Sunday, February 29, 2004

che guevara We must be running out of graffiti hoodlums, because Jurg Lehni and Uli Franke have invented a graffiti robot. Cool or what?

Hektor fits in a suitcase, but can paint a wall-sized graffiti driven by Adobe illustrator. He is driven by two motors and between those motors hangs a can of spray paint, and a mechanism to press the cap!

Note to CNN's Al Matthews: Che Guevara was Argentinian - not Cuban!

Note to Larry Rinder, curator of the Whitney Biennial: Too bad Lehni and Uli are Swiss - they would have been a great pick for the 2004 show, uh?

Note to the Tate: Hello?

Just finished another great Success as an Artist business seminar to another satisfied group of artists - sore throat and all, we had a full turnout and a waiting list of 25 people for any cancellations, so we'll probably do another seminar in April.

Check out this cool website that allows one to create your own Jackson Pollock painting online. Another really cool art site is Debby Rebsch's Museum of Temporary Art, which delivers an interesting mix of online art and actual art storage and presentation, and offers a new challenge to our established concepts of art and museums.

You can have your artwork in the permanent collection of this innovative museum by:

1. Choose the object (size about 1.4 x 1.4 x 2.75 inches) you want to donate to the Museum of Temporary Art.

2. Download the exhibit sheet. Print it and fill out the fields Author, Description, Comments/Origin and Date. Don't forget to sign it.

3. Send both the form and artwork to:
The Museum of Temporary Art
c/o Debbie Rebsch
Vischerstr. 6/1
D-72072 Tübingen

4. You will receive one exhibit from the Museum and an authorized copy of the original exhibit sheet. Your contribution will be placed in the Museum (both real and virtual).

Deadline: None, it's an ongoing project.

Saturday, February 28, 2004

The Quilts of Gee’s Bend

Bars and string-pieced columns - by Jesse Pettway c. 1950sThere are some museum exhibitions that almost from the first seeds of their conception are destined to great success. And thus I will reveal in the second sentence that I will join the chorus of art critics, writers and curators across America who have lavished nothing but praise on “The Quilts of Gee’s Bend,” currently on exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC until May 17, 2004.

But in addition to the visual power that this exhibition brings to the viewer, I believe that it also teaches several lessons that I think have so far been missed, or perhaps avoided, by all the reviews and articles that I have read about this show. I will thus concentrate on those aspects of this ground-breaking show, but first a little background.Housetop – center medallion - by Gloria Hoppins c. 1975

The Quilts of Gee’s Bend display the craft produced by the women (mostly) of Gee’s Bend, Alabama, a very isolated, small African-American community in southwestern Alabama. As one of the quilters put it herself at the press preview, “the road ends in Gee’s Bend and there’s nothing else past us.” Descended from the former slaves of two area plantations, the inhabitants of Gee’s Bend (who call themselves “Benders”) have been historically an agricultural society that was geographically isolated and nearly self-sustaining at a bare survival level through agriculture.

And the women of Gee’s Bend not only plowed and planted and worked in the fields alongside their men, but also reared large families, cooked and kept house and made beautiful quilts; not as art, but out of necessity. These quilts first began to emerge outside Gee’s Bend in the 1960s, but are only now making a true impact across the rarified upper crust of the fine arts world; a world usually too pre-occupied by what’s new, rather than “discovering” the art of common people such as the wondrous ladies of Gee’s Bend.

And because the quilts were created out of necessity, and driven by the availability of material (a torn shirt here, a worn out pant-leg there, etc.) their designs grew out of practicality, rather than a conscious attempt to deliver art. This practicality, plus the physical constraints of making a quilt, then unexpectedly drives the designs of these quilts towards an astounding visual marriage with modernist abstract painting. But not by design, and not by intention – but by a combination of necessity, natural design talent and availability of materials.

Whodda thunk it? Art abstraction without art theory.

Chinese Coins” – variation - by Arlonzia Pettway, c. 1965 Ignore the fact that they are quilts, look at the exhibition and the Gee’s Bend quilts’ designs immediately “pass” for abstract paintings that can be absorbed into the modern abstract genre without a second thought. But unlike the work of abstract painters, schooled or browbeaten into art theory by curators and art critics, the quilts’ original designs come out of a “homegrown” and highly developed collective talent for structure, design and color. So much for “teaching” and force-feeding art theory.

“The quilts,” said Arlonzia Pettway, one of the quilters, “were made to keep us warm.” Art faculties all over the world should make a note of this.

The quilts are also now teaching us powerful lessons, not only about art, but also about American history, art criticism and political correctness.

The New York Times dubbed this show one of the “ten most important shows in the world,” and art critics who one would imagine would rather have their eyes poked out with a blunt butter knife than hang a quilt as “art” in their post-modernist flats have all lined up to applaud this show and connect the bridge between craft and fine art for the quilts of Gee’s Bend.

Is this honest art criticism? Are we applauding the artwork, or are we applauding the quilters?

I submit that they (and I) are doing the former not only because some of us recognize the visual power of the craft, but because we are also completely enthralled by the latter. Once you meet the beautiful, serene, elegant and honest women whose hands created these quilts, you cannot help but realize that there are no losers in their success.

Mary Lee Bendolph is 67 years old, and she responded to one of my questions by saying that when she was eight years old, her mother sold the quilts as cheap as $1.50 and even Mrs. Bendolph has sold them as cheap as $5.00. These days, an Arlonzia Pettway or Mary Lee Bendolph quilt can go for as much as $6,000, as the fame of the quilting community spreads around the world.

“The Good Lord provides,” they both say. You don’t hear that very often in a hoity-toity art gallery or museum.

Gee’s Bend is certainly not the only quilting community in the United States, probably not even the only African-American quilting community in the South, and as beautiful and historically important as the quilts are, they nonetheless fit right into the well-known “secret language” of visual arts among African Americans in the South – Gee’s Bend is a tiny, but important, component of that language.

I don’t think that this is a language that has been clearly understood by mainstream critics and curators so far, as it is a traditional language – far from the giddy, rarified atmosphere of contemporary art. Seldom is anything traditional in the radar of today’s art scene. And thus, this is a traditional visual arts language that has been largely ignored by most high brow art critics and institutions, so preoccupied and focused on what’s new, rather than what’s good.

It is thus ironic, given the Civil Rights history of the quilters, that the quilts of Gee’s Bend suddenly cross the art segregation line between craft and art; in fact a bridge that seldom a “craft” has crossed before, and also present an insurmountable dilemma to art critics and curators worldwide, as this is a show that would be suicide (because of today’s political correctness) to dislike via a bad review.

The quilts force tunnel-visioned art critics and curators to look outside the latest “trendy” videographer or back-lit photographer with mural sized boring photographs. This is an unrecognized accomplishment of this show.

And I also submit that these works should no longer be boxed into a segregated label of “African American art” or “fine crafts” or whatever – they are simply brilliant examples of what common people, without art theory, without labels, without “isms”, without agendas, without grants, without endowments and without college degrees can deliver: sublime fine art.

Great American art.

The Quilts of Gee’s Bend is on view at the Corcoran Gallery of Art from February 14 through May 17, 2004.

See historical photographs from Gee's Bend from 1937-1939 here. By the way, most of these photos are from the collection of the Library of Congress and taken under Federal Government sponsorhip; therefore, if you like any of them, you can actually get them directly from the Library of Congress at a great deal!

Buy the catalog, books and CD's about the Quilts of Gee's Bend at Amazon or through the Tinwood Alliance. You can also buy the video through the Corcoran here and the catalog here.

Voices of Gee’s Bend: A Gospel Brunch - Sunday, February 29, 2004 at 10:30 am.
The Cafe des Artistes on the ground floor of the Corcoran is celebrating the exhibition The Quilts of Gee’s Bend with a special Gospel Brunch featuring vocalists from several of the choirs of Gee’s Bend, Alabama. The pricing for the Gee's Bend Gospel Brunch is $23.95 for adults and $10.95 for children under 12 and includes general admission to the museum. Reservations are now being taken for seatings at 10:30am, 12 noon or 1:30pm. Please call 202.639.1786 to make a reservation.

Friday, February 27, 2004

Freelancer writer Mark Jenkins has been writing the "On Exhibit" column at the Washington Post Weekend magazine lately. Today he delivers a pretty good review of the Douglas Gordon show at the Hishhorn.

Gordon was also reviewed earlier in the Post's Sunday Arts by Blake Gopnik.

Bethesda Fine Arts Festival

Only a few days left to apply! The deadline is March 1, 2004.

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 the Festival Director, Catriona Fraser, at (301) 718-9651.

Note: This is a great opportunity for artists to take their artwork directly to the buying public. The top fine arts festivals, such as Coconut Grove in Florida get well over a million people in attendance, and this one, in its first year, will present area residents with a great opportunity to see 150 artists and fine artisans all in one place. Since it is a juried fine arts festival, only fine arts and fine crafts will be exhibited. One of the rare local opportunities where an art venue actually will get tens of thousands of visitors in two days.

For Marylanders...

The Maryland Humanities Council Has Two Grant Categories.

The MHC awards grants to support programs that engage public audiences in the Humanities - history; philosophy; languages; literature; ethics; linguistics; archaeology; comparative religion; jurisprudence; the history, theory, and criticism of the arts and architecture; and those aspects of the social sciences employing historical or philosophical approaches. The Council has recently revised the criteria and guidelines for its grant program, which can be found at their website.

There are two grant categories: Opportunity Grants (up to $1,200) which are accepted year-round on a rolling basis and Major Grants ($1,201 to $10,000) which are awarded in two competitive rounds per year. The next Major Grant round - for projects beginning on or after July 1,2004 - is about to start and Drafts Proposals are due March 1 to deadline April 15. For projects beginning on or after Jan 1, 2005, Drafts Proposals are due Sep 1 to deadline Oct 15, 2004. Earlier submissions are recommended so that they can give feedback or help. Complete information on Major Grants can be found at this website. If you have any questions or need further information, please contact Stephen Hardy at 410-771-0653 or email him at

Oportunity for artists...

Deadline May 7, 2004
The City of Gaithersburg invites area artists to submit an application to exhibit in one of their four art galleries (Gaithersburg Arts Barn, Kentlands Mansion, Activity Center at Bohrer Park, and City Hall Gallery).

The exhibition season runs from October 2004 through September 2005. Applications are available as of March 1, 2004 and must be postmarked or received by 5 pm on May 7, 2004. For an application please call or email the Gallery Director, Andi Rosati at 301-258-6394 or email him at

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Arts Club Call for Artists...

Deadline: March 15, 2004
The Arts Club of Washington issues an annual call for entry for monthly solo exhibitions from September to June of each year in three on-site galleries. The deadline for submission is March 15, 2004. Visit their website or call the Director of Development at (202) 331-7282 to have an application forwarded online or by mail.

The Curator/Juror will be Scip Barnhart, who is not only an Associate Professor of Printmaking and Drawing at the Corcoran College of Art and Design and an Associate Professorial Lecturer of Printmaking at the George Washington University, but also one of our area's best printmakers.

Today is "Galleries" day at the Washington Post's Style section and Jessica Dawson reviews Roberto Matta: An Architect of Surrealism, at the Art Museum of the Americas.

Brazilian artist Lara Oliveira (currently an MFA candidate at GMU) debuts with her first solo exhibition in the Washington, DC area. Originally from Sao Paulo, this contemporary artist explores and embodies trans-nationalism and contrasts not only through her key artistic themes, but through her lifestyle and artistic development as well.

The exhibition is titled Planalto: Abstract Oil Paintings by Lara Oliveira and it is at:
Latin American Cultural Space Inc.
Consulate of El Salvador
1724 20th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20009
Phone: (202) 667-6674

The exhibition runs from March 4 – 28, 2004 with an Opening on March 5, 2004, from 6 - 8pm.

Glen Friedel opens at Gallery Neptune on March 12, from 6-9 PM with a show titled "Experiments in Radiance." Artist Reception Friday, March 12, 6-9 PM. Artist Talk, March 13, 5 PM.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

John Perrault makes an eloquent case why figurative sculpture can often carry the content that truly abstract sculpture cannot.

After you read that posting by Perrault, then please also read an earlier one on an exhibition of figurative sculptures at the Met.

I find the huge variance around one theme fasciating, and a window into the humanity of an art critic - liking "X" here and disliking "X" there because of "fill-in-the-blank."

Just finished the radio show with Voice of America. I believe it will be broadcast on Sunday. In addition to Cuban art, I managed to also discuss the general Washington art scene, how deep and diverse it is, how many galleries there are, how our museums are among the best in the world, and more importantly in this crusade, how it is generally ignored and even dismissed by our own mainstream media.

Dr. Claudia Rousseau, who was one of Latin America's most respected art critics, and who now lives in Montgomery County and writes for the Gazette has written an excellent review of our current Figurative Painting Show now on exhibition at Fraser Gallery Bethesda.

Freedom is a huge word by Cirenaica Moreira I'll be interviewed by the Voice of America radio network later on today as part of their cultural broadcasts to the world. The interview will be about our current exhibition by Cuba's three leading female photographers.

These photographers's works are just sensational in my biased opinion, and this is certainly our key photography exhibition of the year for Georgetown. It's the debut in DC by two of them (Cirenaica Moreira and Marta Maria Perez Bravo as well as the second showing of Elsa Mora's photographs.

The exhibition hangs until March 17, 2004 at Fraser Gallery Georgetown. See my earlier posting here. The exhibition will also be reviewed by Lou Jacobson in tomorrow's Washington City Paper.

This is one of four Cuban art exhibitions that we have planned between the two galleries for 2004. Later on this year we'll have Sandra Ramos, then Aimee Garcia Marrero and then a second iteration of our highly acclaimed From Here and From There group exhibition of Cuban artists and artists of Cuban lineage from the Cuban Diaspora around the world.

President Bush’s proposed FY2005 budget recommends an increase of $55 million for the nation's cultural agencies. Proposed increases include $18 million for the National Endowment for the Arts for the new “American Masterpieces” initiative, $27 million for the National Endowment for the Humanities, and $10 million for the Office of Museum Services.

Nicole Bouknight is interested in learning about photography and is seeking an apprenticeship with a photographer in the Washington, DC area. She's interested in learning the basics in photography, including: lighting, composition and darkroom procedures, also interested in learning to use digital cameras. She is also interested in assisting a photographer with on-location and studio assignments for exchange in education. Contact Nicole Bouknight via email at

Some International Photography Call for Artists:

Deadline: Friday 2 April 2004
The aims of this competition are to find the best wildlife pictures taken by photographers worldwide, and to inspire photographers to produce visionary and expressive interpretations of nature. The judges will be looking first and foremost for aesthetic appeal and originality, and will also be placing an emphasis on photographs taken in wild and free conditions. With digital images now being accepted, the competition judges will also be looking for images that are a true representation of life on Earth. Digital images submitted on CD are also accepted.

The competition is open to anyone, amateur or professional, of any age or nationality. Full details and entry forms are online here.

The 2003 exhibition is currently on display at The Natural History Museum, in London until 18th April, 2004.

Deadline: 25th March 2004
An opportunity to have your work promoted to the creative industry by having it picked for a 2005 Calendar Competition featuring the photography, digital imaging and mixed media work being used in advertising, design and the publishing market sectors.

Categories: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter. Entry fees are 10% reduced if entries are received by 27 February 2004; however, if you reference "CN12Feb" the final deadline is 25th March 2004.

For entry forms e-mail and to read the guidelines visit this website.

Addison-Ripley in Georgetown has "Lost Images: Berlin Mitte," a photographic exhibition by Frank Hallam Day. The show goes on until March 27, 2004.

Guillermo Silveira presents "The Cosmic Egg." This myth relates to the recent total solar eclipse. Silveira introduces us to an insane man who hopes to convince the audience that globalization will be possible if we all worship the Cosmic Egg. He sings, recites poetry, dances with cosmic chix, and creates a song with the audience, in his effort to find world unity and peace among nations and generations.

Location: The National Theatre
When: Monday, March 1, 2004 at 6:00pm and at 7:30pm

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

There are infuriating "high art" double standards that continue to bother me, as one discovers more and more variations upon the same theme.

The Theme:
J. Seward Johnson's "art" has been brutalized by the press everywhere. The reason given is not that Seward is a bad guy or even a bad artist, but that his concept of taking someone else's two-dimensional art works - in Seward's latest case the Impressionists - and making them into a three dimensional "new" work is both kitschy and reprehensible.

The Hypocrisy:
1. As I whined about it before, the British artist brothers Jake and Dinos Chapman's early work was based on the famous Goya etchings Disasters of War. Initially they used plastic figures to re-create Goya in a miniature three-dimensional form, and like Johnson (later on), one of these 83 scenes became a life-sized version using mannequins. Yet the Chapmans are darlings of the art world and were favorites in the last Tate show.

2. Whitney Biennial selectee Eve Sussman's "art" is to take Velasquez's Las Meninas and turn it into "ten minutes of a costume-drama feature film.”

3. Jane Simpson is one of's Artists to Watch for 2004. Her stellar reputation in the artworld has been acquired partially by her creation of sculptures based on Giorgio Morandi paintings.

Am I the only one who sees that all of these people are essentially working the same generic concept as J. Seward Johnson - but unlike Johnson, they are being lauded and praised?

What am I missing here?

Van Gogh Photograph

Purchased for one dollar in an antique store! Read the story here.

Photoworks at Glen Echo Hosts Portfolio Critique.

Photography enthusiasts are invited to bring their portfolios to Photoworks’ beautiful new studio space to be critiqued at no fee by professional photographers on the Photoworks faculty. Over coffee and bagels, photographers with all levels of experience will have the opportunity to share their work and receive feedback and comment and participate in fun and informal discussions with both amateur and professional photographers. Portfolios can consist of either digital or traditional work in either black and white or color.

When: Sunday, March 14, 2004 - 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon

Where: Photoworks, Glen Echo Park, Glen Echo, Maryland.

Founded in the early ‘70s, Photoworks is a self-funded photography program that offers classes, workshops, lectures, exhibit space and an open darkroom. The classes are designed to teach all levels of students camera, digital and darkroom skills and processes to make fine art photographs, and emphasizes a strong summer program for young people. All Photoworks teachers are professionals working in editorial, commercial and fine art fields, and Photoworks is proud to have launched the careers of many well-known area commercial and art photographers.

Monday, February 23, 2004

WETA's The Program radio show is supposed to be (according to their own description) about exploring "trends, events and issues in the Washington-area arts scene."

Sunday's program was about the story of Betsy, The Fingerpainting Chimp.

The Call Box Project, a city wide project, is funded to make historical markers of the old, unused Fire and Police Call boxes. The Dupont Circle Citizen's Association (DCCA) has 23 boxes in the Dupont Circle Area and plans to mount a piece of art work in each box. DCCA does require that every picture include the fountain that is in the center of Dupont Circle, but the fountain doesn't have to be the only focus of the picture.

A description of the project, as well as the Artists' Call and Art Specs which give details on dates, times and methods of submitting art work, are available on this website.

Note: As the call documents state, the DCCA will not pay artists for their producing their work even if it is selected to be reproduced in a box. The artists who are chosen will still own their original art work and can sell, or do whatever they want, with it. Priority will be given to artists who live in, or work in, the Dupont Circle area. DCCA hopes to display art work from 23 different local artists, however, more than one piece may be accepted from an artist and art will also be accepted from artists who do not live or work in Dupont Circle. The level one submissions of art samples are due to March 31, but the deadline for final original art work that includes the fountain does not need to be submitted until the end of the year. More info: Carol Galaty

Deadline: Friday, April 2, 2004.
In2Words: Numbers & Words. An exhibition in two parts exploring the use of numbers and words in contemporary art. Hosted by Target Gallery in Alexandria.

Part One: Numbers, juried by Sarah Tanguy, Independent Curator, Washington, DC, exhibit dates: June 10-July 18, 2004.

Part Two: Words, juried by Krystyna Wasserman, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC, exhibit dates: July 24-August 22, 2004.

Deadlines for both exhibitions is Friday, April 2, 2004. Fee is $25 for slides of up to 3 works. All artists/all media. Broad interpretations encouraged. Artists can apply to either or both exhibits. Awards up to $650.

Call 703.838.4565 ext. 4 or email Claire at or send SASE to:
105 N.Union Street
Alexandria, VA 22314

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Today's Sunday Arts in the Post is a rare treat with not only a Blake Gopnik review of Douglas Gordon at the Corcoran, but also an incredibly rare gallery review by Gopnik's predecessor, Paul Richard of a couple of area painters at Fusebox Gallery.

First Gopnik...

In his review of Gordon, Gopnik (who is a big fan of video art - in fact he was once asked "what should artists be doing today, if they are serious artists?" and he answered "only manipulated photography and video") gushes about Gordon. If the New York Times' Roberta Smith is giddy about Gordon, then Gopnik is nearly orgasmic as he heaves praise after praise on the Scottish artist's video work. You can also see a video of Blake discussing the show here. A video of a video show... if Blake slows it down to a video frame a minute... then is it great art redux?

I will visit this show next week and let you know which bodily function of mine it affects.

Paul Richard used to be the Post's Chief Art Critic until he retired a couple of years ago and was replaced by Gopnik. Unlike Gopnik, who rarely if ever visits area galleries and concentrates nearly exclusively on museum shows (at least so far), Richard's longevity at the Post allowed him to become deeply immersed in Washington area artists, galleries and scene. His review of Fusebox in today's Sunday Arts is a rare treat from the Post, and offers us an insight into a couple of things beyond the review itself.

First, this is the kind of visual arts coverage that the Post should be doing every Sunday, or at least once a month, not once or twice a year. Fusebox, which is a very hard-working gallery, gets the kind of coverage with this review that most area gallery owners would trade their first-born for (if any had children that is). That is good for Fusebox and for Washington art, and the Post should do it more often.

But the review itself is something else...

Richard uses his ample and first-hand knowledge of Washington art, artists and history to give painter Jason Gubbiotti something worse than a bad review (such as Jessica Dawson once gave painter Andrew Wodzianski when she destroyed him in this review). He gives Jason a patronizing review, expressing some interest here and there, but also handcuffing Gubbiotti too close to the Color School guys that Richard probably used to hang around with. He even dubs Jason's work as "fey."

I think that a review is good if it's really super passionate either way - such as Gopnik's glowing review of Gordon and Dawson's brutalizing of Wodzianski and C.M. Dupre or Gopnik's now famous destruction of J. Seward Johnson.

Richard treats Ian Whitmore, the other painter in the show, with less attention but a bit more kindness. I quite like Whitmore's work and have reviewed it favorably in the past, when he exhibited at "Strictly painting IV" at the McLean Project for the Arts - a show co-curated by Fusebox's Sarah Finlay.

But, in case you missed it, he also sends his successor, Blake Gopnik a not so subtle message in the last paragraph of the review. Blake's position on the issue of "painting is dead" is well-known. So Richard closes his review by writing:

"I liked these shows. What I liked best about them is that neither offers videos or blown-up back-lit photographs. It is nowadays a treat to encounter ambitious young artists who love the smell of paint."

Who says art criticism is boring? Am I the only one who'd love to read a review of the same show, independently done and written, by these two guys?

How about the The Quilts of Gee's Bend?

Annie Mae Young's Work-clothes quilt with center medallion of strips A week ago, someone named Will Haygood wrote a spectacular Washington Post review/article about the "Quilts of Gee's Bend" exhibition at the Corcoran.

It's not only well-written, but Haygood really gets to the human aspect of this exhibition - the strong, beautiful women of Gee's Bend - in a way that not many of us could. It is one of the best pieces of written art - about art - that I have read in the Post in years.

This was a major, multi-page review in Sunday Arts, and while it was brilliant, I am somewhat curious as to why this Post writer, rather than one of the Post's art critics, wrote the piece.

The New York Times dubbed this show one of the “ten most important shows in the world,” with high brow critics like Kimmelman heaping well-deserved praises all over it, and having seen it myself, I will tell you that it is without a doubt the best quilt show that I have ever seen.

So with a giddy endorsement from one of the most influential art critics in the nation, writing from the art pages of the most powerful newspaper in the world, it is curious that none of the Post's art critics covered this show (so far) and with the huge extravaganza of a review last Sunday, it seems that the Haygood review may be it.

Possibly because Blake Gopnik had reviewed the show earlier when it was in New York. And let me tell you - it is one of Gopnik's best written and more insightful reviews to date.

The show will be up at the Corcoran until May 17, 2004. Plenty of time for my theory (unlike Einstein's dark matter theory) to be proven wrong.

Einstein's prediction of the existence of "dark energy" (a force that works against gravity) has been confirmed.

Thus now we know that the Universe, which is about 13.7 billion years old, has about 30 billion years left before it "ends."

That's a long time for visual artists to try to come up with something that's "new" in order for them to be "good" in the eyes of many critics and curators.

I'll stick to drawing.

Health Insurance for Artists...
The Artists' Health Insurance Resource Center database was created in 1998 by The Actors’ Fund of America, with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, as a health insurance resource for artists and people in the entertainment industry.

Since then, with support from The Commonwealth Fund, it has expanded to include resources for the self-employed, low-income workers, the under-insured, the uninsured who require medical care and many other groups.

Visit them here.

Earlier I posted about Douglas Gordon at the Hirshhorn...

Well... in a first for the Hirshhorn --- the Museum will open the Douglas Gordon exhibition for twenty-four consecutive hours, 24 Hour Psycho (1993), the artist's famous video installation that stretches the Hitchcock classic into a twenty-four experience, is the inspiration for this all-night happening. This unique museum drop-in event, will also include music, gallery discussions, and a "Meet the Artist" interview with Douglas Gordon conducted by the Hirshhorn Director of Art and Programs and Chief Curator Kerry Brougher on Sunday at 3 p.m. in the Ring Auditorium.

24 Hour Access for 24 Hour Psycho starts on Saturday, February 28, 5:30 p.m. through Sunday, February 29, 5:30 p.m.

The Arlington Arts Center, currently under renovation, is taking applications for its eight individual artist studios. Deadline is March 1, 2004. Call 703-797-4573 or email for more information. The application can also be downloaded from the center's website at

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Deadline February 28, 2004
Capitol Arts Network presents a National Figure Show “The Human Figure,” a Juried All-Media Exhibition, sponsored by the Washington Gallery of Photography & Virtual Pose, April 9-May 5, 2004.

All figurative work eligible, including painting, sculpture, photography, fiber art, and others. Cash awards and prizes. Eric Westbrook, juror. Slides or jpegs due Feb. 28. Entry fee: $25/4 entries, $5/each over. Prospectus at their website, or call 301-661-7590 for further info or email them at

Exhibition held at Washington Gallery of Photography, 4850 Rugby Ave., Bethesda, MD 20814.

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 the Festival Director, Catriona Fraser, at (301) 718-9651.

Terry Parmelee's paintings and prints will be exhibited at Jane Haslem Gallery through mid-April. Opening reception is today, February 21st, noon to five, and by appointment. The show is held in conjunction with the publication of Parmelee's Catalogue Raisonne, "Terry Parmelee Prints, 1966-1999". The gallery is located at 2025 Hillyer Place NW, phone: (202) 232-4644.

Kelly Towles will be featured in Taking Over the Art Store: A Group Show. Opening reception: tonite February 21 at 10pm. Location: the Art Store in Georgetown. 3019 M St, NW (Between 30th & 31st Street). 202/342-7030.

"Black: A Celebration of a Culture", presents the vibrant panorama of 20th-century black culture in America and around the world in more than 500 photographs from the turn of the last century to the present day. Each photograph, hand-picked by Deborah Willis, one of America's leading historians of African-American photography, celebrates the world of music, art, fashion, sports, family, worship or play.

Willis is a MacArthur Fellow and author of The Black Female Bodyand Reflections in Black. Her latest book is A Small Nation of People.

At Vertigo Books, 7346 Baltimore Ave. College Park MD 20740 Tel: 301-779-9300

Friday, February 20, 2004

Gordon as Monroe, Cobain, et al... Lee Stalsworth/Museum of Contemporary Art, Los AngelesNew York Times' art critic Roberta Smith is absolutely giddy about the Douglas Gordon show at the Hirshhorn.

I haven't seen the show yet (but will) and I will be honest enough to admit that I am already predisposed to dislike it, or rather to be bored by it, which is what happens to me with a large percentage of video "art."

The reason (I think) is that often the concept of the video artist's "art" is a lot more interesting than the final product. Add to that that "video art" is more often than not a combination of video and still photography - really a traditional mish mash of genres, and by the second or third video in a row by the same guy, I find myself just reading the wall text and looking at the still photographs and just barely glancing at the actual home movie... oops! I mean "video art."

But not Ms. Smith, who finds that Gordon's work "can trigger an almost giddy optimism about the general state of contemporary art and refresh your confidence in the possibility of artistic progress, even in these postmodern times."

Gordon's most famous and acclaimed work — famous indeed, but I wonder how many people have actually seen it in its entirety — is "24 Hour Psycho," an installation in which Alfred Hitchcock's famous movie thriller is extended to 24 hours, instead of proceeding at the usual speed of 24 frames per second. You can see it at the Hirshhorn - pop corn prohibited.

Progress is progress...

photo by Perez Bravo Today is the third Friday of the month and thus the Canal Square Galleries (31st Street NW and M Street in Georgetown) will have their monthly openings. We will have what I consider our key photography show of the year.

It is work by three of Cuba's most gifted female photographers: Elsa Mora, Marta Maria Perez Bravo and Cirenaica Moreira.

The openings go from 6-9 PM and are catered by the Sea Catch Restaurant. They are free and open to the public. Also tonight, instead of our usual Sangria, we will be serving Cuba Libres (Rum & Coke), and playing Benny More music to get in the Cuban mood.

See ya there!

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Sometime tomorrow morning this site will receive its 5,000th visitor!

Today's Washington City Paper has a great profile article by Matt Sommers on legendary 83-year-old photographer Lida Moser, who now lives in Rockville.

Two of Moser's vintage photographs sold at Christie's auctions two days ago for $1,000 and $3,000 respectively. Her vintage work has gone as high as $4,000 in 2002.

As far as I know, Moser is the only Washington area photographer whose work shows up regularly in most major international photography auctions and yet she's never had a Washington museum show - but she's had solo shows in museums in Canada and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, and locally her work is in the permanent collection of the Library of Congress and also the National Portrait Gallery and her photographs are in the permanent collections of dozens of museums around the world.

Yet not one single Washington area museum seems interested in organizing a Washington show of this 83-year-old dynamo, whose life is currently being filmed by Canadian television.

Suggestion to the National Museum of Women in the Arts: Wake up!

In case you missed the Kojo Nmandi show earlier today - here's the audio of the show. I'm towards the last 20 minutes of the show.

Don't forget to tune in today from 1:30 to 2:00 to WAMU 88.5 FM, where I will once again be a guest at the Kojo Nmandi Show.

I will be discussing the area's art scene and gallery and museum shows coming down the next few weeks, as well as mentioning some of my favorite area artists.

I believe that they will be taking phone calls from listeners, so if anyone has a question or comment for me, I should be able to take it on the air.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Tomorrow I will once again be a guest at the Kojo Nmandi Show on WAMU 88.5 FM from 1:30 to 2:00 PM. I will be discussing the area's art scene and gallery and museum shows coming down the next few weeks. Please listen in, as I believe that they will be taking phone calls from listeners.

I'm still in Tampa, and today I hope to be able to go visit the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Pete. Will be returning to DC later tonight.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

AMPOFO, which deals in African Art Collectibles has an Open House Sale from February 20-22 featuring new works by photographer Nestor Hernández, one of my favorite DC photographers. 12 noon to 8:00 P.M. and other days and times by Appointment

3901 Ames Street, N.E.
Washington, D.C. 20019

Monday, February 16, 2004

I'm in Tampa - flew here on Sunday night, and on the way here I managed to wipe out my laptop's modem, so have been unable to log on and put good stuff here. Will make it all up soon.

This coming Friday is the third Friday of the month, which means that the four Canal Square Galleries in Georgetown will have their opening nights. Catered by the Sea Catch Restaurant - from 6-8 PM. See you there!

Job in the Arts
Jean Efron Art Consultants: Project Manager - This position is an opportunity for a qualified applicant to gain exposure to local and national artists and galleries as well as to business management. An enthusiastic, highly organized, efficient, detail and people-oriented person is needed to manage projects and assist in the operation of an established art consulting firm. College grad with background and interest in contemporary art and a minimum of two years work experience is required. Computer expertise is essential with a knowledge of or ability to learn quickly Access and Photoshop and to maintain a visual digital library. Comfort with Internet research is required. Marketing and PR experience is desirable. Duties include project and office administration (organizing and maintaining files, shipping, framing, invoicing); client and artist development, organizing schedule for gallery and artist studio visits. Position can be full or part-time and is permanent with benefits. Salary: mid to high 30's; negotiable depending on experience. Please fax cover letter, resume and salary requirements to Jean Efron Art Consultants, LLC, and (202) 223-0275.

Opportunity for artists...
Deadline: April 4, 2004.
The Art Institute of Portland Gallery is accepting proposals for future exhibitions in 2005. Proposals must include a cover sheet introducing the artist and reasons for wanting to exhibit in the Gallery, 10-20 slides or digital images on CD of original work (only work that is to be considered for the exhibit should be submitted), artist statement including how the artwork will help further the educational mission of the design college, artist biography/resume, detailed image list with dimensions, media and year created for each image provided. If submitting slides, each slide must be labeled with artist name, dimensions, media. The Art Institute here. All proposals are to be submitted to:
Marlynn Schotland
Director of Public Relations
The Art Institute of Portland
1122 NW Davis Street
Portland, OR 97209.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

DC photographer Joseph Mills, who had one of the best photography shows I have ever seen a while back at the Corcoran (curated by Paul Roth) has himself now curated an exhibition titled "Crosscurrents 2004, Room Full of Mirrors" at The Art Gallery of the University of Maryland. It will be up until February 28, 2004. See the exhibition online here.

The Crosscurrents exhibition series was established in the early 1990's to link
The University's Art Gallery directly with the Greater Maryland and Washington, DC contemporary art scene by creating a dialogue with local curators and artists. I must admit that this is the first time I've ever heard of it, so hopefully this will help spread the word about it.

Room Full of Mirrors includes works by Noah Angell, Marci Branagan, Colby Caldwell, Norman Carr, Victor Carroll, Francesca Danieli, Mary Del Popolo, Frank DiPerna, Marlon Fuentes, e. mars, Joseph Mills, Martha Olsson, Michael B. Platt, and Paul Roth (who curated the Mills exhibition at the Corcoran). The photographers examine photography, photomontage, multimedia, and collage in various ways.

The Art Gallery of the University of Maryland is in the Art-Sociology Building in College Park, MD. For information call 301.405.2763.

Joseph Mills is represented locally by Hemphill Fine Arts.

I am finishing a review of the Corcoran's "Quilts of Gee's Bend" exhibition, currently on display - once that's done and sent to my editor I will write a second one for posting here.

Sophia McCrocklin is a Washington area quilt artist - I reviewed her work several years ago and was quite impressed by it. Her new work just came down after being on exhibition at Spectrum Gallery for this past month. She is one of our area's most innovative artists working this medium.

Titled "Colors of Optimism", this recent work displays Sophia's heritage of quilt art to convey a personal landscape.

One of Washington's most active independent curators is Sarah Tanguy.

"Pattern & Purpose": works by Juliane Min, Melina Nicolaides, Rex Weil, and Elizabeth Whiteley; curated by Sarah Tanguy is currently on display at The American Center for Physics until April 16, 2004.

The Center is located at One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740. For viewing information, please contact Eva Adams, tel: 301-209.3125 .

Looking for a gallery?

Spectrum Gallery, 1132 29th St NW, in Georgetown (Phone 202-333-0954), is looking for new members and having a new member jurying panel on Saturday March 13, 2004. Please call the gallery for info or visit their website.

Opportunity for photographers...

Katherine Ware, the Curator of Photographs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, will be the juror for the 2004 Photo Review Photography Competition. The Photo Review will reproduce accepted entries in its Summer 2004 issue. Also, the prize-winning photographers will be chosen for an exhibition at the photography gallery of The University of the Arts, Philadelphia. Awards include Microtek ScanMaker i900 scanners, a $350 gift certificate from Calumet Photographic, and $500 in cash prizes. An entry fee of $25 for up to three prints, slides, or images on CD and $5 each for up to two additional prints, slides, or images entitles all entrants to a copy of the catalogue. In addition, all entrants will be able to subscribe to The Photo Review for $30, a 20%
discount. All entries must be received by mail between May 1 and May
15, 2004.

For a prospectus and details, send a self-addressed, stamped
business-size (#10) envelope to:
The Photo Review
140 East Richardson Avenue, Suite 301
Langhorne, PA 19047.

The prospectus may also be downloaded from The Photo Review website. For further information call 215/891-0214.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

And the quilt bandwagon rolls on...

Deadline April 20, 2004
Artists may submit up to three (3) art quilt entries. Several major prizes will be awarded during a special preview night, Aug 18, 7-9pm. Work must be original in design. Derivative work or work created in a class with the aid of an instructor is not acceptable. Entry fee is $25.00. All artwork will be insured by R&M Associates, Inc., which is the parent company of 3G Productions. 3G Productions will retain a 25% commission on any work that is sold. May 20-Notification of acceptance; Aug 2 – Deadline for receipt of accepted work; Aug 18 – Opening preview and awards ceremony; Sep 1 – Artwork returned to artists. Send the following to:
3G Productions
2717 Main Street
Glastonbury, CT 06033

Two professional slides for each entry – one overall view in full frame, and one close-up detail (showing approximately 12" x 12"). Slides must be clearly labeled with: Artist’s name; The title of the piece and dimensions (W x H) in inches; The word "top" indicating the top edge of the piece. Labeling should appear on the side which displays the right-reading image when held to the light; check $25; SASE for slide return; An artist’s statement specific to each piece (no more than 100 words). E-mail for entry form.

Excursion by David FeBland

Great opening crowds last night in Bethesda and David FeBland, whose work has been called "a revival of the Ashcan School" and also "the leading edge of the new urban realists" by the New York Times came through with a great sale. That's his "Excursion" above.

Friday, February 13, 2004

Tonite is the Bethesda Art Walk. See you there.

Opportunities for artists:

No deadline. Now booking shows for July 2004 through June 2005.

The City of Greenbelt, Maryland hosts 16 professional exhibitions annually in two galleries. Artists working in any medium are welcome to apply for inclusion in curated solo and group shows. Preference is shown to artists interested in conducting public programs in conjunction with their exhibition, such as talks, workshops, and collaborative public art projects. Compensation is available for teaching. Guidelines provided on request. Visit the
website for details.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Jessica Dawson has a really good piece in today's Galleries column in the Post.

She eloquently discusses the Maryland Institute College of Art's "Comics on the Verge" exhibition, although I would disagree with her that by presenting this exhibition, "the university makes a radical statement" and thus "contends that cartoonists are in a league with fine artists;" statements that she writes in her review opening lines.

As Jessica mentions later in the article, comic book art and artists have been finding their way to galleries and museums for years now, and although there's still somewhat of a mental segregation in the minds of "high art" segregationists, I think that the battle has been fought and won, especially now that anything and everything is art.

Thus, although this sounds indeed like a terrific exhibition, and I will go and see it (and comment on it later), my first reaction is to disagree with it being a "radical statement."

One of the very first pieces of artwork that I ever bought was a pen and ink drawing by Robert Crumb when I was living in Southern California in 1976. Back then I used to collect what we then called underground comic books, and I must admit that I was amazed when Bay area galleries started showing Crumb and other underground cartoon artists' works as art. By the middle 80's Crumb was an international cult artist, and even appeared in Newsweek and other magazines. In 1990 the Museum of Modern Art, in New York City, included his work in an exhibit called "High and Low" which also featured work by other cartoonists; this was the crowning (14 years ago) of comic book art as "high art."

Death Dealer by Frank Frazetta Another cartoon (and later book cover) artist that I purchased back then was Frank Frazetta, who was my childhood art hero and without a doubt the most influential illustrators (on other illustrators) from the 50's to the present. At one point Frazetta's book covers could guarantee so many sales, that book publishers would bid for his paintings and then hire a writer to create a story around the painting! His Death Dealer (shown to the left) is the best selling poster in US history and has been reproduced endlessly on paper, canvas, action figures and sculptures. This is all of course, very "low brow" art to most people - except Sotheby's and Christie's and art collectors, as Frazetta's originals now auction at incredible prices for a "low brow artist."

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

It's enlightening to read two art critics, both writing from important pulpits, write independently of each other about the same show. First this guy and later, this lad.

Note the stylistic differences, and how one critic brings the show to us, coupled with opinions and passion, while another rambles inaccurately about history and without an iota of proof, submits an erroneous theory.

Residency in Canada
Gibraltar Point International Artist residency Program
Deadline: March 29, 2004.
The Residency Program provides Canadian and International professional artists from all disciplines with a subsidized opportunity to live and work at the Gibraltar Point Centre for the Arts on Toronto Island (Toronto, Canada) from June 1-30, 2004.

Ten solo artists will be selected. Information and detailed application procedures are available on the Artscape website.

For more info: Toronto Artscape, phone: 416.392.7834 x.2 or email Susan.

Yesterday I went to the press preview offered by the Corcoran for "The Quilts of Gee's Bend." This show is about the quilt-making tradition of a geographically isolated African-American community in southern Alabama. I will be reviewing it for a couple of magazines and also later here. The show opens to the public on February 14, 2004.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

This coming Friday is the second Friday of the month, which means that it is time for the Bethesda Art Walk. Several galleries and art establishments participate, light food and refreshments are provided, as well as a free shuttle bus to take visitors around the galleries.

We will be opening our annual Contemporary Figurative Painting Show. This is our annual group show of gallery and invited artists around the nation working within the figurative genre opens this coming Friday, February 13 at Fraser Bethesda with a catered opening reception from 6-10 PM to welcome the artists as part of the Bethesda Art Walk. The exhibition runs from Feb 13 - March 10, 2004.

Lucha Libre by Andrew Wodzianski Included in this show are new works by GMU Art Faculty professor Chawky Frenn, recent recipient of a major positive review in the New York Times, New York's David FeBland, who continues to be our best-selling painter, New York painter John Jacobsmeyer, former Corcoran graduate and now San Francisco artist Douglas Malone, BP Portrait Prizewinner Zygimantas Augustinas, British painter Halen Bayley, Cuban realist Augusto Bordelois, our area's own Scott Hutchison, whose large nudes recently caused all the TV and press furor during his Fraser solo show, MICA graduate (and most recent winner of a Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation grant) Andrew Wodzianski (his "Lucha Libre is shown) , New England painters Margaret McCann and Catherine Kehoe and several others.

Come join us from 6-10 PM for Washington's best sangria and some food.

Funding Opportunities for Artists:

Funding for Arts, Education, and Literacy at Barnes & Noble.
They consider requests for local support from organizations in the communities they served, including our area. Its giving focus is on literacy, the arts or education (K - 12). Eligible applicants include nonprofit organizations serving the community where its stores are located. Artists can submit proposals through local non-profits. There are no deadlines for applications. Proposals should be submitted to the community relations manager or store manager at the local store.

A plan for promoting the program with Barnes & Noble should be included in the proposal, and the organization must be willing to work with the local store(s) on in-store programming. For further information, go here.

Altria Group, Inc. announces its 2004 Visual Arts Request For Proposal.
The goal of this grantmaking initiative is to support the organization of a range of visual arts exhibitions that demonstrate some of the most significant, challenging, and innovative work that is being created in the field today. Grants will: foster artistic development; promote innovation and diversity; challenge the art form; present a bold examination of aesthetic, cultural or societal issue; and/or investigate the use of new materials and concepts. Eligible applicants include U.S. nonprofit organizations that are the organizing institution of the exhibition and not a tour site. Grant awards will range from $10,000-$100,000. For further information, go here.

The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts fosters innovative artistic expression and the creative process by supporting cultural organizations that, in turn, support artists and their work. Grants are made on a project basis to curatorial programs at museums, artists' organizations, and other cultural institutions to originate innovative and scholarly presentations of contemporary visual arts. Projects may include exhibitions, catalogues, and other organizational activities directly related to these areas. Eligible applicants include nonprofit organizations. The deadlines for proposal are March 1 and September 1, 2004. For further information, go here.

Monday, February 09, 2004

For Sculptors:
Deadline: February 23, 2004

The Public Arts Trust Program of the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County announces a Public Art Competition for Fairland Community Center and Library with a budget of $30,000. For details of this and other competitions, contact the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Opportunity for artists
Deadline: February 14, 2004
Montpelier Cultural Arts Center. All artists over the age of 18 are invited to enter the Laurel Art Guild's 35th Annual Open Juried Art Exhibition to be held at Montpelier Cultural Arts Center March 5-28.

This year's juror is Scott Habes, Director of the Art Gallery at the University of Maryland and formerly director of school exhibitions at the Corcoran College of Art. Entries must be postmarked no later than February 14.

For more information, call Margary Sampson at 301 604-6750 or to download an
entry form, go here.

Curator Needed
The District of Columbia Housing Authority is seeking a curator to develop an art show at one of their senior buildings in SE D.C. Interested curators should contact Ms. Layne' Spicer, Director of Housing Management at (202) 698-3409 or email her at for further information.

Corcoran's Art + Law Series

Keeping Your Artwork Unique: Copyright and Trademark Law
When: Monday, February 9th at 6:30 in the Corcoran's Armand Hammer Auditorium - 17th and New York Avenue, NW (enter New York Avenue) Washington, DC
$40 general public
$30 for Corcoran Members
$20 for WPA\C Members
Corcoran Staff - Free

Please join attorney Kenneth Kaufman, a specialist in copyright, entertainment
and internet law, explains how to protect your artwork from unauthorized
reproduction and how to obtain compensation if this protection is violated. Mr.
Kaufman will place emphasis on evolving new technologies in the computer and
entertainment field. All questions will be answered!

Please contact Public Programs (202) 639-1770 to register for this course

Saturday, February 07, 2004

Kathryn Cornelius hits the nail right on the head with this smart and eloquent discussion on "artspeak." Read it here.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Success as an Artist Seminar

Almost as soon as we opened our first gallery in Georgetown in 1996, artists began pouring in seeking representation. This continues to this day, and between visits, emails, packages in the mail, etc. we generally receive around 600 inquiries a year.

Because we obviously cannot represent or sell the work of such a huge number of artists, a lot of good, talented artists are turned away, after we have recommended follow on steps on what to do. However, in our first few months, Catriona soon discovered that she was spending most of her of time with emerging artists discussing many of the same things over and over, which generally consisted of giving out career advice about such things as gallery representation, contracts, grants, competitions, resumes, etc.

This was not only time consuming with scheduled appointments, but many unscheduled visits caused her to spend several hours a day just meeting with artists and essentially passing out the same information, over and over.

Then her mother came out with a brilliant idea: Why not come up with a structured, formal seminar for emerging artists to pass out this information as well as other important information. Not theory, not review of artwork, but practical advice, usable handouts and a forum to answer questions all at once.

We held our first seminar in 1999 – it was supposed to run for four hours but it ran for seven. So eventually we changed it to a full day, seven hour seminar, and have now presented it to nearly 1,000 artists and art administrators from nearly every Mid Atlantic states – with attendees coming from as far south as South Carolina.

It has been spectacularly successful in offering practical business advice to the emerging artist on many areas not covered by any art school curriculum that we know of. The information, advice and details taught at the seminar are not based on theory, but on actual practical experience and hands-on effects. That’s why it has been so successful!

In its seven hour format, the seminar covers a wide range of structured issues including:

1. Materials
Buying materials – strategies for lowering your costs, where and how to get it, etc.

2. Presentation – How to properly present your artwork including Conservation issues, Archival Matting and Framing, Longevity of materials, a discussion on Limited editions, signing and numbering, Prints vs. Reproduction, discussion on Iris Prints (Pros and Cons).

3. Creating a resume - Strategy for building your art resume, including how to write one, what should be in it, presentation, etc.

4. Juried Shows – An Insider's view and strategy to get in the competitions.

5. How to take slides and photographs of your artwork

6. Selling your art – A variety of avenues to actually selling your artwork, including fine arts festivals, corporate acquisitions, galleries, public arts, etc.

7. Creating a Body of Works

8. How to write a news release

9. Publicity – How to get in newspapers, magazines, etc. Plus handouts on email and addresses of newspaper critics, writers, etc.

10. Galleries – Discussion on area galleries including Vanity Galleries, Co-Operatives, Commercial Galleries, Non-profit Art spaces, etc.

11. How to approach a gallery – Realities of the business, Contracts, Gallery/Artist Relationship, Agents.

12. Outdoor Art Festivals – Discussion and advice on how to sell outwork at fine arts festivals, which to do, which to avoid, etc.

13. Resources - Display systems and tents, best juried shows and ones to avoid.

14. Accepting Credit cards – How to set up your art business.

15. Grants – Discussion on how to get grants in DC, Regional and National, including handouts on who and where and when.

16. Alternative Marketing - Cable TV, Local media

17. Internet – How to build your website at no cost, how to establish a wide and diverse Internet presence.

The seminar has been a spectacular success, and the feedback from artists can be read online at here and we continue to receive tremendous positive feedback on the practical success that this seminar has meant for those who have taken it.

The seminar lasts for seven hours and is now offered twice a year. It costs $75 and the next one is scheduled for February 29, from noon to 7 PM at our Bethesda gallery. It is restricted to 50 participants and interested artists can read more details or print a registration form online at or just call Catriona at 301/718-9651. The seminar is held at the Fraser Gallery of Bethesda, located at 7700 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite E, in Bethesda. The gallery is one block from the Bethesda Metro stop on the Red Line. Ample free parking is also available

If anyone is attending the International Art Expo in New York, email me and I'll hook you up with some free passes.

For Printmakers:
Deadline: Apr 09, 2004
NATIONAL JURIED PRINT EXHIBITION at Lancaster Museum of Art. $2000 in awards. For a prospectus send an SASE to:
Lancaster Museum of Art
135 N Lime St
Lancaster PA 17602
Or call 717-394-3497 or email

This year, The Art League is commemorating a 50-year legacy of supporting the arts and nurturing artists in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. The Art League, with its prestigious gallery and school, is the fruit of the work of thousands of artists and art patrons from the Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area.

They currently have the Patron's Show on exhibit, one of their major fundraisers, where 600 area artists donate a work of art and historically all 600 are snapped by collectors through a raffle process. Through February 15. Following that, they will have (from February 19-23) their biennial Ikebana show, where designers of the Sogetsu school of Ikebana will create graceful Japanese flower designs in pottery handcrafted by Torpedo Factory artists. This show also features an Ikebana Arranging Demonstration and a Japanese Tea Ceremony.

Today is the first Friday of the month, so the Dupont Circle galleries will host their openings and late hours. See you there from 6-8 PM.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Local photographer in next Christie's Photography Auction:

Several vintage photographs by legendary photographer Lida Moser,
represented by us, will be offered at the next Christie's New York auction on Feb. 17, 2004.

In 2002, Moser's photos sold as high as $4,000 at Christie's.

click to see Moser's worksLida Moser, who currently lives in Rockville, Maryland and is in her late 80s, has a distinguised career that started as a student in 1947 in Berenice Abbott's studio. She then worked for Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Look and many other magazines. She has also authored and been part of many books and publications on and about photography in the New York Times, New York Sunday Times, Amphoto Guide to Special Effects, Fun in Photography, Career Photography, Women See Men, Women of Vision, This Was the Photo League, and others. She also wrote a series of "Camera View" articles on photography for The New York Times between 1974-81.

In 1950 Vogue (and subsequently Look) assigned Lida Moser to carry out an illustrated report on Canada, from one ocean to another. When she arrived at the Windsor station in Montreal, in June of that same year, she met by chance, Paul Gouin, then a Cultural Advisor to the Duplessis government. This chance meeting leads the young woman to change her all-Canada assignment for one centered around Quebec.

Armed with her camera and guided by the research done by the Abbot Felix-Antoine Savard, the folklorist Luc Lacourcière and accompanied by Paul Gouin, Lida Moser then discovers and photographs a traditional Quebec, which was still little touched by modern civilization and the coming urbanization of the region.

A portrait of Lida Moser, by Alice Neel, currently hangs in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Several portraits of Alice Neel by Lida Moser are in the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.

Her work has been exhibited in many museums worldwide and is in the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery, London, the National Archives, Ottawa, the National Galleries of Scotland, National Portait Gallery, Washington, DC, the Library of Congress, Les Archives Nationales du Quebec, and many others. Moser was a member of the Photo League and the New York School.

The Photo League was the seminal birth of American documentary photography. It was a group that was at times school, an association, and even a social photography club. Founded in 1936 and disbanded in 1951, the Photo League promoted photojournalism with an aesthetic consciousness and a social conscience that reaches photojournalism and street photography to this day.

Works by Moser can be seen online here.

Jessica Dawson reviews Rembrandt etchings on display at St. John's College in Annapolis in her "Galleries" column in the Post today.

And in a rare two-visual-arts-day at the Post, Linton Weeks has a very large review of Winston Churchill photographs at the Library of Congress. Weeks (as far as I know) is not an "art critic" but he does a readable job in mostly describing the exhibition and give us a bit of historical background, which is what most hi-fallutin' art critics would have done anyway.

Woudn't it be nice to see (more often) a couple of different journalists write about the visual arts on the Post's "Galleries" day? All the time...

Of course, today "the galleries" were ignored, as Jessica went out-of-town and Weeks reviewed a museum show.

Maybe next week...


Grants for artists...
Once of the institutions created after Andy Warhol's undexpected death was Creative Capital.

Each year the award a lot of grants and this year the foundation will award up to 40 grants in the fields of visual arts and film/video. In the spring of 2004, Creative Capital Foundation will accept proposals for its 2004-05 grant cycle supporting work in the visual arts and film/video. Grants for performing arts and emerging fields will be available in 2005.

They have implemented a new application process: to apply for a grant, artists must first submit an Inquiry Form, which will be available February 16, 2004 on the foundation's website . The deadline for completed Inquiry Forms is March 15, 2004; those invited to apply will be notified in June 2004. As in past grant rounds, funded projects will receive approximately $400,000 in initial grants, ranging from $5,000 to $20,000. In addition, grantees are eligible for follow-up support totaling $900,000 to $1 million in the form of advisory services and additional financial assistance.

Address: Creative Capital Foundation, 65 Bleecker St 7th Fl, New York, NY 10012. E-mail: Tel: 212.598.9900 Fax: 212.598.4934

DC Commissions on the Arts and Humanities: Small Projects Program.
Deadline: March 4, 04.
The Small Projects Program (SPP) offers grants up to $1,000 to District of Columbia individual artists and arts organizations. The program seeks to make grant funds more accessible for small-scale arts projects. Projects may include but are not limited to: Art presentations, Assistance in fundraising, marketing, and management, Documentation of artistic activities through photography, brochures, portfolios, and demo tapes, Conferences, workshops, or seminars that will enhance artistic and professional development.

Upcoming deadlines for Small Projects Program applications is Thursday, March 4, 2004, 6:00 pm. Workshops to help artists fill out applications will be held on the following dates: Thursday, February 26, 2004, 12:00 - 1:00 pm.

The SPP workshop will be held at the Commission's office at 410 8th St., NW, Fifth Floor, Washington, DC 20004. Download the FY2003 Small Projects Program Guidelines and Application here. For more information on the Small Projects Program or to receive an application in the mail, please call Lionell Thomas at (202) 724-5613.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Cuban art and artists are superhot right now, and we'll have an avalanche of Cuban shows this year in DC. More on that later...

How to make them even hotter?

Answer: Eliminate or reduce access to their artwork.

Read the Art & Antiques magazine article "Crackdown ends U.S. Collecting Trips to Cuba."

Opportunities for artists:

Deadline: February 15, 2004
CURRENT WORK 2004: A NATIONAL COMPETITION. Open to all artists 18 and over. 2- Dimensional media only. Exhibition dates: March 19 - April, 2004, $25 entry fee for three slides, $1,200 in awards. Deadline for slides is February 15. To receive a prospectus, send a SASE to:
Rosenthal Gallery
Fayetteville State University
Fayetteville NC 28301.

Or visit the website to enter online or to review the prospectus or email

Deadline: February 20, 2004
The Tulane Review is looking for submissions of artwork in any medium for the Spring 2004 issue. Slides, please label orientation, or CDs of work should be mailed to:

Tulane Review
Department of Art
Tulane University
New Orleans, LA 70118.

Enclose a SASE for return of submissions. Please include a cover letter with media, dimensions, and titles of pieces, as well as a bio. The submission fee is $15 per 4 pieces and $2 each additional. A $100 prize to be awarded to the single best piece selected by qualified judge. Direct any questions to, or call (318)572-4374.

Deadline: February 21, 2004
National Juried Small Works Exhibition at Red Dot Fine Art. The gallery is located on historic Canyon Road in Santa Fe, NM and is one of the cities' 250 galleries. Open to all individuals with two dimensional paintings in any medium and style with a size not to exceed 16" x 16". EXHIBITION DATES: April 1st to April 25th 2004. FEE: $30 for 1-3 images (slides or JPEG 300 dpi) $5 for each additional image submitted. FOR APPLICATION: Visit their website or contact or send SASE to:
Red Dot Fine Art
Att: Small Works
8 Tapia Entrada
Santa Fe NM 87508

I'm quoted in the current issue of Art & Antiques Magazine on a piece focused on Cuban art.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

"Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day."
- George Carlin (1937 - )

Last night I had the honor and pleasure of being the guest juror at Multiple Exposures Gallery (formerly Factory Photoworks), where I juried a group show from the gallery's 14 members.

Multiple Exposures Gallery is one of the best examples around our area of what a dedicated and accomplished group of artists can do together. Running a cooperative artists' gallery is a difficult science at best, as doing anything by a committee of 14 is by human nature difficult. And yet, year after year this gallery manages to deliver superb photography, and as I have said many times in the past, continues to be one of the key photography galleries in our area.

The jurying process, as always, was difficult, and several pieces were rejected not because they were bad, but because the space also drives how one curates a show. In the end, I selected about two dozen photographs, nearly all black and white (my own prejudice) except for a couple of exceptional color photos by Barbara Southworth and Fran Livaditis. I've been watching Southworth's beautiful panoramic landscapes for a while now, where she fools you into being absorbed by the beauty of the landscape in her images, before one realizes that it is the exceptional, almost magical manipulation of light that really is the magnet in her imagery.

photo by Jim Steele I also selected three pieces by Jim Steele; all exceptional nude studies by one of our area's top figurative photographers. I also included work by Danny Conant and Grace Taylor - both from their extensive travels to Tibet (Conant has recently published a book on the subject - see it here. And there are also some exceptional Cuban portraits by Karen Keating's continuing visits to the island prison.

The exhibition will hang until March 2, 2004.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Somebody in museum-land is screwing around.

After Darin Boville read my posting about DC museum shows, he jumps and points out that "just for fun, the Air and Space Museum (one of the top attractions in the world) gets (they claim) nine and a half million visitors per year--that's over 26,000 people per day!"

Actually, Darin is slightly off.... they claim eleven million visitors a year in 2003!

Is that a fib or is the Air and Space Museum kicking the crap out of the other art museums on the Mall (and the world)? And if they are right, where else are those 11 million visitors "visiting" while they're on the Mall?

Rub it in: "The staggering number of visitors to the National Air and Space Museum is expected to increase by another 3 million starting in December, when the museum’s companion facility at Washington Dulles International Airport opens." Read it here.

Great catch Darin!

Here's a very interesting eye opener...

Here is the list of the visitor numbers for museum shows around the world. It is compiled annually by The Art Newspaper.

What is interesting to me about this list, is the fact that the highest attended show in Washington, DC (highest as defined by average daily attendance, as some shows run longer than others, and thus total attendance is different) was the spectacular retrospective at the Hirshhorn of German painter Gerhardt Richter! (read my review of it here). It averaged around 2,000 visitors a day.

Here are the only Washington, DC museum shows to make the 2004 list:

Gerhardt Richter at Hirshhorn - 158,625 visitors (1,958 daily)
Jean-Antoine Houdon at National Gallery - 243,059 (1,914 daily)
Jacob Kainen's Collection/Trompe l'Oeil at National Gallery - 231,905 (1,645 daily)
Edouard Vuillard at National Gallery - 142, 191 (1,546 daily)
Frederick Remington at National Gallery - 124,145 (1,349 daily)

And lest we forget, all of these museums are free, and also the figures are generally moved one way or the other by the tourist tides to our city, which also influences most major cities around the world, except that our museums are free, and thus (I think) more likely to attract a family of tourists.

It also seems to me that the list is somewhat screwed up, as they list Jacob Kainen's An Artist's Artists: Jacob Kainen's Collection from Rembrandt to David Smith which ran at the NGA from 22 September 2002-9 February 2003 together with the Deceptions and Illusions: Five Centuries of Trompe l'Oeil Painting which ran from 13 October 2002-2 March 2003.

At the top of the list was Leonardo's show at the Met in New York, which drew 6,863 visitors a day and a total of 401,004. Not a single show from the Tate Gallery in London made the 2003 list (their Matisse/Picasso show was one of the top ten in the world in 2002) and Matthew Barney's super hyped Guggenheim mess, although it made the list, got beaten by much less publicized events such as a show of Latin American artists at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.

A Minneapolis group show beats Barney's hype machine!

Goes to show you that all the hype and money in the world, although it can certainly go a long way to get you there, it still can't guarantee top success - at least as defined by public attendance, and I bet that the Walker Art Center (which had several shows in the list) spent a tiny percentage of what the Guggenheim did in producing and setting up their show.

Monster - copyright Douglas GordonScottish artist Douglas Gordon, winner of the 1996 Turner Prize, and prizewinner at the 1997 Venice Biennale comes to Washington when his first American retrospective makes a stop at the Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden beginning Feb. 12, 2004 and continuing through May 9, 2004.

The Hirshhorn is the final venue for this internationally-touring exhibition organized by LA's Museum of Contemporary Art.

Here's a review of the LA show which gives us a preview of what's coming.

The exhibition will include large-scale projected video installations, text pieces, still photographs and filmed images on video monitors created by the artist from 1993 to 2002. A highlight of the D.C. installation will be the artist's recent work "Play Dead: Real Time" (2002), which makes its U.S. museum debut at the Hirshhorn. A series of public programs will accompany the show, including "24 Hour Access: 24 Hour Psycho," Feb. 28 - Feb. 29. Inspired by Gordon's seminal video piece "24 Hour Psycho," this event will feature 24 consecutive hours of free access to the exhibition and conclude with a "Meet the Artist" interview conducted by Hirshhorn Director of Art and Programs and Chief Curator Kerry Brougher. I will review this show and give my thoughts on the exhibition, and the financial (for the artist and art dealers) relationship between video art (unsellable) and good old fashioned photography - of the video - which is very sellable!

Transformer Gallery presents "Gleaming the Screen: An Exhibition of Silkscreen Poster Art" starting February 7 through March 6, 2004. Curated by guest curator, Nick Pimentel of Washington, DC’s Planaria Recordings, Gleaming the Screen is a group exhibition featuring work by over twenty of the U.S. and Canadian silkscreen poster artists. Opening reception for the artists: Saturday, February 7, 2004 7-9 pm.

Conner Contemporary presents the first Washington, D.C. solo exhibition by Dean Kessmann, Coordinator of the George Washington University’s photography program. There will be a reception for the artist Thursday, February 19, 6-8 pm.

We're lucky in Washington to have one of the true "power galleries" in the world when it comes to fine art glass. Maurine Littleton Gallery is celebrating 20 years of exhibiting Masters in Contemporary Glass with a series of three-artist exhibitions throughout the year. First they will exhibit new works in glass by well-known glass artists William Morris and Judith LaScola as well as new functional work in metal by Albert Paley. The show opens April 6th and continues through April 24th, 2004.

And the Ralls Collection in Georgetown has the beautiful new work of photographer Michael Kenna on exhibit now until March 6, 2004.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

The Bush administration's 2005 budget proposes to give the National Endowment for the Arts its largest budget increase (15%) in 20 years. Read it here. If approved by Congress, the endowment's fiscal 2005 budget would stand at $139.4 million, up from the $121 million it received this year. Last year the NEA approved 2,000 grants.

Newsweek photographer Luc Delahaye has declared publicly that he is no longer a photojournalist and is now an artist. Read the Guardian story here.

My vote for the best photojournalist in the world is our own Washington Post's Carol Guzy.

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