Thursday, October 31, 2013

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

And the DCCAH grants go to...

This year, the DCCAH received 632 applications requesting over $18 million in funding. All eligible applications are reviewed by Advisory Review Panels, which are convened by DCCAH board members (yours truly was one of the Advisory Panel members). For FY14, the DCCAH held 20 Advisory Review Panels and enlisted the expertise of over 120 Advisory Review Panelists (I was one of them) who read, discussed, and scored each application.

The DCCAH funded a broad spectrum of innovative and exciting artists, programs, and organizations. For example, individual artists in music and visual arts, programs that teach young people, and institutions that serve residents and visitors across the city will be awarded grants this year. These grantees contribute to the District's cultural landscape that provides an economic impact of over $1.1 billion to the city.

Follow this link to see a complete list of FY14 grant recipients. Below are the key Artist Fellowship program awardees (with a lot of the usual suspects)... Congrats to all of them!

In spite of the severe financial austerity environment, DC seems to be somehow still kicking ass and taking names when it comes to sheckels and the arts...

FY14 Grant Awardees - Artist Fellowship Program

FY14 Artist Fellowship Program Awardees
Name Ward Official Amount
Abdul Ali 6 $5,000
Adam Davies 3 $10,000
Alexis Gillespie 4 $10,000
Anna Edholm Davis 4 $7,500
Anne Marchand 2 $10,000
Anu Yadav 4 $10,000
Armando Lopez-Bircann 1 $5,000
Assane Konte 5 $7,500
Ayanna Gregory 4 $10,000
Brian Settles 5 $10,000
Carmen Wong 2 $10,000
Carolyn Joyner 1 $5,000
Cecilia Cackley 6 $10,000
Christylez Bacon 1 $5,000
Dan Steinhilber 6 $10,000
Dana Burgess 3 $5,000
Dana Ellyn 2 $5,000
Daniel Flint 6 $5,000
David Keplinger 2 $10,000
Dean Kessmann 3 $10,000
Elizabeth Acevedo 6 $10,000
Ellie Walton 1 $10,000
Emiliano Ruprah 4 $5,000
Eric Gottesman 1 $5,000
Fawna Xiao 6 $5,000
Fred Joiner 6 $7,500
Gregory Ferrand 4 $10,000
Holly Bass 1 $10,000
James Byers 7 $10,000
Joey Manlapaz 6 $7,500
Jonathan Tucker 6 $10,000
Juan Gaddis 4 $5,000
Julia Bloom 3 $10,000
Karen Baker 5 $5,000
Karen Evans 5 $7,500
Karen Zacarias 1 $10,000
Kate MacDonnell 1 $10,000
Kim Roberts 1 $5,000
Krys Kornmeier 3 $5,000
Linn meyers 4 $7,500
Lisa Farrell 5 $5,000
Liz Maestri 1 $5,000
Maggie Michael 2 $7,500
Marjuan Canady 4 $5,000
Mark Parascandola 1 $10,000
Matt Sesow 1 $7,500
Matthew Mann 6 $7,500
Maureen Andary 4 $7,500
Maurice Saylor 5 $10,000
Michael Janis 5 $10,000
Michael Sirvet 2 $10,000
Michelle Herman 4 $7,500
Mickey Terry 7 $10,000
Miya Hisaka 3 $5,000
Molly Springfield 1 $5,000
Naomi Ayala 1 $10,000
Norman Allen 4 $10,000
Paul Bishow 1 $7,500
Paul Reuther 2 $7,500
Paul Thornley 6 $7,500
Rania Hassan 5 $7,500
Regie Cabico 1 $10,000
Renee Stout 5 $7,500
Rik Freeman 7 $7,500
Ruth Forman 5 $7,500
Sam McCormally 5 $5,000
Sandra Beasley 1 $10,000
Sara Curtin 1 $7,500
Sean Hennessey 5 $7,500
Siobhan Rigg 5 $7,500
Sondra Arkin 2 $10,000
Stanley Squirewell 5 $5,000
Stephon Senegal 4 $7,500
Thomas Colohan 1 $10,000
Tim Tate 2 $7,500
Trevor Young 2 $7,500
Valerie Theberge 3 $10,000
Yi Chen 3 $10,000

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

White House blues...

Redux: It all depends on what the meaning of the word "is" is...

Cough, cough...

Lisa Montag at AU

Korda at Oregon

Chicoms and fake art...

No Chinese painting had ever fetched so much at auction, and, by the end of the year, the sale appeared to have global implications, helping China surpass the United States as the world’s biggest art and auction market.

But two years after the auction, Qi Baishi’s masterpiece is still languishing in a warehouse in Beijing. The winning bidder has refused to pay for the piece since doubts were raised about its authenticity. 
 Read the NYT story here. And chances are that if you think that you own a real Wifredo Lam, you're in the same boat... cough, cough...

Monday, October 28, 2013

For Miami...

Just ordered the largest frame to date for my most ambitious electronics-embedded project yet... not my largest work of art ever - that monster is in a private NYC collection - but my largest work with embedded electronics.

It will be three feet by five feet and part of the "Contemporary Art" series, where I usually show someone overwhelmed by contemporary art... painting actually. It will start at ten grand; my most expensive piece yet and a natural growth in price over many years.

We will be at CONTEXT in Miami in December, and showcasing Dulce Pinzon, Simon Monk, Ric Garcia, Audrey Wilson and yours truly.

If you are an artist, or a gallerist, or a serious collector in 2013, then you need to go to Miami in December, but before you do that, you need to make sure that you have plenty of the most valuable commodity on the planet: information!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

La Rubell all over Baltimore

Over 150 artists entered the lottery to have the opportunity to have Mera Rubell visit their studio and these are a few of the lucky 36 selected. Ms. Rubell and Ms. Gold, Director of the WPA, were joined at points throughout their tour with notable arts professionals from local museums and galleries as well as members of the press from Baltimore and Washington, DC. After the 36 hour marathon Ms. Rubell has invited participants and all applicants to 36 Studios: Part Two to join her for an after party at the Lord Baltimore Hotel on Sunday, October 27 from 6-8:00pm.

 Cara Ober has a very cool report on Mera Rubell studio-visiting tour all over Baltimore... check it out here.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Bethesda Fine Arts Festival Call

Call to Artists

WHAT: An Outdoor Fine Arts Festival 

Bethesda, MD

WHEN: Saturday and Sunday 

May 10-11, 2014


*Complimentary breakfast and lunch for participating artists. 

*Free parking within 1 block. 

*Limited to 140 booth spaces of juried fine art and fine craft.

*Estimated attendance: 20,000. 

*$2,500 in cash awards. 

*24-hour security. 

*Booth sitters. 

*Entry/booth fees: $30/$425 (10x10); $850 (10x20).
*For more details about the show, click HERE
The Bethesda Fine Arts Festival was ranked #78 of the 200 Best Shows in the USA by Sunshine Artist Magazine in September, 2008, making it the highest ranked fine art festival in Maryland. Artists report consistently high sales every year. Electronic application available on the festival's website. 

Ancient DNA Links Native Americans With Europe

"Im still processing that Native Americans are one-third European," says geneticist Connie Mulligan of the University of Florida in Gainesville. "It's jaw-dropping." At the very least, says geneticist Dennis O'Rourke of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, "this is going to stimulate a lot of discussion."

Friday, October 25, 2013

Alex Queral "Face | Book - Phonebook Portraits"

I know this show is in Philly and not the DMV, but my peeps Alex Queral is not only a University of Washington fellow grad, and a fellow YUCA, but also such a terrific artist who has carved a niche (pun intended) like no one else in the art world, that this show deserves a shout out:
November 1 - December 21, 2013
Artist Opening Reception:  First Friday, November 1st, 6-9 pm

Projects Gallery Philadelphia is pleased to present Alex Queral’s “Face | Book – Phonebook Portraits”.  In his third solo exhibition with the gallery, Alex explores the duality of the recognizable and the anonymous in modern society.  Works being featured include his signature hand-carved telephone books, as well as large-scale digital prints.

Born in Cuba with a migration to Mexico before landing in the U.S., the artist has experienced first hand the sense of invisibility.  Taking, until now, an easily discarded object like a residential telephone book with its lists of thousands of faceless names and numbers, Alex transforms them into three-dimensional portraits of the famous and no-so famous of today’s mass media.  Using the simple tools of an X-ACTO® knife and a little acrylic paint, his talented hands dissect, eviscerate and reconstruct these pages of soft material into incredible art objects.  Utilizing classical carving techniques on an unexpected material, Queral brings forth the individual from the faceless masses. The artist crafts recognizable visages, vaguely familiar but elusively foreign, as well as evoking his own cast of characters from the found sheets of paper.

What happens to these images when you enlarge them five fold, returning them to the cinematic context from which they came?  The graphic details become surprising clear.  The object transcends the material and becomes the focal point of discovery and serendipitous moments appear.  John Wayne’s given name (in the female) appears on his forehead; Clint Eastwood has a listing of funeral homes, perhaps a reference to the many men shot by Dirty Harry; Zimmerman is hidden behind the head of Bob Dylan.   However, with either media, the distinctly iconic work of Alex Queral cannot be denied.

Mr. Queral received a B.F.A. from the University of Washington, Seattle and a M.F.A. from the University of Pennsylvania.  His works have been exhibited around the world and throughout U.S.; most recently at the Philadelphia International Airport and in Hong Kong.  They are in the collections of Ripley's Believe It or Not!®, Sasktel Canada, Jerry Speyer and numerous private collections. His images have appeared in numerous books, including Art Made from Books; 500 Paper Objects: New Directions in Paper Art – A Preview; Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Enter If you Dare!; Playing with Books: The Art of Upcycling, Deconstructing and Reimaging the Book.  Queral's work has gained International acclaim through numerous internet bloggers.   His carved telephone books and prints are exclusively represented by Projects Gallery.

Face | Book – Phonebook Portraits will run November 1 – December 21, 2013 with an artist reception on First Friday, November 1st from 6-9. The reception is free and open to the public.  Projects Gallery is located at 629 N. 2nd St. in Philadelphia’s Northern Liberties section. A preview of works may be viewed on the gallery’s website at For more information and images, please contact Projects Gallery at 267-303-9652 or

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A comment on the proposed new covers (hats) for the USMC

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha... cough, cough.... Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! Oh Man! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!!!!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Ev Clark at the Art League

The Art League Gallery in Alexandria has an interesting show coming up soon:  "Cities in the Air" is an exploration of the urban wilderness that surrounds and permeates Richmond, VA.  The show is up from November 7 to December 2.  The opening reception on Thursday, November 14 runs from 6:30 PM - 8 PM. 
You can visit Ev Clark's work at:
The Art League Gallery
105 North Union Street
Alexandria, VA 22314

General Hours:
Monday - Saturday (except Thursday) 10 AM - 6 PM
Thursday 10 AM - 9 PM
Sunday 12 PM - 6 PM

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Howard County Arts Council Announces 2014 Arts Scholarship Program‏

Are you planning to pursue higher education in the arts? The Howard County Arts Council’s 2014 Arts Scholarship Application is now available!

The Howard County Arts Council will award a minimum of $10,000 in scholarship funds to students entering college in the 2014-2015 academic year. Scholarships must be used for enrollment in an accredited college program for a degree in the arts. Awards will be made in the minimum amount of $1,000 and may be used for tuition and fees only.

Applications will be reviewed by the Arts Council’s Scholarship Panel, made up of professionals working in a variety of artistic disciplines. Review criteria will include artistic merit, demonstrated knowledge of an artistic discipline, commitment to a career in the arts, and a demonstrated track record of success in an academic setting. Applicants will be notified of the committee’s decision in March 2014.

Applications for the scholarship program must be submitted online. Prospective applicants should visit to initiate the application process. Applicants must be legal residents of Howard County in their senior year of high school. Applications must be submitted electronically by January 15, 2014. Contact the Howard County Arts Council at 410-313-2787 or email for more information.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Why Artists Should Use an LLC for Their Business...

The LLC has become an increasingly popular corporate structure.  LLC’s combine the personal liability protections of a large corporation and the simplified tax structure and filing requirements of a partnership or sole proprietorship. Traditionally, corporations were the only structure that afforded personal liability protection. Because corporations are distinct entities with the power to make agreements, sign contracts and even commit crimes, owners couldn’t be blamed for its actions. Owners are merely shareholders; the corporation is the one that should pay for the wrongdoing. That was a benefit many businesses wanted.
Details here.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Accidental Owner of a Banksy

“Are you going to be rich?” That is the first question people ask me upon finding out that in the wee morning hours of October 17, the famed street artist Banksy painted a mural on the side of a building my family owns in East Williamsburg.

The truth is — at the end of an exhausting day filled with phone calls talking to lawyers, security companies, art experts, and reporters — I have no idea what it means. There is no rule book when one of the most famous artists in the world decides to drop his work into your life.

Details here.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Washington Redskin Potatoes

lame PETA suggested Washington logo
Not only has PETA allegedly stolen my wife's October 9th idea about renaming the Redskins... cough, cough, but they have also come up with a lame new logo... that moon rock thing doesn't even look like a redskin potato!

Some other folks have jumped in the bandwagon and designed some even lamer helmet designs... Wait till you guys see the new logo that the Kid has been working on...

And PETA, please stick to throwing red paint on models wearing furs... cough, cough.

Art Scam Alert!

Beware of this mutant:
From:Karl Neil (
Sent:Fri 10/18/13 9:43 AM

How are you doing today? I am interested in purchasing some of your products, 
I would like to know if you can ship directly to Reykjavik (Iceland). 
I also want you to know my mode of payment for this order is via Credit Card. 
Do get back to me if you can ship to that destination and if you accept the 
payment type I indicated. Kindly return this email with theprice list of your products.

Friends in Motion – an exhibit by Marsha Stein

November 7 – 30:
Friends in Motion – an exhibit by Marsha Stein
Studio 21 Gallery Opening and reception on November 7 at 6pm.

You hear the music…the laughter…the shouts. You inhale the wild aromas of the food booths and flowers and feel the vibrations in the bright hot air.

For 22 years, Marsha Stein lived and painted in St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. She was widely known there for her carnival scenes—stilt walkers, in particular. The island and its people demand a looseness of form and composition that is fitting of the uninhibited joy of the street festival.

Marsha majored in art at American University after a childhood filled with artistic expression. In St. Thomas, she was drawn to realism as a way of making the sights around her come to life in a new way. Her emotion-fueled expressionism easily morphed into the carnival scenes. To add to those disciplines of reality, she turned to classical drawing, studying in Florence for six months to discover the techniques of the Italian masters.

Back in Washington, Marsha has expanded her themes and techniques. She looks to combine the disciplines of classical drawing with the looseness of the Caribbean works in her portraits and landscapes.

Gallery Hours: Thurs-Fri 5:30pm-8:00pm; Sat 12pm-4pm

Studio 21 is located on the Arts Walk at Monroe Street Market – just steps from the Brookland/CUA Metro (Red Line).

Friday, October 18, 2013

(e)merge art fair wake effect... Part II

Another nice review! 

This time from Berlin Art Link

Read it here.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The (e)merge wake effect

Kayleigh Bryant in The Examiner discusses the (e)merge art fair and has some very positive things to say about my artwork.

Read the article here.

Enormous Charm

Enormous Charm
Oil and Alkyds on Wood - 60x50 cm. 2013 by Simon Monk

10 Years of DC Art News!

It has survived three name changes, several hacking attempts, and three physical moves.

It has been the subject of praise, disdain, envy, threats, compliments, and happiness (for me anyway).

It has outlasted multiple fellow art bloggers who no longer blog and now shares cyberspace with multiple new ones who often do a much better job at it than I do.

It is now approaching three million visits.

Today is the 10th anniversary of Daily Campello Art News!

Read my first post here.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The art fairs and the unethical artist

I started to sell other artists' works while I was an art student at the University of Washington in beautiful Seattle. As I've noted many times, while I was there, I sold my own works at the Pike Place Market, helped to start a Student Art Gallery, and helped to connect buyers with some of my fellow artists. Then in 1996, my then wife and I opened the Fraser Gallery in Washington, DC and subsequently a second Fraser Gallery in Bethesda, Maryland. I left the Fraser Galleries in 2006 and the same year Alida Anderson Art Projects, LLC was created in Philadelphia, and in 2009 moved to the DC region, where it remains.

In all those years I've worked with hundreds and hundreds of artists, and I can count in one hand the number of artists whom I would call unethical due to their behavior in a business gallery relationship. I thank my lucky stars for that, but I also think that a vast majority of artists, for whatever artistic genetic reason, are good people.

But we are humans, and in any "industry" there are also bad apples, and my own 2-3 bad experiences with artists, plus the dozens of anecdotal stories from other dealers all add up to the fact that just as there are some unethical galleries, there are some unethical artists.

The art fairs' paradigm gives these artsy deviants a powerful new way to use their lack of decent ethics.

As I noted yesterday, for your average, independently owned, commercial fine arts gallery, signing up to go to an art fair not only opens up the gallery to a whole new set of predators in the art fair scene, but also requires a significant financial environment, which, if not returned by sales at the fair, often causes a gallery to close its physical space.

Most good, ethical and decent art galleries are more often than not run by the skin of the dealers' teeths, often financed at times by Mr. Visa and Mr. Mastercard, and nearly always a labor of love on the part of the owners.

You drop $10,000 to $15,000 bucks on an art fair, and come home with little or no sales, and an empty bank account... that often means that it's lights out for the gallery. I've seen and heard this happen multiple times in the decade that I've been doing art fairs.

As I've also noted before, there is a curious after effect to art fairs; I call it the "wake effect."

A ship leaves a wake on the ocean as it moves through the water; that wake can sometimes be hundreds of miles long and discernible for days.

I define an art fair's "wake" as events that happen days, weeks, and even years after an art fair has taken place.  These events can be sales, exhibition offers, curatorial interest, press, etc. The "record" for this is currently held by DMV area artist Judith Peck, who was recently approached by someone who saw her work at a Miami art fair four years ago and recently got in touch with Peck. As a result of that fair four years ago, Peck made a sale and was also included in a forthcoming art exhibition in Puerto Rico.

That's a heck of a long-assed wake!

The wake effect is important and nearly always present after a fair closes. It is part of a gallery's business prayer plan to survive the economic investments in attending an art fair.

In the Google age, the art of buying a piece of artwork has been Googlified and in any art fair one sees a huge number of people taking photographs of the art being exhibited (a tiny minority of these photographers ask permission first... cough, cough...) and then (here comes the "new" part) they take a close up of the wall text card with the name, price, media and title of the piece.

Potential collectors, art students, art teachers, other gallerists, and nearly every fair visitor from the People's Republic of China does this - it happens in every art fair.

Within minutes, a potential buyer can then Google the artist, even the piece, discover related works, other dealers representing the artist, etc. Minutes later, direct contact with the artist often begins, closely followed by emails to other dealers and/or the artist requesting price quotes and availability.

Some of this is very smart, as there are unethical art dealers who inflate artists' prices at art fairs in order to then offer huge discounts to potential buyers. An ethical buyer armed with good information is an informed buyer, and ethical art dealers have nothing to fear when dealing with them.

Approaching an artist directly undercuts the gallery's investment in the art fair and in promoting the artist's work. However, one can make the case that some novice buyers do not understand this relationship and thus their "direct" approach to the artist, rather than working with the gallery where they saw the artist's work, can be somewhat excused and attributed to a simple lack of understanding... cough, cough.

Experienced collectors who know and understand the commercial fragility of most art galleries, and how the artist-gallery relationship generally works, and yet bypass a gallery and go directly to the artist, should know better, but what can I say?

I know that this happens because I am nearly always one of the artists being exhibited at the fairs, not only by AAP, but also by multiple other art galleries in multiple art fairs. And I get emails from people who tell me that they "saw my work at the such and such art fair and love it" and want to know "what else I've got?" or what's "the best deal" that they can get on this or that piece.

I also know this because I've had our represented artists pass the emails back to us; this is what an ethical artist must do.

Our contract sets an arbitrary time limit on how long a commission exists after an art fair for a direct sale made by the artist as a result of someone seeing their work at the fair. It is all on an honor system, and I am happy to report that as far as I know, no one has ever screwed us out of a single shekel in "wake effect" sales.

I also know this because I work with multiple other galleries, some of which represent the same artists whom I work with, and they too understand the "wake" effect and let us know that someone has been requesting price quotes on an artist that we share.

Enter the unethical artist.

By know I am sure that you know where I am going... The unethical part comes when an artist is approached directly by someone, during or after an art fair, and associates the query with "seeing the art at such and such art fair..." and the artist does not pass the contact to the gallery and makes an independent and direct sale and excludes the gallery from its fair commission (pun intended).

Or the artist is suddenly approached directly by someone, during or after an art fair, and that someone is from the city/area where the fair is being/was held. And the artist does not pass the contact to the gallery and makes an independent and direct sale and excludes the gallery from its fair commission (pun intended again).

Real life example: A gallery exhibits artist Jane Doe in an art fair in Santa Fe. It is the first time that this artist has been exhibited not only in Santa Fe, but also the first time that Jane, who lives in Poland, has exhibited in the USA.  Suddenly Jane begins to get direct queries from people who live in New Mexico.

Hai Capito?

Monday, October 14, 2013

The unethical art fair

In the past I've often discussed and given examples of two unfortunate entities of the visual arts world: the unethical art dealer/gallerist and the unethical artist.

In the decade since I've been doing DC Art News I've given plenty of examples of both, usually culled from not only my own experience, but also from the experiences of fellow artists and art dealers.

There are other members of the unethical side of the art world, as there are in any profession: writers, critics, even collectors, but the explosion of the art fair scene has given birth to a whole new set of deviants from decency and moral ethic behavior.

Enter the unethical art fair.

This is an offshoot of the unethical dealer, as many art fairs' origins are the result of an art dealer or gallerist making the decision to organize one. Many good established art fairs, such as Pulse and the Affordable Art Fairs, for example, are good, ethical fairs owned by the same person: a British gallery owner with a savvy business drive. Seattle gallery owners practically invented the hotel art fair, and Aqua has the well-earned reputation as being the "world's best hotel art fair."

The explosion of "satellite art fairs" in cities such as Miami during Art Basel Miami Beach (ABMB) week, or Basel during Art Basel Week, coupled with the realization that many galleries now sell the majority of their art at fairs and not at gallery shows, plus the rising costs of rent in many markets, have yielded the unfortunate fact that many art dealers close their physical spaces and focus their attention on art fairs worldwide.

This December during ABMB week, there will be 26 or so art fairs throughout the Greater Miami area (plus countless other art events, openings, parties, etc.).

Most of those fairs are ethical fairs, hoping to come to the world's biggest visual arts dance. Most of participants in them will lose money, as participating in an art fair is a financially terrifying process to most galleries.

Booth prices at established fairs range from $7,000 or so up to upwards of $100,000 dollars. Hotel fairs are a little less, but then again, in my opinion there remains really one worthwhile hotel fair at ABMB: Aqua. The others still struggle to both establish a presence and to attract collectors. Aqua was purchased last year from the Seattle gallerists who created it, and because it is now owned by the same outfit that does Art Miami (in my opinion the best American art fair there is), CONTEXT, Art Wynwood, etc., it will probably expand its reputation as the best hotel art fair in the world.

The unethical art fair's model exploits the galleries' desire to be in Miami, or London, or Basel during the dance. It also exploits their inexperience with art fairs, lack of information on what is a "good fair" and a "bad fair" as we'll as embellished stories of the halcyon days of art fairs, when anything and everything that a gallery hung on a wall... sold.

It is also the result of the still somewhat fierce competition for acceptance into some of the key art fairs.

While I suspect that this brutal economy, coupled with a return to more traditional art collecting focus on the part of major collectors, and large financial art fair disasters for some galleries, have decreased the competition for acceptance into top notch art fairs such as Art Miami, Pulse, NADA, etc., they are still highly competitive and still more galleries apply than are accepted. It is the most basic rule of supply and demand. There are more galleries wanting to do these top art fairs than there are spaces available in them.

A whole "lower" tier of art fairs exist to cater to the newer galleries and the "rejects" from the "top of the food chain" art fairs. Some, like Scope, used to be top tier themselves, but Scope seems to be caught in a downward spiral caused, I suspect, by a combination of a once heavy-handed curatorial hand, plus a desperate desire to continue to achieve economic goals associated with healthier economic art times.

Others are fairs that last a year or two and disappear from the scene. Some get such bad reputations that they cease to exist, only to be reincarnated under different names, seeking to entice a whole new crew of inexperienced victims.

There is one easy two-part metric to gauge an art fair. The first part is to find out how long have they been around. That is not to say that a "new" fair is risky at all times. In fact, two of the newer Miami art fairs (CONTEXT and The Miami Project), immediately established solid reputations for both fairs on their first year.

But a new fair has more to deal with in order to achieve success, which nearly always means attracting collectors' (and their purses') attention. No matter how much critical attention a fair gets, if the dealers consistently lose money, chances are that they won't come back to that fair. Don't get me wrong! Critical attention is important, and a key part of gathering the crucial seminal collector interest, but if you are a small, independent galley that just dropped $10,000 for a booth, plus another $5,000 for flights, hotel, car rental, art shipping and food, and you sell nothing, chances are that you're not coming back to that fair or to Miami, ever.

Part two of the metric is to see how many dealers return each year to the same fair. If a significant number of galleries return to the same fair each year, that usually means that they did OK at that fair. Fairs which have whole new rosters of art dealers each year, and little to none returning galleries, are fairs where the dealers are not selling artwork.

Point of order: every art fair, no matter how good, always has a number of dealers that do very well, some that break even and many who lose money; every fair.

None of the above discussions really clarify the "unethical fair"... Yet.

But in my opinion, the following facts all contribute to make an art fair unethical and to be avoided at all costs (pun intended):

- A fair that is organized by the same outfit every year or so with a different name because of legal or other issues associated with its previous name(s).

- A fair that caters and seeks and accepts any and all applicants - including the known predatory online dealers that exploit artists by offering them (at significant costs) exhibition at the fair. Most art fair organizers know who the predatory dealers are (artists and ethical dealers "out" them). If, in spite of this knowledge they still sell the predators a booth, then they are themselves contributing to the exploitation of the artists.

- A fair which starts as a "galleries only" fair and then (as not enough gallery applications are received) opens the process to individual artists, so that in the end dealers and galleries are mixed with individual artists. With the notable exception of (e)merge, which was designed from the start to couple art dealers with unrepresented artists, the mixture of individual artists and art galleries at the same fair seldom succeeds. This is generally due to the spectacular lack of business acumen and selling experience that most artists have (not all), and the disastrous "discounting" orgies that happen on Sundays when artists realize that the fair is almost over and they haven't sold squat.

For the last several years, around October, I get emails from (usually) DMV artists who are thinking of doing an art fair in Miami and have been approached by an outfit which is organizing a fair in Miami. In almost every case I try to talk them out of it. Instead I advise them to visit Miami during the fairs, see a lot of them, and talk to people. I try to talk them out of the significant personal financial risk of doing an art fair on the fly.

In almost every case, the artist does it anyway. Later, in Miami, they often swing by whatever fair I am in... Their long, sad faces adding more evidence to my empirical data gathering on this subject.

Next: Enter the unethical artist and the art fairs.

Sunday, October 13, 2013


Flying on Facebook - a cartoon by F. Lennox Campello c.2009
Airborne today and heading to the Left Coast, where I will be part of a panel at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum at The University of Oregon.

I hope the Ducks don't discover that I'm a Husky until after the panel!

Google, Google, Google.... Sigh

"Users of Google's services could soon see their profile name, profile photo or comments appear in online advertising."

Read all about it here.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Congrats to Hemphill!

Congratulations to Hemphill, who this year celebrates its 20th anniversary - in gallery years this is like being 100!

You can't even imagine the hard work involved in achieving and surviving as a respected art gallery in this town for 20 years.

20 more!

Games goverments play...

I went to the DO NOT CALL registry website today to renew my home number, and got this message:
Due to the Government shutdown, we are unable to offer this website service at this time. We will resume normal operations when the government is funded.

Debido al cierre del gobierno no podemos ofrecer este servicio telefónico en este momento. Nosotros reanudaremos el funcionamiento normal cuando el gobierno este fianciado.
To start with, this is quite an interesting Spanish translation of the English language statement. It appears to discuss some sort of telephone service... but I have no idea what the last word means... clearly someone typing the statement juxtuposed two letters and came up with a new word... cough, cough...

From the Google uses, I think "fianciado" is a Portuguese word, although most Google references are now just simply people referencing the DO NOT CALL registry and making fun of a vindictive government that shuts down websites that run (or at least should run) on automatic.

This is what the Spanish statement actually says:

Due to the closing of the government [missing comma] we can't offer this telephonic service at this moment. We will renew normal functioning when the government is "fianciado"

Cough, cough...

Less than a month left!

There’s less than a month left to apply for a VMFA Visual Arts Fellowship!

VMFA is offering awards to:
  • Professional artists: $8,000
  • Graduate students in the visual arts or art history: $6,000
  • Undergraduate students in the visual arts (including college-bound high school seniors): $4,000
No application fee!  Applications due Friday, November 8, 2013.

For a PDF flyer, the application form, and all instructions on how to apply, visit this website:

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Washington Redskin Potatoes

My wife Alida Anderson has a great solution to the Washington Redskins name controversy: Just change the mascot to a red potato and then call them the Washington Redskin Potatoes... Cough, cough... New helmet designs coming!...

Update: Upgrade number one to the brilliant idea above: What she actually said last night was to continue to call them the Washington Redskins, but to change the helmet design so that instead of the current one, it is now a ferocious-looking red skin potato!

Sold at (e)merge... sold at AAFNYC... Miami next

The (e)merge art fair was a resounding success last week... we sold multiple works by Elissa Farrow-Savos, multiple works by Judith Peck, a work by Ric Garcia and multiple works by yours truly; see this nice review.

In NYC, the Affordable Art Fair was just as good, and all three artists (Anne Marchand, Jodi Waslh and Tim Vermeulen) had multiple sales each.

In addition to about 20 of my drawings, I sold two major video pieces, including the below work:

Young Photographer Worshiping at the Altar of Contemporary Photography
Young Photographer Worshiping at the Altar of Contemporary Photography
Watercolor, charcoal and gesso with embedded electronics
8x20 inches, matted and framed to 20x28 inches

In a Private Collection in Potomac, MD

What's next for us? CONTEXT Art Fair in Miami

When agenda takes over...

Monday, October 07, 2013

Next Week: MCA Open Studios

On the afternoons of October 19th and 20th tour 20+ working art studios, in and around the Dupont Circle, Logan Circle, U Street and Shaw neighborhoods, better known as Mid City.  Visitors can enjoy DC’s glorious fall weather by hopping from one studio to another within vibrant Mid City and witness an expansive offering of art and culture by some of the city’s most talented and creative artists.  This bi-annual event, now in its 10th year, offers visitors a rare portal into the artists’ creative habitat and an opportunity for the public to participate in the District’s dynamic and diverse arts community.  The participating artists represent a great diversity of work, including drawings, sculptures, paintings, prints, photographs and mixed media.

Where we shop, where we eat and have fun -- all of it makes our community home.  Mid City Artists (MCA) Open Studios are an integral part of the distinctive character of the District and Mid City.  MCA offers studio visitors the exclusive opportunity to buy contemporary art direct from the artist studio.  While visiting the studios each artist offers refreshments as well as a good conversation about his or her art work.  Each studio is unique and locations range from retail spaces, old carriage houses, spare bedrooms, apartments to basements.  We hope you choose to spend your fall weekend with Mid City Artists.  We encourage you to make a day of it, stop by a several studios before and after brunch, and then hit a few more before grabbing an early evening cocktail on 14th Street.

MCA is a distinct and talented group of more than 35 professional artists who have come together to promote their work and to create an artists’ community in the central part of the nation’s capital.  Mid City is a hub of real estate development with soaring property values, new condos, trendy shops and restaurants.  There are more than 1,200 condos and apartments and 100,000 square feet of retail currently being built or recently completed.  Concurrently, at least 25 bars and restaurants have opened along 14th Street, adding more than 2,000 seats to the city’s dining scene.  MCA continues to contribute to this growth by infusing the neighborhood with authenticity, creativity and economic activity.

Numerous business sponsors support MCA by exhibiting member works throughout the year and during the Open Studios weekend. For example, Axis Salon will be exhibiting member artist Colin Winterbottom this fall and Doris-Mae, a curatorial project of Thomas Drymon, has a painting and installation up through October 20th. MCA is a driving force in keeping art and creative expression alive within Mid City.

Open Studios Participating Artists:  Sondra Arkin, Scott G. Brooks, Jane Cave, Michael Crossett, Gary Fisher, Charlie Gaynor, Charlie Jones, Sally Kauffman, Miguel Perez Lem, Lucinda Friendly Murphy, Betto Ortiz, Mark Parascandola, Dave Peterson, Brian Petro, George H. Smith-Shomari, John Talkington, Michael Torra, Robert Wiener, Colin Winterbottom. Others by appointment.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Almost final report...

Exhausted and home from the (e)merge art fair in DC, where today we sold several more Elissa Farrow Savos sculptures as well as several more of my drawings and also work by Ric Garcia... And in NYC the Affordable Art Fair crew is heading home, also exhausted but happy after a good fair in NY.

More later...

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Art fair(s) report...

The NYC crew at the Affordable Art Fair continues to report good sales... Multiple sales for Anne Marchand, multiple sales for Jodi Walsh and multiple sales for Tim Vermeulen... That is great news!

The DC crew at (e)merge is also kicking it... Today we sold four sculptures by Elissa Farrow-Savos (including sales to a very well-known collector) and six of my pieces, including two major and very large embedded video pieces.

Five weird and wonderful works at the (e)merge art fair

Check Maura Judkis' take in the WaPo here.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Day One at the Fairs...

Last night was the opening nights for both the Affordable Art Fair in New York and the (e)merge art fair here in DC.

The NYC crew reported several sales - yay! And the DC crew saw sales of two Elissa Farrow-Savos sculptures and two Judith Peck paintings.

Come see us - in NYC at booth A-14 and here in DC in rooms 215-216.

Mera Rubell, Lenny Campello and Judith Peck at (e)merge art fair 2013
Judith Peck, Lenny Campello and Mera Rubell at (e)merge 2013

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

(e)merge opens tomorrow

Opportunity for Public Artists

The Ballston Business Improvement District (Ballston BID), in Arlington, Virginia, seeks to commission multiple temporary public art installations that explore the interaction of art, science and technology in public space. The projects would be presented as an ongoing series in Spring 2014. We are primarily seeking responses from artists and innovators living or working in the Mid-Atlantic area.
The Ballston BID seeks to commission up to nine projects, for which it would provide stipends ranging from $2,000 to $12,000. The Ballston BID is seeking a mix of projects, in regard to their duration, media, location and budget; however, all projects must be located in or viewable from key streets and public spaces in the Ballston core. Questions will be accepted through September 30, and responses are due on October 7, 2013, 4 p.m. EDT. Responses will be evaluated by a committee of curators, arts administrators and artists familiar with this field.

For more information, contact their project coordinator Todd Bressi at or view their  Frequently Asked Questions.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Two fairs at once

We've never done two art fairs at once... but New York's Affordable Art Fair and DC's (e)merge art fair happen to happen at the same time and so for the first time ever, a DC area art dealer is punching the ticket for two art fairs at once in two different cities (gulp!).

It's all about the Benjamins... we've been doing exceptionally well with our art fair program at the art fairs over the last few years... even in this stinking economy... so why not?

And thus, you can see us this week at both of these:

Booth A-14

Rooms 215-216