Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Hours away...

#Cuba We are hours away of commemorate a live corpse, the so called Cuban #Revolution , a zombie that was fed with ourselves
                                                      — Yoani Sanchez (@yoanifromcuba) December 31, 2013

Happy New Year's to all of youse!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Dulce Pinzon at Art Wynwood

MARIA LUISA ROMERO from the State of Puebla works in a Laundromat in Brooklyn, New York. She sends 150 dollars a week. By Dulce Pinzon - Represented by Alida Anderson Art Projects, LLC
MARIA LUISA ROMERO from the State of Puebla works in a Laundromat in Brooklyn, New York. She sends 150 dollars a week.
This and all other photos from Dulce Pinzon's historic Superheroes series will be at the Art Wynwood Art Fair in Miami this coming February.

Sunday, December 29, 2013


PBS Newshour has a very cool interview that features Sebastian Stant, the very young New York-based entrepreneur who is also the owner of Mayer Fine Arts (which represents my artwork); check it out online here.

Jody Mussoff

Jody Mussoff
Legendary DMV artist Jody Mussoff is offering all kinds of terrific vintage artwork (including some brilliant ceramics) at great prices... Check them out here.

Her amazing work was included in the exhibition Graphic Masters III, held at the Smithsonian Institution's American Art Museum in 2010, and has been exhibited at many museums and galleries, including:

Great idea

From Jesse at ardc... another most excellent idea:
I love buying art. It's an exhilarating experience to find a work, learn about the artist, and make an educated decision to purchase a work of art. I find it to be equally exciting to see a work, and make a crazy gut leap of faith and pull out my credit card and buy it! Oh beleive me yes, I do have a list of artists who I need to buy from, that I haven't yet!

So you're asking, are you going to buy my art? If you read these emails, there's a small possibility. If you are involved in the exhibitions and art projects we develop, the possibility gets higher. If you make amazing work, the chances are even higher.  That said, those who know me, understand my volume of art purchases are limited. I buy what I can afford, and I think that's an interesting fact that many of us share in common. Art collection is no longer an "elite only" experience. Everyone can own a work of art.

Before this note runs on into a confession, or another pitch, I'd like to say that I really do think the acquisition of art is a valuable and very important experience.

I've wanted to share this mentality with the world, which is why I started the site www.artacquired.com .  It's time for the site to grow!

I'm looking for people who buy art, small or large, affordable, or expensive. 

No, I don't want to sell art to you. (Well ok, if you see something, in one of our shows, I'll be glad to help). I need to find a few people who buy art, and would like to write about the experience on artacquired.com 

I'm not looking for a scholarly tome, but a few thoughtful paragraphs about the art work that you've recently purchased, and some images of the work. 
I'd expect that the writing would be relatively well written. I do think this is a fun and exciting process, or I wouldn't do it. There's something great about sharing the passion about acquiring art.
Take a look at my site, and let me know if you are interested, and we can talk further about expectations.  To start, the focus should be on contemporary art, the process of acquisition, who you bought it from, the artists, and links to the gallery and artists.
I'd like to see a bit of a track record. That is, email me a bit about your collection.  Take a look at the link above to read more about mine.
Drop me an email to talk further about this.  Food for future thought, are owning art and collecting it the same thing? If you have a friend who you think might be into this, please do forward this note.

 Cheers and thanks,

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Coming down to Miami

Despite the ignorance of others, she knew that inside they were all the same by Elissa Farrow-Savos
"Despite the ignorance of others, she knew that inside they were all the same" by Elissa Farrow-Savos will be at Art Wynwood in February.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Next in the next year...

Getting ready with the preps for Art Wynwood as we return to Miami for yet another art fair!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Chihuly for Xmas

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts board of trustees has voted to acquire the work Red Reeds, by Dale Chihuly which was created for the Anne Cobb Gottwald reflecting pool outside the Best Café. The internationally renowned artist created over 100 red glass reeds as part of the Chihuly at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, October 20, 2012- February 10, 2013. Since that time Red Reeds has been on loan to VMFA.

This dynamic, site-specific work by Dale Chihuly was an instant success at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts,” said Alex Nyerges, director.”It is beautiful in every season, and is a wonderful addition to the Lora Robins Sculpture Garden. I am especially pleased that this is the first site-specific outdoor installation by Chihuly to be acquired by an art museum.”

Red Reeds was purchased with private funds from the Arthur and Margaret Glasgow fund. Private funds are always used for art acquisition, but upon purchase the work becomes the property of the Commonwealth of Virginia for its ongoing care. 
The reeds were blown by team Chihuly at the Nuutäjarvi Glass Factory in Nuutäjarvi, Finland because of the excellent clarity of glass there and to take advantage of their annealing ovens, the largest in the world. The annealing process facilitates the curing of these large-scaled elements, which are as much as 10 feet in height. Also, the red glass in Finland has a particularly brilliant quality, due to the ruby red pigment and the added chemical element neodymium.
 Details here.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

On this Christmas we demand freedom for this heroine

Today, we remember Sonia Garro, who is currently spending her second Christmas in a political prison and is another example of the targeted repression of the world's longest lasting dictatorship; not only against all of its enslaved people, but also even more venomous against Afro-Cubans.

Sonia Garro, a member of The Ladies in White pro-democracy movement, has been imprisoned by the Castro regime -- without trial or charges -- since March 18th, 2012.

In the wave of repression leading up to Pope Benedict XVI's trip to Cuba, Castro's secret police raided her home, shot her with rubber bullets and imprisoned her.

She has been repeatedly abused and beaten in the infamous Manto Negro women's prison.

Garro's husband, Ramón Muñoz González, was also imprisoned on that day.

He is being held -- without trial or charges -- in the Combinado del Este Prison.

Demand their freedom now.

Merry Christmas!

Campello's 2013 Christmas Card

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Since tonight is Nochebuena, I usually prepare the classic Nochebuena Cuban feast for the night.

Cuban Roasted Pork
Mariquitas with Mojo Sauce for Dipping
Sweet Corn Tamales
Broiled Yucca with Garlic Mojo
Broiled Ňame with Olive Oil
Moros y Cristianos (White Rice and Black Bean Soup)
Cuban Nochebuena Salad

For 2013 I will substitute Ropa Vieja instead of pork... and yeah, I will use a lot of ajo (garlic)...

Ajo (Garlic)
There is a long cultural tradition assigned to the Moros y Cristianos side dish, and even its Cuban Spanish name (Moros y Cristianos or "moors and Christians") tell you something about the dish (rumored to honor the 100th anniversary in 1592 of Queen Isabella's final victory over the Moors in 1492). 

And (at least in Oriente province) Ropa Vieja is a dish attributed to Cuban Jews, so we'll have a cool culinary diversity night encompassing all three major world religions on Nochebuena!

For once, Christians, Jews and Moslems will work together, in this case in my belly... cough, cough...

And from our family to all: a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Terrific 2014 to all!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Funny Faces

I've got this ever growing collection of funny faces that get captured on TV when you press the pause button... heh, heh...

Sunday, December 22, 2013

This proposes legal changes to copyright laws...

OK folks... I need you lawyer types to read, interpret and report the gist of this new report ASAP!

Channeling Pollock Part II

Remember that proposal for a piece of art for a new cruise ship being constructed? It was part of the (e)merge art fair "wake" effect... Details here.

Anyway... seems like we're past the first stage and now they've requested some additional amplification and thus the two rough sketched of what the actual piece would look like.

Sketch for Rock, Paper, Scissors for RCL ship - by Lenny Campello

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Morris Louis (cough, cough) finds a home

In 1980 I did this piece as part of an assignment at the University of Washington School of Art. The assignment (and the class) was to create work in the style of the "masters" which at the U-Dub included modern masters... I did some "easy" ones such as Pollock, most of the Washington Color School stripe painters, Willem de K, etc. plus some really tough ones, such as El Greco.

Preparatory Watercolor for the Frida Kahlo Inside a Morris Louis Assignment by F. Lennox Campello 1980

Anyway... Preparatory Watercolor for the Frida Kahlo Inside a Morris Louis Assignment is an original watercolor painting on 300 weight paper. The painting measures 9.5 x 13.5 inches and it is signed and dated on the verso, and it is now heading to a collector in Crystal Bay, Nevada - 33 years after it was painted!

There is a companion piece to this work somewhere in New York.

Friday, December 20, 2013

An Abbreviated History of Moca DC

MOCA DC as we have known it for 21 years will end this week... There is a farewell party at Art Overnight - at 2328 Ontario Rd in Adams Morgan on Saturday, Dec 21st starting at 6 pm. Be on the lookout for the Grand Opening of Big Moca in the Sky.

Here is a guest post by MOCA's director David R. Quammen:
December 1, 2013
An Abbreviated History of Moca DC
Part One: 1992 to 2004 – The Formative Years
I’ve been sifting through records and media accounts of Moca DC from the time that Michael V. Clark started it in 1992, except he called it Clark & Company. That changed in 1995 after he married Felicity Hogan and they incorporated it as a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit corporation, naming it the Museum of Contemporary Art.
It has always been a gallery, never a museum so over time the name was shortened to MOCA DC, since it’s a bit of a stretch answering the phone or discussing it in any other context. Michael changed his given name to Clark Hogan, later shortening it to Clark when he and Felicity split in 2003. He was going to close the gallery December 31st, 2004, having a tough time keeping it going, what with health issues and the divorce. He now calls himself Clark V. Fox, a name chosen when he was a co-exhibitor at a gallery in Houston.
I started modeling Halloween day 2000, shortly after turning 60; I enjoyed being part of a creative process but there were no directions for a novice and no list of places to model so I accumulated as much information as I could and started publishing a newsletter, Artists & Models, in February, 2002. It was well received but I published only 6 issues, terminating it after finding that it was going to take $300 a month to publish and deliver; I closed it the same month that the Figure Models Guild was formed.
In 2002, Clark let me use the gallery to form the Guild; the first formal meeting was in July of that year, a resounding success with about 50 models and artists in attendance. It continued to grow to the point that most of the colleges, universities, schools and groups from Baltimore to Annapolis and Winchester to Richmond were using it as a guide for their models. I told Clark that I would guarantee the rent and operate the gallery. He owned a condo in New York, so he agreed, moved to New York and on January 1, 2005 my status changed from model to model-gallery operator.
Part Two – 2005 to 2010 – A New Horizon
David R. Quammen

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The end of MOCA DC

MOCA DC as we have known it for 21 years will end later this week... There is a farewell party at Art Overnight - at 2328 Ontario Rd in Adams Morgan on Saturday, Dec 21st starting at 6 pm. Be on the lookout for the Grand Opening of Big Moca in the Sky.

Rosemary Feit Covey's retrospective coming in 2014

In March 2014, a retrospective of the last fifteen years of Rosemary Feit Covey's work will be on display at Johns Hopkins University's Evergreen Museum in Baltimore. Covey is one of the great, master artists of the DMV.

Featured artwork will include engravings, paintings, mixed media and installations. A catalog with commentary by curator James Abbott will accompany this exhibition.

Rosemary Feit Covey will also be a featured artist in MFA's group exhibition Focus Africa which will open at the gallery April 25th, 2014. Included are artworks inspired by the artist's South African heritage.

$37M a day!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Five Curators. One Exhibition. No Art. Zero Dollars.

Five Curators. One Exhibition. No Art. Zero Dollars.

Can they Crowdfund a Crowdsourced Exhibition of Crowdfunding Rewards?
Artists, technologists, and business people, tired of stagnation from the
traditional funding models of investment, grants, and representation, have
turned to crowdfunding as a means to supplement or fully support their
ventures.  Today's world of connectivity creates a fluid landscape of
ideas, incentives and, even money. Small ideas and small amounts of money
can amass to a grandiose scale as individuals are united even fleetingly
for common cause. This is unique to our time, and our era.  “Mining the
Crowd” seeks to bring together the audience and the funder for a
discussion of the sustainability of crowdfunding, especially, but not
limited to, how it pertains to the arts.

Currently, “Mining the Crowd” is in the middle of its 30-day make-or-break
fundraising Kickstarter campaign, the sole financial source for a future
Kickstarter and Indiegogo based art exhibition, which will present
materials from artists actively engaged in their own crowdfunding
campaigns. Fiscal sponsorship for this project will be provided by
Maryland Art Place (MAP), allowing donations to Mining the Crowd’s
crowdfunding campaign to be partially tax deductible.

While the culminating exhibition is scheduled for February 2015 in the
Sheila & Richard Riggs and Leidy Galleries in the Graduate Studio center
at MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art), funding must be completed as
soon as possible.  The second phase of this project involved investing in
the artists who will ultimately exhibit.  Not only will the artist need to
be sought out in crowdfunding circles, but they will need to be given time
to create their art.

Through this meta-Kickstarter social experiment, social media, and the
exhibition, the curatorial team aims to educate artists and facilitate
critical discourse about the challenges to financially supporting one’s
artistic practice. Additionally, like most campaigns, the team desires to
build a community of supporters for this project and this conversation.
More information about the project and links the Facebook, Twitter, and Tumbler pages can be found at http://miningthecrowd.org.

The ongoing Kickstarter campaign can be found at


There were like a dozen contrails in the sky at once this evening on the drive on I-95S -- probably all heading to Dulles...

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

You gotta see this...

Click here.


Spiderman Naked finds a home

piderman Naked  Charcoal, conte and embedded appropriated video. 13x8 inches matted and framed to 26x20 inches  2013 by F. Lennox Campello
Spiderman Naked
Charcoal, conte and embedded appropriated video. 13x8 inches matted and framed to 26x20 inches
2013 by F. Lennox Campello

piderman Naked  Charcoal, conte and embedded appropriated video. 13x8 inches matted and framed to 26x20 inches  2013 by F. Lennox Campello

piderman Naked  Charcoal, conte and embedded appropriated video. 13x8 inches matted and framed to 26x20 inches  2013 by F. Lennox Campello
Detail of Spiderman Naked

piderman Naked  Charcoal, conte and embedded appropriated video. 13x8 inches matted and framed to 26x20 inches  2013 by F. Lennox Campello
Now in a permanent collection in Miami, Florida!

Monday, December 16, 2013

What's in a name...

This post is truly the result of me finding some slides from 1980 and 1981, which is when I was doing some artwork about identity and labeling and ethnicity, etc. when I was a student at the University of Washington School of Art in Seattle, Washington.

I've been recently trying to digitize my art slides, and to my distress, I've been finding out that some of those slide-holding binders have succumbed to mold and moisture, and those two moist diseases have robbed me of a lot of my own artistic history.

I am sure that the fact that between 1980 and now I've moved about 30 times, including twice to Europe and back, has something to do with it, but it still sucks.

Seven Fridas by F. Lennox Campello - click for a larger version
"Las Siete Fridas (The Seven Fridas)"
Pen and Ink Wash, F. Lennox Campello
Univ. of Washington Art School assignment circa 1980-1981
Collection of Seeds for Peace.
What hurt the most was the loss of slides documenting a series of pen and ink drawings, such as the above one, that I did on the thematic focus of surnames and what immediate impact is attached to them as soon as people hear them. Most of them, except for the dozen or so Frida pieces such as the one above, were sold at the Pike Place Market in Seattle, which is where I used to sell my art school assignments back then. The last name identity series was anchored around my documented passion for Frida Kahlo, and we must remember that not too many people outside of a certain artistic sphere was familiar with her back then... certainly not too many of my fellow Washington art students knew about her and her work back then.
Her last name gave rise to some interesting questions about her... "She was Mexican?" was a common question after I gave her name at a class review or talk... I knew that it was the last name throwing them off... a Mexican whose last name was Kahlo?

Having been raised in two distinct places of immense ethnic and racial diversity (Easternmost Cuba and Brooklyn) I was a little surprised at their surprise. "How can she be Mexican with a German (well, really Austrian... but) last name?" they might as well have asked... some did.

And so, starting in my junior year (I think) I commenced a series of portraits of faces migrating across a spectrum of ethnic, racial, cultural and even fantasy diversity. The Seven Fridas is a good example of that... as we see her as Nordic, Moslem, African, Punk, Native American, Vulcan and Beatle.

Many of the pieces were akin to this one, but the portraits were of either some fellow students, or sometimes borrowed from popular imagery. And they had titles such as "Portraits of Peddrossah" instead of Pedrosa and Rhoddrighez instead of Rodriguez, and "The Seven Stages of Dellauhehrtah" instead of De La Huerta, etc.

As soon as a De La Huerta becomes a  Dellauhehrtah, I discovered, his/her whole ethnicity, and in some cases, his/her race shifts tremendously, regardless of the race, ethnicity or national origin of both the subject and the ones being subjected to my name and visual puzzlement. By the way, to this day, that name/word does not exist in all of the Internets.

Get my drift?

The Kahlo name issue, was of course somewhat kindled by my own last name issue.

"Is that Italian?" is the question that I'm used to getting, except in New England, where it is usually a more blunt "What are you?"

Sunday, December 15, 2013

PLAY BY PLAY at Project 4

Project 4 will host Play by Play, a pop-up FLEX focus collaboration developed by guest curator Kayleigh Bryant. The show runs Jan 11 - Feb 1, 2014, with an opening reception Saturday, Jan. 11 from 7-9PM.
This exploration of the darker side of children's playtime features the work of Amy Hughes Braden, Bridget Sue Lambert, Janelle Whisenant, and Mark Williams. The sticky place between childhood innocence and adult realism is examined through different exercises in subverted play.

The artists in Play by Play dig into the malaise, mediocrity, sexuality, and violence implied by commonplace toys and imagery of childhood by re-appropriating these objects within complex juxtapositions of adult ideals. Braden's paintings of children and families offer a stark glimpse into the transitional moment straddling childhood and adulthood. Lambert's staged doll and dollhouse photography exposes the sexual and sexist implications of such toys. Whisenant's mutant stuffed-animal creatures question the cycle of childhood materiality. Williams' toy soldiers mock the implied oversimplification of war as a child's play.
FLEX is a group of artists and curators who come together to produce a series of exciting temporary exhibitions. Focusing on projects that do not rely on a stationary base of operations, FLEX is able to adapt to different locations to engage a variety of audiences and contexts. FLEX's loose framework provides a platform for an ever-changing cast of independent curators and artists to test the boundaries of visual expression and probe new ways of connecting with the viewer. As an open model, FLEX allows exhibitions to be dynamic and adapt to the spaces they inhabit. Mobile gallery spaces, outdoor projection units, site-specific installations, drawing machines, and 3D Printing are some of the tactics employed.  The curator, Kayleigh Bryant is a young Washington, DC-based curator, arts professional and freelance arts critic for outlets including Examiner.com, CBS Local DC Online and Brightest Young Things.com.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Friday, December 13, 2013

Lessons learned at AU

American University was locked down on Wednesday night when a person with a gun was spotted on campus at the same time that faculty member Alida Anderson and her class of future teachers were undertaking their final presentations for the semester. Alida’s course was taking place ...
Read the WaPo story here... 

AU now has the opportunity to do a full scrub on this issue and gather some great lessons learned from this event... one clear one is that something easy and simple has to be developed and placed in each classroom to allow the class to lock the doors from the inside... but in any event, I am very proud of my wife!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Havana in ruins... 55 years and counting...

Almost every picture I’ve ever seen of Cuba’s capital shows the city in ruins. Una Noche, the 2012 gut punch of a film directed by Lucy Mulloy, captures in nearly every shot the savage decay of what was once the Western Hemisphere’s most beautiful city.
 Read this sad report at http://www.worldaffairsjournal.org/blog/michael-j-totten/once-great-city-havana

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I shudder at this...

I cannot believe that my President shook hands with a murdering, racist dictator who has been brutalizing his people and enslaving a whole nation for almost 55 years... sigh.

 Three years ago Princeton professor Cornel West, actress Ruby Dee and director Melvin Van Peebles and 60 other African-American artists and leaders issued a public statement (titled "Acting on Our Conscience") that criticized the Castro dictatorship for its "increased violations of civil and human rights for those black activists in Cuba who dare raise their voices against the island’s racial system." 

People in the US are just not aware of Cuba's bloody racial history and the way that Afro-Cubans (who make up 35% of the Cuban population) have been and continue to be brutalized. POTUS should have been advised about what to do if this came up: what President Carter did decades ago when faced with the same situation and a different Castro: Ignore him.

General Grevious in the snow

General Grevious in the snow - a photo by F. Lennox Campello
General Grevious in the Snow

Opportunity for sculptors

The Capitol Hill Alphabet Animal Project will commission ten artists to produce sculptures that will be permanently installed on selected street posts in DC. 

These are paid commissions, and the project is working with a historian, will have a launch event, as well as produce a book. 

Funding for this phase is from the DDOT and the DC Humanities Council. 

More details here: https://sites.google.com/site/alphabetanimalsdc/home

Monday, December 09, 2013

Part II of "Miami Bound"

On the flight over to Miami to participate at the Context Art Miami art fair during Art Basel Miami Beach week, I began the first of two postings discussing why visual art establishments and arts organizations of all sorts should and must participate in the visual art world's largest art party. You can read the first part here.

As I return home, having had a terrific fair, this second part is being written on the flight home.

The first part used The Art League as an example of a visual arts entity (and a great one at that) that should participate in art fairs. I noted that they have several thousand members and run a very successful and important program at their space inside the Torpedo Factory and assorted classrooms all over the area.

So the issue is, how does The Art League (again, you can fill in any of multiple DMV area membership-based art organizations) pick or select the 3-5 artists to take to an art fair?

Once again I am going to make the very important point that the "good" art fairs are nearly always tightly juried. There are many other art fairs where one just pays and anyone and everyone can go - those usually suck and unfortunately by now some DMV galleries and many DMV solo artists have discovered this (along with good Cuban food) during this last week in Miami.

And thus I noted that for Miami/NYC fairs I am thinking (in no particular order) about Art Miami, Context, Aqua, Pulse, NADA, Affordable Art Fair(s), Scope, Miami Project, Untitled, Frieze... some of these are very, very hard (some nearly impossible) to get into, but they're listed nonetheless, because there is a "food chain" of art fairs, and the bottom-feeders usually spell disaster for the participants. For example, we've applied many times to Pulse and have always been rejected. There were almost 30 art fairs in the Greater Miami area last week!

For this, The Art League would need to establish a process to pre-jury its membership to 3-5 artists and apply with those artists to an art fair. I would start with The Affordable Art Fair in New York this coming Spring. They are close by and they are a "proven" fair. Later, for Miami, I would start with either Aqua or Context.

The Art League then would need to canvas their membership and find out who's interested in being juried for possible selection for further jurying into an art fair. Everything that I'm going to discuss below has to be clearly explained in the prospectus for this process, so that each applying artist knows exactly what this would involve.

I suspect that a large number of artists would find this attractive, and perhaps a small jurying fee ($10?) could be applied to subsidize the art fair costs (I would budget anywhere from $12-20K, depending on booth size).

 I would make this jurying process independent from the Art League itself - just like they do for their monthly juried shows, and have interested artists bring their work in to be juried by an independent juror.

That juror has to be a very special juror - in fact 99.9998% of your standard-issue visual art juror (art professors, art critics, art writers, art center directors, artists, collectors, art symbiots, etc.) would guarantee a disaster to this process. There are probably less than a dozen people in the entire DMV who are qualified to jury this process, I kid thee not and I know them all.

This is a critical point, so I'm going to repeat it: The DMV the jury pool for this process is very limited and its members are only those gallerists who have successfully participated in multiple art fairs. In fact I can't think of anyone better to jury this part than me!

Whatever you do, DO NOT use an art fair director as a juror! They are usually interested in what would make the fair look good (usually from an unsellable trendy perspective) , rather than understand the delicate balance of good art, finances and peripheral issues that come to play into this process.

The juror would pick 3-5 artists and 2-3 alternates. This is because some art fair processes do have the option to accept an application while at the same time rejecting some of the artists in that application.

So now we have a group of artists, culled from applying Art League members, ready and willing to participate in an art fair.

The actual application process is easy, so I'm not getting into that - be aware that deadlines are usually months before the actual fairs.

If accepted, the next step is transporting the artwork to the art fair, and then returning the unsold artwork back to the owners. For this, the Art League has various options.

One option would be to hire a transport company. There are dozens and dozens of specialized carriers that do this and they pick up and transport the art to your booth at the fair, and at the end pick it up from your booth and transport it back. This is the easiest and the most expensive. From here to NYC and back I would budget $1200-$2000 depending on volume. Packaging also becomes an issue here.

Another option is to rent a truck or van and schlep the work to and from the fair yourself. This is what I usually do for New York and Miami.

A third option is to have each artist (or teamed artists) bring their own work in their own cars, vans, etc.

In this example, I would offer each accepted artist the choice to also come to the fair, and help hang and help to sell their own work. This should be an option, not a requirement, as some artists would rather spend a week in Baghdad than a long weekend in an art fair dealing with art collectors; but some artists do like doing that. In any event, just "being" and seeing what goes on at an art fair is a spectacular learning opportunity for anyone involved in the visual arts.

The Art League has the luxury of having a very skilled "front desk" team that is already well-versed in the arcane art of selling artwork - so they could and should also come to the fair to handle questions and sales, etc.DO NOT send your executive director or curator to handle sales - that would be a disaster!

We're getting dangerously close to having a lot of people crowding the booth, so let's please keep the number of people hanging around the booth at all times to less than three; the artists can "float" in and out.

There is strength in numbers in many other aspects: transporting artwork, hanging it, packing it, splitting costs of hotel rooms, etc.

Before you book a hotel room anywhere in the major US cities (especially NYC) always check www.bedbugregistry.com. Again, I kid thee not. Pick a hotel that is walking distance from the fair or public transportation to the fair.

The elephant in the room here is cost(s), but again there is strength in numbers.

Art fairs often offer discounted prices to non-profits; Honfleur Gallery in Anacostia often participates in The Affordable Art Fair in NYC and takes advantage of this special pricing. WPA participates (and has great success) at (e)merge and Hamiltonian is always somewhere in Miami.

Art fair prices are different depending on the fair. You can see the booth prices for the next Affordable Art Fair New York here. As you can see, you can actually get a booth for as low as $4600.

I'm my head I have this concept of having the selected Art League artists have a "financial stake" in this process by having them contribute some funds towards the art fair fees. Nothing works like putting your money where your mouth is. But then again, as a large organization, perhaps a more artist-friendly model would be for the Art League to cover all the art fair costs from a combination of jury entry fees and their own budget.

Of course, the Art League would also keep their usual commission on sales, so this also has a money-making angle for them.

What are the art fair costs? There are direct costs and associated costs.

Direct costs are:
(a) Cost of the basic booth
(b) Cost of additional booth stuff (extra walls, extra lights, storage)
(c) Some fairs have a "shared" advertising cost (AAFNYC doesn't)

Associated Costs are:
(a) Cost of required insurance (Art League would be able to use their current insurer or buy insurance directly from the art fair)
(b) Cost of transportation of the art. If using own vehicle, then also cost of parking it
(c) Cost of Art League staff at the fair (bus to NYC and shared hotel room and per diem for food)
(d) Cost of the juror to select the artists

Funding sources for all these costs are:
(a) Art League budget
(b) Nominal jurying fee for applying artists
(c) Commission on sales at the fair (this, of course, is putting the cart ahead of the horse)

Commercial galleries take huge chances at art fairs. My very first art fair all around cost was about $8,000 almost a decade ago - all that was charged on the gallery's credit card and we held our breath while at the fair. We sold about $30,000 worth of art, and thus after commissions to the artists we cleared $15,000 and paid off the credit card and then had $6,000 to put towards the next art fair fee.

I can count on one hand the number of times that we sold that much in any gallery art show in the DMV; and I've had a gallery here of one sort or another since 1996.

What's in it for the artists?

Usually a lot more than for the gallery. I will repeat this: more often than not, an artist reaps more good things out of an art fair than the gallery does.

These things include:
(a) Exposure to more art collectors, curators, press, etc. in a few days than in years of exhibiting art around the DMV. You will see more people in 4-5 days than in five years at a gallery in the DMV.
(b) Exposure to other galleries who may be interested in your work. I have multiple examples of this - Just ask DMV area artist Judith Peck what has happened to her career once she started showing at art fairs.
(c) A significantly higher chance of getting critical press.
(d) A significantly higher chance of getting your work noticed by both freelance and museum curators. The chance of getting your work noticed by a DMV museum curator is probably higher than the chance of winning the lottery. Most DMV area museum curators (AU's Jack Rasmussen being the brilliant exception) would rather take a cab to Dulles to fly to Miami to see emerging artists' works at fairs than taking a cab to see a gallery show in Georgetown.
(e) Being part of the art fair "wake effect" --- Read about that here.
(f) A much better chance to getting invited to participate in other shows such as university shows, themed-shows, group shows, etc. Ask Virginia artist Sheila Giolitti about that.

I hope that I've made my point, and I hope that some visual art groups and organizations are reading this.

Greater Reston Arts Center, Blackrock Center for the Arts, Touchstone, Gallery West, Art League, Washington Project for the Arts, Maryland Art Place, Multiple Exposures, Gallery 10, Washington Sculptors Group, VizArts, Artomatic, Waverly Street Gallery, DC Arts Center, DCCAH, Target Gallery, Torpedo Factory, Workhouse Arts Center, Art Gallery of Potomac, Rockville Art League, The Artists' Undertaking, Glen Echo... I'm looking at you.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

ABMB: It's all over!

This is what the DMV airports need: a little Cuban in them!

The ABMB art fairs are over and done with, and as usual, some galleries did great, most did OK and some lost their pants.

At Context Art Miami the crowds were phenomenal all week, and we ended up doing really well, with multiple sales by Simon Monk, Audrey Wilson, Dulce Pinzon and yours truly.

Art fairs are always more than just about sales, and Context once again proved that! Pinzon, Monk and I have been invited to participate in a Superhero show being organized by a major Los Angeles gallery. Additionally, we are working a major double commission for Simon Monk by the studios currently filming the new Superman and Batman movies. Furthermore, we made a good connection with Telemundo's local Spanish-language TV station to do a segment with Dulce Pinzon. As if all that is not all good stuff, a local major collector has given a West coast University the green light to select one of my video works for the university's permanent collection (more on that when it develops further).

Other DMV artists at Context seemed to do well too: Mark Jenkins sold out all his sculptures, and Tim Tate had sales and his California gallery is still working a major multiple deal even as pack-out was taking place.

I also heard from some dealers at Aqua Art Miami: Virginia's Mayer Fine Arts reported their "best art fair ever." That included a whooping sale of 14 different pieces by different artists to a major California collector.

Now heading back to the DMV to do all the paperwork, pay all the taxes, and re-group for Art Wynwood in a couple of months!

Saturday, December 07, 2013

A Democracy of Images: Photographs from the Smithsonian American Art Museum

"A Democracy of Images [...] it's the story of photography itself."

"The 'democracy' of "A Democracy of Images" also can be read as an allusion to America itself, suggesting that the show is, in some ways, a portrait of our nation formed by looking at it from many angles."

"Like many Americans, several of the artists in "Democracy" were not born here. Robert Frank came from Switzerland, Ana Mendieta, from Cuba. Muriel Hasbun, the daughter of a Frenchwoman with a Polish-Jewish background and a Palestinian Christian father, was born in El Salvador and now teaches at the Corcoran.
This melting pot is, of course, quintessentially American. And the outsider's eye often helps an artist see things that those born here might miss. One of the show's sub-themes is photography as a tool of political commentary." [...]
Read the WaPo review here.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Miami report

Although as usual I'm always stuck at whatever art fair that I'm doing, and seldom have the chance to explore other art fairs, DMVers in Miami for the fairs, as well as fellow dealers are always reporting to me.

I'm at Context Art Miami, which so far has been doing very well for us. We have DMV artists Ric Garcia and Audrey Wilson (and my own brilliant work, of course). Wilson, who will have her first solo show coming up in DC soon (more on that later) has been especially doing well, both in sales and commissions, as well as curatorial attention. The key here is that DC collectors need to buy Audrey Wilson now, as soon as she has that first solo show.

Also at Context are DMV artists Tim Tate, showing with California's Seager Gray Gallery and Mark Jenkins, showing with LA's Fabien Castanier Gallery.

Context is easily the best art fair that I have ever been to - the level of artwork is right up there with the top of the art fairs food chain. There is powerful diversity at Context - both in artwork as well as geographic distribution of the galleries. It's clear to me that this art fair made a powerful debut last year and now has made an even more powerful statement in its second year.

Scope had a great opening night on Monday with strong sales on their previews, but just like Untitled, they are now facing the same challenges as Untitled because Ocean drive in Miami Beach is down to one lane because of constructions. Also the hike between the two was tough (either across the beach or all the way back to Ocean Drive). Scope's VIPs had free rides from Fiats, which was a good coup as they could get rides around; I hear that the Fiat Pop was a delightful car.

DC's Project 4 is showing at Scope. Also at Scope you can find DMV artist JT Kirkland with New York's Blank Space. I am also told that Miami's Emerson Dorsch Gallery in Untitled has an arresting video program that is that highlight of that fair. Victoria Fu's "Belle Captive II" video has been getting rave reviews from some key video collectors that reported to me.

Some think that "Aqua is struggling," in part because "the young, quirky galleries have mostly been replaced by established galleries and replaced by Art Miami galleries," said to me one collector. There is also some sort of "art project" sign hanging near the entrance to Aqua that is causing some consternation to some galleries, as the sign (which again, is an art project) delivers the "impression that Aqua is where one goes to get cheap art for the office." On the other hand, Norfolk's Mayer Fine Art Gallery is reporting booming sales (she's also exhibiting DC's Victoria Gaitan's gorgeous photography). DC's Morton Fine Arts is also showing at Aqua, and some DMV artists, such as Eric Finzi and Barbara Januszkiewicz, are also there with other galleries.

Texas collector Ardis Bartle noted that "Aqua traditionally brought in an University or college art program and the emerging artists out of that program, and as a collector I would always buy one those pieces, and it gave the University (last year it was Atlanta University) a chance to shine."

"This year," she noted, "they curated two emerging artists who looked like the rest of the show: it was somewhat banal." She added: "Bring back the Universities."

Art Basel apparently has added a lot of new, upcoming artists from all over the world, that there seems to be a new wave of newer artists (Claire Morgan's name was mentioned to me) in addition to all the multimillion dollar blue chip artists.

I went to the grand opening of the Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) last night, which could now possibly be the most spectacular museum architectural design on the planet -- the video by Yael Bartana that they were playing on the screen at the opening was breathtakingly beautiful and full of raw power.

PAMM's grand opening was packed to the gills - I mean thousands and thousands of people! Everyone and anyone who is someone in the arts world seemed to be there, as well as thousands of people who had previously probably never set foot in a museum... cough, cough...

I'm a little worried about the PAMM's ability to stand a strong hurricane though... there are a lot of wood floors! I wish them the best of luck - it is a spectacular museum at an even more spectacular location.

At Pulse I hear that "it was too crowded! They need to do something about the bathrooms!" Being too crowded if a good thing most of the time. I hear that Sabrina Gschwandtner's quilts of 16mm film are the true find of Pulse - at least two major collectors passed that info to me.

Art Miami across the way from Context is also very impressive - DC's Connersmith is there (they are also at Context).

Ardis Bartle noted that the Zoom In video halls were impressive, but "it's too hot inside those tents during the day to stay in there long!" Good advice from a very intense collector!

More later!