Friday, February 29, 2008

Airborne again today and heading first to Salt Lake City, and then to Sedona, Arizona for a little R&R and a lot of hiking in those amazing red rocks and some extensive gallery hopping, and other gallerish things... more later.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Support the Corcoran

Deadline: February 29, 2008 (to register) and April 25 (to deliver art)

The Corcoran Gallery of Art and FRIENDS of the Corcoran will be hosting their first Art Anonymous fundraiser, benefiting the Corcoran College of Art + Design’s BFA Scholarship Fund.

This is a by-invitation-only fundraiser, but they asked me to invite you artists who read this blog, to offer for sale original, postcard-sized works to be exhibited and sold alongside the creations of students, faculty, and staff of the Corcoran College of Art + Design and the Corcoran Gallery of Art. All works are donations and will be sold for $100 — the catch is that your identity will not be known by the buyer until after the purchase.

The works of art will be on view from May 1 through May 10, 2008 prior to the culminating event in the Corcoran’s Gallery 31. On the evening of Saturday, May 10, the public will have their chance to purchase the work of their choice and then join them for a celebratory reception – drinks and dancing included. This event is free for all participating artists, so kindly let them know if you will be there. The preview will begin at 6 p.m. and drinks and dancing will continue until 11 p.m.

We hope that you will contribute to this exciting new event by contributing your work. They would be delighted for you to join them and to be able to list your name as a participant for this event on the Corcoran's advertisements, invitations and website. But they need to know those details by Feb. 29!

All works must be brought or shipped to John Deamond at the Corcoran College of Art + Design Student Affair’s Office by Friday, April 25 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and they must be exhibition-ready. All pieces must be 5x7, two-dimensional and un-framed, and you may submit up to three works for this event. Signatures need to be on the back on the work to be allowed entry into the exhibition.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Megan Sharp at (202)639-1753 or via email and tell her that Lenny Campello invited you to participate in the Art Anonymous fund raiser.

Art Anxiety

"Mitchell Gold, the co-founder of Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams furniture, shares Mr. Higgins’s aversion. “I can’t stand going into galleries,” he said. “They don’t put prices on, you get all worked up, you don’t know the price is $20,000 and you think, Gee, I don’t want to spend that.”
Read this.

I hate to admit how much of the above is sooooooooooooooo true!

Last Copy
F. Lennox Campello - Last Copy

"Last Copy." Charcoal on Paper. 6 x 4 inches. c.2008 by F. Lennox Campello

Am I Still Shouting to the Wind?
Glass3 in Georgetown

This is the story of a new arts movement -- what is usually called a "school" in art history books -- taking place right here in the Greater Washington, DC area. Allow me to refresh your memory a little and provide some background. Bear with me.

Point One: The British sister city to Washington, DC is Sunderland.

Why Sunderland and not London? After all, most other sister cities to DC are the capitals of other countries - but Sunderland is George Washington's ancestral hometown, so that's why!

Sunderland is also where the United Kingdom has their National Glass Centre and, by the way, glass has been made in Sunderland for around 1,500 years.

When most people think of glass in the art world, they think of craft. A few decades ago, a similar reaction occurred with photography.
Duncan McClellan at Glass3

Point Two: George Koch is one of the District's true art icons: he's a talented painter, the founder of A. Salon, Ltd., a board member of the Cultural Development Corporation, a founding board member of the Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington, a Commissioner of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, board member of Hamiltonian Artists, and the Board Chair of Artomatic.

They don't get much bigger, influential, or harder working for the District's artists and arts organizations than George Koch.

DC area artists and DC's arts scene owes a lot to George Koch.

And George has been working very hard to get the British to bring the United Kingdom's premier glass artists to an exhibition in the US, while at the same time bring some attention to the many and talented glass artists working around the Greater DC region.

I think that Koch recognizes that something special is going on in the DC area with glass.

So Koch has been orchestrating the process to bring the Brits to DC in a major show, somehow tie it to the Artomatic organization, use it to showcase Washington area glass artists, and also tie the whole effort into a nascent Toledo, Ohio Artomatic-type organization.

Yes Artomatic haters... that open, no curators allowed, artist-run extravaganza is growing in other cities!

Point Three: If you paid attention in art school, then you know that Toledo, Ohio is also historically one of the glass centers of the colonies, and an important placeholder in art history.

In 1962, Harvey Littleton, Professor of Art at the University of Wisconsin, (and DC gallerist Maurine Littleton's father) and Dominick Labino (a glass scientist with the Johns-Manville Fiber Glass Corporation), presented a glass workshop in conjunction with the Toledo Museum of Art.

These men are recognized internationally as the "fathers" of the American Studio Glass Movement and certainly the first two to take the seminal steps to bring glass from the high end crafts to the fine arts world.

Convinced that it was finally possible for an individual artist to undertake glass art by working entirely alone - as compared to being part of a glass factory, Littleton and Labino provided information on furnace construction, glass formulas, tools, techniques, etc. They sowed the seeds that eventually sprouted thousands of individual kilns, furnaces and glass studios and schools around the United States and the world.

The Toledo workshop was the beginning of the American Studio Glass Movement. Since then, American glass artists are acknowledged worldwide as the undisputed leaders in creativity and originality and the continuing battle to bring glass to the fine arts dialogue.

Point Four: The final key player in this showcase of three glass centers is the Washington Glass School, bringing to the show about 15 area glass artists who are either instructors of the now nation wide famous content-driven art glass facility, or curated into Glass3.

For years now I have been shouting to anyone who will listen that something new and different has been cooking in the kilns of the glass artists around our area. We have in them artists who are bringing narrative and context to glass, and slowly dragging it away from the vessel and the bowl and towards the fine arts end of the rarified upper artmosphere of the art world.

And now to the actual review... start by looking at part one of a short video on the exhibition below; the second part is at the end of this post.

This show, titled Glass3 since it involves three cities, easily shows why DC area artists are doing something new with glass.

Glass3 opening

But before we get to that, there are some standouts in the works by the Brits and the Ohio artists.

Vanessa CutlerFirst and foremost, Vanessa Cutler from the Sunderland visitors almost steals the show with her gorgeously minimalist pieces in this exhibition. Cutler uses a high technology water jet that can be programmed to cut and shape glass using high pressure water. Her elegant work fits in the dialogue of the minimalists, using as little form and shape to deliver deliciously complex – and thus a paradox – pieces that are the bright leaders of the new British works.

I am not a big fan of vessels and bowls and all of the non-descript “pretty” glass things that always seem to suffocate a glass show – and there are plenty in Glass3 by the way – and yet I was drawn to Kathy Wightman’s (also a Brit) “I am touched” pieces, which are beautiful glass objects wrapped or covered in a truly sensual black, velvety material that almost makes them sexual objects to be desired and touched.

Rounding up the British artists, the also minimalist neon works by Sarah Blood stood apart from the sea of bowls and platters and vessels. Impossibly delicate, Blood married them with objects such as crates to offer us something clean and elegant and different.

Among the Ohio artists, Kristine Rumman’s “War at Home,” stood apart from the rest. Using clear glass as the delivery mechanism, Rumman offers us a rifle firing clear glass bullets. The bullets float away from the wall, casting delicate and watery shadows onto it. It’s a fascinating marriage of the delicate with the heavy and dangerous and works well as the best piece from the Ohio artists.

I found too much of Dale Chihuly’s influence on Homer Yarito’s otherwise technically brilliant work, and unless James Maskrey and Danny White are going for some sort of irony that escapes me, I found their work too cutesy and a little saccharine to enjoy it besides their odd prettiness.

Glass is undergoing a revolution, but unlike most revolutions, there's room for all: both artists and crafts people.

Among the locals Syl Mathis’ elegant boat forms continue to evolve in the right direction and represent some of the best abstracted forms in the show. I also liked Sean Hennessey’s and Kirk Waldroff's wall pieces, where both artists excel at using glass as a mean to deliver complex visual works that demand interpretation, rather than just admiration.

Hennessey and Waldroff
Hennessey and Waldroff at Glass3

Evan Morgan also stands out – he is able to flex his technical skill muscles (always a needed requirement in the world of glass), but also offer up pieces that immediately fit into a modern dialogue and make us not care or ignore that it’s a glass show. Morgan is going places; mark these words. I don't know if Morgan is represented by any DC area gallery, but this guy will be up there one day; pick up one of his pieces now.

“Green” artist leader Erwin Timmers makes his by now solid point about green art with his re-used and recasting of discarded glass and other elements to also deliver abstract works that are as contemporary and new as the art movement that Timmers leads in our area.

video piece by Tim Tate

Enough has been written and said about Michael Janis and Tim Tate.

Their contributions to this show, a life-size scraffito puzzle-like piece by Janis and three of his newest video and technology sculptures by Tate, stand apart from the rest of the show as a Jackson Pollock must have stood out in a group show in the 1950s.

These are leaders in a movement to bring glass to a new place in the arts world, and their explorations of the narrative, biography, technology and skill continue to deliver nothing but success. If you collect DC area artists and have yet to add these guys to your collection, price wise you're almost too late; the get-a-small-piece-for-a-few-hundred-bucks days are long gone and now you better be ready to dish out $8500 for a Tate, and I wouldn't be surprised if those prices double by the end of the year.

Bottom line: a historic art event is taking place Washington, DC (though March 9, 2008). Three educational leaders in today's Contemporary Art Glass movement have joined forces to present a representative survey of the exciting artists and techniques surfacing at these three facilities.

Two of these institutions, the Toledo Glass Pavilion and Sunderland Glass School together represent centuries of a rich glass-making tradition while the Washington Glass School has emerged as a new and vibrant player on this field and is perhaps leading the way to a new future for glass.

The show is at the lower level of Georgetown Park Mall in Washington, DC through March 9th, 2008 and this "International Glass Invitational" was presented as a partnership with Art-O-Matic, and the Sister City Program, with help from the Georgetown Business Improvement District (BID).

By the way, once this show closes, the Mall's management should continue to offer this great space to arts organizations for free on an ad hoc basis until they can find a permanent renter for the space. They have not been able to rent it, and it's quite an eye sore (empty) in this tony mall - it looks great now and I am sure that if they allowed arts organizations to use it for free until rented, it would (a) make the mall look better and (b) make a perspective renter more eager to rent it.

But I'm just the cheerleader-in-chief. Video Part II of the exhibition is below.

Art Akwukwo Check Rip-Off Identified

The emails listed below are in the order in which they arrived to me. This is the classic art ripoff known as the Akwukwo check scam. As you all know, whenever I get one of these, I like to have fun with the thief. See my previous encounter with Louie The Fish here. All misspellings and English and writing errors have been left as received:

Date: Wed, 27 Feb 2008 06:55:45 -0600

Hello ,
My name is Stone Martins . I am 46 yr old American by birth, catholic by faith . It is my pleasure to have come across your beautiful Artworks while searching through Google. I am planning on presenting some Artworks for my Wife's Birthday which is coming up soon. She is an addict of Artworks and i want to present her one of your beautiful artworks as a surprise gift on her Birthday .

I want you to help me to choose from your Numerous Artworks the one that will really make a woman more than happy if presented with such Selection.

My prince range is $1,200.00USD - $1,500.00USD. I will really appreciate your effort in doing this and i want you to keep your good work up.

I will be glad if you can process my request in a timely manner . You can call me anytime on this number +447031838823 ..

Stone Martins.
Note the hesitant English for a Harvard man; and my response to him:
Date: Wed, 27 Feb 2008 15:35:40 +0000

Thank you for your note.

I am very choosy as to whom I allow to own my works, as I have a very long wait list for them. Can you tell me more about you and your family?

Thank you,

The Lenster...
Unfazed by my arrogance, Stone responds very quickly:
Date: Thu, 28 Feb 2008 07:03:12 -0600

Hello ,

Thank you for the email . I am a 60 year old University Don .. I retired from Harvard Business School and i have relocated to United Kingdom with my wife and we have only one son who is schooling abroad . My wife will be 50 years old come next month and i will like to present your beautiful artwork as a birthday gift . She loves Blue color . She also loves kids and shopping . We are happy family and fulfilled . I want you to get back to me and let me know the one you have chosen and it must be within my price range . I will make the arrnagment for the pick up once i have settled the payment ..

I want you to get back to me as soon as possible. Thank you
And so he has bitten and now I can have some fun with him:
Date: Thu, 28 Feb 2008 14:46:51 +0000

Sounds like a very nice family, but I told you that I am choosy, so I need to know a few more details:

1. What other pieces of artwork do you own?

2. Who was your favorite faculty member at Harvard?

3. Who is your favorite artist?

4. Are you prepared to have me choose which piece of my art I will possibly allow to live in your house?

Let me know soonest.

The Lenster
PS - I will be raising my prices soon by the way - so hurry!
Nothing deters this guy, he responds within minutes:
Date: Thu, 28 Feb 2008 10:22:35 -0500


We have one Painting at the moment and the painting is more Abtsract . My favourite Artist is Don Moen . I was a consultant to Harvard on Contract , so i didn't have faculty member .. You can go ahead and choose for us .. Thank you and keep in touch
More demands from my part:
Date: Thu, 28 Feb 2008 15:57:04 +0000

Sounds good...

It will take a least one week for me to concentrate and meditate on which work of art will align best with your wife on her birthday.

Here's what I need for you to do:

1. Get $1500 in cash - US Dollars, package it carefully and double bagged and FEDEX it to my art dealer. That will cover a work of art plus shipping and insurance to you.

2. Email me you shipping address and contact number.

3. Once I receive the cash I will send you the work.

4. Once you receive the work, you must take a photo of it once it is framed and send it to me, as I must approve of the framing.

The Lenster
He then gives the ripoff mechanism:
Sent: Thu 2/28/08 4:03 PM
To: F. Lennox Campello (

Thank you for the quick email . I will like you to have the payment so that you can go ahead and start the work soonest .. I want you to open and click on Request for Payment and enter the exact amount of $1,500 ... Email me once you have done this . Thank you.
And I send him back the conversation killer:
Sent: Thu 2/28/08 4:07 PM
To: stone Martins (

No, no... using technology to receive payments for my work "dirties" the process and makes me anguish over the whole issue of selling my work. I would be unable to create if I had to do such things...

No, no... just send US dollars directly... even then I have to have someone open the FEDEX package and meditate over the whole transaction and commodification of my art before I finally decide to go through with it.

My art is more valuable than money.

That was the last that I heard from Stone.

Be careful out there...

Marilyn Banner at Ratner Museum‏

During the month of March 2008 Banner will be showing 36 of her recent encaustic paintings at The Dennis & Phillip Ratner Museum in Bethesda MD. These will include the work that she did during her recent month-long residency at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA). Two other wonderful artists will be showing work there also: Joyce Ellen Weinstein and Pilar Jimenez.

The opening reception is Sunday March 2, 2008 1:30 - 3:30.

Peace Now Online

Anne Marchand has created an online album of show images for the Peace Now! Exhibition currently at Warehouse in DC. See the images here.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Howard Mehring at Osuna Art
Howard Mehring
My good friend (and the Greater DC area's remaining Cuban-American gallerist) Ramon Osuna has work by Washington Color School giant Howard Mehring at Bethesda's Osuna Art through April 5, 2008.

Philly Openings

There are three solo exhibitions at The Print Center opening tomorrow: Orit Hofshi, Bill Scott and Janet Towbin. ‏These exhibitions bring together the work of three celebrated printmakers. The works by Israeli artist Orit Hofshi are epically scaled woodcuts of isolated figures in desolate landscapes. (Orit Hofshi’s exhibition is co-sponsored by the Consulate General of Israel, Philadelphia, as part of the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the State of Israel.) Bill Scott, known for his lyrical abstract paintings, will be represented by a new series of etchings never before exhibited. Janet Towbin’s "masterful approach to line is evident in the repeating, virtually obsessive patterns featured in her etchings." Date is Thursday, February 28; Gallery Talks by the Artists: 5:00pm and Reception: 5:30-7:30pm.

Gallery Joe a show of drawings by Christine Hiebert titled "Search" - this is Hiebert's third solo show at Gallery Joe. The exhibition opens on March 7 and runs through April 26, 2008. Hiebert has exhibited widely both in the US and abroad, most recently in "Live/Work: Performance into Drawing", Museum of Modern Art, New York. She is known for both her drawings on paper as well as her temporary blue tape wall drawings, which have appeared on the walls of institutions such as the Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, Germany, The Drawing Center, New York, and Krannert Art Museum, Champaign, IL among others. Also showing is James Nelson... "Head of a Girl (in play)" opens on Friday, March 7 and continues through April 26, 2008. This show appears in the Front Gallery and runs concurrently with the show of drawings by Christine Hiebert in the Vault Gallery.

Projects Gallery has assembled a variety of national and international artists, for "Child’s Play," as an opportunity to re-examine the perceptions and artifacts of youth. Artists include: Elizabeth Bisbing, Ross Bonfanti, Jim Brossy, Elaine Erne, Tom Judd, Frank Hyder, Jennifer Layzer, Darrel Morris, Krista Steinke, Jaime Treadwell, Caleb Weintraub, and others. Child’s Play opens First Friday, March 7 with a reception from 5-8 p.m. and continues through March 29, 2008. The reception is free and open to the public. A Philadelphia chapter of Amnesty International will be hosting a bake sale during the reception.

Rebekah Templeton Contemporary Art has "The Truth About Maximilian," an exhibition of new paintings, collages and installation by Todd Keyser. "The Truth About Maximilian" opens on Thursday, March 13, 2008 with an opening reception from 6-9 pm. The show closes on Saturday, April 19, 2008.

A Chair in Hell
F Lennox Campello's A Chair in Hell

A Chair in Hell, Charcoal on Paper, c.2008, 2.25 x 5.5 inches by F. Lennox Campello

Mary Coble this Friday

Please join one of my favorite performance artists, Mary Coble and Hirshhorn curatorial research associate Ryan Hill for a gallery talk on the artist's work Note to Self currently on view at the museum.

Mary Coble Note to Self
Mary Coble, Note to Self

Mary Coble Note to self
Mary Coble, Note to Self

Friday, February 29th at 12:30pm
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden - lower level

New Aussie Art Prizes

The Queensland Government says:

"two new prizes will make the state a leader in contemporary art."

Premier Anna Bligh has told Parliament the Government will award a $75,000 prize to an artist who uses new media technologies. The Gallery of Modern Art will invite candidates to apply. The Government will also offer a $25,000 scholarship for an emerging new media artist.

"These awards combined are worth $100,000 and will be Australia's most significant award in new media," Ms Bligh said. "As a national award it will build Queensland's reputation as a leader in contemporary art."

Bailey, Bailey, Bailey...

He's at it again... read Bailey here.

Intended to Provoke: Social Action in Visual Culture[s]

The Fifth Annual Visual Culture Symposium, “Intended to Provoke: Social Action in Visual Culture[s]” will take place at George Mason University on Thursday, March 27, 2008 and I have been invited to participate.

I will be discussing the emergence of a significant number of visual art blogs at the turn of the new century. This emergence was almost immediately ignored by both the mainstream media and the fine arts world. Just a few years later art blogs not only challenge the mainstream media in the reporting and discussion of the arts, but often lead the way in in-depth announcement, discussion, imagery and promulgation of socially challenging, subversive or political art, as well as presenting historically bound street art, such as graffiti and street installations to worldwide audience.

In this presentation I will discuss the emergence of visual art blogs and offer examples of how blogs have taken over the lead from other sources and venues, as the leading proponent, critic and publicist for art intended and created in order to provoke. The presentation includes discussion and examples of work from artists from places such as Cuba and Iran, which was only recognized and discovered by a worldwide audience through those artists’ own illegal blogs or discussion of their work in other blogs or through the process knows as the “blog roll.”

Questioning accepted literary styles, the visual art bloggers also became part of the social reaction towards established art criticism, and in a way also provided a way to criticize and dissect the critic him/herself. I draw on a variety of widely read visual art blogs to establish bloggers initial discordance and break from formal art criticism and reporting conventions and the eventual alignment of many of them with the same conventions as their influence grew. As a visual arts multi-political and international force they now wield a powerful impact on what is considered an “intentionally political work of art,” such as the Abu Ghraib paintings by Colombian artist Fernando Botero or the chalcography etchings by Cuban artist Sandra Ramos Lorenzo.

The day-long Symposium is being held at the Johnson Center Cinema at George Mason’s Fairfax Campus. The day will end with a reception in the art gallery on the first floor of the Johnson Center, Gallery 123.

Schedule - "Intended to Provoke:Social Action in Visual Culture[s]"
March 27, 2008
George Mason University

9:00 – 9:30a.m. Introduction & Video

Panel 1:
1. Robles & Stein (Community Art)
2. Wolpa (Visual Culture education)
3. Cohn (Design School)
4. Campello (Art Blogs)

11:15a.m. – 12:15p.m.
Panel 2:
1. Derr (Walking/Chance)
2. Namaste (non-violent intervention)
3. McCoy (bodies in China)

12:30 – 1:00p.m.
Dance Performance

1:00 - 2:00p.m.
Panel 3:
1. Johnson (Crises & the everyday)
2. Greet (Ecuador)
3. Campbell (culture jamming)

2:00 - 2:15p.m.
Mark Cooley and Art Exhibit Selections

2:15 – 3:15p.m.
Panel 4:
1. Clements (childbirth)
2. Slavick (R&R/altered images & things)
3. Okunseinde (Fugitives)

3:30 – 4:15p.m. Keynote/Debate

4:30 – 5:30 p.m. – Art Exhibit/Reception

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Artists' Websites: Zoe Strauss

Philly-based photographer Zoe Strauss was one of the few bright presences in an otherwise bleak 2006 Whitney Biennial. She's one of the coolest photographers working in the nation, and you can own her work for as little as five dollars a photo!

Visit her website here.

Wanna go to a DC opening on Thursday?

How about the National Society of Arts and Letters’ 2007 arts competition?

Washington DC’s Nevin Kelly Gallery will host a traveling exhibition of works by the winners of The National Society of Arts and Letters’ 2007 arts competition. The 2007 competition was open to young artists ages 18 to 29 working in water media on paper. Local artist Jenny Davis, a previous exhibitor at the gallery, won this year’s $10,000 national first prize for her watercolor “Portrait of Tess.” The winning painting and works by the winners of 18 other local chapter competitions who competed for the top prize will be on display. The gallery will host an opening reception at 1517 U Street, NW on Thursday, February 28, from 5:30 until 7:30 pm. The public is invited.

The NSAL was established in 1944 as a non-profit, philanthropic, volunteer organization of art professionals, art educators and patrons of the arts. Its mission is to encourage and assist promising young artists through scholarships, career support and arts competitions. NSAL’s competitions rotate annually through six categories: fine art, dance, drama, literature, music and musical theater. The 2007 competition was NSAL’s first painting competition in 20 years (the 2008 competition will focus on voice). As winner of the Washington, DC Chapter’s local competition, Ms. Davis, was invited to Tempe, AZ in May 2007 to compete with other regional winners for the top prize: the $10,000 Nicholson-Nielsen Memorial Award. Jenny’s watercolor “Portrait of Tess” captured the award.

“We are very pleased to have been asked to host this very impressive exhibition and to welcome Jenny Davis back to our gallery,” says gallery director Nevin J. Kelly. “This exhibition provides an ideal fit with our goal of introducing talented emerging artists to the local art community.”

Other regional winners whose works will be on display (and the NSAL chapters whose competitions they won) include Carrie Tompkins, (Birmingham), Maureen Forman (Bloomington), Vanessa Monot (Boca Raton), Ryan Rocha (Central Illinois); Erin Saladino (Clearwater-Tampa Bay), Alfred Perez (El Paso), Tawni Shuler (Greater Arizona), Morgan Canavan (Greater Chicago), Danielle Trejo (Evanston), Will Anderson (Kansas City), Gerren Dugger (Kentucky), Amber Carraway (Little Rock), Adrian Lyjak (Mid-Michigan) Mattias Lanas (New Jersey), Kelsey Berkley (North Florida), Mark Bush (Ohio River Valley), Thommy Controy (Pittsburgh) and Timothy Rusterholz (Virginia-North Carolina).

Monday, February 25, 2008

Christine Bailey's new inventions

"After the mini-controversy stirred up over artist Christine Bailey's exhibition of faux Cara Ober paintings at a downtown office building last month, we were eager to check out Boundary Crossings, the current show at School 33 Art Center that Bailey curated.

The show presents three artists -- Ariana Wol, Nadine Freund and "the international digital collective" A.N.N.A. -- who, on closer inspection, all turn out to be creatures of Bailey's own fertile imagination. During a phone conversation yesterday it only took a little prodding before she admitted that the show's trio of "artists" are, in fact, completely fictitious identities invented by her."
More details here.

By the way, that's the Sun's art critic, Glenn McNatt, who blogs in a Sun blog for the paper's critics.

27th Annual WPA Art Auction

The Washington Project for the Arts (WPA) has announced the 27th Annual Art Auction Gala to be held Friday, March 7, 2008 from 7:00 pm until midnight at the Katzen Arts Center at American University, 4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC.

The 2008 WPA Art Auction Gala is a full evening of activities that include a cocktail reception, seated dinner, a silent auction of more than 130 original works of art, and an art party. Held in the rotunda of the veautiful Katzen Arts Center at American University, this event draws young collectors, art enthusiasts, established and emerging artists, as well as leaders from the regional corporate, social and cultural communities.

Artists selected for the exhibit this year include painters, sculptors, illustrators, photographers and street artists, from Greater Washington, DC, New York, Philadelphia, Australia, Italy, and Russia.

Attendees each receive a bid number to vie for the original works of art featured in the auction, which have been selected from the following group of curators:

- Heather Darcy Bhandari, Curator and Artist Manager, Mixed Greens, NYC

- Andrea Douglas, Curator, Collections and Exhibitions, University of Virginia Art Museum, Charlottesville, VA

- Sarah Kennel, Assistant Curator, Department of Photographs, National Gallery of Art, DC

- Erin Chase Mackay, Principal, Chase Contemporary Art Consulting LLC, DC

- Dennis O’Neil, Director, Hand Print Workshop International, Alexandria, VA (who brought a ton of Russians to the auction)

- Marc and Sara Schiller, Wooster Collective, NYC

- Emily Smith, Curatorial Fellow, Modern and Contemporary Art, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA

- JD Talasek, Director, Exhibitions and Cultural Programs, National Academy of Sciences, DC

- Kathryn Wat, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, National Museum of Women in the Arts, DC

Some of the DC area artists selected for the 2008 Art Auction Gala include: Amy Lin, Maxwell MacKenzie, Foon Sham, William Christenberry, Steven Cushner, Eric Finzi, Bridget Sue Lambert, Joseph Mills, Renee Stout, Scott Hutchison, Akemi Maegawa, and Noelle Tan and many others. For a complete list of artists please visit and for Reservations and information: or contact the WPA office at 202.234.7103.

The preview for the gala is this coming Thursday, Feb. 28th, from 6-8:30PM; click on the below image for more details.
click here
See ya there!

Art for Obama is tomorrow

Art for Obama III takes place tomorrow at Heineman Myers in Bethesda starting at 6:30PM.

Details and directions here.


Congressional alert: The artist deduction bill (S.548) would give artists the right to deduct the fair market value of their work when donating it to a charity.

Right now artists and artisans can only deduct the material costs of creating their work.

Please follow the link below and support this bill. It allows you to fill in and send on-line to your congressmen.

Click here.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Identities in extremis

Last week my desktop, after many faithful years finally gave up the ghost; a new one has been ordered.

Yesterday we drove down to DC to visit Glass3 in Georgetown - a gorgeous exhibition that once again shows that Washington, DC area artists are doing and creating something new in the genre. If you don't believe or understand my words to this effect over the years, go visit the exhibition and you'll see what I mean -- It stands out to the most casual observer. DCist has reviewed the show here and Heather Goss immediately picked up on the visual revelations of a three city international exhibit; let's see if the WaPo and the WCP get it.

Then we also wanted to see, and did swing by the opening for the talented new minimalist works by Akemi Maegawa at Irvine Contemporary. Akemi used to be my wife's neighbor in Bethesda for many years, and we walked away from the Irvine show with our second Maegawa original!

We then planned to swing over to Heineman Myers in Bethesda for their 10PM-10AM art party. We did get there eventually, but around 1AM, because we had an unplanned DC incident when we returned to our car. Heineman Myers was packed to the gills at 1 Am and still packed at 2:30AM when we left; full of music and dancing and booze.

In all the old movies, when the main character drives somewhere, he or she always finds a prime parking spot close or right in front of wherever they are going. I call this curious Hollywood effect "Doris Day parking," since in all of her movies she always managed to drive right up to and park right in front of wherever she was going.

So we had found an almost Doris Day spot on our visit to Irvine Contemporary, about a block away, almost corner of P Street and Kingman Place, in a nice, quiet residential neighborhood one block away from busy 14th Street, and right under a bright street light.

When we got back to the car around 9:30 PM, the rear passenger window had been smashed in and my laptop and my wife's travel bag were gone.

And so was my remaining computer, and my back-up to the dead desktop, which now has to make a visit to the expensive PC surgeon to see if they can somehow reclaim its files from its tired innards.

DC Police Officer Negron was on the scene within ten minutes, and in my mind has given the DC police department a huge positive checkmark in my book. He was friendly, helpful, made us feel a little better and was very detailed. We were also surprised when a crime scene expert then showed up (Officer Negron had called him) and did a CSI routine on the scene, including looking for fingerprints, etc.

I am thankful and impressed by the professionality, but more than anything else I want and need that damned computer back!

"They usually pawn it," said Officer Negron.

My laptop is useless to most people. Unless you are able to defeat 128-bit double encryption, no one will be able to log on without my 16 character alphanumeric password.

But, who knows, maybe pawn shop owners have the help of seedy SysAdmin experts who can bust through anything, and I suppose that you can always wipe out the computer OS and reload a new Windows OS and start from scratch.

But if any of you see a veteran (3 years at least) dark gray Hewlett-Packard laptop with a Verizon Wireless Card sticking from the left side port, anywhere around the 14th Street corridor, in a pawn shop or anywhere else... give me a shout.

Things happen for a purpose, and one reaps what one sows, and maybe I shouldn't have busted Mr. Molinari's window when I was a kid playing basketball in our backyard in Brooklyn and my shot went really wide.

Life moves on and I will go through hell over the next few weeks with a new desktop and a new laptop and waste weeks trying to reorganize my Virgo life; and calling all the credit bureaus, and the social security administration, etc. as inside the PC bag were also 4-5 really important pieces of ID cards for various things.

That worries me more than the loss of the laptop.

"In the worst case scenario," said Officer Negron, "those can be sold and used to start bank accounts, credit card applications, etc."

Identity theft; but life moves on and so does that window-smashing thief.


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Proposing a new art fair model

There is a sense of art fatigue brewing in the art world. Read on a little background below and then read a new art fair model that I am proposing.

If you're jonesying because artDC got cancelled, you should consider attending the Baltimore Fair for Contemporary Prints and New Editions, which is an interesting deviation from the most common art fair model - which is usually led by a commercial entity such as a gallerist or art dealer-- since it is a project of the Baltimore Museum of Art.

The Baltimore Fair for Contemporary Prints & New Editions is presented by the BMA's Print, Drawing & Photograph Society. Proceeds from the fair are used to acquire contemporary works on paper for the BMA’s collection.

BMA invited 12 galleries, dealers and presses for this biennial weekend fair, offering drawings and prints, photography and digital images - so it's more than just prints.


Center Street Studio, Milton, MA
Dolphin Press & Print, Baltimore, MD
Gallery Joe, Philadelphia, PA
Gemini G.E.L. at Joni Moisant Weyl, New York, NY
Goya Contemporary & Goya-Girl Press, Baltimore, MD
Harlan & Weaver, Inc., New York, NY
Jungle Press Editions, Brooklyn, NY
Jim Kempner Fine Art, New York, NY
Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD
Pyramid Atlantic, Silver Spring, MD
Solo Impression, New York, NY
Charles M. Young Fine Prints & Drawings LLC, Portland, CT

A new art fair model

The other important thing to remember, as I mull, chew and refine a "new" art fair model to replace the existing art fair model, which seems to work well in Miami and New York, but not so well in the West coast, and as we have seen, not at all in the capital region, is the marriage of a legitimate art entity (a museum) with an art-for-sale process as a means to raise funds.

The seeds for this model already exist in the DC region with the Smithsonian Craft Show, now in its 26th year.

Considered by many to be the finest craft fair in the world -- and from the many artists that I have spoken to over the years -- one of the best places to sell fine crafts as well, this prestigious and highly competitive juried exhibition and sale of contemporary American craft will take place from April 10 through April 13, 2008.

It takes place at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC and it includes one-of-a-kind and limited edition craft objects in 12 different media: basketry, ceramics, decorative fiber, furniture, glass, jewelry, leather, metal, mixed media, paper, wearable art and wood.

There are 120 exhibitors in this year's show including emerging artists and master craftsmen, 39 of whom are first-time participants. Twelve of those selected were also first-time applicants to the show. All were chosen by a panel of expert jurors from a highly competitive field of close to 1,400 applicants.

So we have a model for printmaking in Baltimore and a model for crafts in DC that has been working for 26 years.

See where I'm going?

Can we envision the Smithsonian American Art Fair?

The Smithsonian American International Art Fair would dramatically expand the business model of the Smithsonian Craft Fair to a Mall-wide, or even citywide art fair anchored and guided by the Smithsonian Institution, and possibly either (a) spread throughout the various accommodating spaces at the various SI locales around the National Mall or even (b) in temporary art spaces, booth or containers on the open spaces of the National Mall itself!

The latter is not as big of a deal as it sounds. The National Mall already hosts a spectacular variety of outdoor events on the Mall spaces where complex display spaces are temporarily built, secured and just as quickly dismantled, grass re-seeded and by Monday the Mall is back to normal. For art, all we need is protection from the weather and security.

Perhaps even a combination of "free" (to the public) set of exhibitors (maybe out on the Mall) coupled with a paid admission set of exhibitors inside SI spaces -- or just make them all free to the public?

Details... details...

This new fair model would be open to both commercial art galleries and art dealers, as well as to art schools, and (and here's the key "and") to individual artists and cooperative artist-owned galleries.

Size matters.

Would 1200 galleries, dealers, schools and artists in a mega, new-model art fair raise some interests from art collectors to come to DC for a long weekend in May? It would if it attracted 60,000 visitors to the fair instead of 10,000 (like artDC attracted).

Are you aware that in May the Bethesda Fine Arts Festival in nearby Bethesda attracts 30-40,000 people to the streets of Bethesda for this artist-only street fine arts fair? or that also in May the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival attracts the same number of people to the streets of the Reston Town Center to buy art from individual artists? Both Bethesda and Reston have two of the highest median household incomes in the US.

And I am told that the Greater Washington, DC region has the second highest concentration of multi-millionaires in the world. The money is here - the key is to get the disposable income crown in touch with the art. Both Bethesda and Reston manage to accomplish this one weekend a year.

Do not, under any circumstances assume that these are "street fairs" where teddy bears, country crafts and dried flowers are sold. These are both highly competitive fine arts outdoor fairs where artists from all over the nation come to and compete for spots because artwork sells well. I have seen $80,000 worth of sculptures sell to one collector in Bethesda and a painter with a price point of $17,000 sell out in Reston. Do not let the snobby attitude of the high art world affect your preconception of what these two street art fairs are like; go visit one this coming May and open your eyes.

And because of them, and because of the success of ABMB, we know that given a certain critical mass, people will come out to an art fair.

The primary key for art dealers to have interest in an art fair is sales (and also exposure to new collectors, museum curators, etc.), but mainly sales. If you are a British gallery, by the time you get yourself and your artwork to Miami Beach, you're in the hole a whole bunch of Euros; if you don't sell anything (like it happened to a British gallery in artDC and an Israeli gallery at another fair), chances are that you won't return to that fair.

But increase the public attendance numbers exponentially, and Economics 101 tells you that sales will also increase exponentially.

And unlike the hotel-deprived artDC location at the Convention Center, I am told by DC's tourist gurus that the National Mall is already a magnet location where visitors, regardless of where they are staying around the Greater DC region, flock to during their visits to the capital.

Since two major Greater DC area street art fairs already exist in May in the Greater DC area, we can even consider aligning the weekends so that both Reston, Bethesda and the The Smithsonian American International Art Fair all take place on the same weekend! Offer free bus service between Reston and Bethesda and the National Mall for collectors to hop around during the fair weekend, and a public buzz alignment will begin to happen.

The Smithsonian American International Art Fair starts on a Thursday through Sunday and both Reston and Bethesda continue to run on Saturday and Sunday.

And the The Smithsonian American International Art Fair is focused as a major fundraiser for the cash-hungry SI. A formula of booth prices + perhaps a 5% commission on all sales (both tax deductible for American galleries) would take care of temporary Mall booth construction, reseeding of grass, and booth construction inside SI venues and still yield a nice chunk of cash for the SI.

If there's commercial success and high public attendance, soon we'd see some satellite hotel fairs popping up all over DC and its easy-to-get-to suburbs; the Corcoran will jump on the bandwagon right away. ABMB had 22 fairs all over the place last December.

I think that this "new" model could (and eventually when someone does it will) challenge Miami Beach -- and yes, I am aware that DC in May is not Miami in December -- but I also think that the District's own museums and public attractions trump Miami's anytime, so the District has something different to offer the potential collector who may be considering attending a new art fair in a city (like DC) that also offers him/her some other cultural and visual attractions besides good weather and nice beaches and sexy Cubans.

DC art commisioners... Smithsonianos... DC city fathers and mothers.... call me! Let's work this out before I offer my idea to Philly!

My good friend Fernando Batista adds a new element to the above model, and an important element that only a Washington art fair weekend can add: include the Embassies! It's brilliant! In addition to all the above events taking place, the fair could also align with shows at 15-20 embassy galleries around DC. The embassies would showcase one (or a group) of their national artists, and then the fair would really have an international flavor, and the beginning seeds of a mini-Venice.

DC is a small city; it's fairly easy to set up transportation between the embassies and the Mall. In fact, some embassies could probably set that up themselves.

Artists Websites: Dana Ellyn

Barack Obama by Dana Ellyn
Winning Smile (Barack Obama), 18"x18" - acrylic on canvas by Dana Ellyn

Dana Ellyn is one of the District's hardest working and most talented artists. She is currently exhibiting in the Peace Now! show that opened tonight at the Warehouse Gallery in DC.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Artists' Websites: Richard Vosseller

"Captain Ahab Model" 1/16th scale - wood, chipboard & glue, 13.5" x 9" x 40" by Richard Vosseller

Richard Vosseller is a member of the faculty at the School of Art and Design at Montgomery College, MD where he is an assistant professor. He's having a solo show at the Black Rock Center For the Arts June 11th to July 11th, 2008. The opening is Saturday, June 21st.

Visit his website here.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Airborne again


Heading back home before the snow! More later...

The Trawick Prize Returns

Deadline: Friday, April 11, 2008

The Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District is now accepting submissions for The Trawick Prize: Bethesda Contemporary Art Awards. The 6th annual juried art competition awards $14,000 in prize monies to four selected artists. Deadline for slide submission is Friday, April 10, 2008 and up to fifteen artists will be invited to display their work from September 3 – September 28, 2008 in downtown Bethesda at Heineman Myers Contemporary Art.

The Trawick Prize is without a doubt, the key fine arts competition available to DC, MD and VA artists and has already produced some spectacular results for its winners.

This year's competition will be juried by Molly Donovan, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the National Gallery of Art; Irene Hofmann, Executive Director of the Contemporary Museum in Baltimore, MD and Leah Stoddard, Director of Second Street Gallery in Charlottesville, VA.

The first place winner will be awarded $10,000; second place will be honored with $2,000 and third place will be awarded $1,000. A “young” artist whose birth date is after April 10, 1978 may also be awarded $1,000.

Artists must be 18 years of age or older and residents of Maryland, Virginia or Washington, D.C. Original painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, fiber art, digital, mixed media and video are accepted. The maximum dimension should not exceed 96 inches in any direction. No reproductions. Artwork must have been completed within the last two years. Selected artists must deliver artwork to exhibit site in Bethesda, MD. All works on paper must be framed to full conservation standards.

The Trawick Prize was established by local Bethesda business owner Carol Trawick. Ms. Trawick has served as a community activist for more than 25 years in downtown Bethesda. She is the Chair of the Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District and past Chair of the Bethesda Urban Partnership. Additionally, the Jim and Carol Trawick Foundation was established in 2007 after the Trawicks sold their successful information technology company.

For a complete submission form, please visit or send a self-addressed stamped envelope to the Bethesda Urban Partnership, Inc., c/o The Trawick Prize: Bethesda Contemporary Art Awards, 7700 Old Georgetown Road, Bethesda, MD 20814.

Hamiltonian Fellows

Congrats to the very first set of Hamiltonian fellows:

Christian Benefiel (Severna Park, MD)
Anne Chan (Baltimore, MD)
Ian Davis (Baltimore, MD)
Leah Frankel (North Wales, PA)
Alex Gutierrez (Kensington, MD)
Linda Hesh (Alexandria, VA)
Al Miner (Washington, DC)
Youngmi Organ (Nokesville, VA)
Brian Rojsuontikul (Springfield, VA)
Michael Sirvet (Washington, DC)

Opportunity for Artists

Deadline: April 11, 2008

2008 Rawls Museum Arts Juried Exhibition. Only original works not previously shown at RMA will be accepted. All media, styles and techniques are eligible. Artists may submit a maximum of three (3) images of individual works. You may submit digital images on a compact disc 300 dpi resolution, jpeg format. You may submit digital images on a compact disc 300 dpi resolution, jpeg format. For more details and copy of the prospectus visit

Art Talk

The WPA has a very interesting talk coming up with Marc and Sara Schiller, the founders of the Wooster Collective; details below (click on image for larger image):

WPA art talk

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Peace Now!

Sondra Arkin installationPeace Now! opens with a reception on Friday, Feb 22 from 6-9 pm at the Warehouse Gallery in DC. Through April 6, 2008.

In observance of the 5th anniversary of the Iraqi War and as part of the March 19, 2008 "March for Peace" in Washington and other cities around the country, the Warehouse hosts its last peace exhibition. To the left is the room-dissecting Checkpoint Installation by Sondra Arkin in collaboration with Beth Baldwin.

Includes work by 40 artists including Matt Achhammer, JS Adams, Sondra N. Arkin, Beth Baldwin, Joan Belmar, BLK w/ BEAR, M.P. Brown, Travis Childers, Michele Colburn, James L. Cypher aka Joey Daytona, Richard L. Dana, Anna U Davis, Tom Drymon, John De Fabbio, Dana Ellyn, Elissa Farrow-Savos, Elizabeth Featherstone Hoff, Dara Friel, John Carlton Hagerhorst, Matt Hollis, Jackie Hoysted, Joseph Jones, Joroko, Mariah Josephy, Jenufa H. Kent, Lauren Kotkin, Heather Levy, Elizabeth Lundberg Morisette, Isabel Manalo, Anne Marchand, Carolina Mayorga, Patricia E. Ortman, Igor Pasternak, Jane Pettit, Mark Planisek, Sajeela Ramsey, Marina Reiter, Ann Ruppert, Julie Seiwell, Matt Sesow, Alexandra Silverthorne, Ira Tattelman, Gabriel Thy, Karen Joan Topping, Ruth Trevarrow, Jessica van Brakle, Mary Walker, Ruth Ward, Ellyn Weiss, Angela White, Andrew Wodzianski, Peter Wood... and me.

Wanna go to an opening in DC tomorrow?

Glass3 has an opening reception on Thursday, February 21, 2008, 6 - 8pm at The Shops at Georgetown Park (Level 1), 3222 M Street., N.W. Washington, D.C. 20007.

Glass 3, is an international studio glass exhibit featuring extraordinary glass artists from Toledo, OH (birthplace of the US Studio Glass Movement), Washington, DC and Sunderland, UK (Washington, DC Sister City). The exhibit runs through March 9, 2008.

Artists' Website: Elizabeth Wade

Art by Elizabeth Wade
Deus ex Bestia. c.2006, acrylic on canvas, 92 x 60" by ELizabeth Wade

Liz Wade graduated last year from MICA and she was the Maryland recipient of the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center Fellowship in 2007, and she will have a solo exhibition of her work at the Hudson D. Walker Gallery in Provincetown in 2008.

Closer Reviewed

Dr. Claudia Rousseau reviews Closer at Gallery Neptune in Bethesda. Read the review here.

Buy Michael Janis now.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Airborne again


Heading to New Hampshire! More later...

Old dictators never must die...
OFF/AFP/Getty Images

The Castro brothers with Sadam Hussein

Since they don't fade away either...

Cover Me

Mo Ringey was sick and tired of the dwindling arts coverage by her local Amherst, Massachusetts newspapers; so she decided to do something about besides complaining:

At first glance, Mo Ringey seems an unlikely figure to rally the Pioneer Valley arts community. She is tiny, just over 100 pounds, and has a chronic condition - five herniated discs in her neck - that forces her to hang in a traction machine for an hour a day.

But thanks to a knack for networking, Ringey finds herself the spokesperson for a group of artists unhappy with how much - or little - local newspapers write about the arts. Their frustrations have been channeled into "Cover Me," an exhibition Ringey has curated at the Hampden Gallery at the University of Massachusetts.
Read the whole story here. I think we need a Mo Ringley in most major American cities, most desperately DC.

Things that make you go ????

Is the art sky falling?

So far the only shift dealers are reporting is in the middle market. “In the past six months, clients are no longer willing to take a chance on younger artists priced at $15,000 to $20,000,” said David Maupin of the Lehmann Maupin gallery with both Chelsea and Lower East Side premises. He reported a 50% drop in sales in that category over the past six months with buyers focusing instead on higher priced works by established artists like Tracey Emin who have had museum exhibitions. “I have far more people I can call for a $75,000 to $100,000 work than the lower-priced artists,” said Mr Maupin.
Read the Art Newspaper article here.

Virtual Gallery = Real Art Party

Virtual art resource Raandesk Gallery of Art returns to Washington, DC with "Emergence 2," a two-day art party and temporary exhibition of contemporary artworks on February 21 and 22, 2008.

"Emergence 2" will feature a variety of painting, drawings, photography and art furniture by six emerging artists from the Raandesk collection in a suite at The Flats at Union Row on 14th Street, NW in Washington, DC. Both art party evenings are free and open to the public and all artwork on view will be available for purchase.

New York City-based Raandesk Gallery has established a reputation for expanding the notion of art collecting through unique art partnerships and events like "Emergence 2."

Raandesk-hosted exhibitions and events offer new collectors an opportunity to view and purchase contemporary artwork in workplaces, restaurants and lounges, in collectors' homes and in other commercial spaces for a more accessible settings. "Emergence 2" is the second such event in Washington, DC, the follow up to a similar successful event last fall.

WHEN: Thursday, February 21, 6:00-9:00PM and Friday, February 22, 6:00 – 8:00PM

WHERE: The Flats at Union Row
2125 14th St, NW, Suite 417,Washington, DC (U St metro)

Other "Emergence 2" participating artists / media include:

- Washington, DC-based Jeff Huntington, "whose oil paintings contain intensely vivid images of orchids and still life arrangements depicted with a hint of surrealism and oddity, completely removed from discernible context."

- Jennie Barrese, "a graphic artist and photographer, creates colorful abstract digital images to magnify subtle forms and lines, creating perspectives with appeal to the design-oriented collector."

- Photorealist oil painter Jason Bryant "captures cinematic visions and snapshots of life through large-scale cropped portraits of celebrity faces, clothing and movie stills where subjects are depersonalized to spotlight dramatic moments in everyday life."

- Matt Kern's work "uses an old-school Polaroid camera to create collage assemblages with many layers of images, text, drawings and other elements embedded in wax, resulting in a richly textured surface that reveals more with each inspection."

- Abstract artist Jeff Leonard "uses the unpredictable nature of liquid resin to create beautiful and rich paintings on wood. Lush pools of color and light form in organic shapes on the surfaces, the most interesting forms are in the smallest detail."

- Raandesk Gallery's newest artist, Anne Unierzyski "handcrafts highly sculptural functional art / furniture pieces with unique geometric forms with a bit of color with natural wood finishes for an interesting, contemporary look."

Artists' Websites: Freya Grand

Connemara by Freya Grand
"Connemara." Oil on canvas, 48x60, c.2007 by Freya Grand

Freya Grand is a DC-based artist working out of her Dupont Circle area studio. One of her pieces was recently selected by Kathryn Wat, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC for the upcoming WPA Gala Art Auction.

Visit Freya Grand's website here.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Washington Times Art Critic gone sick

Update: The below news tip was false. I am told that Shaw-Eagle was very sick and that someone is covering for her, but that she has not been fired. Before I published the note below, I emailed the Times to confirm, but my email was ignored.

I learned today that Joanna Shaw-Eagle, who has been the chief art critic for the Washington Times for many years, and who has been writing about art since before I was born, was let go today from the Washington Times.

This sounds like one hell of an art party

This is the event that Dr. Claudia Rousseau was talking about earlier today on the Kojo Nnamdi show.

Heineman Myers Contemporary Art in Bethesda is doing an all nighter on February 23 and 24 with an "Inside Outside All Night Art Party from 10pm to 10am."

Combine good art, food, music, booze and aural readings and you gotta be there!

For starters they are having graffiti artist Tim Conlon and crew paint on a 16 ft x 7ft surface during the party outside in the courtyard. Conlon’s work has been recently installed in two local DC art spaces: The National Portrait Gallery's “Hip Hop” and at the Arlington Arts Center's “Collectors Select.”

Mike Weber and Philippa Hughes jumping for joy in front of Tim Conlon’s work

Mike Weber and Philippa Hughes jumping in front of Tim Conlon’s work at the National Portrait Gallery

Inside the gallery see the light installations, photography and videos of Miami-based Cuban-American artist Ivan Toth DePena in his current solo show “Synthesis,” which closes February 24th.

There's more!

Chill to groovy tunes of a guest DJ; there will be complimentary Aura readings by Hyun Martin of Be You Bi Yu Spa; and for all you alkies, personalized beverages in the evening, and as far as chow, there will be personalized omelettes in the morning from 6-10am.

Also See the latest from SCION, and meet the “Little Deviants.”

You gotta RSVP to by February 20th. That means that you have to tell them ahead of time that you are coming so that they can have enough booze and food at hand...

Sounds like a load of artsy fun... maybe I'll see ya there.

Other art fairs calling it quits

Just a day after Art Cologne announced that it was doing away with its new sister fair on the Spanish island of Majorca, DC Duesseldorf Contemporary, which premiered last April, announced that it too was closing its doors, reports Blooberg.

The fairs' organizers cited low sales... read the article here.

In case you missed it...

You can hear the Kojo Nnamdi radio show that aired earlier today here.

Good discussion about the arts.

For the artist named Helen who called the show and took me to task for not putting more attention on individual artists' websites... email me yours and you'll be the first in my promise to increase my coverage of individual artists.

On the air today

click here to hear Kojo

I'll be on the Kojo Nnamdi Show this afternoon discussing the Greater Washington area visual arts issues and artists and art stories as I usually do several times a year.

Tune in to WAMU 88.5 FM around noon.

If you have any questions or art issues, you can call Kojo during the show at (800) 433-8850 or you can email him questions to

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Gray area

Seattle's Jen Graves has a fascinating story on what happens when artists' works and ideas begin to look just a little too mcuh like other artists' earlier works and ideas.

Read the story about "Gray Area - Why Does Some Work by Lead Pencil Studio Look So Much Like Work by Other Artists?"

Then read this and then read this and tell me if "remarkable confluence" is not the category for all of these look-a-like works.

Painting by Campello circa 1999
Artist "A" circa 1999-2000

photo by JT Kirkland
Artist "B" circa 2005-2006

Frida Kahlo in Philly

Below is a short video walk through the massive Frida Kahlo exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I took it during the press preview last week - the show opens on Feb. 20th.

I will review it here later this week... but it is definitely worth the drive to Philly to see upclose some of the most famous Kahlo paintings in the world (many seen for the first time in the US) as well as loads of intimate photographs about her.

The video is set to the amazing music of Lila Downs.

McNatt on African American Portraits

The Baltimore Sun's chief art critic Glenn McNatt reviews Let Your Motto Be Resistance: African American Portraits, the National Portrait Gallery's monumental survey of nearly 100 photographic portraits of black leaders past and present.

McNatt was also present at the Deborah Willis Salon Talk at Millennium Arts Salon in DC on February 2nd. which features ongoing exhibit of photos by Denee Barr, Barbara Blanco, Adrienne Mills, Michael Platt, Michael Parker, Henry Ferrand, and Jonathan French through February 28th.

Good to see the Sun's art critic popping into DC once in a while.

Art Collectors Talk

Pencil this in - On Saturday, March 8th, 4:30 – 5:30 pm over at the Arlington Arts Center in Arlington, VA, there's a gallery talk featuring the curators of their current exhibition, "Collectors Select" — consisting of six separate themed galleries, each designed by a notable local collector. The show continues to be on view through Saturday, March 29th.

Join them on Saturday, March 8th, from 4:30 to 5:30 pm, for a lively discussion about collecting contemporary art and have a glass of wine and tour the exhibition space with Henry L. Thaggert, Heather and Tony Podesta, Daniel Levinas, Philippa Hughes, and Philip Barlow. Hear firsthand about their favorite artworks, their thoughts on the local arts scene, and the process of assembling their own shows at the AAC.

You can see many images of the exhibition here.

Collectors Select at AAC
Then stick around for another event immediately following the talk — from 6:00 to 8:00 pm in the Jenkins Community Gallery. The collaborative international arts organization, Take Me to the River, will have a free reception at which their limited edition print portfolio will be on view and available for sale. The portfolio features dynamic 11” X 14” prints by 18 different artists — some regional, some international. Featured local artists include David Carlson, Y. David Chung, Billy Colbert, Richard Dana, Judy Jashinsky, Maggie Michael, and Randall Packer.

Naked Roman

Augustus Saint Gaudens' nude centurionDid you know that some of the centurions guarding DC's Union Station are nekkid beneath their shields?

The story starts in 1907.

Apparently when the sculptor, Augustus Saint Gaudens -- who was a pretty popular public art and monument sculptor at the turn of the century -- received the commission for the centurions, he asked if he was to make the Roman soldiers historically accurate.

He was told yes.

When Saint Gaudens delivered the models for the sculptures, Washingtonians on the arts panel were a little shocked to discover that some of the centurion maquettes were fully nude in uncircumsized splendor for all to see.

And so a hundred years ago Saint Gaudens was told to cover them up. In the arguments that I am sure followed, the solution came in the form of shields (which to me look historically inaccurate by the way), which would cover the Italians' willies. They remain naked beneath them.

At the time it was built in 1908, Union Station covered more ground than any other building in the United States and was the largest train station in the world. The building itself is patterned after the Baths of Diocletian in Rome.

Interesting that a century later, we still probably can't put up a work of public art in Washington, DC showing a man's penis.

Reuben Breslar at the Athenaeum

I'm hearing good things about the current exhibition at Alexandria's Athenaeum Gallery featuring the paintings, collages and an installation by Reuben Breslar. The show runs through March 16, 2008.

There's also an upcoming gallery talk that they are having on Saturday, February 23 at 4:30PM followed by some good food and wines. A special feature of the talk is the participation of two important Washington arts presences: Mark Cameron Boyd and Dorothea Dietrich - both of whom made a strong impression on Reuben when he was at the Corcoran.


I am hearing and reading good things about "Closer" at Gallery Neptune in Bethesda, MD.

Read about it here.


By Shauna Lee Lange

CHALK4PEACE Many in the Washington DC arts community may know Dr. John Aaron, a prior award winning Director and Curator for the Museum of Modern Arf in Arlington, VA.

John's gone on out to California and is now busily spearheading a global non-profit organization called CHALK4PEACE, recently featured in the Chronicle of Philanthropy (9/14/06). Since 2006, John's efforts have contributed to over 12 - 14 football fields worth of original, intergenerational, and inspirational temporary art for the sake of peace.

This year, Shauna Lee Lange Arts Advisory is honored to announce we will be working in conjunction with Dr. Aaron and Ms. Marielle Mariano of Woodlawn Elementary School to promote a concentrated Washington DC effort. Our goal is to help expand the work being conducted by CHALK4PEACE. There is simply no better time (prior to elections) and no better location (the Nation's Capital) to educate, communicate, participate, and enjoy this great activity.

Shauna Lee Lange Arts Advisory is seeking collaborative partnerships (at no cost) from metropolitan DC area arts organizations, art galleries, artists, and public/non-profit spaces. If you or your organization can offer a physical forum for chalk activities, we need to hear from you. CHALK4PEACE is an event to be held September 19 - 21, 2008 and is best described from the organization's website text (copied in its entirety below).

More information about CHALK4PEACE is at or Information about Dr. Aaron can be found at and he can be reached at Shauna Lee Lange Arts Advisory is at or

From its beginnings in 2003 in Arlington, VA, as a Sunday sidewalk chalk project for children to its recognition by the Arlington Arts Commission, the DC Commission for the Arts and Humanities, the DC Mayor's Office, the Humanities Project of Arlington and Whole Foods Markets, CHALK4PEACE has grown through the efforts of hundreds of events organizers, teachers, parents, community outreach coordinators, libraries, arts centers and other peace minded individuals and organizations.

The campaign to make CHALK4PEACE worldwide began on July 16, 2005, the day after the first CHALK4PEACE event at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, DC. John Aaron, the Global Project Founder of CHALK4PEACE and chalk events coordinator, began a print and email campaign, sending out more than 5,000 personalized emails and 6,000 full color brochures about CHALK4PEACE for 2005-6. You may have received one or two along the way...

The global campaign spread coast to coast across the United States, to Cape Town, South Africa and in places in Europe. Last year, more than one hundred individually organized sites with authorized clearances chalked out their messages and visions for a more peaceful planet.

CHALK4PEACE is not encouraged as an anti-war demonstration; rather, it is a creative presentation for young artists of all ages utilizing the theme of Peace.

This year, we expect CHALK4PEACE to grow even larger than last year, as it is now happening on four continents and most of the sites from last year have enlisted others to join in and/or create their own sites. Mr. Aaron is a long time artist, sculptor, painter, educator and events coordinator who is internationally recognized for his contributions to his artforms and for creating the atmosphere conducive to make CHALK4PEACE a global event.

Friday, February 15, 2008

On the air on Monday

click here to hear Kojo

On Monday, February 18, 2008 I'll be on the Kojo Nnamdi Show discussing the Greater Washington area visual arts and artists and art stories as I usually do several times a year.

Tune in to WAMU 88.5 FM around noon.

If you have any questions or art issues, you can call Kojo during the show at (800) 433-8850 or you can email him questions to

After the show I will post here all the websites and information that we discuss on the air.

Images of Children at Widener University

"A Photographic Treasury: Images of Children by Master Photographers from the Reader's Digest Collection," currently at Widener University Art Gallery in Chester, PA (through March 1, 2008), is not only a very focused exhibition on the thematic subject of the title, but also an exhibition that really merits the use of the word "Master Photographers" in its title.

Disclaimer: My wife teaches at Widener, and I often eat at the school cafeteria, which makes really good cookies and has a top notch salad bar. I also own a Widener coffee mug.

Curated by Nancy Miller Batty, this 105-work survey includes many classic and familiar vintage photographs of children by major American, Latin American and European photographers from the late 19th century to the present.

The works are arranged thematically to present views about childhood that have existed over the last century or so. It begins with a romantic view of childhood, and then progresses to the relationships between children and adults.

This is definitely a Who's Who in world photography, and there are pre-WWI early works by Edward Sheriff Curtis, Alfred Stieglitz, Heinrich Kuehn and others. Post WWI photographers are also full of all the major names, such as Andre Kertesz, Imogen Cunningham, Henri Carrier-Bresson, Dorothea Lange, Aaron Siskind, Weegee, Paul Strand and many others.

The post WWI and contemporaries are equally well-represented by the likes of Sally Mann, Adam Fuss, Ilse Bing, Gary Winograd, Irving Penn, Diane Arbus, Nicholas Nixon, Robert Mapplethorpe, Carry Mae Weems, Sebastian Salgado and many others.

Adam Fuss' blank untitled photogram of a child in profile is one of the few failures in an otherwise show full of jewels in every frame. The minimalist white photogram, comes across like a collegiate art school assignment when surrounded by the works of the other masters; it just fails visually from the first glance and through the second and third opportunity for redemption.

Across from it is one of the reasons for its failure: the gorgeous "Pamela" (Plate 23) from Joel Meyerowitz's odd and highly successful series on redheads. The subject is radiant and full of color, smiles and the essence of happy childhood - it casts a bright and bold set of sunrays all over the room, essentially eclipsing Fuss' blank experiment.

Frederick Sommer's LiviaIt's tough to pick the brightest diamond when you are surrounded by the best photographic gems of the last 125 years, but some works stood out even among giants.

One such piece was Frederick Sommer's "Livia," a 1948 sensitive treatment of a very pretty child, where the girl's luminous blue eyes are like magnets not only to the camera but also to us. It delivers the sort of hypnotic quality that recent digitally enhanced shots sometimes offer.

I also like Robert Mapplethorpe's "Bruno Bischofberger's Daughter," a cousin photograph to Sommer's earlier work and a work that shows the occasional pornographer's talent as a portraitist of all ranges and types.

I was less interested in Tina Barney's claustrophobic "Marina's Room." Maybe there is some compositional success in delivering a photograph with fear of empty space.

But neither scale (48 x 40 inches), nor its horror vaccuii saves this piece from being a little puerile.

Tina Barney's Marina's Room
Marina's Room by Tina Barney

Carrie Mae Weems' untitled triptych depicting a tense mother-daughter-homework scene, whether posed or true, is powerful as a narrative piece can be - full of tension and questions. On the polar opposite of this internal spectrum is Sally Mann's "Virginia Asleep," from 1988.Seydou Keita

On the way out I was dragged back in by Seydou Keita "Untitled (Man with Baby)" from 1949, in which a giant of a man tenderly holds a baby. The man sits massive and Earth-like like a male African version of Michelangelo's Pieta.

His enormous circumference dwarfs the world and threatens to overfill the camera's lenses. It is a photograph heavy with fatherhood, happiness and presence.

Overall this is a very strong show and definitely worth a stop for anyone traveling through the I-95 corridor, as Widener is just a couple of minutes off exit 6 on I-95.

Wanna go to a Baltimore opening tomorrow?

Eureka: Happy Accidents & Exquisite Failures; a group exhibition curated by Suzannah Gerber at Load of Fun gallery in Baltimore. Featuring works by the following artists:

Liz Albertson, Julia Arredondo, Jordan Faye Block, Tom Brown, Ryan Emge, Rachel Faller, Andrew Farkas, Karly Hansen, J. Gavin Heck, Michelle Herman, Juliet Hinely, Katherine Mann, Greg McLemore, Katherine Nammacher, Michael Northrup, Christine Ricks, Reed Sayre, Kayla Shea, Brady Starr, Daniel Stuelpnagel, Vanessa Viruet, Jessica Wang, Todd Welsh, Monica Wuedel-Lubinski and more.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Joseph Mills Interviewed by George Hemphill

Joseph Mills Interviewed by George Hemphill

Call for DC "Aerosol" Muralists

Deadline: Friday, March 21, 2008 at 7:00pm

The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) in collaboration with the Executive Office of the Mayor (EOM), and DC Department of Public Works (DPW) seeks "artists, artist teams and youth organizations to design, create and install aerosol murals or aerosol inspired murals in identified locations throughout the District of Columbia for a new project entitled Murals DC."


"Murals DC has been created to replace illegal graffiti with artistic works, to revitalize sites within the community and to teach young people the art of aerosol painting. The goal of this initiative is to positively engage the District's youth by teaching proper art techniques, providing supplies, and a legal means to practice and perform their skill in a way that promotes respect for public and private property and community awareness. Site selection is based on areas of the District with high incidence of illegal graffiti as identified by the DPW, Mayor's Office of Community Relations and Services (MOCRS) and other agencies. Each mural will reflect character, culture and history of the neighborhood."
Download an application here. For further questions email Deirdre Ehlen at or call 202-724-5613.