Friday, October 27, 2006


One of my absolutely favorite buildings in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia is the Athenaeum.

Built as a bank in 1851 in a Greek Revival style (and now a registered Virginia Landmark and a National Historic Site), this beautiful building stands out from the city's otherwise Federalist architecture with its high coved ceilings and large windows looking out onto cobblestones and 18th-century houses, and it is a splendid venue for an art exhibition, which is what the the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Association uses it for.

About ten years ago I curated a massive exhibition there, titled "A Survey of Washington Area Realists" which accommodated a few hundred artists hung salon-style in this beautiful building and was a huge success.

"Peace Pieces," all new works by area artist Marta Sewall, opens on Sunday, November 5, 2006, at the Athenaeum. According to the news release, "the works abstractly depict patterns taken from the earth and various global cultures. The mixed media pieces personify the natural and manmade occurrences of global decay and rebirth. Ms. Sewall's works are inspired by fabrics, diverse world societal traditions and architecture details."

The opening reception is from 4:00 pm ­ 6:00 pm on Sunday, November 5, 2006. The show will run through December 17, 2006.

"An Impressionist Sensibility" at SAAM

The Smithsonian American Art Museum will have "An Impressionist Sensibility: The Halff Collection," on view from Nov. 3 through Feb. 4, 2007.

According to the news release, the exhibition "presents iconic works by some of America's most talented and cherished artists. These selected paintings are from Marie and Hugh Halff's collection, one of the finest private collections of late 19th- and early 20th-century American art."

This exhibition is the first time this remarkable private collection has been on display in Washington, D.C.

"An Impressionist Sensibility" features 26 paintings by William Merritt Chase, Childe Hassam, Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent and John Twachtman, among other internationally known artists.

Marie and Hugh Halff (who live in San Antonio, Texas) acquired these works during the past 20 years, and on Saturday, Nov. 4 at 4 p.m., Eleanor Harvey (curator for nineteenth and early twentieth century art, landscape painting, southwestern and Texas art) will lead a discussion about collecting with the Halffs.

They will be joined by the fair Barbara Guggenheim, who not only has a cool art name, but is also a well-known consultant who advises private collectors, including the Halffs, and corporations about building art collections. Ms. Guggenheim's book "Decorating on eBay : Fast & Stylish on a Budget" was published a year ago.

This free public program will take place in the museum's new McEvoy Auditorium.

Wanna go to a DC opening tonight?

First make a beeline for The Gallery at Flashpoint, which will be showing A. B. Miner, Ian Jehle, Nekisha Durrett: Me, You & Those Other Folks and the opening reception is from 5-7 pm. Listen to me and bring your sheckels and buy Miner now, I say again: "Buy Miner Now!" Last week Capps wrote about Miner's work for the WCP here and there are lots of other earlier reviews here.

going... #1 by A.B. Miner

"going... #1" by A.B. Miner

Then tomorrow haul ass to say farewell to Cheryl Numark, who will be closing her gorgeous award-winning space after this show. That opening is on Saturday from 6:30 to 8PM.

Open Studios in DC area

Mid City Artists, is a prominent group of diverse Washington, DC area artists in the U St./Dupont/Logan neighborhoods (talented artists such as Anne Marchand, Robert Cole, Craig Kraft, Sondra Arkin, Colin Winterbottom and others) and they will all unveil new work during their semi-annual Open Studios events coming Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 11-12, from 12pm - 5pm.

This two-day event will feature new and varied collections of sculpture, painting, photography and other media. A detailed downloadable map is available on their website at

Also hosting open studios are the Reeb Hall Studio artists in Arlington, VA. Their Annual Open Studio day will be held on Saturday, November 4 from 2 to 5 p.m. The 13 visual artists currently working at the studio are: Shahla Arbabi, Carlo P. Biggio, Jr., Jane Buckman, Beverly Donnenfeld-Chello, Carol Lopatin, Phillip Loiterstein, Anne McGurk, Kebedech Tekleab, Lee Vaughan, Rick Weaver, Alice Whealin, Linn Woloshin and Cynthia Young.

Details here.