Tuesday, May 05, 2009


The nation's vast left wing nuttery is not very forgiving of artists who walk on the wrong side of the tracks. And yet the nation's only out of the closet artist who's openly critical of Obama has launched a new series using photographs from the Official White House Flickr Photostream.

It takes cojones... see it here.

In DC this week

International Art Affairs is going on in various DC venues this week... I have been home one day in the last two weeks and heading to New York tomorrow, otherwise I would have dropped in to some of these:

Tuesday May 5

6 – 7 pm, followed by a short Q&A session
Bauhaus – An International Chronology: G. Martin Moeller, senior vice president and curator at the National Building Museum, is a world class expert on Bauhaus, a school that originated in post WWI Germany, and had profound effects in art as well as architecture and design.

Wednesday May 6

6 – 7 pm, followed by a short Q&A session

How to Build a World Class Art Collection in Washington, DC – A Primer: Renowned Georgetowner Barbara Gordon recounts how her travel experiences and her keen interest in art led her to develop an ability to identify collectable art. Find out how she did it and how the arts became a wholesome supplement to a life of social and political activism.

Thursday May 7

6 – 7 pm, followed by a short Q&A session with exhibit and reception

Healing Art: Outsiders Inside: Lorton Art Program Founder and Director Mia Choumenkovitch will lecture on her decades of experience training inmates in fine art techniques. Ms. Choumenkovitch has lectured internationally at healing art symposiums and has great insight on comparative criminal justice – mainly focused on US versus European approaches. An exhibit of this artwork will be on display from 3 – 9 pm.

Friday, May 8

5:30 – 6:30 pm

Mexico and New York: Art Flows: Barbara Tenenbaum, renowned Mexican scholar lectures on the defining moment in the art worlds that existed in Mexico and New York in the twentieth century. The lecture reflects on the political currents of the time with applications for today.

Friday May 8

6:30 – 10 pm

Latin American Youth Center (LAYC) Benefit and LAYC Exhibit with Music by LAYC Program Participants: International Art Affairs, Blue Flame Capital, LLC, and NGAS Resources, Inc. team up to benefit the Latin American Youth Center’s art and music program. LAYC provides a wide range of important services and mentoring to young people of all ethnic backgrounds. This event will raise money to help the LAYC overcome a funding shortfall with a portion to Cultural Tourism and its Passport DC Budget. Please RSVP to 202-319-2225 or call Bill Farrand 202-256-2139 or Fernando Batista 202-413-2687.

Saturday May 9

2:30 – 3:30 pm, followed by a short Q&A session

Emerging Art Markets – The Case of India: Artist and Sotheby’s scholar Ms. Pooja Tipirneni discusses the roots and evolution of India’s contemporary art movement and Russian and Chinese parallels in trends.

Erectile Weather

(Via Pat)

Weather Erection, author unknown

On the news

A 3-minute Torpedo Factory segment should air today, Tuesday, May 5, on PBS and BBC America, and worldwide on BBC World News.

It is still possible it could be pushed aside for breaking news.

I have been told that the segment is entirely Torpedo Factory footage. When the video is posted on the BBC website I will follow up with a link.

BBC World News interviewed three artists on April 9, 2009 about the impact of the economy on the creative direction of art:

- Rosemary Covey
- Carol Levin
- Susan Makara

View photos from the shoot here.

Tired words

I’m so tired.

As I write this, I am aboard Southwest Airlines, somewhere 30,000 feet above the Eastern seaboard and heading home from North Carolina. By the time this post is published I will be home, after what feels like endless travels through the South. For the last ten days or so it has been a blur of never ending driving and airport waiting and airplanes and strange beds.

And yet, there are always pleasant and enriching surprises where one least expects them. Such as finding a particularly unique piece of sculpture in a show where it is alone amongst its brethren, a seminal piece which tempted me into considering awarding it a Best in Show but ended with a lesser Honorable Mention because I think that the artist has a lot more to explore in order to push the concept behind the work. He needs to enter the world of electricity and lights and videos and then he will be there. There was also the enriching experience of meeting artists who are truly and deeply enamored of their art. And the shock of awarding a Best in Show to a small work whose merit may be overseen by most, like the flower in a dandelion is seen as a weed in a garden of manicured flowers.

And memorable and most unexpected images of predatory jacks-in-the-box dressed like harlequins being fed honey. They made me shiver with concern as to their creation seed, like a character in Stephen King’s “Duma Key” reacting to one of Edgar Freemantle’s hypnotic paintings.

And green trees everywhere, clean manicured lawns and mailboxes guided by Home Owner’s Association standards.

And the unexpected and welcomed surprise of having a rich conversation while being driven to the airport that strikes a special chord, and perhaps triggers thoughts, both light and dark, and ideas, both harsh and moist.

Sometimes a very talented and special artist flourishes amongst a field of good artists. They stand out in a special way, viewed by some as outsiders and out layers and by others as beautiful. Like the powerful yellow of a dandelion flower is seen as a bad weed by the vastness of the majority and also as a pretty flower by those with a delicate eye for beauty.

But beauty demands the delicacy of steel, shiny and flexible, and composed of mixed components, each strong on their own, but not as strong as when they are forced to couple together in the cauldron of molten ingredients. The scent of beauty has iron ore and coke and alloys and eventually it becomes steel.

The conversation floated around art, beauty, and the creative process. The words and idea revolved rapidly around love for art and love for being an artist and how love helps to create art; love as a driving force.

“Not just love,” I added, “also hate.”

After some exploration of this idea, we quickly agreed that what was really needed was passion. Poets and common folk have struggled with the nearness of love to hate and the quickness of how they can be molten into one by events and perceptions. Molten like iron and coke and alloys are molten to make steel.

Can art be created from hate?

“From the hells beneath the hells, I bring you my deathly fruits,” wrote Howard in his dark, some would say hateful poetry.

It is a dreadful question and one that I hadn’t really thought about much until a wonderful exchange of ideas with an unexpected kindred art soul brought it to my mind and then to my lips.

Was Goya driven by hate when he etched his horrible “Disasters of War”? I think so; but a very special kind of hate.

The same Goya who so loved the Duchess of Alba, a woman that he couldn’t have, that he painted her with brushes and paints loaded with love, and with desire, and even with direction and wishful thinking.

I think that I think that any passion can drive an artist to create meaningful and powerful art. The fervor of religion has given us some of the greatest masterpieces of art in the world, and not so curiously, as man steps away from God, so has the importance of contemporary religious art.

But it is so disturbing to me to think about pure incandescent hate as a driving force in the creativity of art.

Maybe I should diminish hate.

I hate green peppers.

I had a really good Greek salad for a lovely lunch a couple of days ago, and I was so engrossed in the conversation that I forgot to ask the waiter to skip the green peppers.

The salad was bountiful and tasty, and loaded to the brim with the offending vegetable. And the guilt of wasting food was there as I piled strips of green on the edge of my plate while consuming the rest of the salad voraciously. It’s odd how often I’m not aware that I am hungry until food is presented to me.

I eat too fast. My mother’s aunt once told me that she chewed each bite 33 times. But then you’d spend too many precious minutes chewing food. The answer to this mundane tragedy is somewhere in between three and 33. On the other hand, she lived to be well over 100 years old, 103 or 104 I think.

I hate how allergens can penetrate your body’s defenses and torment your nose, throat and eyes and make never ending days full of physical misery. I often wonder how cavemen survived in moldy caves in a world of sneezing. They must have been killed by their companions. How can a sneezing caveman sneak silently during the hunt? And they really couldn’t be demoted to gatherers instead of hunters, because they’d be sneezing their hairy heads off as they gathered berries and nuts and roots among the pollen rich world in which they lived.

I hate that HBO cancelled “Rome” and left us hanging with Pullo walking away with Caesarian.

I know, I know… different kinds of hate.

Still, I will never paint or draw green peppers.

I’m so tired, but happy.


"Masked," curated by my good friend Joan Weber is at School 33 Art Center in Baltimore through June 27, 2009 with an opening reception on Saturday, May 9, 2009 6-9pm and a Curator's Talk on Saturday, May 23, 2009 1-3pm and a poetry reading on Thursday, June 11, 2009 6:30-8:00pm.

Perda do Sentido by Elsa MoraMASKED is an exploration of work about concealment, secrets, self-conscious and social constructions of identity which ultimately reveal a new face – a brilliant corona of strength, integrity and courage. Each work is a performance piece of sorts; the artists have used their own bodies or their own biographies to very directly create a presence that suggests a story or a secret. However, rather than being a study in psychology or narrative, where one might work to discover that secret – this assembly is exciting in that even while experiencing the powerfully posited content on the surface, we know that there is an equally powerfully complex internal life.
The artists in the exhibition include: Dawn Black (paintings), Iona Rozeal Brown (pigment prints), Lynden Cline (sculpture), Bailey Doogan (drawings), Susan Fenton (hand painted silver print photographs), Inga Frick (pigment prints), J.J. McCracken (performance), Ledelle Moe (sculpture), Elsa Mora (photographs), Elena Patino (painting), Phyllis Plattner (painting), and Athena Tacha (sculpture) and the poets are Teri Cross Davis, Clarinda Harriss, Judith McCombs, and Rosemary Winslow (Poetry curator).