Monday, April 13, 2009

Bienal de La Habana

All of the action -- the unofficial venues, the public-art installations and sculptures -- coupled with Tania Bruguera's daring performance last week in which Cubans and some foreign visitors took to a podium, clamored for freedom, and mocked the once-sacred figure of Fidel Castro -- make this Biennial, which runs through April 30, one for the books.

''Tania's [performance] has been the most provocative gesture in all of Cuban art history,'' Cuban art critic Hector Antón Castillo says from Havana. ``Any veteran from the 1980s will tell you the same
Read Fabiola Santiago's report on the Biennial here.

Wanna go to a museum opening in DC this week?

OAS Museum

Guilty plea

The director of a New York art gallery whose proprietor has been charged with stealing $88 million from investors, collectors and Bank of America Corp. has pleaded guilty to falsifying business records
Details here.

Why don't they?

Lots of arts organizations have blogs on their websites. Most aren't very good, and they're difficult to maintain well. There are many out-of-work critics. And less and less arts coverage in local press. So why not critics-in-residence?

Yeah independence. But let's suspend for a moment the idea that criticism's highest calling is simply to inform consumer choice. If instead the idea is to promote informed and interesting commentary, then who has more of an interest in this than artists and arts organizations? If readers knew that a critic was in residence rather than being paid by a local news organization, they might read the commentary differently, but so what? Would you rather read PR boilerplate that nobody believes or the observations of someone trying to engage with the art, even if they're paid to do so by the institution?
Read Douglas McLennan's excellent point here.

Craft Week DC

From April 22 - 26, 2009 it will be Craft Week DC with major events such as the James Renwick Alliance Spring Craft Weekend “Crafts Around DC: A Capital Celebration!” and the Smithsonian Women’s Committee's Smithsonian Craft Show.

Craft Week DC is organized by Washington, DC area artists, galleries, and the James Renwick Alliance (JRA) to recognize the growing community of artists in the Washington DC area working in ceramics, glass, fiber, metal, and wood.

In a postmodern world where everything is supposed to be art, we stubbornly hang on to the traditional segregation of art vs craft, but from just a quick sampling of what's going to be offered to a DC audience next week, it is certain that the line will be blurred.

There are tons of events and the whole schedule is here.

For Artists: copyright, trademark, and contract issues

Hamiltonian Artists in DC is hosting their next talk in the Artist Speaker Series Tomorrow, Tuesday, April 14, 2009, at 7:00pm at Hamiltonian Gallery.

Copyright questions? Art legal issues? John D. Mason has got your answers! Mason is an art and entertainment attorney and intellectual property attorney at The Intellectual Property Group, PLLC, and is on the Board of Directors of the Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts. He will be discussing legal matters related to art and artists, including copyright, trademark, and contract issues.


Chawky Frenn and Lenny CampelloMy good friend Professor Chawky Frenn is one of the recipients of the Teaching Excellence Award at George Mason University.

Frenn is without a doubt one of the toughest political painters of his generation, and his beautiful classical paintings use the brush of the masters to bring forth devastating political and social commentary on paintings often too controversial (as Dartmouth found out a while back) for galleries and museums to offer in a conventional way.

“The classroom is a place of dialog, learning, trust, and growth. I find in teaching an experimental field to develop strategies that promote critical thinking and creative research. At the heart of my teaching performance is the enthusiasm I share about life, art, and the development of self and identity. My comments bridge the understanding of art and life, and my critiques provide intellectual and emotional insights into the purpose, meaning, and value of self-discovery and development through one’s art and work.

I am fortunate to do what I love: teaching and painting. I am also fortunate to work with amazing students with diverse disciplines, cultures, goals, and passions. Their creativity and commitment continue to inspire the best in me.

I present the award to my students, my teachers, my family, and my friends who believed in me when I could not believe in myself. As a teacher, I am a gardener who nurtures and cares for the seeds and passions in my students’ soil. I encourage and help them to develop and grow and bear their finest fruits.”

- Chawky Frenn

New York art dealer accused of being Bernard Madoff's middleman

A prominent New York financier and art collector, Ezra Merkin, has been charged with a $2.4bn fraud for collecting money from clients under false pretences and secretly handing it to the jailed fund manager Bernard Madoff.
Read the NYT story here.

2009 Guggenheim Fellowship Winners Announced

The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has announced the recipients of the 2009 Guggenheim Fellowships.

Ranging in age from 29 to 70, the hundred and eighty U.S. and Canadian artists, scientists, and scholars were selected from a group of almost three thousand applicants on the basis of outstanding achievement and exceptional promise for continued accomplishment.

For a complete list of this year's fellows, visit the Guggenheim Foundation Web site here.

Artists Websites: Sophie Tuttle

Sophie Tuttle is one of those hard-working artists who puts her creative energies into every facet of art: sculpture, drawing, painting, photography, illustration, etc.

Chest, by Sophie Tuttle
You can check out her stuff online here or see it in person at the Warrenton Wine and Arts Festival in Warrenton, VA. There are going to be lots of artists selling their work and prints there (including Sophie)... in fact they're still looking for artists, so contact them if you are interested. It's allfor a good cause (benefiting St. John's School). It's going to be on April 25th and 26th and details are here.