Saturday, September 29, 2007

Bow Down to Washington

One of the things that people who don't like college cheerleaders in skimpy outfits like about the University of Washington cheerleaders, is that usually when they play at home they are covered in plastic raincoats (over their skimpy outfits).

For decades the Washington Huskies have been a perennial Top 20 team, several times national champions, and generally one of the top two or three universities who send the most players to the professional ranks.

But the Huskies have fallen on rebuilding times over the last few seasons.

And the rebuilding is beginning to show and although I generally do not talk about football in this blog, I wanted to be the first writer on the planet to predict that 19-year-old Washington red shirt quarterback Jake Locker (is that a great quarterback name or what?) will win the Heisman Trophy on his junior or senior year.

What an amazing future Jake Locker has...

Tonight the dogs from Seattle fought the USC Trojans, the best team in the country (and the best for years now), and were a 21 point underdog.

And on a day of upsets, where half of the Top 10 teams lost, where number seven Texas was shoved around and brutalized by Kansas State, number three Oklahoma was upset by Colorado, South Florida (???) embarrassed number five West Virginia, the Testudos of Maryland stunned number ten Rutgers, number 13 Clemson was spanked by Georgia Tech, number 21 Penn State lost to Illinois, number 22 Alabama lost to a once fading Florida State... the Huskies almost pulled out a 21-point underdog win over USC... and the dogs were one fumble away, plus a reversed interception in the end zone that turned into the Trojan winning field goal... from a stunning victory.

Go Huskies and Bow Down to Washington.


To Cara Ober and the gang at Bmore Arts, which has been named "Best Use of Bandwith" in this year's Baltimore City Paper's "Best Of Baltimore."

Well deserved!

Beyond the Margins

Hillyer Art Space at 9 Hillyer Court, NW, in DC will have Beyond the Margins: Selections from Soweto, South Africa opening next week, October 5, 2007, with a reception from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and runs through December 14, 2007.

Developed and curated by Martin Britz, President and Founder of the South African Fine Arts Congress, Beyond the Margins represents a body of work from both established and emerging black, South African artists working in the Soweto region outside the city of Johannesburg from 1970 to the present.

Represented in Beyond the Margins are Peter Sibeko, Muzi Donga and Winston Saoli, three of the most eminent painters of the Soweto school. Additional artists featured in the exhibition include: Ben Macala, Eli Kobeli, Speelman Mahlangu, Hargreaves Ntukwana, Godfrey Ndaba, David Mbele, Martin Tose, Leonard Matotso, Sipho Msimango, Solomon Sekhaelelo, Mvemve Jiyane, and Grand Maghandlela.

Friday, September 28, 2007


A couple of new tiny drawings of two art giants. Each charcoal is about one and a half square inches.

Man Ray

"Man Ray"
Charcoal on Paper. 1.5 by 1.5 inches. 2007
By F. Lennox Campello
In a private collection in Richmond, VA

Marcel Duchamp

"Marcel Duchamp"
Charcoal on Paper. 1.5 by 1.5 inches. 2007
By F. Lennox Campello
In a private collection in Richmond, VA

Makes sense

Mike Licht solves the Jacob Lawrence issue. He writes: "You (and Regina Hackett) can assume your readers are familiar with Jacob Lawrence. Jacqueline Trescott can't."

Great point and case closed.

At the Corcoran

This month, the Corcoran opens the photography exhibition Annie Leibovitz: A Photographer’s Life, 1990–2005, as well as Wild Choir: Cinematic Portraits by Jeremy Blake, which features three digital media projects by the late artist.

More interesting to me is their "2007 Alumni Juried Exhibition, Recent Graduates: 2002–2006." That exhibit goes through September 30, 2007, so hurry and go see it. It was juried by Molly Donovan, curator of modern and contemporary art at the National Gallery of Art and it's at the Corcoran's "new" Gallery 31.

Gallery 31 is the Corcoran’s newly dedicated exhibition space for the Corcoran College of Art + Design. The space will host exhibitions by the Corcoran’s faculty, students, alumni, visiting artists, and annual senior thesis exhibitions. Located at the New York Avenue entrance of the Corcoran, Gallery 31 will be open during Gallery hours and will be free to the public.

Come again?

Recently, a respected art collector in Portland, Ore., walked into a local gallery. The owners greeted her warmly, and ushered her to the back room to show off their latest acquisitions. After politely declining several works, the collector chose a $5,500 porcelain sculpture shaped like a basket and covered in tiny, platinum elephants. "She has such a great eye for art," gushed the gallery's co-owner, MaryAnn Deffenbaugh.

The collector, Dakota King, is 9. In a collision of the art boom, the wealth boom and the Baby Einstein approach to parenting, galleries and auction houses around the country report that children who aren't old enough to drive are building collections that include works by Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Camille Pissarro and Rembrandt. At Sotheby's in New York, an 11-year-old boy with blond ringlets waved a paddle last fall and successfully bid $352,000 for a Jeff Koons sculpture of a silver gnome. Some teenagers are flipping art for quick profits. A few grade-schoolers are even loaning works to major museums, including Houston's Museum of Fine Arts, a coup for a collector of any age.
[stunned silence follows]...

Read the article by Kelly Crow in the Wall Street Journal here. It is a really, really a well-researched and interesting read by the way.

Day of the Dead

Pencil this date in and come party Day of the Dead style, with art, workshops, altars, music, spoken word, dancing, marigolds and the souls of the departed when Arlington's Art Outlet presents “Ofrenda: Art for the Dead” from 3 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, October 13.

Twenty artists will show their personal altars and offerings, or ofrendas. Workshops will teach kids and adults about the Dia de los Muertos tradition. Details here.

- Day of the Dead Workshop: Sugar Skulls 3 – 5 p.m.
- Mariachi Band 5 – 6 p.m.
- Film Screening by Zulma Aguiar 6:15 - 6:30 p.m.
- Mud Pie 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.
- Flo Anito 8 – 9 p.m.
- Special Guest Appearance by Sarah Lovering 10:30 pm
- Aphrodizia featuring Yoko K. 10 p.m. – Midnight

Artists in the show are: Zulma Aguiar, Michael Auger, Jennifer Beinhacker, Alison Christ, Andrea Collins, Rosemary Feit Covey, Roni Freeman, Jenny Freestone, Vickie Fruehauf, Susan Gardiner, Angela Kleis, Emily Liddle, Rob Lindsay, Bono Mitchell, Thomas Paradis, Marina Reiter, Marina Starkova, Henrik Sundqvist, and Jack Whitsitt.


Over the last couple of years I've curated a couple of exhibitions which have focused on a particular interest of mine, text in art. One of the key artists who has been a cornerstone of those exhibitions has been Nigerian-born Victor Ekpuk, formerly a DC area artist, but currently living in Europe.

And his work will be included in "Inscribing Meaning: Writing and Graphic Systems in African Art" opening Oct. 14 at the Fowler Museum at UCLA.

Bloodless waters

"Italy will drop its civil charges against former J. Paul Getty Museum antiquities curator Marion True, now on trial here for allegedly trafficking in looted art, Italian authorities announced Tuesday."
Will this news make it to the frenzied "guilty upon arrival on all counts" art blogs of the scribes who stake their electronic arts presence by being judges and jurors for unresolved museum scandals?

Let us see.

This is not to say that there was no blood in the water to start with... and some of the high-handed folks who sometimes run major museums do need accounting and someone nipping at their butt to keep them straight.
The returns effectively render moot the civil aspect of True's trial, in which Italy sought damages for the loss of its cultural property. True faces criminal charges along with American antiquities dealer Robert Hecht, 88.

"The withdrawal significantly lowers True's exposure," said Luis Li, a Getty legal advisor. The Getty is paying for True's defense.

Paolo Ferri, the Italian criminal prosecutor in the case, said he hoped the agreement would accelerate the pace of the trial, which began in July 2005 and has hearings about once a month, when not delayed by strikes or holidays.

Ferri said the criminal trial, the first in which an American curator has been charged by a foreign county, was intended to be both punitive and preventive. "The preventive aspect was to say to museums: Please stop this buying in an illicit fashion, and please return the objects," Ferri said in an interview Tuesday. "This has now been achieved, and museums that are obliged to surrender objects won't be in the same trouble."

He expressed confidence in winning a guilty verdict in the conspiracy case but called its significance "virtual."

"True is an American citizen and will be able to evade my penal sanctions by going to the U.S. With Hecht, he is too old to have a real prison term," he said.

"For me, the trial has been won," he concluded.

True has maintained her innocence throughout the proceedings. Harry Stang, True's attorney, said, "Dr. True, together with her defense team, will continue to pursue all steps necessary to establish her innocence of the charges. Her defense team will address further matters when and if appropriate."
But every lawsuit has two sides, and it's easy to achieve shock presence with big bites when the museum's blood is in the water and the big sharks are biting and the small pilot fish also wants to bite.

With all this attention on the issue, perhaps a closer look at Italian museums' holdings is warranted.

As I wrote last year: "does every Roman artifact in museums around the world have to be returned to Italy? And do Italian museums have to return Roman antiquities that were made in other parts of the Roman Empire to the nations that now exist there? And Italy better start packing the 13 Egyptian obelisks that are all over Rome: Cairo is clearing out some spaces for them."

Two sides to every story.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

More balls on the court

Alexandra opines on the whole Jacob Lawrence, race and art issue.

Read it here.

Can Bailey and Capps be next?

Update: Capps here and he makes a good point.

For Emerging Artists

Deadline: October 1, 2007

The Center for Emerging Visual Artists "strives to provide the essential support services and programs emerging artists need to build sustainable careers." They're offering a career development and Exhibition Program for emerging artists

Their free two-year Career Development Program offers a select group of highly talented artists:

• Two-year fellowship period and lifelong alumni affiliation
• Exhibitions in regional, national, and international venues
• Professional development seminars
• Opportunities to meet patrons, gallerists, and curators
• Assistance with the marketing and sale of artwork
• Individual career counseling sessions
• One-on-one sessions with mentors, chosen from the Board of Artistic Advisors
• Opportunities to gain career experience while giving back to the community
• Alumni exhibition series
• Alumni goal-setting group
• Alumni Travel Grant Program
• Monthly newsletter updating fellows and alumni on regional, national and
international opportunities for artists.

Eligibility requirements include:

- Applicants cannot be in school.
- Applicants must live within 100 miles of The Center (Artists in Baltimore, Harrisburg, and the five boroughs of New York City are eligible; Washington, DC artists are not).
- Applicants cannot have a contractual agreement with a commercial gallery.
- Applicants cannot have had a solo show in a commercial gallery.

For more information and an application, log on to or call 215-546-7775 x 12 or email Amie Postic at

Art Bucks

Cultural organizations and their audiences in the Greater Philadelphia region apparently spend $1.3 billion annually.

This is according to the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance’s report released today: Arts, Culture, & Economic Prosperity in Greater Philadelphia.

"The report documents 40,000 jobs generated by the economic activity of the cultural sector and $158 million in taxes returned to state and local communities."

Read the report here (scroll to bottom).

This evening at Transformer

Today, Thursday, September 27, from 6:30 - 8pm, DC's Transformer has Holly Bass in "Pay Purview."

Pay Purview is an ongoing multidisciplinary work combining live performance with original recorded music and video. Pay Purview is an exploration of the role of women in commercial hip hop music and videos.
Holly Bass
In the live performance for Transformer, Holly Bass wears a "booty ball" costume piece made of playground balls to create an exaggerated, oversized, Hottentot-style derriere. Presented in Transformer's storefront window space, the audience, participating from the sidewalk outside the gallery, is asked to pay a dime for each viewing. A curtain opens for a short time and the performer dances to a selection of songs ranging from Rodgers & Hart's "Ten Cents a Dance" to Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Baby Got Back." The dance scenes range from mock burlesque to video-ho-booty-shaking to ethnographic display depending on the selected tune and the performer's impulse.
Details here.

Back to me

The Seattle PI's sharp art critic Regina Hackett takes me to task for my description of Jacob Lawrence a few days ago while I was in the process of delivering an irate and foul-mouthed rebuke on how Lawrence was labeled. Read her post here.

And in retrospect, that description obvioulsy delivered more than intended, which wasn't a character attack on Lawrence, but simply my recollections, observations and opinions from the perspective of a young art student about one of his teachers. All in a handful of words selected at the speed of light to be complimentary, or so I thought!

The comments about Lawrence as a teacher - especially coming from me, and let me tell you I was a beauty of an asshole student: demanding, combative, loud-mouthed, challenging, feh! - would essentially be how (unfortunately) I would describe practically any of my art professors at the time and somehow still translating to 2007 - from the eyes and memories of a juvenile art student - not just to Lawrence but probably could apply also to Alden Mason, Frances Calentano, Everett DuPen (who was very gentle) and others from that lively period at the UW.

Perhaps I should have used the adjective "difficult" (in fact I have corrected my post to say just that). I did say that he was also a "brilliant teacher" to others, as a way - I thought - of showing that I was relating my own biased experience and perspective as a student about a faculty member.

Are there any art students out there who don't think that some of your prefessors are assholes difficult?

All it takes is a B minus and you're doomed, partner!

I also described him as a good drinking buddy - that's a good thing - I think.

I also described him as an opinionated bastard - That was meant as a compliment - I certainly consider myself an opinionated bastard, and Lawrence's opinions, especially when translated to canvas or paper, were what made his work earn him the title of a great artist.

And Hackett is correct: he was also a very generous person; especially with his time and opinions, and even with his artwork (which as I recall used to drive his art dealer crazy).

And a great artist.

PS - Here is an earlier 2007 post on Lawrence where I wrote: "He is/was of one of the most influential and courageous American artists who's never been given a show at the National Gallery of Art."

And here in 2004 I also question why the NGA has ignored Lawrence for so long.

Big changes

I hear that there are big changes coming to the Washington Post. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

It only took them 17 years

A previously unknown painting by Amadeo Modigliani has been discovered.

The "Portrait of a Man" dates back to around 1918, said a Modigliani expert Christian Parisot. It was authenticated after 17 years of expert checkup, Parisot, the director of Modigliani's Rome-based archives, said.
Read the AP story here. Something in the article raised my eyebrows a little: "The canvas measures 46 x 38 cm (18 x 15 inches) and shows an unknown young man. Experts said the oil colors had been watered, a sign that the artist was poor at the time of the work."

Amadeo Modigliani Portrait of a Man I was not aware that oil colors could be "watered." In fact, I'm not aware of any technique where this is even possible.

An oil paint can be stretched and diluted by using a paint thinner, such as turpentine, which is usually the cheapest (and nastiest) thinner around, but unless I missed something in art school, one can't add water to oil paints (especially at the turn of the last century) to stretch the oil paints.

Some "new" modern oil paints can now be diluted with water, and there are some odorless paints thinners out there, but nothing that Amadeo would have had available during his lifetime.

I suspect that the AP article meant to say "diluted" rather than "watered."

Pedantic me.


Stand by early next week for a major announcement from an important DC area arts venue which is not only relocating but also somewhat re-inventing itself by going back to its solid and independent roots.

This Friday in Philly

Pentimenti Gallery opens its fall season this year with two solo exhibitions of works by Rachel Bone and Kevin Finklea. The exhibitions run through October 27, 2007 and the reception is this Friday, September 28 from 6 - 8 p.m.


Thanks to those of you who brought to my attention Seattle Post-Intelligencer's art critic Regina Hackett's irate post on the exact same point on Jacob Lawrence that made me so exasperated and foul-mouthed here.

Hackett writes:

"The disgrace belongs to the Post. Staff writer Jacqueline Trescott identified Lawrence as "one of the greatest African-American artists of the 20th century."

Aren't we past this? I look forward to the day the Post identifies Jackson Pollock as one of the greatest white artists of the 20th century. Because white appears to be this writer's assumed context, she notes only difference, black as a special case. (Diversity trainers: The Post needs you!)"
But it gets better, after making a good point about using an image of the painting in question for the WaPo article (and a rather weird comment on Mrs. Bush eyeliner), Hackett then writes:
"A smart newspaper would have printed a clear image of the painting and accompanied it with a sidebar by an art critic, covering the information Dangerous Chunky had about its market history as well as an assessment of its merits and its maker's place in history.

Oh wait. I forgot. The Post doesn't have an art critic. It has Blake Gopnik. Jaunty, arrogant and uninformed, he's easily the worst art critic at a major newspaper in the country."

Regina HackettDid an art critic from a major metropolitan newspaper just call the Washington Post's chief art critic "jaunty, arrogant and uniformed?"

Did she also rank him as "easily the worst art critic at a major newspaper in the country?"

I'm going to have to mull on that for a while.

Trescott Blows It

I started writing this commentary a week ago, when the story was first published in the WaPo, and somehow I didn't publish it as soon as I wrote it, as I was traveling.

And today I came across it again, and it pissed me off even more.

I tend to criticize the WaPo mercilessly for their crappy fine arts coverage, and they generally deserve it. But one constant source of light and enlightment in their shitty fine arts coverage is Jacqueline Trescott.

Trescott usually writes savvy, intelligent words for the WaPo's precious few fine arts Illuminati.

But, in my pedantic view, she really fucked up in this article almost a week ago.


If you've read my ramblings long enough, then you know that I am not a big fan of artistic segregation.

I don't think that there should be an arts museum just for women, or African-Americans, or Latino/Hispanic Americans.

I think that museums should be driven to include meritable art by artists, regardless of race or ethnicity, who deserve inclusion in a museum collection -- and which should be open to all artists, not just artists of a certain geographic or ethnic presence.

Not guided by percentages or demographics or numbers, but merit, and regardless and in spite of skin color, skin hues, last names, or religion.

And this is where Trescott blows it.

In the article she refers to one of my art school professors and influences as "In its recent renovation of the Green Room, the White House has given a place of honor to a newly acquired masterpiece by Jacob Lawrence, one of the greatest African American artists of the 20th century."
Jacob Lawrence, circa 1980 by F. Lennox Campello

Jacob Lawrence, pen and ink, circa 1980 by F. Lennox Campello
In an Private Collection

In my own personal experience, Jacob Lawrence was pretty close to an asshole difficult as an arts teacher (which sometimes means that he was also a brilliant teacher to students other than me), a pretty good drinking buddy, and an opinionated bastard. But Lawrence and his artwork was also without a doubt (in my opinion) one of the greatest American contributions (and artists) of the 20th century.


Not "one of the greatest African American artists of the 20th century."

And Mrs. Bush shows some remarkable insight in selecting this work:
It was purchased for $2.5 million at a Christie's auction in May by the White House Acquisition Trust, a privately funded branch of the mansion's historical association. Mrs. Bush had wanted a Lawrence work since a personal friend lent her Lawrence's "To the Defense." It hangs in the Bushes' private dining room. "And because it's on the wall that I look at from my chair in the dining room, I just grew to like Jacob Lawrence more and more," she said.
Bravo to Mrs. Bush - she went with her guts and feelings; Boo-Hoo to Trescott - she went with her hard-wired "formation" in always trying to label Americans.

And I'll keep my own original Jacob Lawrence on my walls, as I have for years since I acquired it in Art School, and refer to him as a great American artist when people ask me about it.


Update: Below is an image of the painting in question - with thanks to Dangerous Chunky.

Jacob Lawrence painting

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Lost Art

While I was a student at the University of Washington School of Art (1977-1981), one of my school projects involved taking a mannequin deep into the woods around the Seattle area, and then fixing the mannequin onto a tree.

Once the figure was attached to a tree, I would either cover it in glue, or spray it with photo fix glue, and then cover it in tree mulch, bark, and dirt. Then I would completely glue pieces of bark to the figure, and thus make it "blend" onto the tree that it was affixed to. Eventually, the figure would be (at least visually) part of the tree, as if the figure was growing from the tree itself.

Most of these projects were done in Mt. St. Helen's as I had a school friend whose family lived at the bottom of the mountain, and it was thus convenient as he was my guide around the mountain's ape caves and trails). I suspect that all of them were destroyed by the volcanic eruption of St. Helen's on my wedding day in 1980.

I took many slides of the finished installations, but because after art school I moved to Europe, and then returned in 1985 to go to postgraduate school, while I was at postgraduate school in California, I put about 30 boxes of books and photos and slides and clothes, etc. in storage with my then sister-in-law in Washington state.

Then, while she was on vacation, a pipe in her house broke and flooded her basement for several days. Not only did I lose many, many slides of artwork, but also lot of art, all of my disco clothes (probably a good thing), plus a couple hundred books, including my copy of a hardbound first edition, first printing of Tarzan of the Apes (now worth around $35,000 big ones)... and no, insurance did not pay for it; none of it.

Mujertree with broken arms

"Mujertree with Broken Arms" (from Daphne series) circa 1980. Pen and Ink. 10 x 8 inches.
Collection of the Artist

I do, however, still have some of the preparatory sketches (above) that I did over the years, and the memories of my student artwork that has been twice wiped out by the forces of nature, as if upset that I was re-arranging and humanizing nature.

Daphne by F. Lennox Campello
"Daphne" circa 1995, Charcoal on Paper, 30 x 20 inches.
Private Collection in Richmond, VA

These nature installations were part of what I called the "Daphne series," and which continues to this day, mostly now in drawings and etchings (above and below), although I am preparing to re-start the mannequin part all over again, in a sense kindled by the tree massacre that took place just down the street from my house, and all the woods around here.

Daphne by F. Lennox Campello

"Daphne" circa 1994, Charcoal on Paper, 40 x 30 inches.
Private Collection in Charlottesville, VA

Maryland State Arts Council opening

Join the Maryland State Arts Council at the James Backas Gallery in Annapolis on September 28, 5-8pm (Gallery Talk: 6:30 PM)for the Opening Reception of "Celebrating 40 Years - Showcasing 40 Artists," curated by Oletha DeVane.

The exhibiting artists are: Maria Anasazi, Kristine Yuki Aono, Maria Barbosa, Denee Barr, Sylvia Benitez, Ellen Burchenal, Paul Daniel, Linda DePalma, Helen Elliott, Anna Fine Foer, Espi Frazier, Helen Frederick, Mia Halton, Leslie King-Hammond, Maren Hassinger, David Hess, Tonya Ingersol, Chevelle Makeba Moore Jones, Gard Jones, Gary Kachadourian, Maria Karametou, Robert Llewellyn, Janet Maher, Jose Mapily, Allegra Marquart, Diana Marta, Cara Ober, Stephen Pearson, Gina Pierleoni, Leslie Snyder Portney, Camille Gustus Quijano, William Rhodes, W.C. Richardson, Joyce S. Scott, Christine Shanks, Piper Shepard, Laurie Snyder, Edgar H. Sorells-Adewale- Renee van der Steldt, and Michael Weiss.

The exhibition is through December 19, 2007.

New Alexandria gallery

At 22,000 square feet Art Whino, the largest privately owned, independent commercial fine arts gallery in the greater DC region opens October 19, 2007, in Old Town, Virginia.

Located at 717 N. Saint Asaph Street in Alexandria, Art Whino will open its doors for the first time with two exhibits: a solo show by artist Derrick Wolbaum and the opening of the Art Whino Permanent Gallery featuring the work of the gallery's collaboration with artists from around the world who are what the gallery describes as "innovators worldwide of the current new art movement otherwise labeled Pop-Surrealism, Lowbrow and Urban Contemporary."

The grand opening event, running from 6-11pm, will include music by DJ Stylo.

Among the artists represented are (some DC area artists are highlighted): Amose, Angie Mason, Anna Thackray, Brad Strain, Brian Tait, Bruce Anderson, Celia Calle, Chris Bishop, Derrick Wolbaum, Dzaet, Erik Abel, Esho, Garry Booth, Hong Kong, J. Coleman, JimBot, JoKa, Justin Lovato, Keith Rosson, Kelly Towles, Ken Garduno, Lelo, Luz Del Mar Rosado, Margaret Dowell, Mary Spring, Marko Davidovic, Mephisto Jones, Morten Andersen, Olivier Defaye, Kelly Vivanco, Peter Harper, Pixielife, Rick Reese, Robert Pokorny, Scotch, Scott G. Brooks, Scott Musgrove, Stephane Tartelin, Steven Thomas, The Love Movement, Sebastian Andia, and Tamira Imondi.

New Baltimore Gallery

Just opened last month and focusing on artists from Latin America and Spain is Obras Art Gallery at 1706 East Pratt Street in Baltimore.


"in America, there are no cats..."
- Papa Mousekewitz, c. 1986

"in Iran, there are no homosexuals..."
- Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, September 24, 2007

Monday, September 24, 2007

At Howard

"Origin and the Landscape" - Prints and Drawings by Lou Stovall opens next Sunday, September 30, 3:00 - 6:00POM at Howard University Gallery of Art.

Related Programs:

"Conversation with Students." Friday, October 5th, 2007 12:10 pm - 2:00 pm.

"The Art of Silkscreen Printmaking: A Technical Discussion of the Process and Demonstration", Tuesday October 16th, 2007 6:30 pm - 8:30pm.

"Gallery Talk and Tour with the Artist." Sunday November 18th, 2007. (changed from Nov. 4th) 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm.

All programs held at Howard U. Gallery of Art, Main Campus, in Lulu Vere Childers Hall, 2455 6th Street NW, Washington DC 20059. For more information call (202)806-7070. Exhibition dates are September 30th to December 14th, 2007.

Stovall is one of the nation's true master printmakers and easily one of the District's top artists.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Star Wars on Earth

You knew it was coming... only question is why did it take so long? I've been hearing good things about this show in DC.

(Deep, asthmatic Darth Vader breating)

"Landscapes / Star Wars on Earth" is a solo exhibition featuring two bodies of work by French photographer C├ędric Delsaux. According to the gallery press release:

Delsaux's digital photographs combine myth and reality. The work is subtle and serene in his Landscapes series, and overtly humorous in his Star Wars on Earth Series, in which Delsaux photographs toy figurines and then digitally places them in Parisian suburbs. His training in commercial photography is evident with his play on branding in the Star Wars on Earth series. Conversely, in Landscapes, traces of human existence are either remote or totally absent. In both series, the expansive and dream-like scenes combined with colors that contrast the washy with the bold is what captivates.
The exhibition is at Project 4 in DC through October 20, 2007.

Grand Opening of new art space

Next Sunday, September 30, 2007 from Noon to 5pm, VisArts at Rockville, formerly known as the Rockville Arts Center (or RAP) and an arts venue with over twenty years of celebrating the visual arts, will be having its grand opening dedication for its huge new space in Rockville.

Now open in the Rockville Town Center, VisArts Center is located at 155 Gibbs Street, Rockville, MD 20850. The center serves the community with gallery exhibitions, arts education, outreach to schools and communities, and showcasing resident artists.

For more information, visit or call 301-315-8200.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

"Big Al" Carter

By Shauna Lee Lange

The Alexandria Black History Museum is currently hosting a photographic exhibition of Allen D. "Big Al" Carter's work. All photographs were taken in the 1970s in Leesburg, Virginia.

Titled "God Has Made A Way in Leesburg," the exhibition runs through January 20, 2008. In this second exhibition at the museum, Carter explores his family connections in one moment of time - working, relaxing, and surviving more than thirty years ago.

Then space was open, homes were modest, life was simpler. And although Carter's male relatives have sadly left us, Carter looks back on their influence and inspiration, and he sees valuable messages: Make the best of what you have; Enjoy the gifts you're given.

Carter, a Virginia native, loves Virginia history and is proud of the advancements made by African Americans. In May of 2006, the Washington Post called his talent "inexhaustible creativity." Sometimes known as Big Al, Al, or Big, Carter while teaching in Arlington, calls himself a "burnt umber man."

He is a poet, a painter, an educator, a sculptor, a music lover, and at times an insomniac. Two of his works can be found in the Corcoran's permanent collection and more should be acquired by other Virginia museums and institutions.

Wanna go to a closing in Delaware today?

Heather Levy is one of those super hardworking artists who instead of moaning around about how hard it is to be an artist (it is), tackles the issue and gets exhibited.

This DC-based artist is having a closing reception for her solo exhibition "Flights of Fancy," at 205 Lavinia Gallery in Milton, DE which is right near Rehoboth today Saturday Sept. 22nd, from 3-5pm. Music provided by Basso Moderno Duo.

Also coming up in October (Oct. 12 - Nov. 16) she's having a solo exhibition of her "rocket science series" at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.

This will be the first exhibition of this series, which has some really large paintings... some are 10 feet or longer.

Although one of those paintings was displayed on a billboard on 34th and 7th in Manhattan and a few others were featured in a show at the now defunct CBGB's gallery this will be the first time they are shown as a series. The opening reception is on Friday, Oct. 12th, 2007 at 12:00 p.m with an artist's talk.

All dates and times and other important info about those exhibits and a lot more where Heather is showing can be found here.

Check out the DC City Hall art collection

At 12 p.m. on Wednesday September 26, the public is invited to the Wilson Building for a guided tour through the City Hall public collection of art on permanent display on floors 1-5 of the Wilson building. The tour will be lead by local artist Sondra N. Arkin, curator to the collection of over 170 pieces.

This is a unique chance to meet with local artists featured in the collection and have a discussion on being an artist in the Nation’s Capital and to see a rich cross section of local artists (both established and emerging). This will be a bi-monthly occurrence.

The tour is free, however advanced registration for the series is preferred. Please RSVP to with the number in your party. Meet at the Pennsylvania Avenue entrance — the building is located at 1350 Pennsylvania Ave NW. ID is required to enter the building.


Yesterday I was 248 emails in the hole, and I tried really hard to catch up, and now I am only 170 behind, but life moves on.

So if you feel ignored...

Did you know that?

The National Museum of Women in the Arts’ 20th Anniversary Festival of Women’s Film & Media Arts will take place September 25-30, 2007 in the NMWA Theater.

The only reason that I know, since I never get any press releases from the NMWA (I don't even know who their press person or PR person is), is because the talented Zulma Aguiar, who is a local DC video artist armed not only with a ton of talent but also with a shiny new MFA on Electronic Arts, has been spreading the word.

The opening is next Tuesday at 5:30pm, and Zulma's video installation is right at the entrance of the glass door enclosed Education Gallery of the Museum.

Zulma Aguiar

Friday, September 21, 2007


Below are three new small tiny drawings. Each about an inch or an inch and a half high.

They are all charcoals and both are my interpretation of the ancient Egyptian god Horus, of whom it is said was born on December 25, conceived by a Virgin, the only begotten son of the god Osiris, his mother was Mehturt, her husband was Seb (or Jo-Seb), his birth was heralded by Sirius (the morning star) and witnessed by shepherds, and then Herut tried to have him murdered, he then came of age at 12, and then baptized in the river Eridanus at age 30 by Anup The Baptizer (who was subsequently beheaded).

He was then taken from the desert of Amenta up a high mountain by his arch-rival Set, who is an Egyptian evil dude. Horus resisted the temptation, acquired 12 followers, walked on water, cast out demons, healed the sick, restored sight to the blind, raised Osirus from the grave, and for all his troubles was then crucified together with two thieves and buried in a tomb, but resurrected after three days, and his resurrection was apparently witnessed by some women.

And in the Zodiac he's associated with Pisces, the fish.

He also has issues with one of his eyes.

"Horus" Charcoal on Paper
1.5 inches by 3 inches

Eyes of Horus

"Eyes of Horus" Charcoal on Paper
1.5 inches by 2.5 inches

Mouth of Horus

"Mouth of Horus" Charcoal on Paper
1 inch by 3.5 inches

Opportunity for Artists

Deadline: November 16, 2007

Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts Juried Exhibition. Deadline: November 16, 2007. Applications are now being accepted for the DCCA's Annual Members' Juried Exhibition entitled Interrogating Beauty. The exhibition will be held from February 21 - May 25, 2008. For more information and application guidelines contact Samantha Fruchtman, Curatorial Coordinator, at or by calling (302) 656-6466, ext. 7103.


More than 30 local and regional visual artists will be showcased at the first-ever McLean Project for the Arts MPA artfest, being held on October 14 in McLean, Va.

The inaugural MPA artfest will take place on Sunday, October 14 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at McLean Central Park in McLean, Va. (1234 Ingleside Avenue, McLean, Va. 22101). MPA artfest, featuring a juried fine art and craft show and sale, will be presented annually.

“McLean Project for the Arts is proud to bring MPA artfest to the McLean and Northern Virginia community. We hope residents and their guests will enjoy seeing the fabulous artwork of local and regional artists,” said Nancy Powers Perry, the organization’s executive director.

For more information about MPA artfest, visit the MPA Web site at and click on the “MPA artfest logo,” or call (703) 790-1953 or send e-mail to

Bethesda Artist Market Returns October 13

On October 13, 2007, from 10am-5pm, the Bethesda Artist Market returns to Bethesda Place Plaza, 7700 Wisconsin Ave, Bethesda (one block from the Bethesda Metro stop). The event features artwork and fine crafts for sale by nearly 30 regional and local artists working in painting, photography, jewelry, turned wood, blown glass, metalwork and mixed media.

If you're either a beginning or advanced collector, this is a great place to find original and very affordable art being sold by a set of very talented artists. See the exhibiting artists here.

Details here.

Easy newsmaker

Dutch artist Ivo Hendriks uses the tried-and-true formula of easy shock to get some temporary notoriety: he exhibits a collage depicting the late Pope John Paul II being sodomised.

The exhibit is in Ibiza, and the local bishop is really pissed.

So Hendriks achieved what he wanted, but I dare the little chickensit to exhibit a collage of the M-word-dude being sodomized or some well-known and fanatically followed imam being drilled and then let's see what happens.

Read the story here.

New gallerina

Ksenia Grishkova is the new director at DC's Touchstone Gallery, one of the DC area's oldest fine arts galleries, but one which has unfortunately been going through a lot of directors in the last few years. Hopefully the artist-members who run the gallery have found a long-lasting one in Ksenia.

The gallery is currently having a call for artists for their "Art on the Small Side," which is an all media holiday show (including fine craft) juried by Rosemary Luckett and Baltimore painter Jon Wassom.

Selection of work will be done from the actual pieces, and not by slide or digital images. All works must be brought to the gallery during gallery hours of 12 to 5 PM on Saturday, December 8 or 9 from 12-4 PM on Sunday, Dec. 9. No shipments will be accepted.

To get a copy of the full prospectus, go to or e-mail Ksenia for more information at

Good read

The WCP's Jessica Gould marries a really interesting story with an intelligent artist profile in this article in the current issue of the CP.

Zoe coming to DC

More later, as we get closer to the date, but making a note that H&F Fine Arts upcoming exhibition Dig is not only being guest curated by Roberta Fallon and Libby Rosof, publishers of Fallon and Rosof's Artblog, which was selected by Art in America as one of the country's top art blogs, but also the exhibition will feature the work of eight Philadelphia based artists, including one of my Philly faves: Zoe Strauss.

I think this will be Zoe's first-ever DC area appearance. This talented photographer was one of the bright spots in the last Whitney Biennial.

Detail I-95 (Phillies Imprint Removed Sign) by Zoe Strauss
Dig runs from October 18 to November 24. An opening reception will be held on Saturday, October 20, from 4–7 pm.

The eight artists chosen by Roberta and Libby range from major award winners to emerging talents. In addition to Whitney Biennial bright-spot Zoe Strauss, Barbara Bullock, and Candy Depew (and also Zoe) are each winners of Pew Fellowships in the Arts. Fleisher Challenge Award winners Depew and Kip Deeds have had prestigious solo shows at the Fleisher Art Memorial. The exhibition will also feature work by Nick Lenker, Jen Packer, Thom Lessner, and Jayson Scott Musson.

Job in the Arts

The Arlington Arts Center has created a new position and is looking for a part-time (20 hour/week) Program Assistant to support our Exhibitions and Education teams. Responsibilities will include ordering and maintaining supply inventories, coordinating registration for classes, communicating with students and artists, preparing materials for exhibitions and lectures, and assisting with installation and signage.

An ideal candidate will have a BA or BFA, strong computer skills (a knowledge of Photoshop and desktop publishing is desirable), and a knowledge of the proper handling and installation of art. Knowledge of Spanish is helpful but not required. Some weekends and evenings will be required. Candidate must have excellent people skills, a sense of adventure, and flexibility in a fast-paced work environment. This is an hourly position; rate based on experience.

Please send resume and cover letter to with "program assistant" in the subject line or by fax to 703-248-6849.


Why Alexandra loves DC.

Multiple Exposures

Upstairs at the Torpedo Factory in Old Town Alexandria, that forbidden part of the Greater Washington area where DC area art critics seldom venture, two talented photographers share the walls of Multiple Exposures Gallery (nee Factory Photoworks) this month: Grace Taylor and Colleen Spencer Henderson (who needs to modernize her website!).

Colleen explores the landscape by turning her sharp photographer’s eyes towards the ever-changing beauties of the land. In “Three Trees” she pops a range of whites that will astound any student of the genre, and the stone fence, trees and clouds deliver a beautiful image to boot.

Grace Taylor has been amazing me for years now. She is not only an innovator who continues to push the artistic limits of the genre’s craft and vision, but also an old hand who doesn’t sit around too long resting on her laurels. In “Stone Portraits,” Taylor presents a show of images of stones that she has collected over the years. Each one has a distinct personality as Mother Nature, time and weather all combine to deliver beautiful landscapes, images and paintings within the canvas of a stone. Using Epson Ultra Chrome pigment inks, Taylor has scanned the images onto a rich black background that gives the stones a three dimensional aspect that is seldom seen in “straight” photography.

Stone IV - Stone Portrait Series by Grace Taylor

Give Taylor another notch in her string of really, really good shows and inventive ideas over the last decades.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Tree Killers

The really beautiful town where I live in Pennsylvania (most of the time when I am not in DC) is called Media. It also America's first (and probably only) "fair trade town."

Media's nickname is "Tree City, USA."

The street where I live is deeply wooded, and I have recently been told by wandering bird watchers that it is actually on the migratory path for many North American birds, who fly overhead and settle and rest among the trees.

And thus my near stupefaction when one of my neighbors down the street recently cut down 31 mature trees.

Yes thirtyfuckinone, huge-assed trees, with massive trunks and 40, 50 feet tall each.

All this in order to make a large garden in front of his house. The tree killers, my other irate neighbors tell me, are both retired professors, and "master gardeners."

As if being a "master gardener," and killing 31 beautiful trees is not enough paradoxical irony, they've now begun "decorating" their newly opened space with those awful chainsaw sculptures made from trees.

Sculptures of birds.

Bastards had the real thing nesting among the beautiful trees, and now they have huge, fake ones made of dead trees.

At the Writer's Center

Bethesda's Writer's Center is inaugurating a new program of exhibitions from time to time to display visual arts connected to literature or books.

Since this sort of genre is one of the driving forces in my own work, I am immediately interested and hope that some of you are interested as well!

This Friday, 21 September, at their venue in Bethesda (4508 Walsh Street), which is about four blocks south of the Bethesda Metro stop, just off Wisconsin Avenue, they're hosting longtime instructor Kate Blackwell and her sister Mary Beth Blackwell-Chapman.

The sisters will come together for a mixed media event on Friday, September 21, at 7:30 p.m. Kate will be sharing her newest work, a book of stories entitled "you won't remember this." Though Kate has been publishing her stories for years, this is her first book, published by Southern Methodist University Press.

Mary Beth Blackwell-Chapman is an accomplished painter and sculptor. Last winter, she created works that examine books in a whole new light. Just recently she's used her talents to bring literary classics, such as Gilgamesh, to life.

The event starts at 7.30 pm and is free and open to the public.

New at the Print Center

Philly's Print Center has announced the appointment of John Caperton as the new Curator of Prints and Photographs, Hester Stinnett as the new President of the Board of Governors and Jennifer Dempsey Fox as a new Board member of The Print Center.


The Luther W. Brady Art Gallery at George Washington University in DC is extending the exhibition dates of Generations of the Washington Color School Revisited. The extension is intended to overlap with the exhibition Morris Louis Now: An American Master Revisited, being held at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, September 20, 2007 - January 6, 2008. The Luther W. Brady Art Gallery features in its exhibition Morris Louis' Blue Column II, an acrylic on canvas from 1960.

"Drawing from its history of both exhibiting and collecting the works of artists such as Gene Davis, Thomas Downing, Howard Mehring, Alma Thomas, and Willem de Looper, the Luther W. Brady Art Gallery will build on the 1984 exhibition Generations of the Washington Color School, held at the Dimock Gallery." New additions to the GW permanent Collection by de Looper and DC area artist Amy Lin will be shown along with a never before seen work by New York artist Rosette Bakish.

Through October 5, 2007.

SF Job in the Arts

They're looking for a new Director of Cultural Affairs in San Francisco, California at the San Francisco Arts Commission.

The Director of Cultural Affairs oversees and promotes cultural affairs on a citywide basis for art, music and related programs with support from a staff of 28. Responsibilities include oversight of a diverse portfolio of programs in eight key areas: Civic Art Collection, Community Arts and Education, Public Art Program, Civic Design Review, Cultural Equity Grants, Arts Commission Gallery, Street Artist Program and Summer in the City Concert Series.

Requirements: A Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university with major coursework in arts or closely related field and five (5) years of progressively responsible experience in the field of art administration; or an equivalent combination of training and experience. Preferred Education: 4 Year Degree

Competitive salary plus outstanding benefit package including retirement. Based on qualifying experience and salary history, there is the potential
for additional compensation. More details from Recruiting Firm - Ralph
Andersen & Associates. Contact Heather Renschler at (916) 630-4900 or apply via e-mail to

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

All-Media Members Show at the Art League

Juried by Berthold Schmutzhart, Prof. Emeritus from the Corcoran, and someone who has juried Art League shows many times in the past, the current exhibition at the Art League delivers the usual strong group show almost guaranteed by the Art League’s two-thousand plus artists’ pool. These are his award winners.

Isil Ozisik“All of the works that I selected as award winners are very strong technically,” said the juror.

From his award winners I gravitated towards Christine Cardellino’s acrylic titled “Tower of Babel #9,” a very strong piece, and I also liked Isil Ozisik (who seems to win an award every month and deserves it) “The Harbor.” Over the years I’ve watched Ozisik win award after award at the Art League, but I have never actually seen the Art League feature this talented Turkish-born painter in a solo show.

A suggestion to the Art League: Give Isil Ozisik a solo show soon!

Photographer Fierce Sonia has been consistently pushing new buttons as she discovers new approaches and techniques to photographing her own image, in “Dis-Chord,” a photographic collage made from torn strips of her own work, she steps gingerly into new waters and delivers a really good photograph in the process.

I also like C. Wang’s “Nude Study,” an elegant charcoal drawing, that although executed flawlessly was vastly overpriced by a factor of 10, especially when compared to better, more established figurative artists who consistently deliver strong work, such as Jackie Saunders, whose ink drawing of Stephanie Regal delivers her usually austere but effective minimalist figure.

The exhibition goes through October 1, 2007.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Jobs in the Arts

Faculty Studio Position in Sculpture and/or Installation at American University in DC.

The Department of Art in the College of Arts and Sciences at American University seeks a full-time tenure track faculty member at the rank of Assistant Professor for the academic year beginning fall 2008. A master's degree, MFA preferred, in Studio Art with a specialization in Sculpture and/or Installation, a substantial record of exhibition and substantial teaching beyond the teaching assistant level.

Demonstrated ability to work effectively with both undergraduates and graduates and within a general education curriculum. Teaching responsibilities will include sections of undergraduate sculpture, advanced undergraduate and graduate sculpture, drawing, and general education courses in studio art.

To apply, submit a letter of application and curriculum vitae along with 20 slides or jpegs on cd of own work and 20 slides or jpegs on cd of student work. SASE for return of materials, and arrange to have three letters of recommendation sent directly from individuals who are able to comment on the applicant's qualfications to:

Studio Search Committee
Department of Art
American University
4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington DC 20016-8004

Review of applications begins January 15, 2008 and will continue until the position is filled.

Exhibition Coordinator: Moore College of Art and Design - Philadelphia

The exhibition coordinator facilitates the coordination of all activities related to exhibition organization and presentation. The exhibition coordinator works in close collaboration with the Director/Chief Curator, college faculty and staff as well as with outside groups in coordinating scheduling, logistics and to ensure that each exhibition presented in the Gallery at Moore venues is developed in a timely, effective, and fiscally responsible manner.

S/he is responsible for developing and writing press and promotional information related to exhibitions organized by The Galleries at Moore as well as providing curatorial assistance to the Director/Chief Curator on research, organization, loan and installation coordination and publication production for up to four Moore organized exhibitions per year.

Requirements: Bachelors degree in art history or related field with a minimum of two years experience in an alternative space, gallery, or museum working in registration, curatorial, or exhibitions. The exhibition coordinator must have the ability to work collaboratively with others as well as possess strong organizational and communication skills. S/he should have general knowledge of project planning and working with budgets. Salary commensurate with experience. Interested candidates forward your resume and cover letter with salary requirements to:

Moore College of Art and Design
Attn: Human Resources Manager
20th Street and The Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Email:; Fax: 215-568-1773

Monday, September 17, 2007

In the Flesh

In Old Town Alexandria, the Target Gallery inside the Torpedo Factory hired American University professor Tim Doud to jury “In the Flesh,” an exhibition to focus on the current trends in contemporary figurative art. As this focus is also one of my long-time interests, and as I have in the past curated many exhibitions along the same theme, I was particularly interested in seeing what Doud would select.

And the professor didn’t disappoint! Target received almost 600 entries from all over the country, from which Doud culled 25 pieces delivering an immensely diverse show, that according to Doud himself, aimed at trying to include works from different mediums and approaches.

There is also a strong current of narrative and social commentary issues going on with many of the pieces in the show.

Le Corps Prope Part I
Predictably, my favorite piece in the show was Forrest Solis (from Phoenix, AZ) “Le Corps Prope Part I,” a technically flawless composition which delivered a visual paradox of a female nude metamorphosing into a crocheted teddy bear... I think.

The painting showed remarkable technical facility coupled with a strong sense of perspective and an intelligent issue-raising image, which is still a little befuddling to me.

On my second visit later that day, I gravitated towards Michael Reedy’s “Elephant Man.” This is a very large mixed media piece, where this Ann Arbor, Michigan artist has also used enviable technical skills to mix charcoal, very subtle watercolor tones, colored pencils and some paper staining to deliver a male nude piece that seems to consist of very delicate layers of charcoal, almost being lifted from the surface of the paper.

The subject is a male nude in a fetal position, his head wrapped in a plastic bag. Barely visible in the background are scribbles, drawings, texts and cartoonish representations of an elephant. We see an image of Benjamin Franklin in the act of slicing his nose off, and this together with the text and other imagery reveals rather bluntly, that the artist is possibly delivering an indictment of his own nose?

Michael Reedy Elephant Man
The Franklin imagery is particularly quizzical, unless Reedy is somehow marrying his dislike for a nose too broad with racist connotations and Franklin’s infamous writings that early non-English immigrants to the new United States were not "purely white." Franklin, afraid of the large numbers of non English Europeans settling in the new nation, used the racial scare tactics that survive to this day in political speech to assert that that “Germans, Russians, and Swedes were of a swarthy complexion. Furthermore, only the Saxons and the English constituted the principal body of white people on the face of the earth.”

Susan Krause The Kena 123143A Hippie / Mother of 6
I was also attracted (or perhaps repulsed) to the two sculptural pieces by Atlanta’s Susan Krause. One was a set of huge breasts which could be worn as latex clothing of a sort, and which popped into my head the infamous tale of the 1940’s serial killer Ed Gein, who made and wore a human skin “suit” made from his victims’ skin. Only the title, "The Kena 123143A Hippie / Mother of 6," disarms the piece and takes Gein away from the brain and replaces it with an image of fertility triggered by flowers in her hair at some early point in the model's life.

Like any group show, there are some weak pieces in the show, and both of Quanhai Pan’s (from Houston, Texas) entries, “Window to the Soul 1” and “Window to the Soul 3” were badly painted works bordering on an average student work done at the last minute.

Chris Untalan (from Jamaica Plain, MA) has a beautiful classical graphite drawing of a fabulously rotund Mother Earth-type model, and our own area’s Danny Conant and former DC area photographer (now living and working in San Francisco) Samantha Wolov carry the torch for photographers with two strong portraits that cross the wide divide between photography and all other genres of fine art.

Lastly, Target’s new gallery director, the tiny but steel-strong Mary Cook has done wonders with the gallery space and direction since she took over a little over a year ago. Target is almost like a new space, with overhead lights that actually work to illuminate the subject and new walls to replace the ugly carpet that used to pass for gallery walls. More importantly, she has also delivered on new ideas for interesting exhibitions. She deserves a well-earned pat on the back and a bonus for delivering such an amazing turn around into this space in such a quick time.

The exhibition ends on October 13, 2007. See the show online here.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Tuss on Janis

By Katie Tuss

Michael Janis’s latest solo exhibition, The Quadrant of Sky, opened at the Neptune Gallery in Bethesda last Wednesday.

Janis, a glass artist and Washington Glass School co-director, uses fused and cast glass to explore the nuances of the human form and the varied layers of human interaction.

Janis first explored glass as an architect, and his figurative representations belie the precision of a draftsman while the construction of his pieces, often set in steel, is sleek and exact.

“Michael’s ability to glance at an image and know how to translate it using glass is amazing,” says Neptune Gallery's director Elyse Harrison.

Janis uses powdered black glass to create his drawings. The technique is labor-intensive and requires Janis to push the pigment particles into place to create his images. These ‘drawn’ images are then fused onto the glass in a kiln.

The free-standing and hanging pieces on exhibition are contemplative transparent environments. In his Delicate Balance series, Janis layers repeating portraits on curved plates of glass. The slightly skewed placement of the faces creates a countenance of reflection and self-consideration.

Michael Janis Delicate Balance
In his newest series, Unguarded Lives, Janis mixes colored glass and cast faces with the fused drawings. The drawn figures are fluid and dreamlike and the intent further open to interpretation.

Michael Janis Years of Wandering
The exhibition goes through October 6, 2007.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

In the Flesh

By Shauna Lee Lange

As some claim, if art is often about what's beautiful, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then art also has to be about what's unattractive, thought-provoking, downright shocking, and deeply disturbing.

It's the piece, much like the infamous Piss Christ, which makes you wonder, "Why would someone do that?"

John C. Manion of Iowa City, Iowa recently submitted such a piece to a juried competition of contemporary works. Manion's piece is titled Toward The Ideal, comes with a price tag of $8,000 and is one of over 500 entries submitted to In The Flesh, currently on exhibit at the Target Gallery in Old Town Alexandria.

Modeled clay and cast silicone (8" x 18.5" x 28.5") are formed to sculpt a naked baby, expressionless and totally immersed in rather believable bathtub water.

Toward The Ideal by John C. Manion
Long pause.


Wait. Did I see that correctly? I mean, who thinks these things? And who spends time, energy, and materials on producing a work like this? Reeling, I remembered that maybe the manifestation of the subconscious mind, the repressed, and the taboo is cathartic in it's own right.

It's not all Manion's fault. I recently gave birth to my son who is now about the size and proportion of the submerged infant. No unsuspecting mother wishes to stumble upon yet more violence involving children. How can Manion know that this scene is what all mothers deeply fear - there are people out there who think and do very bad things and sometimes, we are powerless.

I tell you, my little guy just loves the water. When we're at the pool, we wonder, is swimming for him what it was like to be back in the womb? This warm, weightless, free floating experience -- and what if we could go through all of life like that? What if there's nothing more honest?

We're flesh. Bland flesh that needs to be washed. Flesh that is dangerously close to innumerable forces that could lead to demise. Flesh left best, perhaps, in an innocent and unknowing world, albeit the tub!

Some collectors seek pieces that are so outrageously in your face with the power to transport the viewer. In these, the see-er has a predictable experience trajectory- shock, numbness, cavalier disinterest. The viewer is relieved from a secret thought prison. That is credited directly to the artist who was brave enough to risk saying yeah, you're not the only one who has ever thought that.

I know a fellow who owns a piece so vile and yet, over time, he has come to regard it as high humor.

Laugh if you must, but look. In the Flesh is about what we all seek: meaning. Maybe Manion is asking, what does immersion of the flesh, immersion in water, in a work, in your own life and immediate paradigm, or immersion in art really mean to you?

In The Flesh, juried by AU Professor Tim Doud is on exhibition until October 13, 2007.

Friday, September 14, 2007


To DC area art wunderkind Jenny Davis, whose work we've been following since she was 13 years old, and who is currently in Art school and whose work and a profile of her will appear in next month's American Watercolor magazine.

New (virtual) gallery

Jessica Porter is launching Raandesk Gallery of Art a virtual gallery and art consultation biz in DC (among other places) and it starts with an art event next week.

The "Emergence Art Party" is sponsored by Raandesk Gallery of Art and there are two events over two nights (Thursday & Friday next week). The events are free with lots of contemporary art, including work by DC local Jeff Huntington.

The event will be in a very, very new and very empty condo in the Flats at Union Row (14th & V Streets, NW, just off U). Thursday is an RSVP-required preview (RSVP required, wine & cheese, limited attendance, et al) and Friday is a general opening for anyone and everyone.

Details here.

Bethesda Art Walk today

Today is the second Friday of the month and thus its time for the Bethesda Art Walk with 13 participating venues and with free guided tours.

My picks are Michael Janis at Neptune Gallery, Michael Fitts at Fraser Gallery and Mexican artist Gerardo Bravo Garcia at Heineman Myers.

And of course the Trawick Prize finalists at Creative Partners Gallery!

Baltimore opening

Tonight, Friday, September 14th is the opening reception for DC artist Michael Enn Sirvet's "Restructuralist Sculpture" solo show at the Touchet Gallery in Baltimore.

The reception is from 6 to 9 p.m. and the gallery is located on the corner of Fleet and S. Ann Streets in Fells Point, Baltimore.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

New Benjamin

A new 9-foot bronze sculpture of Benjamin Franklin is to be dedicated at 4th and Arch Streets at 10 a.m. on Oct. 5 by the city of Philadelphia.

The work is by Philly sculptor James Peniston, and it incorporates more than 1,000 keys that Peniston collected while giving talks at local elementary schools about Franklin. The schoolchildren also donated nearly 1.5 million pennies to help fund "Keys To Community," which also received funding from the city and the Philadelphia Fire Department.

More details here.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Olga Viso to leave the Hirshhorn

Came home tonight to find an email from yesterday from Hirshhorn director and my good friend Olga Viso announcing that she will soon be leaving as director of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in order to take over the reigns of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.

And today Carol Vogel in the New York Times has a very readable story on Viso and the move to Minneapolis:

"After a six-month international search, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis said yesterday that it had appointed Olga Viso, director of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, as its new director.

Ms. Viso, who is to assume the post in January, succeeds Kathy Halbreich, who has led the Walker for 16 years and is retiring in November."
Viso has been at the Hirshhorn for over a decade, working her way up the ranks to her current position. In a story in the WaPo, Blake Gopnik writes:
During her 12 years at the Hirshhorn, first in various curatorial positions, then for two years as deputy director under Ned Rifkin and finally as director, she has had a notable commitment to experimental, even difficult, contemporary art...

Coming seasons at the Hirshhorn, planned during her tenure, are notable for their lack of easy crowd-pleasers and for a commitment to investigations of some central issues in contemporary art...

Viso's time as director coincided with a particularly troubled period in Smithsonian history, culminating in an accounting scandal that led to the resignation of Smithsonian Secretary Lawrence Small in March. Viso feels she was able to keep momentum going and morale strong at the Hirshhorn "despite the troubles that the Smithsonian has faced." Brougher said she kept the Hirshhorn staff from feeling the effects of those "storms."
Olga Viso's move is a loss for the Hirshhorn and also for Washington, and a terrific coup and brilliant move for the Walker.

Olga Viso Viso not only steered the Hirshhorn confidently during the turbulent period described by Gopnik, but also took the Hirshhorn to a new level in the arena of contemporary art, bringing to Washington world-class artists and exhibitions that brought the nation's capital back into the forefront of the contemporary art dialogue.

And during her period as curator for the museum, she not only brought us great exhibitions such as the long-awaited retrospective of Cuban American artist Ana Mendieta, but also became the first Hirshhorn curator and director to begin looking to the museum's own backyard for Washington area artists, and the first museum director to actually make an effort to visit local galleries and meet local gallerists and artists.

She leaves behind a city brimming with new art galleries opening every other month and joining established and emerging art spaces, and a vibrant, ever-changing art scene full of talented artists, a few barely emerging collectors, a set of terrific museums and in spite of a moribund paper press, a savvy (mostly online) art press.

And she will bring to chilly Minneapolis not only an international reputation and flair, and an enviable work ethic and vision, but also the deep elegance, presence and good looks that come from her solid Cuban genes.

Awright, so I am a little prejudiced in the last few words.

We will miss you Olga.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Lest We Forget

"Studio View, 9/11"
Oil on Canvas c. 9/11/2001 by David FeBland

Trouble in Lynchburg

Yesterday I noticed this post in Jeffry Cudlin's blog and today I received the massive news release below, which I've decided to post here, rather than edit it, as it tells a fairly complete story from the side doing the complaining:

Suit Filed to Prevent Randolph College from Selling Valuable Donated Art Collection

Sale Would Violate Donor Intent, Violate Code of Ethics, Sidestep the College’s Financial Problems, and Further Damage Enrollment

Lynchburg, VA – Eleven “interveners” asked a Virginia court today to stop Randolph College’s unethical and unnecessary attempt to sell off portions of its nationally recognized American art collection.

The works at issue were originally purchased by Randolph-Macon Woman’s College (R-MWC) with assets from the trust of Louise Jordan Smith, the college’s first art professor. Randolph-Macon Woman’s College became Randolph College this year when it became coed, a controversial action being challenged in court by students, donors and alumnae.

Named as interveners in the new legal challenge, outlined in a “Memorandum in Support of Motion for Leave to Intervene,” are Louise Jordan Smith’s heirs, several college donors, alumnae, and students, the former head of the college’s Museum Studies program, the former head of the Maier Museum, where the collection is housed, and several other interested parties. They are:

• Frances Pendleton Elliott and Eleanor Pendleton Monahan: Mrs. Elliott and Mrs. Monahan, her sister, are believed to be Louise Jordan Smith’s only living relatives. Miss Smith was their mother’s first cousin.
• Margaret Williams and Amanda Sandos: Ms. Williams and Ms. Sandos are both seniors and art majors at the college.
• Ellen Agnew: Ms. Agnew worked at the Maier Museum for 23 years as Curator, Associate Director and Director, and is an alumna of Randolph-Macon Woman’s College. She resigned earlier this year over the college’s actions in this matter.
• Laura Katzman: Dr. Katzman served as the Director of the Museum Studies Program and Professor of Art at the college from 1995-2007. She resigned earlier this year over the college’s actions in this matter.
• Sandra and Paul Whitehead. Mr. and Mrs. Whitehead are financial supporters of and frequent visitors to the Maier Museum. In particular, Mr. Whitehead donated significant funds to the museum in 1997 to help it purchase an Andrew Wyeth painting in honor of his wife. (The Whiteheads have said they will make no additional donations to the college unless the litigation is resolved favorably.)
• Roberta Scrivener. Ms. Scrivener is a Lynchburg, Va. public school teacher who believes her ability to teach art to her children will be irreparably harmed if the Smith Art is sold and Maier Museum collection broken up.
• Roy Clinton “Bud” Johns. Mr. Johns’ and his wife have made substantial contributions to the college of both money and art. (He also has said he will make no additional contributions and will remove the college from his will if it continues its improper efforts to break up the valuable collection.)
• Anne Adams Robertson Massie. A distinguished artist in her own right, Ms. Massie is a Lynchburg native, a Randolph-Macon Woman’s College alumna, a member of the Maier Museum Advisory Board, a regular and substantial donor to the Museum, a former Museum docent, and a Fellow and Trustee of the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.

The 36 paintings acquired with Smith Trust funds include some of the best-known works in the college’s Maier Museum of Art collection. The 3,400 piece collection is considered one of the finest college collections in the country, among the finest collections of American art in the country, and a top cultural attraction in South Central Virginia.

“Miss Smith – as the College admits – donated money to Randolph-Macon Woman’s College to purchase art with the explicit instruction that the art become part of a permanent collection for the College,” said Anne Yastremski, Executive Director of Preserve Educational Choice, an organization working to save Randolph-Macon Woman’s College. “Her will was very clear and the college’s efforts to sell the art are a clear-cut violation of donor intent and the terms of her gift.”

The college’s actions have also been criticized because they:

• Violate Universally Accepted Ethical Standards. Randolph College seeks to use the proceeds of the sale for the college’s general fund. The nation’s top professional art organizations strongly oppose this practice. In fact, the Code of Ethics of the Association of American Museums, to which the Maier Museum at Randolph College belongs, states explicitly that “in no event shall they [proceeds of a sale] be used for anything other than acquisition or direct care of collections.”

• Fail to Address the College’s Spending Problems. Randolph College’s claim that it needs to sell part of its art collection to remain financially viable and to comply with requirements of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) is completely off base. In 2006, the college completed a $100-million capital fundraising campaign. The college boasts the fifth largest endowment of any private college in Virginia. Rather than using improper means to increase the size of the college’s $140 million endowment, the college needs to exercise fiscal restraint and control spending. The specific issues that SACS cited the college for – astronomical tuition discounting (in the mid-60 percent range instead of the 30 percent range which is considered normal), excessive deferred maintenance, and operating deficits – are all signs of fiscal mismanagement, not a too-small endowment.

• Harm Efforts to Increase Enrollment. The Maier Museum art collection is one of the finest collections of American art in the country and, with the college’s related programs in studio art, art history, and museum studies, has helped attract many students over the years. Selling some of the most important works from the collection will likely discourage students from choosing the college and have a negative impact on its already declining enrollment, further harming the college’s ability to generate revenue from student tuition and fees, the backbone of a well-run institution.

The college’s enrollment already has declined this year as a result of the college’s questionable decision to go coed. The current enrollment of 665 students is the smallest in more than 40 years.

According to the Memorandum, “this is yet another example of poor decision making and financial mismanagement by the College Trustees.”

“The College went coed allegedly because of financial concerns. So far, alumnae participation in the College’s fundraising programs has dropped by 50 percent; the number of student transfers has surged; and the incoming coed class is smaller than any in recent history,” said Yastremski. “Going coed has been a disaster for the institution. Now the Trustees want to break Miss Smith’s Trust and sell off irreplaceable educational and cultural artworks that have been carefully accumulated through donations and bequests like Miss Smith’s for 100 years.”

“If college officials sell off these important artworks, the college’s decline will continue and even accelerate. Any sale of donated art for operating expenses will damage the College’s reputation with its donors, the art world and the Central Virginia community that has come to treasure the Maier Museum’s world-class collection.”

The Memorandum was filed in the Lynchburg, VA Circuit Court. A hearing date has not been set.