Monday, June 23, 2008

Living Without Them

Read the discussion on this Katzen Museum installation here. Comments welcomed!

The Washington Post's Critics Shame

Artomatic 2008 attracted a record-breaking 52,500 visitors as the Washington, D.C. area's homegrown arts extravaganza came to a triumphant close this month, setting new records and breaking new ground for artists in the region.

"Artomatic 2008 was a phenomenal event and it exceeded even our expectations," said Veronica Szalus, Artomatic president. "We are glad to be able to provide this opportunity for artists and to enrich the D.C. creative community."

In all, about 1,540 individual artists took part in Artomatic — also a new high. The total included 740 visual artists — such as painters, sculptors and photographers — who showed thousands of artworks. The event also included individual 800 performing artists, such as dancers, poets, theatre groups, drummers, comedians, fire troupes and musicians. Highlights of Artomatic 2008 included an art-themed fashion show, blood drive, art car foot race, marketplace, book signings and on-site tattoo parlor.

For the first time, Artomatic had a full schedule of free children's events every weekend, including popular workshops on mobile-making, Peeps dioramas, drawing and sculpting. More than 20 children's events were held, attracting hundreds of participants and budding artists.

Adult educational workshops and lectures were also held, focusing on topics such as art collecting and photography techniques. I participated in a couple of these...

And kudos to the Washington Post's Lavanya Ramanathan for providing most of the Post's scant critical coverage of the city's largest arts event.

How my good friend John Pancake, the Arts Editor of the Washington Post, can justify the fact that his two art critics can ignore the largest homegrown arts event in the city, is beyond me. As critical as I am of the WaPo's visual arts coverage, this apathy towards such a large event is beyond belief for even the Post, allegedly the world's second most influential newspaper.

Somewhere in the apathy is a mix of disdain for almost anything that smells of open, public, hands-free, artist-run, uncurated democratic event. The officers and shock troops of the contemporary salons cannot allow such an event to be a success.

Too bad that it is, even with their antipathy.

You reap what you sow; if you don't get it, you don't get it.

Update: John Pancake, the long time Arts Editor of the Washington Post is on the way out, as he took the recent set of buyout offerings from the WaPo administration.

George Carlin

I’m always relieved when someone is delivering a eulogy and I realize I’m listening to it.
- George Carlin
I'm really gonna miss that funny dude.

Opportunity for DC Artists

Deadline: Wednesday, July 9, 2008 at 5:30 pm

The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) is purchasing artwork that captures archetypes of Washington DC. Subjects include specific neighborhoods, parks and circles, festivals, gathering places, or cultural events. Less obvious motifs include downtown redevelopment, restaurants, shops and businesses, work places, or Metro stations. Artists should consider a broad range of subject matter as long as the works have an unmistakable subject reflecting life in the District. Artists should also consider submitting images of Washington that depict the changing neighborhoods and the parts of the city that are disappearing. The Committee is very interested in depictions of all wards of the city. The collection serves to honor and embrace life in the District.

This opportunity is open to all artists who reside and have their studio in the District of Columbia.

For more information and to download the Call to Artist, please visit or to request an application in HTML format, email Beth Baldwin or call (202) 724-5613.