Monday, October 31, 2022

More Clay! The Power of Repetition

American University Museum

at the Katzen Arts Center
Gallery Talk (hybrid):More Clay! The Power of RepetitionSaturday, November 5, 5:00 - 6:00pm-free-

More Clay at the Katzen

Join my good friend curator Rebecca Cross for an after-hours Gallery Talk. In this hybrid event, artist Connor Czora will join Cross in person at the museum while artists Walter McConnell, Zimra Beiner, Bean Finneran, Vanessa Ryerse, Kahlil Irving, David Hicks, and Kate Roberts join via Zoom. This event is also available for you to view virtually by registering here

More Clay! is a multi-artist exhibition that demonstrates the power of assembling multiples as a compelling vehicle for the artists to express their chosen subject-matter as they transform this humble, sustainable material…dirt! into something monumental in form and content. More Clay aims to physically demonstrate the unifying principle of “out of many, one” a concept absent in today’s fractured society.

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Venusian Sigil Crafting Workshop with Jessica Kallista


Venusian Sigil Crafting Workshop with Jessica Kallista

Friday, 5:30pm–6pm

Opening Reception & Artist Talk

Friday, 6pm–8pm

Both events will take place at Tephra ICA at Signature and are free and open to the public. Please RSVP here for the workshop as capacity is limited.

Join them on Friday, November 4 for the opening reception for Forecast, an exhibition "presenting twenty-two image and text works that speak to our collective futures. Far from a singular vision, these predictions span the range from willing the utopic into existence to raising the alarm bells about what may be to come."

The predictions, or “Buoyant Oracles” as they came to be known, were created by a cohort of female identifying artists responding to Sue Wrbican’s public sculpture Buoyant Force, which is located in Reston Town Square Park in Reston, Virginia.  

Buoyant Force is a 50-foot steel sculpture by Sue Wrbican inspired by the paintings of American Surrealist Kay Sage (b. 1898, Albany, New York; d. 1963, Woodbury, Connecticut). In the tradition of the surrealists’ incorporation of magic practices into their art, exhibiting artist Jessica Kallista is offering a Venusian Sigil Crafting Workshop starting at 5:30pm in advance of the opening. The workshop is based on practices created by Peter Bebergal and Gareth Branwyn in the forthcoming book Roleplaying Magic: Gaming the Occult Imagination, and participants will be guided through a series of steps to craft their own pictorial symbols.

Forecast is presented in partnership with Mason Exhibitions from George Mason University. A concurrent exhibition, Cast/Recast, is currently on view at Mason Exhibitions Arlington located at 3601 Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA through December 3. Cast/Recast is a group exhibition of photography, video, sculpture, painting, site-specific installation, and live performative work for select programs. Curated by Alissa Maru in collaboration with Hannah Barco and Sue Wrbican.

Forecast is on view November 3, 2022–January 22, 2023

Tephra ICA at Signature is located at the Signature apartment building (11850 Freedom Dr, Reston, VA), and visitors are welcome Tuesday–Saturday from 11am–5pm.


Tephra ICA at Signature is an innovative satellite gallery space that presents a year-round schedule of exhibitions featuring work by local and regional artists as selected by Tephra ICA curatorial staff. The gallery is provided in partnership with Boston Properties and Bozzuto, and generously sponsored by Reston Community Center.

Saturday, October 29, 2022

In a galaxy far away

Will be at CONTEXT Art Fair in booth A29 during Art Basel Miami Beach week of art fairs in Miami!

Star Wars - In a Galaxy far away by Campello

Friday, October 28, 2022

The Home and the World

VASA Online Exhibitions introduces five perspectives by Argentinean artists that "photograph in the streets and at home. In some cases homes are turned into streets and the street becomes a home. In this sense the "street" becomes a performance platform for expressive gestures."

The five different perspectives on street photography is by five Argentinian artists: Patricia Ackerman, Ivan Komin, Jose de Rocco, Sofia Ungar, Diego Wisniacki.

The exhibition was curated by The Home and the World

Diego Wisniacki has some of my favorite images in this show - he certainly has a wide and diverse array of images, ranging from cats to someone on the throne... this subtle and beautiful photograph was my favorite.

Photo by Diego Wisniacki

He writes:

The house as the street

The confinement due to the COVID-19 pandemic turned our family home into the only liveable space. With a lot of time at my disposal, I began to take photos of my family capturing our daily lives. I was in my element, I always liked to portray intimacy and the confinement brought this opportunity to my daily living. As a street photographer I have my camera with me all the time looking for images while reacting to the environment and the new way of living.

Jufre is the story of my family in a pandemic. A family which was already used to a certain isolation during beach vacations in a remote part of Uruguay. This experience facilitated our beginning of the pandemic isolation and made it easier for us to adapt to living together in the same space 24 hours a day. But it was different, it had no expiration date, it was our new reality.

But it is Patricia Ackerman who steals this show -- there's not a single mediocre photo in her large number of entries in this show and her images are by far the most interesting set of images, where Ackerman shows an enviable sense of composition and that critical aspect of a great street photographer: capturing the unusual from an even more unusual perspective.

Photo by Argentina's Patricia Ackerman

Her succinct artist statement explains why:

I could stand on a corner or sit in a park for two hours looking up, looking around, trying to find the different constellations we make with the surrounding space and with the others. Everything is changing but at some point it freezes in a fleeting scene. That is what I try to find when I walk anywhere. With eyes with history and new at the same time. Eyes speak.

See the whole show here.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

The DNC Plantation is falling apart

Texas GOP Rep. Mayra Flores on Wednesday tweeted that she was denied admission to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC). The CHC was originally founded as a bipartisan grouping of Latino members of Congress. They are all now essentially only DNC plantation Latinos.

I essentially predicted what is now happening... about 20 years ago.... follow the link below:

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Erwin Timmers at Artists & Makers Studios

Artists & Makers Studios on Parklawn Drive in Rockville will welcome invited Artist Erwin Timmers along with Artists of the Washington Glass School for the exhibit “A Show of Hands” with two additional exhibits and an Open Studio event. 

The November 4th First Friday evening opening will run from 5pm – 9pm. Enjoy additional exhibits - “X marks the spot” with Resident Artists, and Gallery 209 Artists exhibiting their latest work. 

Dutch-born Erwin Timmers is the both the co-founder and Director of the Washington Glass School and one of the planet's earliest "green" artists. 

Art by Erwin Timmers

His work "references sociological and environmental issues of concern to him, primarily how we, as a society, consume and discard precious resources. For this topic the choice of materials becomes a more important discussion, so Erwin endeavors to use recycled materials to express concepts and ideas of recycling and use of the environment.  Recycled glass is difficult to use, so he has had to develop new and experimental techniques to exploit the characteristics of this material. A Show of Hands explores personal and cultural traits as they relate to present day social trends. Technological “advances” have changed the landscape in human interaction, and social media focuses on aspects of cultural loss, fake news, mass manipulation, and diversion and division. This series is about the expression of nonverbal and abstract themes like trust, communication, and connection. Erwin’s portfolio showcases the possibility and beauty of recycled material, while encouraging the viewer to consider his or her environmental impact."

“A Show of Hands” with Invited Artist Erwin Timmers along with Artists of the Washington Glass School -- “X marks the spot” with Resident Artists The Artists of Gallery 209.

Opening Reception: 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM, Friday, November 4th, 2022

Artists & Makers Studios

11810 Parklawn Drive, Suite 210

Rockville, MD 20852

Artist Discussion with Erwin Timmers – November 12th, 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Exhibits for Erwin Timmers, the Resident Artists, and Gallery 209 will run from November 1st through November 22nd. Viewing hours are 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM, Monday-Saturday, and Sundays by chance or appointment.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Artists Sunday is coming up!

Artists Sunday is an annual event that showcases the work of artists and artisans local to you! This year it takes place November 27, 2022.

✓ Artists Sunday is a day to support local artists in your community.

✓ Artists Sunday was created in 2020 to encourage people to shop with artists and buy art as gifts during the holidays.

✓ There’s perhaps nothing more personal than a gift of the arts.

✓ Give something special, unique, and handcrafted this holiday season and support local artists and the local economy.

✓ More than 500 communities across the United States have come together for the second year to champion local artists and promote the giving of the arts this holiday season.

✓ Communities from coast-to-coast, large and small, are celebrating Artists Sunday on Nov 27, 2022 by highlighting local artists, creators and makers and promoting the giving of artistic items and experiences for the holidays.

✓ Positioned during the year’s busiest holiday shopping weekend, Artist Sunday, falls between Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.

✓ Artists Sunday unites artists and communities across the country, all promoting shopping with local artists.

✓ Artists Sunday, the Sunday after Thanksgiving (Nov 27 this year), is the world’s largest art event, dedicated to supporting artists and recognizing the impact they have in enriching our lives, communities, and the economy.

By supporting the work of these artists and artisans and creators we not only support and stimulate your local economy, which as most of us know is in dire need of stimulations, but as I’ve discovered over the years, it also offer all of us the opportunity to gift and/or collect one-of-a-kind pieces of art and crafts.

Monday, October 24, 2022

Art Clinic Online to host Adah Rose Bitterbaum

On Saturday, October 29, Art Clinic Online (ACO) will have an exciting guest, and one of the DMV's hardest working art dealers!

The guest is Owner/Director of Adah Rose Gallery, Adah Rose Bitterbaum.

Saturday, 10/29 at 10:30am - details here.

The mission of the Art Clinic Online (ACO) is to create dialog, relationships, and community among artists of all levels working in the DMV area.  Every other Saturday, we virtually join together to discuss art. At least once monthly, a featured artist showcases their work and takes questions from participants. At the ACO, our aim is to curate a variety of different presenters’ perspectives, backgrounds, and art making styles in order to highlight the diversity of our incredible DMV artists. 

The ACO is FREE. 

No membership required. 

"We’re providing artists and art supporters with a platform to talk about local art, often their art. Please show support by attending, asking questions, and spreading the word! We’re hoping this experience is educational and provides different perspectives for everyone involved."
- Jordan Bruns

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Nikole Hannah-Jones and her ignorance of the plight of black Cubans

When I first wrote the below post a few years ago, I then printed it and mailed it to Nikole Hannah-Jones.... hopefully she's better educated now, although dogma is a pretty harsh mistress.

New York Times journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, the leader of that paper's controversial 1619 Project recently showed a spectacular lack of background knowledge on the Cuban dictatorship's well-documented racist history and abuses of its black population by her statement that If you want to see the most equal, multiracial democ … it’s not a democracy — the most equal, multiracial country in our hemisphere, it would be Cuba,” and then proceeding to cite socialism as her reason to make the statement.

Ms. Hannah-Jones' rosy-eyed view of the Marxist dictatorship's oppression of its citizens, especially its Black citizens not only reveals loads about her own political leanings, but also serves as a brilliant example of suspicious lack of research skills about a subject as widely discussed as Cuba's oppressive and racist government.

Had Ms. Hannah-Jones - who visited Cuba in 2008 - bothered to look past her clear admiration for the Marxist government, and bothered to take a quick tour of the facts, she would have discovered that much has been written and documented about racism in Cuba, and it was even one of the earliest subjects addressed by the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson upon his arrival to the DMV a few decades ago from his various Latin American postings.

In his article a couple of decades ago, Cuba Begins to Answer Its Race Question, Robinson, also clearly and openly a very extreme left-wing oriented writer, tried hard to find excuses for the dictatorship, but nonetheless admits that:
Academics say that black Cubans are failing to earn university degrees in proportion to their numbers--a situation to which Castro has alluded publicly. The upper echelons of the government remain disproportionately white, despite the emergence of several rising black stars. And while perceptions are difficult to quantify, much less prove true or false, many black Cubans are convinced that they are much less likely than whites to land good jobs--and much more likely to be hassled by police on the street, like Cano's husband, in a Cuban version of "racial profiling."
But how about some Cubans inside Cuba discussing the subject?
In primary [Cuban] education, skin color is not mentioned," ... If we are still living in a society where white people have the power, and we don't mention color in education, we are in practice educating [Cuban] children to be white.

Cuban history as we teach it is a disgrace, because it is predominantly white history, and explaining the role of black people and mulattoes in building this society and its culture is not given its due importance.

Esteban Morales
University of Havana
Centre for the Study of the Hemisphere and the United States
A lot of hopes have been pinned by many people (who know little about Cuba and the repressive nature of its government) on President Obama's monumental decision to re-establish diplomatic relations with the unfortunate Caribbean island prison of Cuba; but first another Cuban quote: carry on "hiding" the issue [of racism in Cuba] would lead black people to think that "they belong to another country, and that there are two Cuba’s as there were in the 19th century, a black Cuba and a white one."

Roberto Zurbano
Casa de las Américas publishing house
And thus, it is curious to me that in his attempt to re-establish diplomatic ties, our socially conscious President (and his cadre of advisors) back then also - like Ms. Hannah-Jones - appeared to know little or nothing about the way that Afro-Cuban citizens are treated in their own country.

In reference to the President's visit to Cuba, 
Odette Casamayor-Cisneros, an associate professor of Latin American and Caribbean literatures and cultures at the University of Connecticut and a scholar at Harvard University, and writing in Ms. Hannah-Jones own newspaper, noted in the New York Times that  
“The images of the meetings, the agreements, they’re all shameful for many black Cubans — I’m including myself in this — because it’s difficult to feel represented.
Was the projected flow of American tourists expected to help Black Cubans in a pre-COVID Cuba? Roberto Zurbano, a Cuban expert in Afro-Cuban identity, race and literature based out of Havana wrote in his 2013 New York Times article that:
Most remittances from abroad — mainly the Miami area, the nerve center of the mostly white exile community — go to white Cubans. They tend to live in more upscale houses, which can easily be converted into restaurants or bed-and-breakfasts — the most common kind of private business in Cuba. Black Cubans have less property and money, and also have to contend with pervasive racism. Not long ago it was common for hotel managers, for example, to hire only white staff members, so as not to offend the supposed sensibilities of their European clientele.
Zurbano was subsequently punished by his Marxist government for daring to express that opinion on the pages of Ms. Hannah-Jones employing newspaper. Because that's how Communists roll!

That "not long ago" is still the case, as anyone who has been to Cuba recently can testify to and which Ms. Hannah-Jones could clearly see during her 2008 visit to the island - it is very rare to see a black face in any of Havana's "tourist only" hotels and nearby beaches. Discussing those lucrative jobs, Yusimí Rodríguez López, an Afro-Cuban independent journalist, said in a 2016 New York Times article that there were job listings in Revolico — sometimes called Cuba’s underground Craigslist — “where they say they only want whites.”

In the same NYT article we read:
“They talk a lot here about discrimination against blacks in the United States. What about here?” said Manuel Valier Figueroa, 50, an actor, who was in the park on Monday. “If there’s a dance competition, they’re going to choose the woman who is fair-skinned with light, good hair. If there’s a tourism job, the same.”

He added: “Why are there no blacks managing hotels? You don’t see any blacks working as chefs in hotels, but you see them as janitors and porters. They get the inferior jobs.”
One would hope that Ms. Hannah-Jones' exploration of Cuba, a nation with one of the world's worst human rights records, where Amnesty International has been denied access to (except to that bit of Cuba where the Guantanamo Naval Base is located); a nation where gay people were once given lobotomies to "cure" them; and where HIV+ Cubans were detained and segregated in guarded colonies away from the general public, could at least have educated her on the disturbing status of blacks in their own island nation.

Fact: Twice as many African slaves were brought to Cuba than to the United States... twice!

And what really bugs me, in my own pedantic hell, is how often historically and socially clueless American academics, journalists, activists, etc. make spectacularly ignorant statements - as Ms. Hannah-Jones did - about the government of one of the world's most racist dictatorships (a government which talks a talk of equality while walking a walk of institutionalized racism against its own Black population) without even mentioning the issue of racism... or is Ms. Hannah-Jones' case praising the socialist dictatorship!

Ms. Hannah-Jones should learn about the Cuban version of the 1619 Project, which in Cuba's case would have been called the 1511 Project, as that was when Spanish Conquistador Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar set out from Hispaniola to establish the first Spanish settlement in Cuba, and brought the first African slaves to the island.

Since then and to its present day, Cuba has a long and agonizing history of racial issues, starting with its long bloody history of slavery, which didn't end on the island until 1886, and continuing through its freedom from Spain, birth of the Republic, and the triumph of the Castro Revolution in 1959. It continues to this day.

Cuba even had its own race war.
General Antonio Maceo

General Antonio Maceo, known as "the Bronze Titan." He was the true warrior leader of the Cuban Wars of Liberation. His father was white of French ancestry; his mother was black, of Dominican ancestry. After the first Cuban Liberation War ended in a truce with Spain, some say that Maceo was so disillusioned with the realities of life in Cuba as a black man, that he left Cuba and lived in Panama, until he was called back to lead the Cuban rebels in a new rebellion in 1895. He returned to Cuba and was killed in battle against the Spanish Army in 1896.

In 1912, Black Cubans in Oriente province had enough of the new Cuban government's racist practices and the degrading treatment of Cuban black veterans, who had been the bulk of the Cuban rebels in the wars of independence against Spain. The Cuban government moved on a path of genocide and eventually the United States had to send in troops to end the war between the white Cuban government and the black rebels in Oriente.

As I recall from the CIA Factbook of 1959, on that year the island was about 70% white, about 20% black and mixed, and the rest Chinese, Jewish and other. The Cuban Diaspora which started a few months after the Castro takeover and continues to this day, with the exception of the Mariel boat lift of the 1980s, saw a mass exodus of mostly white Cubans, and as a result the island's racial balance shifted dramatically and although 65% of Cubans self-identify as white in recent censuses, many experts estimate that today the island is actually about 60% black or biracial.

But Cuba's black population has not seen a proportionate share of the power and a quick review of the governing Politburo/Parliament reveals few black faces in the crowd. 

In fact, "the Cuban cultural journal Temas published studies by the governmental Anthropology Centre in 2006 that showed that on average, the black population has worse housing, receives less money in remittances from abroad and has less access to jobs in emerging economic sectors like tourism, in which blacks represent barely five percent of managers and professionals, than the white population."
"I think silence is worse. The longer nothing is said, the more the racism fermenting underground is rotting the entire nation..."

Gerardo Alfonso
While the Cuban constitution of the 1940s (since then abolished by the Communist government) outlawed segregation and racism on paper, and the current Cuban Constitution guarantees black Cubans the right to stay in any hotel and be served at any public establishment, as it has been documented by many foreign journalists, black Cubans will tell you in private that those rights exist only on paper. They would have told Ms. Hannah-Jones during her visit to Cuba in 2008 - but she probably didn't notice that nearly everywhere that she visited, the presence of the Cuban government was not far, and people fear that presence.

The harsh Cuban reality today, Black Cubans will tell you, is that "black Cubans won't be served" and that Cubans, regardless of race are in general barred from places frequented by tourists.
Unfortunately, these things [disparities in the treatment of blacks and whites] are very common in Cuba.

Ricardo Alarcón Quesada
President of the National Assembly of People's Power
Cuban Parliament
Do these Cuban voices from within Cuba itself sound like the subjects of a government whose murdering tyrants' atrocities should be dealt with in silence? -- especially in view of our nation's own racial history and what Ms. Hannah-Jones so expeditiously attempted to document in her controversial 1619 Project? 
We have practically apartheid in this country sometimes... racism is deeply rooted in Cuba's history and will not disappear overnight.

Rogelio Polanco Fuentes
Cuban Communist Party-owned Juventud Rebelde newspaper.
What would she say if she had discovered the "permanent and shameful police harassment of young Cubans of African descent in our streets..." as noted by Leonardo Calvo Cardenas, the Cuban National Vice-Coordinador of the Citizens' Committee for Racial Integration (Comité Ciudadanos por la Integración Racial (CIR))?

As Omar López Montenegro, the Black Cuban director of Human Rights for the Fundación Nacional Cubano Americana recently stated in the Panama Post:
The situation for Black Cubans worsened after Castro assumed power... even though there were always racial issues, before Castro in Cuba there had been Black governors, a President of the Senate, Martín Morua Delgado, and also many Congressmen such as the labor leader Jesús Menéndez, a member of the Socialist Party. 

When Cuba became a Communist dictatorship, and democracy was lost, the advance of Black Cubans came to a halt. 

And this is what makes it even more maddening to a pedantic Virgo like me -- when even the lackeys of the Cuban dictatorship like Alarcon Quesada and Black voices from within the brutalized island speak out, knowing that there will be consequences - as Zurbano discovered after his New York Times opinion piece - why does Ms. Hannah-Jones live in this rose-colored atmosphere where she perceives the poor jailed island as an example of equality?

Does she know that even though about 60% of Cubans are Black or brown, that 94.2% of the students at the University of Havana are white?  Is she aware - as evidenced by the hundreds of videos one can see at #SOSCuba, that the epicenters of the demonstrations in most Cuban cities during this historic uprising are in the Black neighborhoods? Does she know about Diubis Laurencio Tejeda, a young Black Cuban from La Güinera who was arrested and then murdered by the Cuban police? When notified that her son was dead, his mother committed suicide. Does she know that her own newspaper, The New York Times documented a few years ago how Black Cubans are routinely discriminated in Cuba? Is she aware that while 48% of white Cubans have an annual income of less that $3,000 USD, a whooping 95% of Black Cubans fall below that incredible line?

By the way... In 1959 Cuba had the third-highest per capita income in Latin America, exceeded only by Argentina and Venezuela (around $550 a year back then which is about $5,170 in today's dollars). In 1959 that was also higher than Italy, Japan, Ireland, Spain, and Portugal and every single Eastern European nation in the Soviet bloc.

Nikole Hannah-Jones now has an opportunity to clear the air, clear her mind, clear her perception and gain instant respect from Cubans of all races. All she has to say is that she's learned a lot since the statements that she made in 2019 surfaced during the current Cuban uprising - which as video evidence clearly shows, appears to involve Cubans of all races - and state that she was wrong and is now aware of the sorry and sad state of the Marxist government's deeply rooted racism.

Boom! Case closed.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Residency in Denmark

The objective of the Læsø AiR programme for professional visual artists is to support the development of artists’ practice and to promote the exchange between Danish and foreign artists and the Danish art scene.

The foreign artists granted residencies will be given the opportunity to take part in a visiting program, networking activities and study visits with institutions and individuals from the Danish art scene. Læsø AiR also wishes to support the artistic process and research phase by providing the artists with time, space and opportunities for reflection and contemplation.

DEADLINE: December 1, 2022

DATES: Mid-March to Mid-June 2023, Early August to End of October 2023

FEE: Free to apply 

WHERE: Denmark

WHO: International; Visual Art