by F. Lennox Campello - click for a larger version
"Las Siete Fridas (The Seven Fridas)"
Pen and Ink Wash, F. Lennox Campello, circa 1980-1981

Most recently, in 2005 I curated a worldwide call to artists for an "Homage to Frida Kahlo" exhibition hosted by Art.com with the sponsorship of the Cultural Institute of Mexico and the Frida Kahlo Museum in Mexico City.

Thus my interest and happiness!

PMA to open new galleries

In early September 2007, the Philadelphia Museum of Art will open the new Ruth and Raymond G. Perelman Building, which will house expanded galleries and state of the art study centers in an art deco building acquired by the Museum and then renovated and expanded by Gluckman Maynor Architects.

Next Week: Tomás Rivas opens in DC

The very talented and award winning Chilean artist Tomás Rivas' first DC area solo exhibition, "Left to my Own Devices," opens next week (April 5) at Douz and Mille and there's also a round-table discussion on April 25 from 6:30-8:30 PM. Details here.

The opening reception is Thursday, April 5, 2007 6:30pm - 8:30pm and it is at the space formerly occupied by Numark Gallery in DC. A full color catalogue will be published at the conclusion of the exhibition, featuring essays by David Gariff Ph.D., Lecturer, National Gallery of Art; Robin Rhodes Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of Notre Dame; and my good friend Laura Roulet, Independent Curator, with an introduction by the hard-working Rody Douzoglou, who is the "Douz" in Douz and Mille.

New art blog

I think.

DC area "performance artist F.W. Thomas" has a blog (new to me) at fwthomas.blogspot.com detailing coming multimedia performances and other random thoughts.

I am told that at the next performance (Monday, April 9, 2007 at DC's Warehouse Theatre and Galleries) they will be circulating a petition banning any further use of the Queen/Bowie collaboration "Under Pressure" as the soundtrack to any commercial, television show, movie or public radio segment. This alone is worth the visit!

Vist the blog often!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Opportunity for recent Art grads

Introductions is Irvine Contemporary’s annual summer show of works by recent art college graduates in the Washington, mid-Atlantic, and East Coast region.

For Introductions3 this year, Irvine has posted a web page with application instructions and information to assist artists with submissions for the show. The gallery tries to see as many thesis shows and do as many studio visits as possible, but they clearly can’t see everyone and they want to open the process to as many artists as possible.

Visit this website for information on submitting work for the show. This year the selection committee will include Washington area collectors as well as the Irvine Contemporary crew.

Airportism

I'm usually not a big fan of airport art, which I've dubbed "airportism" in the past, and which is usually generalized by tame, usually abstracted public art that tries really hard to avoid the figure at all costs.

The theme of flying is usually a common one -- and that's understandable, and artists can only go so far with it.

And yet... at the Philadelphia International Airport, between terminals C and D, on the main concourse there's an installation by Nancy Blum, titled Butterfly Wall (will be there through June 2007) that is a welcome and interesting departure from the usual blah flying geese or paper airplanes sculptures that one sees all over American airports.

"Butterfly Wall" is a work made up of 80 butterflies cast out of China clay with incised and raised patterns on the wings. The color is painted on the back and it is then reflecting onto the wall space. The pattern of the wings have been adapted from Islamic architecture, adding an interesting and unexpected visual element. Each butterfly is approx. 12 to 14 inches in height.

If you're around the Philly airport and have some extra time on your hands, swing by and take a look at this refreshing change for airportism. Nancy Blum is represented in the area by Pentimenti Gallery in Philadelphia.

Wanna go to the Gala to Benefit Africare in DC this Friday?

Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of International Visions at The Washington Club
(15 Dupont Circle) in DC. RSVP to 202-234-5112.

Friday, March 30th from 6:30 to 11:30 pm.

- Live music by Brother Ah & the World Music Ensemble as well as the Brazilian Samba Trio Band

- A silent auction featuring the African artwork and craft, artwork by renowned American artists, sports & entertainment collectibles, and much, much more.

- Mistress of Ceremonies: Dr. JC Hayward

- Special honors for artist Sam Gilliam and the Howard University Department of Art.

- An authentic African feast

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

It's nothing new

If you think that the common art critic malaise of denigrating realism as a viable genre of contemporary painting is something new then...(via the NY Sun):

"It's a New York story of courage and defeat followed by 50-year commitment to classical figurative painting. Next week, at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C., a New York group of painters who bucked the tide of fashion will celebrate a painterly triumph.

In May 1961, some brash young figurative painters threw down the gauntlet to the modern art establishment. In an exhibition at the National Arts Club called "A Realist View," a group including Aaron Shikler, Daniel Schwartz, Harvey Dinnerstein, Burt Silverman, and David Levine declared their opposition to the trend toward abstraction in modern art. The abandonment of tradition in favor of personal style and individual expression had led to the impoverishment of the artist's imagination, Mr. Silverman declared in a "Statement by the Artists." "In our paintings we have not succumbed to the frantic search for something ‘new,'" he continued. "We are not concerned with being ‘of our times'…. Our concern is with the world around us."

Their protest against the apotheosis of Abstract Expressionism did not go unheeded; they were critically trounced. "[I]t's the quietest, oldest show you ever saw," the New York Herald Tribune's critic, Emily Genauer, wrote. "Nowhere are there fire, urgency, even innocence, the conviction that there are new things and new ideas in the world …. What showed in the paintings — apart from craft — was chiefly doctrinaire attitude."
Five gets you ten that this coming DC show will still get trashed in the printed media press and a few blogs, as there are very few brave souls out there willing to stray too far from the comfort of the art critic wolf pack.

If the WaPo's Blake Gopnik reviews the show, expect the usual eloquent but tired slogans about painting being dead, and realism continuing to try to exist even though nothing new has surfaced since the Renaissance, blah, blah, blah. He will also say something specifically aimed at the jugular of the NPG itself.

If my good friend Jeffry Cudlin reviews it for the WCP, I suspect that he will manage to find an Achilles heel somewhere in the show, explained away in Jeffry's usual and elegant theory-driven review pen.

The exhibition will be at the NPG March 30 to October 8, 2007.

Visual Art Website Opened for U.S. Service Families

As a veteran, I am psyched by the announcement that the National Arts Program Foundation, Malvern, PA, announced today that in support of the men and women of the armed services, it will post for free, pictures of original drawings, watercolors, oil and acrylic paintings, sculpture, photography and crafts of all active and retired military service members and DoD employees and their families.

Details here.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Benefit Art Drawing in Baltimore this Saturday next month

On Saturday, April 21, 2007, the Lotta Art Benefit, takes place in Baltimore to benefit School 33.

A continuous cocktail buffet begins at 5:30 p.m (Catering by The Brass Elephant). The art drawing begins promptly at 7:30 p.m. Event tickets include a work of art and the buffet.

The event begins at 7:30PM and features art by more than 145 local artists who have generously donated their work to benefit School 33 Art Center. Each event ticket holder is guaranteed a work of art in this lottery-style drawing.

Call 410.396.4641 for more info.

Senju Murals to go to Philly

Hiroshi Senju, one of Japan’s most revered and internationally acclaimed contemporary artists, showed 27 murals (syohekiga) at Japan’s Yamatane Museum of Art through March 4. The works, however, are ultimately bound for the United States. On May 1 of this year, the murals will be installed on the fusuma (sliding doors) and tokonoma (writing hall) alcove at Shofuso (“Pine Breeze Villa”), the Japanese house and garden in Fairmount Park [Philadelphia].
Read the A&A story here. Senju also is donating all copyrights from sales of reproductions of the murals to support the preservation of the Pine Breeze Villa.

A ton of comments

The WaPo's James V. Grimaldi, who has been reporting on the whole Smithsonian's Lawrence Small developments, had a live chat earlier today and there are a lot of good questions and some amplifying answers on this issue.

Read the archives here.

Congrats!

To the superbly talented DC area artist Adam Fowler, who will be having his first NYC solo at Margaret Thatcher Projects opening next Friday, March 29, 2007 with a reception from 6-8PM. The exhibition runs through May 5, 2007.

Fowler has been doing superbly since the WPA/C's "Seven" exhibition, where his work was included prominently. His drawings were featured in Selections Fall 2005 at the Drawing Center and this past year, Fowler's work was included in The New Collage show at Pavel Zoubok Gallery in New York.

Opportunity for Artists

Deadline for submissions May 14, 2007.

Vox Populi, a nonprofit artist collective located in Philadelphia, is currently accepting submissions for VOXXOXO. The exhibition will run from July 6 through July 28, 2007 and is being juried by Sheryl Conkelton, Director of Tyler School of Arts' Exhibitions and Public Programs, and Kirby Gookin, art historian, critic, curator and public artist.

Artists of all media are invited to submit 3 to 5 examples of completed works. All submitted works must be available for exhibition. Complete applications must include:

1. 3 or 5 images
a. Slides must be labeled with name, title and orientation dot positioned at bottom right hand corner.
b. CD-R: Images saved at 72 dpi resolution on CD-R, sized at 8"x10." Please label each image lastnamefirstname_1.jpg and so forth. CD-R submissions must be accompanied by a printout of images on one 8.5" x 11" sheet of paper.
c. Video: You may submit 2 minute clips of each submitted piece or we will view the first 2 minutes of each submission. The work must be submitted on DVD (NTSC).

2. Completed VOXXOXO submission form (found on their website at www.voxpopuligallery.org).

3. Current resume and artist statement.

4. SASE

5. $20 entry fee for 3 submissions; $30 entry fee for 5 submissions. Please make checks payable to Vox Populi. Do not send cash.

For more information, please visit their website at www.voxpopuligallery.org or call 215-238-1236.

Grants for Artists

Deadline: June 1, 2007

The Harpo Foundation is accepting proposals for grants funding. The Harpo Foundation supports artists that are unrecognized by the field. This applies to all artists whether emerging or further along in their careers. Proposals to the foundation can take the form of installations, public interventions, personal projects, residencies, and under certain conditions, exhibitions. Proposals should include a project description, examples of the artist's work (in digital format) and a resume. A detailed budget breakdown is not necessary, however grant will usually not exceed $10,000. For more information, please contact the Harpo Foundation at 305.442.8242 or email harpofl@earthling.net.

Job in the Arts

Executive Director: Cecil County Arts Council, Inc. - Maryland

CCAC is Cecil county's umbrella cultural organization and awards grants to school and nonprofits presenting arts programs. It has a two-person full-time staff, including E.D.; $92K budget from state grant funding, dues, corporate support and fundraising.

Qualifications: Commitment to community outreach; ability to maintain, nurture and inspire membership; knowledge of art-related issues; managerial, grant writing and fundraising experience; outstanding communication, presentation, public relations skills; experience in working with a board of directors.

Qualified applicants can expect a salary starting at $38,000-$41,000. Benefits: health and dental coverage, retirement, paid vacation, holiday, sick, personal time. Send resume, cover letter , references to:

Personnel Committee
CCAC
135 E. Main St.
Elkton, MD 21921

Or email copy of resume to maggie.creshkoff@gmail.com.

Congrats!

To DC area ubercollector Fred Ognibene, whose home was just featured in "At Home" magazine, in an article featuring loads of artwork and discussion on the (mostly) DC area artists that Fred collects.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Smithsonian's Lawrence Small Resigns

Just received from Roger Sant, Chair, Executive Committee, Smithsonian Board of Regents

At 12:30 this afternoon, Regent Patti Stonsifer and I will participate in a news conference to announce that we have accepted the resignation of Secretary Lawrence Small, effective immediately. At the same time, we will announce that Cristian Samper, currently director of the National Museum of Natural History, has been named by the Regents to serve as Acting Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, also effective immediately. We also have asked Sheila Burke to continue as Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer. We appreciate her strong leadership, particularly during these past months.

Although the past few weeks have been difficult for us all, we believe that the important work of the Institution will continue and we hope you share our optimism for the future.

A search committee for a new Secretary will begin immediately under the chairmanship of Alan Spoon, a member of our executive committee.

We thank you for your hard work and dedication.

Below is the text of the news release distributed today and available shortly on PRISM and newsdesk.si.edu. Also, the news conference will be available through Windows Media Player at mms://live01.si.edu/sicastle.

Roger Sant

Chair, Executive Committee
Smithsonian Board of Regents
Update: The press release is here.

Update: WaPo picks up the story (revised once since the intial 1PM posting, which cited a Congressional leak instead of the press conference) here. According to some of the comments, this too appears to be Pres. Bush's fault.

Carrie Ann Baade at the Delaware Center for Contemporary Art

Carrie Ann Baade: "Virtues and Vices - Surreal Portraits of the Commendable and Contemptible" opens on March 30, 2007 at the Delaware Center for Contemporary Art in Wilmington, but the opening reception is Friday April 13th, from 5 to 9pm (includes a musical performance by the Absinthe Drinkers at 8pm) and then there's an artist's lecture on April 4th, from 12 to 1pm at the DCCA.

It's no secret that I love narrative work that also uses historical references, and thus I am really looking forward to seeing this talented artist's work, which is new to me. More later.

Gopnik in a kilt

The WaPo's erudite Oxford-trained, chief art critic pens an interesting review (which has already caused some comment flaming) on the current exhibition "Italian Women Artists From Renaissance to Baroque," at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

But my issue with the review are not the possible historical inaccuracies in the article, but this statement:

"Who and what you are matters to what your actions mean to others. My wife wears a skirt, and no one notices; if I did, I'd have to claim McGopnik blood to get away with it."
McGopnik!!!!

McGopnik!!!

"Whas like us? Gie few an thur aw deed"

First of all, Scots wear kilts - not skirts... and "Mc" is generally the Anglicised version of the Irish Celtic form for "son-of," while "Mac", not "Mc", is the is true Scottish Gaelic form, and thus what Gopnik should have written to make his point.

So he meant "MacGopnik."

I know it's pedantic, but ...

Phoebe Washburn at ICA

A new Ramp Project by Phoebe Washburn goes on view this spring at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) at the University of Pennsylvania. The 12th in a series of temporary works commissioned for the ramp, Washburn’s project can be seen April 20-August 5, 2007.

"Using massive amounts of collected scrap wood, Phoebe Washburn transforms ICA’s ramp by constructing an environmental installation that is both accumulative and regenerative. Working on site off of the existing architecture, she turns the windowed ramp into a makeshift terrarium/aquarium. Viewers wander amidst a variety of water plants and underwater scenes housed in fish tanks nestled in a darkened wooden tunnel. These miniature living landscapes are sustained by pumps and other necessary accoutrements in this green environment."

Every season ICA commissions an artist to create a new site-specific temporary installation for the ramp that links the first and second floor galleries. A transitional space, the ramp is 52-foot long and is visible from the street through architecturally-scaled picture windows on the building’s facade. This project is organized by Elyse Gonzales, Assistant Curator.

Call for 2007 MFA Graduates in the Mid-Atlantic Region

Deadline: April 14, 2007

"New Art Examined III" is a call for 2007 MFA graduates by the Arlington Arts Center in Arlington, Virginia. All Masters of Fine Arts candidates who will receive their degree in the 2007 calendar year from institutions in Virginia, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia are invited to submit work. Artworks in all media will be considered.

You can download the prospectus here or call the Center at (703) 248-6800.

Rousseau Reviews

Dr. Claudia Rousseau, writing in The Gazette, wraps up three Greater DC area exhibition (all in suburban Maryland) into one neat column as she reviews Tim Tate at Fraser Gallery, "Token" at Pyramid Atlantic, and the National Society of Arts and Letters Career Awards Competition at Heineman-Myers Gallery.

Read the reviews here.

Job in the Arts

Arlington County in Virginia is looking for a Public Arts Curator. Salary Range: $45,905.60 - $75,899.20 annually.

All applicants must submit an online application (unless the job announcement states otherwise) for each position for which they wish to apply. The application must be submitted prior to 11:59 pm on the posted closing date.

To apply online go to www.arlingtonva.us/pers, click on CURRENT JOB OPENINGS, scroll down the alphabetical list of job titles and click on the one in which you have an interest. The link to the employment application (APPLY) is found on each job announcement. Once completed, your application information remains in the system for you to review, edit and submit for future Arlington job openings.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Wanna go to a Baltimore opening this afternoon?

"Of Doors & Keys" at the Norman and Sarah Brown Art Gallery, (Weinberg Park Heights JCC at 5700 Park Heights Avenue, Baltimore, MD) has an opening reception this afternoon, Sunday, March 25, at 3:00 pm. The exhibition is curated by Claudine Davison, the gallery director.

Friday, March 23, 2007

SAAM Commissioner James F. Dicke II on SAAM

One of the Smithsonian American Art Museum's commissioners, James F. Dicke II (who as I recall is from Ohio?), is not only a respected artist (his work is actually in SAAM's collection and represented locally by The Ralls Collection in Georgetown), and an ubercollector, but also puts his money where his mouth is, and is very much an involved and hands-on commissioner.

Dicke has responded to the Smithsonian report parts that relate to the SAAM with this comment on Eyelevel:

The 30 Commissioners of the Smithsonian American Art Museum applaud Director Betsy Broun’s inspired leadership and the terrific work of the museum’s talented and dedicated staff over the past seven years. Under trying circumstances of a multi-year “dark house,” frequent budget cuts, and several staff moves, this team shepherded a $278 million dazzling renovation project. They conceived and created two wholly innovative public conservation and collections study centers that are models for museums everywhere. The collections are handsomely installed in elegant galleries, “telling the story of America” with nuance and insight, in a way that has delighted visitors from around the world. Terrific collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery makes the two museums complementary in wonderful new ways.

During the same period, the contemporary program was enhanced with two new curators, an artist’s prize, endowments, and many exciting acquisitions. The same great SAAM leadership and staff undertook the largest touring exhibition program ever by an art museum – more than 1,000 artworks in 14 shows to 105 museums. The museum’s fabulous staff created award-winning programs in distance learning, K-12 education, new media technologies, and publications. The research resources for American art at SAAM include the biggest American art pre-doctoral fellowship program anywhere, the leading academic journal in the field, and more than 1 million research records in searchable online databases. SAAM’s branch museum, the Renwick Gallery, continues to present a full exciting program of exhibitions and collections.

It was SAAM staff that conducted the nationwide research defining how the museums might benefit from covering the open-air courtyard. A SAAM Commissioner provided the funds for the international architectural competition that selected Lord Norman Foster for the project. Director Betsy Broun was on the 5-member selection panel and subsequent Oversight Committee.

It’s quite a lot to manage and a stellar record of success that would distinguish a museum three times its size. SAAM and Betsy are outstanding within the Smithsonian complex and indeed in any context. Our entire Board of Commissioners is proud to be part of this great accomplishment and to have so generously supported it. Our regret is that the External Reviewers conducted their study while the museum was a construction site and apparently lacked information about any of these accomplishments. We wish they had invited comments from those who know the museum well.

James F. Dicke II, SAAM Commissioner
I applaud a commissioner willing to gets his "hands dirty" as Dicke has, and regardless of how one feels about what's right or wrong about SAAM, he does deliver some valid points that now have introduced some questions into my mind about the depth of information and facts gathered (or not) by the external commission charged with the Smithsonian report, other than the obvious points about security, morale, leaks, etc.

Dicke's comments seem to imply (and Mr. Dicke correct me if I am wrong), that the investigators did not talk to the SAAM commissioners.

If this is correct, then I am curious to find out (while I work my way through the 51 pages of the report): did they talk to any of the commissioners of any of the museums?

Did they talk to the "non-contributing board" of the National Museum of African Art?

I'd love to hear more from more of the commissioners from the various Smithsonian Institution's museums on this subject.

Bailey on the Smithsonian Institution and Lawrence M. Small

I'm always open to hearing what other voices say about visual arts issues in our area, and below is an opinion piece by The Right Reverend James W. Bailey, which once again testifies to my worn-out warning: never piss off Bailey.

An Open Letter To The American Taxpayers Calling For The Immediate Firing Of Lawrence M. Small, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution

by The Right Reverend James W. Bailey

Like many across the country, I am beyond being merely outraged over the reported wasteful spending by Lawrence M. Small, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, as well as the reports of his stratospheric salary and ridiculous reimbursements for so-called “living expenses.”

For this Small should be fired.

For pressuring the former Smithsonian inspector general to drop her audit of Small's financial shenanigans, he should be fired, investigated and indicted.

It is incredible to me that the taxpayers of this nation have been paying a king ’s ransom salary to Small - apparently to embellish his home and office with seriously overpriced ego-building furniture - while the very man in charge of the Smithsonian Institution has allowed some of its key infrastructure to seriously deteriorate to the point of being a national embarrassment.

Perhaps the greatest outrage is what Small has allowed to happen at the National Museum of African Art, as detailed in the a 51 page report that examines the near none existent management practices of Small:
“There has been a longstanding lack of visionary leadership at the museum. The director’s protracted illness, the absence of either a deputy director or chief curator, and curatorial departments that are either understaffed or underperforming, contribute to the present discouraging situation. Staff and trustee morale is dangerously low.”
It’s bad enough for the serious appreciation of African Art when the chief art critic for the Washington Post, Blake Gopnik - when recently writing about African Art, Gopnik demonstrated an unbelievable condescending arrogance that attempted to mask his profound lack of understanding and appreciation of the importance of African Art – pens a critique that almost bordered on being xenophobic.

Now, on top of that serious art critical injury, we understand some additional reasons why the National Museum of African Art, while under the missing leadership of Small, has been allowed to slide down the high art cultural ladder to such a low level of appreciation and importance.

It is outrageous that in the nation’s capital, a place that is 62% African-American, that the richest country in the world has allowed such an important museum to falter. If for no other reason, Lawrence M. Small should be immediately fired for what he has allowed to happen to the National Museum of African Art.

Unfortunately, all of the museums and galleries under the umbrella of the Smithsonian Institution are subject to being painted by the same brush of scandal that has come to light over the self-serving actions of its leader. Just like one rotten apple cop on a police force taints all the good cops as well, so it has come to this for many within the organization of the Smithsonian Institution.

That’s a shame.

Actually, it’s worse than a shame. It’s a national tragedy. The so-called nation’s attic is supposed to represent something more than being a mere slush fund to realize one man’s conceited, arrogant and shallow vision of Home Improvement.

Since the American taxpayers are the ones who have been paying for Lawrence W. Small to dither away our cultural patrimony, the American taxpayers should be the ones to have the right to immediately fire Small for his outrageous actions and inactions.

James W. Bailey

O'Sullivan Scores

Many time before I've stated here that in my opinion, the WaPo's Michael O'Sullivan is the best art critic working the Greater DC area scene.

Not only does O'Sullivan have his fingers on the pulse of the art scene itself, but he also seems to be one of the few DC area art critics who gets around to a lot of different galleries and spaces and does not fall prey to the well-known critic flaw of returning to a favorite few spaces over and over.

But it is his knowledge of the inner ticking of the DC area art scene and artists that allows him to write such an insightful piece as the one in today's WaPo. Read that piece here.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Trashball

Last year I noted that DC area artist Chris Goodwin had started a blog called Trashball! that documents some of the stuff that he finds (much of it in his part-time job driving a dump truck) and transforms into an art project.

Today Rachel Beckman in the WaPo has a nice profile on Goodwin and his art project, including a nice video online. Read and see it here.

Kudos to Beckman and visit Trashball! often!

Wanna go to a DC gallery opening tomorrow night?

Randall Scott Gallery has a special exhibition of unique furniture by Josh Urso through March 31st, 2007 and the artist reception is tomorrow night, March 23rd from 6pm-9pm.

Congrats!

To DC area art wunderkind Jenny Davis, who just won the National Society of Arts and Letters Washington Chapter Career Awards Competition last Saturday at Heineman-Myers Gallery! She's excited to be going to the National Competition in Tempe, Arizona in May.

Smithsonian woes

Yesterday The Art Newspaper broke the story on the 51-page external confidential report (now made public and online here), commissioned by the Smithsonian Institution's Undersecretary of Art, Ned Rifkin, on the state of the Smithsonian Institution's eight museums.

The confidential document, a copy of which has been seen by The Art Newspaper, is the result of an 18-month external review of the art museums and two related art programmes run by the Smithsonian Institution which are collectively known as Smithsonian Arts.

Ned Rifkin, the Smithsonian’s undersecretary for art, appointed a committee to carry out the review in August 2005.

This includes Glenn Lowry, director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York; Michael Shapiro, director of the High Museum of Art in Atlanta; John Walsh, director emeritus of the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles; James Wood, director and president emeritus of the Art Institute of Chicago and, since February, president and chief executive of the Getty Trust, Michael Conforti, director of the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown; Vishakha Desai, president and chief executive of the Asia Society in New York, and Susana Leval, director emerita of El Museo del Barrio in New York.

They met in small groups with Smithsonian museum executives and convened five times to draft the report which was submitted to the Smithsonian’s board of regents in January.

The 51-page document and its appendices provides an analysis of each Smithsonian art museum, listing strengths and weaknesses and offering recommendations.
Per the Art Newspaper, among the report's recommendations:

- "Questions the long-term viability of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York because of 'the modest size of audience, ­limited programs and scope of [the] collection.'"

- "Calls for the 'administrative consolidation' of the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum."

- "Warns that leaks in the storage areas of the Freer and Sackler galleries threaten the collection. Leaks are also identified as a problem at the Hirshhorn Museum."

- "Concludes that the National Museum of African Art suffers from a 'lack of visionary leadership' as well as a non-contributing board and a lacklustre curatorial team."

Read the whole Art Newspaper article here, and read the SI report here, and the WaPo's Paul Farhi's take on the subject here, and then a SI response via the SAAM's blog, Eyelevel, here.

It's Boise, Idaho's turn to be embarrassed

In 2002 the District of Columbia went on a crackdown to try to stop the District's art galleries from serving wine (any alcohol) at art openings. Threatening letters from Maurice Evans, the chief investigator for the District's Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration, were sent to nearly all of DC's galleries.

As I recall, the letters also stated that galleries must stop serving wine at openings, or obtain a [very expensive and hard-to-get] liquor license, or apply for a temporary license for each opening (at around $100 a day), that would then allow licensed caterers (who would also need to be hired by the gallery for each opening) to pour the wine for the over-21 crowd.

Upon receipt of this letter I called the WaPo and talked to its arts editor, John Pancake, reporting this fact, and a few days later the Style section published this article by Natalie Hopkinson on the subject.

The WaPo's story was picked up by the AP or UPI and then itself picked up worldwide by newspapers as far away as Australia, and the BBC even did a small story on it. It embarrassed Washington, DC on a planetary scale, characterizing the nation's capital as a repressed small town where the time honored tradition of cheap white wine and cheese at gallery openings was in danger of being nixed by an over zealous alcohol enforcement official.

Because of this embarrassment, the City's alcohol board held a quick hearing and several of us gallerists testified to the board about the art of the art opening. It all eventually went away, but not before the nation's capital was embarrassed around the world.

Now it is Boise, Idaho's turn to get its share of planetary shame and I hope to get that ball rolling. Since at least August of 2006, according to Margaret Littman in Art & Antiques:

Though the law has been on the books since the 1930s, Boise City Police, at the direction of the Idaho Beverage Control, are cracking down on the free glasses of wine some galleries offer during monthly First Thursday art openings.
For the Idaho Beverage Control zealot(s) who wasted time orchestrating this: You are an embarrassment to this nation and your zeal had led you down the wrong path in alcohol enforcement and you have made your state and this nation the laughing stock of a planet that seldom agrees on many things, but as history taught us before, seems to think that serving a glass of wine at a gallery opening doesn't deserve a police raid.

Shame on you Idaho.

Update: Read the Boise Weekly article on this subject here.

Wanna go to a DC art opening tonight?

Several of DC leading edge dorktechnical scientartists will be opening an exhibition of their latest work (an interactive media project) at the Warehouse Gallery on 7th Street. Work by Philip Kohn, Thomas Edwards, Brian Judy, and Claudia Vess. The opening is Thursday, March 22 from 6-8PM.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Wanna go to nude body painting party in DC this Sunday?

On Friday Sunday, March 25, 2007, MOCA DC in Canal Square in Georgetown is hosting another nude body painting gala as part of their Erotica 2007 show.

You can come and have your body painted or just come, see the Erotic art show and watch as artists paint other people. Call them for details and times at 202.342.6230 or 202.361.3810.

The event is free and open to the public. Erotica 2007 runs through March 31, 2007.

Congrats

To our very own contributor, Rosetta DeBerardinis, who relocated to Baltimore last week to accept an Artist Studio Residency with School 33 Art Center located on Federal Hill. She will continue to exhibit in the Washington metro area and extend her coverage for Mid-Atlantic Art News to include an even more expanded coverage of Baltimore.

Rosetta also has been selected by Sam Gilliam and Marie Lewis to exhibit her work in Contemporary Color - Contemporary Artists in the Color School Legacy at Montpelier Arts Center, opening April 17th-May 5th. A Conversation with Sam Gilliam, will be held on April 22 at 2 p.m. followed by a reception on May 5th from 3-5 pm.

Twist and Shout, her two-person show with sculptor, Guy Barnard, at Visual Art Studio in Richmond, VA, opens April 6th through May 25th.

She is also contributing to the Lotta Art, School 33’s annual benefit held on Saturday, April 21st with cocktail buffets, open studios, and a lottery-style drawing for art donated by 100 artists.

And Rosetta’s work is currently on exhibit at Design Within Reach in Bethesda, MD, (301) 215-7200 and at the Millennium Arts Salon in DC, 202-319-2077.

Wanna go to a DC opening tomorrow tonight?

The Gallery at Flashpoint has Janis Goodman: Shifting Waters, with an opening reception for one of the District's most visible and talented artists tomorrow night, Thursday, March 22, 6-8pm (and show runs through April 21, 2007). There's also an artist’s talk on Saturday, March 31, 4pm.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Opportunity for WPA/C Members to Exhibit at artDC

Someone at the WPA/C is using their coconut and has come up with a novel way for their members to exhibit at the coming artDC fair in Washington, DC.

All WPA\C members are invited to contribute a small work to INDEX, a miniature “members only” exhibition in the WPA\C booth at ArtDC intended to give the public a glimpse of the artists that make up their membership base. Your submission can express anything you wish. It can reflect your current work, be a self-portrait, or communicate any kind of statement - the ONLY restriction is size.

Create a 4-by-6-inch “index card size” piece out of any mailable material. The image can be horizontal or vertical. Put your image on one side of the “index card size” surface and mail the work (either in an envelope or as a postcard) to:

WPA\C - INDEX
500 Seventeenth Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20006

Deadline for Delivery to WPA\C: Monday, April 16,, 2007

On the back of the piece, please include your name and indicate which side is up. (No titles please). You may submit more than one piece.

Note that works will not be sold. Works will only be returned if a self-addressed stamped envelope is provided by the artist.

If you're not a WPA/C member, this is a good reason alone to join.

Dixon responds to ARTifice

Last week, David Waddell over at ARTifice reported on the "Role of Criticism Today," panel discussion that took place at the Provisions Library in Dupont Circle in DC.

The WCP's Mark Athitakis also made a note of Waddell's report here and now Glenn Dixon, one of the participants in the panel, disputes some of Waddell's version of events in a comment here.

In a separate comment at ARTifice, Dixon takes Waddell to task over "all the incomprehension and bad reporting in Waddell's original post."

This should be easy to solve; apparently this panel was videotaped, so hopefully Provisions or Transformer will post the video on their website and the issue will be resolved.

Silverthorne Reviews WPA/C Show

Alexandra Silverthorne checks in with a review of the WPA/C's 9x10 #1 Exhibition in DC.

Job in the Arts

Program Coordinator, Art and Learning Center & Union Gallery: University of Maryland Student Union.

Responsibilities: The Program Coordinator manages two dynamic art venues that are housed in the Stamp Student Union at the University of Maryland, College Park. The Art and Learning Center provides non-credit arts opportunities (e.g. painting, drawing, pottery, photography, and ballroom dance) to a campus community of 34,000 students. The Program Coordinator develops the curricula, and allocates resources needed to successfully manage the program. The Center is also responsible for administering a series of summer arts camps for children, arts and crafts fairs, community outreach activities as well as an Art Purchasing Program. The Union Gallery hosts annual exhibits that feature a variety of student, local, regional, and national artists.

Qualifications: Bachelors degree required, Masters degree in College Student Personnel, Arts Administration or related field preferred. Two years of full-time experience that includes budget management grant writing and supervision, in an academic setting is preferred. Gallery management/exhibition installation experience preferred.

Salary: Commensurate with education and experience.

Position Available: June 2007.

For best consideration, submit a letter of application, resume, and three references by April 6, 2007. This information can be sent via e-mail to mjenkins@umd.edu, or mailed to:

Program Coordinator
Art and Learning Center
3100 Stamp Student Union
College Park, Maryland 20742.

Additional information can be found on the UMCP employment web site: www.personnel.umd.edu/employment or call 301-314-8503.

Explorer 7

I've been delaying the unavoidable browser update, hoping that they had worked all the kinks out, but this past weekend I finally downloaded Explorer 7 to all of my computers, and it all seemed OK until my email processes started crashing the desktop.

A few hours of telephonic assistance and the issue seems to be resolved, but I also managed to nuke about 300 recent emails, including around 40-50 that I had not read yet. So if I'm not responding to you, now you know.

Aubrie Mema at DC's Touchstone Gallery

I've been hearing interesting and good things about Aubrie Mema's current exhibition at Touchstone Gallery in DC.

On exhibition Mema has a new series titled "Habit," which consists of mixed media on transparency. According to Mema, "the use of transparency has enabled me to contemporaneously project the show as an installation as well as a regular exhibit. The show is unique for the viewer, given one's ability to view two dimensional art three-dimensionally."

The show will remain on display until April 8, 2007.

New DC arts blog

By artist Elizabeth Lundberg Morisette and it is titled "re/collections." Visit it often here.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Lessons Learned in Public Art

According to this piece in the Sun by Sumathi Reddy, there's an apparently interesting arts issues brewing in the local Baltimore arts community as the Baltimore city council contemplates legislation that would mandate 1% of public construction projects for public art.

The 1% for the Arts is a very old tradition by now in many American cities, and all of the lessons and the how to's and the tried-and-true ways to make public art be first and foremost "public" are by now established and a good way for Baltimore to take the "lessons learned" from other cities and march forward a little better prepared.

I do not think that (as the article explains) that a nine-member Public Art Commission in charge, which would select the artists and artwork, and allocate funds, is the only solution on how to run a 1% for the arts effort.

If implemented as the only way to "approve" public art, then it is in fact elitist and removes all "public" from public art. There, I've said it.

One solution is to introduce the "real" public into the public art selection process.

Such as the way that some states (such as Florida I believe) have adopted for their state-wide percent for the arts programs, which is to have the public art that will be acquired for their state buildings be chosen not by a state arts commission, or an academic arts panel, but by a selection committee drawn from the people who will actually work in the building (and live with the art).

This most egalitarian and democratic of processes for choosing art, by the people who will actually live and work with the art, is a very progressive step towards democratizing the process of public art, and removing it somewhat from the hands of selection committees and people who can be (in some cases) so far removed from "the public" that their decisions often seem to deliver either yawns or astute controversy, but little "public" to public art.

"I would very much not want to see us get timid because of the heat of the controversy that has been generated by the piece in front of the train station," said Gary Vikan, director of the Walters Art Museum. "If we intend to make this a place for living art in a public way, we have to accept and welcome the notion that not everybody is going to be happy and that is actually a good sign and we should celebrate that."
I agree with Gary Vikan (his own comments on this subject are here), but in the "everybody" who is not going to be happy, Baltimore should also include arts commissioners, arts panelists, museum directors and even artists, not just the public.

One of the great paradoxes of contemporary art symbiotism in the United States is that while they [we] generally tend to be politically very liberal (and I'm about to step into the dangerous waters of generalizing), they also tend to be very elitist, booswah and neoconcritics when it comes as to how much they "trust" the American public, or the democratization of an arts process (especially if it involves public money), when it comes to the visual arts.

The answer in my opinion is the marriage of both a properly burocratically-qualified arts commission process for some works, and also a more modern and more progressive-minded and less academically conservative process (already used by some cities and states) where the people living and working with the art, choose the art, sans academic minds with arts fields PhDs and personal artistic agendas.

Imagine the street walking, water-fountain-chatting, bus-riding, 9-5, tax-paying, let's-hurry-home-so-we-can-watch-American Idol public, actually having a say in what hangs in the hallways that they must walk through every morning on the way to the office, hurrying so that they can get a cup of coffee before the pot runs out and then they have to make the next pot.

Do it Baltimore, if anyone can and should, it's Baltimore.

Looking for a small gallery space in DC?

In the 14th Street gallery district of DC there's a 300 sq. ft. office available to be leased out to a consultant or arts person (not an artist). It's furnished, has wireless internet, track lights and a small exhibition space, so it can be made into a Curator's Office type of exhibition venue. Three big windows, common kitchen and 2 bathrooms. The landlord is asking $1,000 a month and its month-to-month.

If interested drop me an email and I'll forward it to the landlord.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Wanna go to a Bethesda opening tomorrow afternoon?

Heineman Myers Contemporary Art has the opening reception (from 2-4 PM) and award announcement for The National Society of Arts & Letters Washington Chapter Career Awards Competition 2007. The exhibition goes through March 25, 2007 and was juried by Walter Bartman, Director and Founder of The Yellow Barn, Bethesda, Maryland, Judith Brodie, Curator of Modern Prints and Drawings, The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Stephen Bennett Phillips, Curator, The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. and DC area artist Nicholas Simmons. The finalists are: Jennifer Davis, Sharon Servilio, Amy Sorensen, Kelly Ulcak, Shelly Vorhees and Marty Weishaar.

Wanna go to an Annapolis opening tomorrow afternoon?

"Art on Paper" opens tonight at the Maryland Federation of Art (18 State Circle, Annapolis, MD). The reception is March 18, 3-6 pm. The show was juried by Helen Frederick of Pyramid Atlantic.

Wanna go to a Baltimore art talk tonight?

George Sakkal leads a discussion on the meaning behind his work (controversial epictions of the War in Iraq) in his current exhibit at Light Street Gallery followed by refreshments on Saturday, March 17, 2007, with discussions beginning on the hour at 6, 7, & 8 PM.

Wanna do some DC music plus art on Saturday?

Heather Levy is opening an exhibition of new paintings this Saturday, March 17th, with an opening reception from 3-6 pm at Breakwell's (900 M Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001 (202) 289-4601 - it's at 9th and M ...across the street from the Convention Center).

There will be refreshments and live musical performances... from 3-4 PM you can hear the guitar talents of Nancy Lisi and from 4:30-6:00PM you can hear Basso Moderno Duo.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Tate at Fraser

I have been unable to see this exhibition yet, but judging from the press that it is generating, my very biased enthusiasm for District uberartist Tim Tate seems to have some widespread and diverse justification, at least as evidenced by what the critics are saying:

- Michael O'Sullivan in today's Washington Post.

- Chris Hobson in the current Washington City Paper.

- Kevin Mellema in the Falls Church News.

- Kriston Capps in the Washington Post Express.

- GOGs in the Washington Post.

- FiOS TV Sirius Satellite Radio will be recording a segment Tate and his most recent work next week.

Tate will also be giving a talk at the Smithsonian American Art Museum on Thursday, March 22nd at 3PM in the Museum's Luce Foundation Center of American Art. Free and open to the public.


Creating Heaven and Hell, Blown and Cast Glass, Video, LCD Screen, 14x6x6 inches

Wanna go to a DC opening tonight?

DCAC in Adams Morgan is having their opening for "Jolly Cowboy" (Curated by Cara Ober) tonight from 7-9PM.

Near Disaster at 1708 Gallery in Richmond, Virginia

Richmond's 1708 Gallery had a bit of a close call with fate as last Sunday a building two doors down from their space went up in flames. The gallery escaped with only minor water and smoke damage.

The timing for this sort of event is never good, but it is particularly bad this time around. This month is the gallery's annual live auction. This event contributes greatly to the annual budget of this non-profit gallery in Richmond. So, with the fire, their need for support is even greater.

There are still tickets available for the event and there is some really great work available. There are several components to the auction, with work for collectors with various budgets. There is work by gallery members (Bill Fisher, Diego Sanchez, Travis Fullerton, Cindy Neuschwander), regional artists (Ledelle Moe, Richard Carylon, Benjamin Jones, Suzanna Fields, Fiona Ross), as well as national artists like Sally Mann, Ed Paschke, and Richard Serra. There are too many great artists to list.

Details here.

Opportunity for Sculptors

Deadline: March 30, 2007

The Washington Sculptors Group, The Katzen Center at American University Museum, and Juror John Beardsley invite artists to submit work that responds to the architecture of the 6,000 square foot Syvia Berlin Katzen Outdoor Sculpture Garden of the Katzen Center at the American University Museum, in a Call for Outdoor Sculpture for “Architecture/Sculpture” Show (September 4, 2007 to December 30, 2007).

Details at www.washingtonsculptors.org or call: 202.686.8696.

Opportunity for Artists


Deadline: March 30, 2007 (postmark)

The Arts Council of Fairfax County announces Arts Council @ GRACE, a juried art exhibition offering $2,000 in prize monies. The exhibition is produced in partnership with the regional visual art center GRACE in Reston, VA.

Artists from DC, MD, or VA are encouraged to apply. Artists working in any media can submit up to five (5) images on CD, or video totaling no more than five (5) minutes on DVD. Juror: Irene Hofmann, Director of the Contemporary Museum in Baltimore, MD. Cash prizes totaling $2000. Entry Fee: $35 (waived for Arts Council and GRACE members). Exhibition will take place June 21 - August 3, 2007. The Call for Entries is also available for download from this website. For more information please visit the website or contact Susanna Rosenbaum at srosenbaum@artsfairfax.org.

Call for Artists

DC gallerina Kristina Bilonick has taken on a new extra-curricular gig: organizing a monthly outdoor arts market that will take place at the Ballston Metro on the second Saturdays June - October.

It's called the Ballston Arts + Crafts Market, and she's just created a blog where she's posted the call for artists and will eventually post info on the selected artists, live music and other activities surrounding the monthly event. The blog is here.

Kristina says that so far she's received a lot of jewelry and pottery submissions, but they're also looking for fine art, photography, woodworking, indy fashions, etc...

Contact Kristina at kbilonick at earthlink.net.

Wanna go to a Philly opening tonight?

Kay Hwang and Jackie Tileston open tonight at one of my favorite Philly galleries, Pentimenti Gallery.

The reception for the artists is tonight, Friday, March 16 from 6 - 8 p.m. The exhibition goes through April 28, 2007.

DCist Exposed

By Katie Tuss

Today is the last day to take in DCist Exposed on view at the Warehouse Art Gallery on 7th Street NW. Organized by the indispensable purveyors of capital city activity at the blog of the same name, DCist Exposed highlights the work of 38 metro area photographers and their unique interpretations of all that the district has to offer.

DCist Exposed is the first gallery exhibition organized by DCist and the debut show for many of the featured artists. The Guy Who Powerwashes Your Gravestone, by Thomas Anderson, juxtaposes the daily brush with the grave and serious, as a worker at Arlington National Cemetery cleans the headstones. John Ulaszek’s DC Park Police captures a mounted cop indulging in a red lollipop while surveying a ubiquitous Washington protest.

The diverse images were selected from a pool of over 200 submissions to Flickr.com, the photo sharing website that DCist regularly uses to supply its images. Stop by the Warehouse for a TGIF beer and experience neighborhood stalwarts in a new light.

The gallery is open from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Save the date!

Cause and Effect: What Impact Does Art in the Workplace Have on the Workforce? is a panel at The Phillips Collection on Thursday, March 29, 2007 from 8:45-10:45am (8:45-9:20 Registration/Continental Breakfast; 9:25-10:45 Forum).

Following the forum, participants are invited to tour The Phillips Collection. $35 Registration Required - details here.

Presenters are:

- Paul Boulis, president, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois & Chairman of Arts & Business Council of Chicago, Illinois

- James Fitzpatrick, senior partner & chair of Art Committee, Arnold & Porter; Trustee, The Phillips Collection

- Abel Lopez, chair, Creative Communities for Community Foundation for the National Capital Region.

The Moderator is Glen Howard, President of Strategic Philanthropy Advisors.

Two new Smithsonian American Art Museum curators

The Smithsonian American Art Museum has appointed two new curators. The Consulting Senior Curator for Film and Media Arts is John Hanhardt and The James Dicke Curator of Contemporary Art is Joanna Marsh.

Hanhardt will be responsible for a media arts initiative at the museum which includes acquisitions, exhibitions, educational programs and archival research resources related to film, video and the media arts. Marsh will be responsible for research, exhibitions and acquisitions related to the museum's growing contemporary collection.

Hanhardt was the senior curator of film and media arts at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City from 1996 until last year. From 1974 to 1996, he was curator and head of the film and video department at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Before that, he established the film department and film study collection at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minn.

Marsh comes to the museum from the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Conn. where she currently is the Associate Curator of Contemporary Art. She will report to the SAAM on April 30, 2007; Hanhardt is already there.

Wanna go to a MICA multi-studio opening tomorrow?

Accompanying the annual series of thesis exhibitions at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), 31 first-year candidates in MICA’s master of fine arts (M.F.A) programs are featured in a parallel series of group exhibitions. First-Year MFA I, II, and III Exhibitions showcase works by students from the College’s Hoffberger School of Painting, Mount Royal School of Art, Rinehart School of Sculpture, and photography and digital imaging program. The exhibitions take place in Bunting Center’s Pinkard Gallery (1401 Mount Royal Avenue), in Baltimore.

First-Year MFA I Exhibition runs Friday, March 16 through Sunday, March 25, with an opening reception on Friday, March 16, 5–7 p.m., and open studios on Friday, March 16, 7–9 p.m. The 11 students exhibiting are Mount Royal School of Art students Meaghan Harrison, Jimmy Roche, Mary Tait, and Courtney Wrenn (Scrapworm); Rinehart School of Sculpture students Sebastian Martorana and Virginia Warwick; Hoffberger School of Painting students Jessie Boyko, Alan Reid, and Justin Storms; and photography and digital imaging program students Sarah Jablecki and Christine Tran.

Role of Criticism Today

David Waddell over at ARTifice reports on the "Role of Criticism Today," panel discussion that took place at the Provisions Library in Dupont Circle in DC last Wednesday.

You have to read this.

And the nation's favorite buildings are:

From Slate:

Last month, the American Institute of Architects released the results of a national poll that asked the public to name its favorite buildings in the United States. Probably no one but an architect would be interested in exactly who made the cut. Meier and Gehry did (for the Getty Center and Disney Concert Hall, respectively)—although their buildings rank below Michael Graves' cartoonish Dolphin and Swan Hotels in Walt Disney World. Such firebrands as Thom Mayne, Peter Eisenman, and Steven Holl did not. But it is the list as a whole that casts an interesting light on what Americans think of the recent spate of signature buildings. The short answer: not much.
The list is here and six of the top ten sites are in DC.

New DC area gallery Grand Opening

Habatat Galleries, initially established elsewhere in 1971 opens their newest Greater DC area outpost this coming Saturday, March 31, 2007 with a grand opening reception from 7-10PM at their new space in Tyson's Corner. Directions here.

UPenn MFA Open Studios Sale Next Month

The University of Pennsylvania's Master of Fine Arts department offers an evening of open studio tours, performances, video screenings, music, and a chance to purchase work by emerging artists.

Friday, April 27, 2007, 5 p.m. - 8 p.m., free admission, drinks and refreshments

The UPenn MFA Open Studios Sale ushers out the academic term with a special event for collectors and art fans. First- and second-year Master of Fine Arts candidates at the University of Pennsylvania will open their studios for tours and informal chats about their work. Approximately 150 drawings, prints, paintings, photography, and sculptures will be for sale at accessible price points of $50, $100, and $150. All proceeds from these sales will support the Class of 2008 Thesis Show.

The UPenn MFA Open Studios Sale will take place in the Morgan Building, the university's main art studio building, at 205 S. 34th St. (between Walnut and Spruce streets) in Philadelphia. Live music and performances by MFA candidates will occur throughout the building, and refreshments will be served.

For more information, contact: Gianna Delluomo: 215-900-9714, delluomo@design.upenn.edu or Simon Slater: 917-763-7034, simonslater@gmail.com

Information about the event can be accessed on-line at this website.

Wanna go to a DC party tomorrow?

And also get a free 2007 Washington DC Guide?

Then come help Not For Tourists celebrate the release of their 2007 Washington DC Guide. The launching party is again this year at Local 16 on U Street, on Friday, March 16, 6-9pm (no cover charge/open to public) to officially herald the arrival of the latest version of the invaluable guidebook.

They are also looking for writers for their 2008 guidebook. Details here.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Randall School Update

Earlier this week I discussed the issue of the Randall School, the Corcoran and the neighborhood meeting about this hot issue.

A reader writes that:

"...a couple of my comrades attended the meeting of the ANC [Advisory Neighborhood Commission ] a few days ago on the Cork's plans. They are proposing to preserve the oldest parts of the building (as they are required to do under historic preservation law) and build a massive, undistinguished, even Stalinesque, 400 unit condo project on the rest. And they are a non-profit?"
Here's an idea: why doesn't the Corcoran hold a lottery for 10 of the 400 planned condos and give those 10 condos for free to 10 low income DC area artists?

Congratulations

To DC's Zenith Gallery, which is celebrating 29 years, which in gallery years is like 28 more years than the average gallery in the US survives being open.

Their 29th Anniversary Exhibition opening is Thursday, March 15th from 6 – 9PM and features 29 Zenith Artists:

Painting: Gloria Cesal, Renee duRocher, Drew Ernst, Christine Hayman, Robert C. Jackson, Shelley Laffal, Stephen Maffin, Joey Manlapaz, Anne Marchand, Davis Morton, Reuben Neugass, David Richardson, Sica, Ellen Sinel, Cassie Taggart, Wayne Trapp.

Mixed Media & Tapestry: Sue Klebanoff, Joan Konkel, jodi.

Sculpture: Margery E. Goldberg, Stephen Hansen, David Hubbard, Donna M. McCullough, Carol Newmyer.

Neon: Phil Hazard, Craig Kraft, Candice Watkins, Michael Young

Photography: David Glick, Colin Winterbottom.

Art-O-Matic Registration is now open

Artists can now register online at www.artomatic.org. There are also "newbie" meetings on Wednesdays 6 pm at 2121 Crystal Drive, 6th floor in Crystal City, Virginia. Meetings are: March 14, 22, 28, and April 4, 11, 2007.

WaPo profiles another DC artist

I don't know what's going on at the WaPo, but even if it's just a coincidence, I like it.

First its Chief Art Critic profiled a DC area artist, his first ever such profile, and now writer David Montgomery delivers an excellent piece on DC area artist Nikolas Schiller. Read that profile here.

Wanna go to a great DC opening tomorrow?

Women's Work: Five Distinct Points of view from Young Female Artists, featuring the work of Molly Brose, Mary Chiaramonte, Jenny Davis, Laurel Hausler and Abbe Mcgray opens tomorrow at DC's Nevin Kelly Gallery on U Street. The opening reception is Thursday, March 15th, 6 - 9 PM.

Two of my favorite young artists are on this list: the super talented Molly Brose, whose work hangs in my house, and the equally talented Jenny Davis, whose work first amazed me when she was 13 years old.

Tip of the Year

There's a small 8x10 inches painting by Clark/Hogan that has found its way to Miss Pixie's shop on 18th St in Adams Morgan in DC. She's selling it for $135.

While they were married Michael Clark and Felicity Hogan used to be my neighbors in Canal Square in Georgetown, where they usually painted together and ran MOCA/DC, and this is one of their signature pieces: a Washington portrait. I have one in my personal collection.

Clark is in the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Art, and has also been in a past Corcoran Bienial, and is also in the permanent collection of the Corcoran. Hogan now lives in New York, where she is an art dealer and an artist.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Trawick Prize

Deadline: Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District is now accepting submissions for The Trawick Prize: Bethesda Contemporary Art Awards. The 5th annual juried art competition awards $14,000 in prize monies to four selected artists. Deadline for slide submission is Tuesday, April 10, 2007 and up to fifteen artists will be invited to display their work from September 4 – September 28, 2007 in downtown Bethesda at Creative Partners Gallery, located at 4600 East-West Highway.

The Trawick Prize is without a doubt, the key fine arts competition available to DC, MD and VA artists and has already produced some spectaculaer results for its winners.

This year's competition will be juried by Anne Ellegood, Associate Curator at the Hirshorn Museum & Sculpture Garden; Amy G. Moorefield, Assistant Director and Curator of Collections for Virginia Commonwealth University’s Anderson Gallery and Rex Stevens, Chair of the General Fine Arts Department at Maryland Institute College of Art.

The first place winner will be awarded $10,000; second place will be honored with $2,000 and third place will be awarded $1,000. A “young” artist whose birth date is after April 10, 1977 may also be awarded $1,000.

Artists must be 18 years of age or older and residents of Maryland, Virginia or Washington, D.C. Original painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, fiber art, digital, mixed media and video are accepted. The maximum dimension should not exceed 96 inches in any direction. No reproductions. Artwork must have been completed within the last two years. Selected artists must deliver artwork to exhibit site in Bethesda, MD. All works on paper must be framed to full conservation standards.

The Trawick Prize was established by local Bethesda business owner Carol Trawick. Ms. Trawick has served as a community activist for more than 25 years in downtown Bethesda. She is the Chair of the Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District and past Chair of the Bethesda Urban Partnership. Additionally, the Jim and Carol Trawick Foundation was established in 2007 after the Trawicks sold their successful information technology company.

For a complete submission form, please visit www.bethesda.org or send a self-addressed stamped envelope to the Bethesda Urban Partnership, Inc., c/o The Trawick Prize: Bethesda Contemporary Art Awards, 7700 Old Georgetown Road, Bethesda, MD 20814.

Opportunity for Painters

Deadline: Monday, April 9, 07, 4pm.

Last year I told you all the story of my experience with this very good painting competition. Read it here and then enter this show.

The McLean Project for the Arts: Strictly Painting VI has their call for the sixth version of this show. They will notify accepted artists on May 4. Artists will be notified by email or postcard. Please do not call.

The juror is my good friend Kristen Hileman, who is the Assistant Curator at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

Eligibility: All Mid-Atlantic artists (DC, VA, MD, PA, NJ, DE, WV) are invited to submit up to 4 slides or jpegs of paintings on any two-dimensional surface completed in the last two years and not previously exhibited at MPA. Paintings that are influenced in some way by the Washington Color School will be considered. Work that combines painting with other media is acceptable as well. Each of the submitted works must be available for exhibit if chosen by the juror. Works must fit through an 81" x 65" doorway.

Awards: Cash prizes up to $2,000 will be awarded by the juror.

Entry fee: $25. Fee waived for current MPA members. Fee includes one-year artist membership to MPA. Make checks payable to: McLean Project for the Arts. Artists may submit up to four 35mm slides in a slide sheet or four digital images on a CD. Submit to:

Strictly Painting
McLean Project for the Arts
1234 Ingleside Avenue, McLean, VA 22101

For further information email Nancy Sausser: nsausser@mpaart.org.

Opportunity for Textile Artists

Deadline: June 29, 2007

The Julia A. Purnell Museum, a museum of regional history with a substantial textile and costume collection is seeking fiber artists and fashion designers to participate in a fashion show to take place in October 2007. The show, entitled "Once Upon a Runway: Tradition & Innovation," will stress the artistic nature of fashion design.

The museum is seeking to represent a wide variety of styles and techniques, including, but not limited to: quilting, hand-weaving, knitting, and hand-dyeing.

Hobbyists, students, professional and non-professional designers and artists are encouraged to apply. Work from patterns is acceptable, especially in the cases of knitwear, historic costume recreations, and hand-wovens, as long as the pattern-maker is noted and credited. The show will be juried by members of the museum staff and the Central Delmarva Fibers Guild, and applicants will be notified of their acceptance no later than July 27, 2007. The fashion show and luncheon will take place on Saturday, October 20 at the Nassawango Country Club in Snow Hill, Maryland. To request an application, or get more information, contact the Julia A. Purnell Museum at (410) 632-0515 or mail@purnellmuseum.com

Multimediale

Multimediale is a four-day multimedia DC area arts festival that brings together artists from the Washington, DC region centered around the theme: Capturing the Capital!

Multimediale seeks to energize the DC arts community with new ideas about art, society and politics. Visit their Web site at www.multimedialedc.org for news and dialogue. Multimediale is organized by Randall Packer and curator Niels Van Tomme. All events are free and open to the public.

Sirius on Tate

Sirius Satellite Radio will be recording a segment on DC area uberartist Tim Tate sometime next week. Details to follow.

Smithsonian to launch TV station

I was reminded today that the Smithsonian Institution will be launching its own television station later this year. It's a joint venture between the SI and CBS/Showtime Networks.

2007 DC Mayor's Arts Awards

The fun, entertainment and presentation of the awards will take place on Monday, March 19, 6:00pm, at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall.

Hizzoner Mayor Adrian Fenty will preside over his first Mayor's Arts Awards, the highest honor conferred by the District of Columbia in recognition of artistic excellence and service among artists, organizations, and patrons in the District.

The 22nd Annual Mayor's Arts Awards will be held on Monday, March 19th at 6:00 p.m. in the Concert Hall at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Grammy Award winning a cappella group, Sweet Honey In The Rock will perform and accept the Lifetime Achievement Award.

My good friend WAMU's Kojo Nnamdi is the evening's Master of Ceremonies. Legendary choreographer, director, producer Debbie Allen, D.C. Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Clifford Janey, and Norman Scribner, Artistic Director, Choral Arts Society of Washington are among the presenters.

The evening will feature an award presentation for Excellence in an Artistic Discipline, Outstanding Contribution to Arts Education, Excellence in Service to the Arts, and Innovation in the Arts and others.

Winners will be announced "live" from the stage and receive a statuette specifically commissioned for the ceremony. This event is free and open to the public and I have attended many times over the years and it is a boatload of fun. No tickets are necessary for the award ceremony, but reservations are recommended. The audience should RSVP to artsawards@dc.gov or 202.724.5613.

Grants for Artists

The LEF Foundation accepts grants applications on an ongoing basis. They offer funding for contemporary works in the visual arts, performing arts, literary arts, architecture, design, film and new media. The intent of the grants are to provide opportunities to produce and present new work; to honor creative merit and foster critical discourse; encourage dissemination of work by emerging and under-recognized artists; increase exposure of established artists in regions where they have not been widely represented; to promote new concepts, technologies, and approaches that are experimental or innovative; to support work that may be considered controversial or provocative; and to enhance the voices of marginalized cultures. Interested applicants should send a one page Letter of Intent. For more information or program guidelines, contact:

LEF Foundation
945 Greene St.
San Francisco, CA 94133

Monday, March 12, 2007

Wanna go to nude body painting opening in DC this Friday?

On Friday, March 16, 2007, the five Canal Square Galleries in Georgetown (Parish, Alla Rogers, Rebecca Cross, Anne Fisher and MOCA DC) have their usual 3rd Friday Georgetown openings and MOCA DC is hosting its Erotica 2007 show opening starting at 6 pm until the beer and wine runs out. They will also have a nude body painting event (three females and three males) as part of the festivities.

Oh yeah! The event is free and open to the public.

Jasper Johns and Target

Adam Benforado (identified as "a lawyer and art history buff") writes a really insightful and sensitive piece for the WaPo on corporate sponsorship of art, an issue which has been largely ignored by most art critics, writers and other artworld symbiots.

Currently hanging outside the East Wing of the National Gallery is a large banner of Jasper Johns's 1955 "Target With Four Faces," advertising a show celebrating the first decade of his work. The painting is dominated by the title motif: a blue dot surrounded by four concentric circles of alternating yellow and blue. Walking in recently, I joked to my companion that I was surprised that Target wasn't sponsoring the show.

Out of the mouths of babes . . .

It turns out Target is sponsoring it, "proudly," in fact.

Offering financial backing to the exhibition was undoubtedly a savvy move for Target. After all, the show is filled with paintings that, though they aren't red and white, evoke Target's corporate logo. Johns's targets also appear on the exhibition catalogue and posters for sale in the gift shop. On the busy Sunday I was there, hundreds of people were strolling through, staring intently at various depictions of an image that has been engrained in our heads as standing for one of America's most powerful and successful companies.
And then Adam Benforado offers up a solution:
First, if we care about art -- if we value it as a social good -- we must increase public funding so that museum directors and artists can remain independent. While the United States is unlikely to shift to the centralized European model of art sponsorship, the federal government's stingy arts budget could be increased without any of us feeling much of a bite in our pocketbooks.

Second, we should demand that corporations give money to art galleries without sponsoring particular shows. If Target is really committed to "arts and education," as it says in the Johns show brochure, then it should be just as satisfied with its donation going to support the excellent exhibit on Rembrandt's prints and drawings in the adjoining building.
Or the operating budget for the WPA/C, or finding a place for the Wyeth mural, etc. My kudos to Adam. Read the whole article here.