Saturday, October 31, 2009

Want some free tickets?

Flamboyant Italian artist Francesco Vezzoli is known for his lavish projects — creating a movie trailer for a movie that didn't exist — and his obsession with celebrities — casting actresses Michelle Williams and Natalie Portman in a commercial for his perfume Greed, which also didn't exist. Now, he's applying his artist prowess to a project that most certainly does exist, but is no less lavish: the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles's 30th Anniversary Gala on Nov. 14.
Read about it here and I've been given a couple of free tickets to the gala and I can't make it. Drop me an email if you want them; first come, first served!
Update: tickets have been given away.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Ann Rodriguez

Ann RodriguezIt is with considerable sadness that I share with you that Ann Rodriguez passed away yesterday after a valiant struggle with cancer.

A thirty year resident of Reston, Ann was active in local arts, civic and business communities. She was a member of the board of directors of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, a member of the Reston Hospital Board of Trustees and served for six years on the board of GRACE, the Greater Reston Arts Center. She was a member of the boards of Virginians for the Arts and the Lorton Arts Foundation. In 2004 she became the President and CEO of the Arts Council of Fairfax County. As their President and CEO, Ann was the "face" of the arts in Fairfax County.

There will be no public funeral arrangements. A true supporter of the arts in Fairfax County, Ann requested that in lieu of flowers a contribution to the Arts Council of Fairfax County would be appreciated. Contributions may be sent to Arts Council of Fairfax County, 4022 Hummer Road, Annandale VA 22003.

Amen to that...

In Detroit, major collector and steel company executive Gary Wasserman says he's stopped buying works by England's Anish Kapoor and China's Yue Minjun so he can focus more on buying "powerfully Midwestern" art by artists like Brian Carpenter, whose $1,000 photographs often feature images of dead deer, Lake Erie nuclear reactors and snowy footprints. Swiss collector Guy Ullens, widely known for his vast collection of Chinese contemporary art, says he's also started buying landscapes by Swiss and German painters like Anselm Kiefer to hang in his home in the Alps. Italian collector Pierpaolo Barzan says the only contemporary art fair he's attending this season starts next Friday in Turin, where he hopes to find work by Roman artists like Nicola Pecoraro and Pietro Ruffo.

"I believe that I can put together a much stronger collection, and make an impact in the art world, by collecting local artists rather than trying to find the next Chinese star," Mr. Barzan says.
Read the WSJ report here.

Opportunity for Artists

Deadline: January 11, 2010.

The Public Trust of Jacksonville, Florida seeks artists. All participants will electronically submit a detailed pencil drawing of one of the three Le Moyne/de Bry original works, together with 4 other examples of your past paintings so the judges can select the ten best artists to be commissioned.

Artists must also submit an entrance form which may be downloaded from their menu under "Art Contest Entrance Form." No entry fee.

If you are selected as one of the ten commissioned artists, you will complete a painting (sized 24" by 30") by June 11, 2010. At that time you will be paid your $2,500 commission and shortly afterward be featured with your fellow top ten artists in showings of all the new art work at two premier art galleries in Jacksonville.

For complete guidelines, please visit this website. Questions? Contact Andrew Miller at or call (904) 247-1972 ext. 418.

Fake Art as Art

Want to make some acquisitions at Frieze but afraid you'll break the bank? Tried to ask a dealer for a 97% discount — hey, isn't it a recession? — and got laughed out of the booth? Don't despair! Head on over to stand P7, devoted to Philippines-born artist Stephanie Syjuco's project "Copystand: an Autonomous Manufacturing Zone," which is part of the Frieze Projects series curated by Neville Wakefield. Syjuco and several of her artist colleagues have set up a workshop where they're recreating art being sold by other Frieze presenters out of humble materials, such as cardboard. All the copies are for sale, and all are priced no higher than £500 ($820).

Now, contemporary art's relationship with fakes has always been a little complicated. You've got your appropriationists, your rephotographers, your art world-approved, official fakers — Sherrie Levine, Mike Bidlo, Richard Pettibone, et al. — and then you've got your unofficial fakers, like Eric Doeringer, who used to set up a folding table outside art fairs and peddle his bootleg copies of works by Richard Prince, Jeff Koons and other household names.

Lately, Doeringer has been hawking his bootlegs inside art fairs, invited by Flash Art magazine, or even a fair itself, as was the case in Miami at the Geisai fair two years ago. And now, enter Syjuco's officially sanctioned project at Frieze, where, on Friday afternoon, she could be found standing next to what looked like one of Mark Wallinger's signature paintings depicting the single letter "I" in bold typeface. Syjuco herself had made this particular copy, which, unlike Wallinger's paint on canvas, is constructed from cardboard, wood, and paper; a pink dot on its label indicated that it had sold.
Read the whole thing by Sarah Douglas at here.

What to do Sunday afternoon

What: Reeb Hall Artists Annual Open Studio Event

Who: Visit the Resident artists and participating artists: Sally Kauffman, Jessica van Brakle, Lee Vaughan, Mark Giaimo, Shahla Arbabi, Anne McGurk, Cynthia Young, Phil Loiterstein, Irene Clouthier, Alice Whealin, and Linn Woloshin.

When: Sunday afternoon, November 1, from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Where: Reeb Hall, 4451 First Place South, Arlington, VA 22204

Reeb Hall is located near the southwest corner of the intersection of Route 50, (Arlington Boulevard service road) and South George Mason Drive. It is next to the U.U.C.A.

Parking: Entrance to the building is next to the parking lot. Parking is free for the open house.

More information:

Wanna go to an opening tomorrow?

Oliver Vernon, Double Down and Phil Nesmith: Flight Patterns, two solo exhibitions open at Irvine Contemporary in DC on Friday, October 30, 6-8PM and then on October 31: On site mural painting by Oliver Vernon.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Summer Of Love

SOFA Chicago is coming Nov. 6-8, but you can check out, get an early peek (and bid) for Tim Tate's latest work here.

This piece will be selling for $12,000 at SOFA, but bidding here will begin at $9500.


Last November, Ten Miles Square and the Pink Line Project presented the photography exhibit "Fixation" at Fight Club, which drew over 700 people on opening night.

This year, "Fixation" moves to the growing new art concentration spot that I've been buzzing about around H Street, NE! As usual, they'll feature awesome photographers who document DC's subcultures. Along with great live music and lots of the usual beverages. Skater's welcome!

Fixation -"Photography + Music + Usual Beverage + Your Portraits!"
6-10 PM on November 7 at DC's newest gallery, Industry Gallery (above Conner Contemporary).

6-9 PM Music by Yoko K!
7:30 PM ayyoko confidential
9:00 PM Suspicious Package (recently mentioned in Spin magazine!)

Portrait photographs: Have your portrait taken in front of a specially commissioned backdrop created by artist Cory Oberndorfer.

"Fixation" photographers:
Aziz Yazdani
Drew McDermott
Angela Kleis
Pat Padua
Karon Flage
Joshua Yospyn
Amit Mehta
Nicole Aguirre
Jay Westcott

Celebrate DC's newest art center with:

* An opening of Koen Vanmechelen's "Cosmopolitan Chicken Project (DC)" at Conner Contemporary.

* G Fine Art's new space on the same block.

* A first look at the home of the new Industry Gallery, a contemporary design exhibition space.

The Monuments Men

Here’s an amazing video with Doris Kearns Goodwin discussing The Monuments Men, a new book about a small group of unknown heroes, men and women, who volunteered to save the cultural treasures of western civilization from the Nazi’s during WWII.

Among these unique and untold stories, is the story of the greatest heroine of the group -- Rose Valland. This brave woman secretly recorded the movements of stolen art and cultural objects by the Nazis, which was instrumental in the eventual recovery of these great treasures.

Book Page writes,

“an account that moves like a Hollywood action adventure…there are heroes to root for, villains to hiss at and an increasingly pressing race against time…Whether you’re a fan of art, military history or stories of real-life heroes, The Monuments Men is a treasure worth the hunt”
Buy the book here.

Artists' Websites: Ramell Ross

DC based freelance photographer Ramell Ross just completed a photo series that abstractly depicts Washington DC through paper clips. It's quite inventive and minimalist! See it here.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Free Biscet

The man on the left is Dr. Oscar Biscet, a Cuban physician who has been jailed and tortured for simply asking for change in Cuba. Dr. Biscet is a follower of the Dalai Lama, Thoreau, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr., and wants to bring democracy and justice to Cuba.

The Spanish words say: "Oscar Biscet - He asked for change and they made him a prisoner. Barack Obama - He asked for change and they made him President.

What’s important to you?

In cooperation with Nevin Kelly Gallery, local artists Sondra N. Arkin and Judy Byron are soliciting the public’s help in creating a collaborative work of art. The work is to be included as the artists’ contribution to a group exhibition entitled “What’s Important Now? that will run from November 19 through December 12 in the gallery’s space at 1400 Irving Street, NW in Washington (Unit 132).

Arkin and Byron are asking the public to answer the question “what’s important to you?” (in 10 words or less) by logging onto Individuals can answer as many times as they wish, subject only to the 10-word limit per response.

The public can follow the project on Facebook [Key word: Important2you] and on Twitter @important2you. The final product will be revealed at an opening reception for the exhibition, which will take place at the gallery on November 19 from 6:00 to 9:00 pm. The public is invited.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Wanna go to an MFA exhibition this week?

An MFA Thesis Exhibition of works by Patrick McDonough will be showcased at the Classroom 102 Gallery at The George Washington University from Oct. 27th – Nov. 6th, 2009.

Reception: Thursday, Oct. 29th, 2009, 5:30-8:30 pm

Gallery Hours: Monday-Friday, 9am to 5pm

Special Saturday Hours: Saturday, Oct. 31st, 11am-5pm [Artist will be present]

Classroom 102 Gallery is located on the first floor of Smith Hall of Art, 801 22nd St. NW, Washington DC, 20052. This location is just one block east of the Foggy Bottom/GWU Orange line Metro station, at the corner of 22nd and Eye Streets NW. Street parking and off-street garage parking is available.

Opportunity for Artists

Deadline: Nov. 20th, 2009

BlackrockIf you read this blog then you know that I've been always very impressed with the BlackRock Center for the Arts gallery's 1500 square feet of exquisite gallery space. With its high white walls and beautiful windows strategically placed, this gorgeous gallery allows in just the right amount of natural light. BlackRock Center for the Arts is located at 12901 Town Commons Drive Germantown, MD in upper Montgomery County, about 20 minutes from the Capital Beltway (495).

They currently have a call to artists and the call is open to all artists residing in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC over the age of 18.

Original artwork only. All work must be ready for sale and to be presented in a professional manner to the public at the time of delivery.

This call will cover exhibits in the gallery from September 2010 through August 2011. An exhibit may include one applicant or a combination of applicants, based on the judgment of jurors (i.e., 1 or 2 wall artists may be combined with a pedestal artist). A jury will select the artists and create eight exhibits to be included in the exhibit year. The jury panel is comprised of my good friend and gallerist Elyse Harrison, Jodi Walsh, and yours truly.

Jurying: First Week of December
Notification: Early January
Exhibit Year: Sept. 2010 – Aug. 2011

How to apply: All correspondence will be done by e-mail, so contact Kimberly Onley, the Gallery Coordinator at and ask her to email you a prospectus.

Don't wait to the last minute! Get the prospectus now!

New DC gallery

Industry Gallery, a gallery specializing in 21st century design, yesterday announced plans to open in January 2010. Industry Gallery, based in the Atlas/H Street Historic District of Washington, DC, will focus on international artists who create functional art from industrial materials. The gallery will hold temporary, single artist exhibitions representing a broad spectrum of international design trends.

Industry Gallery will offer unique and limited edition works that blur the boundary between experimental art and practical design.“Many of the artists I will show have works in major museums collections, and are producing pieces that are highly soughtafter by collectors in the rapidly expanding area of contemporary design,” said Craig Appelbaum, director of Industry Gallery, who has been a collector and private dealer.

“In the past decade the field has grown considerably as measured by the increasing number of museum exhibitions, international art fairs such as Design Miami and S.O.F.A., and attention by major international auctions houses including Christie’s, Phillips and Sotheby’s.”

Industry Gallery will occupy 4,300 square feet at 1358 Florida Avenue, NE, in the same building as Conner Contemporary. “Conner has helped make Washington, DC a destination for contemporary art connoisseurs, collectors and curators – my intention is to make this city a destination for aficionados of design, too,” said Appelbaum.

In addition to single artist exhibitions, the gallery will maintain an inventory of works by noted artists such as the Campana Brothers, Shiro Kuramata, and Atelier van Lieshout.

A special event will be held in the new Industry Gallery space featuring Fixation, curated by Pink Line Project and Ten Mile Square, in conjunction with the opening of Koen Vanmechelen at Conner Contemporary on Saturday November 7, 2009 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Gallery moves and new spaces

As it has been documented in many real estate studies, the renovation cycle of a run down neighborhood usually starts with art galleries and restaurants, desperately seeking affordable space to exhibit and cook.

It happened in Old Town Alexandria decades ago, in downtown Annapolis, around the 16th street area in DC, etc.

And now, anchored first by Conner Contemporary, it's happening around H Street, NE in DC. Soon Industry Gallery, a contemporary design exhibition space, will open above Conner, and also soon G Fine Art will relocate permanently to the same block (at 1350 Florida Ave, NE).

Party's already been planned by the folks from Ten Miles Square and the Pink Line Project. More on that later...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Think Pink

Check out the cool article and the even cooler pics of DC's Chief Creative Contrarian here.

New DC gallery

The Fridge DC is a new art gallery, performance space, and art school that offers full scholarships for children of low-income DC area residents. Our mission is to foster creativity and community dialogue; provide exhibition space to emerging and established local artists; host programs and activities that encourage public awareness, participation, and appreciation of the arts and to serve as a catalyst for social change.
Check them out here and their next show here.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Potomac Valley Watercolorists Annual Fall Art Exhibit and Sale

When: Saturday, November 7, 3:00-7:00pm, and Sunday, November 8, 12:00-4:00pm

Potomac Valley Watercolorists artists from the greater Washington metropolitan area will exhibit original paintings at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 4000 Lorcom Lane, Arlington, VA, on Saturday, November 7, 3:00-7:00 p.m., and Sunday, November 8, 12:00-4:00 p.m.

A wide variety of sizes and styles (including both framed and unframed paintings) will be available for sale (cash, check or credit card). Admittance is free, refreshments will be provided and exhibiting artists will be on site.

It will be my honor to award the prizes at this exhibit.

Potomac Valley Watercolorists (PVW) is a regional organization of water media painters who have been selected for membership through a highly competitive process. Members have exhibited extensively at the local, national and international levels.

Details here.

AWA at Easton

Easton's hard working South Street Gallery has a terrific exhibition hosting the work of the members of the American Women Artists (AWA) organization.

AWA is a non-profit organization dedicated to the inspiration, celebration and encouragement of women in the Arts and its current president is the very talented DC area master plein air painter Bethanne Kinsella Cople. The exhibition at South Street is a juried show that received 750 entries from which 64 works by non-member artists and 46 works by AWA members were accepted.

The exhibit ends November 8, 2009.

What to do next Saturday

Saturday, October 31, 2009
Ofrenda - Art for the Dead
3pm – 12am
Free Admission; Cash Bar at Masked Ball

Old Town Alexandria's Torpedo Factory hosts Art Outlet's Ofrenda 2009, a spectacular Halloween celebration in the tradition of the Mexican Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). This year's celebration offers a festive art exhibition with a masked ball and a parade. This is Art Outlet's third annual Ofrenda.

ART RECEPTION: Saturday, October 31, 3 pm – 7 pm
PARADE: Saturday, October 31, 7 pm – 7:45 pm
MASKED BALL: Saturday, October 31, 7:30 pm – 12 am
ART EXHIBITION: October 31 – November 3

Saturday | October 31 | 3 pm – 7 pm

Ofrenda is an art exhibition of 40 local artists' shrines, altars, and other art in the Mexican Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) tradition. Exhibiting artists:

Michael Auger, Kathlyn Avila-Reyes, Jennifer Beinhacker, Carlos Beltran, Jennifer Bishop, Ismael Carrillo, Kate Clark, Andrea Collins, Rosemary Feit Covey, Anthony Delfin, Jackie Ehle, Cavan Fleming, Ric Garcia, Jeannette Herrera, Jacqueline Inglefield, Kevin Irvin, Jessica Jastrzebski, Rebecca Marion Kallem, Lori Katz, Shauna Lee Lange, Emily Green Liddle, Carolina Mayorga, Peggy Meckling, Heather Miller, Mara Odette, Claudia & Sergio Olivos, Chris Peloso, Kevin Peshkepia, Caren Quinn, Lisa Rosenstein, Skeeter Scheid, Heather Schmaedeke, Hillary Sloate, Kenya Rene Smith, Constance Springer Zabowski, Neil Leon Stavely, Erika Stone, Henrik Sundqvist, Roy Utley, and Alexandra Zealand


Saturday | October 31 | 7 pm – 7:45 pm

Join up at the historic Market Square near City Hall at 301 King Street for the Ofrenda parade. The parade will start at 7 pm and end at the Torpedo Factory Art Center . Look for the drummers.

Come in your costumes, bring puppets, shrines, and noise makers. Free and Open to Anyone! E-mail us at for more information.


Saturday | October 31 | 7:30 pm – 12 am
No Cover; Cash Bar

Revelers are invited to come to the Ofrenda reception, parade, and masked ball dressed Day of the Dead style or decked out in Halloween finery.

Live music including rock, swing, and blues will be interspersed with belly dancing, tribal drumming, and aerial silks trapeze performances throughout the event.

Guests can participate in the Masked Ball and exhibition by bringing personal remembrances – ofrendas – to contribute to the artist-made public altar honoring those who have left us.


Altars, shrines, art, & multiple performances throughout the night. Public altar by artist Andrea Collins. Anyone can place ofrendas (offerings) throughout the event.

3 pm - 4 pm - FREE sugar skull activity with artist Heather Schmaedeke
3 pm - 3:40 pm - Mariachi Estrellas (traditional Mariachi music)
4:45 - 5:30 pm - Parliament Hill (Accoustic Folk)
5:30 - 5:45 pm - Moira (Silk Trapeze Aerialist)
5:45 pm - 6:30 pm - Wes Tucker & the Skillets (Blues/Rock)
6:30 pm - 6:45 pm - Belly Dancing
7 pm 7:45 pm - Parade with drummers from Market Square to Torpedo Factory
7:45 - 8:00 pm - Drum circle at Torpedo Factory
8 pm - 8:15 pm - Belly Dancing
8:15 pm - 9pm - Hootenanny Orchestra (Swing)
9 pm - 9:15 pm - Moira (Silk Trapeze Aerialist)
9:15 - 10 pm - American Sinners (Rock)
10:15 pm - 11 pm - Demivolt (Rock)
12 midnight - Event ends

More information here.

Does that all sounds like a great artsy thing to fill your Saturday or what?

Art Clearance Sale

MOCA DC in Georgetown is clearing their storage space and they have lots of new and used frames, framing pieces, matting of all sizes, shapes, etc, glass and even works of art in all sizes that has been there for years.

Check it out October 25 to 28; please call 202.342.6230 to come view.

Battle of Agincourt

Henry VToday is the anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt, where in 1415 a modern assessment estimates that 7,000 - 9,000 English archers and soldiers faced 12,000 French soldiers on St. Crispin's Day on this epic battle of the 100 Year's War. Contemporary English assessments of the times had estimated 6,000 for England and 20,000 - 30,000 for France.

History and legend credit the Welsh bowmen under Henry V's command for swinging the tide of victory to the English king.

Legend has it that this battle is where flipping the finger(s) as a sign of contempt emerged. As the English army was composed mostly of longbow men, and the archers needed his first two fingers to use the longbow, it is claimed that the French threatened to cut the fingers off the English longbow men.

In a contemptuous gesture, before the battle started, the English showed their two fingers to the French to show them that they still had their fingers. That legend would explain why in Britain the gesture of flipping the bird still uses the first two fingers of the hand reversed.

The battle is, of course, the main theme and the center piece of the play Henry V, by William Shakespeare.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Wanna go to an opening tomorrow?


How and where do art and science - two seemingly disparate disciplines of intellectual inquiry - overlap? And, at that confluence, what can practitioners of both disciplines learn to expand their unique fields of knowledge and to affect consciousness?

SOFAlab on Nov. 5, 2009.

SOFAlab's keynote speaker, Tod Machover - Professor of Music and Media at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab, the inventor of Hyperinstruments, a trained-Juilliard musician, and, the man Los Angeles Times deemed, “America's Most Wired Composer” - will bring his boundless knowledge of creative technology to the discussion. With each of Machover's innovations, such as his Hyperinstruments, Hyperscore, Brain Opera, Toy Symphony and MMH (Music, Mind and Health), he has intentionally explored the space where science and art collide and in doing so challenged traditional perceptions of both fields.

Expanding the discussion further, SOFAlab's panelists will include Maria Barbosa, Professor of Biology and a DC-based installation artist, Ernesto Barreto, Associate Professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy and the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study at George Mason University, and Brandon Morse, Professor of Digital Media at the University of Maryland and a DC-based video installation artist specializing in 3-D environments and animation software.

SOFAlab takes place on Thursday, November 5th, 2009 - 6pm reception, 7pm keynote address & panel at the Carnegie Institute of Washington, 1530 P Street, NW, Washington, DC. Free and Open to the Public.

For more information please contact the organizers: Helen Frederick, Shanti Norris, or Paul So, or view the event website at /

The Reconquista of Lisbon

Alfonso I of PortugalToday is the anniversary of the fall of Lisbon in 1147 to the siege Crusade armies of Alfonso Henriques, who eight years earlier had become Alfonso the First of the new kingdom of Portugal, which up to then was a troublesome county that was part of the legendary Kingdom of Leon.

The new king not only achieved independence from Leon, but also doubled his new country's size by reconquering lands in Moorish control. Surrounded on its borders by the huge kingdoms that would eventually become Spain three centuries later, Portugal looked to the ocean for exploration and trade and Portuguese explorers sailed all over the world. At one point, the imperialistic tiny kingdom had more colonies around the planet than any other European country and today Portuguese is the sixth most widely spoken language in the world, just a few million speakers behind Arabic.

Happy anniversary to beautiful Lisbon and the nation of Portugal.

PS - Today was also "Black Thursday" in 1929.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Opportunity for Artists

Deadline: Nov. 20th, 2009

BlackrockIf you read this blog then you know that I've been always very impressed with the BlackRock Center for the Arts gallery's 1500 square feet of exquisite gallery space. With its high white walls and beautiful windows strategically placed, this gorgeous gallery allows in just the right amount of natural light. BlackRock Center for the Arts is located at 12901 Town Commons Drive Germantown, MD in upper Montgomery County, about 20 minutes from the Capital Beltway (495).

They currently have a call to artists and the call is open to all artists residing in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC over the age of 18.

Original artwork only. All work must be ready for sale and to be presented in a professional manner to the public at the time of delivery.

This call will cover exhibits in the gallery from September 2010 through August 2011. An exhibit may include one applicant or a combination of applicants, based on the judgment of jurors (i.e., 1 or 2 wall artists may be combined with a pedestal artist). A jury will select the artists and create eight exhibits to be included in the exhibit year. The jury panel is comprised of my good friend and gallerist Elyse Harrison, Jodi Walsh, and yours truly.

Jurying: First Week of December
Notification: Early January
Exhibit Year: Sept. 2010 – Aug. 2011

How to apply: All correspondence will be done by e-mail, so contact Kimberly Onley, the Gallery Coordinator at and ask her to email you a prospectus.

Don't wait to the last minute! Get the prospectus now!

Copyright and Contract basics

Washington Project for the Arts and Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts (WALA) invite you to a No Artist Left Behind workshop on Copyright and Contract basics at the Arlington Art Center.

John D. Mason, an attorney at The Intellectual Property Group, PLLC., will share valuable information about contemporary issues in copyright law that artists need to know, followed by a question and answer session.

John D. Mason is a Washington DC/Maryland-based art and entertainment and intellectual property attorney. His practice focuses on copyright and trademark matters, litigation, contracts, and commercial matters. He works with writers, artists, and creative people and companies to protect and promote their work and is also a literary agent. He sits on the Board of Directors of the Washington Lawyers for the Arts.

No Artist Left Behind is a series of professional development workshops offered by Washington Project for the Arts providing resources to help artists succeed both inside and outside the studio.

This event is free and open to the public. Attendance is limited to 50 people. Please RSVP to

Arlington Arts Center
3550 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA 22201

Wanna go to an opening tomorrow?

James OsherIn his premiere exhibit at Addison/Ripley Fine Art in Georgetown, photographer James Osher presents an exhibition that examines subject matter which is derived from historic paintings in several museums, including, most recently the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.

As the artist states, "My work explores the transitory aesthetics of contemporary art viewing." By basing the work on the paintings of Masters and Old Masters, the artist is able to examine culturally assumed "value" as it pertains to "priceless" objects. Osher's work "allows viewers to experience these masterpieces in entirely new ways, forming fresh conceptual relationships with historically relevant works of art."

The opening reception for the artist at Addison/Ripley is this Saturday, October 24 from 5-7PM. The exhibition goes through December 5, 2009.

Studio space available

Only two individual artists studios remain in a wonderful new visual arts building! Located on Rhode Island Avenue just across the DC line in the Gateway Arts District, the Gateway Art Center building has a total of 12 visual art studios and multiple galleries.

The last two available studios are right off the loading dock at the 39th street entrance. Studio 207C is 418 sf and rents for $348 per month PLUS utilities and Studio 207D is 432 sf and rents for $360 per month PLUS utilities.

This warehouse was completely rehabilitated and has really turned out beautifully. With all new walls, windows and heating/cooling system you need to see it to believe it. There are eleven (11) artists, one arts nonprofit and one government-sponsored arts program starting to move in. Come be a part of this great community!

To see a space right away call John at 301-864-3860 ext. 3.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Philadelphia artist takes the inaugural $150K Wolgin Prize

You already know how I bitched about the fact that the jurors for this very generous prize really screwed up in their lazy elitism and ignored the fact that this prize was supposed to go to an emerging artist. Instead, as announced tonight in Philly and discussed in

Ryan Trecartin, a young Philadelphia painter and sculptor whose psychedelic, desultory, kitschy video work has found love among critics and collectors, has been given the first $150,000 top award in the Wolgin International Competition in the Fine Arts - one of the richest art prizes in the world.

... Trecartin's works have attracted wide attention, appearing at the 2006 Whitney Biennial, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, Saatchi Gallery in London and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. He recently was awarded a Pew Fellowship in the Arts, which carries a $60,000 cash award.

... Glahn said the competition would likely undergo refinement for its next round; it might be hard to call any of the three finalists an emerging artist, since all three have exhibited widely.

"What might change is our definition of what emerging is," he said.
Right... fit the mistake to the error so that from now on an "emerging artist" is someone who appears at the Whitney Biennial, the J. Paul Getty Museum, Saatchi Gallery, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, etc.

That's much easier to do (change the definition of emerging artist so that the next set of jurors picks another artist at the blue chip well-known level of Trecartin) than actually do what Mr. Wolgin wants and have the prize go to a fucking emerging artist.

Tyler University and Temple Gallery and Jack Wolgin: How about making the 2010 jurors work for real and earn their jury money so that from now on a prize supposed to go to emerging artists go to emerging artists. If you need to know how to do this, call me.

And congrats to Trecartin, who has no fault in this mess of a first year for the Wolgin Prize; at least the loot stayed home for Philly.

Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition 2009 Winner

Tonight the National Portrait Gallery announced the winner of the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition 2009 at the opening reception and the winner is photographer Dave Woody from Ft. Collins, CO. The exhibition will open to the public tomorrow Friday, Oct. 23 and will remain on view through August 22, 2010.

Erik, by Dave Woody

Erik by Dave Woody

Congrats to Dave Woody! You can see his portraits here.

The Killing of Dub

The Drowning of the Witch Dub

The Killing of Dub(h)
Charcoal and Conte on Paper Panels c.2009
10 feet by 4.5 feet

At ten feet long this is by far my largest drawing ever and (since it was a private commission) heading to a collection in San Diego (but I do have the much, much smaller study available for sale).

The drawing depicts the drowning of the Celtic witch Dub or Dub(h). She was married to the elf Énna and was very jealous. Upon learning that her husband Énna had taken a second wife named Áíde, Dub cast a spell on the second wife and drowned Áíde and all of her family. Seeing this, Áíde's servant threw a rock at Dub, hit her on the head and Dub fell into the same pool and also drowned. Dublin is named after the place where she drowned. Lin or Linn in Gaelic is "Pool" ("Dub" means "Black"). Thus Dub + Lin equals Dublin or Dub's Pool.

Click on the image for a larger version.

JRA and Washington Craft Show

Deadline to register: October 30, 2009

Join the James Renwick Alliance from Noon to 5:30pm on November 7, 2009 for an afternoon of craft and design with artist and collector-led tours of the Washington Craft Show that explore the criteria used to look at glass, ceramics, fiber, metal/jewelry, and wood as genres of collecting and for increased appreciation on the art form.

Participants will begin at a nearby gallery featuring work by an artist involved with the new textile design project that will be visited later in the afternoon. Artist and collector experts in specific craft mediums will give brief 3-point "this-is-what-to-look-at" talks about ceramics, glass, fiber, metal/ jewelry and wood before going to the Washington Craft Show. Light refreshments will be served.

Participants will then walk to the Washington Convention Center to tour the Washington Craft Show as part of a medium specific group. Each group will visit the booths of 2-3 artists working in that medium who will talk about their work. The tour part of the afternoon concludes around 2:45pm allowing the participants to enjoy the craft show and show events on their own.

From 3:30pm to 5:30 pm, participants are invited to a private reception near the Convention Center to view a private collection of studio furniture and ceramics, and to see the results of a three-week textile design experiment. Representatives of the sponsoring gallery and the artist will talk about the project concept.

Price: $30.00 for JRA members and $35.00 for non-members. Both prices include a ticket to the Washington Craft Show. $10 of registration fee supports JRA programs and is tax deductible.

Deadline to register: October 30, 2009
Group sizes are limited

To register please contact the James Renwick Alliance office.

Wanna go to a gallery opening tomorrow?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Time for Formula!

In 35 seconds check out Anderson Campello's right uppercut

Who will win $150K tomorrow? Not an emerging artist...

The new Jack Wolgin International Competition in the Fine Arts, at $150,000, is the largest juried prize in the world, and it is supposed to go to an individual emerging visual artist.

Philadelphia banker and real estate mogul Jack Wolgin is a very generous man who wants the prize to be awarded annually, and he wanted it to be "intended for an artist who has not yet received widespread recognition outside of the art world and whose work breaks new ground by crossing traditional boundaries."

Words count. When I first announced the establishment of this new art prize in this blog back in 2008, I wrote:

This is great news for visual artists all over the world and even greater good news for the Philadelphia art scene. I will immediately comment that I am hoping that their selection panel will have the cojones to look truly to nominate artists at "a critical professional juncture" and not just xerox out a bunch of names of the usual suspects.

I remember fondly the days when museums like the Whitney and others would take chances on "new" artists, and as a result in the 80s they would give artists their first museum show ever (from memory I think both Fischl and Schnabel got their very first museum show, both while in their 30s, at the Whitney).

The days when museum curators want to be "first" are long gone, and seldom do we see a major museum take a chance with a "first" anymore. The same lack of cojones seems to have infected the major art prizes of the world, and I for one hope that Tyler and its selection jury get some brass into their system and make a statement with this new and generous prize.
Wishful thinking on my part!

The initial award set of jurors picked to award Mr. Wolgin's money: Ingrid Schaffner, Senior curator at Philadelphia’s Institute for Contemporary Art, Paolo Colombo, adviser to the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art, and Melissa Chiu, director of the Asia Society in New York, have all taken the expected lazy interpretation of the focus of the competition and have selected Ryan Trecartin, Sanford Biggers, and Michael Rakowitz from a larger pool of only 14 nominees.

The nominees were selected by "a group of nine prominent international art world figures from museums and educational organizations, representing the range of media eligible for consideration. The 14 nominees were then invited to submit an application, which was reviewed by the three-person jury."

Ryan TrecartinRyan Trecartin, Sanford Biggers, and Michael Rakowitz are all terrific and highly accomplished artists, but in my opinion are all artists who have exhibited far too widely (I think that by the time you get to exhibit in London's Whitechapel alongside Shahryar Nashat, you're waaaay past emerging) and are too well known to fit into the category envisioned by Mr. Wolgin.

Remember this prize is supposed to go to "emerging artists."

"There was a great deal of discussion about the term ‘emerging artist,’ ” said Ingrid Schaffner, referring to the competition’s main criteria. But after the lazy jurors had defined their terms, she admitted that they “surprised everyone by coming to a consensus fairly quickly.”

Very lazily if you ask me. I hope that Temple University’s Tyler School of Arts, who hosts the prize, is as pissed off at paying jurors that don't do the expected work, and that Temple has learned a very valuable lesson from this initial go around and realizes that seldom does a museum curator or an advisor to any museum (whatever that is?) is really at the leading edge of knowing who is really an "emerging artist."

In fact, one of the criteria if a museum curator is ever selected for the jury pool again should be: "Have you ever given an artist his/her first museum show?" And maybe even: "How many artists' studios have you visited in the last five years"?

Back in the 80s museums such as the Whitney in NYC used to give artists their first ever museum show. That was the last time that most museum curators actually were deep in the weeds of who was really an emerging artist.

Let's hope that this outrageous failure to focus Mr. Wolgin's initial prize money on the intended pool of emerging artist recipients will put this generous prize back on its intended path. And 2010 jurors, the intended recipients are supposed to be emerging fucking artists!"

The three finalists' work is on view at at the Temple Gallery through Oct. 31, 2009. The prize will be announced tomorrow; personally I am rooting for Ryan, so that at least the $150K loot stays in Philly.

My hopes for 2010 remain grim. Unless Temple learns this lesson, this $150K will continue to go to the usual suspects because it takes a lot of work to do the job right.

How hard? An independent survey sponsored by The International Art Materials Trade Association (NAMTA) and American Artist magazine recently reported that there are 4.4 million active artists in the United States alone (600,000 professional artists, 600,000 college art students, and 3.2 million active recreational artists). That's a lot of artists, 99.9999999999999999% of whom are emerging artists, and at least 16 of them (more than 14 anyway) I bet are breaking "new ground by crossing traditional boundaries."

I hope that Mr. Wolgin is as pissed off as I am; I intend to mail him a hard copy of this post, and then call him, and I hope that he then picks up the phone and tells Temple to get their act right with his prize money in 2010.

Shame on you Ingrid Schaffner, Paolo Colombo, and Melissa Chiu.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

WPA Announces New Program

WPA has announced Information Exchange, an informal partnership with the International Studio and Curatorial Program in Brooklyn, NY.

WPA will bring international curators to Washington to discuss ideas and projects in a public forum, followed by a day of one-on-one critiques or portfolio reviews with WPA member artists. The goal of the program is to expose artists and curators to each other's work, spurring new and continuing conversations, ideas, relationships, and projects which will carry on long after the initial exchange. WPA will launch the program's pilot season with a visit by Miguel Amado of Portugal.

Miguel Amado is curator at the Fundação PLMJ in Lisbon, where he develops a collection of Portuguese contemporary art and organizes its exhibition and publication series. Recently, he served as a Curatorial Fellow at Rhizome at the New Museum in New York. Miguel is an adjunct curator at the Centro de Artes Visual in Coimbra, Portugal, where he organizes its Project Room exhibition series and special projects. He is a regular contributor to Artforum and his critical writing has also appeared in magazines such as Flash Art and numerous books and catalogues.

Admission to the public talk is free and open to the public

Artist Meetings at WPA offices Friday, November 13:
Artists who wish to meet with Miguel must email membership director Adam Griffiths at by November 9. They will randomly select 6 artists from email requests. Artists should bring no more than 5-10 CURRENT samples of work to discuss with Miguel.

Artist-Curator meetings will last between 30 and 45 minutes and will begin on the hour starting at 10:00 am. If artists have a preferred meeting time, please note in the email along with a phone number.

Information Exchange
Public Talk: Thursday, November 12, 6:30 – 8:00pm
Artist Meetings: Friday, November 13, starting at 10:00am
Location of events: WPA, 2023 Massachusetts Ave, NW, WDC 20036

Monday, October 19, 2009

Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition 2009

This week the National Portrait Gallery will announce the winners of the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition 2009 at an opening reception taking place on the evening of Oct. 22. The exhibition will open to the public Friday, Oct. 23 and will remain on view through August 22, 2010.

The show has been juried from 3,300 entries, down to 49 finalists from around the country. Of those 49, seven have been selected for the short list of cash prizes. The top award will win $25,000 as well as a separate commission from the Portrait Gallery. (In May, the museum unveiled Mrs. Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s portrait by David Lenz, Lenz won first prize in 2006). The exhibition will display the works of the 49 finalists.

“The second Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition represents a significant milestone for the National Portrait Gallery,” said Martin Sullivan, director of the museum. “We opened the entries to all visual arts media and received a wonderful response.”

The competition happens only once every three years and demonstrates the new ways artists are working with the figure and creating portraits. External jurors for the competition were Wanda M. Corn, professor emerita in art history at Stanford University; Kerry James Marshall, artist; Brian O’Doherty, artist and critic; and Peter Schjeldahl, art critic for The New Yorker. Jurors from the National Portrait Gallery were Martin E. Sullivan, director; Carolyn K. Carr, deputy director and chief curator; and Brandon Brame Fortune, curator of painting and sculpture.

Portrait Competition Finalists and Shortlisted Artists (the asterisk denotes the artists on the shortlist):

Mequitta Ahuja, Houston
Jason Shaw Alexander, Los Angeles
Jen Bandini, Queens, N.Y.
Margaret Bowland, Brooklyn, N.Y.*
Benita Carr, Atlanta
Laura Chasman, Roslindale, Mass.
Mark Cummings, Newport Beach, Calif.
Yolanda del Amo, Brooklyn, N.Y.*
Armando Dominguez, Miami
Jenny Dubnau, Jackson Heights, N.Y.
Daniel Mark Duffy, Newtown, Conn.
David Eichenberg, Toledo, Ohio
Gaela Erwin, Louisville, Ky.*
Chambliss Giobbi, New York
David Gracie, Omaha, Neb.
Leor Grady, New York
Anne Harris, Riverside, Ill.
Patricia Horing, Larchmont, N.Y.
Kate Sammons, Los Angeles
Philip Schirmer, Sargentville, Maine
Justin Shaw, Lincoln, Neb.
Satomi Shirai, Astoria, N.Y.
Michael A. Smith, Ottsville, Pa.
Ben Tolman, Washington, D.C.
Jim Torok, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Anna Killian, Pensacola, Fla.
Erika Larsen, Hoboken, N.J.
David Dodge Lewis, Farmville, Va.
Lisa Lindvay, Chicago
Francesco Lombardo, Marshall, N.C.
Perin Mahler, Grand Rapids, Mich.
John Manion, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Bruce McKaig, Washington, D.C.
Pavel Melecky, Arlington, Texas
Sam Messer, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Paul Mindell, Norwalk, Conn.
Matthew Mitchell, Amherst, Mass.
Samantha Mitchell, New York
Austin Parkhill, Arvada, Colo.
Sonia Paulino, Los Angeles
Cliffton Peacock, Charleston, S.C.
Stanley Rayfield, Richmond, Va.*
Emil Robinson, Cincinnati*
Margaret Trezevant, Tampa, Fla.
Lien Truong, Eureka, Calif.
Clarissa Payne Uvegi, New York
Adam Vinson, Jenkintown, Pa.*
Dave Woody, Fort Collins, Colo.*
John Randall Younger, Charlottesville, Va.

I am familiar with the work of the two DC area artists on the list, Ben Tolman and Bruce McKaig. In fact, both of them have exhibited at the Fraser Gallery back in the days when I was a co-owner of those two galleries.

Seeking the scent of a white cube

As I mentioned a while back, we have moved back to the Greater DC area and thus once again I can refer to myself (as The Artists' Blue Book does) as a "active" in the District of Columbia.

So now I would like to re-acquire a local DC gallery to represent my work in the Greater DC area. I already have gallery representation in Philadelphia, PA, Richmond, VA and Norfolk, VA, but the vast majority of my collectors are in the Greater DC area, so it makes sense to re-establish a DC area gallery connection.

Since I moved to the DC area in 1992, away in 2006 and back in 2009, I've had a dozen solo shows (Annapolis, DC and Richmond) in the area, the vast majority of which have sold well or sold out plus have received extensive press coverage from the Washington Post, the Washington Times, the Washington City Paper, the Richmond Style Weekly, the Georgetowner, etc. My work gets the press' attention in one way or the other, even if it is to be described as "heavy-handed and irritating", as the Washington Post once did!

My work has also done well in art fairs in New York, Miami, Toronto and Santa Fe in the last few years. In fact, in my last NYC art fair earlier this year I sold about 20 drawings. At Art Santa Fe, which was a really tough fair because of the economy, and with many galleries not selling anything, my work was the only one that sold at the fair by the gallery that took it there.

So I need and want a gallery in the Greater DC area. If you are a gallerist and interested, drop me an email to and let's talk.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Another new drawing from my continuous interest in this subject.

Ophelia by F. Lennox Campello

The Killing of Ophelia
Charcoal and conte on paper. 4.5 feet by 2 feet. 2009.
F. Lennox Campello

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Quite contrary

Shepard Fairey's claim that he had the right to use a news photo to create his famous Barack Obama "HOPE" poster became a widely watched court case about fair use that now appears to have nearly collapsed.

By Friday night, his attorneys — led by Anthony Falzone, executive director of the Fair Use Project at Stanford University — said they intend to withdraw from the case and said the artist had misled them by fabricating information and destroying other material.
Read the story here. That portrait now sits in the National Portrait Gallery.

The National Portrait Gallery had an easy way out of this mess and I offered them the idea here, and even sent it to them, but all that I heard back was this.

Had they taken my idea and run with it, they would be smelling like roses now, rather than having a work in their collection that allegedly violates copyright law.

iPhone's Brushes

Are any of you out there aware of any DC artists (or exhibits) that have been experimenting with or featuring work that has been completed on the iPhone's Brushes application?

If so, drop me an email to

Number 1 on NYT Best Sellers' List

DC area's own Frank Warren: Check it out here as PostSecret: Confessions on Life, Death, and God, enters the hardcover advice and miscellaneous list this week at No. 1.

Congrats to Frank!

Wanna go to an opening tonight?

Two very talented multi-dimensional artists, Joyce Zipperer and Rania Hassan open at Gallery Neptune in Bethesda tonight. The opening night reception is Saturday, October 17, 7pm-9pm. The show will run October 17-November 14.

Needling Jessica Back

Today I picked up my copy of the Gazette and was pleased to see a huge review by Jordan Edwards of Andrew Wodzianski's Abra Cadaver exhibition at Fraser Gallery. That's the only way that I get any news these days about the gallery that I used to co-own for ten years from 1996-2006.

At the Fraser Gallery in Bethesda, a collection of Androids will fill the space until Nov. 14. The mixed media pieces are not new — they first appeared at the Warehouse Gallery in fall 2006 — but this is his first solo exhibition of the illustrations at Fraser. Nine have not been on display anywhere before.

The series is inspired by Tomy's Mighty Men & Monster Maker, a late '70s and '80s toy that allowed children to create rubbings of creatures using interchangeable plates and a box of crayons. Spin-offs included cartoon characters and fashion models. Wodzianski received the original as a gift at age 4 and became fascinated with the differences between the girl and boy versions. He has purchased nearly 40 sets and uses rubbings as starting points for hand-drawn figures that he colors, cuts out and mounts on scrapbook paper.
And here's the gem in the show:
Raised in rural Pennsylvania and educated at the Maryland Institute College of Art, Wodzianski teaches at the College of Southern Maryland (CSM) and has been represented by the Fraser Gallery since 2001.

The D.C. resident has had a few bruises along the way. After his first solo show at the gallery in 2003, Washington Post art critic Jessica Dawson brought down the hammer. He subsequently immortalized her in an illustration called, "Jessica, This May Sting a Little."

"He was completely devastated by the review," gallery owner Catriona Fraser recalls. "So he's done this little homage to [Dawson], but it's nothing like it could have been. He could have been a lot harsher."

Wodzianski shook it off and no longer views Dawson as a dream-crusher. The critic gave him a more favorable review last summer.

"You learn to wear bad reviews like a badge of honor," he says. "I think her writings have become increasingly sophisticated, and I'm beginning to agree with her more often than not."

Jessica Dawson

"Jessica, This May Sting a Little"
Mixed Media, 10" x 8", 2009 by Andrew Wodzianski

Read the review here.

This is what Jessica wrote about Andrew six years ago. There's no art critic like time, and time has proven Dawson to be spectacularly wrong when she mimics the traditional art critic mantra and writes:
Anyone in the art world will tell you: Realism has been done. Remember those cave painters back in 15,000 B.C.? Could those guys render a bison or what?

... only a near-cosmic alignment of skill and innovation will capture the attention of an art world entranced by its own progress.
She then tears Andrew a new one:
Not surprisingly, I guess, one branch of contemporary figurative painters, the ones not quite so talented or clever, have transformed attention-seeking into an art.

... Wodzianski's scenarios are fine camp. But is the artist in on the joke?
Read Dawson's six year old review here.

By the way, I agree with Andrew in the sense that I also think that Dawson's reviews and writing have improved substantially in the ten years or so that she has been freelancing for the Washington Post, ever since that day when Ferdinand Protzman quit as the galleries' critic in a dispute over assignments.

The writing of the young Dawson to the more mature Dawson has mellowed out quite a bit and she's no longer the flame thrower that she used to be from her days in the City Paper to her move to the Post. I've been harsh on Dawson's writing many times in the past, but have also praised her writing when we align in ideas and opinions. And she has clearly become a better writer in the last few years.

And better educated. By the way, the book that Jessica is holding (AH 245) is a GWU course titled "Seminar in European Art of the Nineteenth Century." "Collectors and their Collections," restricted to graduate students and taught by Prof. Robinson.

"Abra Cadaver" runs through Nov. 14 at the Fraser Gallery in Bethesda.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Happy Blogaversary

Today marks the 6th anniversary of this blog!

Here's the first entry ever... back in 2003.

And now, over two million page views later, while many other DC area art blogs that were hot and new in those early days of the artblogsphere seem to have lost steam and blogapathy has infected many of them, the thrice re-named DC Art News is still moving forward and the blog is still getting new readers each month.

Hirst's spectacular painting failure

This week we may have witnessed one of the pivotal moments in the history of art. Not only has Damien Hirst, arguably the richest and most powerful artist in history, received the critical pasting of his life, but there's a sense that our whole perception of what art is, or should be, may have subtly – or not so subtly – shifted.
What's this? What's this? Is this a major, international art critic saying this?
In case you've been miles from the media over the past week, Hirst, the man who became famous by putting sharks and sheep in formaldehyde, who summed up the 21st century confluence of art and shameless materialism with a £50 million diamond-encrusted skull – none of which he actually made himself – decided to exhibit paintings executed with his own hand in one of Britain's most august art institutions, the Wallace Collection.

Damien Hirst - Human Skull in SpaceHere, Hirst's daubs have been hung on walls newly lined in blue silk at a cost of £250,000, close to, if not actually alongside works by Titian, Rembrandt, Velasquez and Poussin. The result has been one of the most unanimously negative responses to any exhibition in living memory. Sarah Crompton, writing in this paper, was one of the kinder critics, finding the paintings merely "thin and one note". "Deadly dull, amateurish", wrote the Guardian's critic. "Not worth looking at", said the Independent. "Dreadful", pronounced The Times.
Awright then....
Tom Lubbock, writing in the Independent, felt the need to preface his particularly acerbic remarks by reiterating – in an almost apologetic manner – one of the great mantras of contemporary art, that "skills needn't matter". Yet perhaps the great lesson of today's responses to Hirst's paintings is that skills most definitely do, should and always will matter.

And what's most significant is that the people behind today's apparent backlash aren't the "a-child-of-four-could-do-that" brigade, but people who really know their stuff: writers with an understanding of the art of all eras who have had to pander to every kind of money-inflated idiocy in order to appear relevant in our ever more uncertain cultural market place – in order, simply, to keep their jobs. But now the critical worm has turned.
Obviously we all need to read Mark Hudson writing in The Telegraph here.

Meanwhile Hirst laughs all the way to the bank; after all, he (like Koons) is a brilliant marketeer who has (until now) fooled post modernist art critics into thinking that everything is art and technique doesn't matter.

Not the first time that art critics have been way off; it's a good thing that their/our deadliest enemy is art history and time (mostly time).

Yay Rockwell!

Wanna go to an artist's talk tomorrow?

Civilian Art Projects is moving soon, and they currently have Cara Ober and Nikki Painter on exhibition. Tomorrow, October 17, from 6-8, at Civilian Art Projects, they will host an artist talk which will be the last event in their old location.

Go check out the artwork and the art talk as well.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Opportunity for Artists

Deadline: October 26, 2009

BlackrockIf you read this blog then you know that I've been always very impressed with the BlackRock Center for the Arts gallery's 1500 square feet of exquisite gallery space. With its high white walls and beautiful windows strategically placed, this gorgeous gallery allows in just the right amount of natural light. BlackRock Center for the Arts is located at 12901 Town Commons Drive Germantown, MD in upper Montgomery County, about 20 minutes from the Capital Beltway (495).

They currently have a call to artists and the call is open to all artists residing in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC over the age of 18.

Original artwork only. All work must be ready for sale and to be presented in a professional manner to the public at the time of delivery.

This call will cover exhibits in the gallery from September 2010 through August 2011. An exhibit may include one applicant or a combination of applicants, based on the judgment of jurors (i.e., 1 or 2 wall artists may be combined with a pedestal artist). A jury will select the artists and create eight exhibits to be included in the exhibit year. The jury panel is comprised of my good friend and gallerist Elyse Harrison, Jodi Walsh, and yours truly.

Jurying: First Week of December
Notification: Early January
Exhibit Year: Sept. 2010 – Aug. 2011

How to apply: All correspondence will be done by e-mail, so contact Kimberly Onley, the Gallery Coordinator at and ask her to email you a prospectus.

Don't wait to the last minute! Get the prospectus now!

Postsecret's fifth book out

My good friend and DC artist Frank Warren is the brilliant mind behind's the planet's most successful art project ever: PostSecret.

And now a new PostSecret book: PostSecret Confessions on Life, Death and God, the fifth in a series of best-sellers, has been released.

And check out Frank on the Today show below:

More about the book below:

And on Sunday, October 25, Warren will be at the American Visionary Art Museum, in Baltimore, MD where he will share the inspirational and funny stories behind some of the quarter million secrets that he has received on postcards. He will also project images of the secrets that were banned from the four previous PostSecret books.


Super hard-working DC artist Dana Ellyn has been in the news a lot lately for her irreverent paintings at a recent art exhibit in Washington that marked the first-ever International Blasphemy Day (Sept. 30) at the Center for Inquiry DC near Capitol Hill.... on CNN, then on USA Today, earlier on Religion News Service (that story received more comments than any other article in the history of their news service).

To see more about the show, read all of the articles and get links to additional stories, please visit Ellyn's website here.

One comment on the focus of the artwork (having done a few blasphemous drawings in my own lifetime): it's easy (and safe) to be blasphemous versus the Judeo-Christian religions, but where are the blasphemy paintings versus the Islamic religion? versus Hinduism? where's fat, bald Buddha in all of this? versus whatever it is that the Druze believe in? Why just pick on the two "safe" religions? Let's open up the whole can of artistic whup'ass on the opiate of the masses in all its versions.

Dana has a lot of stuff happening next:

* This Friday October 16: "Sequestered" solo show opening Reception at R. Coury Gallery in Savage, MD.

* Next Thursday Oct. 22: "P'arty" grand opening show at Long View Gallery in DC.

* December 5th: "Divinely Irreverent" solo show opening reception at Evolve Urban Arts Project.

* February 5th: "Til Death Do Us Part" two person show and wedding with Matt Sesow at DC's Long View Gallery.

* Larz from Mars - TV appearance.

Congrats to Dana and Matt!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Scotland calling

I used to go to Scotland once a year or so, and lived there from 1989-1992. I feel it calling me...

The Road to the Isles

A far croonin' is pullin' me away
As take I wi' my cromak to the road.
The far Coolins are puttin' love on me,
As step I wi' the sunlight for my load.

Sure, by Tummel and Loch Rannoch
And Lochaber I will go,
By heather tracks wi' heaven in their wiles;
If it's thinkin' in your inner heart
Braggart's in my step,
You've never smelt the tangle o' the Isles.
Oh, the far Coolins are puttin' love on me,
As step I wi' my cromak to the Isles.

It's by 'Sheil water the track is to the west,
By Aillort and by Morar to the sea,
The cool cresses I am thinkin' o' for pluck,
And bracken for a wink on Mother's knee.

It's the blue Islands are pullin' me away,
Their laughter puts the leap upon the lame,
The blue Islands from the Skerries to the Lews,
Wi' heather honey taste upon each name.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Chinese Contemporary Art Market Plunges

The financial crisis has caught up to contemporary Chinese art. After a boom cycle in 2007 and 2008 that led many young works to sell for multiples of their original sale price, prices are beginning to fall: In fact, Chinese auction house Beijing Poly International Auction says business has dropped by about 50 percent.
Details here.

Georgetown Gallery Gaze

Join the galleries of Georgetown this coming Friday for the launch of "Georgetown Gallery Gaze" every third friday from 6-8 for a movable feast of art, music and libations throughout Georgetown. Maps and details with the 13 participating venues are here.

Don't miss Cross Mackenzie's show, which has two local ceramic artists, Matthew Frietas and Tamara Laird. In his "Naked Raku Vessels", Freitas takes the ancient Japanese Raku firing technique "into the modern era with his dizzying designs. Each Raku vessel is unique, the cracks formed by the process of removing a piece from the kiln while still red hot and submerging it in a container filled with leaves or paper. A fire is ignited and the resulting smoke drenches the vessel and seeps into the cracks. The challenge is to balance control and serendipity. The degree of mastery Frietas demonstrates over what is essentially a capricious technique is what makes these pieces so impressive. He cuts through a layer of slip, which acts as a resist, and he draws with the smoke. In the 16th century, this unique firing method was more than a new approach to ceramics. It was a part of a lifestyle in which Zen ideals were paramount - expressed in ceramics by creating objects that appeared born of the earth. This is where Frietas parts with the tradition. Though his Raku is low fired and has the texture of something found in nature, his patterns are uniquely man made and dazzling."

Tamara Laird's "Paisley Monuments" are on view through October 12th at the United States Botanic Gardens in an exhibition called "Flora: Growing Inspirations". The show will bring these large vitrified glazed ceramic sculptures indoors for Cross MacKenzie's next exhibition. Laird's current work is based on the paisley motif, a universally recognizable pattern that has been used for thousands of years. Like Frietas, she looks to tradition as a point of departure and creates new and original works.

Delivering a Coffin to a Gallery in 20 Photos

You gotta see this!

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Contemporary Art Purchasing Program at UMD

In the spring of 2008, five gifted students from the University of Maryland were selected to be part of a committee that was taught the "intricacies of contemporary art and sent on trips to New York City and Washington D.C, where they visited multiple galleries and artists’ studios. The program concluded with the committee of students purchasing a number of pieces of contemporary art to be added to the collection of The Adele H. Stamp Student Union, Center for Campus Life."

The committee’s selections were then on exhibition at the University's Stamp Gallery. I was very interested in seeing the results of what sounds like a very cool program and visited the exhibition a while back. This is the second iteration of this program, and a new one will soon be underway.

The journey included a fall semester art theory course, countless hours in meetings to discuss independent research, leading up to exhilarating and exhausting trips to visit New York City and Washington D.C galleries. The committee worked directly with the galleries to both plan and schedule the trips and to acquire valuable information about the artists that piqued their interests. Final decisions were made after a formal presentation to an advisory board consisting of University community members and art professionals. It is safe to say that each artwork that the committee purchased was thoroughly researched and discussed.
The student committee members were Sana Javed ’09, Ophra Paul ’08, Alison Reilly ’09, Alisyn Stuebner MA ’09, and Megan Wickless ’10. And I will report immediately that each one performed superbly and acquired work that definitely fits what the program aimed for. It is the program itself that needs both to be lauded (and I really, really like this program) and also fine tuned a little to make it more realistic and tuned to the University's own backyard's art community.

I am told that the ultimate goal of the program is to "educate and inspire by exposing the campus community to challenging art created by noted contemporary artists. At the same time, committee members are given the opportunity to develop leadership skills as well as a deeper appreciation for art and the art world." More on the program itself here.

The selected artists for the last iteration of the program and 2009 additions to the University's permanent collection are Barbara Probst, Dulce Pinzon, Jefferson Pinder, Edward Burtynsky, Annu Palakunnathu Mathew and Linn Meyers. All but Meyers and Pinder are photographs; Meyers and Pinder are also local artists to the DC regional scene.

My own favorite works in the new collection are the two pieces by Mexican photographer Dulce Pinzón. I am not sure which of the students proposed her work, but the proposal was:
Mexican-born artist Dulce Pinzón challenges the stereotypes held against Mexican and Latino immigrants in the United States with her Superheroes project. In the wake of September 11, Pinzón found herself intrigued by the use and meaning of the word hero.

Bernabe Mendez from the State of Guerrero works as a professional window cleaner in New York. He sends 500 dollars a month by Dulce Pinzón
Bernabe Mendez from the State of Guerrero works as a professional window cleaner in New York. He sends 500 dollars a month.
20x24 inches, C-print mounted. c. 2004-2005 by Dulce Pinzón

The artist set out to capture images of those whom she considered the unsung heroes of her community—those immigrants who not only keep U.S. cities like New York running by working long hours for little pay, but who also support their families in Mexico by sending home substantial portions of their paychecks each week. Pinzón captured immigrant workers performing their jobs in their work environments, dressed as popular American and Mexican superheroes. Each photograph is accompanied by a short paragraph providing the subject’s name, his or her hometown, and the amount of money he or she sends to family members in Mexico each week.

Maria Luisa Romero from the State of Puebla works in a Laundromat in Brooklyn, New York. She sends 150 dollars a week
Maria Luisa Romero from the State of Puebla works in a Laundromat in Brooklyn, New York. She sends 150 dollars a week by Dulce Pinzón.
20x24 inches, C-print mounted. c. 2004-2005 by Dulce Pinzón

The subject matter and aim of Pinzón’s project is both politically and socially engaging and would resonate with the University of Maryland community. The school sits on the border of the nation’s capital, a place where immigration is frequently the topic of debate. As in New York City, immigrants converge in Washington, D.C., to find work and to support their families, yet they are hardly given the respect and credit they deserve for the work they do.

Adding works from Superheroes to the Stamp collection would provide members of this university’s diverse community an opportunity to challenge preconceived ideas of what it means to be American or a hero, as well as to question the role that perspective plays in defining identity. The visual juxtaposition of the costumed subject in his or her work environment will draw the viewer in, while the text will enlighten the viewer and present new ways of thinking about immigrant workers.

Adding works from Superheroes to the Stamp collection would provide members of this university’s diverse community an opportunity to challenge preconceived ideas of what it means to be American or a hero, as well as to question the role that perspective plays in defining identity. The visual juxtaposition of the costumed subject in his or her work environment will draw the viewer in, while the text will enlighten the viewer and present new ways of thinking about immigrant workers
Dulce Pinzón was born in Mexico City in 1974. She studied Mass Media Communications at the Universidad de Las Americas in Puebla, Mexico and photography at Indiana University in Pennsylvania. In 1995 she moved to New York where she studied at The International Center of Photography.
As a young Mexican artist living in the US, Dulce soon found new inspiration for her photography in feelings of nostalgia, questions of identity, and political and cultural frustrations. In her black and white series “Viviendo en el Gabacho” (a Mexican colloquialism for living in the US) she illustrates the dualistic phenomenon of the integration of the Mexican immigrant into the New York landscape.
She is currently a Ford Foundation fellow and lives in Brooklyn, New York Mexico City. I find it interesting that Pinzón's best work was triggered by the viewing of her Mexican kinfolk from an American perspective. It delivers powerful images with a resonant social message. I wonder if when Pinzón returns to her native Mexico she now "sees" her working class compatriots in a different light. I say this because Mexican society is very harsh on its own lower working class people, and the heroes of Pinzón's American photographs are often the same heroes in her own native land, as a visit to most any house or flat in Mexico City's Zona Rosa will reveal.

The interesting fact that the Mexican government has one of the harshest and most oppressing immigration policies (Mexico has its own "illegal alien" problem in its southern borders) should yield some really interesting images if Pinzón were ever to do a new set of photographs depicting the painful issues faced by Salvadorean, Honduran and Nicaraguan illegal immigrants to her nation. Or the immense brutality of the Mexican government towards its own native indigenous population.

It is an interesting political paradox for a government that pretends, Presidente after Presidente, to be progressive and liberal, while its own policies are short of fascist in some cases.

A friend of mine, who is very high in the current Mexican administration recently told me a joke when we were discussing this political phenomenon. It seems that Mexican President Felipe De Jesus Calderon Hinojosa was driving former US President George W. Bush and current US President Barack Obama around Mexico City to show them some sights. They came to a T in the intersection and President Calderon asked, "Which way should we turn, left or right?"

"To the right, of couse, heh, heh," snickered Bush in heavily accented Spanish.

"To the left, my good friend," added Obama immediately.

Calderon thought about it for a second, and began to move. "I will signal left and turn right," he said as he began to turn.

This theme of ethnic and racial identification is one that runs through most of the pieces not only in the 2009 collection, but also in the earlier 2007 collection. Of the nine pieces acquired in 2009, six have some heavy handed form of ethnic or racial message. Some, like Pinzón, deliver right on target, while others miss a little or are somewhat dated.

I was intrigued also by the overwhelming number of photographs acquired both in 2007 and 2009, and asked both the students and the course's mentors (Megan Rook-Koepsel, Stamp Gallery Graduate Assistant Coordinator and Jackie Milad, the program coordinator for the Stamp Gallery) if the photography-heavy acquisition result was due to (a) price and/or (b) the fact that photography is usually an "easier" starting point for beginning collectors. The budget for this program, made possible through a generous gift from Dr. and Mrs. Erik Young (UMD class of 1974), was $50,000 and I was told that "by the time the pieces are framed and transported the budget was spent."

Quanah Parker, Washington D.C. 1880s/Annu Palakunnathu Matthew, Providence R.I., 2000s

Quanah Parker, Washington D.C. 1880s/Annu Palakunnathu Matthew, Providence R.I., 2000s. Original photo courtesy: University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.
By Annu Palakunnathu Matthew

My questions to all those involved in the program was: "Seven of the 9 works picked are photographs. In 2007, all but one of the pieces were also photographs. Is photography easier to pick for beginner collectors? If so, why?"

Traditional American Indian Mother and Child/Contemporary Indian American Mother and Stepchild

Traditional American Indian Mother and Child/Contemporary Indian American Mother and Stepchild. Original photo courtesy: University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.
By Annu Palakunnathu Matthew

One answer to the above question stated: "No. This was something we discussed on many occasions. We wanted to broaden the variety of media in the collection but we found it very, very difficult to find non-photographic contemporary works which were within our budget, which were of a certain high quality and significance, and which also fit the themes of our collection. I felt like most of what we found in the galleries was photography."

Another answer stated
"We talked extensively about our tendency toward photographs. We often tried to limit ourselves in photography just for the sake of variety in the collection. But denying a work simply because of an established quota seemed too materialistic and unfairly nullified any argument of its worth. Also, many times we felt that the photographs we valued would have a greater impact on the university community than works of other media."
As any art dealer will tell you, photographs are usually the entry point for many beginning collectors, as they are visually the easiest form of art to accept and recognize without too much "wall text" to explain their meaning. Furthermore, given this program's direction to steer the acquisition towards (as one student put it) "Our task wasn't simply to present to the university community a group of aesthetically pleasing works; it was to present to the community a collection of works which would make them think, which would challenge their own beliefs, and which would hopefully allow them to see (in a positive way) that they are attending one of the most diverse public universities in the country."

It also seems from comments that some students interpreted the focus of the acquisition as a suggested task, but from the faculty perspective I was told: "The students really wanted to represent issues that are important to the University of Maryland community in their collection. Identity formation and cultural and social differences were some of the issues that they thought would be particularly salient. It was also important to them that they represent different kinds of artists, both women and men, and people of many different cultural and ethnic heritages."

I was also assured that "we made it very clear to them that the final decisions were all theirs, so if they wanted to override our suggestions and encouragements they could."

It is a photographic ethnic/racial representational thread that runs through both 2007 and 2009. In fact 12 of 15 works acquired so far have been photographs, nearly all dealing with ethnic and/or racial issues - in fact one can make the case that only two pieces (both abstract works) do not. I have some ideas on how to steer this overwhelming number to a more "diverse" set of art genres in the future. After all, diversity includes art forms, right? More on that later.

Because the course says that the students are "sent on trips to New York City and Washington D.C, where they visited multiple galleries and artists’ studios," I was curious which Washington, DC galleries and studios they had visited. To say that I was disappointed on the answers is the understatement of the year. In fact, I will reveal my hand now and affirm that the one huge flaw in this otherwise terrific course is the astounding lack of local connectivity in this program.

One student told me that they had only visited one DC gallery and that she was personally disappointed that they hadn't been to more. I asked her why not and was told that it was "too hard to get everyone together to see more DC galleries."

A faculty member, responding to the same issue stated that "The galleries were visited based on the students' interests. I drew their attention to many different DC galleries throughout the year and ultimately they decided on a few to visit. (I might mention here also, that the students planned to visit the DC galleries after they had already been to NYC so their interests and goals were naturally narrowed based on their NYC experiences). Also, the students planned to visit a few other DC galleries but there were scheduling conflicts that ultimately led them to cancel their visit."

So eventually, only one DC gallery was visited.

But then I noticed that all of the works from "local" DC area artists both in 2007 and 2009 come from the same gallery. And thus I asked if there was a reason why only G Fine Art artists have been acquired so far in this program?

Was this something that was "directed" by the way the fund for the program by Dr. & Mrs. Young was established?

Or something that the advisory board directed?

I was curious why for two versions of this great program only one local gallery has supplied the local talent?

The answers from the faculty stated that it was "mostly about relationships, ease of working with the gallery and the art in which the students were interested." Another faculty member stated that "Like I said before, the galleries that the students visit have most to do with the artists and works they have interest in--they do a lot of research before they ever visit the galleries so that they can make appointments to see specific artists' works. Throughout the program I pointed to several DC galleries and made the students aware of a lot of openings, but ultimately they narrowed their interest to only a few DC galleries for visits. BUT there is definitely something to be said for a gallery's relationship to our students in the past. G Fine Art was extremely welcoming and excited to work with our students and spend time with them looking at works by the artists that interested them in 2007 & 2009; and because the 2007 program participants so enjoyed working with Annie Gawlak and G Fine Art, the 2009 students were definitely excited to go back again. The choice to go buy again from G Fine Art had nothing to do with Dr. & Mrs. Young's gift or with the advisory board's advice."

I sense a bit of tap-dancing when it comes to these answers and the fact that 100% of all local area acquisitions are from one place is a major flaw in my opinion in an otherwise terrific program. The claim that students couldn't be organized to visit other galleries is spectacularly impossible to believe. Pleeeease! There are several other terrific galleries in the same building as to where G Fine Art was located! And no one could arrange to visit Curator's Office or Hemphill Fine Arts on that same visit to Annie's gallery? Since G Fine Art is closed/relocating, this program better get on the ball and discover more DC galleries to do business with and to expose students to. Here's how you fix it:

(a) Invite gallerists to come and do presentations to the next class. Let them know ahead of time of the sort of diversity focus that the program is aiming for. If 20 DC area galleries are contacted, I guarantee that at least half a dozen will respond with quality presentations to the students. This will also improve the program by adding a diverse set of local gallerists to the mix, including African-American owned galleries such as Parish Gallery, etc.

(b) As far as I can tell, not a single DC artist studio was visited. The DC area has clusters of artists studios all in one area, where it would be very easy to schedule a visit to half a dozen studios next to each other, such as a visit to Red Dirt Studios would yield. There are about half a dozen artist studios withing a few steps of each other in that area alone!

(c) Since it appears that it is next to impossible to schedule visits to DC area galleries, how about visiting one or two of the area's top art prize shows? Here the homework has been done by local area museum curators in selecting the best of what the greater capital region area has to offer. This is an easy and brilliant way to expose the students (and the faculty it seems) to the best local artists according to blue chip jurors. So visit the Sondheim Prize exhibition in Baltimore, or the Trawick Prize exhibition in Bethesda, or the Bethesda Painting Awards.

(d) Make it part of the course syllabus (all UMD courses are required to have one) for all students to have to attend at least six gallery openings of their choice and report back to the class. Put this in the course and the rubric used will be based on the report itself. I asked the students how many area gallery openings they had been to in the past year and the answers ranged from zero ("lack of time, cumbersome transportation, and higher priorities usually prevent me from attending" was given as an excuse) to "lots!". Attending gallery openings is by far the best way to immerse a new collector into a city's art scene; not all can be learned in a classroom. An art collector, any collector, needs to be able to soak in the art scene of the city that he or she is part of.

The bottom line is that it is unfair and a bit lazy on the part of all concerned to just visit one gallery, the same gallery, for two years in a row. This underexposes the students to a significant number of DC area artists who are working on important work that fits the directed focus of this program. For Christsakes! In the same building where the students visited they could have arranged to see the work of William Christenberry and Nicholas and Sheila Pye!

Regardless, G Fine Art is closed/relocating (we're still not sure), and so the current iteration of the program will have to discover some new DC galleries and/or artists studios one way or another. My suggestions, given the directed focus that the advisory committee directs the students towards, is:

- Curator's Office: Nicholas and Sheila Pye or Jiha Moon.
- Hemphill - William Christenberry
- Conner - Mary Coble
- Irvine - Susan Jamison or Akemi Maegawa
- Fraser - Trawick Prize or Bethesda Painting Awards
- Civilian - Cara Ober
- Parish - E. J. Montgomery and Herbert Gentry
- Red Dirt Studios - Margaret Boozer
- Washington Glass School - Tim Tate and Michael Janis

And the surprise will be that for the New York price of a photograph, the UMD collection will be able to acquire another genre of art. Notice that all non-photograph acquisitions so far have been (a) by DC area artists and (b) purchased from a DC gallery. That is not a coincidence.

Linn Meyers

Linn Meyers. Untitled. 59x75 inches. Ink on Mylar. 2009.

The above beautiful piece by Linn Meyers also stands out in the exhibition. Not only because of Meyers' enviable technical and artistic presence, but also because as the only abstract piece in the exhibition (in 2007 the only abstract was a gorgeous piece by Maggie Michael) it clearly stands out by its genre and non representational nature, as well as art for art's sake rather than trying to make a political or social statement. The acquisition proposal makes this the focus:
Linn Meyers is an artist of process—her works stand as evidence of her careful persistence. The difference between an artist’s intention and the realization of a work, and admitting that they can never be the same has long been a great concern for artists. Instead of accepting this human nature as a fault, Meyers has celebrated it. “Where else in life can one actually take pleasure in the fact that we are powerless?” she says. In order to emphasize the wonders of the realization, Meyers lets her intentions last only within each present moment, allowing the uncontrollable to flow into the work. Her earlier works experimented with a variety of forms—such as dots, lines, strokes, and tinted backgrounds—and explored the sublimity in the interaction of these planes. Many of her current pieces have lines drawn to initially follow around forms and then expand out to an edge of the surface. Subsequent lines are drawn beside the line before, imitating the same curves, even along areas of “slippage” where the pens may show signs of human error. As the surface is filled in, these features of error take the form of an elegant ripple. While geometry is utilized, Meyers admits that she cannot have equal control over forms. The simplicity of her process and the combination of basic artistic elements create works of wonder and beauty.

Meyers’ piece is a large drawing of black lines on Mylar, which takes particular care in severely reducing elements in order to focus on the phenomenon of the process and the interaction of human performance with geometric shapes. She began a pattern, initially unknown, by following the curves of several tangential circles around the center of the sheet and then taking a natural curve out to an edge of the work. Areas of “slippage,” most evident in areas where the artist’s reach were naturally most strained and stretched, are echoed out to the furthest edges with each line added, creating a resonant beauty from the evidence of imperfection. While playing with the exactness of geometrically aligned circles, the piece becomes focused on the humanization of these forms, which contributes to the intangible life and ambiance observed. The size of the work allows the viewer to be more greatly emerged in the aesthetics while simultaneously welcoming careful scrutiny of each mark.

Meyers’ work would contribute a number of outstanding qualities to the Stamp Student Union collection at the University of Maryland. Looking at its basic medium and style, the work would stand as the collection’s first drawing, expanding the collection’s breadth of media and artistic techniques. The work’s size invites views from up close and afar, which may especially benefit such a large public space. Additionally, as a more conceptual piece, it could reach a wider audience, spreading interest in the collection as a whole. And while it could be a “break” from the more highly postmodern works, it may also trigger interest in the messages of the other pieces. The universality of the drawing could even spark interest for students of a variety of academic disciplines, pulling interesting perspectives from mathematicians, physicists, cartographers, etc. Also, as a Washington D.C. artist with high involvement in the University of Maryland, Meyers’ inclusion in the collection would formally recognize her involvement in the community while at the same time honoring her rising success across the country. The untitled work is a meditation on the experience of human nature, and would provide a refreshing bit of confidence, especially in an environment filled with high academic expectations.
The very talented Linn Meyers has been an Artist In Residence at the University of Maryland since 2008 and a past Trawick Award (3rd place in 2003) winner.

Jefferson Pinder contributes the other non-photograph to the collection and its first video.

Jefferson Pinder. Still from Juke. Digital video. Edition of 10. 2006

Pinder's acquisition proposal reads:
Jefferson Pinder is an artist who believes that "few things are more persuasive than the moving image." The video series Juke has a unique feel and message to offer to the Stamp Student Union and the University of Maryland community. Pinder is interested in the meaningful interaction that can happen between an artwork and the viewer. As he says, "In an age where activism happens less on the street and more in the mind, I seek to create work that converses with the public." Juke is an engaging piece that questions the perceived racial categories in music and asks the audience to evaluate questions such as "Is there black music?" or "Is there white music?"

In each of the 10 videos that comprise the work Juke, the camera is focused on the face of an African American person against a bright white background. Each video features the subject lip-syncing and trying to relate to songs not typically associated with African American culture. By appropriating the songs through his lip-synching subjects, Pinder asks the viewer to re-interpret the music and to consider the stereotyping involved in categorizing music as belonging to one race or another.

As Pinder explains in his personal statement, “I explore interests that not only relate to identity but also tie into a larger fiber of the human condition. My music videos exalt the soundtracks of life, as all of my work is a metaphor for my cultural journey. These thinly layered video pieces speak less of technology and more of the dynamic representation of a human experience. Inspired by past generations of artists, my work seeks to bridge a connection between what has come before and what lies ahead. I offer little direction. (That is in keeping with my generation.) Rather, I find interest in creating work that documents dynamic details of this ever-changing cultural landscape."

We propose to acquire five of the videos that comprise the series Juke. These videos will add untold value to the collection as they challenge ideas and ask questions that are extremely relevant to the diverse University community. Adding these works will provide students with an opportunity to discuss and think about race, diversity, and identity. Additionally, having received his MFA from the University of Maryland in 2003, and now as a faculty member of the University of Maryland art department, Pinder is a valued member of our community and we think this connection would add great value to this acquisition.

As a testament to the relevance and importance of his artwork, Jefferson Pinder has also been featured in museums and shows in the past all across the nation from the Oculus Gallery to The Three Rivers Arts Festival. Jefferson Pinder will soon be exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery, The High Museum, and the Neuberger Museum of Art.
I really liked this video the first time I saw it a couple of years ago, and it is still a very refreshing and somewhat liberating work. Pinder's elegant way to approach the subject of stereotyping, in this case music, is right up my alley in my pedantic fight against labels and artistic segregation by race or ethnicity. This is a simple and yet powerful idea which Pinder delivers superbly. This work alone can satisfy the University's overwhelming need to select artwork that delivers a strong message on diversity.

But I am back stuck on neutral when I realize that both Pinder and Meyers, both terrific artists on their own and easily terrific picks for the collection, are both associated with the University of Maryland (he is part of the school's faculty).

Because both Meyers and Pinder are artists who were easily available to the students, it suddenly gives the appearance of taking the easy way out in the selection of work and reinforces my belief that this program is in dire need to expand the way it presents "Washington DC galleries and studios" to the course's students.

The weak pick in the exhibition (every group show has a weak link right?) is Edward Burtynsky's Silver Lake Operations #1, Lake Lefroy, Western Australia. Maybe I've seen one too many quarry, refinery, recycling yard and abandoned mine. They all are beginning to look the same to me by now. I'm hoping that the Oil exhibition at the Corcoran will re-kindle my interest in these Teutonic sized photos of samo, samo.

In summary, this is one very special UMD program, which like all new courses somewhat needs fine tuning here and there, but overall needs to be applauded for its two iterations and observed closely in the current one to see what new gems the new set of student eyes will select. I'm looking forward to the next set of acquisitions!

My final question to all involved was: if you had one more artist to pick, who would it be?

Dean Goelz, Kumi Yamashita, Georgia O'Keefe, Lee Pratt, Julee Holcombe, Avish Khebrezahdeh, Jon Pylypchuk were mentioned.