Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Is she busy or what?

"Barely emerging" DC area artist Kathryn Cornelius may be in the process of graduating to "emerging."

Kathryn Cornelius
She has a live performance on the opening night of artDC, this Thursday at 8pm as part of the Curator's Office presence at the fair. Cornelius writes:

I am especially excited about this performance because it involved a lot of participation of multiple parties as a portion of its conceptual underpinnings, which has been an interesting way to work... I am grateful for all those individuals and organizations that have been a part of this piece -- thank you!
Then she has some photographs in a show at the Palazzo delle Arti in Naples, Italy. The exhibition is called Eroi! come noi...? (Heroes! like us ...?) and runs April 5 thru June 27, 2007. Curated by Julia Draganovic of The Chelsea Museum in New York, the exhibition includes artists Charlotte Ginsborg, Marco Giovani, Ilya Kabakov, Tom Sanford, and Hu Yang among others.

Also, this spring she will have a video work displayed in a group video show at Galerie Anita Beckers in Germany.

Buy a Cornelius this weekend - do not wait any longer.


Future of Warehouse Theatre and Galleries Uncertain

Via Wonkette I learned last nigt that the future of the Warehouse Galleries and Theatre in DC is suddenly quite uncertain.

A couple of years ago I curated "Seven" for the WPA/C and it took place in seven of the eight gallery spaces that Warehouse hosts in the buildings built and owned by the Ruppert family for many, many decades. In the process I got to know its owners, Molly and Paul Ruppert, quite well.

Molly Ruppert is an independent, feisty, hardworking person with a kind, open heart that nonetheless is able to integrate business and kindness with a sharp art savvy personality and an indefatigable sense of community. Together with Paul, they are a hands-on business model that make up the main workforce at Warehouse, be it as bar tenders, waiters, gallerist or theatre managers (they do have an excellent chef!). And yet, the Warehouse is not a money-making operation.

But she and Paul and their buildings are an asset and an important part of the cultural tapestry that makes up the Greater Washington, DC area art scene.

While I was curating "Seven," Molly and I discussed the surrounding neighborhood, and the important cultural contribution that I felt Warehouse had added by retaining a little cultural DNA for a neighborhood that was almost swallowed whole by the huge Washington Convention Center.

Not that I think that the Convention Center is a bad thing; in fact it is a great asset economically to Washington and to the neighborhood, but a neighborhood also needs places like Warehouse to remain alive, and not just become another soul-less block of cookie cutter businesses and franchises.

In discussing the surrounding buildings, Molly confided in me that she was bleak about the future of her property, and that she had already turned down several offers from developers to buy her family buildings. However, she suspected that once these developers got the ear of the city administrators, she would be forced out of the neighborhood.

"How can they force you out?", I asked.

She answered by telling me that she suspected that at some point the city would double or triple her property taxes, effectively making it financially impossible for Ruppert to continue her business model or even ownership of the spaces.

And it is brutally ironic that at the same time that we're all congratulating Molly Ruppert's sense of community for stepping up and saving J.T. Kirkland's "Supple" project, we get the news that Warehouse property taxes for next year are increasing over 500%!

A 500% property tax hike is an obscene tax hike no matter who or what for, but especially in a city such as Washington, DC, which owes so much of its revitalization to private industry and to hard-working small businesses like the Warehouse.

I am not sure what "we" can all do, but I have a few ideas, and the first one is for organizations such as the Washington Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and the Cultural Alliance of Greater DC, and other such cultural organizations and entities of the capital region to step up and use whatever contacts or networks they have to make sure that (as I suspect), in the same way that some developer got the "ear" of some city politician, that these organizations in turn get the "ear" of some political allies (or even get Hizzoner's ear) to ensure that this obscene tax hike gets reviewed and reduced or eliminated, and Warehouse afforded a chance to remain in place as one of DC's leading cultural icons.

Update: Jessica Gould of the WCP already had stepped up to the plate and had a great posting on this issue yesterday here.

ArtDC opens tomorrow

The capital's first major international fine arts fair opens tomorrow at the Washington Convention Center. Not that you'd know it by the coverage that our local newspapers have given it so far, but this is the biggest thing that has happened to the visual arts around here in a long time, maybe ever.

The opening night festivities will benefit the Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington. Considering the boost that the Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington is getting from this visual arts event, I sincerely hope that (a) more visual arts organizations and galleries join the CAGW and (b) that CAWG increases what they do to boost the visibility of DC area visual arts.

Thursday, April 26, 2007
Washington Convention Center, Hall E
800 Mount Vernon Place, NW, Washington DC

5:30-7:30, Drinks and Hors d' Oeuvres - Tickets are $100
7:30-9:30, Cash Bar - Tickets are $30
For tickets call 312-587-8124 or email

On Friday, April 27 the fair is free and open to the public, after that: April 28-30, $12; $5 for seniors and students. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. April 27-29, and 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Call 866-727-7953 or visit this website for details.

Since on Friday the fair is free, there's absolutely no excuse for not getting into an orgy of art this Friday.

First drop by and spend a couple of hours at artDC, then swing by the Warehouse Gallery across the street, have a beer or a cup of coffee and say hi to Molly Ruppert, then take the Metro over to Crystal City and visit Artomatic, which has a ton of parties and music events going on till 1AM. And ferchristsakes: buy some art somewhere along the line!

See ya there!

Wanna go to a DC opening tonight?

With an exhibition titled "Inside/Out", Washington artist, Raye Leith, unveils a group of portraits of well-known figures grouped with Washington insiders and power players.

Her series, part of a New York project of 100 portraits she recently embarked on, includes larger than life figures such as John Lennon and Albert Einstein as well as such Washington players as Septime Webre (Director of the Washington Ballet), Valerie Plame (exposed CIA operative), President of the United States George W. Bush, and Mayor of Washington, D.C., Adrian Fenty.

Inside/Out opens on April 25th and runs through May 20th, 2007 at Knew Gallery in Georgetown.