Friday, April 01, 2005

Thanks G.P.!

click hereClick on the Van Gogh Google and prepare to die laughing!

My day has been made and soon I will head out to the Arlington Arts Center for their opening tonite.

See ya there!

DCist Review

DCist has a review of the new William Christenberry show at Hemphill by Seth Thomas Pietras; the first of what I hope are many more visual art reviews by DCist.

Faces of the Fallen

Michael O'Sullivan writes some intelligent viewpoints about the Faces of the Fallen exhibition that makes up for the unexcusable pulpit-preaching piece earlier written by Philip Kennicott.

I do find this quote puzzling:

Vivienne Lassman, a former gallery owner and freelance curator who helped to install the final works, put it as bluntly as possible: "This is not an art exhibition."
She's wrong.

This is an art exhibition.

The debate as to the quality of the portraiture could apply to any group show in the history of art; what clouds this issue is that politics got involved in the mix, and because neither the pro nor the anti-war sides were allowed to kidnap this project (the Honorary Chairs for the exhibition include Senator Dianne Feinstein (CA), Senator John McCain (AZ), Senator John Warner (VA), Congressman John Dingell (MI), and Congressman John McHugh (NY) among others), the sore losers on both extremist sides are whining. The show, as it stands right now (and as O'Sullivan points out), is is largely nonpartisan and agenda-free.

There are some really amateurish, inept portraits, and there are also some superbly well done portraits; but let's not mix words: it is an art exhibition, and a powerfully memorable one at that.

Plus, and as O'Sullivan points out:
After all, you don't go to a showing of the AIDS quilt, or "This Is New York," the open-to-all-comers traveling exhibition of photographs of 9/11 and its aftermath, and critique the sewing technique of the quilters or the tonal qualities of the mostly amateur shutterbugs' prints.
I think that it is an impressive, emotional and memorable art project and send my thanks to every participating artist and the organizers for creating such a memorable event.

I also think that the artists who were rejected by the curator for trying to inject a political mix into the project have a solid and deep set of opinions that should be expressed, and I certainly hope that they unite and find a venue to show their anti-war or pro-war or political viewpoint portraits. If and when that happens, that will be good for the dialogue created by an important art exhibition, and their exhibition will also be art.