Saturday, January 12, 2008

National Defense

"National Defense Test" Watercolor on Paper, c. 1999, 3 x 8 inches
By F. Lennox Campello

This preparatory painting was done in preparation for a painting exhibited in 2000 at the "Strictly Painting III" Exhibition at the McLean Project for the Arts in McLean, Virginia. The exhibition was curated by Terrie Sultan, then Curator of Contemporary Art, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.

This original watercolor is available at Color Invitations currently on exhibition at the R Street Gallery. Call (202) 588-1701 if you want to purchase this painting ahead of the opening, which will be on January 16 from 6-8PM.

Blogger Show Reviews

The Blogger Show in Pittsburgh and New York has been getting quite a few reviews both in the printed press and the artblogsphere. The show closes today.

In the spirit of me, I wanted to point out the nice things that the Pittsburgh City Paper's Lissa Brennan wrote about this blog.

Annapolis and the Trouble with Resort Galleries

I'll have a few words to say about "art auctions" on cruise ships when I return to serious blogging, but meanwhile the below piece by Shauna Lee Lange seems to be in the same touristy vein...

Annapolis and the Trouble with Resort Galleries
By Shauna Lee Lange

If you've been around art for any length of time, then you know that the commercial availability of art can become regionalized. Meaning, that what sells in Paducah may not sell in Santa Monica, and that artists who like working locally usually sell locally.
Art regionalism also means that people in St. Thomas are generally buying works featuring marine life, sunny skies, and bright and happy colors (for the most part) while people in Vail are buying snowscapes, tree lines, and other cold weather art.

There's a whole theory and science to how people live geographically and how vacation homes (second and third homes) in resort communities have a very different art purchasing base.

So it is very important to get out to these resort and rural areas and look around to see what's new in different parts of the country - and this is why some of the larger art shows are so popular. One can see what's hot in New York, Florida, and London all in one venue without having to travel. In large metropolitan areas, inventory tends to change fairly rapidly, but in smaller, rural towns, art inventory can have a longer wall life - and this is one way that an arts advisory, or the general public, can learn which artists have staying power in which communities and why.

Recently I decided to visit Annapolis, and although Annapolis, Maryland is not very far from my desk (over 25 miles - less than 50), Annapolis has the benefit of being both a resort community and a seaside community with a big boom in summer and a huge focus on marine art.
Annapolis sign
Now, as many of you may know, I'm originally from Rhode Island and spent a great deal of time in Newport, Rhode Island - arguably a comparable community. The trouble with resort galleries, particularly right after Christmas on a very slow Monday, is that they're closed. Or they're closing. Or they have relocated, or they're only open on a Tuesday when the moon is blue, or the gallery attendant is a bored college student on winter break.

It's frustrating to hear gallery owners lament about the difficulties of managing gallery overhead (and all the associated costs of insurance, shipping, contracts, etc.) when they have store hours of 10 - 2 or when they're only open on the weekends.

As an arts advisory service firm, Shauna Lee Lange and Company work far more than we should - developing leads, answering questions, helping people connect, exploring calls for submissions, researching art purchases - the list goes on. This is not a good thing, always to be pushing and working, but it is difficult from our perspective to understand how an art gallery can close its doors to the public it serves or the artists it represents.

Annapolis signAnd frustrating too, is that some of these spaces and curators and owners are very high quality. Certainly, January is a far cry from June, but when did it happen that art buyers only bought in June? The day that we visited was a glorious sunshiny, warm, spring-like day and Main Street Annapolis seemed dismal in comparison. Many spaces were for lease or rent - alarming so - even shops that have been in business for some time. Is this a condition of the economy? Is it normal turn-around for post-season stores? Or does the unavailability of art galleries speak to a larger causality, the growth of Internet galleries, the reduction of pedestrian traffic due to technology, or the cavalier approach some long-term gallery owners may have adopted along the way?

Most of the gallery owners we know do it because they love it and they're good at it. They live, eat, and breathe art. And we have to wonder in Annapolis, where is everyone?

It'll take a few months to see how Annapolis fares through changes it is facing with Main Street development along with many other communities in similar situations. We wanted to share some first hand impressions, a few photos of sights we saw along the way today, and a heart-felt plea to open your doors.

Back on Land

Back safe and sound, with the cleanest hands on Earth after one terrific vacation at sea... have almost 1,000 emails to catch up on, so posting will be fast and furious over the next few days, but today I've got to watch the Seahawks beat the odds against the Packers.

Back later with tons of pics and movies and loads of announcements and discussions...