Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Germans are coming!

The long-awaited exhibition by contemporary German artists "Aachen to Arlington: Imagining the Distance," opens today at the Arlington Arts Center, with additional exhibitions by Arlington artists and resident studio artist, Taek Lee. The formal opening reception for the show will be Friday, September 7, 6 – 9 p.m.

Curated by Harald Kunde, Director of the Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst in Aachen, it offers works by six exhibiting German artists: Tobias Danke, Irmel Kamp-Bandau, Andreas Magdanz, Stephan Mörsch and Hans Niehus. Most of these artists are represented by Stephen Adamski’s Adamski Gallery for Contemporary Art in Aachen, Germany.

Running concurrently in the AAC’s Truland Gallery will be a preview of selected works from the show Arlington to Aachen: Imaging The Distance, featuring works by American artists Caroline Danforth, Chawky Frenn, Maria Karametou, Evan Reed, Mona Sfeir and Amy Glengary Yang. This exhibition is co-curated by Claire Huschle, AAC Executive Director, and Carol Lukitsch, AAC Director of Exhibitions. This exhibition in its entirety will take place in Aachen, Germany November 9, 2007 – January 13, 2008. Both Caroline Danforth and Chawky Frenn are two of the most skilled and innovative painters in the Greater DC area, so I know that this will represent Arlington well in Germany.

And for those with the lame claim that there's no viable political art being created by American artists, I challenge thee to study the works of Chawky Frenn.

This Lebanese-born American artist and GMU Professor has been putting brush to canvas (well panel mostly) for many years with gorgeous narrative works that are nearly always delivering powerful political and social messages. It has earned him a lot of attention, including the cancellation of a solo show by his Boston gallery just after Sept. 11, when they though his work would cause too much controversy in Boston, and a travelling museum show that went through seven US museums and Universities a few years ago.

Another Good Day Painter

First there was Duane Kaiser with his one-a-day paintings, and we all know what a spectacular success he has enjoyed since.

And now Queenstown, Maryland area artist Joseph Miller has taken the daily brush to a painting-a-day task and begun a daily painting regime. See his work here.

Kata Mejia

If you have noticed a stage being built in the parking lot off 14th Street/Corcoran in DC, it is being built for "Healing," a four night performance by Philly artist Kata Mejia.

Kata Mejia
The performances will take place Wednesday through Saturday (August 1st-4th), nightly at 6pm and each performance lasts approx. 1 hour. The location is the BodySmith Parking Lot (1622 14th Street, NW (between Corcoran and R streets, NW in DC).

"Healing" commemorates the first anniversary of the death of the artist's little brother, who was kidnapped and murdered in Colombia by the FARC terrorist guerrillas.

Details at the Randall Scott Gallery's website.

Opportunity for Artists

Massachusetts' Storefront Artist Project is currently looking for artists for Exhibitions, Projects, Etc.

The Storefront Artist Project is in the process of expanding its artist network and is looking for artists interested in participating in its various activities.

Areas of opportunity include: exhibitions, studios, residencies, and artist mentors for high school students and other outreach programs.

Please send a letter (and/or email) stating areas of interest, bio, images, website, etc. to:

Storefront Artist Project
124 Fenn Street
Pittsfield, MA 01210

Or email: mail@storefrontartist.org

Picture New York

Sign this.

It is a petition to defeat a new NYC regulation introduced quietly just before Memorial Day weekend. The regulations could severely impede the ability of even casual photographers and filmmakers to operate in New York City.

More details here.

Pyramid Atlantic Art Center Seeks Executive Director

Deadline: August 17, 2007

Pyramid Atlantic Art Center, a contemporary visual arts center and gallery in Silver Spring, MD, dedicated to creation, exhibition and appreciation of paper, prints and book art, seeks a new Executive Director to succeed founder, Helen Frederick, who has been running the joint for over 26 years.

“We have been working with Helen to ensure that Pyramid Atlantic will continue to flourish in our Silver Spring home,” said Board Chair Sally Sternbach. “For the board, our members and patrons, this is a time to celebrate Helen’s remarkable artistic and administrative achievements in building this organization over the past 27 years. It’s also a time of great excitement with the advent of new leadership, which will continue the tradition of excellence that Helen has established and assure a bright future for Pyramid Atlantic.”

The new person will direct, inspire and oversee art programs through collaboration with external artistic leaders for the organization's programming and artistic activity. Reporting to the Board, they will work closely with local, regional and broader philanthropic community, including state and local agencies, to cultivate financial and other support.

Experience should include: arts background, proven leader with entrepreneurial flair, experience with diverse fundraising of $500k annually, experience leading a management team and staff through change process, Master's or Bachelor's degree in Art, Arts Management or related field.

Click here for a full job description. To apply send (by August 17) an email with your cover letter, resume and salary requirements to: info@successionusa.com.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Che Che Kole

If you have kids, then you know that "Che Che Kole" is a Ghanian children's chant that's usually taught in the US to kids in pre-school or the early years of school as part of having them learn children music from other nations.

It goes on like this:

Chekere, kalimba

Che che kole, che che kole
Che che kafisa, che che kafisa
Kafisa langa, kafisa langa,
Co co shi langa, co shi langa,
Koom ma dye day, koom ma dye day,
Great artists have the ability to take anything, including a Ghanian children's chant and re-invent it as another song, such as Willie Colon and Hector Lavoe did with Che Che Kole as a 70s super mega dance floor salsa hit. Listen and see them below as they perform the hit and then hear the Ghanian words in the song.

From something with a long history and tradition, something new and exciting, but aligned with the past and with tradition without any issues or baggage.

Introductions3 at Irvine

Irvine Contemporary has Introductions3 coming up next month. This exhibition is a selection of recent graduates from leading national and international art schools.

This third year of Introductions at Irvine Contemporary is the first gallery exhibition of its kind. Over 250 artists from 60 different art colleges were reviewed for Introductions3, and final selections were made with the advice of a panel of art collectors, rather than curators or gallerists. Introductions3 has grown to an inclusive “MFA annual” that brings the best rising artists to Washington, D.C. Participating artists are listed below with their most recent college or institute affiliation. Opening reception with artists, Saturday, August 11, 6-8 PM.

Look for the work of Akemi Maegawa (Cranbrook Institute, Sculptures and Installation) and Sarah Mizer (Virginia Commonwealth University, Sculpture and Installation) to stand out.

Wanna do something this Wednesday in DC?

ALEATORIC is going on this coming Wednesday!

Several local artists fill up two floors with installation art and emerging bands will be performing to keep up a lively atmosphere.

Sponsored by the new Artcade Magazine, and by Civilian Art Projects and by Panache, with Marissa Botelho, Curator, Reuben Breslar, Music Coordinator and work by local arts students, artists, musicians, and creative writers.

Bands involved include "Pontiak," "The Show is the Rainbow," and "Black and Tan Fantasy Band."

This night of Music and Installation Art is Wednesday, August 1, 2007 from 7:45pm – 12am and donations for the bands are encouraged. It takes place at:

Bobby Fisher Memorial Building (aka Borf Building)
1644 North Capitol St, NW,
Washington, D.C., 20002
*3 blocks north west of New York Ave. Metro Station

Another art fair coming to DC

It will be August 10-12, 2007 at the Washington Convention Center.

click for a larger image
Click on the image for a larger image of the card or visit this website.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Johnny Cash

Like many people my age, when I was a kid in Brooklyn, I grew up knowing who Johnny Cash was and who Ray Charles was, but I was not at all interested in their music.

I find it peculiar that now, after the two hit biographical movies came out about these two music giants (and both Jamie Fox and Joaquin Phoenix did such great jobs in recreating Charles and Cash's music), my interest -- along that of millions of new fans -- has been kindled for their music.

My house backs to up to a large park in Media, PA, and they have a stage there which is set-up for outdoor concerts, sort of a mini Wolf Trap. I can walk there from my house, so once in a while we walk and sit in for whoever is playing.

Last night Johnny Cash was playing. Well, actually David Stone and the Johnny Cash Experience, but let me tell you, this man was amazing!

He is not a Johnny Cash impersonator, but clearly a highly talented artist and someone who has studied Cash's life, music, mannerisms, voice and style for many, many years, and now delivers a nearly scary ability to assume the role of the man in black.

He was really good.

Stone did not try to impersonate Cash, but rather walked the audience through Cash's life and music, while at the same time sounding, looking and playing exactly like the real man in black.

The few thousand people in the audience -- which covered the whole range of ages, although oddly enough I noticed a lot of tattooed women, not just one or two tattoos either, but whole arms and chests covered in them -- really enjoyed Stone's performance and were on their feet several times.

He was really good.

Corcoran responds to my idea

A few days ago I discussed one idea that I had sent the Corcoran for possible inclusion in their Ansel Adams exhibition. And below, Paul Roth, Curator of Photography and Media Arts at the Corcoran Gallery of Art responds:

Dear Lenny,

Paul Greenhalgh and Philip Brookman have referred your letter of July 12 to me for response, as I am the in-house curator supervising the Corcoran's installation of the Ansel Adams exhibition. Please accept my apology for the lateness of this reply; our coming photography exhibitions have had many pressing deadlines the last couple of weeks.

First, regarding your suggestion about the public domain set of Ansel Adams photographs at the Library of Congress. This idea is interesting and would no doubt be a feature valued by many of our visitors. Unfortunately, a variety of reasons--relating to logistics, timing, available space, and other factors--make this an impossible option for us at this time. Another major issue for us is our consideration of the best way to balance presentation of two major exhibitions by two very different photographers.

With reference to the issues you raise, I am encouraged by the fact that the technology now in use by the Library of Congress allows people to download many if not all of the Adams images directly from home, in reasonably large digital files. Over the years digital availability at the Library has evolved to minimize the complications presented by institutional bureaucracy, the large volume of print orders, and staffing limitations. For a very long time, several-month waits were the norm when people would order prints (of any of millions of pictures in the public domain, not just Adams) from the LOC in gelatin silver. The downloading feature of the LOC website is going a long way to making access more direct.

Finally, I'd like to thank you for mentioning the issue of collaboration with other institutions (in your blog a couple days back). Collaboration is something that is very important to us, and we have had many professional interactions with a number of museums, alternative art spaces, non-profits, libraries, and archives over the years. Since I came to the Corcoran eleven years ago I have had three opportunities to collaborate with the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division and Photoduplication Office on exhibitions: HALF PAST AUTUMN: THE ART OF GORDON PARKS; PROPAGANDA AND DREAMS: PHOTOGRAPHY IN THE 1930S IN THE US AND USSR; and THE QUILTS OF GEE'S BEND. Each was a great experience. While I appreciate your suggestion that these interactions can be difficult, we have found ways to work together very productively for the benefit of our audience.

Best wishes,

Good points all.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Artcade Magazine

Artcade Magazine New, super cool DC-based online art magazine... visit them here.

Two million

The most visited blog by a Cuban-American is...

Perez Hilton

Perez Hilton's celebrity juice and gossip blog in LA! With over two million hits a day!

But we're hot on your tail Perez!

Friday, July 27, 2007

New Curator at AAC

Jeffry Cudlin tells us that he's the new curator at the Arlington Arts Center.

This is nothing but good news for the AAC and for Arlington.

Cool Art Thing of the Moment

I don't know where DC artist Guy Mondo finds these things, but he is certain to find the oddest things in the world of fine arts.

Artwork by Hubert Duprat c. Cabinet Magazine

"The images above illustrate the results of an unusual artistic collaboration between the French artist Hubert Duprat and a group of caddis fly larvae... Duprat, who was born in 1957, began working with caddis fly larvae in the early 1980s...

After collecting the larvae from their normal environments, he relocates them to his studio where he gently removes their own natural cases and then places them in aquaria that he fills with alternative materials from which they can begin to recreate their protective sheaths. He began with only gold spangles but has since also added the kinds of semi-precious and precious stones (including turquoise, opals, lapis lazuli and coral, as well as pearls, rubies, sapphires, and diamonds) seen here.

The insects do not always incorporate all the available materials into their case designs, and certain larvae, Duprat notes, seem to have better facility with some materials than with others. Additionally, cases built by one insect and then discarded when it evolves into its fly state are sometimes recovered by other larvae, who may repurpose it by adding to or altering its size and form."
Read the whole article here.

Call for Artists

Deadline: Saturday August 18, 2007

Somerville, Mass' Nave Gallery's Young Turks returns for a second year with an exhibition featuring art and artists "taking a walk on the wild side." The show aims to highlight all that is not part of the status quo. They seek work that questions, confronts, and, yes, attacks ideas, images, and ideology that others take for granted.

No submission fee!

Anger, disassociation, a rejection of the societal norm are some of the
emotions they expect artwork in this show to explore. Commentary on larger societal issues such as world poverty, the Middle East crisis, global warming or of issues closer to home such as the Big Dig mess, gas prices, gang violence, or drugs, left wing and right wing rhetoric, are just some examples of possible themes. Or it can be strictly personal, an illustration of the artist using the creative process to express a specific state of being or growth.

Artists are invited to submit work that addresses their connection with this theme as described above. Work of all mediums is encouraged. Both established and emerging artists are welcome to apply.

Applications should include:
- Artist resume, email contact info, image list (medium, dimensions, year
- Artist statement 150 words about artwork and relationship to the call
- Supporting images may be either slides or digital. Label slides or
CD-ROM with their full name, and the name of their piece.
- Include a self-addressed envelope with adequate postage for return of
- postmark deadline of Saturday August 18, 2007
- email submissions accepted: info@artsomerville.org

The Nave Gallery
155 Powderhouse Blvd.
Somerville, MA 02144

And the answer is...

Zoe's answer to my question below is: "it's a close second to the biennial. It's in a "suite" area so it's not open to everyone who comes to a game. If it was in a public area, it might tie the biennial."

Thursday, July 26, 2007


To Philly's wonderphotog Zoe Strauss, who tells us that The Philadelphia Eagles will be purchasing a vinyl print of her photo "Mattress Flip" for display in the "Red Zone" at Lincoln Financial Field.

So what's cooler, being selected for the last Whitney Biennial or being selected by an NFL powerhouse?

Time for the 'skins to step up and ante up some artwork for their stadium.

Mary Coble

Mary Coble performing MARKER in NYC last fall

Mary Coble will be performing "Marker DC" this Saturday, July 28th, 2-5pm at the entrance to the U Street / Cardozo Metro Station (green line) 13th and U Street, in Washington,DC.

In Marker, performance artist Mary Coble "expands the focus of her previous performances, Note to Self 2005 (on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered persons murdered in hate crimes) and Aversion 2007 (shock aversion therapy). The artist now invites viewers to emulate the physical + verbal assaults marginalized groups have endured by penning hate-inspired epithets such as 'dyke', 'spic' or 'nigger' on her body."

Marker (DC) is a part of the WPA/C's SiteProject DC events curated by Welmoed Laanstra. Coble is represented by Conner Contemporary.

Renoir at the PMA

The Philadelphia Museum of Art will be the only U.S. venue for the first exhibition to explore the inventiveness and importance of the landscape painting of Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) during the first 30 years of the artist’s career.

“We are delighted to collaborate with our colleagues in London and Ottawa on this major exhibition from public and private collections around the world to explore a little studied aspect of Renoir’s genius that is so central to his overall vision,” said Anne d’Harnoncourt, Director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. “It will be especially gratifying to see the exhibition in the context of our own collections, which are renowned for their representation of Impressionism and particularly rich in figure paintings by Renoir. It will be a great pleasure to welcome visitors from throughout the United States and beyond to Philadelphia.”

Renoir Landscapes is organized by the National Gallery, London, The National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The exhibition was seen in London and is currently on view in Ottawa through September 9, 2007.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Hard Questions

David Genovesi has an interesting list of 22 art questions that he hopes he is never asked in an interview:

- What is art?

- Does art have a purpose, if so, what is it?

- Who determines whether an artist is an artist?

- Why do you create?

- Does the art you create have any particular meaning?

- Does the art you create have any social implications?

- Does the art you create pay the rent?

- What effect is the digital revolution having on art?

- Who has the final authority for determining the “validity” of contemporary art?

- Would you advise a young person to become an artist?

- Must art be beautiful?

- Is there such a thing as "good art" or "bad art", if so, what's the difference?

- Is there such a thing as "a good artist" or "a bad artist", if so, what's the difference?

- Is painting still a valid art form?

- Is a print of a painting art?

- To what extent must an artist consider his audience?

- What’s the most important asset an artist needs to survive today?

- Why buy art?

- Is buying art a good investment?

- Who is the best living artist?

- Is a painting by Jackson Pollock worth 140 million dollars?

- If you’re such a good artist, why aren’t you rich and famous?

WCP Sold

The Washington City Paper has been sold. Details here.

If it wasn't for the CP's visual arts coverage, all that we'd have in the nation's capital is the voice of a freelancer writing 20 odd columns a year for the WaPo's Style section and O'Sullivan's weekly column in the Weekend section.

Let's hope that the new ownership continues the CP's tradition of leading the visual arts coverage in the printed media in DC.

Wanna go to a DC opening tomorrow?

Rebecca C. Adams: Compulsory Figures and ∞ at Transformer.

Using sound and large street drawings to interpret an archaic division of figure skating, this indoor and outdoor installation captures the sonic environment of practicing compulsory figures on ice, while visually striving to reproduce similar exercises on pavement. Opening : July 26, 6:30 - 8 PM.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Coming to the Corcoran

The Corcoran's fall season will feature two photography exhibitions, Ansel Adams, opening September 15, and Annie Leibovitz: A Photographer's Life, 1990-2005, opening October 13.

Yes, another Annie Leibovitz exhibition at the Corcoran.

When I got the news release, I sent the Corcoran's director, Paul Greenhalgh (who by the way, has been doing a really decent job since taking over the reigns of the Corcoran) a couple of suggestions for future photography shows. One idea "augments" the Ansel Adams exhibition, which will hopefully add a new dimension to yet another Adams photo show.

To start, I will admit that "Moonrise Over Hernandez" is a great photograph and people will oooh and aaah over it, as they have done for the dozens and dozens of previous Adams' exhibitions over the years.

Moonrise Over Hernandez
Here's my idea: The Library of Congress has a HUGE collection of Ansel Adams negatives that are the property of the people of the United States.

It is my impression that anyone can (for a nominal fee) get the Library of Congress to print them photos from the Adams' negatives (or any other negative in the public domain I suppose). Already the LofC has even worked out a deal with Zazzle.com to buy a lot of LofC repros/stuff online. In fact, here's an Ansel Adams photo that you can buy from them.

Here's the novel idea: Why not set up an electronic online booth(s) at the Ansel Adams Corcoran exhibition where Corcoran visitors can also preview the hundreds (if not thousands) of other negatives that the LofC owns the copyright to, and provide an easy way for visitors to the Corcoran exhibition to order Adams' photos?

Probably much rarer Adams' photos that seldom see the light of day, much less the moonriselight.

Ahead of time the Corcoran can set up a deal where a percentage of the costs of the Adams' photos would be donated to the Corcoran as a "pass-through-fee."

And then this is a win-win situation for all, as visitors come away with an Adams' photograph, the LofC gets some money out of it, and the Corcoran also gets some additional funds out of it.

The technology is the easy part; getting two separate institutions to cooperate is the hard part.

Nothing heard back from anyone yet.

Pediatric AIDS/HIV Care Fundraiser

The Pink Line Project will host a happy hour fundraiser to support Pediatric AIDS-HIV Care, an organization dedicated to children living with AIDS/HIV in the Washington metropolitan area. Their program employs creative approaches - including art and music - to help children cope with the stress and stigma associated with this disease.

Great video art from "barely emerging artist" Kathryn Cornelius, Jeff Wyckoff, Kathleen McGlaun, Koike Susumu, and Live Music by Ben Gilligan (from French Toast and Small Doses)!

Wednesday, July 25, 6 to 8 PM at 18th Street Lounge (1212 18th Street, NW in DC).

Monday, July 23, 2007

Spray Painting

Depending on many variables (most of which I think have to deal with culture, upbringing, formation, sense of inferiority, elitist aspirations, and hidden wanna-be issues), often artsy people stand on definite sides when it comes to what the art world describes as "low brow art" and "high art."

In the various earlier discussions here on what makes good art, a lot of theory and art history has been discussed and written about.

I'm of the opinion that the only proven and tested art critic of what makes good art is time.

And often what was once considered low brow art, or art that wasn't good enough, stands the test of time just as well (or even better) than what the contemporary critics or artsy folks of the time would have selected.

History is full of such examples: Ukiyo-e in Japan, Salon des Refusés in France, most 19th century steelpoints, Frida Kahlo in Mexico, Norman Rockwell in the US, most photography until Steiglitz dragged it into art galleries, Florida's Highway Men, and on and on.

But now, even though anything and everything is art, there's still a world of low brow art that makes most members of the artworld scene roll their eyes. We all do it.
lisa yuskavage

On the other hand, some low brow art has managed to make the jump to the high art side.

Like John Currin. Or Lisa Yuskavage and many others.

And that's OK - everything is art.

Perhaps one of the most refreshing developments of the last few years has been the recognition of the artists sometimes described as "street artists." Many, like Banksy, and in the DC region artists like Kelly Towles and Mark Jenkins, have made the jump and show equally at ease in galleries. In Jenkins' case, he has become a worldwide fixture and now creates his street tape sculptures all over the planet.

Another form of street art, which is new to me, are "spray paint artists."

A few weeks ago I was wandering around South Street in Philly, when I came across a group of people, including a cop, avidly observing a young man create artwork while kneeling down on the sidewalk at the entrance to the South Street Pedestrian Bridge. In front of him were displayed 20 or 30 pieces of art on cardstock... about 30 x 20 inches each.

He worked with amazing speed, to the tune of a very hip beat that played on the boom box next to him. His paper was taped to a spinning table, and he sprayed, dabbed, removed and spun to the beat of the music. We all watched hypnotized as image after image appeared.

It took him about 90 seconds to create a painting from scratch. "I may not be the best," he told me when I started talking to him during a break and while I was buying one of his pieces, "but I am the fastest spray painter around."

The subject imagery is of no consequence. It seemed to focus on otherwordly landscapes, Star-Trekkie vistas, or surrealist dreams. Mine was a mixture of some sort of a Anakin Skywalker viewpoint married to a glowing penis.

But the imagery is the least of the concerns here. What hypnotized and mesmerized the crowd was the performance of this young artist, arms flying, spray cans tumbling, music playing and the "ooohs" and "ahhhs" of the crowd as he created work after work every 90 seconds.

See for yourself in the below video (filmed in Mobile, Alabama earlier this year):

His name is Joshua Moonshine, and the streets of US cities are his galleries.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Wanna go to a Tyson's Corner, Virginia opening today?

Habatat Gallery Opening

Details here.

Bailey on What Makes Good Art?

One can always count on the Reverend to add some spice to any argument. Herewith Bailey's opinion on What Makes Good Art?

I really have to agree with Kevin Mitchell’s comments regarding art critics and their biased definitions of "great art."

A self-proclaimed art critic attempting to spin a definition of "great art" strikes me as being remarkably similar to a self-proclaimed Supreme Court Justice cop pulling a citizen over and attempting to define that citizen's Miranda Rights. This is the point I was attempting to make with this post.

Just as a rogue cop thinks he has the right to render on-site Supreme Court rulings defining the limitations of a citizen's Miranda Rights, so too do art critics think they have the right to spin a biased definition of great art. What's long been amusing to me is that art critics inevitably invoke the name of Clement Greenberg to "prove" their one-sided definitions by pulling something out of context that Greenberg once said and either agreeing or disagreeing it.

If a citizen were to question a cop about that cop's definition of the citizen's Miranda Rights, that cop (and they're trained to do this) will inevitably invoke the latest Supreme Court decision that affects the definition of Miranda Rights to either "prove" or "disprove" his definition.

The issue is one of authority, who has it, how did they get it and what are they doing with it.

One can only imagine the violent confrontation that would occur if a private citizen attempted to pull over a cop for speeding, ask for that cop's driver's license, read that cop his Miranda Rights before attempting to question that cop, and then arresting that cop when that cop attempts to resist.

That's exactly what I am encouraging artists to do to with respect to art critics who want to define the phrase "great art."

Of course, to be open and honest about my own bias with respect to the debate between Jeffry Cudlin and Mark Cameron Boyd, I have to confess that I'm sympathetic to the arguments of Mark. Not because I think Jeffry is a bad art critic, but because Mark's opinions are not published in a weekly newspaper that features art criticism. A newspaper that publishes art criticism is somewhat like the Supreme Court publishing its decisions. I question every word of every published Supreme Court decision.

The more the Supreme Court attempts to “define” our Miranda Rights, the more the more those rights evaporate. The more an art critic attempts to “define” great art, the more great art becomes an illusion.

The Right Reverend James W. Bailey

Friday, July 20, 2007


To Gean Moreno, who creates multi-textural, suspended images, and who is the 2007 winner of the $15,000 Cintas Foundation Emilio Sanchez Award in Visual Arts for artists of Cuban lineage residing outside of Cuba.

Artist Looking for Cigarrettes

DC area artist Jackie Hoysted has recently started a new blog to document her visual arts project "The Psychology of Smoking & Quitting."

Jackie writes: "I have smoked cigarettes for over 20 years and am a cigarette and nicotine addict. On July 9th I quit smoking for what I hope is the last time and plan to document the process, my feelings, etc., through posts to the blog and the creation of related art work over the course of thirteen months. Two paintings that I created for this project, using cigarette butts and ash entitled Destruction I and II can be seen as DCAC Wall Mountables Exhibition until Sept. 6th.

I am also asking other smokers to participate in the project by asking them to send me their Last Cigarette so that I can include it in my artwork.

The blog is jackiehoysted.com/ashestoashes/.

DC area Studio Space Available

Studio 4903, a working artist space focusing on contemporary art jewelry, has space available for an artist, graphic designer, or other creative type. Each person has a space, but there are no walls dividing the room. The 1500 sq ft. studio is open, filled with light, hardwood floors, and 7 windows. Rent is $420 and includes all utilities, insurance, alarm, trash, wireless internet, and 24-hour access. We are located at 4903 Wisconsin Ave., 2nd floor, between Tenley and Friendship Hts. metros.

The Studio hosts regular arts-related events to create community and gain exposure. A good candidate would be serious about his art, want to grow and expand her business, and be eager to participate in events (past ones have been: live music, poetry reading, artist slide show & lecture, dance party, art shows and sales).

If interested, please contact Gayle at gaylefriedman@aol.com.

Mitchell on What Makes Good Art?

Reader Kevin Mitchell opines on the question and debate of "What Makes Good Art?"

We're all going to be a little wrong and a little right on our definitions of art especially since we're trying to arrive at a singular definition that art should be held accountable to.

Just when I had fashioned what I regarded as a prized response to art nitwitism a newsflash saved me some time. I could literally sit here forever refuting the changing idea of art but I'd be fighting with words a visual argument. The true testament to a work's greatness is that no amount of words can assail it... unless its premise is vocabulary, such as modern art.

Both Cudlin and Boyd could be refuted in instances but in the end as this thing of exploring new frontiers goes, why? As an artist, I didn't grow up interested in Greenberg or his principles and upon being force fed them and regurgitated in every other academic argument because justification has to refute, I still don't care.

Rosenberg, I don't care and if to understand a lot of the work of this genre, I have to read Rosenberg then it seems like he was part ring master and was able to create his own niche.

Which is why I agree with Boyd's last paragraph that art criticism currently isn't doing its job, even at a personal look at me level. If everyone is and can be an artist or it's learned or a matter of ideas, how come critics aren't artists?

Greenberg couldn't paint flatness? How come he couldn't be or convey his own ideas? It's worthless this definition thing.

I understand the purist way of thinking about materials and usage but in the words of a past teacher, stop headf'ing your canvas.

I think it's such a small market here that every word and every paragraph count in each write up whereas when I'm in Chelsea, I'm confronted with everything in its hordes and it's all accounted for.

If I had to fashion an argument it would be against styles. The progressive form of art is ended as soon as a style or label is applied, thus tying it to the past, regardless as to its completion or prospects. Rothko's are Rothko's and demonstrate Rothko qualities so they are no longer exploring or pushing. Art is the unknowing.

Having said this, I want nothing to do with this definition. Nobody can afford to sit in their studio not knowing what they're doing and effectively afford their studio. Art ended and renewed with the acceptance of the urinal.

See what you’re getting into... before you go there.

- Kevin Mitchell

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Wall Mountables at DCAC

Around DC, anytime that you have an open show (meaning a show without a juror or curator), the local critics tend to immediately savage it. This seems to be a predictable critical analysis somewhat unique to the capital area's visual arts and artists as viewed by most of DC area critics.

Once a year, the District of Columbia Arts Center (DCAC), through a show called "Wall Mountables," allows any and all artists to hang anything they want, so long as it fits within a two square foot space. It's usually one of my favorite shows and a terrific opportunity for artists to exhibit and sell their work.

DCAC will be accepting and allowing artists to hang their work today July 19th 3-8pm, and tomorrow July 20th 3-6pm. Spaces are available on a first-come basis. Details here.

The opening reception is Friday, July 20th 7-9pm. This is a great opportunity to obtain original artwork at very affordable prices. The show runs through Friday, Sept. 7, 2007.

The Beat Goes On

This is what makes creating, editing and publishing a good art blog interesting. Intelligent voices discussing and treating a very difficult question: "What makes good art?"

Recap: On the air, at the Kojo Nnamdi show, WCP art critic Jeffry Cudlin offered a live, on-the-air opinion of what makes good art. A reader then emailed me and asked if I could get Jeffry to put his words into text and Cudlin expanded a bit on his off the cuff opinion here.

Then Mark Cameron Boyd responded with a view of his own, and now Jeffry in turn responds to the points raised by Mark, who teaches art theory at the Corcoran.

1) "The growing specialization of the arts is due chiefly not to the prevalence of the division of labor, but to our increasing faith in and taste for the immediate, the concrete, the irreducible. To met this taste... the various modernist artists try to confine themselves to that which is most positive and immediate in themselves, which consists in the unique attributes of their mediums. It follows that a modernist work of art must try, in principle, to avoid communication with any order of experience not inherent in the most literally and essentially construed nature of its medium."
- - Sculpture in Our Time, Clement Greenberg, from The Collected Essays and Criticism, Vol. 4: Modernism with a Vengeance.

In any event, I mentioned Greenberg because obviously nobody buys this position anymore -- at least not the way it came to be framed. There's generally a consensus that Greenberg's arguments for art boiled everything down further and further -- until you reach the Minimalist art that Greenberg couldn't bring himself to accept, despite the fact that in so many ways it seemed like a perfected expression of his operating principles.

Here's the key point: I'm NOT saying that the HOW trumps the WHAT. Does the medium help or hinder? That's exactly the question I'm driving at. Apologies if I wasn't able to make that more clear.

2) Oh, the confusion over talent and creativity. Maybe it's the word "mastery" that's sending you into a tizzy: By quoting Ruskin, I'd hoped to avoid that -- thinking specifically here of On the Nature of Gothic, from The Stones of Venice.

3) As for the relation of the work to manifestos, the necessity of the critic to intervene --- Mark, you more than anyone should know that this is up for grabs.

We can describe how the mechanisms work, how the positions within the discourse seem to relate to one another -- but it's a fluid dynamic.

There's what the artist says in the work through representation, and what s/he says in the work through execution or style -- two kinds of content, in sympathy or not. The what and the how, as you say, and both are important.

There are also statements, and essays, and installations of the work.

The critic tries to determine both the content of the work by itself, and whether or not that can be reconciled with the rest.

It's imperfect; the critic is one voice among many, and s/he attempts to nudge the discourse as best s/he can. Doesn't mean the critic is the final arbiter, just one of many gatekeepers and interpreters -- fallible, human, making arguments rooted in a particular historical moment. So it goes. Doesn't mean that the job's not worth doing, or that it can't significantly add to -- or help sort out--this business of cultural production.

-- Jeffry Cudlin

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Cudlin on Miner

Not to make this blog a Cudlinfest, but Washington City Paper art critic Jeffry Cudlin has a really good look at A.B. Miner's solo show at H & F Fine Arts.

Read it here.

A.B. Miner

By the way, as a devoted fan of the sensuality of the line, which I consider one of the most powerful assets that a good painter can use, or the key between a good drawing and a so-so drawing, I disagree with Jeffry's negative view on the line as used by Miner. It is precisely the palpable sensuality of Miner's ever changing, shifting, dancing line in his paintings and drawings that take them from flat surfaces to a mental place where sex and art live together in moist confidence.

Miner's show at H&F Fine Arts runs through August 4, 2007. Miner has been one of my "buy now" artists for a long time. I get paid to to this sort of recommendation, so take the tip and go spend some Samolians on this really talented painter.

Tolbert on What Makes Good Art?

Bethesda Painting Awards semi-finalist Susan Tolbert opines on the issues raised by Jeffry Cudlin's on-the-air, and off-the-cuff answer to the question "What Makes Good Art?"

Tolbert writes:

When Robert Hughes was asked this question by Charlie Rose last year, he had a very short response: Passion and Organization.

Hopper's work fits this criteria nicely. Art stands the test of time, and Hopper is still standing despite the fact that he wasn't a very good painter.

And I always liked Tom Wolf's (the first one) "Slave to fashion, whore to time."

Susan Tolbert


Considering that when I was a very young sailor in the Navy I almost drowned twice (ahhh... maybe alcohol had some small part in the near-drownings), I'm not the world's greatest aquatic Campello. Not by far... the genes certainly skipped me and all went to this Campello:

Note the windmill farms on the background? Those are the same types that Sen. Kennedy (who once stated "I strongly support renewable energy, including wind energy, as a means of reducing our dependence on foreign oil and protecting the environment") has been fighting to stop being constructed in Nantucket Sound because it would interfere with the view from the Kennedy compound in Cape Cod.

I think they look kinda cool.


When the next exhibition schedule of the National Gallery of Art is announced, there will be a pleasant surprise in it.

Meanwhile, opening on September 16 at the NGA is the first comprehensive survey of Edward Hopper to be seen in the US outside of New York in more than 25 years. Currently at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the exhibition consists of about 60 oil paintings, 25 watercolors, and 14 prints.

What makes good art? Another view...

My good friend, and highly talented artist and Corcoran faculty member Mark Cameron Boyd responds to Jeffry Cudlin's off-the-cuff and elegant definition of what makes good art. Mark writes:

I listened with fairly rapt attention to your WAMU radio broadcast on Kojo’s show last Thursday. As I recall, my good friend Jeffry Cudlin’s improvised “definition” for “what makes good art” was delivered astutely and with the clarity of vision that undoubtedly comes from writing and thinking about art “professionally” as an art critic.

However, his recollected print version (that you published) differs significantly from what he said “off-the-cuff” and "on air." His “recalled” version notably featured Clement Greenberg as a touchstone which would have pricked up my ears if Jeffry had actually mentioned Greenberg’s name “on air.”

Nevertheless, in the printed version Jeffry’s implication is that Greenberg’s theoretical views chiefly concerned “specialization” and I find this is a bit confusing. I respectfully remind my esteemed colleague that it was the “self-criticality” which Clem championed that fully expanded upon his idea that an artist’s medium must “refer to its own method of construction and the characteristics of its component materials.”

Granted, an artist ought to critically consider one’s “method” within a chosen medium but more importantly in the Greenbergian view one must critically assess one’s use and furtherance of a medium; what can be done with one’s method to extend the possibilities of the medium and further the discourse of art?

I also suggest that Jeffry’s framing of the medium question (“Why is this object a drawing, painting, photograph, or sculpture? Why was that choice appropriate, or not appropriate?”) is more a question of “how,” as in “how does the choice of medium help or hinder an artist’s work?”

To open the dialog: does the “how” (chosen medium and method of execution) trump the “what” (idea or concept conveyed) in contemporary art? Duchamp would say, “No,” as would most Postconceptualists toiling in Marcel’s century-long shadow (Martin Creed, Douglas Gordon, Peter Friedl, et al) and I think Jeffry was hinting at this when he writes about un-named young Turks “winnowing out their problem set to a few spare material issues.”

I would like to complicate this line of inquiry even more by mentioning that conceptual artist Joseph Kosuth countered and refuted Greenberg’s analysis by saying that the object is conceptually irrelevant to art. Kosuth also expanded Duchamp’s other idea about the definition of art, when he wrote in 1969: “Being an artist now means to question the nature of art. If one is questioning the nature of painting, one cannot be questioning the nature of art. . . Painting is a kind of art. If you make paintings you are already accepting (not questioning) the nature of art.”

Kosuth effectively shifted the focus from the specifics of a chosen medium to “question[ing] the nature of art.”

What I attempt here is to propose that we are already in a “post-medium condition” (Rosalind Krauss) and that all bets are off on medium-specificity, which would lessen the impact of “why” one made a drawing as a valuable criteria for “quality,” and that art is about the “definition of art” and the ideas that artists try to convey.

To address Jeff’s second qualification for “good art,” which concerns “material mastery,” requires an introduction of the postmodern confusion of “talent” and “creativity.” To equate one’s “mastery” of a medium as indicator of quality (“good art”) tends to misrepresent “talent” as a consecrated “academic” skill that can be “learned” and that “talent” certifies substance.

This is “old school” and currently out of fashion in our post-medium condition. I should cite Thierry de Duve’s words that, “Creativity is grounded in a utopian belief. . . that repeats itself with clockwork regularity . . . from Rimbaud to Beuys: everyone is an artist.” And “Talent. . . is inseparable from the specific terrain where it is exerted, which in the last resort is always technical. . . Creativity, by contrast, is conceived as an absolute and unformalised potential. . . one has creativity, without qualification; one is creative, period.”

Depending on your allegiances, “talent” can either be learned, taught or does not exist. Again, this is old hat, supplanted in the 1970’s when “critical theory” appeared (linguistics, semiotics, anthropology, psychoanalysis, Marxism, feminism, poststructuralism, et al) and as Duve notes, “theory entered art schools and succeeded in displacing – sometimes replacing – studio practice while renewing the critical vocabulary and intellectual tools with which to approach the making and appreciating of art.”

To be sure, Jeffry’s “definitions” are muscular, workable points for a discussion of “what makes good art.” But we are on unstable grounds if we mingle academia with Kantian judgment and mastery with metaphysics. I do agree with Jeffry’s last point concerning the artist’s “positioning” of themselves within the history of art.

However, he falls short of fully fleshing his “professional” responsibility in all this when he writes simply: “The task of the critic is to determine whether or not this positioning -- an argument made by the artist, and amplified, tweaked, or otherwise refined by the curator -- is valid.” Again, to ramp up our discussion, we might ask Jeffry to elaborate on the obvious (possibly covert?) power of art critics in “positioning” not only the individual artists but wholesale art “movements” within the grander scheme of “art history.” This obviously implicates the “written” version as more “manifesto” than improvised erudition but clarifications are needed for public consumption and understanding, in any case.


M. Cameron Boyd


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Plan Ahead for Friday: Hirshhorn After Hours

Hirshhorn After Hours is an annual series of late-night events for locals interested in contemporary art, culture and music. Programming is presented throughout the museum and outside on the plaza. Exhibitions include: Takeshi Murata's short hallucinogenic films in the Black Box space for new media in the lower level; a last chance to see the lobby exhibition "Directions—Virgil Marti and Pae White" closing on July 29, and photography by Wolfgang Tillmans on the second floor.

Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door. Cash bar and dancing outdoors on the Hirshhorn's plaza. Detailed ticketing information at this website.

WHAT: Hirshhorn After Hours featuring musical performance by Great Noise Ensemble in collaboration with the opening night of the Capitol Fringe Festival.

WHEN: Friday, July 20, from 8 p.m. to midnight

WHERE: Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden at the National Mall (Independence Avenue at Seventh Street S.W.) in DC.

Haga Click
Click on image for more details

Monday, July 16, 2007

Essential differences

The Baltimore Sun's art critic is photographer Glenn McNatt, and he does a nice job in writing this piece on the Sondheim Prize and its latest prizewinner, Baltimore painter Tony Shore, who also came down last year to Bethesda to win the 2006 Bethesda Painting Awards.

In this Washington Post article, Michael O'Sullivan pointed out some key differences between Baltimore's Sondheim Prize and the DC region's Trawick Prize, focusing mainly on the exhibition venues for these two important prizes - the Sondheim is exhibited at the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Trawick at the Creative Partners Gallery in Bethesda. O'Sullivan was correct in calling out this difference, but as the Sun's article points out, there are several other key differences.

For one, the Sondheim Prize is deeply interwoven and part of not only the city of Baltimore itself, but also of a major city wide art event: Artscape. The Trawick, which preceded the Sondheim by a few years, is run by the Bethesda Urban Partnership.

According to Baltimore's promotion office director Bill Gilmore, this year's Sondheim award was underwritten by the France-Merrick Foundation, a local philanthropy, and by gifts from local businesspeople. "The annual cost of the competition, including the award and the costs associated with paying jurors, mounting exhibitions and printing publications totals between $50,000 and $60,000, he said."


The Trawick is totally underwritten by an annual endowment from Bethesda businesswoman Carol Trawick of $10,000. The total prizes total around $14,000 and the other funds are gathered from entry fees and from a $1,000 donation from Bethesda's Fraser Gallery for a "Young Artist Award." All costs associated with mounting the Trawick exhibition, including paying the three jurors, come from this pot, which I suspect is around $20,000 all together (I don't know the exact figures). Furthermore, although they have been approached, and called out here and in other places to add more funds to the Trawick, all the major businesses located and working out of Bethesda have essentially ignored the call as far as I know. I guess Lockheed Martin, and Comcast, and Marriott, and the Discovery Channel, and EuroMotorcars, and Chevy Chase Bank, etc. can't afford it.

Gilmore said this year's contributors included Walter D. Pinkard, a founder of the France-Merrick Foundation, and Amy Newhall. Bill Gilmore also stated that "Pinkard, Sandy Hillman and Nancy Roberts have also pledged to help raise an initial endowment of $500,000 to fund future prizes." And so the Baltimore people with the connections and the deep pockets to make the Sondheim Award become a yearly event have become involved.

As far as I know Ms. Trawick is the only backer of the Trawick Prize, although I suspect that the Bethesda area has more millionaires and multi-millionaires than all of the rest of Maryland added together. Where are they in pledging anything to the Trawick?

"We're certainly a lot closer to being an annual prize than we were a year ago," Gilmore said. "We kicked this off on a leap of faith last year and we have received some real support from people who have stepped up and said we want to help ensure the future of the prize."

That's the real difference: Baltimoreans have stepped up while Bethesdians (whose city for all intents and purposes is part of the Greater DC region) have not.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Elvis as a Nun

Below is one of my charcoal and conte drawings from a few years ago. It's a rather large drawing, about 40 inches by 30 inches. It is titled "Elvis and Buster Keaton, disguised as nuns, attend a Dan Flavin exhibition." It was sold many years ago.

Elvis Presley and Buster Keaton disguised as nuns attend a Dan Flavin exhibition by F. Lennox Campello

"Elvis Presley and Buster Keaton, disguised as nuns, attend a Dan Flavin exhibition"
Charcoal and Conte on Paper by F. Lennox Campello

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Tony Shore wins Sondheim Prize

Baltimore painter Tony Shore, a graduate of the Baltimore School for the Arts and the Maryland Institute College of Art, and the 2006 winner of the Bethesda Painting Awards, has won the $25,000 2007 Janet & Walter Sondheim Prize.

Shore is currently on the faculty of the Foundations Department at the Maryland Institute College of Art and is the founding Director of Access Art, a youth art center in Baltimore's Morrell Park neighborhood. He is represented in Baltimore by the C. Grimaldis Gallery and (as far as I know) unrepresented in the DC area region.

Shore was somewhat of a surprise winner of the 2006 Bethesda Painting Awards. He paints large works on black velvet, which have been described as straddling "the fence between high-class and lowbrow."

You can see the exhibition of works by the winner and all other finalists here.

Congratulations to Tony Shore!

What a great definition, she said

During our radio talk last Thursday, someone called in and wanted a definition of what makes good art. On the fly, Washington City Paper critic Jeffry Cudlin came up with a terrific answer, and when Kojo asked Gazette newspapers critic Dr. Claudia Rousseau for her definition, she exclaimed (referencing Jeffry's) "what a great definition, I love it!"

Someone later on emailed us asking for the definition, and Jeffry graciously enough regurgitated it as best he recalled. I have posted it below... this is not a manifesto or otherwise anything but a terrific off-the-cuff answer:

1) How apt is the choice of medium?

For Clement Greenberg, art was all about specialization. He wanted work in any given medium to refer to its own method of construction and the characteristics of its component materials: Painting was about free-flowing or staining pigment in a resolutely flat pictorial space; sculpture was about volume and movement through three-dimensional space; literature was really about words, rhythm, meter.

Of course, Greenberg's brand of formalism died out in the late '60s. Now that we live in a cross-disciplinary, multi-valent art world, contemporary artists tend less and less to be specialists, winnowing out their problem set to a few spare material issues. Instead, they're typically trained as generalists who work from project to
project, idiom to idiom.

But this can't mean that the choice of medium doesn't matter. Instead, that choice becomes terribly important: Why is this object a drawing, painting, photograph, or sculpture? Why was that choice appropriate, or not appropriate? What about the history or physical properties of the medium seems uniquely bound up in the content of this work?

2) Does the artist show enough material mastery?

Economy and clarity are virtues: No artist needs to show the viewer everything they're capable of in a work, lavishing their object/project with bells, whistles and flourishes.

If I go all the way back to John Ruskin--why not?--he stated that the artist should work until the idea has been made clear, and go no further; he warned against work in which the only evident merits were "patience and sandpaper".

And, again, if we're going to accept this idea that an artist might make a photograph, or a painting, or a video, then how skilled do they need to be in each? Skilled enough to demonstrate some empathy with the materials, and to achieve an appropriate level of fit and finish--one that doesn't distract from the content
of their work, but instead enhances it.

3) How does the artist position him or herself in relation to history?

Every artist is making claims about the relation of their work to both that of their immediately present peers and to the canon. Every artist essentially chooses their grandparents, cobbling together selective (possibly arbitrary) genealogies out of the
past few centuries of artistic production.

A contemporary painting is almost always an argument--for what painting ought to be generally, and for how we should position the artist within this imagined genealogy.

The task of the critic is to determine whether or not this positioning -- an argument made by the artist, and amplified, tweaked, or otherwise refined by the curator -- is valid.

Choice of medium, material mastery, historical positioning: my big three.

Jeffry Cudlin
I'd like to open a dialogue and invite comments to the above definition. Email me and I'll post them.

Friday, July 13, 2007

GlassWeekend ’07

Since 1985, GlassWeekend, a biennial event, has brought together to New Jersey the world’s leading glass artists, collectors, galleries, and museum curators for a three-day weekend of exhibitions, lectures, hands-on glassmaking, artists, demonstrations and social events.

GlassWeekend events are held at Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center, home of the Creative Glass Center of America and the Museum of American Glass.

WheatonArts is located in Millville, New Jersey, 45 minutes from both Philadelphia and Atlantic City, and less than three hours from New York and Washington, D.C.

I'll be checking it out this weekend.

Come On Irene Eileen

Yesterday at the Kojo Nnamdi show, someone named Irene called in with a question or comment, but by the time Kojo got to her phone call, she had hung up (we had tons of calls by the way, most of which Kojo could not get to because of time).

There was a second or two of dead radio silence, and then (trying to be funny) I sang into the mike: "Come On Irene," a-la-Dexys Midnight Runners style from their famous song.

For all you music geeks emailing me, yes, yes, I know it's Eileen and not Irene. I was trying to be funny!

Come On Eileen by the Dexys Midnight Runners.

(Come on Eileen!)
(Come on Eileen!)

Poor old Johnny Ray
Sounded sad upon the radio
He moved a million hearts in mono
Our mothers cried and sang along and who'd blame them?
Now you're grown, so grown, now I must say more than ever
Go toora loora toora loo rye aye
And we can sing just like our fathers ....

Come on Eileen! Well, I swear (what he means)
At this moment, you mean everything
With you in that dress, my thoughts I confess
Verge on dirty ......
Ah, come on Eileen!

(Come on Eileen!)
(Come on Eileen!)

These people round here wear beaten down eyes
Sunk in smoke dried faces
They're so resigned to what their fate is
But not us, no not us
We are far too young and clever
Go toora loora toora loo rye aye
Eileen, I'll sing this tune forever

Come on, Eileen! Well, I swear (what he means)
Ah come on, let's take off everything
That pretty red dress .... Eileen (tell him yes)
Ah, come on! Come on Eileen!!!

Come on Eileen! Well, I swear (what he means)
At this moment, you mean everything

Come on, Eileen, taloora aye
Come on, Eileen, taloora aye
Come on, Eileen, taloora aye
Come on, Eileen, taloora aye
Come on, Eileen, taloora aye
Come on, Eileen, taloora aye

Go toora loora toora loo rye aye

Come on Eileen! Well, I swear (what he means)
At this moment, you mean everything
With you in that dress, my thoughts I confess
Verge on dirty ......
Ah, come on Eileen!

Come on, Eileen! Well, I swear (what he means)
Ah come on, let's take off everything
That pretty red dress .... Eileen (tell him yes)
Ah, come on! Come on Eileen!!!

Come on Eileen! Well, I swear (what he means)
At this moment, you mean everything

Come on Eileen! Well, I swear (what he means)
At this moment, you mean everything
The video is one of the great armpit videos of all time. See it below

Bethesda Art Walk

Today, Friday, July the 13th, is the second Friday of the month and thus it's the Bethesda Art Walk with 13 participating art venues and with free guided tours.

From 6-9PM - go see some artwork!

Wanna go to nude body painting and drawing party in DC this Sunday?

July marks the 4th annual A Celebration of the Figure exhibition at MOCA DC and the 5th anniversary of the Figure Models Guild.

In addition to the regular figure drawing sessions at MOCA, there will be bodies painted several times during the show.

And there will be a body painting event on on Sunday, July 15 at 1PM led by DC's body painting goddess Adrianne Mills.

Bring your camera because an open photo session follows each painting.

Call them for details and times at 202.342.6230 or 202.361.3810. The event is free and open to the public.

Wanna go sketching on the Mall tomorrow?

"Quick Sketching People and Places on the Mall" is a four-session drawing instruction series presented by the Smithsonian Associates where students work with the media and subjects of their choice under the supervision of an experienced artist who is himself an avid sketcher. Dates are Sat., July 14—Aug. 4, 10 a.m., so hurry!

Details here.

Call for Art

The Third Annual Metamorphosis Art Show has a call for artists.

Details here.

Baltimore Studio Spaces

The Baltimore Sun tells us that

Artists seeking studio space in Baltimore will have a new option to consider this fall when the Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower opens for its first tenants.

Renovation work is nearing completion on a $1.25 million conversion of the landmark tower at 15 S. Eutaw St. from municipal offices to studios for painters, sculptors, photographers, graphic designers, writers and other artists. The first two floors will have a cafe and gallery space.
Read the article here. More information about the studios and the application process is available from the Office of Promotion & the Arts at 410-752-8632.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Trawick and Sondheim

Tomorrow the Washington Post's Michael O'Sullivan will have this excellent piece on the Sondheim Prize in Baltimore. And O'Sullivan makes a couple of key observations about the two major art prizes in the Mid Atlantic region:

The Trawick Prize better watch out. There's an upstart contemporary art award in town, and it stands to give the Bethesda-born competition -- which has been handing out $14,000 in prize money to artists from Maryland, Virginia and Washington since 2003 -- a run for its money.

Okay, so maybe the Baltimore-based Janet and Walter Sondheim Prize isn't exactly "in town." Now in its second year, the art contest, named for the late Baltimore public servant and civic leader and his late wife, is open to visual artists working in the Baltimore region. (This year that includes two D.C. artists.) Examples of work by the 2007 finalists are on view at the Baltimore Museum of Art. The winner of the Sondheim Prize's $25,000 purse, which unlike the Trawick does not get divided among first-, second- and third-place finishers, will be announced Friday at the museum.

There's another critical difference between the contests, beyond the disparity in the cash value of the prizes. It doesn't have to do with the caliber of the entrants either. (Baltimore sculptor Richard Cleaver, whose painted and bejeweled ceramic-and-wood figures are part of the BMA show of Sondheim finalists, took home the Trawick's $10,000 first prize in 2003. So there's a lot of cross-fertilization of the talent pools, which is good.) Rather, the edge that this year's Sondheim Prize exhibition has over any version of the Trawick competition I've ever seen is in the choice of venue. The art just looks better in the BMA's spacious galleries than anything ever will at the Creative Partners Gallery, the cramped storefront on the ground floor of a downtown Bethesda office building that has been the Trawick's unfortunate exhibition space of choice since its inception.
I agree with O'Sullivan about the Trawick's exhibition location, and in fact I have some strong indications that next year's Trawick may "upgrade" and move to a better location, mostly because (I am told) Creative Partners no longer wants to host the show. But it will probably be to one of Bethesda's top galleries (that leaves 2-3 choices).

But O'Sullivan's article says also something about the difference between the way Baltimore museums looks at Baltimore artists and events and the way the DC area museums do.

Bethesda doesn't have a museum. So the Trawick will just move to another gallery.

But DC has more museum space per person than any other city in the world. That is a mathematical fact.

And yet, while Baltimore's main museum is part of that area's main art prize, no DC area art museum is involved in exhibiting the Trawick Prize exhibition.

Let this be a call for the Hirshhorn or the Corcoran or the Phillips to work out a deal with the Trawick Prize to host the finalists of the DC area's main art prize in one of those museum's galleries.

If Baltimore can do it, so can DC. And I am also making a call to my fellow DC area art bloggers and writers to join me in this call - let's see if we can make something like this happen.

If you think that this is a bad idea, then ignore it; otherwise, please join me in calling for a museum venue for next year's Trawick Prize.

Audio files of the radio discussions

Unfortunately the online segment starts about 15 minutes into the show, but you can listen to the rest of today's highly animated Kojo Nnamdi show with Jeffry Cudlin, Dr. Claudia Rousseau and myself here.

It starts with us arguing about the Bethesda Painting Awards.

I think that this was the best show so far and I also think that Jeffry, Claudia and I make up a great radio argumentative team! Now all we need is a sponsor to talk to WAMU about sponsoring an "Art Talk" show once a month or so.

Call me

click here to hear Kojo

Around one o'clock today I'll be on the Kojo Nnamdi Show discussing the Greater Washington area visual arts and artists and art stories as I usually do once or twice a year. Tune in to WAMU 88.5 FM around one. I'll be there together with my good friends Jeffry Cudlin from the Washington City Paper and Dr. Claudia Rousseau from the Gazette newspapers.

You can call us during the show at (800) 433-8850 or you can email us questions to kojo@wamu.org.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Pool woes

When I was a kid in Brooklyn, our neighbors on Sackman Street (Paula and Augie) had one of those above ground pools. Because our backyard and theirs was only separated by a chain link fence, it was easy for me to climb it and use their pool at will, which was OK with Augie, but not OK with Paula, which was a weird thing, because she was always feeding me alongside her kids, as she was a stay-at-home-mom, while my Mom had a job as a seamstress at one of the nearby factories that used to exist in Brooklyn where people like my Mom would work and get paid by what was then called "piece work."

But Augie was the one always working and doing stuff all year round to keep the pool working for those really hot NY summers, although he really hated me dive-bombing into the pool from the second floor fire escape ladder... you had to be good, and sort of belly-flop the water entry (the pool was only around five feet deep), otherwise you'd break your legs or seriously pop your knee caps. But Augie loved kids enjoying his pool!

Anyway, when I was house-hunting last year, I quickly discovered that houses in Media, PA are a lot more affordable than Potomac, MD, so I ended up in a cool house. And yet I was reticent to sign up, because the house came with a pool.

Pools are money pits.

And we quickly discovered that this pool, like many other pools, an hour after the warranties expire, leak. It's hard to hold water in a concrete bubble.

First estimates to fix the pool came in around a ton of money... as time went by, and more and more crap was removed from the pool (apparently built somewhere in the 60s) the "this-is-what's-wrong" stuff kept piling up and now we're up to around two tons of money and I am one good drunk away from filling the fucking thing with soil and planting pachysandras in the hole.

Wanna go to a DC opening tomorrow?

Carolina Mayorga will be having her opening event at Transformer tomorrow at 6:30PM. And then Robert Parrish's opening will be a week from tomorrow at the same time, same place.

The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities is on the move

On July 17, 2007, The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities will be moving uptown to a new location at 2901 14th Street NW, First Floor, Washington, DC 20010 and their phone is 202-724-5613.

Another Artomatic this year?

Blake Gopnik may have a fit, but I am told (as I mentioned before) that there's a pretty good chance of another AOM this year - this time in DC as usual.

Stay tuned!

PS - Sorry Blake... slammajamma two posts in a row; my bad.

Blake Gopnik got lost in Europe

If you think that DC area artsy writers, and DC area museum staffers, and DC area artists, and DC area gallerists, and Washingtonian magazinists, and DC area art collectors, and WaPo readers are the only ones almost always rolling their eyes over what and how Blake Gopnik writes about art, then you should read what Floridian Glenn Weiss, over at Aesthetic Grounds writes about the Gopnikmeister's recent European dispatches.

Wanna go to a Virginia opening this afternoon?

I know it's hot out there, so why not slip into the League of Reston Artists' opening this afternoon?

The opening is Wednesday, July 11 from 4:30 – 6:30 pm in the main hallway of the National Center Gallery of the U. S. Geological Survey in Reston, VA - details and directions here.

NY Arts Magazine Looking for Editor

NY Arts magazine is seeking a new editor.

The applicant should have at least two years of editorial experience, but should likewise have a significant knowledge of emerging and established contemporary artists, galleries, project spaces, art fairs and biennials. Daily responsibilities will include constant correspondence with artists, curators, directors and writers in pulling in and section editing up to 4 sections of the magazine per issue, online research, copy and line editing up to 200 pages of content per bi-monthly issue, updating, uploading and revamping our website and compiling a daily newsletter of art-related events for distribution. While editorial experience and art knowledge are key, excellent communication and managerial skills are also a must within our busy office space and attached gallery.

Submit resume, cover letter and two published clips (preferably art-related) to editor@nyartsmagazine.com with subject line "Editorial Position for Art Magazine."

Job in the Arts

The Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts (DCCA), a non-collecting museum located on Wilmington's revitalized Riverfront, is looking to hire a full-time curator beginning fall 2007.

The DCCA is conveniently located on the I-95 corridor, within walking distance to an Amtrak/SEPTA station, and 30 minutes from Philadelphia. The DCCA currently presents nearly 30 exhibitions annually of regionally, nationally, and internationally recognized artists in its seven galleries, offers on-site studios to 26 working artists, and carries out an active schedule of educational and community outreach programs. The Curator is responsible for initiating, developing, implementing, and interpreting a schedule of temporary exhibitions. Central to the job is the ability to cultivate and maintain relationships with an active community of artists, collectors, curators, and patrons. Close connection to the contemporary art world is paramount. Strong organizational, research, written and oral communication skills are necessary; ability to work as part of a team of dedicated professionals is essential. Requirements include a graduate degree in art history (Ph.D. preferred) or an allied field and at least two years of full-time curatorial experience. Salary is competitive.

Please send letter, CV with contact information for three references, and writing samples to:

200 South Madison Street
Wilmington, DE 19801

Or to info@thedcca.org. No phone or in person inquiries.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

On the air on Thursday

click here to hear Kojo

Later this week (on Thursday, July 10, 2007) I'll be on the Kojo Nnamdi Show discussing the Greater Washington area visual arts and artists and art stories as I usually do once or twice a year. Tune in to WAMU 88.5 FM around noon - I'll be up around 1 o'clock together with my good friend Jeffry Cudlin from the Washington City Paper and Dr. Claudia Rousseau from the Gazette newspapers.

Wanna know where to get good affordable frames? Wanna know how to approach a gallery? Wanna know when the Friday openings are and where? Wanna know how to properly frame a photograph? Wanna know how to start an art collection? If you have any questions or art issues, you can call Kojo during the show at (800) 433-8850 or you can email me questions to kojo@wamu.org.

After the show I will post here all the websites and information that we discuss on the air.

Mad as Hell

Bailey is mad as hell not only at scumbag New Orleans politicians, but also furious at the increasing numbers of carpetbagging artists who are profiting off the misery of New Orleans.

According to Bailey, "Robert Polidori has now licensed the use of his Katrina imagery (most of the images published in his book were captured inside the homes of Katrina victims WITHOUT their permission, which is called trespassing everywhere in this country, for use in an anti-smoking campaign."

Details here.

Tapedude Update

It's no secret that I think that Mark Jenkins is one of the most original DC-based street artists. Over the years his tape creations have continued to amaze me and thousands of other pedestrians in cities around the world.

And Mark has been busy!

Check out some of his recent outdoor artwork here.

London street art installation by Mark Jenkins

Monday, July 09, 2007

Urban Code Magazine

Issue number two of Urban Code magazine is out and looks great!

The magazine has excellent coverage of the arts, including multiple reviews of DC area gallery shows. You can subscribe for free to the electronic version of Urban Code by sending an email to urbancodemag@gmail.com