Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Airborne
Flying on Facebook - a cartoon by F. Lennox Campello c.2009Airborne today and heading to Amsterdam and then to England... more from the Old World later.

Minute Wings

I said, I don’t like Yeats.
I only like Marti, Neruda, Borge and Paz.
You read this poem to me:

I did the dragon's will until you came
Because I had fancied love a casual
Improvisation, or a settled game
That followed if I let the kerchief fall:
Those deeds were best that gave the minute wings
And heavenly music if they gave it wit;
And then you stood among the dragon-rings.
I mocked, being crazy, but you mastered it
And broke the chain and set my ankles free,
Saint George or else a pagan Perseus;
And now we stare astonished at the sea,
And a miraculous strange bird shrieks at us.


I was scared by the dragon-rings,
and the will which I was doing,
and even by minute wings.
But you opened me,
and gave me my freedom,
and Yeats.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

Have a grand Memorial Day!

Jasper Johns Flag in MOMA

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The DC Art card deck

Art in Hand™ is an arts publisher who was looking to bring their City Project Decks of cards to the city of Washington, DC.

They selected 54 artists who are currently living and working in the Washington, DC area to participate in their DC City Project Deck, which has just been published.

The Washington, DC Project is a deck of fully functional playing cards where each individual card in the deck (plus 2 jokers) is rendered in the typical style of the contributing artist. The project creates widespread exposure for participating artists while producing a unique, entertaining, functional and green product for the city of Washington, DC.
Check out the project and all the cards and associated artwork here.

Judith Peck - The Queen of SpadesThe cards are available at many stores locally and also at most local museum stores, or you can order them online here.

My favorite card?

Judith Peck gets a winning hand with her gorgeous Queen of Spades.

You can buy Judith's painting here.

Just keeps on getting worse and worse...

On Thursday, Cuban pro-democracy activist Caridad Caballero was arrested by the Castro regime's Workers Paradise's police.

She has not been heard from since then and her whereabouts remain unknown.

Caballero, a member of the Ladies in White support group ("Damas de Apoyo"), was arrested for participating in a peaceful protest against the Castro regime.

Her family has been frantically searching for her in all known police and state security operation centers, but they refuse to reveal any information about her well-being or whereabouts.

As you can see from the video clip below of a previous arrest (in March 2011) of Caballero, the Castro regime is not shy about using repressive force against her and her family.


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Campello at auction

A British antique art dealer has one of my drawings from eleven years ago up for auction. It starts at 195 pounds, so it's a great deal!


Check it out and bid on it here. Hurry! Only 14 hours left!

Planning Process

Just got the news that I've been selected by Helen Allen (former creator and Executive Director of PULSE Art Fairs; former Executive Director of Ramsay Art Fairs; and current partner for the upcoming (e)merge art fair in Washington, DC) to exhibit at the Arlington Art Center's "Planning Process" exhibition.

More later on what I'll be doing, but from the prospectus:

PLANNING PROCESS is a juried drawing show with a difference: All of the drawings selected for inclusion must be studies created in preparation for finished artworks. Winning studies will be shown alongside finished pieces in a variety of media: A sculptor or a painter could show sketches alongside finished objects . . . a video artist could show storyboards alongside video . . . an installation artists could show plans alongside photos documenting a finished project—or a recreation of that project onsite.

Friday, May 27, 2011

O'Sullivan on the Washington Glass School

No secret here that I am a HUGE fanboy of what the WGS and what many other DMV area glass artist have done to make the DMV one of the leading contemporary art glass centers on this planet (when are our "local" art museums going to "discover" this?)

And in reviewing "The Washington Glass School: The First 10 Years" , now on display at Long View Gallery in the District, the senior Washington Post visual arts critic, Michael O'Sullivan, eloquently interprets just what makes this substrate (glass) so special and yet so different.

On the one hand, glass is pretty. It's hard not to like the way it looks: the luminous color, the way it plays with light. On the other hand, maybe glass is only pretty. How do we know that the beauty is also capable of brains?

The rest of the show is proof that it is.
Read the O'Sullivan review here.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Diana Nyad, my Goddess of the day!

Diana Nyad, at age 61, prepares for second attempt to swim from Cuba to Key West
If the brutal and bloody and racist Cuban dictatorship would allow it, Nyad would be swimming in the wake of a few thousand Cubans attempting the same feat!

But seriously folks: WOW!

Read the WaPo article here.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Opportunity for Artists

Deadline: June 1, 2011

Call for Art - Superheroes: Icons of Good, Evil & Everything In Between

Superheroes is "a multi-media, group exhibition about heroes, villains and other less-definable examples of human possibility. Informed by pop culture notions of “Super” – both hero and villain – it examines the ways in which the Superhero and Supervillain archetypes are integrated into our culture, informing ideas of morality, civil responsibility and human achievement."

Curated by 516 ARTS and guest curator Neilie Johnson. Artists selected by invitation and this call. Deadline June 1. Show run: open 9/24 or 10/1 thru Dec. 17, 2011.

Email rhiannon@516arts.org to request complete submission details (recommended). Submissions: Send up to 8 jpg’s of available work (at least 4”x6”, 300dpi); include title, year, media, dimensions for each piece; a short artist biography in paragraph format; a short artist’s statement. Prefer EMAIL to: rhiannon@516arts.org or mail CD/DVD to:

516 ARTS
Attn: Rhiannon Mercer
516 Central Ave., SW
Albuquerque, NM 87102

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

American Contemporary

The latest issue of American Contemporary Art magazine is out and it has a nice column on DMV area shows (p. 14-15) and has DMV area artist Hadieh Shafie on the cover.

Read it online here.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Power of the Web: The BBC listens

Eight years ago I started shouting that the whole idea of a museum focused on Latino art was a bad idea (so 20th century!).

Over the years since this well-intentioned but silly, segregationist idea first came out, I've posted my thoughts on the subject in many places.

No one in the US seems to care that one lonely voice in the Washington, DC area is not drinking the Kool-Aid on this subject - but the the BBC does!

If you can read Spanish, then read my thoughts on the subject in BBC Mundo here.

"Deberíamos enfocar los esfuerzos en colocar las contribuciones latinas en los museos generales, que tienen que ser unificadores. Crear categorías y rotularlos para ponerlos en compartimentos separados, sobre todo en arte, es una estrategia muy del siglo XX que debe ser superada"

Sunday, May 22, 2011

And the winners are:

The ten award winners from the 200 artists at the 20th Annual Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival are:

Jorge Caligiuri, Philadelphia, PA
Ronald Dekok, Belleville, WI
Elissa Farrow-Savos, Sterling, VA
Tom Hlas, Philadelphia, PA
Ning Lee, Livingston, NJ
Steven Olszewski, Pinckney, MI
John Petrey, Chattanooga, TN
Joyce Stratton, New Bern, NC
Gary Stretar, Spencer, OH
Andrew Zimmermann, Arlington, VA

WGS Students at Gallery 555DC

“The Washington Glass School is known for its excellent student program and the quality of creative work its students produce. I wanted to celebrate their 10th anniversary by giving students an opportunity to exhibit their work in Gallery 555dc. Running and managing a school takes hard work, long hours and dedication – then more hard work. To celebrate a 10th Anniversary in the art world is a rare thing and a tribute to the founders and teachers of the Washington Glass School. ”

Jodi Walsh
Owner
Gallery 555dc
The gallery is at 555 12th Street NW Lobby, Washington DC 20004, 202-393-1409 or 240-447-6071 Gallery555dc.com. The reception is Saturday, June 4th, noon to 5pm; Artists present 3 – 5pm.

Argentina

The Embassy of Argentina now has their first exhibition of the year, All Come in Color, celebrating the month of their May Independence Revolution.

The exhibit features abstract and figurative paintings created by local DMV Argentine artists. The show is on now through June 30th - check out all the other good stuff going on here.

Embassy of Argentina
1600 New Hampshire Ave, NW
Washington DC 20008

Fighting words

this post is from 2004 and yet artists, art dealers and other folks are still posting and arguing over it.

It's on the subject of "Vanity Galleries" and you can read it all here.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Top 10

Jamon Serrano: Quite possibly one of the top ten foods on planet Earth and one of the top 25 in this galaxy and one of the top 100 in the Universe.

MOCA DC Plea

After receiving the below press release from Georgetown's MOCA DC gallery, I asked its director, Dave Quammen, for permission to post it in this blog. Although it is raw and to the bone, and courageously reveals intimate personal issues, it also goes to show the amazing extent that some gallery owners go to in an effort to keep their art spaces open and running:

June Exhibit - Why Not?
The gallery has been in the same financial straits for a long time, but I could pick up the slack before. I can't do that anymore without major changes to the way that MOCA DC operates.

So, beginning with the June exhibit, I will accept one piece of art free from anyone, member or not. Art must be 36 x 40 max and meet the theme of the exhibit. Additional pieces may be entered for a nominal fee.

As of the June exhibit, I have kept the gallery open for 6 1/2 years, at a personal cost during that time well in excess of $25,000 - out of my pocket, not to mention the at least 70 hours per week, at no income from the gallery.

Well, folks - beginning right now, I ain't gonna do it anymore. Income this month and last has fallen a lot, mostly rental of the gallery, etc. If no one comes up with the $2,625 for rent by June 1, I ain't gonna pay it at all and let the chips fall where they may.

Same goes for the Figure Models Guild - which will be 10 years old this July. At the beginning, I made copies of the Model Registry, bought envelopes and paid the postage out of my own pocket. I also made copies of the guide I put together for models, held events and etc - all for nothing. No cost to models, no cost to all those who got a free ride - all the colleges, universities, schools, teachers, et al --- all for nothing.

I don't know how many know that in 2008 I was diagnosed with prostate and colon cancer - beat em both. In 2009, I had to have heart surgery on 2 different occasions. This year, or late last year, I was diagnosed with lung problems - emphysema and COPD, or pulmonary fibrosis. They put me on an inhaler for a while, but last month they changed it to a stronger one and added a 2nd. Problem is, this is one thing I can't beat, and it's a crap shoot as to how much time I have left - will be 72 in October, so I can't complain about longevity - I've done more in my life than most people do, so I don't have any regrets.

But I do have some other things I want to do, but I can't with this albatross around my neck. So if you want this to continue, figure out what these things are worth and come up with the cash, or I'm in the wind.

Well, Joe - this one's for you. Thanks for the push!
MOCA DC is one of the Canal Square Galleries at 1054 31st Street & M Street, NW in Georgetown.

Update:
Kriston Capps reports on this issue here.

Friday, May 20, 2011

New Art Gallery in Georgetown

Today, the DMV welcomes its newest contemporary art gallery, Heiner Contemporary. The gallery is now open to the public, launching with a solo exhibition of work by Brooklyn-based artist Elizabeth Huey. The exhibition will run through July 2, 2011.

Located in the Book Hill neighborhood of Georgetown, "Heiner Contemporary features emerging and mid-career artists working in a range of media. The gallery is the culmination of owner and director Margaret Heiner’s long-term interest in promoting an understanding and appreciation of contemporary art. Her desire to make art accessible, which was at the heart of her business Aesthetica Art Consulting, remains an important facet of Heiner Contemporary."

“I want visitors to the gallery to feel the push-and-pull of the art displayed and to engage with the works on both a visual and emotional level,” says Heiner. “We want to forge connections and foster dialogue between individuals and artists, but we also want our clients to feel comfortable regardless of their collecting or art experience.”

In addition to exhibitions, Heiner Contemporary maintains an inventory of secondary market works available for sale. These pieces range from prints by well-established artists such as William Kentridge and Kara Walker, to paintings by up-and-comers including Allison Reimus.

Heiner Contemporary is located at 1675 Wisconsin Ave, NW. For more information about the gallery and upcoming exhibitions, email info@heinercontemporary.com or visit the website at www.heinercontemporary.com.

Next month!

100 Artists of Washington, DCThe 100 Washington, DC Artists book should be out next month!

Pre-order your copy here.

This weekend

This weekend is the 20th Annual Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival, one of the highest ranked outdoor art fairs in the nation.

Together with Judith Forst, who started it all 20 years ago and DMV area artist Erwin Timmers, I will be one of the judges awarding the prizes to the artists from all over the country who come down to Reston each year for this festival - expect around 50,000 people to come by over the weekend, as in addition to the fine arts and fine crafts there's all kinds of food and entertainment.

See ya there!

Read more about the festival here.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tonight at Long View

I hear that about 300 people have RSVP'd to this opening tonight, so you may be a little crowded, but do not miss this show:

About the event: The Washington DC area has become internationally renowned as an emerging center of glass art. At the forefront of this charge is the Washington Glass School, where the instructors, artists and students have brought narrative and content into glass, dragging it away from decorative craft and into the rarefied atmosphere of the contemporary fine art scene. The Washington Glass School has produced artists whose art can be found in museums and collections world-wide and is advancing the Studio Glass Movement with its explorations of narrative, technology and skills. This represents the largest and most important movement in the Washington art scene since the Color School of the 70's/80's.

This May, the Washington Glass School celebrates a momentous milestone - its 10th year. DC’s Long View Gallery presents “Artists of the Washington Glass School – The First Ten Years” showcasing over 20 artists and 10 years of integrating glass into the contemporary art dialogue. While it recognizes the past and present, The First 10 Years is intended to instigate – and celebrate – the new directions contemporary glass is exploring through various artistic metaphors.

Featured artists include: Tim Tate, Michael Janis, Erwin Timmers, Elizabeth Mears, Syl Mathis, Lea Topping, Robert Kincheloe, Alison Sigethy, Dave D'Orio, Anne Plant, Jeffery Zimmer, Teddie Hathaway, Jackie Greeves, Kirk Waldroff, Debra Ruzinsky, Tex Forrest, Diane Cabe, Robert Wiener, Nancy Donnelly, Sean Hennessey, Cheryl Derricotte, Jennifer Lindstrom, Michael Mangiafico, Allegra Marquart and m.l.duffy.

In bringing The First 10 Years to Washington, DC, Long View asks artists and audience alike to cast aside traditional notions of glass art and participate in a new form of dialogue; one that looks to the future and not the past.

The Washington Glass School Movement has focused almost entirely on the narrative content aspects of glass, breaking away from the technique-driven vessel movement of the last millennium. By focusing on cross-over sculptural work, mixed media and new media (such as interactive electronics and video), the impact this movement has had on the work of contemporary art has been felt internationally. This is the perfect chance to see a cross section of artists who have led this evolution.

Washington Glass School: The First 10 Years

LongView Gallery
1234 9th Street, NW, Washington, DC
May 19 - June 19, Opening Reception, May 19th, 6:30-8:30 PM
Closing Reception Sunday June 19, 2-5 PM
phone: 202.232.4788
email :info@longviewgallery.com

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Claire Huschle stepping down from the AAC

The Arlington Arts Center (AAC) has announced that its Executive Director, Claire Huschle, will step down as of August 1, 2011, after six years in that capacity.

What Huschle has done at the AAC over the last six years has been spectacular, to say the least. She took over the organization just after it had reopened after an unexpectedly prolonged renovation, and we're told, had limited earned income and very little foundation or corporate support.

Huschle not only turned that around, but she also put the AAC on the arts map of the DMV with a professional ferocity that nearly eclipsed everything else going on the visual arts in Arlington, and then (by example) led the way to make that city an unexpected rising artstar, some would say a leader, of the cultural tapestry of the greater DMV.

She leaves the AAC, a private, non-profit visual arts organization, on stable financial footing with a healthy operating reserve and respected exhibition, education, and studio residency programs. Board President Penne Nelson states, "The AAC has been privileged to have Claire Huschle serve as our Executive Director during the last six years. Her enthusiasm, professional leadership, and insight have guided the AAC through a period of incredible development, marked by increased community outreach and recognition. She has assembled a fantastic staff and cultivated new donors. The Board has enjoyed immensely working with Claire, and wishes her the best in her future endeavors."

Because I have known Huschle since she worked as the gallery director for the Target Gallery in Alexandria, and because I saw (over her tenure there) what a terrific job she did to change the rudder orders for that gallery and aim it in a direction which put Target at the head of all Alexandria galleries, that I knew that she was going to do great things at AAC when she took over that organization six years ago.

And because of what she has done now at AAC, I have little doubt that Claire Huschle will excel at whatever her next position or assignment is. I am told that "Huschle will continue teaching as an adjunct faculty member at George Mason University's Arts Administration graduate program and is considering a number of new projects in the arts."

A transition committee has been assembled and plans to appoint a new Executive Director this summer.

On behalf of all art fans around the DMV: Thank you Claire!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tim Tate at the Taubman


See that gorgeous museum to the left that looks like it has been transplanted from Bilbao?

That's Virginia's breathtaking Taubman Museum of Art, and from Friday, June 3, 2011 through Sunday, August 14, 2011 they will be hosting Tim Tate's first museum solo show: "The Waking Dreams of Magdalena Moliere."

According to the museum press release:

For the Taubman project, Tate plans to create a room-sized environment, featuring his most ambitious video work to date, as well as five new glass reliquaries. Six projections will include three works referencing the films of surrealist artist Jean Cocteau, and three pieces continuing his interest in dreamers and sleepwalkers.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Amazing Sharon Moody

The current issue of Elan magazine has the spectacular work of DMV artist and Georgetown faculty Sharon Moody. She fools your eye beyond "fooling" with a technical virtuosity that leaves the rest of us panting with envy.



Moody is represented nationally by Mayer Fine Art and in New York City by Bernarducci Meisel Gallery.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Celly Campello sings "Don't Cry For Me Argentina"



Saturday, May 14, 2011

Open Studios

Today, Saturday, May 14th from 12 to 5pm the artists of The Washington Glass School and all the dozens of other artists in the Gateway Arts District will be having their annual spring open studio event in Mt. Rainier in the Gateway Arts District. The Washington Glass School figures prominently in this event, as well as such popular studios as Red Dirt and Flux Studio.

This will be a relaxed open house, featuring mostly the principal artists at Washington Glass School, Michael Janis, Erwin Timmers and Tim Tate. They will all be working on current projects.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Airborne
Flying on Facebook - a cartoon by F. Lennox Campello c.2009Heading back home from the Left Coast and flying on Friday the 13th... feh!

Washington Glass School: The First 10 Years

About the event: The Washington DC area has become internationally renowned as an emerging center of glass art. At the forefront of this charge is the Washington Glass School, where the instructors, artists and students have brought narrative and content into glass, dragging it away from decorative craft and into the rarefied atmosphere of the contemporary fine art scene. The Washington Glass School has produced artists whose art can be found in museums and collections world-wide and is advancing the Studio Glass Movement with its explorations of narrative, technology and skills. This represents the largest and most important movement in the Washington art scene since the Color School of the 70's/80's.

This May, the Washington Glass School celebrates a momentous milestone - its 10th year. DC’s Long View Gallery presents “Artists of the Washington Glass School – The First Ten Years” showcasing over 20 artists and 10 years of integrating glass into the contemporary art dialogue. While it recognizes the past and present, The First 10 Years is intended to instigate – and celebrate – the new directions contemporary glass is exploring through various artistic metaphors.

Featured artists include: Tim Tate, Michael Janis, Erwin Timmers, Elizabeth Mears, Syl Mathis, Lea Topping, Robert Kincheloe, Alison Sigethy, Dave D'Orio, Anne Plant, Jeffery Zimmer, Teddie Hathaway, Jackie Greeves, Kirk Waldroff, Debra Ruzinsky, Tex Forrest, Diane Cabe, Robert Wiener, Nancy Donnelly, Sean Hennessey, Cheryl Derricotte, Jennifer Lindstrom, Michael Mangiafico, Allegra Marquart and m.l.duffy.

In bringing The First 10 Years to Washington, DC, Long View asks artists and audience alike to cast aside traditional notions of glass art and participate in a new form of dialogue; one that looks to the future and not the past.

The Washington Glass School Movement has focused almost entirely on the narrative content aspects of glass, breaking away from the technique-driven vessel movement of the last millennium. By focusing on cross-over sculptural work, mixed media and new media (such as interactive electronics and video), the impact this movement has had on the work of contemporary art has been felt internationally. This is the perfect chance to see a cross section of artists who have led this evolution.

Washington Glass School: The First 10 Years

LongView Gallery
1234 9th Street, NW, Washington, DC
May 19 - June 19, Opening Reception, May 19th, 6:30-8:30 PM
Closing Reception Sunday June 19, 2-5 PM
phone: 202.232.4788
email :info@longviewgallery.com

Uh?

I don't know what's going on with Blogger, but it has been down for quite a while and now it seems like a bunch of posts have been deleted.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Critique the Critics

On the evening of Saturday, May 14, Arlington Arts Center (AAC) -- in partnership with DC Magazine -- hosts its annual Critique the Critics fundraiser.

Eight DC notables, opinion makers, and trendsetters go head-to-head in timed, amateur art competitions using childhood art supplies. In a mix of NCAA March Madness and American Idol, "critics" battle it out using play-doh, finger paints, legos, etc. Winners of each round are selected by the audience. The night will feature amazing contemporary art, an exciting silent auction, designer cocktails and open bar, delicious catering, and sexy tunes. Tickets are limited and can be purchased here.

This year's "Critics": ABC7/WJLA-TV's Maureen Bunyan, DC Magazine Publisher Peter Abrahams, the Newseum's Sonya Gavankar McKay, Delegate Patrick Hope from the VA House of Delegates, Svetlana Legetic from Brightest Young Things and Justin Young from Ready Set DC, Mary Beth Albright, contestant in the new season on Food Network Star, Kelly Rand and Ian Buckwalter, writers for DCist. Warming the "bench" will be David Foster from the VA Board of Education, and Peter Winant from WETA's Around Town. Philippa Hughes, the Pink Line Project's Chief Creative Contrarian will emcee the competition.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Firings at the WaPo

Just heard from a source who heard it from a friend who heard it from a cousin who is dating someone who works at the Washington Post that one of the freelancers who has been covering the DMV art scene has been fired.

Hard to tell who it is, since the WaPo employs so many different freelancers to cover various parts of the DMV art scene.

I've asked the WaPo for the name; let's see if they respond.

Enough is Enough!

It has been over a month since the Communist thugs who run China arrested artist Ai Weiwei and he hasn't been heard since.

It is time for all the museums and artists and art organizations which do business with China to boycott the ruthless bastards who run that beautiful nation. The fact that the ChiComs have brutalized their own people for generations, and that the world looks the other way in our thirst for cheap labor and commodities is the harsh reality.

But the art world should be better. We should all stop doing art business with China: no more art fair participation by non Chinese galleries, no more cultural exchanges, no more museum dealings, no more anything in the art world.

Boycott the whole damned gigantic country and send a small but powerful message to the criminals who run that Communist hell.

Hijos de puta!

Latino Art Museum: Still a Bad Idea!

Eight years ago, when the story first surfaced in the Washington Post about a Latino Museum on the National Mall, I opposed it.

Back then, Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) introduced the bill to set up a commission to study the idea’s feasibility. The museum would be based in Washington, around the National Mall and “might be under the umbrella of the Smithsonian Institution.”

According to the 2003 article by Jacqueline Trescott, “This is one issue that unites our community,” said Raul Yzaguirre, the president of the National Council of La Raza.

In 2008, the Washington Post updated the issue and reported that “President Bush

... signed legislation yesterday establishing a commission to study the feasibility of a National Museum of the American Latino.

The measure, part of a larger legislative package, creates a 23-member bipartisan panel that will give the president and Congress recommendations about the scope of the project.

Over a two-year period, it will consider the location, the cost of construction and maintenance, and the presentation of art, history, politics, business and entertainment in American Latino life.
Since we're still arguing about it, let me once again disagree and state for the record that this is one of the worst, most divisive artsy ideas to have come out of creative Congressional & Hollywood minds in years.

Why have a separate, segregated museum for Latinos? Why not get more Latinos into the national museums, period.

I note once again, the use of the word “Latino” as opposed to the now almost not PC term- “Hispanic.” Otherwise we may have to take all the Picassos, and Dalis, and Miros, and Goyas and Velazquezs out of the mainstream museums and put them in a “Hispanic” museum…. gracias a Dios for that.

As it is now, we may have to take all the Wifredo Lams, Roberto Mattas, Frida Kahlos, etc. out of the “other museums” and put them in the “Latino Museum.”

But ooops! the Frida Kahlo in the nation’s capital is already in a segregated museum - in this case segregated by sex.

The misguided semantic/ethnic/racial debate about Latino or Hispanic is a good, if somewhat silly bucket of ignorant fun.

Anyway… Latino is (I think) now associated with people of Latin American ancestry… it apparently includes the millions of Central and South Americans of pure Native American blood (many of who do not even speak Spanish), and the millions of South Americans of Italian, German, Jewish, Middle Eastern and Japanese ancestry. It also includes the millions of Latin Americans of African ancestry.

It doesn’t include Spaniards, Portuguese, French or Italians…. you Europeans Latins are out!

According to the Post, “Felix Sanchez, the chairman of the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, said, “The museum is really a long-overdue concept. There is a void of presenting in one location a more in-depth representation of the culture and its presence in the mainstream of American consciousness.”

Mr. Sanchez: There is no such thing as a single “Latino culture.” In fact, I submit that there are twenty-something different “Latino” cultures in Latin America - none of which is the same as the various Latino mini-cultures in the US.

We "Latinos", no matter how hard you politicians and label-makers try to assemble and push us and label us into one monolithic group, are not such a group; we are as different from each other as the English-speaking peoples of the world are different from each other.

Call a Scotsman "English" and see what will happen to your face.

As an example, anyone who thinks that Mexico’s gorgeously rich and sometimes proud native heritage is similar to Argentina’s cultural heritage is simply ignorant at best. In fact Argentina purposefully nearly wiped out its own indigenous population in an effort (according to the war rallies of the times) “not to become another Mexico.”

And the cultural heritage of the Dominican Republic is as different from that of Bolivia and Peru as two/three countries that technically share a same language can be.

And for example, Mexican-Americans’ tastes in food, music, and politics, etc. are wildly different from Cuban-Americans and Dominican-Americans, etc.

Would anyone ever group Swedes, Danes, Germans and Norwegians and create a “Nordic-American Museum”? Ahhh… they have; silly ideas are not restricted to Congress, are they?

Or how about French, Spaniards, Rumanians and Italians for a “Latin-European-American Museum” - hang on - that doesn’t fit or does it? Makes my head hurt.

For the record, as I did in 2003 when I first learned about this issue, I still don’t believe in segregating artists according to ethnicity, race or religion. How about letting the art itself decide inclusion in a museum. And if not enough African American, or Native American, or Latino/Hispanic or “fill-in-the-blank”-American artists are in the mainstream American museums, then let’s fight that good fight and not just take the easy/hard route of having “our own” museum.

Comemierdas... What does Little Junes think about this issue?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Things we learned in New York

It never ceases to amaze me how often I run into stories of what I thought were ethical gallerists only to discover otherwise from artists.

One of the most common things that unethical art dealers do at art fairs is to inflate prices. This allows them to "deal" with interested buyers, and offer them discounts on the art. Facing galleries that inflate their prices up to 40% or more... in order to then appear to offer great deals, ethical gallerists then have to deal with collectors "used" to getting 40% price chops.

"I decided a while back to just add 40% more to my prices," confessed a dealer in New York last week. "I got tired of explaining to buyers that I couldn't give them a 40% discount."

Feh.

Then there's the very cool NYC photographer who has exhibited several times in DC. She relates the story of how her DC dealer sold some of her work, then decided to move from DC, and told her that he couldn't "afford to pay her." A few years later she's still waiting to get paid. "Now I just tell everyone that I know to stay away from this gallery," she adds.

Airborne

Flying cartoon by Campello
Heading to the Left Coast with an unenviable 5:25AM departure... more later.

Monday, May 09, 2011

AAFNYC: Sunday Report

Yesterday was the final day for the Affordable Art Fair NYC, and the fair was pretty packed with mothers all day long. Sales seemed to be brisk along our immediate area, with the British galleries that surrounded the Mayer Fine Art booth all doing gang buster sales.

John R.G. RothMFA sold a few more of my drawings, two more wood engravings by DMV artist Rosemary Feit Covey and a very cool aluminum sculpture by Norfolk area artist and Old Dominion University professor John R.G. Roth.

The two DMV area galleries in the fair (Fraser Gallery and Honfleur Gallery) both reported excellent sales as well, so it seems like this fair paid off for the local galleries as well.

Tear down and packing was the usual nightmare when you have 80 galleries or so all trying to bring all their stuff down one elevator from the 11th floor down to the loading dock on super busy 35th street.

Back to the DMV by midnight and heading out to San Diego tomorrow.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

AAF: The Saturday report

Yesterday was another well-attended day, with a good stream of visitors all day long, although they tapered off by 7PM.

Mayer Fine Art sold yet another sculpture by Norfolk artist Christine K. Harris, a wood engraving by DMV artist Rosemary Feit Covey and one more of my drawings.

Today is the last day of the fair.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

AAFNYC: The Friday report

Yesterday there were good crowds again; and once again they picked up at night. Mayer Fine Art sold my largest drawing in the show, plus another sculpture by Norfolk artist Christine K. Harris and a painting by Russian painter Alexey Terenin.

Eve, Agonizing Over The Sin


Eve, Agonizing Over The Sin.
Charcoal on Paper. 13 x 49 inches.
Now in a private collection in New Jersey

Highlights from the Affordable Art Fair New York City

Founded 12 years ago by London gallerist Will Ramsay (who also does the Pulse Art Fair), the Affordable Art Fair New York City holds fairs not only in New York and London, but also Amsterdam, Bristol, Brussels, Melbourne, Milan, Paris, Singapore, Sydney and for the first time later this year, Los Angeles.

I've been attending this fair (the New York version) since 2006, and it has never disappointed me. With a price ceiling of $10,000 USD, the term "affordable" is relative in more ways than one, but one can find a lot of art in this fair which starts as low as $75!

This year there were quite a few European galleries (see the exhibitors' list here) as well as a variety of American galleries, including two from the DMV.

Giuseppe MastromatteoIn walking around the fair, I particularly liked the photography of Giuseppe Mastromatteo at New York's emmanuel fremin gallery.

They are subtly surreal without being overtly commercial, as a lot of this sort of photography tends to be. This NYC gallery has a whole host of photographers that share this sensibility, and they all work together in a very elegant booth display.

Britain's Fairfax Gallery also has a standout in the technically breath-taking work of Mary Jane Ansell, who manages to capture a sexy Lolita feel to her portraits of young women with a play on stares deeply submerged in psychological innuendos.

Another European gallery with super work, in this case by a photographer, is Spain's Villa de Arte Gallery. The minimalist work of Marc Harrold.
Marc Harrold
Louise Lawton at New York's Stricoff Fine Art also fits within the same minimalist niche occupied by Harrold, but this brilliant work is charcoal on gesso board.

Nefertiti by Michelle MikesellFinally, Michelle Mikesell's paintings, with Dallas' DeCorazon Gallery, get my vote for best in show.

Mikesell's work spans an interesting narrative offering full of hidden clues within her paintings. They are superbly well painted, and as a devoted fan of technical skill, that always becomes attractive to me.

Technical skill alone does not a great artist make, say the Yodas of the art world, and they are right.

That is why that hard to describe ability to marry technical mastery with intelligent composition and the magic to grab a corner of our minds, is such a key component of what makes an artist's work go beyond well executed to begin to reach the first steps of the ladder to being a true visual art gem that stands above the rest; Mikesell is way up that ladder.

The fair runs through Sunday.

Friday, May 06, 2011

AAFNYC Opening Day

Yesterday was the "official" opening day for AAFNYC and through most of the day the crowds were very thin (some folks guessing that a lot of folks were avoiding NYC during Pres. Obama's visit to ground zero, due to the traffic snarls).

From 6-8PM, entry to the fair was free and the crowds poured in for the last two hours of the show, more than compensating for the thin crowds during the day.

Mayer Fine Art scored some sales, including a spectacular painting by the DMV's Sharon Moody and later in the day they sold my Frida Kahlo video drawing - my first ever sale of the new series of drawings with embedded narrative videos). Later on the night they also sold two more of my drawings.

And check out Maura Judkis' account of the acquisition of one of my pieces by a celeb that I didn't recognize.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

AAFNYC Preview Day

Last night it was packed to the gills (in fact I am told that the attendance exceeded the maximum number of people allowed in the building).

Mayer Fine Art broke the ice even before the fair opened up to the public when they sold one my drawings to a member of the press during the press preview.

The rest of the night they also sold a really cool sculpture by Norfolk sculptor Christine K. Harris and a painting by Russian painter Alexey Terenin.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Wanna go to an opening this week?

Funny

In reference to the historic image below (by White House photog Peter Souza), notice the look in VP Biden.

Bin laden operation being watched at the White House
I'm in New York and today, while waiting to cross the street at 34th and Eighth Avenue, I overheard a New Yorker say to his buddy: "I heard that the reason that Biden looks so pissed off is because Obama took the remote away from him because Biden kept changing the channel asking "What else is on?"

American humor at its best.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Close call

From now on, I'm doing this first before confirming a hotel room anywhere: Check them out in Bed Bug Registry.

I'm heading to NYC today for the Affordable Art Fair, and had booked my hotel months in advance. Yesterday I decided to check them out for bedbugs and here's what I found (one of four reports):

My friend ( who is a licensed pest control professional in the UK) checked in here tonight (7/3/10). Being a professional, he inspected the room and found a severe infestation of bedbugs in several locations. He informed management, and was moved to another room, which he inspected. It too was infested with bed bugs. After nearly an hour on the phone with the front desk person who informed me management would not be in for a few days but they would help me then, and begging the hotels.com people to help me (the hotels.com people were really sympathetic and very helpful, unlike the people at hotel 31) we managed to get switched to a new hotel for the remaining 4 days of the trip, but will have to take a loss on tonight. He cannot stay there, as these creatures are excellent hitchhikers, and even with great precaution can make their way home with you, which will cost thousands of dollars to deal with. THIS HOTEL SHOULD BE SHUT DOWN AS A HEALTH HAZARD.
I called them immediately and cancelled, and then began the process of hunting for a new hotel at the last minute.

I ended up in one without any bed bug reports, but at twice the price; but better safe than itchy. Nonetheless, as soon as I check into the room, I'm inspecting it for the little bloodsuckers, which I've been doing anyway for the last few years since these bugs began showing up everywhere.

Monday, May 02, 2011

History in a Photograph

Bin laden operation being watched at the White House
I don't know who took this photograph, but this is an amazing marriage of technology, history, narrative art and drama.

Here we see the President, Vice President, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, Chief of Naval Operations, and other staff watch the operation to kill Osama bin Laden live at the White House.

Technology brought a life and death reality show to our leaders, safe in the White House, while superbly well-trained and highly qualified young men (Navy Seals) do what they do so well: their job.

The look on these faces, and what they were watching live, thanks to man-wearable technology, is now part of history, and it is a visual art genre which records it for us.

I wish that I knew the name of this photographer, so that I could give him or her a well deserved "Bravo Zulu"!

Update: This photograph is by Pete Souza, the official White House photographer

Ditto

"I've never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure"

Mark Twain

How to Eat a Mango

Here's another peek at some of the writing that I've been doing about my early childhood in Guantanamo, Cuba. This particular chapter has a section which deals with the art of mango-eating which I think you may find of interest.

The chapter in question essentially describes my neighborhood and the below segment picks up on a house up the street from my grandparents' house which had a huge mango tree:

Next to Mongo’s house was another walled house where Enrique “El Manco” lived. His nickname was slang for someone missing a hand, although Enrique had both hands, but was missing several fingers from one of them. His front yard boasted a huge mango tree. It was easily the largest tree for blocks around, and during mango season, the huge branches, loaded with fruit, that hung above the street were an unending supply source of mangos for everyone with a good aim to knock some of them off with rocks and then pick them off the street.

But soon all the mangos from the branches that over hanged onto the streets were gone, and then we had to actually sneak into the walled garden and climb the tree and knock some mangos to the ground, climb down, grab them and scram back to the street before anyone in the house noticed the intrusion. This was nearly impossible, as it seemed that every member of Enrique’s family was always on the lookout for mango thieves, as the mango tree was a source of income, since they sold them by the bag-full from the side of their house.

The art of eating a mango deserves some attention.

There are several ways. The first one, and the most easy to perform by amateur mango eaters, is simply to take the mango, cut into it with a knife and slice off the meaty parts, peel the skin off and eat the hard slices.

Seldom did a mango knocked off Enrique’s tree make it to any house to be eaten this way.

Once you knocked off a mango, and provided that no one grabbed it before you got to it – as there was always a group of mango rock throwers, and anytime a mango came down, it was always a debate as to exactly whose rock had brought the fruit down. Cubans love to debate just about anything, and the mango debates provided very good training on this art. Anyway, once you had a mango, then you ran to either the shade of my grandparents' house’s portico or the bakery’s veranda to enjoy the fruit.

Here’s the proper way to eat a mango.

First roll it back and forth on the ground, a tiled floor is perfect, to mush up the inside of the mango. Then, using you fingertips, really liquefy the mango pulp by gently squeezing the mango over and over. Once that pulp is almost nothing but juice, with your teeth puncture a small hole at the tip of the mango.

You can now squeeze the mango and suck the juice through that hole. It’s sort of a nature-made box drink!

Once all the mango juice is all gone, now comes the messy part. No one, not even the British, have ever discovered a way to eat a mango without making a mess.

Once the juice is gone, then you bite the skin, strip it away from the seed, lick it clean and then begin to bite away all the strands of mango fiber still attached to the seed. By the time a good mango eater is done with a mango, the mango seed looks like a yellowish bar of used soap, slick and fiber-less.

Of course, your face and chest area are now completely covered in dried up, sticky mango juice, so then you'd usually head back home to clean up with the garden hose and drink water to quell the thirst that the mango sugar causes.

That’s how one eats a mango – at least in my childhood neighborhood.

Tic Tac Toe

Navy Seals

“We will be relentless in defense of our citizens and our friends and allies. We will be true to the values that make us who we are. And on nights like this one, we can say to families who have lost loved ones to al-Qaeda’s terror: Justice has been done.”

President Obama

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Next Week in New York

Next week is the Affordable Art Fair in New York City, right across the street from the Empire State Building.

The Affordable Art Fair is always a very interesting art fair to me, from the psychological point and from the commercial point of view.

AAFNYC (as it is known, since there are versions of this fair in Europe and Australia as well) is put together by the same people who bring you the Pulse Art Fair, arguably the second best Miami art fair after ABMB.

And I say Miami on purpose to put it geographically in Miami, since there are some top notch European-based art fairs which are clearly higher than Pulse in the art fair food chain. But, when it comes to the first week of December in Miami, after ABMB, Pulse is clearly the number two darling of the art cognoscenti.

AAFNYC has an "affordable" ceiling price for art of $10,000 (used to be $5,000); this tells you a lot about the art world.

This NYC and London versions of this fair have a reputation as really good selling fairs, where galleries do fairly well, in spite of the current economic blues enveloping the world. From my own experience with this NYC-based fair (which goes back to 2005), it has always been a very successful art fair for the galleries that I have been associated with (sorry about the dangling preposition).

And if you review the list of galleries who have exhibited at AAFNYC over the years, you'll discover a lot of blue chip galleries, in fact, some of the same galleries which show at Pulse!

Yet some snooty galleries stay away from it. "I wish they'd change the name of the fair," told me a gallery owner once when I asked her why she didn't do the fair.

Enough said.

And yet, galleries from all over the planet (including a lot of British galleries) will come to New York next week, and a lot of savvy New York art collectors will come to the fair and a lot of artists and art galleries will do very well, since this is the only NYC art fair at this time of the year (among other things).

My work will be there, represented by Norfolk's top independently owned commercial fine arts gallery: Mayer Fine Arts, who will be showcasing work by Sheila Giolitti, John Roth, Alexey Terenin, Judith Peck, Rosemary Feit Covey, Sharon Moody, Rosalie Shane, Joey Manlapaz and Andrew Wodzianski... note that there are several DMV artists in that mix (Peck, Feit Covey, Moody, Manlapax, Wodzianski and I).

If you want some free tickets to the fair, send me an email and I'll make sure that the gallery leaves some free passes at "will call".