Sunday, May 31, 2009

Read this

Tom Wolfe, author, man-in-white, and social observer, has always had a keen and clear insight into the social undertows of contemporary society.

Wolfe's 1975 book The Painted Word, is the one that I consider the one of the most influential book on art, nepotism, networking, manipulation and 20th century art history (OK, OK art observations), that I have ever read.

If you want to understand the true historical beginnings (from someone on the scene at the time) of what we now call "contemporary art" and the seminal birth of the elitist attitudes of many intelligent members of the high art apparatnik, then read this book.

"The painter," Wolfe writes, "had to dedicate himself to the quirky god Avant-Garde. He had to keep one devout eye peeled for the new edge on the blade of the wedge of the head on the latest pick thrust of the newest exploratory probe of this fall's avant-garde Breakthrough of the Century.... At the same time he had to keep his other eye cocked to see if anyone in le monde was watching."
I read it when I first started Art School and it saved my Art Life and it cemented the foundations of what has become my opinions, judgements and attitudes towards art.

After you read the book, then and only then, you will understand why "traditional" art critics, desperately seeking approval from their colleagues, hate such an egalitarian art show such as Artomatic, when and if it takes place in our own backyard, but would love it in another location outside the US.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

New art space in Georgetown

It is at 3146 Dumbarton Place, NW (2nd Floor), Washington, District of Columbia 20007 and they're having a champagne toast to the new space tomorrow (6-8PM) to celebrate the new space and new paintings by Michael Weiss.

PostSecret at Hillyer Art Space

Artomatic's greatest launching success story: Tim Tate or Frank Warren?

Warren's spectacular worldwide success and multiple best-sellers with PostSecret comes to DC at Hillyer Art Space. PostSecret: Confessions on Life, Death and God has a First Friday Reception on June 5, 2009, 6-9PM. Soundscapes by DJ Underdog. Food and refreshments will be served.

Postcards and materials will be available for all to confess their own secrets (Postcards will be displayed at Hillyer throughout the show and then given to Frank Warren to add to his collection. Details here.

Friday, May 29, 2009

2009 William H. Johnson Prize

Deadline : July 31, 2009

The 2009 William H. Johnson Prize is 25,000 USD and the winner will be announced in September 2009. Early career African American artists who work in painting, photography, sculpture, printmaking, installation and/or new genre are eligible to apply.

Details here.

Wanna go to a Bethesda opening tomorrow?

Carol Goldberg

"Searching for Doctor Dean" 2008, acrylic on canvas, 72 x 48 inches

Tomorrow, Saturday, May 30, 2009, from 5-8 pm is the opening of Carol Brown Goldberg: Recent Works at Osuna Art, 7200 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20814. The show runs through July 31, 2009.

The show includes large-scale, abstract paintings, created within the past 8 months, as well as a number of hand-made pulp-paper works.

Whimsical works of art at AU Museum through August

The exhibitions open to the public on Saturday, June 6 at the American University Museum, Katzen Arts Center.

Garry Knox Bennett: Call Me Chairmaker features 52 one-of-a-kind sculptural chairs created by Garry Knox Bennett, one of the foremost contemporary studio furniture makers in America. Inspired by well known furniture designers and architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, George Nakashima, and Gerrit Rietveld, Bennett makes his wit and imagination come to life with such chairs as the “Great Granny Rietveld” and “Wiggle Wright.” By using bold new forms and constantly expanding traditional boundaries, Bennett makes furniture a form of art and brings new meaning to the words “sitting pretty.” The exhibition closes Sunday, August 16.

The Washington Print Club’s 20th biennal exhibition, Love, Let Me Count the Ways, is a compilation of approximately 100 prints, drawings, and pastels from print club member collections. Images of love range from the maternal and sexual to the mythological, patriotic/political, and psychological. The exhibition includes prints dating from the sixteenth century to contemporary productions. While most of the pieces are by Americans, works on paper by Spanish, German, French, Japanese, English, and Norwegian artists also are represented. The exhibition closes Sunday, August 9.

Robert Hudson and Richard Shaw: Collaborations brings together more than 60 collaborative and individual sculptural works created during the 40-year careers of Robert Hudson and Richard Shaw. Highlighting the unique and inventive partnership of these renowned San Francisco Bay area artists, the exhibition features works in porcelain and glaze that challenge perceptions of art, craft, and the conventional modes of artistic production. Collaborations has been made possible through the support of Braunstein/Quay Gallery in San Francisco, California. The exhibition closes Sunday, August 9.

The museum is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. Admission is free.

Call for artists has another call for artists. Check it out here.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Glass Art Tours of Artomatic

Meet in the lobby of Artomatic for a guided glass tour. Hosted by members of the Washington Glass School, these informative tour guides will lead you directly to all the great glass on exhibit this year!

Every wonder how a piece of glass art was made or what was the artist's motivation? This is your chance to ask and learn. All tours leave from the Lobby of Artomatic, 55 M Street SE, Washington, DC. Wear comfortable walking shoes and join in the fun!

Saturday May 30, 2009 @ 5:30pm, Allegra Marquart and Lisa Osgood Dano will be your tourguides.

Artomatic Opens Tomorrow!

If you are an artist or art lover reading this post, then chances are that you already know what Artomatic (or AOM) is and all about this amazing spectacle.

But just in case, a little review.

About once a year or so, under the guiding hand of a board of hardworking artists and volunteers, a large, unoccupied building in the Greater Washington, DC area is identified, and eventually filled with hundreds of artists’ works, loads of theatre and dance performances, panels, and everything associated with breathing a powerful breath of energy into the Greater DC art scene.

Let’s review: The idea behind AOM is simple: find a large, empty building somewhere in the city; work with the building owners, and then allow any artist who wants to show their work help with staging the show, pay a small fee and work a few hours assisting with the show itself.

Any artist.

Artists love AOM, but most DC area art critics hate it.


I think that in order to write a proper, ethical review of AOM, a writer must spend hours walking several floors of art, jam-packed into hundreds of rooms, bathrooms, closets and stairs. And I think that this is one of the main reasons that most art critics love to hate this show. It overwhelms them with visual offerings and forces them to develop a “glance and judge” attitude towards the artwork. It’s a lot easier to carpet bomb a huge show like this than to do a surgical strike to try to find the great art buried by the overwhelming majority that constitutes the great democratic pile of so so artwork and really bad artwork.

Add on top of that, an outdated, but “alive and kicking” elitist attitude towards an open show, where anyone and everyone who calls him or herself an artist can exhibit, sans the sanitizing and all-knowing eye of the latest trendy curator, and you have a perfect formula for elitist dismissing of this show, without really looking at it.

This harsh and elitist attitude towards art is not new or even modern. It was the same attitude that caused the emergence of the salons of the 19th century, where only artists that the academic intelligentsia deemed good enough were exhibited. As every art student who almost flunked art history knows, towards the latter half of that century, the artists who had been rejected from the salons (because they didn’t fit the formula of good art) organized their own Salon Des Refuses, sort of a 19th century Parisian Art-O-Matique.

And a lot, in fact, most of the work in the Salon Des Refuses was quite so so, but amongst the dreck were also pearls like Manet's Le Dejeuner sur 'Herbe (Luncheon in the Grass), Monet's Impression: Sunrise, (and we all know what art “ism” that title gave birth to) and an odd and memorable looking portrait of a young lady in white (The White Girl, Symphony in White, No. 1) by an American upstart by the name of James McNeill Whistler.

Everyone who was anyone in the art world hated and dismissed this anti-salon exhibition; except for the only one that really counts: Art History.

But how does a writer cover an arts extravaganza of the size of AOM once the eyes and mind become numb after the 200th artist, or the 400th or the 1,000th?

As an art critic, I once started a review of a past AOM by complaining how much my feet hurt after my 5th or 6th visit to the show, in a futile attempt to gather as much visual information as possible in order to write a fair review of the artwork. Over the years I have discovered that it is impossible to see everything and to be fair about anyone; the sheer size and evolving nature of the show itself makes sure of the impossibility of this task. But AOM is not just about the artwork.

As a gallerist, I also have visited AOM looking for new talent amongst the vast numbers of artists who come together under one roof. Over the years, together with my fellow DC area gallerists, we have plucked many artists from the ranks and files of AOM. Artists who since their first appearance at past AOMs have now joined the collections of museums and Biennials and have been picked up by galleries nationwide. Names like Tim Tate, the Dumbacher Brothers, Kelly Towles, Michael Janis, Kathryn Cornelius, Richard Chartier and that amazing worldwide phenomenon and best-selling author Frank Warren of PostSecret fame. But AOM is not just about the emerging superstar artist.

As an artist, one year I decided to participate in AOM, just to see what the guts of the machine looked like. "I know the monster well," wrote the poet Jose Marti, "for I have lived in its entrails."

My volunteer hours patrolling the halls on a Wednesday night at midnight, and still seeing people come in and out, and explore art on the wee hours of the morning, also left a footprint on the public impact of the exhibition. Dealing with prima donna artists, recharging my own artistic batteries from hundreds of fellow artists, many of them in their first public exposure, also left an impression. But AOM is not just about the public.

AOM is two things to me:

It is perhaps the nation’s most powerful incarnation of what it means to be a creative community of hundreds of working creative hands all aligned to not only create artwork, but also put together a spectacular extravaganza that re-charges the regional art scene as no museum or gallery show can. AOM is a community of artists employing the most liberal of approaches to art that there exists: the artists are in charge, and the artists make it work, and the artists charge the city with energy and zeal. And these descendants of those brave souls who challenged the academic salons of the 19th century face the same negative eye from the traditional art critics and curators of our museums, who challenge not just the art, but the concept of an open, non-juried, most democratic of art shows: a community of artists in charge of energizing the community at large. All good group shows must be curated! shout these chained critical voices.

And AOM is certainly the easiest and most comprehensive way to discover contemporary art at its battlefront lines, right at the birth of many artists, paradoxically showcasing the area's artworld's deepest and also its newest roots. This is where both the savvy collector, and the beginning collector, and the aspiring curator, and the sharp-eyed gallerist can come to one place with a sense of discovery in mind. And the ones that I missed in the past, and who were discovered by others, are ample evidence of the subjectivity of a 1,000+ group art show.

Viva AOM!

This year’s AOM runs from May 29 through July 5, 2009, and it is located at the new building at 55 M Street, S.E. - essentially on top the Navy Yard Metro - celebrating its tenth anniversary in a newly built 275,000 square foot "LEED Silver Class A building", whatever that means. It is all free and open to the public and all the details and dates and parties and performances and panels, as well as all the participating artists can be found at

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Artists' Websites: Claudia Hart

Claudia Hart Ophelia - detail

Ophelia (detail) by Claudia Hart, c.2008

Claudia Hart has been active as an artist, curator and critic since 1988. She creates virtual paintings that take the form of 3d imagery integrated into photography, animated loops, and multi-channel animation installations. Featured above is an out-take from Ophelia (2008), a single-screen work.

Visit her website here.

The UK comes to Artomatic

Remember Glass3, the international glass show in Georgetown that incorporated artists from the UK's National Glass Centre last February?

Well, they are back!

24 glass artists are part of this year's Artomatic and the DC art extravaganza's first international participants. The artists will be also performing demonstrations of their unusual techniques at the Washington Glass School in Mount Rainier and at DC GlassWorks in nearby Hyattsville.

Saturday, May 30, 2009: starting at 1.30 pm, Phil Vickery and Roger Tye will be glass blowing at DC GlassWorks. RSVP to

On Sunday, May 31, 2009, starting at 2:00 pm, Stephen Beardsell and Karin Walland will be demonstrating their techniques at the Washington Glass School.

Karin will show how to cast small objects in frozen glass powder (an alternative to the messy lost wax method). Stephen will be showing and describing his method of creating great depth with frit casting and inclusions.


Both events are free and open to the public.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Artomatic early report

An artist from AOM writes:

Went around looking at other peoples artwork after finishing install on Monday.

With 8 floors of art to see I went through it all pretty quick - but noticed the following:

(a) still a lot of artists had not set-up.

(b) On level 5, the British artists who are participating in this year's AOM are due in tomorrow (Wed) but all thru the levels there were still untouched walls - hopefully all wait-listed artists are in and working today.

(c) Glad to see Anne Benolken's Kali series is back; Level 2 has some knockout works, with Drew Graham's 3-D tatoo inspired wall sculptures are strong as ever.

(d) Margaret Dowell has a painted portrait of artist Joseph Barbacia holding that penis knife that you had in 'Seven' - creepy cool.

(e) I got tired going down from Level 9, but there was so much on Level 2 that was good, that I'd recommend that one does not overlook that floor .

(f) Many of the Washington Glass School artists are on 8 - Tim Tate, Erwin Timmers, Syl Mathis, Cheryl Derricotte & Michael Janis are all in one bay, facing Laurel Lukaszewski and Novie Trump's setups.

The building is easy to walk thru and see a lot.


I'm bummed out because my application to Pulse Miami was rejected. I had applied to bring the work of one of our artists to Pulse.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Young Photographers 2009

Opening Reception and awards ceremony for the "Young Photographers" exhibition is on Saturday, May 30th, 5:00 - 6:30 PM at Photoworks Gallery, 1st Floor Arcade Building in Glen Echo Park, MD.

This exhibition is all about a talented group of photographers from high schools, middle schools and elementary schools throughout the Washington Metropolitan Region.

"What is so gratifying here is to know in one's bones that the young photographers displayed on these walls love the process of making pictures. You don't produce work like this without loving the process -- the physical act of taking photographs."

Frank Van Riper, Juror
Young Photographers Competition

Friday, May 22, 2009

Artists' Websites: Ana Serrano

Came across Ana Serrano's work through Regina Hackett and loved the cardboard work (that's a detail of Serrano's Chalino to the left).

Serrano recently graduated from the Art Center College of Design with honors, and currently resides in Los Angeles.

Visit her website here.

Aqui Estamos talk tonight

If you are around the Northern Liberties' section of Philadelphia later today, drop by Projects Gallery for my talk on the subject of Cuban art.

You can't miss the gallery. It's the one with the giant milk cross by Alejandro Mendoza hanging above it. Talk starts at 6:30PM.

Projects Gallery

The Power of Democratizing Art

Billed as the first arts competition of its kind to incorporate public voting in an online forum, the inaugural Baker Artist Awards recently invited artists from Baltimore and its surrounding counties to upload examples of their work to a Web site. More than 650 people responded, in disciplines as diverse as drawing, sculpture, painting, photography, video, film, animation, spoken and written word, dance, theater, graphic design and craft.

More than 35,000 visitors to the site then voted on their favorites, narrowing the field to a top 10, from which three were chosen by an interdisciplinary panel of experts to receive $25,000 each, no strings attached. Each of the seven runners-up got a check for $1,000. As with the MacArthur Foundation "genius" fellowships, the judges were anonymous. The money comes from the William G. Baker Jr. Memorial Fund, established in 1964 in memory of a Baltimore investment banker but only focusing on arts and culture since 2007.

And guess what? The results, on view in a bricks-and-mortar showcase at the Baltimore Museum of Art, aren't half bad. You can view, listen to or watch submissions by all 656 artists at But to fully appreciate the work of the top three prize-winners -- sculptor John Ruppert, jazz saxophonist Carl Grubbs and Hadieh Shafie, whose works here are in a variety of 2-D media -- you'll need to tear yourself away from your computer.
Read WaPo art critic Michael O'Sullivan here.

O'Sullivan also has another small piece on the same subject here.

An ailing art market

Since the financial crisis began, the art market has taken a series of severe blows and is now subject to various external and internal pressures. In the United States, for example, the fall in private subsidies to the Arts has led to significant personnel reductions at some of the most prestigious museums (the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles have both cut staff by 20%). At the same time, an enormous volume of cash that was fuelling the market has literally disappeared as the new ultra high net worth individuals in Russia, India and Turkey have seen their fortunes substantially diminished (by the end of Q1 2009, the world counted 300 less billionaires) and the banks have stopped financing acquisitions of art works: the giant UBS has closed down its art advisory pole dedicated to buying and selling artworks.
Read the analysis in here.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Opportunity for Artists

The Delaplaine Arts Education Center in Frederick, Maryland is seeking proposals for solo and small group shows. They are currently scheduling for 2010-2011. The Center houses 6 galleries; the shows change on a monthly-bimonthly basis.

All media is considered, a preference is given to regional artists, but every properly submitted proposal is reviewed.

For more information please visit their website and download a prospectus from the bottom of the EXHIBITS page or email Diane at

Aqui Estamos in City Paper

Aliento by Aimee Garcia MarreroThe Philadelphia City Paper highlights Aqui Estamos, the Cuban group art show that I curated for Projects Gallery in Philadelphia.

Read it here.

Mrs. Obama supports Artomatic

You have to read between the lines but, here it is!

National Gallery of Art Returns a Non-Holocaust Painting

Chaim Soutine’s iconic painting entitled Piece de Boeuf (Piece of Beef c. 1923) is being returned to the Shefner Family in resolution of litigation commenced against the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. From the news release:

Chaim Soutine’s Piece of BeefA unique and unusual settlement regarding Chaim Soutine’s iconic painting entitled Piece de Boeuf (Piece of Beef c. 1923) was approved last week by Judge Laura Taylor Swain of the Southern District of New York. Pursuant to the settlement, the painting is being returned to the Shefner Family in resolution of litigation commenced against the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., Maurice Tuchman and Esti Dunow, the authors of the Soutine Catalogue Raisonné.

The settlement is believed to be the first time that the National Gallery of Art has deaccessioned a non-Holocaust work of art from its permanent collection. The stated policy of the National Gallery of Art is not to deaccession any of its permanent collection. In consideration of the unique nature of the settlement agreement and the circumstances surrounding the painting’s return, the parties have agreed that the painting shall remain on loan to the National Gallery of Art for the benefit of the American public for the near future.

“The Shefner Family is pleased to be welcoming this iconic Soutine back to their family,” said Karl Geercken, of Alston & Bird LLP, lead attorney for the plaintiff. “We believe this is a positive outcome for all parties involved.”

Chaim Soutine, a Russian-born French expressionist painter, lived from 1893 until 1943. His series of ten beef carcass paintings are considered to be among his most notorious and controversial works. The majority of the beef paintings are currently in prominent museums. This painting is one of the last in the series to be privately owned.

As noted by the National Gallery of Art, Piece of Beef (accession 2004.126.1) is an outstanding example of 20th century expressionist art that makes “deliberate reference to a long tradition of the subjects of butchers, market-stalls, and game in paintings by Rembrandt, Chardin, and Goya, whose works Soutine studied in his visits to the Louvre.” Soutine’s work has also been described as being especially significant during the 1950s to painters such as Willem de Kooning.

Armed Robbery at Dutch Museum

From the Art Loss Register:

In the first of two robberies at Dutch museums this month, two important 20th century artworks were stolen by a group of masked and armed thieves from the Scheringa Museum for Realism, located about 30 miles north of Amsterdam. The robbery occurred around noon on May 1. The artworks, a surrealist gouache by Salvador Dali and an art deco portrait by Tamara de Lempicka, were among the most valuable pictures in the museum's collection.

The theft coincides with a recent interest in Lempicka's work. Days after the heist, a similar painting by Lempicka sold at auction in the US for $6 million, setting the record for the artist. According to the Art Loss Register's database, Salvador Dali is the fourth-most stolen artist, with over 400 artworks currently missing.

From Top: Salvador Dali, Adolescence, 1941, gouache, 17.5 x 12 in., signed and dated lower right; Tamara de Lempicka, The Musician, 1929, oil on canvas, 51 x 28.75 in., signed and dated lower right. ALR Ref # L09.335.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Frida Kahlo on Ebay

Frida Kahlo with short hair by F. Lennox CampelloWanna own an original Campello vintage 1979?

This drawing of Frida Kahlo by yours truly just made an appearance on Ebay and is going for $40 - certainly a steal on a 20 year-old Campello original.

It is being sold by Americana Illustration Art. I did that drawing while I was a student at the University of Washington School of Art.

Bid on it here. Hurry, the auction ends May 25.

MAP has new director

Cathy Byrd is the new Executive Director of the Maryland Art Place.

After an expansive national search, MAP’s Board of Trustees has selected Cathy Byrd to lead the organization in efforts to maximize its engagement with the Baltimore cultural community. “Cathy's background has prepared her for all of the opportunities available to MAP today. I have confidence that she will lead and strengthen the organization in significant ways,” says Suzi Cordish, Board chairperson.

Ms. Byrd comes to Baltimore after eight years as Director of the Ernest G. Welch School of Art & Design Gallery at Georgia State University in Atlanta. In that position, she conceived and produced a series of contemporary art exhibitions and events that involved extensive local, national and international collaboration and outreach. Among her signature projects are Book Unbound; PG-13: Male Adolescence in a Video Culture; Strange Planet; Potentially Harmful: The Art of American Censorship; Re\constructing Atlanta: a contemporary continuum ; and New Wave Atlanta: When Urban Intervention Speaks French . Ms. Byrd is one of three curators currently organizing the exhibition Losing Yourself in the 21st Century through the blog site .

During her tenure in Atlanta, Ms. Byrd co-organized public talks and performances by renowned artists including Ann Hamilton, Janine Antoni, Liliana Porter, Meschac Gaba and Karen Finley. A public art advocate, Ms. Byrd was a member of Atlanta’s Metropolitan Public Art Coalition. She served on review panels for city and county public art projects and for the Hartsfield Jackson International Airport’s newest international terminal. At GSU, she initiated and directed an annual Student Sculpture Garden Project, as well as a sustainable native garden in downtown Hurt Park, a temporary truck fountain in Cleopas R. Johnson Park, and Le Flash, a one-night performance art and installation event in Castleberry Hill District .

Her engaging conceptual projects have been awarded significant funding through local, regional, national and international institutions, including the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Etant donnés: The French American Fund for Contemporary Art, and the Cultural Services of the French, Belgian and Dutch Consulates.

Ms. Byrd has produced books for Potentially Harmful and Re\constructing Atlanta and is currently completing a DVD box set to document New Wave Atlanta. She is a widely published art writer whose reviews and features on artists including Pierre Huyghe, Janet Biggs, Dan Graham, Carrie Mae Weems and Antoni Muntadas have appeared in contemporary magazine, London, Art in America, Sculpture, Art Papers, Beaux Arts and Public Art Review, among other publications.
We all wish her the best of luck in her new endeavor!

Call to Artists: In the Spirit of Frida Kahlo

Deadline: June 6, 2009

Frida Kahlo remains one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, but her spectacular life experiences, her writing and her views on life and art have also influenced many artists throughout the years.

From July 1 - August 29, 2009 The Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery at Smith Farm Center in Washington, DC will be hosting Finding Beauty In A Broken World: In the Spirit of Frida Kahlo.

Photo of Gallery by Michael K. WilkinsonThis exhibition hopes to showcase the work in all mediums of artists influenced not only by Kahlo’s art, but also by her biography, her thoughts, and her writing or any other aspect in the life and presence of this remarkable artist who can be interpreted through artwork.

This will be the third Kahlo show that I have juried in the last decade and we are seeking works of art that evoke the prolific range of expression, style and media like that which Frida Kahlo used as an outlet for her life’s experiences.

Get a copy of the prospectus by calling (202) 483-8600 or email or download it at

Artomatic opens in 9 days!

Artomatic (or AOM) opens in nine days!


The Pittman WPA Scam

Some asshole is using the WPA Online Artfile to try to scam artists. If you get an email from, claiming to be from a soldier in Iraq, delete it and send the originator a mental curse in the name of some ancient god.

Artists' Websites: Catherine Tafur

Catherine Tafur, The Three Graces

Catherine Tafur, The Three Graces

Catherine Tafur was born in Lima, Peru in 1976 to a Peruvian father and a Japanese mother. She studied at the Cooper Union School of Art where she earned her BFA. The artist has since shown her work at venues throughout Brooklyn and Manhattan. Tafur's work "uses the image of the body as a way to explore ideas of gender deconstruction, confrontational sexuality, disillusionment and loss of innocence. She transforms personal experiences into allegorical works of poetic representational symbolism, often through painful disfigurements, idealized androgyny, and mutilation."

Tafur now lives and works in New York City and is an artist-in-residence at the Brooklyn Artists Gym. Visit her website here.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

New Baltimore Gallery

TAG Gallery is a new space that opened last year in Baltimore. They're located at 732 S. Broadway, Baltimore, MD 21231.

Visit them online here.

Review of Aqui Estamos

Aqui Estamos, the group show of Cuban art that I curated for Projects Gallery in Philadelphia and which is currently on display at that Northern Liberties' gallery gets a cool review in Fallon & Rosof's Artblog.

Juego de Roles by Aimee Garcia Marrero

Juego de Roles (Role Game). Oil on canvas by Aimee Garcia Marrero

Read the review here.

TAKI 183

Taki 183Graffiti artists all around the world know the name that started it all: TAKI 183.

As a High School student who lived in Brooklyn but went to High School in Queens, I had about a 90 minute subway ride each morning and each evening going and coming from my High School in Long Island City. It all started in the LL line and finished in the number 7 Flushing Line. All along those trains I was very familiar with TAKI 183's tag, which seemed to be all over and everywhere at once. In fact, I even developed my own little tag back then. I would draw (with a magic marker) a little tombstone and write UNDERTAKER ASH underneath it. I have no idea how I came up with it and what it meant, or even if I had seen it somewhere, but back then any train or subway station that I used to ride had both TAKI 183 and UNDERTAKER ASH all over them.

TAKI 183 was then a kid from 183rd Street in upper Manhattan, TAKI 183’s simple signature (he said it was a diminutive of his Greek name Demetrius) captured the attention of a reporter and, on July 21, 1971, the article “TAKI 183 Spawns Pen Pals” appeared in The New York Times.

Just like that, TAKI 183 became a graffiti legend, but TAKI 183 remained silent. Now, almost four decades later, TAKI 183 has emerged to tell his story.

This new website includes photos of TAKI 183’s work, images of his friends and contemporaries, his true story and, for the first time, official TAKI 183 limited-edition screenprints.

Check the first graffitti superstar here.


The Association for Alternative Newsweeklies announced finalists for its annual prizes today, selecting the Washington City Paper as a top contender in four categories: Photography, Arts Criticism, Media Reporting/Criticism, and Innovation/Format Buster.

Jeffry CudlinMy good bud and theory knucklehead and superb painter Jeffry Cudlin, who won the top prize for arts criticism last year, was again named a finalist for 2009. Yay Jeffry!

The great photographer Darrow Montgomery, who’s been shooting for City Paper for 23 years is also a nominee! This is the fourth time Montgomery has been a finalist.

Janis at Duane Reed

Michael Janis at Duane Reed
That shot above is a partial view of DC's own Michael Janis, whose solo show opened in St. Louis' Duane Reed Gallery's brand new space last Friday.

I hear that Reed's new space in SL is perhaps the most attractive new gallery space in the city. Reed is a powerhouse in the art glass world, but with Janis they have acquired an artist who will help their gallery make the jump from a glass gallery to a fine arts gallery, period.

Buy Michael Janis now.

Opportunity for Artists

Deadline: Saturday May 31, 2009.

Introductions5 at Irvine Contemporary. An exhibition of works by recent art school graduates in August 2009.

Notification: No later than June 21, 2009.

Eligibility: Artists who have graduated in 2008 or 2009 and are available for gallery exhibition. Application must include:

- Artist’s statement.
- Artist’s resume.
- A CD-ROM of up to ten images. For New Media and Time Based Media (Sound, Film/Video, etc) please submit only ten minutes worth of work.
- Self-addressed stamped envelope – required to have submitted materials returned.

Submitted materials will be handled with care, but Irvine Contemporary cannot assume responsibility for lost or damaged materials.

Send to:
Lauren Gentile
Director of Sales
Irvine Contemporary
1412 14th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20005

Call for Presenters for VSA arts International Conference

Submission Deadline: May 29, 2009

VSA arts is seeking presentation proposals from policy-makers, artists, school and program administrators, art organizations, researchers, and educators around the world for its international conference, to be held in Washington, D.C., June 10-12, 2010.

The conference will discuss “Advancing Inclusive Education and 21st-Century Learning Skills Through the Arts”. It will also provide a “Career Development: forum to assist artists with disabilities as they pursue their careers.

Keynote speakers include Kenneth Eklindh, the head of the UNESCO EFA flagship program “The Right to Education for Persons with Disabilities: Towards Inclusion,” Dame Evelyn Glennie, an internationally acclaimed soloist, and Sir Ken Robinson, a renowned expert in the field of creativity.

The conference is part of the 2010 International VSA arts Festival, an international and multicultural event celebrating the accomplishments of artists with disabilities.

Proposed presentations for the conference should reflect the following themes/thematic tracks: the arts and 21st-Century learning skills; inclusive arts curriculum, instruction, and assessment; and career development for artists with disabilities. They should share the presenter’s experience and include evidence-based knowledge of effective research methodology and innovative practices.

Education proposals may include successful arts-education programs within the regular school day, arts-integrated curriculum across the general curriculum, and extracurricular arts activities beyond the regular school day. Topics of discussion for the career development forum will include encouraging business skills and portfolio development, benefits planning, and increasing cultural access and funding. Each session will be in lecture, roundtable, panel, or workshop format. A review committee will select proposals based on their learning objectives and outcomes, expertise on the topic, level of participant involvement, and relevance to the conference’s theme and target audience.

To submit an application, go to for instructions. For questions regarding the conference, please contact Géraldine Simonnet at 1-800-933-8721 or 1-202-628-2800 (voice), 1-202-737-0645 (TTY), or via e-mail at

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Collector

Will "The Collector" return to Artomatic?

Amy Argetsinger thought I was the Collector by Andrew Wodzianski

Amy Argetsinger thought I was the Collector by Andrew Wodzianski

One of the capital region's most innovative and creative voices is the very tall Andrew Wodzianski, whose intelligent works seem to be in nearly every important collection around the District's ubercollectors and whose coming show at Flashpoint will set a new standard for that very cool space.

Andrew was one of the suspects for being the "Collector", but because he is like nine foot tall and weighs about sixteen ounces, I (and most others) don't think that he fits any of the descriptions of the District's most elusive art character given in various (and very popular) WaPo columns (WaPo readers apparently love reading about "the collector").

But I do like Andrew's piece on the whole "collector" thing. And if you are a smart early picker of such things, then you'd be contacting Andrew trying to buy the above piece (or any of his latest works) before Amy Argetsinger buys it!

Drumroll!!!!! A new name is about to be added to the "Buy" list!

Buy Andrew Wodzianski now.... he is really, really affordable, but not for long.

I know people.

Artomatic 2009: Opens May 29!

Time for DC area art critics to roll their eyes: Artomatic is back and grander than ever!

The tenth version of the massive art shows that artists, collectors, gallerists and the public loves and most DC art critics hate (but would love if it took place in NYC, or Berlin or London) will deliver over five weeks of art, music, theatre, workshops and more this year in Washington, DC's Capitol Riverfront neighborhood from May 29 - July 5.

The 2009 Artomatic will be held at the new building at 55 M Street, S.E. - essentially on top the Navy Yard Metro - celebrating its tenth anniversary in a newly built 275,000 square foot "LEED Silver Class A building", whatever that means.

Held regularly since 1999, Artomatic transforms an unfinished building space into an exciting arts event that is free and open to the public. In addition to displays by hundreds of artists, the event features free films, educational presentations and children's activities, as well as music, dance, poetry, theater and other performances.

Artomatic 2008 attracted a record-breaking 52,500 visitors and 1,540 participating artists. Visit their Flickr site to see over 4,000 photos captured at Artomatic 2008 or check out the below video.

Who will be the emerging art star of this AOM?

Who will be the artist who cracks us up?

Will "The Collector" make a comeback?

Who will be the prima donna?

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Congratulations to the District of Columbia Arts Center, which will be celebrating its 20th anniversary with an evening of dance, poetry, performance art, sound installation and live music in Georgetown's gorgeous Halcyon House.

Born in 1989 with the mission of providing the “missing link” between emerging artists and the broader community, DCAC has maintained its place in DC as an organization that operates with the needs of artists in mind, rather than focusing on commercial demands. DCAC also recognizes the need to support ongoing projects, including our Curatorial Initiative, which nurtures upcoming curators and enriches audience engagement with our exhibits, and SPARKPLUG, a collective of local artists and curators who exhibit at DCAC each year.

In 1987, a group of artists, arts advocates and administrators came together to address their frustration with DC’s cultural climate. In order to bring local artists closer to the community, arts advocates Aaron Levine, Alice Denney, and Herb White, with the support of councilman William Lightfoot, established a center where local artists would become more visible to the community and receive the support that was largely unavailable. DCAC’s founding board includes artists Jack Rasmussen, Lynn McCary, Sam Gilliam, Greg Hannan, Kathy Keler, Rockne Krebs, Evangeline Montgomery, June Shadoan, and Paula Schumann, critic and curator Annie Gawlak, and arts activist Eden Rafshoon.
The gala will take place on May 29, 2009, from 6:30 to 10:30pm. The happenings get underway at 6:30 with cocktails and light fare in the gardens and ballroom of the Halcyon House Mansion. There will also be a special VIP reception from 6:30 to 7:30 for the founders, our board of directors, the invitation committee and special level donors. At 8:00, the Studio opens for dancing to the sultry and swining Jenn and the Tonics along with desserts and more cocktails. Throughout the evening there will be performances, exhibited art, video projectors, sound installation, dance and more.

Artists featured at the event include performance artists Katherine Cornelius and Quique Aviles, poets Silvana Straw and Buck Downs, Alberto Gaitán with sound installation and visual artists Gretchen Schemmerhorn, Jefferson Pinder, Jose Ruiz and David Hartwell.

Details here.


To DC's own Michael Janis, whose solo show opened in St. Louis' Duane Reed Gallery last Friday.

And the DC Commission on the Arts has awarded Janis a 2009 Artist Fellowship. They are awarded to individual artists who make significant contributions to the arts and who promote the arts in the District of Columbia through artistic excellence. The Fellowship is funded in part by the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities, an agency supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Oldest figurative art

Schelklingen figure, photo by D.Maurer/AP"The 40,000-year-old carved figure of a voluptuous woman was excavated in Germany. It 'radically changes our views of the context and meaning of the earliest Paleolithic art,' its discoverer says."

Read the LA Times story here.

For your weekend art needs

NVFAFIt is time for the 18th Annual Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival this weekend on the streets of the Reston Town Center in Reston, Virginia, right off 267 (exit 12).

The Festival is produced by the Greater Reston Arts Center, and it is a top-rated annual juried outdoor street fine arts and fine crafts festival held in the heart of the elegant and bustling Reston Town Center. This two-day event attracts over 50,000 patrons and provides an interactive experience to view, purchase, and experience art directly from the unique and talented artists who have created it.

The 2009 festival is today and tomorrow and will feature more than 220 artists from around the nation as well as outstanding music and entertainment, activities for families, (all free) and delicious food.

See ya there! Swing by booth 835!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Rocco for NEA

President Obama has nominated Rocco Landesman, an "entrepreneur and commercial theater producer," to be the next head of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Rocco Landesman is the President of Jujamcyn Theaters, as well as the owner of five Broadway houses, and in that Broadway capacity was the key for such Broadway mega hits as "Angels in America," "The Producers," "Jelly's Last Jam" and "Big River."

Heard in New York

A major art fair is about to declare bankruptcy and besides that, they are being sued by a group of art dealers.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bethesda Painting Awards

I would have told you earlier, but for some reason I no longer get any news releases from, but the Bethesda Painting Awards finalists were announced last Friday.

There are some interesting surprises in the list, as well as a couple of artists channeling old art movements or other artists, but at this early stage my picks for the award are Lillian Bayley Hoover, from Baltimore, MD (she has twice been a Sondheim Award finalist and a 2008 Bethesda Painting Award finalist), or Reston's Heidi Fowler, which was also a finalist two years ago.

Darkhorses are newcomers Katherine Mann and Greg Minah. Five of the eight finalists are from Baltimore/Annapolis area, which is interesting, since none of the jurors are from that area.

The selected nine finalists will display their work from June 3 - July 4, 2009 in downtown Bethesda at the Fraser Gallery located at 7700 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite E. The Fraser Gallery is located two blocks from the Bethesda Metro station.

Wrong Time

I understand that the landlord of several key DC galleries is in the process of doubling their rent.

Wrong thing to do in this, ah... austere fiscal and real estate environment.

This weekend at Reston

NVFAFIt is time for the 18th Annual Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival this weekend on the streets of the Reston Town Center in Reston, Virginia, right off 267 (exit 12).

The Festival is produced by the Greater Reston Arts Center, and it is a top-rated annual juried outdoor street fine arts and fine crafts festival held in the heart of the elegant and bustling Reston Town Center. This two-day event attracts over 50,000 patrons and provides an interactive experience to view, purchase, and experience art directly from the unique and talented artists who have created it.

The 2009 festival is this weekend (May 16-17) and will feature more than 220 artists from around the nation as well as outstanding music and entertainment, activities for families, (all free) and delicious food.

See ya there! Swing by booth 835!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Gals' Birthdays: The place to be in DC this Friday

Join a couple of DC's uberartchicks (am I gonna catch hell for that or what?) on Friday, May 15th for an art and dance night to celebrate a couple of arty gals' birthdays.

My good buds Heather Goss from Ten Miles Square and Jayme McLellan from Civilian Art Projects flip over another year this May and want you to come party at Critical Mass, a one-night only art show featuring 20+ talented D.C. artists, followed by a straight-up dance party with DJ KC from Fatback and DJ Nite Krawler from Moneytown.

In addition to Civilian Art Project's ongoing solo exhibitions featuring Erick Jackson and Ken D. Ashton in the gallery, Ten Miles Square will host a salon show in the office space gallery, including well-known artists like Michael Janis, Tim Tate, Cory Oberndorfer and Billy Colbert, along with TMS regulars (and soon-to-be well-known names!) John Ulaszek, Cesar Lujan, Kyle Gustafson, and many more.

Every piece in the office will be available for under $150 that night - a downright steal that is our artists' gift to us and all our guests. And much of the work in the Jackson & Ashton exhibitions is priced at below $300 to boot!

Arrive between 9 and 10 p.m. for some mingling and art viewing. At 10 p.m. their arty birthday party will reach Critical Mass as DJs KC and Nite Krawler take over for a gallery dance party.

And who knows, the Lenster might be there as well...

Wanna go to a DC opening this week?

Click for larger image

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Artists' Websites: Henryk Fantazos

Henryk Fantazos Blood for Toys

Blood for Toys by Henryk Fantazos

Henryk Fantazos is an artist with a very acute insight into what makes us all move and what makes a society tick and tock under a layer of sanity barely covering the rage of a humanity barely a breath away from barbarity. He writes:
In one of his poems Salvatore Quasimodo called the night I was born – the eighteenth of January 1944 – the darkest night of the war. The little town where I was born was in the Nazis bloody hands, then the Russians’. The homicidal scowl of Stalin declared that our town was never to be part of Poland again. Providence agreed with Stalin, and we had to move to settle in Upper Silesia, an agglomerate of coalmines, steel works and other heavy industries that produced unrestricted clouds of acrid, fetid smoke. Greasy soot covered every blade of grass. My father was a watchmaker and a jeweler. My mother took care of three children.

I escaped trice from two kindergartens and solidified an indestructible sense of being special. I painted and drew from the time I was a small child.
I am really taken by this artist's works and I think that his work is a prime candidate by DC or Philly galleries looking for a little danger in their exhibition schedule.

Hey DC: Grant time

The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities is renewing its commitment to supporting local artists and arts organizations through its distribution of grants for the fiscal year 2010 grant season. According to the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, the District of Columbia ranks first among states in per capita investment in the arts.

“The creative industry is one of the most prosperous business sectors in the District, in workforce numbers, ticket sales and tax revenue generation,” said DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities Executive Director Gloria Nauden. “We also boast of more than 460 non-profits in the city that self-identify as arts, humanities or cultural organizations.”

Executing world-class arts and cultural programming requires a joint effort of the Commission and the non-profit organizations it serves. The Commission is dedicated to growing and retaining the city’s artist-community base by offering free grant writing assistance. Resources include an online instructional video; one-on-one appointments with program coordinators; technical assistance workshops on “Workshop Wednesdays” with webinar access; and a new public resource center with computer workstations located within the Commission’s office that are available weekdays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

“One of our priorities for disseminating the grants is to ensure that the process is demystified. Our staff is available to help artists and arts organizations develop the most effective grant application possible,” Nauden added.

The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities provides grants, programs and educational activities that encourage diverse artistic expression and learning opportunities, so that all District of Columbia residents and visitors can experience the rich culture of the city. The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities is an agency funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

For more information on grant opportunities or to receive a grant application, visit their website or call 202-724-5613.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Happy Birthday

Washington Glass SchoolDC's influential Washington Glass School celebrates its 8th Anniversary with a huge Open House & Studio Sale.

Over 4000 students have attended classes/seminars/workshops at the WGS. On May 16th artwork by instructors and artists of the glass school will be on exhibit and for sale, together with music, jewelry, etc.

Visit surrounding arts studios who are the WGS' neighbors - Red Dirt Studios, Flux Studio, Sinel/Stewart/Weiss Studios and many more!

The Gateway Arts District also has its annual Open Studio Tour and the Mount Rainier Day Festival kicks off the events with a big parade right past the school!

Saturday May 16th, 2009
From Noon til 6 pm
Free and open to the public
Washington Glass School
3700 Otis Street
Mount Rainier, MD 20712
Tel: 202.744.8222

Affordable Art Fair New York: Final Report

Home at last, tired (more like exhausted) after five days of hauling artwork up and down to the 11th floor and schlepping it for five days at AAFNYC.

Overall it is my impression that most galleries at this fair sold very well. Perhaps it is an indication that the art economy is taking a tiny advance, or perhaps it is a simple sign of the times where people are looking at affordable art more closely?

In my personal sphere, I sold a lot of my own drawings (around 30 of them), and the gallery showing my work (Mayer Fine Art of Norfolk, Virgina) also did exceptionally well, practically selling out of Sheila Giolitti's paintings on Friday and Saturday, and essentially selling out all 12 of Matt Sesow's paintings that they brought, and had they brought more, they could have probably sold another dozen. I bet Matt's website experiences a "surge" of interest after this fair, as Mayer Fine Art must have given out a couple of hundred business cards with his details to interested buyers.

Sale of a gorgeous Tim Tate audiovisual sculpture to a major San Francisco collector, and a large Cirenaica Moreira photograph to a well-known collection of Cuban art also helped to push MFA's numbers.

Drew TalAcross from us, New York's Emmanuel Fremin Gallery had a slow start, but by Sunday they had quite a few red dots, mostly accomplished by multiple sales of Drew Tal's gorgeous photography.

And Montreal's Arteria continued to do well, with the roster of young Canadian artists whom they represent.

DC area galleries also seemed to do well, and I continued to see folks from Honfleur and Fraser bring works to the wrapping station.

And finally, tear down was not the nightmare that I thought it was going to be. The fair ended on Sunday at 5PM, and by 8PM we were out of there and stuck in the gridlock traffic for the tunnel to New Jersey.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Affordable Art Fair NY day two and three

Day two and three (Thursday and Friday) at AAFNYC went pretty much along the same way as the opening night, with good crowds and (since we are really close to the wrapping station) we can keep an eye on the sales, and the wrapping station was always busy through both days.

Some of the press reviews have come out, and yesterday Robert Ayers discussed his impressions of the fair and had some good things to say about both my former DC art gallery and about Tim Tate's work (showing with Norfolk's Mayer Fine Art). And LoftLife also reviews the fair and picks MFA with the splendid Santeria work of Marta Maria Perez Bravo.

Talking about Mayer Fine Art, its hardworking owner, Sheila Giolitti, is selling like gangbusters and her resin paintings are flying off the wall. Last year she sold out at AAFNYC and this year Giolitti is once again on the way to a sell out.

On the press preview I got into a slight tiff with a journalist.

She looked at Tim Tate's work and stated, "I know this artist."

"Cool," I responded, and I began to start discussing Tate's work with her.

"He shouldn't be here!" she exclaimed in a thick French accent, clearly miffed. The staff at MFA looked a little puzzled.

"Why?" I asked.

"This fair is supposed to be about emerging artists, and Tate is in museums already, so he's certainly not an emerging artist," she added.

It's not easy to throw me for a verbal loop, but this almost did. I started to counter her point about who or what can be at this fair or any other fair, but she kept going, adding more reasons why Tate's work doesn't belong at AAF.

"I disagree," was all that I could come up with.

"Well," she said imperiously as she walked away miffed, "I disagree too!"

In our row, our across the aisle neighbor, Arteria from Montreal, Canada seems to be doing well, and on Friday night they moved a huge wall sized oil by Jonathan Theroux. Also nearby, MAC Art Group from Miami, Florida is selling their riot of tropical colors steadily and works by Cuban painter Vicente Dopico-Lerner is doing well.

DC area galleries seem to be faring positively as well, and I've seen Honfleur's staff at the wrapping line several times and both Fraser and Nevin Kelly seem to be moving work.

Finally, the new location across the street from the Empire State Building is a winner (in my opinion), since the floor plan is much better and there are no "bad spots" for booths. Because it is on the 11th floor, setting and tear down might be a nightmare, but we'll see.

Thursday, May 07, 2009


The Affordable Art Fair in New York opened in New York last night and the halls were packed and the booze was flowing and artwork was being sold.

It's early to see if the art fair dooldrums are beginning to wane, but let's hope so.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009


The Creative Genius DC Happy Hour and Dinner will be at Alero (3500 Connecticut Ave, NW in DC) on Thursday, May 7. Drinks at 6:30 pm and for those interested in staying, dinner will be around 7:30 pm.

This low-key networking event is for all creative types: writers, editors, dancers, jugglers, artists, graphic designers, performance artists, poets, musicians, and dreamers! Come have a drink and meet some new people! Feel free to bring your friends too.

Alero is near the Cleveland Park Metro.

Please RSVP to Willona at

Benny More

In my opinion the greatest Cuban popular musician of all time was the great Benny More, the man whom Cubans call "El barbaro del ritmo."

It's a shame that my favorite song of his is not on YouTube... but here is a whole bunch of other people doing the greatest Cuban dance music of all time: Castellano que bueno baila Usted! or "Castellano, how well you dance!"

Listen to a short clip of the original here.

Loads of Latin American salseros have done this great juicy hips music over and over... ahhh over the years, but none better than the original... other than the great Tito Puente got close here and the great Ibrahim Ferrer honors the song in what I think is the best version of the original here.

But get the original Benny More here if you want Cuban dance music the way that it was meant to be.

In New York

By the time you read this I'll be huffing and puffing and schlepping artwork to the 11th floor for The Affordable Art Fair NYC which has a private opening tonight and opens to the public later this week. I'll be there with Mayer Fine Art in booth D-100.

I'll be blogging from the fair as time permits.

See ya there!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


The nation's vast left wing nuttery is not very forgiving of artists who walk on the wrong side of the tracks. And yet the nation's only out of the closet artist who's openly critical of Obama has launched a new series using photographs from the Official White House Flickr Photostream.

It takes cojones... see it here.

In DC this week

International Art Affairs is going on in various DC venues this week... I have been home one day in the last two weeks and heading to New York tomorrow, otherwise I would have dropped in to some of these:

Tuesday May 5

6 – 7 pm, followed by a short Q&A session
Bauhaus – An International Chronology: G. Martin Moeller, senior vice president and curator at the National Building Museum, is a world class expert on Bauhaus, a school that originated in post WWI Germany, and had profound effects in art as well as architecture and design.

Wednesday May 6

6 – 7 pm, followed by a short Q&A session

How to Build a World Class Art Collection in Washington, DC – A Primer: Renowned Georgetowner Barbara Gordon recounts how her travel experiences and her keen interest in art led her to develop an ability to identify collectable art. Find out how she did it and how the arts became a wholesome supplement to a life of social and political activism.

Thursday May 7

6 – 7 pm, followed by a short Q&A session with exhibit and reception

Healing Art: Outsiders Inside: Lorton Art Program Founder and Director Mia Choumenkovitch will lecture on her decades of experience training inmates in fine art techniques. Ms. Choumenkovitch has lectured internationally at healing art symposiums and has great insight on comparative criminal justice – mainly focused on US versus European approaches. An exhibit of this artwork will be on display from 3 – 9 pm.

Friday, May 8

5:30 – 6:30 pm

Mexico and New York: Art Flows: Barbara Tenenbaum, renowned Mexican scholar lectures on the defining moment in the art worlds that existed in Mexico and New York in the twentieth century. The lecture reflects on the political currents of the time with applications for today.

Friday May 8

6:30 – 10 pm

Latin American Youth Center (LAYC) Benefit and LAYC Exhibit with Music by LAYC Program Participants: International Art Affairs, Blue Flame Capital, LLC, and NGAS Resources, Inc. team up to benefit the Latin American Youth Center’s art and music program. LAYC provides a wide range of important services and mentoring to young people of all ethnic backgrounds. This event will raise money to help the LAYC overcome a funding shortfall with a portion to Cultural Tourism and its Passport DC Budget. Please RSVP to 202-319-2225 or call Bill Farrand 202-256-2139 or Fernando Batista 202-413-2687.

Saturday May 9

2:30 – 3:30 pm, followed by a short Q&A session

Emerging Art Markets – The Case of India: Artist and Sotheby’s scholar Ms. Pooja Tipirneni discusses the roots and evolution of India’s contemporary art movement and Russian and Chinese parallels in trends.

Erectile Weather

(Via Pat)

Weather Erection, author unknown

On the news

A 3-minute Torpedo Factory segment should air today, Tuesday, May 5, on PBS and BBC America, and worldwide on BBC World News.

It is still possible it could be pushed aside for breaking news.

I have been told that the segment is entirely Torpedo Factory footage. When the video is posted on the BBC website I will follow up with a link.

BBC World News interviewed three artists on April 9, 2009 about the impact of the economy on the creative direction of art:

- Rosemary Covey
- Carol Levin
- Susan Makara

View photos from the shoot here.

Tired words

I’m so tired.

As I write this, I am aboard Southwest Airlines, somewhere 30,000 feet above the Eastern seaboard and heading home from North Carolina. By the time this post is published I will be home, after what feels like endless travels through the South. For the last ten days or so it has been a blur of never ending driving and airport waiting and airplanes and strange beds.

And yet, there are always pleasant and enriching surprises where one least expects them. Such as finding a particularly unique piece of sculpture in a show where it is alone amongst its brethren, a seminal piece which tempted me into considering awarding it a Best in Show but ended with a lesser Honorable Mention because I think that the artist has a lot more to explore in order to push the concept behind the work. He needs to enter the world of electricity and lights and videos and then he will be there. There was also the enriching experience of meeting artists who are truly and deeply enamored of their art. And the shock of awarding a Best in Show to a small work whose merit may be overseen by most, like the flower in a dandelion is seen as a weed in a garden of manicured flowers.

And memorable and most unexpected images of predatory jacks-in-the-box dressed like harlequins being fed honey. They made me shiver with concern as to their creation seed, like a character in Stephen King’s “Duma Key” reacting to one of Edgar Freemantle’s hypnotic paintings.

And green trees everywhere, clean manicured lawns and mailboxes guided by Home Owner’s Association standards.

And the unexpected and welcomed surprise of having a rich conversation while being driven to the airport that strikes a special chord, and perhaps triggers thoughts, both light and dark, and ideas, both harsh and moist.

Sometimes a very talented and special artist flourishes amongst a field of good artists. They stand out in a special way, viewed by some as outsiders and out layers and by others as beautiful. Like the powerful yellow of a dandelion flower is seen as a bad weed by the vastness of the majority and also as a pretty flower by those with a delicate eye for beauty.

But beauty demands the delicacy of steel, shiny and flexible, and composed of mixed components, each strong on their own, but not as strong as when they are forced to couple together in the cauldron of molten ingredients. The scent of beauty has iron ore and coke and alloys and eventually it becomes steel.

The conversation floated around art, beauty, and the creative process. The words and idea revolved rapidly around love for art and love for being an artist and how love helps to create art; love as a driving force.

“Not just love,” I added, “also hate.”

After some exploration of this idea, we quickly agreed that what was really needed was passion. Poets and common folk have struggled with the nearness of love to hate and the quickness of how they can be molten into one by events and perceptions. Molten like iron and coke and alloys are molten to make steel.

Can art be created from hate?

“From the hells beneath the hells, I bring you my deathly fruits,” wrote Howard in his dark, some would say hateful poetry.

It is a dreadful question and one that I hadn’t really thought about much until a wonderful exchange of ideas with an unexpected kindred art soul brought it to my mind and then to my lips.

Was Goya driven by hate when he etched his horrible “Disasters of War”? I think so; but a very special kind of hate.

The same Goya who so loved the Duchess of Alba, a woman that he couldn’t have, that he painted her with brushes and paints loaded with love, and with desire, and even with direction and wishful thinking.

I think that I think that any passion can drive an artist to create meaningful and powerful art. The fervor of religion has given us some of the greatest masterpieces of art in the world, and not so curiously, as man steps away from God, so has the importance of contemporary religious art.

But it is so disturbing to me to think about pure incandescent hate as a driving force in the creativity of art.

Maybe I should diminish hate.

I hate green peppers.

I had a really good Greek salad for a lovely lunch a couple of days ago, and I was so engrossed in the conversation that I forgot to ask the waiter to skip the green peppers.

The salad was bountiful and tasty, and loaded to the brim with the offending vegetable. And the guilt of wasting food was there as I piled strips of green on the edge of my plate while consuming the rest of the salad voraciously. It’s odd how often I’m not aware that I am hungry until food is presented to me.

I eat too fast. My mother’s aunt once told me that she chewed each bite 33 times. But then you’d spend too many precious minutes chewing food. The answer to this mundane tragedy is somewhere in between three and 33. On the other hand, she lived to be well over 100 years old, 103 or 104 I think.

I hate how allergens can penetrate your body’s defenses and torment your nose, throat and eyes and make never ending days full of physical misery. I often wonder how cavemen survived in moldy caves in a world of sneezing. They must have been killed by their companions. How can a sneezing caveman sneak silently during the hunt? And they really couldn’t be demoted to gatherers instead of hunters, because they’d be sneezing their hairy heads off as they gathered berries and nuts and roots among the pollen rich world in which they lived.

I hate that HBO cancelled “Rome” and left us hanging with Pullo walking away with Caesarian.

I know, I know… different kinds of hate.

Still, I will never paint or draw green peppers.

I’m so tired, but happy.