Monday, January 31, 2005


Flying to the Left Coast today. On the way there I'll be reading Gerardo Arenado's Cada Quien Con Su Destino.

State of the Arts

AAC with Kraft neon sculptureThree years ago the Arlington Arts Center closed down for repairs and refurbishment. It was supposed to take nine months to complete the task.

Three years later, the newly renovated space re-opened its galleries (all nine of them) with a 69-artist group show showcasing 104 works by artists from various Mid Atlantic states. I am told that the opening night was huge, with around 800 people attending throughout the night.

Curated by five different curators, this re-opening group show nonetheless manages to hang together well and as with most group shows, offers a tremendous range of quality, subject matter and skill.

Titled "State of the Arts, A Mid Atlantic Overview," the exhibition was curated by Symmes Gardener, Director of the Center for Art and Visual Culture and an Associate Professor at the University of Maryland at Baltimore, Carole Garmon, Associate Professor at Mary Washington University in Fredricksburg, Virginia, J. Susan Isaacs, Consulting Curator at the Delaware Center for Contemporary Art, and also an Associate Professor of Art History at Towson University, by Cindi E. Morrison, the Executive Director of the Lancaster Museum of Art in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and the DC area curator was Stephen Phillips, Curator of the Phillips Collection.

And orchestrating this massive effort to cover all the states (and DC) that are the Center’s geographic focus was Carol Lukitsch, the Center’s curator and a DC area painter who exhibits with Gallery 10.

Of the 69 artists, 34 are from the District, Virginia and Maryland, and of these, I recognized 15. I was not familiar with the work of any of the artists from the other states.

The exhibition, like most group shows, has some superb work as well as some head scratchers, but unlike a lot of group shows, especially shows in a nine-gallery venue, it is rare when the best piece in the show is the first one that you see as you enter the Center.

I am referring to Claire Watkins' "Untitled (Parasites)," a kinetic, electrical wall sculpture that weds motors, magnets, painting, iron shavings, pins and a sharp, professional presentation that draws you in by its intimate size, and then fascinates and somewhat repulses you, with its almost organic, planned movement.

Watkins writes about her work:
The digestive system turns food into eyelashes.

I am in awe of the minutiae and delicate actions that make up everyday life. The machines I build reflect this awe and wonder. My work is intimate, curious and mesmerizing in its movement and gesture. The translation of energy is both a functional and conceptual part of my work. The circular movement of a motor is translated into a gesture that turns peacock feathers into entomological organisms. With movement, I make machines that become creatures.
Watkins is right, and she has brilliantly translated her awe of the minutiae into a superb vision with a work of art that boasts technical skill, beauty, repulsion and a hypnotizing ability to grab your attention. It is a rare marriage of these things, but it works well. The piece sold, and whoever acquired it got a steal and has a very good eye for an up and coming artist.
Rachel Waldron's Untitled
One does not have to walk far from Watkins to come across another strong piece, in this case Rachel Waldron’s large charcoal and acrylic painting of a group of girls playing the children’s game "Dog Pile." I haven’t seen Waldron’s works since she graduated from GWU a while back (and disappeared), but this piece marks a significant departure from her previous works, as its absence of any color is a full reversal of Waldron’s lavish employment of color in her previous works. The painting, full of movement and energy, does continue Waldron’s interest in narrative and action, and is one of the best paintings in the show.

Walking straight through, one enters the Tiffany Gallery, so named because one of the walls in the room is made of three large stained glass windows.

And there's a story worth telling here.

Three years ago, Arlington County staff rescued 13 stained glass windows from the Abbey Mausoleum, which was slated for demolition. Tiffany WindowsUpon closer examination, someone discovered a signature pane on one of the windows that read "Louis C. Tiffany, NY."

Today three windows have been restored to their original beauty and are now installed at the renovated Center. It is a great story and we're lucky to have saved them. Unfortunately for the artwork, during sunny daylight hours, it casts a confusing blanket of colors all over the room, which is somewhat distracting.

Charles Ritchie Self-Portrait with Night IIHere Charles Ritchie's Self-Portrait with Night II and Self-Portrait with Night III stand out in an otherwise somewhat weak room. These mixed media pieces seem to employ anything that paper will hold, and Ritchie mixes watercolor, litho crayons, gouache, ink and graphite on paper to come up with dark, brooding works in spite of the colorful lights from the stained glass windows.

Also in this room are three pieces by Jiha Moon that are sort of a contemporary Sumi-esque (I think). I found them somewhat bland and lacking presence, but it proves the truth in the trite saying that "art is in the eyes of the beholder," as two of the three pieces had sold, proving that some art lover obviously disagrees with me! Good for Jiha, and good for art.

Most of the other artists in this gallery, mostly from Delaware and Pennsylvania, tend to come under the representational umbrella, but in my opinion fall too deep into the chasm that haters of representational work like to label “traditional,” such as Stephen G. Tanis’ "Lillies, Bowl and Vestment," a superbly crafted painting that offers only that. Interestingly enough, some of the other work in the artist's own website is a lot more interesting to me, so I think that the choice of a still life was perhaps a bad one.

Linda Hesh's MikeThe Upper Level Gallery offers us more work from Linda Hesh’s well-known "Safe and Suspect" series where she pushes racial and ethnic buttons through the manipulation of photographic portraits to morph the subjects into various skin and racial characteristics. Also in this gallery is Andy Moon Wilson’s small drawings (over a thousand of them) for five bucks a pop. Placed inside small zip-lock bags and then mounted onto the wall with pushpins, the drawings cover all subjects, styles and ideas and are a joy to anyone who takes the time to study the work of an artist clearly in love with art.

Other than Hesh’s works, photography is one of the weak areas in this group show, overcrowded with boring snapshots of buildings, walls and other mundane subjects, but one notable exception is the funny and contrived photography of FEAST, a Virginia collective of five artists (Terral Bolton, Terry Brown, Sherry Griffin, Stephanie Lundy and Chris Norris). In "Drunk on Doughnuts (lick)," a voluptuous, well endowed woman (looking remarkably like the actress that plays Karen in Will & Grace) licks her fingers as she’s about to embark in a massive doughnut consumption orgy.

Galo Moncayo's so far, I do not knowIn the lower level, the Experimental Galleries A and B are host to five installations, the best of which is Galo Moncayo's clever marriage of sound art with powdered pigments.

In this "Richard Chartier meets the Dumbacher Brothers" installation, Moncayo has arranged a series of speakers on the floor, and placed small amounts of powdered pigment on the diaphragms of the speakers. As sounds pop from the speakers, the diaphragms moves, constantly rearranging the pigment, in a pleasant organized cacophony of pops and movement. I was somewhat distracted by the mess of speaker wires all over the floor, but Lukitsch assured me that Moncayo slaved over the right placement of the wires. I am somewhat curious as to what this installation would be in a wireless environment.

Finally, I also liked Andrew Christenberry’s "Cross Wall Cabinet," a gorgeous wall sculpture showing a remarkable exploration of the cross as a symbol, and Annet Couwenberg’s "Act Normal and That’s Crazy Enough," a set of seven large cotton pieces that look remarkably like those neck ruffles that one sees Spanish nobles wearing in El Greco’s Burial of Count Orgaz. Each piece also has embroidered within it one of the words in the title. Couwenberg is the Chairperson of the Fiber Department at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA).

The new Arlington Arts Center brings back a familiar voice to our area’s art scene, and if this show is a vision of things to come, that voice comes back full of strength, diversity and vigor.

Welcome back!

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Capitol File: New Magazine Coming to Town

From today's Reliable Source in the WaPo:
For the High-Gloss Lifestyle, a High-Gloss Magazine

Jason Binn publishes slick city mags that cater to glamorous people: He's behind Ocean Drive in Miami, Gotham in New York, Hamptons on Long Island, Aspen Peak and Los Angeles Confidential. Now he's wagering that his formula will work in Washington. During inauguration week, Binn, 37, came here to schmooze and talk up Capitol File, a quarterly that he says will launch in the fall.

"We're going to bring together some of the biggest boldface names in Washington as contributors," Binn tells us. "We're looking to give Washington a really luxe, full-color, glossy, comprehensive read. It'll be like a coffee-table book." The fast-talking, name-dropping Binn, a fixture on the New York party circuit, says Capitol File won't just focus on pretty faces, social climbers and fashionistas but also will cover politics, business and art. (Local angle: Binn's older brother, Jonathan P. Binstock, is curator of contemporary art at the Corcoran; he uses the family's original name.)

In competing with Washington Life and the monthly Washingtonian, Binn says his mag will be mailed free "to all the homes valued at over $1 million." He's also craving another rich market: Capitol File's promo for advertisers boasts of "a unique distribution partnership with NetJets," a private jet outfit. "With an average customer's net worth of $25 million, you will be in good company." Lofty targets indeed.
If Binn will really cover art in this new magazine, then he's already one up on Washington Life and Washingtonian, neither one of which have regular art coverage, much less reviews, etc.

Welcome to DC!

Gopnik on Rembrandt

The Washington Post's Chief Art Critic, Blake Gopnik, has a superb and interesting review of "Rembrandt's Late Religious Portraits," opening today at the National Gallery of Art.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Critical Alignment (Is this the beginning of the U-turn?)

Witless, forgettable and silly Brit critics (and fools like me who take the hook), still debate why painting is King of the Hill, or is it? Or is it dying again?

Yawn... read it here.

The height of traditional, academic, old-fashioned, typical, elitist Artspeak writing is reflected in these words about Damien Hirst's overrated "The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living" (... you know... that shark in formadelhyde that's now rotting and that, as Kriston points out, is heading to NYC):
To think of the shark gone makes me feel oddly uneasy. Lord knows, we British have had enough opportunities to see it, especially since it was the main attraction at County Hall until only a few moments ago. But it still seems a bathetic end for the old death threat, to be installed in Manhattan's Moma [sic] and inspected as an English eccentricity by the lizards of Fifth Avenue between a spot of brunch and some light shopping at Barney's.
Lizards! Fifth Avenue Lizards! Do they look like that GEICO Lizard?

Ooops! I mean Gecko; not Lizard.

I assumed that a Gecko is a Lizard, with apologies to all Lizard-Americans and Gecko-Americans... in case that I am wrong.


Friday, January 28, 2005

Opportunities for Artists

The Whitney Museum of American Art has announced the two curators of the forthcoming "2006 Whitney Biennial Exhibition," considered by many to one one the nation's leading shows of contemporary American art.

The 2006 exhibition is being organized by Philippe Vergne, the French-born senior curator at the Walker Art Center and who has been named director of the new François Pinault Foundation for Contemporary Art in Paris, and the other curator is the Whitney's own Chrissie Iles, curator of Film and Video for the museum.

As originally discussed by ANABA, and according to the museum's website , artists who wish to submit materials for the show should send proposals to:

Biennial Coordinator
Whitney Museum of American Art
945 Madison Ave.
New York, N.Y. 10021

All submissions to be considered for exhibition in the Biennial should include the artist's biography or resume, a brief description of the proposed work, and between six and eight images. Recommended formats for images include slides, computer printouts, digital images on a CD_ROM, audio CDs, or VHS videotapes. They do not accept original artworks in the submission package.

A word of warning: The forementioned website page appears to be a leftover from 2004, but I suspect that it would be all the same for 2006. Deadline is unclear, but for the 2004 Biennial it was August of 2003, so assume that the deadline for the 2006 Biennial will be August of 2005.

I join Martin in calling for everyone to submit a package. With a foreign curator from the wilderness of Minnesota, there may just be a crack in the "New York only" filter this coming year.

I suggest that everyone also send their home movies to Iles. Who knows what great undiscovered art may be found in your kid's birthday party celebration? And if you've got any kinky sex home videos, even better - look how far it got Andrea Fraser!

P.S. I'll gladly (cough, cough) review any of the latter type home videos, in case you want an artsy opinion before you ship them to Iles.

Lucelia Artist Award Nominees for 2005 Announced

The Smithsonian American Art Museum has announced the nominees for the museum's 2005 Lucelia Artist Award. According to the press release, "nominated artists show a sustained commitment to distinctive work that challenges conventional thinking and expectations about the nature of art. This award is part of the museum's continued commitment to contemporary art and artists through awards and acquisitions."

The 15 artists nominated for the award this year are Doug Aitken, Matthew Barney, Andrea Fraser, Tom Friedman, Ellen Gallagher, Roni Horn, Byron Kim, Maya Lin, Jennifer Pastor, William Pope.L, Fabian Marcaccio, James Siena, Catherine Sullivan, Lisa Yuskavage and Andrea Zittel. Nominated artists work in a diverse range of media including architecture, film, installation, mixed media, painting, photography, sculpture and video.

"The Smithsonian American Art Museum is pleased to acknowledge the significantc ontributions by these selected artists to the vibrant conversation taking place in the contemporary art world today," said Elizabeth Broun, the museum's Director.

The Lucelia Artist Award, established in 2001, annually recognizes an American artist under the age of 50 who has produced a significant body of work and consistently demonstrates exceptional creativity. Jurors nominate artists who will be recognized as one of the most important and influential artists of his or her time.

The $25,000 award is intended to encourage the artist's future development and experimentation. Previous winners were Kara Walker (2004), Rirkrit Tiravanija (2003), Liz Larner (2002) and Jorge Pardo (2001).

The award winner is determined each year by a panel of five distinguished jurors elected from across the United States, each with a wide knowledge of contemporary American art. Jurors determine the award winner in a day of discussion and review and remain anonymous until the winner is announced. Past jurors have included John Baldessari, Dan Cameron, Lynne Cooke, Richard Flood, Gary Garrels, Elizabeth Murray, Jerry Saltz and Robert Storr. The jurors remain anonymous until after the award is announced.

Sidra Stich, executive director for the Lucelia Artist Award, and not the SAAM, is the one who invites jurors to participate and she coordinates the nomination and jurying process. Since the 1970s, she has specialized in contemporary and modern art as a curator, teacher and writer. Stich is also the director of "art SITES," a series of contemporary art, architecture and design handbooks published in San Francisco. Applications are not accepted for this award. The 2005 winner will be announced in April.

The New York-based Lucelia Foundation, which funds the award, supports the visual arts, specifically 19th-century American and contemporary art.

By the way, SAAM is scheduled to reopen on July 4, 2006.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

I'm not a mossback... I'm a crackpot!

I thought that I was a "mossback,", but the LA Weekly's Doug Harvey has now convinced me that I am a crackpot!
When critics, gallerists, curators or artists get their knickers in a knot over the need to promote traditional - generally figurative - art as an antidote to the rising tide of decadent, superficial, sensationalist hucksterism, they are relegating themselves to crackpot status. The issue isn't so much the viability of figurative work, as the mainstream art world easily embraces a handful of token figure painters like Elizabeth Peyton or John Curran [sic] every few years. Nor is it merely the fact that they are swimming against the tide of Modernism with its utopian sense of inevitability and its flagship aesthetic of reductive minimalism. What truly isolates them is the siege mentality with which they declare their dedication to representational craftsmanship, a passionate testifying that is out of place in the convivial social whirl of the art marketplace.
Harvey rants against "sixty-something New York based art critic Donald Kuspit" here, as if Kuspit's age has anything to do with his views.

It's all supposed to be a review of a show curated by Kuspit called "California New Masters" at Gallery C in Hermosa Beach, but ends up being somewhat a tirade against Kuspit and Kuspit's opinions on modern art and it even crosses into diminishing the exhibition space and showing a crack in California'a art armor and inferiority complex with NYC:
Kuspit can hardly be described as an art-world outsider, though. A contributing editor to Artforum and several other major art magazines, professor of art history and philosophy at SUNY Stony Brook, and the author of a score of books as well as the official Encyclopedia Britannica entry on art criticism, Kuspit is more of an insider than most Duchamp scholars will ever be. In Columbia University's National Arts Journalism Program's 2002 survey of visual-arts critics, he ranked as the 33rd most influential art theorist in all of history. Still, when the opportunity came for Kuspit to curate an exhibition demonstrating the kind of work he believes offers "the possibility of making a new aesthetic harmony out of the tragedy of life, without falsifying it," that opportunity was nowhere in or around Manhattan, but in the unlikely community of Hermosa Beach in a clean, well-funded space called Gallery C.
Does that mean that it can only make an art statement in Manhattan?


Harvey doesn't like Kuspit's views on modern art and uses the unfair broad brush of generalizing, which is his right as a writer and critic, as as he clearly submits that he's partially in the right side of the argument because he is an artist: "it has been my impression from my own study of art history, my experience as an artist (I myself am a Master of the Fine Arts)..." blah, blah, blah...

People on either side of this "argument" are not crackpots; they are people with opinions, just like Harvey. The "argument," by the way, doesn't really exist other than in the words of puerile writing like Harvey's (in this case - I've never read Harvey's writing before, do not know it, nor him and will not paint all of his writing with one adjective) and fools like me who bite this kind of hook every time.

Me? Mossback and Crackpot and proud of it! And I guess I'll miss the "convivial social whirl of the art marketplace."

The Thursday Reviews

Jonathan Padget looks at Pyramid Atlantic in the WaPo and Jeffry Cudlin is eloquently descriptive but somehow leaves me somewhat wondering what he really wants to say (as far as a final opinion) with the last line in the dual shows at Numark Gallery in the WCP.

Last line: "His work manages to be attractive without actually being desirable."

Printmaker Jenny Freestone tells me that this coming Saturday January 29th and Sunday January 30th, from 12 Noon until 6pm, a group of Washington area printmakers will he having a sale of their works in aid of Union Printmakers Atelier, Inc.

Sale is at 926 Blagden Alley, NW (926 N St. Rear) in Washington, DC (Mt. Vernon Square Metro stop).

Artists include: David Chung, Scip Barnhart, Jody Mussof, Jenny Freestone, Andrew Kreiger, Robert Nelson, George O'Connel, Fred Folsom, Bill Woodward, Hi Gates, Kevin MacDonald, Wonsook Kim, and many more. Call Jenny Freestone at 301.655.4910 for more details.


Filming a TV review of the group show currently being showcased for the re-opening of the Arlington Arts Center, which finally re-opened after three years of being refurbished (originally it was supposed to take less than a year).

It will air next Thursday.

I will also write a review of the show. A heads up: Best of Show easily goes to Richmond artist Claire Watkins.

Read Michael O'Sullivan's excellent review of that show here

Secrets as Art

One of the Artomatic projects or art ideas that really sunk a hook into me, was this really odd and unusual project that had blank postcards where people could write their secrets.

What a terrific idea!

The creator of this idea is Frank Warren, and he is one of the artists whom Anne C. Fisher Gallery is currently showcasing in her beautiful gallery in Georgetown; and I've just been made aware of the Post Secret BLOG, where anyone can post a secret or read someone else's secret.

Is this a new kind of art? Is this the marriage of reality TV with "reality art"?

I don't know, but there's something definately new going on here. Anyone can contribute... and everyone is invited to anonymously contribute a secret to the PostSecret project. Your secret can be a regret, fear, betrayal, desire, feeling, confession, or childhood humiliation; Reveal anything - as long as it is true and you have never shared it publicly (and anonymously) before.

Steps: Create your own 4"x6" postcard and tell your secret anonymously. Then stamp and mail the postcard to the address at the bottom. Some tips:
(a) Be brief – the fewer words used the better
(b) Be legible – use big, clear and bold lettering
(c)Be creative – let the postcard be your canvas.

Mail your secret to:
13345 Copper Ridge Rd
Germantown MD 20874

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Shrinkage <----- click on that! (Username: obfuscator and password: whome)

[By the way: (And thanks to AJ)... for sites that ask you to register: If you encounter a registration screen when you click on a link, try, which will provide you with password access]

Karey Kessler

I am hearing really good things about the Karey Kessler exhibition at DCAC. I hope to go see this show over the next day or two, as Sunday I am flying to California for a week.

The exhibition, titled The Fleeting Instant of Now: Recent Works by Karey Kessler, runs until February 20, 2005.

Class Project

Tracy Lee had a class project in her (now over) brief George Washington University MFA stint, but she was told to "stop doing nudes" and instead she did this.

And Tracy Lee has now switched MFA programs to GMU.

Bravo Tracy Lee!

Visual Art Reviews at DCistclick here to visit DCist

Starting today, together with DCist colleage Cyndi Spain, I will be doing full reviews and mini reviews for DCist, separate from what goes on here in DC Art News.

DCist reaches well over 3,000 visitors each day, and this new aspect of the site will certainly add a new dimension and voice to our warming art scene.

Read today's mini reviews here.

New Curator at Hirshhorn

As revealed in MAN, New York City curator Anne Ellegood is getting a government job and heading to Washington, DC to become an Associate Curator at the Hirshhorn.

Ellegood is a former art critic for New York Arts magazine and was a former Curatorial Associate at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in Manhattan as well as the former curator for the Peter Norton Collection.

Welcome to DC!

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Critical Alignment (Part... whatever)
"And just at the moment painting is a highly fashionable art form. It's having a bout of serious twitches. In the past few years I can think of several major exhibitions that have identified a new spirit in painting... and there have been many other smaller ones.

Or go round the trendy commercial galleries in London. Painting is currently so fashionable, it's on the verge of being unfashionable again."
Read the whole article here.

Thanks AJ.

That big troublemaker J.T. Kirkland, over at Thinking About Art is incensed that the Ellipse Arts Center is seeking proposals for a summer 2005 exhibition, an Arlington-specific nine-hole miniature golf course: The Tour of Arlington Classic Mini-Putter.

I agree with J.T. and it seems to me that this beautiful gallery space, which only does four exhibits a year, could come up with a better summer show that a putt putt golf course inside the gallery.

Not to be defeated by a silly "art" project, some of the artists who comment on Thinking About Art have come up with some interesting "suggestions." Read them here and make sure to scroll to the top.

Charcoal by Lisa Bertnick

Congratulations to artist Lisa Bertnick, whose work will be included in Material Whirled, opening next Friday in Miami's Bettcher Gallery.

Lisa Bertnick is a 2001 graduate of the Corcoran and works at Hemphill Fine Arts. Other artists in the group show include: Ray Beldner, Kara D'Angelo, Scott Cawood, and Luis Sanchez.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Me on DC photographer Adrienne Mills in Paint Magazine.

See more work by Mills here. I own some of her photographs. Adrienne shows at Market Five Gallery.

Mark Jenkins and I traded artwork. One of his Pubic Hair Tapestries for my snow day drawing of Eve and Lillith.

Talking of snow, here are some more plastic men enjoying the stuff and two below:

plastic men by Mark Jenkins

A Painting a Day
Egg by Duane Keiser
(Thanks to ANABA) A Richmond, Virginia painter named Duane Keiser is painting one painting each day and posting them on a daily basis on his Blog.

He writes:
"Most of the paintings on this blog will be postcard-sized oil sketches (I call them Postcard Paintings.) I paint them on site, using a modified cigar box as an easel. Occasionally I may post a larger, more finished painting, in which case I'll include the dimensions. If you would like to purchase a Postcard Painting, they cost $100."
And guess what, most of the paintings are quite good and Mr. Keiser has practically sold all of them. Brilliant use of the power of the Web marrying to a forceful way to keep creating on a daily basis.

Opportunities for Artists

Deadline: January 31, 2005

Homage to Frida Kahlo. Online juried exhibition curated by yours truly. No entry fee. All entries done online via digital images. 1st Prize: Airfare, hotel and expenses for 3-day/3-night trip for two to the Frida Kahlo Museum in Mexico City, Mexico. (Total package valued up to $2,500), 2nd Prize: $1,000, 3rd Prize: $150 towards a Print on Demand order through Original Art & Photography.

Deadline: February 3, 2005

2005 Bethesda International Photography Competition. An international photography competition hosted by Fraser Gallery Bethesda. Juried by Connie Imboden. Nearly $1,000 in cash awards as well as a solo show in 2006 for the Best of Show winner and invites to group shows for all other award winners. $25 for three slides. Download an entry form here or call 301/718-9651 or email us here or send a SASE to:
Bethesda International Photography Competition
Fraser Gallery
7700 Wisconsin Avenue
Suite E
Bethesda, MD 20814

Deadline: February 15, 2005

The Constance Art Gallery in The Helene Center for the Visual Arts at Graceland University is reviewing proposals for solo or group exhibitions for the 2005/06 and 2006/07 seasons. Open to all media and US artists 21+. February 15, 2005, deadline for entry. Insurance, honorarium, postcards, no commission. Send proposal letter, 20 images in slide or CD format, resume, statement and SASE to:

Julia Franklin
Dept of Art-Constance Art Gallery
Graceland University
1 University Place
Lamoni IA 50140

Or call 641-784-5329 or email her here.

Deadline: March 7, 2005

48th Annual National Juried Art Exhibition: At the Rocky Mount Arts Center in North Carolina. Open to all US artists in all media except video and installations. $3,300 in prizes. Juror: George Hemphill, President and Director of Hemphill Fine Arts Gallery and Art Consulting in Washington, DC. Postmark deadline for slide entry is March 7, 2005. Exhibition dates: April 30 - June 26, 2005. Download a prospectus here (see Artists Opportunities). Or e-mail your street address to this guy. Or call the Rocky Mount Arts Center, Rocky Mount NC at 252/972-1163.

Deadline: March 15, 2005

Studio Montclair seeks entries for their 8th Annual Juried Exhibition, "Taboo," May 1-15, 2005, Makeready Press/Gallery 214, in Montclair, NJ. Cash Awards. Juror is Jerry Saltz, Senior Art Critic, Village Voice, 2001 Pulitzer Prize Finalist in Criticism, Contributing Editor to Art in America, lecturer, teacher. Entry Fee: $25 for 3 slides. For a prospectus send #10 SASE to:
Studio Montclair
Box 3041 Memorial Station
Upper Montclair NJ 07043

Or call 973/744-1818 or download the form from their website. Postmark deadline is March 15,

Deadline: March 25, 2005

Residencies for Ceramic Artists. The Northern Clay Center (Minneapolis, MN) announces the deadline for its 2005 McKnight Artist Residencies for Ceramic Artists for mid-career ceramic artists residing outside of Minnesota. Residencies are 3 months in length and include a $5,000 stipend, a $300 honorarium for presenting a public workshop or lecture, studio space, and a glaze and firing allowance. Responsibilities include participation in a group exhibition and a written final report at the end of the residency. Application Deadline is Friday, March 25, 2005 by 5 pm. For more information and to receive an application, please contact the Clay Center at 612-339-8007, visit their website at, or write to them at:
Northern Clay Center
2424 Franklin Av East
Minneapolis MN 55406

Timothy Comeau has some very interesting words on the future of painting. Read it here.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

COSTCO sells Picasso Doodle

(Thanks AJ). COSTCO (yes, yes... COSTCO) has just sold a Picasso doodle done on the back of a bookcover for $40K. Read the story here.

They currently have a Chagall litho (several Chagalls actually) and also a Modigliani litho and a Leger litho for sale.

I am curious as to how these works, and works like this one get into the COSTCO system?

Thinking About Art sends a sarcastic "thank you" to the WaPo for their minimalist coverage of the visual arts in today's Sunday Arts Section.

Sunday Arts has only 237 words about the visual arts within its 12 pages of Sunday Arts.

And this counts as part of the coverage:

ART ABOUT SEX, gender and feminism is everywhere today. Some younger artists even see it as old hat -- they prefer to make work that's closer to good-looking fun. On Tuesday, the Hirshhorn Museum and the art history department at George Washington University are sponsoring a talk by Carolee Schneeman, who was one of the 1960s pioneers of sex-themed art by women. It should remind us of how radically out-there such artmaking once was.

-- Blake Gopnik

At George Washington University's Dorothy Betts Marvin Theater, 800 21st St. NW. Tuesday at 7 p.m. Free. Call 202-633-4674 or visit
Actually this seems quite interesting, so I will try to attend; besides, around here sex and art is still quite a radical concept, as Scott Hutchison's tempest in a teapot proved a while back.

Opening Re-scheduled

Sacred and Profane by Chawky Frenn

The opening reception for GMU Prof. Chawky Frenn's (represented by us) solo show at the Washington Theological Union scheduled for today has been cancelled and rescheduled to February 6 from 3 to 5 PM.

I've never been to the Washington Theological Union and I am looking forward to see what their gallery space looks like and how it marries to Frenn's intensely political art.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Snowy days (and it's really coming down now) always put me in a mood for a couple of things: (a) Hot Buttered Rums and (b) Drawing.

So here's the latest creation, a small charcoal on paper drawing:

Eve with Lilith

I call it "Lillith and Eve," depicting a romanticized view of Lillith controlling the Snake as she laughs with Eve. They are both laughing at Adam, who is out of the picture.

Back to the basement... I mean "my studio."

Opportunity for Artists

Deadline: March 21, 2005

Gallery Neptune, an independent art gallery located in downtown Bethesda, announces a Call for Entries for The 6th Annual Bethesda Literary Festival. Artists are asked to submit one of the following: functional book marks, non functional book marks (work that may include 3D elements) or design concepts for theoretical or "unbuilt" book marks. All entries must be original art, suitable for hanging and fit within a 12 inch square.

Details and entry forms are here.

Looking for Models?

Figure Models Guild is a terrific area resource for artists who'd like to draw from the live model. They have open sessions (usually held at MOCA DC).

See their schedules and sessions here.


Yoda with Stick

It's snowing here in Potomac, and a little while ago there was a scratching at my front door and when I opened it, there's Yoda (made famous in "Tentacles") with half a tree limb in his mouth and wanting to play.

After I throw it around a few times, I'm going to keep the wood and then will keep sending him out for more and maybe he can get me some good kindling and save me the trouble!
Yoda with Stick

Some shows and openings around town...

American University's Professor Deborah Kahn's new work is on exhibit at the Watkins Gallery at AU. Kahn is a 2004 Guggenheim Fellow in the Visual Arts. The works will be up until February 5, 2005.

Touchstone Gallery has recent works by Piotroski until February 6, 2005.

"Built: New Furniture by Keith Fritz" is on at Strand on Volta until February 12.

Eileen Olson's "Another Realm - Mt. Athos" is at Spectrum through Feb. 13.

Amy Ross and Robert Gutierrez opened Jan 21 at Irvine Contemporary and are on until Feb. 27.

Also opening last night at DCAC was "The Fleeting Instant of Now: Recent Works by Karey Kessler." The drawings will be up until February 21, 2005.

A third opening last night was at Georgetown's Govinda Gallery, where Chris has photographs of Bob Dylan by Ken Regan in an exhibit titled "Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Review." The show will be on until Feb. 26, 2005.

Also until Feb 26 is the current exhibition by Janos Enyedi at Kathleen Ewing Gallery. These pieces have to be seen to be believed; Enyedi is an absolute master of the American Industrial Landscape.

"Layered Dreams," recent works by Leila C. Kubba opens Tuesday, February 1st from 6 - 8 p.m. at Karma (19th and I street, NW). Works on view through Feb. 28, 2005.

"In Dialogue With the Elders" - The sculpture of Greg Metcalf and paintings by Champneys Taylor. Opening Reception at Salve Regina Gallery, Catholic University of America will be on Wednesday, February 2, 2005 from 6-8 pm.

Victor Ekpuk opens at Pavilion Fine Arts Gallery, Montgomery College, Takoma Park campus from February 7 through 17 March, 2005. Victor Ekpuk is a fascinating artist who is marrying traditional African art with contemporary concepts. He will open with a slide presentation and conversation with the curator (Dr. Francine Farr) on Monday afternoon, 1:00 PM February 7th at Student Lounge, Montgomery College, Takoma Park Campus.

DCAC Raffle Winner

Congratulations to Buck Downs, who won the 2004 DCAC Gallery Raffle. His exhibition will be in December 2005.

Guns and Hypocrisy in the World of Modern Art Blogging – An Old Testament Point of View... with a Little Bit of Humor.

A guest piece by James W. Bailey:
There's been a rumor floating around the art blog circuit the past couple of weeks concerning a reported incident involving an UCLA art student who supposedly brought a gun to an art class being taught by artist/teacher Chris Burden (the dumb-ass artist who in the 70s had himself shot in the arm with a rifle) and who proceeded to scare the shit out of his classmates by threatening to commit suicide right in front of their very imaginative MFA-high-tuition-paying eyes. The rumor also suggests that this frightening suicide attempt was nothing more than a dramatic performance art piece offered up in tribute to Burden.

When I first read the breaking news reports (properly vetted, of course, through rigorous journalistic art blogging standards and practices) echoing across the Internet among certain highly credentialed art bloggers, I nearly fell out of my vintage cane back rocking chair on the veranda of my ancestral Southern Gothic mansion in Mississippi with a seizure brought on by endless waves of laughter generated by the possibility that such a poignant story could in fact be true. I actually laughed so hard over this comic what-goes-around-comes-around scenario that I probably spilled half of a bottle of my father’s finest Jim Beam bourdon through the ancient cracks of the veranda into the inspiring Mississippi soil resting silently underneath my genteel family’s Ante-Bellum Greek Revival abode – hopefully, that whiskey will inspire some truth to sprout up out of the ground about this rumored gun issue.

But the more I laughed over these gun reports, the more I realized that something really wasn’t very funny about some of what I was reading on some of these art blogs. I retired inside to the library, gathered my composure, poured another stiff drink, lighted one of my illegal Cuban cigars given to me years ago by a former County Sheriff (a righteous Southern dude who's currently serving time in a Texas federal prison because of his excessively close association with the infamous Dixie Mafia) and began to harmonize on this matter of Guns and Hypocrisy in the World of Modern Art Blogging.

And here it is...

Full Disclosure: I’m from Mississippi; I’m a hard-core anti-political Southern anarchist artist who holds most hierarchical powers that be in total contempt; and I’m also a member of the National Rifle Association, as was another radical Southern-born anarchistic artist/writer by the name Mr. William S. Burroughs (who I am honored to say I counted as a correspondent friend before his death in 1997) on all counts.

Southern liberals with guns - it's a Deep South religious thing that I will not waste valuable server space on DC Art News site explaining or justifying. Let me just simply comment that I’m indeed an extreme liberal Southern artist who knows a thing or two about how to use firearms.

GUN REPORT: I'm especially transfixed by the ease of use and accuracy of the M9 Beretta 9mm. If guns had existed in the Old West Biblical era Holy Land, our savior Jesus Christ would have carried a M9 Beretta 9mm. The M9 semi-automatic pistol weighs two pounds and has a maximum effective range of 50 meters. It has a staggered 15 round magazine with a reversible magazine release button that can be positioned for either right- or left-handed shooters. The M9 is a semiautomatic, magazine-fed, recoil-operated, double action pistol, chambered for the NATO 9mm cartridge. The service pistol is a close personal defense weapon and is deadly accurate.

I take it that the dumb-ass art student at UCLA, just like his counterpart art teacher back in the day, weren't deploying real weapons. I believe Burden used a .22 caliber rifle -good for shooting squirrels and pulling off art stunts, I suppose, but not for killing people. I’m anxious to learn what weapon the dumb-ass art student was packing. No doubt whatever his combined student loan and art scholarship could afford – minus all deductions for condoms, beer, nightly internet porn hook-ups, black market electronic goods and male hair care products.


I also know a thing or two about speaking direct to the subject without gagging on the coughed-up phlegm of politically correct speech patterns designed to convey my false sensitivity on issues of such national importance as some dumb-ass art student walking into a classroom and trying to one-up his more famous art teacher who himself pulled a pre-MTV Jackass stunt way back in the day when smoking cheap pot with long-haired anti-Vietnam War radicals and burning American flags made in Mexico while reciting English translations printed in the Philippines of anti-capitalist poetry by Mao was considered chic (Of course, many of these committed raging sincerely angry artists remained true to their dream to change the world, grew up, got married, settled down in Northern Virginia, went to work for the defense industry mind-melding their software programs into a more efficient satellite guided missile killing system and now enjoy nothing more than having missionary position sex once a quarter so they can ease into a post-coital reading of their online 401k statements to see how the market is treating them).

A certain collection of the more dedicated art sensitive radicals, however, settled into similarly comfortable life styles of "teaching" art at the university level... as if art can be taught.

But that's a fraud subject for another day.

Chris Burden and Guns -

I don't know Chris Burden, I've never met Chris Burden and I don't give a damn about anybody named Chris Burden. I' not inspired by bullet holes in Chris Burden' body anymore than I'm inspired by the entirety of Chris Burden's body of work. I don't consider him to be a great artist. I do believe that he must be a smart and clever person to have parlayed his 70s era gun stunt into the career, success, fame and money he now enjoys - that I do find inspiring. I also recognize that he has undertaken significant efforts during recent years to divorce himself from Shoot because he wants to be perceived as an architect/artist.

Chris Burden is a married 57 year old member of the art elite who lives in the lap of luxury in California – I've actually seen his home as a friend of mine in California once lived mere blocks from Burden. In short, Burden has a lot invested in his public perception and has demonstrated in the past his fruitful ability to manipulate the press for his own gain. This rumored dumb-ass art student gun stunt will probably prove out to be yet another example.

But, for the sake of argument...

The Dumb-ass Art Student –

What can I say? If everything is true as is reported on the art blogs (and God knows that if it's reported on a left coast art blog it must be true), then he's a dumb-ass. But in my libertarian/anarchistic world even dumb-ass art students, just like dumb-ass art teachers, ought to be protected by a little thing called Freedom of Artistic Expression. This kid didn’t shoot anyone and it wasn't a Columbine situation. For Christ sakes, everybody I knew in Mississippi as a student carried a knife and/or gun to class and we never experienced a major life threatening knifing or shooting. Some serious wounds? Sure. But I don’t recall anyone ever dying.

The angry froth among certain art bloggers over what UCLA should do to this student is laughable. UCLA knew exactly what they were getting when they hired Burden. Indeed, they gleefully promote the Burden-style attitude on their web site.
The Department of Art is committed to a professional art training within the context of a liberal arts university. Visual artists are responsible for some of the most provocative and enduring expressions of culture. At UCLA, emerging artists are provided with the tools they need to express themselves in ways that are meaningful in the social context in which they live and work.

The department attracts gifted and motivated students who thrive in an environment that encourages autonomy. They are drawn not only to the outstanding creative faculty, the University's resources, and its location in one of the world's leading art centers, but also to a program that encourages them to develop as artists. The result is a distinguished list of graduates who have made significant contributions in their field.
I assume the school provided the dumb-ass art student "with the tools they need to express themselves" – a gun – "in ways that are meaningful in the social context in which they live and work."

What's curiously missing from Burden's bio (he’s a professor of "new genres") on UCLA’s web site is any reference to Shoot. One wonders why...

Supposedly, according to the rumor, Burden has quit teaching at UCLA because the university has refused to expel the offending dumb-ass art student.

Imagine UCLA hiring a paroled Charles Manson to teach a creative writing class, having a student of his class decide one day that he’s going to one-up Charley by ritually killing the Dean and his family in the hopes of being imprisoned so he can become an American Icon (serial killers in America automatically qualify for Pop Icon status), going to trial and being acquitted for lack of evidence, re-enrolling in Charley’s class, and having Manson scream, bitch and moan that UCLA has to either expel this kid or he's quitting.

Moral of the story: Be very careful about elevating Asshole Pop Icons to Sainthood and be even more careful about whom you hire to work for you.

Chris Burden and the dumb-ass art student and whether he pulled a loaded gun and fired it or didn't and whether Burden and the art students were scared or not is irrelevant to me. It's almost like worrying about some multi-millionaire asshole in California who might have had Frank O. Gehry build a titanium-sheathed house on a steep dirt mound and having it slip down the side of the mountain into the ocean after God decides to take a drunken piss on the left coast. In a world where a Tsunamis can kill hundreds of thousands of poor people, the problems of a gargantuan narcissistic ego-jackass not being able to find his precious Ferrari under 50 feet mud don't amount to jack-shit.

Or put it this way: If you're an aspiring artist who believes you've got to get an art degree to be taken seriously in the art world, don't be a sucker for an MFA at UCLA because it damn sure doesn't guarantee a Whitney Biennial invite. Find better things to do with your art time than sitting in a class being manipulated by an AARP member-eligible art dinosaur and subjecting yourself to the risk of being shot by an ADD dumb-ass art student sycophant.

Theo van Gogh and Guns – My Only Serious New Testament Concern

Here’s what happened to Theo van Gogh in the real world that I care about:

Van Gogh had received death threats after his film "Submission" was shown on Dutch TV. See the film here.

It portrayed violence against women in Islamic societies.

The film was made with liberal Dutch politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali refugee who fled an arranged marriage.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali has been under police protection since the film was aired. She has also received death threats and has renounced the Islamic faith.

For making this film, Theo van Gogh was rewarded by being chased down like a dog and repeatedly shot by a radical extremist Islamic right wing piece of shit that was part of an organized conspiracy. The murderer then placed a note on van Gogh’s bloodied corpse and slammed a knife into his chest.

And the reaction from the art world elite on this crime – silence.

The reaction from the art blogger community – near silence.

Theo van Gogh was slaughtered on the streets in Amsterdam by a bunch of radical conspiring religious assholes that hated him and his art and who believe they have the perfect right to kill anybody they target to advance their sick agenda.

I am deeply troubled that the art world has yet to rise up and demonstrate its collective outrage over what happened to Theo van Gogh. But the deafening sound of silence over this matter is not a mystery to me – the art world establishment has boxed itself into a corner with its politically correct doctrines and now finds it almost impossible to defend controversial artists such as Theo van Gogh and what should be his basic right under the concept of Freedom of Artistic Expression to express himself, even if some of his views were indeed intended to be insulting to certain people.

The reasoning among the politically correct art elite goes something like this: "Well, it’s a real shame about van Gogh, but he really brought it all on himself with his outrageous words and art and should have been more sensitive about offending the deeply and sincerely held religious views of some of the minority members of his community. If his art had just been more culturally sensitive, this horrible crime probably never would have taken place."

I find it appalling that so much energy has been spent writing so many words that have been posted over a host of art blogs that express such outrage over what the dumb-ass art student did or may have done concerning this still rumored event at UCLA. Where were these moral voices, or anonymous internet-handle-delivered words, when Theo van Gogh was violently killed in the real world? I have taken the time to review some of these sites and find it very interesting that there was at the time, and has been since, a dearth of expressed outrage.

I think I know why: The Fear Factor – In this country it is perfectly acceptable to the art world elite to be an artist who pisses on the Bible, smears cow shit all over a statue of the Virgin Mary or rams a photograph of the Pope up the ass as a performance piece. These people get extolled. You can even make an anti-Bush "documentary" and become a goddamn millionaire, win major international film prizes and have people back home hype you for an Academy Award for Best Picture.

Sure, the usual right wing Republican assholes jump up and down and demand your grant money be rescinded, but that’s usually about as far as it goes. The talking heads get to chatter and the offending artist or filmmaker gets invited be on "Larry King."

But the cultural elite here and abroad know this fact for sure – if you dare insult Islam by pissing on the Koran or smearing cow shit over a statue of Mohammed or ramming a photograph of any radical Islamic leader up your ass as a performance art piece, you will have just guaranteed that your butt will be placed on the world-wide Jihad Art Assassination Squad fatwa hit list and that your name and address will be broadcast nightly on Al Jazeera.

Even the younger generation of art bloggers has heard of Salmon Rushdie, I hope.

I am very grateful to DC Art News for publishing my letter the day after Mr. van Gogh was brutally murdered condemning the extremist conspiracy of religious fanatics responsible for his death.

My letter can be read here.

I am also very grateful that there are other voices out there in the art world wilderness speaking with clarity on this issue.

Here is one of the very few:

I am profoundly grateful to Mr. Pieter Dorsman for his bravery in staying on top of this story.

Artists and art bloggers need to stand up for higher principles than the false immediacy of politically correct doctrines that seem to be so highly valued in the insulated world of those who pose no risk, and dare not to pose a risk, to the established order.

And if certain parties in the art blogging community are unwilling to risk their lives standing up in defense of a consistent definition of Freedom of Artistic Expression that protects every creative person no matter how offensive their words or art, then at least do us all a favor by engaging in a modicum of basic fact checking before hyper-ventilating about meaningless art rumors involving dumb-ass art teachers and art students who like to play with toy guns out in California.


James W. Bailey


I called and/or emailed the following parties to verify if the above referenced rumored story was true. The truth of this rumored story can not be confirmed by any of the following parties that I have communicated with as of Wednesday, January 19, 2005. Chris Burden has not responded to my email.

1.) Editorial Staff of the Los Angeles Times

2.) Editorial Staff of the LA Weekly

3.) Editorial Staff of the The Daily Bruin

4.) The Office of the District Attorney of Orange County

5.) UCLA Department of Art

6.) UCLA Chancellor’s Office

7.) UCLA Department of Security

8.) Personally emailed Chris Burden

By James W. Bailey

Friday, January 21, 2005

Openings Tonight

Tonite we have the five Canal Square Galleries (MOCA, Fraser, Anne C. Fisher, Parish and Alla Rogers) having our openings. We and Anne C. Fisher have a select group of Artomatic artists. Come and join us from 6-9 PM for some Sangria and good art.

Canal Square is at 31st Street and M, NW in Georgetown.

See ya there!

The Weekend Review

Michael O'Sullivan has a superb review of the Arlington Arts Center's re-opening show.

Read it here.

Info needed

I've received a series of emails in reference to the comments about the DC Warming Panel made by Anon. It has been called "near fiction."

I could really use some help from any of the forty-plus people who were there to please comment on what is fictional or made up in the posting. I asked for comments and feedback when I posted it, and I renew that call.

Update: Sharp as always, Kriston nails it. I owe him a beer.

Update Two: I've now received a series of emails from people who attended the panel, and the only thing that seems to be in question about Anon's facts (I stress "facts" and not "opinions," which are his/her right to make) was the issue of the Pollan question and how/if it was answered.

DC Warming Report Three

Kriston has it over at Grammar.police

Thursday, January 20, 2005

The Thursday Reviews

Jessica Dawson has several mini reviews today in the WaPo. Read them here. Still no news from the WaPo as to who will be hired to augment Dawson's twice-a-week reviews. Something new in Jessica's writing (at least new to me):
I also loved Galo Moncayo's installation "So far, I do not know," with its garden of stereo speaker cones arranged faceup like lily pads emitting belches and pops.
At the WCP, Jeffry Cudlin reviews Adam Fowler at Flashpoint.

DC Warming: First and Second Reports

I received the below report from one of the people who was present at the DC Warming Panel. It was sent anonymously, and so I debated posting it here.

However, it does raise some interesting points and hopefully some debate. It will also hopefully come across as intelligent and constructive criticism, which is nearly always good. I'd love to hear more reports and present all sides, if there are any more sides. Here it goes:
This panel started off like all the other panel discussions that have ever happened before on the DC art scene: A comparison of DC to some place else. Oh the insecurity! Will it always be THE defining essence?

DC is the District of Columbia. There is no place else in the United States of America that compares.

The District of Columbia is not a state. It's not even really a city. It's located below the Mason Dixon line but refuses to be called southern. It's a town, filled with people from somewhere else. It is accustomed to a slow moving pace of the bureaucratic cogs.

There is no rotting industrial core for flies to dwell.

DCAC has always provided a stable for flies off the fetid alleyway.

There is a curatorial convenience of plunking Washington area artists into a regional box, and since this panel was being led by a Washington area curator, the discussion began inside the box.

Henry Estada was a refreshing new voice outside the box. Estada glowed with the confidence of a professional and the perspective of the outsider, the Latino "other". He repeatedly opened up doorways and attempted to lead the group outside of the box, but in the box they remained. And a group discussion never really evolved. Instead of a moderated group discussion, we had a direct question and answer panel, which is fine, but frustrating when panelists refused to answer the direct questions that they were given.

The most irritating panelist was "critic" Tyler Green. First off, one has to wonder why he is even on a panel about the DC scene when his interests seem to lie anywhere else but the District of Columbia. Andrea Pollan asked an important question that he was unable to answer: Why does he focus so much energy on criticizing the critics?

Could the answer be because it is easy? What DC artist has Tyler Green championed, that was not already championed by someone else?

Tyler Green revealed his ignorance of the DC scene by making a point that no artists in DC make political art or that there is no history of political art in DC.

Oh really? Well, what was Steven Lewis doing? Excuse me, that was political art. What was Tom Nakashima doing (the other local who happened to receive a Joan Mitchell grant?) That's political art. Kendall Buster's husband Siemon Allen makes political art. But some might argue that Siemon Allen isn't a Washington artist anymore.

What about Hemphill's exhibition of Eduardo del Valle & Mirta Gomez, Cornell Capa, Bob Adelman, Eve Arnold and others. Does it really matter if these artists live in the Washington area or not? Well, Tyler Green claimed he had to go to Marfa, Texas to see political art.

It is simply not true.

It's even easier to argue the point and bring up racial and sexual political art that is being made here.

What is Jefferson Pinder making? Political art. Nekisha Durrett is making political art. Oh, you don't think that is what Tyler Green was talking about, eh?

Well, it cannot be denied that current flashpoints of national political debates include race, homosexuality, and religion.

An audience member asked a legitimate question to the panelists, where do they (the experts) see the next trend in Washington area art? Pause. Mouths drop open and Pollan finally spews sarcastic with "what'ya think we're FORTUNE TELLERS?"

Well, that type of response is a real conversation killer. You get more flies with honey.

Is sarcasm kind or is it mean-spirited? Could that type of response be born of an insecurity? Could a kinder response, while perhaps lacking the charge of mean-spirited humor, been more productive to the arts community as a whole? More productive to outreach efforts that, in fact, could sustain the local market in the long run?

Where is Tyler Green's critical response?

Flies overhead were privy to audience members whispering about content driven craft as being the next big Washington trend. Perhaps the sarcasm from the experts rendered them reticent.

Jerry Saltz coined the term "The Super Paradigm."

The Super Paradigm has overt weaknesses, including its vastness, lack of positive charge focused around change, an inability to form coherent groups and a tendency to undervalue the local. Other art centers are scenes more than worlds; they generate artists in clumps and clusters and are enormously supportive of their own. The Super Paradigm processes everything individually. It is so large that it's hard to get a fix on what's going on in it.

The upside of the Super Paradigm is that while more bad art surfaces, everything is potentially viable within it. Artists over 35 have a chance. This is creating permutations and anomalies.

Where does Washington, DC fit into The Super Paradigm? What permutations and anomalies are arising? What (or who) is proving to be the positive charges focused around change? Obviously, Philip Barlow, Henry Estada, and Victoria Reis are some. Had there been more focus on developing a group discussion, perhaps these panelists could have shown themselves to be the real "outside the box" thinkers that they are.

Artists make the work they are compelled to make, then they usually start to bump into members of their "tribe" all over the place, becoming aware of kinships formally or conceptually with other artists (or writers, etc.). Geography really has nothing to do with it.

It is more like shared webs of sensibility/influence/intuition/concern that are much larger than the immediate physical geography. An artist may find their local "tribe" first from sheer convenience, but that doesn't mean it ends there, or that the local connections will end up necessarily being the strongest at the end of the day.

There was an audience member who made a statement that political art was possibly the only path by which DC could distinguish itself and have a recognizable "movement." BUT, more importantly - in our globalized world & (art)world, why would such a specific, place-bound reference (politics) be the "only way" DC could stand out? We need bigger webs, man, bigger webs.


We need wide angle thinking among our (self-anointed) "movers and shakers."

The first way to conquer the insecurity is to honestly admit to it.

Comments and responses on this piece are welcome.

A second report was phoned in by Joseph Barbaccia, an artist currently showing in our Bethesda gallery, who started by making the observation that there were "a lot of flies, all slow and groggy from the cold," and to Joe it underscored a point in that he felt that the evening's discussion was more akin to "DC Freezing" than warming!

Joe expressed the point that he feels this way because no arguments or heated discussions on the subject of the panel was ever raised. However, he noted that he expressed this to Tyler Green, who convinced Joe that no arguments are needed to assure the vitality of the DC art scene.

Joe further adds that "there was no vitality in the panel or audience," and because there were eight panelists, a lot of time was consumed in just introductions, and that the two hours went by very quickly. He also noted that he had heard that some of the panelists were not aware that a $20 entry fee was being charged.

Barbaccia also pointed out to me that "Tyler Green was the only one saying anything of substance that addressed the DC Warming theme," and that Green made the point that "when people in Los Angeles or New York look at DC, they only think of museums and not so much of galleries."

Barbaccia also noted that the panel rarely addressed the DC art scene "warming," but he feels this was mainly because there were just too many panel members, the audience was never engaged (only 6-8 questions were asked from a crowd of 40 or so people). Joe wants to know: "where are the facts?"

Sounds like we need DC Warming Part II! (A smaller panel perhaps?)

Anyway, I applaud both DCAC and ArtTable for organizing this panel, kick-starting some discussions (at least here) and maybe they can get a round two to have the panelists react to these commentaries and suggestions in version two?

Tomorrow Kriston at grammar.police has promised to put up his personal observations of the panel in his most excellent Blog.

Anyone else who was there and who would like to add their two cents, please email me.

P.S. One of the panel members was identified in the ArtTable news release as "Henry Estada." Is that his correct last name or is it "Estrada"?

Update: It is "Estrada" and not "Estada." And for the record, in my opinion there's no such thing as "Latino/a Art."

Update Two: Andrea Pollan, moderator of DC Warming responds:
Dear all,

I was the moderator of the panel that Faith Flanagan kindly organized for ArtTable. It was a broad mix of panelists including an artist, a collector, arts administrators, curators, an art consultant and an arts journalist. Naturally with such a broad range of interests, and so many panelists, and so little time, I could only scratch the surface of such a rich and fertile terrain.

To the Anon contributor, certainly you have a right to your perspective and opinions. My comment about whether we see new trends developing in Washington, DC was certainly not meant to be sarcastic. As I recall, I smiled and said, "You mean fortune-telling?" It was intended to be light-hearted and certainly not mean-spirited. Sorry if you felt it was a conversation killer, but I recall it raised the discussion about political art. (And that's such a rich subject-plenty of material for another panel.)

Any curator knows that one should always take cues from the artist and the artistic output and not try to impose an artificial framework upon a city. Zeitgeists come and go. I see such a huge diversity of artistic output and aesthetic strategies among this city's artists, that I cannot say that I see a stylistic trend that is unique to this city. If anything, the artists of thiscity are becoming aware of global trends and want their work to enter that important context.

The idea of DC Warming had more to do with the growing level of interest in contemporary art that seems to be emerging (there's that word) across the city. Not a "Who's Hot" panel. If it had been a "Who's Hot" panel, it would have been called that. Personally I tend not to like those kinds of panels because they tend to serve the market and media more than the artist in the long run.

ArtTable is a wonderful national organization of women arts administrators from all kinds of backgrounds, not just contemporary art. The programs are meant to edify the membership and allow us to know what directions are occuring in other museums, galleries, educational institutions, and publications. I was happy that ArtTable opened this panel up to the public.

On a personal front, I have dedicated the better part of my life to making DC an exciting art city working with over 2000 artists, 80% of whom live in this area. And I won't even mention the 24/7 I have put in trying to do outreach to develop new audiences for contemporary art. So, I hardly feel that your characterization of me as elitist is appropriate. But then again, I believe in freedom of speech. So that's why I choose to work with interesting and provocative artists.

Andrea Pollan

DC Warming

If anyone took any notes or has any comments on the DC Warming Panel and discussions, please email them to me, as I'd like to give that panel's comments and observations wider exposure here.

Inaugural Installation

Because of the Presidential Inauguration, DC is in a state of security lockdown, and the last thing I want to do today is to be anywhere near downtown Washington. But unfortunately I have to install the new show that opens tomorrow, so I think that I'll be hanging that show later tonight.

Listen Missy

Listen Missy is a new (to me anyway, as it has been around since 2000) DC Blog with interesting photos and commentary. Some good shots of her visit to MOMA here.

Visit often.

The Tale of an Art World Lawsuit

This excellent article by Walter Robinson is one of the main reasons why our only "backers" or "investors" are Mr. Visa and Mr. Mastercard.

One of the basic laws of Cryptology is that there are no coincidences... and our Richmond neighbor ANABA seems to have found quite a few coincidences in a possible "insider art trading" issue.

Read about Douglas Fogle, a Mehetru painting, and an intelligent Blogger waiting for a clarification.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Thinking About Art has a few good reviews from J.T.'s gallery walk-through last Saturday.

Tomorrow and Friday I will be hopping around the 7th Street corridor and the Canal Square galleries and will discuss some of those shows.

Mark Jenkins' virtual tape men invade the Mall. Read it here.

Guest Editorial: Does the absence of an arts movement mean art is not... moving?

Guest Editorial by Malik M. Lloyd
"The art of any society emerges from the beliefs, attitudes, organization and structure as well as the inherent creativity and energy of that society. The truths and standards generally accepted are also those which underlie all artistic expression.

We are at the dawn of a new millennium. The 21st century has come bringing with it the new age of technology, terrorism and war. Modern technology has transformed the way we communicate, conduct business and for some us, it has changed the way we do art. Terrorism and war have forced us to take a closer look at not only other cultures and religions, but to examine those things in our own religion and culture that shape us and make us what we are today.

If it is true that art is reflective of the beliefs, attitudes and structure of society, when the history books are written about the current era what will they say about the art of the new millennium?

Popular music, unlike the visual arts, has a distinctive array of current trends and movements with the sounds of hip-hop, rap, gangster rap and neo-soul. Like most arts movements of the past, these musical forms were met with hostility and apprehension. History has taught us that revolutionary change often comes with a high price tag.

In art, there are numerous examples of arts movements that were not accepted by the masses when the work was first exhibited. In his work titled, Modern Art, Trevor Copplestone points to this same lack of acceptance regarding Impressionism, Futurism and Surrealism in the 20th century.

When the Impressionist first exhibited in a group show in 1874 their work was ridiculed, compared to the scribbles of a child, called wretched and insulting.

Copplestone writes this about Futurism: 'In 1909, the Futurism manifesto was published, extolling the beauty of speed, the virility of the new machine-based society and the possibilities inherent in the nascent scientific age of a new dynamic humanism. On the whole the movement was met with ridicule that its activities deliberately invited.'

In 1924, the first surrealist manifesto was issued. Surrealism appeared in many different artistic forms, including poetry, fiction, music and films. Surrealism is often thought of as an attitude to life and society as opposed to a style in art. During the 1930s, surrealist work was put on display in most countries. Without fail, these exhibitions were met with incomprehension. Moreover, the mainstream press vilified surrealism. Copplestone notes when the 1936 International Surrealists Exhibition opened in London that the Daily Express wrote that it was 'unfit' for the public, which was probably due to the overt sexuality used extensively in the early surrealist works.

Many art historians have argued that pop art was one of the most accepted by the public from its very onset, which was due to it being the first art form in which the lifestyle of the popular culture dictated the art. In the late 1950s in London and New York, pop art took as its subject matter from the common imagery of American culture as defined by the advertising industry. Pop art addressed trendy fashionable images. The qualities desirable for pop art was popular, low-brow, mass-produced, young, witty, sexy, gimmicky, glamorous and big business. Pop was anti-art, or at least, anti-high art.

Currently, in the visual arts, diversity seems to be the operative word. Depending on the which gallery one steps into, regardless of the city, state, country, you can readily view abstract art, impressionistic, cubism as well as a variety of other styles and mediums. No particular style, method or medium has dominated the art scene in the first few years of the new millennium nor has any group of artists developed manifestos declaring new artistic intent or motive.

Via chose or as a result of an absence of a current artistic style, fashion or 'movement' visual artists appear to be more focused on things that interest them on a more personal or individual level. They appear to be working more within themselves and producing work that is connected to their own personal experiences, interest, influences, heritage or history. A kind of 'individualism' appears to be the constant theme within the art of the new millennium.

Regardless of which direction that we decide to travel, history books will be written. It is up to you to create the text."

Malik M. Lloyd
FIND ART Information Bank

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

2004 Bloggies

Hey! I've been asked to be a voting panelist for the 2004 Bloggies! Too late to try to bribe me... I've already voted.

Opportunity for Artists

Washington, DC personal trainer Colin Shah will be opening his own gym soon in the Foundry Building in Georgetown. He would love to display work by local artists on a monthly (possibly longer) basis in his reception area/lounge.

Any artists who are interested in exhibiting their work should send a CD or printed images of their work (no slides please!) along with a SASE to:

Colin Shah
1900 35th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20007

Legal Issues for Arts Professionals

Date: Tuesday, February 8, 2005 (snow date Tuesday, February 15, 2005)
Time: 1-4pm. Location: Morgan Lewis Washington, DC
1111 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20004

Presenters: Elena M. Paul, Esq., Executive Director, Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, and Alexei Auld, Director of Legal Services.

Description: As creators of intellectual property, arts professionals should be aware of issues affecting their work. This workshop provides an overview of legal issues in the arts and the three areas of the law that affect all arts professionals: copyright, contracts, and entity formation. An additional threshold issue faced by arts professionals is choosing the right legal entity for their business, including answering the basic question of whether the right structure is a for-profit or not-for-profit model. Registration required. Email with name, address, phone, email address. Free for Cultural Alliance Individual and Affiliate Members. $25 for Non-members; the fee can be applied to membership.

Send me your words

In the past I've asked readers to email me your reviews of visual art shows that you'd like to see published here. The best thing for art is more art, and in 2005 I want to expand DC Art News to include more reviews from diverse voices.

So let me encourage you again to email me your reviews.

A couple of reminders

Today is the DC Warming panel at DCAC. It starts at 6:30PM.

The Synergy Art Project will have a meeting for interested artists at Karma Restaurant on January 24, at 6PM. Karma is at 19th and I, NW.

Next Thursday is the 3rd Thursday of January, and thus the 3rd Thursday extended hours for the 7th Street corridor galleries. From 6-8 PM.

The following day on the 21st, is the opening night for the Canal Square Galleries in Georgetown. From 6-9PM.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Tentacles (A man, an axe and a doctor: A tale of pain and art)

Someone who was raised in Brooklyn shouldn’t own, and much less, try to use an axe.

What follows is a true tale of horror, of entropy and the second law of thermodynamics, of chaos and order, of the laws of the universe, of near death, of irony, of music, and ultimately of a new form of art. All of the characters are real, and if I could remember their names, I would name them.

I begin.

The back of my house has a rather wooded large area with many trees, and it also backs into an even larger wooded common area that I share with my neighbors. I am really a big fan of warm cozy fires, and during the winter I usually light one up every fireplace

A while back I went around and collected a lot of wood from fallen branches and also a lot of wood from a tree that had fallen months earlier. This wood had been cut, but needed splitting, so I bought an axe to split the wood myself.

How hard could this be? After all, I remember how President Reagan, while he was in office, was so fond of being filmed splitting wood in his ranch in California. If an 80-year-old President could do it, and make it look so easy, then surely a virile 40something could do it as well.

So I went to my local hardware store and bought an axe.

Act One, Scene I

It was a day much like many other balmy December days we’ve been having this winter. There was a little chill in the air, but more like a spring day than a winter day. I had gathered quite a haul of neatly cut sections of the tree trunk, each about nine to twelve inches in diameter, and had placed them to the side a large tree stump, which I planned to use as the base to split the firewood. the tree stump

The ground was wet and the grass was moist, as it had been raining the previous few days, but although the radio had announced that there would be rain later, I thought I would have a couple of hours to split all the wood before it began to rain.

I would be good exercise as well.

Gloves in hand, I placed the first piece of wood on the stump, took one or two slow –motion practice tries, just to get the motion and aim right, and then took my first mighty swing of the axe.

There are some instances on this planet, when the laws of gravity seem to take a couple of nanoseconds off. Like when one is walking down a path, and a rock, as if by magic, jumps from the ground and lands inside your shoe. How does that happen? Is it evidence of magic? Time travel? Even if one considers a viable explanation, the most common of which is that the other shoe kicks the rock into the partner shoe, it takes some extraordinary physics and flight acrobatics to imagine a rock being kicked by one shoe, flying sideways through the air as you walk on and sliding into the other shoe. I prefer to believe that the rocks jump straight up and floats into the shoe.

the axe of this taleAnyway... back to my story.

The violent action of swinging the axe to split the firewood must have caused a ripple in the time space continuum, for otherwise I cannot imagine or recreate what followed next.

For one thing, I completely missed the firewood waiting to be split and barely nicked the edge of the tree stump. But this bare touching of the tree stump must have caused a tremendous vector change in the arc of the axe swing, and to add more physics to the event, the brand new axe, (with its nice slippery handle, aided by my brand new - and even more slippery - cotton gardening gloves (I should have used leather work gloves)) slipped away from me.

And aided by the wet grass under my feet, I lost my footing and slipped towards the oncoming axe. At some point, I suspect that both the axe and I were completely airborne and approaching each other in perfect flight synchronicity.

And in some incomprehensible act of flying physics, the axe went in a perfect flight pattern back towards me and between my legs.

Act One, Scene II

The axe blade missed my family jewels – barely.

I know this because I still have balls and because the tip of the blade nicked the small of my back. But I came as close to being a eunuch as anyone in the history of mankind has come; but the blade missed.

But the top of the handle didn’t miss and it crushed my balls.

Before I describe the pain, let me tell you that I've been kicked in the balls more than once. I have been an avid student and practicioner of the martial arts since I was 13 years old, and have competed in many full contact tournaments, and have been accidentally kicked in the balls many times. I have also had my share of juvenile and drunken sailor fist fights, where someone's foot or fist has delivered a painful blow to my genitals. And it does hurt intensely!

But this axe handle crushing my privates was a new dimension in pain.

And this new pain took on a new meaning as I collapsed onto the wet, muddy ground.

It was an almost exquisite pain, with shape, form, smell and incredibly enough, fireballs of vivid color dancing to music. During this time, I had a vision of how Christ and Jimmy Hoffa truly died; in fact I learned how every fucking thing in the Universe has died, and how every living entity in this Universe and the other infinite Einsteinian numbers of Universes will die. And in all cases, their death involved or will involve an axe.

Time ceased to flow, or perhaps it simply slowed down in order to make my agony more intense, which by the way, would have been impossible, as I had already maxxed out the agony scale for mankind.

And I know this is silly, but I swear that I heard the music from Guns & Roses’ Sweet Child of Mine emanating, in perfect tune to the pain, from my brutalized gonads; especially the part where the bag pipes come in.

Thus I do not know how long I agonized on the forest floor. A wet tongue belonging to Yoda, my neighbor’s dog, whimpering as he obviously felt my pain, resuscitated me.

I opened my eyes for the first time since I fell, and looked at Yoda’s handsome face. "Yoda," I whispered between clenched teeth, "kill me." He looked at me with his intelligent eyes and licked my face again. "Please bite my neck," I begged. "Kill me now!"

Yoda twisted his head in that almost human way in which dogs do, and walked away. For a minute there I thought that the stupid beast had gone to fetch a stick to play with, as he loves to fetch sticks. Had he done this, I would have kicked him in his balls. But he just vanished from my sight and then started to bark outside my neighbor’s back door.

By now the pain had diminished to a white searing pain on a planetary scale equivalent to a thermonuclear device being exploted at the core of the Earth, so the word diminished is quite bogus in this sentence. But, I sincerely wanted to find out how much damage I had done, and since by now my pants were quite soaked from the wet ground and the mud, I needed to check to see if I was bleeding.

Act One, Scene III

So I unbuttoned my pants, lowered them in agonizing ecstasy, and reached down to feel the state of my boys.

Which is precisely the moment that my neighbor, apparently being brought to the scene by Lassie-wannabe Yoda’s barking, made her appearance, as I am feeling my bruised sacs.

my neighbor lady My neighbor is a very nice old lady who has a remarkable likeness to Grandpa Munster, and I think that she’s originally from Sweden, and she has a lovely and thick accent, and from the expression on her face, I realized that she was slightly concerned at finding a muddy man, laying on the wet ground, pants down to his ankles and fingers probing around his privates.

So I rationalized (the brain is an incredible asset) that I'd better explain, although the last fucking thing that I wanted to do at that moment was to chat with this Grandpa Munster look-a-like. But I figured that if I didn’t explain, she’d make a bat-line to her phone and report me to the vice squad.

And being the super nice lady that she is, she tried to hide her laughter, and understood, and asked me if I wanted her to call an ambulance. "Tentacles," she said (and she did say "tentacles" instead of "testicles"), "are very fragile."

"No shit Grandpa Munster,"
I felt like saying, but instead I moaned to her that it was OK, and that I’d drive myself down to the hospital.

It had begun to sprinkle, so she wished me luck and went back to her house.

And then it really began to rain; hard, cold rain.

And then the act of crawling back to my house became another exercise in agony, as I discovered that (a) I couldn’t walk because of the pain and (b) I couldn’t crawl on my knees, because of the pressure on my jewels.

So I sort of "rolled" towards my house, and then developed a sort of walking on all fours, legs quite widespread and putting most of the weight on my hands, as the rain fell on me.

So I finally make it to the house, thoroughly soaked and quite covered in mud. And (of course) the day before I had cleaned my house from top to bottom, and the thought of the irony of this alignment of misfortunes dawned on me as I muddied the floor of my pristine home.

I debated whether to change clothes or not, and decided that it would be impossible for me to physically remove my shoes, as my boys had by now begun to swell to an impressive size, and any pressure on them caused me to yelp like a newborn child. So I grabbed a towel from the laundry room, crawled to my van, put the towel on the seat, and climbed in to an internal symphony of new pains.

And I began the drive to the hospital emergency room.

Act Two, Scene I

Sometimes the lights on Democracy Boulevard align in timing so that one can go all the way from Seven Locks to Old Georgetown Road without hitting a single light.

Other times, a driver hits every goddamned light on the road.

Guess which of these two cycles of light synchronicity was to be my fate on that painful day?

Yep! Stop at every light, and to make matters worse, I couldn’t really "sit down" and was actually driving while holding most of my weight on one hand pushing against the car seat in order to attempt to float me above it, all the while leaning forward, sort of the way that scary old people in Florida drive.

I eventually pulled into the parking lot of the hospital, and of course there is not one single parking spot available on the ER area, so I have to park in the lot across the street, and do my crawling on all fours routine, in the rain, across the road, which as some of you may know, is quite a busy road. However, since Yoda had failed to kill me, I was somewhat hoping that I’d get run over by a car, and mercifully have it put an end to my agony.

But no one ran me over, although several cars did slow down, but I suspect it was so that they could get a look at the idiot crawling on all fours across the road, in the rain.

But in due time, I did arrive at the entrance to the ER, and at the very last minute I almost did get run over by an ambulance, bringing in someone with a medical emergency.

And so I finally enter the ER, muddy, wet, cold and still in spectacular pain.

Act Two, Scene II

I imagine that most ER personnel have seen just about everything that humankind has to offer in terms of shock, but by the alarmed expression on the male nurse at the check-in station, it was clear that he was somewhat concerned by my appearance and by my manner of movement on all fours; I also noticed that the security guard was also somewhat alarmed (and armed).

He asked me what the problem was, and as I explained what happened, both this Gaylord Focker wannabe and the guard, who had drifted within earshot, actually had the gall to burst out laughing.

And I made a silent promise to myself that in a few weeks, if I survived this ordeal, I would hunt Nurse Focker-wannabe and kick him in the nuts.

So after the whole delay of data input and insurance verification, Nurse Focker tells me to have a seat, and wait, as the doctors (plural) are all attending the patient who had just come in via the ambulance.

"What’s his problem?" I asked, not out of concern, but thinking that there are precious few emergencies in the world that could take precedence over my distress.

And Nurse Focker explains that the patient is a 96-year-old-man who’s having a heart attack.

And I’m really close to start debating that at 96, he’s had a good life, and he's probably caused his own heart attack because of Viagra, so let this geezer go and assign me a doctor, preferably well armed with a needle full of painkiller. But I hold my tongue, and wait in my own private water puddle.

Several ice ages later, Nurse Focker says that I am to be seen, and asks me if I have a preference for a doctor. In retrospect, I think that he was asking me if I wanted a male or female doctor, but by now my social graces had completely vanished, and I told him that I’d like Dr. Kavorkian. He didn’t laugh.

I am then taken to the back, and told to undress, put one of those silly robes that show your ass, and sit on the bed and wait for the doctor. Somehow I managed to undress on my own, and laid on the bed, with my legs bent and wide open, much like a woman waiting for her gynecologist.

A little while later, the curtains open and the doctor comes in: A female doctor, of course, probably picked by Nurse Focker to make my life more miserable.

And not just any female doctor, but probably the only female doctor who had also been a body extra in Baywatch. And to my utter amazement, in the middle of this intense agony, my sick male brain still finds time to align a couple of thought patterns that whisper inside my head: "WOW, she’s hot!" before resuming sending new and novel pain patterns to my groin area.

"What have we got here?" she asks using the imperial "we" that annoying doctors like to use.

"We, doc," says I, devoid of any social skills by this point, "have a serious fucking case of smashed balls, and an even more serious need for some potent pain killer." And I begin explaining what happened.

And just like Nurse Focker and the rent-a-cop a few minutes earlier, Dr. Carmen Electra, Medicine Woman bursts out laughing while she’s probing and feeling down there, hands encased in latex gloves.

Laughter induced watery-eyes and all, she then tells me that it looks like there’s no internal injuries, but that she’ll order a scan to double check, and that I need to ice down my groin area in order to reduce the swelling. "You’ll be OK in a few days."


I thank her, and ask about a shot for the pain. To my astonishment she says that just a couple of Tylenols should do the trick. "Doc," I plead, "I am in really in some aggravating bad pain here."

"Don’t be such a baby," she responds, "You should try childbirth if you want to know what real pain is."

She’s lucky she’s a woman; otherwise I definitely would have kicked her in the balls.

Act Two, Scene III

A few days later, and things appear to be back to normal; I’ve been telling people that I have a back pain, and thus the strained walk.

And at some point, it dawns on me that the whole sequence of events, with the improbable occurrences, the diverse set of characters, and the Three Stoogian physicality of the act, is a new kind of art; a new kind of performance art that is, where really spectacular true events of common daily life assume astronomic personal presence and thus cross the border into a personal artistic quality, the like of which will never be repeated by any other soul on this planet.

So my performance piece is over: I call it Tentacles (not Testicles).

J.T. has a good report on the Caio Fonseca talk that occurred last Thursday at the Corcoran. Read it here.

And over at Angstbabe, Tracy has had it with the GW MFA program and is switching to GMU's. Read her reasons here.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

DC Warming

DC Warming is a panel focusing on "Movers & Shakers" and the new energy in the DC contemporary art scene. It will be held this coming Tuesday, 18 January 2005 at 6:30 p.m. at the District of Columbia Arts Center.

Cost for this event: Members $15, Guests $20. This program is limited to 50 people. Please RSVP to Mary Beth at or telephone 202.332.0099.

Panelists include:
Andrea Pollan, Director, Curator's Office (Moderator), Jayme McLellan and Victoria Reis, Co-directors, Transformer Gallery, Maggie Michael, artist, Allison Cohen, art consultant (Sightline) and IP lawyer (solo practice), Tyler Green, art critic for Bloomberg News and blogwriter, Modern Art Notes, Philip Barlow, art collector and DCAC Board Member, and Henry Estada, independent curator.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

AOM Top Artists Opening

AOM OpeningYesterday the WaPo gave the three-gallery Top 10 AOM Artists exhibitions their Hot Pick of the Week and last night we had part two of the three-opening night sequence.

I've discussed this before, but there's an interesting phenomenom that I've noticed vis-a-vis press coverage of gallery shows: It is clear to me that we seem to get a lot more people show up to the gallery based on a small Hot Pick mention than a full review.

And last night was huge!

We actually ran out of Sangria within the first hour (ten gallons of the stuff was consumed in an hour!) and had to make an emergency liquor store run, which in the Soviet Socialist Republic of Montgomery County, is not a trivial thing to find at 7PM on a Friday night. Anyway, we ended up running through 20 gallons of the stuff by the time we ended the opening night festivities.

Our Bethesda show featured some of the work previously exhibited by the invited artists, as well as new work such as a couple of terrific new plastic men sculptures by Mark Jenkins (as well as four new pubic hair tapestries), several new sculptures by Alison Sigethy, new glass sculptures by Michael Janis and Tim Tate, and a new installation by Ira Tattelman.

And next Friday, from 6-9 PM, is the third set of openings, when our Georgetown gallery will showcase photographs by Matt Dunn and Denise Wolff and paintings by Margaret McDowell, and our Canal Square upstairs neighbor, the Anne C. Fisher Gallery hosts Anne's list of her Top 10 AOM Artists.

Later today is the opening of J.W. Bailey's Stealing Dead Souls from 5:00 - 7:00 pm at the Black Rock Center for the Arts in Germantown, Maryland.

And then later tonight is the opening of Scott Treleaven at Conner Contemporary from 6-8 PM.

Go see art.
P.S. Opening night photos courtesy of Guy Mondo.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Congratulations are on order!

The Franz and Virginia Bader Fund of Washington, DC, has awarded artists Charles Ritchie, Yuriko Yamaguchi (represented by Numark Gallery) and Steven Kenny (winner of our 2001 Georgetown Fine Arts Competition) individual grants of $15,000, $20,000, and $15,000, respectively.

The grants, first started in 2002, are earmarked for living artists over the age of 40 who work within 150 miles of DC.

A Sacrifice for Art

Tonight we have the opening for the AOM artists in our list.

The show looks great, and I must admit that with the right lights and a white cube environment, the whole aspect of artwork changes. I will post some photos later. This somewhat bothers me.

Anyway... now I've listened to Edwards' talking fish a few hundred times and they're still really funny!

But let me tell you something: Tonight our opening is from 6-9 PM, and that means that I'll be getting home around 11 PM.

And tonight the SciFi Channel has the series premiere of the new sexy Battlestar Galactica series, and as an acknowledged, testified, bonafied Science Fiction geek (NOT Sci Fi), it hurts me deeply to miss this premiere and to have to look for the VCR's guide (I hope I can find it) to figure out how to tape the damned show so that I can watch it later.

I did watch the two-part pilot movie, and it was great! Sexy characters, and some news-making heresy in the changes from the original TV series.

But... what happened to all the Black people?

It reminds me of the Richard Pryor joke about Logan's Run. In the original Galactica, both Col. Tigh and Boomer were Black; in the new Galactica one is White and the other is Asian.

In fact the only main character who (I think) may be Black is Petty Officer Dualla.

PS - And although the Virgo in me is crying out for it, I won't even begin to obsess on how they mix Naval ranks with regular ranks (some people in the ship are Petty Officers and Commanders, while others are Colonels).

Thursday, January 13, 2005

The Thursday Art Reviews

Jeffry Cudlin at the City Paper reviews Martin Kotler and John Dryfuss at Hemphill Fine Arts. He nails the analogy between Dreyfuss' sculptures and Atlas Shrugged; it hadn't occurred to me, but its a perfect analysis of the works! In fact, mentally I've already placed them not only in the book, bit also in the great B&W movie with Gary Cooper (or was that The Fountainhead?)

Also in the WCP, Louis Jacobson reviews "The Tao of Physics" at the National Academy of Sciences.

At the WaPo, Jonathan Padget reviews Morten Nilsson at Ingrid Hansen Gallery.

Critical Alignment (Part III)

Last Sunday I commented on the fact that all of a sudden (and again) critical voices are aligning to proclaim the fact that painting (which a few cycles ago they were all saying was dead), is not only alive and kicking, but hot!

This repeating and never-ending cycle of "discussion" amongst critics is really a waste of words, and soon an U-turn will happen and a few years later, a new reversal, etc.

But it does reveal more evidence of critical alignment, as another critic suddenly reveals that "painting has never been out of the picture. Rather, it has often been work on canvas that proved the most provocative."

There's a lot of bull and incomprehensible art jargon in this article, but read it anyway... the article is here.

And now I wonder when we'll see some words on newsprint from our local painting-hating critics as they align with this new groupthink.

German Garbage Collectors Punished with Modern Art Lessons

(Thanks AJ) What is it with janitors, garbage collectors and cleaners in general with their desire to destroy modern "art"?

Some zealous German street cleaners in Frankfurt cleared and incinerated what they thought were abandoned building materials. It was in fact an art installation done as part of a city-wide exhibition of modern sculptures by artist Michael Beutler.

Thirty of the city's garbage collectors are now being sent to modern art classes to try to ensure that the same mistake never happens again.

I kid you not! Read the story here.

Yesterday I discussed the very generous grants of the Anonymous was a Woman program and wondered how two non-New York artists had sneaked through the New York only filter.

And this morning I got an aswer in the email! One of the two non-NY artists was J. Morgan Puett.

A friend writes:
J. Morgan Puett used to have an incredible arty line of natural fiber, un-ironed clothes, baggy dresses with a baroque southern hipster flair, vaguely Amish looking too

J. Morgan Puett used to have a place in 1992 called Skep at 527 Broome St in NY. In 1992 she was 35--so she is 47 or 48 now. She was born in Hahira, GA. Suzanne Vega, the folk singer, did her opening benefit show at Skep. Syd Straw, the famous singer, used to model for her sales brochures. Michelle Shocked was also a shareholder in Skep, and Jane Pratt, the editor of Sassy magazine, was involved. I think Natalie Merchant used to wear her clothes too.

Skep is an old woven beehive and Puett comes from four generations of beekeepers. Her brother Garnett Puett is an artist who works with bees.

I went there in 1992 -- the building was an old screw factory (if she owned it and then sold it, she probably made a fortune and moved to the country in Pennsylvania).

She would recycle the coffee grounds from the coffee shop and use them upstairs to dye the clothes. Extremely cool clothes -- but EXPENSIVE!! Pirjoj used to sell them in her Georgetown store-- $800 one-of-a kind looking pants dye-stained with tea, coffee grounds or grass and beet juice with all sorts of cool buttons and flaps.

J. Morgan Puett is VERY connected
And thus a New York connection for this gifted artist, and the New York only filter worked!

The change of leadership at the Greater Reston Arts Center that I reported about on Monday makes the news locally.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Anonymous Was A Woman $25,000 Grants

Ten female artists have received $25,000 grants from the Anonymous Was A Woman foundation in its ninth annual round of awards.

This year's recipients are Janet Biggs (video installation, NYC), Moyra Davey (visual artist/photographer, NYC), Liz Deschenes (visual artist/photographer, Brooklyn), Jessica Diamond (visual artist, Bronx), Joy Garnett (painter and media artist, NYC), Elizabeth Lyons (sculptor, Rochester, N.Y.), Sarah McEneaney (visual artist/painter, Philadelphia), J. Morgan Puett (transdisciplinary artist, Beach Lake, Pa.), Alison Saar (visual artist/sculptor, NYC), Carmelita Tropicana (performance artist, NYC).

I wonder how the two Pennsylvania artists sneaked through the New York-only filter? I suggest that this generous foundation change its name to Anonymous Was A New York Woman or spread its generosity outside the Empire State.

Anonymous Was a Woman awards "no strings" grants to women, age 35 and over, at a critical juncture in their lives or careers, to enable them to continue pursuing their work. Anonymous Was a Woman awards operate like the MacArthur Foundation "genius awards" in that artists do not apply for them but rather are nominated, usually without their knowledge.

I don't know who this year's nominators were, but I am pretty sure where they all live.

Lauren Katzowitz Shenfield is executive director of Philanthropy Advisors in New York. And according to this article, "she advises the donor behind the New York-based Anonymous Was a Woman Foundation, which makes unattributed annual $25,000 grants to women artists whose work has been underappreciated by the market. The benefactor, says Katzowitz Shenfield, is an artist herself, and she was concerned about what the gifts might do to her relationship with other artists if they knew she was behind the grants. 'She also finds it enormously thrilling to do this kind of philanthropy,' Katzowitz Shenfield adds."

Bravo Anonymous Donor! Ms. Katzowitz Shenfield: Advise her about the other 48 states and our District.

Kriston over at Grammar.police has an interesting post involving art, hypocritical artist, copy-cat art and gunfire. Read it here.

What goes around comes around.

As Cyndi Spain points out in DCist, the 20th Mayor's Arts Awards were awarded last night at the Kennedy Center.

Congratulations to all the award winners.

PS - But sourgraping: I think that Fondo del Sol got ripped off.

arts media Starting this month, a new syndicated TV arts program will hit the airwaves around here, soon nationally, and then it is planned to go onto an international audience (it has been picked up by the BBC World News).

It is ArtsMedia News: a weekly television program delivering a fresh, vibrant overview of what’s happening in the arts. ArtsMedia News, produced by Global Program Ventures Group LLC, will deliver a robust collection of stories, features, updates and interviews – and provide exposure, promotion and access to the people and organizations who have something to show and tell. Each show will include:

• What’s Happening Where — Notable performance and visual exhibition openings
• Arts News — The latest news in theater, opera, and the visual and performing arts
• On Site Discussions with prominent curators, artists, collectors and critics
• Unique regular features
• Updates from the major auction houses
• The business of art
• How artists create

In January 2005, ArtsMedia News will commence a half-hour weekly program on Thursday nights on MHz Networks, along with the interstitial newsbreaks. National distribution of ArtsMedia News is planned for Spring of 2005.

I will be hosting the visual arts portion of this program, focusing on both visual art shows, interviews with curators, artists and reviews of art shows, as well as the updates from the major auction houses.

Two of the trial programs that I recorded a while back have already been shown extensively both locally and by the BBC. I hope to make this another means to help expand our area's art scene onto a national and international platform.

The best thing for art galleries is more art galleries; the best thing for art is awareness that there's art to be seen and experienced - let's see what happens if this works out.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Post-AOM Part II
sculpture by Chris Edmunds
Last weekend the Anne C. Fisher Gallery opened an exhibition based on Anne's pick of her top 10 AOM artists.

And now part II...

This Friday our Bethesda outpost will open an exhibition showcasing the work of the AOM artists who made it to our lists.

The opening will be from 6-9 PM, as part of the Bethesda Art Walk and features both some of the key artwork exhibited at AOM as well as new work created specifically for this show, such as Ira Tattelman's new installation titled They Sheltered Me From Harm and several new pubic hair tapestries by Mark Jenkins (as well as some new plastic men).

Part III the following Friday at Fraser Georgetown as part of the Canal Square Galleries third Friday openings and extended hours.

Opportunity for Artists

Dumbarton Concert Gallery
Deadline for submissions: June 1, 2005

Dumbarton Concert Gallery call for artists for art exhibitions for 2005-2006 season. Deadline for submissions: June 1, 2005. Dumbarton Concert Gallery is accepting applications from MD, DC, and VA artists for the 2005-2006 concert season. The Concert Gallery is operated in conjunction with Dumbarton Concerts, a series of chamber and jazz musical performances held in Georgetown's historic Dumbarton Church.

The artist's opening occurs in conjunction with a one-night concert performance, with an average attendance of 350 people. The exhibit stays up for one and a half weeks, during which time the gallery is open by appointment. Artists can submit slides independently or as a group. Decisions are made by jury. Eight shows will be installed, October 2005 through April 2006.

The gallery takes a 25 percent commission on sales. Submission requirements:
1. Ten to twenty images, on slides or CD
2. Name, address, phone, email, and curriculum vitae.
3. Dimensions, price, and medium of each piece (if pieces shown on slides are not available, they must be an accurate representation of the type of work that will be hung).
4. Enclose SASE for return of materials.
5. Only work that can be hung on walls will be accepted--no free-standing sculpture.

Mail to:
Eric Westbrook
2325 42nd St. NW #419
Washington, DC 20007

Questions? email: Eric here. Notifications: After July 1, 2005

Monday, January 10, 2005

Another GRACE Director bites the dust

Edie McRee Bowles, President and CEO of the Greater Reston Arts Center, has been fired by the Board of Directors.

Former Fairfax County Board of Supervisor, Kate Hanley, has been named interim director of GRACE.

I think the world about GRACE, which is a cultural jewel in that wealthy suburb, and I have curated a show for them, and their Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival hosted 180 artists and attracted over 60,000 visitors last year, and it is one of the best fine arts festivals in the nation (I am participating in the 2005 version next May).

But there's something wrong at GRACE, or maybe within its Board of Directors (I don't know), as this is their fourth director since Anne Brown was released in August of 2002. That's a clear indication that someone or something (besides the directors) is/are doing something wrong.

It has nothing to do with the visual arts, but...

Congrats to DC area Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Lorraine Adams, whose book Harbor, was rated Fiction Book of the Year in the Entertainment Weekly Best of 2004 issue.

Bravo Ms. Adams!

Opportunity for Artists

Hispanic Heritage Poster Contest
Deadline: February 11, 2005

Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia artists throughout the metropolitan area now have the opportunity to compete for the $2,500 grand prize of the First Annual VEGA Hispanic Yellow Pages Poster Contest sponsored by the VEGA Hispanic Yellow Pages, DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and The Mayor’s Office on Latino Affairs. The deadline is February 11, 2005.

The poster theme should be the artist’s interpretation or rendition of Hispanic Heritage in the Greater Washington DC Metropolitan Area.

The winning poster will be featured on the front cover of the VEGA Hispanic Yellow Pages. The design may also be used for other promotional items such as billboards, T-shirts, programs, etc. Only one work may be submitted per artist.

For more information contact Jose Dominguez at (202) 724-5614 or email Jose here. You can also download the prospectus here.

Artists need not be Hispanic/Latino/Latins/Spanish/Latin-American/Spaniards/Iberians in order to submit entries (I hope).

Critical Alignment II

In response to my thoughts on Critical Alignment, a friend emailed me a very interesting essay by Dave Eggers (co-founder of the now-defunct Might Magazine and editor of McSweeney's, and author of "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius").

It is too long to post in its entirety here, but the essence of it can be beautifully distilled to:
"What matters is that you do good work. What matters is that you produce things that are true and will stand. What matters is that the Flaming Lips's new album is ravishing and I've listened to it a thousand times already, sometimes for days on end, and it enriches me and makes me want to save people. What matters is that it will stand forever, long after any narrow-hearted curmudgeons have forgotten their appearance on goddamn 90210.

What matters is not the perception, nor the fashion, not who's up and who's down, but what someone has done and if they meant it. What matters is that you want to see and make and do, on as grand a scale as you want, regardless of what the tiny voices of tiny people say.

Do not be critics, you people, I beg you. I was a critic and I wish I could take it all back because it came from a smelly and ignorant place in me, and spoke with a voice that was all rage and envy. Do not dismiss a book until you have written one, and do not dismiss a movie until you have made one, and do not dismiss a person until you have met them. It is a fuckload of work to be open-minded and generous and understanding and forgiving and accepting, but Christ, that is what matters. What matters is saying yes."
Bravo Mr. Eggers!

DCist has a nice write-up of the new AOM artists show that opened last weekend at the Anne C. Fisher Gallery in Georgetown.

This is the first of a triple gallery show about AOM artists. Next Friday we will open most of the artists from our lists with a show opening Friday, October 14 from 6-9PM at Fraser Bethesda, and the Friday after that opening at Fraser Georgetown.

And wait until you see the installation that Ira Tattelman has done in our Bethesda gallery!

Sunday, January 09, 2005

And (Yawn) Painting is Hot Again...

Because Blake Gopnik firmly believes that painting is dead, he is going to hate this, but like it happens every few years, all the critical voices are aligning again to say: "sorry, we were wrong and painting is not dead... so sorry."

Tap, tap... Critical alignment happening here... Watch for art critics and curators who have dismissed painting over the last few years now try to re-invent themselves and desperately try to catch up. And art mogul Saatchi has already publicly chastised Blake Gopnik for having such a traditional and outdated view of painting's death.

This Telegraph article discusses that:
To suggest that painting has triumphed over other media would require a rather outdated notion of hierarchy. But it is certainly receiving a flurry of attention. The art periodicals Contemporary Art, Flash Art and Modern Painters all broke with regular practice and ran large special issues on it last year. Remarkably, it was Modern Painters' first ever issue devoted exclusively to painting.

Even painters themselves, who won't admit that painting ever went away, agree that it is back in focus. "There are always artists making interesting paintings – sometimes they attract little attention, sometimes, as now, a lot," wrote Michael Craig Martin in the New Statesman this month.

"There's certainly a lot of talk about painting being back," says Pablo Lafuente, curator of a much smaller painting show than Saatchi's now on at London's Haunch of Venison gallery. "It suffered a lot during the 1990s, but in the last few years it's been changing: there's a buzz in both the market and museum worlds. Before, painters used to explain that they also worked in other media. Now, there's an unapologetic-ness."
Read the whole article here.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Critical Alignment

One fact that has been quite evident to me for many years (at least from anecdotal evidence), is that fact that in almost all genres of the arts, more often than not, popularity tends to have an equally inverse relationship with formal critical acclaim.

If you are an extraordinarily popular visual artist with the masses, such as Jack Vettriano is in Great Britain, then usually you are either ignored or maligned by the critical world. In Vettriano's case it has actually worked to his advantage, making him even more popular, and he currently has the record for the highest price for a Scottish painting ever to be sold at auction.

I guess our equivalent here would be Norman Rockwell, although his "re-discovery" in the last few years has somewhat surprised me. But for most of my life, Rockwell has been tremendously popular with the American public, but snobbed and disdained by the critical mafia.

But when art critics do focus positively on someone, as they did for a while on John Currin, it appears to me that they tend to cluster in a communal group think about an artist. Conversely, when a "reversal" or negativity about an artist begins to surface (such as for John Currin now), it certainly appears, at least from the ten thousand foot level, to be a "group U-turn" and we all begin to savage the new victim.

I could be wrong, and it is clearly an observation not cast in concrete nor backed up by scientific and numerical facts, but it is how it appears to me.

But I also recall that in Peter Schjeldahl's (art critic for The New Yorker) 2004 lecture at George Washington University's Lisner Auditorium as part of that year's Clarice Smith Distinguished Lectures in American Art, and according to Ionarts:
"One of Schjeldahl's major points on the topic he chose ('What Art Is For Now') was that the snob appeal of art is one of the 'underestimated engines of culture,' that for now he has 'no desire to swell the size of the tent' of those who love art. In his view, there is no reason to bring art to the masses. Those who want it will find it, and 'if somebody doesn't want art, bully for them.' However, as Schjeldahl also noted, the audience for art worldwide may be larger now than it ever has been, and the art market is a booming business. This may help explain the gulf that can be observed between major art critics and the art-going public, in the case of the J. Seward Johnson sculptures at the Corcoran, for example."
And now David Sterritt, who is the film critic for The Christian Science Monitor, is concerned because so many of his choices for the best films, year after year, match so closely with his fellow movie critics, but often are never aligned with the public's choices. He writes:
"Don't get me wrong. The last thing we critics should do is try to echo the taste of some hypothetical 'average moviegoer' or twist our 10-best lists to mirror the box office. What concerns me is that there's so much agreement among reviewers, whose goals ought to include challenging one another's tastes, habits, and assumptions."
Read his article here.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Kelly Towles is hot!

Pen and ink by TowlesA friend at the Washington Times tells me that the Times' senior art critic, Joanna Shaw-Eagle, will be reviewing Kelly Towles debut solo at David Adamson.

This is good not only for Towles, but also for our area art scene, to see three major art critics all focus on one talented artist. With three major endorsements like O'Sullivan, Dawson and Shaw-Eagle, Towles has gotten off to a spectacular start, following his also stellar Artomatic debut.

This is a strong signal to our museum curators (Brougher and Hileman at the Hirshhorn and Binstock and Schmidt at the Corcoran) that perhaps this "local" artist deserves some of their attention as well.

And if Kelly moves to Brooklyn, then maybe Blake will also write about him.

Anyway... Bravo Kelly!

Gallery looking for new members

Touchstone Gallery, one of the oldest and largest artists' cooperatives in the Greater DC area, is looking for new members. Interested artists should contact Touchstone Gallery at 202/347-2787.

A couple of new photography shows to open soon

January 9 - February 1, 2005
Glenview Mansion Art Gallery

Prescott Moore Lassman will be exhibiting 15 to 20 photographs from his "Domesticated Animals" series in a three-person show at the Glenview Mansion Art Gallery. The exhibition, which also features artists Elke Seefeldt and L.S. King, runs from January 9 through February 1, 2005. There will be an opening reception on Sunday, January 9 from 1-4 p.m., in conjunction with a jazz concert by The Lovejoy Group from 2-3 p.m. There will also be an artist's talk on Thursday, January 20 beginning at 7:30 p.m.

January 12 - February 11, 2005
"Stealing Dead Souls"

Rough Edge Photography by national award-winning experimental Mississippi photographer, James W. Bailey, which explores the concept of photography and its mystical ability to steal the life of the non-living. Opening Reception on Saturday, January 15, from 5:00 - 7:00 pm at the Black Rock Center for the Arts in Germantown, Maryland.

The Top 100 Artists

(Thanks AJ) A British website, ArtFacts, has come up with a way to rank artists by the exhibitions they've been shown in since 1999.

The Artist Ranking reflects the artists exhibition career from 1999 to today as seen from the perspective of the organizing curators of museums and private galleries.

Basically the artist ranking weights exhibitions by a special algorithm. Each exhibition gains automatically a certain value. See the ranking system explained here and the current Top 100 here.

The Super Art Thief Goes on Trial

Thirty-something French waiter Stephane Breitwieser has admitted stealing 239 works of art (including several priceless masterpieces) in seven European countries between 1995-2001.

It gets better... His mother is also on trial for having destroyed more than 200 of the works stolen by her son, who apparently stored them at her home.

Read it and weep.

P.S. Does anyone named Breitwieser live in Reston?

Thursday, January 06, 2005

The Thursday Reviews

The WaPo's Jacqueline Trescott usually writes about museum news and issues. Today she has a piece that covers some museum going-ons dealing with special exhibits around Dubya's inauguration.

Jessica Dawson does something that rarely happens in the WaPo: She reviews an artist who was already reviewed last week! No doubt that Kelly Towles is hot! The review is (as usual) all over the place, sometimes doling out the feeling that it is a good review, other times throwing a bucket of cold water all over the reader. She also covers and offers a description of Time and Materials at Irvine Contemporary Art.

I'd like to see the WaPo's first threepeat and hereby call for Blake Gopnik to also review this show. Maybe a second visit to a single and talented Art-O-Matic artist will cause a shift in Blake's rootcanalization of AOM?

In the WCP, Louis Jacobson reviews "The Staged Body: Contemporary Photography," (which Jessica reviewed December 16) at Andrea Pollan's Curator's Office.

Hemphill Fine Arts has an opening this Saturday, January 8, of two of my favorite DC area artists: Martin Kotler and John Dreyfuss.

These are two of my favorite area artists. I included Kotler a few years ago into a massive show that I curated in 2001 for the Athenaeum in sculpture by John DreyfussAlexandria. The show was titled "A Survey of Washington Area Realists" and had over 120 artists hanging salon-style in that beautiful Greek Revival building that is so architecturally out of place in Old Town Alexandria. He's an intelligent and gifted painter.

Dreyfuss' sculptures (and the studio where he makes them) have to be seen to be believed, from the massive plum bob that he last exhibited at Hemphill's old Georgetown space, to small, delicate neo Classic pieces that are all over his studio space. He will have seven new sculptures in this show.

The reception is Saturday, January 8, 2005 from 6:30 - 8:30 PM.

SYNERGY: DC Artists Unite!

Call for Artists
Deadline: March 15, 2005

Synergy is a collaborative community art project that will bring artists of the DC/MD/VA area together to create unique works of art. Synergy will revive and inspire an entire new art scene for the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area.

Evolving Perceptions (EP) is seeking teams of 2-4 artists to submit submissions for consideration. A jury panel will select the final teams and each team will receive a stipend for the artists as well as for materials. The teams will be asked to create a work of artwork(s) within a 6 week period.

The process of creation among the team artists’ will be documented and shared as part of the final exhibition. The exhibition will launch in Fall 2005/Winter 2006 at a local gallery in Washington D.C.

ELIGIBILITY: Visual artist(s) working/living within a 50 mile radius of Washington D.C. No age limit, encourage teams to include artists of diverse cultural heritages and artists with disabilities.

ENTRY INSTRUCTIONS: Artists may submit as:
1) teams of 2-4 artists
2) individuals who would like to be placed on a team
3) art organizations, galleries, museums who would like to submit a team, i.e., "the Torpedo Factory team"

To obtain an entry form please email Marsha Stein, Synergy Coordinator at

Each artist(s) on a team or applying as an individual must submit:
1. Resume
2. Statement about Why the collaborative art process is of interest to you? What do you hope to contribute and gain from this experience?
4. 5 Slides or digital images on a CD-ROM with print outs

Teams announced in May 2005

Please send your submission to:

11118 Lakespray Way
Reston, VA 20191

I'll be away most of the day today, and will be posting later in the day. Don't forget that tomorrow is the first Friday of the month and thus the Dupont Circle Galleries will be having their openings and/or extended hours from 6-8 PM in most cases.

Numark Gallery also has an opening tomorrow night from 6:30-8PM: Sharon Louden: The Motley Tails and also David Ryan: Batteries Can't Help Now in the gallery's Project Room.

Sharon Louden's installations and drawings "give character to individual
gestures through the illusion of movement, placement, and direction of marks.
The Motley Tails, Louden's second one-person exhibition at Numark Gallery, features a large-scale installation. A garden of hanging, hairy anthropomorphic and jungle-like forms, assembled with thousands of strands of monofilament (fishing line) clamped by cage clips, hangs from the ceiling of the main gallery space and brushes along the floor."

Las Vegas-based artist David Ryan creates his three-dimensional painted wall
constructions by referencing the design of mass-produced industrial products, automobiles, home stereos and computers.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

A couple of days ago I had the honor to jury the annual monthly juried show for the 1600 plus artists who are members of the Art League.

About 600 works in all genres and medias were submitted for my review and I selected 120 of them for exhibition in the Art League Gallery on the first floor of the Torpedo Factory in Old Town Alexandria.

Jurying an art show is a very time consuming, and arduous task. There were some absolutely brilliant works, a lot of OK work and a few head scratchers. But the sublime pleasure of being surrounded by artwork from artists of all ranges, ages and skills, is unequaled. This is what the love of visual arts is all about!

As I've noted, seldom is the task of jurying an art show an easy task, and even though I have juried many shows over the last twenty years, I always approach the task with the realization that a lot of effort and work must be delivered in order to do a proper job.

First Prize WinnerAnd jurying a show for The Art League must be one of the most challenging tasks that a juror in our area faces. With such a rich pool of artists, by far one of the largest in the nation, abounding with talent, creativity and intelligence, a juror must come prepared to work hard and smartly.

And I’ve prepared for this task for many years and through many ways. As I've noted, I was a member of The Art League when I first moved to the Washington area many years ago, and believe me: I know first-hand the elation of being accepted and the sighs that accompany being rejected.

Then, as an art critic, I have been visiting and writing about Art League shows for many years. I know first-hand the amazing variety of art and artists, of styles and genres, of creativity and intelligence, as well as their weaknesses. And finally, as an art critic and curator, I have curated and organized over 100 shows in our area, and have been thus exposed to the work of many Art League members that way. I was ready for this task.

If you were accepted: Congratulations! It was a challenging task.

By far, you’ll see that most of the work that I selected falls within the representational genre, which I allow to dominate my personal dialogue with art. I admire technical ability, but usually when properly coupled with smart composition, good visual ideas, intelligence and creativity. The award winners all in one sense or another pushed some of these buttons, from the spectacular simplicity and elegance of Jim Steele’s photographs, to the bubbling burst of prowess of the very young Jenny Davis’ watercolors, to Jackie Saunders’ mastery of the figure.

The Art League’s monthly competitions are excellent ways to sharpen your artistic muscles, to learn to accept rejection, and to hone your instinct and experience in the art world. The best thing for art is more art – keep creating!

Oh yeah... the photo on the left won the First Prize!

How to Achieve Instant World Fame

Warning: If porn offends you, even "fine art porn," do not visit any of the links below.

Terry Richardson is one lucky stiff (pun intended) who becomes famous in the rarified upper crust of the art world while getting his fine art porn exhibitied in New York, London and Paris.

I'd love to see what would happen if one of our museums or galleries had a Terry Richardson exhibition around here.

In fact, it would make Richardson world famous on a level achieved by the Mapplethorpes and Serranos and Ofilis of the past. I am sure that the exhibition would be most likely shut down by the DC cops, which would bring the ACLU into action and thus Congress would have a collective heart attack, and start trying to pass all kind of laws, etc. You can't buy publicity like that.

Hey, at least we'd get some bi-partisan work!

A Terry Richardson exhibition in Washington, DC would make the Mapplethorpe controversy pale in comparison, of that I am sure.

In fact, this is such a good idea for a local up-and-coming struggling art space: instant fame through fine art porn!

In fact redux, I've got a couple of tentative places (cough, cough) in mind that could use the bright angry light of the public's ire and salacious mentions in the Congressional record.

Washington, DC making an artist world famous!

Terry baby... call me; I'll tell you how to get a show in DC.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

New DC Art Site

Tracy Lee, a superb photographer whose photos are simply too sensual for any DC art gallery to handle (so far), and who is now in the middle of an MFA program at GWU, has a new (to me) and really interesting online journal.

Visit it often; great insight on the mind of a creative photographer struggling to keep her identity through a seminal academic photography program.

I say that Tracy's work is too sensual for any DC gallery to handle simply because of the fact that her work has (so far) explored the sensuality of the nude figure, and we all know what kind of reception nudes get around here (read this and also this).

Artnet Reviews 2005

Walter Robinson has an excellent, sexy review of the 2004 art year at

Opportunities for Artists
click here for an application
Deadline: January 28, 2005
Bethesda Fine Arts Festival

The Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District is currently accepting applications for the 2005 Bethesda Fine Arts Festival. The event is scheduled for Saturday, May 14 and Sunday, May 15, 2005. The deadline for submissions is January 28, 2005. 150 artists will be invited to exhibit, and last year around 40,000 people attented the inaugural festival, and more are expected this year. This is an excellent opportunity for artists to bring their artwork directly to the public (I did this show last year and plan to do it again). Only original artwork, photography, fine crafts, sculpture and hand-made furniture allowed. $2,500 in cash awards, and breakfast and lunch is provided for exhibiting artists. Download the application form here or call 301/718-9651 or send a SASE to:
Bethesda Fine Arts Festival
c/o Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District
7700 Old Georgetown Road
Bethesda, MD 20814

Deadline: February 3, 2005
Louisiana Watercolor Society 35th International Show.

A juried exhibition of original waterbased media on paper is open to water media artists. Paintings must be unvarnished and executed in the last three years. Up to five slides can be entered. The first three are $14/per slide. Download or send a SASE for a prospectus. Slides must be postmarked by February 3 or hand delivered by February 7, 2005.
Louisiana Watercolor Society
P.O. Box 850287
New Orleans, LA 70185-0287

Deadline: February 3, 2005
Fourth Annual Bethesda International Photography Prize

Exhibition dates: March 11 - 6 April, 2005. Open to all photographers 18 years and older. All photography not previously exhibited at the Fraser Gallery. The maximum dimension (including frame) should not exceed 40 inches in any direction. Iris or Giclee entries are acceptable. All work must be presented professionally to conservation standards. Juried by Connie Imboden. $950 in cash awards, plus Best of Show winner will receive a solo show in 2005. First, Second and Third Prize winners and the three Honorable Mention winners will be invited to exhibit in one of the the gallery's various group shows in 2005. An entry fee of $25 U.S. Dollars entitles the artist to submit three slides. For the prospectus, visit the website, or call 301/718-9651 or send a SASE to:
Bethesda International Photography
Fraser Gallery
7700 Wisconsin Avenue
Suite E
Bethesda, MD 20814

Deadline: February 4, 2005
15th Annual Faces of Woman Show

March 4-April 1, 2005. Faces of Woman 15th Annual National Juried Art Show. All art media. Original works exploring some aspect of the feminine symbolic or representational form, completed within the last two years. $1,000 in cash prizes of awarded. Open to all amateur and professional artists. Entries (slides) due by February 4, 2005. For registration form and info send legal SASE to:
Las Vegas Arts Council
Box 2603
Las Vegas NM 87701
Phone: 505.425.1085

Deadline: February 25, 2005
16th National Drawing & Print Competitive Exhibition

Gormley Gallery/College of Notre Dame of Maryland 16th National Drawing & Print Competitive Exhibition. A minimum of $1500 available in purchase prize money. Drawings and prints (not photography) in any medium are eligible. A non-refundable entry fee of $30 entitles the artist to submit up to three slide entries. Slide entries and fee due February 25. For prospectus visit their website or SASE to:
National Drawing and Print Competitive Exhibition
Attn: Geoff Delanoy
College of Notre Dame of Maryland
4701 North Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21210

Deadline: February 12, 2005
2005 Alexander Rutsch Award and Exhibition For Painting

For US based artists 19 years of age or older. All work submitted to competition must be available for exhibit May 6-June 19, 2005. Entry fee is $20 and all accepted work must be ready to hang. The prize winner will be awarded a solo exhibition and a cash award of $5,000. For more information, call (914) 738-2525, email, or visit the website.

Deadline: February 25, 2005
Bethesda Artists Market
click here for an applicationThe Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District is currently accepting applications for the June 12 and July 10, 2005 Bethesda Artist Markets. I usually exhibit at this venue, which has been getting more and more visitors each time it is held. The spaces are juried by slides and there's no entry fee and a $50 booth fee for accepted artists. The artists markets are held about six Sundays a year. Download the application here or send a SASE to:
Bethesda Artists Market
c/o Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District
7700 Old Georgetown Road
Bethesda, MD 20814

Deadline: March 11, 2005
Bethesda Painting Awards

The Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District has announced the inaugural Bethesda Painting Awards, a juried competition honoring four selected painters with $14,000 in prize monies. Up to eight finalists will be invited to display their work from June 10 – July 6, 2005 in downtown Bethesda at the Fraser Gallery. The 1st place winner will be awarded $10,000; 2nd place will be honored with $2,000 and 3rd place will be awarded $1,000. A "young" artist whose birth date is after March 11, 2005 will also be awarded $1,000. Artists must be 18 years of age or older and residents of Maryland, Virginia or Washington, D.C. All original 2-D painting including oil, acrylic, watercolor, gouache, encaustic and mixed media will be accepted. The maximum dimension should not exceed 60 inches in width. No reproductions. Artwork must have been completed within the last two years and must be available for the duration of the exhibition. Selected artists must deliver or ship artwork to exhibit site in Bethesda, Maryland. Each artist must submit five slides, application and a non-refundable entry fee of $25. The Bethesda Painting Awards has been established by local business owner Carol Trawick. To download a complete submission form, please visit this website or send a self-addressed stamped envelope to:
Bethesda Painting Awards
c/o Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District
7700 Old Georgetown Road
Bethesda, MD 20814

The Power of the Web

The Woman on the Moon

A while back, Thinking About Art was rightfully so ranting about artists not responding to his online project and how some artists and a lot of dealers do not understand the power and importance of having a web presence.

I agree with J.T., and every once in while I try to point out just what the Internet can help to accomplish in the business of art business and establishing a foot print as an artist.

An immediate and personal example is through my current exhibition in Georgetown. In the last couple of weeks, of the 20 or so drawings in the exhibition and others, 9 drawings (and two prints) have so far sold. Of those sales, six have been through the Internet, and four drawings are heading to Ireland!

Update: AJ brings to light a a study by PEW/Internet that adds evidence to the importance of the web for artists.

Monday, January 03, 2005

2004 Gallery Report

This past weekend we met with our accountant to review 2004 and the galleries' business.

Two years ago, Sotheby's decided, without much warning, to end its online art business. We were one of only two or three DC area galleries who were Sothebys Associates, and very quickly Sotheby's became our largest sales process, accounting for well over 60% of our art sales for three or four years in a row.

Then they decided a couple of years ago to end their online business (don't even get me started on how Sotheby's screwed this all up) and we held our breath!

Somehow we recovered, and I am happy to report that 2004 was our best year ever!

In 2004, with the exception of Sandra Ramos, whose Georgetown show sold out, and Aimee Garcia Marrero, whose Georgetown show sold quite well, the vast majority of our business took place in the Bethesda gallery and about a third of the business was strictly an online affair.

In 2004 we had three reviews in the Washington Post, two reviews in the Washington Times, six reviews in the Washington City Paper, three reviews in the Gazette, two reviews in the Georgetowner and six reviews in other national and international magazines and newspapers.

It is clear to me that our area's visual art scene is growing in leap and bounds, and even the business of art seems to be growing. Any other area gallerist who'd like to share some words as how 2004 was for them, is welcomed to email me and I'll publish it here.

2005 opens on January 14 in our Bethesda gallery and on January 21 at our Georgetown gallery with two group shows of the best of Art-O-Matic 2004 from our perspective.

See ya there!

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Red and Green Alternatives (to Sonja) (1964)

Dan Flavin, minimalism, store-bought art materials, flourescent light bulbs, the seduction of money, provenances, and the Dark Side of Success (thanks Jesse).
"One factor in valuing a Flavin, however, dwarfs all others: the certificate that accompanied its production. To those who wonder what the difference is between a Flavin and the lights in their office, the certificate, more or less, is the answer.

Each of the more than 750 light sculptures that Flavin designed - usually in editions of three or five - were listed on index cards and filed away. When one sold, the buyer received a certificate containing a diagram of the work, its title and the artist's signature and stamp. If someone showed up with a certificate and a damaged fixture, Flavin would replace it. But without a certificate, the owner was out of luck. Today, Christie's won't even consider a Flavin sculpture unless it's accompanied by an original document."
Read Greg Allen's whole article here.

Update: Todd Gibson points out that Allen followed up the NYT article in his BLOG with excerpts from two additional interviews (curator and collector Emily Rauh Pulitzer and son Stephen Flavin, who now controls the Flavin Estate) that took place after the Allen article went to press.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Final Art-O-Matic Top 10 Artists List

Happy 2005!

As most of you know, during the recent Artomatic exhibition, I received quite a few lists by artists, gallery owners, curators and art critics.

These lists detailed their "picks" as the most notable artists (in their view) of DC's giant Artlovefest. Since the lists came out, six area galleries have already scheduled exhibitions (and some of them already on exhibit), and there are more coming in 2005, for many more Artomatic artists based in part from these lists.

I had also promised to gather a list of the top 10 Artomatic artists who appeared the most in all the lists submitted to me. I recorded all the artists, and the number of times that his or her name appeared on the lists.

Provided that the logistics are worked out, these artists in the final list will be invited to exhibit their work by a gallery in Canada.

The lists were sent in by:

JS Adams
James W. Bailey
Marilyn Banner
Philip Barlow
F. Lennox Campello
Kriston Capps
Jesse Cohen
Jean Lawlor Cohen
Leigh Conner
Sarah Finlay & Patrick Murcia
Anne C. Fisher
Faith Flanagan
Catriona Fraser
Rob Goodspeed
Pat Goslee
Elyse Harrison
Kristen Hileman
Matt Hollis
Milena Kalinovska
Nevin Kelly
J.T. Kirkland
Angela Kleis
Natalie Koss
Anne Marchand
Adrianne Mills
Michael O'Sullivan
Fred Ognibene
Donna Robusto
Claudia Rousseau
Tim Tate
Krystyna Wasserman

And here is the final Top 10ish List (in order of number of appearances in the above lists).

1. Linda Hesh
2. Kelly Towles
3. Kathryn Cornelius
4. Chris Edmunds
5. Tim Tate
6. Thomas Edwards
7. Syl Mathis
8-10. Dylan Scholinski
Ira Tattelman
Joyce Zipperer
Allison B. Miner
Amy Martin Wilber

Some clarifications: Hesh and Towles had the same number of mentions by the list-makers, and were the top two most mentioned artists.

Cornelius and Edmunds, coming in second, also shared an equal number of lists between them.

Third most mentioned were Tate, Edwards and Mathis and they also had equal appearances.

Scholinski, Tattelman, Zipperer, Miner and Wilber round up the top set of artists, and they also had equal appearances as the most often listed artists.


These artists should immediately contact Richard Dana, who will bring them up to speed on the Canadian exhibition. As soon as that deal is finalized, I will announce the details here.

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