Friday, January 26, 2007

The Top 25 Web Celebrities

Forbes has come up with a list of "the biggest, brightest and most influential people on the Internet. From bloggers to podcasters to YouTube stars, these are the people who are creating the digital world from the bottom up."

And guess what? There's a conceptual artist on that list!

And guess what? He's from the Greater Washington, DC area!

And guess what? His last DC exhibition had lines around the corner waiting to get in!

And guess what? His road to fame started at the last Art-O-Matic!

Frank Warren, one of the nicest guys that I know, and creator of PostSecret, is number 14 on the list.

Congrats to Frank!

Here's the list:

1. Jessica Lee Rose

2. Perez Hilton

3. Markos Moulitsas Zúniga

4. Matt Drudge

5. Seth Godin

6. Jeff Jarvis

7. Glenn Reynolds

8. Amanda Congdon

9. Robert Scoble

10. Michael Arrington

11. Hosea Frank

12. Jimmy Wales

13. Harry Knowles

14. Frank Warren

15. Cory Doctorow

16. Xeni Jardin

17. Leo Laporte

18. Merlin Mann

19. John H. Hinderaker

20. Charles Johnson

21. Kevin Sites

22. Mark Lisanti

23. Jason Calacanis

24. Om Malik

25. Violet Blue
Read the whole article by David M. Ewalt here.

Caroline Altmann's Idea

Alexandria, Virginia artist Caroline Altmann writes to me:

Would love to plant an idea on expanding D.C.'s art audience.

A year and a half ago, I started sending out emails to non-artist friends who were interested in being informed on "must see" exhibits. It is a small effort on my part of a greater plan to increase awareness that D.C. has an important art scene worthy of national and international attention.

My observation is that people (including the well educated, observant, aesthetically sensitive) are afraid of art (Oh yes, artists are equally shy). Many are afraid that they don't know enough about art to be secure in their likes or dislikes. Even art buyers retain this "I am not an expert" humility. Many are unsure of what is art and therefore something that they could chose with confidence for themselves.

It is the responsibility of us in the field to make the subject seem less daunting.

One of the most important things we could do is to make art more accessible. How to do this? There are, of course, many ways. More information is a good start.

Isn't the British model wonderful of presenting works of art in context of history, culture and personal background of the artist? It demystifies the art. Nothing creates a greater barrier between the art and the viewer than the sparse labeling of art with titles and medium only.

Where do you find explanations?

In special shows.

So I created an emailing list to tell people of extraordinary shows in galleries and museums. At well-curated shows, learning is easy and enjoyable. Some of my past recommendations were "Sculpture Unbound" and Jean Pigozzi's extraordinary modern African art collection.

The response has been wonderful -- my friends appreciate the personal recommendations. And, I am respectful of their email inboxes and recommend only a few shows. I would love to eventually get all artists in the D.C. area to do the same.

Imagine several thousand artists sending out emails to interested folks who love personal recommendations on what they cannot miss. We could reach 50 - 100,000 individuals! The more people interested in art, the more local newspapers, including the Post will cover the non- museum world. In 5-10 years we would transform this town.

Must see show at the National Gallery -- Diptychs

You haven't heard about "must sees" from me for awhile since I was immersed in putting together my show for the 2nd half of last year. But I'm again going out and today saw an eye-popping, superb, international exhibit.

"Prayers and Portraits" is easy to pass up at 1st notice. (I went at the urging of a NY friend). 14th-16th devotional portraits of Dutch patrons coupled with religious images, many gory, do not usually attract crowds.

But there were plenty of folks in the rooms. Here God is in the details. The workmanship is exquisite, divine if you don't mind the pun. The history is interesting, and if you catch the Beloved tour guide at a 12:00 tour (check days) you will be enlightened. And don't be dissuaded by the images on the NG website. The wonder can only be seen up close (10 inches at times -- no pesky buzzers).

At the National Gallery of Art, West Building until Feb 4.

Photos and Lies

The Washington Post's Michael O'Sullivan has a really good marriage of two photographers' works in this review in today's WaPo.

O'Sullivan reviews "Self Possesed" (through Feb. 24 at Adamson Gallery in DC) and "Mini-Matic" (through Feb. 3 at Fraser Gallery in Bethesda, MD).

About "Self-Possesed" O'Sullivan writes:

"While the photographs are attributed to Prince, the show's publicity gives top billing to Mann, and, sure enough, in several of them she's holding the shutter release cable herself."
And he adds about "Mini-Matic"
A series of black-and-white photographs by Doug Sanford touches on a somewhat different interpretation of truth and lies in Fraser Gallery's group show "Mini-Matic." Using shots of printouts of angry e-mails sent by the artist's former girlfriend -- on whom he had cheated -- the works feature enlarged passages of text illustrating such hell-hath-no-fury passion as "I. Hate. You." and "I hope you suffer horribly" and "I know you're just concocting lies."
And so far it looks as I have at least one of these six predictions right.