Thursday, July 31, 2008

Another "collector" horror story

The very talented DC area artist Cindy Ann Coldiron read my post on the collector horror story and then she sent me the following note:

Your story on the art sale and shipment reminded me of a long ago incident that occurred to me.

In this case I was on the buying side and the artist/painter had no role in it.

I was a young new attorney to the area and read that the Haitian embassy was having a painting exhibit/sale with part of the purchase price going towards charity. I really loved the exhibition photo that appeared in the Washington Post - it was a brightly colored cat in the tall grass - and thus I made a point to attend .

When I walked in I was handed a very clear list of instructions explaining the process for purchasing a piece of art. One was told not to remove any painting from the wall but to pay first and then let a staff member remove it after the purchase was done.

I paid $500 for the piece but when the staff member went to get the painting, it was not on the wall. She began to run around the room looking to see if anyone had it. She eventually found that an older gentleman had it in his possssion and this gentleman was rather displeased that he had to give it back.

She almost had to pry it from his hand!

I then looked some more around the room at some of the other art while she quickly wrapped it up and then I left with my purchase.

I was about a block away from the embassy when I had a feeling that I needed to look and check the painting. I unwrapped it and I saw that there was a big hole that had been punched/pushed through it.

Clearly the "gentleman" had punched his thumb through the painting (I guess he thought that if he couldn't have it, neither could I).

I took it back and they promptly refunded my money.

I guess that this shows that pettiness occurs at all levels.

Best Regards,

Cindy Ann Coldiron

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Norfolk breasts cover-up hits mainstream media

The Virginian Pilot covers the whole "breast cover-up" at a Norfolk gallery. Read the story here and a second Pilot story is here.

Read the Portfolio Weekly story here.

Collector Horror Story

Protagonists: Single mother artist who has been making her living as an artist for the last 25 years while raising a child and a multimillionaire couple from the West Coast who have made millions as land lawyers.

At a well-known art fair, after haggling on the $2400 price, and because they claim to be collectors, the rich couple get a 10% discount from the artist and then the couple buys an original oil painting from the artist. They want the work shipped to Los Angeles, and the artist refers them to the professional shipper at the fair.

Then the multimillionaire couple complains about the shipping fee by the professional packers, and the artist offers to pack the work after the fair is over and ship it to them at a lesser cost. They agree (and save $100 in the process) and agree to have the artist charge the shipping fee to their credit card.

The artist packs the painting - which is an oil on board - by bubble wrapping it and boxing it and then she sends it via UPS to the couple in LA at a cost of $150.

The painting arrives at LA and then the artist receives a call from the wife, stating that there are some "scratches on the back of the painting" and "can she ship it back to the artist" so that the artist can fix them - remember that this is a painting on board, and the artist had painted the back of the painting a flat black to seal in the board... the back of the painting.

Even though this has zero effect on the visual integrity work, after the artist has the wife describe the damage, which the wife clearly describes as "scratches on the back," the wife also discusses making a claim against UPS for damage in shipment.

The artist asks if the box is damaged in the shipment and the wife says no, so the artist tells the wife that if the bix wasn't damaged, then the scratches could not have happened during the shipment process, and that it's probably some slight scratches from shipping the work back and forth to the fair and maybe even from hanging it, and that it doesn't affect the work, but that she will fix it anyway, by painting over the scratches on the back. She asks if there are any damages to the front and is told no.

So the couple ships the work back to the artist, using the artist's DHL account at a cost of $100 to the artist.

When the painting arrives, the artist is horrified to discover that a whole corner of the painting has been broken, and it is not in the box, a sure sign that the piece was broken before it was re-packed and sent back to the artist.

She calls the couple and the wife tells the artist that it was probably broken in transit and that the artist should make a claim against DHL. When the artist points out that the broken corner piece is not inside the box, the wife then changes the story and insists that the painting had originally arrived to them in the same condition when the artist shipped it from the fair.

The artist then reminds the wife that the wife had described initially the original damage as "scratches" on the back of the piece, and even reminds the wife that they had discussed the front of the painting and the wife had stated that there was no damage on the front.

Caught in the lie, the wife retracts her statements and says that she's "not an artist" and thus couldn't describe the damage. She also says that her interior decorator is now a witness that the painting had arrived broken.

The artist tells the wife that she has three witnesses that the painting had not been broken when bubble wrapped and boxed, and since the shipping box showed no exterior damage, and since significant force was needed to break the board (such as dropping it from a height or stepping on it), logic indicated that the damaged had occurred after the painting arrived at LA.

Wife ceases communicating and then later calls the artist and tells her that she's put a stop payment on the credit card charge.

What I think happened: The painting arrived, possibly with some minor scratches on the back of the board. The wife being the asshole that she proved to be, wanted them fixed. At one point when the artist (on the first conversation on the issue) asked what the big deal was if the scratches were on the back, and was told that when they had hung the painting on the wall, they could see the scratches -- the painting has a base that floats the board away from the wall -- indicating that they had hung an OK painting on the wall at least once. Then at some point the painting was dropped by the couple and the corner broke, or more likely, the laid it flat on the floor and then accidentally stepped on the floating corner and broke it -- it takes a lot of pressure to break this board.

Then, instead of being good people, they decided to screw a single mother artist out of $2100, plus $150 shipping to LA plus $100 shipping back to the artist.

Multifuckingmillionaires who this weekend will probably go to their place of worship and pretend to be good, decent people.

On behalf of all artists in the world: fuck you!

New Art Prize

The West Collection in Philadelphia, is in the process of launching a new prize called the West Prize which will award $125,000 to ten different artists internationally.

Further information on the prize can be viewed at

Not my fault...

In the last three or four weeks I have been home less that two days in a row... thus the lightness of posts.

Still on the road by the way, and heading to California soon...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

FotoWeek DC Call For Entries‏

Today, FotoWeek DC issued a call for entries to the first annual FotoWeek DC Photography Competition, as part of its mission to establish itself as the "nation’s premier photography festival."

The first annual FotoWeek DC celebration will take place between November 15 and November 22, 2008. In addition to the photography competition, FotoWeek DC will feature gallery openings, lectures, educational workshops, portfolio reviews, book signings, and special offers on photographic services and merchandise from local area retailers.

The FotoWeek DC Photography Competition is open to all professional, amateur and student photographers in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia and will feature over $37,000 in cash and prizes, including a $5,000 cash award for Spirit of Washington, DC, and will culminate in a gala awards ceremony and dinner to be held at National Geographic’s Headquarters in downtown DC on Saturday, November 22. National Geographic is one of the principal sponsors of FotoWeek DC.

The FotoWeek DC Photography Competition will recognize, highlight and honor the most talented professional, student and amateur photographers across the metro DC, Virginia and Maryland area, celebrating their achievements in the community of their peers through submissions of work in six categories. Competition finalists will have their work displayed at the FotoWeek DC Gallery and Welcome Center in Georgetown.

Prominent professionals in photography will serve as jurors, including uberphotographer Joyce Tenneson (with tons of DC area roots and one of the world's leading fine arts photographers), my good friend and the Corcoran Gallery of Art's photography curator Philip Brookman, Pulitzer-prize winning photographer Deanne Fitzmaurice and many others.

For information on eligibility, entry fees, categories, entry requirements, prizes and deadlines, and the complete list of judges, please visit the FotoWeek DC website here.

This is a good thing; go forth and participate.

Read this

Washington Speaks

Campello Reviewed

Elise Campello as BeautyNo, not me, but my daughter Elise gets reviewed again in "Beauty and the Beast" - A quote:

Elise Campello plays Belle just as she should: as a strong-willed smartypants who happens to also be a stunner. Campello's rich voice is showcased in such tunes as "A Change in Me," which will produce goosebumps.
Read the Herald review here.

She's going to New York soon... stand by for waves.

Opportunity for artists

Deadline: August 4, 2008

The Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission, in conjunction with Sacramento County, invites artists to submit qualifications for potential inclusion in a pre-qualified artist database for upcoming public art opportunities at the Sacramento International Airport.

This project, with a budget of $5 million, is the largest public art project in the history of the County. A number of selection panels will be established to review applications for the purpose of establishing a pool of qualified artists working in a variety of media. Media appropriate to the Airport Art Program includes sculpture, ceramic, mosaics, art glass, multi-media, artist-designed lighting elements, or any other durable materials suitable for long-term exposure in an airport environment.

Information of the Airport Art Program and an application form may be found at this website.

Opportunity for Video Artists

Deadline: September 30, 2008

Current Gallery invites video artists and enthusiasts to submit videos of all genres (experimental, animation, music video, documentary, short, home video, outtakes, unfinished films, scientific studies, etc). Works selected from this call will be featured in baltimore vs. the world DVD publication due out this winter.

baltimore vs. the world will incorporate two separate DVD compilations. One DVD will feature selected works from around the world and the other DVD will focus on selected works from Baltimore, Maryland. Accompanying the DVDs will be a booklet with interviews and support materials.

How to Apply: Please visit to download application.

Monday, July 28, 2008

In case you haven't seen it...

Plein Air Easton, Part I is here... and the art market is not dead in Easton!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Art Talk Tonight

Tonight at 7PM I will be at the Academy Art Museum in Easton, Maryland giving a spirited talk on art history and collecting art.

See ya there!

Friday, July 25, 2008

No breasts allowed to be seen in Norfolk, Virginia

You may recall that a while back I curated a student show titled "Early Look" for the Longview Gallery in DC.

That show featured work by undergrad art students from schools along the Mid Atlantic, and although ignored completely by the Washington press, it did rather well and sold a few key pieces at the show.

It also sparkled the interest of a second gallery in Norfolk, Virginia, Mayer Fine Arts, which offered the students a chance to exhibit their work in Norfolk.

This is how one of the student's work (Martyrdom by Philadelphia artist Erika Risko) was displayed in DC without any issues, and how it was then also hung and displayed for a few days in Norfolk:

Martyrdom by Erika Risko
Soon after the opening, the gallery owner received official communications directing was directed by the building's management to cover up the offending breasts. This is what they look like now:

And yet once again: Norfolk, please take the troglodyte spot light and be embarrassed in front of all America and the world.

Update: The owner has clarified to me that the building management's request to her to move the piece was because "people had complained about the nudity," and not because the management initiated the issue.

Inn at 202 Dover

Arrived today for my working stint at Plein Air Easton.

What a gorgeous little town this place has turned out to be: essentially a town made up of art galleries, cool restaurants, mom & pop shops, a town theatre, a couple of museums, and an amazing inn.

We're staying at the Inn at 202 Dover... a gorgeous place to stay and clearly a place where the owners have placed a lot of love and effort in refurbishing this 19th century home into a beautiful inn with a classy restaurant (which just happens to have a Cuban-born chef!).

We're staying at the Asian Suite, as each room in this world class inn has a specific motiff and focus. The room is decorated with beautiful Asian furniture and original Ukiyo-e woodblocks on the walls as well as a couple of rare antique Asian puppets.

And a steam shower... and a lounge room with a hi def TV and a decanter with sherry...

So far I am most definitely impressed. Just on day one this place gets my highest endorsement.

At 5:30PM we hung around for happy hour at the inn... and it didn't disappoint, as the chef popped in with some tasty food, which included what can be best described as my first exposure of what happens when Southern cooking (let's say fritters) meet Cuban food (let's say WOW!).

Then I walked over to a local restaurant called ... ah... called Restaurant Local, where we had some good happy hour vittles on their sidewalk tables, listening to a local play the guitar, and you won't believe this: a $5 pitcher of beer in a fancy restaurant!

So far Easton gets a rave review from me, and the Inn at 202 Dover is certainly the special place to stay if you ever come by to visit this beautiful Maryland spot.

We saw quite a few artists already painting out on the streets; more tomorrow as we begin to focus on the visual arts.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

New Art Law

A committee in San Francisco’s city government has introduced a bill that would allow misdemeanour or felony criminal charges to be brought against any artist or financial backer who causes “the death, abuse or suffering of an animal” when making a work of art.
Read the Art Newspaper report here.

Things that I don't understand

When the price of oil goes up, about 16.75 seconds later it is reflected in the price of gasoline.

Oil has gone down $22 a barrel in the last couple of weeks (supply and demand as we're all driving a lot less!) - but I'm still waiting for the lower price to be really reflected in a lower price of gasoline.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tough job

I am currently reviewing work and jurying the "8th Annual American Landscape" show for the Maryland Federation of Art, and let me tell you, with over 700 entries from around the nation, this is one tough jurying job, considering that about 30 pieces will be selected by me.

There's enough good photography in there alone to have just a terrific photography show! The opening reception will be September 14, 3-6 pm at the MFA's Circle Gallery in Annapolis.


With the stock market volatile and housing in a slump, many wealthy individuals are looking to tap another kind of equity — the kind hanging on their walls. Specialists at banks and auction houses say that more of their clients recently are interested in borrowing against their art collections.
Read the NY Sun story here.

Master Swindler

"A True Story of Vermeer, Nazis, and the Greatest Art Hoax of the Twentieth Century"
Read the WaPo review here and then buy the book here for $17.79.

Man Threatens to Impale Himself on Calder Sculpture

Mike Licht has the story here.

Saint Sebastian

Saint Sebastian

New St. Sebastian drawing, charcoal, colored pencils and conte on paper. Matted and framed to 24x20 inches and still one of my recurring images.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Wanna arm wrestle an actual DC roller derby girl?

The Pink Line Project and Scion bring you Barrelhouse Magazine's Roller Derby issue launch this coming Friday, July 25, 6 - 10 pm at the District's Hillyer Art Space (behind the Phillips Collection on 21st Street, NW, between Q and R Street).

Check it out; there will be:
- a night of amazing roller derby themed stories and poems
- one gigantic roller derby mural (by Cory Oberndorfer)
- food eating
- beer (provided by Flying Dog Brewery) and wine drinking
- DJ dancing (music by DJ Adrian)
- video watching (Kyle Brannon!)
- Barrelhouse magazine buying.

All for a mere $10.

And of course, a rare opportunity to arm wrestle an actual DC roller derby girl!

Wanna go to a DC opening tomorrow?

Zenith's Alternative Gallery Space at 1111 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in the nation's capital has an interesting show opening tomorrow curated by the ubercollector couple of Steve and Linda Krensky. Romeo and Juliet by Caitlin Phillips

The show is titled "Reincarnations" as it features artworks created from found objects and recycled materials.

Meet the artists tomorrow, Wednesday, July 23, 5:30-8:30pm - the exhibition goes through September 28, 2008.

Work by Grif Bates, Chuck Baxter, Chris Bransome, Melissa Burley, Carolyn Cates, Scott Cawood, Randall Cleaver, Lee Connah, Rosetta DeBerardinis, Laura Dixon, Roger Doyle, Kristin Eager, Ed Gross, Jason Higgins, Andrew Krieger, SuAnne Lasher, Ara Laughlin, Susan Makara, Forrest McCluer, Bodil Meleney, Bogdan Miscevic, Elizabeth Morisette, John Pack, Jane Petit, Caitlin Phillips, George Sakkal, Rima Schulkind, Irma Spencer, Brad Taylor, Erwin Timmers, Mariano Perez Vivanco, Jodi Walsh, and Will Winton.

Commenting on the exhibit, Linda Krensky said, “For the most part, we chose the pieces based on the artists’ unusual interpretations and ability to create art from rather ordinary materials. Some of the pieces are beautiful, some amuse and others amaze.”

Monday, July 21, 2008

Mayor Nutter does good

Exciting news from Philly's City Hall Friday, as Mayor Michael Nutter announced the opening of the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy (Henceforth, OACCE), a Frankenversion of the old Office of Arts and Culture (OAC).
Read the post from Drama Queen here.

Names needed!

A while back I had this call for artists to donate to an auction for a great cause.

The AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts has a major arts fundraising event coming up called ARTcetera 2008.

So many of you donated artwork that they will be arranging a DC area pick-up and need to know the names of the DC area artists who will be interested in having their work picked up at a central location. If you donated a piece to ARTcetera, please drop me an email at lenny at soonest!

ARTcetera is a biennial creative black-tie contemporary art auction created and supported by a unique partnership between the visual arts community and the AIDS Action Committee. Guests enjoy fine food and beverages and bid on more than three hundred fresh works by acclaimed local, national and international artists. An exciting live auction and two silent auctions present works in a variety of media, sizes, and styles.

To donate work you had to fill out this form by July 3rd, 2008.

Let me know if you donated work.

Save the date

If you click on the image below, you'll get all the details on the coming production, "Hijos del Limbo" at Gala in DC.

Why am I promoting a theatre production in a visual arts blog? Because it involves the work of artist Alessandra Torres, who moved back to D.C. several weeks ago to work on this play, and has done all of the set designs, promotional photos, and designed the limited edition print below for the play. One of her photos appeared in the July 4th Weekend Section of the Washington Post, for upcoming entertainment events in the D.C. area.

It’s interesting to note that Alessandra, and the star of the show, Gabriela Fernandez, were good friends in Puerto Rico when they were children, and are now collaborating on this theater production in Washington, D.C., as adults! Needless to say, they are very excited about their work together, and I thought that you might like to come to one of the performances if you happen to be in D.C. from July 23-26. I think you would find the improvisational nature of the play interesting, and the theme intriguing!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

This Week: Easton, MD

As I've discussed before, just four years ago Plein Air Easton got started as artists worldwide have begun to return to painting in the Plein Air style, and once again, as they did in 19th century Europe, are leaving their studios to paint and draw outside... on roadsides, on the beach, on top of mountains, in their gardens and yards, and even in city streets to capture landscapes, still lifes, figures and architecture in their natural elements.

I've said that I thought that the resurgence of this movement, much like it happened in Europe in the 19th century, may be a reaction to the overwhelming presence of technology in our daily lives. And that's OK; there's room for plein air painter and digital photographers and technogeeks artists in the art world.

plein air easton

The festival goes from Monday, July 21 - Sunday, July 27, 7:00am-5pm... but there are tons of associated events in the gorgeous and tiny Maryland village. All the details are here.

I will be speaking at 7PM at the Academy Art Museum on the subject of contemporary art, collecting, artists and art in general. I promise to make you laugh if you come by and you may just also learn a few things about art.

So, come on Saturday, July 26, 7:00pm - details here (scroll down).

See ya there!

Mattera on Kapoor

Joanne Mattera on Anish Kapoor: Read it here.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Goss on Figurative/Narrative

Sizzling Heather Goss reviews Figurative/Narrative at DC's Healing Arts Gallery. Read it here.

Inactive Art Career Syndrome

The WPA in DC is hosting some workshops for a new program called No Artist Left Behind, which will help artists to learn all the basics of documenting their work, including some tip and tricks to photographing their work, saving in correct file formats, and helping WPA members set up their ArtFile Online portfolios. The workshops are coming up soon, July 28 and 29.

Contact them here.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Australian John: Art Scammer

Remember this art scam?

Now a "John" from Australia is doing the same scam... be careful if you get an email trying to buy artwork.

The address in the scam email is:

128 Salmon Street
Port Melbourne, Melbourne 3207
Phone: 61 2 9498 6830

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Frida Kahlo Talk and Lecture

Come by tomorrow to the Smith Farm's Healing Arts Gallery, where you can not only check out "Figurative/Narrative: Memories of a Presence," featuring work by Billy Colbert, Michael Janis and Paul Andrew Wandless, but also starting at 5:30PM I will be giving a talk and presentation on Frida Kahlo, focusing on her pain and how it affected her artwork and life.

I will discuss Kahlo in terms of an artist defined and iconized by her artwork, in spite of tremendous hurdles and problems.

Free and open to the public.

See ya there!

Wanna go to a DC opening tonight?

The head out to Katzen Museum, where from 6-8PM there will be an opening at the Rotunda for the the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities FY2009 Visual Arts Applicants' Showcase.

Opening Reception: July 16, 2008, 6:30 PM
Exhibition Hours: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM, Monday - Saturday July 17 - August 1, 2008

Katzen Arts Center
American University
4400 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20016

See ya there!

My quote... mea culpa

It has been brought to my attention that a paraphrased quote that compares Tim Tate's groundbreaking advancement of fine arts glass to the groundbreaking work of Stieglitz in bringing photography to the fine arts arena, and which I have been generously attributing to a Washington and/or Washington Post art critic was actually initally coined by me several years ago for an essay on the exhibition "Compelled by Content."

After talking or emailing today to several of the folks who I thought had first coined the comparison, it's my memory who appears to be flawed and the comparison was initiated by me.

My fault and my apologies! An overzealous dealer with an overzelous mind. I enthusiastically believe that what Tim Tate is doing to glass is exactly what Stieglitz did to photography, but it is all my own biased opinion.

I will try to correct the source wherever it has appeared.

Gallery Closes: Gallerist Tells All

(Via J.T.) Chicago gallerist Lisa Boyle closes her gallery after four years and in frustration writes about the causes for her failure... here are some tidbits from her words:

Why is it so GOD DAMNED hard to sell a piece of art around here?...

...Oh now. To consider Chicago alone, it would be very easy to slide into that familiar unison of voices about how collectors here don’t collect, museums here don’t connect with the galleries and local artists, there’s not enough critical attention, Chicago can’t compete with LA and NY, etc. Actually, it come out as easily as my breath to shout out a mental “Here, here!” to accompany these tired voices of disappointment. And I could maybe also choose to take a trip down the path of righteousness and talk about people who’ve started galleries with seemingly limitless free financial support and how all the successful galleries are connected in an incestuous web of nepotism and homosexual ego stroking. After all, these are the things I gossip about in my spare time (to people who can’t get back at me, of course)....

...There is also this sea change regarding art fairs’ role in the life of a gallery. While a great load of fun for some people, they have grown over everything like a suffocating mold and swallowed up a whole heap of what an art dealer has to do on any given day. All for the honor of showing work in ramshackle booths along with a fuckthousand other artists. It’s a different job, being a gallery owner, than it was even five years ago...
Read the entire piece here.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Jennie Rose on Southern Exposure at SF

As we continue to expand our coverage, we'd like to introduce Jennie Rose, who will be reporting regularly from California. And if her first piece is an example of the shape of things to come, we've lucked out onto a terrific new voice in the visual arts!

Southern Exposure

By Jennie Rose

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, San Francisco galleries and non profit arts support centers like Southern Exposure (SOEX) were filled with work by “state of the art bohemian poets, underground music heroes, revolutionary skaters, and graffiti kings and queens,” wrote Aaron Rose co-curator of Beautiful Losers: Contemporary Art and Street Culture.

Beautiful Losers, an exhibit first shown in San Francisco 2004, encapsulates that period twenty years ago when those at the edges of society were thought to be key to the forward movement of the culture in general.

Jo Jackson, Margaret Kilgallen and Barry McGee, Josh Lazcano, Alicia McCarthy, Clare Rojas, Thomas Campbell, Dan Flanagan, Symantha Gates, Nell Gould and Chris Johanson; These artists’ work showed that they shook off the parsing and packaging of the traditional art world.

The work attracted skaters, freaks and geeks, youth who made no distinction between a performance art piece by an industrial noise band and any other creative endeavors.

Though a few came to this through MFA prestige, Chris Johanson, a skateboarder with no formal art training, began by hanging up some drawings at Adobe Books, a bookshop in San Francisco’s Mission district.

Acting as a kind of ballast for the seismic seizures of the California arts scene, Southern Exposure stays true to its founding principles of the last 35 years: To provide artists--whether they are exhibiting, curating, teaching, or learning—an opportunity to realize ideas for projects that may not otherwise find support.

The organization, which started out like a coop and is now “a pillar in the arts community,” as described by the SOEX Associate Director Aimee Le Duc, is known for nurturing talent, which later becomes celebrated.

True enough, Johanson who has said that his work depicts “a world where nudist dancers, good vibes, emotionally centered people, forest energy and rainbows abut a sinister comic edge,” has a well- established career. In 2003 SF MOMA awarded him a SECA award, and his work was included in both the 2002 Whitney Biennial and the 2003 SITE Santa Fe biennial.

work by Chris Johanson
As one nurtured by the support for his ideas, Johanson is invested in the continued success of Southern Exposure. For its 15th annual fundraising auction this year, Johanson donated two pieces, one called “Perception #4,” a color sugarlift aquatint etching.

Other established artists, many who have affinity for or loyalty to SOEX, donated pieces including Catherine Wagner, Andrew Shcoultz, David Ireland and Ajit Chauhan. Chauhan donated “Safe Travels to the Now/Ass You Like It,” a piece in ink and graphite on paper.

The swath of work chosen for the auction always includes artists who participated in any SOEX exhibition of the last three years. Some are invited, such as Vanessa Marsh, a photographer and recent grad from California College of the Arts (CCA), who was invited to participate and is likely to have an exhibition in the future.

Tara Foley
One of the most recent to come up through this tradition is Tara Foley who donated “Landscape number 12” a gouache, tape, pencil piece. A week ago Foley just wrapped up Say Hello to Neverending, a solo show at Fecal Face Gallery in downtown San Francisco. Say Hello… charts the symbiotic relationship between destruction and creation by mapping a world ruled by juxtapositions.

“Sometimes we do have work that is purely aesthetic, but then again, when it comes to the artist, it’s really about the work going on the community right now,” says Le Duc.

“Right now it is work which is socially aware, and politically active, such as the work by Hank Willis Thomas.” Thomas donated a digital print called “Black Power,” a close up of a mouth with a gold grill.
Hank Willis Thomas
“Hank has an uncanny ability to unpack what it is about pop culture that institutionalizes racism,” says Le Duc. “He confronts the co-opting of the black male body. The words ‘black power’ in the grill, this hyper-hyper reality of seeing every pore and hair on this guy’s face takes it to ‘where is the power coming from?’”

Southern Exposure never worries about what sells or looks good, nor does it invoke ideas of a historic or aesthetic canon. “That’s more the business of a museum.”

As Le Duc simply puts it, “We’re in the business of supporting emerging artists and artists and as they create new work. There’s no sense of hierarchy. We stay focused on the overall goal.”

Beginning the move to a new space, Southern Exposure plans to open the doors to spacious Mission district digs in spring of 2009, where it will continue its self-described work as a “daring, nimble, and accessible arts organization.”

Monday, July 14, 2008

The best laid plans of mice and art dealers...

While I had intended to report everyday from Art Santa Fe, working these art fairs is such a constant hands on act, coupled with the fact that I'm always on my feet at these affairs, and a few other things all added up to a report-less experience on a daily basis from the fair.

Overall, this year's Art Santa Fe was not the commercial success that many of the art galleries and dealers who participated had hoped that it would be. It was not all the fault of the organizers, who I think did the best job that anyone taking the complex challenge of organizing such an event -- with its army of people in a chess game of movement and issues -- has to do.

But the talk in the dealers' break room and along the aisles was not good.

Like any art fair, I am sure that there were some galleries who did well, but I suspect that the vast majority did poorly as far as sales were concerned.

AN art fair is not all about sales, although when one puts out several thousand dollars in fees, travel, staff, etc., sales is damned well ahead of whatever is in second place.

Connections and networking is another good element of art fairs. In our case we made the direct connection with two of the top art collectors in the US.

Collectors with connections are even more important... in one case, he is not only a major photography collector about to become a collector of contemporary Cuban art (on the advise of his art advisers), but also on the board of a major museum. His wife is a major collector of glass, and also on the board of a major school.

All these bits and pieces help to cement a gallery's future; even as sales do not materialize at the frequency that one wishes for.

One negative thing about the fair that I did hear from the locals was the fact that according to them the organizers were "crazy to set the fair on the same weekend as the Fifth Annual International Folk Art Market," the largest international folk art market in the world, which was taking place at exactly the same time as Art Santa Fe. I'm not sure what, if any effect this had on the low sales experienced by most of the gallerists and dealers who confided in me.

Another good aspect for reputable dealers in fairs like this, is the ability, provided that the dealer is one who works for his/her artists, to find other dealers and galleries for our artists.

We managed to find and begin to cement a relationship with two new dealers, one in Britain, one in Santa Fe, for one of our artists -- as well as for an artist whose work I know. She will be happy once she calls me and finds out that she has a very good Santa Fe gallery very interested in her work.

Another thing that I kept hearing about was how poorly American fairs were doing in general, although it seems that some European fairs were doing better. We also heard some horror stories about some "hotel fairs."

Several hotel fairs will not be returning to Miami this December, although someone from Art Basel who was around the fair checking out the art and the fair itself, told me that Miami expects about 25 art fairs this December - that's a spectacular fair overload, and it also means that even though some of last year's fairs will not return, some new ones will pop up!

We had dinner one night with some gallerists from Europe and the US, as well as a few other artsy folks - a fair organizer, an art magazine editor, a curator or two, and someone who has a business of doing the booths at the fairs.

It was lively conversation, and I dropped a bomb of a rumor that I have been hearing about from people who do not want to be quoted.

"I've been hearing a rumor that Art Basel Miami Beach may be pulling out of Miami Beach and relocating to Los Angeles," I said.

"Nonsense!" said a very, very connected curator from Miami. "ABMB and the city have a six year contract - ABMB is not going anywhere!"

"I've heard the same thing," said a magazine publisher from Los Angeles.

"And," added the art magazine publisher, "there's only two years left on that contract." That info was backed by another person in the group, who also added that he thought that it was pretty much set that ABMB would be moving to LA after its contract with Miami Beach expires.

"It will never happen," said the vigorous defender of Miami. "Miami is a magnet for Europeans in the winter, and the crossroads for Latin America, Europe and North America... people and collectors, want to go to Miami in December."

"That's true," replied her tormentors, "but LA is the center point of the Latin American Pacific rim as well as Asia... and we have beaches as well."

And thus several plugged-in insiders seem to verify what I've been hearing about for months: that the heart of the Miami art fairs phenomenon - Art Basel Miami Beach - may be, and I repeat, may be, pulling out of Miami Beach once its six year contract ends and ABMB may thus be moving the American version of the European fair to Los Angeles.

Basel's Vernissage TV

Yours truly in Basel's Vernissage TV, which was covering Art Santa Fe this last weekend.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Maloney on Art Santa Fe

Santa Fe blogger Jessica Maloney on Art Santa Fe.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Art Santa Fe Day One

Arrived a couple of days ago in New Mexico for Art Santa Fe art fair, where we'll be peddling artwork at the fair, being held this year from July 10-13, 2008 at El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe and right across the street from Site Santa Fe.

When we arrived at Albuquerque on Tuesday afternoon, we spent most of the day exploring the old city.

On Wednesday we checked into the fair spaces. The whole area around it is a whirlwind of construction as new art sites, art buildings, etc. continue to populate this area of the city.

All the crates were waiting for us at booth 52, and right away I realized that (as usual) I had shipped way too much work. Everything was unpacked and then we had the crates removed.

Because the storage area at the fair didn't open till much later, it was an interesting chess game moving around all the extra work while isolating what work to hang for the opening tonight.

The press preview is at 3:30PM, and then the opening an hour later.

If you're in that amazing little city full of art galleries (nearly 300 of them) during this time, come by booth 52 and say hola!

Lots more later as I tell you how the opening gala went!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Murals DC

murals dc

Wanna go to a Silver Spring, MD opening?

Gateway's Heliport Gallery has an upcoming exhibit based on the surrealist game, Exquisite Corpse. Opening July 12 from 5 - 8 pm

Work by Karren Alenier, Mark Behme, Bobbi Clay, Christopher Conlon, Warren Craghead III, Patrick Finley, Fred Folsom, Gail Gorlitzz, JoAnne Growney, Stephen Hanks , Elyse Harrison, Neil Joffe, John Landis, Emery Lewis, Donna M. McCullough, Emily Piccirillo, Shelley Sarrin, Rima Schulkind, Ed Thomas, Joyce Zipperer, and Birdie Zoltan.

Gallery located at 8001 Kennett Street, Suite 3, Silver Spring, MD 20910. 301.562.1400. Close to Red Line Silver Spring Station.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Art Santa Fe

Wanna go to a DC opening?

Figurative/Narrative: Memories of a Presence opens Friday, July 11 with a reception from 5:30-8PM at DC's Smith Farm Center for Healing and the Arts' Healing Arts Gallery. Work by Billy Colbert, Paul Andrew Wandless, and Michael Janis.

The show runs through August 28.

John Collier at Art Whino

National Harbor's ArtWhino has a solo show by John Collier coming up that looks really interesting to figure aficionados.

The opening is July 12th, 2008 from 6pm-Midnight.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Opportunity for Artists

Deadline: October 1, 2008.

Carroll Community College and the Innovators Combating Substance Abuse Program at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine are pleased to issue a Call to Artists whose work will be selected to appear in the nation’s first regional Art and Addiction exhibition (November 2 – December 12, 2008).

The purpose of this exhibition is to provide a stimulus to change the way America views addiction by using the visual arts to put a human face on addiction and recovery. Creativity and artistic expression play a significant role both in recovery and in raising awareness of the personal toll caused by substance abuse and addiction. Organizers of this event believe that art can help bridge the gap between addiction science and the human experience of addiction; providing insights that will complement the science of understanding and treating addiction.

Artists are invited to submit original artwork on the theme of drug addiction and recovery (drugs include alcohol, tobacco, illegal or prescription drugs). Please note that eligible artists (within 75 miles of Carroll) who entered the Innovators’ National Art and Addiction Book and Exhibition Call in March of 2008 will automatically have their art considered for this show. Deadline for submission is October 1, 2008.

Show information and submission forms may be downloaded from the Carroll Community College website: or by mailing a self addressed, stamped envelope to:

Maggie Ball
Visual Art Department Chairperson
(Attention: Art and Addiction Exhibition)
Carroll Community College
1601 Washington Road
Westminster, MD 21157

For more information contact Maggie Ball at

Art Santa Fe

El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe
On Tuesday I am flying West for the Art Santa Fe art fair, where we'll be peddling artwork at the coming Art Santa Fe, being held this year from July 10-13, 2008 at El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe.

The fair's 2008 Keynote Speaker will be Dean Sobel, the Director of the new Clyfford Still Museum in Denver.

If you're in that amazing little city full of art galleries (nearly 300 of them) known as Santa Fe during this time, come by booth 52 and say hola!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

The Art of Failure

" a feature documentary about the life of Chuck Connelly, a brilliant yet enigmatic painter who had great success as a young artist in the art boom of the 1980’s but who has perpetuated a long downward spiral in his career due to ego, drugs, women, and alcohol. He now is increasingly fearful of his fate. Driven by desperation, Connelly comes up with several crazy schemes to sell his work to galleries and stage a comeback in the art world."
The film will air on HBO this Monday July 7th at 9pm EST. More broadcast dates here and the film's website is here and Connelly's website is here.

Connelly is represented in the Philadelphia area by The Knapp Gallery which currently has "The New Philadelphia School" exhibition (through August 24). It includes work by Tom Brady, Chuck Connelly, Giappo DiFederico, Jon Eckel, Adam Lee Farrell, and R. Michael Walsh.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Another Campello gets reviewed

My daughter Elise gets reviewed - read it here.

Happy 4th!

American flag by Jasper Johns

Super proud to be an American!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Campello in 08?

See it and don't believe it. It's actually a new form of art: "Viral Videos."

Go here.

Latin American Wealth

Latin America's wealthy also are among the most avid buyers of fine art. While only 11 percent of North America's wealthy spend their money on fine art, 21 percent of Latin America's wealthy do so. That is also more than what their counterparts in Asia and the Middle East spend and only lags slightly behind Europe.
Read the article here and let's all wonder what the other 89% of North America's wealthy spend their dollars on?

Voter Apathy

If the spectacular turnout for my poll is a prognosticator of the shape of things to come in November, then we're in trouble. As of this morning only two votes had been registered - and one of them was mine!

To recap: on the issue of the National Latino Museum, I've set up a poll here to see what people think. It takes 30 seconds to take this poll... just pick one of the two choices.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008


I know nothing!

I haven't received a single bit of news or anything even remotely reading like a press release about FotoWeek DC; in fact I'm only hearing about FotoWeek from photographers asking me about it.

DCist has all the details here - I know nothing about it other than it has a really good website and it is a splendid idea!

El Poll

On the issue of the National Latino Museum, how about a little poll to see what the numbers show? Go here and take this poll... just pick one of the two choices.

Trawick Prize Finalists

Fifteen artists have been selected as finalists for the The Trawick Prize: Bethesda Contemporary Art Awards, by far the Greater DC region's most prestigious art prize and open to DC, MD and VA artists. The work of the 15 finalists will be on display from September 3 – September 27, 2008 in downtown Bethesda at Heineman Myers Contemporary Art, located at 4728 Hampden Lane.

The prize winners will be announced and honored on Wednesday, September 3rd at a
special press event held at Heineman Myers Contemporary Art. The Best in Show 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 11, 1978 will also be awarded $1,000.

The artists selected as finalists are:

Joseph Barbaccia, Potomac Falls, VA
Ryan Browning, Mount Airy, MD
Lynn Cazabon, Baltimore, MD
Warren Craghead III, Charlottesville, VA
Dawn Gavin, Baltimore, MD
Bernhard Hildebrandt, Baltimore, MD
Kristin Holder, Washington, D.C.
Kay Hwang, Baltimore, MD
Baby Martinez, Washington, D.C.
Maggie Michael, Washington, D.C.
Youngmi S. Organ, Nokesville, VA
Tony Shore, Baltimore, MD
Molly Springfield, Washington. D.C.
Dan Steinhilber, Washington, D.C.
Heide Trepanier, Richmond, VA

Several names return to the list, and for the first time we'll see a husband and wife on the list! Several names from the Bethesda Painting Awards list also make an appearance on this list.

The entries were 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, former Director of Second Street Gallery in Charlottesville, VA.

A public reception will be held on Friday, September 12, 2008 from 6-9pm in conjunction with the Bethesda Art Walk.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Por Favor... No National Latino Museum

Back in 2003 I didn't like this idea.

I still don't like it. Read about it here.

And stop trying to segregate my culture and then aggregate it under one convenient label.

Sculptors Happy Hour

Wanna meet and chat about sculpture with fellow DC area sculptors and sculpture lovers on the last Monday of every month at 6:00 PM? (next one is July 28th, etc...).

Then go to Gordon Biersch
900 F Street NW
Washington, DC 20004

Ask the Hostess where the Washington Sculptors Group is sitting. You don’t need to be a member to join them and everyone is invited.

Check out their new website here.