Monday, March 12, 2007

Wanna go to nude body painting opening in DC this Friday?

On Friday, March 16, 2007, the five Canal Square Galleries in Georgetown (Parish, Alla Rogers, Rebecca Cross, Anne Fisher and MOCA DC) have their usual 3rd Friday Georgetown openings and MOCA DC is hosting its Erotica 2007 show opening starting at 6 pm until the beer and wine runs out. They will also have a nude body painting event (three females and three males) as part of the festivities.

Oh yeah! The event is free and open to the public.

Jasper Johns and Target

Adam Benforado (identified as "a lawyer and art history buff") writes a really insightful and sensitive piece for the WaPo on corporate sponsorship of art, an issue which has been largely ignored by most art critics, writers and other artworld symbiots.

Currently hanging outside the East Wing of the National Gallery is a large banner of Jasper Johns's 1955 "Target With Four Faces," advertising a show celebrating the first decade of his work. The painting is dominated by the title motif: a blue dot surrounded by four concentric circles of alternating yellow and blue. Walking in recently, I joked to my companion that I was surprised that Target wasn't sponsoring the show.

Out of the mouths of babes . . .

It turns out Target is sponsoring it, "proudly," in fact.

Offering financial backing to the exhibition was undoubtedly a savvy move for Target. After all, the show is filled with paintings that, though they aren't red and white, evoke Target's corporate logo. Johns's targets also appear on the exhibition catalogue and posters for sale in the gift shop. On the busy Sunday I was there, hundreds of people were strolling through, staring intently at various depictions of an image that has been engrained in our heads as standing for one of America's most powerful and successful companies.
And then Adam Benforado offers up a solution:
First, if we care about art -- if we value it as a social good -- we must increase public funding so that museum directors and artists can remain independent. While the United States is unlikely to shift to the centralized European model of art sponsorship, the federal government's stingy arts budget could be increased without any of us feeling much of a bite in our pocketbooks.

Second, we should demand that corporations give money to art galleries without sponsoring particular shows. If Target is really committed to "arts and education," as it says in the Johns show brochure, then it should be just as satisfied with its donation going to support the excellent exhibit on Rembrandt's prints and drawings in the adjoining building.
Or the operating budget for the WPA/C, or finding a place for the Wyeth mural, etc. My kudos to Adam. Read the whole article here.

Sight Scene

Several writers from the WaPo Express have been surveying the DC area art scene including some good postings by SSGT Capps and Kriston & Co. have been doing an excellent job. His most recent survey of some terrific DC area shows is here.

On the Lot

My good friend, the very talented Jon Gann has applied for a new reality TV show called "On the Lot." This American Idol styled show will involve 16 filmmakers from across the country competing for a $1 million development deal at Dreamworks. The show is a co-production of Steven Spielberg, Mark Burnett (Survivor) and FOX, and is scheduled to air in May.

The show's producers have finally uploaded Gann's 2004 award-winning film, "Signs" as a sample of his work.

We can help: Please visit a web site that Gann has put together at The site has information on how you can register, watch his film, rate it, and leave a comment on his blog. By participating in this process, we can all help increase his chances of getting the interview that he needs to be cast.

Randall School renovation discussions

The Southwest advisory neighborhood commission draft agenda for its March 12 meeting has a discussion on the Randall School renovation issue.

For interested artists and other interested parties, the meeting begins at 7 p.m. on March 12 at 25 M St., SW. For more information, call (202) 554-1795.

A Breath of Fresh Art Writing

One of the most pleasantly shocking things to unexpectedly find in the Washington Post's Style section on a Monday morning is a huge profile by the WaPo's chief art critic of a DC area artist.

Gopnik profiles DC area glass sculptor Graham Caldwell, whose show at G Fine Art runs through March 31, 2007. We also learn that Graham, is apparently soon leaving the DC area and heading back to NYC as well as the fact that "Caldwell, normally a trendy dresser -- a shy smile, slight build and artfully tousled hair give him teen-idol looks -- is in old khakis and a scruffy shirt."

This is the first time in my memory that I recall the WaPo profiling a living DC area artist; usually such profiles come in the form of an obit-type article. Kudos to Gopnik.

While I was gone

And nu, I am back from Sedona after an unexpected one day stop at Phoenix courtesy of US Airways.

I have tons of interesting stuff to discuss and report, but first I'd like to make sure that no one misses on the good stuff that happened while I was gone and playing hooky on blogging duties.

DCist Exposed opened at the Warehouse Gallery and it appears that Heather not only did a great effing job, but all of us in the rarified atmosphere of the fine arts arena may have seen the shape of things to come. From the volume of emails that I have received about this show, the opening was a spectacular success and has once again proven the power of the web. I add my vote to those hoping that DCist does this again and maybe even expand the concept, say to my idea about videos and DC, or painting, or sculpture. Bravo to DCist and Heather Goss! Go see this show and buy some really good affordable photography.

One of DC's best-known artists (with hundreds of Indie films about him) Tim Tate opened at Fraser Gallery [formerly co-owned by blah, blah, blah], sold a ton of stuff and had a cool article about the show at the Washington City Paper and a nice mention in the WaPo. Which brings me to the question: This is Tate's fourth solo show in DC and still he has never, ever been reviewed by the sole WaPo art critic charged with reviewing DC area art galleries. Why is GWU art history student Jessica Dawson ignoring Tim Tate? Who knows? Is the fourth time a charm? Maybe Jessica will now take the Metro to Bethesda and offer her thoughts on the artist bringing glass to the 21st century like Stieglitz brought photography to art. Go see this show and this may be the last chance for budget-minded collectors to acquire an original piece at very, very reasonable prices by this artist - news to follow!

My good friend Staff Sgt. Capps has a really good update on the hot issue of the Randall School, the Corcoran and the artists who have studios there. Read Capps' piece here and artist Karen Joan Topping's issues here and also artist Ellyn Weiss issues here.

Artomatic is one of the United States of America's premier visual art events, especially for emerging artists and beginning art collectors. It is usually denigrated by repressive art neocons and traditional art writers stuck on the mental payroll of an elitist artworld itself stuck on the shift gear of booshwah museum curators, symbiotic writers and critics, and a handful of NYC art dealers, all so far removed from 9to5 jobs and glued to oversized glossy magazines and books, that they (we) have failed to realize and actualize on the beauty and raw power and energy of the common human and their visual art creations. If you live anywhere near the DC area and want to know what being an artist, feeling like an artist and rejoicing in the spectacular sensuality and power delivered by being able to create and showcase art, then make sure that you become part of (as a participant, volunteer or visitor) Artomatic. And don't let the Hamelin-pied-piper minded neoconcritics scare you away from Art-O-Matic; I can fill pages of this blog with the success stories of artists who first surfaced through this most plebian and democratic of art events, including the top three new DC area 3D artists (artists that these same critics now (probably) wish they had acquired back in those seminal AOM exhibits). Who will be the new star of this coming AOM?

N.C. Wyeth mural to be moved

"The Apotheosis of the Family" is a 60-foot-by-19-foot mural by American art icon N.C. Wyeth which is to be moved from the Wilmington Savings Fund Society in Wilmington, Delaware (where it has been since 1932) to an unknown location.

I am told that the developer will move it to another spot (so far unknown to me). The final location of this massive mural has been uncertain since 2005, when the Wilmington Savings Fund Society announced plans for a new headquarters.

As part of the project, the WSFS "struck a deal to sell the building for about $4 million to Wilmington real estate developer Buccini/Pollin Group Inc. The deal is expected to close in early April."

This huge work of art belongs in Delaware, and "art conservators have estimated the cost to remove the painting's five canvas panels would range from $100,000 to $200,000," which is a very realistic and affordable price for a work of art that belongs in the tiny state for which it was created. Furthermore, considering the massive "old money" wealth of some Delaware families and businesses, this seems to be a prime (and cheap) opportunity for some company to get some great positive publicity in moving and re-installing this work of art in a Delaware institution.

"So far, "discreet inquiries" to find a new home in either a public building or a museum have not been fruitful, said Joyce Hill Stoner, a professor at the Winterthur/University of Delaware program in art conservation and the expert who oversaw conservation work on the mural in 1998. Stoner has been consulting with Buccini on the mural for more than a year.

Danielle Rice, director of the Delaware Art Museum, said Wednesday the museum has no space to accommodate such a large work.

"We would have to build a building for it," Rice said.

James M. Duff, director of the Brandywine River Museum echoed that sentiment."

"We hope this wonderful mural will be preserved, but it is too large for the Brandywine River Museum," Duff said in a statement.

The Delaware State Arts Council has had trouble finding a potential spot because of the "overwhelming size," said Stoner, a member of the council.
So far the real estate developer (Buccini/Pollin Group Inc.) has stated that "if possible he would prefer to see the work stay in the region," which is good news.

This is a call for the ubercompanies to come through with a good solution. Calling AOL, Lockheed Martin, MickeyDees and others.

Update: Check out a video of the mural by BB's Video Press here.