Friday, August 03, 2007

Power of the Web

A while back I told you about Jackie Hoysted and her art project.

Jackie writes: "I just want to say a big thank you for posting information about my blog AshesToAshes on your blog. Joe Eaton from the Washington City Paper contacted me after you posted that info and published a feature yesterday on my project."

Viva Paglia!

When Sexual Personae first came out, once I got past the first couple of chapters, I began the process of being hypnotized and seduced by the eloquence and logic and intelligence of Camille Paglia.

By the end of the book, I was a Camille Paglia fan. And Sexual Personae remains one of my Top 10 books of all time and a must-read for all artists.

Since then, almost every thing that this tiny, brilliant and incendiary lady has published or talked about can be counted upon to make you think, make some of us mad, some of us happy, and almost always make all of us a little smarter.

Writing in Arion (thanks AJ), Paglia lobs another word bomb which is surely to piss off both right wing and left wing nuts. She writes:

"A primary arena for the conservative-liberal wars has been the arts. While leading conservative voices defend the traditional Anglo-American literary canon, which has been under challenge and in flux for forty years, American conservatives on the whole, outside of the New Criterion magazine, have shown little interest in the arts, except to promulgate a didactic theory of art as moral improvement that was discarded with the Victorian era at the birth of modernism. Liberals, on the other hand, have been too content with the high visibility of the arts in metropolitan centers, which comprise only a fraction of America. Furthermore, liberals have been complacent about the viability of secular humanism as a sustaining creed for the young. And liberals have done little to reverse the scandalous decline in urban public education or to protest the crazed system of our grotesquely overpriced, cafeteria-style higher education, which for thirty years was infested by sterile and now fading poststructuralism and postmodernism."
I don't want to spoil the article, and its surprising offering and recommendation, but here's another bomb:
"The automatic defense of the Brooklyn Museum during the “Sensation” imbroglio sometimes betrayed a dismaying snobbery by liberal middle-class professionals who were openly disdainful of the religious values of the working class whom liberals always claim to protect. Supporters of the arts who gleefully cheer when a religious symbol is maltreated act as if that response authenticates their avant-garde credentials. But here's the bad news: the avant-garde is dead. It was killed over forty years ago by Pop Art and by one of my heroes, Andy Warhol, a decadent Catholic. The era of vigorous oppositional art inaugurated two hundred years ago by Romanticism is long gone. The controversies over Andres Serrano, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Chris Ofili were just fading sparks of an old cause. It is presumptuous and even delusional to imagine that goading a squawk out of the Catholic League permits anyone to borrow the glory of the great avant-garde rebels of the past, whose transgressions were personally costly. It's time to move on.

For the fine arts to revive, they must recover their spiritual center. Profaning the iconography of other people's faiths is boring and adolescent."
Ouch! And all of this from "a professed atheist and a pro-choice libertarian Democrat." Read the whole article here.


If you are in Baltimore tonight, swing by the new Patricia Touchet Gallery, which will be opening "Moving Beyond Craft: Artists of the Washington Glass School," from 6-9PM.

Come by and say hi.

See ya there!

Art Whino

Looks like the Greater DC area will get a massive new arts presence in a couple of months.

I'm referring to Art Whino, which will be opening a new art space in Alexandria: 22,000 square feet, of which 7,000 feet will be a new gallery and the rest available as artists' studios.

This will be by far the largest commercial fine arts gallery in the Greater DC region, and we wish them loads of success.

Dawson on Hernandez

portrait of Nestor HernandezThe WaPo's freelance galleries' critic, Jessica Dawson, checks in with a small review of my good friend Nestor Hernandez's show at International Visions Gallery in DC.

One of a handful of Cuban-Americans in the DC area, a brilliant street photographer and a soft-spoken, amazing human being, Nestor passed away unexpectedly last year.

We all miss you Nestor.