Saturday, April 30, 2011

Open House

Friday, April 29, 2011

Walking Off the Artistic Cliff

Wednesday, June 1, 7:00 - 9:00pm

Panel Discussion - Walking Off the Artistic Cliff
Making good art requires taking risks. Join Jack Rasmussen, Director of the American University Museum at the Katzen Center, Claudia Rousseau, Ph.D., Professo of Art History at Montgomery College and art critic for the Gazette Newspapers and Welmoed Laanstra, Curator of Public Art for Arlington County, and moderator Ellyn Weiss, as they discuss what it means to commit to the new and unknown.

Free. Open to the Public.

Brentwood Arts Exchange @ Gateway Arts Center
3901 Rhode Island Avenue
Brentwood, MD 20722
301-277-2863/ tty. 301-446-6802

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Top Ten Artists to Watch

Bruce Helander, Editor-in-Chief of The Art Economist and a White House Fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts picks ten artists to watch for The Huffington Post and picks DMV area artist Hadieh Shafie!

Shafie is represented locally by Morton Fine Art (MFA). Read the article here.

TV Drawings

The Devil Posing with a Mariachi Hat
Above is "Devil Posing with a Mariachi Hat." This is a TV drawing (ink and finger smears) and done while watching a TV show at a tire shop while my van's rear tires were being replaced.

Big Ideas

Opening Reception: Saturday, May 7 - 5:00 - 8:00pm

Public Programs

Saturday, May 14, 12:00 - 5:00pm
Gateway Arts District Open Studios Day

2:00pm - Artist Talk: Sondra N. Arkin, Susan Finsen, & Ellyn Weiss will talk about their art work and walk guests through their exhibition.

4:00pm - Join the Community Spirit: A dialogue with the three artists about their installation, Community Spirit, where you are invited to leave your mark.

Go see this Saturday

Three major DMV artists showing at Reston's gorgeous GRACE.

Place: Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE)
Date and Time: Saturday April 30, 5-7pm
Address: Greater Reston Arts Center, at the Reston Town Center,12001 Market Street, Suite #103 in the DMV's burb known as Reston.

Challenge for the WaPo's freelancers: make your way out to this exhibit and impress us all.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Jerusalem Fund Gallery will have a special exhibition titled Breaching the Wall from May 20 - June 24, 2011 and the opening reception is Friday May 20, 6 – 8 p.m.

This show should attract some attention.

The gallery invited artists from around the U.S. including Rajie Cook, Mona El-Bayoumi, Najat El-Khairy, Elena Farsakh, Adib Fattal, John Halaka, Michael Keating, Ellen O’Grady, Ammar Qusaibaty, Mary Tuma and Helen Zughaib to create a work of art reflecting their perceptions of the separation wall in Palestine. Interpreted in painting, sculpture, video, photography, porcelain and other media, each artist’s work speaks in their own unique voice to the theme of the exhibition.

You like political art?

Then, look for several of these artists to use their art to deliver their personal political agendas, from the exceptionally uninformed, to the historically incorrect, to the haters who use words like "occupiers" in their statements, to the dreamers who hope for peace, rather than hate between the Biblical brothers who currently inhabit this historical land.

Look for Helen Zughaib and Rajie Cook to steal this show.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Point Nine

The gas station next to the Watergate has regular gas at $4.99.9 a gallon. I wonder how the whole point nine thing started in gasoline pricing.

I'm just saying...

Monday, April 25, 2011


Congrats to Transformer, which was awarded the Mayor's Arts Award for Excellence in an Artistic Discipline on Wednesday evening April 20, 2011 as part of a beautiful ceremony at the Kennedy Center to celebrate the diversity of arts activities in our nation's capital. I was there, and as usual, it was a terrific and fun evening packed with entertainment ranging from classical music, ballet, an amazing jazz-rock virtuoso performance by ELEW, and salsa music!

The Mayor's Arts Awards are the most prestigious honors conferred by the city on individual artists, organizations, and patrons of the arts.

Landscapes Light up Edison

A new exhibit called “The Illuminated Landscape” opens this week at the Edison Place Gallery in the Pepco building at 701 Ninth Street, NW in Washington, DC. Thirty members of the Washington Society of Landscape Painters have contributed their interpretations of the landscape for the show, which runs from April 19 through May 27. The oil, pastel, acrylic, and watercolor paintings will be on view Tuesday through Friday from 12 to 4. The exhibit is free and open to the public, with a reception on April 28th from 6 to 8 p.m.

The 4000-square-foot gallery is located near the National Portrait Gallery and the Gallery Place metro. The entrance to the Edison Place Gallery is on Eighth Street between G and H streets, directly behind the Pepco headquarters entrance.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Josip Broz Tito's Unusual Art Legacy

Tito's iron hand on the former Yugoslavia left behind more than the usual brutal and bloody Communist legacy.

Crack Two has a gorgeous posting of 25 or so of these rather futuristic public art works done in the 1960s and 1970s. Check them all out here.

The key site to learn more about these brutal massive sculptures is this one.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Mother of All Rock Fights

For about five or six years now I've been working on writing down my memories of my early childhood in Cuba, which is where I was born and lived my early years before my family escaped to the United States in the 60s. I hope to one day pitch it to some publisher. The below piece is a second peek at a chapter draft somewhere in the middle of the book. It is titled "The Mother of All Rock Fights," and feedback, suggestions and criticism is welcome!

The Mother of All Rock Fights

Depending on who you believe, the mother of all rock fights started with either a push, or a slip into the dirty, sewage waters of the Guaso River in Guantanamo, Cuba.

Even now, nearly forty years later, it stands out as vividly, as spectacular, as surreal and as immensely impossible, as on the day that it happened.

Sometimes in the early 1960’s a new baseball stadium was built in the outskirts of Guantanamo. At the time, to us local children, it was beautiful new place, a shrine to the love of baseball that all Cubans have. We didn’t notice or care, that all seats were made of cement, and that it was a grim, stark and bare bones space.

But at least to us boys it was a wonderful, beautiful place, where once in a while even the Orientales, the provincial team that represented our honor in the national baseball leagues (and always seemed to lose to the hated Havana teams), played.

My father also loved baseball, and he was the un-official baseball escort for all the boys in the neighborhood, and often he would lead a dozen of us ruffians to a game at the stadium, which was named Van Troi, in honor of a shadowy slain North Vietnamese guerrilla fighter who had been killed in the Viet Nam war.

Why name a baseball stadium after a man who probably never heard of baseball was also a mystery to us, especially since we all knew the names of all the real baseball gods, both Cuban and Americans. But more on baseball later.

As I said, Van Troi Stadium was a few miles outside of the city, and we all usually caught the bus that stopped at the bottom of Second Street, directly across from the side of our house that ran downhill through that street. We took that bus to the edge of the city and from there we all walked, usually with hundreds of other people, to the Stadium.

From Guantanamo the trek to the Stadium could be made via two different routes. The longer and safer route was through the metal bridge that spanned the Guaso River. Crossing this bridge was always a thrilling adventure to me. The bridge was a metal arch, and the walkways on either side were made of metal grilles that allowed you to see the river below you as one crossed the bridge.

Because the bridge was – at least in my eyes – just a few feet above the rushing water, there was always a sense of immediacy – and danger – from the fast flowing Guaso River rushing underneath your feet. It was also quite a wide crossing, as the Guaso was a rather wide river at that point and often, when augmented by tropical rains, as when the Flora hurricane passed through Oriente province in the early 60’s, would flood the city. In fact, the metal bridge of my memories may have been a "new" bridge built after Flora, which may have wiped out the older bridge.

Anyway, the bridge crossing was adventurous, and I would always plan it ahead at the beginning of the crossing. I always had a strategy in case I fell off the bridge or in case the bridge collapsed while I was in the middle of it. This always demanded knowing exactly where on the bridge I was, and which direction (backwards or forwards) was the shortest path to land.

Once we crossed the bridge, the road to the Stadium was through a slightly hilly unpaved street, almost a country road, and sometimes we would stop and rest at a house where my father was friends with the family who lived there.

There we would always buy a bottle of pru, which is a homemade Cuban soft drink. We would usually bring the drinks along the rest of the walk to the stadium and sometimes carry extra bottles with us to drink later.

Once, my cousin Cesar had the task of carrying all the extra bottles, and when we arrived at the Stadium, we discovered that he had drunk all of them on the way to the ballpark.

As pru is actually some kind of a fermented non-alcoholic drink, and being homemade, possibly not the purest of drinks, he immediately developed a tremendous case of diarrhea halfway through the game and never made it to the stadium’s bathroom, and managed to shit all over his pants, much to his embarrassment and our delight.

In any event, this route was the safer, but the longer of the two ways to get to Van Troi Stadium. The second route was a short cut that involved crossing the river though a series of rocks that had been strategically placed at a narrower portion of the river, about half a mile downriver from the bridge.

Now, these weren’t (by any stretch of the imagination), large, flat rocks, but a series of mossy, slippery rocks that sometimes even demanded a slight jump from rock to rock, rather than just steps. In fact sometimes, one could actually step from rock to rock, while other times you needed a synchronized ballet to jump to a small rock, and use it as a spring to the next, larger safer rock, as there was no room in the small rock to actually land and stabilize one’s body. It was a dangerous and almost incredible risk, and yet at the time it seemed as natural as crossing the bridge.

The choice was always based on the availability of the rocks themselves. If the river was too high, then we took the bridge, if the river was low and the rocks exposed, then we’d all cross the river at the rock crossing. Hundreds of people, usually all men and boys and all heading to the game through the river shortcut.

To add an ever greater sense of danger to this crossing, was the repugnant fact that the city’s raw sewer lines came out somewhere between the bridge and the rock crossing.

And this was completely untreated, raw sewage at its most luxuriant stage of smell and visibility. The river, which was clean and clear when we looked at it from the bridge, became shit brown and foul by the time it arrived at the rock crossing and turds floated like brown torpedoes all around you as you gingerly made your way across the rocks.

It never occurred to us why the rock crossing had been built after the sewage lines, rather than before it – who knows, perhaps it pre-dated the sewage lines, but the immense danger of crossing the river by skipping across slippery, mossy rocks was multiplied by a million when one considered what would happen if one had the misfortune to slip and fall into the shitwater.

And it did happen quite often! Someone would be a little too cavalier in the crossing, or sometimes someone too tipsy from drinking too much beer at the games, lose concentration, slip and fall, to the cheers and laughter and applause of the rest of us. And falling near the riverbed was the worst, as the shit tended to concentrate there, while the river current, although faster and more dangerous in the middle, tended to keep the middle of the river cleaner.

The edges were absolutely gross. A luxuriant, rich, thick mixture of shit and mud demanded strict attention and concentration. In response to this, whoever had originally placed the rocks to build the crossing, had thankfully placed larger rocks at the edges, some of which actually could accommodate several persons at once. This had an indirect cause in the overall accumulations of tiny events that all led to the greatest rock fight in history.

I always recall the crossing of the river at this point as a true adventure. Sometimes I was a pirate, usually Emilio Salgari's El Corsario Negro, getting away from the Spanish soldiers; at other times I was an astronaut discovering another planet. But I was always in a high state of concentration, always ensuring that I never slipped and always focusing on the next rock, especially when we neared the edges, and the river became a mass of mojones, which is what we called turds, and birds eating all the gross insect life that lived amongst it.

Sometimes a particularly spectacular mojon would float by, or a fleet of mojones, to the delight of us kids crossing the river. We would shout in unison and point to the mojones and exaggerate their sizes and speed. The word mojon is an interesting one, and I’m not sure where it comes from, or if it is a Cuban slang or a true Castilian word. It literally means someone or something that is wet, and has no relation that I can think of to the Spanish word for shit, which is mierda.

Regardless, the river at this point was full of mojones, and stinking of mierda and we would always be alert and I never recall any of our gang falling into the river.

Until the greatest rock fight in history. Truly the mother of all rock fights.

On that particular day, we had all trekked to the stadium not to watch a baseball game, but to watch something different in our perception of sports, at least to Cubans: a soccer match.

While soccer is a big thing in nearly all Latin American countries, in fact nearly a religion in most, it was and probably still is, a curiosity and ignored as a sport by most Cubans.

This arises from the fact that soccer – like bullfights – was a "Spanish sport" enjoyed by Spaniards in Cuba, and thus disliked immediately by Cubans, who wished to remove all things Spanish from the young republic. Spaniards like soccer and bullfights while Cubans preferred baseball and cockfights; Spaniards drank wine, Cubans drank beer and rum, etc.

Anyway, on the day of the greatest rock fight in history, there was a soccer match staged at Van Troi stadium, and as most of us had never seen a soccer match before, a curious crowd of several thousand local men and boys made the trip, either through the bridge or through the rock crossing, and congregated at the ballpark to watch the game.

It was a disaster.

One of the teams had traveled from Havana, and was on a nationwide tour to help spread soccer among Cubans. The second team was made up at the last minute from Guantanamo men from the Institute (the local junior college) or local baseball players who had not been selected for any of the national league teams. I bet that for some of the locals, it was the first time that they had ever actually played soccer.

It was the most boring sports spectacle that I recall ever witnessing, played on a baseball field, with the pitching mound still in place, and soccer lines marked at the last minute with white chalk lines.

I recall the entire game consisting of the ball being kicked from one extreme end of the field to the other, with little of the precision and foot skills that only experienced soccer players can display. One just can’t show up one day and decide to dribble with your feet – it just doesn’t happen, and it showed.

And Cubans are just not culturally designed to play soccer, which demands precise teamwork and strategy, as opposed to individualism on the field, which is what the inept soccer players on the soccer pitch, I mean baseball field turned soccer pitch for that day, attempted to do.

The crowd was bored and delighted us by hurling insults at the players, and booing throughout, and only applauding when a fight broke out on the field, which was practically every few minutes, when aggressive, inept Cuban men kicked each other’s shins in futile attempts to get to the ball.

The soccer experiment was a boring disaster, and when the game ended, scoreless as I recall, the crowd was in a dark mood as it left the Stadium and headed back to the city, most of us through the river rock crossing.

And this mood was the second ingredient in the recipe for the chain of events that led to the greatest rock fight in history.

Here is what happened.

I had just crossed the river, and along with my father behind me, begun the slight climb from the river slopes towards the streets above it. At that point, one had a great view of the river and I recall turning around to see the long line of people, like ants, crossing the river, jumping rocks and making their way back to the city.

And then it happened.

Monguito fell into the shitwater; not the middle, cleaner part of the river, with fast moving water and smaller rocks, but near the banks of the river, with turgid, stagnant mud and shit.

Whether he slipped or fell is a matter of debate. As I said before these bank rocks were larger and thus "safer" than the smaller, middle-of-the-river rocks, and Monguito claims that as he was standing on one of these rocks, Gustavito, who lived in the house directly below our house on Second Street, and who was a perennial enemy of the Monguito brothers, pushed him from behind.

Gustavito, who was a feisty (and always ready to pick a fight), scruffy, short bulldog of a boy, with a flat top blonde haircut, and he looked like a miniature of his father, who was a professional boxer, has always denied pushing Monguito, claiming that he was nowhere near Monguito when Monguito fell or was pushed in.

Anyway, Monguito emerged from the river completely covered in shit and mud and looking for revenge. The people who were still on the rocks were dying of laughter as he made his way up the banks of the river, and the crossing momentarily stopped as the elder of the two Monguito brothers emerged from the muck.

And he turned to face his laughing tormentors, and he was looking for revenge.

He then spotted Gustavito, still on a rock on the river, also laughing and in fact doubled over with laughter. And in Monguito’s mind, somehow, it became clear that his archenemy had some hand in his fall.

And he picked up a rock, and with the brilliant aim of someone with a thousand previous rock fights of experience, lobbed it in a long arch towards Gustavito, who was too lost in laughter to notice the incoming missile as it hit him and made him fall into the river.

Now the other river crossers really exploded in laughter – this was too much! Two falls in one crossing – this alone was worth the boring experience of the soccer game!

But Gustavito, who had not seen who had thrown the rock, emerged from the river also looking for revenge, and incredibly enough began picking up rocks from the river itself and pelting the crowd with shit covered missiles.

And suddenly pandemonium broke out as people began to fall into the river and more rock throwers were added to the battle. From our safe side on the land, we all joined in to try to nail those still clinging to the relative safety of the rocks.

Some tried to turn back and head to the other side, colliding with crossers coming over and more and more people fell into the water, creating several water battles as men fought each other in the water, on rocks and on the shore. And the people already on the banks of the rivers were also good targets for us, as we were higher above them on the streets that ran parallel to the river.

And thus, from the relative safety of those streets above the river, we were on a superior position to rain rocks on all of those unfortunate souls below us while being able to dodge all incoming rocks; all except Pepin, who as usual got his head cracked open by a rock, even though he was with us on the streets, desperately, from his superior position, trying to help his brother Monguito below.

And for a glorious ten minutes or so, the greatest rock fight in history went on along the shitty shores of the Guaso River, involving perhaps one hundred men and boys of all ages, with the distinct advantage to those on the shore, many of whom were covered in shit, having at one point been on rocks and knocked off either trying to avoid a rock, or being hit by one or pushed by another person attempting to cling to the rock.

If the latter was the case, then it was a matter of honor to get to the shore and attempt to knock off your pusher by nailing him with a rock.

At some point in the battle, even flying turds were being lobbed, to the horror of some of the participants, already covered in shit, who were now being pelted by flying turds and mud.

I cannot remember how and when the greatest rock fight in history ended, perhaps the militia or the cops showed up, but I do recall walking back all the way from the edge of the city to our neighborhood, because there were three in our group completely covered in shit: Monguito, Gustavito and Cesar, who somehow had ended up in the river as well, and Pepin covered in blood from his head wound.

Because of shit and blood, the bus driver would not allow them in, and my father couldn’t leave them to walk alone from that far. It was quite an interesting trek, and we made them walk downwind behind us, only stopping once in a while to break up the occasional fights between Monguito and Gustavito.

When we got home, my grandmother gave my father hell over his supervision of us, and Elba, Pepin’s mother, swore blue murder at my father for not taking Pepin directly to the hospital.

My grandmother then took Cesar to the back garden, where he was hosed down with the garden hose, while the rest of us, less the other two who had fallen in, and Pepin who was on his way to the hospital for his usual visit to stitch up his head, climbed to the roof of the house to watch Cesar being scrubbed clean from head to toe while we drank cold lemonade that my mother had just made.

Thus truly ended the greatest rock fight in history.

Friday, April 22, 2011

For your Cinco de Mayo

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Connie is 100

My great uncle (or is it great great uncle), Conrado Marrero is 100 years old today.

And that makes him the oldest Major League Baseball (MLB) player alive! He played for (where else?) the Washington Senators from 1950 to 1954.

He started playing baseball rather late, making his debut as a pitcher in Cuba when he was 27 years old. In 1950, when he was a Senators MLB rookie, he was 39 years old! A year later he was selected to play in the 1951 All Star Game.

By the time he finished his professional baseball career, he had 367 professional baseball wins (including 97 shut-outs and 39 wins for the Senators) and 197 losses (40 of them with the hapless Senators).

Coming next month

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Judith H. Dobrzynski on the Hirshhorn

The Hirshhorn Museum sent me an email a while back that boggles the mind. It was an invitation to buy tickets to the Apr. 29 "After Hours" event, running from 8 p.m. to midnight. The picture looks, to me, more like a rave than anything to do with art, but that's not the topic I'm taking up here. It's not even the high ticket price of $18.

What's most bothersome about this invitation is the statement about members: "Members get in free and have access to VIP area."

You can see that line for yourself in the picture at left.

"A VIP area"? At a public museum, an arm of the Smithsonian Institution?

For years, museum officials have been droning on about the need to dispel the notion that art museums are elitist. To me, it's more of a museum image problem than anything real: some people think that they have to dress up, have a college diploma, or have other so-called elite attributes to feel welcome. Mostly, that's pure fantasy -- or an excuse.

And now, the Hirshhorn -- no doubt in an effort to raise money (the lowest level of membership costs $100 to $249 a year ) -- is creating a VIP lounge within an already questionable activity?
Read the whole piece (and see the image) at Real Clear Arts here.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Yesterday I had the honor to deliver a presentation (as a guest lecturer) to a Literature class at American University (my second time around for this class).

When I got to AU I was fine, then I started sneezing like crazy, obviously allergic to the myriads of flowers blossoming all over the place (or perhaps the trees).

Handkerchief in hand I started talking and somehow the drippy nose and sneezes went away and at the end I got a round of applause.

Makes me feel warm and fuzzy.

New gallery to open in DC

Heiner Contemporary is launching in DC on May 20th with an exhibition of new work by Brooklyn artist Elizabeth Huey. The opening reception will be from 6-8pm that evening.

Heiner Contemporary is located at 1675 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007 in Georgetown and we all welcome them to the DMV art scene and look forward to many great shows.

Video Meet Drawing: Experiment II

Here is where you can read the process where last year I began the concept of marrying video technology with traditional drawing. And here is where you can read some of the initial reactions to the first piece during some of the art fairs in Miami.

Sanctus Guevarus Castrum Canis

SANCTUS GUEVARUS CASTRUM CANIS. Charcoal on paper, electronics, video player and video. 27.5 x 27 inches. Circa 2010 by F. Lennox Campello

So that was my first video drawing... a good success, if I may say so myself. I then asked several museum collectors and two of the top video collectors in the world: "Have you seen or know of anyone who is marrying drawing with video?"

The answer came back no. I'm not sure of this, but as far as I am concerned, if a few top notch museum curators have never heard of someone integrating video with drawing, and (more to my taste) two of the folks who regularly make it to art magazine lists of one sort or another concur, that makes me feel confident that I could be breaking new ground here and making Lennon and McCartney look bad.

So (in honor of Charlie Sheen... not really) here's Part Deux.

In a few weeks I will be in NYC at the AAFNYC art fair. The same folks who bring you Pulse. Over the years, I've had a spectacular sales record at this fair, and I wanted to show both Sanctus Guevarus and the new video piece there.

In my head, I've been playing with deciphering a series of these marriages of highly accomplished (what was it that Kriston Capps described me as... draughtsman? The first time that I read this Capps Police description of my work I thought of beer, which is a good thing) drawings together with videos related to the drawings' subjects.

The first series that came to my head was a series of video drawings on Latin American icons - each drawing showing them as an icon, with a little flavor of ancient Rome in the presentation of the iconic image with a few drops of human venom dropped in for good - in the video part.

With the serial murderer known as Che Guevara it was easy. That "historic first ever video drawing showed Che as a saint while the video exposed a documented firing squad ordered by that Argentinean psychopath.

For the second one, I wanted to approach the artistic love of my life, Austrian-Mexican painter Frida Kahlo (heh, heh... see what happens when we apply labels to people?)

Che and Frida are the two most iconic faces of the 20th century, and both seem to have very few degrees of separation from me; and both interest me tremendously.

Thus Frida Kahlo de Rivera is the second video drawing.

It all started with the drawing (note to self: next time start with the video).

Ave Frida, sans video
Then I inscribed it with a Latin inscription, as icons tend to have, which proclaims: "Ave Frida, Nulli Secunda."

"Hail Frida, Second to None."

That was finished about six weeks ago. Then I struggled with the technical aspects of the video part. I wanted to have a good-sized screen play a video relating to Kahlo.

One lesson learned from the first drawing was the size of the screen, so I shopped around for larger (and more affordable) screens which could play videos. Then I bought several of them, tried them all out, wasted precious hours trying to decipher their badly translated manuals so that I could learn how to actually play a video on their machines, and eventually settled on a model. Most of the wasted hours also related to the software that I was using to convert the native video format of my camera to the MPEG-1, 2 and 4 that the digital player said it could play. In the end, it was all the fault of the conversion software, which was a commercial software. I discarded it, tried a free version that I found online, and not only was it super-easy to use, but it also worked great.

The drawing was finished, the custom made, hand-carved frame was done, and I had a video machine screen ready to go. Now all I needed was the video.

Add tons of hours researching Frida Kahlo videos. Did I mention that I wanted to show a Kahlo "home movie" as the video? Did I mention that I wanted an eye-catching Kahlo video? Did I mention that I wanted a controversial movie playing in my drawing?

So then hours looking for reference materials, which soon led me to three sources. I then purchased copies of all three biographical documentaries on Kahlo, and the one done for Mexican television was the one that yielded copies of rare footage of Frida.

I shot the video, did a little basic editing and tried it out. I then realized that I would have to install the video screen upside down, otherwise the remote control wouldn't work as there was no space left on the drawing to cut out a little hole for the infrared sensor. So I had to re-shoot all the videos, this time upside down, and re-edit them all.

The venom in this video is this short clip of a very feral Kahlo about to devour an intensely scared young girl. Was this a set up? Was Rivera filming the young offering that he had brought his wife? At the end of the clip, Kahlo says something to the camera person:

There is a word for this in Spanish: "escalofriante" (chilling).

I then cut out Frida's heart out of the drawing. This will be the window into her soul and the window into the scant "moving pictures" references of her life. It is a feral heart, armed with sharp fangs that bite huge chunks of life out of life.

Here is the drawing with the shape of the heart window which has been cut out of it:

Frida Kahlo's heart
And here is the drawing with the video screen playing the video. This will be fitted behind the drawing.

Frida Kah

And here it is with the video aligned behind the feral heart window and playing in her heart.

Ave Frida, Nulli Secunda

And here is a close-up of the window in her heart:

Ave Frida Kahlo

And here is what the final piece will look like once matted, framed and assembled:

Ave Frida, Nulli Secunda

AVE FRIDA NULLI SECUNDA. Charcoal on paper, electronics, video player with remote control and video. 27.5 x 27 inches. Circa 2011 by F. Lennox Campello

Now to assemble it and frame it.

WaPo picks critic

The Post has selected a replacement for their art critic vacancy from "in-house" - did I call it or what?

Update: Stop emailing me asking who it is! The WaPo will announce it soon (there's already an internal memo) - my guess is that the chosen one is that guy who does all the "cultural" writing and architectural criticism... I can't think of his name now... ah... Philip Kennicott. My second guess, if "in-house" also means their new freelancers since Jessica Dawson left, is Kriston Capps.

Art and Taxes

You've just gotta read this.

(Thanks Mike)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Waiting for his Muffuletta

Anderson Campello at Mena's Palace in NOLA
Anderson waiting for his Muffuletta sandwich at Mena's Palace in New Orleans.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


You should see the damned good video drawing that I finished today while listening to this song over and over and (in the process) driving my wife and Little Junes out of the house...

Free artwork

British artist Lando Jones is launching a program of giving away free art prints of his work. Jones lives in Bristol, England, but he tells me that he will post them anywhere!

You can see the details here.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

MPArtFest Call for Artists

Entries are now being accepted for the 5th annual MPAartfest, presented by McLean Project for the Arts, which will be held on Sunday, October 2, 2011 in McLean Central Park. Due date for submissions is June 1.

MPAartfest is a one-day juried fine art and craft festival that transforms McLean Central Park into a lively landscape of mini art galleries showcasing and selling the work of a diverse group of 40 juried artists from the mid-Atlantic region. MPAartfest includes activities to captivate art-lovers of all ages and draws thousands of people. Stroll through the Children’s ArtWalk to experience the work of young artists from McLean area schools. Budding artists may create their own works of art at the Children’s ArtTent and the Gazebo Stage will feature a variety of live performances throughout the day.

McLean Project for the Arts is located at 1234 Ingleside Avenue in the McLean Community Center. For more information and the MPAartfest Call for Entries form, please visit or call 703-790-1953.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Little Junes in New Orleans

Anderson Campello with New Orleans below him


A new "forever" stamp that was supposed to show the Statue of Liberty actually features a replica outside a Las Vegas casino...

Read all about it here.

Copyright Workshop

Do you have creative work that you'd like to copyright? Come learn about the basics of copyrights at this presentation and Q & A session from the Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011 - 7 pm
Copyright Basics Workshop at Finnegan

Registration required - so register here.

Opportunities for Artists

Deadline: April 30, 2011.

Call for Entries: The Graceful Envelope Contest - Artists everywhere are invited to participate in the 2011 Graceful Envelope Contest, conducted by the Washington (DC) Calligraphers Guild under the sponsorship of the National Association of Letter Carriers.

There is no entry fee.

This year's theme is "Time Flies," so design an envelope that explores good times, quality time, the times of our lives, time travel, or any other idea you have time to develop.

Address the envelope artistically to:
The Graceful Envelope Contest
Washington Calligraphers Guild
P.O. Box 3688
Merrifield, VA 22116.

This is the contest's 17th year. The Smithsonian Institution's National Postal Museum created and administered it until delegating responsibility to the Washington Calligraphers Guild in 2001. The National Association of Letter Carriers exhibits the winners, which are also exhibited online at The complete Call for Entries (including categories for children) is posted on the Washington Calligraphers Guild website or you may contact contest coordinator Lorraine Swerdloff at

Check's in the mail

Being one of the lucky 53% of Americans who actually gets the honor to pay federal income taxes, I mailed my check today and tip my hat to the 47% of you who actually pay no federal income tax.

Having paid income tax since my very first job ever at age 13 (after school vacuum cleaning several stores along Pitkin Avenue in Brooklyn and also cleaning their bathrooms after they closed), I've managed to pay income taxes every year since that year and this past year was the most brutal tax year ever for me, even out-shocking last year's eye opener of a tax burden.

I'm one of those persons who is a social liberal and a fiscal conservative.

As such, it has also always escaped me the fairness of having about 1% of US households pay about 40% of all taxes collected in this nation and the other top 9% of US households combine to pay almost 75% of all taxes collected.

The reason that most European nations and especially the new democracies from the former Soviet empire adopted either a flat tax system or a Value Added Tax (VAT) system is simple: "It's simple!"

Every nation in Europe that I've lived in had a flat tax, except for the UK, which has a VAT (17.5%).

But here, the tax laws are so complex, and the loopholes so many, and the tax load so disparate and so huge, that we need an army of IRS folks to enforce them and an even bigger army of accountants and lawyers to interpret them.

Makes my head hurt; check's on the way.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Call to Latina Artists

Deadline: April 19, 2011, 5:00 PM PST.

The National Hispana Leadership Institute is having a call for Latina artists for their upcoming Art Contest. The National Hispana Leadership Institute (NHLI) invites Latina artists nationwide to submit artwork (in all media including paintings, sculptures, photography, etc.) that celebrates Latinas/Hispanic women.

NHLI – a national 501 (c)(3) organization based on Washington, DC – was established in 1987 to "address the under representation of Latinas in the corporate, non-profit and political arenas." NHLI will use the winning image to promote the 2011 Executive Leadership Training Conference and Mujer Awards Gala to be held November 3-4, 2011 at the Wilshire Grand Hotel 930 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90017. The Conference Theme is “Latinas Connecting Across Generations, Reaching New Heights”. NHLI will credit the artist in promotional materials during and after the conference included but not limited to: 2011 Mujer Award poster, award certificates, program cover, bags, mouse pads, annual report, and NHLI note cards. For any additional questions, please contact Victoria Morillo,, or please call: 703.527.6007.

Two Days Only: Sketchbook Project

Over 700 D.C. area artists participated in the Sketchbook Project (more on that number later) and it's coming to the DMV:

On April 15th & 16th, Hillyer Art Space is collaborating with Transformer and the Brooklyn based Art House Co-op to host The Sketchbook Project for two days in our gallery space. This exhibition is taking place in conjunction with Transformer's SKETCH exhibition (on view in April and May), which focuses on artistic development and the creative process and features the work of 16 Washington D.C. artists working in a variety of mediums.

The Sketchbook Project is a touring library and exhibition which features nearly 10,000 sketchbooks by artists from a variety of artistic backgrounds and nationalities. Each artist included in the project was given a brand new 5½" x 8½" moleskin sketchbook and requested to fill it with art demonstrating their own individual style and creative eccentricities.

The sketchbooks offer unique insight into the artistic process--echoing Process: Reaffirmation's focus--and work with one another to form a fascinating, fun exhibition. Audiences are invited to peruse over the inspiring books to their hearts' content!
I have something to confess. Back when I was first invited to participate in this, I thought that this was such a great idea that I couldn't resist adding my own twist to it and now there are 11 sketchbooks in that collection which have been created by yours truly as I took this brilliant opportunity to use the project as a means to explore the artists whom I could have been.

11 sketchbooks under newly minted names and personnas. A wide open opportunity to create 11 visually independent projects which are secretly tied to each other by a very simple clue in each work in the sketchbook.

And not all of them are DMV-based addresses, and the Three Faces of Eve become the Eleven Artists Within Lenny Project.

Go see this show! International Arts & Artists, 9 Hillyer Court NW, Washington, DC 20008.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Cell phone blues

I've left my cell phone very far away; it is being returned to me, so meanwhile, if any of you have been calling me... now you know.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Call for the Release of Ai WeiWei

Ministry of Culture of the People's Republic of China
(Minister Mr. Cai Wu)

On April 3, internationally acclaimed Chinese artist Ai Weiwei was detained at the Beijing airport while en route to Hong Kong, and his papers and computers were seized from his studio compound.

We members of the international arts community express our concern for Ai’s freedom and disappointment in China’s reluctance to live up to its promise to nurture creativity and independent thought, the keys to “soft power” and cultural influence.

Our institutions have some of the largest online museum communities in the world. We have launched this online petition to our collective millions of Facebook fans and Twitter followers. By using Ai Weiwei’s favored medium of “social sculpture,” we hope to hasten the release of our visionary friend.
Sign the petition here.

Artists' Talk

Time: Thursday, April 14 · 7:00pm - 10:00pm
Location: National Museum of the American Indian
Rasmuson Theater
4th Street & Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC

Global Africa: Kehinde Wiley

The Global Africa series presents international artists who are engaging with Africa in their work. New York-based artist Kehinde Wiley talks about his portraits of contemporary urban African, African-American, and Afro-Brazilian men in heroic poses. Painted in the style of Old Master portraits, these works reveal aspects of urban identity around the world. Wiley focuses his discussion on his World Stage: Lagos-Dakar series and his recent portrait series of African footballers from the 2010 World Cup.

A conversation between Wiley and internationally renowned Washington D.C.-based Nigerian artist Victor Ekpuk follows the artist’s discussion.
Victor Ekpuk is one of the 100 artists in the 100 Washington, DC Artists book.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Brilliant Opportunity for Artists

Deadline: May 2, 2011

This has got to be one of the more interesting call for artists ever, and I think that my good bud "Oil Can" Cudlin had something to do with it:

So the very fair Helen Allen is jurying a show at AAC, and the deadline is less than 4 weeks away, so apply now.

Allen is the creator and former Executive Director of the Pulse Art Fairs and current partner with Leigh Conner and Jamie Smith for sure-to-be-amazing upcoming (e)merge art fair in Washington, DC.

The show she's jurying for AAC is titled "Planning Process," and it asks artists to submit images of studies or preliminary drawings alongside images of finished works.

The call is open to Mid-Atlantic artists working in any and all media, provided there are 2-D studies of some sort involved. Painting, drawing, sculpture, installation, performance, video (storyboards!)... all of it qualifies for this very clever and intelligent call.

Download an application form here. I've already submitted my proposal, and I think that I've got a pretty good one, so you better start using your brain before you apply... because you're competing with The Lenster...

Whoever came up with this concept idea: you did good!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sketchbook Project

Over 700 D.C. area artists participated in the Sketchbook Project (more on that number later) and it's coming to the DMV:

On April 15th & 16th, Hillyer Art Space is collaborating with Transformer and the Brooklyn based Art House Co-op to host The Sketchbook Project for two days in our gallery space. This exhibition is taking place in conjunction with Transformer's SKETCH exhibition (on view in April and May), which focuses on artistic development and the creative process and features the work of 16 Washington D.C. artists working in a variety of mediums.

The Sketchbook Project is a touring library and exhibition which features nearly 10,000 sketchbooks by artists from a variety of artistic backgrounds and nationalities. Each artist included in the project was given a brand new 5½" x 8½" moleskin sketchbook and requested to fill it with art demonstrating their own individual style and creative eccentricities.

The sketchbooks offer unique insight into the artistic process--echoing Process: Reaffirmation's focus--and work with one another to form a fascinating, fun exhibition. Audiences are invited to peruse over the inspiring books to their hearts' content!
I have something to confess. Back when I was first invited to participate in this, I thought that this was such a great idea that I couldn't resist adding my own twist to it and now there are 11 sketchbooks in that collection which have been created by yours truly as I took this brilliant opportunity to use the project as a means to explore the artists whom I could have been.

11 sketchbooks under newly minted names and personnas. A wide open opportunity to create 11 visually independent projects which are secretly tied to each other by a very simple clue in each work in the sketchbook.

And not all of them are DMV-based addresses, and the Three Faces of Eve become the Eleven Artists Within Lenny Project.

Go see this show! International Arts & Artists, 9 Hillyer Court NW, Washington, DC 20008.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Photogs at BlackRock

Since I had something to do in getting this show together, and these are some very talented camera wielders:

The three photographers exhibiting in the BlackRock Gallery this April give new perspectives to the everyday by layering images and creating intriguing multi-faceted art. The work of Alexandra Silverthorne, Erin Antognoli, and Beamie Young will be exhibited through April 30 with a free artists reception tomorrow, Saturday, April 9 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Alexandra Silverthorne uses the camera as a means to understand and explore spatial environments and encounters. As projects evolve, her photographs often move beyond the mat and the frame to become sculptural objects, projections, and installations. Current projects include the examination of conceived, perceived, and lived space, instinctual explorations of architectural structures, and nocturnal documentation of unfamiliar landscapes.

Her current project A Building In Which... is a photographic series that systematically explores the perceived physical structure of each room in a house. “Through the layering of multiple perspectives, the photographs create a visual record of the room while escaping singular concepts of time and space. Simultaneously, they mix the narrative of the house with the narrative of its residents to depict a unique, intertwined history,” said Silverthorne.

Originally from Washington, DC, Alexandra Silverthorne graduated from Connecticut College with a major in Government and minors in Art and Philosophy and from Maine College of Art (MECA) with a Master of Fine Arts. In 2003, Silverthorne co-founded Panorama Community Arts with the goal of providing art experiences to all residents of DC. Through this she taught workshops in photography, ceramics, and mural painting to youth and elderly in Washington. Since 2010, she has taught undergraduate darkroom photography courses at American University and the University of the District of Columbia as well as additional courses through MECA’s Continuing Studies program. In 2009, Silverthorne co-initiated the MFA Alumni Residency Program at MECA and currently serves as the Residency Coordinator.

Silverthorne received a fellowship to travel to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan for the 2004 annual World Conference Against A&H Bombs. She has also received several grants from the D.C. Commission on the Arts & Humanities as well as one from the Puffin Foundation. Her work can be found in the permanent collections of the John Wilson City Hall Building in Washington, DC and the Smithville Mansion Gallery in Eastampton, NJ. While she is based in Washington, DC, she can often be found zigzagging her way around the East Coast. For more information on Silverthorne visit:

Beamie Young embraces the technological advances of photography. “As an artist, I have been creating photographs for the past 36 years. My evolution as an artist parallels my professional development. In the past, I had darkrooms both at home and work. Today, I use my digital camera and Adobe Photoshop in both locations,” she said.

Young said she enjoys capturing unique colors, patterns, reflections, and light. “It is my hope that my images speak for themselves. I hope to share with the viewer a sense of wonder of the natural world and of the beauty that surrounds us, sometimes found in the most unexpected places,” she said.

Young has worked as a photographer and visual artist for the National Institute of Standards and Technology for the past 30 years. Recently, she said she has been working with High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography. “This technique allows me to create images with more detail in the highlights and shadows with almost surreal color saturation.”

Young is a member of the National Association of Photoshop Photographers and a Webmaster and Newsletter editor for The “Frederick Camera Clique” a photography club in Frederick MD. In 2010, she was awarded the Vincent Versace Award for Photographic Excellence. More information on her photography can be found at

“By over overlapping multiple images in a single frame of film, I am unable to make connections that are not otherwise apparent, and was unable to uncover a spirit in a city that I initially viewed as cold, corporate, and soulless,” said Erin Antognoli. “I use my Holga camera as a way of digging deeper beneath the surface of my environment,” she said.

Upon moving to the Washington, D.C. area, Antognoli said she was challenged with taking photos in an environment that was completely foreign. She used her high tech camera with little success, and decided to go back to basics and use her Holga camera to take photos in the city. “The camera itself is incredibly simple – plastic, very few controls, and prone to irregularity. This method of making images placed much more of the emphasis on my own mind, for I have to decide what I want to say and how I want object to relate to each other, and then figure out how to translate that vision to film with minimal technical options,” she said.

“This process inevitably forced me to become more intertwined with my own environment, for I am taking the time to look for objects and shapes and textures that strike me, and might compliment each other well when overlapped in a frame. During all this. I found myself becoming more in tune to and comfortable with my surroundings while making my images,” she concluded. For more information on Antognoli visit:


I'm heading down to Bailey's home turf as the family and I will be in New Orleans for the weekend as the Professor is presenting a paper at some conference in the Big Easy.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Tap Project

The UNICEF Tap Project celebrates the clean water we enjoy on a daily basis by encouraging supporters to give this vital resource to children in developing countries. UNICEF has saved more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization, and UNICEF is committed to doing whatever it takes to achieve the goal of reaching the day when ZERO children die of preventable causes.

On Sunday, April 17, 2011, the UNICEF Tap Project DC campaign will be hosting a FUNdraising event to raise money for the UNICEF Tap Project with an extra raffle donation for UNICEF’s Japan relief. Purchase a ticket to paint your own umbrella and help UNICEF provide clean water to kids around the world!

They supply the materials and mission, you supply the vision! A $40 ticket (one umbrella and up to 4 artists) will provide a child with clean drinking water for 4 years!

To learn more about the world water crisis visit for more information.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Perfect example...

Keiko Sofía Fujimori HiguchiThe current candidates for President in Peru are a brilliant example of the cultural sillyness of the term "Hispanic" or "Latino."

Running for that Spanish-speaking nation's top office are Ollanta Moisés Humala Tasso - an indigenous Peruvian from one of the Native American tribes of that nation.

Also former president Alejandro Toledo, and lawmaker Keiko Sofía Fujimori Higuchi, a Peruvian lawmaker of full Japanese ancestry and daughter of former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori, and lastly former prime minister Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.

Humala, Toledo, Fujimori and Kuczynski... all good Hispanic names... Humala is expected to win, but I'm betting on Fujimori.

Call for artists

Deadline: Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Public Talk: Monday, April 18, 2011, 4‐6pm with Alyson Baker, Executive Director, Socrates Sculpture Park and Dan Steinhilber, 2010 Public Art Residency Artist, at the WPA Office at 2023 Massachusetts Ave. NW.

Washington Project for the Arts (WPA) and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCAAH) have announced the 2011 Public Art Residency (PAR) Program, in partnership with Socrates Sculpture Park (SSP, the Park) in Long Island City, NY.

Now in its second year, the PAR Program is designed to instruct and inform artists about practical and conceptual issues related to the creation of public art. Through this program, artists will learn the fundamentals of developing a proposal for public
art work, identifying sources for materials and funding of projects, and access a support network for technical assistance and future opportunities related to creating and presenting art in the public realm.

One artist who resides in the District of Columbia will be selected to receive a two month paid residency and exhibition opportunity at Socrates Sculpture Park. The work will be exhibited under SSP’s “Open Space” program from September 10, 2011 to March 2012 (exact end/deinstallation date to be determined and agreed upon by the artist and SSP). Once the exhibit has ended, the artist will re-fabricate or re‐install, in Washington, DC, the work made through the residency. The artist will be required to give a public presentation about his or her residency experience and may also be asked to advise WPA on other public art initiatives.

Details here.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

I think this is supposed to be a joke...

In reaction to the Paul Gauguin masterpiece at the National Gallery of Art that was attacked last Friday by yet another idiot, the very weird article "Three Works at the National Gallery We’d Have Defaced Before Gauguin" is a post in the Washington City Paper where CP art critics Kriston Capps, Jeffry Cudlin and John Anderson each pick a work of art at the National Gallery of Art they'd rather see "defaced."

I know these three guys, and I think that this is supposed to be an attempt at humor... but from reading the comments, it seems that a lot of readers missed the joke and some of the words in the article read to me as contemptuous (or as commenters noted) "openly hostile", and as "stuffy cultural elitism."

Apparently, the LA Times didn't think it was a joke and they write:

If she is deranged, one wonders: What is the excuse for the Washington City Paper, which Tuesday published a story with the headline "Three Works at the National Gallery We’d Have Defaced Before Gauguin"?

The alternative tabloid proceeded to "recommend" three works in the museum's collection more suitable for trashing than the Post-Impressionist picture, which is on loan from New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art to a popular traveling exhibition. One of the three writers even explains, "Actually, I've been defacing a work of art very subtly since September last year," claiming to regularly add colored pencil marks to a Sol LeWitt wall drawing at the museum.
So, dear readers... what do you think? Should these erudite and gifted writers hang up their Onion-wanna-be aspirations? or is this just a case of the WCP's "inject irony into everything" approach?

Personally I think that these three guys are pretty good art critics and really suck as comedy scribes.

And by the way, I know John Anderson well enough to know that he would never, ever actually deface any artwork, no matter how much it sucks.

And my good bud Jeffry Cudlin responds here.

When tyrants rule...

The Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, who disappeared into police custody in Beijing after he was arrested on Sunday while trying to board a flight for Hong Kong, is a fully 21st-century figure, global-minded, media-savvy, widely networked. He is also the embodiment of a cultural type, largely unfamiliar to the West, that dates far back into China’s ancient past.
Read the NYT article here.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Wanna go to a Bethesda opening this Friday?

Friday 8 April from 6-9PM.

More TV Drawings

These are all pen ink and then smeared with my wet finger; they are all done while watching TV and most likely than not, somewhat influenced by whatever I am watching...
2011 Pen and Ink smears drawing by F. Lennox Campello

Woman Carrying Pig
Done while watching Julia Roberts in Eat, Pray, Love

2011 Pen and Ink smears drawing by F. Lennox Campello
Woman Howling (Homage to Paula Rego)
Done while watching a documentary on Paula Rego

2011 Pen and Ink smears drawing by F. Lennox Campello
Rock Devil
Done while watching the National Geographic channel

2011 Pen and Ink smears drawing by F. Lennox Campello
Woman with Crow
Done while watching the new Camelot series on Starz

2011 Pen and Ink smears drawing by F. Lennox Campello
Woman Sewing Her Own Wound
One of those commercials for anti-depression drugs... I think

2011 Pen and Ink smears drawing by F. Lennox Campello
Woman Carrying Pig on Her Head
Done while watching Julia Roberts in Eat, Pray, Love

Monday, April 04, 2011

ChiComs Arrest Artist

Chinese artist and designer Ai Weiwei was detained by police at the Beijing airport before he could take a flight to Hong Kong yesterday. Even if you haven’t seen his current exhibition at London’s Tate Modern or those at Munuch’s Haus der Kunst and Tokyo’s Mori Art Museum, you still may know his work. Ai Weiwei helped design the “Birds Nest Stadium“ for the 2008 Olympics, the National Stadium of the People’s Republic of China.
Read Mike Licht's report here.

In the current issue...

American Craft magazine's current issue has a gorgeous multi-page piece on DC artist Tim Tate and his recent collaborations with Marc Petrovic:

Ask Tim Tate about the origin of his recent collaborations with Marc Petrovic - if you can beat him to the punch. The friendly, boisterous artist has a habit of plunging into stories, leaping ahead and around, as if his brain were a rocket fueled by honesty.
Read the article online here.

Tate's solo show at Chicago's Catherine Edelman Gallery opens next May 6; check out the new work here.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

The curious case of Gov. LePage and the labor mural

For the most part I try really hard to keep politics out of this blog, and being a very proud independent able to discern the usual double standards of both the vast left wing nuttery and the even vaster right wing conspiracy, I think that I do a pretty good job of that task.

Except when politics cross over into art.

The above image is a 36-foot-long mural depicting Maine's labor history. The mural used to hang in the lobby of that state's Department of Labor.

Last weekend, Maine Governor Paul LePage ordered the mural removed from the Labor building. According to LePage spokesman Dan Demeritt, the administration felt that the mural depicted "one-sided decor" not in keeping with the department's pro-business goals.

"The message from state agencies needs to be balanced," said Demeritt, adding that the mural had sparked complaints from "some business owners" who complained that it was hostile to business.

The mural (which apparently will be relocated to the Portland City Hall) was created in 2008 by Maine artist Judy Taylor via a $60,000 Maine Arts Commission grant. There are excellent details of the mural in the artists' website here.

Politicians (and locally some museum executives) just don't seem to learn the lesson that every time they try to mix politics with art censorship, they lose.

And this ability to make these boneheaded decisions is not just restricted to local government, as both the Clinton and Bush administration found out when they both covered up the 1934 WPA murals on the 5th floor of the Ariel Rios building here in Washington, DC.

The Taliban tears down and destroys art; the brutal Castro dictatorship censors art and punishes artists; the ChiCom government censors art; the nut with the Elvis hairdo in North Korea decides what art is and artists there better toe his Soviet-realism line... What do all of these regimes have in common? They are all dictators.

But in our society, anytime that a politician enters into this arena, he or she is bound to lose. We don't suffer dictator-like behavior around here.

And hopefully Maine's governor and self appointed chief interior decorator now realizes that not only did he make a stupid (and needless) decision here, but also managed to paint himself (pun intended) in a really negative light to all of us, who will never accept art censorship, no matter from which nutty wing of the right or left it comes.

Next Saturday

Saturday, April 02, 2011

TV Drawings

Being one of those persons who can often do two things at once, I used to always have a pad of paper and drawing instruments around me whenever I used to watch TV.

That sort of went away a few years ago, and then just as sudden, this process began a come back a few days ago. The below drawings are ink pen and then smeared on the paper with wet fingertips.

Original pen and ink drawing by F. Lennox Campello

Woman Dancing with Pig
(Inspired by one of those commercials that no one has any idea what's being adverstised)

Original pen and ink drawing by F. Lennox Campello
Homage to Goya (Los Caprichos)
(Done while watching a film on Goya)

Original pen and ink drawing by F. Lennox Campello
Homage to Goya (Los Caprichos)
(Done while watching a film on Goya)

Original pen and ink drawing by F. Lennox Campello
Leda and the Swan
(Inspired by an Aflack commercial)

Original pen and ink drawing by F. Lennox Campello
The Policeman's Wife
(Inspired by watching a documentary on Paula Rego)

Original pen and ink drawing by F. Lennox Campello
Woman with Hooves
(Inspired by a shoe commercial)

Original pen and ink drawing by F. Lennox Campello
Woman Dancing with the Devil
(Inspired by a cheap Science Fiction movie on SyFy channel)

Original pen and ink drawing by F. Lennox Campello
Dwarf Painting
(Inspired by the Paula Rego documentary)