Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Cuban dictatorship

If you think that the Castro brothers and their band of criminals will ever let loose their strangle hold on the Cuban people's neck, then as Dostoevsky so elegantly puts it in The House of the Dead:
Tyranny...finally develops into a disease. The habit can...coarsen the very best man to the level of a beast. Blood and power intoxicate...the return to human dignity, to repentance, to regeneration, becomes almost impossible.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Warrant arrest for Shepard Fairey

And then there was this:
Detroit police have issued an arrest warrant for the artist who created the famous "Hope" poster in support of President Obama during the 2008 election, it was revealed Wednesday. 
The Detroit Free Press reported that Shepard Fairey faces two felony counts of malicious destruction of property.... In an interview with Esquire magazine published last month, Fairey said Obama had not lived up to the expectations he had when supported his campaign.
 All the details here.

Homage to a beautiful voice

The other day I was driving around the DMV listening to NPR when the voice of the new lady who does the credits for NPR came on. I reached for the knob and turned the volume up just to hear her voice.

It wasn't the first time that I had done that in the last few weeks, but this time my brain became aware of what I was doing: I was turning the volume up on the radio just to hear the voice of an unknown person... just to hear her voice... and she was essentially doing an ad!

What the heck? That's a little weird, right?

But then the sound waves of her hypnotizing voice flowed over the 88.5 WAMU airwaves, and it captured me once again. This time, aware of what I was doing, I awaited the tiny "ehh" sound that she makes as she skillfully breathes in between long sentences, as words, like tiny silk webs, flow out of her throat. That little "ehh" somehow was able to make me smile.

I don't know who the anonymous voice over for NPR's funding credits is, but I do know that she has the most beautiful voice on the planet. I would bet that she is somewhat tall (a voice like that needs an appropriate vehicle) and I just know that she has a long, elegant neck. Not as long as Parmigianino's Madonna dal Collo Lungo (Madonna with Long Neck), but she'd make a perfect model for a contemporary interpretation of that Mannerist masterpiece. It takes a breath-taking neck like that to deliver the melody that is her voice.

Whoever and wherever you are: thank you for giving me such a wonderful and unexpected pleasure on a daily basis.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Opportunity for female Artists

A Commission & Print Replication Project

Application Deadline: Saturday, August 1, 2015

MAP, in partnership with CyberPoint International is pleased to announce an open ‘Call to Artists’. As an extension of MAP’s annual IMPRINT Project, MAP is working with CyberPoint to offer a unique opportunity to female visual artists of the greater Baltimore metropolitan area. Collectively, MAP and CyberPoint wish to commission and license the image of a new work of art. The image of that artwork will be reproduced in a limited edition and presented to the guests of CyberPoint’s Women in Cyber Security reception on November 19, 2015.

The selected artist will receive a $750 Cash Award, increased visibility of artist’s name and artwork through press announcements and be highlighted on MAP and Cyberpoint's websites. Print production sponsored by CyberPoint.
Download the full application and guidelines here.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Friday, June 26, 2015

Gallery B call for artists

The Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District and Bethesda Urban Partnership are accepting applications for Gallery B 2016 exhibitions.

This gallery (the former Fraser Gallery), located at 7700 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite E in downtown Bethesda, is available to interested artists and arts organizations for one-month rentals. All media including, but not limited to, painting, photography and sculpture is eligible to use the space. Gallery B does not take a commission on any artwork sold during the exhibition.  
They are seeking applications from local artists and arts organizations for month-long exhibitions in 2016. Gallery B has approximately 1,500 sq. feet of available exhibition space. The deadline for submission is August 3, 2015.

To be considered for a solo or group exhibition, and to review the gallery requirements, please
complete this application.
Questions?  Please send them an email to artist@bethesda.org.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

And then it hit artwork

This is what happens when a battle over a piece of cloth with complicated interpretations and emotional responses, filters down towards artwork.

Make sure that you read the comments, so that you can see how angry our fellow citizens are.

Hubris Ate Nemesis .... Sigh...

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Paintings of the Fraser Gallery... I mean Gallery B

The below gorgeous painting by Cathy Abramson  will be on display at the the Hill Center Galleries Regional Juried Exhibition.

It is one of the series by Abramson titled "Gallery After Hours" depicting the interesting reflections on the windows of Bethesda's iconic Fraser Gallery Gallery B.

The other two paintings are also part of the series.

Details about the exhibition itself are on the invite to the left. The opening reception is Thursday, June 25, 6-8 PM.
Galleries After Hours III
24 x 36 inches

Galleries After Hours III
24 x 48 inches

Galleries After Hours III
24 x 36 inches

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Update on Alper Initiative

You can refresh on the terrific Alper Inititiave and the spectacular impact that it will have on DMV artists here. Then for an update:
The new home of the Alper Initiative will be:
  • 2,000 square foot space
  • 5 exhibitions of Washington art per year
  • 1 common gathering area for events and film screenings
  • DC's only museum space dedicated to the display, research, and encouragement of the region’s art 
The construction begins on August 1st, 2015, and the new space will open in January of 2016. 

In order to learn more about the project please check out their Facebook page, or this recent article.  They are also in the process of building their webpage.

Monday, June 22, 2015

The curious case of the media ignoring Rachel Dolezal's art lies

It has been said that the real power of the mainstream media is to "ignore." That is, to pick and choose what "they" want to publish and "make known"; the latter usually something that fits the particular agenda of the individual news organization.

The comments for some of DC Art News' posts on Rachel Dolezal abound with recommendations from DC Art News readers encouraging Dave Castillo and I to go to the mainstream press outlets with the various artistic deceptions and outright lies that Dolezal has purposefully committed throughout her artistic life.

Movie Still from the film Pariah
 "Alike's World" "Painting" from Dolezal's blog
And I have! I have contacted dozens and dozens of editors, writers, newsrooms about the expose that shines a light on her lies and fabrications when it comes to her art life.

So far, the response has been mostly zero.

Why would the media ignore the fact that Rachel Dolezal may have fabricated her art CV? Why would they ignore that she most likely lied (or vastly exaggerated) about her art sales while in the DMV?

While would they ignore the fact that she appears to be selling photo reproductions on canvas as original paintings?

Could it be because these discoveries fall "outside" of her race change storyline and expose the fact that her entire persona, including her production as an artist, is built on lies?

Many good people, who are not aware of Dolezal's artistic deceptions, have been otherwise very accepting of Dolezal's racial lie. After all, she was one with the "cause", blah, blah, blah, goes the "accepting" narrative.

Were they to discover that Dolezal not only created a mountain of lies in order to provide a base for her racial lie, and her life as a victim, etc. but also mimicked that performance for her persona as an artist, then they might repudiate her -- as a person -- rather than accept her, as a "sister."
Dolezal Name Meaning: Czech and Slovak (Doležal): nickname for a lazy man, from the past participle of doležit ‘to lie down.’

George Bernard Shaw schooled

"I am  enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play;  bring a  friend, if you have one."     - George  Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill

  "Cannot   possibly attend first night; will  attend second   ... If there  is one."  
  - Winston  Churchill, in response

Sunday, June 21, 2015

General Grievous

General Grievous  Graphite and Colored Pencils on Gessoed Masonite  Anderson Campello, c.2015  11x14 inches
General Grievous
Graphite and Colored Pencils on Gessoed Masonite
Anderson Campello, c.2015
11x14 inches

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Portrait of Lucifer

Satan wears many faces; this is one of them:

Censored painting now hangs in museum

While still in her 20s, Shapiro received a significant artistic nod with a solo show at the Whitney in 1973. It was the nascent days of feminism, and Shapiro’s work explored questions about what it meant to be female or male. But the topic of gender back then belonged in the realm of the avant garde, so much so that the museum censored two paintings out of Shapiro’s exhibit. That stunning experience sent Shapiro traveling an unexpected artistic path, a path that came full circle when SAM acquired her paintings.
Read about the interesting road that artist Ann Leda Shapiro's painting took to get into the permanent collection of the Seattle Art Museum. Details here.

These Mirrors are Not Boxes

Artists as Docents: Sunday, June 28, 2:00 p.m.
Join the artists featured in the VisArts exhibition, These Mirrors are Not Boxes,  for a tour through the gallery and a discussion of their artwork focused on the issue of identity.
Curated by VisArts’ first Emerging Curator, Kayleigh Bryant-Greenwell, These Mirrors are Not Boxes examines the complexities of contemporary identity through the work of six local female artists: Amy Hughes Braden, Milana Braslavsky, Anna U. Davis, Nora Howell, Annette Isham, and Lisa Noble.
The exhibition explores the surprising, alternative, even subversive means and ways identity is formed, presented, confronted, and challenged when marginalized personas are brought out of the fringes. The VisArts Emerging Curator Program offers a unique opportunity for an emerging curator to work with an experienced mentoring curator to develop and present an exhibition and to assist in the presentation of the mentor’s exhibition in the Kaplan Gallery at VisArts. This is the first year of this outstanding new program.
Exhibition Events & Programs:
Artists as Docents: Sunday, June 28, 2:00 p.m.
The artists featured in These Mirrors are Not Boxes will discuss their artwork and identity.
Events are free and open to the public.

Dolezal drawings hit payday

Two Rachel Dolezal small drawings done while she lived in the DC area just hit pay dirt in EBay.

Check out the selling prices here: http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_armrs=1&_from=R40&_sacat=0&_nkw=rachel%20dolezal&LH_Complete=1&LH_Sold=1&rt=nc&_trksid=p2045573.m1684

Friday, June 19, 2015

(e)merge art fair news

From the (e)merge art fair folks:
The (e)merge art fair plans to expand into a larger venue in Washington, DC. Because we are currently focused on making the transition to a new event location, the next edition of the fair will take place in 2016. We eagerly anticipate announcing our new venue in the coming months.
Building on the success of (e)merge to date, we will enlarge our format to include a variety of booth options for gallerists while reinforcing the experimental spirit of the independent artist platform. We believe this is the best trajectory for effective growth as we plan the fifth edition of the fair.
DC leadership recognizes (e)merge’s role in the city’s cultural future: “With iconic arts institutions like the Smithsonian and the Kennedy Center, and exciting new initiatives like the (e)merge art fair…cultural tourism is one of the city’s growing sectors. As Mayor, Muriel Bowser will work with the arts and business communities to create the synergies needed to grow our creative economy to rival New York and Chicago.” - The Bowser Administration Transition Plan.
We would like to thank our gallery and artist exhibitors, host committee, vetting committees, cultural partners, sponsors, media partners, panelists, and attendees for supporting the first four editions of (e)merge. We look forward to keeping you updated as we fulfill our new vision and re(e)merge in our new venue!
Jamie Smith + Leigh Conner

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Call for Photographers

Deadline: June 30, 2015

With night-time photography, techniques can be used to make electric shots full of atmosphere, life and colour. Shooting at night allows us to capture images that the human eye simply cannot detect in low-light conditions. It quite literally helps us to see the world in a whole new light. We are looking for images that explore the hidden secrets of Life After Dark

No Entry Fee 

Details: 800-028-7338 OR http://tinyurl.com/kjz6blh OR competitions@thephotgraphicangle.co.uk

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Rachel Dolezal totally busted as an artist

Other than her race-change, now people are obsessing on Rachel Dolezal's artistic appropriation of the 1840 J.M.W. Turner painting into her work - artists do that all the time...  Picasso did it with Velasquez's "Las Meninas", and many other contemporary artists do that; no big deal.

The real HUGE issue with her artwork are Dolezal's fabrications and exaggerations that may extend to her artistic CV and arts resume while she lived in DC and even worse afterwards, and then about about the legitimacy of her own artwork - see these links in order:

And then, working with Dave Castillo, she gets really busted here: 


Case closed! I can't believe not one mainstream media news organization has picked up on this! We think that she's painting on top of copyrighted photos transferred to canvas!

Wanna buy a Rachel Dolezal "original" ?

It appears that artist Rachel Dolezal is smartly taking advantage of her worldwide notoriety to hawk some artwork.

Several of her pieces are for sale here.

Her "appropriated" Turner replica is listed here for sale at $5100 - still waaaay below the $10,000 price ranges that she claimed she was getting for her artwork while a student at Howard - see that story here.

What Dave Castillo discovered about artist Rachel Dolezal

By Hook or By Crook's Dave Castillo has done some pretty impressive image detective work to expose artist Rachel Dolezal's direct copying of some movie posters for her artwork.

Here's a sample of Dave's expose - images and his thoughts from his website:

Movie Still from Pariah
 "Alike's World" "Painting" from Dolezal's blog ("Sold") 
 In my opinion "Alike's World" was likely printed onto a canvas from the photo and Dolezal then touched it up with clear acrylic gesso and paint. It is simply too accurate a copy. She regularly worked with acrylic glue (collage) back in 2012, so she would definitely know how to accomplish this. Much of her blog has to do with cutting things out of magazines. She took images that someone else provided,  glued it down and then called it "Mixed Media"
At first view, I tend to agree with Dave that this "painting" appears to be initially photo-based. That is, a digital image of the photo has been digitally printed onto a canvas and then "re-worked" with some clear acrylic medium (to give it a surface brushwork texture), and possibly some broader brushwork with a thicker medium with color-matching paint on the background buildings. The reproduction of the figure is too exact to be anything other than a reproduction on canvas.

The buildings have been worked over with a broader brushwork to blur them a little into the background, but the shadows (in most cases) are too exact in proportion and relation to the original photo to be anything other than a photo reproduction.

The sky has been worked over as well, and she went a little lazy on the left side of the painting. Five gets you ten that if I examined this painting up close, I would see thicker paint "covering" up the left side of the piece (above the shoulder of the figure) than on the figure itself. The fact that she didn't even bother to "change" some of the folds in the hoodie not only takes cojones, but artistic laziness in this, possibly the shortest fake route to a hyper realistinc painting.

There's now an interesting research challenge for some news organization to contact all the digital printing shops in the area where Dolezal lived at the time and see if she pops up as one of her customers; we may discover that a lot of Dolezal paintings have a similar substrate.

These are not paintings, they are "enhanced" appropriated photographs, which appear to violate copyrights, made up to look like hyper-realistic paintings... visit this link to see what a "real" Rachel Dolezal painting looks like...

Visit Dave's site here and see the rest of his evidence!

Update: Dolezal is selling her paintings - included those mentioned in Dave's piece, at this website: http://www.artpal.com/ - enter "Dolezal" in the search box to find them.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Even more on the curious case of artist Rachel Dolezal

Part one of my musings on several odd markers and at least one possible giant lie (yes, another lie) dealing with Rachel Dolezal/Moore's artistic footprint is here and part two is here.

Dolezal's artwork can be seen here. In fact, pretty much all the artwork by Dolezal on the Internet is what she has in that website - other than three pieces which have appeared on Ebay after the story broke out.

In her website she tells us that:
Rachel Dolezal is an award-winning Mixed Media Artist with over 20 exhibitions in 13 states, internationally, and at the United Nations Headquarters. Dolezal completed her Master of Fine Arts at Howard University, where she majored in experimental studio and minored in sculpture. 
As an artist, writer, curator and art dealer, I have read and reviewed thousands of artists' resumes over the last four decades, and I find it a little odd to discover Dolezal's lack of any significant artistic digital footprint, other than the WaPo one line mention discussed here and the one, single pre-2007 painting discussed here.  Additionally, her 2007 work with the UN is discussed here, although it deals mostly with children's work.

But where are Dolezal's "20 exhibitions in 13 states"? Why are there no references anywhere to be found? Why doesn't she have the most common of artists' resume anywhere, listing group and solo shows?

We know that while at Howard University she showed in a group show at Prince George County's Harmony Hall Regional Center Gallery in the "Fast Forward: Visual Voices 2002" group show curated by Takema M. Robinson, who curiously wrote at the time that "this group of emerging black artists is looking backward with equal speed."

Dolezal was still "non Hispanic white" at the time, cough, cough.

That's one show and one state; there's zipfuck on the Interwebs that I can find showing Rachel Dolezal or Rachel Moore (her married name while she lived in the DMV) in any other art exhibition (other than her MFA thesis work discussed below), including the "convention centers around the nation" that she apparently exhibited in during her tenure at Howard (1999-2002) where she sold art, "the highest for around $10,000."

Her website also has cryptic references to artwork "on tour in Maryland" and also notes that this installation below was "Last exhibited in Washington, DC on Pennsylvania Avenue."

Mixed Media by Rachel Dolezal, c. 2002
This rather impressive work was apparently part of her final MFA thesis work at Howard (that University's Art gallery is located on Sixth Street, NW, by the way...). From Jezebel we learn that:
Dolezal’s final thesis was a series of paintings presented from the perspective of a black man and the late Dean Tritobia Benjamin, a formidable scholar whose specialty was black women in the arts, wanted to know how Dolezal felt qualified to tell this type of story as a white woman. 
“Her thesis presented an inner journey of what goes on inside the mind of a black male,” he said. “This was ten years ago but I still remember one was a three dimensional piece of a man was being consumed by a fire all the way into the ground. The rest of her work were two dimensional paintings.”
So that's two exhibitions. I'm curious to know where this rather complex piece went on tour in Maryland.

Whenever an artist puts down in a website trying to sell artwork, that some art is on tour, the next thing that you put down is the venues where that artwork will be exhibited. Twice in her website Dolezal tells us about "art on tour": the aforementioned one "in Maryland" and another tour reference to Mississippi.

No idea where and when they were on tour.

Angela - Linocut Reduction Print by Rachel Dolezal
Linocut Reduction Print by Rachel Dolezal
9x12 inches - Edition of 12, c. 2007?
According to her, this very elegant linocut by Dolezal won the "Mississippi state printmaking award." If you Google that in quotes, nothing but Dolezal comes back. If you remove the quotes, a lot of things come back, none of which I can associate with any state level printmaking award or even Mississippi State University. I'm not really doubting that Dolezal won some sort of award with this excellent print, but why is she so "loose" in her discussion of where, when and what award? You're killing me Rachel!

I'm up to about four states (maybe) and the District of Columbia.

Mixed Media Collage by Rachel Dolezal
36x30, date unknown
Now we come to Afrika, a spectacular collage where Dolezal really flexes her artistic muscles. She tells us that:
History: When the original was first shown in Jackson, MS, Jolivette Anderson (aka The Poet Warrior) and the Black Poets' Society performed. The Poet Warrior wrote "Pieces of You, Pieces of Me," an original poem based on inspiration/connection with this image.
That event was a little easier to find; here it is, but documented by the poet herself and then rather recently after Dolezal's deceit surfaced.

I think that I'm up to five states plus DC; I could continue to find the remaining states, but you get the point.

Why am I being so pedantic? Maybe Rachel Dolezal was just lazy about her artwork documentation, and also documenting it online. But why are there no digital footprints from the galleries or art centers where she exhibited?

I'm being pedantic because this immensely talented artist has clearly fabricated a lot of things in her past - not just the racial deception and possibly the hate crimes - and thus, other than her very visible artistic talent, now everything is in question.

Update: See what Dave Castillo discovered about the legitimacy of some of her painting here.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Cuban racism

A young Afro-Cuban performance artist transformed a Havana cultural center into the stage of a black hairstyle competition this weekend in a rare public commentary on racial beauty standards in Cuba, where prejudice remains widespread and largely undiscussed.

... Behind closed doors and even in public, white Cubans have been known to talk disparagingly about black Cubans in ways that have become socially unacceptable in many other countries, describing them as criminals and forbidding their children from dating Afro-Cuban schoolmates.

... Roberto Zurbano, a cultural critic and essayist at the Casa de las Americas, a Havana cultural center, said the mostly white leaders of Cuba's revolution had failed to realize the deeply rooted nature of Cuban racism and implemented race-blind policies instead of programs like affirmative action specifically designed to help black Cubans move into positions of greater influence.
Read the whole article here

Sunday, June 14, 2015

More on the curious case of artist Rachel Dolezal

Yesterday I started looking at the curious case of artist Rachel Dolezal, and asked some sharp questions about her artwork, mostly fueled by her string of documented lies, not just about her race, but several other issues. You can see that post below or here.

Subsequently, more data on Dolezal as an artist while she was in the DMV following her graduation from Howard has emerged from the archives of the Washington Post, where in 2002 Moore participated in an exhibition at Harmony Hall Regional Center Gallery which was titled "Fast Forward: Visual Voices 2002," and curated by Takema M. Robinson, who curiously points out that "this group of emerging black artists is looking backward with equal speed."

I say curiously because at that time Dolezal/Moore (from what her brother says here and from what a couple of Howard University sources who knew her have told me) was still a few years away from her "switch" to black and was one of the small number of white students at Howard. So now I'm curious to know if the curator even knew Dolezal/Moore, or just selected her work based on... whatever, and never actually met Dolezal/Moore.
These nine artists, all recent or current students in the master of fine arts program at Howard University, eschew the debates currently raging over the "burden of identity," Robinson writes in the exhibition's catalogue.

"The artists amassed here have all created works that unabashedly and unapologetically explore issues of cultural identity," she wrote. "Deeply aware of their history, their work is as much about the present and future as it is about the past."

The exhibition is overwhelmingly dominated by themes relating to the life of black women. (All but one of the artists are female.) The statements can be adulatory, as in Mecca Shakoor's lovely silk screen and bead applique{acute} "Adorn Her," or rebellious, as in Rachel Moore's religion-poking installation "Hypocrisy: A Form of Godliness,"
Dolezal's brother Ezra Dolezal confirms that his sister's thoughts about transformation might have been seeded by the way that she was treated by fellow students and faculty at Howard:
Ezra believes the only reason his sister would change her identity was due to the racism she claimed to have encountered at Howard University, where she graduated with her master’s degree in fine art in 2002.
Rachel, he added, would often complain that she was treated poorly as one of only a few white students on a mostly black campus.
“She used to tell us that teachers treated her differently than other people and a lot of them acted like they didn’t want her there,” Ezra said. “Because of her work in African-American art, they thought she was a black student during her application, but they ended up with a white person.”
He said that the experience made her angry, and it was then that Rachel started being “hateful to white people.”
Of course, since this person has now a well-documented allegedly "false" string of victimism, it also sort of hard to believe her on this aspect as well, since apparently Dolezal/Moore taught classes at Howard while she was a graduate student, and perhaps even after graduation, and then she was included in this show discussed above... unless the curator didn't know that Rachel was white.

Curious uh? I am still also somewhat curious at to Dolezal's lack of a digital footprint as an artist while she was at the DMV. According to a source who is someone who knew her at Howard, she did "show in DC several times," and apparently also sold work directly, since this person also owns an original (and quite good) Dolezal charcoal done in 2005. That piece was done when Dolezal was still known as Rachel Moore and signing her work with giant "RDM" initials. My source bought it directly from Dolezal, and not from any gallery.

Other than the PG County exhibition space noted in the WaPo review, who else showed her around the DMV? Her website has no CV, although there are cryptic references to artwork "on tour in Maryland" and also notes that this installation below was "Last exhibited in Washington, DC on Pennsylvania Avenue."

"Hell" Mixed Media by Rachel Dolezal

Dolezal tells us that:
This 8'x4'x4' installation features a life-size plaster figure sculpture with 'implanted' human hair in pit, chest, & chin, an open-mouth rendering with full dental sculpting, & acrylic gloss finish. The vortex under the figure is made from recycled clear plastic plates & cups, tissue paper, concrete, wood, steel, styrofoam, & ink airbrush.
The installation was featured originally with black velvet curtains (white used here for purposes of photography), and the 6-lamp circuit was set on a motion detector, catching viewers by surprise when they walked into the curtained area. A written expose' of various ideas about hell hung outside the black velvet curtain door.

Last exhibited in Washington, DC on Pennsylvania Ave.

Vortex elements were later destroyed, and sculpture was maliciously damaged, so this photo is a memorial of the art.
Everything is a "hate" tragedy with this lady.

One comes across a lot of weird stuff when mining Google for data on any subject... so we know that Rachel Dolezal was Rachel Moore after she married and partially while she was in the DM.

Here is some weird alignment of the planets with that name and the story... there's a 2008 book by writer Brandon Massey titled "Don't Ever Tell" and that is described here as:
With a new identity, a new city to live in, and a wonderful new husband, Rachel Moore believes she's finally free of the demons in her past. But nothing could be farther from the truth. For the deadly secrets she thought were long buried are now on the brink of being exposed...

Someone has a vendetta against Rachel. Someone whom she betrayed a long time ago. Someone who is determined to make her pay--no matter what the cost...

Now Rachel knows it's just a matter of time before her dangerous past meets up with her present--and destroys everything she's worked so hard for. Because if there's one thing that can be counted on--her enemy never forgets or forgives and will do whatever it takes to see her suffer...
Weirder and weirder...

Saturday, June 13, 2015

The curious case of artist Rachel Dolezal

If by now you don't know who Rachel Dolezal is, and what her immense deception was, then you just got on the Internets for the first time ever a few minutes ago and came to this website on your first click ever.

In summary, Rachel Dolezal is a white female artist and professor, whom for the last few years has deceived people into believing that she was African-American, or as she prefers to be called: black.

She's not, her parents and adopted brothers (who are black) have "outed" her, and by now pretty much the entire planet knows this. There are many hypothesis already submitted to make your head spin as to why this person did this, and although this charade leaves a distasteful taste in my mind, I'm trying really hard not to judge this lady for this action. The Twitter world is also having a lot of fun with her, and there are a lot of funny memes floating around as well. That's a photo of her as a young girl in Montana.

She has plenty of other detractors which are also vectors into forming an opinion about Dolezal, and one thing emerges clear: she can fabricate a tall tale.

In an interview with The Easterner, the newspaper for Eastern Washington University, Dolezal said that she was born in a “Montana teepee.” She added that her family “hunted their food with bows and arrows.” 

She has also said that as a child, she and her parents lived in Colorado and South Africa. Her parents say all of that is false and that Dolezal never lived in either place.

She has stated that while living in South Africa (which she never did) with her parents, they beat her with a baboon whip, whatever that is; punishing her and her siblings by "skin complexion." 

As BuzzFeed reports, according to her father, her “oldest son Izaiah,” is actually her adopted brother; her parents have adopted four black children.

In another issue of The Easterner, Dolezal reportedly told a reporter that the man who raised her with her mother is her stepfather. Her parents have denied that.

In January, a photo of Dolezal and a black man appeared on the Spokane NAACP's Facebook page, and the man was identified as Dolezal's father. A similar photo then appeared in her personal Facebook account where she identified the man as her "Dad." Subsequently the man has been identified as Albert Wilkerson - a black man from North Idaho who had volunteered at the Human Rights Education Institute in the past when Dolezal was in charge of that organization's educational programs.

In one of her classes, she allegedly asked for a Hispanic student to volunteer for class questions. When a white Hispanic student raised her hand, Dolezal allegedly told the student that she "didn't look Hispanic" and asked for another volunteer. That takes "cojones!"

She has a local DMV connection:  She went to Howard University for her Master’s Degree in Fine Arts, where she also taught undergraduate art students, and was around the DMV until around 2005. As as far as I can figure out, the switch to "black" happened around the time that she headed out West, and then, according to Buzzfeed, she reportedly told her adoptive brother (who is black) not to “blow her cover”, as that's where apparently she started "passing as black."

In the The Eastener interview we learn that:
She met her now ex-husband and afterward moved to Washington D.C. in 1999 where they married and where Dolezal furthered her education in the fine arts at Howard University, graduating with a master’s degree.
“I’m a creator, and so whether that’s painting, whether that’s creating organizationally or creating curriculum, whatever, I like to create things,” she said.
During her time at Howard, her paintings sold quite well in convention centers around the nation, the highest for around $10,000
She met her now ex-husband and afterward moved to Washington D.C. in 1999 where they married and where Doležal furthered her education in the fine arts at Howard University, graduating with a master’s degree.
“I’m a creator, and so whether that’s painting, whether that’s creating organizationally or creating curriculum, whatever, I like to create things,” she said.
During her time at Howard, her paintings sold quite well in convention centers around the nation, the highest for around $10,000.
- See more at: http://easterneronline.com/35006/eagle-life/a-life-to-be-heard/#sthash.1aUk3liU.l9olZOOM.dpuf
She met her now ex-husband and afterward moved to Washington D.C. in 1999 where they married and where Doležal furthered her education in the fine arts at Howard University, graduating with a master’s degree.
“I’m a creator, and so whether that’s painting, whether that’s creating organizationally or creating curriculum, whatever, I like to create things,” she said.
During her time at Howard, her paintings sold quite well in convention centers around the nation, the highest for around $10,000.
- See more at: http://easterneronline.com/35006/eagle-life/a-life-to-be-heard/#sthash.1aUk3liU.l9olZOOM.dpuf
Dolezal is thus a trained, apparently widely exhibited artist, and is/was an Art Instructor at North Idaho College, and an Adjunct Professor of African American Culture at Eastern Washington University, . You can see her artwork here.

Let me be the first one to say that I have no knowledge of any "art circuit" where artists or galleries sell artwork in convention centers, unless Dolezal is talking about art fairs. But let's not dwell on that too long, maybe there is an art circuit, outside of my radar (rather unlikely) and NOT art fairs, where artists sell their work in "convention centers." But even art fairs where in their infancy stage in 1999!

But let's believe her for a minute, and this is getting harder by the second the more we learn about this person. If Rachel Dolezal, as a student at Howard, was selling artwork for as high as $10,000 in 1999, she was not only the top priced student at Howard ever, but also the top priced student in the DMV ever, and at the very top of the artist food chain in the DMV, right along with Sam Gilliam in 1999.

But I had never heard of her until her deceit was exposed a few days ago... in the last few years I've mentored two art students from Howard, and I suspect  that they've never heard of her either... someone popping paintings for up to $10K in 1999 in DC would have been a legend in her school, around the art crowd in the DMV, and in the radar of every art dealer in the city.

And thus, I don't believe Dolezal on this giant art lie either.

Another thing bugs me; there's an impressive level of technical skill in this 2011 Dolezal painting in the way that the paint is handled, the treatment of the light and the wood surfaces... (Update: see http://dcartnews.blogspot.com/2015/06/rachel-dolezal-totally-busted-as-artist.html for a new theory on how some of these very realistic paintings may have been done):

"Recognition" by Rachel Dolezal
Acrylic on Elkhide"
60"x36" c. 2011
That is simply and completely missing from this painting below, which is done in an exceedingly amateurish fashion; almost as if it is the work of another artist:

"Utterance" by Rachel Dolezal
Acrylic on Strips of Elkhide
72"x40" c. 2011
The manner in which the perspective of the figure, the treatment of the hands, and the disaster that is the manner in which the white wood and white bricks have been handled, show a much less skilled artist. This is white straight off the tube with a little black added to make a colorless gray in order to separate the wood slats and bricks and add shadows. The skin tones on the man are also straight out of the tube amateur time.

Both paintings were apparently done in 2011... see where I'm going?

In 2009 she created the below gorgeous piece (Update: see http://dcartnews.blogspot.com/2015/06/rachel-dolezal-totally-busted-as-artist.html for a new theory on how some of these very realistic paintings may have been done)::

"Visitation" by Rachel Dolezal
86"x33" c.2009
Acrylic on Stitched and Sculpted Elkhide
She describes it as:
This one-of-a-kind original features seven different elkhides sewn together with invisible nylon thread, then soaked and sculpted for a free-form piece that defies the need for a frame. The warm tones are rendered in a classical style with acrylic paint and finished with a satin varnish, for ease of maintenance and display.
She adds in her website that the piece is/was "On Tour in Maryland."

But also in 2009 she paints this rather pedestrian work:

Oil on Canvas by Rachel Dolezal
18"x24" c. 2009
She tells us that this painting features the "artist's younger sister while living in South Africa." It is/was on sale for $1,000 while "On Tour in Mississippi."

Are you starting to see the difference in the way in which the technical skill shows up in some work and it is non-existent in others? That's a head scratcher... and by the way, let's not forget that she never lived in South Africa... I'll let someone else find out if she has an adopted sister named Sabrina, but from what I can tell, she has no sister named Sabrina; The Dolezals’ adopted children are apparently named: Ezra, Izaiah, Esther and Zach.

Two years earlier she was painting like this:

"Untitled" by Rachel Dolezal
Oilstick drawing on sculpted Elkhide, with sculpted Elkhide frame
32"x40"c. 2007

Those of you who have read my art criticism over the years know that I encourage artists to explore and visit all forms of styles and subjects and at all costs avoid the Mondrian trap (getting stuck in one style for the rest of your life), but instead follow the Picasso model and re-invent yourself every few years, or the Richter model and explore several avenues at once.

To some extent Dolezal does that, and most of the collages on her website are quite good, bordering on spectacular.

But there's something that bothers me about the also spectacular drift in technical skill in the 2009 - 2011 examples that I have shown above (Update: see http://dcartnews.blogspot.com/2015/06/rachel-dolezal-totally-busted-as-artist.html for a new theory on how some of these very realistic paintings may have been done).

And given Dolezal's now confirmed string of lies, fabrications and abuses, it plants a question in my head as to the authenticity of some of these works.

And after exhaustive search of the Internets for a digital footprint of this artist's works since 1999, I have come up with pretty much zip until 2007, when one image shows up in someone else's blog. Some of her work has already popped up in EBay from earlier periods, and signed by her married name of Rachel Moore, which is a much more common name and yet, plenty of other female artists' works by that name show up in search, but none that I can associate to Dolezal, but at least seems to prove that in 2005 she was "selling" work in the DMV directly, as verified by one of the owners of the pieces being offered on EBay.

For such a financially successful artist, selling works for as high as $10K while a student, the fact that (until recently) almost zero about her art exists on the Interwebs, is both odd and telling.

Update: Part II here and Part III here.

Update 2: After seeing more of Dolezal's work from when she was an active artist in the DMV, it is clear that she's quite a talented painter. It seems to me that she has the technical skill to create work like "Recognition" and "Visitation." This makes the other rather amateurish works displayed above even more puzzling.

Update  3: After reviewing the evidence submitted to me by Dave Castillo, it is clear that Rachel Dolezal is the artist that painted "Sabrina", and "Utterance" and the last two images in this post. The other, more skilled works, now appear to be photo transfers that have been treated with an acrylic medium to make them look like an original painting. See the evidence here.