Thursday, May 03, 2007

It's not my chob, man

The American Association of Museums has selected Ford Watson Bell as its new president.

Bell then stated that the troubled Smithsonian remains "a great institution," which is not too debatable. But he then added, "I have no advice for them."

Good start.

Here's Bailey's take on the subject.

O'Sullivan on Artomatic

Washington Post art critic Michael O'Sullivan has been writing about art for the WaPo longer than the other two active critics at the Post (Blake Gopnik and freelancer Jessica Dawson). Like Gopnik, O'Sullivan is married to a DC area artist, but unlike Gopnik, O'Sullivan knows the DC area art scene probably better than Gopnik and Dawson combined.

As such, when O'Sullivan goes to review the so widely maligned Artomatic, I feel that he does so from the perspective of someone with a long history of knowing some of the artists there; someone who has been to every Artomatic and to almost every museum show in the DC region in the last 15 years or so, and to a ton more DC area art galleries than Gopnik has ever set foot in.

So O'Sullivan comes prepared with a set of critical eyes and mind that do not visit an open show like AOM with a predisposed mind like nearly every other DC area art critic does. And tomorrow's WaPo will have O'Sullivan's review of AOM which includes this piece:

So let me say this before I get in too deep: I come to praise "Artomatic," not to bury it.

To anyone familiar with "Artomatics" past, it will come as no surprise that there's more to loathe than to love. But you know what? The ratio is no worse than at an off-price store like Syms, where you have to pick through racks and racks of stuff you'd never wear before -- maybe -- stumbling across that one amazing find. The long odds haven't stopped anyone from shopping there, and they won't keep me away from "Artomatic."
Read the review here.

There's also a lesson in this review to all the young Turks who in their 20s or early 30s already think that they can spew out constant words of critical dismissal in tuto for nearly everything they see, ignoring all the lessons that they are yet to learn from what they have not seen.

It's a very transparent mistake of young pens and combative minds seeking to always try lift the scab rather than deliver constructive criticism that has both teeth and substance. I have done it myself, and learned from it.

Bravo O'Sullivan!

Cinco de Mayo

This Saturday people will be drinking tequila and Mexican beer on a planetary scale, celebrating the fabled "Cinco de Mayo" date.

I always have fun asking people what "Cinco de Mayo," celebrates, and some of the answers that I have gathered over the years have been hilarious. Here's a quiz in fun:

Cinco de Mayo celebrates:

- May 5, 1810 - Mexico declares independence from the Kingdon of Spain. Eleven years later the Spanish soldiers get the memo and leave Mexico forever.

- May 5, 1848 - With the fearsome Spaniards gone, the United States goes to war with Mexico and grabs a huge chunk of land from the former Spanish colony. The Mexicans invent the term "gringo" to refer to the Americans.

- May 5, 1862 - The pissed off Mexican Army, under the command of Texas-born General Zaragosa whips the French Army at the Battle of Puebla. The shamed French Army never ever gets any respect on any other battlefield and becomes the practice runs for the German Army.

- May 5, 1900 - Tijuana bartender Jose Cuervo is horrified to discover that somehow an agave worm has been bottled accidentally in a tequila bottle that he was about to open. Disgusted he throws the bottle in the garbage. It is picked up by six drunk US Navy sailors on liberty, who drink the whole bottle and then get into a fist fight as to who gets to eat the worm. Cuervo notes this bizarre event and takes notes.

- May 5, 1938 - Mexican actress Margarita Carmen Cansino changes her name to Rita Hayworth and becomes an instant Anglo sensation in Hollywood.

- May 5, 1969 - Mexican-Americans decide that from now on they are be called "Chicanos."

- May 5, 1972 - The Nixon administration decides that Mexican-Americans are to be called Hispanic from now on. Other Americans of Latin American ancestry are also rounded up under this cultural name.

- May 5, 2000 - Hispanics decide that from now on they are to be called "Latinos" because Europeans from Spain and Portugal have joined the gravy train and have been declared "Hispanics" as well.

- May 5, 2025 - At 12 noon, with a majority population of Mexican-American ancestry, the state of California secedes from the United States of America and re-joins the Estados Unidos de Mexico.

- May 5, 2025 - At 12:45 PM Mexico declares its intentions to begin drilling for oil off the coast of California and begins moving the Mexican Army to round-up the Hollywood crowd.

- May 5, 2025 - At 1:00 PM California secedes from the Estados Unidos de Mexico. The Mexican Army promptly deserts and become instant residents of California. At 1:30PM, California asks to be re-admitted into the Union. The United States declines to take them back and begins building a wall along the California state line.

All in fun!

Be safe drinking and celebrating out there and Viva Mexico!

Loads of gallery openings tomorrow

Tomorrow is not only "Cuatro de Mayo," but also the first Friday of the month, and thus tons of galleries in DC and Philadelphia will have extended hours and new shows openings.

Details on Philly openings here.

Details on DC openings here.

The Personal Picture Plane

The Personal Picture Plane is an exhibition by Philadelphia and New Jersey based artists Ellen Abraham, Jim Brossy, Aurora Deshauteurs, Richard Elzo Dunn, Jessica Makin, Louise DeSalvor Masi, and Carol Taylor-Kearney. The exhibition is curated by Carol Taylor-Kearney and it was recently exhibited at the Gloucester County College's College Hall Gallery and is currently on exhibition at StrataSphere Exhibition Space in Philadelphia through May 27th.

Wanna go to another DC opening today?

The Independent Artists Forum presented by the Art Group of the Staff Association of the Organization of American States has an exhibition by The Independent Artists Forum: Ethel Bustamante, Haydeh Rastin, Marjolein van Milligen, Marion van Ruiten and Wendy Plotkin-Mates. The Opening Reception is today Thursday, May 3, 2007 from 5:45 to 8:00 p.m. At the General Secretariat Building (1889 F St., NW Terrace Level, Washington, DC 20006).