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.