Sunday, October 21, 2012

Manon Cleary finally in the SAAM

Recently the Smithsonian American Art Museum accepted two of Manon Cleary's epic Men in Plastic Bags series graphite drawings for its permanent collection.

This is great and most richly deserved for an artist whose impact, both personal and artistic, upon the Greater DC area art scene, as well as the national art scene in some sectors, more than deserve her placement among her peers at the SAAM.

And even after her passing Manon continues to have an impact upon the DMV art scene because this acquisition should now bring to the forefront the fact that the SAAM, much like all the other local DMV museums has a chronic problem with looking in its own backyard for worthy artists.

I once noted on NPR radio that our "local" museums, because they tend to think of themselves as "national" museums, would rather have its curatorial staff take a cab to Dulles for a flight to Berlin to then visit artists' studios to look at the work of emerging artists in Berlin, than to take a cab to Georgetown, or Kalorama, or Alexandria, or Mt Rainier or wherever in the DMV to visit some local studios.

Manon Cleary should have been in the collection of the SAAM decades ago, and mutliple generations of SAAM curators have perpetuated and continue to cement a gargantuan offense against their own neighborhood by ignoring generation after generation of DMV artists, DMV galleries and the DMV visual art scene in general.

For the Hirshhorn: the same disservice applies; shame on your curators as well.

Thank you Manoncita.

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