Wednesday, December 31, 2003

The University of Virginia is currently reviewing proposals for solo, group and curated visual arts exhibitions for 2004 for its "Artspace" gallery, which is run by students. For info call 434/924-3286 or send exhibition proposal, resume, slides and a SASE to:
Amanda Berlin
Newcomb Hall, Rm. 149
PO Box 400701
Charlottesville, VA 22904

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Joanna Shaw-Eagle, the Chief Art critic for the Washington Times has an excellent review of Robert Longo: The Freud Cycle, Prints and Drawings" at David Adamson Gallery.

The show includes original drawings and gyclee reproductions of Longo's drawings centered around the artist's fascination with a book of photographs of Freud's apartment in Vienna.

Robert Longo has long been one of my favorite artists, although I suspect that his meticulous drawing style is not liked by many of our local art critics, suspicious as they are, of anything that implies technique and not art theory, or is not "new."

It is however, this meticulous technique, which really adapts well to the super-black pigments in which Adamson Editions has spectacularly reproduced them, is precisely what attracts me to his work, or to the work of the equally meticulous Vija Celmins.

Longo is a perfect example of what an artist, superbly confident in his technical vituosity, can accomplish when he marries his skill to interesting ideas and concepts, such as his fascination with the photographs about Freud's apartment. This show hangs until January 31st.

More opportunities for artists...

For Photographers:
Deadline: January 30, 2004. SNAP '04 National Juried Photography Exhibition - Slide entries must be received on or before January 30, 2004 at Runnels Gallery, Eastern New Mexico University. $25 entry fee for 3 slides, $5 for each additional slide. Cash prizes and certificates awarded. Exhibition dates: March 26 - April 9, 2004. Juror: Carol Squiers, curator, International Center of Photography in New York. For inquiries contact Dr. Haig David-West at this email address or (505) 562-2778. For prospectus go: here or send #10 SASE (4.25in x 9.5in only) to: SNAP '04, Runnels Gallery, Department of Art Station 19, Eastern New Mexico University, Portales NM 88130.

For All Artists:
Deadline January 31, 2004. 20" X 20" X 20": A National Compact Competition with $5000 in cash awards. Open to artists residing in the US. All media. $23 entry fee for three entries. Juror is Bill North, Senior Curator, Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas. For a prospectus send an SASE to: Gallery Assistant, LSU Union Art Gallery, Box 25123, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge LA 70894 or call (225) 578-5117 or fax (225)578-4329 or email

For Printmakers:
Deadline: February 28, 2004. Sumei National Juried Print Exhibition. The juror is none other than David Kiehl, Curator of Prints at The Whitney Museum of Art. Open to all artists, original works created within the last three years, any print media. Giclee and digital media prints accepted in separate category. For prospectus send SASE to: Sumei Juried Print, 19 Liberty St, Newark NJ 07102 or download from

For All artists:
Montage Gallery is now accepting new artists in all mediums. Please send portfolios to Mitch M. Angel: Montage Gallery, 925 S. Charles, Baltimore, MD 21230, 410-752-1125.

For Sculptors:
Deadline January 15 – Slides due for renovated lobby of DC Courthouse - Theme: “Family” - Budget: $100,000. Eligible: Artists from Maryland, the District of Columbia and Virginia. To receive a detailed “Call to Artists,” contact Francoise Yohalem at 301 816-0518. Or email her.

For All artists:
The Margaret W. and Joseph L. Fisher Gallery in the Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center has an open call for artists. The Schlesinger Center is located on the Alexandria Campus of Northern Virginia Community College. To receive an application to exhibit, please provide your name and complete mailing address to Dr. Leslie White, Managing Director, via email to LWHITE@NVCC.EDU.

North Carolina Public Art Call:
Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) is seeking professional artists for design collaborations and/or public art commissions for its Art-in Transit Program. Over the next few years, Charlotte is building a rapid transit system and will incorporate public art into its stations, park and rides, and maintenance facilities and has allocated $2.3 million for art. Design fees range from $5,000-$25,000: commissions from $25,000-$250,000. In preparation for Phase I and subsequent phases, artists are requested to submit their materials to a new slide registry that will be used to make selections of artists as the system is phased in. For more information and an on-line application visit their website and click on Art-in-Transit or call 704/432.0479.

Arizona Public Art Call:
Deadline January 16 - The Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture is requesting qualifications from professional artists for the Phoenix Civic Plaza Expansion Public Art Project. The project budget is $2,000,000. The Phoenix Civic Plaza selection panel is seeking the best possible artwork for this landmark building and has identified two primary goals for the artwork for the facility. First, the selection panel is seeking one to two signature works of art for integration into the building. Second, the Phoenix Civic Plaza is seeking a program of integrated works of art that showcase the diverse and vital artistic communities of Arizona. This opportunity is open to all professional artists with demonstrated artistic excellence. Visit the project website here, and click on the link for "Expansion & Highlights". For complete details about the project, including submission requirements, visit here or email Greg Esser

For Video Artists:
Deadline January 9, 2004. 11th Annual San Francisco Art Institute Film & Video Festival. Short films (max 30 minutes), any genre, completed any time. For entry forms, contact the San Francisco Art Institute at 415/771-7020 ext. 4816.

For Video artists:
Deadline February 1, 2004. Mt. San Jacinto College Fine Arts Gallery has an open call for NTSC video shorts. No fees. Send to:
Mt. San Jacinto College Fine Arts Gallery
1499 N. State Street
San Jacinto, CA 92583

Monday, December 29, 2003

click here to download application

Application Deadline: March 1, 2004
The inaugural Bethesda Fine Arts Festival will be held Saturday, May 15 and Sunday, May 16, 2004 in Bethesda's Woodmont Triangle. The Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District is currently accepting artists's applications for this event. 150 booth spaces are available to artists who create original fine art and fine craft. Click on the image above for more info and to download the application. This is a great opportunity for artists to sell their work directly to the public.

Application Deadline: January 30, 2004
The Bethesda Artist Market will continue in 2004 on Sunday, May 9; Sunday, June 13; and Sunday, July 11. Applications are being accepted for the 2004 Markets. The Bethesda Artist Market is sponsored by the Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District. Local, regional and national artists can display and sell their work from 11am-6pm at the 2004 Bethesda Artist Markets, which take place in the Bethesda Place Plaza located at 7700 Wisconsin Avenue. See some photos of the last artists' market here.

Application Deadline: January 27, 2004
The Northern Arizona University Art Museum has a call for printmakers for its Biennial Print Exhibit. Prints must have been completed in the last three years. Show is March 19 - May 7, 2004. For application, call (928) 523-3479 or send a SASE to:
Northern Arizona University Art Museum
PO Box 6021
Flagstaff, AZ 86011

Application Deadline: February 14, 2004
FSU Museum of Fine Arts has a call for artists for its 19th annual Combined Talents, which will be juried by FSU's Visual Arts Faculty. The show will hang Aug 23 - Sept 26, 2004. There is no sales commission and a catalog will be printed. Call (850) 644-3906 for an application or download the form here.

Sunday, December 28, 2003

Exchanged a couple of emails with video artist and photographer Darin Boville on the subject of art books. The number one spot in my top ten most influential books (on me) of all times has been occupied since 1977 by The Painted Word by Tom Wolfe.

I think that this book should be required reading for all art school freshmen across the nation, as it will prepare and armor them against all the bull that the art world will be about the heave at them. If you have not read it, please do.

Below is the text of a review of the book that I wrote for

Can I start by saying that this book "saved my art life"?

Let me explain. In 1977 I started art school as a not so impressionable 21 year-old with a few years as a US Navy sailor under my belt. But in the world of art, there's a lot of moulding and impressions being made by a very galvanized world. And although I was a few years older than most in my class... I was probably as ready as any to swallow the whole line and sinker that the "modern art world" floats out there.

Then I read this book - it was given to me by Jacob Lawrence, a great painter and a great teacher --- although I didn't get along with him too well at the time. I read it (almost by accident and against my will --- it was a get-a-way "love weekend" with my then-girlfriend - it went sour). And this book OPENED my EYES!!! It was as if all of a sudden a "fog" had been listed about all the manure and fog that covers the whole art world.

I used it as a weapon.

I used it to defend how I wanted to paint and feel and write. And it allowed me to survive art school.

And then in 1991 - as I prepared to look around to start my own gallery - I found it again, in a gallery (of all places) in Alexandria, VA. I read it again, and to my surprise Wolfe was as topical and effervescent and eye-opening as ever!

Wolfe has a lot of bones to pick with the art world -- 25 years ago!!! He destroys the proliferation of art theory, and puts "art gods" like Harold Rosenberg, Clement Greenberg, and Leo Steinberg (who have ruined art criticism for all ages - by making critics think that they "lead" the arts rather than "follow the artists") into their proper place and perspective. He has a lot of fun, especially with Greenberg and the Washington Color School and their common stupidity about the flatness of the picture plane.

Here's my recommendation: If you are a young art student or a practicing artist: SAVE YOUR LIFE! Read this book!

This is what happens when you let government-sponsored venues run most of the fine arts in a nation, and when governments are driven by the unexcusable PC-correct desire to please everyone, everytime (or at least give the appearance that they are...).

The last paragraph in the story summarizes the pathos of a lost art nation.

P.S. By the way, this is what they plan to put on that empty plinth.

Saturday, December 27, 2003

Photographer Danny Conant has an interesting comment and good point in regards to my posting of the first of ten steps to build the DC art "buzz" into a roar:

"Read with interest your university idea. I think would be a great step but I can see difficult to pull off with each place jealously guarding its little kingdom. What about a toe in the water first year if maybe 3 universities could agree to try something like this with local artists and if successful the next year others would want to join in."

Friday, December 26, 2003

The fun-to-read end of year's "top ten lists" are out from our local newspapers' art critics. This is always a difficult exercise for any writer.

First, please realize that an art critic must first start by visiting a dozen or more shows each month, culled from the hundreds of invitations to new shows that he/she receives. Why? because in order to make a good visual arts critic, the visual senses must be offered a lot of choice so that blinders and tunnel-vision can be defeated.

Thus to make an honest list, a reputable art critic in our area would personally have to see 120-200 gallery and museum shows a year, and then pick ten at the end of the year as his/her opinion of what he/she liked the best in that year. It's also fun to see where the different critics agree, and where they disagree, as art opinions are one of the most personal and subjective issues in writing.

Louis Jacobson, who reviews photography and other art shows (both museums and galleries) for the WCP (as well as some other national art magazines), has his Top Ten Photography Shows listed here.

The WCP's Glenn Dixon, who reviews mostly museum shows and a handful of gallery shows a year, as well as movies, music and books, and so on and so on, has his very interesting Top Ten List here.

And Michael O'Sullivan, who reviews both museums and galleries for the Washington Post each Friday in the Weekend section, has his Top Ten List here, with a little mix of out-of-town shows.

My top ten list of Washington shows (sans ours of course):

1. "Gerhard Richter: Forty Years of Painting" at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. A huge wake-up slap in the face to asleep-at-the-wheel critics and curators who keep trying to believe that painting is dead.

2. "Picasso: The Cubist Portraits of Fernande Olivier," at the National Gallery of Art. Artists will paint and draw whatever or whoever is around them. A spectacular view of one of "his" women by the greatest artist of modern times.

3. "Tobacco: Architectural Photographs by Maxwell MacKenzie," at the American Institute of Architects. MacKenzie's landscape photography is to the genre what Richter is to painting (disclaimer: Max also shows with us, no objectivity here).

4. "Census 03" at the Corcoran. This show had some holes, but it's important for the Corcoran to keep an eye on the local art scene. But for that to happen well, their curators must get out of their offices and visit studios and show up at some galleries to see some shows on a regular basis. How about a "Census 04" ?

5. "The 47th Corcoran Biennial" at the Corcoran. Jonathan Binstock's first Biennial was much maligned in the press, but I think that it accomplished a couple of important things: (a) it brought some well-known artists to Washington for the first time (and ahead of other museums), and (b) it included some local talent in it.

6. "Cuba Now!" at the Sumner School Museum and Archives. Although Washington, DC's own half-Cuban photographer Nestor Hernandez stole this show with his brilliant Cuban street photography, this show was nonetheless one of the best among a deluge of Cuba-related shows in our area in 2003.

7. "Yuriko Yamaguchi" at Numark Gallery. The minimalism of Yamaguchi's beautiful organic sculptures reflect what the true power of this abused term truly can be.

8. "Joseph Mills: Inner City," at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. The obsessive photographic vision of a Washington, DC street photographer with an uncanny ability to deliver the unusual from the most common of subjects.

9. Mark Bennett at Conner Contemporary. According to the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1996, this stuff is not even supposed to be art, but they are wrong, and I found it unexplicably attractive and intelligent.

10. James McNeill Whistler at the Freer Gallery of Art. Presented for the first time ever as Whistler intended the art to be seen. A beautiful little show seen in a new (old) light.

Thursday, December 25, 2003

Merry Xmas!

As promised, the first one of ten steps (in no particular order or ranking) to kindle the DC art "buzz" into a roar:

Number 10
The Universities

There are several important, major universities in and around the Washington, DC area. In most cases each is working, as most universities do, their own, individual visual arts exhibition program, which is normally mix of exhibitions by their students, faculty and invited artists.

Almost without exception there is very little coordination between the different venues, which in some cases boast some of the nicest exhibition spaces in town. This is not unusual, as I imagine that in most cities this is also the same case, as the focus of the university gallery is in fact the university.

And here is where we can make a major change, and use the extraordinary resources afforded to our area by these venues, and their academic standing, to help Washington expand its worldwide visual art standing.

What we need to happen is for one of the local university art school chairs, or college deans, or even university gallery directors, to take the initiative to start coordinating a joint effort to create one annual combined, joint exhibition that synchronizes a focused exhibition that is spread throughout the Greater Washington area.

Imagine a national survey of art, with a good title and perhaps even a good, donated chunk of money as a prize. Say we call it “The Capital Art Prize” (OK, OK we’ll have to work on the title) and because good ideas sometimes attract funding, maybe we can convince a major local company like Lockheed Martin or AOL or Booze Allen and Hamilton, or (be still my beating heart), The Washington Post, to help fund it on an annual basis.

This synchronized event can be modeled somewhat on what the Whitney does, but better. The Whitney Biennial’s Achilles heel is its over-reliance on hired curators. Unless an artist lives and works in NYC, LA or SF or is already in the local radar of one of the curators for that particular year, chances are slim to none that the artist will come to the attention of those Biennial curators. Hence great art and potentially great artists may be ignored.

In addition to the use of invited curators, also imagine that this event puts forth a national call for artists, independent and museum curators, schools, art organizations and galleries to submit works for consideration. Send us your slides, CD ROMS and photographs (and a self addressed, stamped envelope for their return).

Anyone can submit and in a fair selection process, since art is truly in the eyes (and agenda) of the beholder, anyone can be selected to exhibit. A truly American concept for a national American art survey that will leave the Whitney and other continental Biennials in the dust.

And because the exhibition venues are spread around the capital area region, in galleries at Georgetown, George Mason, George Washington, American, Catholic, Howard, University of Maryland, Montgomery Community College, Northern Virginia Community College, and the many others I am sure to be forgetting momentarily, we could put up one of the largest, most diverse, and influential American art surveys in the nation.

This will take a lot of work to set up initially, as one key university person needs to take the lead and emerge from the pack of largely unknown, anonymous group of academics currently running our area’s university art programs. On the other hand, this could be an exhibition that can and will put names and faces on the international art world map, much like the Whitney Biennial sometimes elevates its curators a notch above the rest

Some universities will resist, as the easiest thing to do is to do things as they have always been done, and not really create “new” work. But given that a strong leader among our academic community emerges and takes the lead for this idea, then even if we start with a set of four or five venues, in a joint, coordinated effort, others will follow.

This will not be an easy job to do, and as it grows, so will the burocracy around it. But starting it up will be the hardest part, and as momentum grows, things will become easier. Whoever, if anyone, takes this idea and runs with it, will face many huge obstacles and many negative people. He or she will need to convince other university/college gallery directors to participate. They in turn, will have to convince their superiors, who will, in turn have to approve (and perhaps help kick-start the funding) the joint project.

This leader will also have to coordinate the approach to get a local giant to fund this effort, but I suspect that once he has aligned a few colleges and universities, this may become easier (it’s never easy) as the “buzz” and need for the event develops.

This is all a lot of work, and initially, until a burocracy is established around the annual event, many, many volunteers will be needed. I hope that some of these can be drawn from the school’s student body, alumni who are artists, and other local artists, much like Art-O-Matic draws from the collective muscle of our area’s significant artist population.

Our area universities and colleges already have significant media resources at their disposal, to help spread the word. They run school newspapers, radio stations, etc. and also provide a constant flow of new blood to our major mainstream media.

The goal (or perhaps “the dream”) would be a national level survey of art, which may look, review and/or jury the work of maybe 50,000 artists around the nation, and select perhaps 100 each year, showcase their work around a dozen academic galleries, and award a $100,000 cash award as the Capital Art Prize, plus various other awards (Emerging Artist, Young Artist, etc.). Art of a nature and scale that will attract visitors to the university galleries, attention to our area, piss some people off, excite others, create interest, discussion and buzz around Washington and our art scene.

There’s nothing more empowering than an idea whose time has come.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Tomorrow I will post the first of my ten step plan to help make the Washington art "buzz" into a roar. Suggestions and ideas are still being welcomed.

Opportunity for Photographers:

Deadline Jan. 12, 2004 - "Regional Juried Photography Exhibition" - Open to all residents of MD, DC, DE, PA, VA, & WV. All photographic work accepted, including digital and alternative processes. $25/4 slides, $5/each additional slide. Washington Gallery of Photography. Show February 13-March 7, 2004. Acceptance notification by January 15, 2004. All photographs judged from slides. Cash prizes and exhibition opportunities for first, second and third place winners. For entry form, see, or send SASE to Washington Gallery of Photography, 4850 Rugby Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20814. Tel: 301.654.1998. E-mail:

and also...

William F. Stapp, who served as the National Portrait Gallery's first curator of photographs (1976-1991) and is now an independent curator and consultant will jury the 2004 Bethesda International Photography Competition. Most recently he curated the traveling exhibition "Portrait of the Art World: A Century of ARTnews Photographs."

The Bethesda International Photography Competition is our worldwide annual call for photographers. Nearly $1500 is cash prizes are awarded as well as a solo exhibition in our Georgetown gallery for the Best of Show winner. The exhibition will take place in our Bethesda Gallery from March 12 through April 7, 2004.

The 2003 juror was Philip Brookman, Curator of Photography and Media Arts at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. The 2003 Best of Show winner was Bay Area photographer Hugh Shurley, who will have a solo exhibit in our Georgetown space in 2004.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

According to the Guardian, the exhibition of Victorian art from the collection of Andrew Lloyd-Webber at the Royal Academy has been one of the most successful in the past decade, and yet it has been "disemboweled" by the critics. One wrote: "Really useless. Why can't the man keep his private collection of saccharine Victorian art private?"

I used to think that Victorian art was saccharine until I read this incredible, eye-opening book by Bram Dijkstra. It is titled Idols of Perversity: Fantasies of Feminine Evil in Fin-De-Siecle Culture and it offers a provocative analysis of the unprecedented eruption of misogyny at the turn of the 20th century in the works of the key artists of the age, including most Victorians. Never again will one see most Victorian paintings as "saccharine" once you read this book.

Monday, December 22, 2003

Not much time today - between Xmas shopping, plus a newspaper deadline for a column, plus two magazine deadlines that have passed (but editors keep coming back with "add-ons") I have been super-busy.

Don't miss Blake Gopnik's interesting and touching article on the subject of Christmas.sculpture by Moe

I know that we tend to put Blake under the microscope for everything that he writes, and this is a warm and fuzzy piece - and yet I find these lines in the article quite interesting:

"My Christmas-crazy family refuses to play carols written after 1900; our favorites predate the Enlightenment."

And on Friday, Michael O'Sullivan had an excellent review of Ledelle Moe's room-size "Thrust" sculpture in the Gallery at Flashpoint at 916 G St. NW. That show goes through January 3, 2004.

Sunday, December 21, 2003

The Guardian has its second Best of British BLOGs annual award. The winners are listed here.

Rob Gardiner at won for best use of photography. The best written award went to a London call girl.

The current issue of the Washington City Paper has a piece on page 48 by Dave Jamieson titled "Photo Opportunity" that raises (at least in my mind) some uncomfortable issues about copyright and art and more importantly, the lack of clarity in the law as to what constitutes copyright infringement in the visual arts.

The piece discusses "a controversial painting method" employed by artist Barbara Beatty, currently on exhibit at Foundry Gallery in the Dupont Circle area. Beatty paints from photographs, which is neither controversial or new.

But according to the article, Beatty "pores over the Washington Post and the Washington Times each morning" essentially searching for photos that she then uses as the basis to create paintings. I don't know enough about the law to figure out if this would be or could be interpreted as walking on copyright's thin ice, as the variables are too many, but it does bring up the point that artists should always be aware of what copyright means in the visual arts.

There is also a great article on the subject in the current December issue of Art Calendar Magazine. This monthly publication is a great resource for visual artists, as it focuses on the business of the arts, rather than art itself.

Anyway, on page 29 there's a great article by Attorney Elizabeth Russell on the subject of Art Law.

According to Ms. Russell, the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (or USC 106A) is an amendment to the US Copyright Act designed to protect artists' "moral rights," which are the artists' personal (as opposed to economic) interests in a visual work of art.

But the most interesting issue addressed by VARA (at least to me) is that since 1990 the law has defined what constitutes a "work of visual art." And the following are legally defined as not being "visual art": "poster, map, globe, chart, technical drawing, diagram, model, applied art, motion picture or other audiovisual work, book, magazine, newspaper, periodical, data base, electronic information service, electronic publication or similar publication."

And equally eye-opening is the fact that the law defines (17 USC 101) a "work of visual art" as follows:

(1) A painting, drawing, print or sculpture, existing in a single copy, in a limited edition of 200 copies or fewer that are signed and consecutively numbered by the author, or, in the case of a sculpture, in multiple cast, carved, or fabricated sculptures of 200 or fewer that are consecutively numbered by the author and bear the signature or other identifying mark of the author; or

(2) A still photographic image produced for exhibition purposes only, existing in a single copy that is signed by the author, or in a limited edition of 200 copies or fewer that are signed and consecutively numbered by the author.
A work of art does not include --
(A) (i) any poster, map, globe, chart, technical drawing, diagram, model, applied art, motion picture or other audiovisual work, book, magazine, newspaper, periodical, data base, electronic information service, electronic publication or similar publication;

(ii) any merchandising item or advertising, promotional, descriptive, covering, or packaging material or container;

(iii) any portion or part of any item described in clause (i) or (ii);

(B) any work made for hire; or

(C) any work not subject to copyright protection under this title.

Is this eye-opening or what?

For the last several years I have been attending the Annual Mayor's Arts Awards, which this year will be hosted at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Now in its 19th year, this is one of the best nights of the year for any art enthusiast in our area, and yet I am always shocked to find that amongst the many hundreds of people who attend the awards, I see precious few recognizable faces from what one would equate with our area's "art scene."

It's almost as if there are two, separate (and unequal) art scenes around here. And it's a shame, because this Art awards night is a lot of fun and full of an incredible artistic energy that is rarely seen (or read about) elsewhere.

The awards night show (which is free and open to the public) is always showcased by a spectacular performance show, which usually includes music of all kinds (opera, pop, blues, salsa, etc.) by different groups, dance (from classical to tap, etc.), poetry (traditional to slam) and a variety of other entertainment acts offered in between the awards.

The event is alwasy fun and always well-catered (so the "grubs" are always there), and I guess about 800-1200 people generally attend it.

Awards are presented in the following categories:

Excellence in an Artistic Discipline - To an individual artist or an organization that has demonstrated a substantial history of extraordinary achievement in an artistic discipline.

Outstanding Emerging Artist - To a promising individual artist or group of artists that have demonstrated artistic excellence and achieved distinction in an artistic discipline.

Excellence in Service to the Arts - To an individual or a private, public, or government organization that has demonstrated a substantial history of exemplary leadership, financial support, or other services vital to the development of the arts in the District of Columbia.

Outstanding Contribution to Arts Education - To an individual or organization that has demonstrated outstanding efforts to evoke interest and understanding of the arts.

Innovation in the Arts - To an individual or organization that has demonstrated ingenious use of skills or resources to produce art, art programs, or services.

See past winners here.

On behalf of The Honorable Mayor Anthony A. Williams and the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities, I'd like to invite all of you to the 19th Mayor's Arts Awards at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts "The Concert Hall" located at 2700 F Street, NW Washington, DC. The awards will be on Monday, January 5, 2004 (ceremony begins at 6:00 pm). First come, first seated and come early, as the place usually gets packed.

To get there, take Metro to Foggy Bottom and a free shuttle bus is available every 15 minutes between Foggy Bottom Metro and the Kennedy Center.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

Joanna Shaw-Eagle, the Washington Times' Chief Art critic has an interesting review of what sounds like an even more interesting show at Fondo del Sol on R Street.

The show, organized by Marc Zuver, who directs Fondo del Sol, seeks to establish a ancestral connection between the Basque people of Spain and France with the Georgian people of the Black Sea and the eventual distilling to art influences in Latin America.

As Shaw-Eagle notes: "Whether visitors can follow Mr. Zuver's complex, and sometimes, puzzling, connecting of ancient Iberian influences on New World art is questionable, but most of the art is definitely first-rate and challenging."

My good friend Marc Zuver runs Fondo del Sol, one of the very first museums of its kind in the United States, with very little funding and help, and with extraordinary hard work and dedication on his part. He is one of the most animated, talkative gallery directors on the planet, and if you go visit him, be ready to spend a dozen hours discussing Iberia and Georgia and genetics and art.

Robert Lalasz, who is the Senior Arts Writer at the Washington City Paper debuts a new column in the current issue of the WCP. It's called "Show and Tell" and according to the column's banner, it will be a monthly column on "Money, Politics, Issues, Controversy. Just another week in the D.C. arts scene."

This is a great addition to the WCP's arts coverage and we'll keep an eye on it to discuss it, as unfortunately the WCP doesn't archive stories online, therefore I can't link to it, so go get a copy and read it.

Lead story in this week's column: Why the convention center public art isn't public. And Lalasz does a great job in bringing forth the incredible fact that Washington's largest "public" art collection is essentially not open to the public.

Also in this week's Washington City Paper, Louis Jacobson writes about Lydia Ann Douglas' exhibition of Cuban photographs at Teaism. Jacobson's shrewd insight into the DC art scene is revealed when he writes that some of the photos echo the work of Washington area photographer Nestor Hernandez, who has been photographing Cuba (while re-discovering his Cuban father's family) since the 1970's.

photo by Nestor Hernandez Nestor Hernandez's massive documentation of his Cuban family and Cuba not only predates the flood of photographers who have invaded Cuba drawn by its exotic forbidden lure, but certainly deserves to be reviewed and considered for a good museum showing, especially now that Cuban art is so hot around the world and interest in all things Cuban has risen due to the clamp-down on travel to the island prison.

Let me be the first one to suggest that Philip Brookman or Paul Roth at the Corcoran should consider scheduling Nestor for a show.

Eric Fischl will be in DC next March at the Hirshhorn and will discuss his work and the current direction of figurative art. Mark your calendars now: Thursday, March 11, at 7 p.m at the Hirshhorn Museum's Ring Auditorium.

Friday, December 19, 2003

Great opportunity for visual artists:

The Glenview Mansion Art Gallery in Rockville, MD has a call for artists to select their 2005 Exhibition season. The deadline is January 9, 2004. Open to all artists living and working in Maryland, Washington, DC and Virginia.

There is no entry fee. A juried panel will select artists and create nine exhibits to be placed into the 2005 calendar. If more than 125 entries are received, the City reserves the right to implement a two-tiered panel review to ensure an appropriate review of all applications. Jan 30 – All artists notified of selection. The City of Rockville will receive a 20% commission on all sales. For more info call 240-314-8682.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

For Artists:

The Artists' Health Insurance Resource Center is designed to meet the critical need for health insurance information in the arts community. Well worth a visit.

Art on Location is a unique new arts program that showcases contemporary fine art from talented local artists in upscale and popular consumer venues throughout the Greater Washington D.C. metropolitan region. Info at 202/986.0549 or

And for photographers...

Deadline Jan. 12, 2004. "Regional Juried Photography Exhibition". Open to all residents of MD, DC, DE, PA, VA, & WV. All photographic work accepted, including digital and alternative processes. $25 for 4 slides, $5 for each additional slide.

Washington Gallery of Photography. Show February 13 - March 7, 2004. Acceptance notification by January 15, 2004. All photographs judged from slides. Cash prizes and exhibition opportunities for first, second and third place winners. For entry form, see, or send SASE to Washington Gallery of Photography, 4850 Rugby Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20814. Tel: 301/654.1998. E-mail:

See all of youse tomorrow in Georgetown for the Third Friday Canal Square Gallery Openings.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

The Bethesda Arts and Entertainment District is accepting applications for the 2004 Bethesda Fine Arts Festival, an outdoor Fine Art and Fine Craft festival that will take place in the Woodmont Triangle area of Bethesda, Maryland. The festival will take place, rain or shine, on Saturday, May 15 and Sunday, May 16, 2004.

150 booth spaces are available, $275 for a 10' x 10' booth, $25 application fee. All original fine art and fine crafts are eligible, no mass produced or commercially manufactured products are allowed. $2,500 in prize money.

Deadline for applications is March 1, 2004. To download an application form, visit or send a SASE to Bethesda Urban Partnership, Bethesda Fine Arts Festival, 7700 Old Georgetown Road, Bethesda, MD 20814. For more information contact festival Director, Catriona Fraser, at (301) 718-9651.

Tomorrow is the monthly Third Thursday extended hours at the 7th Street area downtown galleries.

And the next day, on Friday, will be opening night for the four Canal Square Galleries in Georgetown. It's also the opening of my show, which once again this year marries my interest in history with art. I am doing drawings focused on the unique imagery of the Pictish people of pre-Celtic Scotland. I have been writing a book on the history and art of this Dark Age nation and hope to finally get it finished in a year or so. See some of the drawings here and learn more about the Picts here.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

The Ellipse Arts Center in Arlington is looking for a gallery manager. Salary: $40,254.24 - $65,062.40. This is an administrative position in the Arlington County, Virginia Cultural Affairs Division managing this visual arts exhibition center. This position is responsible for developing yearly exhibition and educational outreach programs for Arlington County.

Minimum Requirements: Bachelors degree in Fine Arts, Art History or Arts Admin from an accredited institution, plus 2 yrs of experience in arts admin which include visual arts exhibition programming & implementation. See complete ad at here, or call (703) 228-3500 for HR Dept. Deadline is December 31, 2003.

Creative Capital accepts proposals for grants in visual arts and film/video. Creative Capital has implemented a new application process: to apply for a grant, artists must first submit an Inquiry Form, which will be available February 16, 2004 here. The deadline for completed Inquiry Forms is March 15, 2004; those invited to apply will be notified in June 2004.

Monday, December 15, 2003

Salvador Dali once said: "If you can't paint well, then paint big," and now in YBA Land, The Guardian has a very good story about the impact of size on our (their?) perception of art.

I call it "acreage art."

Tyler Green at Modern Art Notes has a very interesting observation about the National Gallery of Art, space on the Mall and the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Conner Contemporary and its hard working owner, Leigh Conner, celebrate five years of being around - this is a huge milestone, as any Chamber of Commerce stats will tell you, 90% of all art galleries in the USA will close after one year.

And Conner Contemporary is without a doubt one of the key galleries in our city's cultural tapestry. This is a gallery with a hard-working owner, a vision and some of the best artists in the our area and the nation, plus a terrific commitment to young artists, as evidenced by their annual student show.

Their fiveYear retro is a revolving survey celebrating the gallery's first five years, and features photography, painting, drawing, sculpture, digital media and starts December 5 and runs until January 31, 2004. The exhibition is revolving, and features new work every two weeks and will include the following artists: Chul-Hyun Ahn, Olivia Barr, Mark Bennett, Maria Friberg, Corin Hewitt, Damien Hirst, Kenny Hunter, Muriel Hasbun, Robert Indiana, Avish Khebrehzadeh, John Kirchner, David Levinthal, Robert Longo, Bradley McCallum & Jacqueline Tarry, Tracey Moffatt, Sabeen Raja, Erik Sandberg, Leo Villareal, Andy Warhol, Mary Woodall and others.

Congrats Leigh!

Opening December 2 at Elizabeth Roberts Gallery:

Eleven Artists: Works on Paper. The participating artists are Sara Clark, Kate Cunningham, Donald Depuydt, Ellen Hill, Tadzio Koelb, Melek Mazici, Nancy Magnus, Susan Singer, Kathryn Stedham, Bob Worthy, Yumiko Yoshida. The opening will be part of the 1st Friday's Dupont Circle gallery openings on December 5 at the Elizabeth Roberts Gallery, located at 2108 R St NW in the Dupont Circle gallery area.

For video artists and filmmakers:

The Guerrilla Film Festival is now accepting submissions for its 3rd edition. There is no application fee and there is no deadline. Screenings are bi-monthly, so if you don't make it in time for GFF3, you will be considered for GFF4.

The application form can be found here. Once downloaded and filled in, please email this application to John Hanshaw and mail a DVD or VHS screener to:

Attn: John Hanshaw
1421 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Suite 20
Washington, DC 20005

Sunday, December 14, 2003

A really good walk-through of Art Basel Miami Beach by Walter Robinson at

In today's Sunday Arts, Blake Gopnik discusses John Currin and his success in the art world.

photo by F. Scruton/Andrea Rosen Gallery -John Currin's 'Bra Shop' Apart from the silly and erroneous headline, this is actually a very readable article, and as posted by me earlier, I somewhat agree with Gopnik's puzzlement as to Currin's success in the art world.

However, I think that Blake gets most of his supporting arguments wrong, when he discusses why Currin has been so successful. This is a perfect case where this eloquent art critic lets his personal beliefs and tunnel-visioned agenda get in the way of being remotely close to objectivity. And that's somewhat OK, as critics don't have to be objective - but they should be clear about their beliefs rather than appear to speak from an objective pulpit.

Let's start by recalling that Gopnik has clearly shown that he doesn't like painting and above all he doesn't like realism. According to Gopnik's "Long Live Realism - Realism is Dead" lecture at the Corcoran, realism has been done, so why would "serious" artists still waste their time attempting to continue to do it?

Thus, it is understandable that Gopnik would be particularly repulsed by Currin's work - in fact I dislike it too. But he is wrong in attempting to use its success as an example of why contemporary realism is "dead" in his view.

Gopnik writes that "Within the art world, where Currin's career and reputation have been forged, he can get praise as an original not because he's doing anything new or special but simply because some vanguard curators and collectors don't get out enough."

I disagree that this is the main reason, but I certainly do agree that "vanguard curators" (whoever they are, as no star eclipses faster than a "vanguard" curator once his or her show has closed) don't get out enough. As far as collectors, I do not believe that Mr. Gopnik (or most museum art critics) knows anything about art collectors, so these are just extra words.

However, what Gopnik does not mention, is that some very influential art critics - much higher in the art world food chain than he is - have also praised Currin and his art, and helped tremendously to build this artist's standing in the rarified upper crust of the art world.

Influential critics like the New York Times' Michael "Dia" Kimmelman likes Currin a lot. In fact Kimmelman has writen that "Mr. Currin is among other things a latter-day Jeff Koons, trafficking in lowdown humor, heartless kitsch and ironic smut, while offering up dollops of finesse, beauty and brains. The combination is disorienting and, at its best, thrilling."

And because of his job, even Blake would have to admit that Kimmelman probably "gets out" a lot, especially around first rate New York galleries, rather than the "third-rate commercial galleries across the country" mentioned in Gopnik's piece.

Let me re-affirm something again. I don't like Currin's work either - but his work is not to be generalized to cover all of contemporary realism, which is generalized as "shopping mall realists...boardwalk caricaturists... or Sunday-painter surrealists."

So it's not just vanguard curators stuck in their offices, art collectors who don't get out much, but also first class, influential art critics, who have clothed Currin as a modern art emperor. You can also fill in any well-known contemporary artist name (Hirsh, Barney, Brown, Chapman, Dean, etc.) instead of Currin.

Let's go back over that key paragraph again:

"Within the art world, where Currin's career and reputation have been forged, he can get praise as an original not because he's doing anything new or special but simply because some vanguard curators and collectors don't get out enough. It's as though the elites of contemporary art are so engrossed in their own world that they're not aware of what's already going on in the American mainstream -- at shopping malls, on boardwalks and in Sunday painting classes."

Wouldn't that logic apply to all artists whose career and reputation have been forged within the "art world"?

I'm not sure if Gopnik gets around to visit any of the "third rate galleries" that he mentions in the review - after all, he just reviews museum shows and I don't think that he has the "pulse" of what's going on in art galleries around the nation. But spend a few hours in 3rd, 2nd and 1st rate commercial galleries in Los Angeles, or New York, or San Francisco, or London or Madrid, or Washington and you will see a thousand artists still delivering Rothko-like, Pollock-like, Impressionism-like, Pop, and fill-in-the-blank "like" to any style, genre and idea - not just realism.

In fact, visit any of the garbage "galleries" in the malls, selling reproduction after reproduction, gyclee, Iris, etc. framed in expensive baroque frames, and you're apt to find anything from Peter Max to Chuck Close to Warhol to Lichtenstein. The appetite for cheap, garbage reproduction poster art is not restricted to the genre of realism, or Currin-like images.

In this paragraph Gopnik tips his hand and his disdain for contemporary realism:

"Currin fills a perennial void: The American art world, and especially the art market in New York, is forever hoping for an oil-paint messiah -- for someone who will at last restore credibility to old-fashioned realist technique. Ask dealers or curators and they'll tell you that nothing appeals to collectors and the public like figurative oil painting."

I thought that Gerhard Richter was that messiah? Oh wait! he's German, and the dubious undying appeal of realism to make artists into superstars is an American obsession.... wrong!

jack vettrianoAnd even in trendy YBA land, the BBC says that "No modern artist, not even the likes of Damien Hirst or Tracey Emin, divides opinion like Jack Vettriano." Jack Vettriano is, of course, a painter - sort of the John Currin of Great Britain - but much harsher and romantic and sexual - and although this Scottish painter has sold out every single exhibition that he's ever had, apparently all of them within an hour (including one in NYC), and has a waiting list for his next painting of several hundred names, and famous people and celebrities all crave his work, and the British critics hate his work - he enjoys spectacular success in Great Britain and is one of those artists whose reproductions are sold by the millions in the same mall "galleries" that push out the endless Warhols, Maxes and such.

So it's not just a provincial American "thing" to reserve some of our want for a bit of realism in our art - even if most critics despise it - but if the "public" likes it... then it can't be good art.

I suggest that the Post should change this article's headlines from "Plan to Become An American Art Star? Oh, Be a Realist" to "Plan to Become An Art Star? Oh, Be a Realist."

And then the headline would still make absolutely no sense at all - can anyone send me a list of their top ten contemporary art "stars" that includes a majority of realists? What a load of nonsense!

My final thought on this issue. Both Gopnik and I dislike Currin's work. But Gopnik dislikes it because he dislikes (a) the subject matter, (b) painting and (c) realism. I dislike it because I think that it is the pushing of the ultimate kitsch button by art curators - the perennial search not for a painting messiah, but for a high kitsch messiah to succeed the tired and jaded Jeff Koons.

lisa yuskavageOne thing doesn't make sense to me though. At Gopnik's "Long Live Realism - Realism is Dead" lecture at the Corcoran, when asked if he had to buy a painting today, what would he buy, he answered: "A reproduction of an old master."

When pushed further, Gopnik flashed some slides by Lisa Yuskavage and explained and defended her work using a lot of the same words that critics use to explain and defend Currin's work. Does this make any sense? Am I the only one who thinks that both these painters are singing the same tune?

Saturday, December 13, 2003

An excellent contemporary photography show in the area is the Faculty
Exhibition at Photoworks at Glen Echo, 7300 MacArthur Boulevard, Glen Echo
Maryland. The show will be up until February 1 and the hours are Sunday
from 1:00 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Monday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call 301 229 4313
for additional hours.

Friday, December 12, 2003

As we get ready to start our ninth year in Georgetown and our third year in Bethesda, we reach a major milestone with our 100th exhibition opening tonite Friday, December 12 in our Bethesda gallery as part of the Bethesda Art Walk.

When we opened our first gallery in Georgetown, a well-known local art critic visited us within the first week and we discussed our goals, experience and focus with him. “I give you six months,” he said as he left.

He said this because we had started a gallery financed by Visa and MasterCard, without a collector’s mailing list stolen from another gallery, without recognized, well-known artists (in fact without any artists other than us), without “silent partners,” and with a focus on contemporary realism, and thus a decision to largely ignore trendy “art” designed to cause temporary interest through shock or gimmick, but lacking the legs to stand the test of time. We also decided to exhibit art that we liked – that was and is the litmus test for Fraser Gallery artists – rather than exhibit second-rate art by well-known artists, vanity shows subsidized by Washington embassies, signed reproductions by major artists, or any artwork that we would not hang in our own home. We also made it an unbreakable rule to run the gallery with the highest of professional ethics designed to protect not only our artists but also our collectors.

Our success since then is due to staying the course of our focus and because of the brilliant talent of our represented artists.

Thus, our 100th show is a “thank you show” to the many artists that we now represent and to the success that they have given our galleries through their talent, trust and friendship. In the past 99 shows, between our solo, group shows and annual competitions, we have exhibited the work of nearly 1000 artists, many of whom had never exhibited before in the Washington area, and many, many young area artists who received their first gallery exposure though our annual student shows and other invitational shows.

The many artists in our 100th show reflect an incredible change from our artist-less beginnings in Georgetown. Our artists are now represented in the permanent collections of nearly 100 museums worldwide, from MoMA in New York to MALBA in Buenos Aires, have had nearly 1000 secondary art market auction lot records, have had nearly 30 books published about their artwork, and are in private and public collections all over the world.

Thank you.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Tomorrow, December 12, 2003 is the last day to get the exhibition raffle tickets for the District of Columbia Art Center 8th Annual Exhibition Raffle. An annual opportunity to win a six-week show in the DCAC gallery. Tickets are only $50 each for DCAC members and $100 for non-members. Note that a year's membership to DCAC costs as little as $30 making it possible to become a new member and enter the raffle for only $80. DCAC also encourages artists to join together with other artists and share the price of a ticket.

Tickets may be purchased at DCAC during gallery and theater hours tomorrow from 2-10 PM. For more information, please call (202)- 462-7833.

This is one of the most innovative ways to support one of our area's key non-profit art spaces. In the past artists have, as a small group, bought tickets and thus if you get 2-3 people together, the cost is even less. Past raffle winners include such artists as Jane Engle, Thomas Dryon, Manon Cleary, Lisa Brotman, Gay Glading, Margarida Kendall and Jo Rango.

For female photographers--- The National Women's Show: "The Female Perspective"

The Washington Gallery of Photography presents a National Women's Show: "The Female Perspective", a juried exhibition open to all female residents of any US state, its territories and the District of Columbia. All photographic work accepted, including digital and alternative processes. Seeking works that showcase female gender perspective. Show March 12 - April 9, 2004. All photographs juried from slides. Cash prizes and exhibition opportunities for first, second and third place winners, For entry form, visit, or send SASE to Washington Gallery of Photography, 4850 Ruby Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20814. Tel: 301.654. 1998, e-mail:

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Do we start them early or what?

For the second year in a row the MCPS Visual Art Center has produced six visual arts winners in the prestigious National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts 2003 art competition for talented high school seniors. Two MCPS Visual Art Center (VAC) seniors Max Chavez (AEHS) and Kevin Lee (J.F. Kennedy HS) were selected as finalists. Three VAC students, Elizabeth Black(Walter Johnson HS), Joanna Bresee(AEHS,) and Julie Chiplis(Blair HS,) received honorable mention awards. Soo Jin Kim(AEHS) received merit award recognition.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

New York painter Norma Greenwood has a show of her work at the Arts Club. Greenwood was selected by Stacy Schmidt, the Corcoran's talented Assistant Curator for Contemporary Art.

The Washington Arts Club is another of our city's great cultural jewels which usually gets ignored by the press. The Club usually has an annual call for artists, as their exhibition season is juried, a year at a time, by an invited curator, in this case Stacey Schmidt.

Monday, December 08, 2003

Hey! A contemporary realist has won this year's Turner Prize!

Transvestite potter Grayson Perry, who creates vases depicting representational subjects like death and child abuse, has won this year's Turner Prize. He beat the favorites, the Chapman Brothers, who had entered a piece titled "Sex," - a sculpture depicting bodies being eaten by maggots. Another Chapman work, called "Death," was a Seward Johnson-like painted bronze sculpture of a pair of blow-up dolls having sex.

Shock, gimmick, kitsch, art or all of them?

Sunday, December 07, 2003

Next Saturday the 13th, at the Millennium Arts Center (located at 65 I St., SW, Washington, DC), 20 or so artists will host open studios from 1-5 PM. From there you can go to Transformer Gallery from 7-9 PM. They have an opening reception for "The Out-of-Towners."

BlackRock Center for the Arts in Germantown, MD recently received an $80,000 gift from Mid-Atlantic Petroleum Properties, LLC, a company headquartered in Germantown that owns, operates and supplies over 50 gas stations, convenience stores and property investments in Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia.

More local area businesses ought to follow MAPP's example under the leadership of company President Carlos Horcasitas.

Saturday, December 06, 2003

Next Saturday Saturday December 13, from 7-9pm Transformer Gallery has an opening reception for "The Out-of-Towners" with site-specific installations by Laura Amussen, Lily Cox-Richard, Harrison Hayes, George Jenne and Michele Kong.

Transformer Gallery has really been hosting some very exciting shows and has very quickly become one of the key non-profit visual art spaces in our area.

Jayme McLellan and Victoria Reis have really done a spectacular job with the gallery. Goes to show you what hard work and dedication can accomplish.

The A. Salon Artists’ Cooperative, located in Old Town Takoma Park, will host a Holiday Open Studios and Sale on Sunday, December 14, 2003 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The address is 6925 Willow Street, NW, Washington, D.C. (across from CVS).

The event will feature four floors of professional artists and artisans, including: Ed Brooks, Fashions by Clintonia, Anne Cook, Robert Debbane, Matt Fasone, Tim Flatt, Judybeth Greene, Kathy Karlson, David Kliger, Katherine Knight, Giliah Litwack, Fred Limbach, Janet Matthews, Richard Moy, Bev Ringel, Alice Robrish, Sercan Sahin, Ann Saunders, Carol Schumm, Milena Spasic, Hillary Steel, Ira Thompson, Krista Weiss Tretick, Liz Vail and Amy Watson.

A. Salon is a fifteen-year-old artists’ cooperative offering affordable studio space to artists in the D.C. metro area.

Friday, December 05, 2003

Photographer and video artist Darin Boville checks in with some ideas in response to my post commenting about how do we make the Protzman ARTnews "buzz" about DC artists into a roar:

Darin writes:
Here are a few of my thoughts on the DC scene:

1) I think there are a lot of people out there--artists, potential collectors, writers, etc.--who have long ago decided that the emperor has no clothes, as far as contemporary art goes.

2) I also believe that there is something hardwired through evolution within humans that creates a desire and a need for both seeing art and creating it.

Tell those two facts to any first year MBA student and their eyes would light up and their lips would silently mouth the words "market opportunity."

--We need to create an atmosphere in DC where it is seen as a place to buy art. Think of New York as Microsoft. Think of the DC scene as a start-up firm. We can't challenge them. They may have weaknesses, they may not put out a good product, but we are deluding ourselves if we think we can offer a broad alternative.

--Thus, we need to specialize. Fill a niche that is not fully served by the big gorilla.

--Think about the market for art. Right away we think of the big news auctions with those Van Goghs, those Warhols. Forget about it. Focus on contemporary art by living artists. Think about New York and the fact that it has become less of producer of art than as a marketplace for art--could you really have guessed a few years ago that many of todays hottest photographers would hail from...Dusseldorf? Dusseldorf, for Christ-sakes. Think London. Who knew?

--Bill the DC scene as a hotbed of artistic activity, a new Athens (don't laugh, please, I'm just getting rolling), a center for an American Renaissance. Lord knows we need one. Pick four areas of contemporary art. Start pointing out that we are great in areas w, x, and y and--don't you see--world-class in ____ (fill in the blanks). Identify artists that are hot now on the world scene who have some sort of DC connection. Start a whispering campaign--let others say it for us!--that the DC area is not only hot in its own right but a stepping stone to the international, top-tier art world. Those in the know get it here early and, wink, they get a deal.

--Take a breath. Then pick a dozen or so area artists. Pick ones whose work can be connected to DC in some way, however tenuous. Exciting stuff. These will be our YBA's. Our Spice Girls. Piss a lot of local people off who want to be Spice Girls. The art world is tough that way.

--Once we see what we have, invent a "new direction in art." People do this twice a week in the art world so it can't be too difficult. Something that will serve as an alternative to New York Art (you see, our plan is to attack Microsoft and become the new Dark Lord, after all). So we have our Spice Girls and our New Direction.

--We're generating excitement. We're getting the Washington Post and the follower-types in all the local art institutions (which are filled with follower-types) interested. We have journalistic "hooks" upon which to hang stories--not just dead-boring, preaching to the converted "reviews" of shows. Who gives a shit about those. (Name the last time a "review" had any effect in the non-art world).

--Stop. Think of all that money out there. Think of all that money out there controlled by lawyers. Think of all that money out there controlled by electrical engineers turned software programmers. Think of all the art classes they never had. Think Star Trek. Think of the environmental-lite lifestyle. Our engine needs fuel. We need money. We need to get that money, expand our market. Stop competing on Microsoft's turf. We need to go where no man has gone before.

to be continued...


Thursday, December 04, 2003

For women photographers of our area: there's a new BLOG in town just for you!

It's maintained by Secondsight. Secondsight is an organization dedicated to the advancement of women photographers through support, communication and sharing of ideas and opportunities. Secondsight is committed to supporting photographers at every stage of their careers, from students to professionals. Each bi-monthly meeting includes an introductory session, a guest speaker, portfolio sharing and discussion groups.

The new BLOG is full of great info, such as opportunities, meetings, discussions and info on their guest speakers.

This coming Friday is the first Friday of the month, which means that the galleries around the Dupont Circle area galleries will have their First Friday openings and extended hours. Most of them have extended hours from 6-8 PM. Special congratulations to Conner Contemporary which will be celebrating its five year anniversary with a special group show retrospective.

Also 43 artists in the NoMA neighborhood will be having open studios this weekeind, noon to 5 PM. A good starting point would be in M. Jordan Tierney's studio, located at 57 N Street, NW. Tierney is a superb artist, who I thought had one of the best installations at last year's Art-O-Matic.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

The article that Protzman wrote for this month's ARTnews has me thinking a bit. I agree with Ferd that there's a buzz beginning to happen around DC art galleries and artists.

But how do we kindle this "buzz" so that it grows to a national roar? How do we, as an arts community, grab this opportunity and make it grow into something important?

I will give it some thought and for the next few days I will be posting my ten step program to making the buzz into a roar. Ten steps that can help nurture and grow our visual arts scene. Your thoughts and ideas are welcome.

Monday, December 01, 2003

In case you missed it on Sunday, Philip Kennicott, who is one of the music critics at the Post, has a very interesting essay on gay art and censorship.

Blake Gopnik also has a brilliant piece on Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg at the National Gallery of Art. In the article, Gopnik discusses Eckersberg's works and relative importance in the world of art from the perspective of two Gopniks: The Gopnik that we all know (who thinks painting is dead, that in order for contemporary art to be any good it has to add something "new", why be a realist when you can take a photo, etc.) - and the "other" Gopnik; that is the opposite of the published Gopnik. This "other" Gopnik is less apt to generalize and more open-minded when it comes to art.

This is novel and interesting art writing and it is almost as good as my idea of having Blake Gopnik and Paul Richard review the same show at the same time so that we can read two critics' perspectives on one artist.

Or you can read the Chief Art Critic of the Washington Times' view of this same show.

For Frida Kahlo fans:

Linda Pelati in Italy has a mail art call on the subject of Frida Kahlo. No restriction on size or technique. Deadline is January 31, 2004. All works will be exhibited, none will be returned. Documentation to all.

Send works to:

Frida Kahlo
Comune di Trezzano Rosa
Piazza XXV Aprile, 1
20060 Trezzano Rosa - MI

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Site Meter

Blogcritics: news and reviews

This gif is freely copyable. Just right click, save
Powered by
RSSify at WCC

Top Blogs

Arts blogs

Listed on Blogwise

Blogarama - The Blog Directory