Tuesday, June 27, 2006

New Blog

Photographer Greg Wasserstrom has a new blog.

Visit Tubulosity often!

Trawick Prize Finalists

Congrats to the finalists for this year's Trawick Prize.

Christine Buckton-Tillman (Baltimore, MD)

Caryl Burtner (Richmond, VA)

Eric Dyer (Baltimore, MD)

Suzanna Fields (Richmond, VA)

Adam Fowler (Washington, DC)

Kristin Holder (Washington, DC)

Kirsten Kindler (Richmond, VA)

Maxwell MacKenzie (Washington, DC)

Robert Mellor (Chatham, VA)

James Rieck (Baltimore, MD)

Jo Smail (Baltimore, MD)

Molly Springfield (Washington, DC)

Georgianne Stinnett (Richmond, VA)

Jason Zimmerman (Washington, DC)
This year's prize competition was juried by Ashley Kistler, Curator at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond; Jack Rasmussen, Director of the Katzen Arts Center at American University in Washington, D.C. and Gerald Ross, Director of Exhibitions at Maryland Institute College of Art.

The first place winner will be awarded $10,000; second place will be honored with $2,000 and third place will be awarded $1,000. A "young" artist whose birth date is after April 10, 1976 will also be awarded $1,000.

The Trawick Prize was established by local business owner Carol Trawick. Ms. Trawick has served as a community activist for more than 25 years in downtown Bethesda. She is the Chair of the Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District and past Chair of the Bethesda Urban Partnership. Ms. Trawick is the owner of an Information Technology company in Bethesda, Trawick & Associates.

Last year, Jiha Moon formerly from Annandale, VA, was awarded the 2005 "Best in Show" with $10,000; Dean Kessman of Washington, D.C. was named second place and was given $2,000; Denise Tassin of Baltimore, MD was bestowed third place and received $1,000 and the 2005 "Young Artist" award of $1,000 was given to Michele Kong of Baltimore, MD.


Last night was Food and Friends Chef's Best Dinner and Auction Event at the Washington Hilton. There were almost 5000 attendees... and the best restaurants in the city were featured there.

The main event came when during the Live Auction segment, Tim Tate's artwork raised almost $20,000 for Food and Friends.... more than twice as much as any other offering! Tim's piece was two of his Archway panel series.

The winning bidder was the owner of the Crew Club on 14th Street, but Tate also gave the second highest bidder two panels as well... doubling the dollar amount. This is his 6th year of donating to that cause.


"When it comes to nepotism, the best strategy is to avoid it."
- Jessica Dawson advising Jiha Moon here
Mmmm... in the artworld, this is often quite impossible... I would advise: "When it comes to nepotism, the best strategy is to minimize it as much as possible."

In writing about art, selling art, curating art, awarding art grants, seeing art, talking about art, we're all nepotistas to some degree or other. Nearly every curator that we've ever hired to jury an exhibition for us, has brought some nepotism into it and nearly every writer that I've read has exhibited some degree of it.

Critics get to know artists, and art dealers, and curators on a nearly daily basis, and they too, being human, develop nepotism in some degree or other, and become nepotistas perhaps without meaning to do so, or perhaps while minimizing it.

Even advise-giving Dawson.

A few years ago, I asked some of the WaPo's leadership why Dawson never reviewed (the now closed) Fusebox.

I was told that Dawson had recused herself from reviewing Fusebox due to private reasons (I was told "friendship with the owners").

Thus Dawson (I assume) did the right thing with the Post's policy (one exists I assume) in writing/reviewing about friends... good for her (although unfair somewhat for Fusebox, although to make things fair for them, the WaPo then apparently had Blake Gopnik review them a few times while they were open).

But as reported here in 2004, she had no nepotista issue in writing that Fusebox is "sharp and savvy," and has "raised the bar for visual art in Washington," and that their openings are "events to see and be seen at" for the 2004 issue of Timeout DC. In the lead page for the galleries (p.189), she even lists Fusebox under a listing of five galleries selected as "the best galleries." And on page 194 she again highlights Fusebox in a special commentary section where the gallery is highlighted after the following introduction:
"While some DC galleries could be accused - justifiably - of playing it safe, the following stand out from the crowd with their interesting programming and sheer charisma."
I'm not even that fussed that Dawson gave Fusebox some well-deserved comments and well-earned kudos on that issue of Timeout DC, but I am fussed that she's now giving Jiha Moon advise on nepotism instead of just reviewing the show.

In the event that you actually want to read a review of the show, then visit Thinking About Art and read Kirkland's, declared nepotism and all.

Odom and Banks (Continued)

The Odom and Banks controversy has a new voice in the mix, as Virginia Pilot columnist Kerry Dougherty opines on the subject.

Read her opinion and quite a few comments on the subject here.

Also, the Contemporary Art Center of Virginia, which runs the Boardwalk show that awarded $10,000 to Odom, has decided not to take away the cash prize from Odom.

"We've now consulted with a number of Alabama and national folk art galleries and experts," said Cameron Kitchin, executive director of Virginia Beach's Contemporary Art Center of Virginia , which runs the Boardwalk show.

"We have full confidence that the specific piece that won best in show is by Doug Odom's hand and is uniquely Doug Odom's subject matter," Kitchin said on Friday.
I talked to Mr. Kitchin a few days ago while I was in New Mexico, as he called me to explain the decision, and I appreciate his immediate involvement in this issue.

I respect their decision process, which essentially "consulted with a number of Alabama and national folk art galleries and experts," to arrive at the decision that the piece that won the $10K was not a copy of any known Banks' painting.

This decision does not touch on the ethics of copying another artist's style and subject depiction, which is a superb topic for a future discussion panel, as this is the main "beef" that seems to be the main leftover (other than some legal issues between Banks and Odom) from this controversy.
"We have independent confirmation that these poodles did live on Doug's farm," Kitchin said. "Those dogs were never a subject matter in Michael Banks' work."
See the winning artwork here.

Nothing to do with the decision itself, but I find this quote in the article a little disturbing:
"My feeling is, it's no big deal at all," said Ann Oppenhimer, president of the Folk Art Society of America, based in Richmond. "They're not giving the prize on ethics.

"You don't like to see that kind of thing happen,"
Oppenhimer said. "But there are very few things that are original, when you get down to it."
According to the article, Odom "sold 20 to 25 pieces at the Boardwalk. His prices ranged up to $7,000."

Bailey has this letter published in the Virginia Pilot.


Back home to find out that because of storms, power has been down around my neighborhood for a while, and everything in the fridge has defrosted!

Also my laptop finally bit the bucket while in New Mexico.

Loads more later...