Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Claire Watkins

The current "Interface" exhibition in our Bethesda gallery has really been drawing a diverse and constant flow of visitors, including several schools who have come in groups to see the show.

And Claire Watkins amazing magnetism-based kinetic sculptures have really been drawing the "oohs" and "aaahs" from nearly everyone. Watkins is a recent graduate of VCU's highly acclaimed postgraduate sculptural program, ranked number one in the nation (I am told).

Needle sculpture by Claire Watkins The hypnotizing sculpture of the rotating magnet, hanging from a plastic, clear bracket and attracting a set of ever moving, dancing needles has clearly become the star attraction of the exhibit.

To me, the interesting thing about this sculpture is the fact that it will never be the same once de-installed and re-installed in whatever collector's home it ends up in (it's still available for sale by the way). When the sculpture sells, Watkins will have to go to the collector's home and install the work in a chosen area.

I suspect this will be a placement chosen by both artist and buyer, and brings some interesting questions to the whole classification of the piece. For example, a smart thing for the collector to do, is the video the whole installation event, as I found it fascinating to see Watkins weave the installation of the sculpture in the gallery's corner space. It would be particularly interesting to see her re-create that, in a different space (someone's home) once the piece sells.

Claire Watkins wall at Fraser

On the gallery’s main wall, her other three sculptural arrangements hang: two triptychs and a diptych. They are ink and acrylic etchings on a copper plate, floating away from the wall, projected from a plastic armature that hides a small motor. The hidden motor rotates a small magnet, and this magnet, in turn, causes pins and iron filings to dance and move on the surface of the etchings.

Close up of one of Watkins' pieces And the interesting thing that I've noticed over the days since she installed the pieces, is that the metal filings, pins and other metallic objects that dance and move on the surface of the etchings... ah... move! So it seems that the movement is not only driven by the rotating magnet behind it, but also by the ever changing magnetic fields of the Earth itself.

What does this mean? It means that these sculptures are never, ever quite the same at any given second; they're always evolving and changing and moving. One day the filings have climbed atop pins and radiate outwards; a few days later a lonely pin has drifted away from the pack, and so on.

Watkins, who now lives in New York City, is currently speaking with several New York galleries and I am sure that we will continue to hear great things about this talented young artist.

"Interface" runs through February 8, 2006.


Conner Contemporary Art is damned pleased to introduce the work of Fatima Hoang, Michael Magnan, Maki Maruyama, Annie Schap, Zach Storm and Matthew Sutton in Whippersnappers – an exhibition of young, bright, culturally astute artists who, in their opinion, rock.

There will be an opening night reception at Conner Contemporary Art on Friday, February 3rd from 6-8pm, and the show runs through March 11.

Opportunity for Artists

Deadline: February 15, 2006

Cows, Pandas, Elephants, Crabs, Apples, Mermaids, Testudos and now doors!

"Making an Entrance" offers an opportunity for artists to create artistic doors.

Details here and the prospectus here.


Adrianne Mills and company had a load of fun painting some bodies last weekend at the Anne C. Fisher Gallery in Georgetown. See loads of images here.

By the way, the person getting painted is the very talented artist Michal Hunter.

There's still time to catch "Bodies of Work" at the gallery, and see some of Mills' intelligent photography on this sensual subject. The show runs through Feb. 11, 2006.

Gopnik on Kessman

A rare mini review by the WaPo's Chief Art Critic of a Washington, DC gallery show.

Read Gopnik's mini review of Dean Kessman at Conner here.

What Good Are the Arts?

Read this WaPo review of a recent book on the above subject. More on this later.

Society for the Arts in Healthcare

Provides grants and free technical assistance to local arts agencies partnered with health organizations to establish or enhance existing arts and healing programs.

Programs may range from artist residencies, exhibits, concerts and bed-side crafts activities in hospitals to artists working with visiting nurses, hospice and nursing homes.

For more information or application forms, contact:
Society for the Arts in Healthcare
2437 15th St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
Phone: (202) 299-9770
email: mail@TheSAH.org
Website: www.societyartshealthcare.org

College Art Association

The College Art Association assists artists financially in completion of MFA and Ph.D. programs. Grants of up to $5,000 are awarded to individual artists.

Deadline is ongoing. For information, contact:

The College Art Association
Fellowship Program
275 7th Ave.
New York, NY 10001
Phone: (212) 691-1051
Website: www.collegeart.org

Improv Everywhere

Mark Jenkins sent me this street performance link for Improv Everywhere. It's called "Suicide Jumper."

See it here.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Silverthorne on Dickson Carroll

Solarize This checks in with a review of Dickson Carroll at Addison Ripley.

Read the review here.

Goss on Fusebox's last show

Two Timing the Cosmos pops in with yet another insightful review of Fusebox's last show.

More please!

Read Heather's review here.

DC bound!

Update: Trip cancelled!

Airborne today and heading to the Left Coast. A rather unplanned trip!

And it bugs me that I'll miss the opening of what sounds like a very interesting exhibition opening this Thursday at Nevin Kelly Gallery.

Nevin Kelly Gallery will open an exhibition of works that gallery owner Nevin J. Kelly acquired in a recent trip to Poland. The show, which began its run on January 5, features works by five Polish artists who have been featured in past exhibitions, plus works by a recent graduate of the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts who is new to the gallery. A mid-run reception will be held on Thursday, February 2, from 6 until 9 o’clock at the gallery’s exhibition space, 1517 U Street, NW in Washington.

Please go, and someone email me a review of the exhibition.

Opportunity for Artists

Deadline February 24, 2006

John A. Wilson Building Accepting Submissions for Art Collection. The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities is currently accepting applications for the Wilson Building Public Art Collection. The Wilson Building is located downtown at 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW.

The historic building serves as the headquarters for the Mayor and City Council for the District of Columbia. The works purchased through this call for entries are specifically designated for permanent installation in the Wilson Building.

Download the application here.

I have some thoughts and opinions on this terrific opportunity, so more on this call later.

It keeps coming

Bad news that is...

Slaithong C. Schmutzhart, who was an associate professor at the Corcoran College of Art and Design for 22 years before retiring in 2002, died of cancer Jan. 19 at her home in Washington.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Ella Tulin

Bad news seldom comes alone.

Internationally renowned DC area sculptor (she lived in Bethesda) Ella Tulin died yesterday in Bethesda.

Our deepest sympathies to her family.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Ken Oda

I just found out that Ken Oda died on January 15, 2006, and this obituary in the WaPo is astonishing to me in its absolute lack of mention of Oda's massive contributions to the DC area arts scene through the publication of the Ken Oda Art Newsletter (KOAN), which for many years was the main documentation of what the Greater Washington area visual arts was all about.
Ken Oda
You can add a personal note about Ken online in his WaPo obit here.

The Ken Oda Art Newsletter and later on the Ken Oda Art Newsletter ArtWOW website were for many years the strongest documentary voice of what was going on in the visual arts around here.

Ken Oda gathered a diverse group of writers, assigned reviews, interviews and article ideas to them, and then sent us around the Greater DC area to cover what was going on in our galleries and museums. He then assembled all of our reviews, cut and pasted a magazine together, had it printed and then hand delivered the magazine to nearly all galleries in the area as well as posted them to his many subscribers.

He was tireless in his zeal to expose to the public the great art scene that was and is the Greater DC area, and was one of the first voices around here to actually do something about the apathy of the mainstream media in covering our visual art scene. As an editor he was fair and sensitive to all points of view. Oda and I disagreed on nearly everything that dealt with contemporary art, and his tastes and mine (in art) were world's apart. Nonetheless, we shared many a glass of wine and many a beer discussing these differences, and his ability to always keep an open mind, and refrain from pushing his own point of view to the exclusion of others was one of his greatest gifts as an editor, art collector extraordinaire and friend.

At one point Ken burned out from the publishing demands and the magazine ended; I am told that a complete set of the KOAN Art Newsletter is now part of the archives of the Library of Congress, as a reference tool for historians and people who want to know what was going on on our area's galleries and museums in the 1990s; to a detail and granularity that none of the newspapers ever covered (and it has gotten significantly worse since then - back in those days both the "Galleries" column and the "Arts Beat" column were weekly columns and both of them focused on the visual arts).

And then Ken became one of the first to take his crusade to expose the DC art scene to the world on the Internet, and somewhere in the late 90s he started ArtWOW, with reviews, interviews and a message board, which for a long time was one of the only online voices to discuss and talk about DC area art.

Ken's illness took us all by surprise, and a few weeks ago most of the writers and friends who knew Ken Oda gathered to pay an homage to Oda. I recall that he looked frail, but was happy and loquacious as ever. In retrospect I now realize that Ken was probably hiding not only a lot of pain, but also making all of us feel better and secure about his presence.

Ken Oda will be missed, but his footprint and his legacy on the Greater Washington area art scene lives in the minds and hearts and resumes and bibliographies of the thousands of artists whose shows were reviewed in KOAN over the years, as well as on the silent thanks of future historians who will have access to the past issues of his newsletter to find out what the visual arts in Washington, DC were all about in the 1990s.

Farewell my friend, and thank you!

Update: In defense of the WaPo's short notice about Ken, the WaPo tells me that "although it falls under 'obituaries' on the site, it's technically what we call a "death notice" in the paper (much shorter, with bare-bones biographical info -- it doesn't even have his age!!). If a true, bylined obituary had been written, I'm sure his contributions to the art scene would have been mentioned."

Create an e-annoyance: go to jail

For the SOB who has recently kidnapped my email address and is now sending mass emails out to everyone (including me): annoying someone via the Internet is now a federal crime.

It's no joke. Last January 5, 2006, President Bush signed into law a new prohibition on posting annoying Web messages or sending annoying e-mail messages without disclosing your true identity.

So starting January 5, 2006, it's apparently actually illegal to flame someone under a false name in a blog's comments or any other place.

"The use of the word 'annoy' is particularly problematic," says Marv Johnson, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. "What's annoying to one person may not be annoying to someone else."

For some bastard to kidnap my email address and then send out mass emailings is annoying not only to me but also to everyone who gets it as if from me. I'm gonna find you buddy, and then I'm gonna take the new law into my own hands and kick your ass.

Read the story here.

Two New Caravaggios Discovered!

I just finished reading Jonathan Harr's superb The Lost Painting.

The book is the story, told by Harr masterfully as an art detective story of sorts, of the discovery of Caravaggio's The Taking of the Christ in a Jesuit residence in Ireland.
Caravaggio's The Taking of the Christ
I strongly recommend it if:
(a) you like a detective story,
(b) want to learn a little about Caravaggio's life and
(c) want to learn a lot about restoring a painting.

Also note how even great masters can make an error when dealing with the figure. Look at the painting and then observe how the arm of Judas, as it hugs Christ and is partially covered by the metal-clad arm of the Roman guard, is way too short as the foreshortening has been completely screwed up by Caravaggio. Maybe that's why he's looking so intently at the scene (Caravaggio is the man holding the light in the extreme right of the painting).

But now (thanks AJ), the BBC tells us that: "Art historians have spoken of their shock and delight after two paintings discovered in a French church were found to be by old master Caravaggio. Pilgrimage of Our Lord to Emmaus and Saint Thomas Putting his Finger on Christ's Wound have hung in the town of Loches for nearly two centuries."

Read the story here.

More secrets

Looks like PostSecret is starting to break out nationally.

There is a piece on it in Newsweek magazine this week and a crew from ABC World New Tonight is today taping a segment that I think will be airing tonight in the next few days.

Yep... that's me

arts media For all those of you who have emailed me asking... yes that's me on TV yapping about DC area art events on "ArtsMedia News" on MHz TV.

Parsons on Erickson and Pavlovic

Adrian Parsons takes a good look at the closing shows for Fusebox and Fraser Georgetown.

Read the reviews here.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Washington Sculptors Group

The Washington Sculptors Group is one of the most active and talent-loaded artists' organizations in our area.

I have been hearing good things and need to take a trip to Pepco’s Edison Gallery to see the Washington Sculptors Group and WPA/C's Sculpture Unbound Show.

But before I forget, I also wanted to mention (so that everyone can get this on their schedules) about Sculpture Now: 2006, an exhibition of the Washington Sculptors Group, juried by by my good friend and ubercurator Sarah Tanguy.

The exhibition opens on Feb. 6 and runs through May 5, 2006, but the opening eception is Thursday February 16, 2006 from 6:00-8:30 pm, with a juror's talk at 7:30 pm, on that same night. The exhibit will be at:

Washington Square
1050 Connecticut Avenue NW
(at "L" Street)
Washington, DC 20036
(Red line to Farragut North)
8:30am to 9:00pm, Monday through Saturday

Tanguy said about this exhibit:
"...the 42 selected works offer insights into the Washington Sculptors Group’s current interests as well as a spectrum of approaches, materials, and themes. From figurative stone studies, mixed media installations, to abstract steel compositions, the exhibition explores science and math, and to a larger extent nature, the self and culture."

Wanna go to an opening tomorrow?

The Arlington Arts Center's "Deja Vu: A New View" opens tomorrow with a reception for all 81 artists from 6-9PM.

The exhibition is a "robust exhibition of artworks created in the last three years by 81 artists who exhibited at the Arlington Arts Center before its expansion and renovation. This large and wide-ranging invitational show brings together works in sculpture, painting, drawing, collage, fine craft, photographs, prints, installation and video, offering a unique overview of the new works of many artists who are now familiar to the public. Some of the artists included are Foon Sham, Rebecca Kamen, Pat Goslee, Patrick Craig, Erik Sandberg, and Marc Robarge."

The exhibition runs through March 18, 2006.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Millennium Arts Salon

One of the really good benefits in living in such a vibrant art scene as the one that surrounds our Greater Washington, DC area is the astounding number of art venues that keep adding great positive things to our cultural tapestry.

One such good venue, and one that is new to me, is the Millennium Arts Salon, which is directed by Juanita and Mel Hardy. Their vision states that:
Millennium Arts Salon supports artistic expression and advances cultural literacy through its art programming, which includes exhibitions, gallery talks, and interviews of visual and performing artists, writers, art critics, and other prominent individuals in the arts.
See their 2006 Calendar of Events here.

Back from NPR

click here for Kojo

Just back from doing about 45 minutes on the Kojo Nmandi Show discussing the Greater Washington area visual arts and artists along with the City Paper's art critic Jeffry Cudlin and the Katzen's Jack Rassmussen.

If you missed the show, you can listen to it on WAMU 88.5 FM by clickling this link for the first part and the end of the show here.

New gallery opening soon on U Street

Project 4 Gallery will be opening soon at 903 U Street NW Washington DC 20001 tel: 202/232-4340 and website here.

The grand opening reception is February 25, 2006 from 6-8:30PM featuring the works of Lori Grinker.


Silverthorne on Interface

Alexandra Silverthorne, over at Solarize This, reviews our current show at Fraser Bethesda; Interface: Art & Technology.

Read the review here.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

He Who Owns the Walls (can censor it?)

A couple of weeks ago I told you that the Mid City Artists were holding their Winter Art Exhibition at the Results Gallery at Results the Gym Capitol Hill.
Angela White's offending painting
And Anne Marchand attended the opening together with artist Angela White and were surprised to discover that (as Marchand reports) they were:
"Surprised when two of Angela's oils on canvas weren't hung by the management because a certain part of the male anatomy was visible. A classical nude by Regina Miele was also NOT hung by the management."
Today in the WaPo's Reliable Source column, Amy Artsinger and Rozanne Roberts pick up on the story first reported by Marchand in her Blog.

The WaPo's Reliable Source reports that:Censored art by Regina Miele
...it's in the club policy: "Because of our family-friendly environment, we don't hang artwork that adults wouldn't feel comfortable discussing with their children," said Sarah French , director of operations.

White's a "great artist," said French, but crossed the "no nudity" line: "You've got to be clothed outside the locker area."
Apparently that also applies to paintings and drawings.

See Adrian Parsons' post on this same subject here.

Monday, January 23, 2006

On the air on Wednesday

click here to hear Kojo

Later this week (on Wednesday, January 25, 2006) I'll be on the Kojo Nmandi Show discussing the Greater Washington area visual arts and artists as I usually do once a quarter or so. Tune in to WAMU 88.5 FM around 12 PM (noon).

If you have any questions or art issues, you can call Kojo during the show at (800) 433-8850 or you can email me questions to kojo@wamu.org.

After the show I will post here all the websites and information that we discuss on the air.


Congrats to Frank Warren's PostSecret blog, which has been nominated in a record five categories for the 2006 Bloggies awards, including Best American Weblog and Weblog of the Year!

See the finalists and cast your votes here.

Kirkland on PostSecret and Campello

Thinking About Art has a review of the amazing PostSecret phenomenom and also of my recent exhibition.

Read both of them here.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

New gallery

There's a new gallery in town. Nowuno Gallery is located at 403 Constitution Avenue, NE in DC and can be reached at (202) 546-9071 and website here.

Nowuno represents the work of Henrik Sundqvist, Amanda Kates, Laurence King, Aaron Brophy, T.H. Gomillion, Eileen T. Wold, Robert Lindsay, Heather Levy, Jay Rees, James Green, Vèrta Reyes, and Rebecca Tiffany.


By the way Heather Levy is currently having a solo show at Gallery Frame Avenue, located at 4919 Cordell Avenue, in Bethesda (through Feb. 3, 2006). Read Alexandra Silverthorne's review of that show here.

Cosmos on Erickson

The fair Heather, from Two Timing the Cosmos, has a really eloquent review of the current Bruce Erickson exhibition at our Fraser Gallery Georgetown farewell show.

Read it here.

By the way, Heather is a pretty good photographer on her own right. See her work here.

Yuan Fu and the Katzen opening

So last night I went to the multi-opening reception at the Katzen Arts Center (I love that building by the way! And about time that we have a place in the DC area where one can actually park for an opening - for free - in less than a minute). And it was packed to the rafters with everyone and anyone in the DC area remotely interested in DC visual arts.

I saw and talked to most DC gallery owners, collectors, bloggers and artists (I skipped the grubs), and while talking to the talented Mary Coble (represented locally by Conner Contemporary and who is soon heading to Costa Rica on vacation and has learned that if you spell S-O-C-K-S, it literally means (in Spanish) "That's what it is."), I discovered that she's a vegetarian and thus I told her about the recent epiphany that I had while visiting Yuan Fu Restaurant in Rockville.

I will have to return to the Katzen and spend more time looking at the great exhibitions currently on display there. More on that later.

But, as promised to Mary, more on Yuan Fu Restaurant now.

I am not, have never been, and will never be a vegetarian. I respect people who are, but I am not one of them/you.

So it was with somewhat of a slight trepidation that I allowed myself to be invited into Yuan Fu a few days ago.

It was amazing Chinese food!

I had a culinary epiphany!

Let me tell you about it: To start, there's a little explanation about the food on the cover of their menus. It almost apologizes because all the dishes are labeled as if they were actually chicken, pork, seafood, beef, etc. and it reassures the public that it is all 100% vegetarian (they use gluten, tofu, vegetables and tofu skin for their dishes) and no MSG is used. They also discuss that they use less oil that the average Chinese restaurant, and there is even a special Non-Fat section of the menu.

And then you open the menu, and see the photos of the dishes; and they all look like the "real thing."

In other words, the kitchen artists at Yuan Fu actually take the vegetarian ingridents and shape and mold and color them to look (and taste) just like the real thing; it's an amazing feat of culinary trompe l'oeil and trompe la bouche at the same time!

I first ordered an assorted plate of appetizers, and my eyes couldn't believe that I was not eating duck, sausages, spring rolls, etc. I also ordered the roasted duck and cilantro rolls (which came with plum sauce... yummy) and they were delicious as well!

Then for my main course, we ordered Moshu Pork and Mahi. The pork dish looked and tasted like pork, and that nicely crisped skin on the Mahi was actually seaweed!

And the staff was great! When I actually ordered in Chinese, I thought the entire kitchen staff was going to come out and chat. The Chinese lady who owns the place came out, and then started talking to me in Spanish, and we began to discuss the significant number of Cuban people of Chinese ancestry, and how Chinese Cuban food has evolved into an interesting branch of culinary rarity.

Anyway: I loved this place and will return many times. Go visit them often.

Yuan Fu is located at 798 Rockville Pike, in Rockville and it is open Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. A lunch special is available from opening to 1:30 p.m. Telephone: (301) 762-5937 or (301) 762-5938.

Saturday, January 21, 2006


To Roanoke, Virginia- based artist Susan Jamison, who has has joined Irvine Contemporary.

Jamison's work came to the attention of Martin Irvine through the Seven exhibition last year. Her striking and provocative egg tempera portraits of women and large panel paintings have received extraordinary acclaim. The selection of her works that Irvine featured at Scope/Miami sold out in a few hours.

Susan's new body of work, including her egg tempera panel paintings and new drawings, will be on view in a solo show at Irvine in May.

Dawson on Interface

The WaPo's Jessica Dawson reviews Interface, currenty on exhibition at our Bethesda gallery.

Friday, January 20, 2006


One of the things that I could always count after nine years in Georgetown is the fact that I would get 2-3 parking tickets a year.

And tonight I got the farewell parking ticket from the highly efficient Ubermetermaid Storm Troopers crack squad of Georgetown parking enforcers. It brought back memories of the day that parking meters went from expiring at 6:30PM to expiring at 10PM (no notice given) and the orgy of tickets that followed; or the two or three times that a massive truck would take a spot and a half of the space on 31st Street, just before the Canal, but I would get the ticket because my van's rear end would then stick out a foot past the "no parking" sign.

But tonight, when I arrived at the gallery, I found the primo Doris Day parking spot (so named because I always noticed how in the old Doris Day movies everyone always seems to find a parking spot in New York City or wherever the movie takes place, right in front of where they are going). And so I park, and feed the meter six quarters before I notice that it is blinking "fail."

So I tape a piece of paper over the meter, explaining what the issue is, and then proceed to unload the van. In between the time that it takes to carry a few bottles of wine from 31st Street to the Canal Square, on a return trip I find a shiny new ticket from Officer Johnson, and the note gone.

A ticket for $25 samolians as a farewell gift from Georgetown to me.

Metcalfe on Hopscotch

The City Paper's John Metcalfe was present at the Interface opening last Friday and he observed the Hopscotch performance by David Page and has written an excellent report here.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Opportunity for Artists

Deadline: February 24, 2006

Wilson Building Public Art Program Call for Artists: The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities is currently accepting applications for the John A. Wilson Building Public Art Program. The works purchased through this call for artists are specifically designated for permanent installation in the Wilson Building.

For more information and an application, please visit the Commission's website to download the Call for Artists and application, or call 202-724-5613.

And then there was one...

The final exhibit at the Fraser Gallery Georgetown opens tomorrow, Friday January 20, 2006 with an opening reception (from 6-9PM) for Bruce Erickson, winner of the 2005 Georgetown International Fine Arts Competition. The exhibition closes on February 15, 2006.

Fraser Gallery GeorgetownCatriona Fraser and I opened the Georgetown Fraser Gallery in 1996, and for the last ten years our gallery has been one of the key independent fine arts galleries in the Washington, DC area. A second, larger gallery, four times the size of the Georgetown gallery, opened in Bethesda, Maryland in 2002.

Since 1996 we have been working hard to deliver the best in contemporary realism, fine art photography and narrative glass sculpture in the region. Additionally, the galleries have become one of the the premier exhibit spaces for contemporary Cuban and European artists.

"The location is only one factor in the success or failure of a gallery. Our gallery is now a destination for collectors because they appreciate our knowledge of contemporary artists working in this region and most importantly: we have a realistic understanding of the art market here. The relationships that we have with both the artists that we represent and our collectors is something that can’t be developed overnight... it takes time, honesty, integrity and a lot of hard work," said Catriona Fraser.

The Fraser Gallery in Georgetown will close at the end of the February 2006 exhibition, which appropriately enough brings the Washington, DC debut of Pennsylvania artist Bruce Erikson, winner of the Eight Annual Georgetown International Fine Arts Competition, juried and selected by Jack Rassmussen, Curator and Director, Katzen Art Center at American University.
Fraser Gallery Bethesda
2005 has been the galleries’ best year ever for sales, as well as a record number of museum acquisitions and the highest number of published reviews about our exhibitions ever both in the U.S. and abroad.

As our region continues to grow and expand with more fine art galleries opening every year, we feel confident that both our artists and collectors will continue to benefit from our commitment to the visual arts in this region as we focus our energies into one space in Bethesda.

Catriona and Lennox


I've been hearing good things and hope to drop by soon to see "Pictures of Nothing: Abstraction," new paintings by Rosetta DeBerardinis on exhibit through Feb. 28 at Ozmosis Gallery, 7908 Woodmont Ave., in Bethesda. Gallery hours: Tues. - Sat. 12:00 - 6:00 PM and by appointment. For more information go to www.ozmosisgallery.com or call 301-664-9662

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Wolov on Interface

Nekkid with a Camera checks in with a review of Interface at our Bethesda gallery.

Read that review here.


Jiha Moon has a wonderful review of her recent show at the Curator's Office by George Howell in the Jan/Feb issue of Art Papers. Unfortunately, it's not online.

If Howell emails me a copy of the review, I'll post it here.

New art blog

Darn Knit is a new DC art blog.

Visit it here.

Tapedude gives DC streets a sugar rush

Mark Jenkins has been at it again.

This time he has transformed the parking meters around the Department of Energy into huge lollipops.

Street lollipops by Mark Jenkins

See them all here.

"Who Do You Love?"

Ian Jehle is moderating a series of art panels at DCAC and it's time for round two this coming Sunday.

On Sunday he's moderating the second panel of the four part panel series "Who Do You Love?" This one will focus on abstraction. The scheduled panelists are: Jonathan Bucci, Isabel Manalo, Jiha Moon, Jack Rasmussen & Robin Rose.

The event starts at 7:30 in the theater at DCAC. Thanks to everyone you made it to panel #1 and to the first group of panelists: Richard Chartier, Kathryn Cornelius, Jeffry Cudlin, Brandon Morse and Jefferson Pinder.

7:30 pm, DCAC, 2438 18th Street NW, Washington DC 20009 - (202) 462-7833

Jan 22 - Part 2: Abstraction, not Abstraction - panelists: Jonathan Bucci, Isabel Manalo, Jiha Moon, Jack Rasmussen, Robin Rose
Feb 5 - Part 3: Using the Figure - panelists: Lisa Bertnick, Nekisha Durrett, Allison Miner, Michael O'Sullivan, Erik Sandberg
Feb 12 - Part 4: Installation, Site-specific - panelists: Mary Coble, Jayme McLellan, Ira Tattelman

Talking points will include:
- "Who's your great grand daddy?" - artistic lineage: personal and public
- "Within these hallowed halls" - public museums as the apex of the art venue pyramid
- "Raphael is my copilot" - technique, refinement and presentation vis-a-vis the Old Masters
- "The boys and girls of spring" - the influence of major collectors (Phillips, Mellon and others)
- "What's not to love" - gaps in the DC artistic paean
- "And now ..." - where does individual practice and our local art scene intersect the contemporary art world?

Scheduled panelists include: Lisa Bertnick, Jonathan Bucci, Richard Chartier, Mary Coble, Kathryn Cornelius, Jeffry Cudlin, Nekisha Durrett, Isabel Manalo, Jayme McLellan, Allison Miner, Jiha Moon, Brandon Morse, Michael O'Sullivan, Jefferson Pinder, Jack Rasmussen, Robin Rose, Erik Sandberg & Ira Tattelman.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Campello Comes Down Tomorrow

My current exhibition at the Fraser Georgetown space comes down tomorrow.

Campello in front of Monroe Drawing
Below is the review of the show published in the last issue of the Georgetowner newspaper by John Blee:
The Obsessions and Duende of Lenny Campello

F. Lennox (Lenny) Campello, one of the lynchpins of the DC art scene, is having a show in Georgetown at the Fraser Gallery (1054 31st St. NW, Tues. - Fri. Noon - 3pm, Sat. Noon -6pm).

Campello renders mythic scenes with mystery. He has complete mastery of his medium and works on a ground that seems to come from deep dreaming.

Campello writes on his dcartnews.blogspot.com, the premiere art blog of DC, "For some reason snowy days seem to inspire me to get down and draw. And I was up and early this morning and finished (a) somewhat silly drawing."

The drawing, "Woman on the Moon About to be Swept Off Her Feet by a Flying Bald Man," has a relation to Goya's darkness, or duende. Unlike Goya, Campello does not offer a social or political message. Like Goya, he creates enigmatic juxtapositions of figures or figure and space (as in "Another Obsessive Jackie Kennedy Portrait"), hinting at something disquieting.

Campello states "Myth is one of the driving forces in my work! I love it when someone discovers a bit of legend, or history or religion through one of my works."

Being a gladiator at heart, Lenny takes on some of the major myths from Marilyn to John the Baptist to Frida Kahlo to Saint Sebastian. He is fearless.

His Frida Kahlo is an homage to the Mexican artist and icon. The work presents a calm Kahlo, but in its off-placement on the page there is something that makes it not quite rest-in-peace. It is Campello's uneasy atmosphere of dream that is as much the subject of the work as the stormy Kahlo herself. Campello has been drawing Kahlo since 1977. He has also done hundreds of portraits of Marilyn and Che.

In his "Saint Sebastian" it is the flight of the arrows that is as much the drama as the piercing of the flesh of the poor saint. The enclosure and evocation of the space in the drawing is again the subject as much as the arrow's fight and their unfortunate trajectory.

Campello's drawings from the female nude, including "An Unmarried Woman" and "Woman Thinking of the Sun" present a different aspect of this artist. Here there is a quiet and devout sensuality: a worshipper at the source. (through January 18, 2006)

New blog

Adrian Parsons has a new arts blog: In the City for Art and a Job.

Visit here.

And already Adrian has gone dumpster-diving and come up with some good art!

Unpleasant memory

DC artist Christopher Goodwin is auctioning off a very unplesant memory/art on Ebay.

Bid on it here.

Here we go again...

Bailey is having fits (funny fits anyway) over Blake's plan for the Smithsonian, while Kirkland and his readers are discussing Gopnik's use of new adjectives to describe the status of artists.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Mid City

The Mid City Artists are holding their Winter Art Exhibition at the Results Gallery at Results the Gym Capitol Hill January 17 – March 12, 2006.

The Mid City Artists are a group comprising some of Washington’s most exciting artists whose talents are helping fuel the art scene in the City’s dynamic Dupont/Logan corridor.

The diverse group of visual artists, sculptors, and photographers participating in the Winter Art Exhibition at Results the Gym Capitol Hill includes Sondra Arkin, Jody Bergstresser, Kristina Bilonick, Tanja Bos, Robert Cole, Gary Fisher, Glenn Fry, Charlie Jones, Betto Ortiz, Anne Marchand, Regina Miele, Mark Parascandola, Byron Peck, Brian Petro, Mary Beth Ramsey, John Talkington, Peter Alexander Romero, Mike Weber, Angela White & Christine Williams.

Please join them for an opening reception held for the artists Thursday evening January 19, 2006, 6:30 – 8:30 PM at the Results Gym, 315 G St. SE, Washington, DC 20003.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Brit painter wins inaugural Sovereign Art Prize

British painter Susan Gunn has beaten 30 shortlisted competitors from 22 countries to win 25,000 euros (a ton of dollars) in the first ever Sovereign Art Prize.

The prize was set up to celebrate the best in contemporary European painting and raise funds for the arts.

"This is a beginning for me... I'm not represented by a gallery yet and that's the next step," said Gunn.

Read the story here and see all thirty finalists here.

Interface opening

The opening for Interface: Art & Technology last night was very packed, and the whole performance of "Hopscotch" by Trawick prize winner David Page at 7PM was very interesting (and well-documented by the many people filming it). More later, but meanwhile here are some photos:

Hopscotch machine
Hopscotch by David Page

Kinetic sculpture by Claire Watkins
Detail of the amazing kinetic sculpture by Claire Watkins

The above is one of four magnetism-driven sculptures by recent VCU Sculpture program graduate and now New York resident Claire Watkins. In the piece, a plastic armature suspends a square magnet, tilted askew, which is then rotated slowly by a hidden motor. The needles approach the magnet from several angles throughout the corner of the gallery where the sculpture has been installed, and float towards it, attracted and suspended by the power of the magnet. And as the magnet rotates, the needles dance a sensual dance driven by the magnetic fields of the ever-moving magnet.

Sculpture by Scott Hutchison and Thomas Edwards
And the talking, moving collaboration by Thomas Edwards and Scott Hutchison

In this piece, Hutchison has created a series of oil paintings of his eyes, looking in various directions. Working with Edwards, he has then created a video of the eyes that is governed by a computer program written by Edwards, that allow the eyes to follow you as one walks in front of the piece (it has a motion detector); as the eyes follow you, a hidden voice whispers to you.

Kathryn Cornelius and Catriona Fraser
Kathryn Cornelius discusses her new video with Catriona Fraser

Kriston Capps and David Page
David Page discusses Hopscotch with Grammar.Police's Kriston Capps

David Page preparing performance
David Page preparing the first of two volunteers for his performance

David Page's volunteer
The volunteer is nearly all suited up. Page made all the outfits used in the performance

David Page's other volunteer
David Page preparing the other volunteer

Page's volunteer suited up
And the second volunteer all suited up and prepared to be "launched off"

Finishing up the 1st volunteer
David Page finishing off the first volunteer

Hanging the volunteer
And then hanging her from the machine

David Page's performance begins
And the performance begins as one volunteer is lifted while the second one is launched off beneath her

David Page's performance
The performance continues

David Page with Chawky Frenn
David Page discussing the performance with painter Chawky Frenn and soon-to-be-gallerist Zoe Myers

Claire Watkins
Claire Watkins by one of her amazing, moving magnetic sculptures

Scott Hutchison and Dean Kessman
Photographer Dean Kessman and painter and videographer Scott Hutchison

Wodzianski and Bilonick
Painter Andrew Wodzianski and DCAC gallerina Kristina Bilonick

Cornelius and Campello
The talented Kathryn Cornelius and me

Friday, January 13, 2006

Missing Close Calls with Big Money Art

Martin Bromirski at Anaba has found a piece of art in a Richmond Thift Shop by an artist apparently included in the 1973 Whitney Biennial.

Makes one wonder about the path for that piece, or what has happened to that particular artist (Lester Van Winkle). Read it here.

Finding (and sometimes missing) great artwork at unexpected places is one of the great thrills of an art lover's life... I think.

It has crossed my path a few times in the past.

First time: And I'll admit that I am not sure if this is a great piece of art, but it sure is an interesting and challenging one! Here's the story: When I was a student at the University of Washington School of Art from 1977 to 1981, as most of you know, I was already a rare but active Kahlophile, seeking and loving everything dealing with Frida Kahlo.

I can't recall where, I think it was in Bellevue, Washington, or perhaps in Richland (or one of the other Tri-Cities) in the desert area of Washington state, in a thrift shop, I found a large oil of Frida Kahlo (not by Frida Kahlo, but of Frida Kahlo) done in 1956.

The oil was framed, and inscribed on the back of the frame, was the notation (in Spanish) declaring that it was a portrait of Frida Kahlo de Rivera, commenced in 1949 and finished in 1956 (a few years after her death). I've spent countless hours trying to track down the artist who did the piece to no avail. But when I do find out who did this really early oil portrait of Kahlo, I hope that it will be big.

Oh yeah... (in case someone out there can help), it is signed by someone named "S. Goldbar" or "S.Golbor."

Second Time: Now it's 1986 or 1987... and I am at Post Graduate school in Monterey, California. And my then sister-in-law Donna came to visit, and we dropped by a small auction house in Monterey.

Donna liked a framed piece that was identified in the auction catalog as a poster by R.C. Gorman.

I looked at it and told Donna: "This looks like an original to me."

We discussed it for a while, and after me admitting that I wasn't a fan of Gorman (and she was), I agreed to bid for her (as the auction was to take place after she would have left Monterey).

To make a long story short, I won the lot for her for around $10; and it was - once I took it home and unframed it - an original piece just as I had suspected.

I took a Polaroid of the piece, and shipped it (along with the art) to Donna, telling her that she now owned an original R.C. Gorman, and she should contact the artist and send him the Polaroid and ask about the piece.

So I shipped it to her, and she apparently contacted Gorman, who wrote back (happy to find out where his original pastel was), confirming the piece's provenance.

That pastel must be worth a few tens of thousands Benjamins now...

Third Time: I think that it was in 1989, and I was living in Scotland and went for a weekend stay in Edinburgh and while there I visited the Royal Scottish Academy’s annual exhibition, which was opening on the same day that I arrived at that beautiful city.

They had two paintings by an unknown Scottish ex-miner named Jack Vettriano, and they reminded me of a very tough Hopper. I actually tried to buy them but at the last minute I chickened out.

They were around 300 pounds each (maybe $500 each at the time), and (as I had just received a huge heating oil bill), I talked myself out of buying it. They both sold on the first day of the exhibition.

Those two Vettriano paintings are probably each worth around a couple of million dollars today.

Fourth time: And Donna comes to visit me in Scotland, where I lived until 1992.

I am living at the Little Keithock Farmhouse, near Brechin, and I was hooked on going to the bi-monthly auctions in Panmure Row, Montrose by Taylor's Auction Rooms.

And we went to Taylor's Auction Rooms while she was visiting, and she liked one of the lots.

As I recall, it was a dirty mezzotint, correctly identified as a 19th century mezzotint by Landseer, with the subject of horses. It was framed in a handmade frame with broken glass, which had punctured and cut the mezzotint.

"Ah..." says Donna, "bid five pounds for me."

Donna leaves... auction comes up.

And I win it for her. Only one bid for five pounds.

And I bring it home.

And I take it out of the frame.

And (hidden by the moulding) I see a pencil note (and the seal) by Landseer's printmaker asking how Landseer likes this proof of the mezzotint, and I see Landseer's response, essentially approving the proof.

And (later after I ship it to her), Donna finds out that the Landseer proof of the mezzotint is worth a few thousand pounds (after it was restored).

Fifth time: And later on I became a good friend of Ian Taylor, who was the owner of the auction house.

And they even auctioned off several of my originals works of Scottish landscapes that I painted while I lived near Brechin in Angus.

And because of him (well, because of his auctions) I subsequently met Catriona at the auction house. And at the moment and and in the process of meeting her, I missed my bidding opportunity to win a sweet deal in winning an auction of an original watercolor by Jack Butler Yeats that sold for fifteen pounds!

Anxiously waiting for the sixth time.

Another story: Chris Goodwin relates that
My story isn't quite so dramatic, but was fun nevertheless.

In late 2004, I was at Weschler's auction house and saw a large portfolio of posters, most of which were worthless and in poor shape. On top, though, and there for everyone to see, was an austere black and white geometrical image of Tony Smith's gargantuan sculpture "Gracehoper."

The poster was from the Detroit Institute of Art and commemorated its installation. Anyhow, I noticed in one corner what appeared to be a small signature by Tony Smith in white conte crayon.

I got the lot of posters for $35. I contacted a couple of his dealers and they verified that it was his signature and one of the dealers bought it for $450. Not too bad....
Email me your stories if you have some good one!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Interface: Art & Technology

Yesterday I dropped by our Bethesda gallery to pick up some artwork that had to be handed to our delivery department (in other words me), and while there I ran into three of the artists installing work for our show opening tomorrow.

As I discussed earlier, this exhibition has been in preparation for over a year, and will showcase some truly amazing exercises of what happens when a talented artist meets technology.

I met the fair Claire Watkins, whose novel work first amazed me when I discovered it at the re-opening of the Arlington Arts Center. For Interface, Watkins has created two sets of works. In the first, she continues to explore the line of work that I first saw at Arlington - that is, wall sculptures that use hidden motors and magnets to deliver a visceral and organic pieces where metal shavings and pins move and dance on top of the surfaces of the works, in a constant and shifting and moving (almost organic) sculpture.

In a second piece, Watkins really pushes herself. She has installed a hanging wall bracket, from which a powerful (if small) earth magnet hangs. At an angle from the wall, and anchored to the wall, a series of threated needles float away from the wall, suspended in mid-air by the power of magnetism. It is minimalism at its purest and most elegant form!

And Trawick Prizewinner David Page continued to build the massive machinery that has everyone on the square abuzz.

Looking like some sort of medieval instrument of torture, the installation and performance will be take place tomorrow during the opening from 6-9PM. After that, DVDs of the performance will be available.

The exhibition includes new work by barely emerging artist Kathryn Cornelius (I'm itching to see her new video on the subject of technology), Claire Watkins, Scott Hutchison, Thomas Edwards, David Page, Philip Kohn and Andrew Wodzianski.

Don't miss this opening tomorrow at Fraser Bethesda from 6-9PM. See ya there!

Artist Housing Survey

The Cultural Development Corporation (CuDC) partners with developers to create affordable space for area artists and their families.

Currently, CuDC is hard at work cultivating new artist live/work housing projects in the District of Columbia and they need your input.

As CuDC begins to consider design specifications, amenities, and renting/owning expectations, an increased understanding of artists' specific needs is critical to the success of these projects.

Please visit this survey page to take this important survey.

Also, please join CuDC staff and other area artists to learn more about CuDC's current projects at one of the following Live/Work Housing Information Sessions:
* Tuesday, February 7, 2006, 6:30-8:30pm
* Sunday, February 26, 2006, 1:00-3:00pm

Both sessions will be held at the Mead Theatre Lab at Flashpoint: 916 G
Street, NW, convenient to both the Gallery Place and Metro Center Metro
stations. For more information call 202-315-1324.

Gallery Round-up

Thinking About Art has a good round-up of current exhibtions along the 14th Street area.

Read them here.

And JT has added a round-up of Dupont Circle galleries. Read that one here.

Coming to the Katzen

The American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center is already asserting its presence in our region under the guidance of its savvy Director and Curator Jack Rasmussen. The Katzen is and will continue to grow as one of the most important art venues in the Mid Atlantic.

And next week they open their 2006 year with three equally interesting exhibitions; from their news release:
Remembering Marc and Komei
This exhibition introduces the outstanding art collection of H. Marc Moyens who, with Komei Wachi, owned and operated Gallery K in Washington, DC for nearly three decades until their deaths, months apart, in 2003. Mixing local and national artists with Europeans often known better abroad than in the United States, Moyens and Wachi eschewed fashion in favor of the offbeat, the magical and the visually arresting. This selection, the first of its kind since Walter Hopps curated a show of Moyens's holdings for the Corcoran Gallery of Art in 1969-70, encompasses surrealistic/fantastic images by Ernst Fuchs, Jess, and Sandy Skoglund; expressive, metaphorical and raunchy figures by Lisa Brotman, Roy de Forest, Jean Dubuffet, Fred Folsom, Jody Mussoff and Joe Shannon, and diverse abstractions by Edward Dugmore, Tom Green, Pierre Soulages, and Ken Young.

From the Studio
This exhibition will showcase work by the 21 artists who make up the studio faculty in the Department of Art for the 2005-2006 academic year. The work addresses a wide range of contemporary issues through painting, drawing, sculpture, and multi-media installation. Exhibiting artists include: Tom Bunnell, Zoe Charlton, Mary Cloonan, Billy Colbert, Tim Doud, Ben Ferry, Sharon Fishel, Carol Goldberg, Lee Haner, Kristin Holder, Tendai Johnson, Deborah Kahn, Don Kimes, Isabel Manalo, Mark Oxman, Randall Packer, Luis Silva, Jeff Spaulding, Robert Tillman, Seth Van Kirk, and Susan Yanero.

Comic Reality: Political Cartoons by Ibero-American Artists
This exhibition presents more than 100 new or never-before-published political cartoons from 20 Latin American countries, Spain and Portugal, by Ibero-America's best-known practitioners of the genre. Chico Caruso of Brazil, Oscar Sierra of Costa Rica, Elizandro de Los Angeles of Guatemala, Jimmy Scott of Chile, Pancho Cajaz of Ecuador and others, present humorously incisive images leading the charge against hypocrisy, the misuse of power, scandal, incompetence and buffoonery.
All three exhibitions will open to the public on Wednesday, Jan. 18 and continue through Sunday, March 12, 2006.

Beck's art nominations announced

The nominations for this year's Beck's Futures contemporary arts prize have been announced.

The thirteen artists up for the £20,000 award include sculptors, film-makers and illustrators. I cannot think of a single American art prize where illustrators would be included as "fine artists," as in our nation, we tend to segregate illustrators away from the fine arts.

I think that is silly.

Of the 13 artists, only two come from the Americas: Mexican installation artist Stefan Brueggemann and Brazilian photographer and filmaker Flavia Mueller.

Read the story here.

Only in America

Art by jailed politician; methinks the club may expand soon. See it here.

Thanks James!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Year in Review

In January:

- We were informed that painting was hot again (yawn).

- In DC, Kelly Towles was (and still is) hot at Adamson in his first solo show.

- In Germany, some street cleaners were punished with having to take modern art lessons when they erroneously threw away some public art that they thought was abandoned garbage.

- I almost became an eunuch.

- Anne Ellegood was selected as one of the new Hirshhorn curators (I still haven't met Anne).

- I started raving about PostSecret.

- The Arlington Arts Center re-opened after a long refurbishment hiatus.

- We were told that painting is no longer hot.

In February:

- I revealed how I once fooled a curator by guessing her choices.

- Hot DC painter Ian Whitmore had a great solo at Fusebox.

- Isamu Noguchi opened at the Hirshhorn. Gopnik hated it; I liked it.

In March:

- I raised old issues about missing DoD art.

- A new gallery opened in DC: Shigeko Bork MU Project.

- I urged artists to contact their elected representatives to support the artists' bill making it possible once again for artists to receive a fair market value deduction for donated works.

- Local blogger Kriston Capps raised issues about me contributing gallery announcements to DCist, so I quit.

- The then new WaPo Style editor Deb Heard promised to re-assess gallery coverage. We're still waiting.

- I reviewed some Seattle galleries.

- The exhibition "Faces of the Fallen" caused a lot of angst and opinions.

- The 48th Corcoran Biennial opened.

In April:

- The National Portrait Gallery announced their portrait award competition.

- I curated a worldwide homage to Frida Kahlo.

- Lida Moser became our best selling photography show ever.

- I threatened to kick another blogger's ass.

- The Katzen Arts Center was about to open.

In May:

- Melissa Ichuiji caused a local stir with "Stripped."

- Blake Gopnik had an idea for the Corcoran and the Corcoran responded. And then Bailey interpreted it for th rest of us.

- I was asked to curate Seven for the WPA/C.

- DCist almost outed Borf.

- The Corcoran director called it quits.

- Olga Viso was chosen as the new director of the Hirshhorn.

In June:

- A local artist told us about the Worst New York Gallery Experience in History.

- Joe Kabriel won the inaugural $10,000 Bethesda Painting Prize.

- Kodak announced that all black and white silver gelatin photographic papers have been discontinued.

- Seven opened.

In July:

- The WaPo explained why Blake Gopnik does not review our area art galleries.

- I kicked a Neo wannabe out of the gallery.

- Borf was arrested.

- I reported from the International Comic Book Convention.

In August:

- I discussed the impact of subject matter.

- Michael Brand was chosen as the new head of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

- I explained what a "gallery backer" is.

- We began art auctions to help Katrina victims.

In September:

- Hot DC artist Jiha Moon opened at Curator's Office and also took the $10,000 Trawick Prize.

- Warhol Legacy: Selections from The Andy Warhol Museum opened at the Corcoran.

- A list of things that make me go mmm...

- Testudo is coming.

- Options 2005 opened. I reviewed the show here.

- Mark Jenkins got in hot water over plastic excrement.

- Andrew Wodzianski had the first DC podcast of a visual art show.

- I made a proposal to the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Nothing heard so far.

- Hot DC sculptor Yuriko Yamaguchi opened at Numark.

In October:

- The city announced $4 million in additional arts funding.

- Alice Neel opened at the NMWA.

- PostSecret was the second highest ranked blog in the world.

- Hot DC artist Tim Tate opened his third solo at our Bethesda space.

- Blake Gopnik announces a new category of artists: "barely emerging."

- The Galleries column moved to Saturdays.

- Terry Teachout wrote about art blogs and art criticism.

- A new gallery opened.

- The Art Bill passed the Senate.

- The Smithsonian debuted a new arts blog.

- I discussed the Vlogging Revolution.

- The Whitney Biennial list was announced and a reader broke it down. No DC area artists were included.

In December:

- Paul Greenhalgh was selected as the new Corcoran director.

- I wrote how video killed the art star.

- The Hirshhorn finally added some DC area artists to its collection.

- PostSecret WPA/C show opened in Georgetown. It became (easily) the most heavily attended non-museum visual art show of the year.

- Borf pleaded guilty.

- JET Artworks closed.

- What Your End-of-the-Year Top 10 List(s) Says About You

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Spanish Subject

From 2004:

In Spanish, Mona Lisa means (roughly translated) "Smooth Female Monkey."

And now it seems that Leonardo's subject for his most famous masterpiece may have been a Spanish noblewoman.

Read it here.

Bad Things Artists do to Galleries

This actually happened to one of our neighbors in Georgetown:

One of the galleries there (at one time there were eight galleries in Canal Square - soon they will be down to four) had given a show to a local (at the time "hot" artist) who was a painter (I say "was" because I haven't heard of the dude in years).

The artist was supposed to deliver and help hang all the paintings on a Wednesday, in order to be ready for the Georgetown third Friday openings. He did show up on Wednesday with about 50% of the work, and brought some more (freshly finished) on Thursday and to the gallerist's horror, even brought some more on Friday, and even as the show was opening at 6PM, was adding the last painting touches to several of the works.

Needless to say, several of the oils were actually wet.

On opening night, it was crowded (let us not forget that this was a very "hot" painter) and someone apparently rubbed against one of the paintings and smeared some of the oil paint.

Now the gallerist is faced with a very irate person, demanding that his suit be cleaned (it eventually had to be replaced) and with a furious artist, demanding that the gallery pay him in full for the damaged painting.

If I am to believe the gallerist, the case actually went to court, where the judge threw it out.

More bad things that (a) galleries do to artists or (b) artists do to galleries or (c) galleries do to collectors here, and here and here.

Bloggies 2006

Nominations for the 6th Annual Web Blog Awards (the 2006 Bloggies) have started. Anyone can nominate blogs in a variety of categories.

I have nominated PostSecret as the Blog of the Year.

Nominate your favorite Blog here.

Artists Interview Artists

Thinking About Art has my interview up. Read it here.

Art Jobs at Local Universities

Graphic Design Position: American University

Assistant Professor rank. New tenure track faculty line. Beginning Fall 2006. Qualifications: MFA or equivalent terminal degree in the discipline. Teaching and professional experience preferred, but not required. The applicant should be knowledgeable of current issues in design, the demands of the professional field and the tools, technologies and resources inherent to the discipline. Expected familiarity with the theoretical issues of graphic design as well as its historical background. Ability to contribute to the teaching of interactive and experience design courses.

Responsibilities: Teaching graphic design at the undergraduate level, basic through advanced levels. Student advising, including mentoring women and minority students. Scholarship/Creative work: active professional in the field. University service: serving on Department, College and University Committees. Salary is competitive and dependent on qualifications and experience. Review of applications will begin on November 1, 2005 and will continue until the position is filled. Selected candidate will begin appointment working at facilities located in a brand-new building.

Visit www.design.american.edu and www.american.edu for further information on the University and the design program. Include letter of application stating teaching philosophy, curriculum vitae, a minimum of 20 slides or disk media with samples of own work and (if available) examples of student's work, and printed writing samples if any. No email applications will be reviewed. Send materials along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope for their return, and three letters of recommendation to:

Chemi Montes-Armenteros
Committee Chair
Graphic Design Search Committee
Department of Art
American University
4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20016-8004

Assistant Professor of New Media: George Washington University

The department is seeking applicants from a wide range of practices, such as digital arts, installation, and time-based media. Applicants must have an MFA or extensive professional experience and recognition; two years teaching experience beyond graduate school is preferred, and creative work should demonstrate a thorough understanding of the history and theory of New Media, as well as the ways in which contemporary artists incorporate emerging technologies into their practice. The successful candidate will be expected to take the leading role in developing a New Media curriculum that encourages the fusion of traditional and contemporary media. Responsibilities include actively producing and exhibiting work, teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels, developing curriculum, keeping current with technology, supervising a digital lab, serving on departmental, college and university committees.

Applicants must submit a letter of application, curriculum vitae, artist's statement addressing current creative work, sample syllabi of courses taught or proposed (please specify), 20 slides (or equivalent in digital format) each of current personal work and that of students, 3 letters of reference and SASE to:

New Media Search Committee
Department of Fine Arts and Art History
The George Washington University
801 22nd Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20052

Review of applications will begin on January 23, 2006, and continue until the position is filled. Salary: Open. Type: Tenure-track.

Library Fellows Grant

Deadline: January 31, 2006.

The National Museum of Women in the Arts invites applicants for its annual Library Fellows Grant. The Library Fellows program provides up to $12,000 annually for the production of an artist book in an edition of 125. An additional $1,000 is provided for the artist to create 500 copies of a promotional brochure for the book, as well as $1,000 for the artist to travel to the Library Fellows' annual meeting to present her book upon completion.

Grant guidelines and application are available on the NMWA website. Information about the program is available at: this website. For more information, please contact the NMWA Library and Research Center at 202.783.7365.

Male Figure Drawing Group

Frederick Nunley hosts a drawing group focused on only male figure models at Warehouse Gallery every Monday night from 7:00 to 10:00 PM at 1019 Seventh St. NW on the second floor. Fee $10 and drop ins are always welcome.

Frederick Nunley
Male Figure Drawing Group
Woodcut55@aol.com (subject:Figure Drawing)
Tel: (202) 635-1309

Monday, January 09, 2006

Gender Bias

Edna V. Harris, who pens Anonymous Female Artist (a.k.a. Militant Art Bitch) is having a fascinating online conversation with Biennial co-curator Chrissie Iles on the subject of gender bias at the Whitney.

Read it all here. Keep at 'em Edna!

Heather on PostSecret

Heather over at Two Timing the Cosmos has an excellent review of the PostSecret exhibition and also some good photos. See it all here.

And Heather's friend Chai, has some equally intelligent comments on the whole PostSecret phenomenom here.

Huge lines

As I drove around M Street on Saturday afternoon, I couldn't believe my eyes at the huge line outside the PostSecret exhibition waiting to see the show! If this show doesn't or didn't make your own Top Ten list, then I really think that you ought to consider the fact that the last time that anyone lined up to see a visual arts show in DC was for a dude named Vermeer, and previous to that for Van Gogh; now add Frank Warren to the list.

I wonder if Warren is considering traveling this show to other venues?

Amy Lin saw the lines as well and took some photos; see one below:
line waiting to see Frank Warren's PostSecret exhibition

The book, PostSecret Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives compiled by Frank Warren, with a foreword by Anne C. Fisher, Ph.D. is today number 27 in Amazon's best-seller list!


Rejected from the 2006 Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival, which really sucks, since it's one of my biggest (personal) moneymaking oulets for my own work.

It's staged by the Greater Reston Arts Center in Virginia. Later this year I will be curating "Text: Phase II" for them, bringing together again the artists who were in the Text gallery at Seven.

Sunday, January 08, 2006


One of the most unique and eye-popping shows that we've hosted since we opened in 1996 will debut to the public next Friday in Bethesda.

Curated by Catriona Fraser, and in preparation for over a year, the exhibition is titled "Interface," and it seeks to explore the marriage and coming together of technology with contemporary art in the context of the latter.

Through the use of robotics, magnetism, motorized works, video, lasers and computers, both area artists and invited artists from New York and Los Angeles explore the unavoidable marriage of modern technology with contemporary art.

"We seek to explore and to show," says Fraser, "what happens when talented and creative individuals, with a proven record of using technology as an integral part of their art, are given free reign to deliver a new work of art within that dialogue."

The exhibition includes new work by Kathryn Cornelius, Claire Watkins, Scott Hutchison, Thomas Edwards, Philip Kohn, Andrew Wodzianski, David Page and others. A catered opening reception for the artists (free and open to the public) will be held on Friday, January 13 from 6pm - 9pm. The exhibition runs through February 8, 2006.

And one of the artists in the show is looking for volunteers to assist with the art event itself.
Art by David Page

David Page (who was the 2004 Trawick Prize winner - one of his projects is pictured) needs two volunteers 5'8" or smaller, weighing 160lbs or less (and over 18 years of age). They should not be claustrophobic, asthmatic and should be in general good health. Contact David at david@davidpageartist.com.

And see ya there!

Be ready for something really new -- and be steady!

Every Picture Tells A Story

I dropped by real quickly yesterday to chat with Clark at MOCA and while there I walked through MOCA's current show: Every Picture Tells A Story.

Like any group show, it's a mixed bag. In this case the show's best work is a huge (around eight feet tall) oil by Erik Sandberg, a Caravaggioesque oil of MOCA co-director David Quammen, depicting Quammen sitting down and cutting (I think) his toenails (or maybe his toes) with a menacing cleaver.

Sandberg is an amazing painter, and this is one of the largest paintings by Erik that I have seen in years.

I also liked the skilled drawings of Jennifer Schoechle; other work that I liked were the photographs by Joel Fassler, Chris Harrop and Renee Woodward - all very sensual and erotic.

The show runs through January 27, 2006.


Each year Touchstone Gallery showcases the works of new members of the Touchstone Gallery in a special exhibit. The new member show, "Latest Additions," presents the art of five new members: Jim Church, Harvey Kupferberg, Emery Lewis, Jan Sherfy and Charles St. Charles. Opening Reception: Friday, January 13, 2006, 6 - 8:30PM. Show runs though February 5, 2006.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Fusebox guessing

Nearly recovered from the shock of learning that Fusebox Gallery is closing after the show that opens tonight.

If I may enter into some guessing as to what will happen to their terrific space: I believe that another gallery will step into it almost immediately.

Why? Because I recall that Sarah and Patrick had a incredibly long lease (like a 15 year lease) for the space; it apparently worked to give them a sweet deal rent-wise, but a lease is a lease.

So my guess is that they may have worked out a deal with their landlord (I hope) for another art venue to take over the space.

Since many of you have emailed me asking: It's not us.

As reported in the Examiner, and as many of you know, we're closing our Georgetown space soon (news relase will be out in the next few days) as a result of a desire to concentrate on the Bethesda space and because of the construction mess that M Street will soon become. More on all that later.

It's not the new Heineman-Myers Gallery either; Zoe shopped exhaustively for a large space on the 14th Street corridor, but the space that she really wanted was given to a restaurant, so she will soon be opening a huge new gallery in Bethesda.

Kirkland guesses over at Thinking About Art that it may be Conner or Irvine, and I agree with his guess.

Fusebox will be missed.

It was not only a leader and one of the top galleries in our region, but also a very hardworking gallery (and ruthless if you believe this), who did a lot not only for their artists, but also for our region's cultural tapestry.

We all wish Sarah and Patrick the best of luck in San Francisco.

Watson's Top Ten

Amy Watson pens ARTery and her top 10 list of all sorts is here and also reproduced (a bit edited) below:
Favorite piece of my [her] own writing: review of Sacred Wild at apexart.

Favorite museum show: Basquiat at the Brooklyn Museum.

Favorite art writing (published): The American Sublime by Arthur Danto.

Favorite art writing (online): Tyler Green on Shirin Neshat.

Favorite art satire (online): George W. Bush as Performance Artist.

Favorite art satire (television): The Gates on the The Daily Show.

Favorite non-museum art: Chapel of Sacred Mirrors, by Alex Grey.

Favorite Top-Ten list: James Bailey, on DC Art News.

Favorite Blog: Eyeteeth

Last weekend

I'm at the Georgetown gallery from 12-6PM today, as it's the last weekend for my annual exhibition (it closes next Wednesday).

See ya there!

Something new for the Mansion

Three photographers who capture images of themselves as a key element in their work will be on display at Rockville’s Glenview Mansion, January 8 - 31, 2006. Gathered under the banner "The Lens as Mirror," the exhibit brings together the work of Gary A. Wolfe, Sara Pomerance, and John Borstel. Mixed-media artist Theresa Knight McFadden will complete the exhibition lineup, providing a sculptural counterpoint to the photography.

This exhibition is something "new" for the Mansion; in fact a giant forward step into a more provocative look at the visual arts. From the news release:

Gary A. Wolfe takes pictures of himself in motel rooms, documenting the details of environments that will seem familiar to anyone who travels in the USA: TV consoles, wall-mounted lamps, wood-grain Formica and stain-resistant upholstery. He also documents himself as a kind of everyman-in-underwear, stripped of any symbols of status or profession. Isolated and vulnerable, he nonetheless creates a human imprint on sterile surroundings. "Have I been here before?" these black-and-white images ask. "Have you?"

Sara Pomerance, blends "narrative mystery and whimsy in a beguiling recipe that yield[s] a sense of the unexpected complexity of human life... Her human subjects are caught in positions of poise, as if stilled by her attention" -- Andy Grundberg, Photography Chair at the Corcoran College of Art + Design. Among those human subjects is Pomerance herself, who sometimes appears in her images, but isn’t always recognizable, who sometimes asserts herself with a decisive gesture, at other times recedes as a fragment or shadow.

John Borstel employs self-imagery as a form of overtly theatrical performance. Striking stylized or declarative poses, Borstel uses props, costumes, and sundry adornments. At times these implements produce masquerade-like transformations of age, gender, and character. At other times they make more subtle points, as the images are anchored to short texts drawn from such sources as Sir James Fraser’s The Golden Bough and an old manual on traditional Japanese puppetry.

This trio represents a range of two generations, two genders and three points of view, offering a stimulating capsule of contemporary self-imaging.

Glenview Mansion is located in Rockville Civic Center Park at 603 Edmonston Drive in Rockville, MD. Gallery hours are Monday, Wednesday and Friday 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday, 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. An artists’ reception takes place 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, January 8. The Gallery offers an artist talk at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 12 and a guided tour at 10 a.m. on Friday, January 13. For information call 240-314-8682 or 240-314-8660 or visit www.rockvillemd.gov. For recorded directions call 240-314-8660.

Drawing from the model

I get a lot of emails from artists asking about where they can go to draw from the model in the Greater DC region.

The Arlington Arts Center now offers life drawing sessions with access to a professional model. Just drop-in to their life drawing sessions on Wednesday nights or Saturday afternoons. They provide the model, you bring your materials. Cost is $15 a session, or buy a discount pass for six sessions for $60.

To register or to get more information on their classes check out their website at www.arlingtonartscenter.org.

Friday, January 06, 2006

And then there was one...

Photo of Catriona Fraser by Jessie Webb for The Examiner
2005 has been our most successful year ever; more on this later.

Whitmore at Fusebox

Tomorrow Fusebox opens the new year with two new exhibitions: Vesna Pavlović: Collection/Kolekcija in their main exhibition space, and Ian Whitmore: Little Lies in their project space.

With three shows in the last three years, Whitmore continues to stay in the limelight as one of DC's best-known and most creative and aggressive painters. He's an amazing talent and I am truly looking forward to seeing what he's been working on.

The exhibitions open January 7 and run through February 11, 2006. A reception for the artists will be held Saturday, January 7, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.

Update: This will be the gallery's last show; from Sarah Finlay this news release:
After a remarkable and rewarding five years, co-owners Sarah Finlay and Patrick Murcia regretfully announce the closing of Fusebox effective February 11, 2006.

As many of you know, Patrick Murcia, my husband and co-director of Fusebox, has for the past five years diligently balanced his demanding full-time position in the nonprofit housing world with his substantial responsibilities here at Fusebox. He now has an opportunity with his organization in San Francisco, and we, as a family, have made the difficult decision to close the gallery and relocate.

We can never fully express our gratitude to this community for its overwhelming support. We believe more than ever in the viability of Washington as home to a vibrant, internationally relevant contemporary art scene. We hope above all that our success has helped to affirm that potential. We are indebted to the other galleries and nonprofits on 14th for their collegiality, professionalism, and commitment to excellence; and for taking the risk to come here and create a critical mass of exceptional art spaces on the 14th Street corridor.

Of course, no commercial gallery can survive without avid collectors, and we have been so fortunate to work with an amazing community of intelligent, passionate people. These individuals deserve so much credit for substantially raising the bar in Washington--for zealously participating, for educating themselves, and for enthusiastically supporting excellent artists both within and outside this community.

Most important, we want to publicly express our deepest gratitude to the 18 artists who have been such an integral part of our lives for the past 5 years. Beyond providing us with a first class program, they have generously shared their time, their ideas, and their friendship. They have made it incredibly easy for us to realize our mission of furthering their careers. Every one of them has made huge strides professionally during our tenure representing them. We have every confidence that all of these extraordinary artists will continue to do great things.

Special thanks also go to our Assistant Director, Kevin Hull, for his uncompromising commitment, and to the many talented and ambitious young interns who have enriched our lives and helped in every aspect of the gallery’s operation--without them we could not have succeeded.

In closing, we want to reiterate that this art community has so much to offer and so much potential for continued growth and significance. We hope that any void we might be leaving will be quickly filled by another promising new gallery, and that this rich community of critics, curators, academics, gallerists, artists, students, and collectors will give them the same generous support and encouragement they gave us. Thank you one and all.

Silverthorne's Top Ten

Alexandra Silverthorne is another one of those DC area art fans who really gets around to the galleries. In fact, I would dare to guess that Silverthorne is among the top five gallery visitors in our area. And that's good, because she gets to see and comment on a hugely diverse set of exhibitions, not just the top ten galleries or so. And thus more power to her for adding some shows that she wished she had seen to her list. Alexandra's top 10 visual arts show of 2005 is posted here and reproduced below:
So instead, here are my lists (in no particular order).

Top 5 Favorite Area Exhibits
Andre Kertesz @ NGA
Carolina Sardi @ Flashpoint
Cynthia Connolly @ Transformer
Sam Gilliam @ The Corcoran
Sean Scully @ The Philips

Top 5 Area Exhibits I Wish I Had Seen
Jose Ruiz @ G Fine Art
Kelly Towles @ Adamson
Jiha Moon @ Curator's Office
Tim Tate @ Fraser Bethesda
Dan Steinhilber @ Numark

Honorable Mentions I Did See
Seven @ WPA/C / The Warehouse
Post Secret @ WPA/C
Gabriela Bulisova @ Fraser Georgetown
Read Bailey's interview of Silverthorne here.

Thursday, January 05, 2006


To DC area artists Dan Steinhilber and Yuriko Yamaguchi, who have been selected as recipients of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant Program Awards for 2005.

Both artists are represented by Numark Gallery.

Fred Ognibene's Top Ten

Fred Ognibene is one of our area's best-known art collectors and below is his list for the top ten 2005 visual art exhibitions:
1. Gina Brocker, Photographs from the Series ‘The Donovans and Other Settled Travelers’ at Irvine Contemporary
2. Ian Whitmore, Mirror, Mirror at Fusebox
3. Dan Steinhilber at Numark
4. Linn Meyers, Current at G Fine Art
5. Jiha Moon, Symbioland at Curator's Office
6. Barbara Probst at G Fine Art
7. Scott Treleaven at Conner Contemporary
8. Patrick Wilson at Fusebox and at Suzanne Vielmeter Gallery in Culver City (Los Angeles)
9. Visual Music at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
10. Robert Mapplethorpe and the Classical Tradition, Photographs and Mannerist Prints at the Guggenheim Museum, NYC

Bethesda Painting Awards

Deadline: Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District is currently accepting applications for the second annual Bethesda Painting Awards, a juried competition honoring four selected painters with $14,000 in prize monies. Deadline for slide submission is Tuesday, January 31, 2006. Up to eight finalists will be invited to display their work from June 7 – July 12, 2006 in downtown Bethesda at our Fraser Gallery.

The competition will be juried by Janis Goodman, Associate Professor of Fine Arts at the Corcoran College of Art & Design and the visual arts reviewer for WETA's Around Town; Ron Johnson, Assistant Professor of Painting at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and Barry Nemett, Chair of the Painting Department at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA).

The first place winner will be awarded $10,000; second place will be honored with $2,000 and third place will be awarded $1,000. A “young” artist whose birth date is after January 31, 1976 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 or 84 inches in height. No reproductions. Artwork must have been completed within the last two years and must be available for the duration of the exhibition.

Each artist must submit five slides, application and a non-refundable entry fee of $25.

The Bethesda Painting Awards was established by local business owner Carol Trawick in 2005, who continues to be a beacon of light and a great example as a small business woman who puts her money where her mouth is. Ms. Trawick has served as a community activist for more than 20 years in downtown Bethesda. She is Chair of the Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District, Past Chair of the Bethesda Urban Partnership, Inc. and founder of The Trawick Prize, which has already launched several area artists' careers. Ms. Trawick is the owner of an Information Technology company in Bethesda, Trawick & Associates.

My business partner, Catriona Fraser, an award-winning photographer, curator and juror, is the non-voting Chair of the Bethesda Painting Awards. Ms. Fraser has directed the Fraser Gallery, with locations in Bethesda, MD and Washington, D.C. since 1996. Ms. Fraser is also the Chair of The Trawick Prize and Director of the highly acclaimed Bethesda Fine Arts Festival.

The inaugural Bethesda Painting Awards were held in June 2005. Joe Kabriel from Annapolis, MD was awarded “Best in Show” with $10,000; John Aquilino of Rockville, MD was named second place and was given $2,000; Dominique Samyn-Werbrouck of Alexandria, VA was awarded third place and received $1,000 and the “Young Artist” award of $1,000 was given to Catherine Lees of Baltimore, MD.

For a complete submission form, please call 301/215-6660, visit www.bethesda.org or send a self-addressed stamped envelope to:

Bethesda Painting Awards
c/o Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District
7700 Old Georgetown Road
Bethesda, MD 20814

DC bound!
Airborne today and heading back home... more later.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Kirkland's Top Ten

J.T. Kirkland is the wood dude and Thinking About Art blogger. His top ten visual art shows of the year are here and also summarized below:
1. Andre Kertesz @ National Gallery of Art (DC)
2. Dan Flavin: A Retrospective @ National Gallery of Art (DC)
3. Cy Twombly Installation at Philadelphia Museum of Art
4. Linn Meyers @ G Fine Art (DC) and Margaret Thatcher Projects (NYC)
5. Bruce Nauman - Raw Materials @ Tate Modern Turbine Hall (London)
6. Logical Conclusions: 40 Years of Rule-Based Art @ Pace Wildenstein (NYC)
7. Shelley Spector @ Painted Bride Art Center (Philly)
8. Jiha Moon: Symbioland @ Curator's Office (DC)
9. David Ryan @ Numark (DC)
10. J.T. Kirkland: Studies in Organic Minimalism @ University of Phoenix (VA)

Honorable Mentions
William Betts @ Thomas Werner Gallery (NYC)
Barbara Probst @ G Fine Art (DC)
Scott Treleaven @ Conner Contemporary (DC)
Sam Gilliam's retrospective at The Corcoran Gallery of Art (DC)

Bailey's Top Ten

Bailey, Bailey, Bailey... herewith the Reverend's top 10 visual somethings for 2005. Whatever you do in life, don't ever piss Bailey off:
The Right Reverend James W. Bailey’s Top Ten 2005 Metro Washington, D.C. Area Friendly Fire Art Attacks

But first…

"That Ole’ Time Religion Postmodern Art Healing Touch"

A radio ministry of the Black Cat Bone Global Media Empire


A new and improved version of an ancient story handed down from generation to generation in the Great State of Mississippi.

Oh, brothers and sisters, turn off all the electric lights in your home, light your Hoodoo candle, and gather around the radio in fellowship. While raising your right hand up high to shake hands with Jesus, slowly reach out with your left hand and touch the back of that glorious machine. Are you feeling the divine heat of the spiritual energy radiating from those cosmic radio tubes?

People get ready because the Lord has a special message that He’s asked Brother James to share with you tonight...

Once upon a time...

A French deconstructionist professor confined to a wheelchair — who was on loan from the Sorbonne to the art department at the University of Mississippi — entered a juke joint just outside of Itta Bena, Mississippi, and asked the waitress for a cup of coffee. The professor sat down, intently surveyed the patrons, and was shocked to realize he recognized one:

“Excusez-moi madame, but tis that the Jesus Christ sitting over there?” he asked the waitress.

The waitress nodded “yes,” so the professor told her to give Jesus a cup of coffee, “with my greatest pleasure.”

Now the next customer to come in was another French art professor/marketing director with a severely hunched back — a hard core postmodernist on loan from the international marketing department of Air France to the art department at Mississippi State University. He shuffled over to a booth, painfully sat down, and asked for a social construct of a meaningless cup of relativist hot tea.

All of a sudden this professor’s eyes nearly bugged out when he surveyed the restaurant:

“Excusez-moi madame, tis that a social construct of ‘the Jesus Christ’ symbol sitting over there in that imaginary word ‘chair’ that we commonly refer to as ‘a chair’?” he asked the waitress.

The waitress again nodded, “yes,” and the second French professor said to give the “unreal Jesus” an “unreal cup” of “relativist hot tea, with great respect as my special treat,” as he emphasized the quotes around his words by making air quote marks with his fingers.

Now the third customer to come into the juke joint was a not so terribly famous big-fish-in-a-small-goldfish-bowl local Mississippi born and bred redneck artist who was dramatically limping on crutches accompanied by a loudly self-proclaimed agony for all to hear. He clumsily and noisily hobbled on over to a booth, after nearly knocking all the other tables over, sat down with much commotion and hollered out in his sexiest drawl, “Hey der, sweet thang! How's ‘bout pushin’ ya hot buns on ova hare n’ brang wit ya a tall cold glass of Coke wit lots of ice! Gotdam, girl! Just lookin’ at ya puts me on far, darlin’! Please hurry up wit dat Coke, baby, and come on ova hare and sit ya sweet cheeks down in ma lap. I think dat would help cool me on down, honey!"

Now after the Mississippi redneck artist finished loudly plopping his found-in-the-middle-of-the-parking-lot discarded can of Skoal chewing tobacco, assembled collection of borrowed-from-barfly-friends unfiltered cigarettes, shoplifted bottle of Jim Beam whiskey, and ripped-off from his doctor’s office pens, pencils, and drawing pad on his table, he also surveyed the juke joint, and his tongue nearly rolled out of his mouth on to the floor when he recognized what had drawn the attention of the two French art professors:

“Holy shit, Ruby!” he exclaimed to the waitress (who was also his ex-wife’s former lesbian girlfriend’s third cousin twice removed), "Is dat God's only boy sittin’ ova dare all by his lonesome self? I can’t believe dis shit, Ruby, but dat dude looks jest lack a young Elvis!"

Ruby the waitress once again nodded, “yes,” that it was indeed Jesus, so the Mississippi redneck artist said to give Jesus a cold glass of Coke, “on my bill, sweetheart, n’ ya know I’m good fer dat shit dis time, baby, you jest know I am!”

As Jesus got up to leave, he passed by the French deconstructionist professor, touched him on his forehead and said, “Bless you my son. For your generosity and kindness, you are healed.” The professor suddenly felt the strength come back to his legs, got up and did a blues dance right out the door of the juke joint while joyfully proclaiming in plain spoken English the global virtues of American high energy CIA-approved-for-mass-capitalist-consumption white male dominated abstract expressionism and minimalism.

Jesus also passed by the hard core French postmodernist art director professor, touched him on his forehead and said, “Bless you my son. For your generosity and kindness, you are healed.” The professor suddenly felt his social construct of a screwed-up back straightening up, and he raised his hands high up toward the heavens, praised the Lord, and did a series of back flips out the door of the juke joint while cursing the writings of Michele Foucault and Jacques Derrida.

… then Jesus walked up to the Mississippi redneck artist.

But before Jesus could touch his forehead, the Mississippi redneck artist bolted out of his chair, backed-up in a heartbeat 10 feet away from Jesus (without the use of his crutches) and yelled out like a four-paw-trapped wild cat [writer’s note: that’s an old timer north Mississippi hunter’s slang expression for a critter that’s been trapped with its back up against the wall so tight by a gang of rabid hound dogs that all it know to do is scream as loud as possible for heavenly mercy] in an amateur veterinarian’s office that had just been cruelly inserted with angry water moccasin enema, “Now hold on jest a gotdam minute, son, don't you dare fuckin’ touch me! Hell, boy, I’m a gotdam artist! Can’t you see dat I wuz jest sittin’ at dis damn table mindin’ my own fuckin’ bidness?! I don’t need you to touch me, Jesus!”

“I apologize to you, my son. I meant you no harm. I also happen to love art. What kind of artist are you and what is it that you are working on with your pens, pencils, and drawing pad?” asked Jesus.

“Son, I’m a gotdam con artist and I WUZ workin’ on dis shitload of fuckin’ insurance paperwork dat my lawyer sent ova to me concernin’ my slip n’ fall at da Piggly-Wiggly in Jackson. Or at least I wuz workin’ on dat shit till you started fuckin’ wit me! But anyways, to ansa ya questions, dat lawyer of mine is a damn good art teacher, Jesus. He’s teachin’ me how to draw social security disability!”


And the winners are, in no particular order…

1. Best Fly-By Night “Curator” – Libby Lumpkin with OPTIONS 05. Thanks, Libby, for drifting into town in the middle of the night and offering an L.A. jet lag MFA-centric eulogy for the death of the D.C. avant garde. What a shame D.C.’s most radical art didn’t qualify for a proper burial spot at Arlington Cemetery. Surely the federal government must have had at least a postage stamp size piece of ground available that could have easily accommodated the microscopic size corpse of envelope-pushing art that you curatorially told us no longer exists in the nation’s capital. Of course, we all know there’s never really been a lot of avant garde art in the first place to be found in Washington, D.C., so we probably could have easily buried the entirety of the history of this body of work in one or two plots at most. I suppose, if push had come to shove during OPTIONS 05, we could have demanded the exhumation of a couple of bodies of unindicted war criminal generals from the Johnson and Nixon administrations to make room for a final decent resting spot for the collective body of D.C.’s cutting-edge art.

2. Best Shit Happens Street Art Project…Literally — Mark Jenkins for Fresh Shit. The sign of a truly great artistic genius is the sheer bold audacity to publicly embarrass one’s self, to stand out and above and beyond the lame crowd of sacrificial sycophant ass-kissing wannabe artist lambs, to risk complete utter flaming disastrous failure. Some think Mark did a Florida Everglades-style Value Jet landing with Fresh Shit. I’m not one of them. Mark injects a desperately needed sense of humor in today’s dry, boring, predictable, and pedantic art environment with his richly entertaining and thought-provoking work. 3-D street art is the future. Mark has given us a glimpse of what’s to come. And even if Fresh Shit was DOA in D.C., I’ll gladly take a non-FAA-approved Mark Jenkins’s crash and burn over a 1,000 artists at the airport in Chelsea doing TSA required check-in cartwheels for the approval of the international art press any day.

3. Best Art Review Published on a Metro D.C. Area Art Blog"Ian Whitemore at Fusebox" by Kriston Capps of Grammarpolice.net. I disagree with 99.9 percent of what Kriston writes. His predictably tight-ass politics makes me want to toss my crazy vet uncle’s Vietnam War-era live hand grenade through my computer screen. But I love to read what he writes because I also can not stand to constantly sit in my car by myself in-taking exhaust pipe opinions with the windows rolled up that are too much in smell-sync with my own — although I do very much enjoy corresponding with Ted “The Unabomber” Kaczynski on mutual subjects of intense narrow-minded interest. Kriston’s art criticism soars when he dares to leave his Democratic National Committee anti-Bush talking points at home on the fax machine. His review of Ian Whitemore’s show is one of many such fine examples to be found on Grammarpolice.net. I want Kriston to know that when my right wing buddies at Opus Dei, the Masons and the Sons of Confederate Veterans finally exert some real control over this damn country by weeding out all these pissant neo-con Republicans, I’m gonna make sure that Kriston is given a pass on being locked up in one of the many very large and very PUBLIC — not secret — torture prison camps that we aim to set up across the nation to properly discipline all these out of control east coast liberal arts media sinners. Kriston will naturally have to change his name while on the lam in the new America we intend to found, but I’ll be happy to covertly fund his pirate art blog so he can continue to aggravate the hell out of me from an undisclosed location.

4. Best Pull-A-Wild-Hair-Cultural-Master-Plan-Idea-Out-Of-My-Ass by Blake Gopnik — Just days before David Levy, former President and CEO of the Corcoran, resigned and the Gehry titanium overcoat fantasy for the old Corcoran building imploded, the Washington Post, in a really bizarre move that I attribute to a rave party overflowing with homemade X that must have been held in the editorial offices the night before publication, published Blake’s wonderful idea for turning the Corcoran Gallery of Art into the National Museum of Easily Accessible Dumbass Tourist Snap-Shot Photographs. Thanks for this immensely entertaining read, Blake — we all look forward to your lengthy post-U.S.-withdrawal-of-troops-from-Iraq cultural master plan that will no doubt be published by the Washington Post just days before the invasion of what’s left of Iraq by a coalition of social realist troops from Iran, North Korea, and China.

5. Best Human Interest Story Published on a Metro D.C. Area Art Blog — [Special note: Fairness required that I eliminate myself and my insane Deep South stories for consideration in this competition.] Once I eliminated myself, there was no serious competition in this category. The hands-down favorite knee-slapping gut-wrenching laugh-out-loud-till-you-drop-dead story was F. Lennox Campello’s Tentacles (A man, an axe and a doctor: A tale of pain and art). Note to fellow national art bloggers: Look, we all enjoy your opinions, ideas, thoughts, suggestions, reviews, spin, rants, crying, whining, and neverending self-absorbed complaining about why you ain’t the big cheese in New York yet because the ignorant art powers that be have failed to grasp the genius of your earth-shattering originality and such, but take a lesson from Lenny and learn to open up more about who you really are if you really want to be a rich, famous, successful, and highly-collected artist. Know ye the #1 Intelligent Design Law of the Art Universe: People DON’T remember art, they remember PEOPLE. Hundreds of millions of people on this planet know who Picasso was, yet the tiniest fraction of those people have ever seen (or will ever see) an original Picasso painting in person. Picasso is known throughout the world, not because of his art, but because Picasso had a great story to tell. And it damn sure helps to have people remember you as an artist if you have a great story to tell, too. As my grandfather in Mississippi used to say, "You don’t have to be a great story teller to tell a great story." We need more and better stories being told on art blogs. Hell, if you don’t know any good stories, make one up. I do it all the time.

6. Best Young Female Photographer to Jump Out of the Sensual Frying Pan and Straight Into the Hot Erotic OvenSamantha Wolov for her Anti-Porn series. Folks, this young lady is going places and in a hurry — if you’re a collector, place your bets now! It takes most artists a long long time to get their engines warmed up. Samantha started out on fire in a suped-up Camaro before she even had a legal license to drive. I predict within the next couple of years this hot photographer will be tooling around in D.C. in a Lamborghini that will make Cam’ron jealous – and, hopefully, unlike Cam’ron, Samantha will fork over the dead presidents for the bullet-proof model. Great art reminds us that the best things in life are sinless. At the top of that best things in life list is passion. Samantha’s passion for life compels her toward a portrayal of sinless sex in art. This is a message that this constipated country needs to see and hear every day. Why’s America so screwed-up? Because there simply aren’t enough people in America living passionate artistic lives that are willing to embrace a sinless aesthetic point of view about life. Samantha’s work will be relevant for years to come because America has a long ways to go in the sinless artist behavior department.

7. Best Young Male Artist With the Biggest Pair of Balls — It wasn’t even close this year people — his name is Borf. How in the world did this kid do what he did? While you and I were sleeping in our beds at night, maybe plotting our next Art Basel Miami art move, or clicking through the Fox news programs so we would have something to scream at Bush about (all you liberals know you love watching Bill O’Reilly, don’t you?! Sure you do…), or maybe downloading a video from our favorite porn site while our wives, husbands, girlfriends, or boyfriends slept, whatever, Borf was all over the damn place sticking his finger in the bespeckeled corrupt lobbyist liar eye of the most repressed buttoned-down corncob in the ass anal retentive city in the country…uh, with the possible exception of Salt Lake City, Utah. Just standing near his large Constitution Avenue exit sign tag earlier this year sent a shiver of arthritis through my knees. It also made me a bit queasy to stretch my neck up to look at it because I’m also somewhat terrified (being from a below sea level place like New Orleans) of being arrested by cops above ground level. Brothers and sisters, wake up and realize that we now live in a post-911 control-freak country run by a bunch of bi-party control-freaks who are propped-up by dual constituencies of control-freaks who have shown that they are more than willing to let Democratic and Republican assholes on both sides of the aisle assume total fucking control of almost every damn thing that people ought to be left alone to decide for themselves. Borf’s message is an irritating asinine disrespectful young punk middle finger to all these useless conniving lying political jerks and the control-freak idiots that vote for them. And all of them deserve it and more. God bless Borf for pointing his middle finger in the right direction.

8. Best Metro D.C. Area Artist Who Should Have Received a Whitney 2006 Biennial Invite — My nomination is Joseph Barbaccia. When I view (experience) Joseph’s art, I’m immediately reminded of how utterly useless and distracting it is to try and pen words to describe the experience of mind-enhancing mind-blowing and mind-altering art. Amy from The ARTery made a masterful attempt. I, however, am at a complete loss for words to describe Joseph’s art — but if I were forced to attempt to do so at gunpoint, the closest word would be “unworldly.” I have often imagined that if I were standing in the middle of a cornfield during a moonless night on my historic Bailey family property located way back yonder at the end of an abandoned gravel road in the piney hills of north central Mississippi, and if an alien space craft were to suddenly appear overhead and suck me up into its belly and transport my ass across inter-galactic space and time and then deposit me in the middle of their most respected cutting-edge contemporary art space, that I would wake up and find that I was surrounded by a host of mysterious, magical and sublime objects that strongly resemble Joseph’s work. Joseph’s mind, and his art (which in Joseph’s case is his mind), are from another planet. How I wish I had a star chart that showed me how to get there, because it’s a place I would love to live out the rest of my life. For now, I’ll have to wage war with my fellow humans fighting Beltway traffic to see Joseph’s work on planet Earth.

9. Best Upper-Middle Class White Girl Binge and Purge A Long Envious List of Encumbering Useless Stuff Except for Her Computer and Web Site Performance Art Project — Melissa Ichiuji for "Stripped." Thanks Melissa for reminding all of us lower class white artists who daily struggle to pay our unaffordable mortgages on our cracker box-size townhouses in this bullshit Northern Virginia real estate market just how valuable the little bit of shit we have is, how thankful we should be for having it and how strongly we should hold on to it…just in case we need to pawn it in order to pay our monthly home owner’s association dues. I will acknowledge that Melissa’s performance did in fact inspire me to sacrifice a few frivolous things in my own life: I don’t rent from Blockbuster anymore; I’m a Netflix man now. I’ve cut down from eating at the Silver Diner in Reston from five times a week to no more than two. But most importantly, I’ve completely cut out paying for over priced bottles of puffed-up bullshit wine produced in Northern Virginia; I’ve come back home to the real stuff from France. I will not, however, EVER agree to voluntarily cut my beautiful long locks that fully crown my head. Why? Because most dudes half my age have already slipped down the Nightmare on Bald Mountain – sorry, but I ain’t taking the chance that my hair may not grow back! "Stripped" offered an opportunity for an important dialogue in this class-in-denial community of Washington, D.C., about the last taboo subject of public conversation in America: class and its privileges in the upper spectrum. It’s too bad the Washington Post did not engage this conversation by allowing for a wide diversity of opinions to be published in response to their article about the performance and Melissa’s follow-up Op-Ed. I don’t know what her intent really was, but kudos to Melissa for putting the conversation on the table.

10. Best Erotic Female Photographer Who Photographs Herself and Graces Us with Those Beautiful Images on Her Art Blog — Tracy Lee for Angstbabe. Folks, Brother James encourages you to risk being fired from your day job by daring to daily drink from the libertine well of beauty that is Tracy’s vision. Do whatever you have to do to unfilter those overly sensitive corporate and government porn filters. Tech-savvy help is available at every Starbucks in the metro D.C. region. There are more overpaid easily tempted I-dare-you-to-do-it ego challenged techno-nerds in this area that would be happy to help you hack through supposedly impenetrable security systems to increase your viewing pleasure than there are Southern Baptists at a prostitution convention at the Bunny Ranch out in Nevada. The artist/humanist Joseph Bueys said "To make people free is the aim of art; therefore art for me is the science of freedom." Tracy offers free online Ph.D.s in the science of artistic freedom on her site. We should all be taking advantage of this opportunity to upgrade the educational lines on our resumes.
Bailey, Bailey, Bailey...

Monday, January 02, 2006

Faith Flannagan's Top 10

Faith Flannagan is both a collector, an arts activist and a well-known arts persona around our town(s). Herewith her top ten 2005 DC area visual art shows (Nepotista declaration: Faith passes that she's on the board of DCAC and has also purchased work by some of these artists and they are listed in no particular order):
· Mary Coble, Note to Self @ Conner Contemporary Art
· Mary Early, Sculpture @ Hemphill Fine Art
· Empire of Sighs @ Numark Gallery, curated by Andrea Pollan
· Dylan Scholinski, sent(2)mental @ Nevin Kelly
· Sean Scully, Wall of Light @ The Phillips Collection, curated by Stephen Bennett Phillips
· Noelle Tan, Latent @ District of Columbia Arts Center, curated by Paul Roth
· Kelly Towles, Underdog @ Adamson
· Visual Music @ Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
· Ian Whitmore, Mirror Mirror @ Fusebox
· Kehinde Wiley, White @ Conner Contemporary Art, curated by Scenic / Simon Watson

Worthy of Note:

· Blast @ G Fine Art, curated by Paul Brewer
· Found Sound, curated by Welmoed Laanstra
· Little Creatures @ Transformer Gallery
· Points of Departure @ District of Columbia Arts Center (Nathan Manuel and D. Billy), curated by Trish Tillman
· Traveling with Gulliver @ District of Columbia Arts Center (Alan Callander, Ian Jehle and Karen Joan Topping).

Boot Camp for Artists

On Sunday, February 26, 2006, we will present another one of our highly successful "Success as an Artist" Seminars. This next seminar will be jointly hosted with the good people from Art-O-Matic, and the Warehouse Theater, Café and Gallery, on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2006 from 10:30-6PM, with lunch provided.

The seven hour seminar, which has been taken by over 2,000 artists and arts professionals from all over the Mid Atlantic is designed to deliver information, data and proven tactics to allow artists to develop and sustain a career in the fine arts. The seminar costs $80 (includes lunch) and is limited to 50 people. For more details please visit this website. For this seminar, sometimes called "Boot Camp for Artists" by the attendees, people as far as Arizona, California, New York and South Carolina have attended, including many, many university level art professionals.

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

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

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

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

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

5. How to take slides and photographs of your artwork

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

7. Creating a Body of Works

8. How to write a news release

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

16. Alternative Marketing - Cable TV, Local media

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

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

You can sign up for the seminar at 301/718-9651 (starting next week) or via email (immediately) at info@thefrasergallery.com. Hurry, as the 50 spaces usually book very quickly, and we already have a bunch of people signed up (they already were on a wait-list from the last time that the seminar was offered and sold out).

DCist Top 10

Well... really KC's reluctantly policed Top 10:
1. Mary Early, Sculpture at Hemphill Fine Arts
2. Kendall Buster, Model City at Fusebox
3. Ian Whitmore, Mirror, Mirror at Fusebox
4. Dan Steinhilber at Numark
5. Linn Meyers, Current at G Fine Art
6. Jiha Moon, symbioland at Curator's Office
7. Kelly Towles, Underdog at David Adamson
8. Julee Holcombe, Homo Bulla at Conner Contemporary
9. Molly Springfield at JET Artworks
10. Jason Zimmerman, Fair Game at Transformer

Bumming around

Little beats watching football on TV while lounging on the beach... still in eff-el-ay until the 5th anyway...

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