Monday, August 02, 2010

Gallery Neptune to close (and change)

From Elyse Harrison, the hardworking and talented owner and director of Gallery Neptune:

In the spirit of economic realism (but indeed not cultural nourishment), Gallery Neptune will conclude it’s seven year run this summer on August 21st.

The good news though is that elements of the gallery’s programming such as our special events will continue, as will the very important work of Studio Neptune, our 20 year old educational program. In fact, Studio Neptune is positioning itself to go non profit and add a wonderful online component that will reach out to art educators and creative people everywhere.

I want to personally thank all of you who have shown dedicated support in covering our numerous exhibits over these past years. It is truly a labor of love to run an art gallery and our two year old gallery space in the building we so carefully developed is proof that my husband and I are firmly dedicated to inspire through good design and excellent programming.

I hope you remain interested in Studio Neptune’s bounty, as we step forward this fall on our world wide journey.

Not good enough

Kriston Capps responds to my defense responding to his his highly flawed and deceptive article on the 100 Washington Artists book and I. He writes:

Seventh-generation Texan, in fact. There are many Mexican Americans in my family, but I don't have much Latino blood in me. And I'm a fanboy for Star Trek and Marvel Comics.

Okay, a couple of points:

On Fraser: In my article I write, "As a curator and a dealer, he’s shown 100 Washington Artists selections Lida Moser, Andrew Wodzianski, Tim Tate, Michael Janis, Joseph Barbaccia, and many others," which is correct. I note that in D.C., he's primarily shown these artists through Fraser--also true. But I did not write that Fraser represents these artists. Somewhere in the editorial process, "Lida Moser" became "Linda Moser," a typo that was either my fault or editorial's.

No way did I fabricate any quote or bend the context to fit the narrative.

More broadly, I think it is a misreading to say that I've fingered Campello in a conspiracy or scheme to profit. I speculate that that opportunity is probably not even there. Rather, I say that Campello has conflicts of interest with regard to artists he works with and artists he is covering in this book. I cited the Alida Anderson/art fair example because it was recent and clear (and because Campello told me that). It doesn't destroy my argument that he skipped last year's Affordable Art Fair. His financial relationships with specific artists continues and will continue in the future.

Again, I acknowledge that Campello has kept nothing hidden. I don't say that it's a scheme to make money. The takeaway is that a conflict of interest doesn't bother him and isn't keeping him from writing a survey of D.C. artists.

Campello writes, "He does shoot himself in the foot by later acknowledging that I did tell him that I have current commercial interests in some artists." I do not see how reporting that constitutes shooting myself in the foot.

Campello says I "strangle the truth" by saying he blogs about artists he admires (and represents), but that is correct. I don't say they are one and the same.

No more hairsplitting from me. I would refer back to my story on all the other points.
Let's examine this response in detail.

Capps writes that: "No way did I fabricate any quote or bend the context to fit the narrative." But he did bend the context. The quote in question is: "I have zero commercial relationship with them."

This quote is in the context of our discussion on the past and former Fraser Gallery artists in general that we were discussing in our telephone conversation. He even listed a few artists by name at one point and that quote was in response to that context. I then immediately followed that by listing the very few artists that I do have a relationship with - which Kriston admits in his response "I acknowledge that Campello has kept nothing hidden" - but in the article he follows the "I have zero commercial relationship with them" quote with "That’s not wholly true." He then details all the facts that I revealed to him without telling his readers that it was I who revealed that information to him.

If you follow the thread of the writing, the implication is that I lied to him, unless someone knows of another meaning for "not wholly true." Had he written in the article what he wrote in his response ("Campello has kept nothing hidden") then this part of my argument would have been a moot point. But to make that clear in his article would have seriously undermined his goal to make this project seem full of conflicts of interest.

I also told Capps of the safety valves that I had implemented to minimize the potential conflicts of interest with the artists in question. I'll repeat myself: Every artist in the book who is represented by a gallery or dealer is referred back to that gallery or dealer. In the case of artists associated with me, every single contact info points back to another dealer who represents that artist. Not a single artist in this book is associated in the book with me. In fact, if any "business" is to be derived from this book, I am sending the business to everyone but me. Capps knows this, but conveniently avoided discussing that. The reason is simple: it demolishes his implied undercurrent about my ethical transgressions in having artists in the book that I'm associated with.

He shoots himself in the foot because first he implies that "That's not wholly true" as in a lie, but then later reveals that I did tell him that I have a relationship with a tiny percentage of the artists in the book. So he has told you that I told him that I have zero relationships with any artists and I also told him that I do have a relationship with some artists. It is the flow of the sentences that don't follow a logical path other than to imply to that I tried to hide my relationship from him.

And he does strangle the truth when he writes in the article: "As much can be ascertained from his blog, D.C. Art News, where he has written for years about artists he admires (and represents)." Clearly this was meant to incorrectly suggest that I only write and admire artists that I represent. In his response he says: "I don't say they're one and the same." See how a dishonest employment of English to convey one meaning - the one the author wants to convey - works?

What an honest journalist would have written should have been: "As much can be ascertained from his blog, D.C. Art News, where he has written for years about artists he admires (and some of whom he represents)."

You see the difference between the truth and unethical journalism designed to carry the author's agenda forward?

In another response in reference to my anger at being called a "fanboy", Capps tells me that:
But to say that I kicked my story with a slur to insult you personally -- or that City Paper would publish that kind of attack -- is not true. As another commenter says, it's a word that comes from comic-book and nerd culture that suggests extreme enthusiasm for a subject.
Fair enough, but I'll say it again: regardless of the actual meaning of "fanboy", the intent was the same: to diminish and reduce. He could have written "fan" and accomplish the same point without the denigration to a juvenile status that "fanboy" brings to those readers not in tune with the arcane meanings of the sci-fi and comic book culture.

Capps doesn't respond of his denigration of the publisher. In the article he picked as examples some weird titles from a selection of 100s of art books that this respected publisher has offered in the 50-plus years that they've been publishing art books. This is a highly respected publisher that is taking a huge chance financing this book, its marketing and exposure at zero cost to the artists or anyone.

It all comes down to choice of words and the intended meaning that the author wants to accomplish.

What bugs me the most out this whole episode is that I really tried so fucking hard to bust my ass to cover every possible angle dealing with conflicts of interest; that I've spent some many hundreds of hours putting together this volume with the real Pollyanna goal of doing something good for the DC art scene; that I tried so hard to focus all possible future "financial rewards" to other art dealers or to the artists themselves... and still, after all that, in the end a piece of shoddy attack journalism still tries to focus most of the attention on conflicts of interest without pointing out the steps that I took to remove them.

For that there's no semantic excuse other than a flaw of character and a scary disregard for ethics. What's good for the goose should be good for the gander, right? and one lesson that Capps will learn from this episode is that you reap what you sow.