Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Opportunity for Maryland Artists

Deadline: June 1, 2010

The Montpelier Arts Center is pleased to announce the 2010-12 Library Gallery competition. This year’s juror is John Ruppert, Chair of the Department of Art, University of Maryland. The juror will select 8-10 month exhibitions to be held in the Library Gallery.

To be eligible, artists must reside in Maryland and be over the age of eighteen. Artists may apply for solo exhibitions or as small groups. An honorarium of $300 will be presented for each exhibition to the artist or artists exhibiting (i.e., groups share the $300 honorarium).

The Montpelier Arts Center staff will handle all promotion and installation, as well as the reception. To download the prospectus visit this website. Please contact the arts center at 301 377-7800 or to receive a copy in the mail.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

In a couple of Saturdays

In 1891, a 100 acre farm on Bunker Hill Road was purchased by real estate investors, subdivided into house lots, and called Mount Rainier. Mount Rainier was a thriving retreat for politicians and businessmen from Washington, DC. The extension of the street car line from the District into Mount Rainier made the hilly, tree-shrouded land more attractive to developers and prospective buyers. The town of Mount Rainer was incorporated in 1910.

Today the city is home to a food co-op that was founded by conscientious Vietnam War objectors in the 60s, a community corn bin, a bike co-op, a community tool shed, boutiques, dance/art studios, and vintage shops as well as housing designated specifically for artists. With a population of approximately 8,500, Mount Rainier continues to be a retreat for those that want to live just on the outskirts of our nation’s capital.

The Centennial Exhibition will display photographs, newspaper clippings, and city documents dating back to 1910.

Mount Rainier, Maryland Centennial Celebration
Centennial Exhibition: April 9-May 15, 2010
Opening Reception: Saturday, April 10, 2010 2-6PM
Mount Rainier History Talk: Bryan Knedler, Saturday, May 1, 2010 3-5PM

Art Donations needed

Two Rivers Public Charter School is requesting art donations through 4/16 for their upcoming 6th Annual Art Gala. Please consider donating one of your creations to be entered into their silent auction. Over 40 artists participated in last years event.

This year they are making an effort to exceed that number. If you have artwork which you can donate by April 16, please contact Kim at

Monday, March 29, 2010

Richard Flood on art bloggers

"Blogs are like being out on a prairie and one prairie dog pops up; none of the others can see it, but they can feel the movement in the earth. So another pops up. And another. They are not communicating with each other. They have no idea. History means nothing to them. Truth means nothing to them. They have no mechanism in place for checking [facts]."
Read about it here.

Calling all teaching artists‏

The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities is currently gathering information on DC teaching artists to advance Arts Education in our schools and to promote life long learning.

Please take just a few minutes of your time to complete their survey, or forward it to someone you know who is a teaching artist. Their goal is to amass a Teaching Artist Roster. Take the survey here.

McKaig on Mayorga

By Bruce McKaig

Walk into the OAS General Secretariat Building on F Street NW, head down the stairs to the Terrace Level Gallery, round the corner and look down the hallway space housing this exhibit -- a space that looks somewhat like a path to a launching pad for the Starship Enterprise. The windowless, sterile architecture is flawlessly clean in proportion, line and light... and ends at a company cafeteria.

The setting could not be better for Carolina Mayorga’s site-specific installation of videos and photographs, Love Me, Quiéreme, Buy Me.

Last fall, Third Root Aesthetic, “a female owned art consulting and management business that collaborates primarily, but not exclusively, with artists, collectors and scholars of color,” approached Carolina about doing an exhibit in March 2010, National Women’s History Month. They also made a pitch to Fabian Gonclaves Borrega, Exhibit Coordinator for the Art Museum of the Americas (AMA) that includes the Terrace Level Gallery. He accepted the proposal and Carolina began conceiving and producing the works now installed at the museum.

Carolina Mayorga

Baby Doll 2010 by Carolina Mayorga.

Mr. Gonclaves first met Carolina in 1999 and has seen the evolution of her work over the past decade. He describes her installations ten years ago as more politically themed and geographically related to Colombia, her country of birth. At some point, he noticed her political themes had become less geographically specific. In the most recent years, he describes her shift to themes of individual identity, specifically feminism and consumerism: “Her work is often very sexually charged, and she herself wears make-up and has dyed her hair. That’s an interesting contrast to some performance artists in the 1960s, who wore little or no make-up, very drab clothing, had a cruder, rawer presence. Carolina knows who she is and, though she herself poses in her works – not a model-for-hire – the works are not really about her identity but about identity in a much more general way.”

Carolina wanted to use photographs and videos of herself to look at issues of culture and identity. “If I am wearing make-up, does that mean that I am stupid? If a woman is plain, does that mean she is intelligent?” These and other questions about stereotypes and cultural expectations are some of the thoughts Carolina explores in this installation. From front to back, the sequence of images moves from more local, DC scenarios to large mouths and more private imagery as the exhibit proceeds. Some of the still images are draped on the walls, curving in a sculptural way. “That was not the original idea,” she explains, “but as we installed, the people I was working with at the museum thought it might be a stronger presentation to leave the organic look. Sometimes, you just want to control everything, but as I thought about it, I thought they were right. It’s all about trying to discover a new way of thinking about or doing something.”

Those words about relinquishing control and thus discovering something new resemble words by the performance artist Marina Abramovic, currently exhibiting at the MOMA in NYC: “If you do things that you like, you never change, you always do the same thing again and again.”

The various video works are on two screens, one at the head of the exhibit, the other suspended along side the still images. One video shows close-ups of the artist applying lipstick, very unforgiving close-ups that visually straddle the fence between hyper realism and comic book animation. Likewise, the still images of hair or boots or mouths retain all the reality that photographs are expected to portray, but their content and garish print qualities manage to blur distinctions between hysterically horrific and comic slap-stick.

This odd blend is present in much of Carolina’s work, something like Vaudeville skits directed by Quentin Tarantino. In October 2009, she performed “The Miraculous Artist” at the Washington Project for the Arts. In that performance, she sat, robed in religious regalia, inside a confessional to give out one-on-one advice to the curious public. Her advice to me? “Since you are entering the golden years of your life, you should definitely buy several of my prayer cards.” That performance included a video playing testimonials from satisfied customers. In 2004, Carolina built a snow sculpture on a beach in Sweden that spelled out, ”by the time this sculpture melts 45,000 children will die in war.” During her Newspaper Soup performances, she gives out cooking tips about food for the destitute.

  Love Me in DC, 2009 by Carolina Mayorga

Love Me in DC, 2009 by Carolina Mayorga

How does Carolina describe the AMA installation?
"You get it out of your system kind of thing, using both photography and video, to experiment, even if people don’t see it. The feet, the sequence, the female thing, I’ve been using feet for many years, feet or shoes tell a lot about the body. I am not a photographer. I use photography to produce my installations, but I don’t want people to think of me as a photographer. Is there an international message? Its pretty open… beauty and identity are issues in many cultures… baby doll, lips, Photoshop'd to look unrealistic, using stereotypes… Language is important, not exactly in English, not exactly in Spanish, using words in the language that I think of them… why translate, if that ends up with a version that is not the way it happened? Its not just questions about gender, I also have questions about my Latina heritage. I don’t ignore it, but I try to avoid submerging into any subculture."
Love Me, Quiéreme, Buy Me by Carolina Mayorga
The Art Museum of the Americas
March 12-April 30, 2010

Terrace Level Gallery
OAS General Secretariat Building
1889 F Street, NW
Washington DC 20006
Hours: 10 – 5, Monday through Friday

For more information about Carolina Mayorga click here.

For more information about the Art Museum of the Americas, click here.

For more information about the author, click here.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


To artdc's Jesse and Amy Cohen, who recently tied the knot! Details here.

Obama on Cuba

Recent events in Cuba, including the tragic death of Orlando Zapata Tamayo, the repression visited upon Las Damas de Blanco, and the intensified harassment of those who dare to give voice to the desires of their fellow Cubans, are deeply disturbing.

These events underscore that instead of embracing an opportunity to enter a new era, Cuban authorities continue to respond to the aspirations of the Cuban people with a clenched fist.

Today, I join my voice with brave individuals across Cuba and a growing chorus around the world in calling for an end to the repression, for the immediate, unconditional release of all political prisoners in Cuba, and for respect for the basic rights of the Cuban people.

During the course of the past year, I have taken steps to reach out to the Cuban people and to signal my desire to seek a new era in relations between the governments of the United States and Cuba. I remain committed to supporting the simple desire of the Cuban people to freely determine their future and to enjoy the rights and freedoms that define the Americas, and that should be universal to all human beings.

- President Obama
A little background on Las Damas de Blanco here, a brave group of Cuban women who appear to be spear-heading what I hope to be the end of the world's longest and most repressive dictatorship.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Sesow in French press

Local artist couple Matt Sesow and Dana Ellyn are in Europe having solos in France and Spain. Matt's solo in Albi, France, which had received a huge number of pre-opening sales, was just reviewed in the French press. Read it here.

Opportunity for emerging artists

Deadline: June 1, 2010

Conner / *gogo emerging art projects is accepting submissions for their 2011/2012 seasons.

Emerging artists (individual or collaborative groups) are encouraged to send proposals for a new project, a new performance, or an exhibition of new work in any medium, which utilizes the gallery's outdoor area, or media room, or gallery B space.

The duration of the show may range from a one night event up to an 8-week exhibition.

Please include:

> a concise written description of the project, one page or less
> a visualization of the project in the space
> Five low-res jpgs of current works
> CV and biography of the artist(s)
> your website(s)

Deadline: June 1, 2010

Send to:, Attn: Jamie Smith, curator

Proposals will be reviewed by September 1, 2010.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Mellema on Lin

"It's hard to argue with the notion that Amy Lin gets more press coverage than any other artist in the greater Metro area."
That's the beginning of a most excellent review by Kevin Mellema of the Amy Lin show currently at Addison Ripley in Georgetown. Read the whole review here. Mellema is right, Lin has received tons of press and critical attention in her past and current exhibitions.

It's also hard to argue with the puzzling fact that so far the Washington Post's Jessica Dawson, whose job is to write about DC area galleries, is one of the rare important critical voices who has so far managed to avoid writing anything about this artist. Lin has managed to capture the attention of nearly every art critic and writer in the region but Dawson's.

Says something about having a "finger on the pulse of the DC art scene" doesn't it?

I really hope that Dawson proves me wrong and plans to review this current Lin show and bring one of the District's top visual arts voices to the attention of the WaPo's readers.

On the other hand, me bitching about Jessica's review choices (or lack thereof) could result in a permanent poisoning of the well and guarantee that Dawson will black list Lin forever.

Still on yet another hand, in 100 years no one will know who Jessica Dawson was, but Amy Lin's artworks will still be around and being enjoyed for centuries to come.

The place to be tonight is...

a pop-up project has it s grand opening tonight and hosts the first of many pop-up group exhibitions, lectures and events at venues throughout the DC area. For its inaugural exhibition a pop-up project will open I Dream Awake from March 18 to May 28, 2010 in the former Numark Gallery space located in Penn Quarter at 625-627 E St NW.

I Dream Awake is a curated selection of works that presents original artist expressions which explore the link between awakened realities and unconscious dreams.

The exhibition includes artwork in various media by New York artists, Mikel Glass, Kenichi Hoshine and Margaret Bowland; Los Angeles artists Vonn Sumner and Susan Burnstine; and local artists Rosemary Feit Covey, Laurel Hausler, Lizzie Newton and Tim Tate.

The formal opening reception with the artists in attendance is tonight, Friday, March 26th from 6 - 9pm.

See ya there!

Wanna go to a couple of openings in DC tomorrow?

Start at Irvine Contemporary, who has a couple of favorites of mine opening: Susan Jamison: Swallowtail: New Paintings and Susana Raab: American Vernacular: Photographs. Opening reception with the artists: Saturday, March 27, 6:00-8:00PM.

Then head to U Street, where Katherine Mann, Christian Benefiel and Michael Sirvet also open on Saturday, March 27, from 7-9 PM at Hamiltonian Gallery.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Formidable New Presence

When I first reported the news about a new art space to open at the former Numark Gallery space in DC, some of the emails that I received back generally said something along the lines of "about time!" After all, the award winning space (the space won its architectural designers an award for gallery design when it opened a handful of years ago) had been empty since Numark's sudden and unexpected closing a couple of years ago.

I dropped by a pop up project, which is the new art space at the former Numark space at 625-627 E St NW, in Washington, DC, and I am relieved to report that, judging from their first exhibition, and from meeting the enthusiastic and experienced owner, I am going to predict that the District is about to have a formidable new visual arts presence in its cultural tapestry.

The owner is Amy Morton, an experienced curator with a lot of background working with auction houses, art associations, and galleries in Los Angeles, CA, Boston, MA and the DC area. As many gallery owners are, she is also a collector, and is sure to bring her own collecting sensibilities to the mix. Unlike some gallery owners, Morton brings a refreshing, bright, and smiling personality which is far removed from the cool, aloof demeanor that some art dealers like to portray. And it is clear to see that her personality is also displayed in some of the subtle innovations that she is bringing to the gallery business; more on that later.

The inaugural exhibition, titled "I Dream Awake", brings together some of the artists either collected by Morton or whose work she has followed and admired over the years. The exhibition includes artwork in various media by New York artists, Mikel Glass, Kenichi Hoshine and Margaret Bowland; Los Angeles artists Vonn Sumner and Susan Burnstine; and DC area artists Rosemary Feit Covey, Laurel Hausler, Lizzie Newton and Tim Tate.

Mikel GlassImmediately upon entering the gallery the visitor is confronted by what can best be described a sculptural painting installation by Mikel Glass. A Victorian frame, surrounded by original radio tubes and assorted seminal electric paraphernalia, hosts a painting which is a copy of Richard Rothwell's 1840 portrait of Mary Shelley.

The steam lines, antique doll's head and other assorted brass found objects, which of course include a brass Frankenstein head, gives the viewer an immediate clue about the work which is confirmed by the title: Machine in the Garden - Steampunk Shelley.

Glass explains:

A re-telling of the Frankenstein myth from a feminist perspective inspired Steampunk Shelley. In The Memoirs of Elizabeth Frankenstein, Elizabeth and Victor were raised together from childhood in order that they form an alchemic union that would allow Victor to achieve his full potential. Along the way, however, Elizabeth is beset by the strenuous limitations imposed upon her by a rigid, male-dominated society which eventually drives her into the arms of a Wicca coven.

In the original Frankenstein, Elizabeth had many autobiographical qualities of Shelley. In Steampunk Shelly I represent Shelley herself as Elizabeth. Her torment in the re-telling had much to do with the fact that, as in Shelley’s life, Elizabeth struggled to conceive a child. She finally succeeds, but ironically simultaneously to Victor’s scientific breakthrough – he realizes that he needs the tissue from a living baby to animate his creature. The moment depicted in the painting is intended to evoke the terrible choice that confronts Elizabeth: loyalty to the husband she worships versus personal fulfillment.

The background imagery and the frame are inspired by the Steampunk aesthetic, which is a combination of Victorian imagery with industrial technology. The frame is intended as an homage to Frankenstein and the society that he came from which, unfortunately, repressed women. The frame and all of its attributes were scavenged from various sources. For example, the valve that distributes the steam to each portal was salvaged from a defunct cow-milking machine. Frankenstein’s head was found in a scrap metal yard.

Long before I ever set brush to canvas my roots in art were germinated in the nurturing soil of found object sculpture. After moving to New York City for art school about twenty years ago, I pursued painting for logistical reasons - it took up less space. And while my heart never strayed from the abundant objects I coveted all around me in the city, I focused on trying to represent them in two dimensions. Over the years I’ve only infrequently allowed myself the indulgent transgression of pursuing expression through sculpture and performance. But Steampunk Shelley potentially represents a turning for me where I am comfortably exploring the intersection between all three. It’s a comfortable place for me, and I hope to spend a great deal of time there
I depress the brass Frankenstein head, hold it down a second or two, and the piece, like the monster, comes alive.

Wheels turn, the gas tubes light up, and then unexpectedly, we discover individual steam portals that deliver soft plumes of steam to the painting. It is a riveting homage, and I am sure that sooner or later, someone during the exhibition will include the triumphant "It's Alive!" Frankensteinian shout that is the climax of the monster's birth.

Mary Shelley as Steampunk Shelley
The main gallery is dominated by the works of Margaret Bowland (whose work was a finalist for the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition and is currently also on display at the National Portrait Gallery). The large pastel pieces show not only a remarkable technical facility made even more remarkable by the sheer scale of her works, but also an enviable mastery of a deep psychological agenda delivered by her works.

Margaret Bowland

Another Thorny Crown. Margaret Bowland. Charcoal and pastel on rag paper, 60x48 inches.

The abundance of visual references makes this work a lesson in history and also a critical pitfall in trying to decipher and understand all of them. The child's gaze is hard and well beyond her years. They are old eyes and they are the key that opens up the dialogue to the other clues in the piece: the cotton crown wrapped around her head in a blunt reference to the crown of thorns worn by Jesus during His crucifixion. Cotton was the key driver for the slave trade in the American South; the white face painted on the child is an even harsher aim point at some of the racial realities and perceptions of a Black culture in a White society.

This is mostly an American painting. It is anchored deeply in American sensibilities and history, but it is also a powerful ancestral reminder of all Africans in the New World. Had this painting been done by a Caribbean artist, the child would have been crowned by a crown made up of razor-sharp sugar cane leaves, but the memories in her gaze would be the same. It is a brilliant narrative piece, and by far my favorite piece in the show.

There is also some excellent work by the several local area artists in the show. A new video piece by Tim Tate is sure to be a hit with animation buffs, and his classic "I hear the Siren's call" remains one of the sexiest videos around. Rosemary Feit Covey exhibits a terrific set of her better-known engravings, including her signature piece "Nkonde", which is almost out of print in an edition of 60.

Finally, as I mentioned earlier, Morton's open and bright personality comes through in the way in which she has presented the work. The gallery is hung minimally, without overcrowding the work, but it is in the way that information about the work is presented, that she comes through even a little more open and clearly innovative.

I have never been a fan of hiding information in art galleries (such as the whole way of using pins or tiny numbers rather than labels to identify the work). In fact I would submit that the more information that is afforded the viewer, without the viewer having to ask for it, the higher the chances that a "connection" to the work will be made.

Morton uses labels, and that's good, and lots of galleries also use labels to identify the work, the artist, the media and the price. And then she goes beyond that. In addition to the title labels, small circular labels also inform us a little more about the artist. Information such as "This artist is currently on exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery" or "This artist is in the collection of such and such museum."

There's more. Slim floor displays hold cards that add more information about a particular piece. They are clearly a derivative of the well-known museum "wall text" information, but cleverly accommodated to gallery size and space. I think that this is a superb idea and that it will have payoffs for the gallery.

The formal grand opening reception (with the artists in attendance) will be held tomorrow, Friday, March 26th from 6 - 9pm. Don't miss it - it will mark the debut of an important new art presence in our region.

See ya there!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Final Report

Age of Obama - Nobel Peace Prize

"Age of Obama - Nobel Peace Prize" Charcoal on Paper. 16x12 inches.

I am happy to report that the above piece, selected by Mera Rubell for the WPA Auction at the Katzen Museum, drew furious multiple bids and sold for 170% above the high estimate.

And it sold to a VP for Sotheby's who was nice enough to send me an email to tell me how much he liked the work!

Herstory at the Art League

While I was at the Art League gallery recently, I also had a chance to see Herstory, an exhibition juried by Barbara Rachko.

The term "herstory" refers to history ("his story") written from a feminist point of view, with emphasis on the role of women, or with the story narrated from a female perspective.

Rachko gave the Jane Coonce Award to a gorgeous painting by CM Dupre titled "Alice is Decorated." It is permanent proof that in the hands of a skilled artist, any subject matter can be revisited and still yield something new.

I also liked "Ann's Secret" a very good oil painting by Rena Selim, and "With Wine as Accomplice" by Soline Krug, a new artist (new to me anyway) that takes on the difficult challenge of oil leaf and succeeds admirably. Krug's work also takes a somewhat artist-abused subject (wine) and does something not only technically challenging, but also compositionally interesting, and somehow also manages to douse a generous dose of sexuality into the work. It was my favorite piece in the whole show!

Both these pieces are $650 each, framed and are a great deal at that price; someone should go buy them now.

With Wine as Accomplice by Soline Krug

Avec le Vin comme Complice (With Wine as Accomplice) by Soline Krug

Also quite enjoyed "Guardian of Things that Roar in the Night" by Charlene Nield.

The show goes through April 5, 2010.

Free Art Business Seminar for Artists

On April 10, 2010 from 1-5pm, Gateway CDC in partnership with MNCPPC will be hosting my well-known “Bootcamp for Artists” seminar at no cost to the artists.

This seminar is suitable for all visual artists interested in taking their careers to the next level.

Ever wondered how to maximize the attention your work gets from the press, galleries, and museum curators? How to present your work in a professional manner and save money in the process? How to tap into grants, awards and residencies?

Then this is the seminar for you! This program is free, but space is limited so please email or call 301-864-3860 ext. 3 if you would like to attend. Hurry!

This program will be held in MNCPPC’s Brentwood Arts Exchange on the 1st Floor of the Gateway Arts Center, 3901 Rhode Island Avenue, Brentwood, MD 20722, just over the District line on Rhode Island Avenue.

Of interest to the general public: a closing reception for the Gateway Arts District Show, which I juried a while back will immediately follow the “Bootcamp for Artists Seminar” from 5-8pm. All are welcome!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Separated at Birth?

Am I the only one who thinks that American Idol's Lee Dewyze looks like Rodney Dangerfield's son?

Lee Dewyze's Dad?

Check's in the mail

The grants were to have been used in the “coming year,” the foundation said when it announced them in March 2009. But the money — more than $100,000 in total — has yet to be received, and recipients who have tried to contact the foundation for information at its New York headquarters have been met by a disconnected number and returned mail.
Read the NYT story here.

Students at the Corcoran

Six Corcoran student artists have their Fine Arts Senior Thesis Exhibition opening at the Corcoran's Gallery 31 on March 25th from 6pm-8pm.

I'm hearing good things about a piece titled il·lu·so·ry, a huge 3.5 ft x 30 ft mixed media illustration by Jessika Dené Tarr.

Hors D'oeuvres and wine will be served in Corcoran's Atrium which is the room directly next to Gallery 31. Show goes through the 28th. Details and schedule here.

Generations in Glass at Glenview

"Generations in Glass" is presented by the National Capital Art Glass Guild. This juried event includes over 130 unique art glass objects, representing over 60 of the DC area's finest glass artists. Several diverse styles will be on display including blown, kilnformed, flameworked and stained art glass. This is a free exhibit and runs through April 27. See below for more details.

March 28 - April 27, 2010
Glenview Mansion Art Gallery at Rockville Civic Center Park
603 Edmonston Drive
Rockville, MD 20851

Meet the Artist Reception: Sunday, March 28 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm. It is followed by a panel discussion.

Contemporary Art Projects Grand Opening on Friday

Remember that I told you that the former award-winning (for gallery design) Numark space was about to be re-used as a gallery space?

Amy Morton of Morton Fine Art will have the grand opening for a pop-up project, a series of innovative, curated art exhibitions and events that “pop-up” at various locations throughout Washington, DC at that space this coming Friday.

The first exhibition, I Dream Awake runs from March 18 to May 28, 2010 at the former Numark Gallery space located in Penn Quarter at 625-627 E St NW.

I Dream Awake is a curated selection of works that presents original artist expressions which explore the link between awakened realities and unconscious dreams. The exhibition includes artwork in various media by New York artists, Mikel Glass, Kenichi Hoshine and Margaret Bowland; Los Angeles artists Vonn Sumner and Susan Burnstine; and local artists Rosemary Feit Covey, Laurel Hausler, Lizzie Newton and Tim Tate.
The formal opening reception with the artists in attendance will be held on Friday, March 26th from 6 - 9pm.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Happy Birthday to the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg

Maria Teresa, Grand Duchess of LuxembourgToday is the birthday of Maria Teresa, Grand Duchess of Luxembourg, who was born in Marianao, Havana, Cuba, to José Antonio Mestre y Alvarez and his wife María Teresa Batista y Falla de Mestre.

She graduated from the University of Geneva in political sciences in 1980. It was there that Miss Mestre met Prince Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg.

They married in 1981.

We're everywhere...

In town...

2009 Virginia Groot Foundation Award Winners
Previous Virginia Groot Foundation First Place Award Winners were all in town to to review the submissions for the 2010 sculpture award. From left to right, Martha Jackson Jarvis, Tim Tate, Candice Groot, Stanley Shetka, and Christina Bothwell.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Rosemary Feit Covey at the Art League

Cudlin installing the zero projectI've been following the career of master printmaker Rosemary Feit Covey for years now.

And for years I have been mesmerized by not only her technical skill but also by her powerful and often shocking imagery.

Over the years I've also seen Rosemary do something that my good bud Jeffry Cudlin likes: she keeps pushing and redefining the genre of printmaking to the point that she can no longer be categorized and labeled simply as a printmaker.

In fact, since I brought Cudlin into the discussion, I submit as evidence of my point the exhibition that she had at the Arlington Arts Center (where Cudlin is curator) a while back.

Rosemary Feit CoveyBy the way, the gent in that cherry picker installing that massive work of art by Rosemary Feit Covey around the Arlington Arts Center is Cudlin, the Center's curator and the City Paper's chief art critic.

Enough of Cudlin.

But even knowing the enviable artistic reserves of this artist I was not prepared for what she has done with the work currently on display at the Art League Gallery, inside the Torpedo Factory in Old Town Alexandria.

Let me tell you early in this discussion: this is the best art show that I have ever seen at the Art League Gallery; ever.

At the Art League exhibition, Rosemary has two distinct sets of artworks that once again move printmaking to a new place: one is a set of "peep boxes" and the second is a set of lighted wall installations.

The peep show boxes line up in the center of the gallery, and at first seem a bit quizzical until one realizes what they are: Feit Covey tells us that "in the 18th and 19th Centuries peep show viewing was a popular and innocent form of street entertainment, developing into toy theaters. Using lenses and mirrors, an interior world could be created by peering into the mysterious box. She adds that the "term Peep Show ultimately came be to most closely associated with viewing pornographic films and live sex shows."

In her peep show box series, Feit Covey smartly marries the disquieting secrecy of the act of peeping into the box with the moist trapped sexuality brought about by the contemporary connotation of the term “Peep Show."

She does this by offering us innocent looking Victorian-era type peep show boxes in nice oak colors.

When we bend down and peep into them, we spy a set of suggestive, rather than overtly sexual, engravings. The objectification of the women in the imagery has not reached its climax yet, to be a bit coarse on the issue here.

And yet, by simply placing the print inside a box, she forces us into the tingly role of voyeur and peeper. The height of the stands where the boxes rest also force one to bend down in order to steal a surprisingly clear and well lit glimpse of a set of 10 suggestive etchings.

On the walls Feit Covey has a series of back lit boxes that are lined with dozens and dozens of strips of etchings. The appearance is that of a photographic process in the development stage.

It is a hypnotic installation. We are attracted at first, like moths to the light, to peer close at the imagery that dangles, like negatives in a pornographer's darkroom, inside each back lit box. The engravings are printed on Japanese papers and phone book pages, and then the vertical strips are encased in an encaustic medium.

The subjects on the strips, a young woman and a much older man, play a sexual drama that is riveting and disturbing. Some people, Feit Covey relates, have been offended by what is depicted on the strips, which all through the scenes barely restrain a growl of controlled sexual violence clearly hidden under the surface of the two subjects.

The old man is using the young woman as a captive sexual toy; there's a sharp hint of restrained danger in the images. "They are a real couple," she related to me a while back when I first saw this new series of work being produced. "She is much younger than him, and they have this sexual relationship based on routines and scenarios such as these."

Throw the element of reality into the disturbing imagery and it adds a whole new element of peeping into the dark sexual melodramas of the unusual couple. "They are quite in love with each other," she adds.

I force myself not to think ordinary thoughts. The wholesome and attractive woman and the decaying, wizened old man have discovered a sexual formula that bridges their huge age gap with a slippery and dangerous rope bridge.

In narrating their story, and in bringing the narration out of the mat and frame of the two dimensionality of intaglio etchings, Feit Covey has delivered a self contained installation that reinvents the world of the photographer in terms of the tools of the trade of the printmaker.

In continuing to bring the print out of the frame, and relocating it where it is not just a geographical move but a psychological transformation, she has achieved a singularly unique new direction for this most traditional of genres.

In this Art League show, Feit Covey has also set a new standard for that gallery and a opened up a whole new road for the Torpedo Factory.

In fact, after this show, the usual labels affixed to the kind of art that most people associate with the Torpedo Factory artists no longer sticks. Not that they ever applied to this talented artist.

The exhibition runs through April 15, 2010.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Opportunity for Artists: One Hour Photo

Deadline: March 31st, 2010.

The premise of the show is simple: photographic works, projected for one hour each, after which they will never be seen again, by anyone, in any form. They therefore exist only for one hour, they are "one hour photos," a limited edition of 60 minutes.

In this way, One Hour Photo complicates the myth of photography as preservation, manifests the tension between the permanence of the medium and the impermanence of time, and subverts the profit model of the edition and the print.

Although there are no strict subject matter or stylistic guidelines, One Hour Photo is particularly interested in work that engages in dialogue with the themes that the concept naturally raises: ephemerality, memory, anti-artifact, loss, nostalgia, magic, time, disappearance, dissolution, whispers, traces, ghosts, etc.

To ensure that the works will never be seen, and to document the show, each artist will sign a "morally binding" release form stating that he or she will never reproduce, sell, or show the work to the public after its one hour "exposure." The curators will also sign the release form, and all release forms will be displayed on the One Hour Photo site as documentation of the show. The show itself will contain approximately 120 works curated by Chandi Kelley, or one per hour for the duration of the exhibition's open hours. One Hour Photo will show from May 8 – June 6, 2010 at the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center, Washington, D.C, as part of the Spirat exhibition.

They seek previously unpublished / undisplayed photographs or photographic-based work. Work selected will be projected for exactly one hour during the exhibition, with the understanding that it will not be shown, reproduced or sold from that moment forward.

It can all be done online and there's no fee. Check out the Call to Artists here.

Wanna go to a cool DC opening tonight?

Maria Friberg: transmission and Dean Kessmann: Art as Paper as Potential opens tonight Saturday, March 20th from 6-8pm with the artists in attendance at Conner Contemporary.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Amy Lin on TV

Click here to see the TV segment.

Buy Amy Lin now.

An Olfactory Art Lab

Have you ever pondered how the olfactory sense affects visual perception, or how a scent can evoke a dormant childhood memory? In this unconventional exhibition international curator, art critic and clinical allergist, Dr. Kóan Jeff Baysa, asks artists and fragrance researchers to explore how the physical self experiences and knows the world through the sense of smell.
An Olfactory Art Lab: Trading in Paints for Perfumes opened last week at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery and I've been hearing good things about this rather unique show. Exhibiting Artists: Peter Hopkins, Mathias Kessler, Josee Lepage, Anne McClain,
Gayil Nalls, Carrie Paterson, Tobias Wong, Jiayi Young & Shih-Wen Young.

Details here.

TV does the arts

This is one of the rarest things that ever happens in the DMV: A local TV station, attracted by the "buzz" about an art show, actually does a feature about it!

WJLA, the local ABC station in DC (Channel 7) News will air a profile of artist Amy Lin and her show at Addison/Ripley Fine Art.

The segment will be shown later today Friday, March 19 on the 5pm News.

It will be interesting to see what a little rare TV attention will do regionally to an artist of the caliber of Lin. If you've been thinking about acquiring a Lin, I'd do it before the segment airs.

Amy tells me that she will be at Addison/Ripley Fine Art from 4-6pm on Saturday, March 20, in case anyone wants to see the show while she's there and talk to her about it.

Congrats Amy!

PS - Can anyone tell me who coined the phrase "the glass teat" to describe television? I know who did, but I want to know if you know who did. And Guy Mondo... I know that you know who did!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Genetics in clothing design


Gateway Arts Center at Brentwood Grand Opening Tomorrow

A former warehouse space along U.S. Route 1 has been transformed into the Gateway Arts Center at Brentwood. On March 19, 2010, starting at 3PM, the Gateway Arts Center at Brentwood (GAC@B) will be dedicated with a celebration following to mark the arrival of this new visual arts center in the Gateway Arts District.

The Gateway Arts Center at Brentwood (GAC@B) is a multi-faceted facility dedicated to the production, exhibition and programming of visual art. The GAC@B serves as a dynamic resource for artists and a vibrant, creative social experience reflecting and engaging a diverse community.

GAC@B houses:a dozen art studios; the 39th Street Gallery, a gallery operated by Gateway CDC; the visual arts programs of the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission (including a gallery, a contemporary craft showcase, and classroom); and the temporary exhibition space of the Prince George's County African American Museum and Cultural Center (PGAAMCC) at North Brentwood.
Speakers at the dedication will include: Anthony Brown, Lieutenant Governor, State of Maryland; Raymond Skinner, Secretary, Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development; Samuel J. Parker, Jr., AICP, Chairman Prince George's County Planning Board; Xzavier Montgomery-Wright, Mayor of Brentwood; Lillian Beverly, Chair of Prince George's County African American Museum and Cultural Center; Ani Kasten, resident artist; Brad Frome, Office of Will Campos, Prince George's County Council District 2 and Floyd Wilson, Office of the County Executive. Senator David Harrington and Delegates Jolene Ivey, Doyle Niemann and Victor Ramirez of the 47th District, State of Maryland are also slated to attend.

The GAC@B will throw open its doors to the public following a ribbon cutting ceremony, allowing the visitors to view three distinct galleries and peruse the artist studios. The 39th Street Gallery, owned and operated by Gateway CDC has an exhibition of GAC@B resident artists curated by Claire Huschle, Executive Director of Arlington Arts Center.

MNCPPC's Brentwood Arts Exchange features works curated by yours truly and quilts by African American artists are on display in Gallery 110, the exhibition space of the Prince George's County African American Museum and Cultural Center (PGAAMCC).

The Gateway Arts Center is located at 3901 Rhode Island Avenue, Brentwood, MD 20722, just over the District line on Rhode Island Avenue.

Free Seminar for Artists

On April 10, 2010 from 1-5pm, Gateway CDC in partnership with MNCPPC will be hosting my well-known “Bootcamp for Artists” seminar at no cost to the artists.

This seminar is suitable for all visual artists interested in taking their careers to the next level.

Ever wondered how to maximize the attention your work gets from the press, galleries, and museum curators? How to present your work in a professional manner and save money in the process? How to tap into grants, awards and residencies?

Then this is the seminar for you! This program is free, but space is limited so please email or call 301-864-3860 ext. 3 if you would like to attend.

This program will be held in MNCPPC’s Brentwood Arts Exchange on the 1st Floor of the Gateway Arts Center, 3901 Rhode Island Avenue, Brentwood, MD 20722, just over the District line on Rhode Island Avenue.

Of interest to the general public: a closing reception for the Gateway Arts District Show, which I juried a while back will immediately follow the “Bootcamp for Artists Seminar” from 5-8pm. All are welcome!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Washington Post Art Critic Honored

On Monday, March 22, the WaPo's Weekend art critic Michael O’Sullivan will receive a special Mayor’s Award for Outstanding Service to the Arts. This will take place at a press conference with Mayor Fenty at the old City Museum.

Space there will be at a premium and extremely limited, and thus very hard to attend for those who wish to congratulate Michael.

Thus, for all those artists, collectors, writers and other folks whose life and artistic careers have been influenced and or benefited from the writing of Michael O’Sullivan, there will be a special gathering right after the press conference.

This will be a very rare opportunity for the Greater DC arts community to give back a little to one of the most understanding, observant, savvy and supportive persons of the complex tapestry that is the Washington area's cultural scene.

What: Tribute Gathering For Michael O’Sullivan

Where: Rear of the Warehouse across 7th Street from the Convention Center.
Enter through The Passenger Bar
1021 7th St NW
(between N Mount Vernon Pl & N New York Ave)
Washington, DC 20001

When: Monday, March 22 , 7:30 to 8:30 pm FREE

If you want a cocktail, grab one at the Passenger on the way in.

Amy Lin at Addison Ripley

I used to have a friend who, if she found a perfect parking spot right away and right in front of wherever she was going, she'd describe it as "Doris Day parking."

"Have you noticed," she explained, "How in all the Doris Day movies she always manages to find a parking spot right in front of wherever it is that she is going?"

I knew that things had started on the right foot when last Saturday, as we drove to Addison Ripley (for the Amy Lin opening) in parking-poor Georgetown, we found a huge parking space right in front of the gallery's door.

After double checking all the parking signs to make sure that it wasn't some kind of new DC trick to give out more parking tickets (such as the trick they pulled a few years ago in G'town, when they extended the parking meters' coverage time from 6PM to 10PM without any warning, and for weeks they were in a ticket-giving orgy because people were used to the 6PM meter time and didn't realize they'd been extended to 10PM.

But I digress.

Readers of this blog know that I avoid being a detached, passionless writer and critic as much as I can. And for years now I have been very enthusiastic about the work and progress of this artist. And this opinion has been echoed by most other art critics in the region, as past Lin solo shows have both (a) received extensive and mostly positive critical attention and (b) have sold extremely well.

The one artistic danger that I once mused about in Lin's case was what I describe as the "Mondrian effect."

Picasso once said "God is really only another artist. He invented the giraffe, the elephant, and the ant. He has no real style. He just goes on trying other things."

As an art student and years afterwards I was always very attracted to the geometrical minimalism of Piet Mondrian. Then, a handful of years ago, I recall the massive Mondrian exhibition at the National Gallery, and what happened when I walked into gallery after gallery full of works so similar that they were almost indistinguishable from each other.

Mondrian had found a formula and stuck to it. He never went on "trying other things."

And in this current Amy Lin solo at Addison Ripley, I am happy to report that Amy Lin is not only trying "other things" from her signature minimalist works of individual groupings of small dots and small circles, but also that the new explorations are perhaps her best work to date.
Amy Lin - Cellular - 25 inch x 39 inch colored pencil 2010

Amy Lin. Cellular. 25 inch x 39 inch. Colored pencil 2010.

They explore new Lin interests that sometimes owe a lot to her training as a Chemical Engineer. They seem to trick the vision into reading formulas and charts and maps of color forms. The larger ellipses in some of the works almost assume figurative forms hidden inside deceptively complex drawings.

Hydrolysis by Amy Lin - 24 inch x 24 inch colored pencil

Amy Lin. Hydrolysis - 24 inch x 24 inch. Colored pencil.

The gallery was packed, and I am happy to report that Lin's past excellent sales record continues, as there were many red dots on the walls and several key DC area art collectors present and adding Lins to their collections.

The exhibition goes through April 24, 2010. Below are some images from the show.

Isabel Manalao, Amy Lin, Annie Adjchavanich and Dr. Fred Ognibene

Isabel Manalao, Amy Lin, Annie Adjchavanich and Dr. Fred Ognibene

Pat Goslee and Philippa Hughes

Pat Goslee and Pink Line Project's Philippa P.B. Hughes

Little June's Mom and Amy Lin

Little Junes' Mom and artist Amy Lin

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Redding takes issue with Gopnik review

Robert "Rob" Redding Jr. is an artist, author, radio host and journalist and he:

...has won an Associated Press award for Internet news and has won numerous awards for his radio show. He has won an ADDY award for his nationally syndicated show. He has has also been called "one of the most respected names in the media" (Upscale magazine), "one of the most intellectual and intriguing radio talk show hosts since Tavis Smiley" (Radio Facts) and a "rising star" and one of the "100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America" (Talkers magazine).
He also has an issue with last Sunday's review by Washington Post Chief Art critic Blake Gopnik titled National Gallery exhibit challenges traditional view of Rothko's black paintings.

Redding writes that "As an artist and journalist, I was horrified when I read the recent review by Washington Post art critic Blake Gopnik. Gopnik wrote a review of Mark Rothko's rehung black-dominated artworks at the National Gallery of Art."

Later he explains that "... As a black journalist, I find it disturbing that Gopnik decides to needlessly inject race into his art review. Gopnik points out the race of the 'notably dark' guards after he says that race should be considered when viewing Rothko's works."

Read Redding's case here.

Is the review racist or insensitive? Comments welcome.

Update: Philippa P.B. Hughes has an interesting viewpoint here.

If you wear a Che Guevara T-Shirt

Unless it is like the one on the left, you are wearing the image of a man whose own racist writing and actions are full of negative, racist remarks about Mexicans and Blacks, and Native Americans.

A killing psychopath whose image has been re-invented over the decades so that now he's viewed by a large, ignorant segment of the population as some sort of positive icon.

By the way, "Comemierda" is an almost unique Cuban insult...

The Negro is indolent and lazy, and spends his money on frivolities, whereas the European is forward-looking, organized, and intelligent.
-- Che Guevara

Mexicans are a band of illiterate Indians.
-- Che Guevara
Inform yourself!

You want the image of a real Cuban hero for your T-Shirt? How about Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet?
Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet

Monday, March 15, 2010


I'm putting all my tax stuff in order for my accountant and I was a little shocked to find out that 2009 was my best year ever as far as sales of my own work.

The art fairs really did the trick, as my work seems to really do two key things to succeed at an art fair: (a) doesn't take a lot of expensive wall space, and (b) sells really well, and (c) I'm usually one of two or three artists doing drawings at any fair.

And 2010 started really nicely already; in fact, I'm having the best year in every aspect of my life so far!

Life's good...

Fierce Sonia at The Art League Gallery

During her tenure as a figure model for The Art League School, Fierce Sonia quietly acquired a top-notch visual arts education. Motivated by the artwork she saw, she became eager to create her own work. She cabled her camera to her TV and released the shutter with an infrared remote. Sonia used herself as her own model, learning more about composition and technique based on what she saw on the screen.

Her figurative photography has evolved to a new and exciting place. The focus is on process. In Sonia’s latest series “Paper Dolls,” the same images reoccur with confident changes to the surface. Her work is no longer straight photography. With the integration of painting and collage into her images, Sonia’s work has reached a new level.

The black and white images of herself are often printed on paper that has been painted white, which creates a rich texture. Each piece is created in a unique way. Previous prints may be collaged to create depth. Multiple runs of the same print may be made on the same piece. More painting, layering might be necessary to create the desired effect. These alterations to the surface blur the identity of the original image, and make the series of work about the medium and the process, and not about the subject matter.

Sonia’s work has been exhibited and won accolades nationally. She is a professional art model and muse for artists and photographers and has worked with nationally and internationally known artists.
“Paper Dolls” will be at The Art League Gallery in Old Town Alexandria from April 8 – May 3, 2010. The Opening Reception and Meet the Artist function is Thursday, April 8, 6:30-8:00 pm. Joe Chiocca, Old Town’s favorite band, will play during the Opening Reception and reunite with special guest singer Kim Kenny. Free and open to the public.

Wanna go to an opening tonight?

Come see Sidney Lawrence’s art at Baked & Wired coffeehouse (1052 Thomas Jefferson St., Georgetown (at the canal, below Barnes & Noble)).

Opening Party: Monday, March 15, 6 – 8 p.m. Exhibition continues through April 30.

Wanna go to an opening this week?

"Coming Home: A Collection of Works by Rosetta DeBerardinis" opens at The Corner Store, 900 South Carolina Avenue, S.E. @ 9th Street near the Eastern Market.

Reception: Friday, March 19th from 6 to 8 pm.

"Coming Home: A Collection of Works by Rosetta DeBerardinis" marks the artist's return to the D.C. market upon the completion of a three-year artistic residency at School 33 Art Center in Baltimore, Maryland. The work demonstrates her expansion from color field painting to abstract expressionism to urbanscapes, monoprints, sculpture and to drawings while retaining her signature energy and strong use of color.

DeBerardinis has exhibited at commercial galleries and art venues throughout the Washington metro area, Richmond, Dallas, New York City, Houston, New Jersey, Delaware, Michigan and internationally in Croatia, Madrid, Beijing, India and France. She has shown at the Dallas Women's Museum, The Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Woman's National Democratic Club, The African-American Museum in Dallas, the City Museum of Varazdin in Croatia and the Yaroslavl Art Museum in Russia. Her work and words have been published in Washington Spaces magazine, the Virginia-Pilot Ledger Star, SoBo Voice, Radar Redux magazine and u-tube, Thinking About Art:The One Word Project, the Hill Rag, Voice of the Hill and in catalogues with comments by art aficionados like Doreen Bolger, Director of the Baltimore Museum of Art. A recent work is part of the Art on Call public art project in the Trinidad neighborhood in the District of Columbia.

During the residency, DeBardinis began to meld her ceramics with objects found on the streets of Baltimore and drove the finished sculptures back to DC for exhibition at Zenith Gallery last year. Her responses to Charm City's rawness and grit are reflected in much of her studio work. While there, she temporarily abandoned painting 9 ft. canvases to create work suitable for tiny Baltimore row houses. After downsizing in response to the architectual limits of the city, she began to exhibit surfaces as small as 2 1/2 inches, or the size of trading cards. She found compressing her energy into tiny space took practice and amazing focus and welcomed the challenge.

The former Washington, D.C. and Bethesda art tour guide, Liquitex Artist of the Month and frequent contributor to DC Art News is busy reinventing herself. An artist with academic credits and/or degrees from the following institutions: Vassar College, The University of Baltimore School of Law, Rice University, London School for Social Research and the Fashion Institute of Technology. It is appropriate that Rosetta DeBerardinis begin her artistic revival on Capitol Hill where she resided for more than a decade and maintains close ties with former neighbors and friends.

Don't miss this show!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

“Birds in the Park” coming to DC

“Birds in the Park” is a touring public project, which involves the one-day installation of thirty to sixty porcelain birdlike forms on the ground.

Christy Heng's Birds in Central Park

Central Park, New York

At first, people usually take them for oddly still pigeons. They are, in a sense, carrier pigeons, as the forms carry images, text, and other documents, which have been printed with cobalt blue and fired into the surface. The message they bear is an exploration of the beautiful and the horrible side by side. The creator, artist Christy Heng explains:
Originating with the shock and dismay I felt as the US government began the war with Iraq, and expanding to consider the phenomenon of war in general, the questions posed by the birds are about the humanness of us all. How we are connected, and also the unthinkable ways in which that bond is disregarded.

More specifically, I’m layering, and in some cases placing side by side, silk-screened images of children playing, love letters, poetry, recipes and prose… with silk-screened newspaper articles and photographs of the lead-up to and beginning of the current Iraq war, as well as other war-related documents, that tend to bring up the question, How can people do that to each other?! Among other things, I'm looking at how the initiation of a war is “sold” to regular people. Also, how discussions about the cold facts of war, weapons capabilities etc. can become detached from the human reality on the other end, creeping into everyday life as something normal, like birds in the park.

This work draws on years of experimentation with silk-screen printing onto clay. I create the silk screens from photographs and documents, and use them to apply the image and text onto wet porcelain. While the clay is still flexible, I form the birds -- each one is different -- and eventually fire them at a very high temperature.

The forms themselves are about a foot and a half each in length. Low to the ground, some are involved in their own search, while many appear to be in conversation with each other.

Although they are made from porcelain, the pieces are actually quite sturdy. They are positioned in such a way that people can wander among them, taking time to look and read.

I set them up in the morning and take them down at night. It’s out of the blue and somewhat fleeting, the better to catch the unsuspecting passerby’s curiosity. An important part of the project is the actual interaction with people, and I as the artist am always present during an installation, to answer questions, listen and converse.

The project began in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where in the spring of 2009 the birds landed in about thirty locations; places like the farmer's market, City Hall, various parks, cafes and libraries. Later, the birds began to fly farther afield, landing along the coast of California, in Central Park, NY, in a sculpture garden in New Orleans, at a University Plaza in Germany, in front of Chartres Cathedral in France, and even migrating so far as the Galapagos islands.

New birds continue to be born, often in response to the places that the birds have been or will be visiting. In addition to personal photography and images and text borrowed from public media, I am collaborating with writer and Vietnam War veteran Tim Origer, English poet Henry Shukman, Venezuelan photographer Maria de Las Casas, and my father Werner Hengst for some of the material that appears on the birds. One landing scheduled for July, 2010 is in Peenemünde, Germany, the site of the V-1 and V-2 rocket development during WWII; my grandfather was working there as a scientist then, and photographs of the lab town before and after its bombing, as well as quotes from Germans during that time, are making their way into some of the silkscreened images on the birds now.

The flight pattern continues to develop, and the project is expected to continue through fall 2010.
Now the birds are coming to DC! the schedule is:
Thursday, March 18th, on the center of the Mall at 9th street.
Friday, March 19th, Dupont Circle.
Sunday, March 21st, Upper Senate Park, by the Capitol.

Christy Heng's Birds at the Besthoff Sculpture Garden, New Orleans Museum of Art
Besthoff Sculpture Garden, New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, Louisiana

For pictures and location information, visit her website here. Past updates about the birds' travels can be found at

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Wanna go to a Georgetown opening tonite?

"Kinetics" is the latest solo show by the DC area's superbly talented artist Amy Lin. Seldom has an artist received the critical accolades and collector support that Lin has in the past.

The opening reception is tonite, Saturday, March 13, 5-7pm at Addison/Ripley Fine Art, 1670 Wisconsin Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20007. The exhibition dates: March 13-April 24, 2010.

See ya there!

Wanna go to an opening tonite in Bethesda?

Head out to Gallery Neptune, where works by Freya Grand are hanging and the gallery has a reception for the artist tonite, Saturday, March 13th, starting at 7 PM.

Kennicott on New Brow art exhibit 'G40: The Summit'

WaPo staff writer Philip Kennicott, who is not a visual arts critic, reviews 'G40: The Summit' in Crystal City.

He writes:

Critics generally organize their lives to avoid mediocrity, in part because there is so much of it, but mainly because it forces them to write with a negativity that alienates readers.
What am I missing here then?

It is clear that Kennicott, who doesn't generally write about the visual arts, finds the work in G40 mediocre, and perhaps even the concept or idea of "underground art" itself is mediocre?

And yet, it seems like he went out of his way to organize his life to take a specific negative aim at this show, in direct contradiction to the above quote.

And I don't really have a problem with that. My issue here is that Style editor after Style editor in the revolving Style editor door that has been the WaPo in the last few years, has told me that the reason that there isn't more visual arts coverage in the WaPo is due mostly to lack of newsprint space.

And I have this friend at the WaPo who is an administrative assistant type person (a secretary), who recently told me about how the Style section and the Weekend section were being directed to coordinate coverage to avoid duplication of coverage of the same stories, shows, movies, exhibitions, etc.

And just yesterday Michael O'Sullivan reviewed the G40 show in the Weekend section.

Thus my issue.

Seem like Kennicott went out of his way, in direct contradiction to his own words, and in direct conflict with the WaPo's policy to avoid duplication of coverage, to write a negative review about a show and an art movement that he considers mediocre.

Why? What am I missing here?

And where's the Style editor telling him: "Sorry Phil, but the Weekend section already wrote about this show."

Unless Kennicott replied: "Sorry Scott Vogel (or whoever is his editor), but I really hate this kind of art and really want to explain why."

But then, I've also got this nagging feeling about how Kennicott is so out of touch with what this genre of art is all about, what it encompasses, how it has reached the megastars of his high brow art world (think Takashi Murakami), that he is looking at this show and this genre of art through opera glasses from the expensive seats, and with his nose somewhere in the upper stratosphere.

Sort of like the old guys from the old Salons looked at the refuses, and we know how that turned out.

On the other hand, a bad review is better than no review at all, and two reviews in a art-review-poor newspaper such as the WaPo is, is quite a score for G40. So, in a Warholian sense, Kennicott is helping out the cause that he is attempting to diminish.

Asi es la vida!

Friday, March 12, 2010

O'Sullivan on G40

The WaPo's art critic Michael O'Sullivan reviews "G40: The Summit"

Some 2,000 art works by more than 500 artists are on view in a partially empty office building in Crystal City.

And no, it isn't Artomatic. Next question.

How is it different from that regular, open-to-all art show? For one thing, "G40: The Summit" is curated. That means that, with the exception of a handful of installation artists, one man -- Shane Pomajambo of the Art Whino Gallery -- has handpicked each artist for the 75,000-square-foot exhibition. It takes up four floors and part of the lobby level. (The rest of the first floor is used for a stage and bar.)
Read it here.

I love this quote: "These days, almost nobody draws like Ben Tolman, whose intricate pen drawings -- at once classical and subversive -- are a stand-out here. Nobody, that is, except half the artists in the West Wing of the National Gallery of Art."

Ben Tolman is amazing... see his stuff here.

Dawson reviews

The WaPo's Jessica Dawson with two very cool reviews on Jason Horowitz at Curator's Office and Titouan Lamazou at Adamson.

Wanna go to a Georgetown Opening tomorrow?

"Kinetics" is the latest solo show by the DC area's superbly talented artist Amy Lin. Seldom has an artist received the critical accolades and collector support that Lin has in the past.

The opening reception is tomorrow, Saturday, March 13, 5-7pm at Addison/Ripley Fine Art, 1670 Wisconsin Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20007. The exhibition dates: March 13-April 24, 2010.

Buy Amy Lin now.

Opportunity for Artists

Out of Order is the Maryland Art Place's Annual free-hung Benefit Exhibition, Silent Auction and Party!

Hanging Dates and Times: Beginning 9am, Tuesday, April 6th, ending 9am, Wednesday, April 7th That’s right—24 hours nonstop!

Silent Auction and Gala: 8pm, Friday, April 9, 2010. Join them for a fantastic evening of great art, music, food, and an open beer & wine bar.

Participation: There is a $10 participation fee to hang artwork in Out of Order. As a participating artist, you will be given one complimentary ticket to the gala on April 9th. ($40 value!). Proceeds will be split 50/50 between the artist and MAP.

Tickets: Tickets are free for event volunteers and current MAP members. If you wish to attend the event, simply join or renew your MAP membership and receive two complimentary tickets ($80 value), in addition to a host of incredible incentives throughout the year! Or, to buy tickets online, visit:

For More Details: access their website: or call 410-962-8565.

Details for artists here.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Alexa Meade’s Living Still Lifes

I stumbled upon Alexa Meade’s installations a few weeks ago and it’s still sticking with me. This 23 year-old DC area native is doing something in art that I have never seen before in delivering a skilled marriage of painting, video and interactive installations and all I can say is, WOW!

When you look at this picture, what do you see? (Hint: You are not looking at an ordinary painting.)

Alexa Meade's Will
Alexa created this piece by body painting a live model as if he were an oil painting.

Further blurring the lines between reality and illusion, she projected a live video feed of her painted model into a picture frame on the wall. Gallery patrons interacted with both the painted man sitting in the chair and the living painting next to him on the wall.

Alexa Meade's Will
You have to see more of her living still lifes/portraits to believe it; visit her website here.

On April 2nd, Alexa is taking the project all the way to Postmasters Gallery in New York City. Congrats!

Keep an eye on this young new talent!

Sparkplug Artist Collective Seeks New Members

Sparkplug, a collective of emerging artists and curators sponsored by DC Arts Center, is currently seeking new members interested in participating as curators or artists.

Currently composed of nine DC area artists and curators, the Sparkplug collective meets regularly to discuss their work, explore common concerns, grow their community and dream up creative engagements both in DC and around the world.

Through its support of Sparkplug, DC Arts Center provides meeting space, legal and technical resources and exhibition opportunities to emerging artists and curators without current gallery representation or institutional employ. Via a continuing dialogue encompassing the theoretical and the practical, the group’s members share experiences, perspectives, preoccupations, challenges, and topics informing their ongoing artistic practice.

New members chosen during the Spring of 2010 should be prepared to participate in an exhibition this June and remain active members of the group for the next two years.

Members are expected to attend monthly meetings and participate in studio visits. Applicants should be 21 years of age, live in the DC metropolitan area and not currently have gallery representation or institutional employ as curators or art writers. The deadline for applications is April 5, 2010. Invitations for formal interviews will be extended on or before April 19. 2010. F

Go to the DCAC website for more information about Sparkplug and to view the full call and application requirements.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Photographs at Fraser

George Borden

"Flying the Potomac" by George Borden, Potomac, Maryland

The 9th Annual International Photography Competition, hosted by the Fraser Gallery in Bethesda is having its opening reception and awards ceremony this Friday March 12, 6pm – 9pm.

This is always one of the best photography shows of the year.