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.