Friday, August 31, 2007

Abu Ghraib paintings to be donated to Berkeley Pentagon?

The series of paintings done by Colombian artist Fernando Botero based on the Abu Ghraib photographs may become part of the permanent collection of the University of California, Berkeley... or maybe not.

UC Berkeley chancellor Robert Birgeneau has tentatively agreed to accept the gift, the monetary value of which experts peg at $10 million to $15 million.

“We have a gentleman's agreement,” said Birgeneau, who saw the works when the exhibition opened at Cal's Doe Library in January and was impressed by “their emotional impact and technical brilliance. I've written the artist saying we'll accept them, subject to us being able to work out a reasonable set of conditions.”

Botero, who said he would never sell the jarring Abu Ghraib pictures, turned down an offer from the Kunsthalle Wurth museum near Stuttgart, Germany, to build a wing to house them.
There's a lesson in marketing there somewhere for all artists. And also a lesson on the power of representational visual art to drive home a point - a political point in this case - by using the narrative powers of representational art to underscore an issue.

Fernando Botero in front of one of the Abu Ghraib paintingsThese images, in a sense, were already part of our visual art scene.

After all, it was the photographs upon which they are based upon that exploded into our collective eyes when they were first released.

By basing his works on them, Botero skilfully recognized that in the 21st century painting is still king, and lifting an image from a photograph to create a painting still "elevates" that image to a higher fine arts realm in the minds of many people.

They're no longer just photos in our computer screens and newspapers; they're now fine art.

And it also brought Botero back into the fine arts limelight and contemporary dialogue and away from fat people paintings.

By the way, my good friend Jack Rasmussen over at the Katzen Arts Center scored a major coup a while back, as he will be bringing the first United States exhibition of the complete series, both paintings and drawings to the Katzen in November.

It sounds like Birgeneau has just written to Botero and nothing has been heard back from the wily Colombian.

Which gives me an idea.

I think that the best place for these paintings is not Left Wing Nut U in California, but right here in Washington, DC.

And not as part of the permanent collection of any of our great DC area museums, most of which already have Boteros in their collection, but as part of the permanent collection of the Pentagon.

As many of the people who have taken the free Pentagon tour know, the building has a really impressive art collection on its walls. As one would expect, it is mostly military subjects and historical paintings.

I think that the Abu Ghraib paintings belong on the Pentagon walls - not to "shame" our Army personnel, but to show the world that we're still the only nation not only willing to show pride in our successes, but also strong enough to recognize our mistakes and learn from them.

Abu Ghraib was the result of an Army which hadn't handled foreign prisoners in many decades and a handful of improperly trained, misassigned miscreants in the wrong place at the wrong time, and certainly nowhere near a representation of the quality soldier that makes up our all volunteer Army.

And definitely nowhere near the level of torture that takes place in silence on a daily basis in places like Cuba, Iran, Sudan, China, many, many Arabic nations and ahem, Colombia, but Abu Ghraib was definitely a low point and a harsh learning experience for our men and women in uniform as we learn to fight a new kind of war. As a veteran I am proud of our Armed Forces and how they respond to the spectacular demands made of them.

Put them on the Pentagon walls to shout out that we understand and learn from our military mistakes just as well as we are proud of our military successes.

I call on Renée Klish, Army Art Curator, U.S. Army Center of Military History, or whoever is the curator for the Pentagon's art collection to write a letter to Botero and have Botero donate the Abu Ghraib paintings to the Pentagon.

And I also call for Botero to now turn his formidable painting and marketing skills to create a new series of paintings about the daily torture going on in Castro's miserable prisons in Cuba (a nation that has refused to allow Amnesty International to visit since 1988), and then seeing if the Cuban dictatorship is willing to accept those paintings and hang them where their military and their citizens can see them every day.

Opportunity for Artists

Deadline: September 3, 2007

The new Workhouse Art Center at Lorton, VA is now reviewing portfolios for the studio rental jury process and Workhouse Artist Association membership. Submittal deadline: postmarked by 9/3/07. Download application at or send a request to:

Lorton Arts Foundation
9601 Ox Road
Lorton, VA 22079

Next Friday

Next Friday generally marks the unofficial "opening" of the new art season along the galleries of the Mid Atlantic area, and there are a ton of openings coming in the next two weeks.

Here's an early look at a good one:

The Women’s Caucus for Art of Greater Washington, DC is presenting "Women’s Reflections - Visual Reflections from Washington, DC artists and 'Katrina Diaries' from New Orleans artists" at the Dennis & Phillip Ratner Museum in Bethesda, MD. This is a joint exhibition of paintings, printmaking, collages, photography, and fiber art by women from both the Washington, DC chapter and the New Orleans chapter of the Women’s Caucus for Art (WCA). In Katrina Diaries these New Orleans artists express their reaction to the devastation and loss caused by the hurricane.

Opening Reception: Sunday, September 9, 1:30 – 3:30pm and the exhibition goes through Sept. 25, 2007.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Sleepless in Media

I've had a brutal 48 hours with over 600 miles driving and four hours of sleep.

More later...

Baltimore Antique Show

By Shauna Lee Lange

Today was opening day at the Baltimore Antique Show which runs through the weekend at the Convention Center which is again hosting a gaggle of galleries and dealers. And noticeably this year there are several dealers fom London. This is my third year attending the show, and on this visit I found the line at the door much shorter, the food service slightly improved, and the air conditioning more manageable.

Other than some stunning very large floor mirrors, a $60,000 fun antique casino-type gaming piece, and remarkably breath-taking silver, the show is sadly predictable. Oh you'll find your antiquarian books, jewelry galore, and your historial pieces (be sure to check out the gun canes and the chandeliers)... but if you've been attending these shows as I have, it all becomes standard fare (except perhaps for the lovely display by New York's China Gallery or the ancient wood block reliefs also from China.)

Standard fare too are the highly marked up prices. I saw a piece earlier this year at the Big DC Flea Market with today's tag more than triple the asking price - so shop around! The range of art is a bit impressive, however I'm talking about the artistry in apparel of the wanna-be-wealthy-posers. Pink Ralph Lauren pants and black leather dress shoes sported by a very tan romance novel hero were outdone only by the tall blonde Barbie with the brown bareback cocktail dress.

Excuse me, I didn't know we were having drinks. Ahem.

Bring comfortable shoes; the concrete floor is brutal. And carry lots of dough; my parking, entrance fee, and lunch alone killed a $50.

Meredith Springer Award Winners Exhibit

Works by the Meredith Springer Award winners. Maria Barbosa, “Trip,” a walk-through installation and Steven Dobbin, “As I See It,” sculpture and mixed media. Opening reception Sept 1 from 3-5pm at the The Delaplaine Center in Frederick, MD.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Gould on galleries and emerging artists

The CP's Jessica Gould delivers another superb piece discussing the role of some galleries in helping to develop the young artist.

Read it here (Scroll down past the H Street stuff).

Bailey on Race, Art, Katrina, and Kirkland's One Word Project

This art blog has always been open for guest commentary and opinions. Below is a guest piece by the Rev. Bailey:

Church Burning by J.W. Bailey

"Church Burning" by The Right Reverend James W. Bailey

"Rough Edge Photography"

The underlying composite images of "Church Burning" were captured in 2002 in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans.


“Church Burning” – An Artist Statement

The New Orleans back-story of “Church Burning” by James W. Bailey

In 2004, artist and art blogger J.T. Kirkland began a unique online art exploration titled the One Word Project. The idea was simple. Artists were invited to submit representative images of their work, along with a written statement, in response to a word selected for the artist by Kirkland. I was one of the first artists to participate in this wonderfully creative project. The word assigned to me by Kirkland was “Obligation.”

The text portion of my response to the word “Obligation” that I submitted as part of the online project (as well as for the print edition of the project that was published in 2006), along with my image “Church Burning”, explored the meaning of t he obligations that come with the word “freedom” as inspired by the recorded words (voices) of my great-uncle, a white farmer from Mississippi whose grandfather once owned salves, and a friend of my great uncle’s, a black farmer from the same county in Mississippi whose grandfather had once been a slave.

As part of my text response to this project, I incorporated quotes from both men that I recorded in the early 1980s while researching my family’s genealogy and history in the state of Mississippi. My original text response for the One Word Project was also developed into a separate online art blog titled, Southern Obligation, which can be read here.

I wrote a lot of words in 2004 as part of the text portion of my response to the word, "Obligation." Many of my words at the time were inspired by my growing disgust over the pathetic state of contemporary American race relations, a poisoned state of race relations that for years prior Katrina, and especially in places like New Orleans, has fostered among many an increasingly paranoid level of fear, or worse, among others, a state of total denial.

Without context, the image “Church Burning” and the words “Church Burning” both tend to incite controversy, especially in the Deep South where I was born and raised. The original point of my photograph and written words was to creatively employ the use of art in an effort to crack the thin veneer of politically correct reactionary talking head surface dialogue that manipulatively functions to superficially cover up the cancer of racism in America.

It is my belief that Americans today (black, white and brown), are extremely reluctant to voice what their real concerns and fears are about each other. Since the end of legal segregation, blacks and whites in places like Mississippi and New Orleans (places where I was born, raised and have lived and know like the back of my hand) have instead mutually chosen to speak around one another (not directly to or with one another) using culturally coded and veiled language that barely masks a plenitude of deep-seated unresolved hostilities and resentments. “Church Burning” was my artistic attempt at the time to break through this entrenched cultural barrier toward a new level of honest dialogue.

When viewing "Church Burning" today, I am reluctantly motivated to write tens of thousands of pages about what has happened to New Orleans and the hundreds of people, including many of my family members and friends, that I personally know whose lives have been torn asunder by Katrina. I say reluctantly motivated because I know that if I were to finish the ten of thousands of pages that I could easily writer that I wouldn't stop there, but continue on for millions of pages more.

Prior to Katrina, when I first participated in the online version of the One Word Project, I used to spend a lot of my free time thinking about everything under the sun, including such important things at the status of the dysfunctional state of American race relations. Artists are supposed to do that, right, to think about everything and how everything that happens (or doesn’t happen) impacts every other thing, right?

Well, I don’t do that level of thinking anymore. After Katrina, the condition of New Orleans is all that I think about. New Orleans is certainly the only thing that most of us from New Orleans think about these days. Honestly, and the truth be told, New Orleans is the only thing in this world we probably care about. Katrina is a living nightmare for those of us from New Orleans that will not let us sleep.

J.T. Kirkland, the curator of the One Word Project exhibition, offered all of the participating artists in this current version of the project an opportunity to submit a rebuttal to their original submission.

My updated post-Katrina rebuttal to the word “Obligation” follows:

A Rebuttal to the Word “Obligation” by James W. Bailey

B.K. Time...

If it is true that the condition of art can change the meaning of the world, then it is more than true that the condition of the world can change the meaning of art.

The image “Church Burning” was created in B.K. time. For those of you who are not native New Orleanians, B.K. time means Before Katrina. In B.K. time, “Church Burning” was an attempt to explore the mythology of a black church in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans that supposedly was firebombed by racists in the 1920s.

I became fascinated by this story after hearing about it from several different white people from New Orleans who never actually lived in the Lower Ninth Ward, but who were positive that the story they told was true. Their story was that the church had been burned by members of the Ku Klux Klan and that the church congregation rallied together and immediately rebuilt it following the arson attack.

However, no one that told me this story was exactly sure of the location of the church. At the time I researched the Times-Picayune newspaper archives at the New Orleans Public Library and could find no news reports that confirmed the story.

I then spent the better part of a week driving and walking through the Lower Ninth Ward in an effort to locate the site of this church. I talked with more than 100 African-Americans, all of whom were life-long residents of the Lower Ninth Ward, and asked all with whom I spoke what they knew about the story of this church.

No one I spoke with knew anything about a black church in the Lower Ninth Ward that had been fire bombed by the KKK in the 1920s.

An elderly African-American gentleman that I met did, however, tell me a story about a black church that he knew about that had burned in the 1940s that was rebuilt. His story was that the church burned as a result of an electrical fire caused by faulty wiring and that the fire had nothing to do with arson or the Klan. The church that he directed me to that is located in the Lower Ninth Ward is the same church featured in the underlying composite images of “Church Burning”.

A.K. Time...

We New Orleanians are now living in A.K. time, After Katrina, and the complex mythologies of my beloved New Orleans are unraveling.

In B.K. time all of us (white, black or brown) thought we were American citizens.

In A.K. time all of us (especially black and brown) discovered that we are nothing more than “refugees” within our own country.

In B.K. time we naively thought that Americans appreciated our city for being one of the greatest cultural assets of our country.

In A.K. time we watched in stunned horror as America cynically allowed the cultural heart of its greatest city to drown and be destroyed.

The one thing that has held the faith of New Orleanians bound together against a challenging history of experiencing nearly 200 years of one disaster (natural or man-made) after another is the deep cultural investment we have made in connecting our lives and souls to the spiritual. No matter how horrible our situation, many in New Orleans have for generations sought solace and comfort in their neighborhood churches.

It is now two years after Katrina and more than 1,500 storm-damaged churches in New Orleans have yet to fully recover.

But let there be no myth-making about the truth of what ripped the spiritual life of New Orleans apart: The federal government of the United States of American authorized the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build a levee system that would withstand a direct hit of a Category 3 storm. The levees that collapsed during Katrina and destroyed 85% of New Orleans failed under Category 1 storm conditions as measured at the levee failure point of the 17th Street Canal in the city.

New Orleans was destroyed as a result of the greatest civil engineering failure in American history, a failure that was paid for by the United States taxpayers. More than 1,000 New Orleanians died because of the failure of the government of the United States of America to adequately protect American lives.

The word assigned to me for the One Word Project was “Obligation”.

In B.K. time I responded.

In A.K. time, I and my fellow New Orleanians continue to demand that the government that destroyed the heart and soul of our beautiful city rebuild it.

The United States government has an Obligation with no restrictive, delimiting or defining quote marks to do so. If America has the money to destroy Iraq in an effort to build a supposedly better and more democratic country, then America has more than enough money to fix New Orleans, America’s greatest city, and to fix it now.







The Arts Club of Washington is pleased to present The One Word Project, a group exhibition that is the capstone of a three-year exploration of the triangular dialogue between artist, work, and viewer. This exhibition will feature more than 30 artists, including Reston-based artist/photographer, James W. Bailey, a native of New Orleans whose award-winning signature style of slash-and-burn black and white film photography, better known as “Rough Edge Photography”, has garnered much critical acclaim during the past few years.


The One Word Project exhibition is curated by Reston-based artist and art blogger, J.T. Kirland. This project originated in 2004 as an online venue featuring artists, their work and their written statements, that was first published on Kirkland’s art blog, Thinking About Art . In 2006, the One Word Project was published as a print book that featured many of the online artist participants.


The One Word Project exhibition runs from August 28 to September 29. An opening reception will be held on Friday, September 7 from 6:30-9:00pm. The exhibition is free and open to the public. Normal gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday, from 10:00am - 5:00pm, and Saturday from 10:00am - 2:00pm.


The Arts Club of Washington is located at 2017 I Street, NW Washington, DC 20006. Visit their web site at for directions and more information.

About the One Word Project Exhibition:

Begun in 2004 as an online forum for stimulating artists to speak freely about their work, The One Word Project is a deliberate enactment of the 'conversation' between artist and viewer. Interested in seeking new ways to capture pure creative response, curator J.T. Kirkland distilled the traditional artist interview to its most basic element: a single word. After digesting the work of a self-selecting group of artists, Kirkland prompted each with a word of his choosing, to which each artist was asked to respond in approximately100–500 words. The resulting statements—which vary in length, approach, and relevance to the original word—offer a written correlative that informs and enhances the viewer's appreciation of the artist's work.

For Kirkland, the process of making art is as valuable and interesting as the work itself. The One Word Project reveals a fascination with the translation from artist mind to realized art object. The single word prompt minimizes the polluting influence of the viewer's agenda; spurred by an intentionally open-ended stimulus, the resulting self-articulation offers unfiltered insights into process.

In 2006, the work and words of The One Word Project artists were collected in a full-color art book of the same title. The current exhibition represents the natural conclusion of this three-year arc. Each piece is accompanied by Kirkland's word and the artists' response, offering a rare glimpse into the mind of the artist by both visual and verbal avenues. Viewers are encouraged to add their own impressions to the 'conversation'.

The exhibition features work by:

James W. Bailey (VA)
Rachael Baldanza (NY)
Joseph Barbaccia (VA)
Gregg Chadwick (CA)
J. Coleman (DC)
Anna Conti (CA)
Warren Craghead III (VA)
Rosetta DeBerardinis (MD)
Greg Ferrand (DC)
D. Keith Furon (CA)
Matt Hollis (DC)
Candace Keegan (MD)
Angela Kleis (DC)
Tara Krause (CA)
Andrew Krieger (DC)
Prescott Moore Lassman (DC)
James Leonard (NY)
Nathan Manuel (DC)
Jennifer McMackon (Ontario, Canada)
Jennifer Miller (DC)
A.B. Miner (DC)
Charles Neenan (VA)
Peter Reginato (NY)
Jose Ruiz (NY)
Wayne Schoenfeld (CA)
Kathleen Shafer (DC)
Alexandra Silverthorne (DC)
Marsha Stein (MD)
Trish Tillman (NY)
Kelly Towles (DC)
Bryan Whitson (DC)
Jamie Wimberly (DC).

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Power of the Web

A while back I showed you the below drawing ("Woman on the Moon About to be Swept Off Her Feet by a Flying Bald Man"). The drawing itself was sold at my last Washington, DC solo.

Woman on the Moon About to be Swept Off Her Feet by a Flying Bald Man by F. Lennox Campello

"Woman on the Moon About to be Swept Off Her Feet by a Flying Bald Man"

Greendoor Films saw it and now they will be using it in their current documentary about Superman titled "Last Son." Get a peek of the movie trailer here or click below...

Opportunity for Latino and/or Hispanic and Latin American Artists

Teresa Diaz is a curator searching for DC Area Latino/Latin American Artists as she currently has several curatorial endeavors in the DC Area and is trying to expand to other cities.

Interested artists should send her an email to with your website, or four samples of web resolution images of your work.

In the near future you may take a look at my website (currently under construction) at

Art Job

Deadline Sept. 17, 2007

Carnegie Mellon University is currently looking for a gallery director for the Regina Gouger Miller Gallery at the College of Fine Arts of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

The College of Fine Arts at Carnegie Mellon University is comprised of the five Schools of Architecture, Art, Design, Drama and Music; the Studio for Creative Inquiry; and the Regina Gouger Miller Gallery. They are presently searching for a Gallery Director to be responsible for the stewardship, management and curatorial programming of the 9,000-square-foot Regina Gouger Miller Gallery in the Purnell Center for the Arts.

Salary: Negotiable

Application Deadline: September 17, 2007

Submit applications online via this website Position #3324

Monday, August 27, 2007

Heard online

"The new [Washington Post Style & Arts] section will indeed have coverage of local artists and local galleries. Check out the Studio feature. We're going to run one like that every week and we hope to get lots of submissions from local professional artists. Contact or art critic Blake Gopnik or arts editor John Pancake or arts editorial aide Rachel Beckman."

Deborah Heard
Washington Post
Asst. Managing Editor for Style
The bold accent is mine. Read the whole online exchange here. This means that Blake Gopnik's boss, under the new focus of the revamped Washington Post Arts & Style section, has directed him to begin "coverage of local artists and local galleries."

Be careful of what you wish for - but hey! coverage of the Greater DC area art galleries by the DC area's main newspaper's art critic is what Gopnik's bosses should have expected from Blake from day one.

I guess that Blake now will be hitting Mapquest to figure out where the Greater DC area's art galleries are located.

Wynn is Winning

A couple of weeks ago I pointed you towards the work of DC area painter and new blogger Wynn Creasy.

The CP's Joe Eaton has a really good article in the current issue of the CP discussing Wynn's take the bull by the horns attitude towards her artwork. She makes some good points and also makes one erroneous generalization about art galleries and dealers' commissions - but it's a common misconception by emerging artists - but hey! this lady is charging forward!

Read it here.

Job in the Arts

The WPA/C is looking for a new Membership Director; this is a full time staff position. The Membership Director is primarily responsible for maintaining the Membership and Patron and ArtFile Online databases, processing membership renewals, editing and distributing the weekly WPA\C newsletter and bi-annual Artist Directory, and maintaining the organization’s website. In addition to these regular duties, the Membership Director will assist other staff members on an as-needed basis to help complete projects and mount exhibitions.

Please send a cover letter, resume, and several writing samples to:

Human Resources
Corcoran Gallery of Art
500 17th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20006-4804

Everything but Art

The Washington Post's new "Style & Arts" section debuted yesterday.

Here it is, and ahem... I couldn't find any art reviews in it.

Where's the art?

Deborah E. Heard, assistant managing editor for Style, will be online today, Monday, Aug. 27 at 2 p.m. ET to field your questions and comments about the new Style & Arts section.

Submit your questions here.

This is a good opportunity for anyone so inclined to contact Ms. Heard and express the dismay that we all feel about the Washington Post's spectacular apathy towards the DC area visual arts scene outside of our great DC area museums. Please be courteous.

Fact: When Ms. Heard predecessor, Eugene Robinson took over as editor of Style, he inherited a section that had a weekly column dedicated to art galleries (the "Galleries" column) and a second weekly column (the Arts Beat column) which was focused mostly on the visual arts and on arts news. Under Mr. Robinson, the Arts Beat column was reduced to twice a month, and refocused on all the arts (most of which already get decent coverage in Style.

Fact: Eugene Robinson also began the process to let Blake Gopnik get away with only reviewing (with one or two very rare exceptions) museums, thus having the nation's only art critic too good to review his city's artists and art galleries.

Fact: On July 6, 2006, Steve Reiss (the Style section's Asst. Editor) stated online: "As for Blake Gopnik, he is a prolific writer and I find it hard to argue that we should be giving up reviews of major museum shows so he can write more about galleries that have a much smaller audience."

Fact: When Robinson left, under Deborah Heard, the coverage got even worse, with "Galleries" being reduced to twice a month. That adds up to around 25 columns a year to review the thousand or so gallery shows that the DC area gallery art scene has to offer.

Fact: On March 15, 2005, Deborah Heard was online and someone asked her:

Washington, D.C.: When are gallery reviews going to start running every week again? Are you currently seeking a new freelance galleries critic?

Deborah E. Heard: Reassessing our coverage of art galleries is on my list of things to do. I've already heard from quite a few folks about this so I know it's a pressing issue for some. But give me some time; I've only been in the job for a few months.
Memo to Ms. Heard: It has been two years. When are you going to reassess the new section's gallery coverage so that it is at least on a par with the new section's coverage of theatre, music, dance, opera, etc.?

Saturday, August 25, 2007

While I was gone...

Capps & Andrews steal hottie online vote!

She's incandescent; when bearded he's a Cuban-lookalike... so that helps!

The usually weird details here, and here and here and a ton of comments here.

A beardless Capps and Catherine yak about it here.

I see a future in the Louisiana or Chicago Democratic Machines for these two.

Lorton Arts Center

The WaPo's Annie Gowen has a big two-page spread with 7 images about the new Lorton Arts Center in Virginia right off I-95.

Read it here.

"The arts center will likely be one of the most high-profile amenities in Laurel Hill, where organizers envision not just studio spaces for artists but also two restaurants, a theater, an event center, music programming in a nearby barn, a museum and lofts where artists can live and work."

Fundraising Auction

On November 3, 2007, Equality Maryland, together with students from the University of Maryland Pride Alliance, will be hosting "Equality Beats," a benefit to support Equality Maryland's efforts to secure full marriage equality for same-sex couples in the State of Maryland. The benefit will bring together cultural activities with activism, complete with music, a silent auction of donated artwork, a raffle, and activism campaigns targeting state legislators from the home districts of the people attending. The event will feature a number of high-profile local LGBT and allied musical and comedy acts, DJ's, and low-cost food and drink.

I am donating a piece of my own work and any other artists wishing to donate artwork as prizes for their raffle or silent auction, or if you have any questions about Equality Maryland or this event, please contact Patrick Wojahn at 240-988-7763 or or send to:

Equality Beats Silent Auction
Equality Maryland
1319 Apple Ave.
Silver Spring, MD 20910

New arts blog

Studio Frido, based partially in Manchester, MD that has developed a unique process for generating art from small natural and man-made objects. They use "a patent-pending process to transform microscopic computed tomography (CT) scans of natural and man-made objects into works of art. Studio Frido is dedicated to furthering cancer research, children’s education, and general appreciation for the inner beauty of all things."

They also have a blog here and have created a unique print series for the cancer benefit auction at the Scott Carter's Heroes Golf Classic in Tulsa, Oklahoma on August 27, 2007.


By Shauna Lee Lange

A little over two years ago, Irene Winter, Professor of Fine Arts at Harvard University, gave a talk on the ancient Assyrian site Nimrud and the Queen's ornate crown at the National Gallery. Winter spoke in exacting detail about the aesthetics of radiance, Summarian burial practices, the politics of acquisition, and practices stemming out of antiquities legislation all in connection with her life's work in art and archaeology.

I am not certain why, but what stuck with me was the gold and its immutable nature. I remember viewing slides of gold used over ivory, gold clustered stars, gold appearing as textiles, gold earrings and armlets worn by men, gold bracelets inlaid with turquoise and lapis, gold rosettes, Christian ornamentation and halos, and yes - gold Buddahs.

When you think about it, gold has a certain aura, a living vitality, a shimmering light. It's power, heat, shine, and luster. It's the golden calf, the representation of the sun, the great dome in Jerusalem. Gold is radiance, luminosity, emanating, strong, and durable. It's a strong cultural response. It's a visual and neurobiological reaction that grabs the eye and stimulates pleasure. Gold manifests outwardly, reflecting inner nature.

A high-end experience, gold is - and that's why I love it. It's vitality, auspiciousness, allure, and beauty. It's seductive, compelling, lovely, splendorous, and glorious. This malleable mineral, while today being expensive, also denoted money and wealth in its own accord all those years ago. It can be considered somewhat controversial. A thinking man has to ask what's the morality of luxurious acquisition and excess in a world of demise and suffering?

But to the artist, gold is greed and need. Who among us is satiated with only one hit of Klimt's gold foil, leaf, and paint? No. No. No. We need gold's lift again and again. Give us hearts of gold. Let us hold ourselves to the gold standard. Award us all the gold medal for courage in creating. Let us all live on the gold coast or by the golden rule (if we so choose). Please protect us all from the gold diggers and let us each come across our very own golden opportunity. The luxury of a luminous lift.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Airborne Today

Heading back home... this post from St. Louis Airport, where the gate display says that my flight is departing on time (at 6:50PM). As it is now 6:49PM, I asked the nice AA gate attendant if the flight is going to be late. She says "we're waiting on the pilot to let us know if we're going to be late."

At 7:00PM the multimillion dollar airport display system still has the flight departing at 6:50PM. Someone notices and it goes black.

At 7:12PM the announcement is made that the flight will depart at 9:30PM. The reason: "We're waiting for the captain."

Usual translation: the crew for this flight was re-scheduled on the go to another flight whose crew didn't show up on time, but has a higher priority to depart on time because of arrival time restrictions, and as there are no back-ups in today's austere flying environment, which somehow manages to lose money in spite of filling every seat on the flight, the airlines now has to gather a "new" crew from those on break, or re-assign another crew as the arrival time domino effect begins to take place.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Overdue Recognition

A Master Works Challenge and Artist Reception will be held Saturday, August 25, 2007, 6:00 - 9:00 p.m at the Overdue Recognition Art Gallery, 6816 RaceTrack Road, Bowie, Maryland.

The event culminates an opportunity for both new and established artists to show their works and compete for a private reception. The challenge ran from June 23 - July 28, 2007 and each artist produced works within the time constraints.

Participants include: Pamela Hilliard; Karen Y. Buster; Larry "Poncho" Brown; James Redd; Deborah A. Shedrick; James Murphy; Yolanda Redd; and Larry O. Brown.

Overdue Recognition owners, Jackie and Derrick Thompson, along with Authentic Art Consulting curator Sharon Burton, will jury the show and decide which of the talented artists will receive a gallery showcasing at Overdue Recognition Art Gallery this late fall.

Ms. Thompson stated, "I'm very excited about the show. It has always been a goal of ours to give new artists a venue to show their work, and we're hoping to make this an annual event."

For more information, contact Overdue Recognition Gallery at 1-866-726-8642, or (301) 805-8812 or e-mail:


Three artists from New Jersey, Don Simon, Luke Weichmann, and Charles Katzenbach, will be exhibiting their art work at StrataSphere, an exhibition space in Philadelphia.

The exhibition is entitled Multiplicity, which refers to the idea of repetition and duplication. The show, curated by Carol Taylor-Kearney, will be at StrataSphere from August 25th through September 29th. An opening reception for the show is from 2pm until 5pm on Saturday, August 25th.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Job in the Arts

The Honfleur Gallery, a project of the ARCH Development Corporation, is
seeking a very self motivated individual who is capable of working in a team
based environment reporting to the Gallery Director, Creative Director and at
times the CEO. Applicant must bring a sense of enthusiasm to the 2008 season
and be able to speak clearly and knowledgably to clients & potential funders.

Fundraising and Development responsibilities are as follows:
• Creation of Corporate Giving Plans & Exhibition Sponsorships
• Gallery Membership Maintenance and Development
• Outreach including government, community and individuals
• List Creation and Maintenance
• At times, Exhibition Support and Press Announcements
• Representation Follow Up and Assistance
• General Research & Development pertaining to both funding and artist support
• Occasional support with grant proposals and meetings

Individual must be able to identify and prioritize the needs of the gallery. Honfleur is seeking increases in the following areas; Individual buyers,
Corporate buyers/sponsors and Grant assistance.

Salary commensurate with experience.

Bachelors Degree
At least 3 years Development Experience
Some type of artistic background ie visual, music, film etc…
Microsoft Suite

Deadline for applications is September 7th 2007. Please submit a current
resume/CV with references and a one page writing sample to:

Monday, August 20, 2007


After the usual nightmare that is guaranteed to occur when one flies from Philadelphia Airport, arrived in San Diego, which had the also usual perfect day, and drove to Hollywood to see my daughter and some friends.

Windy streets overlooking Universal City and the whole valley below afforded a spectacular sunset view from every room in the house, and also discovered that a few doors down was William Shatner's home.

It got me to think how Captain Kirk is a living example not only to actors but artists of all sorts.

If anyone could have been typecast by early success it was Shatner. The cult status of Star Trek gave Shatner and Nimoy and others worldwide fame and also could have trapped Shatner into a typecast (like it did for Adam West for example) role.

Shatner grabbed the typecast noose and instead of succumbing to the temptation to give up, he used it to rope us all in and kept re-inventing himself and coming back generation after generation, be it via TJ Hooker or Boston Legal or even that forgettable recording of that Elton John song that shall remain nameless.

This is a lesson for visual artists as well. Witness the typecasting of Piet Mondrian's work once he discovered the success formula for his best-known body of works.

Picasso once said "God is really only another artist. He invented the giraffe, the elephant, and the ant. He has no real style. He just goes on trying other things."

That's what Shatner did and there's a lesson in there for young visual artists.

Bravo Captain!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Airborne Today

Heading out to La Jolla, California for a week of work, fun and some beach running. More later...

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Opportunity for Artists

Deadline: January 8, 2008

Sarasota, FL - "Embracing Our Differences" invites artists, photographers, professionals, amateurs, teachers and students to participate in its 5th annual visual art exhibit celebrating diversity. National and international submissions are encouraged. 39 artists will be selected for the exhibit.

"The Embracing Our Differences exhibit will be displayed throughout the month of April 2008 at Island Park along Sarasota's beautiful bayfront. The exhibit will also be displayed throughout the month of May 2008 in North Port, Florida. Since 2004, the exhibit has been viewed by more than 400,000 visitors. The exhibit will contain 39 billboard-sized (16 feet wide by 12 1/2 feet high) images of the selected artworks. Final selections will be chosen based on artistic excellence in reflection of the theme "Embracing Our Differences". The art-work will also be evaluated on how effectively it will read outdoors when enlarged to billboard size - 16 feet wide by 12 1/2 feet high. Artists are encouraged to use bold saturated colors and strong lines. Final selections will be made by a 3-judge panel of professional artists, curators and art professionals. A total of $2,500.00 in awards will be presented.

For more information please visit the "website or email:

Friday, August 17, 2007

Opportunity for Artists of Cuban Heritage

Deadline: January 14, 2008

The Cintas Foundation invites applications in the visual arts including painting, sculpture, installation art, design, video art, photography and filmmaking. The fellowship is awarded annually in the amount of $15,000 and is generously funded by the Emilio Sanchez Foundation.

Eligibility is limited to artists of Cuban citizenship or direct descent (having a Cuban parent or grandparent) living outside of Cuba. The fellowship is not awarded to artists currently pursuing academic studies. The fellowship is not awarded for academic writing, study, or research or to performing artists. The Cintas fellow is free to pursue their artistic activities as they wish according to their application, in the United States or in other countries approved by the Cintas Foundation.

Since 1963, Cintas Fellowships have honored over 300 artists of Cuban ancestry including including Carlos Alfonzo, Teresita Fernández, Anthony Goicolea, photographers Andres Serrano and María Martínez-Cañas, sculptor Maria Elena González, filmmaker Mari Rodríquez-Ichaso, among others.

The application deadline for the Cintas Foundation Emilio Sanchez Award in the Visual Arts is January 14, 2008. For more information and application forms, please visit the website or contact: Ingrid LaFleur Rogers, Cintas Fellows Collection Manager, at

Arts Job

With the recent departure of Pamela G. Holt, Maryland Citizens for the Arts’ (MCA) Executive Director, the MCA Board has initiated a formal search process for a new Executive Director.

The job opening announcement and position description is posted online here.

Shifts and Moves

I've been hearing for the last few weeks of a major move by one of DC's key galleries which will also bring along another gallery to its new location. More later - after the closing for the building is done!

I also hear about another major DC arts presence which will also be moving in the near future. More later on that as well.

And Provisions has to move soon as well...

The Mural Stays

A Philadelphia city appeals board on Tuesday unanimously rejected a Historical Commission order to remove a mural painted on the wall of a building in the Rittenhouse-Fitler Residential Historic District. Peirce College, whose campus is across the street, had complained to the Historical Commission.

Score one for art, one less for burocracy.

Read the story by Joseph A. Slobodzian in the Inquirer here.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Media, Pennsylvania

Check out this very cool video of the little town that I settled in after my move from DC. It's part of a contest sponsored by IKEA and if you feel like it, vote for Media. So far it's number one in the whole nation! Winner gets a Main Street "makeover."

See the video here.

Trawick Finalists Announced

The artists selected as Trawick Prize finalists are:

Mary Coble, Washington, D.C.

Mary Early, Washington, D.C.

Suzanna Fields, Richmond, VA

Inga Frick, Washington, D.C.

Jeanine Harkleroad, Chesapeake, VA

Linda Hesh, Alexandria, VA

Baby Martinez, Washington, D.C.

Kathleen Shafer, Washington, D.C.

Jo Smail, Baltimore, MD

Bruce Wilhelm, Richmond, VA

Nicholas F. Wisniewski, Baltimore, MD

The jurors for this year's Trawick are Anne Ellegood, Associate Curator at the Hirschhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden; Amy G. Moorefield, Assistant Director and Curator of Collections for Virginia Commonwealth University’s Anderson Gallery and Rex Stevens, Chair of the General Fine Arts Department at Maryland Institute College of Art. Catriona Fraser, owner of the Fraser Gallery in downtown Bethesda, is the non-voting Chair of The Trawick Prize.

The Trawick Prize is clearly the DC area region's premier fine arts prize and once again kudos to Ms. Trawick! Lots of surprises on who was dropped from the semi-finalists' list. A public opening will be held at Creative Partners Gallery on Friday, September 14, 2007 from 6-9pm in conjunction with the Bethesda Art Walk. Creative Partners Gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 12-6pm.

I've got my money on Mary Coble!

Talcott on Modernism

The WaPo's Jacqueline Trescott has a really good article on the results of the Corcoran's much heralded Modernism exhibition.

This follows on the WaPo's former Chief Art Critic (and now mostly a resident of soggy Scotland) Paul Richard, writing a while back about the disappointing numbers of visitors attending the Corcoran's mega exhibit "Modernism."

But eventually the show drew "93,000 visitors over 116 days, an average of 801 a day. The projected attendance was 100,000," so I guess that it did OK, especially when viewed in the perspective that this was the Corcoran's most expensive exhibition ever ($2 million), and its third most visited ever -- "Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years" was open for six months in 2002 and had 153,000 visitors. In 2004, "Norman Rockwell's Four Freedoms: Paintings That Inspired a Nation" attracted 110,000 visitors in five months.

Last March I was elated to discover that a major Frida Kahlo exhibition was coming to Philly from the Walker Art Center, where it was curated by Michael Taylor; from Philly it will travel to SFMOMA.

I was a little disappointed that this show is not traveling to any DC area museum; it would have been a perfect blockbuster for the Corcoran, but I suspect that those decisions were made prior to Paul Greenhalgh arriving to take the helm of the Corcoran.

Another positive development revealed by Greenhalgh was that they "got 1,800 new members, and that was a dramatic success." He also told Talcott that "he hopes to do a survey of the postmodernist movement in late 2010."

Postmodernism survey? Yawn...

Of course, a while back I had some ideas for some megashows that the Corcoran or other museums should consider. Here they are again + a new one:

Mega Art Show Ideas

Frida Kahlo - In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo (1907–1954), the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, in association with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), will present a major exhibition of the artist’s paintings spanning her career. Curated by art historian and Kahlo biographer Hayden Herrera and Walker Associate Curator Elizabeth Carpenter, Frida Kahlo will open at the Walker October 27, 2007 – January 20, 2008, before traveling to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and SFMOMA. Why Kahlo is not coming to any DC museum is a mystery to me, and I can already hear the k'ching of cash registers in those museums selling posters, books, etc.

The Art of Comic Books - Hollywood gets it, so when will the artworld get it? Comic book characters generate big bucks for la la land, and I suspect that a massive survey of original artwork by both the vintage artists of the early to mid 20th century, as well as the cult icons like Frank Frazetta, Berni Wrightson and others, coupled with the young new hard guys and gals is sure to (a) expose the brilliant genre of art that is comic book art, and (b) get huge lines to see the original boards for Superman, or Batman, or Spidey, or Frazetta's spectacular series of Conan, The Barbarian illustrations.

PostSecret - Why someone hasn't done this on a massive scale is beyond me. Imagine a museum lined up with 100,000 postcards of Frank Warren's secrets. If they stood in lines around the block when the WPA/C did it in hard-to-get-to and hard-to-park Georgetown, imagine what it would do in a highly visible museum setting and to that scale.

The Ivy League and Seven Sisters Nude Photographs - It was an apparently long-established and bizarre custom at most Ivy League and Seven Sisters schools for incoming freshmen to pose nude for a series of photographs. In some cases, pins were attached with adhesive to their backbones at regular intervals from the neck down. These "posture photos" were in some of these schools a routine feature of freshman orientation week, and designed to "discover" those students with an erratic postural curve, and those were then required to attend remedial "posture classes." I kid thee not. Both George Bush presidents, Bob Woodward and many other now famous folks were required to do it at Yale. At Vassar, Meryl Streep did it, and at Wellesley, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Diane Sawyer also did it. Can you imagine the lines of people waiting to peek at a naked Dubya?

Ansel Adams Revealed - There are some fill-in-the-blank American art icons whose name alone guarantees a mega show because their art has become part of the American identity. In addition to Adams, other such artists include Georgia O'Keefe, Norman Rockwell, Andrew Wyeth, Andy Warhol and maybe Hopper. Because the Library of Congress owns thousands of Ansel Adams negatives created while Adams worked for the Dept. of the Interior, I suspect that a hard-working curator could dig and put together an exhibition of seldom seen Adamses.

Sports Art - People are always yapping about political art (yawn), which is simply another genre or subject that artists look at once in a while. And if we simply consider focusing an art exhibition on a particular subject matter, just to get a general survey as to what artists are doing on that particular subject, then a potential idea would be a survey of sports-related art. What has happened in this genre since the great George Bellows paintings? Some photos have become an iconic part of Americana, such as the great Ali - Liston photos. What else is out there?

Other interesting ideas (not guaranteed to be mega exhibits):

Ebay Artists - At any given time there are around 150,000 lots classified as art on Ebay and around 12,000 by self-representing artists. Ebay is generally where bottom-feeders dwell (for the most part) in the world of art. But we also know that it's not that unusual anymore for museum curators to occasionally troll through Ebay looking for specific stuff. Can a decent exhibition be curated from the massive numbers of artwork being exposed through Ebay? Just an exhibition of copy cats may be fun.

Blank Canvas - Imagine that a local museum sets up 100 4 ft. x 4 ft. blank canvasses on easels and sets up an online and snail mail lottery where artists from all over the world submit their details and at a certain point 100 of them are picked at random via a lottery style (or a curated process I guess) and selected to come to the museum for a specific period of time and create a painting live and in situ.

Googlart - A variation of the above, but a more contemporary approach, where the museum sets up 25 big LCD screens in a cool minimalist way, and each screen in hooked up online and connected to a wireless keyboard somewhere else in the museum, where visitors can type in some sort of search parameter and using some new dorky CGI script of whatever, in conjunction with Google Image Search, be constantly presenting images on the screen, say 10 seconds each? Because this is the USA, some sort of safety net to try to avoid porn would be needed, so perhaps a hidden human in the loop to prevent porn from going to the screens may be a good idea. Get Google to sponsor the exhibition, pay for the screens and for the minimal software development and you're set!

The New Idea

"Castro's Cuba: A Survey of Contemporary Cuban Artists." Guaranteed to cause tons of protests and perhaps even some vandalism when it travels to Miami! The "can't touch" mystery of this jailed island and its brutal dictator has always had a magnetic romanticism to Americans, and the title alone will ensure that the interest and curiosity of both visitors to the DC area and local Washingtonians is raised. When I co-curated "From Here and From There: Artists from the Cuban Diaspora," I knew that there was interest in the subject, which ended up being our most successful exhibition ever, both in terms of sales and spectacular press coverage. Couple the survey with filling one of the galleries with historical photographs of the Cuban revolution borrowed from the Library of Congress, and this not only puts the survey in some sort of context, but also gives the public lots of photos of the superphotogenic Che Guevara and other young bearded guerrilla gods.

Success guaranteed and also guaranteed to get a few museums interested in the show as well.


Today is the 30th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death, and below is a drawing that I did while I was in art school 30 years ago, upon hearing that the King had died. It is titled "Marilyn Monroe and Frida Kahlo waiting in icon heaven for Elvis Presley."

Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe and Frida Kahlo

"Marilyn Monroe and Frida Kahlo waiting in icon heaven for Elvis Presley"
24 x 20 inches c. 1977, ink wash on paper

Capturing the New Berlin

Official, private, and intimate – Berlin is seen and captured in the Goethe-Institut’s exhibition Portrait: Berlin – Contemporary Photography and Video Art. From August 22 - September 27, 2007.

Stefanie Bürkle – Daniela Comani – Oliver Godow– Armin Häberle – Frank Hülsbömer – Jens Liebchen – Wiebke Loeper – Gerhard Kassner – Christian Rothmann – Mariana Vassileva – Brigitte Waldach.

Curated by Matthias Harder, Helmut Newton Foundation, Berlin. Opening reception on Wednesday, August 22, 6 – 8 pm with photographer Christian Rothmann.

RSVP to 202-289-1200 ext. 165

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


I was out on the road all day on Wednesday... more later.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Wanna go to a closing reception in Baltimore?

The very talented Baltimore-based photographer Sofia Silva is closing her exhibition "Suburban Spaces, SOFIA SILVA," this coming Thursday August 16th, from 5 to 7pm. At RTKL Associates Inc. 901 S. Bond Street, Baltimore, MD 21231. RSVP to

Art Job

Curator of Exhibitions: Arts Council of Princeton

Deadline: August 31, 2007

The Arts Council of Princeton, a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization celebrating its 40th anniversary, is seeking a Curator of Exhibitions to oversee the contemporary exhibition program in its new Paul Robeson Center for the Arts, scheduled to open this fall in downtown Princeton. The new arts center, designed by internationally renowned architect Michael Graves, is anticipated to be the most prominent and important contemporary art space in the greater Princeton region. This is a part-time position that will work with the Executive Director and an Exhibition Advisory Committee to develop plans for an exhibition program focused on the works of established to emerging living artists. Interested candidates should send resume, letter of inquiry, three references and salary requirements to by August 31, 2007. For more information about the Arts Council of Princeton visit.

DC Gallery Job

NW DC successful cooperative gallery seeks sales oriented, organized and energetic individual with experience in the visual arts to manage all aspects of gallery operations and sales.

Ideal candidate will have good communication skills to work successfully with customers, the Gallery's Board of Directors, and member artists; be highly organized to maintain show schedules and gallery records; be comfortable with basic office computer skills including Internet, customer database management and standard office software. Must be available for gallery hours: W-Th 1-7, Fri 1-8, Sat.1-6., and attend some member meetings and receptions.

The Director is responsible for promoting and conducting sales during gallery hours and at gallery receptions. The Director also works with all member artists to produce successful shows. Director engages in patron contact, customer list development, website oversight, media release drafting and submission, and advertising copy development. Motivation to work for sales commissions a must. Salary plus commission. Contact: Raymonde van Santen Ph: 301-365-6826; or Carol Rubin: Ph: 301-986-4549.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Art for new Nats ballpark

Michael Neibauer, in The Examiner reveals that "Mayor Adrian Fenty has moved to shift $770,000 from the city's equipment leasing fund and into the budget of the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, which will use it to purchase artwork, including sculptures, for the 41,000-seat stadium."

Read the article here.

I betcha that Joe Barbaccia and Adam Bradley and Mark Jenkins could come up with a couple of new cool baseballism sculptures.

Smaller and Smaller

Lately I've been drawing in a very small scale - for example, the below drawing, which is titled "A Rabbi, slightly upset because he's just been told that his glasses are very trendy these days," is about two inches high by 1.5 inches wide.
Rabbi with cool glasses

Death of an artist

The Gazette newspapers' Karen Schafer has a really touching article on the death at 46 of Maryland photographer Michael Evan Thomas.

Read it here.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

New arts blog

New to me anyway. Not only is Virginia/DC area painter Wynn Creasey doing a painting a day in her blog, but also adding interesting commentary and thoughts.

Visit her blog here.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

PostSecret Video

Like everything that Frank Warren does, his first PostSecret Video is both classy and superbly done!

Wanna own a Campello?

The Hopkinton Senior Center in Hopkinton, Massachusetts has inherited (from a very well-known collector) two of my drawings from the early 1990s. They are both original charcoal and conte drawings.

One is a portrait of Picasso and the other of my daughter Elise. If you are interested make them an offer on both or either one by calling Judi Allessio at (508) 497-9730 or email her at Images below.

Elise Campello c. 1994

Portrait of Pablo Picasso

City Papers

In Baltimore, Deborah McLeod reviews Adrienne Figus, Elizabeth Graeber, and Lexy Singer at the Sheppard Art Gallery.

In Philly, Robin Rice reviews Philadelphia Stories: The Building of a Great American City at the Art Institute of Philadelphia, and Mary Wilson picks YouthArtWorks at Asian Arts Initiative.

In DC, Kriston Capps picks Useless at Project 4 and Maura Judkis picks Earth on Stone on Earth Is Naturally So at Flashpoint.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Today in Bethesda

Today, Friday, August 10th, 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!

Today in Baltimore

Antagonism, Hacks, and Hoaxes (curated by Michael Benevento) opens tonight, Friday, August 10 at Maryland Art Place, with a Gallery Talk at 6pm, followed by an Opening Reception at 7pm. And you won't want to miss a performance of The Ed Schrader Show at 8pm! The exhibition will remain on view through September 1, 2007.

Featuring the works of: Aghost, Lara Emerling, Evie Falci, Michael Farley, Erin Gleeson, Natalie Jenison, Brian Kaspr, Dina Kelberman, Andrew Laumann, Rob Loucks, New Jedi Order, Robby Rackleff & Blue Leader, Jimmy Joe Roche, Jeremy Rountree, Ray Roy, Richard Sawka, Alexandr Skarlinski, Spectacular Society Corporation, Christopher Tate, Vishwam Velandy, Wham City, and Damon Zucconi.

This exhibition is a collaborative effort of Current Gallery and Maryland Art Place.

Today in DC

PhotoFocus, a regional show of photography juried by former Clinton White House photographer, Sharon Farmer is opening today, Friday Aug. 10th, at the Touchstone Gallery on 406 7th St, NW, DC, second floor from 6-8:30 PM.

Christmas Day, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, 2005 © Susana Raab

Christmas Day, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, 2005 © Susana Raab

Thursday, August 09, 2007

McNatt on WGS

The Baltimore Sun's art critic is Glenn McNatt, and today he makes some excellent points in a review of the Washington Glass School's artists at the Patricia Touchet Gallery in Baltimore.

Read the review here.

By the way, note something very different in the way that the Baltimore Sun's art critic and the Washington Post's art critic operate.

In the Sun, McNatt's byline is "Sun Art Critic," and he writes a review nearly every day, discussing both art galleries and art museums.

In the WaPo, Blake Gopnik's byline is "Washington Post Staff Writer" and Gopnik writes an art review once a week or so, but is allowed by his editor to ignore art galleries and only focus his talent on art museums all over the planet.

Little nuances that indicate how local newspapers view, treat and react to their native art scene.

More enlightment for Sozanski

More responses to the Philly Inky's art critic Edward J. Sozanski's curious statement in a recent review (see this).

Artist Josephine Haden (who has an upcoming solo at the McLean Project for the Arts, in McLean, VA opening September 20 7-9 PM.) writes:

Hi Lenny,

More, for the uninformed: Kiefer's new work was just shown in Paris, France, at the newly renovated Grand Palais. The show was the first in a series called Monumenta, and it was spectacular. He may well be the greatest living artist today!

See this Herald Tribune article.

Best, Josephine

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


To New Yorker Matt Murphy, who dived into the scrum and came up with the ball from Barry Bonds' historic and record-breaking 756th homerun.

With 250 San Franciscans and one New York Mets fan fighting for the ball, it was a no contest for the Mets' fan to come up bloodied but hanging on to a ball that will bring him around $300,000 to $400,000 bucks; the Bay Area fans had no chance.

I know this because even though as a child my family lived in Brooklyn, once I graduated from Our Lady of Loretto School, I went to Aviation High School in Queens, and my High School was only a few subway stops away from Shea Stadium, so every year I'd watch 30-40 Mets games. Half the fun was watching the fights in the stands, so Matt, as a Mets fan, was well-trained.

Back then people would order a beer, which came in a plastic cup, and then they'd start stacking the plastic cups atop each other as they drank more and more. At some point in the game, usually towards the later innings, the cup stack could be dangerously high and wobbly, which could cause it to tip over and spill on the guy sitting in front of you, which more often than not meant that he'd come up swinging and then the melee would start.

If the game went into extra innings, then fuggedaboutit; it was guaranteed automatic brawling in the stands as drunks got drunker and plastic cup stacks higher. I have even seen an outfielder get distracted watching a really good fight and miss a fly ball. Or even some players come out of the dugout to watch a really good brawl in the expensive seats.

The funny thing was that when the cops would show up, the fighting would magically stop a few seconds before the cops actually arrived and then nobody seen nuthin' and the fight would be over.

So Matt was well trained, as I imagine that the brawling tradition in Shea Stadium continues to this day.

If I was Matt I'd sell that ball pronto, as in about five or six years, when A-Rod overtakes Bonds' record, it will surely drop in value as the new record baseball is caught by some other fightin' New Yorker somewhere.


This coming Saturday

We're big fans of student work, and in DC Irvine Contemporary has Introductions3 opening this coming Saturday. 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.

Work by Akemi Maegawa

By Akemi Maegawa

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

Modern Living in DC

William Hanley with a good read on some DC area art exhibitions in ArtInfo.

Read the reviews here.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


A couple of days ago I told you about the curious statement by The Philly Inquirer's art critic Edward J. Sozanski, who in his recent review of "Kiefer, Polke, Richter" at the Philadelphia Museum of Art writes:

"One doesn't hear much about Kiefer these days, or Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter, A.R. Penck, Georg Baselitz, Jorge Immendorf, or any of the other so-called neo-expressionists. While their moment dominated a good portion of the 1980s, an especially vigorous decade for new art, it's long past."
A good DC friend writes: "I don’t know what planet the Philly critic is on, but I was at the Venice Biennale and visited the Berlin Hamburger Bahnhof museum on the same trip in June, and Kiefer and Polke are still very much forces to be dealt with and creating powerful new works. A series of large indigo ground and silkscreen paintings by Polke at Venice, and a huge installation of Kiefer’s paintings and sculptures in Berlin (taking over the equivalent of the real estate in the main entry hall in our Union Station)."

Easy to do if you're already famous

Several of London's leading artists are setting up their own galleries. Damien Hirst has reportedly bought a series of railway arches in Vauxhall in which he wishes to open a gallery and restaurant, rumoured to be opening next year. Jake Chapman is also said to be negotiating a lease for his own permanent gallery site. Already up and running is Wolfgang Tillmans, who opened the exhibition space Between Bridges in east London last year. Tillmans says that the gallery, which focuses mostly on political art, "is for art that doesn't necessarily have a voice because the artists are either dead or of no commercial interest. I want to do things other galleries wouldn't be interested in doing."
Read the Guardian article here.

What Degas Saw

(Tks Rev!) The WaPo has apparently moved its Arts coverage to the Health section, but it is nonetheless a fascinating article on what Degas actually saw and how his vision may have affected his painting style.

Read it here.

And then there were two?

It has nothing to do with the visual arts, but much ado has been made of the fact that Bill Richardson is a "Hispanic" candidate for the Presidency. I'm still mulling his "Hispanicity," a label that most of you know I have some issues with...

I recently heard on some radio show that Mitt Romney's parents were born in Mexico, not from Mormon missionaries who were visiting Mexico as part of their Mormon mission, but born from Mexican-born Mormons who had been living in a Mormon colony called Colonia Juarez, which his great-grandfather had helped to create 122 years ago.

South Americans by the millions who are of Italian, Japanese, or German ancestry are still labeled "Hispanics" because they're born in a Spanish-speaking country. Thus we have Alberto Fujimori (former Peruvian President and son of Japanese immigrants) and Alfredo Stroessner (former Paraguayan strongman and son of German immigrants) as "Hispanics."

I know it's silly, but I didn't make the rules - I think the Nixon administration was the one which invented the term back in the 1970s. Before that we were Mexican-Americans, Cuban-Americans, etc.

But, since Mitt's grandparents were Mexican, does that make him a Hispanic? If you say no, because theirs and Mitt's ancestry is "American," then that immediately disqualifies loads of people from this curious cultural misnomer?

Like Fidel Castro, whose parents were Galicians, and although Galicia is geographically located in Northern Spain, their people are not ethnic Spanish, but Galeg, with a different language, culture, etc. Galicia is one of the remaining Seven Celtic Nations.

Or maybe Shakira (Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll - born in Barranquilla, Colombia. She is the only child of Nidia del Carmen Ripoll Torrado, a Colombian of Catalan-Italian descent, and William Mebarak Chadid, an Arab-American of Lebanese-Catholic extraction).

Otherwise Mitt is a "Hispanic" and so is Senator John E. Sununu of New Hampshire. After all, his father, John H. Sununu (White House Chief of Staff for Bush The First and three-times NH Governor) was born in Havana, Cuba to Victoria Dada (a lady born in Central America) and John Saleh Sununu, a Boston-born businessman then living in Cuba.

I hate the labelling of people, and thus why I am wasting your time this Tuesday with this silly issue.

Only in America can a made-up cultural misnomer grow into a label which sometimes passes for cultural, and sometimes for ethnic, and sometimes for racial, depending on the ignorance or agenda of the user.

We wouldn't call a full-blooded Apache person an "Anglo-American," but we call the full-blooded Mayan person doing your landscaping or cleaning your house, a "Hispanic."

Fun with Lenny and silly labels.

Opportunity for Artists

Deadline: September 5, 2007

Albertus Magnus College invites artists to submit postcard size artworks that explore the impact of the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights on the lives of people living in the United States today. Postcards can engage topics such as: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, separation of church and state, and the right to bear arms.

The exhibition will be in Rosary Hall, on the campus of Albertus Magnus College, with an opening reception on September 10, 2007 at 4:00 pm. Format: postcard, 4 x 6" maximum, mailed with sufficient postage (works w/ insufficient postage not accepted). Return address required. All works thematically linked to topic will be displayed. (The College reserves the right not to display works which are patently obscene or degrading.) No entry fee, no jury, no insurance or returns. Exhibition dates: Sept 10-30, 2007. Send entries to:

ATTN: Dr. Sean P. O'Connell
Albertus Magnus College
700 Prospect Street, New Haven, CT 06511


Deadline: August 13, 2007

National Endowment for the Arts Access to Artistic Excellence - Offers funding to foster and preserve excellence in the arts, as well as provide access to the arts and arts appreciation for children, youth, and intergenerational education projects. Applications may be submitted in the following categories: Dance, Design, Folk & Traditional Arts, Literature, Local Arts Agencies, Media Arts, Multidisciplinary, Music, Musical Theater, Opera, Presenters, Theater, and Visual Arts.

Funding range is from $5,000-$150,000. For more information, contact:

National Endowment for the Arts
Nancy Hanks Center
1100 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20506-0001

Curatorial Fellowship

The Rose Art Museum of Brandeis University has announced a search for The Ann Tanenbaum Curatorial Fellow (2007-08) in the area of modern and contemporary art.

This one-year full-time fellowship offers an outstanding opportunity to to gain professional curatorial experience with the Rose's internationally recognized collection, which includes iconic art works from early 20th century American masters to De Kooning and Warhol; Rauschenberg and Lichtenstein. The fellowship will offer curatorial training and support scholarly research in connection with the permanent collection to an exceptional graduate-level candidate.

The fellow will have a passion for modern and contemporary art, a proven desire for curatorial work and research, and have recently completed graduate work in art history, either a Masters or Doctorate, specializing in modern and/or contemporary art. The fellow will be exposed to all aspects of curatorial work, gain experience in education and research, publications and cataloguing, acquisitions and conservation. He or she will also participate in a major project of publishing a comprehensive catalogue of The Rose's permanent collection. With a start date of October 2007, the fellowship will carry a stipend of $25,000.

Applications must be filed by Sept. 1. Application requirements: letter of interest describing the applicant's interest in the fellowship, museum work, and reasons for applying; resume; two letters of recommendation from academic and/or professional settings; and two writing samples. Please send applications to:

Curatorial Fellow Search
The Rose Art Museum
Brandeis University
MS 069
415 South Street
Waltham, MA 02453-2728

Or Email:

Monday, August 06, 2007

Separated at Birth

One of my favorite DC area sculptors is Adam Bradley. For years and years, even as a student at GMU, Bradley has been recycling junk and found objects and creating intelligent allegorical and narrative sculptures from them. He was doing "green art" without realizing it. See his work here.

One of my least favorite airports is the Philadelphia Airport, which essentially has been stuck in the 1970s for three decades. While at the airport, I spotted the below Honda ad:

Adam Bradley look-alike ad by Honda

Which looks suspiciously close to the well-known "Skirt" sculpture by Bradley shown below:
Skirt by Adam Bradley

Sunday, August 05, 2007


The Philly Inquirer's art critic Edward J. Sozanski has a curious statement in his recent review of "Kiefer, Polke, Richter" at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Sozanski writes:

"One doesn't hear much about Kiefer these days, or Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter, A.R. Penck, Georg Baselitz, Jorge Immendorf, or any of the other so-called neo-expressionists. While their moment dominated a good portion of the 1980s, an especially vigorous decade for new art, it's long past."
Mmmm... that's news to me.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

By Kris Kristofferson

Well, I woke up Sunday morning
With no way to hold my head that didn't hurt.
And the beer I had for breakfast wasn't bad,
So I had one more for dessert.
Then I fumbled in my closet through my clothes
And found my cleanest dirty shirt.
Then I washed my face and combed my hair
And stumbled down the stairs to meet the day.

I'd smoked my mind the night before
With cigarettes and songs I'd been picking.
But I lit my first and watched a small kid
Playing with a can that he was kicking.
Then I walked across the street
And caught the Sunday smell of someone frying chicken.
And Lord, it took me back to something that I'd lost
Somewhere, somehow along the way.

On a Sunday morning sidewalk,
I'm wishing, Lord, that I was stoned.
'Cause there's something in a Sunday
That makes a body feel alone.
And there's nothing short a' dying
That's half as lonesome as the sound
Of the sleeping city sidewalk
And Sunday morning coming down.

In the park I saw a daddy
With a laughing little girl that he was swinging.
And I stopped beside a Sunday school
And listened to the songs they were singing.
Then I headed down the street,
And somewhere far away a lonely bell was ringing,
And it echoed through the canyon
Like the disappearing dreams of yesterday.

On a Sunday morning sidewalk,
I'm wishing, Lord, that I was stoned.
'Cause there's something in a Sunday
That makes a body feel alone.
And there's nothing short a' dying
That's half as lonesome as the sound
Of the sleeping city sidewalk
And Sunday morning coming down.