Friday, February 03, 2006

Cudlin on Interface

The Washington City Paper's Jeffry Cudlin reviews our current "Interface: Art & Technology" exhibition at Fraser Gallery Bethesda and really likes Kathryn Cornelius' video.

Read the review here.

WPA/C Auction Preview

Last night I went to the WPA/C's preview of the upcoming auction, fully planning then to go on to the opening at Nevin Kelly Gallery.

The preview was quite good, and a veritable who's who of DC art bloggers, power collectors, artists and even a Corcoran curator or two.

I made the mistake of arriving at the preview on a completely empty stomach, as I had been working all day and forgot to eat.

"I'll grub at the preview," I thought to myself as I headed to the Corcoran.

So I get there a little early, get to walk around the entire auction set-up, nicely displayed on the second floor of the Corcoran. The works were selected by:

- Philip Brookman, Senior Curator of Photography and Media Arts, Corcoran Gallery of Art.

- Kendall Buster, Artist and Associate Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond , VA.

- Howie Chen, Branch Manager, Whitney Museum of American Art at Altria and Independent Curator, New York , NY.

- Jean Efron,Principal, Jean Efron Art Consultants, L.L.C., Washington, DC.

- Ashley Kistler, Curator, Visual Arts Center of Richmond, Richmond, VA.

- Adolfo V. Nodal, Arts Impresario (currently Project General Manager of Not A Cornfield Project), Los Angeles, CA.

- Sally Troyer, Former Gallerist, Independent Curator, Art Consultant, Washington, DC

I then went down to listen to the curator's talk, and at the risk of sounding disrepectful, made the huge mistake of sitting on the very front of the auditorium. I say this because I thought that it would be a matter of 30 minutes or so, but by the time that it was over, it had consumed an hour and fifteen minutes, and I was squirming and struggling to keep my stomach from growling too loudly (at least I didn't fall asleep and started snoring, as did some poor bastard above me).

The talk started at 6:30PM, and it was interesting and informative. Present were Effron, Buster and Brookman, and essentially these three highly talented and creative people discussed how (with some rare exceptions) they selected work by talented, creative artists that (a) they had known for years, (b) taught at the Corcoran, (c) taught at VCU or (d) shared a studio with them.

I particularly enjoyed the presentation by the tiny Kendall Buster, who brought a refreshing group of Richmonders to the auction, including some of my favorite pieces in the auction by some of those amazing young artists coming out of VCU's sculture program.

And so I get upstairs around 8PM, to find that most everyone else had skipped the lecture and had done a locust number on most of the good food that the Corcoran always puts out.

So I grab a beer on an empty stomach (bad idea) and munch on some asparagus tips that are left over (is it just me, or are asparagus way overrated as food?), and luckily there's still plenty of nice fresh fruit, and some cheese, but obviously the good stuff has come and gone... sigh.

Back to the artwork and a little bit of chatting with super generous Ubercollector Fred Ognibene and artists Tim Tate, Margaret Boozer and many others. And a few more rounds to look at the artwork. By the time that I got done, it was too late to make it to the Nevin Kelly opening (sorry Nevin - owe you an opening visit).

First of all let me re-affirm that this auction is a terrific opportunity for collectors not only to acquire art by some very talented artists, but also to contribute to the well being of our leading artists' organizations: the WPA/C. Furthermore, under Kim Ward's exceptional leadership, this organization is not only back on track, but also ablaze with activity and enthusiasm.

Here are my picks for the best in this auction in no particular order:

Photo by Noelle Tan
Noelle Tan. Easily the best photograph in the auction belongs to this talented artist, and at a $600 starting bid, it should go early!

Ledelle Moe sculpture
Ledelle Moe. This is one of a set of eight or nine sculpted heads exhibited together as one piece under the title "Congregation," by this artist. I am told that she teaches at MICA and has a studio in DC. I've never seen her work before, but I quite liked what I saw here, and I think that she will be one of the "finds" of this auction. She also appears to have an exhibition currently at GMU.

Malecon by Luis Enrique Camejo
Luis Camejo. This monochromatic painting by this Cuban artist boasts of action and energy, and it reminds me of one of those old illustrations for 19th century pre-photography newspapers. A good addition for collectors of Cuban art.

Brannock Device by Michael Fitts
Michael Fitts. An amazing master of fooling the eye, Fitts works on discarded metal to create amazing oil paintings within that genre. We represent him, and his work has been selling briskly, so this piece will probably go early and sell high.

Susan Jamison Prick
Susan Jamison. This talented and fair artist is having one terrific run! Whoever bought her painting at "Seven" got a terrific steal. Since then Jamison (now represented by Irvine) has sold out at Scope Miami and has a waiting list for her artwork!

The auction is at the Corcoran on Saturday, February 11, 2006, and to attend please print out and return the RSVP card here.

See ya there!