Tuesday, November 30, 2004

J. W. Mahoney's Open Letter to Blake Gopnik

J. W. Mahoney is well-known to anyone who knows anything about Washington art and artists. James recently retired from the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and is a widely respected and published art critic, teacher and artist.

Mahoney is also the regional arts editor for Art in America magazine. He is also a well-known artist, arts juror, curator, art professor, and one of the most influential visual arts voices in our area; his installation at the current Artomatic has already been the subject of tremendous (and violent) viewer reaction (go see it).

And James sends the following Open Letter to Blake Gopnik:
Aw Blake, why not a little amateur dentistry every once in a while? Someone might drill a hole in your head and a little light might shine in. Yeah, violently spiteful language, but "five floors of mediocrity jammed into shabby rooms in an indiscriminate show that does nothing to advance the cause of serious art?" What's the "cause of serious art," Blake? You've never been a real artist, so that would have to be a guess on your part. Unless you're a "failed" artist, which I'm not - nor is any artist here. I'm an art critic, too, and I know what "untrained" art looks like, and Art-o-matic is loaded with all kinds of such madness, openness, and awfulness. And sometimes, if you look, real grace.

In 1978, Walter Hopps, then adjunct curator at the National Collection of Fine Arts, "curated" a show at Washington's now-defunct Museum of Temporary Art entitled "36 Hours," during which artists could bring in anything (of a certain size) during a 36-hour period and Walter would find a place to hang it. Good, bad, or ugly. I was proud to have been in that show, as I am to be in this one. Why? Look at how "indiscriminate" it all is, how generally free of the kinds of comfortably gifted, commercially sensitive, critically "savvy" (your word, never mine) art that most galleries and museums necessarily have to exhibit in order to maintain their identities - work I often respect and write about, as you do. Alternative spaces, as creatively as they operate, can show only a few dozen artists a year. Art-o-matic circumvents every aesthetic filter, respects no critical power, and opens its doors anyway.

What final virtue exists in a circus like Art-o-matic? Art is made in order to make concrete the deep abstraction that is the self. Each artist here, regardless of the depths of their relation to the discourse of art history, has a story and a unique identity that emerges on these walls. In enormous vulnerability. To be able to stand alongside the occasionally talentless courage, manic generosity, and raw eccentricity of my fellow artists is a real honor. Because what art is about isn't safe.

What you write is journalism, Blake, not art criticism. Your writing is quite often toxic, and maybe Washington’s just not your town. Think about it. You say Ter Borch is better than Vermeer? Don't make me laugh.

J. W. Mahoney
Bravo Mr. Mahoney! Bravo, Bravo, Bravo!!!

Monday, November 29, 2004

Teaser for tomorrow's DCARTNEWS

Tomorrow I will publish an open letter from a nationally published and respected art critic in response to Blake Gopnik's rootcanalization of Artomatic.

Y'all come back now...

Elyse Harrison's Top 10 Artomatic List

Elyse Harrison is the owner of Gallery Neptune in Bethesda and one of the area's hardest working artists and arts activists. Harrison not only walked Artomatic and sends in her top 10 list, but she has further decided to offer three of the artists (and possibly a fourth) in her list a show at her gallery. She will feature Jean Sheckler Beebe and Joyce Zipperer during October of next year and Scott Brooks will also be showing at Neptune in September 2005.

Scott Brooks
Joyce Zipperer
Jean Sheckler Beebe
Mat Sesow
Linda Hesh
Bridget Vath
Christopher Edmunds
Robert Weiner
Kirk Waldroff
Michael Ross

New Style editor at the WaPo

The "Galleries" column that is being reduced to twice a month is published in the Style section of the Washington Post. The Assistant Managing Editor for the Style section is Gene Robinson (who by the way is also the author of this terrific book).

Today it was announced by the Post that Deborah Heard will become Assistant Managing Editor for Style, succeeding Gene Robinson, on January 1, 2005. She has been with the Post for twenty years and a Deputy Assistant Managing Editor at Style since 1995.

DC Art News sends our congratulations to Ms. Heard.

I suspect that once John Pancake, the Post's Arts Editor returns in mid-January 2005, it will be Heard and Pancake making the decision as to what will happen to the "Galleries" column.

We should all immediately let Heard hear our voices (nice pun uh?) demanding that "Galleries" return to a weekly column status and that the Post further expand its anemic gallery coverage. Email her here.

Want an art job at Art Basel Miami Beach?

One of the Cuban artists whom we represent and hope to bring to a Washington, DC area audience in the near future is Cuban artist Tania Bruguera.

And the coming Art Basel Miami Beach brings a performance opportunity to work with Tania.

Eight to ten individuals are needed to perform during Art Basel for a performance piece by this renowned Cuban artist. The role involves walking around Art Basel in Miami Beach selling a Cuban newspaper. Individuals should speak Spanish. There will be an informational meeting held on Tuesday, November 30th at 6pm by the Miami Beach Convention Center, Entrance C. A small honorarium will be offered per day. If you are interested, call 773-230-7263 to get more details. If you cannot attend the meeting, please call for more information.

Wednesday, December 1st – 5pm-10pm
Thursday, December 2nd – 5pm-10pm
Friday, December 3rd –5pm-10pm
Saturday, December 4th – 5pm-10pm

You do not have to be available for each session, but for a minimum of two sessions.

As a pioneer installation and performance artist, Tania Bruguera exemplifies the alternative voices in Cuba who work from the artistic edge. Born in 1968, she earned her undergraduate degree at the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana and her MFA at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1998, Bruguera was selected as a Guggenheim fellow and in 2000, she received the Prince Claus Award.

Bruguera has participated in numerous international exhibitions and biennials. Her work has been exhibited in several museums and collections around the world. Recently, she founded the Arte de Conducta (behavior art) department at the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana, the first performance art program at the university level in Latin America.

The book that saved my [art] life

Tom Wolfe, author, man-in-white, and social observer, as DCist points out, is in town to lecture and sign copies of his latest book.

It is however, Wolfe's 1975 book The Painted Word, the one that I consider the most influential book on art, nepotism, networking, manipulation and 20th century art history (OK, OK art observations), that I have ever read.

If you want to understand the true beginnings of what we now call "contemporary art" and the seminal birth of the elitist attitudes of many intelligent members of the high art apparatnik, then read this book.
"The painter," Wolfe writes, "had to dedicate himself to the quirky god Avant-Garde. He had to keep one devout eye peeled for the new edge on the blade of the wedge of the head on the latest pick thrust of the newest exploratory probe of this fall's avant-garde Breakthrough of the Century.... At the same time he had to keep his other eye cocked to see if anyone in le monde was watching."
I read it when I first started Art School and it saved my Art Life and it cemented the foundations of what has become my opinions, judgements and attitudes towards art.

Learn a lesson from NY Times readers

A while back I reported that the WaPo has decided to cut its galleries coverage by half - at least until January 2005, when a final decision will be made. I also suggested that readers write letters to the paper's editor asking Downie to cancel that decision (if he is even aware of it).

A while back, the New York Times decided to end its cultural listings section; not end or reduce their arts coverage, but just their cultural listings.

Daniel Okrent writes in the NY Times:
It landed on my desk a few weeks ago with an echoing thump that could have awakened Brooks Atkinson. On the cover it said "Save the Listings: Restore the 'Arts & Leisure Guide' to the Sunday New York Times." Inside, 615 pages carried 5,000 Internet-gathered signatures, many of them accompanied by bits of testimony variously beseeching, enraged or tearful.

Just a few weeks earlier, The Times had tossed the venerable columns of agate type that had filled so many pages of the Arts & Leisure section for so long, with as many as 300 cultural events acknowledged, however briefly, in a single edition.
Okrent then admits that:
Editors reacted to the petition, I soon learned, the way editors almost always react when readers rise against a long-planned, well-intended innovation: a little dumbfounded, a little defensive, a little dismissive.
And Okrent discusses editorial surprise at how upset readers were:
In this case, the editors had helped more than enough to earn the readers' disapproval. At a time when most American newspapers are slashing arts coverage (according to a study conducted by the National Arts Journalism Project at Columbia, from 1998 to 2003 the space given to cultural coverage in major American papers dropped by roughly 25 percent), The Times had gone in the opposite direction. The revamped cultural report now included more than seven additional pages per week. Twenty staff positions were created to produce the new content and improve the old. Full-time reporters had been put on the architecture, classical music and theater beats, and additional reporters will soon supplement the art, movie and television groups. Critics have been newly assigned to experimental arts, the Internet, and "nonart museums and exhibitions" (there must be a better phrase than that), and some lustrous new hires - notably Manohla Dargis on movies and Charles Isherwood on theater - have brought an added gleam to existing positions.
But he notes that still "all that the readers seemed to notice was what was gone." He adds:
There's an unfortunate tendency in the newspaper business to disparage a petition like this one as an "organized" effort, as if only random, disconnected cries of pain from despairing readers should be heeded. I've also heard this particular protest dismissed as "commercially inspired" by self-interested arts presenters and promoters who are worried that the box office will suffer, and have disingenuously conspired to rouse the masses.
I guess that would be me...

Result of the complaints:
Here's the good news, Listings Protesters of America: uncharacteristically for an institution that is slow to change and usually inflexible once it has done so, the editors are prepared to alter their course.
Read the whole NYT article here, and then read this and write the WaPo a letter.

Gopnik, Smith, Chelsea and Artomatic

How can all these issues be related you ask? Read and absorb:

My most recent walk through AOM, triggered by Chris Shott's article on the after effects and ripples of Blake Gopnik's rootcanalization of AOM, revealed a whole set of new works, comments and anti-Gopnik energy in the building. I still maintain that AOM artists should send Gopnik thank you notes, as his brutal review is the best gift that Gopnik could have delivered to AOM: it united a lot of voices, created a lot of interest in the show, and I am sure that it translated into a lot more people visiting AOM.

Roberta Smith, writing in the New York Times this Sunday has a very interesting piece on the Chelsification of art. Smith discusses that the 230 plus galleries now crammed into Chelsea "for art-world professionals, it is the place they love to loathe."

Degrees of separation: When John Pancake, the Washington Post's Arts Editor was hunting for a Chief Art Critic a while back, he first offered the job to Smith. She declined, but recommended Blake Gopnik, who at the time was writing for a Canadian newspaper.

Back to Smith's article. She writes:
"As a result of this explosion, the inevitable anti-Chelsea backlash has been on the rise, too. The rap against Chelsea is that it is too big, too commercial, too slick, too conservative and too homogenous, a monolith of art commerce tricked out in look-alike white boxes and shot through with kitsch. This litany is recited by visitors from Los Angeles and Europe, by dealers with galleries in other parts of Manhattan or in Brooklyn and often by Chelsea dealers themselves. As the Lower East Side gallerist Michele Maccarone put it recently in an interview: 'The Chelseafication of the art world has created a consensus of mediocrity and frivolousness.'"
Degrees of separation, part two: But is Gopnik advocating more towards the Chelsification of DC art when he writes?
"As things stand, too many local artists, as well as a few of our dealers, get attention they wouldn't get in any city where they faced some decent, savvy competition."
And as we know, Blake has also written eloquently and positively about Chelsea galleries (he has never written about DC area galleries) and submits that:
"This year the [Chelsea] scene seems to have grown, if that's possible. It now takes two full days, morning to night, to visit just the best-known Chelsea galleries. But for the first time that I can remember, doing the autumn rounds felt mostly worthwhile. There was real variety on view -- of medium, subject matter, approach, scale. More important, there were a few artists and works that didn't fit into convenient pigeonholes. There were shows that left questions hanging in the air."
Degrees of separation, part three: I know I'm stretching this, but isn't that same challenge (time required to visit 230 galleries, diversity and quality of artwork offered, etc.) some of the same issues Gopnik denigrates in his AOM piece. If one takes the time, then at AOM you will find "real variety on view -- of medium, subject matter, approach, scale. More important, there were a few artists and works that didn't fit into convenient pigeonholes."

One big, insurmountable problem with AOM in Blake's mindset: It is located in Washington, DC; not New York.

I for one, would love some "decent, savvy competition" (whatever "savvy" means). I still think that the best thing for art galleries is more art galleries. And although the Greater Washington area is one of the wealthiest areas in the world, it is incredibly hard for an art gallery to establish a foothold, develop a collector base and survive in our area.

Part of the blame is the fact that (unlike New York), galleries get very little coverage in our local press. I am still astounded as to how many Washingtonians come into Canal Square every day and say "I didn't know there were any galleries here."

And the link between decent media coverage and growth and recognition has been established and proven. The Washington Post has exceptional coverage of our area's many theatres; even theatres in Olney get great coverage! As a result, our area has now one of the most vibrant theatre scenes in the nation, probably second only to New York's and challenging Chicago's.

Meanwhile, the Post plans to cut their gallery coverage in half.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Tim Tate's Top 10 Artomatic List

Tim Tate (represented by us) is the Director and co-founder of the Washington Glass School, the 2003 Mayor's Arts Awards Outstanding Emerging Artist of the Year, and is one of this year's Out Magazine 100 Most Remarkable People of the Year. Tate has also been a fixture at Art-O-Matic for many years (in fact, we "discovered" him a couple of Art-O-Matics ago), and has walked this current version of AOM at least 20 times. Here's his top 10 non-glass artists list:

Thomas Edwards
Ira Tattleman
Dylan Scholinski
Mark Stark
Sondra Arkin
Sheep Jones
Philip Kohn
John Bata
Scott Brooks
Chris Edmunds

Krystyna Wasserman's Top AOM Artists' List

Krystyna Wasserman is the Director of the Library and Research Center at the National Museum of Women In The Arts. Her abbreviated list (she was unable to walk through the whole five floors of AOM):

Ruth Bolduan
Mansoora Hassan
Bonnie Lee Holland
Judy Jashinsky
Mark Jenkins
Joyce Zipperer

Milena Kalinovska Top 10 Artomatic List

Milena Kalinovska is the Programs Manager for the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, and she made a concentrated effort to try to pick artists who were not in other people's "Top 10 Lists." In the end, some did cross over from her colleage's list mostly!

Art Enables
Anne Benolken
Greg Minah
Linda Hesh and Ami Wilber
Dale Hunt
Mark Jenkins
"Poets Room"
Ming-Yi Sung
Kelly Towles
The Washington Glass School

Kristen Hileman's Top 10 Artomatic List

Kristen Hileman is the Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. She sends in her Top 10 AOM list:

Artomatic “Poster-A-Day” Designers
Scott Brooks
Richard Dana
Linda Hesh and Ami Wilbur
Mark Jenkins
Mudishi Maternity Project
Pat McGeehan
Ming-Yi Sung
Kelly Towles
Denise Wolff

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Donna Robusto's Top 10 AOM artists

Donna Robusto is the owner and director of the Ozmosis Gallery in Bethesda and she recently walked Artomatic and sends in her top ten picks:

Kelly Towles
Tiik Pollet
Jackie Greeves
John M. Adams
Rosana Azar
Aaron Quinn Brophy
Anna Shakeeva
John N. Grunwell
Matt W. Sesow
Matt R. Hollis

Friday, November 26, 2004


City Desk: The Progressive Review on Artomatic. Read it here and here.

Conspiracy of Sound on Artomatic. Read it here.

Art of the Possible on Artomatic. Read it here.

DC Musica Viva on Artomatic. Read it here.

Photo Net on Artomatic. Read it here.

And... the Art-O-Matic artists on Artomatic. Read it here.

Dealing with the WaPo

Today is the day that the Post is supposed to cover our area galleries in the Style section. And yet there's nothing. You better get used to it.

As reported here, the Style section has decided to cut its "Galleries" column to twice a month, rather than every Thursday.

And yet (and these are the kind of things that make no sense to me), there's a pretty good piece by a freelancer named Andy Grundberg on Six Centuries of Prints and Drawings: Recent Acquisitions at the National Gallery of Art. Grundberg is the Chairman of the Photo Department at the Corcoran and certainly quite qualified to augment either the museum or gallery review scene at the Post.

So the Post has decided to reduce their already measly gallery coverage in half because one of its two gallery art critic freelancers has quit; rather than just seek the services of another freelancer or give the assignment to people already in their freelance art stables, such as Grundberg apparently is!

Oh yeah... there's also piece in Arts Beat about art by prisoners on exhibit at a Lutheran Church somewhere.

Makes my head hurt.

What can our visual arts community do? It is so obvious that we're dealing with a mindset at the newspaper that is not very concerned with our area's galleries, artists and other visual art spaces that do not happen to be large museums. At least not in the same coverage proportions to what the Post already does for theater, music, books, TV, etc.

Their cultural apathy seems strictly dedicated to our area's galleries and artists.

I am told that the WaPo takes every letter received on an issue and multiplies it by 1500 readers who feel the same way, but who do not take the time and effort to write an old-fashioned letter.

So if you feel (like I do) that it is completely unacceptable for the Washington Post to only publish the "Galleries" column twice a month, even on a temporary basis (can you imagine the uproar if they decided to review only two movies a month? Or two restaurants? Or two theatre plays? Or two concerts? Or two books? D'ya get the point!!!)... then write the paper's editor a letter (a proper letter, not an email; and please be respectful, intelligent and civil) and let him know:

Leonard Downie
Washington Post
1150 15th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20071

Here is an example of a letter that I wrote to the Post's editor in 1999 bitching about their galleries' measly coverage and making some suggestions (one of them - the mini reviews - was eventually implemented and O'Sullivan has drastically improved gallery coverage in his Weekend On Exhibit column) to improve their coverage. Sad to think that the coverage back then was twice of what it is now (both the "Galleries" and the "Arts Beat" columns used to be published every Thursday back then)!

Chris Shott in the current issue of the WCP on Blake Gopnik:

For all his ranting about "bad" art projects in the District this past year, Washington Post critic Blake Gopnik hasn’t actually done much to stop them. In fact, the Oxford University–educated art historian has done just the opposite.

To wit: Last spring, Gopnik ripped the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities’ "exciting public art project," PandaMania. In fact, he likened the task of painting blank panda statues to filling in a coloring book. "It would take a really skilled contemporary artist to turn a coloring book into something worth an art lover’s time," Gopnik wrote in a May 30 Post critique. "There probably aren’t more than a half-dozen artists in this city who could do it."

Oh, but Bethesda, Md., painter Marsha Stein thought she could find a few. So she formally challenged Gopnik to hand-pick a team of artists to compete against hers. Each team would paint a blank two-foot cube, with the public voting on the best one.

Gopnik politely declined the challenge. But that didn’t stop Stein: Her project has since evolved into a multiteam competition—albeit sans cubes—that D.C. filmmaker Nigel Parkinson is shooting for a documentary. Or maybe a reality-TV show.

"He just pushes people’s buttons," Stein says of Gopnik. "He does my job for me. He couldn’t have fueled this competition any better than by writing that article."

More recently, Gopnik issued a scathing critique of Artomatic 2004, the exhibition of works by some 600 area artists now showing in the former Capital Children’s Museum. In a Nov. 11 Post piece, he called the show "the second-worst display of art I’ve ever seen. The only one to beat it out, by the thinnest of split hairs, was the 2002 Artomatic, which was worse only by virtue of being even bigger and in an even more atrocious space."

"Artomatic isn’t only good for nothing,"
Gopnik concluded. "It’s bad for art that matters."

mark jenkins' tape men at the Post Again, artists responded. For starters, there’s The Official Artomatic 2004 Boo Blake Wall, an installation papered with angry letters from Artomatic exhibitors and dotted with Travis Miller– designed stickers that read: "Blake isn’t only good for nothing. He’s bad for art that matters." And sculptor Mark Jenkins has posted a phony news story reporting Gopnik’s kidnapping by "human figures made of packaging tape."

The wall is also splashed with red paint, some of which drips down into a plastic bag taped to the ground. "Somebody said it looks like bullet holes and blood," notes Artomatic executive-committee member Jim Tretick.

A less ominous homage to Gopnik appears at Artomatic’s Overlook Bar: A case of warm beer wrapped in white paper and labeled "One vintage case of Icehouse from Artomatic 2002: The worst beer from the worst show."

"That case of beer has been sitting in my basement for two years," says Tretick. "We were saving it for a special occasion."

Right beside the beer is a brand-new Clue game wrapped in a plastic bag for Gopnik. And the artists aren’t done yet. McLean, Va.–based graphic designer Jesse Thomas is now putting the finishes touches on a new collage inspired by Gopnik.

The tributes to Gopnik come as news to the critic. "I didn’t know about any of the Artomatic responses," he writes via e-mail. Gopnik’s own response? Something in Latin about judges and matters of taste: "De gustibus non...I guess."
Article copyright Washington City Paper.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

The other day I walked into a Whole Foods supermarket to buy some olives and some Manchego cheese. As I strolled by Whole Foods' fantastic deli, I noticed that in this store they had signs in both English and Spanish.

I almost died laughing when I saw how the Thanksgiving turkey special had been translated! In English, the word "turkey" is the same for the country that spans Europe and the Middle East and for the Thanksgiving bird.

But in Spanish, the word for the country Turkey is Turquia, and the word for the bird is "pavo."

Guess what this store was selling as their Thanksgiving bird? Turquia! What a bunch of turkeys...

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Corcoran Screws Up (Again): Twice in One Go

As I mentioned last night, there's another mess at the Corcoran, this time dealing with their ill advised (and now cancelled) decision to host "An Evening at the Cuban Interests Section."

Both sides of this issue astonish me: (a) that the Corcoran decided to host this event in the first place and then (b) that they bowed to indirect governmental pressure to cancel it.

Today's Post article by Jacqueline Trescott discusses that the Corcoran decided to postpone the event under some indirect pressure from the State Department.

I hope that they postpone it until that brutal, racist, and homophobic bastard who oppresses that poor island with a bloody boot is six feet underground.

This is a dictatorship that sends librarians to jail for twenty years for the crime of having Orwell's 1984 in their possession.

A homophobic regime that sends gay Cubans to jail for four years for the crime of being gay.

A merciless regime where anyone who tests positive for AIDS is immediately locked away in Los Cocos.

Jails that have been off limits to the International Red Cross since 1989.

No doubt that the Corcoran really blew it in even thinking about this idea as an event in the first place. According to Trescott's article, Margaret Bergen, chief communications officer for the Corcoran says that the Corcoran sponsors 130 public programs a year and about a dozen are of them held at embassies. She adds that the discussions don't discount politics, but politics aren't the primary focus, Bergen adds that "We are trying to have a dialogue about art."

You don't "dialogue about art" with dictators who crush and destroy artists in their own homeland. If anything, you try to reach the artists and dialogue with them directly. I can guarantee to the Corcoran that the Cuban Interests Section will not assist them with that.

Now that I got that off my chest...

Now I am disturbed by the fact that they blinked when the State Department put a little pressure on them.

Sorry guys: Now you're damned if you do and damned if you don't. That's what happens when you make stupid decisions in the first place and then lack the cojones to stand up to pressure.

Washington Post to cut in half its gallery coverage

Today I called the Style desk at the WaPo and discovered that the Washington Post intends to reduce their already measly gallery coverage to only twice a month. This is a reduction from their one weekly column: "Galleries," which is published on most Thursdays, a day which according to the Style section's banner, is supposed to be a day focused on "Galleries and Art News."


"Galleries" has been written for the last few years by freelance writer Jessica Dawson (that's right... Jessica is not an employee of the Post, but a freelancer assigned that column). The task of writing a weekly column to review area shows is not an easy one, and it takes a lot of time, effort and driving around to see a lot of gallery shows in order to pick one or two a week. So Jessica wanted some time off, and thus the Post hired Glenn Dixon a few weeks ago.

The idea was for Jessica and Glenn to share the column and each write a review every two weeks and thus cover the gallery scene with a review a week. Measly coverage in comparison to the Post's excellent and in-depth coverage of our area's theater, music, clubs, dance and other performace art... but better than nothing.

But then something happened, and Dixon and the Post had a dispute and Dixon quit.

And now, someone at the Post has made the decision to cut down the column to just twice a month. I don't know if this is a temporary decision or not. I have emailed Gene Robinson (editor of Style) and Chip Crews (temporary Arts Editor while John Pancake, the Post's Arts Editor, is away on a teaching gig).

I am hoping that this is a temporary situation while the Post finds another freelancer to augment Dawson's biweekly coverage. I cannot, even in my darkest Post-bitching mood, fathom that the Post's editor would think that it is OK to write two columns a month to cover the nearly 100 new visual art shows that our area's galleries and artists offer each month.

Let's keep our collective fingers crossed. More on this issue as I find out more.

UPDATE: Chip Crews (who is the Post's acting Arts Editor) tells me that the decision about the "Galleries" column "may change at some point but there's no timetable. Our arts editor, John Pancake, is on sabbatical until mid-January, and it's highly unlikely any permanent action will be taken before then." I volunteered my services, but it was declined until Pancake returns to make a decision.

Michael O'Sullivan's Artomatic List

If anyone truly knows Washington art spaces, art scene and artists, it is Washington Post art critic Michael O'Sullivan. And in addition to his review of AOM, he submits the following list and notes about his top choices for this year's Art-O-Matic:

Michael O'Sullivan's Artomatic List

Best installations: Ira Tattelman/Kathryn Cornelius
Best Abstract Paintings: John Adams/Louise Kennelly
Best Portraiture: Allison Miner/Ian Jehle
Best Serendipitous Pairing: Kelly Towles/Dale Hunt
Best Thematic Spaces: Eye Candy/Girlz Club/Washington Glass School
Best Photography: Matt Dunn/Dennis Yankow (aka Dns Ynko)
Best Sculpture: Liz Duarte/Betsy Packard
Best Found-Object Sculpture: Elizabeth Lundberg Morisette/Joroko
Most Searing Use of Autobiography: Dylan Scholinski

And a couple of Bests (some of whom I [O'Sullivan] mentioned in my article) that aren't on anyone else's list:

Lynn Putney
Gregory Ferrand
Ben Claassen
Jen Dixon
Dave Savage
Kevin Irvin

...and finally, a special thanks to Brash, the poet who goes around writing
diamond-hard little poems in response to Artomatic artists, and then taping
them to the walls.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Rob Goodspeed's Artomatic Top List

Rob Goodspeed is one of the hardworking editors of DCist and he has his Artomatic 2004 Artists of Note List here and he lists:

Charlie Jones
Gregory Ferrand
Carol Spils
Michele Banks
J. Steve Strawn
Kevin T. Irvin
Dana Ellyn Kauffman
Sepideh Majd
Thomas Edwards

mark jenkins' tape men at the PostOne of the best DC-centric sites on the web is DCist, and Rob Godspeed has DCist's take on Artomatic including a great image (to the left) of Mark Jenkins' brilliant tape sculptures approaching the Washington Post's building "asking for Blake Gopnik."

Gopnik must be feeling like Clement Greenberg in having fueled such an artist's response; too bad it was 180 degrees off from Greenberg's.

Read the spoof Jenkins take on the Gopnik tape men sculptures here.

Bravo Jenkins!

P.S. And Jenkins is in my Top 10 List!

There's some weird stuff going on at the Corcoran because of their ill advised plan to stage "An Evening at the Cuban Interests Section."

There should be story in the Washington Post about this in the next few days.

Some good shows to go see...

Amy Marx at The Sumner
The Sumner Museum presents paintings by Amy Marx through December 31. The Show is entitled "On Earth As It Is". The Sumner is located at 1201 17th St at M st NW. Hours are M-F 10-5 and Saturdays 10-4. Phone number is 202.442.6060. Amy Marx is a jeweler and a painter, and at least with her paintings, she is obsessed with weather. And her paintings of weather patterns, storms, clouds, tornadoes, etc. are absolutely stunning! She has painted herself into a unique niche, where she is mistress of her domain.

Erik Sandberg at Conner
This guy is one of my favorite area artists, and I could choke him for leaving us, but still admire his brilliant talent, dark mind and Boschian creativity. His latest show at Conner Contemporary runs through December 23, 2004. A catalogue will be available. For further information call Leigh at 202.588.8750, or email her at info@connercontemporary.com.

Chan Chao at Numark
I am glad that Chao has returned to his nude work, as I wasn't a big fan of the work that got him into the Whitney Biennial. The return to his earlier-type work is right on time! An artist book, Echo, accompanies the show. The exhibition at Numark Gallery goes on through December 18, 2004.

Elyse Harrison at Neptune
Harrison has been a critical spark around our area for many years, both as an artist and also as an arts activist. Her latest work is on exhibition at Gallery Neptune until December 4, 2004. More info at 301.718.0809.

Anonymous at WPA/C
The WPA/C concept of ANONYMOUS returns with an opening preview reception on Thursday, Dec. 9, 6:30-8:30pm and the first day to purchase artwork is Friday, Dec. 10, 6-8pm.

This is a second installment of this popular show concept featuring all new artists and curators. 100 artists create two feet by two feet works of art to be sold for $500 each. Buyers will not know the artist until the work has been purchased. No works will be sold at the preview reception and only one piece is allowed per patron. Curated by: John Aaron, K.B. Basseches, Mary Del Popolo, Djakarta, Chawky Frenn, David Jung, Prescott Moore Lassman, Anne Marchand, Marie Ringwald and Alan Simensky.

Location: 1027 33rd Street, NW (Georgetown)
Times: Thursday & Friday 12pm-8pm
Saturday & Sunday 12pm-6pm

Janis Goodman at District Fine Arts
"Ebb and Flow," recent paintings and drawings by Washingtonian Janis Goodman, (who teaches at the Corcoran) explores the universal theme of constancy. Goodman's new series is devoted to water and its insistent repetition, even as the rest of the world is in flux. Her intelligent renderings of water capture the artist's intense devotion to observation and meditation. "Ebb and Flow" will be on view at District Fine Arts from through December 11, 2004.

A $500,000 Art Commission!

Deadline: December 17, 2004

The recently established McCormick Museum Foundation in Chicago will design, build and operate a museum dedicated to America's freedoms, with a special emphasis on First Amendment rights, and the civic responsibilities that accompany those rights.

As a major component of this museum, the foundation will commission a defining work of art that will be selected through an open, international, two-stage competition.

This piece will serve as the centerpiece of the museum and will be permanently located in the museum's two-story rotunda. The budget for the completed work of art is more than $500,000. Please visit the McCormick Museum Foundation's website for more information. Or write to:

McCormick Museum Foundation
435 North Michigan Avenue
Suite 754
Chicago, IL 60611

Louisiana and Indiana Calls for Public Art

Six Exterior Niches Commission $64,000 - Louisiana
Entry Deadline: November 26, 2004

The Percent for Art Program for the state of Louisiana, administered through the Louisiana Division of the Arts (LDOA) announces two public art projects at two sites at the LaSalle Building, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. They are seeking an artist to create site specific works to fit within six existing niches in the building façade of the LaSalle Building located in downtown Baton Rouge. There are three niches above the East entrance to the building, and three niches above the North entrance. Each niche is 5'4" x 5'4", with a uniform top to bottom 12" depth. The sides are 6" deep with a 6" side step. The artist is asked to address each niche, but is not required to do so in the same fashion. For example, one niche may be completely filled with an artwork, while another niche may be occupied by a smaller work. The artist's budget for the commission is $64,000.00, and includes all costs such as travel, material, fabrication and installation, as well as engineering and conservation consultations. Artists are encouraged to visit the site before submitting their application. The physical address is 617 North Third Street. The pieces must be permanent in nature, and require very little long-term maintenance. All appropriate media will be considered for this commission. The fabrication of the artwork will be done off-site by the artist. The artist is also responsible for installing the work in the niches. The Call for Artists as well as images of the building and grounds are accessible for view on the Louisiana Division of the Arts website under the Percent for Art link.

Interior Wall Commission (29' x 10') $30,000
Entry Deadline: November 26, 2004.

The Percent for Art Program for the state of Louisiana, administered through the Louisiana Division of the Arts (LDOA) announces two public art projects at two sites at the LaSalle Building, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Seeking an artist to create a site-specific permanent indoor wall piece for the main wall of the café in the LaSalle Building located at 617 North Third Street in downtown Baton Rouge. Because the café has many windows facing Third Street, this piece will be viewable from both the inside and the outside of the café. The total space available for the piece is 29' x 10', but the artist may designate smaller dimensions of the finished work or works. The artist's budget for the commission is $30,000.00, and includes all costs such as travel, material, fabrication, installation, as well as engineering and conservation consultation costs. The work must be permanent in nature, and require very little long-term maintenance. All appropriate media will be considered for this commission (not limited to 2-D). However, 3-D applicants should keep in mind that the wall was not constructed to bear an exceptional amount of weight. Artists are encouraged to visit the site before submitting their application. The fabrication of the work will be done off-site by the artist. The artist will be responsible for installing the work(s) on the wall when completed.The Call for Artists as well as images of the building and grounds are accessible for view on the Louisiana Division of the Arts website under the Percent for Art link.

Indianapolis Airport Authority, Indianapolis, Indiana.
Deadline: December 30, 2004

The Indianapolis Airport Authority, with Blackburn Architects, invites artists to submit their qualifications for design and design/fabrication opportunities at the New Indianapolis Airport. Projects include architectural enhancements and integrated, free-standing or hanging works of art. Artists should submit their qualifications under the RFQ for consideration for future opportunities. Finalists will receive RFPs and will be compensated for any proposal submissions. More than 7 million passengers traveled through the airport last year. The intent of the projects is to combine with services and design to create the most pleasant traveling experience possible. The artwork will also further the city's goals for cultural development and public art. The deadline for receipt of qualification packages is December 30, 2004. To download the RFQ in PDF format visit www.newindianapolisairport.com. For more information call (317) 875-5500 x230.

Software that Authenticates Art

(Thanks AJ). A new set of software tools, developed by a Dartmouth College team seems to be able to "fingerprint" the style of a painter's work and thus be able to detect fakes and imitations.
"There are properties in an artist's pen and brush strokes that aren't visible to the human eye, but that are there nonetheless. And we can find them, through mathematical, statistical analysis," said Dartmouth computer science professor Hany Farid, who developed the algorithms, along with math professor Daniel Rockmore and graduate student Siwei Lyu."
The article warns that:
"Museum curators and statisticians caution that the Dartmouth group's techniques have only begun to be tested. Using algorithms to back up scholars' suspicions is one thing; uncovering a fraud with just a computer, that's completely different. And in the art world, no scientific method is considered as sure as the eye of a seasoned connoisseur.

"This is very unusual," said Nadine Orenstein, the curator of the drawings and prints department at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. "We're all a bit skeptical."
Other artworld comments were just as skeptical:
"I’m highly skeptical of using the computer for this kind of approach," said Laurence Kanter, curator in charge of the Robert Lehman collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. "It’s very possible that a program like that could be exploited to great advantage, but I still need to be persuaded."
I suspect that they're all a bit scared actually, because they're about to (a) lose the gig of having the power to be able to authenticate something just by being a "seasoned connoisseur" and (b) about to (possibly) have an avalanche of their past "authenticated works" be reported as fakes.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Funky Furniture Auction

Remember the Funky Furniture controversy that made worldwide news?

Kayti Didriksen's paintingWell, here's your chance to own some of the pieces from that newsmaking art exhibit... including one of the most famous paintings in the world.

This painting by our area's own Kayti Didriksen was seen by millions around the world in TV news, Jay Leno, and as part of one of the most downloaded images on the Internet a while back.

I will discuss this painting when I finish my all-comprehensive review of AOM later this week.

On Saturday, December 4th, 2004 at 9pm, all of the Funky Furniture works will be auctioned in a must-attend party/auction to be staged at the Funky Furniture display area at AOM. Admission to the cocktail pre-auction reception is $20 per couple, which also gets you a bidding badge.

Keep an eye on the Artomatic website, as they will soon have a pre-auction bidding website. And Funky Furniture's hardworking leader, Chad Alan sends the following:
"D.C. As It Was, Is, and Could Be

Five months ago a project began with a simple idea to create a modest collection of hand crafted furniture in the spirit of the approaching Artomatic. The exhibition was to take place in the City Museum one month before Artomatic in order to promote not only that event, but also the City Museum itself.

As the project moved forward, the collection grew substantially in size and importance. Artists created pieces that reflected their vision of how the District of Columbia can be seen in three distinct phases. Not everything is pretty or refined, but instead true.

All cities have dark sides that are often difficult to view, but those are some of the core elements that strive to make us become better citizens.

Upon the completion of the installation, it was decided that the collection needed to be removed from the City Museum for reasons varying from labels to suitability issues.

Twenty hours after the installation, the show had been dismantled and placed securely into storage. News of the cancellation hit the Associated Press and spread across the globe.

Many new venues for the show were considered, but it was determined to bring the collection home to reside in the 2004 Artomatic. Here you can view our ideas and concepts. Some of which you may agree, and many with which you may disagree, but that is what makes our city one of the world's greatest cities.

This collection will be put on the auction block on Saturday, December 4th at 9pm at Artomatic."
I hope a lot of people, a lot of artists and a lot of collectors come and see [and buy] these works; the artists will be there, and so will I.

Ann Marchand's Top 10 AOM List

Artist Ann Marchand, who is an exhibiting artist at AOM and has probably walked those dizzying halls many times now, sends in her top ten list:

John Aaron
Chuck Baxter
Frank Day
Lisa Farrell
G. Byron Peck
Betsy Packard
Matt Sesow
Ellyn Weiss
Angela White
Joyce Zipperer

Nevin Kelly, director and owner of the Nevin Kelly Gallery, whose Top 10 AOM list I posted earlier, sends in this thoughtful comment on AOM:
"I was really impressed by Art-o-Matic, awful art and everything. Gopnik clearly missed the point. Kudos to you for your blog. The event was perfect for sparking the discussion over "what is art?" and "what right does an artist (or self-perceived artist) have to exhibit?" The sheer energy of the event was art in itself. For a city that is not known elsewhere for its artistic community, this is truly a spectacular contribution."

Nevin Kelly's Top 10 Artomatic List

Nevin Kelly, director and owner of the Nevin Kelly Gallery walks Art-O-Matic and sends in a AOM Top 10 List. For disclosure purposes, Kelly states that the gallery currently represents Allison B. Miner and Sondra N. Arkin, and that Dylan Scholinski and Kelly have plans to cooperate in a 2005 exhibition.

Nevin Kelly Gallery Art-O-Matic Top 10 Picks

Sondra N. Arkin
Allison B. Miner
Dylan Scholinski
Ellyn Weiss
Christopher Edmunds
Michal Hunter
Kathryn Cornelius
Mary Beth Ramsey
Joyce Zipperer
Robert Cole

Honorable Mention

Scott Brooks
Will Winton
Dns Ynko
Tom Wells
Lisa Shumaeir
Abby Freeman
Louise Kennelley
John Adams
Inga McCaslin Frick

Opportunities from WPA/C

The WPA/C has a couple of events coming up that should be of interest.

First of all, the WPA/C concept of ANONYMOUS returns with an opening preview reception on Thursday, Dec. 9, 6:30-8:30pm and the first day to purchase artwork is Friday, Dec. 10, 6-8pm.

This is a second installment of this popular show concept featuring all new artists and curators. 100 artists create two feet by two feet works of art to be sold for $500 each. Buyers will not know the artist until the work has been purchased. No works will be sold at the preview reception and only one piece is allowed per patron. Curated by: John Aaron, K.B. Basseches, Mary Del Popolo, Djakarta, Chawky Frenn, David Jung, Prescott Moore Lassman, Anne Marchand, Marie Ringwald and Alan Simensky.

Location: 1027 33rd Street, NW (Georgetown)
Times: Thursday & Friday 12pm-8pm
Saturday & Sunday 12pm-6pm

WPA/C OPTIONS 2005 Call for Artists

The WPA/C has the website for submitting works to be considered for OPTIONS 2005 ready. Visit the website here. The deadline is January 14, 2005.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Marsha Stein Art Project

Marsha Stein's art project is gathering attention from a lot of artists and some press and is being filmed for a potential "reality TV" series about art.

The next meeting for interested artists is at Fraser Gallery Bethesda tomorrow Monday, November 22 at 7pm.

Interested artists should contact Marsha Stein at Marshasart@aol.com.

Today I will be at the Rockville Arts Place as part of the The Artist and the Internet: A Panel Discussion from 1 to 2:30PM.

The panel is comprised of Malik Lloyd, publisher of FindArt Info Bank, web designer and artist Todd Baxter Dawson and yours truly.

The discussion will focus on ways in which artists can use the Internet as a valuable resource for information, community and self promotion.

The Panel discussion will preceed the opening of the exhibit "Minimum/Maximum" that same afternoon. The exhibition features work by Trawick Prize finalist Jo Smail.

The panel is free to Rockville Arts Place members and $10 to everyone else.

Commercial Galleries and Artomatic

We have decided to host a dual gallery show next January for the combination of my Top Ten List and Catriona Fraser's Top 10 List.

So we've re-shuffled our 2005 schedule a little bit and invited the following artists, and those who accept will be included in a dual gallery show at Fraser Gallery Georgetown and Fraser Gallery Bethesda concurrently during January 2005.

BJ Anderson
Joseph Barbaccia
John Bata
Margaret Dowell
Matt Dunn
Chris Edmunds
Thomas Edwards
M. Rion Hoffman
Michal Hunter
Michael Janis
Mark Jenkins
Syl Mathis
Allison B. Miner
Mary Beth Ramsey
Alison Sigethy
Ira Tattleman
Denise Wolff
Tim Tate

Separately from this exhibition, I am working with a few other commercial galleries that have stepped forward and volunteered their spaces, including the Anne C. Fisher Gallery, the new galleryconnect and Gallery Neptune to try to work out concurrent exhibitions of the "final" Artomatic Top Ten List, which will be compiled mathematically from all the lists that I have been getting from curators, critics and art dealers.

These other galleries have expressed interest in hosting a gallery show for the Artomatic artists listed in various Top Ten Lists here and as a result of my observations to the effect of the interesting coalescing of names from the various lists.

Any other commercial galleries, non-profits or art venues interested in this future AOM follow-up event, email me.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Anne C. Fisher's Top 10 Artomatic List

Anne C. Fisher is the director of the Anne C. Fisher Gallery in Georgetown. She sends me her Artomatic favorites with asterisks for top ten. The list is ordered alphabetically, not in order of preference.

* Chad Alan
* Jean Beebe
Elena C. Bland
* Jennifer Morgan Brill
* Aaron Quinn Brophy
Andrea Cybyk
Thomas Edwards
* eyecandy (Ian Allen, Allen B. Callander, Ian Jehle, Joan Topping)
Claudia Feldman
Pattie Porter Firestone
* Linda Hesh/Ami Martin Wilber
IDB Cultural Center Group
Judy Jashinsky
Amy Marx
* Minna Newman Nathanson
Martha Olsson
* Mary Beth Ramsey
Kim Reyes
* G. Byron Peck
Lisa Schumaier
Luis Scotti (promising student)
Sunray (Ray Jacobs) (stated as personal healing through art)
Ira Tattelman
Colin Winterbottom

Claudia Rousseau's Artomatic Top Picks List

Dr. Claudia Rousseau is the art critic for the Gazette newspapers and while she lived in Latin America she was also one of the most recognized and respected Latin American newspaper art critics.

Dr. Rousseau visited Art-O-Matic and has the following list of her top picks:

1. Alison Sigethy
2. Mary Beth Ramsey
3. Chris Edmunds
4. Tim Tate
5. Michael Janis
6. Tiik Pollet
7. Syl Mathis
8. Inga McCaslin Frick
9. J.S. Adams
10. luckyghost (anonymous author of the Mysterious Bottles Project)

also noted by Dr. Rousseau were:

Joyce Zipperer
Richard Dana
John Olson
Adam Hoffberg
Shannon Chester

Rockville Arts Place Hosts Arts Panel on Sunday

The Rockville Arts Place will be hosting The Artist and the Internet: A Panel Discussion tomorrow, Sunday 21 November from 1 to 2:30PM.

The panel is comprised of Malik Lloyd, publisher of FindArt Info Bank, web designer and artist Todd Baxter Dawson and yours truly.

The discussion will focus on ways in which artists can use the Internet as a valuable resource for information, community and self promotion. I have been surprised as to the large number of Artomatic artists who have made it to various people's Top 10 List and yet have no website or footprint on the Web.

The Panel discussion will preceed the opening of the exhibit "Minimum/Maximum" that same afternoon. The exhibition features work by Trawick Prize finalist Jo Smail.

The panel is free to Rockville Arts Place members and $10 to everyone else.

Lou Stovall, Donna Oetzel and Daniel T. Brooking all have letters in today's Washington Post discussing Blake Gopnik's rootcanalization of Artomatic.

Brooking writes:
"As one of Artomatic's mediocre artists, I have to say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I joined Artomatic because the work is not juried or censored. The great thing is that anyone can join and have their work displayed without having someone's prejudiced, narrow-minded precepts attempt to determine the worthiness of another's creativity.

Many of the established schools of art started out as a revolt against the status quo. Artomatic offers a range of art styles and mediums; I encourage the public to come out and see what is offered. Some of the work you'll like and some you won't, but you won't go away bored. It's been a long time since I've seen such vehemence in a review."

Friday, November 19, 2004

Please discover Weirdcurves. I just did and it is a welcome addition to the DC area arts BLOGsphere!

The Artomatic visit is here.

James W. Bailey's Art-O-Matic List

You didn't expect James W. Bailey to just send me a list of his top ten artists from Art-O-Matic, did you? Here is Bailey's list, at nearly 2,000 elegant and passionate words:
James W. Bailey’s Top List of Angels and Devils Working the Mystery of God in Art-O-Matic 2004

Art-O-Matic 2004 – A Mississippi-style Juke Joint of Art

The Religion of the Juke Joint

"The juke joints in Mississippi are the only place in the state where God and the Devil get equal time." James Edward Bailey, my great-grandfather.

"I’ve been to Art-O-Matic 2004 and I’ve been Slain in the Spirit. There are angels and devils working mischief in that building and thank God for it."
James W. Bailey.

What does it mean to be Slain in the Spirit?

Being slain is a phenomenon that is sweeping through many Pentecostal-Charismatic churches in the South today. When "slain" people are knocked on the floor unconscious, some shake, some laugh, or lay paralyzed unable to move. Many Charismatic leaders are teaching that believers need to experience the "slaying" often. However, there are some reported extreme manifestations of this behavior where some "slain" individuals have stripped and exhibited lewd behavior. A few churches have even organized patrols to monitor their congregations because of the high amount of sexual immorality that has been manifested.

So the question is this: is being "slain" a God thing?

Catfish Alley – A Young Mississippi Boy’s Perspective on Cutting Edge Art

I was born and raised in a small, quiet genteel Mississippi town called Columbus. My hometown is famous for two things:

1. Being the birth place of Tennessee Williams.

2. Having a treasure trove collection of Ante-Bellum Greek Revival Plantation Mansions that were never destroyed during the Civil War because the Yankees decided at the last second to attack and destroy a nearby town called West Point.

As a young boy, however, the thing that interested me more than anything else in my hometown was the Black Culture and Music that was to be found in a blacks-only business and Juke Joint district called Catfish Alley; Catfish Alley was off-limits to whites. Whites partied in their bars and blacks partied in their Juke Joints and the two cultures never dared cross that racial line.

My father, however, was a fireman and I used to visit the mysterious and wild Juke Joints of Catfish Alley with him when he would make annual fire inspections.

The African-American community found its niche and prospered in Catfish Alley. Former post-Civil War era servants developed their own businesses and civic life from the part of town known as "Catfish Alley," which is actually a block on 4th Street South between College Street and Main Street.

According to the late Dr. E.J. Stringer, a Columbus, Mississippi, civil rights leader, politician, minister and dentist, Catfish Alley was the hub of activity for rural blacks who came into town to sell fresh vegetables and the catfish they caught along the way.

"Long before the 1940s, there were provisions to either sell the catfish uncooked, or cook it on the spot and sell it by the plate. When it was cooked, the aroma of the catfish filled the air, thus the name ‘Catfish Alley’. As long as I can remember, Catfish Alley served as a place where laborers gathered for transportation provided by employers, and it was a place where people congregated to talk and to exchange news and ideas. It was the site of black-owned businesses and professional offices, and a place for people who made a difference in the black community." Dr. E. J. Stringer.

Dr. Stringer, who once had his dental office in "The Alley," said that his greatest desire was to see people get along; to achieve oneness of community. He died in 1995.

When I was 8 years old I walked into a Juke Joint in Catfish Alley with my father on a fire inspection and was first Slain in the Spirit when I saw the most amazing collection of Mississippi African-American outsider and folk art that was hanging from every square inch of available wall space.

I had never seen anything like it. Standing in the presence of this incredible collection of art produced by people I had never heard off, featuring imagery I had never seen, left me breathless. I had never been exposed to the voices and imagination of black people in my home state in such a personal, powerful and emotive way. I knew that God was working through the people who created this art to send a message to the world. I stood there transfixed trying to understand what God was saying through these works of art.

The Blues of Art

Down in Mississippi, we have a saying, "You ain’t heard it if you ain’t listened to it." In the world of Blues music what this means is this: If you think you’re listening to the real Blues when you pay $500 for a scalped ticket to an intimate plush venue to hear an English "blues" guitarist sing the "blues" while you and your date sip on Heinekens, then you ain’t really ever heard the real Blues.

To hear the real deal, you’re gonna need to slip back in time, wind your way down South to Mississippi and find a Juke Joint. The real Blues is played by people you’ve never heard of: Musicians and singers like, "Preacher Peacock" Morgan, David "Three-Strings" Jones, Bill "Sunday School" Taylor, Johnny "T-Rex" Martin, etc. These people never had a recording contract, never cut a record, but played their hearts and souls out at Juke Joints that have long disappeared. But people did hear them, though. I am one who bears witness to voices of Angels.

Art-O-Matic 2004 – I Went Down Into The Diamond Mine To Find A Diamond And Discovered The Rough Instead

Art-O-Matic is a Mississippi-style Juke Joint of a Diamond Mine of Art. Sure, there’s a lot of rough stuff there; and there are some diamonds. But the rough stuff gives birth to the diamonds, not the other way around.

Lenny has mentioned that he has noticed a lot of the Top Ten Lists are gravitating toward a common theme. I have noticed that as well. That troubles me. It’s too easy to go into a diamond mine and shift the chafe for the wheat and pick out the diamonds that fall easily to the bottom of the basket.

No disrespect to the creators of the diamonds, many of whom I know and respect, but their diamonds have already been, for the most part, presented in the sanctuary of the white cube space. I climbed down into the diamond mine looking for the raw energy, the troubling elements, the fractured particles and the substance of the rough stuff that gives birth to the diamonds.

Walking into Art-O-Matic 2004 sent me reeling in the years back to being 8 years old and walking into that Juke Joint in Catfish Alley in Columbus, Mississippi. I found art and artists that I know God has spoken through.

I wasn’t looking for the diamonds to develop my list. I was looking for the Devil Himself to jump right out of a whiskey bottle and pop up in my face and dare me to drink that bottle. The works of the artists who have made my list did just that.

To have a personal conversation with God you have got to first dance with the Devil. These artists have put their vision ahead of every other consideration and have walked with the Devil and talked with the Lord.

I could have easily chosen another group to list. I went with the powerfully spiritual feeling that overwhelmed me with those works I saw during my two visits.

Most of these artists I don't know and have never heard of. A few I do know. One young woman, whose name I will not name out of respect for her privacy, has already tasted the sting of censorship with two beautiful nude photographs in a recent regional exhibition. Her two photographs in question are on exhibit at Art-O-Matic. Art-O-Matic is to be commended for supporting the exhibition of challenging works of art.

The Devil will not silence these artists.

If you’re looking for diamonds, they are some to be found at Art-O-Matic. If you’re looking, and willing, to explore deep into subterranean world of local art, you will see some amazing stuff.

For those artists, art critics, social critics, critic critics and others who spend more time destroying than creating, know that part of my Scots-Irish Mississippi personality wants to engage you in an endless debate over the merits of Art-O-Matic.

Indeed, I do have certain issues myself. But they related to organizational issues. I believe Art-O-Matic needs to become a artist member not for profit 501(c)3 organization because I believe the enormous energy of the artists who are so passionate about this event needs to be brought together in a more effective way to sustain, market and promote the event.

But for those relentless critics of Art-O-Matic who will never be satisfied, another part of my personality wants to just say what we say in the beautiful Magnolia State when we are just plain worn-out arguing with knuckle-heads over their stupidity. We cut them off with a big Rebel Yell and scream, "Fuck all Ya’ll!"

I offer my following list in the revolutionary spirit of radical anarchist activist, Abbie Hoffman, of "Steal This Book" fame.

I dedicate my list to the vision and integrity of Philip Barlow. May Mr. Barlow’s vision for OPTIONS 05 be presented sometime, somewhere, somehow. If I have selected just one artist who might represent just a particle of Mr. Barlow’s vision for OPTIONS 05, then I have done something important.

Steal This Art Today List! - The following artists present work worth the minimum risk of a serious art collector being charged with felony grand theft in their efforts to steal work from right out underneath the nose of the artist because these works show great potential of future increases in value. If you’re an asshole art collector, get the work of these artists now and pray the artist commits suicide in a very tragic and high-profile public fashion, thus driving up the value of your collection. These works are insanely under-priced for value. For those art collectors who care about deeper issues with the art they buy, know this: These artists are talking with God. Their conversations with Him are interesting.

My list is in alphabetic order, like the way my momma taught me. I choose the following:

Chuck Baxter
Shannon Chester
J. Coleman
Teresa Ghiglino
N. John Grunwell
R. Will Helms
Dale Hunt
M. Erin Hunter
G. Rashia Linendoll
M. Lisa McCarty
M. Iver Olson
Stefanie Pierpoint
Megan Raines
J. Kim Reyes
A. Bailey Rosen
D. Lisa Schumaier
Luis Scotti
Anna Shakeeva

To all the participating artists of Art-O-Matic 2004, I say stay true unto yourself and unto your vision.

Rock The Art!

James W. Bailey

Experimental Mississippi Photographer

Michael O'Sullivan reviews Art-O-Matic

O'Sullivan once more demonstrates that he has a finger on the pulse of the DC art scene and does so well in this review of Artomatic in today's Washington Post.

O'Sullivan touches a chord that had escaped me, in answering the question to of why so many artists of all talents and aspirations do this show:
"Or maybe, just maybe, you did it because, for just this once, there wasn't anyone telling you that you couldn't."
Bravo O'Sullivan!

Thinking About Art's Top 10 Artomatic List

JT over at Thinking About Art finally delivers his Top 10 Art-O-Matic list; he also makes a good point about most photography at the show.

B.J. Anderson
Richard Dana
Christopher Edmunds
Thomas Edwards
Linda Hesh
Syl Mathis
Allison B. Miner
Tim Tate
Kelly Towles
Rob Vander Zee

You read it here first

Glenn Dixon, the talented and opinionated writer who co-shared the "Galleries" column in the Washington Post (with Jessica Dawson) has quit because of an undisclosed dispute with the paper.

Canal Square Georgetown Openings Tonight

Tonight is the third Friday of the month, which means two things:

(a) It is the opening for the new shows of the five Canal Square Galleries in Georgetown. The galleries (Alla Rogers, Fraser, Parish, MOCA and Anne C. Fisher) will have their new shows and openings from 6-9PM. The openings are catered by the Sea Catch Restaurant and are free and open to the public.

(b) It will either rain, snow or one of those manhole covers will blow up in one of the nearby streets and the streets will be closed (this has happened three times in the last 18 months: each time on an opening night!)

See you there tonight!

And then tomorrow, join members of the "Girlz Club" at Artomatic for a tribute to Ana Mendieta.

"Girlz Club" members will make a silueta of pine cones and then paint leaves with a mixture of their blood and paint.

The tribute will on on Saturday, November 20th at Sunset on the grounds of Art-O-Matic. Follow the signs to the NW corner between the two big maple trees.

Artists to Meet on Monday

Marsha Stein's art project is getting a lot of attention and is being filmed for a potential "reality TV" series about art.

The next meeting for interested artists is at Fraser Gallery Bethesda on Monday, November 22 at 7pm.

Interested artists should contact Marsha Stein at Marshasart@aol.com.

New Gallery in Town

Galleryconnect is the new gallery space at 2103 O Street, NW in the Dupont Circle neighborhood. The gallery is currently showing "First Exposure," which is an exhibition curated by Lana Lyons, Director of the Studio Gallery.

The exhibition features Chandi Kelley and Rob Saccardi in their gallery debut. The show goes through December 19, 2004.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Jeffry Cudlin reviews Dan Flavin in the current issue of the City Paper, and Lou Jacobson dismisses Chan Chao's new (but really his old) work at Numark.

Chris Shott in the WCP has a really good article on the costs of staging Artomatic.

So far they are $56,197 in the hole.

Time for one of our area's generous donors or billion dollar corporations to step up to the plate?

Maybe the Washington Post?

I like irony.

Am I the only one noticing a pattern emerging from the diverse set of "top ten" lists of Artomatic artists that I have been getting and publishing?

Art is subjective, but you do not have to be a Cryptologist (I am) to detect the pattern beginning to emerge from the lists coming in from people with signifcantly diverse interests, backgrounds, tastes, and agendas.

I'll publish the definite Art-O-Matic Top 10 List at the end of the show. It will a list derived and mathematically compiled from the various lists that I have received and am still receiving.

Then I will see if I can figure out a way to get those artists in that list on a group show somewhere.

McLean Center for the Arts, Ellipse, Target Gallery, DCAC, Transformer, Corcoran (cough, cough) or any other art space out there... feel free to email me and offer your wall space next year; Gopnik review practically guaranteed!

For Women Photographers

The next Secondsight meeting for women photographers will be held on Thursday, December 2 at 6.30pm.

The meeting will take place at the Fraser Gallery, 7700 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda Place, MD 20814.

The Fraser Gallery is two blocks from the Bethesda metro station and there is ample free parking. The guest speaker will be Connie Reider.

Meetings are free for members, $10 for guests. Please visit www.secondsightdc.com for more information or call Catriona Fraser at 301 718-9651. Please RSVP to secondsight@hotmail.com.

Faith Flanagan's Top Ten Plus Artomatic List

Faith Flanagan is a local art fan, collector in the rough, and sometime guerilla curator. She has never been a particular fan of AOM, but strongly believes that it should not be dismissed in its entirety by those with the wit, charm, and intellect to know better.

Kathryn Cornelius
Liz Duarte
Matt Dunn
Dave Savage
Dylan Scholinski
Matt Sesow
Ira Tattelman
Kelly Towles
Bridget Vath

+ (cheating just a tad)

Overall Team Response: Eye Candy
Alan Callander, Ian Jehle and Karen Joan Topping

All about the Ladies: Girlz Club Members: Judy Jashisky, Lynda Hesh, Candace Keegan, and Ami Martin Wilbur.

Grammar.police Top Ten Artomatic List

Kriston from Grammar.police writes an eloquent review of his Artomatic visit and also delivers his top ten list:

Scott Brooks
Chris Edmunds
Nina Ferre
Linda Hesh
Ian Jehle
Syl Mathis
Allison Miner
Tim Tate
Kelly Towles
Amy Martin Wilber

Jesse Cohen mistyped the URL of DCARTNEWS (which is http://dcartnews.blogspot.com) and instead Jesse typed http://dcartnews.blogpsot.com.

This is what Jesse got instead of DC ARTNEWS.

Is that weird or what?

I love the Internet.

Jessica Dawson has a few mini-reviews in today's Style section of the Post.

Natalie Koss' Top Ten Artomatic List

Natalie Koss is the art critic for On Tap Magazine, and after several hours of walking through Art-O-Matic, she has selected and sent me the following list:

Chad Alan
Michele Taylor
Brett Davis
Thomas Edwards
Kayti Didriksen
Amy Marx
Mark Planisek
John Aaron
Laura Seldman
Tim Tate

Alex Katz will be delivering a lecture at the Corcoran on Monday, November 22, starting at 7:00pm.

In this evening, Alex Katz discusses the scope of his career from its beginnings in the 1960s and the major role he has played in the emergence of new perceptual realism in painting.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Jeff Blum over at DC Photo Scene visits Artomatic and offers some interesting words on the subject.

Jeff adds these eloquent thoughts to the dialogue:
"Artomatic felt more alive and vibrant than any other art event I've been to in DC, and I can't imagine it not being worth a couple of hours of anyone's time. Even if you end up hating everything in it, I can't imagine it being a waste of time to drop by. Lots of angst, gaudiness, crappy work, good work, earnestness, politics, thoughtfulness, whimsy, and an unbelievable amount of everything else not listed."

My "sources at the Post" (Oh please!) tell me that this coming Saturday the Washington Post's "Free for All" will have lots of letters and commentaries about Blake Gopnik vis-a-vis his rootcanalization of Art-O-Matic.

Keep an eye on the Saturday Post.

kojo nmandi Artomatic was on NPR today at the Kojo Nmandi show.

My kudos to Kojo for once again coming forth to highlight what is going on in the DC area art scene! Kojo has demonstrated (time and time again) the initiative that other "local" NPR shows seem to lack in helping to promote our area's visual arts.

Listen to the show here. It starts at around 13:32 in the show.

Busy day tomorrow...

First I'll be at the third and final day of my conference and then in the late afternoon I'll be briefing the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities on the advisory panel's recommendations for the Individual Grant awards to DC artists. My advance congratulations to all of the DC artists who will be getting $5,000 each, and my stern request that more of you apply in the coming years.

I am always shocked as to how few artists apply each year.

Aimee GarciaAfter that I will be hanging the spectacular debut of Cuban artist Aimee Garcia Marrero at Fraser Georgetown.

Aimee Garcia Marrero is a very young Cuban painter whose solo US debut in Los Angeles sold out in 2002 (a third of our show has already pre-sold before the opening). She then participated in the VIII Bienal de La Habana and since then has been working furiously to create this show.

The Garcia Marrero opening is this coming Friday, from 6-9 PM. We will have Cuban music, Cuba Libres and catering by the Sea Catch Restaurant. It's part of the opening night for the five Canal Square Galleries.

Come and say hi and I'll buy you a Cuba Libre, or as I call them: "Cuba Presa."

Fred Ognibene's Top Ten Artomatic List

Fred Ognibene is a DC area contemporary art collector; below are his top ten Artomatic finds:

Joseph Barbaccia
Scott Brooks
Frank Day
Nina Ferre’
Mark Jenkins
Syl Mathis
Allison B. Miner
Elizabeth Lundberg Morisette
Ruza Spak
Kelly Towles
Rob Vanderzee

Again, today I'll be at a conference most of the day today, so check back later for more top ten lists and other stuff.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Sidney Lawrence, who recently retired as the PR person at the Hirshhorn Museum, and who also used to exhibit at the former Gallery K, now writes for Artnet.com, and has this excellent round-up of Washington area shows.

Catriona Fraser's Top 10 Artomatic List

Catriona Fraser, Director and the hardworking co-owner of our two Fraser Galleries walked Art-O-Matic a few days ago and the below list reflects her top ten picks:

BJ Anderson
John Bata
Chris Edmunds
Thomas Edwards
M. Rion Huffmann
Michal Hunter
Syl Mathis
Mary Beth Ramsey
Alison Sigethy
Ira Tattlemann
Denise Wolff

Sarah Finlay and Patrick Murcia's Top Ten Artomatic List

Sarah Finlay and Patrick Murcia, the two hardworking directors of Fusebox Gallery, one of the best galleries in town, send in their top 10 AOM list:

Chad Alan
Kathryn Cornelius
Richard Dana
Frank Day
Nina Ferre’
Mansoora Hassan
Allison Miner
John Olson
Michael Platt
Kelly Towles

I'll be at a conference most of the day today, so check back later for more top ten lists and other stuff.

Tonight at 7PM is the opening reception/party for the artists showing in the fine art glass rooms at Artomatic. Even Gopnik in his root canal of the show had this to say about the glass:
"There may just be a few decent things hidden in the mix -- with so many thousands of objects on display, the law of averages says there must be. But three hours' worth of looking didn't spot too many. Some of the glasswork looked all right. (Glass is such a gorgeous medium it's hard to screw it up, and you need some basic training even to begin to work in it.)"
Talking about glass, the James Renwick Alliance Gala/Auction will be held on Saturday, April 16, 2005 at the Fairmont Hotel in Washington, D.C.

This is part of the Alliance's American Craft Masters Weekend 2005 which in addition to the Gala/Auction will feature a Sunday Brunch honoring William Morris/Glass; Judy Kensley McKie/Furniture; Robert Ebendorf/Jewelry; Lia Cook/Fiber and Wayne Higby/Ceramics at the Westin and a free fiber symposium at the Navy Auditorium in the morning of April 16th.

Tim Tate, whose work is represented by us and whose work is in the permanent collection at the Renwick Gallery, the nation's premier contemporary craft venue, will be a featured artist in the Live Auction.

His piece is titled "Nine Years.....Nine Memories" and consists of nine glass globes Tate calls "Reliquaries" which are his newest series. The pieces were acquired by the Renwick Alliance at the current Art-O-Matic and are currently on display at the glass rooms in that show.

"We are delighted to have such an important piece in our Live Auction" said Judith Weisman, James Renwick Alliance's Craft Weekend Chair. "Tim's work resonates with sophistication and meaning."

At the Art-O-Matic building, the glass rooms are at 32 Good Hope Road, Anacostia on your Art-O-Matic map.

Jean Lawlor Cohen's Top Ten Artomatic List

Jean Lawlor Cohen is the editor of Where DC Magazine. Below are her picks for the best from this year's Art-O-Matic.

Cardellino - A six-canvas group of dark landscapes/trees - for impact in small space.

Chris Edmunds — Sculptural heads (one on a spring!) — for irreverence.

Kathryn Cornelius — Audio installation in an ominous sinkroom with seeping water (a Tony Oursler confrontation without the dolls) — for mystery.

Nina Ferré — Bridge installation — for making do with difficult space.

Inga Frick — Couldn’t locate, but, according to her past work, merits hunting down — for whimsy.

Linda Hesh — A time travel alcove — for self-dramatization.

Judy Jashinsky — Cicada-coated homage to Noche Crist — for spirit of camaraderie.

Matt Sesow — Self-described “crumby art” that is Basquiat meets Golub — for fun.

Ruza Spak — Large skyscape paintings with dog / deer a flyin’, what Longo’s pets must dream — for disorientation.

Martha Olsson — Her bold, expressive canvases way up on the 5th floor — for daring.

Monday, November 15, 2004

And the Artomatic firestorm gathers more words!

James W. Bailey responds to Jamie Wimberly's posting:
"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves," (Matthew 7:15).

James W. BaileyIt is unlikely that most will ever meet an artist who will say, "I am a false prophet, follow me."

A "spiritual" artist will present themselves as a true prophet; and they will indeed appear to be true. But when confronted by a false prophet artist, one must search deeper and examine the artistic, social, psychological and legal implications of their words and ideas. False prophet artists will speak their prophecies and teachings with a golden tongue that will seem true and desirable. The best method of discerning the truth of a false prophet artist is by subjecting their prophecies and teachings to a critical examination of the implications of their artistic vision. The truth will stand the strongest test; error will be exposed.

Mr. Wimberly would have us believe the art world has devolved and is corrupt; he is right. He would also have us believe that standards need to be implemented to salvage the concept of real art from the masses; he is wrong.

Mr. Wimberly laments the fact that too many non-real artists are polluting the universe with their un-real art through events such as Artomatic. If, in his world, we only had an Inter-Galactic Art Commission of learned art professionals who would design, develop and implement a legal code of professional art standards, enforced by a Federation Art Police, of course, then we could all safely enjoy the privilege of viewing, absorbing, contemplating, being inspired by and buying real art made by real artists.

No doubt, under Mr. Wimberly’s scheme for the rehabilitation and salvation of the art world, such an Inter-Galactic Art Commission would be legally empowered to issue Professional Art Licenses to real artists so that these licensed real artists would be legally permitted to ply their craft to a more culturally sensitive audience who would be protected by the knowledge that the artists who they are likely to buy from are safe, certified and state approved by an art regulatory agency that operates in everyone’s best interest.

No doubt Mr. Wimberly, because of his profound insight concerning the corruption of the definition, meaning and purpose of contemporary fine art, would also expect to be asked to serve in the capacity of Board Director of the Inter-Galatic Art Commission so that he could more effectively advocate for his art philosophy to be enshrined into a Felony Criminal Art Code that would be enforced against those unlicensed un-real artists who would dare to try to operate under the radar in the back alleys of the illegal art gallery districts around the world, including Artomatic.

Allow me to offer some down-home Mississippi no B.S. wisdom from the perspective of an artist who recognizes a false prophet when he sees one. What Mr. Wimberly is really concerned about is this: He and a bunch of "real" artists he knows ain’t makin’ enough money out there in the REAL world tryin’ to sell stuff they "create" that other people think is junk and just plain don’t wanna buy!

Do I believe the modern art world is corrupt? Let me put it this way: I basically believe that the modern art world has absolutely turned its back on the general population. It has for some time now been taken over and hijacked by an elitist element of art snobs and ethereal professionals who have done everything in their power to remove the context, purpose and vibrancy of art from the realm of the people and have placed it in the ivory tower cages of the museum and gallery structure.

The present art world system allows these self-anointed art gods, the Artfanistas as I call them, to build successful and well paid careers as museum directors, curators, art dealers, gallery owners, and yes, a handful of internationally celebrated artists such as Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons, who Mr. Wimberly properly despises.

The modern art system is one with a historic parallel: Being from Mississippi, I know all about the share-cropping system. What exists today in the art world, especially in this country, is an art version of the post-Civil War Mississippi Delta plantation. The plantation owners are the so-called leading art museums. The plantation foremen are the museum curators. The sharecroppers are the emerging artists who strive to be "real" artists under the definition of what is “real” that is defined by god knows who. What you have to do as an artist sharecropper, and as a human being, to elevate your self through the plantation system to artistic independence, to that coveted position of celebrated international artist superstar, is almost unspeakable. Selling out doesn't even begin to describe it.

The results for the artistic health of this country are horrible. The average American is absolutely alienated from contemporary art. They are alienated because they have been treated with contempt by the modern art establishment. The thinking that prevails in New York is that the average American is a cultural idiot who is too unsophisticated to understand the secret language of modern art.

"Therefore, considering how stupid most art ignorant Americans are, especially those idiots down South in the Red States, it would be an incredible waste of our valuable time and resources to share our wealth of secret knowledge with them to help them understand what they don't know and will never appreciate," New York Artfanista.

The fact of the matter is that the average American is damned smart and can smell bullshit from a thousand miles away, all the way up to the top floor of The Whitney Museum of Art in New York and right down the road to their local frustrated suburban upper-middle class white talent-challenged semi-depressed I-want-to-suffer-the-life-of-the-real-urban-poor-people-so-I-can-sensitively-present-the-painful-imagery-of-their-miserable-lives artist who sits in his or her rented inner-city crack-house basement “studio” whining and crying about how the world sucks because the concept of real art has been lost and nobody will support them as an artist and buy their crap!

The Gospel According to St. James the Photographer of Experiments:

Littoral Art: The Art of the Gift - I believe that an ethical artist who lives a life of integrity has a responsibility to share their art in a way that intersects with and becomes part of the life of their community, society and nation. I believe in the principles of moral art as articulated by Bruce Barber in his work, “Sentences on Littoral Art”. This is a radical position for art because it has nothing to do with art objects within the modern art milieu where it's all about getting your 15 minutes and $15 million for a “created” object.

The present modern art super-structure works against the principles of Littoral Art. The current system is set up to further the careers, artistic and professional, of those on the inside who are obsessed with art objects. The rewards for success are fame and money. At the end of the day, what does the art created do to make the world a better, safer more peaceful place? Nothing...because that is not even the goal under this system.

I strongly believe that artists have the power to change the world. Not just interpret it or represent it or create art objects about it. What I mean by that is that artists can use an expanded definition of art to advocate, instruct, share and involve people in demanding reforms of corrupt systems of power, whether political, social or cultural.

I believe that Artomatic, whatever its failings may be, is a step in the right direction to an expanded definition of art.

Mr. Wimberly’s views reflect the endless obsessions of far too many artists who have been left behind on planet Earth who pine for the day when high quality hand-crafted artistic art objects were the definition of art and were sought after and fought over by sophisticated art collectors; indeed, a beautiful era when a handful of expert artisans were elevated to near god-like status and enjoyed the wealth bestowed upon them by the spiritually enlightened with access to unlimited funds in Swiss bank accounts.

Some of us less nostalgic and less ambitious artists took advantage of mid-20th century space flight opportunities and traveled to distant stars and galaxies and have seen the power of art removed from the object. We have for some time now been sending encoded messages about radical art practices we have discovered on other planets back home to Earth. Some of these messages have been received and decoded by artists you may know. Be warned: Some of the artists who have decoded these messages and shared them with others may in fact be false prophet artists; indeed, some may in fact be false artists profiting as real artists.

The WORD has been given: There is no excuse to not recognize such false prophet artists now... indeed, I may be one myself, but at least I’m willing to admit to the possibility that I am.


James W. Bailey
Experimental Photographer

The Artomatic firestorm rages on!

Joseph Barbaccia responds to Jamie Wimberly's posting:
I wish someone would explain to me why people feel that art needs to be defined, ruled or standardized. WTF?! Doing so is the antithesis of art. Does requiring artistic standards allow people to feel secure? By setting up narrow path to creating art are they defining their own way of creating and trying to impose it on others?

I understand the need for structure. Our lives would be chaos without it. But art, at least in my life, is one of the few remaining areas that are free of standards and rules. I value that fact immeasurably. This one area of unlimited creativity is a rarity in today’s over-regulated world. It allows us total freedom of expression.

My work doesn't have to be labeled Art. I really don’t care what it is called. Call it crap, call it interesting, or call it great. A label does not deny art's existence or its effect. Look at the history. As forms of expression change they must break from "standards" and stand on new ground. Of course, in a matter of time these changes become the "standard" themselves and must be changed again. Look at the history.

Jamie's "standards" are wonderful; for HIM to work under. I believe that setting up a structure, or defining art with a set of rules on a personal level is OK. It’s part of the process. Bring out your scales! Artists do the same with every decision we make when creating a single piece. We define the work by our choices. But I see no reason to lay my creative structure on anyone else. I would no sooner tell a person how to create art than I’d tell them how to be happy. I don’t mind getting a license and taking a test to drive a car, but please, allow me the freedom to make my art the way I believe it should be done. Anything else smells of sour grapes.

Pat Goslee's Artomatic List

Pat Goslee Area artist Pat Goslee is a well-known, talented and widely exhibited artist, and she has participated in several past Art-O-Matics, but is not involved in this year's show.

I first came across Goslee's work in 1995 or 1996 when I wrote this small review of her solo show for Visions Magazine for the Arts.

Below is her own unique list of finds and awards in the 2004 edition of Art-O-Matic (after several visits).

KARMA AWARD = Charles Sthresley

REGARDING BEAUTY AWARD = Linda Hesh + Ami Martin Wilber


RECYCLING AWARD = Elizabeth Lundberg Morisette


FLOP AWARD = Dave Savage

SYCOPHANT AWARD = Thomas Edwards

BEST TITS AWARD = Nicolas Syracuse

SAFETY AWARD = Bridget Vath

SCULPTURE AWARD = Stephon Senegal

CICADA AWARD = Betsy Packard



BEST BARGAIN = Denise Juliano “Funny Farm” $45


SOUL AWARD = Michael Platt





A friend emailed me a note about the Sunday NY Times article about JT LeRoy and LeRoy's words about the first time that he was reviewed:
"I cut the article out and put it on my stomach like it would heal me," Mr. LeRoy said in a twang left over from his West Virginia childhood. "But it didn't heal me. The thing about attention is it's like drinking. One drink is too many, and a million isn't enough."
My friend also adds that "as humans, we are responsible for tending to our own wounds. Is anyone really looking to Blake Gopnik to heal them? Art can heal, but one must do it for one's self. Now turn off the computer and go to the studio!"

Leigh Conner's Top Ten List

Leigh Conner, the hardworking gallery owner of Conner Contemporary, easily one of the best galleries in the region, walked Art-O-Matic last Wednesday and picked her top ten picks. She matched a few from mine and offers her own selections in alphabetical order:

Overall top pick: The Union Station Music Stage Room + Main Entrance

- JTW Black
- Alan Callander
- Richard Dana
- Liz Duarte
- Matt Dunn
- Linda Hesh
- Michael K. Ross
- Tim Tate
- Kelly Towles
- Ami Martin Wilber

Photographer James W. Bailey steps into the Artomatic firestorm with the following very inventive note:
Is Blake Gopnick possibly sending the art world a coded message about Artomatic 2004?

Anterograde Amnesia

Anterograde amnesia is a selective memory deficit, resulting from brain injury, in which the individual is severely impaired in learning new information. Memories for events that occurred before the injury may be largely spared, but events that occurred since the injury may be lost. In practice, this means that an individual with amnesia may have good memory for childhood and for the years before the injury, but may remember little or nothing from the years since. Short-term memory is generally spared, which means that the individual may be able to carry on a conversation; but as soon as he is distracted, the memory of the conversation fades.

It is now becoming apparent that while anterograde amnesia devastates memory for facts or events, it may spare memory for skills or habits. Thus, an individual with amnesia can be taught a new skill, such as how to play a game or how to write backwards. The next day, the amnesic individual will claim to have no memory of the prior session, but when asked to try executing the skill, can often perform quite well - indicating that some memories have been formed. It is an important area of current research to document exactly which kinds of memory can be formed in amnesia, and how this may be used to help rehabilitate amnesic individuals.

Is it possible that Mr. Gopnick suffered a severe trauma incident at Artomatic 2002 that has resulted in him being unable to form post Artomatic 2002 memories?

Is it also possible that Mr. Gopnick has formed the new ability to write backward and that his review on Artomatic 2004 was thus written backward?

I have taken the liberty, inspired by William S. Burroughs’ Word Cut-Ups method, and repositioned Mr. Gopnick’s paragraphs in what I believe to be their proper sequence.

I believe Mr. Gopnick may be trying to send us all a coded message.
Hanging Artomatic 2004 Is Good for It, Too
By Blake Gopnik
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 11, 2004

Artomatic costs more than $100,000 to put on, drawing funds from the artists themselves as well as from the public and private sectors; it absorbs major gifts in kind and vast amounts of volunteer time; it gets plenty of media coverage and pulls in tens of thousands of visitors. And all the money and resources and attention that go Artomatic's way are, by definition, not going to serious art that needs a boost, and deserves a higher public profile. Artomatic isn't only good for nothing. It's bad for art that matters.

It's not as though we are a society that fiercely discourages the making of art, one that needs an Artomatic just to make sure anything gets made at all. More art schools turn out more trained artists every year, and they all have to compete for a slice of the same meager pie of patronage, funding and public attention.

What the District truly needs is more displays of carefully selected, quality contemporary art, so that local emerging artists -- and, just as importantly, their public -- would have more and better examples of how serious creativity can work. As things stand, too many local artists, as well as a few of our dealers, get attention they wouldn't get in any city where they faced some decent, savvy competition. The region needs its artistic bar raised another notch or two. Whereas Artomatic, of course, removes the bar entirely and invites anyone and everyone to stroll on in and strut their stuff.

Despite public perceptions, the art world isn't anything like a closed shop: Curators, dealers and critics are always on a desperate hunt for new makers of new kinds of art, and they'll take it absolutely anywhere they can get it. Well-known mid-career artists are the ones who tend to face neglect; the hot young things that no one's seen before are where the action is. I guarantee that anyone with talent who might be discovered at a show like Artomatic would have had a fine chance of being discovered anyway.

After all, there are already lots of institutions dedicated to finding and displaying novel talent in the arts. Several alternative and artist-run spaces in the Washington area -- DCAC, Flashpoint, Transformer and others -- consider almost anything that comes over the transom. Their organizers tell me that the problem isn't a surplus of submissions; programming tends to suffer because they have too few options to choose among.

There may be a remote chance that such a person has been laboring unrecognized in a garret somewhere in Washington and that only Artomatic could have coaxed him out of hiding. But it's about as likely as finding a genius cavity-filler lurking in our dental open house.

Real, worthwhile art, the kind that says something that hasn't been said a million times before, requires carefully honed, hard-to-acquire skills -- sometimes manual, always visual and intellectual. Almost all artists worth the time of day know what's come before them, understand what's being made around them, and then -- against the odds and with terrifically hard work -- manage, every now and then, to make an art object that can contribute to the larger cultural conversation.

But somehow, over several decades now, we've bought into the nutty idea that fine art matters so very little, and is such easy stuff, that everyone and anyone can make it. (Actually, the idea has disappeared almost entirely among the kind of art professionals and intellectuals who suggested it in the first place, around the turn of the last century. The idea of art-by-anyone at first met with stiff public opposition, even ridicule; I'm only sorry it finally managed to catch on.)

For almost the entire history of Western culture, art was not conceived as something just anyone could or should make. Imagine living in Renaissance Florence and telling one of your Medici pals that you were going to have the family altarpiece painted by Joe Blow the baker, who felt like giving it a try. It would have seemed a joke. An Artomatic would have seemed sheer lunacy. Ditto if you had lived in Rembrandt's Amsterdam, Gainsborough's London or the Paris of Monet. For most of the last 500 years, dentists have been seen as less professional a bunch than artists.

Or worse. A show like Artomatic, in theory organized and stocked by lovers and supporters of fine art, is actively insulting to all the genuinely talented artists who have managed the long slog to a professional career.

You'd think that the purpose of a public exhibition would be to give the public a fair chance of seeing interesting art. Or you might think that it could serve emerging artists, too, by giving them a chance to learn from the best work that's out there. But what useful purpose is served in showing work by anyone who wants to have it seen, however awful it may be? How can an art exhibition be counted as anything other than a dismal failure when it's so bad overall?

I don't blame the people who made this work, bad as it mostly is. This is, as they say, a free country, and if someone wants to mess around with art supplies at home, then only their nearest and dearest have the right to complain. It's the basic premise of this show that is so badly at fault.

There may just be a few decent things hidden in the mix -- with so many thousands of objects on display, the law of averages says there must be. But three hours' worth of looking didn't spot too many. Some of the glasswork looked all right. (Glass is such a gorgeous medium it's hard to screw it up, and you need some basic training even to begin to work in it.) There were a few political one-liners that had some heft. But with works hung pell-mell and cheek-by-jowl in every corner of five floors of shabby rooms and corridors -- lighted by fluorescent tubes and the cheapest clip-on floods -- anything good was bound to get obscured by mediocrity. There's not even an attempt to keep like works together, or to craft oases of somewhat more polished art.

I won't dwell on the art. And I certainly won't name names. No one needs to know who made the wallfuls of amateur watercolors, yards of incompetent oil paintings, acres of trite street photography and square miles of naive installation art that will be polluting this innocent old building for the next three weeks. There's something for everyone to hate. The rest are works only a mother could love.

The result is the second-worst display of art I've ever seen. The only one to beat it out, by the thinnest of split hairs, was the 2002 Artomatic, which was worse only by virtue of being even bigger and in an even more atrocious space, down by the waterfront in a vacant modern office building.

After all, it could hardly be more excruciating than this year's Artomatic, the fourth edition of the District's creative free-for-all, which opens tomorrow. Organizers have gotten about 600 local "artists" -- anyone who could ante up the $60 fee and 15 hours of his or her time, in fact -- to display their creations. They're on show in the sprawling, scruffy building in north Capitol Hill that once housed the Capital Children's Museum and several charter schools.

I'll be at the front of the line.

Here's a fine idea. Let's find an abandoned school and then invite local dentists to ply their trade, free of charge, in its crumbling classrooms, peeling corridors and dripping toilets. Okay, so maybe we won't get practicing dentists to come, but we might get some dental students, hygienists and retirees to join in our Happy Tooth festival. What the heck, let's not be elitists here: Why don't we just invite anyone with a yen for tooth work or some skill with drills to give it a go. Then we can all line up, open wide and see what happens.
MY [Bailey's] WORDS:

Let’s not be too rough on Mr. Gopnick. Antereograde Amnesia can be terribly debilitating and frequently leads to a great deal of confusion when communicating with a person who has lost the ability to form new memories.


James W. Bailey

The Washington Post's online forum on Artomatic and Gopnik is finally accepting new comments. See them here.

J.T. Kirkland over at Thinking About Art steps into the Artomatic firestorm and gets an earful from his commenters. He also challenges Victoria McKernan's dismissal of Dan Flavin.

This is all a measure of Artomatic's success no matter what you think about the art. Both the BLOGsphere and the lamestream media are full of letters, comments, articles, etc. about the show.

This says that (regardless of how you feel about the art and the artists), this is the most important art event that happens in DC every couple of years.

And who knows whom the undiscovered jewels in this year's Artomatic are?

I have several top ten lists in the wings waiting to be published. Past Artomatics have given us people who are now well-known respected artists such as Dan Steinhilber, Tim Tate, Adam Bradley, Dumbacher Brothers, Richard Chartier, Scott Hutchison and many others.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Victoria McKernan jumps into the Artomatic debate:
Blake Gopnik's review of Artomatic was so sensitive and insightful.

I'm looking forward to more.

What is he planning to take on next? - handicapped greeting card art? Nursing home poetry collections?

Such Diogenic wit ought not to be wasted.

Of course this is a big, sloppy, mish-mash exhibit full of trite and naive dross.

Hello! - welcome to our species.

Overwhelming mediocrity punctuated with occasional genius is our pattern in everything from art to politics. The brilliant thing about art is that it is not a finite universe where bad work pre-empts or excludes good. The human brain is not some shoe rack in danger of being filled up by one giddy splurge at Payless.

"What is the useful purpose," Gopnik asks, "of showing work by anyone who wants to have it seen?" Oh gosh, maybe something like opening up a door to a world beyond homogenized drone existence; indulging in something called a creative spirit, and suggesting that spirit is present in each of us, and with some exercise, coaxing, or just play, could possibly flourish?

Could you run that one by your exhaled committee Comrade Gopnik?

Perhaps that flourishing will only ever produce lame paintings and bad collage but is that such a threat to fine art that it ought to be so vigorously repressed?

I envision troop storming the aisles of Michael's crafts, carpet bombing Towpath painters and raiding cubicles across America to snatch away Aunt Maggie's watercolor pansies!

Does he know about knitting clubs springing up all over town?

Joe Blow the baker was not painting during the Renaissance because paper and pencil, let alone paint and canvas, were largely unavailable to the unwashed masses. It could be that four years of Artomatic have not yielded a single brilliant artist, but 400 years of European civilization have given us only a handful.

I wonder how many Reubens or Raphaels could simply never get their hands out of the kneading trough?

This is not only a grudging and mean-spirited screed, it is fundamentally wrong to suggest that a dozen Michelangelos are starving now because of the diversion of public funds to support Artomatic. How much money did the National Gallery spend to mount the current Dan Flavin show, which, in my humble, plebian opinion could have been constructed by chimps raiding the lighting department at Home Depot?

It would be great if more "established" artists would participate in Artomatic, but for whatever reason they choose not to. It would be great if more people supported more artists in general, but they don't.

It would be great if everyone in the world were supremely enlightened and shared Mr. Gopnik's exalted artistic standards, but I'll settle for the glorious mess of artistic play that results in so many people participating in a show like this.

I sincerely hope Mr. Gopnik has no children, or at least no refrigerator.
For the record: Past and present Artomatics have yielded artists who have been subsequently selected for the Whitney Biennial, for the Corcoran Biennial, and for DC area galleries such as Alla Rogers, Conner, Fraser, Fusebox and Numark, as well as museums such as the Whitney, Hirshhorn and the Renwick.

Jesse Cohen from ArtDC delivers ArtDC's List of Top Artomatic artists:
In Franklin North Carolina, there is a historical tradition with roots in emerald mines. As a tourist, you can visit, view the real veins, and then buy a bucket of dirt. Hours are spent sifting your dirt at a sleuth to find sapphire chips, and ruby specs, “salted” by the local tourist industry. Occasionally, as I did, one lucky summer day, I found a 100 plus karat sapphire.

A trip to the ’04 Art-O-Matic lent the same feeling, sifting through, and recovering great beauty. It will take several passes through the water to uncover the wealth. Starting on the 5th floor, we ran into the Glass Attic, a group of fine glass artisans; full of colors, patterns, and appeal.

Half way through the bucket, we found Stephon Senegal. I was shocked by the mortality of his sculpture. His booth is worth a second visit.

Through the journey of the veins, more goodies were found, along with nice collections of photography. Such as, Gay Cioffi, and her Glass Quilts, an excellent study of form. Along with Frank Fiorentino who produced a collection of, well, Barbie Porn; dolls in suggestive poses. I’ve seen this by other photographers at Conner Contemporary art, but less suggestive.

Edward's Talking HeadAnd then there was Thomas Edwards, Sycophant Head, and School of Fish Pain installations. The annoying slum head that follows you around the room, and the fish dying out of water. Original: The one word sums it up.

Finally, as we were pushed out for closing, I entered John Aaron’s Congressional Confessional, brilliant, with a sense of humor. I cast my vote in the journal, and chatted with John and Andrea. I’m glad to see politics roll into AOM.

15 minutes into our trip, we found our 100-karat stone. The atmosphere, and environment created by piling 1000s of artists, spectators, collectors and friends in one space with a reason to be there made the show valuable. It was, a happening.

Far from a list of ten, six stood out from a 2-hour time period through the sleuth. With more time, there will be no problem uncovering many lists of 10.

Tracy Lee is a very, very good photographer who recently decided to go for her MFA at GWU.

She responds to Jamie Wimberly's posting as follows:
My two-cent quick and dirty reply to Jamie Wimberly - without having seen ArtOMatic but just commenting on his points (which I appreciate and mostly agree with -- It's refreshing to hear other artists also feel the same.):

1) I believe contemporary art is devalued because no one except the artist and the gallery elite are interested in it. This is not art that the masses can understand or appreciate. It's not art that even I - a person with an art degree and background - can always understand or appreciate. I believe that the lack of focus on technical and the complete focus on the concept is the downfall of contemporary art. "That's not art, I/my kid/my dog could do that" is a common response to contemporary art. For me and others there needs to be at least an appearance of skill behind the work. This puts me at odds with my professors.

2) Art schools & teaching art. I'm in a grad program and I'm being taught concept and no technical skills; the medium doesn't matter. My technical prowess doesn't matter. All that matters is the idea behind my work. I'm not being taught how to fine tune my skills to better get my message across, I'm being taught that I should feel free to drop my chosen medium and pick up anything else if I feel it can better represent what I'm trying to say - regardless of my familiarity or skill level with any other medium; this bothers me a lot. I can agree that I shouldn't feel restricted to only be a photographer, that I should use whatever is at my means and not feel restricted to try something new. But I also know that unless I invest the time and effort to learn the technical side of another medium that my crossover work would suffer from inexperience and look amateurish and sloppy.

4) Public apathy: See #1. I"m certainly not advocating creating art for the WallMart masses, but I feel that the pendulum has slipped so far to the elitist side. No one understands what they are looking at anymore, but there is a "the Emperor has no clothes!" attitude and most people are afraid to acknowledge (let alone voice out loud): Wow, that art really sucks! That's silly, that's just stupid, my dog could do that! I feel that the elitist art world needs a slap of reality and told to "get over yourself!" Also going along with #5

6 - Superstar artists. It's all about the message; doesn't matter who does the work, it's about who had the idea. My Old Skool traditional art background fights this but it is the present day attitude.

7 - Artists get laid? What a second!

And to his points about what she thinks The Art World Needs - I'd just like to say that the first two are things that I'm being taught *against* in school, especially Aesthetics. "Beauty" is a four-letter world. You aren't allowed to say that anything is "nice" or that, heavens forbid, you "like" it! The horrors! It must be visual interesting, stimulating, thought provoking, disturbing, disgusting or invoke any other such reaction but the word "Beautiful" must be avoided at all time. That Is Not Art. Too simplistic. Too easy.

P.S. About what is art and the idea that everything is art....

To quote from mainstream entertainment: "Everyone's special, Dash."

"Which is another way of saying that nobody is."


"And when everyone is super, no one will be." (From The Incredibles).

Also along the lines of the Kurt Vonnegut short story Harrison Bergeron - "The year was 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren't only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else."

And Ann Rynd's Fountainhead series: When everyone is special then no one is.

When everything is art then nothing is.
Give them hell Tracy!

I've received nearly 200 emails in the last two days or so dealing with Artomatic; either dealing with the Gopnik root canal of the show or with the diversification of "lists."

Loads of interesting postings will be coming in the next few days (time permitting)... keep checking, and please go visit Artomatic: the show.

Last night I made my third visit, and spent about five hours re-visiting the show together with Prof. Chawky Frenn from George Mason University. I managed to find quite a few artists that I had missed during my first three visits, although I still haven't found Colin Winterbottom!

By the way, those people who have emailed me bitching about Gopnik's review of Artomatic - please remember that it is his right as a critic to express his opinion, and as much as I disagree with it, I will defend his right to express it.

If you disagree with Blake, respect his right to write his opinion, and then send a letter to his boss to express yours!

Letters should be sent to:

Arts Editor
Style Section
The Washington Post
1150 15th St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20071

Emails should be sent to Arts@washpost.com.

In your letter or email you need to include a daytime and nighttime phone number and an address, and the letters may be edited for length and clarity.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Area artist Jamie Wimberly steps into the Art-O-Matic debate ring with the below note:
"Well, Sacha and Blake really stepped into it . And now I go into the void. With reluctance, I may add since I will probably get blasted for it. But I have to agree with the general criticism made by Blake. Not necessarily about the Art-O-Matic show or the pieces in it, because I actually think the Jeff Koons and Damien Hirsts' of the world are much worse, but the need for standards in art.

There is a general perception that everything is art and everybody is an artist. This thinking came out of intellectual arguments on the most central question in art - what is art? - dating from Duchamp (R. Mutt toilet) and Warhol (15 minutes of celebrity, commercial images as art given a certain context), and really before them. But the thought process has been lost and now we simply have the rotten fruit. That there is no "bad" art and every hobbyist deserves to have their work up in public. Turned on its head, logically speaking, that is the same as saying: Nothing is art and nobody is an artist. After spending oodles of money and time in art school, in the studio, hitting the streets, etc., I, as an artist, absolutely reject that notion.

Given that there does not seem to be any definition to art, a vacuum has been created. And as everyone knows, nature abhors vacuums. So, I would argue non-art values have been filling that void - celebrity, propaganda, political correctness, marketing, corporate affiliations, art as commodity, shock/ outrageousness/ spectacle, or in the case of many of the respondents so far, a chance to party, to name a few. There are very real consequences to this state of affairs, including but not limited to:

1) Art - all contemporary art at least - gets somewhat devalued. And it is very hard - almost impossible - to make a living as an artist. Contrary to the depiction of galleries as ogres with their 30 to 50 percent commission structures, I would add that most galleries as well are struggling mightily. I would not want to be in that business.

2) Art schools have virtually stopped teaching art.

3) True patrons are an increasing rare breed. There are simply buyers of art.

4) Public support for spending on art is scarce due to public boredom/ disgust what is being purveyed as art, so companies are increasingly relied on for funding/ buying art with their own agendas.

5) Criticism - especially strong criticism - does not occur. And when it does, as with the case of Blake's piece, it is declared "elitist" and less likely to be repeated.

6) Superstar artists have become producers and do not actually touch the work themselves. They direct or design.

7) Art has become an excuse and platform - as therapy, to get laid, to party, to become a celebrity, etc.

8) Art has become a marketing exercise with as a commodity to market around.

I could go on. But I wonder what kind of legacy we are leaving in regard to art of this generation. What can be considered "important" art - which, to me, means what will influence future generations? Not much, I am afraid.

I would argue that there is a clear need for standards in art - not in regards to medium (with the conceit that "painting is dead"), or style, or substance/ content. But there needs to be a new/ old way of evaluating art. I offer four suggested standards:

1) Craftsmanship - How well is the piece made? Is it archival? Does the artist show mastery of their chosen medium? Most art today is sloppy and falling apart.

2) Aesthetics/ Beauty - Does this artist deal with the question of beauty in the work - even if the piece is intended to be off-center or even ugly? This is particularly important in regard to painting. Art today is oftentimes willfully ignorant of aesthetics.

3) Spirituality - What I mean here is what Kandinsky referred to as spirituality in art. Does the artist put something of themselves in the work? Does the work have essence? Art today can be awfully sterile.

4) Influences/ History - It is important to know what preceded you. What/ who influenced the work? What is the work trying to contribute? Traditionally, with guilds, a long apprenticeship was required before an individual artist would even be allowed to put that one touch or flourish that was their signature mark. Today's art seems to be very post modern in orientation - trashing history to always be creating the "new new". This is a race to the bottom.

Finally, I would add the all important ingredients of artistic success: hard work, discipline, talent, striving for excellence and luck.

Not everyone is an artist, and not everything is art.

Jamie Wimberly
You can email me responses to Jamie's points if anyone so desires.

Art-O-Matic Top Ten Lists

As you know, I spent seven hours walking Artomatic's halls, passageways and rooms in order to select my top 10 artists from that show. That list is here. I have begun to receive other people's top ten lists and will post them here soon.

I am also working on the following "other" lists:

(a) Copyright Infringement List
(b) Porn List
(c) Hannibal Lechter Art List
(d) Funniest Art List
(f) Top Ten Artists I Had Never Heard Of List

Some advance notice on those lists:

(a) has been won in a close race by Robert Steel. I applaud his courage to take on THE Mouse.

(b) has been won by Iver Olson's photos of lesbian fisting.

(c) has been won by Ira Tattelman's really disturbing installation. Someone best put an ankle tracker on Ira ahead of time.

(d) is still up for grabs... more visits needed.

(f) is still a work in progress... more visits needed.

Sorry folks, there won't be a "Best Dicks in the Show" list, although there are plenty of entries in that stiff category as well. If anyone wants to email me such such a list, I will gladly post it here.

Fun with Lenny and art...

If you haven't visited Art-O-Matic yet, then please do so over the next few days. The show runs until December 5, 2004.

Dana Ellyn Kaufman's response to Gopnik Meanwhile, you can view a lot of the artwork online here. In that online library of artwork, artist Dana Ellyn Kaufman sends this response to Gopnik's review with the painting to the right.

ArtDC and Thinking About Art have both joined the storm caused by Gopnik's rootcanalization of Art-O-Matic. I still think that Gopnik's review will be better for Art-O-Matic in the long run and also reveals his disdain for nearly all things that involve Washington area artists and galleries.

Over at Jesse Cohen's ArtDC, Thomas Edwards (who has one of the most creative pieces at the Artomatic wonderland) writes:
"I'm sorry - I simply don't believe in the hierarchical theories of art criticism. Like a lot of the social sciences, it is mainly BS. Good art speaks for itself, and I believe art critics should talk more about artwork and less about their BS theories and trying to predict what art historians will theorize about in 50 years."
One of ArtDC's commenters writes: "Oh well, I guess the clown couldn't pass up the opportunity to insult 700 people at once, instead of the one or two he usually gets to criticize."

That is funny!

Friday, November 12, 2004

The Washington Blade reviews Art-O-Matic and offers a slightly different viewpoint and in the process re-affirms the true power of this event: the tremendous artistic energy that it generates.

Alexandra Silverthorne and Scott Lassman both note at Thinking About Art that:
In view of Blake Gopnik's overarching dental school analogy, I thought this quote from the Washington Blade article was pretty humorous:

"This is the first major exhibition for gay painter Fortunato “Forty” Dela Cruz, who is finishing his art degree part time at University of Maryland, University College, while working full-time as a dental lab technician."

Maybe Blake was on to something . . ."
Nice catch Scott...

"My sources in the Post tell me..." (does that sound pretentious or what?)

Anyway... the Blake Gopnik root canal of Art-O-Matic is getting so much heat and complaints at the Post, that the world's second most influential newspaper has opened a forum for people to discuss Art-O-Matic, Blake and associated angsts.

Visit the forum and express your opinion.

And let us not forget, that as much as we may disagree with Gopnik's carpet bombing of this most democratic of art shows, it is his right as an art critic to express his opinion.

And let's not forget that if given the choice between no review at all, or a murderous review such as this one, it is manna from heaven to have such a biased, short-sighted, blindfolded review as Gopnik's was.

Why? Because dental surge of anti-provincial negativity will help to drive people by the hordes to Art-O-Matic.

All of the Art-O-Matic artists should send Gopnik thank you notes!

Art-O-Matic Top Ten List

This was not easy to do: 600 plus artists in a maze of rooms and corridors involving over seven hours of walking during the last two nights. Later I will post the top ten lists of several other gallerists, dealers, curators and artists. Email me your top ten list and I will also post it here. They are listed in alphabetical order:

Joseph Barbaccia
Margaret Dowell
Matt Dunn
M. Rion Hoffman
Michal Hunter
Michael Janis
Mark Jenkins
Syl Mathis
Allison B. Miner
Tim Tate

Of the ten artists listed above, I was familiar with the work of all but M. Rion Hoffman, Syl Mathis and Mark Jenkins. We, of course, represent the work of Tim Tate.

Note that four of the artists on this list do not have a web presence (at least that I can find). I find this astounding in this day and age.

Even after all the hours spent so far at Art-O-Matic, I am pretty sure that I've probably missed quite a few artists, as sometimes the building can get quite disorienting.

I am also preparing the following lists:

(a) Copyright Infringement List
(b) Porn List
(c) Hannibal Lechter Art List
(d) Funniest Art List
(f) Top Ten Artists I Had Never Heard Of List

And, no... I've decided not to publish my "Somebody Please Burn This" list. Sorry...

Right on cue for all the Friday night gallery openings and parties scheduled tonight: the rain arrives.

Yesterday the Post's Arts Beat column discussed some artwork stolen from a Dupont Circle area gallery as well as giving kidos to area artist Tim Tate (represented by us) and reports that:
"The gay magazine Out has included glass sculptor Tim Tate on its annual "Out 100" list of notable people. Tate, a founder and co-director of the Washington Glass School, was named an Outstanding Emerging Artist earlier this year at the Mayor's Arts Awards. He joins a mix of established and rising figures in the visual arts section of the "Out 100" -- including pop art icon David Hockney, sexually provocative photographer Anthony Goicolea and Korean interdisciplinary artist Erica Cho."
That newsbit was first discussed here two weeks ago.

Also yesterday, the new issue of the Washington City Paper has a fascinating story by Chris Shott and John Metcalfe on the effects upon the National Gallery of Art's guards to the continuous exposure to Dan Flavin's bright artwork.
"Ever since the gallery’s Oct. 3 opening of “Dan Flavin: A Retrospective,” staffers watching over the sprawling display of 44 illuminated works by the fluorescent-tube-obsessed minimalist have complained of headaches, anxiety, and nervousness—all allegedly brought on by excessive wattage. A combined 48,600 watts, to be exact. One staffer is said to have passed out."

Man do my feet hurt...

It's one AM... and just back from spending about four hours at Art-O-Matic to do the "art dealers top ten" pick.

Ran into several gallerists walking the halls and rooms of Art-O-Matic, including Sarah Finlay and Patrick Murcia from Fusebox, Steve Krensky from Light Street Gallery and others.

Later today (after I get some sleep) I will post my list of top ten artists in the show, and then later I will post some other people's top ten.

If any reader visits the show, email me your top ten and I will post here as well.

Tonight we have the opening of Cuban Artists: Three Generations at Fraser Bethesda, with new work by Sandra Ramos and Jacqueline Zerquera Tejedor, as well as work from the Estate of Carlos Alfonzo.

Mojitos, Sangria, Cuba Libres and Cuban music to go along with the Cuban art will be available as part of the opening from 6-9 PM.

After my opening I'm heading down to the Art-O-Matic opening party.

See ya there around 10 PM!

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Surprise, surprise...

Blake Gopnik brutalizes Art-O-Matic in today's Washington Post.

Don't worry... I'll give you guys a real, objective review in a few days, rather than one that (in my opinion) was pre-conceived in his mind and perhaps even his word processor before this eloquent man stepped into the building.

Read it here. The good side of the story is that brutal reviews such as this one is tend to actually benefit the show being destroyed by the critic. I bet that in the coming Sundays, the Post's Sunday Arts will have plenty of letters both agreeing and disagreeing with Gopnik.

And that dialogue is good for the show, for the artists, and for Washington. If you want to send a letter to the editor about the review, learn how to do it here.

So, I actually think that this carpet bombing of Art-O-Matic will be good for the show. It is actually a lot better than a lukewarm review.

Natalie Koss reviews Gehry at the Corcoran and Malone at Fraser Georgetown.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Just back from the press preview of Art-O-Matic, and if anything, it is by far the best one ever! I have sensory overload, after all there are well over 600 artists present, but first impressions are very good, especially as it pertains to the fabulous building.

Lots of familiar faces tonight at the press preview, including Conner Contemporary's hardworking owner Leigh Conner, who was picking out her ten top Art-O-Matic artists list.

Leigh's list will join several other art dealers top ten lists (including my list, Fusebox's Sarah Finlay and Fraser Gallery's Catriona Fraser, which will be used by Art-O-Matic to promote the event.

I will visit Art-O-Matic several times over the next few days (tomorrow I will pick my top ten) and then write a review for the CrierMedia newspapers and one for NPR.

You can read my 2002 review of that year's Art-O-Matic here, and a second review here and a segment from my review of the 2000 show here

I'm not holding my breath waiting for the NGA to answer my question about the cost of their latest acquisition.

Back in 1993 or 1994, I wrote a piece about a Cy Twombly piece that they had acquired and then inquired as to its total cost. My piece ended up getting picked up by a couple of newspapers, including the Washington Post, and it received quite a bit of publicity. I then asked the NGA via letter for the cost of the Twombly acquisition. Ten years later I am still waiting for an answer.

Here's that piece just for fun (if you are a Twombly fan: my apologies for MY opinion about his work):
Twombly over Picasso? The National Gallery of Art's latest acquisition of an exceedingly boring painting by Virginia painter Cy Twombly succinctly brings to light a perfect example of the sort of poor decisions made in the seclusion of museum walls which exemplify why the general public is often at odds with our arts intelligentsia.

BolsenaCy Twombly's "Untitled (Bolsena)" was acquired on Friday the 13th of October by the National Gallery of Art at a cost of about one million dollars. The gallery's Collector's Committee also considered a Picasso, a Giacometti and a Baselitz before choosing the Twombly painting, which was aptly described by Washington Post art critic Paul Richards as "evoking the butt-end days of New York action painting. Or a wall besides a public pay phone."

Although it is clear that the Twombly piece will now join the National Gallery's ever growing "Gee, Mom, I can do that!" collection of art, what isn't clear is the rationale for picking Twombly over Picasso or Giacometti. It has been said that Twombly's main claim to fame is his early associations with Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg; if this is his main springboard into the walls of the National gallery, then it is clear to me that a pathetic mistake has been made by the gallery's Collectors Committee. As a matter of fact one would be hard pressed to pick a Johns or a Rauschenberg over a Picasso!

A new Picasso acquisition would have brought the National Gallery some more public interest, and a price tag of a million dollars seems almost a bargain for perhaps the greatest painter of all time. Whatever his detractors, Picasso is a recognized entity which would attract people who both like and dislike his work. I suspect Twombly's "champions" are not enough to prevent this latest acquisition from being ridiculed by the public and dismissed by the critics.

It is also clear that the piece was vastly overpriced, as a similar Twombly sold less than two weeks ago in New York for $167,000. It would be interesting to see in which basement of the National Gallery this scrawling will gather dust in a few years. When it is put into storage, I hope it is well marked as a piece of art, or it may accidentally resurface on a wall next to a pay phone at the Smithsonian Metro Station.

Thinking About Art's posting on Kirkland's disappointment with DC Artists (vis-a-vis their response to his project) has generated a lot of good comments.

One comment discusses the "extremely high cost of digital media. In order to participate, one would need to somehow digitize several works of art so that they could be viewed on your website."

This is incorrect.

The best way to start out in the digital world and avoid the "high cost" is simply to take your own photos of your work, any film type and take it to your corner film developing store and ask them for digital images on a CD ROM.

Or even better, and what I do, is to ship the film to Photoworks and for a very reasonable price (under $25) you'll get two sets of slides, two sets of photos, negatives, a CD ROM of digital images and a webpage on their server (password protected for you) where they store your digital images and you can email them around, or copy them to your PC as needed.

I've been using Photoworks since I was in Art School (1977-1981) and they were called Seattle Filmworks. They are fast and efficient, and this digital service can't be beat.

Next excuse?

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Ghots photo copyright Rob ShelleyKriston over at Grammar.police has some interesting words on the acquisition of Rachel Whiteread's "Ghost", which as Paul Richard put in his piece last weekend in the Post is "a signature piece of the "YBAs," the chic Young British Artists, and of London's soaring rise in the international art world, and of all that that implies."

Richard suggests that the piece cost in excess of a million dollars and that the billionaire who came up with that money is a local one: Mitchell Rales, who lives in Potomac, and who is an art collector.

The sculpture is on the mezzanine of the East Building, and just like Kriston, I must have walked past it without noticing it (if it truly was there over the weekend). I guess that's a true triumph of minimalism.

I'd like to know how much the piece cost, and frankly since the NGA is a government institution, it should not be a secret. After all, Mr. Rales will get a well-deserved tax write-off (that he can spread over the next five years) for his generous donation. Our kudos to him.

So Dear NGA, we're curious: How many sheckels did this thing cost?

Opportunities for Artists

Deadline: November 13, 2004. Baker Arts Center National Juried Art Exhibition. $8500 in prize money. 2 and 3-dimensional original Fine Art including Photography completed within the past 2 years. For More Information call 620/624-2810. For prospectus send SASE to:
Baker Arts Center
624 N Pershing
Liberal KS 67901

Deadline: November 16, 2004. A new Chicago gallery is organizing artists and themes for upcoming Winter and Spring programs. Interested established and emerging artists please submit digital images (jpeg), slides, photos etc. along with artist statements, bios, proposals etc. All correspondence to:
Sacha Warholic
LUX Gallery
3036 N Lincoln Ave., Suite 3A
Chicago IL 60657

Deadline: November 20, 2004. The Masters's Mystery Show, a high profile exhibition and sale of original artist's postcards to benefit the Florida International University's MFA program, will take place at the MB Ritz Carlton concurrently with Art Basil MB '04. The project will follow a format wildly successful in Europe. Works donated by established artists, including some international stars, will be shown along with famous architects, designers and celebrities. All works will have a fixed size (6" x 9") and will be sold at a fixed and very affordable price. The Mystery is that while the names of the participants will be widely publicized, the artists will not be identified during the exhibition, and the signature on each work will only be revealed after the sale is completed. So the public has to "play detective." If you want to participate, please contact them via this email or call 305/490-4852. They will provide the blank cards and return envelopes. All artwork must be received by November 20, 2004.

Deadline: November 30, 2004. Juried Exhibition - Written Word IMAGINESTATION presents the first of its juried exhibitions for 2005. The theme of this juried on-line show is Written Word. Text must be incorporated into the piece. Artists are invited to interpret this theme in 2 or 3 dimensions in any media. November 30, 2004. Exhibition Dates: January 15 - February 28, 2005. Application Fee: $12 - Members, $15 - Non-Members. Send SASE to: ISQ105 - Written Word
Box 20326
Lehigh Valley PA 18002-0326

Web site: here or email them here.

Deadline: January 31, 2005. Art.com and Cultural Institute of Mexico, AN HOMAGE TO FRIDA KAHLO, curated by yours truly. Inviting works in photography, painting, watercolor, drawing and mixed media that feature new portraits of Frida Kahlo, or images influenced by the artist, her life or her work. Prizes include paid trip to Kahlo Museum in Mexico City, cash award and print-on-demand package.

Potential exposure to more than five million art lovers every month. No entry fee, and easy, online image upload and submission process. DEADLINE JANUARY 31, 2005. Virtual collection displayed April 5 through July 6, 2005. For more information, visit Art.com, or email originals@art.com or call toll free 866/308-8597 (US and Canada) or 919/831-0015, x3135 (international).

Monday, November 08, 2004

As an art dealer, one of the things that I have discovered (as the web progresses and artists and artwork become an integral part of the Global Information Grid), is how adept the new young, savvy collectors are at detecting emerging young artists by the art of Googling them.

It is easy to see that lamestream media reviews are slowly but surely becoming a thing of the past, and what's more important (at least to a collector who is not familiar with an artist - but attracted to the work), is the digital footprint that the artist in question has on the Web.

Some, many artists do not seem to understand this yet... some do. Many gallerists certainly don't understand this. I know that our success as a gallery is a puzzle to many elitist people in this area who think they know a lot about art and galleries and yet have never ran one or sold any artwork. I was recently asked by a very important museum curator: "So, you guys are doing pretty good... getting a lot of press and making museum sales... who is your backer?"

She probably thought that I was kidding her when I answered that for our first couple of years it had been "Mr. Visa and Mr. Mastercard."

But I meander... look at your computer screen and see the future of art history. And the meat of selling art (and selling the artist).

The above rant was triggered by the failure of DC area artists and galleries to respond to Thinking About Art's call for artists to discuss their work and ideas and thoughts in 100 words or less. Several have responded and yet Kirkland is justifiably astounded as to the apathy which his project has encountered.

Sometimes I think that the "A" in Art around here stands for Apathy; and yet, now that Thinking About Art has opened its project to all artists (not just DC area), we should see a surge in interest from national artists, and a kick in the ass to our area's artists.

painting by Sandra Ramos

Our Fraser Gallery of Bethesda, Maryland, has an opening this coming Friday Nov. 12 at 6-9 PM. We will host a show titled Cuban Artists: Three Generations which will include new works by Sandra Ramos and Jacqueline Zerquera Tejedor, as well as works from the Estate of Carlos Alfonzo.

These artists represent three generations of Cuban contemporary artists. Alfonzo is regarded as one of the most important Cuban artists in recent years (he died of AIDS in 1991), while Ramos is without a doubt the most talked-about and one of the most collected contemporary Cuban artists alive today (in the collection of many American museums already).

Zerquera is a very respected Havana artist who is now emerging in the international scene.

Opening reception on Friday, Nov. 12 from 6-9 PM. In addition to our famous Sangria, we will also have Cuban music, Mojitos and Cuba Libres.

The opening is part of the Bethesda Art Walk, which now provides free walking tours of the various participating galleries. Free and Open to the public.

See ya there!


The Washington City Paper has taken a swing at the Washington Post Sunday Source.

Ben Watson writes: The Washington Post’s Sunday Source section offers light and bubbly how-to’s on burnless dinner parties, easy outings, and mistake-proof craft projects. As the typical young, urban reader whom the section caters to, I thought it would be good to put the Source—and my skills—to the test. I decided to take on Laura J. Vogel’s craft column, “15Min.” Could I find all those craft supplies without a car? Could I assemble them into something cute and useful? Could I do it all in 15 minutes?

It's quite funny! read the whole thing here.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

What I don't understand is why this guy was naked...

Art Jobs

The Textile Museum, 2320 S Street, NW, Washington, DC is currently looking for a Director, an Accounting Manager, and a Assistant Curator for Eastern Hemisphere Collections.

The Textile Museum is an international center for exhibition, study, collection and preservation of textiles with a mission of furthering understanding and appreciation of mankind's creative achievements in the textile arts.

Full position announcement and qualifications here.

The Creative Arts Center at Community College of Baltimore County is seeking Artist-instructors and they are needed in dance, art history, vocal and instrumental music, visual art, design, photography, theatre, writing, and culinary arts. For more information, please contact the Creative Arts Center at CCBC at 410-780-6533

Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation seeks a Development Officer who will be responsible for the initiation, oversight, planning, implementation, and management of a development program that secures significant financial resources from government, foundations, corporations, and individuals to support the Foundation's mission.

Qualifications include: a bachelor's degree in business, marketing, communications or a field related to the arts; two to three years of progressive experience and responsibility in development in an arts or cultural agency; strong research, planning, writing, grantwriting and budgeting skills; and proficiency in computer technology including the ability to use various software applications for project and data management (especially Access and Excel).

The starting salary for this position is in the low $40's. A full benefits package accompanies the position. Send letter of application, resume, writing samples, and names and addresses of three references to:

Development Officer
Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation
201 N. Charles St.
Suite 401
Baltimore, MD 21201

Magazine looking for freelancers

Starting January, 2005, Urbanite magazine will be published in color on a monthly basis. They're looking for illustrators and photographers to do paid freelance work.

Urbanite wants images that are "edgy, artsy, and challenging."

Interested artists should send samples to:

Ann Wiker
Art Manager
1431 Patapsco Street
Baltimore, MD 21230

Or email Ann at aeartdealer@aol.com or call her at 410/404.3587

Friday, November 05, 2004

As everyone knows, the Elizabeth Roberts Gallery has closed since Elizabeth married and will move soon to the Left Coast.

The gallery space is for rent and it would be great if someone started a new gallery (or two!). Here are the details:

Two floor gallery space located in Dupont Circle’s historic gallery row: 2108 R Street, NW

There are two floors (approximately 1200 square feet each) of space, and they could be potentially divided into two gallery spaces.

Available in 2005.

Anyone who wants to find out more information or is interested in renting should contact Elizabeth at: elizabeth@elizabethroberts.net

Tonight is the first Friday of November and thus the extended hours for the Dupont Circle area galleries.

Openings from 6-8 PM generally...

See ya there!

New Gallery in Town

Washington Chapter of the Women's Caucus For Arts is holding a Holiday Art Show at the newly created gallery at the Chevy Chase Community Center.

The opening reception for the artists will be held on Saturday November 6, from 2-4 pm.

The new gallery is in the Chevy Chase Community Center at 5101 Connecticut Avenue (across from the Avalon Theater) in Chevy Chase.

Chan Chao's new work opens at Numark

Numark Gallery presents "Echo", Chan Chao's newest body of work. The show opens today and runs until December 18, 2004, with an opening reception on Friday, November 12, from6:30 - 8pm.

Cheryl tells me that Chan is again photographing his subjects at close range, front and center, and returning to a subject that he dealt with earlier in his career - the female nude.

I am for one, very glad of this return to the nude, as I was not a big fan of Chao's previous body of work, which (of course) received wide critical acclaim (I am talking about the Burma: Something Went Wrong photographs), and allowed Chao national exposure as they were prominently featured in the 2002 Whitney Biennial.

The Art League is one of the nation's largest arts group with several thousand members from our area. They are sponsoring a couple of interesting panels and shows in the coming days:

In November, The Teacher as Artist show will showcase the artwork of both present and former Art League faculty members including well-known Washington artists such as Gene Davis, Paul Reid, Lou Stovall, and Jay Hall Carpenter.

This All-Media Membership Show is dedicated to all the outstanding artists who have been, and still are, the League's teachers.

The opening reception is this Sunday, November 7, from 3:00-5:00 pm and the show runs until Monday, December 6, 2004.

Then on Thursday, November 11, 2004 from 7:00-9:00 pm, Carol Dupre (who was savaged in the Washington Post a couple of years ago) will lead a panel of past and present Art League teachers in a discussion: Refuting the Taboo on Artistic Intelligence. Among other issues, she will explore the taboos that lurk, often quietly, in every classroom.

For event information, call 703-683-1780.

Washington Print Club's Panel Discussion of Print Collecting and Contemporary Printmaking.

On Saturday, Nov. 13, 2004 from 10:30 to Noon, and in celebration of the 40th anniversary of The Washington Print Club, the WPC and Georgetown University Art Collection are sponsoring a panel discussion of print collecting and contemporary printmaking.

The panel will be moderated by WPC Advisor Dr. Alan Fern, former director of the National Portrait Gallery, and curator of prints at the Library of Congress. The panel will include WPC founding members Mary Hewes and Herbert Franklin; Ruth Fine, curator of special projects in modern art at the National Gallery of Art; Scip Barnhart, printmaking instructor at the Corcoran College of Art and Design; Jane Haslem, Jane Haslem Gallery; Clifford Chieffo, emeritus professor of art at Georgetown University; Donald Saff, senior curator of prints and drawings at the Solomon R.Guggenheim Foundation; and Mrs. Martin Atlas, collector.

The panel discussion will be held in McNeir Auditorium, on the main campus of Georgetown University.

More details here. Admission is free and the event is open to the public.

Want to Ask Jeff Koons a Question?

For the January-February 2004 issue, Flash Art is giving you the opportunity to interview Jeff Koons. As they've done twice this year (first with Vanessa Beecroft, then Maurizio Cattelan), the magazine is soliciting questions from people. They will present the best of these questions to Jeff Koons, and he will respond to them in an interview published in the Jan-Feb 2004 issue.

Please e-mail all questions to francesca@flashartonline.com Thursday, November 11, 2004.

James W. Bailey has of course already sent in a question: "Mr. Koons, at exactly what point in your "art" career would you admit to selling out your soul to the devil for the almighty American dollar, as well as any other international currencies that you have benefited from by selling your "art" work?"

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Later today I will be in MHz TV discussing the recent Christie's and Sotheby's art auction sales as well as a couple of area art exhibitions.

New Painting Prize Announced

In June 2005, the Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District, a non-profit organization, will award $14,000 in prizes to painters from Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia.

The Bethesda Painting Competition will be one of the largest cash awards in the United States given to a painter, with a $10,000 award for Best in Show. This competition will be an annual event that will bring much-needed media and critical attention to artists from this region.

In 2002, the Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District created The Trawick Prize: Bethesda Contemporary Art Awards, a juried art competition awarding $14,000 in prize monies to contemporary artists in the Greater Washington, D.C. area.

The founder, Carol Trawick, is committed to annually honoring contemporary visual artists with this award. Ms. Trawick has generously made the same commitment to area painters. With the creation of the Bethesda Painting Competition (also funded by Ms. Trawick), they now have the opportunity to specifically recognize and honor area painters as well as build on Bethesda’s reputation as a well-respected arts community.

The search for jurors who are qualified to jury painting is now on, but this is great news for our area artists!

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Van Gogh's great grandson murdered in Amsterdam

Greg Allen reports that Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh, who is the great grandson of Vincent Van Gogh was murdered on an Amsterdam street yesterday, apparently by Muslim extremists because of a short film by Theo titled "Submission" which had been broadcast on Dutch TV.

Per Allen, "Van Gogh and the film's writer, an "ex-Muslim" member of parliament, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, had received numerous death threats and accusations of blasphemy."

James W. Bailey has the following words on this brutal murder:
Another Saint in the art world has given his life in the pure pursuit of his art.

Yesterday's savage and brutal murder in Amsterdam of filmmaker Theo van Gogh represents another direct assault by extremists on the universal concept of freedom of artistic expression.

The first line of protection that an artist, photographer, curator, musician, singer, dancer, choreographer or any other person involved in the arts enjoys in support of their art, is acceptance within the art world of the basic principles of freedom of artistic expression.

It is absolutely critical that every person in the arts, and more importantly, that every arts organization on the planet, subscribe to and advocate for a consistent definition of freedom of artistic expression that applies equally to every single artist.

Every voice in the art world needs to speak out condemning the slaughter of Theo van Gogh.

Every voice in the art world also needs to speak with clarity, firmness and resolve in support of a universally accepted definition of freedom of artist expression for every artist in this world.


James W. Bailey
Experimental Photographer

Congratulations to President Bush on his victory. Now let's move on.

We'll get back to the world of our area's art scene later today. Come back.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Please go vote today.

And please, whoever wins tonite, or next week, or whenever the damned lawyers allow anyone to win, let us unite as much as possible and start bridging our divisions.

I'm going to vote today, and I hope that my candidate wins, because I fear that the other guy will be a disaster for our nation and the world. If the other guy wins, then I hope that I am wrong.

But whoever wins; let's stop the hate for the person and let us agree to disagree and move on to the future.

I, for one, plan to give our President (new or re-elected) a chance and clean slate to lead our nation.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Thanks to AJ

This is how the upper crust of the art world sticks a knife in your ribs when they can't figure out how an artist makes it big without their stamp of approval.

Opportunity for Artists

Deadline: Wednesday, December 15, 2004

The Art Renewal Center seeks applicants for its 2nd Annual International Salon Competition. Over $44,000 in cash awards; $10,000 Best in Show, and featured online gallery.

Send #10 SASE for prospectus to:
Karen McCormack
Art Renewal Center
Box 837
Glenham NY 12527

For more info:
The Art Renewal Center
Email: arcprogram@aol.com or visit www.artrenewal.org

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