Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Spanish chocolates and Spanish photographs

Spanish Ghosts: Spain's Abandoned Architecture - Photographs by Mark Parascandola

Opening Reception: Thursday, October 8, 6:00-8:30. Free Spanish chocolate and wine tasting!

Studio B at Biagio Fine Chocolate
1904 18th Street NW (between T Street and Florida Avenue)
Washington DC

The landscape of Spain is dotted with abandoned structures, ghosts of a multi-layered history. Preserved in the arid climate, these architectural remains reveal the impact of time, weather, and transient visitors who have left their own mark. The subjects in this series of photographs include the Carabanchel prison in Madrid, a salt-eroded church on the coast of Almeria, leftover "spaghetti western" film sets, and the Cortijo del Fraile, the site of events that inspired Federico Garcia Lorca's Blood Wedding. The exhibit will be on display in Studio B at Biagio Fine Chocolate at 1904 18th Street NW throughout the month of October.

The exhibit and reception are part of a month-long series of activities planned by SpainDC to highlight Spanish culture in the Washington DC area.
Join them on Thursday, October 8, from 6:00 – 8:30 pm, to view the photographs, sample chocolates from Spain, and enjoy a tasting of three award-winning Spanish wines!

Spain has more vineyard acreage than any other country in the world. Tradewinds (Tradewinds Specialty Imports is Spanish wine import company based in Washington DC) will be sharing "three top-rated boutique wines they have hand-selected from family-run, estate-vineyards, across Spain. The wines being tasted, ranging from the more well known, to more secret, regions of Spain, are all available in Washington DC and are exclusively distributed by Tradewinds." Mark Parascandola is a photographer based in Washington DC with family roots in Almeria in the south of Spain.

Gopnik on the Obama's art taste

This is perhaps the most elitist art opinion article that I have ever read, and the reason why populists distrust and dislike the arts intelligentsia's brutally off putting look at everything from a left side of the brain perspective.

Gopnik is way off base on some of his perspectives on the artwork the Obamas have been choosing. Or is he?

I still think that he is a decent art critic, but he would make one shitty collector, if he really wastes brain cells like he does in this piece

Working with curators at the White House and at the local museums that made loans, the First Couple selected some works whose politics are explicit, and mild. They seem to redress past imbalances in the nation's sense of its own art. There are works by African Americans (seven paintings from three artists, out of a total of 47) and by Native Americans (four artists contributed three modern ceramics and one abstract painting). There are also 12 paintings depicting Native Americans, by the 19th-century ethnographic artist George Catlin.

But there are still only six works by women, vs. 41 by men. And there are no works at all by Latinos. (A work by the deceased Cuban American artist Félix González-Torres would have filled the gap perfectly, and added a nod to the country's gay culture. The Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum has one that could have been borrowed.)
Unless the brilliant Gopnikmeister is fucking with us and he's really writing this piece to get picked up by the AP and UPI and distributed all over the world.
Even the most positive of gestures made by the new White House loans can have complications wrapped around them. One of the African Americans with pictures in the Obamas' residence is William H. Johnson, a sophisticated artist who trained in Scandinavia in the 1930s. After returning to the United States to bide out World War II, however, he made pictures of Harlem that can seem falsely naive, as though buying into then-standard notions that "genuine" black culture was "simpler" than the culture of white Europeans. Why did one of the new White House Johnsons, showing impoverished parents and children in a modest room, get titled "Folk Family"? Did being poor and black make you more "folky" than other Americans?

As for the Catlin Indians, should we think of them as a positive nod to the original peoples of this continent, or are they all about a white colonialist gawking at exotic conquered peoples? Paul Chaat Smith, who curates contemporary art at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian, says that even he and other native peoples aren't sure of the answer. "They're not us, they're not for us," he says, but they're also "part of how we think about ourselves."

In today's art world, these kinds of debates and complexities are where you want to sink your teeth. In those terms, the Obamas could hardly have done a better job of choosing their loans.
Mmmm... maybe Gopnik is shooting for a MSNBC or Fox or some other divisionist network guest appearance.

Smart guy.

PS - On the Félix González-Torres idea... thank you but no thank you. We'd rather get picked on merit rather than by a need to fill ethnic niches. We Latinos don't like to be segregated or boxed in or labeled. We'd rather be chosen by an art collector or a President trying to get free loaners for the White House for our artistic merit rather than by our ethnicity. How many Italian-American artists are in the Obama collection? How many German-Americans? How many Arab-American? Stop putting labels on Americans. Stop trying to check all the boxes and choose artwork for art's sake.

Silly rabbit.

Wanna go to an arts panel tomorrow?

Thursday, Oct. 8; 7 p.m. Panel Discussion: Remembering the Things Past: A Conversation Celebrating Anne Truitt

On the opening night of "Anne Truitt: Perception and Reflection," join the Hirshhorn for a discussion moderated by Tim Gunn, chief creative officer at Liz Claiborne and a former student of Truitt's. Artist Martin Puryear, filmmaker Jem Cohen, photographer John Gossage and associate curator Kristen Hileman as they share their unique perspectives on Truitt's career as an artist, professor and author.

These friends and colleagues of the artist reflect on her important contributions to 20th-century abstraction and the Washington, D.C. arts community. The exhibition will remain open until the panel discussion begins. Admission is free. Tickets for the talk will be distributed on a first-come basis starting at 5:45 p.m. in the lobby.

Andrew Wodzianski's House opens tomorrow

Tomorrow, Thursday, October 8, 2009, the place to be is at Flashpoint in DC, for the opening reception from 6-8pm of Andrew Wodzianski's House.

Let me start with a warning: this exhibit is not for the faint of heart, or the weak of constitution.

If you choose to attend and take your chances, there will be food and drink and ghosts... and perhaps even a few murders. Of your safety, Flashpoint can make no such guarantee. It isn’t a very warm welcome, is it?

Before the party begins, let’s go over the details.

In this exhibit you will see thirteen artworks, nine of which are paintings. All nine depict interior sets and props used in William Castle’s cult camp classic film, 'House on Haunted Hill’, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

The paintings are a triumph of technical and creative visual minimalism. Still images from the film are manipulated and juxtaposed onto tinted canvas, and obfuscated by multiple layers of white glaze and velaturas.

Do you believe in ghosts? Much like the ones haunting the film, the works themselves appear veiled, slightly threatening and unresolved. Don’t worry, you’re safer at the gallery than anywhere else. And the ghosts in this house will be glad that you came.

Are we all strangers to each another? At the opening is not the time for being alone. For the dearly departed did not shuffle off his mortal life with the intent of doing so alone. No! He wanted – wants – you to experience the art all the more with your presence, your action, your... life? What other funerary comes dressed in white? But I realize this is a very unusual party.

The ghosts are already moving, and that’s a bad sign. But you don’t believe in ghosts, do you?

So why don’t you take a tour through Wodzianski’s House tomorrow evening, and let’s see what happens, shall we?

What’s the use of saying Good Night?

916 G St NW
Washington DC 20001