Friday, March 23, 2012

Over at Strathmore

You Are What You Eat, the exhibition at Strathmore that just closed was one of the most interesting shows that I have seen in a long time. The show featured nine artists whose work “comments on perception of body image and the cultural significance of food, with a bent toward American idolization of consumption.”

I wish that I had visited the exhibition earlier on so that I could have encouraged all of you to go see this show; my failure at proper time management.

The exhibition included painting, sculpture, photography and multi-media works by Danny Rozin, Peter Anton, Matthew Lawrence, Pamela Michelle Johnson, Davette Leonard, Rhonda Harris Banes, Matt Freedman, Joey Manlapaz and Donna McCullough.

Area artists McCullough and Manlapaz were well-known to me; both are gifted not only as technical masters of their genre (McCullough as a sculptor and Manlapaz as a painter), but also as conceptual and intelligent artists who wield their respective skills like visual art weapons to drive home their ideas and vision.

New to me was the work of sculptor Danny Rozin, whose large scale picture plane Trash Mirror #3 was one of the most innovative, fun and impressive interactive works of art that I have seen since DC artist Tim Tate started incorporating motion detectors, mini speakers, miniature cameras and video into his sculptural work a decade ago.

But whereas Tate’s work is self-contained, beautiful and intimate and often presents a technical surprise to the viewer, Rozin’s spectacular massive offering is composed of 500 pieces of discarded refuse collected from the streets of New York— this guy has employed wrappers, cans, cigarettes packs, coffee cups, coupons, tickets, hotel room keys and other ephemera to create a rare successful marriage of found, discarded objects and technology. In this work, each piece of found NYC garbage is attached to an individual motor that moves in response to any motion in front of the piece, reflecting the motion in a Seattle stadium wave-like effect that is both surprising and elegant.

Trash Mirror # 3 by Danny Rozin
And the accomplishment in taking garbage to the heights of elegance is not a trivial task. In one single piece of jaw-dropping artwork, Mr. Rozin has wiped out 30 years of personal dislike for what passes for most found object art.

I send my thanks to him for opening my mind and senses; Rozin and Tate should get together and plan big things.

New Commissioners

The D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities is pleased to welcome five new and six reappointed commissioners, appointed by Mayor Vincent C. Gray, to the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities.

The commissioners of the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities are volunteers who are appointed by the Mayor and approved by the City Council. They represent all eight wards of the District. The commissioners are key stakeholders who oversee commission activities, policy recommendations, the grant adjudication process as well as representing the commission with local executive and legislative branch relations. The commissioners also play a key role in public art project decisions.

The new commissioners are Carl C. Cole (Ward 8), Edmund C. Fleet (Ward 7), Alma H. Gates (Ward 3), Danielle M. St. Germain-Gordon (Ward 7) and MaryAnn Miller (Ward 3). The reappointed commissioners are Marvin Bowser (Ward 7), Christopher Cowan (Ward 5), Rhona W. Friedman (Ward 2), Philippa Hughes (Ward 1), Rogelio Maxwell (Ward 3) and Lavinia Wohlfarth (Ward 5).

"As Chair of the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, I am delighted to welcome our new and returning commissioners," said Judith Terra. "I am confident that with the leadership of this Commission we will help steer the arts in this city so that D.C. continues to grow as the culture capital of the United States."

"The D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities continues to grow in its reach and scope. As an arts agency, we look forward to continuous growth as our commissioners are deeply involved in their communities and have a strong interest in the arts," said Lionell Thomas, Executive Director of the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities.