Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Picts at Honfleur

The below drawing is currently hanging at Honfleur Gallery as part of the pre-grand opening show on the art of tattooing. Call them at (202) 889-5000, x 113 to buy it.

It's a Pictish woman from my Pictish Nation series. Learn more about the Picts here.

Pictish Girl

Kirkland in New York

This is what happens when a motivated artist decides to take the artbull by the horns and organize his own first solo show in NYC.

Read JT Kirkland's NYC debut here.

Go JT!

Civilian Moves

Kriston Capps tips us that Jayme McLellan's Civilian Art Projects will move into the building (at 406 7th Street NW in Washington, DC) that currently houses Touchstone Gallery and was once home to Numark, David Adamson, eklektikos and others.

Read Capps' post here.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Proposal to DCCAH

I sent an idea to the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities in 2004 for a novel (in my opinion anyway) public art project dealing with the now vert traditional use of video as an art form (now in its middle age).

Nothing heard back from them so far, so I am assuming that they are not interested, and I am thus hereby posting a gist of that idea/letter, with some corrections and updates, in case some other city or organizer is interested:

Summary: This point paper offers a recommendation for a recurring public art project designed to attract worldwide attention to the Washington, DC fine arts community. This idea is being submitted for consideration by DCCAH for future implementation.

Background: Washington, DC public art projects, like many other cities, have yielded a mix of public success and bitter art criticism. Most recently, projects such as “Party Animals” and “Pandamania” have enjoyed spectacular public acclaim, but have been severely criticized by area art critics. Whereas it is my belief that a publicly-funded DCCAH should answer to the public and not to elitist art critics, I believe that I have come up with a concept and idea that is both novel and creative. No other city has done this before (to my knowledge) and this project, if funded and implemented, will make a huge leap in placing Washington, DC on the leading edge of the art world.

The Project: A call for artists to create art videos. No theme, no guidance (other than the standard caveats to preclude pornography, hate-mongering, racism or personal attacks): just a call for artists (either worldwide or Greater DC area) to create an art video. This has never been done before by anyone, anywhere, as a mass call for public art. A public project that delivers art videos on a massive, public scale will place this contemporary genre of art outside of a museum environment for the first time ever.

The Logistics: 100 20-inch TVs with built-in DVD players will be needed ($269 each). Each one placed inside a custom built viewing bubbles (see attached design). The viewing bubbles can be constructed by the same company who built the Pandas. The material for the “bubble” can be the same as the Panda material, except for the viewing area, which should be constructed of Lexan, which is the plexiglass material from which NASCAR racecar windshields are made from; it is practically indestructible and it does not fog or scratch. Cost for these “bubbles” should be approximately the same as a panda or party animal.

Electrical power will be needed; however, this is easily available on nearly every street in DC, as every single lamp post in Washington has a power source at the base of the lamp post. The “bubbles” will have to be built and placed so that a safe connection to the power source can be accomplished.

The accepted videos will be run on a 24/7 continuous loop so that they can be viewed by the public ad hoc. At the end of a specified period, signed still photography from the videos can be auctioned off – or even sold throughout the period (from a website). This is very common in the world of art videos – no one buys videos, but they will buy signed photographs from the videos.

The Process: A worldwide call for videos: the call for art can be made for free in many Internet web sites (places like as well as magazines such as ArtCalendar, etc.) If successful, this can become an International Public Video Biennial (no one is doing this!) to a huge public audience. Call it the Washington Video Biennial!

We ask for artists to submit videos (CD ROMs) and then a panel selects 100 videos to be exhibited to the public. Each year DCCAH can hire two curators to select the videos (or an advisory panel can be picked to select the videos).

Next Step: I hereby request a meeting with DCCAH to verbally explain this project and answer any questions.


Monday, January 29, 2007

New gallery

A while back I discussed about a new independently owned commercial fine arts gallery that would be opening in the Tysons Corner area of Virginia.

Although construction is still going on, it looks like sometimes in February will be the grand opening of Habatat Gallery Virginia, owned and run by Lindsey and Jay Scott.

This is a "second" Habatat, as the gallery has been around since 1971 and there's another one in Florida. The galleries’ focus is on contemporary art, national and international, in a variety of materials, but certainly with a recognized focus on glass.

In fact, Habatat has already partnered with the American University Museum at The Katzen Arts Center to bring an exhibition titled "Contemporary Glass: Beauty and Innovation" at the end of this month.

This will certainly add a new "power" gallery to the Greater DC area art scene, and even more, continue to focus a lot of attention on the area as one of the "glass" hot spots.


Sunday, January 28, 2007

Turnbull on Campbell

Shauna Turnbull is going to start doing some emerging artist profiles once in a while. Below is her first one:

"Coffee break with Muralist Kelly Campbell"

by Shauna Turnbull, Art Addicts

Turnbull: You graduated with a degree in graphic design from Liberty University in 2006, but you've stated your true passion is painting. Tell us about the juxtaposition of graphic design, portrait painting, and murals.
Kelly Campbell
Campbell: Graphic design, portrait painting, and murals have a few things in common. Each relies on the knowledge of composition, color, value, and relaying a specific message to its viewer. Graphic design is heavily based on text to relay its message, whereas something more fine art in nature depends on subtleties such as an expression, or a color choice, to get a visual message across.

Turnbull: You currently make your career as a portrait painter and a muralist. Can you speak to the challenges and rewards of being a full-time freelance artist? How do you divide your time between making art and selling art?

Campbell: I find inspiration in everything. Dreams, everyday life, a wise phrase a friend might have said, nature, my family. There is so much life it's hard not to get inspiration. And it's not just artists that can find this "inspiration" from things; anyone can, as long as they take the time to "smell the roses"-- take the time to stop and see something beautiful, or sad, or ugly instead of just passing it by.

I love being an artist. So for me, the rewards far outweigh the challenges. Some rewards I have are that I can work at my own pace. I don't have a 9-5 job, I don't sit in rush hour traffic (Now everyone in DC wants to be an artist after hearing that), I work from home, and I have free-time.... sometimes.

Challenges are that as a freelance artist, the jobs aren't always continual. My work is very seasonal. Over Christmas I was swamped with portrait jobs-- everyone wanted that special gift for a loved one. Now that rush has died down, the jobs are coming in slower, however it's mostly mural jobs (which pay a lot more), but I have lots of down time.

That's why I have a part-time job as a Kidzart teacher as well--so I can at least have some kind of steady income. I've also picked up a job teaching painting classes (for ages 15+) at Michael's. Another challenge I have are deadlines. Sometimes people come to me a week before they need something and I always do my best to meet their needs. Right now I have three portraits due in February, and on top of that I have to fit in mural jobs. It can be difficult to manage my time. I have been so busy that I haven't really had time to make art other than the commissioned work. So for me, making art is selling art.

Turnbull: You are fairly responsible in using non-toxic and lead free paints (especially in residential homes and in children's rooms). Tell us about your favorite products and how they tie to today's environmental concerns.

Campbell: Well, lucky today being able to buy lead based paint is almost non-existent. I add those details to my ads though because many people don't know anything about paint and have genuine concerns about it. For murals and many of my paintings my medium of choice is acrylic. I like acrylic because it dries fast, cleans up with water (no turpentine) and can do a variety of techniques. My favorite brands are Liquitex Basics acrylic paint--it comes in a great squeeze tube and lasts FOREVER, some of mine I've had for over ten years and it hasn't dried out, and I also use Americana, and Craft Smart brands for murals. Below is a copy of a winning portrait that took first place in painting in a juried art show at my college.

portrait by Campbell

Turnbull: As a portrait painter and a residential muralist, how do you best bridge the gap between the patron's vision and the artist's vision for completed works?

Campbell: Well, that is a difficult question because you need to give the client what they want--but I also realize that they aren't the artist. If they were they wouldn't have hired me, so it's my job to ask the right questions and get on the same page visually as them, and to be truthful and upfront with them if I think something that they want might not fit--or wouldn't work in the total composition.

If they are set in their idea, then it's also my job to "make it work". Even if they have an exact photo of what they want I always show them a sketch of what I am going to do and make sure it is exactly what they would like. One of the worst things a client can say to me is, "you're the artist, do what you think" because 9 times out of 10 it is not at all what they think. And just because I AM the artist doesn't make everything I think great. This is why asking questions and getting into the client's head is vital.

Turnbull: What major differences do you find between residential murals and completed commercial murals?

Campbell: There are a couple differences between residential and commercial murals... none of which involve painting them. The method of painting them is pretty much the same.

With commercial murals, I get more exposure as an artist because more people see them. It's also a lot more impersonal. But when I am invited into someone's home, to paint something they are going to live with for a very long time, it makes the painting so much more personal to me and to them. It drives me to create something they don't just like, they LOVE. Something that after I'm done, they want to have a get together at their house so they can show it off to all their friends and family.

This reminds me that people view murals as somewhat of a luxury (even though mine are VERY affordable). Something I enjoy about doing residential murals is getting to know some of the family. One of my favorite memories is when I did the Scooby mural in a two-year old's room, and after I was done he came running in yelling, "Scooby! Scooby!" and tried to hug the wall.

Two examples of my commercial murals can be found at the Sacramento Veterinary Hospital in Alexandria, VA and the Explore and Moore Children's Museum in Occoquan, VA. A portion of the vet mural is below.

mural by Campbell

Turnbull: When you think of great muralists, who most inspires you? Of living artists in the DC area, who do you expect to see rapidly rise in the art world.

Campbell: Well one of the greatest muralists was of course Michelangelo with the Sistine Chapel. He did the whole thing on his back, and the quality of work was amazingly beautiful. It will bring you to tears, and I know for a fact - I got to see it this past summer. How can any muralist compete with that?

Of living artists in the area do I expect to see rapidly rise - well me of course. There are many artists out there that I am sure will “make it¨, but with art today that’s so hard to say because many times art is about the latest trend and the newest idea. And a lot of artists make paintings that are so open for interpretation for whatever the viewer wants to think about it. So who am I to say who the next big name in art is?

Some of my favorite galleries are in Old Town Alexandria. There are so many it is hard to choose one, and each offer a variety of beautiful works of art from various artists - each piece offering something unique to its viewer.

Turnbull: Do you routinely do trade shows, craft shows, fairs? Do you exhibit in boutiques or eateries? Can you speak to the marketing techniques that either work or do not work in your experience?

Campbell: I don’t do any craft shows or trades shows right now, but they are definitely a possibility in the future. One thing I really enjoy and would love to market especially in places like Saratoga, NY is horse portraits and art. I would love to be able to spend my free time painting and drawing them and doing a specific show just for that. But right now I keep busy and pretty much only have time for my commissions and my art journal.

Something I’ve found to be very important when getting jobs is to be personal with the client. Whenever I get an email asking about estimates or whatever, I don’t just send out an already typed up letter with just their name dropped in, I do my best to write each person (and it takes hours every day to write everyone back) and I’ve found that people who end up being my clients like that. When I take the time to email them or call and answer their questions ultimately it made them want to work with me, and not someone else. A technique for advertising that I’ve also tried that did not work was fliers. The most effective method I’ve found has been online advertising and word of mouth.

Turnbull: Can you tell us a little about your journey to becoming an artist (where you grew up, when you knew you wanted to "art", how it was to share that vision with family, how it's been to realize that vision, what you're looking to accomplish in 07)?

Campbell: I was born and raised in Alexandria and have been drawing since I could hold a pencil in my hand. I was lucky enough to have parents who realized that my artistic ability was well-advanced over other children and encouraged me to do art in any way they could. They bought me art supplies, enrolled me in various after-school art classes, and encouraged me to attend college for art. I consider myself so lucky to have parents that let me be what I was born to be. When I was little I always said I wanted to be an artist when I grew up and that passion and desire is still in me and I will continue working in this profession for as long as I can. I am currently in the Manassas area. I pretty much work some of MD, DC, and Northern VA. My website is at

Turnbull: Annie Liebovitz recently explained she believes interaction with her subjects (even entering a simple dialogue) changes both the light and mood before she's even begun shooting. For your portrait work, can you share an experience you had about the transference between painter and model?

Campbell: I can draw/paint from a live model, but for my work I prefer working from photos. It is true, knowing the subject puts a whole new light to the portrait. I am doing a portrait now of a child who is in one of my art classes. He is so full of energy (it can be hard to calm him down sometimes) and I want to portray that in the portrait.

I think it’s more difficult to portray someone you know because adding their personality to the portrait gives a whole new aspect to the painting and it takes so much more planning. However, when you’re finished even someone who doesn’t know the person will be able to look at it and say, "Wow, he looks like a very spirited child."

Turnbull: Although the nation is enjoying tremendous growth in new commercial development, it is also true that many neighborhoods suffer from disrepair and neglect. When you think about murals as an art form as they exist to revitalize older or ugly buildings, where do you think mural artists need to "go."

Campbell: I always enjoy seeing collaged street murals done on the side of a brick building, providing a sense of life and a taste of what that city has to offer. With something like that, I think the artist has to decide what he wants to portray to a multitude of people in a fast amount of time. Murals like that are somewhat of a billboard for the artist. I’ve never done a mural like that so this question is difficult to answer.

Turnbull: Animal portraiture is another growing trend, with anticipated market increases in all things having to do with animals (clothes, toys, art, schools, etc.) What do you make of this current boom?

Campbell: I didn’t even know this was a growing trend. I am excited to see how it affects my work because animals are my favorite subject. I do think that there are definitely a lot more animal portrait artists out there than people portraitists so I know there would be more competition.

Turnbull: Kelly, do you participate in or know of any interesting or new art related non-profits? We are always interested in highlighting causes utilizing art to achieve goals.

Campbell: Well what comes to mind is recently I have been asked to “donate” a mural for a child’s room for a silent auction benefiting an inclusive preschool (that accepts all children, even those with disabilities) in Alexandria. The auction is for a six foot mural and one accent of their choice (normal retail value being around $600-700). The auction takes place in March.

Turnbull: Lastly, if you could be director of the National Gallery (or any other DC area museum) for one day - what immediate change(s) would you implement?

Campbell: I wish I could give an interesting and ingenious answer to this question, but I can’t think of anything that I would want changed. I’ve visited the National Gallery many times and I always enjoy it the way it is.

Friday, January 26, 2007

The Top 25 Web Celebrities

Forbes has come up with a list of "the biggest, brightest and most influential people on the Internet. From bloggers to podcasters to YouTube stars, these are the people who are creating the digital world from the bottom up."

And guess what? There's a conceptual artist on that list!

And guess what? He's from the Greater Washington, DC area!

And guess what? His last DC exhibition had lines around the corner waiting to get in!

And guess what? His road to fame started at the last Art-O-Matic!

Frank Warren, one of the nicest guys that I know, and creator of PostSecret, is number 14 on the list.

Congrats to Frank!

Here's the list:

1. Jessica Lee Rose

2. Perez Hilton

3. Markos Moulitsas Zúniga

4. Matt Drudge

5. Seth Godin

6. Jeff Jarvis

7. Glenn Reynolds

8. Amanda Congdon

9. Robert Scoble

10. Michael Arrington

11. Hosea Frank

12. Jimmy Wales

13. Harry Knowles

14. Frank Warren

15. Cory Doctorow

16. Xeni Jardin

17. Leo Laporte

18. Merlin Mann

19. John H. Hinderaker

20. Charles Johnson

21. Kevin Sites

22. Mark Lisanti

23. Jason Calacanis

24. Om Malik

25. Violet Blue
Read the whole article by David M. Ewalt here.

Caroline Altmann's Idea

Alexandria, Virginia artist Caroline Altmann writes to me:

Would love to plant an idea on expanding D.C.'s art audience.

A year and a half ago, I started sending out emails to non-artist friends who were interested in being informed on "must see" exhibits. It is a small effort on my part of a greater plan to increase awareness that D.C. has an important art scene worthy of national and international attention.

My observation is that people (including the well educated, observant, aesthetically sensitive) are afraid of art (Oh yes, artists are equally shy). Many are afraid that they don't know enough about art to be secure in their likes or dislikes. Even art buyers retain this "I am not an expert" humility. Many are unsure of what is art and therefore something that they could chose with confidence for themselves.

It is the responsibility of us in the field to make the subject seem less daunting.

One of the most important things we could do is to make art more accessible. How to do this? There are, of course, many ways. More information is a good start.

Isn't the British model wonderful of presenting works of art in context of history, culture and personal background of the artist? It demystifies the art. Nothing creates a greater barrier between the art and the viewer than the sparse labeling of art with titles and medium only.

Where do you find explanations?

In special shows.

So I created an emailing list to tell people of extraordinary shows in galleries and museums. At well-curated shows, learning is easy and enjoyable. Some of my past recommendations were "Sculpture Unbound" and Jean Pigozzi's extraordinary modern African art collection.

The response has been wonderful -- my friends appreciate the personal recommendations. And, I am respectful of their email inboxes and recommend only a few shows. I would love to eventually get all artists in the D.C. area to do the same.

Imagine several thousand artists sending out emails to interested folks who love personal recommendations on what they cannot miss. We could reach 50 - 100,000 individuals! The more people interested in art, the more local newspapers, including the Post will cover the non- museum world. In 5-10 years we would transform this town.

Must see show at the National Gallery -- Diptychs

You haven't heard about "must sees" from me for awhile since I was immersed in putting together my show for the 2nd half of last year. But I'm again going out and today saw an eye-popping, superb, international exhibit.

"Prayers and Portraits" is easy to pass up at 1st notice. (I went at the urging of a NY friend). 14th-16th devotional portraits of Dutch patrons coupled with religious images, many gory, do not usually attract crowds.

But there were plenty of folks in the rooms. Here God is in the details. The workmanship is exquisite, divine if you don't mind the pun. The history is interesting, and if you catch the Beloved tour guide at a 12:00 tour (check days) you will be enlightened. And don't be dissuaded by the images on the NG website. The wonder can only be seen up close (10 inches at times -- no pesky buzzers).

At the National Gallery of Art, West Building until Feb 4.

Photos and Lies

The Washington Post's Michael O'Sullivan has a really good marriage of two photographers' works in this review in today's WaPo.

O'Sullivan reviews "Self Possesed" (through Feb. 24 at Adamson Gallery in DC) and "Mini-Matic" (through Feb. 3 at Fraser Gallery in Bethesda, MD).

About "Self-Possesed" O'Sullivan writes:

"While the photographs are attributed to Prince, the show's publicity gives top billing to Mann, and, sure enough, in several of them she's holding the shutter release cable herself."
And he adds about "Mini-Matic"
A series of black-and-white photographs by Doug Sanford touches on a somewhat different interpretation of truth and lies in Fraser Gallery's group show "Mini-Matic." Using shots of printouts of angry e-mails sent by the artist's former girlfriend -- on whom he had cheated -- the works feature enlarged passages of text illustrating such hell-hath-no-fury passion as "I. Hate. You." and "I hope you suffer horribly" and "I know you're just concocting lies."
And so far it looks as I have at least one of these six predictions right.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Rousseau on Mini-Matic

Dr. Claudia Rousseau, in the Gazette newspapers, reviews the "Minimatic" multi-gallery exhibition going on in various Bethesda venues.

"Although it isn’t the Artomatic we have all come to love, it is certainly a lesson in what happens when gallerists are asked to choose from such a huge menu. The best tend to rise to the top, like cream in unhomogenized milk, to the point that duplicate picks had to be sorted out, and names familiar from previous exhibits turned up again, although some with new work. On the other hand, all the work is not great; some real bloopers are on view — just enough, perhaps, to give these exhibits a feel of the real Artomatic circus."
Read her review here.

Here's an idea for the Washington Post: the WaPo already owns the Gazette newspapers, which are published weekly in various counties and cities in suburban Maryland.

Since they already own those newspapers, they probably also own the copyright and reproduction rights to any and all stories and columns published in the Gazette.

So... why not "add" some of the Gazette gallery reviews to the Sunday Arts mix once in a while and give WaPo readers a "second" voice and a "second" set of eyes on the area's art scene?

Makes sense to me.

An idea for Washington, DC

Or for any other American city that it; but it is especially appropriate for the nation's capital.

A Photographer Laureate.

Yes, yes a Photographer Laureate.

The idea, inspired by historically successful photographic projects including the Farm Security Administration's WPA photographers, the National Endowment for the Arts, and most directly by the City of Tampa's Public Art Program own Photographer Laureate Program (now seeking its 5th Laureate), would be for the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities to create and fund the program to have each yearly Photographer Laureate create a "volume" or portfolio of their city-focused work which then would be added to the City's Public Art Collection.

The subject matter would be open but thematically focused on the city itself, and may include images of specific sites and subjects such as landmarks, landscapes, architecture, etc., or more peripheral themes such as portraits, cultural diversity, labor, industry, the arts, families, education, etc.

Over the course of time, the District's collection would accumulate (and hopefully display somewhere) a full, continously growing representation of the multiple and diverse perspectives of the various photographers' views of the District.

Tampa has a $25,000 budget for this that they give to their Photographer Laureate to deliver work over the year's period. Certainly the District could come up with a similar budget to accomplish this.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

McLeod on the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition

Deborah McLeod is the former Director of Exhibitions at the McLean Project for the Arts, a former Trawick Prize juror and currently resides in Baltimore, where she reviews art shows for the Baltimore City Paper. Below she writes about the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition at the National Portrait Gallery.

I wanted to write about the National Portrait Gallery Portrait Competition for several reasons that I should reveal before taking the plunge. The first impetus had much to do with my brother in law, Rick Weaver, and his response to the show as a perfection-driven mannerist painter as well as a participating artist; the second had to do with the thoughtful, if protectively benefit-of-the-doubt exhibition catalog essay by Dave Hickey, and a subsequent bombastic review by Blake Gopnik; the third involved my own personal uncertainties on arguing this far-ranging, provocative collection of works and the hope that writing about it might gather it into a justly disposing order, at least for me.

Unlike the rest of the collection in the NPG, this show is not entirely about people but rather emphasizes portraiture itself. There is a great deal of converse and protective snobbery going on in and around the idea and its evidence, and that makes it especially interesting. In place of the more common event of bringing mutually minded authors together in a proportionately stretched envelope that doesn’t pop the glue, the NPG exhibition is like an envelope’s version of the world map busted apart and splayed. It is an idiosyncratic face off between traditionalist and iconoclast, each an acquired taste... but not by each other.

In lieu of Dave Hickey pondering how Alice Neel, Elizabeth Payton, Alex Katz, John Currin or Julian Opie portraits have faired so gracefully and exceptionally in the annals of art, let us imagine each of those artists early in their career (when we don’t know them), having one piece in this show. Would they stand out above the fray, look like Blue Chippers from the get-go, without their support machinery? I think that is the good and bad of this show – it is a fray – and fair or not it holds every artist in it individually accountable for their predicament, not just for summation through a single creation, but for boisterous interventions from their neighbors’ works.

If one Googles portraits, as I expect Hickey did in anticipation of his essay, and probably Gopnik too, it is easy to become somewhat crestfallen on the subject. This subcategory coexists with serious art as a commercial product potentially barren of any hierarchy. Even the silver-haired Portrait Societies offer a rather irregular insider vetting system.

On the other hand, turning the fame filters off, as well as allowing each participant only one work to defend their entire oeuvre as this show does, presents an opportunity to consider the modern predicament of humanity as a crowd of ones, how we transcend familiarities and inequities to intermingle in the disquieting presence and identity of other unlike individuals. The sitters in this array are essentially characteristic-studies for these portraits’ purposes, once separated from prepared, recruited places above some mantle or headboard. They are hardly the vanity patrons of the past, but despite bringing their own personal baggage to the studio, are principally the contrivance of the artist, just as it all is in Hickey’s “urban” art world.

This fluid exhibition diverts into two modes which relate to but barely coincide with Hickey’s breakdown of self, family and stranger. The two reduced to a nutshell genres are romanticism and journalism, with the latter being the most prevalent by far. Most of the artists demonstrate an aesthetic weaned on current event type shots, foreground personas posed in the aftermath of some notification, censure or honor (Jennifer Kryczka, Ginny Stanford, William Lawrance, Sharon Sprung, Armando Dominguez, and Amber Kappes incline in this direction), or candidly snapped in the midst of an event or phenomenon (Tina Myon, Bryan Drury, Jared Joslin), or looking provokingly antagonized by a recent adversity or long privation (Doug Auld’s overtly sensationalistic Shayla, Jenny Dubnau, Nathanial Lang, Catherine Prescott, Costa Vavagiakis’ poignant, palliative Arthur VI, and the epic portrait by James Seward).
Sam and the Perfect World by David LenzThere is no shortcoming in the close-up and personal stylistic approach. It is honest visual orientation that appropriately documents its period and place in this show. The subject’s location, far from being nowhere in time and space, is conventionally anticipated in an accompanying record; the “human interest” write-up. An imagined byline supplies the necessary rest in this cultural example. But there are many works of this sort that do involve journalistic backdrop compositions, even if reality is radicalized, or tampered with, such as David Lenz’s cover image, so I find it curious to read that Hickey feels the show bereft of them.

The romanticism of the portrait competition arrives in a variety of forms. But these forms are generally stitched together by the artists’ various indications of intimacy. Among this group are the most and least successful works in the show. Intimacy is a trap of sorts for the viewer. The most horrific example of romantic intimacy is Steve DeFrank’s Lite-Brite peg painting of his naked Portrait of George Guillaume by Kris Kuksi Mom and Dad aglow in acid green aura. It is retro brilliant in the way it envelopes the inauspicious subject in abject distaste. But it can’t be looked at for long, which could also mean DeFrank may one day be arranging for his Annie Leibowitz shooting. Other brands of portrait intimacy head for the more richly entwined emotions of empathy, tenderness and desire. This group does contain my personal favorites: Kris Kuksi’s utterly exquisite, fraught little Portrait of George Guillaume, the super-sized conning innuendo of Nina Levy’s hovering baby’s Large Head, the obscure, disorienting predicament that presents in Tina Newberry’s Epaulettes. The non-portrait by Nuno deCampos Magnet #3 whose stance, electrocardiograph dress, and taste in magnets and dinner options gives me much more satisfying information then Demi Raven’s useless, if au courant, absurdity, Monster v.4.

Joe and James by Brett BigbeeAbove all, for me, is Joe and James by Brett Bigbee, which rivetingly flies above several late painters without ever exacting one in particular as it presents its two boyhood protagonists. Bigbee’s characters are inscrutable in some ways and on the other hand they are vulnerable, proud, predetermined, self-protective. Skinny boy-sphinxs, formed, but still waiting to be formed. And, because I’m drawn to the living film-strip format Sara Pedigo arranges in Winter to Spring, where the home milieu takes center stage periodically as the portrait, I would add this modest delight to my list.

I am however lost to understand what about Young Marriage by Justin Hayward garnered it a Commendation from the selection committee. It is sterile and self-conscious, bordering on that silly surrealist blip in time that we apparently just cannot shake, where special effects and unlikely attributes protect everyone from emotion.

The two paintings that Hickey identified as valorous and ennobling, by David Larned and Richard Weaver, are indeed. But, I cite that Maggie Sullivan by Richard Weaverrespectfully. What I shall say about their shared eloquent sensibility is how they each uniquely express in these portrayals a quiet, mythic longing, outside of time – in the fable of the resigned young woman who desires, in introspective solitude, something perceived as unattainable, or a liberator that doesn’t know of her whereabouts. This nineteenth century romantic intimacy seems silently signified in every line, shadow, curve and attribute, as it would have been then, its full story semi-disclosed in subtle clues. The subject may languish for requiring her dream, but her dream doesn’t languish for a byline.

The Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition’s in-depth coverage presents the choice conundrum for painters of people, and viewers of painting. That people do live subjectively as subjects, not objectively as objects, their stories are not symbols but allegories, even in the flashbulb fix of the news item. The artists that take them on do so that their art may track down the unruly and unfathomable interpretation of identity. If the NPG had settled on a collection of works that favored a particular sensibility or aesthetic, it might easily have slid backwards in time to become that silver haired European salon experience that one finds in their older installations. Their competition is made much more interesting, fresh, and thoroughly American by all the contrary, discordant arguments in their rooms. One needn’t find them all agreeable. To your corners now.

Deborah McLeod

The Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC runs through February 17, 2007.

The U.S./Japan Creative Artists Program

Deadline: February 1, 2007

This program offers an opportunity for contemporary and traditional artists from the U.S. to spend a 5 months residency in Japan. The focus of the program is to foster cultural understanding.

The program is open to professional creative artists in the following fields: artistic directors of dance or theater companies, choreographers, solo theater artists, media artists, designers, architects, visual artists, composers, playwrights, fiction and nonfiction writers. Open to U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Artists receive a monthly stipend for living expenses, funding for housing, and professional support services. Round-trip transportation (up to $6,000) is also provided. Application deadline: February 1, 2007. For more information, contact:

Japan-US Friendship Commission
1201 15th St., NW, Ste. 330
Washington, DC 20005

Peter Panse Trial Ends

Remember the case of Peter Panse, the upstate New York art teacher suspended over drawing classes, nudes and a ton of other allegations?

Well... The Times-Herald Recond reports that

A year, half a dozen days of testimony, and untold amounts of taxpayers' money later, Middletown High School art teacher Peter Panse gets a 15-day suspension without pay and will return to the classroom by mid-February.

School district officials sought to fire Panse, who has tenure, accusing him of bringing sex into his high school classroom and violating district policy by offering students a figures drawing class — which would include the use of nude models — off campus and for his profit.

An administrative law judge who heard testimony over the course of four sporadic months ruled Jan. 8 that Panse did violate the no-solicitation policy, but that the district failed to prove the teacher's talk of nude-model drawing rose to the level of sexual inappropriateness. In his ruling, Joel M. Douglas found that the testimony of some of the district's key witnesses was "evasive, vague and ambiguous."
Read the whole story here.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A Woman's Eye...

My good friend Sharon Burton from Authentic Art DC has a really good posting with loads of photos and an excerpt from Mike Giuliano's review in the Arts Section of The Columbia Flier on the opening reception for the exhibition View from a Woman's Eye at the Columbia Art Center.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Botero in DC

If my memory serves me right, Fernando Botero's career started accidentally in Washington, DC in the 1950s.

And now my good friend Jack Rasmussen, who runs the American University Museum at the Katzen is bringing Botero's most controversial work to the Katzen.

Read it all here.


Opportunity for Artists

"Sex Issue" exhibition at Projekt30.

Announcing the second annual "Sex Issue" exhibition at Projekt30. An exhibition showcasing fine artists exploring or commenting upon issues of gender and sexuality in our society. We are accepting work ranging from the personal, to the political, to the near-pornographic. The exhibition will be publicly juried: All artwork submitted will be presented February 2-13, 2007 so visitors may help select what will be included, unlike other juried exhibitions everyone receives exposure. The final exhibition will consist of work from 30 artists. It will run from Valentines Day, February 14 to April 15th, 2007. Mailings will be distributed to over 50,000 galleries, collectors, and fellow artists. Fee: $35 for up to 10 images. Go to: this website for complete details or to to apply online.

If you don't get it

In 1999 the Washington Post sent out a letter to all their subscribers detailing some major changes in the paper which were designed to improve the newspaper itself.

The letter, signed by Donald Graham, the publisher of the Post, asked for feedback and opinions, and so I wrote them the below letter. In the letter I not only expressed what I thought were shortcomings in the WaPo's arts coverage, but also gave the WaPo several ideas for improvement.

Sadly, since then coverage has only become worse. The "Galleries" column is now published about 20 times a year instead of weekly, and "Arts Beat" is also no longer weekly, but apparently ad hoc.

All of the names mentioned in the letter have since left the Post, retired, or been replaced, but by a freelancer and by a chief art critic who does not write about Washington, DC art galleries and artists.

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

January 27, 1999

Donald E. Graham
The Washington Post
1150 15th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20071

Dear Mr. Graham,

Thank you for your letter dated January 24, 1999. I'm eagerly looking forward to the new "improved" Washington Post.

Since you asked me for my opinion on how the new, improved Post can serve its readers better, I'm hereby sending you a few comments and some facts which may be of interest to you, and which may in fact help you in the future as you continue to improve the Washington Post.

One area of the newspaper, which continues to receive local attention and acute criticism, is the Post's lack of coverage of the metropolitan visual fine arts scene. While the Style section and the Weekend magazine combine to deliver a complete, in-depth coverage of many of the genres which make up a city's cultural life, (such as music, movies, theatre, opera, architecture and our museums) the Post continues to ignore largely the visual arts as defined by the art exhibited and the artists of the Greater Washington, DC area.

The immediate gut reaction of the Style editor might be "but Ferdinand Protzman covers the galleries on Thursday?" Yes, that is true and that answer may reflect the lack of understanding to the key to the problem. Not Protzman, but the fact that his weekly column is the only mention which local galleries and artists routinely get in the Post.

The "Arts Beat" column, which also appears on Thursdays, does on occasion cover a visual arts event, but that is the exception, rather than the rule. If we switch over to the Weekend magazine, it does not take a lot of research to discover that in the last few years (yes years) the "On Exhibit" section, although having a masthead which proclaims it to be about "Galleries, Museums and Art Spaces" has not covered a single fine art gallery in this city in years. It is devoted exclusively to museum shows in our city and other cities.

This lack of "participation" in the development of our city's visual art scene is shameful in a city which boasts over 200 art galleries and which once had one of the most vibrant local visual art scenes in the nation. What makes it even more astounding is the brilliant coverage that the other cultural genres receive from the Post.

Museums (or "dead artists" as living counterparts often refer to them) get brilliant coverage in the Post and I applaud this! With one of the best museum scenes in the world this is commendable. Thus, three of your art critics (Jo Ann Lewis, Burchard and Paul Richards) all write about museum shows and on very, very rare occasions write something which is "local" in nature. This is the exception, rather than the rule; it may happen once or twice a year. They even cover museum shows in other cities. These writers do not write about local art galleries -- only Protzman, and we must wait for his words to be decanted once a week, to read and breathe local visual arts.

Movies are reviewed or discussed nearly every day in Style and it is not unusual for the same movie to be written about (by different authors) in Style and in the Weekend section on Fridays. The same goes for theatre; even though there are more art galleries than theatres in this city, and the public is more exposed to them than to the theatre, every play in every recognized theatre gets exposure and reviews. The same goes for music, be it live, stage or recorded. This is all good, but it again highlights the huge differences in the coverage as compared to the local art galleries and visual artists.

Why is this phenomenon unusual? Because other major newspapers, especially papers as powerful as the Post do not act in the same manner. The Post is the only major newspaper that I know of which does not have a galleries art critic in its staff (as you know Mr. Protzman is a freelancer). I have been told that the New York Times has eleven gallery critics writing for them, The Seattle Times four, the S.F. Examiner three and the L.A. Times four.

Washington artists and art galleries deserve better. In fact, they deserve equal print space. Art criticism and art reviews are not easy to write; yet a variety of skilled critics do exist in our city, so the writing talent is here; this is not an excuse.

Your reading public deserves better. Mr. Protzman's weekly piece is just not enough and it's only one point of view. This is not healthy for our artists and for our art scene.

Several weeks ago, at the Art Symposium sponsored by the Washington Art Dealers Association, one of the representatives from the Post made the statement that the "reason that art galleries do not get reviewed in the Post is because they don't advertise." I refuse to believe, even in today's austere economic environment, that this could be the reason.

What is the reason for this lack of coverage -- especially when compared to the brilliant job which the paper does for the "other" local arts in general? In my opinion the reason is that the editors of both Style and Weekend do not feel that your reading public is interested in art galleries and local artists. They want to publish "only" what they feel their public wants to read. Even if this were correct, which I doubt it is, I think that this is not the attitude and goal for one of the world's greatest newspapers.

Why does this concern me? Three months ago I was contacted and commissioned by an ad hoc group of local artists who commissioned me to do a one year study on the coverage of the Washington Post to local art galleries and then quantify that coverage in terms of proportion to other arts coverage. The initial results, some of which I have mentioned in this letter, have been particularly astounding.

Secondly, I am deeply involved in the city's art scene. I am a member of the D.C. City Arts Projects Program Advisory Panel, an artist, a gallery owner and a regularly published regional art critic.

As such, I encourage you to perhaps think about refocusing more attention to our Washington artists and galleries. There is a variety of ways in which this can be done and my suggestions are:

(a) Assign one week out of the month to local gallery coverage in Weekend's "On Exhibit" section (or take 'Galleries' off the masthead).

(b) Keep Mr. Protzman's weekly "Galleries" column on Thursdays.

(c) Nicole Lewis' "Arts Beat" should not echo what has already been covered by music critics or theatre critics, etc. Devote at least 50% of that column, which runs concurrently with "Galleries," to visual arts. Keep Thursdays focused on Art Galleries (which it's supposed to be its focus anyway).

(d) Pick up a "pool" of local art critics and assign a different one each week (also on Thursdays) to write mini-art reviews to augment Mr. Protzman's more elaborate, in-depth art criticism.

(e) Six times a year assign one of your museum art critics to do a piece on a local gallery show, or local art movement, or local gallery groups, etc. Something flavored by the local arts.

(f) Have local art critics and even Mr. Protzman write more reviews and just "publish" them in your excellent web pages.

There were over 30 pieces written about the van Gogh exhibit by the Post, ranging from front-page coverage to the business section. This shows that someone at the Post recognizes the interest in your reading public about the works of art which hung so vociferously at the National Gallery; I submit to you that this same interest can be kindled for the van Goghs of the future.

Thank you for your attention,

F. Lennox Campello

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Art Market

Do people really believe the kitschy pictures of naked girls with pussy cats by German painter Martin Eder are any good or are buyers simply jumping on the bandwagon because his prices have reached $500,000? When we learn that a newish painting by the second-rate latter-day Neo-Expressionist Marlene Dumas sold for over three million dollars, does it alter how we think of her work? Does it alter the ways magazine editors or curators think about it?

The curator of Dumas's upcoming MOMA exhibition, the otherwise excellent Connie Butler, recently responded to one of my public hissy fits about the overestimation of this artist by saying, "Dumas has been making portraits of terrorists," as if to suggest that certain subject matter exempts art from criticism. In fact, this subject matter is not only predictable and generic, and in that sense utterly conservative, its perfect fodder for a culture in disconnect.

It's wonderful that mediocre women artists now command the same astronomical prices for their art that mediocre male artists always have. But do artists who don't sell for high prices have less of a chance to ever make money? Are Vito Acconci and Adrian Piper fated to forever being 'Lifestyles of the Poor and Famous' artists? If you're unknown and over 35 do you have a shot? In this era of the 30-month career, what happened to the idea of the 30-year career?
The Village Voice's Jerry Saltz intelligently rants and raves about the art market in a piece titled Seeing Dollar Signs - Is the art market making us stupid? Or are we making it stupid?

Read it here.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Re-examining the Camel Toe

I'm pretty sure that the above headline will get me some interesting Google referrals, but it's all about performance artist Kathryn Williamson, whose performance "Size Zero: Re-examining the Camel Toe" is done "as a commentary on America's obsession with female body image in popular culture."

Williamson says that she "will try to put on a pair of jeans that are several sizes too small. If Sarah Jessica Parker, Nicole Richie and the Olsen twins wear a size zero, why can’t I?"

The performance will take place at the Fraser Gallery in Bethesda at 4PM on Saturday, January 20 and it is part of a jam-packed week two of the Bethesda Artomatic events, which in addition to Williamson's performace at Fraser includes many other events for the four days stretching from Friday, January 19th to Monday, January 22nd.

There are talks by artists Matt Sesow and Elizabeth Morisette at Creative Partners Gallery, an open dance rehearsal and lecture-demo at Joy of Motion featuring Crosscurrents Dance Company, a free concert by area favorites Dead Men’s Hollow at the Round House Theatre, a headshot party at the Washington School of Photography (where WSP instructors will provide each attendee/artist with a free headshot on a CD, for use by the artist in promotional materials - bring your own CD), and much more.

To make it easier they’ve put together the day-by-day schedule of Artomatic associated events, as well as a walking map to the venues which can be found at this website.

Wanna go to an art event in DC tonight?

I am told that if you didn't RSVP that you can still show up! See below...



To former DC area artist Jiha Moon (represented locally by Curator's Office), and a past winner of the Trawick Prize, as two of her pieces have been acquired by the Hirshhorn Museum as a generous gift of my good friend Mario Cader-Frech, and Robert Wennett.

Buy Jiha Moon now!

Robin Tierney's Top 10

Robin Tierney writes art criticism and covers art events and issues in the Greater DC area for the Washington Examiner. Below is her list of her Top 10 DC area art shows:

"I'm going from memory. These are in no particular order of preferences, and I would prefer to list 15 or 20 in my top 10 (metaphysically speaking). These don't include big-gallery shows (like dada at NGA, Joseph Cornell at SAAM, Hiroshi Sugimoto at Hirshhorn & Sackler, the smartly focused "women" shows that Jack curated (non-locals) at AU/Katzen, etc.); just local artist-focused showcases.

1. Juke, Jefferson Pinder's video installation at G Fine Arts

2. City Hall "HeART of DC" Art Collection (because it's a fantastic array of local, diverse talents of several generations).

3. Katzen/AU: "Remembering Marc and Komei."

4. Warehouse shows such as Freak House (Dana Ellyn and Russell Richards...I hadn't known of him before; such a combination of imagination and precision/technique). And the Peace show (which may have also been called War).

5. Fraser Gallery: now how can one decide between Interface, Compelled by Content II and Annual Photo Show? Maybe Interface first.

OK, some that other folks may not mention:

6. Sculpture Unbound: like a playpen for the mind.

7. Touchstone's Mud, Earth... I am forgetting the name. But then again, now I'm thinking I was more pleasantly surprised by fiber creativity at Touchstone's Woven Tapestries by the Wednesday Group (a group of local fiber artists).

8. Rebecca Cross Mackenzie's Raku. Actually, CM had two shows that had many standout pieces. Some folks classify ceramics/pottery as 'other than art' but I respect Rebecca's efforts to show the art potential of such works and think her gallery helps build up the DC art scene's foundation.

9. Cupidity at Gallery Neptune. Liked the lively alchemy of this artful experiment (among other shows there).

10. Various rotating displays of member work at Washington Printmaker Gallery. Not necessarily a particular feature artist exhibition, but over a few visits there one can discover treasures along with magic etching tricks.

Jobs in the Arts

Assistant Professor, Arts Management American University, Department of Performing Arts - Washington, DC.

The Department of Performing Arts in the College of Arts and Sciences at American University invites applications for a tenure-track position at the rank of Assistant Professor in Arts Management, beginning fall 2007. Applicants must have a Master's Degree in Arts Management or in a related field. PhD, preferred.

Three years professional experience in arts management or a related field is required. Applicants should be prepared to teach graduate courses in marketing and public relations, arts programming, and related undergraduate level courses including General Education, advise and mentor both graduate and undergraduate students in arts management and related fields, and have demonstrated excellence in teaching and scholarship in arts management and/or a related field. Send letter of application addressing teaching and research interests and experience, curriculum vitae, and three letters of recommendation to:

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20016-8053

For best consideration, applications should be complete by January 20, 2006 (yikes! that's tomorrow!). Direct inquiries to

Director of Development: Smithsonian Institution, Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden - Washington, DC

The Hirshhorn, one of the nation's leading contemporary art museums, seeks to broaden its base of private sector support to provide a platform for the art and artists of our time, to connect more fully with their regional and local community and to better serve the 750,000 visitors they welcome annually.

Building on the strength of an existing program, the Director of Development, will expand their capacity in individual and major gift campaigns, corporate and foundation relations and develop strategic alliances and sponsorship programs that will support the museum goals in exhibition, educational programming, and collections development. For a detailed position description and application procedures visit listing Vacancy announcement #EX-07-02, closing date 1/19/07. The Smithsonian is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Email or fax resume with a cover letter referencing experience and qualifications by closing date to or fax 202/275-1115.

VSA arts seeks Director of Outcomes and Evaluation - Washington, DC

A position description can be found at the Employment button of the Kennedy Center web site. Applications can be submitted from that web site. Interested individuals can also contact:

James E. Modrick
Vice President, Affiliate & Education Services
VSA arts
818 Connecticut Ave, NW, Suite 600
Washington DC 20006

Jazz & Art at the Katzen

The Katzen at American University in having a free Jazz & Art night this coming Saturday at the museum from 7-9PM. See details here.

Bloomberg looks at DC art

Roger Atwood of checks in with a piece on some DC area art shows. Read it here.


Contemporary Art Gallery magazine has a nice article by Tia Marks on our own Rosetta DeBerardinis. Read it here.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Philip Barlow's Top 10

Ubercollector Phillip Barlow is a towering presence at most DC area art shows, and also has done a super job in his first venture as a curator. Below is his list of his top 10 DC area art shows for 2006 and they are in order

1. Simon Gouverneur – Curator’s Office (1/28/06 – 3/4/06)

2. Brandon Morse – Conner Contemporary (3/17/06 – 4/29/06)

3. Iona Brown & Jefferson Pinder – G Fine Art (11/18/06 – 1/6/07)

4. Jae Ko – Marsha Mateyka (9/28/06 – 10/28/06)

5. Laurel Lukaszewski – Project 4 (6/16/06 – 7/22/06)

6. Robin Rose & Sharon Sanderson – Hemphill Fine Art (9/16/06 – 10/28/06)

7. Dan Treado – Addison/Ripley Fine Art (9/9/06 – 10/14/06)

8. Manon Cleary – WAM (Edison Place Gallery) (9/14/06 – 10/27/6)

9. Amy Lin – District of Columbia Arts Center (12/15/06 – 1/15/07)

10. Teo Gonzalez – Irvine Contemporary (9/8/06 – 10/14/06)

More Baltimorism

Uli Loskot is a talented photojournalist from Austria who shoots for the Baltimore City Paper.

She has been spending a lot of time in Mexico and those works will be included in the exhibition "Northern Comfort" at The Whole Gallery (405 W. Franklin Street in Baltimore). The exhibition also includes works by Seth Mathurin, Steve Dewey, Dirk Joseph and Mike Miller.

Check it out Saturday, January 20th. Music by Lighter Thieves and Puddle. 7PM to Mindnight.

Art Horror Story

Read this Los Angeles Times story about artist John O'Brien and what happened when he decided to sell reproductions of his paintings.

Add a dishonest art dealer to the mix and this is what you get.

Baltimore Yarns

"Yarns of the Material World" opens January 20, 2007 from 6-10 pm at Cubicle 10 in Baltimore.

The exhibition features work by Ken Ashton, D.Billy, Zoe Charlton, Jeffry Cudlin, Rick Delananey, Richard Dana, Candace Keegan, Bridget Sue Lambert, Bill Johnson, J.T. Kirkland, Jefferson Pinder, Michael Platt, Stan Squirewell, Alex Schuchard and Trish Tillman.

The gallery is at 1431-1435 North Central Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21202 and can be reached at 202-247-0595.

While there swing by the new Patricia Touchet Gallery and see DC artist's Sean Hennessey's first solo, as I've been hearing good things about that show.

Opportunity for Artists

Deadline: February 1, 2007

The National Society of Arts and Letters 2007 Water Media Art Competition is accepting applications from younger artists, age 18-29. Deadline is February 1st, 2007. $4,000 prize with opportunity to win $10,000 prize at the national level. Works must be made with water-soluable paint or ink. Details here.

Exhibit for the competition will be at Heineman Myers in Bethesda, MD from March 18-25, 2007.

Art Party on 14th Street

By Rosetta DeBerardinis

January is usually a dead month for art, but there was a party going on opening night along DC’s newest art district - 14th Street, N.W. Bright lights were flashing, car horns blowing and art lovers spilling onto the sidewalk in front of the galleries. It was a wild night in the city.


As I made my way through the narrow entrance at 1515 14th Street to visit some of the best galleries in city, I rubbed past many familiar faces dodging wine-filled plastic cups.

Ah-to be pencil-thin again!

Once inside the three-story urban industrial space, two friends suggested I begin with Hemphill Fine Arts. It was filled with people who looked like hires from Central Casting. Everyone was chic, hip, urban - and young. A great place to check-out the latest fashion trends in eyewear.

The show “Colby Caldwell | small game” (a collection of mostly landscape inkjet prints on wood), gave you a sense of space and depth in a gallery that had none. It was jam-packed!

after nature 41 by Colby Caldwell

"after nature (41)" by Colby Caldwell

Some sought relief from the tuxedo-clad servers who were generously dispensing wine, beer, water or whatever would take the edge off the intense body-heat. My favorite print was “after nature (41),” or #9 according to the signage on the wall. I assume it is part of a series because there are eight paintings with the same title on the price list.

This work captures the hues of darkness and the formations of water with a very thin color-line depicting a horizon far into the distance. There lies the subtle beauty of black and white photography and its size (45 7/8” x 61 3/8”) captivates the viewer, however, the striped abstracts that open the show are not as compelling as Caldwell’s transformable landscapes.


The hallways on my way to Adamson Editions were filled with chatter and more members of the fashion crowd. Adamson usually has a more mature, sophisticated and moneyed crowd at his openings. But, where there is free food and free alcohol there is the infamous DC moochers (as anointed by the City Paper).

"Jessie Mann: Self Possessed, Photos by Len Prince," an exhibit of black and white photography was the strongest show in the building. I overheard conversations from the locals who disagreed with me and conjured up recollections of the Mapplethorpe debacle.

First of all, the show exhibited the human figure which everyone loves and can relate to - especially in Washington. I particularly liked the nude female seated on a rickety old staircase holding an Ipod with its cord running up the staircase still connected to its charger. And, the beautiful outline of a female sitter like a relief in the round, her considerable charm form the fluid grace of her outline.

This is a show of beauty, talent, creativity and excellent technical execution.

G Fine Art

Walking sideways through another packed hallway, I wiggled into G Fine Art who was hosting "Civilian @ G," the second launching of Jamie McLellan’s new gallery without walls, the Civilian Art Projects.

The Projects is currently a roving installation of its gallery artists held at host venues. Its first exhibition was at the Warehouse in December. It is my understanding that these premier exhibits are intended to introduce Civilians' stable of artists.

It was also packed with many familiar faces in the crowd. Washington collector and curator Phillip Barlow stood towering over the crowd, and somehow “the moochers” had beaten me there.

It was a non-thematic group exhibition. And, a little signage on the walls to tell us the “who and what” about the works would have surely helped.

I found the show of edgy and innovative works uneven, but like every exhibit, there were a few outstanding pieces. The two collages with paper cut-outs of urban hipsters wearing summer outwear (eg. Birkenstocks, sleeveless t-shirts, sunglasses) strolling through the stark white aftermath of a major blizzard was the best.

Unfortunately, due to time constraints, confusion and my ignorance, I missed what I heard is a superb G Fine Art photography group show in the back gallery including works by one of my favorite photographers, Chan Chao.

Melissa Ichiuji Optimists
Exiting the building was as difficult as entering it. Now it is around eight-something, so I dashed to Irvine Contemporary Art, housed in the next block.

Luckily, the crowd there had thinned. It is showing two exhibits “Melissa Ichiuji: Nasty Nice” and Kahn Selesnick’s “The Apollo Prophecies: New Photographs.”

Ichujii’s doll-like sculptures leaning toward surrealism dominates the front gallery. When you enter the space “Snake-n-eggs” is a hair-less form relaxing on a white pedestal flaunting her fertile eggs that are lying atop an array of beautiful colored feathers. From this point on in the exhibit you know this is no typical doll-show.

The wall text reads: “Beauty is dangerous in narrow times, a knife in a slender neck of the rational man, and only those who live between the layers of these strange days can know its shape and name.” (From Great Jones Street, 1973).

The gallery assistant began to flicker the lights like a call for seating in a theatre. “We will re-open on Tuesday,” she announced. Flickering lights usually signal a beginning but instead it marked the end of a great night for art on 14th Street-in January!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Call for Curatorial Proposals

Deadline: January 31st, 2007

The Bronx River Art Center, a 2,000 sq. ft. storefront exhibition space consisting of two interconnected galleries, is seeking dynamic and challenging curatorial proposals from emerging and mid-career curators. Selected proposals will be included in BRAC’s 2007-2008 exhibitions program.

They welcome innovative concept-based proposals involving new media, new genres and interdisciplinary practices as well as projects that interweave site-specificity and public/community interaction, however all submissions will be reviewed and considered.

All proposals should include:

*A written statement of the proposed project (including its concept and its relevance to contemporary society, contemporary art and/or the Bronx community)

*CVs and bios for all participating artists and curator(s)

*Documentation on the artwork proposed in slide form, 8.5”x11” prints, CD or DVD

*An accompanying Image List for all of the visual materials submitted. This list can also include a short description of each of the pieces if applicable.

*A SASE for the return of materials (optional)

Proposals should be mailed to:

Bronx River Art Center
c/o Jose Ruiz – Gallery Coordinator
1087 East Tremont Avenue
Bronx, NY 10460

For additional information, please contact:
Jose Ruiz – Gallery Coordinator
(718)589-5819 (x14)

$7 Million Gift for the Eakins' Cause

Athena and Nicholas Karabots of Fort Washington, PA, have contributed a total of $7 million to the homegrown Philly effort to keep Thomas Eakins' "The Gross Clinic in Philadelphia."

This is the second largest gift towards the effort after after that of the Annenberg Foundation. So far $37 million has been raised.

Now... if DC could get their local Greek-American philantrophist(s) such as Ted Leonsis (go Caps!), to contribute a good chunk of greenbacks to the cause of a Washington Art Museum for Washington, DC - as every other major American city has a "local" museum, then we'd all be in sweet art heaven.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Honfleur Gallery

Today I visited the under-construction spaces for the new Honfleur Gallery in order to deliver to them three pieces which will be included in their soft-opening "No Scratchers."

Even under the construction dust, it is easy to see that this new space will be a beautiful new addition to the Greater DC area art scene, and this Anacostia neighborhood right off the MLK, Jr already seems alive and bright with new construction everywhere (the NAACP is having its new headquarters being built almost right across the street.

ARCH has done an excellent job in designing and staffing the gallery, and already they talked to me about an energetic and aggressive exhibition program that has both national and international roots.

Above the gallery are four brand new studios, and four lucky artists have already rented them out and have got a terrific deal (the studio size ranges from 100-125 square feet, and the prices from $155-$200 a month, based on square footage. Each studio has its own skylight. Spaces will be rented on 6-month or 1 year term).

The Gallery and Studios are located at 1241 Good Hope Road SE, in historic Anacostia. They are a 10 minute walk from Anacosia Metro Station and directly on the bus line. To make an appointment to view the spaces (still under construction), contact or call (202) 889-5000, x 113.

Their first show opens Saturday January 20th, 2007, with a reception at 7pm. The show is an informal exhibition highlighting works of art created by D.C. Tattoo Artists. The exhibition is curated by Imani Brown, area artist and photographer, whose work I saw while I was there and speaking of Brown's artwork, I predict that it will be surprisingly refreshing and a welcome addition to our capital's artistic dialogue.

The grand opening is Saturday, February 24, 2007, with an opening reception at 7PM and an exhibition titled "The East of the River Group Show," and featuring work by Jonathan French, Gilbert Trent, Anne Bouie, Fred Joiner, Henry Ferrand, Prelli Williams, Bruce McNeil and more... all artists with East of the River connections.

Randall Scott's Top 10

Randall Scott opened his cool new art gallery in DC last year and very quickly has established it as one of the leading new galleries in the area. Below are his choices for the Top 10 DC area art shows:

1. Sugimoto
3. Keifer
4. Opening of Nat. Gallery
5. Jennifer Steinkamp at the Corcoran (should be perm.)
6. Redefined at the Corcoran
7. Teo Gonzolez at Irvine
8. Christenberry
9. Ledelle Moe’s heads at Metropolis ground floor
10. Wall Snatchers at WPA/C

Opportunity for Artists

Keystone Art and Culture Center (KACC) is a non-profit arts educations center located in Lancaster, PA. The Center houses a 1,800 sq. ft. gallery space and adjacent art foundry facilities. The exhibit space is 10 feet high with a 40 feet by 50 feet floor space.

They are now planning their 2007-2008 calendar of shows and are looking for artists to exhibit their work. Shows run on a 1 to 2 month basis with an opening event typically on the First Friday of each month. KACC may also hold special events in addition to the first Friday openings.

For more information please visit to download the application form.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Jack Rasmussen's Top 10

Few people know more about the art and artists of Washingmore (Washington + Baltimore) than my good friend Dr. Jack Rasmussen, who runs the American University Museum at the Katzen. Below is his Top DC area (sort of) shows for 2006:

"I don't get out of my own space enough to be a good judge of what other places were showing in 2006.

Certainly Da Da at the National Gallery of Art was the greatest.

Then, in no particular order, I liked everything I saw at the Hirshhorn, Jonathan Binstock's selections from the Corcoran's Collection, and Sean Scully and The Société Anonyme at The Phillips Collection.

I thought the new Smithsonian American Art Museum was OK, and I know I would have liked Manon Cleary's show with WAM if I had only been able to extricate myself from here.

I did manage to see Hemphill's shows of Steve Kushner and Robin Rose, beautiful as usual, and the great pairing of Jeff Spaulding and Ledelle Moe at G Fine Art.

The show I wish I had seen the most was the one Kevin MacDonald had been planning for the American University Museum. But it seems only the good die young."

Opportunity for Artists

Deadline: January 31, 2007

The Third Annual Bethesda Painting Awards - Submissions must be received by January 31, 2007. The Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District is currently accepting applications for the third annual Bethesda Painting Awards, which are mostly funded through the immense generosity of Bethesda businesswoman and arts activist Carol Trawick.

Eight finalists will be selected to display their work in an exhibition during the month of June 2007 at the Fraser Gallery in downtown Bethesda, and the top four winners will receive $14,000 in prize monies. Best in Show will be awarded $10,000; Second Place will be honored with $2,000 and Third Place will receive $1,000. Additionally, a "Young Artist" whose birthday is after January 31, 1977 will be awarded $1,000. Artists must be 18 years of age or older and residents of Maryland, Virginia or Washington, D.C.

All original 2-D painting including oil, acrylic, watercolor, gouache, encaustic and mixed media will be accepted. The maximum dimension should not exceed 60 inches in width or 84 inches in height. No reproductions. Artwork must have been completed within the last two years and must be available for the duration of the exhibition. Each artist must submit five slides, application and a non-refundable entry fee of $25.

For a complete application, please send a self-addressed stamped envelope to:

Bethesda Painting Awards
c/o Bethesda Urban Partnership
7700 Old Georgetown Road
Bethesda, MD 20814, or call 301/215-6660.

The 2007 Bethesda Painting Awards will be juried by Dr. Brandon Fortune, Professor W.C. Richardson and Professor Tanja Softic'.

Dr. Brandon Brame Fortune is the Associate Curator of Painting and Sculpture at the National Portrait Gallery. She has spent the last three years researching contemporary portraiture, and was the Gallery’s coordinator for the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition.

Professor W.C. Richardson is a Professor of Painting and Drawing at the University of Maryland. His most recent one person shows were at Loyola University, Baltimore, MD, March 2004; Fusebox, Washington, DC, June 2003; Fusebox, Washington, DC, July 2002; Baumgartner Gallery, New York, NY, September 2000.

Professor Tanja Softic’ is an Associate Professor of Art at the University of Richmond. Softic was a recipient of the 1996 National Endowment for the Arts/ Southern Arts Federation Visual Artist Fellowship and Soros Foundation—Open Society Institute Exhibition Support Grant in 1997. She recently participated in the 12th International Print Triennial in Cracow, Poland and won a first prize at the The 5th Kochi International Triennial Exhibition of Prints, Ino-cho Paper Museum in Kochi, Japan in 2002.

Rosetta deBerardinis Top 10 DC Area Art Shows

DC area writer and artist Rosetta DeBerardinis is not only a talented artist and writer, but as every gallerist and curator in the DC area knows, she gets around to a lot of shows! Here's her top 10 DC area list (with one NYC show):

1. Anselm Kiefer: Heaven and Earth, Hirshhorn.

2. No Limits, Just Edges: Jackson Pollock on Paper, the Guggenheim.

3. Kelly Towles at Adamson Gallery.

4. Doug Hall at Numark Gallery.

5. Renee Butler at Osuna Gallery.

6. Aging, Gail Rebham at Pyramid Atlantic.

7. Other Than Art, G Fine Art.

8. Blanka Sperkova at Quirk, Richmond.

9. Mixed Media, Curated by Kathryn Cornelius, the WPA/Corcoran.

10. Chawky Frenn at Fraser Gallery.

Map of DC Art Scene

Jesse Cohen is creating a map of the DC area art scene: galleries, museums, artists' studios, etc. See it here.

Sunday, January 14, 2007


Three of the faculty members of the Washington Glass School just kicked some serious ass at the Art Interview Magazine 7th Annual International Competition.

Tim Tate won first prize. In addition to a ton of Euros, he will have an opportunity to exhibit his work in Berlin. I know that I am not very objective when it comes to this artist, but if you are a serious collector and do not have a piece of his work in your collection, in my opinion, you're nuts. I do.

Both Erwin Timmers and Michael Janis won Honorable Mentions, and both these artists are part of the movement that is creating a new "school" associated with Washington and which is dragging glass into the realm of just another genre of art, rather than the vessel and craft.

The competition ran from Oct 1st to Dec. 31st 2006 and attracted artists from Australia, Belarus, Belgium, Canada, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Haiti, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Iran, Japan, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, and United States.

Call for Proposals

Deadline: March 2, 2007

Art on the Gwynns Falls Trail. Individuals and/or teams are invited to submit proposals for outdoor, site-specific environmental art installations for Art on the Gwynns Falls Trail.

The concept this year is "A Place in Time," celebrating three significant anniversaries for the Trail. Accepted projects will be displayed from Saturday, June 2, 2007 through Sunday, September 2, 2007 in Leakin Park, Baltimore, MD. This is a great opportunity for artists to use environmental materials and natural elements, while creating installations that will be seen by visitors to the park and the trail.

Contact Ryan Patterson regarding any questions or for more information:, 410-448-5663 ext. 120.

Jurors include:

Heide Grundmann - Chair of Art on the Trail Committee
Bill Eberheart - Chair of Gwynns Falls Trail Council
Michael Strawbridge - Baltimore Department of Parks and Recreation
C. Ryan Patterson - Parks and People Community Arts Coordinator
Jann Rosen-Queralt - Environmental Artist and Professor at Maryland Institute College of Art