Sunday, November 30, 2003
Protzman's talks about the buzz growing around Washington area artists, first making the case that area artists and galleries have long been overshadowed by the local museum's "blockbuster exhibitions of famous dead artists."
Ferd also reveals that three prominent galleries (Hemphill, G Fine Art and Conner Contemporary) will be moving soon to 1515 14th Street, NW - to a building renovated specifically for galleries by well-known local art developer and artist Giorgio Furioso.
Saturday, November 29, 2003
But this "unknown art sale" is apparently the ancestor of them all and should be a terrific idea for a local visual arts (or other) non-profit to raise funds through the visual arts. This British sale is expected to raise about $150,000.
Another fascinating issue that artists (especially in the US) explore is race. If you want to catch up on the latest scientific evidence of what "race" means, then I suggest this Scientific American article.
December issue of ARTnews also has a focus on Washington, DC.
Friday, November 28, 2003
DCAC is one of the great cultural jewels in our city.
Thursday, November 27, 2003
She's the most recent Best of Show winner of the 48th Annual Boardwalk Art Show, which attracts about 200,000 visitors each June and is organized by the Contemporary Art Center of Virginia. This show has $23,000 in cash prizes recognizing outstanding artistic achievements and it is highly competitive, with artists from all over the country applying for selection. Selected artists get a 11' x 10' feet space on the Boardwalk concrete surface. It's hard work, but a great opportunity for artists to sell their art directly to the public. Details and deadlines here.
Wednesday, November 26, 2003
Keep an eye on the website as they do it every year and it's for a great cause.
William F. Stapp, who served as the National Portrait Gallery's first curator of photographs (1976-1991) and is now an independent curator and consultant will jury the 2004 Bethesda International Photography Competition. Most recently he curated the traveling exhibition "Portrait of the Art World: A Century of ARTnews Photographs."
The Bethesda International Photography Competition is our worldwide annual call for photographers. Nearly $1500 is cash prizes are awarded as well as a solo exhibition in our Georgetown gallery for the Best of Show winner. The exhibition will take place in our Bethesda Gallery from March 12 through April 7, 2004.
The 2003 juror was Philip Brookman, Curator of Photography and Media Arts at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. The 2003 Best of Show winner was Bay Area photographer Hugh Shurley, who will have a solo exhibit in our Georgetown space in 2004.
And another area artist, Andres Tremols has an ongoing exhibition of his new glass pieces at the America's Collection Gallery in Coral Gables, one of the Greater Miami area's best galleries.
What goes for "shocking" in art around here is quite different from what goes for shocking in NYC or LA.
Tuesday, November 25, 2003
Before you laugh, one of his cute sculptures just sold at Sotheby's for almost $17,000 while surprisingly enough (to me anyway) was the fact that this tiny Frida Kahlo oil came in at $150,000 under its low estimate of $1.5 million, although still a huge amount of money for a very early, but small (7.2 x 5.7 inches) painting.
Deadline: March 15, 2003. The David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA is currently seeking portfolios and/or slides and resumes from artists who do work related to Latin America, the Iberian Peninsula in Europe, or Latinos in the U.S.
Work from all styles and traditions, except for freestanding sculpture and installations, will be considered. Open to all artists with interests in Latino/Latin American/Iberian issues. Latino/a artists and artists from Latin America and Europe (Spain and Portugal) are particularly encouraged to apply. The Center will select a limited number of artists to exhibit for the 2004-2005 academic year. Artists may submit a maximum of 10 slides with SASE for return.
Work cannot exceed 70 lbs. Only hanging work that is properly framed, wired, and ready to hang will be considered.
Jose L. Falconi, Art Forum Coordinator
DRCLAS Latin American and Latin Art Forum
61 Kirkland Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
For my view on "Latino" art visit Cultureflux.
Deadline February 1, 2004. Alexia Foundation for World Peace: Annual Photography Award of $15,000 is offered for the production of a proposed project. The Alexia Foundation seeks to "provide the financial ability for a photographer to produce a substantial picture story that furthers the foundation's goals of promoting world peace and cultural understanding."
For more information contact David Sutherland at firstname.lastname@example.org or on the web at Alexia Foundation.
Last year, local photographer Stefan Zaklin from Arlington, Virginia was one of the three finalists. Zaklin also won first prize in Poynter's Magazine Portrait competition with this image.
And this is really an interesting one...
Creative Art Technologies is looking for original Pop Art style art work and images to license and reproduce digitally in the form of oil paintings, murals, and corporate art - artwork and images in the style of Warhol, Lichtenstein, Max, etc. They are looking for original Pop Art artwork owned completely by the artist only.
All artwork must meet copyrights standards prior to being used. Artists retain the copyrights of their work. Royalties are paid in accordance with each agreement. For more information on their licensing program and where to send a sample of your work contact Creative Art Technologies (561) 832-8055, e-mail: email@example.com or visit their web site. Full information will be sent to artists whose samples are of interest. They are also looking for digital artists to convert photographs and portraits to a pop art style.
There are 22 artists included and I particularly like Brad Rudich, whose daytime job is exhibit preparation, installation, and nearly every aspect of artifact care and handling for most of our area museums. I own one of Brad's pieces that I bought at last year's Art-O-Matic.
Warehouse Gallery, Theater and Coffee Bar is one of the really great cultural assets in our area, and they've been one of the anchors of the revival of the Shaw area.
Monday, November 24, 2003
The next MUSE is December 7, 2003 at 7:30 P.M. when the guest will be Anne Corbett, Executive Director, Cultural Development Corporation. A new MUSE will be organized the first Sunday of each following month. For more info email Faith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also lots of good images from the cartoon here.
The interesting point in this article by Ian Mayes is that fact that he discloses that between the Guardian and the Observer (owned and run by The Guardian), they employ about 60 art critics backed by a similar number of editors and subeditors!
And they made a deliberate effort to provide arts coverage in spite of the fact that "...the commitment is not simply or primarily a commercial one. In terms of revenue for the paper, many areas of the arts would not pay for the coverage."
I would guess that our own Post, which has a daily circulation of around 600,000 printed papers, and gets around two million hits a day for its website, and owns several other newspapers, is probably about twice the size of the Guardian newspapers.
Does anyone want to count the number of Post critics and see if they employ or use more or less than the Guardian?
Sunday, November 23, 2003
Some people think that Whistler's unorthodox use of acrid colors was perhaps due to the fact that he may have been partially color blind.
Cost is $200 a month for the full studio and $100 for the shared studio, all utilities included. Studios are roomy and have large windows. Group and solo shows at the Blue Elephant are available for all members. Currently on exhibit is a Blue Elephant group show. Please send contact information (name, address, phone, email), some images of your work and one page statement of work and artist intent to Brian Slagle, Blue Elephant, 4a W. 5th St., Frederick, MD 21701 or call him at 301-663-7809. Email address is email@example.com.
Deadline: Wednesday, December 17, 2003
Touchstone Gallery on 7th Street is having a call for artists for its 6th Annual juried competition. The show will be curated by my good friend Joe Shannon, easily one of the best painters in our area. Joe, who is a retired curator from the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and currently teaches at the Maryland Institute College of Art. He is also a reviewer for Art in America and writes art related stories for The Washington Times and sometimes also for the Post.
Prospectus can be downloaded from the gallery website, or send a SASE to Touchstone Gallery, 406 7th St., NW, Washington, DC 20004. For further information contact Camille Mosely-Pasley, Director, Touchstone Gallery, 202-347-2787, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday, November 22, 2003
Parish Gallery had a particularly interesting photography show, which featured some very arousing photographs by Alex Downs. It's rare to see an erotic photography show in Washington, and Downs manages to capture several highly sensual photographs of women while also investigating SM imagery.
We have a show of new figurative assemblages by Katie Dell Kaufman, who teaches at the Corcoran.
Friday, November 21, 2003
Kimmelman writes that "Mr. Currin is among other things a latter-day Jeff Koons, trafficking in lowdown humor, heartless kitsch and ironic smut, while offering up dollops of finesse, beauty and brains. The combination is disorienting and, at its best, thrilling."
I'm disoriented by the review! Not in a million years would I have speculated that the same critical mind that loves the minimalist nothingness of most Dia:Beacon artists, would also find John Currin "thrilling."
If you like Currin - do you also like Lisa Yuskavage?
Live and learn.
Thursday, November 20, 2003
After the galleries, Kate and I enjoyed our favorite tapas at Jaleo. My favorite Spanish tapa is cazon, which is shark with Alioli. I just love it with that great bread that they serve in Jaleo. I fell in love with Cazon while I lived in Andalucia in the the 1980s. I also really liked "San Jacobo" tapas back then, but I have yet to find it in any of the area's Spanish restaurants.
Today was "Galleries" focus day in the Post and Jessica Dawson, like she does usually on the 3rd Thursday of the month, did a series of mini-reviews of several area galleries, including one vanity gallery. I've seen several of these shows and from the lot of six, my pick is Jeff Spaulding at G Fine Art.
Tomorrow I'll be at the Canal Square Galleries in Georgetown for the 3rd Friday openings from 6-9 PM.
Just like Forrest, I think that Ron Mueck's giant is a superb example of the diversity of the human body and the amazing range of emotions it can extract from us.
Deadline December 19 - Juried Art Show and Auction to benefit The National Center for Children and Families.
This is a call for artists for a live and silent auction to be held March 13, 2004 at BAPA's Imagination Stage in Bethesda, MD. NCCF is a private, nonprofit agency with an 88-year commitment to serving families in the national capital area. NCCF's residential programs serve homeless families, victims of domestic violence, and vulnerable adolescents. Auction proceeds to be split 50/50 between artists and NCCF. For more information or to download submission guidelines, please visit their web site at www.nccf-cares.org. For questions, call 202-270-8822.
Deadline January 15, 2004 - Liquitex Excellence in Art Award.
Awards totaling over $14,000 in cash and products will be given to artists demonstrating skill and creativity in the use of acrylic paints. Open to residents of US and Canada. Entries must be postmarked on or before January 15, 2004 and be received by January 26, 2004. Tel:
800-445-4278 or visit: www.liquitex.com.
And tomorrow is the third Friday of the month, and therefore the four Canal Square Galleries in Georgetown will have their new show openings from 6-9 PM. Openings are free and open to the public and catered by the Sea Catch Restaurant.
Wednesday, November 19, 2003
See the video of the newscast here.
It was a bit over dramatized with "battle lines" drawn over an exhibition that essentially features a lot of large female nudes. There were also some really ignorant comments by some of the "public" interviewed in the story. Some of the more eloquent responses (from the public) were never used.
Tuesday, November 18, 2003
Our current exhibit of Caroline Danforth and Scott Hutchison paintings has raised the ugly issues of nudity and art and complaints and censorship.
Because of the visibility of the Bethesda Gallery, Scott Hutchison large nudes have apparently offended some people and we're apparently being complained about. This morning a Channel 7 news crew came and interviewed Catriona and will air a segment about the whole issue at 6 PM tonite.
Our landlord supports us, and so do some of our neighbors, but perhaps this is as good an opportunity as any to discuss this show from the perspective of what goes for "shocking" in the Washington area is still the human figure.
Deadline: January 31, 2004. The Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation's "Space Program" offers free studio spaces in New York City's Tribeca neighborhood for visual artists 21 and over.
Studios are available beginning Sept. 1, 2004 for up to one year. Postmark deadline is January 31, 2004. Applications should include: 8 slides of recent work or video, an annotated slide list or video description, a resume, a one page statement on why studio is needed, and a SASE for return of slides.
Send applications to The Space Program, The Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation, 830 North Tejon Street, Suite 120, Colorado Springs, CO 80903.
And Friday is the third Friday of the month, and therefore the four Canal Square Galleries in Georgetown will have their new show openings from 6-9 PM. Openings are free and open to the public and catered by the Sea Catch Restaurant.
Aimée García, a very young Cuban artist being showcased at the Bienal, and whose first American solo show sold out last year at the Robert Berman Gallery in Santa Monica, will make her Washington, DC debut next November 2004 with a solo show at our Georgetown gallery.
When the Post first launched their website a couple of years ago, they used to augment their printed newspaper coverage of the visual arts by allowing a few freelance writers (myself included) as well as their "regular" galleries critic (at the time Ferdinand Protzman) to write additional weekly reviews of gallery and museum shows. Then their online Arts Editor (at the time John Poole) was promoted and the "job" was left open for a very long time and all the online gallery reviews ended.
Maura McCarthy is now the online Arts Editor and doing a pretty good job, but obviously the budget to have contract writers do additional gallery reviews no longer exists and she doesn't have the luxury to augment the print version's already skimpy coverage of area galleries and artists.
Monday, November 17, 2003
Warning: The link above is rather gross, as it depicts artist Keith Boadwee in the process of "painting" via the use of his asshole. This is definately "mixed media."
And this artist may be a close second.
Why the Washington Times doesn't have a "regular" weekly "Galleries" column, like most major metropolitan newspapers in the world offer, has always been a mystery to me.
Another great mystery: Considering how inexpensive storage is, and how easy it is to store an article online once it has been created. Why doesn't the Washington City Paper archive its articles?
These are "open" mail art exhibitions (as opposed to "juried"). This means that all submissions will be included in the exhibition. Entries are sent via mail and are usually not returned. Mail art is usually created on a blank postcard and sent through the mail to the exhibition.
Deadline: Dec. 31, 2003
Group 78, Tokyo's English-language local group of Amnesty International, the worldwide human rights organization, will adopt the theme "Violence Against Women" as a major campaign priority next year. To publicize this and to reach out to women's groups, human rights groups and other concerned people, they are appealing to the mail art artists for suitable submissions on the theme. They intend to exhibit in Tokyo and possibly other cities in Japan, and to produce a documentation of the submitted works. Every contributor will receive a copy of the documentation.
SIZE: from postcard size to A4 size (29 X 21 cm) 2D only.
DEADLINE: Dec. 31, 2003
Kyoritsu Women's College
Deadline: February 1, 2004
"Bras for Breast Cancer." Embellish a bra for an exhibit to be held at Northwood University in Cedar Hill, Texas in April of 2004. Bras will be exhibited along with paintings, poetry, videos, installations and assemblages created by women and men who have stories to share about themselves and or loved ones who are coping with Breast Cancer. All entries will be exhibited. No Jury. No Returns.
Send all entries to:
Email questions to email@example.com
Deadline: February 1, 2004
The Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art is requesting mail art submissions for an exhibit in February 2004 on the theme "Sense of Place." Artists are encouraged to respond by providing works that examine changing conceptions of place, borders and nationalism on a global scale. How would you represent your sense of place in today's world? What has happened to your sense of place since the rise of globalization? Since 9/11? How has the spread of internet communications altered perspectives on near and far?
Each work should not exceed 20 inches in any direction and may be 3 dimensional. Please include contact information: name, address, email. Due to space limitations, not all submissions can be exhibited. However, all submissions will appear on BMoCA's website and all submitting artists will be acknowledged. Exhibited works will be listed in the catalogue and on the BMoCA website. Submissions will not be returned unless SASE is included. Questions to Brandi Mathis at 303/443-2122.
Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art
1750 13th St.
Boulder, CO 80302
"We don't live in a great time for art; we live in a time when art is very successful as a leisure activity. Art is very amusing, but within that culture there's still a hierarchy of better and worse. I'm interested in that hierarchy but I recognise that modern art and pre-modern art were very important, and postmodern art is rubbish, really."Collins has a new TV series on British television that begins next Sunday. Read the whole story in The Observer here.
Sunday, November 16, 2003
By the way, I know it's pedantic, but if we call the Venice Biennial the Biennale then we should refer to the Havana Biennial as the Bienal, which is the Spanish word for Biennial, just as Biennale is the Italian word for it.
Although he mentioned it at the beginning, he skimmed lightly over the very important issue of censorship and this was very disappointing to me. More on this issue here and from the Prince Claus Fund, the main financial supporter of the past Bienal. They withdrew support from this Bienal because of Castro's recent human rights abuses and artist censorship.
More on the desperate situation of human rights in Cuba from Human Rights Watch and from Amnesty International.
Otherwise the article was very readable and somewhat predictable, as Blake does not mention a single painter and shows his colors by writing: "A visit to the main art school showed student work as good as you'd get anywhere, even in relatively newfangled fields such as performance and video art."
Newfangled? Hardly. As a child, I recall being dragged to "enjoy" performance art in the 60's in New York by various artsy members of my family, so that's been around for 40 years or more and video art came out as soon as the first video camera came out in the 70s and by the time I went to art school at the University of Washington (1977-1981) in Seattle, my then girlfriend Susie K. was boring us to sleep with her video art, which consisted of her recording the Seattle skyline from the Space Needle Restaurant as it slowly rotated around the Needle.
Same crap that Tacita Dean did decades later at the revolving restaurant atop the TV tower at Alexanderplatz in Berlin. Susie K did it in 1979.
Also today, Paul Richards reviews Philip Guston's retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Guston is one of those artists that are very difficult to digest, but the more you talk to people, especially young artists, about him, the more influential he seems.
"If someone bursts out laughing in front of my painting," Richards says Guston wrote in 1973, "that is exactly what I want."
The retrospective, curated by Michael Auping, was organized by the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and will travel to the Royal Academy of Arts, London, after closing in New York.
Saturday, November 15, 2003
We're getting a lot of flak from our neighbors and some of the public in Bethesda about Scott Hutchison's large female nude paintings currently on exhibition. Especially this one which is five and half feet tall.
So because Seward Johnson takes Impressionist paintings and makes sculptures from them, his work is crap. But when the Chapman Brothers take Goya's war etchings and make sculptures out of them, their work may be great - because it's shocking.
I initially thought that they were both crap, but now I get it.
Deadline: January 15, 2004. Open Exhibition Competition for a show at the Target Gallery in the Torpedo Factory Art Center. Open to all individual artists and groups in all media in North America. Jurors: Annie Adjchavanich, Executive Director, Washington Project for the Arts/Corcoran; B.J. Adams, noted fiber artist; James and Jenna Blalock, Washington area collectors of fine art and craft. Deadline for Porposals: January 15, 2004. Show dates: October 20-November 28, 2004. Fee: $35 for 20 images (slides or JPEG CD) and proposal. For appliocation, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, 703/838-4565 x 4, or send SASE to Open 2004, Target Gallery
105 N. Union Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
Deadline: December 15, 2003. The Humanities Fine Arts Gallery of the University of Minnesota Morris has a call for exhibition proposals for 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 academic years. Send 10 to 20 slides of recent work, artist's statement, resume, and SASE to be considered for solo or group show. No prospectus and better still: no entry fee. Deadline for Submissions is December 15th, 2003. Send proposal to:
Division of the Humanities
University of Minnesota Morris
Morris MN 56367
Email questions to email@example.com
Deadline February 2, 2004. Ivyside International Juried Exhibition at Penn State Altoona. Open to all visual artists in all media. Entries must have been completed within the last two years. Artists will be selected from slides, CD Rom, or VHS/DVD by a faculty committee. Up to six artists will be awarded annually with a gallery exhibition in one of two gallery spaces (each approximately 13' x 25') at the Community Arts Center at Penn State Altoona. There is no entry fee.
1. CV - One copy, no more than 2 pages.
2. Artist statement - One copy, no more than 1 page.
3. Slides - A maximum of 12 (24 for three dimensional work) slides may be submitted for review. Clearly label slides with, name, title, date, medium, size (h x w x d) and an indication of top of image. Submit in a plastic slide sheet, in order, with a SASE. Artists are entitled to enter a maximum of 12 slides for review. Two-dimensional work one slide/work may be submitted for consideration. For three-dimensional work two slides per entry are allowed. Provide one copy of a slide list on 1 8 ½ x 11 sheet.
4. Or CD Rom: A maximum of 12 (24 for three dimensional work) jpeg or tiff images may be submitted for review. Submit on a CDR IBM compatible disc in order. Title each image on the disc. Provide one copy of an image list on one 8½ x 11 sheet. Submit with SASE.
5. Or DVD/VHS: A maximum of 10 minutes will be viewed by the gallery committee. Your tape or DVD may be a compilation tape, but one full length piece must be present. Submit with SASE.
Accepted artists will be notified May 1, 2004 and then artwork may be hand-delivered or shipped prepaid to Ivyside Juried Exhibition, Penn State Altoona. Within reason, Penn StateAltoona will return ship, via UPS ground. Each exhibition will have labels, a poster, postcard, gallery reception, and simple checklist.
Ivyside Juried Art Competition
Penn State Altoona, Community Arts Center
3000 Ivyside Park
Altoona, Pennsylvania 16601
Deadline: December 12, 2003. District of Columbia Art Center 8th Annual Exhibition Raffle. An annual opportunity to win a six-week show in the DCAC gallery. Tickets are only $50 each for DCAC members and $100 for non-members. Note that a year's membership to DCAC costs as little as $30 making it possible to become a new member and enter the raffle for only $80. DCAC also encourages artists to join together with other artists and share the price of a ticket.
Tickets may be purchased at DCAC during gallery and theater hours of Wed-Thurs 2-7 PM; Fri- Sat 2-10 PM. Tickets will also be available at the December 7th's MUSE, hosted by Faith Flanagan.
For more information, please call (202)- 462-7833.
Friday, November 14, 2003
Tonite is the Bethesda Art Walk from 6-10 PM.
The Art Museum of the Americas will be hosting “An Architect of Surrealism,” an exhibition of paintings by Roberto Matta, one of the most celebrated artists of the 20th century. The exhibition includes work ranging from a drawing from the late 1940’s to a pair of etchings from 1985, as well as four paintings and a dozen gouache, etching and lithograph works.
Ten of the pieces have been loaned by Walker Fine Art of San Diego, while the rest of the pieces are from the Art Museum of the Americas' permanent collection. This exhibit will open on Wednesday, November 19 at 6:00 PM with a reception at the Art Museum of the Americas (201 18th Street, NW), and will continue through March 7, 2004.
The third edition of the Guerrilla Film Fest (GFF3) will be held at the Carnegie Institution in DC on Saturday November 22, 2003. The program for GFF3 consists of 8 award-winning short films. You can get program details here or email John Hanshaw for info.
In conjunction with the ongoing citywide arts festival, "Blues and Dreams: Celebrating the African American Experience in Washington, DC," the The District of Columbia Arts Center gallery has an opening tonite from 7-9 PM. It's a four artist group show which includes work by painter Shinique Smith, performance videos by Jefferson Pinder, lightbox-mounted, quasi-documentary photographs by Djakarta Jacobs, and Nekisha Durrett's photographs - confrontational portraits of proud, young African American lesbians.
In the Post today, Style's Friday focus is movies, and appropriately enough, there are four movie reviews in the section. There is also one theater review and three different music reviews by three different writers. Nothing "extra" on the visual arts, of course.
Over in the Weekend section, Michael O'Sullivan reviews Jim Sanborn's great show at the Corcoran and at Numark Gallery. This show was earlier reviewed by Blake Gopnik on October 31.
As it happens almost every Friday, Weekend movie critics manage to review the same movies that the Style section critic reviews.
So three of the movies reviewed in Style are also reviewed, by different critics in Weekend. This is a great way to see how critics can differ - not just in movies but in any genre of the arts. So while Stephen Hunter says that Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World "suffers from what might be called colonitis," and generally dislikes the movie, his fellow critic Desson Howe offers that the movie is not only a "masterful performance" but also that "[the movie] isn't just a fabulous seagoing spectacle. It's one for the ages."
Guess which critic will end up quoted in those one line mini-quotes that movies use in their advertising?
As I've noted at least twice before, wouldn't it be great if once in a while the Post would send Blake Gopnik and Paul Richard to review the same gallery or museum show, and publish it the same day, to give us readers two different perspectives on one show?
This happens (not by planned assignment, but just because the Style section editor and the Weekend editor are different editors and do not "synchronize" who and what will be reviewed) very frequently with movies and theatre. It also happens on a rare ocassion (like today), when O'Sullivan reviews a show that either has already been reviewed, or is later reviewed by either Dawson (if it's a gallery show) or Gopnik (if it is a museum show).
But what this practice of multiple movie and theatre reviews does prove, is that the (sometimes offered) excuse that the reason that the Post does not review more galleries is due to lack of print space is an invalid reason not to expand galleries coverage to the same level as theater, music, and fashion.
Weekend also has an army of contract writers that provide mini reviews of dozens of music and theater events (and of course movies) throughout the area, but not a single contract writer to do mini gallery reviews.
I don't know, but I would guess that the Weekend editor, Joyce Jones, does not think that offering the same level of coverage to art galleries and art museums as she gives to our wonderful theaters, night clubs, performance venues and cinemas is as important and that her readers are not interested in a gallery art show in Dupont Circle, Georgetown, downtown or Bethesda to the same level as in a play in Olney or a dinner theatre production in Woodbridge, etc.
Thursday, November 13, 2003
In the "Arts Beat" column, Chris Richards discusses the Convention Center's art collection. For my opinion on that subject, read my Nov. 11 posting.
And just as I predicted yesterday, there are two music reviews in the paper.
This gets to the heart of the matter of my bitching about the Post's gallery coverage. Because Jessica is the only freelance writer that the Post employs to review galleries, and because not only does she review gallery shows, but also sometimes museums, and also embassy shows, and university shows, and alternative spaces shows, and library shows, and because (as she did today) she sometimes includes Baltimore in her geographical area, there just isn't enough coverage in the newspaper on a par with what the Post does for music, theatre, performance and even fashion!
In fact, a quick check online reveals that since April 25, 2002 the Post has published 146 columns on fashion while Dawson has only written 76 in the same time period.
How can the Post justify having several contract writers for all those other art genres but only one for our area galleries?
I believe that they feel that their gallery coverage is appropriate and see no need to expand it to the same degree of coverage that they provide in Style for music, theatre, fashion, etc. I disagree, but I am certainly not objective about the issue.
Why does the Post feel that way?
Simple: Because no one complains except gallery owners. And of course from our perspective the coverage could always be better and to them it is just sourgrapes.
But do the readers care?
I don't know, but the Post obviously thinks that they don't care. This is clear because once in a while, when Jessica is away or on vacation, they just skip the column.
I guess that we should be grateful that the world's second most powerful newspaper allows one freelance writer to write an (almost) weekly column to cover all of our area galleries, plus Baltimore's, plus embassies, and libraries, etc. And also lucky that over in the Weekend section Michael O'Sullivan has been allowed by his editor to expand his column from just covering museums and also include galleries in his coverage.
Thank you guys.
Wednesday, November 12, 2003
Wednesday is "Pop Music" focus day in the Style section, and there are eight separate columns or reviews by seven different writers (plus three different theatre reviews although Tuesdays is "theatre focus day" not today).
So at least for music and theatre, Style has several different critics and writers who provide us with fairly good coverage, offering a widely ranging set of reviews and opinions - dealing with both national level artists and Washington area artists and venues. Many of these Post writers are "contract" writers (freelance), allowing the Post to hire (and fire them) fairly easily I assume, while saving on having to provide 401K's and medical insurance, etc.
Nonetheless, I applaud the Post's interest in helping to cover our area's rich musical and theatrical scene. It certainly deserves the coverage given.
But on Thursdays - "Galleries and Art News focus day" - Why then only one column on "Galleries" by only one contract writer? And the Arts Beat column, which is published twice a month on Thursdays, often covers the entire spectrum of the "arts" - it is not just a visual arts column by far.
It's not fair to Jessica Dawson, who has to spread her single column all over the region, sometimes as far as Baltimore and often to embassies, and it's not fair to the many, many area galleries, who must all compete for the ear of just one Style critic, it's not fair to the many area artists and other good exhibitions which get ignored because of lack of coverage, and most of all, it's not fair to the readers of Style who must all just read only one critical voice and perspective when it comes to our area's art galleries and who often are also unaware of important exhibitions that go uncovered due to lack of print space allowed by Style to the visual arts on "Galleries" day.
In fact, I am willing to bet that tomorrow's paper, on their assigned "Galleries/Art News" focus day, will have more theatre and music reviews than galleries reviews.
We will be hosting new paintings by Scott Hutchison and Caroline Danforth.
Westchester County, in conjunction with the Westchester County September 11th Memorial Committee, is issuing a "Request for Proposals" (RFP) for design services in connection with a memorial honoring its 111 citizens who lost their lives as a result of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. The memorial is to be located at the Kensico Dam Plaza in Valhalla, New York. Budget $200,000. View complete RFP at www.westchestergov.com. The deadline is January 15, 2004.
Tuesday, November 11, 2003
And the Washington Convention Center art selection committee, and its art advisory program, and the ad hoc community art program committee and all the other many groups, committees or people who had a say, word, vote or check into what gets acquired for a public art collection of this magnitude have done a surprisingly outstanding job. I counted almost sixty names somehow associated with what art was selected for the collection.
Also strange is the fact that apparently, due to security concerns, this public art collection is apparently not open to the public. That is, future convention attendees, official visitors and the people who work there have access to it, but the general public does not. I am trying to confirm this, but if true, some sort of remedy (such as "by appointment tours") should be institutionalized.
But in spite of that, this is overall an excellent collection of art, which manages to showcase some major new pieces by blue chip artists, as well as to provide many of our own well-known and emerging area artists with an opportunity to flex their artistic muscles. Because this is Washington, DC, it also manages (as expected) to avoid displaying a nude figure anywhere in the building, although this will change for two days in August of 2004, when Room 146 of the Center hosts the International Nude Art Expo 2004 from 21-22 August 2004.
In fact, the major problem that I have with the Washington Convention Center is that if they spent four million dollars to acquire the art, then they need to start figuring out how to get a few more million dollars, because this beautiful space is so vast, and the number of huge, empty walls so many, that the current number of artworks adorning the Center is but a minute - I would say 5% - of what truly needs to be there to have the art make the visual impact that I think it must make.
When Kate and I arrived, we ran into Guy Mondo, who had already been there for a couple of hours and knew where everything was located. So with Guy as a guide (no pun intended) we did a couple of miles worth of walking in seeing the collection.
And after all is said and done, I think that my favorite pece is Jim Sanborn's Lingua, which is perfectly located in the Grand Lobby of the center. Sanborn has delivered two sixteen foot columns, like modern standing stones, that flank the visitor as one enters the center. The columns are etched through in eight different languages (with parts of historical texts recalling gatherings (conventions)) and lit from the inside. This projects the words onto the walls, ceilings and people as one walks through. Sanborn has reacted with a very powerful answer to this call for public art for a convention center. The ability of Lingua to marry a modern view of an ancient ritual, in my eyes makes it the most successful piece in the collection.
However, I am a Virgo, and there's one small, but bothersome issue that I must point out, as I suspect that Sanborn may not be aware of it. The eight languages cut through the columns are French, Ethiopian, Greek, Latin, Chinese, Russian, Ononandaga and Spanish. And it is with the Spanish orthography used in the columns that I (and I suspect anyone who can read Spanish) have a nagging issue.
The Spanish paragraph cut through at the top of the left column describes Columbus' triumphant reception in Barcelona. But whoever cut the words through used a generic alphabet to create the words, rather than a Spanish alphabet. Initially, the differences, letter for letter, are small. But once you start assembling words together, Spanish, like all Romance languages, uses a complex set of accents to indicate the correct pronunciation and spelling of a word.
And the column's Spanish text is missing all the accents, and thus is full of misspellings and gibberish. For example, the word "bajo" could mean "short" as in "he was a short man" but if you add an accent to the "o" at the end, as in "bajó," it can translate as "came down" as in "he came down the ladder." I suspect that the French text suffers from the same type of errors.
As I've noted, the placement of Sanborn's Lingua is perfect, and so is the spectacular location of Pat Steir's Red on Blue Waterfall, located on Level 2 at the L Street Bridge. And in fact, nearly all the work is placed in very good locations.
And yet, considering all the empty space all around the center, there are some questionable placements that come to mind. For example, I don't understand why so many photographs have been grouped together in a rather isolated area on Level Two. I do realize that whoever selected the locations thought that by grouping seventeen photographs into a small corridor ("small" is relative in the convention center sense) they were creating a "photo gallery."
It doesn't work. In fact, it doesn't make sense at all considering (at the risk of repeating myself too often) all the great empty locations all around the center. What is does, is to create a feeling of being cramped in, rather than the sense of a gallery wall.
There are two great Maxwell MacKenzie photographs in this area, and knowing that MacKenzie produces these photos in a huge 96-inch length, I found it odd that the center decided two acquire two of his smaller images, when one or two of the vast, mural-sized photos would have had a more spectacular effect on the overall open atmosphere of the center.
But the work that gets my vote as worst placement is the lovely long piece by Rebecca Cross (Variations on the Pear), located at the very end of the Food Court, inexplicably located where it is hard to see it, especially when there's a huge empty wall facing towards the food court, just a dozen footsteps from it.
But enough bitching about location and placement. As I noted, with a few exceptions, most of the artwork has been well placed, and hopefully the Convention Center will consider a few key adjustments as input such as this comes in.
There are a lot of superb sculptures in this collection and well deserved kudos to the selection process for not forgetting sculptors.
Kendall Buster's piece, titled Parabiosis II, is one of my favorite works in the entire collection, and is one of those works that is not only located in a perfect spot, but also responded well to the specific call for art. This was a commissioned piece, and it hangs from the underside of the main escalator, so that viewers walk under it and can truly enjoy Buster's ability to take a steel frame, put a skin on it, and make it into an organic, almost living entity.
Many other excellent 3-D pieces included Wendy Ross' sculpture Millefiore Volvox I and one of the best pieces in the entire collection: Yuriko Yamaguchi's "Politics/Power = Human Nature, Metamorphoses #102-103" (from where are these sculptors coming up with these titles?). The Yamaguchi piece was one of the largest ones that I've seen by this talented artist and it works well and shows that her minimalist simplicity can also work in a larger scale.
And Donald Lipski also came through to the challenge for a commissioned work with "Five Easy Pieces" (hint to Yamaguchi and Ross about titling). Lispski has put together a collection of giant shapes made from common objects. A giant circle made of guitars, a Swiss-cross made of tennis-rackets (and my vote for the first piece that some idiot will bitch about because it's a cross) and other hanging pieces made from kayaks, bar stools and bicycles.
In my opinion, the weak link in an otherwise strong collection of sculptures in the Center is Capital Stars by Larry Kirkland, which was also a commissioned piece. In Kirkland's defense, he apparently had a tall order, as he has produced a hanging star within two spoked circles that tries to combine history, politics and geography into what ends up looking like a giant Christmas decoration. Kirkland, who now lives in DC, tries valiantly to express via this piece the idea of a stateless DC (at the center of the star) surrounded by the "real" states with a star where their capitals are. It's a noble idea, but delivered in a heavy handed manner.
But the true overall dud in this otherwise very good public art collection is Ivan Chermayeff's "Sky, Land, Sea," which also has a powerful location on the main backwall of the street level. His piece betrays the fact that Chermayeff is a very successful graphic designer and ad man, but this venture into fine art smells of Madison Avenue. In fact "Sky, Land, Sea" (which must have cost a bundle to produce and install) is not much different in visual appeal and presentation to one of those lit Metro ads that nearly all the underground train stations around the world now have. All that differentiated "Sky, Land, Sea," from an ad was some lettering advertising Allegra or some other allergy medicine.
Other works that stand out in my notes as being exceptional in a collection full of good works are John Winslow's "What Rooms Reveal" and Al Smith's "Crossings" as well as Chul-Hyun Ahn's "Emptiness" a clever piece that bends perspective through the use of lights.
And (to me) the surprise of the collection (as in "I've never heard of this guy" surprise) was a very good painting by Trevor Young, who is apparently from the DC area titled "Slanted Dark."
The surprise of all surprises (as in "WOW, look who is in this collection" surprise) was a great piece by David Opdyke from his "Taste Test" series which use Coca-Cola imagery on US maps to deliver smart works of art that also require thinking and opinions. It could easily be the hidden jewel in this collection. In fact, I was told that the Corcoran would soon be borrowing it for some future show.
A richly deserved Well Done! to the Convention Center for its public art collection effort and also a very strong recommendation that they must (a) start thinking of convening a yearly committee to continue to acquire more art to augment this strong nucleus and cover up some of those empty walls and (b) figure out a way to let this public art collection be accessible to the public.
Monday, November 10, 2003
This is hard work from a very hard working gallery, and Fusebox, already one of our best galleries, will hopefully get some well-deserved attention for the Washington area artists that they represent from the Miami media (and our own).
It will be presented annually to an artist who "expresses the beauty of a woman wholly at ease with her own body while communicating a female sensuality openly but non-provocatively".
Ulla Plougmand-Turner, a self-taught Danish-born artist, will be the first recipient of the award, being presented by the Marquess of Bath in London tonite.
Location: 801 Mount Vernon Place, NW, Washington, DC. Please use Mount Vernon Place entrance. The Washington Convention Center is accessible by the Mount Vernon Place/7th Street - Convention Center or Gallery Place/Chinatown Metro Stations. Parking is limited in the surrounding areas. R.S.V.P. 202-249-3449.
Sunday, November 09, 2003
There's an eye-catching and attractive large piece by Jessica Dawson on Joseph Cornell's art boxes with the unfortunate headline of Art's Box Launch. The piece is actually on the very interesting book "Joseph Cornell: Shadowplay . . . Eterniday," which comes with the DVD set The Magical Worlds of Joseph Cornell.
Not related to the book, but interesting nonetheless, is this international mail art exhibition about Cornell being held in California.
Paul Richard, who retired as the chief art for the Post a while back and is now a contract writer for the Post, has an excellent piece on Frank Bruno's painting exhibition at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. This is another exhibition that I would love to have read a second review by Richard's replacement, Blake Gopnik, in order to read Blake's perspective on Bruno's work. And as the Arts Editor of the New York Times points out, it's healthy for critics to disagree and Rockwell has the courage to write: "I trust my own subjective taste."
The bold is added for anyone who thinks that art critics (or any critic) are objective - especially for art editors and the critics themselves.
And the Post's music critic, Richard Harrington, as he does sometimes, used his print space to do a terrific review of "Between Midnight and Day: The Last Unpublished Blues Archive - Photographs by Dick Waterman " at Georgetown's Govinda Gallery, which as Harrington points out, for many years "has been has long been at the forefront of music-related exhibitions."
The Post once tried to demote Harrington, (who is a very good writer in my opinion) allegedly (according to Harrington) because he was too old to write about contemporary music. According to the City Paper, after six months of "searching" for a qualified replacement, then they allegedly tried to replace Harrington with another Post writer whose previous experience had been in the business section of the paper.
And finally, reader William Woodhouse scolds Blake in a Letter to the Arts Editor, for "being misled" about the importance of Toledo in El Greco's Spain as described in Gopnik's review of El Greco now drawing huge crowds to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
In his review Blake anchors much of El Greco's unusual success with his odd realism upon the fact that El Greco was working in the "in the safe isolation of a provincial Spanish town" and essentially the locals didn't know any better. But William Woodhouse corrects Gopnik's perception of Toledo by pointing out that "it is a mistake, however, to characterize the ambiance of 16th-century Toledo as "the safe isolation of a provincial Spanish town" vs. the court of Philip II in Madrid."
It sort of puts a big hole in the review's central theory.
No slack in these leagues.
In Blake's defense, most people in the US and Britain get a very one-sided, British-centric view of European history and events. When I lived in Spain in the early 80's, it was very interesting to read the Spanish version of the wars with England, and Spain's place in European history. I even recall reading that more people were put to the torch, quartered and hung in England during Elizabeth's reign, than in the entire 500-year run of the Inquisition.
It could be a case of the Spanish trying to demonize their (then) arch enemies, much like the English have tried to demonize Philip II, who's usually presented in history as the "bad guy" of Europe.
A while back I read Henry Kamen's Philip of Spain and it certainly became an engrossing educational adventure for me, and I highly recommend it.
Saturday, November 08, 2003
Found out that Troyer Gallery now shares its space with a new gallery, Irvine Contemporary Art, which was having its grand opening last night. Troyer Gallery is now in the small room in the rear and according to them, the gallery has "modified its space and direction," with an "increased focus on fine art ceramics."
The new gallery sharing Troyer's space is focused on what they describe as "contemporary art with an international view" and so far represent the work of six artists, while also exhibiting and keeping an inventory of work by twenty other well-known artists.
Kathleen Ewing, which is easily Washington's top photography gallery, has recently renovated its spaces and doubled in size. Ewing is expanding the gallery's focus past photography and they now have on display the paintings of Bethesda artist Michael Gross, who they now represent.
The current show is the artist's first solo show and it has done exceedingly well, as there were quite a few red dots on his paintings.
Friday, November 07, 2003
Current grant deadlines have passed, but artists can apply for the next cycle of grants here.
According to an email from Paul Foss, the magazine's publisher, (who also publishes artext magazine) "artUS offers the unique opportunity to obtain the most current and exhaustive information regarding the U.S. exhibition scene, including commercial galleries, museums, and nonprofit spaces and events. No other arts publication in the U.S. today regularly offers such an extensive range of reviews and listings in the context of groundbreaking critical debate from some of the country's most influential writers, artists, and art critics."
I've asked them who will be covering DC area galleries. See my listing of DC area art critics here.
Founded in 1985, the gallery includes 35 member artists working in all printmaking media, including etching, lithography, collagraph, screenprint, woodcut, linocut, monotype, monoprint and mixed media. Dues are $85 a month, with an initial non-refundable fee of $250. Artists hang a framed piece each month, have 12 works in the bins and 17 in flatfiles at all times.
Each artist has the opportunity of a solo show every 2-1/2 to 3 years. Portfolios are reviewed every other month and should include one framed print, 6 unmatted unframed works, a resume and artist statement (optional). Call Director Jen Watson at 202.332.7757 for more information.
Since I first saw his work several years ago, I have followed Caldwell's development as a photographer who is not only interested in just photography, but also in being an innovator of the genre - both a "technical" and "creative" innovator.
In my opinion this combination of skills is what makes Caldwell's work important and fun to follow. Don't get me wrong, it's not just: What is he going to do next? How is he going to surprise us? - that would be gimmick rather than skill and talent - but it is the pleasurable event of seeing what can almost be described as banal images, elevated to a level of beauty and interest beyond their initial creation.
Note to the future curators of the next Whitney Biennial: Colby Caldwell.
Thursday, November 06, 2003
And photographer and video artist Darin Boville (and also one of the nine finalists on this year's Trawick Prize) breaks the ice with some very interesting comments and thoughts fueled by the current issue of Art in America magazine. Darin's point is about substance in the current state of writing in these magazines. He notes that:
"[In the current issue] you can find an article on the work of [Mark] Lombardi which I might suggest was an Alan Sokal-style hoax if I wasn't convinced that it is impossible to pull off a Sokal-style hoax in the art world.Comments on Darin's thoughts welcomed.
Art world writing is already so obviously void of substance that a hoax would be pointless.
In this case, we learn in a pull quote from the article that "With their large scale and epic cast of characters, Lombardi's drawings can call to mind the grand, turbulent history paintings of the 19th century."
Jaw dropping stupidity of a quote.
Even the editors where embarrassed by that one -- in the text itself that line does not appear but has been instead changed to "With their marriage of branching patterns and mechanical flowcharts, Lombardi's drawings call to mind a host of visual forms, including maps, mandalas, and genealogical charts."
Have artists figured out yet why no one outside the art world takes them seriously?
And then there are the grade school errors. The article says that Bush made "100% profit" on the sale of his stock which is another way of saying that he doubled his money. That certainly is the wrong number!
Then there is the art writer WAY out of her depth. While discussing the Bush work she seem oblivious of the fact that Bush was the CEO of Spectrum 7 when Harken bought it and when Bahrain granted the little company offshore drilling rights (during Daddy's presidency). It only takes five minutes on the Internet.
And then the faults in art scholarship. Here we have an artist who is interested in political and business scandals and who maps them out in semi-scientific charts linking the previously unseen participants together.
This artist came of age in the early 1970's and graduated with an MFA in 1974. It seems to me that Hans Haacke's pieces detailing the connections in the real estate market in NYC should have at least been mentioned, if not cited as the dominant art precedent and direct influence.
On and on and on.
And today I received a very nice email from Valerie Bampoe, WETA's Audience Services Coordinator, to let me know that she had brought up my concerns to the producers of AT.
She also welcomed additional concerns be sent directly to her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at (703) 998-2615.
Perfect opportunity for those who agree with me to write or call WETA and tell them that "Around Town" should give the visual arts equal time with theatre and music and movies, and give Bill Dunlap a few more on-air minutes to talk about our visual artists and galleries and museums and have the panel spend less times on national movies that a dozen other TV shows are already discussing.
I haven't read the book yet (but will) and wonder how it deals (if at all) with the issue of Goya's Black Paintings and the controversy over their authenticity brought about by Juan Jose Junquera, a professor of art history at Complutense University in Madrid.
Jessica also reviews a group show of Italian artists at the new Capricorno Gallery. Both galleries are in the Dupont Circle area, which will have extended hours tomorrow from 6-8 PM.
Capricorno appears to be Washington's first international gallery, with branches in Capri, London and now DC. Welcome!
Wednesday, November 05, 2003
I have received about a dozen emails on this "Blake vs. Corcoran" subject so far, which to me shows that there is a lot of interest and two clear "camps" on this issue.
Regardless of how one feels about the writings of a critic, (any critic, not just Gopnik), the bottom line is that the critic has a right to express his or her opinion on their area of expertise. And the readers have a right to disagree with it - even if the reader is the Director of a Museum.
Gopnik is an intelligent and eloquent writer, and he also clearly has galvanized ideas and notions as to what constitutes good contemporary art. And he clearly also has people who agree with him, and many who disagree - that disagreement is good for art!
What do I think? My opinion is also very subjective, and colored by my own art prejudices, opinions and background. For the record: On J. Seward Johnson's "art" Gopnik and I generally agree. And yet as Ionarts points out and lists, there are some writers who actually liked this show. And if you want, you too can write your own review of the show in the Post's Website.
Blake Gopnik delivered his "Long Live Realism - Realism is Dead" lecture at the Corcoran (of all places) when he first arrived here from Canada. It was there that he first tipped his hand about his personal beliefs of what he considers "good art."
And my reaction to his lecture was that genres like painting, sculpture and photography are just not in his vocabulary for what is "good art." He has shown this many times since in his reviews.
I also understood that in Blake's view of the world, painting is dead, and sculpture is dead, and photography (except "manipulated photography") is also dead.
When someone in the audience asked him what should contemporary artists do, I recall that his response was "video and manipulated photography." A well-known curator who was sitting next to me in the Corcoran's Frances & Armand Hammer Auditorium noted sarcastically that "Blake doesn't like pictures."
And when forced by another audience member to pick a contemporary painter that he liked, he put up some slides of Lisa Yuskavage and we were all wondering if he was pulling our leg, especially since he had been (unfairly in my opinion) using slides of Science Fiction illustrator Boris Vallejo as a sample of all that is wrong with contemporary realism.
So knowing that, when I read Blake Gopnik, I do so with an understanding of how what he believes is "good art" colors everything that he writes -- just as what I believe is "good art" colors everything that I say and do about art, and what I believed 20 years ago is in some cases radically different from what I think now.
And that's OK, and in an ideal world, the Post would have a second critical voice to offer us another opinion (see my Oct 25 posting).
Did Blake go over the line in writing that the Corcoran "has tumbled all the way from nobody to laughingstock"? Probably.
And yet, in an odd way I think that it is healthy for a critic to take direct shots at a major museum, causing all this discussion and disagreements and dialogue as a result. Blake's attack on the Corcoran pales in comparison to what the New York press heaves at museums like the Whitney, and what the British press vomits upon practically every visual art museum in the UK.
And meanwhile, Seward's weird exhibition has doubled the Corcoran's attendance numbers. And Gopnik's review, which has been echoed worldwide, was the catalyst for much of this success.
David Levy should send Blake a thank you note and schedule Marcel Dzama the next time attendance begins to dip.
A Friday later, the second Friday of the month, is gallery openings and extended hours by the Bethesda Galleries from 6-10 PM. A free shuttle bus is part of the Artwalk.
A week later, but on Thursday, the third Thursday of every month, the Seventh Street Galleries have openings and extended hours from 6-8 PM.
And a day later, on the third Friday of every month, the Canal Square Galleries in Georgetown host their new show openings from 6-9 PM, catered by the Sea Catch Restaurant.
Tuesday, November 04, 2003
Washingtonian magazine usually has very limited visual arts coverage, and it has always been a mystery to me why they do such a good job of reviewing books, music, restaurants and theatre and yet (with some rare exceptions) ignore our museums and galleries and artists.
However, the current November issue has a very interesting article by Henry Jaffe, who writes a column titled Post Watch.
This month's column is titled Too Much Poison in Art Critic’s Pen? and it's all about the "feud" between the Washington Post's chief art critic Blake Gopnik and the Corcoran.
Washingtonian doesn't archive their articles, so go buy the magazine or read it online, as it will be gone next month.
Jaffe writes that “A lot of people are concerned about the state of art criticism at the Post,” says one museum official, echoing the view of others. None would speak on the record. “He [Gopnik] seems to be very personal. It’s always about his perspective rather than a broader, critical look at the subject.”
And Corcoran director Davy Levy is quoted as calling "Gopnik’s review “unethical” and says the critic often displays “immodest immaturity” in his reviews."
Jaffee also writes that "Levy and the Corcoran were especially steamed that Gopnik ended his review with a dig at the museum, whose “reputation has slipped badly over the last few years.”
Says Levy: “A couple of people Blake talks to don’t appreciate what we do.”
Says Gopnik: “I could get 20 quotes off the record and five on from people who agree with me.” The Corcoran has exhibited “a pattern of terrible shows.”
I am curious as to what people think about this issue. Please email me with your thoughts on this subject.
Arch Campbell, whom I've met a couple of times, is a very nice guy and a terrific movie reviewer. But he certainly does not cover the "arts."
Wouldn't it be nice if one of our local TV stations news programs dedicated just thirty seconds a week on a gallery opening, or a museum show?
And don't even get me started on WETA's Around Town, which is by far the best (and really the only) DC-centric cultural TV show around. But AT also has a very strong focus on movies and theatre, and of all the critics on AT's Panel, the visual art critic (Bill Dunlap) certainly gets the least amount of air time.
Maybe the addition of Janis Goodman means that Around Town will attempt to expand its visual arts coverage.
David also passes that Arts Editor Peter Fay is on the show this week and Fay will be talking about two visual arts events going on right now. Peter will be discussing The Himalayas at the Arthur M Sackler Gallery and Jim Sanborn's "Critical Assembly" at the Corcoran.
My thanks to David for his quick response and we'll be listening.
The Hirshhorn is the final venue for this internationally-touring exhibition organized by LA's Museum of Contemporary Art.
Here's a review of the LA show which gives us a preview of what's coming.
The Washington Convention Center will unveil its art collection to the public on Monday, November 10, from 6:00 - 8:00 pm. They will introduce the largest public art collection in Washington, DC. Over 120 works of art, sculpture, paintings, photography, graphics and mixed media. They spent around four million dollars, of which half was allocated to DC area artists.
Location: 801 Mount Vernon Place, NW, Washington, DC. Please use Mount Vernon Place entrance. The Washington Convention Center is accessible by the Mount Vernon Place/7th Street - Convention Center or Gallery Place/Chinatown Metro Stations. Parking is limited in the surrounding areas. R.S.V.P. 202-249-3449.
And for artists who are interested in getting more involved in competing for public art commissions, the Washington Glass School is offering a seminar for artists titled: Public Art: Putting the Art in ARchiTecture - A Seminar for Artists, Architects & Design Professionals - DC and it will be offered on Wednesday, November 12, 2003, 7-9 pm.
This seminar will focus on successfully winning public commissions. Panelists include: Francoise Yohalem - Public Art Consultant and Curator of Eleven Eleven Sculpture Space, Sherry Schwechten -Art in Public Places Manager, DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Jennifer Mange - Public Arts Coordinator of the Baltimore Office of Promotion of the Arts and Jennifer Riddell - Public Arts Curator / Arlington County, VA.
Cost: $25 donation in advance/$30 at the door. Where: Washington Glass School, 1338 Half Street SE, Washington, DC 20003 (1 1/2 blocks from Navy Yard Metro stop). Phone: 202-744-8222.
Monday, November 03, 2003
And here is Dixon's review of "Beyond the Frame, Impressionism Revisited: The Sculptures of J. Seward Johnson, Jr.," at the Corcoran. This show has been trashed so much and so widely, that it has become sort of a cult must-see here in Washington.
A rehash of my Oct 27 posting: The show has been brutalized in the critical press practically everywhere, and yet as bad as the show is, there's a conceptual connection between Johnson's work (take a famous Impressionist painting and make it into a lifesized 3-D tableaux of sculptures) and the Turner Prize-nominated Chapman Brothers in Britain.
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 figures).
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.
Sunday, November 02, 2003
GMU's College of Visual and Performing Arts also has one of the strongest reputations as an art school with a solid (and rare) representational painting focus. This was in part due to the many years that professors such as Margarida Kendall Hull (now retired) put into the effort.
GMU's art faculty now includes what I think are two of the best figurative painters in the nation: Chawky Frenn (who I think is probably the last DC-area artist in my memory to have received a huge review in the New York Times) and Erik Sandberg
The book is Landscape : Photographs of Time and Place and signed copies can be obtained from Hemphill Fine Arts.
Among the photographers included in the book are masters like Ansel Adams and Alfred Stieglitz, along with contemporary photographers, such as Richard Misrach and Sally Mann.
Saturday, November 01, 2003
In fact, Gopnik is all over this exhibit when he writes that it "may count as the most significant work of art to come out of Washington since the pioneering abstract painter Morris Louis worked here in the early 1960s. Actually, I've not come across anything quite like Sanborn's installation anywhere, ever." Listen to Blake here.
Seems like Gopnik is going through some epiphanies lately, as just a few weeks ago he found the worst museum show he'd ever seen at the same place.
I found the review a little too "preachy" in a revisionist sort of way. Nonetheless, in my opinion, this exhibition is exceedingly interesting in that it blends together several genres of the stuff that museum exhibitions (not just "art" museums) are made from.
I'm not even sure that a visual arts critic alone can give an informed review of this groundbreaking Sanborn exhibition, and I hope that some history experts from academia will get a chance to voice their opinions in the Post. This is not just a visual art exhibition, but also somewhat of a history lesson - in fact, it could just as easily have been presented in one of the nearby Smithsonian museums along the Mall that deal with history.
Sanborn's photos of atomic matter and elements are beautiful - no debate about that. But his obsession with reconstructing - well ... in Blake's words: presentation of the Manhattan Project push the overall exhibition into a new realm - it's a well-crafted and re-constructed passion (much like the passion of collectors who collect Nazi or Stasi memorabilia).... but it walks away from just visual art and adds historical visual information and reconstruction - and it opens a new page in contemporary art dialogue - in this Gopnik and I agree (I think).
Why Gopnik recommends that President Bush visit this exhibition often is confusing to me.
The fact that either (a): The Chief Art Critic of the Washington Post apparently thinks that the President of the United States needs to be reminded of the horrors of nuclear devastation because he's a trigger happy person - if that is what Gopnik meant - seems infantile and out of place regardless of one's political leanings and diminishes the work of a serious artist by aligning a unwarranted (in an art review) revisionist view that conveniently forgets that in 1945 thousands of people were dying in order to end a Pacific war that had brutalized, enslaved and murdered hundreds of thousands of people all over Asia and was aligned with the fascist powers of Hitler and Mussolini, and that it took two atomic disasters to force the Japanese to surrender and save countless lives.
Or (b): Maybe I am misunderstanding Gopnik, and he just wants the President to "visit often" in order to realize that what was created at Los Alamos in 1945 (in a race versus Nazi scientists by the way), is still a very real threat to us today if it gets in the hands of terrorists and that Bush needs to devote more time and effort to prevent atomic terrorism?
Either way, I missed the reason for the Presidential call.
This exhibition should get national attention and it will be good for the Washington visual arts scene. It is also good that it is the Corcoran who hosts it, rather than a history museum down the road. My kudos to the artist and to Dr. Jonathan Binstock, the curator.
And when you visit the exhibition at the Corcoran, don't forget that Cheryl Numark Gallery has Jim Sanborn's "Penetrating Radiation" until December 20 and should be seen as well.
The 2004 exhibition's deadline for entries is February 3, 2004 and information and entry forms can be obtained here. The Best of Show winner gets a cash prize as well as a solo show in 2005 at our Georgetown gallery.
Our annual call for artists is the Georgetown International Fine Arts Competition which in 2004 will be curated by Kristen Hileman, Assistant Curator for Contemporary Art at the Hirshhorn Museum. The deadline for submissions is June 1, 2004 and entry forms and details can be obtained here. The Best of Show winner here also gets a cash prize as well as a solo show in 2005 at our Georgetown gallery.
The San Diego Art Institute's Museum of the Living Artist has a call for artists for its 47th International Award Exhibition. The deadline for submissions is January 9, 2004. You can get the entry forms online here.
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