Friday, October 31, 2003
My favorite WAMU show is the daily talk show by the unflappable Kojo Nmandi. Kojo is one of the rare radio talk show hosts that once in a while actually dedicates air time to our area's art scene. Kojo had me on the air last March discussing DC area art galleries and events, and he's also had the Post's Blake Gopnik a couple of times. Actually, Blake makes a couple of interesting personal observations about his impression on the quality of DC art and artists - listen to it here.
The most disappointing (from a visual arts perspective) WAMU show is Metro Connection, which is well "connected" to music, performance and theatre and loads of DC-centric events, but generally ignores the strong visual arts component of our area's art scene. In fact, so far in 2003 they've done only three shows with some sort of visual art focus. In an ideal world, one would hope that Metro Connection could find air time to do at least one monthly show on a museum show or a gallery show or highlight a DC area visual artist --- in other words, much alike to what they already do for all the other various genres of the arts.
MUSE's guests for November will be Sarah Tanguy, independent curator and writer and Glenn Harper, editor, Sculpture Magazine. December's guest will be Anne Corbett, Executive Director, Cultural Development Corporation.
Next dates are Sunday, November 2, and Sunday, December 7, 2003 at 7:30 P.M. and the first Sunday of each following month. For more info email Faith at email@example.com.
While I was around Old Town I realized how much damage Isabel had done. Apparently Gallery West, which is one of the Greater Washington area's oldest artist-run galleries, had sixteen inches of river water inside the gallery at one point and is now being repaired.
Thursday, October 30, 2003
According to the list, American billionaire Ronald Lauder is the most powerful figure in the art world. I think that he's Estée Lauder's chairman.
Number 100 is a funny surprise.
This Scottish painter has sold out every single exhibition that he's ever had, apparently all of them within an hour, and has a waiting list for his next painting of several hundred names, and famous people and celebrities all crave his work. Sounds like the typical British formula for success.
And yet the British critics hate his work and success.
Dr. Leslie White, Managing Director
3001 N. Beauregard Street
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t: 703.845.6229 or f: 703.845.6154 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Jessica reviews Where We Come From - an exhibit of work by Emily Jacir at Provisions Library (formerly the Resource Center for Activism and Arts) in Dupont Circle area.
And a few of days ago, the Washington Times' Joanna Shaw-Eagle reviewed "Himalayas: An Aesthetic Adventure" at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
And on Artnet Magazine, former Hirshhorn Museum Press Officer and sometimes curator (and quite an accomplished artist as well) Sidney Lawrence reviews "Beyond the Frame, Impressionism Revisited: The Sculptures of J. Seward Johnson, Jr.," at the Corcoran and offers a slightly different perspective. For my take on this weird show, see my Oct. 24 entry.
In the narrow, but true art definition of what an original art print is, a print is a work of art produced from an image worked by the artist on another material, usually a metal, plexiglass, wood, linoleum, plastic plate, etc.
Everything else is a reproduction.
And lawsuits will happen if suddenly a collector discovers that their "print" or "original" is in fact a reproduction.
So if an artist paints or draws an image on any medium, and then has multiple images made from that original by an electro-mechanical or mechanical process using photographic or digital images (such as Iris or Gyclee), those images are reproductions - not prints.
However, because it would really be hard to market an artist's work as "limited edition, signed and numbered reproductions," the word "print" has been kidnapped by the marketeers of art to apply to any set of multiple images - regardless of how they came to be, or what part the artist played in its creation.
It gets a bit murky when it comes to digital art - that is artwork that is created from scratch through the use of a computer or a photograph taken with a digital camera.
Once the file is done and finished and saved, then one can say that the image that comes out of the printer is the "print" in the true sense of the narrow art definition - much like the negative in traditional photography produces the photographic print.
However, a photograph that is taken, developed, printed in the darkroom and then scanned so that Giclees or Iris "prints" can be made from the photographic image means that those are reproductions made from the original photograph. But a photograph taken with a digital camera and then has Iris/Giclees or any other digital prints made from the digital image in the memory card is a "real" print!
So a digital medium like Giclee/Iris can be either a reproduction or a real print - it all depends on what the original source of the image is!
Printmakers are especially sensitive to the misuse of the work "print" to market reproductions of artwork. One of the best places in town to buy true prints from very talented printmakers is the Washington Printmakers Gallery in the Dupont Circle area.
Monday, October 27, 2003
It's circa 1961 and was acquired by the present owner in 1976... of course we all wonder how much he/she paid for it.
There's also this nice Kenneth Noland on the left... 45 by 45 inches - circa 1962 and acquired by the present owner in 1963!
This was an art collector with an early Greenbergian eye for the Washington Color School... the Noland is expected to go for $100-$150,000 which is surprisingly low - one would think.
And even more surprising: This Rothko is expected to beat Van Gogh.
OK, OK it's a huge Rothko oil versus a small Van Gogh watercolor....
There are also 128 Whistlers on the auction block (mostly prints).
Two grants will be awarded in December 2003, one for $25,000, the other for $20,000. Applications must be postmarked no later than November 28, 2003. To obtain a current application form, visit the Fund's website, www.baderfund.org, or write to the Fund at 5505 Connecticut Avenue, NW #268, Washington, D.C. 20015. Send email inquiries to email@example.com. Telephone: 202-288-4608 and Fax: 202-364-3453
For those a little younger, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities's Young Artists Grant Program has a deadline of December 1, 2003. For District residents between the ages of 18 and 30. They can apply for up to $3,500 for community service projects or $2,500 for independent art projects. For more information or to obtain an application form visit the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities or call 202-724-5613.
Congratulations to DC area photographer Wayne Guenther, who received an Honorable Mention in the 2003 Camera Club of NY National Photography Competition, juried by the great Joyce Tenneson - a "local" who moved to NYC in the 1980s and became a photography superstar. Last year, Tenneson's book Wise Women became the best-selling photography book in the world for 2002. It was her 8th book I believe.
Elizabeth Roberts Gallery is run by the youngest gallery owner in Washington, DC and although it seems to me that she's still trying to find her focus, it was good to see Elizabeth take over and open a new gallery in the same building when Anton Gallery closed. She will have Laurie Monblatt (image on right) and West Virginia painter and printmaker Kathryn Stedham opening on November 4 as part of the first Friday Dupont Circle Galleries extended hours and openings.
Cheryl Numark Gallery has Jim Sanborn's "Penetrating Radiation" until December 20. The show is focused on work that Sanborn has been preparing since 1998 and it has been scheduled to run alongside (for a while) with Sanborn's associated show at the Corcoran titled "Atomic Time: Pure Science and Seduction."
In essence, Jim Sanborn has been creating a series of works and an installation about the Manhattan Project and the associated seminal beginning of the American nuclear program. The Corcoran installation, titled Critical Assembly, and a related series of photographs called Atomic Time, will be shown at the Corcoran Gallery of Art from November 1, 2003 through January 26, 2004.
The show has been curated by Dr. Jonathan Binstock, the Corcoran's Curator for Contemporary Art. While the exhibition is on view at the Corcoran, Jim Sanborn will be a visiting artist at the Corcoran’s College of Art and Design. Several educational programs will be organized to coincide with the exhibition, including a slide talk and gallery tour with Sanborn, a panel discussion addressing issues related to the exhibition and visits by the artist to students’ studios. The Corcoran is planning a two year tour of this exhibition - no other venues so far identified.
Sunday, October 26, 2003
Gopnik has some excellent points on how El Greco's works were designed to be viewed a particular way, barely lit, often high above and viewed from below, and thus why they seem so unusual to us today in well-lit museum viewings.
As I recall, even during his time he was brought in front of the Inquisition to explain the peculiar elongations of some of his Christ paintings. He must have convinced them, as they didn't fry him for breaking some Inquisition rule about how Christ should be depicted (as the largest figure in any canvas, as I recall).
El Greco is one of my favorite artists of all times, and I also like his commercial acumen. His depiction of Christ Cleasing the Temple was so popular that he copied himself several times and practically every museum in Europe has a version of it - some of which are of dubious pedigree. Here's the NGA's version and the London's National gallery has this one, and the Institute of Arts in Minneapolis has this version and, the Frick has this one and I don't know who owns this one.
In art school, we had a class where we had to copy a master's work, and I painted a huge lifesized copy of The Annunciation, which strangely enough, I sold years later to someone in Spain when I lived there in the mid 80s.
This is one master who would have loved the digital revolution and the ability to make loads of reproductions from your originals!
As far as I know, Photoworks is the only place around that you can send any roll of film (any type or kind or brand) and get (if so selected) prints, slides, negatives, a CD ROM of the images and a private webpage where all your images reside and you can email them around.
This is a great archiving method for artist's works - you have the CD ROM to stash away, the slides to send around for competitions, reviews, etc., the prints for the album, negs for reprints and a web site to keep records of your images in case you lose all the other stuff.
And it's all done at a really reasonable price - in fact a lot less than if you take them to your local place to get just prints and negs.
Saturday, October 25, 2003
Case in point. Today's Post has a rare Saturday visual arts review by Paul Richard, who retired a while back as that paper's Chief Art Critic.
Richard writes a very good, elegant and informative review of Mississippi artist Walter Anderson (1903-1965) from Anderson's show: "Walter Inglis Anderson: Everything I See Is New and Strange" at the Smithsonian Institution's Arts and Industries Building, on the Mall next to the Castle.
Richard was "amazed" by Anderson's work and writes that "the makers of great American watercolors -- Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, John Marin, Charles Demuth -- are a select few. Anderson is worthy of inclusion in that company."
Anderson's life (described well by Richard in the review) reads like a twisted, and odd, and interesting life. His watercolors look like this and the one on the left (copyright family of W. Anderson).
And this brings me to the point of my first paragraph about critics and curators.
First curators: Richard informs the reader that "The Hirshhorn, the Phillips and the Corcoran glanced at the idea of exhibiting the Andersons sent on tour this year by the Walter Anderson Museum in Ocean Springs, but nothing came of it. Their mistake."
My opinion: With the exception of maybe (a looooong maybe) the Phillips, I don't think any dead American artist with Anderson's background and subject matter would ever get a microsecond of interest from the Hirshhorn or the Corcoran, unless there were a lot of other sundry variables in the offer. It's just not where these curators' interest and focus are aimed at the moment.
Richard's replacement at the Post as the new Chief Art Critic was Blake Gopnik, who came to the Post from the Canadian newspaper Globe and Mail.
And Gopnik's background, education, training and formation - and thus his subjectivity, agendas and likes and dislikes - are radically different from Richard. This gives us two men who held and now hold the same powerful pulpit with two very different views of what is good art.
I think that the chances that Gopnik would be "amazed" by Anderson's art are about the same as the chances that Laura Bush will elope with Osama Bin Laden. In fact I think that in Gopnik's books, the Anderson show may just beat the J. Seward Johnson show at the Corcoran that Gopnik brutalized a few weeks ago when he wrote: "This is the worst museum exhibition I've ever seen."
And this is where it could be fun (I've rambled too long).
Wouldn't it be fun if the Post sent both Richard and Gopnik to review the same show and then publish the former and current Chief Art Critic's views and points and words about the exact same show? And to make it more interesting - don't let them in on the idea.
It would not only be a great service to readers to see two points of view (like the Editorial page is sometimes supposed to do) applied to the fragile world of art criticism, but also a lesson to all who'll then discover that art critics, like wine critics, are a product of their own tastes, and not arbiters of what is good or bad in art.
Friday, October 24, 2003
Here's something I wrote about Mendieta and "Latino art" a while back.
Jake and Dinos Chapman's early work was based on Goya's series of etchings, Disasters of War. Initially they used plastic figures to re-create Goya in a miniature three-dimensional form, and like Johnson (later on), one of these 83 scenes became a life-sized version using mannequins (Johnson is a multimillionaire and thus he creates bronze statues).
This sculpture, Great Deeds Against the Dead of two mutilated and castrated bodies, was shown at the famous "Sensation" show in London in 1997.
I suspect that no museum in America would dare to show Great Deeds Against the Dead, but it is remarkable that the connection between Johnson and the Chapman Brothers is so obvious and yet the critical reaction to their work so vastly different.
I also suspect that the sickly sweet overexposure of Impressionism as the subject of Johnson's works has something to do with the negative critical reaction to his work, while the macabre nature of Goya's etchings brought to a life size display, appeals to the gimmick of "shock" that has become the standard and Achilles heel of contemporary British art.
By the way, the Chapman Brothers have moved on, but continue to use mannequins in their artwork, which they say is about "producing things with zero culture value, to produce aesthetic inertia - a series of works of art to be consumed and then forgotten." To me that brings them even closer to J. Seward Johnson.
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You can donate to the clinic online here.
Thursday, October 23, 2003
Jessica Dawson - "Galleries" art critic
Michael O'Sullivan - Weekend section art critic
Blake Gopnik - Chief Art Critic (rarely reviews area galleries and focuses instead on museums)
Paul Richard - Retired former Chief Art Critic (still does a few museum reviews a year)
Nicole Miller - Covers the visual arts for Sunday Source
Jonathan Padget - Arts Beat column - not really criticism, more like news
Maura McCarthy - Visual Arts Editor and Critic for washingtonpost.com
Washington City Paper
Louis Jacobson (also writes for ArtNews and Art on Paper magazines)
Glenn Dixon (articles often re-published in Artnet.com)
Robert Lalasz (WCP's new Senior Arts Writer)
Gary Tischler (museums only)
John Blee (galleries)
Dr. Claudia Rousseau
others ad hoc...
Art in America
others ad hoc...
Art on Paper
WETA "Around Town"
Dr. John Haslem
DC One Magazine
Artists just trying to get in print somewhere should not just limit themselves to trying to get one of the above very busy critics - in addition to them you should also send the news release of your solo show, etc. to your college newspaper, as well as to any of the many neighborhood newspapers published all around the metro area. In other words, if you live in Bowie and are having a show in DC, there's a pretty good chance that the Bowie Blade will do an article or review for you. Also don't forget that the Post publishes several separate community sections such as Montgomery Extra, Prince William Extra, etc. Those writers and editors may be interested in doing a story on an artist from their community.
The archival nature of artwork is an important issue, often ignored by artists and by gallery owners, but more and more of interest to art collectors. The advent of Iris digital reproductions (also called Gyclee) brought many new choices for artists and photographers, and in the early days the issue of color longevitiy was ignored. Several lawsuits later, there are archival inks and pigments now available to the reproduction industry, but it is a complicated matrix of what ink or pigment gives you what longevity on what kind or brand of paper.
The absolute last word on these issues is always held by Wilhelm Imaging Research. They conduct research on the stability and preservation of traditional and digital color photographs and motion pictures. The company publishes brand name-specific permanence data for desktop and large-format inkjet printers and other digital printing devices. Wilhelm Imaging Research also provides consulting services to museums, archives, and commercial collections on sub-zero cold storage for the very long term preservation of still photographs and motion pictures.
I was always sort of curious as to what in the hell does the National Gallery of Art know about Washington area artists? It's not like their curators are scouring Washington area galleries looking for the latest hot artist.
Anyway, as with most public art, I am willing to bet that there will not be a single nude in the entire collection, as it has become that standard of American public art that nudes (or any stuff that can be remotely "offensive" to anyone) is never part of the collection. Nonetheless there are some very good area artists represented in this collection and I am looking forward to seeing the work in place.
Talking about the DC Arts Commission, the call for nominees for the 19th Annual Mayor's Arts Awards is out. Anyone can nominate a candidate and the deadline for receipt of nominations is November 3, 2003. Nomination forms are here.
Wednesday, October 22, 2003
BLANC is comprised of a group of Hispanic/Latino/Latin American/Spaniards artists of various nationalities, ethnicities and different generations, including Carlos Ancalmo (El Salvador), Margarita Cabrera (Mexico), Alejandro Cesarco (Uruguay), Asdrubal Colmenarez (Venezuela), Christian Curiel (Puerto Rico), Gretel Garcia (USA/Cuba), Marcela Gomez (Argentina), Joan Ill (Spain), Berta Kolteniuk (Mexico), Yucef Merhi (Venezuela), Gean Moreno (USA/Colombia), Yoshua Okon (Mexico), El Perro (Spain), Luis Romero (Venezuela), Irene Szabadics (Venezuela), Odalis Valdivieso (Venezuela) and Eugenia Vargas (Chile).
The exhibition, curated by Odalis Valdivieso, has been "structured as an open invitation for this diverse group of artist to create works of an experimental and/or conceptual nature that reflect, respond, interrogate or explore white and its almost endless array of associations."
The works on exhibition ranges from paintings to a most annoying (and successful) piece of net-art by Yucef Merhi that (if you visit the project website) takes you to a blank screen that changes randomly every seven seconds, and each screen contains a different meaning of the word white.
Problem is that it does turn your computer screen to white and I couldn't figure out how to get out of it and had to re-boot the browser to get back to a normal screen... almost like virus art???
Like any group show, the approaches are as diverse in success and interest as the participants themselves. This is a very good exhibition at one of our best contemporary art spaces.
The show will travel to the other Mexican Institutes of Culture in Houston, Los Angeles, and New York.
Danny Conant’s new works are scrolls that are layered pieces comprised of archival digital prints on fabric multicoated with acrylic paint and hung with bamboo pieces. Some of the images are realistic and others are vignettes composited of multiple sites. The photographs are gathered from her many trips to Asia over the last fifteen years. The exhibition runs until December 7. Last year one of her photographs sold for $2600 at Sotheby's.
And if you need a postcard made in a hurry from your slides or digital files, we use Modern Postcard. Hard to beat their prices and stellar service.
By the way, artists looking for competitions, local opportunities, essays on the arts and the business of art, etc. should be familiar with both Art Deadlines and locally with Malik Lloyd's FIND ART information Bank. FIND ART distributes free weekly announcements to the arts community from clients that either need the services of artists or offer beneficial services to artists. To get on the email distribution for it, send Malik an email to FINDARTinfobank@aol.com.
Tuesday, October 21, 2003
Reinaldo is well known in the DC arts community for his contributions in the restoration of the Taft Memorial Bridge Lions. He also made the new bronze lions that guard the main entrance of the Smithsonian National Zoo, the monumental granite sculpture at the entrance of the Patriot Center at George Mason University and many others.
Ms. Ghiglino recently retired from Professional Restoration, Inc.
She was responsible for the restoration of the Smithsonian Castle, Freer Gallery of Art, Fort McHenry, and Jackson Place among many other historic sites. She wants to dedicate her 16,000 sq. ft. warehouse to the teaching of sculpture in the DC area.
Her idea was not only to make the teaching of sculpture more accessible to our community, artists and public in general, but also to provide studio space for a few artists who are willing to teach.
The WSC is located at 1338 Half Street SE Washington DC, a block and a half from the Navy Yard Metro Station (Green Line). The first occupant in the WSC building is the Washington Glass School, formed by glass artists Tim Tate and Erwin Timmers.
The Washington Glass School offers classes in glass fusing, glass casting with and emphasis on sculptural and architectural work combined with many other media.
The Washington Sculpture Center will have a permanent glass flamework studio and is bringing artist Elizabeth Ryland Mears, to teach flamework for all levels. Starting in 2004 we will offer classes in metal arts, glass blowing, bronze casting and stone carving. For more information please contact Patricia Ghiglino, WSC 1338 Half Street SE, Washington DC 20003. Tel: (202)479-6730, fax (202)479-1070, E-mail: WashSculpture@aol.com
Monday, October 20, 2003
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 story by Jacqueline Trescott, "This is one issue that unites our community," said Raul Yzaguirre, the president of the National Council of La Raza.
Let me be the first one to disagree and state for the record that this is one of the worst, most divisive ideas to have come out of anyone's minds in years.
Why have a separate, segregated museum for Latinos? Why not get more Latinos in the national museums, period.
I note also, the use of the word "Latino" as opposed to the now almost not PC term - "Hispanic." Otherwise we'd 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.... thank God for that.
As it is now, we'll 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 DC area is already in a segregated museum - in this case segregated by sex.
The semantic/ethnic/racial debate about Latino or Hispanic is a good, if somewhat silly one.
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 and Portuguese people.... you Europeans 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.
As an example, anyone who thinks that Mexico's rich and sometimes proud Indian 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"? 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, I 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 museums, then let's fight that fight and not just take the easy/hard route of having "our own" museum.
Sunday, October 19, 2003
Also in Georgetown, Annie Gawlak's G Fine Art has "Lost and Found" by Jeff Spaulding opening next Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2003. The show goes until Nov. 29.
Maryland artist Anne Cook is going through an exhibition blietzkrieg. Her new series of paintings titled "Freedom of Speech" were included last month in the Torpedo Factory's "Layers" show in Alexandria, and then at the A. Salon Artists Group Show in Silver Spring and now will be included in Arlington's Museum of Modern ARF "Breaking the Silence: Questioning Authority" show that opens on Oct. 24 and hangs until Nov. 22, 2003.
Saturday, October 18, 2003
Friday, October 17, 2003
Openings go generally from 6-9 PM and are catered by the Sea Catch Restaurant.
Kristen Hileman has also been appointed as the Hirshhorn's new Assistant Curator for Contemporary Art.
Thursday, October 16, 2003
In fact, other than Jessica Dawson's Galleries column, which is published regularly every Thursday, there's rarely any "art news" - certainly little of the visual arts genre, published anywhere in either of our two major newspapers.
So, time permitting I hereby enter the world of online BLOGing in the hope that I will have time to use this BLOG to post art news, gallery openings, events, etc. as I receive and/or discover them.
And there's a LOT to pick from. In co-owning two galleries in the Greater DC area with my wife, plus 20-plus years of freelance art writing and criticism, plus creating and exhibiting my own art, puts me in a place where I get a lot of news releases, insights and notices about our area's art scene.
In fact the Washington art scene is very active, it is just being ignored,
I hope to use this venue to share them with anyone interested in promoting the Greater Washington, DC visual art scene. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with comments, suggestions, criticism, etc. Anonymous nasty emails will be ignored, but the senders will be tracked down and their asses kicked.
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