Saturday, December 30, 2006

Airborne again today and heading to Florida. More later...

Beatle Art News

"Police were called to the country estate of former Beatle Paul McCartney after his estranged wife reported the theft of paintings — including a Picasso and a Renoir — from the lodge they once shared, police said Friday.

'We checked the premises, and spoke to Heather Mills (McCartney), and as a result it was found to be a civil matter between her and her husband,' Sussex Police spokesman Paddy Rea said. 'There's been no theft.'"
Looks like Paul "had taken the paintings and reprogrammed the estate's alarm codes, and informed her Thursday night by text message."

Read the whole mess here.

Kolakowski on Amy Lin

The WCP's Nick Kolakowski comes in with a good biographical review of Amy Lin's current solo show at the District of Columbia Arts Center. Read the review here.

I've been harping for a while now that this hard-working and talented artist is a "must buy" now for anyone with a contemporary collection of DC artists. Lin is already in the collection of several DC area ubercollectors, always a good thing for any emerging artist.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Sex and DC Blogs

"Lurid testimony about spanking, handcuffs and prostitution aside, the Washingtonienne case could help establish whether people who keep online diaries are obligated to protect the privacy of the people they interact with offline."
The AP reports on the coming lawsuit involving the Washingtonienne releasing details of her sex life on her blog.

Details here.


To DC area arts patron Wilhelmina Cole Holladay, founder of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, who was recently awarded the National Medal of Art by President Bush.

CAG now online

Contemporary Art Gallery Magazine is now online.

Visit their website here.

Risky Business

DMV area artist Afrika Midnight Asha Abney posted the bad news in about one of her works being stolen from a restaurant in Adams Morgan in DC, where they were being exhibited.

I responded to Afrika and passed to her my regrets that her art had been stolen, and also let her know that it has happened also to me in the past.

Let's examine this from both aspects:

First of all: stealing is a crime, so for someone to commit a crime over a work of art speaks something about how much they liked that art. When my work was stolen many years ago from an exhibition in Portsmouth, VA, I took a small breath of pride in knowing that artwork caused a person to risk getting caught and possibly going to jail. I know that it may have been a kleptomaniac, willing to steal anything, but I'd like to think that it was someone who wanted the art so badly, that they were willing to risk becoming a thief over it.

Now for the legal issues: Unless the artist has a signed contract with the exhibition venue (including galleries and museums) where it says that the venue is responsible in the event of damage or loss, then the artist eats the loss.

Warning: this can also happen in a "regular" art gallery - in fact most art galleries do not have insurance (or contracts for that matter), as art insurance is quite pricey.

You can also get (privately) what is called "event insurance" which insures your artwork just for that exhibition or event. There are several companies that advertise for event insurance in Sunshine Artist magazine.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

And she was right!

Remember the story I discussed last month of the lady truck driver who has found an alleged Jackson Pollock painting in a thrift shop?

The issue of Horton versus the "art world" has predictably developed into a class war of sorts, but it seems that she may have the last laugh after all.

Jackson Pollock found in a thriftshop

I'm up in the Poconos for a few days, and yesterday I caught the tail end of a TV show discussing the fact that Horton's alleged Pollock has a fingerprint that apparently has been found to be the fingerprint of Jackson Pollock.

The show also mentioned that forensic experts had also determined that the paint in the alleged Pollock is the same paint used in certified Pollocks.

Read the forensic report here.

Normally that would be enough to certify that this is a Pollock, right?

But that assumes that the art world "experts" that swore up and down that Horton's find was not a real Pollock are willing to admit that they were wrong.

So in spite of a fingerprint and same exact paint... don't hold your breath.

Is this a class issue?

I think so. It has always surprised me the curious reaction that most art world illuminati have towards the general American public when it comes to art.

Not exactly a loving, nurturing relationship, is it?

And on the art world side, we're all supposed to be militant lefties, always on the side of the poor, downtrodden masses, always on the prowl and look-out for the evil Republicans' latest plots and ideas, especially when it comes to art, in any manner or form.

But the art world left makes a curious right turn when it comes to the masses and to the public in general.

If the public likes it, it can't be high art. If a trucker discovers the art find of the century, it can't be true.

So it is easy to see why the Horton affair has been picked up by Hollywood and others as an example of a convenient class battle between art world elitists and people who drive trucks and have no idea who Jackson Pollock was.

And it makes it juicier when the "experts" and elitists are proven wrong (by science), and rather than offering a good ole "aw shucks folks, we wuz wrong," apology, they retreat into their galvanized white cubes and refuse to admit that probably science is right and what Horton found in a California thrift shop is not only going to make this tough lady super rich, but according to the TV show, she now plans to sue the two art world experts for defamation (I think).

And as usual, classy or class-less, money talks, and if I was in those experts' expensive shoes, I'd be worried, because now they may be dealing with a tough, trash-talking, ex-trailer mamma, and soon to be a super rich, pissed off, lady.

Go get them Terry!

"The bottom line for me is that most of the educated world lives by science and technology in the 21st Century. However, a small segment of the art market has chosen to stand apart. This is the only reason why Teri's painting has not yet entered the market. While the museum, academic, and legal world has no problems with forensics, a few in the art market do."
Peter Paul Biro

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Pipe Dreams or Just Good Dreams?

Sean over at Paint & Plaster checks in with some interesting ideas for kindling the arts in the Greater DC region.

I particularly like his idea for turning the Martin Luther King,Jr. Library into a public arts center.

Read and discuss his ideas here.

New DC galleries

Honfleur Gallery opens next month in SE Washington, DC. According to the press release:

Based on a long standing vision for one of Washington DC’ most controversial neighborhoods, ARCH Development Corporation is pleased to begin the construction of the gallery, “Honfleur.” Much as Honfleur, a port in Normandy, France, contributed to the appearance of the impressionist movement and inspired painters such as Monet and Courbet, ARCH envisions its gallery as a creativity hub for this historic sector of our Nation’s Capitol.

The Honfleur Gallery plans to house an array of artistic mediums and styles and intends to incorporate exhibitions that reach all ages, genders and economic groups. Diversity is an essential part of the Anacostia neighborhood, where the gallery is housed, and it’s with that very principle in mind that the Honfleur Gallery plans to produce a spectrum of shows from community arts based events to figurative & abstract individual exhibitions.

The gallery will showcase Washington D.C., Metropolitan area artists as well as present new artists from both the United States and Europe. This gallery will be a cooperative art space that includes a 1400 sq. foot exhibition room with another 500 sq. foot space above it, which is adjoined by four affordable artist work spaces equipped with skylights . The exhibition space is available to rent for master classes, private functions or one on one instruction.

The Honfleur Gallery will be located at 1241 Good Hope Rd. SE Washington DC. It is within walking distance of the Anacostia waterfront and the Anacostia metro (green line), just minutes from downtown, Washington DC.
Their grand opening exhibition is titled "No Scratchers," and it is scheduled for Saturday January 20th, 2007 with a reception at 7pm. The show itself is an informal exhibition highlighting works of art created by D.C. Tattoo Artists. The exhibition curated by Imani Brown.

I also hear that a major commercial fine arts gallery which focuses mainly on fine art glass is scouting the Northern Virginia area for a Greater DC location, which I think will be their fourth US location. More on that later...

The end of art fairs is nigh

"In contemporary art, this is the decade of the fair, as the nineties were the decade of the biennial. Collectors, with piles of money, have displaced curators, with institutional clout, as arbiters of how new art becomes known and rated, and therefore of what it can mean: less and less, after qualifying as the platonic consumer good."
The above is from Peter Schjeldahl's excellent piece on Art Basel Miami Beach in the current New Yorker magazine.

Schjeldahl starts by making the above, by now worn-out, point that the legion of art fairs that have popped up in the last few years have become the centralized, easy way to go see and buy art.

But then he begins to go somewhere "new," or perhaps just ahead of everyone else. He sets it up by relating that:
"Mutual intoxications of art and money come and go. I’ve witnessed two previous booms and their respective busts: the Pop nineteen-sixties, which collapsed in the long recession of the seventies, and the neo-expressionist eighties, whose prosperity plummeted, anvil fashion, in 1989."
Once this historical ground has been planted, he then gives us an insight on the financial importance of fairs to art galleries:
Fairism (if you will) is inexorable, given today’s proliferation of galleries (hundreds in New York’s Chelsea alone). No one with anything else to do can more than sample the panoply. “Fairs are important for big galleries,” the gallerist Marian Goodman said to me. “For small galleries, they’re vital.” I asked many dealers how much of their annual income comes through fairs. Answers varied from ten per cent to “well over half,” spiking in the range of a third. Beyond that, nonparticipation may be suicidal, risking losses not only of revenue but of artists whose loyalty depends on how gamely they are promoted. The dealer Brooke Alexander said, “The art world is so event-driven these days that if you don’t take part in the major fairs you almost don’t exist in the public mind.”
And then the disection of fairism truly begins with:
The typical contemporary-art object, judging from Miami Basel, is well crafted, attractive, interesting enough, and portable...These impressions might fade if you focussed on any particular work, but fairs destroy focus. Thousands of works coexisted cozily in Miami, sharing a pluralism of the salable. Talent counts; ideas are immaterial... A decade ago, much new art was eyebrow-deep in critical theory. Now it seems as carefree as a summertime school-boy, while far better dressed. I found relief from the convention center’s crushing elegance at the alternative fairs — with names like NADA, Pulse, and Aqua — where galleries featured the scrappily zestful ingenuity of kids who haven’t had time to forget why they became artists: for joy, revenge, and camaraderie.
And then he begins to introduce the historical bubble:
It seemed that almost everyone was selling out of almost everything. “It’s incredible. No one questions price. They pay whatever is asked,” said a dealer friend who, with a discretion that used to be common in the art dodge, requested anonymity. Who are the collectors? Hedge-fund wizards are routinely mentioned. So are cohorts of Europeans, Russians, Asians, and Latin Americans. The startling costliness of recent art from China, much of it pretty bad, proves that the market is international as never before. People who were eager to deny the obvious — that the runup in art prices is a bubble headed for a spectacular correction — all cited this factor to me.
The fact that the art market is headed for a correction is pretty much a certainty, as it has happened many times before, just like any other "goods" market and anything that fits the Kondratiev wave theory. But the idea that the coming art market correction may deal a harsh and potential death blow to the art fairs extravaganza may be a new one and a fun idea to discuss and speculate.

Schjeldahl finishes with a funny visualization:
One day, perhaps soon, someone in a convivial group of money guys at a bar will say, “I just got back from [name of art fair]. It was fantastic!” Another will drawl, “You still into that?” In the ensuing embarrassed silence, the bubble won’t burst; it will vanish.
Read the New Yorker piece here.

New Arts Blog

Washington City Paper visual arts critic (and also a musician, teacher and painter - and sometimes radio personality and always a good friend) Jeffry Cudlin has started a new blog titled Hatchets and Skewers.

Cudlin writes that he's calling his new blog hatchets and skewers "precisely because I have a reputation for not liking anything -- for being a little mean. For always insisting on writing a mixed review, rather than a simple approving nod."

While Jeffry and I are friends, we often disagree on a wide variety of subjects and issues related to art, and particularly art criticism and what makes good and bad art.

And I think that writing a "good review" is a helluva lot harder than making it a "simple approving nod." And when a writer, much less a critic, approaches a subject with the already cemented idea and intent of finding something wrong, or negative, no matter what, and before actually seeing the works, then the well is poisoned and to a certain extent, so is the pen.

But unlike any other regularly published art critic in the DC area, Cudlin is also an artist (and a very good painter at that) and also teaches at the University of Maryland, so he comes "armed" with a good set of skills that most other art critics lack: hands on experience on both the technical and applied skills needed to be able to distinguish what makes an artist a good professional or a hack, and also the set of intellectual skills to be able to apply the unfortunate test of history and theory and tactics to an exhibition. So often what he finds "wrong" or "negative" in an exhibition, is actually based on some well-cemented facts and a strong reasoning, making the reading of his always mixed reviews a challenging (and award winning) exercise.

And because (in my experience) artists almost always tend to view their own works as failures, they are often the worst ones in recognizing their own successes. And I think that Cudlin brings this generalized sense of disappointment outside of his studio and into his writing, which is sometimes unfortunate, because he is a much better painter and a much better writer, than he allows himself to be.

Make sure that you read his blog every day!

Eakins' Gross Clinic to stay in Philly

Philadelphia's Mayor Street announced a few days ago that Thomas Eakins' The Gross Clinic had been purchased by local institutions and would remain in Philadelphia.

At a packed City Hall news conference, officials said that the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts would share ownership of the 1875 masterpiece.

The two museums, which have led a frantic six-week fund-raising campaign to buy the huge canvas from Thomas Jefferson University, have agreed to take on a still-undetermined amount of debt and pay a record $68 million for what is widely viewed as an embodiment of the city's intellectual and creative life.

Officials highlighted four large contributions to the fund-raising effort: $10 million from the Annenberg Foundation, chaired by Leonore Annenberg; $3 million from H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest; $3 million from Joseph Neubauer; and $3 million from the Pew Charitable Trusts.

In total, over the last several weeks, about $30 million has been raised and more than 2,000 contributions have been received from about 30 states, officials said.
Read the Inquirer story here.

National Museum of the American Indian looking for new director

Sheila Burke, Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer of the Smithsonian, has announced the formation of a 10-member committee to lead and help in the search for a new Director of the National Museum of the American Indian.

Once selected, the new Director will succeed W. Richard West Jr. (Southern Cheyenne), who will step down in November 2007.

The members of the search committee are:

- Nina Archabal, Director, Minnesota Historical Society
- Lonnie Bunch, Director, National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian
- Sheila Burke, Chair, Deputy Secretary and Chief Operating Officer, Smithsonian
- Virginia Clark, Director, Office of External Affairs, Smithsonian
- Doug Evelyn, former Deputy Director, National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian
- Dwight Gourneau, Chairman of the Board, National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian
- George Horse Capture, former Senior Counselor to the Director and former Special Assistant for Cultural Resources, National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian
- Richard Kurin, Director, Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage and Acting Director, Office of National Programs, Smithsonian
- Henrietta Mann, Member of the Board, National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian
- Cristián Samper, Director, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Feliz Navidad

A Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone on the planet (except the mufsidoon in their evil hirabah).

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Remnants of 7th Street

By Rosetta DeBerardinis

A few years ago, Seventh Street was a hub for the local Washington, DC art scene, that is until David Adamson moved to 14th Street, and eklektikos gallery moved to Delaware, and then Cheryl Numark relocated around the corner; then Apex and Marinart (and Numark) all closed.

Today, this major downtown DC artery, a stone's throw-away from the city's major museums, and an area bristling with commerce and traffic, hosts only two visual art galleries: Zenith and Touchstone.

Zenith, one of the oldest galleries in the city, has had somewhat of a face-lift. The once cluttered walls are much hipper now with lots of white space around the works. The large representational oil on linen paintings called “Altered States” by the young and talented artist, Drew Ernst, fills the space with adventure scenes from in a place like Maine depicting boating and rubber goulashes.

The oversized show announcement reads:

“The world has changed drastically in a very short period or time. These works are a reaction to those changes... The work can be viewed through the eyes of the artist whose personal intent was to make paintings of alternate states of reality or escape.”
I remember the first showing of his massive paintings about two years ago, which only remained on the walls for a few hours before being sold out. So, if you’re pining because you missed a chance to scoop up work by new talent at Art Basel Miami Beach this month, there is still time to make it to downtown DC.

And, while you are there, stop by Touchstone Gallery for its 30th Anniversary Show. In art gallery years, this is quite impressive, even for a gallery whose member fees keep its doors open.

After you’ve recovered from climbing the building’s high mansion-like staircase, you will discover original art work by local artists from $300 upwards. Part of the proceeds from the sale will be donated to the charity: So Others Might Eat (SOME).

Through January 14, 2007
Drew Ernst
Altered States: Recent Paintings
Zenith Gallery
413-7th Street, N.W.

Through January 7, 2007
Touchstone Gallery
30th Anniversary Show and Sale
406-7th Street, N.W.

Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice's Cash Awards

Deadline: February 15, 2007

The Astraea Visual Arts Fund aims to recognize the work of contemporary U.S. lesbian artists by providing support to those who show artistic merit and whose art and perspective reflect a commitment to the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice's mission and efforts to promote lesbian visibility and social justice.

This year, Astraea will give three cash awards of $2,500 each to lesbian visual artists. At least one of the three grants will be awarded to a lesbian artist who is based west of the Mississippi.

Visit the foundation's Web site for complete program information and application procedures.

Job in the Arts in Chicago

The Photography Department at Columbia Collge Chicago has one of the nation's largest photography programs with over 750 undergraduate majors, 25 graduate students, 15 full-time faculty, and approximately 60 part-time faculty and 10 full-time staff. Columbia College Chicago is an urban, open admissions institution of over 11,500 undergraduate and graduate students emphasizing arts and communications in a liberal education setting, and currently they are looking for not one but three tenure-track faculty positions in Photography, beginning August 16, 2007.

Applications should include a letter of application, C.V., 20 slides (or CD) of personal work, slides (or CD) of student work, statement of teaching philosophy, names and contact information of three references, and a SASE. Please send application materials to:

Search Committee
Photography Department
Columbia College Chicago
600 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60605

Job in the Arts

The National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA) is a private, not-for-profit corporation dedicated to the presentation and documentation of folk and traditional arts in the United States, and they are located in Silver Spring, MD and are currently looking for a Development Manager.

Compensation is commensurate with experience. Send a cover letter, resume and writing samples to: Search Committee, 1320 Fenwick Lane, Suite 200, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Applications may be submitted via email to: or faxed to: (301) 565-0472.

Creative Capital for Visual Artists

Creative Capital Foundation is a national not-for-profit organization that supports artists pursuing adventurous and imaginative work in the performing and visual arts, film/video, innovative literature, and emerging fields. In 2007, Creative Capital will be considering proposals in the visual arts, as well as film/video.

Far from a traditional funder, Creative Capital is committed to working in long-term partnership with the bold and ground-breaking artists they fund by making a multi-year financial commitment as well as providing advisory services and professional development assistance. Creative Capital has a special interest in projects that transcend discipline boundaries and reveal something new about the moment in which we live.

Artists interested in learning more about funding opportunities through Creative Capital are invited to join Kemi Ilesanmi, Associate Director of Grants & Services, Creative Capital Foundation for a grant information session at 5 pm, Friday, January 12, 2007 at Maryland Art Place: 8 Market Place, Suite 100, Baltimore, MD 21202.

This session is made available to the public free of charge. To reserve a space, please email: or call (410) 962-8565. To find out directions to MAP, or to learn more about their programming, please visit their website at

For more information about Creative Capital, please visit their website at

Erotica Opportunity for Artists

Deadline: Jan 31, 2007

MOCA DC is currently accepting submissions for Erotica 2007, to be shown from Friday March 2 to 31, 2007.

Erotica 2007 is a national juried show. 1st prize valued at $1,000 ($250 cash plus a show in the Annex that is for the winning artist do with as they like: your own Solo Show, invite a friend to show with you, or curate your own show). $200 cash 2nd prize, and $100 cash 3rd prize.

Erotica 2007 accepts erotic art in any form. Work may be drawings, paintings, sketches, sculpture, mixed media, conté crayon, charcoal, photography, etc. 2-D Entries may be a maximum of 30" x 40."

More details and entry form here.

New co-op in Arlington

Bardia is developing a new artist's co-op in Arlington, Virginia. He has his sights set on taking over the old Wilson School and is looking for several artists and teachers and studio artists to be included in his proposal.

Find more info in this post here, and if you're looking for studio space in Arlington, please reply here with a link to your information on the internet. He's searching for a number of emerging and established artists. If you have teaching experience that's a bonus!

Friday, December 22, 2006

One Day DC Art Event

On Friday January 5th, 2007 Art Outlet, Walnut Street Development, and Arlington Independent Media (AIM) will partner together and produce a really cool art event for the Greater DC area.

They will have fire juggling, live bands, aerial dance performance, video projections and improv theatre lined up and yes, visual artists can participate as well.

Starting Jan 5th, they will have a sign-up button on their website For a very modest fee of $12.99, you can hang and display your art. No sales commission; no jurors.

It will be on the first come first serve basis. They will accept 100 artists. The art will be displayed salon style.

Read more here.

Job in the Arts

Browne Academy on Telegraph Road in Alexandria, Virginia is looking for a "long term" sub for their middle school art program (grades 5 - 8) beginning mid January. There are two classes each of grades 6, 7, and 8 and one of grade 5. The classes for each grade are back to back (8 am-9 am and 9am -10 am) on the same day.

Browne has a six day rotation schedule, with art classes on four of the six mornings. The days are designated on the school calendar. This is an ideal position for a working artist because it leaves most of the day for your own studio practice. If interested, please call Stephanie Kozemchak at 202.431.6447 or e-mail or Alex Clain, head of the middle school, at

Melissa Ichiuji at Irvine

Opening January 13, 2007 is DC area artist Melissa Ichiuji's first solo at Irvine Contemporary in DC with a show titled "Nasty Nice: New Sculptures" from January 13 - February 18, 2007.

I'm a big fan of her work and thus I am really looking forward to this debut!

At the Hirshhorn

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden has announced its exhibitions schedule through 2009 and it includes two well-known DC area artists no longer with us: Morris Louis and Anne Truitt.

"Morris Louis Now: An American Master Revisited" will be on exhibition Sept. 20, 2007–Jan. 6, 2008, and then the first major exhibition of Truitt's work since her death in 2004, "Anne Truitt" , from Oct. 2008–Jan. 2009, is a full survey of the sculpture and two-dimensional works made during the artist's 40-year career. The exhibition is organized by assistant curator Kristen Hileman and will be accompanied by the first complete monograph on the artist.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


The WaPo's Rachel Beckman Arts Beat column reports on the most recent Dorkbot DC meeting.

Beckman writes mostly about Paras Kaul, the DC area electronic artist known in the art scene as the "Brain Wave Chick."

A reader who was present at the last Dorkbot meeting tells me that the stuff that Kaul does on computers "is totally over my head, but she said her father was a hypnotist and took her into altered states then he died when she was 14 — she said 'he programmed me.'

So at the age of 14 she started studying altered states and brain waves because she desperately wanted to get back to 'these places' that her father took her. She then met the dolphin man John Lilly and did work with him (the movie Altered States is about him).

Brainchick can do remote viewing when she's in sensory depravation tanks but she claims she has only ever remotely viewed the planet Mars, and she says she knows there is life there but it is inside the planet and she has gone down into these tunnels and catacombs.

Brainwave chick also says she was taught to envision the future and most of the stuff she is working with today -- like her presentation at Dorkbot gets actualized 10 years in the future.

I was really curious when she said she 'envisions' the future -- did she mean she does remote viewing or was she just talking about the law of attraction and feeling and creating her future? She said she only does 'remote viewing in the sensory depravation tanks.'

In her presentation she said she envisions the future and she said we need to learn how to be better humans or learn how to enhance our undeveloped human qualities in three areas: non verbal communication, remote viewing, and self-healing"

The next Dorkbot DC meeting is at 7 p.m. Jan. 24 at Provisions Library, 1611 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. or call 202-299-0460 for more info.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Practice, practice... practice

"Art is all about craftsmanship"

Federico Fellini

Artful Evening At the Warehouse

Warehouse Gallery in DC invites all of you to ring in the New Year at ArtRomp 19. Come by anytime on December 31st and or spend the evening. See the work of 35 local artists featuring painting, sculpture, video, photography, performance, and music (exhibit through Jan 27, 2008). There will be an early free picnic in the parking lot and late ArtRomp snacks.

Son of a Bush and Lobsterboy will perform later in the evening. Tickets required - see their website for info.

Art Romp: 19
Dec. 31, 2006, 7-2 am Free
1021-7th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC
(202) 783-3933

And yet another congratulations

To DC area artist Rochleigh Z. Wholfe, who was was awarded first place in Transforming Identity, the Women's Caucus for the Arts, Annual Regional Juried Show. The show presented at the Third Floor Gallery in St. Louis, Missouri, and was juried by Evelyn Astegno from Venice, Italy.

Art Donors Balk at Tax Changes

Arts benefactors and institutions are disgruntled about a tax provision they claim will discourage donations of art, and they blame Charles E. Grassley (R-IA), outgoing chair of the Senate Finance Committee, for changing a rule that had benefited donors and museums alike...
Read the entire post from the Foundation Center here.


To DC area artist and writer Rosetta DeBerardinis, who has been selected as the Liquitex Artist of the Month for January 2007.

From personal experience, let me tell you that this is one of the toughest all-around painting competitions out there!


Application process is ongoing and it offers an opportunity for painters, working primarily in acrylics, to be featured on their website. Artists' work and bio are prominently featured. Any sales are handled directly with the artist, no commissions taken. No entry fee. For details, contact:

Liquitex Artist of the Month
Liquitex Artist Materials
11 Constitution Ave.
P.O. Box 1396, Piscataway, NJ 08855-1396

Update on Eakins

CultureGrrl's blog is without a doubt one of the best national source for insider info on a lot of museum news, and she reports that:

Jeffrey Snyder, major gifts officer of the Philadelphia Museum, told CultureGrrl today that the $68-million fundraising campaign for Eakins' "The Gross Clinic" is "well over 50% there."

That still leaves a lot of cash to raise in one week. So why is Anne d'Harnoncourt, director of the museum, so "optimistic," as quoted in today's Philadelphia Inquirer? She herself has been coy in answering press questions about how much has been raised---a strange posture for someone trying to build up a sense of public urgency about the Dec. 26 deadline.

But Snyder told me her confidence is based on the museum's discussions with "a lot of our nearest and dearest" (translation: "big donors"). The campaign, he said, is in the process of "closing some gifts."
Read the entire post here.


To Bailey, whose photograph Theodore Roosevelt - An American Terrorist has been selected as the photo of the day by the British newspaper The Guardian.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Picts and the Power of the Web

Some of you are aware of my deep interest in the artwork and culture of the original people of Scotland, known to history by their nickname (given to them by the Romans): The Picts.

This interest started in childhood when I used to devour sword & sorcery genre books authored by Texan pulp writer and poet Robert E. Howard.

It reached a burning interest when I lived in Scotland from 1989-1992 and discovered the real culture of the Picts.

In 1994 I created the internet's first website dedicated to Pictish culture, and three years later, as a result of that website, I was a "talking head" in a television special on the art of tattooing called "Women of the Ink" and done by TBS. I discussed, and proved on the air, the written (and apparently unknown to most scholars) third century evidence of Pictish tattooing.

Pictish CrescentBetween 1993 and 2000 I visited Scotland regularly, and studied the many remaining Pictish standing stones and stone circles, and associated Pictish art, and in 1997 I created a series of drawings based on the symbols depicted on many of the stones.

Those drawings and prints from the drawings were then placed online here, and over the years I've been selling a few here and there.

In 2003 I had a solo show at Fraser Gallery titled "Pictish Nation," which married my interest in figurative drawing with Pictish symbology.

Pictish Warrior by F. Lennox Campello

"Pictish Warrior" Charcoal on Paper by F. Lennox Campello

A few days ago, I bitched about the National Geographic's apparent lack of interest in anything Pictish, and now, suddenly I have been contacted by the National Geographic Society's television people, which is apparently filming a documentary, and wants to use some of my 1997 Pictish drawings in their documentary.


To Elizabeth F. Spungen, who has been announced as the new Executive Director of The Print Center in Philadelphia effective December 1, 2006.

Opportunity for Virginia artists

Deadline: February 5, 2007

By Our Heirs Forever: New Waves 2007 - On view March 29 - June 18 2007. Call to Artists "By Our Heirs Forever" is a thematic, juried exhibition of contemporary Virginia artists working in all visual arts media.

The selected works will be shown in the Contemporary Art Center of Virginia's galleries to coincide with the "Magna Carta" exhibition in spring 2007. All of the works in the exhibition will illuminate moments in history when individual rights and freedom were extended to include an ever expanding citizenry.

The exhibition will include the 1215 Lincoln Cathedral exemplar of Magna Carta, a Dunlap broadside of the Declaration of Independence, James Wilson's original draft of the U.S. Constitution, a Lincoln ­signed copy of the Emancipation Proclamation, and artifacts from the Civil Rights and Women's Suffrage movements.

Submissions will be juried by Andrea Douglas, Ph.D., Curator of Collections and Exhibitions from University of Virginia Art Museum and Jack Rasmussen, Ph.D., Director and Curator of the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center, Washington, D.C.

The curatorial department at the Contemporary Art Center of Virginia (CAC) encourages conceptually driven works that provoke thoughtful viewer responses to the contemporary evolution of individual rights and freedom. Applicants are invited to open new avenues for discussion about the contemporary interpretation of the "rights of man." Works will be positioned as the continuation of punctuated points in the history of this dialogue. A very wide range of perspectives presented by these documents and philosophies are acceptable. New Media, Video, and Installation submissions are welcome. Magna Carta's tenets are posted online for your review at this website.

Tate Britain Triennial Exhibition 2009 seeks curator

Below is the actual call (from the Artists Foundation list server) for curators to apply:

Who’s making a difference in contemporary British art today? Who’s influencing others? And how do you make sense of it? Taking up a prominent new, senior role within the Tate Britain team, you’ll answer these questions with authority, intellectual depth and visionary flair, and have a highly visible impact at the heart of Tate. As the Curator of the 2009 Triennial exhibition, you’ll frame the zeitgeist in a thought-provoking yet accessible way to create an agenda-setting show of national and international significance. For Tate’s diverse public audience, it will be a show to remember. Alongside the Triennial, your curatorial acumen will be crucial in shaping the way in which Tate Britain represents contemporary art as it happens.

You could currently be working anywhere in the world, but your exemplary curatorial record and experience of leading large-scale projects will speak for itself. Your fresh insight into contemporary British art will spark debate amongst artists, critics and the wider public, and match our ambitions for Tate Britain’s contemporary programme.

For an informal discussion, please contact Judith Nesbitt, Chief Curator Tate Britain on +44 (0)20 7887 8960. For a full job description and to apply, visit our website. Ref: 6122/TB.

Our jobs are like our galleries. Open to all.
The PDF file with all the details is here.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Maybe the Sopranos?

Marcel Duchamp was once asked how many people he thought really liked avant-garde art. Duchamp answered: "Oh, maybe ten in New York, and one or two in New Jersey."

Rosetta DeBerardinis on "Aging" at Pyramid Atlantic

Well-known DC area artist and writer Rosetta DeBerardinis makes her debut today and will start covering the Greater DC area art galleries and museums on a regular basis for Mid Atlantic Art News. Rosetta is not only an accomplished artist, but also a well-known presence in the DC area art scene, and a widely published writer.

Gail Rebhan’s "Aging" at Pyramid Atlantic

By Rosetta DeBerardinis

It is rare that I want to see an exhibit twice, especially one on view outside of a major museum. But, local conceptual artist Gail Rebhan’s photo exhibit “Aging” currently on view at Pyramid Atlantic is so compelling that I crawled back to Georgia Avenue yesterday to see it again. It was well worth the trip.

Timing is everything, even in death. Using both her lenses and text, Rebhan chronicles her father’s mental and physical deterioration from 1994 to 2004. One of my favorites, “Why is it so hard?” is an image of a bespectacled elderly gentleman laying flat on his bed staring towards the heavens. Dressed in khaki pants, striped shirt, and a leather belt the text on the photo reads:

“I feel lonely and isolated.
I had a bad night.
Why does it take so long to die?
Am I being punished for what I did wrong?
Why is it so hard……
Sorry for being such a burden to you."
Rebhan uses everything: his medical records, prescription labels, his words, and a few of her own. This exhibit demonstrates her talent as a conceptual artist. Here, the idea is so captivating that you cannot ignore the message.
Gail Rebhan
Remember when you discovered that first gray hair? Well, this exhibit is sure to evoke dialogue about getting old and may even make you feel young.
Aging by Gail Rebhan - A critical graphic portrayal of the mental and physical deterioration that often accompanies the end of life. Dec. 2, 2006 through Jan. 13, 2007 at Pyramid Atlantic, 8230 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, Maryland. 301-608-9101.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

New Baltimore Gallery

Jordan Faye Block, who was the former director of Gallery Imperato in Baltimore has left Gallery Imperato and opened her own temporary space a couple of days ago, ago featuring a six-artist group show.

She'll continue to look for a permanent space for her new gallery, now called Jordan Faye Contemporary. The gallery's first show features works from Dawn Gavin, Lori Larusso, James Long, Kate MacKinnon, Cara Ober, and Michael Sandstrom.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

O'Sullivan on the Collectors Club

"...Which brings me to the second reason invisibility is an important aspect of this show. If some of the artists' names (Eldzier Cortor, Lucille "Malkia" Roberts and others, for example) aren't household names, it may have something to do with the historical (and, to some degree, ongoing) struggle of black artists to be recognized in a museum and gallery culture that is still overwhelmingly white."
The WaPo's Michael O'Sullivan checks in with a timely and refreshing review of "Holding Our Own: Selections From the Collectors Club of Washington, D.C., Inc.," now on exhibit at the Arts Program Gallery of The University of Maryland University College and moving to downtown DC next month to Edison Place Gallery.

Read O'Sullivan's review here.


To DC area artists Joseph Barbaccia and Pat Goslee, whose work has been selected in a very difficult worldwide competition and will be published soon in the book titled "The World's Greatest Erotic Art of Today."

200 artists were selected by a dozen jurors from all over the world as part of a huge competition sponsored by Erotic Signature.

Attainable Art at Nevin Kelly

Review by Katie Tuss

Attainable Art, the current show at the Nevin Kelly Gallery on U Street highlights "a mix of gallery artists and a couple of artists I just met," explained Deputy Gallery Director Julia Morelli.

Nevin Kelly Gallery prides itself on representing both Washington area based artists as well as international artists, mostly from Poland, who may be emerging or in mid-career. Attainable Art is specially priced for the holiday season with all pieces listed at under $1,200 and ready for the taking.

This provides area collectors with an unbeatable opportunity to acquire some of Nevin Kelly's finest for the tightest budgets, as well as the chance to discover new work all month long.

Sondra Arkin, who successfully curated the recent City Hall exhibition, has a number of inviting encaustics included in the show. Both small and large, Arkin’s works use bold pigments, abstract forms and grid structures. Her piece Revelation stands out as tactile and accessible, yet ordered and thoughtful. A variety of warm and cool colors are revealed after scraping away an opaque white ground offering an interesting contrast and contributing to the textural peaks and valleys of the piece.

Time of War Series is a departure from Ellyn Weiss’s cellular monoprints and oil paintings, and a refreshing translation of her signature painting style into etchings. The two pieces Trio Mourning with Bombs and Trio Mourning feature four burdened figures hunched over their expired companions. Marrying the fine lines of etching with subtle collage elements, these pieces are elegant and evocative.

Cold Outside by Molly Brose

"Cold Outside" by Molly Brose

Local artist Molly Brose makes her Washington gallery debut with a number of graceful watercolors. Brose’s choice of reflective paper allows for little paint absorption, which creates a magical luminosity when dry. This effect, when layered with Brose’s graphite drawings, makes pieces like Cold Outside stand out in content and technique.

Attainable Art is on display through December 31, 2006.

Opportunity for female artists of African ancestry

Deadline: January 5th, 2007

Women artists of African descent are invited to submit their work in oil, watercolor, pastel, graphics, mixed media, photography, sculpture, and fine craft art. Submission deadline is January 5th, 2007. The theme of this exhibition is "Face of Victory: Life and Success of People of African Descent." The exhibition dates are February 7th to 25th, 2007. A prospectus can be downloaded from, or send a SASE to:

The Pen and Brush
16 East 10th St.
New York, NY 10003

Linda Hales Final Design Column at the WaPo

"...a powerful example of how firmly design has worked its way into everyday life and aspirations in our community. I write about them today, in a farewell column, as an expression of design as the most populist and accessible of the arts."
If you think that my constant bitching about how the management of the Washington Post considers "cultural reporting" in the lowest of priorities is exxagerated, then consider that this same WaPo management has declared a shift of resources to "high-priority journalism" and veteran reporter Linda Hales, age 57, was not ready to take the buyout that was offered to her (and many others) and so she has been moved to the Metro copy desk.

It is clear then, that what Hales wrote about - Design criticism - is thus viewed by Post management as "low-priority" journalism, even though design is, as Hales states: "the most populist and accessible of the arts."

This gives you an idea how WaPo management truly and really views art and culture.... as low-priority.

If you don't get it... you don't get it.

Read her last design column here.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Art that cities would love to own

My earlier post on art that "belongs" to cities as "The Gross Clinic" belongs to Philly spawns the opposite train of thought (and an interesting one at that!): Art that cities would love to own!

Here's what New Orleans would love to own.

Eakins: Not the first time?

As we've discussed before, the potential exodus from Philly of Thomas Eakins' "The Gross Clinic" has fired up Philadelphians to an enviable level, and efforts continue to keep the work of art in the city.

The Sixth Square has been keeping up a daily info blitzkrieg on the issue, and this post has a gem:

We’ve always heard talk of earlier attempts to pry The Gross Clinic from its moorings at Jefferson, but we never knew any detail. Then we ran across an old, yellowed clipping.

On March 25, 1976, Adrian Lee of The Philadelphia Evening Bulletin wrote that Jefferson had rejected a $1 million offer for the painting in 1969. But he had a more dramatic number to report. Lee had gotten wind of a new offer: $30 million building in exchange for the painting. After “two stormy, back to back meetings,” in December 1975 and January 1976, Jefferson held a “secret vote.” Sixty eight voted to keep the painting. Only seven voted to sell it.

Who was this would-be buyer? Both times it was no less than Paul Mellon, trustee of the National Galley of Art in Washington, D.C. — the very same institution today teamed up with Crystal Bridges.
Read the entire post here.

Leads me to wonder if there are paintings (or other visual artworks) that are so rooted into a city's psyche and/or history, that they could become that city's own Eakins in the event that they were to be removed and exported to another city?

Hopper's Nighthawks in Chicago? Leonardo's Mona Lisa in Paris? Picasso's Guernica or Velazquez's Las Meninas in Madrid?

Old timers will recall the many years that Picasso's "Guernica" hung in New York City, as Picasso didn't want it to be in a Spanish museum while Franco was alive. When the Generalisimo died (and yes SNL freaks, he's still dead), eventually the masterpiece made its way to Madrid, but not without some angst from New Yorkers.

And in Scotland, a few years ago there was a mini revolution of sorts, as Scottish villagers fought to have the original Pictish standing stones in their villages returned to their fields. Many of the original stones had been removed in order to protect them from the elements and replaced with replicas, while the originals went on display in museums. The villagers then realized that they were losing tourists who wanted to visit the stones, and many villages sued the museums to have the Pictish stones returned to them.

Which leads me to wonder why there has never been an exhibition of Pictish art and sculpture outside of Scotland, and why the National Geographic has never done a single article on Pictish culture - a people who only ruled northern Britain for two thousand years!

Oh oh... I see a new pet peeve brewing...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Maryland Art Place’s 25th Anniversary

Congrats to MAP on their 25th Anniversary and if you're around Baltimore tonite, swing by Spice betwenn 6-8PM and enjoy complimentary parking and hors d’oeuvres.

Spice is a fantastic new restaurant located at 4 West University Parkway in B'more (where the Polo Grill used to be). For directions, please call: 410.235.8200.

WashPost Newsroom Not Smiling

Washingtonian's Harry Jaffe on the woes of the WaPo.

Read the story here.

The Power of the Web

A while back I wrote this bit, which took sides on the whole elitist issue of the Rocky Balboa sculpture and the Philly Arts Museum.

Today as I am finally looking at some old mail, I discovered that several days ago I was sent two passes, good for two people each (for a total of 4 admissions) to a special screening of Sylvester Stallone's new movie "Rocky Balboa." Unfortunately, this screening is tonight at 7:30 PM at the AMC Palm Promenade in San Diego!

Lou Stovall

Washington Printmakers Gallery in DC will host its 5th annual Invitational Exhibition honoring the achievement of an influential printmaker. The 2007 Invitational honors the work of Lou Stovall, a printmaker of national and international reputation, a master printer, and a longtime resident of Washington, DC.

Stovall has also been the "printmaker behind the print" for many editions of the prints of several well-known artists (such as Joseph Albers, Peter Blume, Alexander Calder, Sam Gilliam, Elizabeth Catlett, Gene Davis, Sam Gilliam, Lois Mailou Jones and my former professor Jacob Lawrence), and a key member of the DC arts community.

You can see his new work during the First Friday opening on Friday, January 5, 5- 8 pm, and then there's an artist reception on Sunday, January 7, 1-4 pm and Lou will deliver a gallery talk on Thursday, January 11, noon-1pm.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I'm sorry.... what?

"A canvas by beloved U.S. painter Norman Rockwell, discovered hidden behind a false wall earlier this year, has sold at auction for a record $15.4 million"
There are some many juicy things about this story that I don't know where to start...

But... for starters...

1. Rockwell himself apparently sold the work in question - the really famous painting titled "Breaking Home Ties" - himself to his friend, an illustrator and cartoonist named Don Trachte, for $900 bucks!

Norman Rockwell's Breaking Hom Ties

Original Rockwell "Breaking Home Ties"

2. For some reason Trachte then copied this painting and other works of art (including a Hopper) in his collection and then hid the originals behind a false wall in his studio while displaying the replicas as the originals!

copy by Don Trachte of Rockwell's Breaking Home Times

Don Trachte's Copy of Rockwell's "Breaking Home Ties"

3. So then Trachte's sons sent their father's Rockwell copy (and what they believed to be the real painting) to the Norman Rockwell Museum. And "despite inconsistencies between the canvas and the Saturday Evening Post cover, it went on display in 2003."

"Trachte died in 2005, never having revealed his secret, but his sons had nagging suspicions about the authenticity of the canvas. This spring, after a renewed search of their father's studio, they discovered the false wall and the original canvases.

In addition to Breaking Home Ties and other Rockwell works, the Sotheby's event also saw the sale of Edward Hopper's Hotel Window for $26.8 million US.

The large-scale canvas, painted in 1955 and displayed at the Whitney Museum of American Art this summer, also set a new record high price for the artist's work."
Check out the fake wall (including a video clip of the whole discovery) and comparisons between the paintings here.

Here we go again

While driving to the DMV area in the wee hours of the morning, I heard this story on the radio.

Stephen Murmer is a Virginia teacher who also happens to be an artist who uses his ass to create artwork.
"Outside of class and under an alter ego, the self-proclaimed "butt-printing artist" creates floral and abstract art by plastering his posterior and genitals with paint and pressing them against canvas. His cheeky creations sell for hundreds of dollars."
Murmer's tuggish artwork has not been well-received by the Chesterfield County school officials, who have placed Murmer on administrative leave from his job at Monacan High School, even though Murmer has apparently tried to keep his teaching duties and artwork life separate from each other.

Read the story here.

Opportunity for Photographers

Deadline: January 21, 2007

DCist Exposed is a super cool photography exhibition organized by the fair Heather Goss over at DCist and it is going to be held at the Warehouse Gallery in DC next March.

Details and entry forms here - and it's free to enter!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Potomac House Almost Sold!

At (almost) last!

If you are a regular reader, then you know that since I moved in August, I've been trying to sell my house in Potomac, Maryland.

It has been fruitless, and although several offers have come in, none had pawned out and I've been shelling out around $5,000 a month for mortgage and utilities on an empty house - Bummer!

And so a short time ago I switched realtors, and reduced the house to make it irresistible, and put it on the market yesterday at a price that was around $275,000 lower than the original listing price of $875,000 (and that $875K price was already a price that was around $25,000 under the appraised price at the time).

And in less than 24 hours an offer has come in for the new listing price of $699, 900 and hopefully we can get a ratified contract in the next 24 hours! Meanwhile it's still for sale, in case someone wants to take a crack at it!

Details here.

This is how it is supposed to work - Part II

Yesterday I discussed my issues with the relative lack of interaction between DC area museum professionals and DC area artists and gallery, and submitted my theories as to why this interaction generally happens in nearly every other American city between their museum professionals and their art scenes, but does not happen on a regular basis in the DC area.

Today a couple of happy stories on some success stories, and the hope that more stories like this will continue to happen.

Jonathan Binstock and John Lehr

Jonathan Binstock John Lehr is a very young Baltimore area photographer whose work came through the attention of Dr. Jonathan Binstock (Curator of Contemporary Art at the Corcoran) through the jurying process for the 2003 Trawick Prize.
Although Lehr was not selected as a prizewinner in that superb competition, his work caught the eye of Binstock, who became personally interested in the work of Lehr (represented in the DC area - I think - by Heineman-Myers) and when Jonathan co-curated the 48th Corcoran Biennial, he included Lehr's work in the show, one of several area artists that made an appearance at the exhibition.

Anne Collins Goodyear and Amy Lin

Last summer, Dr. Anne Collins Goodyear (who is the Assistant Curator of Prints & Drawings at the National Portrait Gallery) juried a show at Touchstone Gallery and selected one of DC area artist Amy Lin's pieces for the show.
Anne Collins GoodyearThe last December, she juried the All-Media Membership Show at the Art League Gallery in Old Town Alexandria and gave one of Lin's drawings an Honorable Mention.

Lin and Dr. Collins Goodyear met at the gallery reception for this show and Lin invited Anne to a group show that she was in at the Pierce School that month. Lin tells me that "not only did she want to come, [but also] she wanted to make an appointment so that she could see the work and talk to me about it at the same time!"

In January Anne and Amy (who is one of the DC area's hardest working artists and as far as I know still unrepresented) met at the Pierce School and Dr. Collins Goodyear looked at Lin's art and discussed it with the artist.

Then in May, Lin was offered a solo show at DCAC (opens this Friday at 7PM). Since Lin needed a curator for the DCAC show, and since she knew that Anne was interested and familiar with her work, she asked her to curate Lin's solo at DCAC and Dr. Collins Goodyear agreed to do it.

Several studio and gallery visits (as well as an essay about the show) later, they're hanging the show together on December 13 and the show opens on Friday, December 15 with a reception from 7-9PM and a curator's talk at 8pm.

Now this is a curator who is willing to spend part of her precious time working and looking in her own backyard and who exemplifies (above and beyond) the sort of interest that we would expect, once in a while, from our area curators as part of their job.

Dr. Collins Goodyear: WELL DONE!

Jada Pinkett Smith Gives $1 Million to Arts School

Jada Pinkett Smith has donated $1 million to her high school alma mater, the Baltimore School for the Arts. "It means a lot when you're a teacher and your most famous alumnus comes back to give a donation," said Donald Hicken, head of the school's theater department since its founding in 1980 and Pinkett Smith's former theater teacher. "It really says a lot to the community that the school matters in people's lives."

Read the whole story here. Bravo to Ms. Pinkett Smith!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Opportunities for Artists

Deadline: December 15, 2006 - Second Annual Works on Paper at Muse Gallery in Philly. Details and prospectus here.

Deadline: December 29, 2006 - The 2007 Bethesda International Photography Competition at Fraser Gallery in Bethesda. Details and prospectus here.

Deadline: January 12, 2007 - 3rd Annual National Painting Drawing & Printmaking Competition at Palm Beach Community College in Florida. Details and prospectus here.

Deadline: January 15, 2007 - Erotica 2007 at MOCA DC. Details and prospectus here.

Deadline: January 31, 2007 - Chinatown In/Flux 2009. An exhibition of site-specific art installations in Chinatown Philadelphia. Details and prospectus here.

Deadline: March 16, 2007 - Art on Paper at the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences in New Jersey. Details and prospectus here.

Deadline: March 30, 2007 - Art at VMRC at the Park Gables Gallery in Harrisonburg, VA. Details and prospectus here

Atlanta Contemporary Art Center looking for new boss

Deadline: January 19, 2007

The Atlanta Contemporary Art Center is seeking applicants for the position of Excutive Director.

Details here.

Call for Proposals

The Delaplaine Visual Arts Education Center in Frederick, MD has a call for Exhibit Proposals for Solo or Small Group Shows. There are five galleries in the complex.

Exhibit selections are made by the Center’s Exhibit Selection Panel, comprised of working artists and arts administrators, which convenes 3-4 times per year. Final decisions may require a studio visit when necessary. They are currently scheduling two years in advance.

For details and submission information, please contact Diane Sibbison at 301.698.0656, ext. 115, or by e-mail

Art Job

The Washington District of Columbia Jewish Community Center is looking for a Gallery Director for the Ann Loeb Bronfman Gallery (a 600 square foot space in an urban Jewish Community Center).

The Gallery Director is responsible for mounting two to three shows annually, working collaboratively with other arts professionals to create related public programming and classes, staffing the Gallery Board Committee, developing a long-term exhibition and fundraising plan, and carrying out all administrative aspects of the gallery.

Previous gallery experience required. Knowledge and understanding of Jewish traditions and history preferred. Position start date is January 2, 2007.

This is a full-time position that includes benefits and free gym membership. Email resume and cover letter describing experience to or fax to 202-518-9420. No phone calls.

This is how it is supposed to work - Part I

Those of you who are regular visitors to this site know that one of my constant concerns is the poor relationship between DC museum area curators and DC area artists, and the rarity of interest by most DC area museum professionals in their own city's art scene and artists.

Like anything, there are notable, but rare, exceptions.

And one of the unexpected benefits of the Trawick Prize and the Bethesda Painting Awards has been that they have "forced" the hired DC, VA and MD museum professionals and curators to look at the work of artists from the region; some amazing success stories have spawned from that exposure. Area artists should be very grateful to Ms. Trawick for all that she has done and continues to do for the fine arts around the capital region.

But getting back on subject and generally speaking, most of the DC area museum curators and directors still find it easier to catch a flight to another city to look at an emerging artist's work from that city, than to take a cab to a DC area artist's studio or visit a local gallery.

I think part of this is because, again with an exception here and there, most of these curators came from other parts of the nation and overseas, and they tend to bring their regional familiarities with them, rather than discover new ones (it takes a lot of work). They are also part of a curatorial scene where little risk is taken, and the herd mentality reigns supreme.

As a result, one can count in one hand the number of artists (local or otherwise) who have had their first ever museum show (or any museum show) in a DC area museum. And yet, even major museums (such as the Whitney in New York) have given artists their first museum solos, although this is becoming rarer and rarer.

Example: I know that I wasn't the only one amazed to find out that the Corcoran's Sam Gilliam retro was the first solo museum show (at the tail end of his career) by arguably DC's best-known painter.

And I am sure that the fact that Jonathan Binstock's PhD work was on Gilliam had a lot to do with the Corcoran's decision to focus a solo on a DC area legend. Bravo to Binstock and Bravo to the Corcoran; more please.

The rarity of local focus is also caused partially because of the fact that DC area museums generally tend to think of themselves as "national museums," rather than as "city museums," like all other major cities in the world have.

We have no Washington Museum of Art, although the Corcoran, because of its position as a museum and a school, and since the arrival of Binstock, has focused a bit more attention on the Greater DC art scene.

Furthermore, because of the sad lack of coverage by the DC local media of the DC local art scene and events, museum professionals have to spend more personal time (which they often lack) to "learn" about DC area artists and galleries, rather than learning from reading, as they do about what's going on in NYC and LA and Miami and Seattle from the national magazines, or perhaps the coverage that those cities' newsmedia gives to their local arts, and even from reading the Washington Post's chief art critic coverage of other cities' galleries and museums, while he is allowed to avoid writing about Washington galleries and artists.

And so it takes an "extra" effort on the part of a DC museum curator to get his or her interest aroused on any event in the local scene. Some of it is networking (a big name museum donor requests a visit to a gallery or a studio), some of it is financial (they are paid to jury a show), some of it is media-driven (such as the rare positive review in the even rarer newsmedia coverage) and some of it is accidental (such as a curator admiring the work of a "new" artist in a LA gallery only to be told that the artist is a DC artist).

All of these have happened in my experience.

Here's a little test.

Next Wednesday, December 13 at 7:00 PM, Ned Rifkin has a lecture at the Corcoran on "Modern and Contemporary Art".

I've met Mr. Rifkin many times and he's a really nice, likeable, intelligent and well-traveled person. He has been the Smithsonian Under Secretary for Art since January 2004. In the DC area he also has been the Curator of Contemporary Art at the Corcoran from 1984­-1986, Chief Curator of the Hirshhorn from 1986-­1991 and then Director of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden from 2003­-2005. So he has spent nearly ten years of his exceptional career as an arts professional in the nation's capital.

I'd like someone to ask Mr. Rifkin the following question:

"Mr. Rifkin, can you quickly name for us about five contemporary artists from anywhere and five contemporary DC area artists whose work you admire and why?"

If anyone does ask, please email me his response.

Tomorrow I will tell you a happy tale of a DC area museum curator who has shown interest in the work of a very talented and hardworking DC area artist and how it happened, which is how this process is supposed to work.

The Power of the Web

"Quite suddenly and by accident, photographer Arthur During is huge on MySpace.

Around May or June, a mysterious Internet hiccup landed one of During's photographs in the top slot on Google when people searched for "rain image." Through the power of Google, that photograph – of raindrops seen through an airplane window – has since shown up without permission on hundreds, perhaps thousands, of MySpace pages."
Read the story here.

And this is what you get if your search for "rain image" today.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Bailey on Hotel Art

Bailey's take on my hotel art jihad "intervention" of the 70's, 80's and 90's is here.

I may be also tempted to find some of the slides that I took of some of the "pre" and "post" work and digitize them and put them up just to see if anybody has run into them.

I am also tempted to also put out a new fatwah call for a 21st century "art intervention project" against hotel art and re-kindle the strategic replacement of hotel art by original art.

Unfortunately, these days hotels seem to think that the "wall decor" that they hang in their rooms need to be protected from walking away, and are so well secured to the walls, that it is nearly impossible to remove them from the wall, although there must be a trick to it, for what does a hotelier do they do if they have to either change it or replace a broken glass, etc.

Let me think on this...

World's youngest art blogger?

Could be Violet-Craghead Way, who is 18 months old and her blog is here.

Looking South

ArtInfo reports on what has been the ABMB trend for years - art collectors are looking to Latin America more and more. Details here.

Even in the DC area, Latin American art has been hot for a while, and no one was hotter when I was a gallerist there than Cuban artists Sandra Ramos and Aimee Garcia Marrero, both of whom are currently exhibiting all over the planet and who will exhibiting again in the DC area this coming May at the Fraser Gallery.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Friday nite

Was a rush of timing, with a 4PM arrival and then rushing to make it to a party with a business meeting in between.

Party was great with an amazing view; more later...

Friday, December 08, 2006

Airborne again today and heading to you-know-where...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Karen Joan Topping on the Corcoran Acquisition of the Randall School

Last Thursday I mentioned the acquisition of the Randall School by the Corcoran and asked to hear from some of the MAC artists who have studios there, since there have been some past issues between them and the acquisition process. So far Ellyn Weiss has responded and now Karen Joan Topping has the following to say:

Mr. C, thanks for giving us the incentive to speak our minds. This is a little long - I could not resist a "Dylan Thomasy" sort of response, considering my feelings for my time at the Randall School.

You mentioned that DC's lack of affordable studio space was a factor in the deal with the Corcoran to include space for practicing artists in their plan. While no one would argue that financial and real estate issues have touched everyone in the past five years, personally I think that the Randall School community of artists and our cultural presence is of equal importance in explaining what lead us into this Jonah & the Whale scenario.

When I saw the artists that were residents in the building when I was a prospective renter 3-4 years ago, I knew I had to get in on this space. There were a number of artists that I really respected by reputation and work that had just recently cut the graduate school cord and had taken DC by storm. There were artists that I knew as bastions of the Downtown Art Scene in the 80's and 90's, that had had their studios over the porn and wig shops across from the National Portrait Gallery. Back in the day, this group had put on events of smaller scale but greater intensity than almost anything that's been seen at Art-o-Matic. Not surprisingly, many of these people now work their asses-off to make Art-O-Matic's possible.

Lastly there were plenty of people like me; not legendary, not the toast of the town; but with work ethic and solid bodies of work that appeals to some little niche otherwise we would not keep doing it.) Really, at the core that's what almost every resident of the Millennium Art Center (MAC) was, that kind of community is often harder to come by then available space.

Unfortunately when I became a renter at MAC the future of the building as studios, let alone an art center, was already on shaky ground. I was lucky to have my studio in one of the older parts of the building; Randall is a beautiful and old building and honestly it would not have lasted much longer without a deal like this happening. I hope the developers are held to refurbishing as much as they are allowed to demolish.

I had tried to rent studios in the preceding years and had not been successful. I once lost a space to a former employee because the landlord said his voice was on his answering machine before mine. The competition for individually leased spaces was and is high. Most artists are not willing or capable of taking on a lease and responsibility for the bankroll and slum-lording it takes to get the rent paid for an entire floor of a mid-century office building or an unused warehouse, let alone a 6.5 million complex of school buildings. Income statements, credit reports are as much a part of getting a studio as a "regular" person renting or buying a house or apartment.

There is studio space is out there, but there is sorry little initiative out there from investors and agencies that could afford to cut up larger spaces and offer them for fair prices. This was what was on the table at MAC, the opportunity for renting a studio - not having to become a landlord too.

While I've barely left the building, I'm nostalgic for the neighborhood already. Many of the remaining artists had been tenants for close to ten years, I can't imagine how they feel. I'm concerned that this project is a positive move for the neighborhood. There is a lot of public assistance housing in the neighborhood and it needs an art center that is going to reach out to the community more than anything.

Many other mixed use development projects seem stalled in this neighborhood and the Corcoran has not been very forthcoming about exactly what's going on with their project. I'm concerned that this project gets off the ground and doesn't become another shipwreck in the "Corcoran Triangle". Like the large historic church that sits behind the Randall building, it could end up sitting there boarded up for a decade which would break a lot of hearts.

There are only a few entities that can presume taking on a building that fills a city block and a leadership role in supporting a community of more than thirty artists and at least two non-profits; think about it, that's bigger than most graduate schools.

Private entities and city governments come to the top of my mind as good candidates.

The Corcoran has already put some roadblocks in the way of establishing good relations with the artists and the SW community. With the Gehry building not happening, it's hard to say what they have in mind.

Given that these are my feelings at the present moment, why would I presume that the Corcoran would be open to truly working in consort with the community, the government and private investors to create a truly visionary art center that could eclipse the Gehry or a ubiquitous mixed-use development. Outstanding not because of what it looks like or how financially good it looks on paper but in the positive and supportive impact it has on the community and the city. I know that running a museum or any arts organization is not a cakewalk, but I wish I could have more faith in the Corcoran assuming a role that maximizes the leadership role by at least trying to bring in the resources and a spirit of community and communication and could really make something happen.

I am willing to admit, it’s a little unfair to saddle our ‘local’ museum with this huge responsibility when they really do need to fix their school. Sadly, I think it took this bleak lack of faith to spur the Ex-MAC community get organized. If it’s not prudent for the Corcoran to do it, listen up isn’t there “someone” else out there that sees what I am talking about and can step up to the challenge? Stay tuned. Ex-mac'rs will hopefully be having a celebration of some sort in the spring in the hope that we can galvanize much more of the DC community to support art, artists and the positive investment that art is to the city as a whole.


Karen Joan Topping

Could Another Eakins Leave Philly?

"Three years ago, the Philadelphia School District went on a treasure hunt to gather up about 1,200 artworks. There were paintings, sculptures and tapestries from more than 260 schools, including Wilson.

Officials said some of the art was too valuable to hang in the schools. At least one piece by Thomas Eakins was found in a boiler room, the Washington Post reported.

A Chicago art consultant brought in to catalogue the works said the entire collection could be worth $30 million.

"This is an incredibly unusual and extraordinary find," consultant Kathleen Bernhardt-Hidvegi told the Chicago Sun-Times in 2004.

But now that the School Reform Commission is struggling to resolve a $73.3 million budget deficit, art experts, along with members of various school communities, are worried that district officials could be tempted to sell the artworks.

At least one commissioner, Daniel Whelan, voiced the idea at a budget hearing last month. The art has been stored away from public view since 2003-04.
Read the report by Valerie Russ here.