Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Jurying the Army

I've been asked to serve as one of the jurors for the US Army Photography Contest.

I'm really looking forward to seeing the entries, which interestingly enough includes film and video.

WaPo on Arty Gras

The WaPo comes through with a really nice piece on Arty Gras. Read it here.

See ya there tonight!

Monday, February 27, 2006

Arty Gras

If you haven't heard about Arty Gras on TV, the radio or read about it in the press, then you must be living nowhere near DC!

This exhibition is getting a lot of well-deserved publicity and I hope that I will see you at the surely to-be-packed opening on Feb. 28, 2006 from 7:30-11PM.

Arty Gras is a celebration of Louisiana artists to be hosted at the Warehouse Gallery. This exhibition of New Orleans artists is designed to benefit and showcase the artistic talent of the New Orleans community as well as to raise money for the Habitat for Humanity Gulf Coast recovery efforts.

Opening on Mardi Gras Day (February 28, 2006), the exhibit provides an opportunity to view NOLA artists sharing their diverse styles and unique viewpoints.

The exhibition is being organized by independent curator Beth Baldwin, in cooperation with the Warehouse Gallery, and includes 30 artists including Dr. Bob, James T. Martin, Ryan Ballard, Audra Kohout, Heather Kelly Ryan, Tom Drymon, Emily Hogan and others. The exhibition runs through March 19, 2006.

Meet Hiraki Sawa

Join Hiraki Sawa and associate Hirshhorn curator Kelly Gordon for a presentation of Sawa's latest video and a discussion of his work, Dwelling, 2002, which is currently on view, and was recently acquired for the Museum's collection.

March 2, 2006 at 7 pm at the Hirshhorn's Ring Auditorium. Seating is first-come and admission is free.

Engineers Without Borders

Engineers Without Borders is an University of Maryland student group on campus that works with developing communities around the world to improve people's lives through specific projects.

They're hosting an art auction to be held Saturday April, 8th from 5-8pm and Sunday, April 9th 2-4pm and are currently looking for art donations. The auction will be held at the Leland Community Center, located at 4301 Willow Lane in Chevy Chase, Maryland. All artists are strongly encouraged to come Saturday afternoon during the opening to view the other donated works and enjoy the afternoon of refreshments and music.

25% of the selling price goes to the artist. More details, including the submission form, located here or email here.

I plan to donate and I hope that a lot of you do as well.

Gallery Owners Win Ruling in Kinkade Case

"An arbitration panel on Thursday awarded $860,000 to two former Thomas Kinkade Signature Gallery owners who accused the self-proclaimed "Painter of Light" and his company, Media Arts Group Inc., of fraudulently inducing them to invest in the business — and then ruining them financially."
Read the LA Times story here (tks AJ).

Anyone who "invests" in art needs to have his/her head examined.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Another one under the belt

Just back from presenting the Success as an Artist seminar, which we once again held in partnership with Art-O-Matic at the Warehouse Theatre.

Another 50 satisfied and tired artists and artists' reps!

The next seminar will be held on Sunday, March 26, 2006 in partnership with The Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County and will be held at the Round House Theatre Education Center located at 925 Wayne Avenue, Silver Spring, MD from 10:30AM - 6PM. This seminar is open only to Montgomery County residents.

Please visit this website or e-mail us or call 301/718-9651 if you would like more details. Register using this form (limited to 50 attendees).

And click here to read feedback from artists who have attended the seminar.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Washington Glass School Seminar

Date: March 15, 7 to 9:30pm

The Washington Glass School and the Arlington Arts Center are co-sponsoring a seminar this coming March on the topic of How to Get Your Work Noticed By Newspapers, Galleries and Museums.

Cost: $40 in advance - $45 at the door. To register, call the Arlington Arts Center at 703-248-6800. They will take credit cards over the phone.

Arlington Arts Center
Tiffany Theater
3550 Wilson Boulevard
Right across from the Virginia Square subway
Arlington, Virginia

Michael O'Sullivan - Washington Post Art Critic
Lee Lawrence - Contributing Editor for American Style Magazine
Claire Huschle - Executive Director- Arlington Arts Center
Phylis Rosenzweig - Former Curator, Hirshhorn Museum
and Me!

Frenn Talk Today

Prof. Chawky Frenn speaks about his current exhibition at Fraser Gallery - talk starts at 1PM today.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Irvine move

By the way, it's official; the most fair gallerina Heather Russell of Irvine Contemporary not only bought some terrific artwork at WallSnatchers' opening last night, but also announced that the move of Irvine Contemporary to the fomer Fusebox space is now official.

Wallsnatchers Photos

More on Wallsnatchers later (the opening was packed!), but for now some photos:
View of WallSnatcher's crowd
Opening night crowd

Kim Ward and Chawky Frenn
WPA/C's Kim Ward and GMU's Chawky Frenn

Kelly Towles
Curator Kelly Towles (with glasses)

Krensky and Silverthorne
Ubercollector Steve Krensky and Photographer/Blogger Alexandra Silverthorne

Whitney Biennial Scoop

Anon Female Artist seems to have an insider story about the potential (actually highly visible) conflict of interests with one of the Whitney Biennial's curators and his choice of artists.

According to AFA: "Philippe Vergne is co-curator of the 2006 Whitney Biennial. His partner, Sylvia Chivaratanond, is Partner and Director at Perry Rubenstein Gallery. Six artists who are represented by or have been in recent exhibitions at Rubenstein were chosen to participate in this year’s Biennial."

Read the whole story here.

This story ought to make the front page of every newspaper's art section.

Keep Your Eye On

Keep an eye on emerging artist and emerging curator Lisa McCarty.

The work of Lisa McCarty is currently featured in "Figured Out" - a George Mason University Art & Visual Technology Department Women's Invitational show that is being held at PG Community College's Marlboro Gallery through March 9, 2006.

The opening reception is Friday Feb 24 from 6 to 8 pm - see Lisa's senior project here.

You might also recall that Lisa's work was featured in Strictly Painting 5 at the McLean Project for the Arts.

Lisa McCarty will be also the first participating apprentice curator in DCAC's new curatorial initiative funded by the Warhol Foundation. Lisa is apprenticed to seasoned curator JW Mahoney. Their curatorial effort "Hystoria" runs at DCAC from March 3 through March 26 and features the work of Geoff Bell, Julee Holcombe, Betsy Packard, Jeffery Smith, and Champneys Taylor.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Goss on Sugimoto

Heather Goss delivers an intelligent and succint review of Hiroshi Sugimoto at the Hirshhorn, as the new visual-arts friendly DCist suddenly comes through with a couple of decent writers to cover our area's visual art scene.

Read it here.

More please!


Remember that Wallsnatchers opens today. Details here.

Some Places, a body of new photographs by Doug Hall opens Friday, February 24th, with a reception from 6:30 - 8pm at Numark Gallery.

Trace, a body of photographs by Gen Aihara opens at Shigeko Bork's mu project in Georgetown. The opening reception is Saturday, February 25, 5 - 7pm. There will also be a Sake tasting sponsored by Joto Sake.

Anna U. Davis's solo exhibition "Sashimi Me" at Studio One Eight in Adams Morgan has a reception this Saturday from 7 - 10pm. There will also be a artist talk at 8pm the same evening.

Project 4, DC's newest gallery, opens this Saturday, Feb. 25 with a reception from 6-8:30 PM. Details here.

More later...

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Wilson Building Art Collection

Deadline: This Friday!

As I mentioned here, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities is currently accepting applications for the Wilson Building Public Art Collection and the deadline is this Friday.

The Wilson Building is located downtown at 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW in our capital.

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.

And this is a very big building, with some very art-friendly walls, is just waiting to be filled with artwork. Only DC, Virginia and Maryland artists are eligible, and I believe that DC residents have some priority.

And as I've said before, I really think that this collection stands a chance to become a very strong and significant opportunity to put together (in one place) a very good sampling of Washington, DC regional artists.

And (of course) this being a public art collection, it immediately leaves out all nudity and any remotely controversial subject - but that's not the Commission's fault, nor the curator's; it's just an unwritten rule in American public art.

Nonetheless I think that this opportunity is as good as any as they come because:

(a) There's no cost associated (entry fees, etc.)
(b) It's easy to enter (you can send slides or CD ROM)
(c) You have a month to prepare (deadline is Feb. 24, 2006)
(d) The curator (Sondra Arkin) is actually someone who has really deep roots in the DC art scene, and knows what makes it tick - artists, galleries, dealers, schools, etc.

No excuses!

And I sincerely hope that some of my fellow gallerists encourage some of their big name area artists (just as we have) to apply and submit to this call, and hopefully be included in the closest that we'll have in this area to a permanent DC artist exhibition.

Download the application here.

Parsons on Transformer

Seems like DCist has finally found a couple of writers to cover the visual arts regularly (about time!). And Adrian Parsons checks in with a really refreshing review of the Relationship Show at Transformer Gallery.

Read the review here.

Wall Snatchers

Curated by our own Kelly Towles and presented by the WPA/C, what promises to be a very interesting exhibition opens tomorrow at the old Staples store in Georgetown.

Wall Snatchers showcases graffiti and street art from Boston, Florida, New York, and Washington DC. It features work by Bask, Eon, Faile, fi5e, Mister Never, Nick Z, and Tes One.

These aren't all your average graffittimeisters. For example, Fi53 (pronounced like the number five) is an MFA graduate from Parsons who has collaborated with Eyebeam to work on new technology that he has applied to street art.

Here's a short video to watch.

It appears that these artists are trying to take the genre to a new place, still somewhat ephemeral, but now "safe" in the sense that they're doing no damage and still getting their message across?

He will be projecting his work on the facade of the old Staples building at 3307 M St. in Georgetown on Thursday night and then they hope to move on to the Corcoran and do the same.

The opening reception is this Thursday, February 23rd, 6:30 - 8:30 pm and the gallery hours are Friday 6 - 10 pm, and Saturday & Sunday 12 - 8 pm.

Picturing the Banjo

NPR has a rare and pretty good local visual arts review and story on the much maligned "Picturing the Banjo" exhibition at the Corcoran.

In fact, it' such an interesting review that I am going to go see the exhibition and make up my own mind about it.

Job in the Arts

Deadline: March 24, 2006

The College of New Jersey has a full time ten-month renewable position available for a Curator/Director in support of The College Art Gallery at The College of New Jersey, beginning Fall semester 2006.

The Curator/Director works closely with the Art Department faculty, the Dean of the School of Art, Media and Music, student Art Majors, and the community to create exhibitions, collect works of art for the campus collection, and contribute to the larger presence of art on the TCNJ campus. This individual must be an experienced professional and scholar who is able to perform the following duties: act as gallery registrar; plan and implement 6 exhibitions per year with faculty input; install exhibitions (student workers available); develop patron relationships; provide programmatic leadership; assist in the development of financial resources through grants and gifts support; assist in growing and developing the college collection; supervise student assistants; teach (as needed) in areas related to museum studies and contemporary art.

TCNJ is in the midst of designing a new Art building that will provide for a new gallery, additional space for exhibitions, collections, and interactive learning areas. By the post mark deadline of March 24, please submit a letter of application, current resume, documentation of recent exhibitions, and a statement of curatorial philosophy to:

Gallery Director Search Committee
Department of Art
The College of New Jersey
P.O. Box 7718
Ewing, NJ 08628-0718

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

New gallery opens this weekend

I've mentioned it before, but I wanted to make sure that anyone that can show up, will do so, and welcome to our area our newest fine arts independent gallery: Project 4.

The opening reception is this coming Saturday, Feb. 25 from 6-8:30 PM. Details here.

See ya there!

Flying back home today.

Monticello, Arkansas

First of all, althought it was named after the Jeffersonian Monticello, in the Arkansas version, it is pronounced with a soft "c"... as a Spaniard or Frenchman would pronounce it: Montisello.

Population 9,146 and home to the the University of Arkansas at Monticello, which has quite a nice looking campus - more "University-looking" in fact, than that ugly eyesore that is the University of Maryland's main campus. And it goes beyond that; it is clear that it is quite a good University, and it's clear that the state, or someone, is pouring a lot of money into it.

It's different being down here in the real rural part of the nation. On the way from the parking lot to the local WalMart, every single person that I passed say hello to me.

Even inside WalMart people were saying hello all over the place. It was kind of nice.

I think that this may have been the first time that I've been inside a WalMart, and let me tell you: it's huge! And I suspicion suspect that a lot of Monticellans work here, and they're all so friendly!

And everything is soooo cheap! A Nats ballcap was five bucks - not the $12.95 to $19.95 range that I see around the DC area.

And all the restaurants are buffet style! I think I've gained five pounds in the last two days just eating catfish alone.

A very nice little place: Monticello, Arkansas.

Anyway, heading back home later this morning.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Padget Moving on

Jonathan Padget, who authors the twice-a-month "Arts Beat" column in the WaPo is moving on.

Starting Tuesday, he will be working as a the new Style copy editor. His arts editorial aide duties will be handled by Kate Wichmann through late March, with coverage after that TBD.

Everytime the WaPo says TBD for one of their arts column I get nervous; the last TBD that we're still waiting for the "D" was for the addition of a new freelancer to replace Glenn Dixon and bring the "Galleries" column back to once a week.

Obviously the WaPo has decided that they will keep "Galleries" to just twice a month and are too chicken to announce that fact.

If you don't get it, you don't get it.


I'm at the University of Arkansas at Monticello, and this morning the car was covered under half an inch of ice, which I am told it's quite unusual for this area!

More later.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Flying to Arkansas today. I have never been there, so it should be interesting. More later.

Thank You Marc and Komei

Before I get started: the more that I visit the new Katzen Art Center’s galleries, the more that it dawns on me that we now can boast to having one of the best visual art spaces in the Mid-Atlantic; the place is just amazing, and I am hypnotized by the way that walls pop in and out and curve around, forcing the visitor to admire not only what’s on display, but the space as well.

The Katzen's first floor as seen from the stairs
On display currently is the massive "Remembering Marc & Komei" exhibition through March 12, 2006.

This exhibition introduces 92 artists from the 2,500 plus art collection of H. Marc Moyens and Komei Wachi, the deceased owners of the now closed Gallery K in Washington, D.C.
Remembering Marc & Komei
This exhibition, the first to show the collection since Walter Hopps curated a show of Moyens’s collection for the Corcoran Gallery of Art in 1969-70, is a truly unique opportunity to view, study and learn what makes successful art collectors and successful art dealers often merge into one entity.

At first sight, the initial reaction is to try to write that Moyens and later Wachi had an amazing diverse and eclectic taste in art. Once we check that initial impulse with the fact that the collection spread over many decades, it is easy to see that their tastes and insights changed over the years, but never their curiosity and zeal to acquire and grow their collection.

In fact, it’s a fascinating guessing game to see what and who came first. This is not easy, as these two gentlemen collected both area and national artists as well as many European artists who were often known better abroad than in the United States.

It has been written that "Moyens and Wachi eschewed fashion in favor of the offbeat, the magical, and the visually arresting." And I would agree with some reservations, in the sense that I don’t think that they eschewed fashion, but were in several cases, ahead of the coming fashion trend, and like experienced collectors, often stuck with their instincts, and were handsomely rewarded later, once the ever swinging art fashion pendulum swung back to align with their selections.

Let’s walk through this amazing show.

On the ground floor gallery, we discover a very early Joe Shannon. Titled "Businessmen" and painted in 1970, it is a precursor to the harsh, warring paintings that Shannon would produce over the next 35 years. It is also curious to see a fully dressed Shannon appear in the painting (he’s the bearded man to the left), as Shannon usually makes his appearances in his works in the buff.

This talented Puerto Rican artist has been a key member of the DC art scene for nearly five decades now and he has been ignored way too long, and Shannon is overdue for a major museum retrospective here in DC.

Take a deep breath.

And then we are surrounded by my earlier points. How could a collection be so eclectic and diverse? How could the same collector that picked up John McLaughlin’s "#21-1959" possibly in 1959 and Annie Truitt’s "Arundel XIV" in 1975 and Morris Graves barely there pastel on paper "Bird of the Inner Eye" in 1955, also select Fritz Kothe’s "Honda" in 1966?
Arundel XIV by Annie Truitt
Arundel XIV by Annie Truitt

Because he or they, liked them.

And sometimes there are stories associated with the pieces, that remind us what kind of mensch these two gentlemen truly were.

There’s an amazing, and highly personal piece in the exhibition by DC artist Sidney Lawrence. It is called "Peaceable Kingdom" and Lawrence created it in 1982, when it was part of his solo exhibition at Gallery K.
Peaceable Kingdom by Sidney Lawrence
Peaceable Kingdom by Sidney Lawrence

The piece, which depicts the artist (Lawrence's face is in the sun) and was dedicated by Lawrence to his father (who had died about the time that the work was created and is depicted as the phantom face on the left) in a very intimate and story-telling world, sold to a local DC collector. The iconographic work depicts Abram Lerner, then Lawrence's boss at the Hirshhorn, talking to artist Jody Mussoff. Lawrence created the work from a photograph taken at an opening, and as he recalls, they were discussing the fact that a drawing by Mussoff was about to be bought by Joe Hirshhorn, and then donated to the museum.

This intimate, iconographic work was not an easy piece of art to acquire, and it shows a courageous and savvy collector with a very good eye for art.

A few years later the collector died, and his children, who obviously did not share their father’s valiant taste in artwork, asked Komei and Marc if they could return the piece and get their money back.

I was astounded that someone could be so bold as to ask to return a work of art acquired years earlier.

But I was even more astounded to discover that Komei and Marc, did indeed return their father’s money and then decided to keep the piece for their own collection.

It is also clear to see that these two gents liked surrealistic and fantastic images in their collection. There’s a spectacular Ernst Fuchs oil and tempera on board titled "Angel of Death" (c.1952-58) that reminds me of both Bosch and more specifically of DC’s own Erik Sandberg, who exhibited with Gallery K for a while, but is curiously not included in this exhibit, and probably should have been (if his work is in their collection).
Ernst Fuchs Angel of Death
Angel of Death by Ernst Fuchs

But my favorite work in this genre was an odd painting of a bald lady, appropriately titled "Bald-Headed Lady" and painted in 1960 by Zoltan Von Boer, superbly standing alone in its oddity and outsider-like feeling.
Bald-Headed Lady by Zoltan Von Boer
Bald-Headed Lady by Zoltan Von Boer

Another masterful work in this genre is Margarida Kendall Hull’s (who was Sandberg's biggest influence when he was her student at GMU) jaw dropping "Lillith," painted by Kendall in 1993. Kendall Hall had a series of highly successful solo shows with Gallery K, and has since then, in a paradoxical departure, enjoyed spectacular success in Europe, where her work has been selling so briskly, both to museums and collectors, that Kendall now has a sizeable wait list, while all but disappearing from the local DC art scene.
Lilith by Margarida Kendall Hull
Lilith by Margarida Kendall Hull

There are other surprises from the area artists in this collection (besides seeing a dressed Joe Shannon).

Such as a great graphite on paper drawing by Fred Folsom titled "Chesterfields" and done by Folsom in 1978. Another one of my favorites is a dual litho by Scip Barnhart and Jody Mussoff, a joint self-portrait of these two well-known DC artists done in 1993.
Scip Barnhart and Jody Mussoff
Duet by Scip Barnhart and Jody Mussoff

Who else is there?

There are strong pieces by Lisa Brotman, Jean Dubuffet, Edward Dugmore, Pierre Soulages, and Ken Young. There’s a box (done in the 1950s) by Joseph Cornell, a 1977 Sean Scully and Sandra Skoglund’s weird Ciba "Revenge of the Goldfish" from 1981 and Andrea Way’s "Floating Time" from 1985.
Revenge of the Goldfish by Sandra Skoglund
Revenge of the Goldfish by Sandra Skoglund

But the lesson here is very simple.

When you love art, (if you can) you buy art. And then you buy what you like love.

Thank you Komei; thank you Marc.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

From the Studio at the Katzen

The top floor gallery of the beautiful Katzen Arts Center’s galleries is currently hosting "From the Studio," a group show that brings together the artists that make up American University’s studio art faculty (both full time and adjunct professors).

It seems that more and more I like to reveal my hand very early on a review, especially when reviewing a group show, and let me tell you right away that the best work in this show is by Zoe Charlton, who is exhibiting several pieces from her Undercover Series (sorry - I don't have any good images).

Charlton, who works mixed media on vellum, is an artist who has managed to create and deliver on a very hard assignment: the marriage of sensuality with the most economical presentation possible. It is as in viewing her work, perhaps anchored by the bare presentation on vellum, we are seeing individual cels from an animated, sexy film, the kind that one would see at those artsy erotic film festivals in San Francisco or Seattle, but never here in DC.

In any event, this professor brings some fresh new ideas and loads of talent to our area, and I’m really looking forward to seeing more of her work over the years.

AU students seeking to learn how to paint properly, should all immediately sign up for Ben Ferry’s class (I hope that he’s teaching paining); he’s without a doubt the best technical painter in the faculty, and his mysteriously-titled painting "Jumping in the Grass," easily shows that even the most common of subjects (in this case a dog) can be elevated to a sublime place by that most ancient of mediums, which keep surprising all of those who keep clamoring that painting is dead. As long as talented painters such as Ferry wield brushes, painting will never die.

Jumping in the Grass by Ben Ferry - represented by Marin-Price Gallery
Jumping in the Grass by Ben Ferry

Trawick Prize finalist Jeff Spaulding shows why he nearly won that highly competitive prize a few years ago, and his "Endgame" sculptural installation was not only evocative in its mental references to Saint Sebastian, but also popped into my head that famous painting by Frida Kahlo where she has depicted herself as a deer full of arrows.

Endgame by Jeff Spaulding - Represented by G Fine Art
Endgame by Jeff Spaulding

Luis Silva’s video installation, titled "March 6" and Susan Yanero’s weird and super busy "Mollie’s Life," a huge oil on canvas, rounded up what I thought were the most successful works in this group show.
Mollie's Life by Susan Yanero
"Mollie's Life" by Susan Yanero

Overall the exhibition is an excellent opportunity to peek inside the faculty at AU and discover both fresh new talent, established artists and the usual head-scratcher that comes along with any group show.

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.

The exhibition runs through March 12, 2006.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Gopnik on Dada

The WaPo's Chief Art Critic reviews the terrific Dada exhibit at the NGA, and very early on the review he shows his solid neoCon right wing colors by throwing in the now blase reference to Abu Ghraib in an art review, which will surely merit a few thousand words of response from you know who.

And you get to read the review here and now (a day and a half early), as it will be published next Sunday!

The review also includes a really cool "Learn the ABC's of Dada" link. See that here. I don't know if the printed version of the review will carry it, but online it is a brilliant departure from the usual type of review, and yet another marker on the road to the burial of the printed press.

Well done to Gopnik and to the WaPo for this multimediaish review!

O'Sullivan on Bourgeois

Michael O'Sullivan has a really good review of the "Louise Bourgeois: Femme" exhibition at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore.

Read it here.

Midwives at Round House

Last night I snagged a couple of free tickets and went to see Midwives at the Round House Theatre in Bethesda.

The play is based on the #1 New York Times bestseller and Oprah's Book Club selection novel Midwives by Chris Bohjalian. It was adapted by Dana Yeaton and directed by Mark Ramont.

MaryBeth WiseThe play is set in a small Vermont town (I wish I had known this at the beginning of the play - more on that later), and as the play unfolds, we discover that we're witnessing, and being somewhat part of, the events and memories leading up to the trial of Sibyl Danforth (played by MaryBeth Wise), a lay midwife, who has been charged with manslaughter in a childbirth gone disastrously wrong.

The play starts 15 years after the event, with a very pregnant woman making an entrance into a hospital room from within a very beautiful stage prop that arches over the entire stage. It is sometimes lit, and sometimes translucent, and it is sort of a remarkable cage where stripped tree branches are caged and suspended around and over the stage, looking like a huge Yuriko Yamaguchi sculpture.
Kimberly Parker Green
The pregnant woman, we soon find out is Charlotte Bedford (played superbly by Kimberly Parker Green), and she now lives in the imagination of the retired midwife, who is recovering from cancer.

Stephanie BurdenHer daughter (Connie Danforth, played by Stephanie Burden), is now a medical student in Boston, and is visiting her mother, who has apparently shipped her all of her journals to Connie.

Narrated by a variety of characters, the play moves back and forth in time, slowly decomposing for the audience a set of clues and information about what happened on the night that the childbirth went wrong.

As Connie looks back on her mother's trial, both her and her mother (and silently the ghost of the dead woman) are attempting to understand and figure out what truly happened on that night, and heal the wounds left on their psyches in the years that followed.

The audience is treated to a very horrific re-enactment of the childbirth, which is taking place in the Bedford's home on a wintry and icy New England night. A night when the phone lines are down and the the roads are so slick with ice that no one can even get to their car when the delivery gets complicated.

The midwife, thus unable to get her patient to a hospital, tries courageously to save both the mother and unborn child while her inexperienced apprentice of three months and the woman's terrified husband (who is a minister and is played by Gene Gillette) generally get in the way.

The audience is led to believe that the mother dies but that the baby is saved thanks to an emergency C-section done by Sybil with a kitchen knife.

And this is where the issue becomes complicated, as first the the apprentice and then the husband suggest that maybe the mother wasn't really dead when the midwife cut her open.

And the rest of the play presents the case, showing bits and pieces of the trial, re-enactments of the operation, and the final resolution between mother and daughter, as to what may or may have not happened that night.

For the first twenty minutes or so of the play, the Charlotte Bedford character is completely silent, usually just ghost-stepping around the stage or sitting on the bed. And I was thinking to myself: "This actress has the best role ever in a play: no lines to learn!"

Soon I became fascinated by her silence, and began to realize how her facial and body postures were affecting the audience and I.

Eventually, when she spoke, both in her role as Charlotte Bedford and later as the voice for the judge in the trial of Sybil Danforth, it was clear to me that Kimberly Parker Green had the most difficult role in this play and she stole this show.

Kimberly Parker Green, managed to make her silent parts become integral parts of the discussions and fights going on between mother and daughter. In part thanks to excellent lighting, in repose she (because this actress is very fair skinned and light-haired), became almost like a Vermeer painting, except when her subtle facial expressions added fuel to an argument (Sybil can see Charlotte) or reproachment to an excuse.

One thing that I completely missed: Why were both Bedfords (the preacher and his wife) speaking with heavy Southern accents in a scene set in rural Vermont?

Either they have their geography wrong, or maybe I missed a part where they were Southeners who had moved to Yankee-land. In any event, it was a bit distracting and out of place with everyone else's lack of any noticable accent, as no one attempted a New England accent (caps instead of cops, ps instead of pierced, and yaaad instead of yard, etc.).

The play is powerful and well-directed, and the audience (average age around 65) visibly winced many times at the harshness of the events unfolding in front of them.

With the singular exceptions of Parker Green, and Lynn Steinmetz (who superbly plays both a nurse and a doctor in two different roles) I became somewhat annoyed by the rest of the acting performance.

In part this was a cascade effect from the extended arguing scenes between the midwife and her daughter. Both actresses kept the same tone and style of speech throughout all levels of fighting; the daughter very shrill and screechy, and the mother very stoic. Meanwhile I kept thinking: "This isn't how people really argue - at least no one that I know."

Nonetheless this is a very powerful play, and surprisingly eye-opening in the sense that it offers us a window into a nearly extinguished aspect of American life: the lay midwife.

The play runs through Feb. 26, 2006. Read the WaPo review of the play by Lisa Traiger here, and read the Wash Times review here, and the WCP review here. Isn't it nice how every paper in town reviews theatre? When was it the last time that we saw the big three review the same gallery show?

Sibyl Danforth: MaryBeth Wise
Charlotte Bedford: Kimberly Parker Green
Connie Danforth: Stephanie Burden
Bill Tanner: Paul Morella
Louise, Dr. Gerson: Lynn Steinmetz
Lori Pine, Anne Austin, Patty: Rana Kay
Asa Bedford, David Pine: Gene Gillette
Stephen Hastings: John Lescault
Dr. Lang, Barton Hewitt: John Dow

Russian books

This story almost makes me want to cry.

Photo copyright Laurie DeWitt/The Gazette
Read it and weep.

Parsons on Frenn

Adrian Parsons reviews our current Chawky Frenn exhibition at Fraser Bethesda.

Read the review here.

LAT looking for art critic reporter

This was emailed to me (not interested), but we all know someone who is somewhat qualified for this job, and who should apply to it, and who then should be hired by the LAT and then pleeeeease move to LA!

The ad:
Arts writer, Los Angeles Times:

The Los Angeles Times hopes to add an additional arts reporter to its staff. This person would be expected to break news, write a range of features and help analyze the exciting developments in visual and performing arts in the region and the country. This will be an exciting job for a writer with proven reportorial skills and the energy to keep up with the fascinating cultural life of L.A. Expertise in visual arts, architecture, classical music, theater, dance or any combination would be a plus, but curiosity and flair are what's required. Mail resume and clips to Lisa Fung, arts editor, or Bret Israel, Sunday Calendar editor, Los Angeles Times, 202 West First Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012. No calls or emails, please.

Opportunities for Artists
Deadline March 3, 2006

Photo Exhibition to Aid New Orleans. Photographs will be sold to benefit displaced New Orleans artists. Photos should include emotional and political statements thematic to New Orleans. Contact:
Denise Berthaiume
LeMieux Galleries
332 Julia St
New Orleans, LA 70130
or call 360-385-2135 or email mail@lemieuxgalleries.com

Deadline: Mar 15, 2006

Dimensions 2006. Open to all media. May 5 - June 3. Slide or Digital Entry. 1st prize: $1000. Juror: Brooke Anderson, Director of the Contemporary Center, American Folk Art Museum, NY. For prospectus send SASE to:
Associated Artists of Winston-Salem
301 West Fourth Street
Winston-Salem NC 27101
or 336-722-0340 or email staff@associatedartists.org

Deadline: March 31, 2006

Direct Art Magazine, Volume 13 Sixth Annual Competition for publication in Volume 13 of Direct Art Magazine, Fall/Winter 2006 issue. Twenty six awards; over $22,000.00 in value, including covers of magazine and feature articles. For prospectus e-mail Direct Art at mailto:DirectArtMag@aol.com or download the prospectus here.

Deadline: May 19, 2006

IX Annual International Fine Arts Competition. Open to all 2D artists (except photography) wall-hung sculptures, 18 years and older working in a realistic or representational genre. Enter via slides or digital files. The winner of the Best in Show award shall receive $500 in prize money. First, Second and Third Prize winners will receive $200, $150 and $100 respectively in prize money. Juried by yours truly. Visit this website for more details and an entry form or call 301/718-9651 or send a SASE to:
Fraser Gallery
7700 Wisconsin Avenue
Suite E
Bethesda, MD 20814

Deadline: June 15, 2006

International Juried Digital Art Exhibition. They are seeking entries from 2D artists for exhibition, Jul 5-31, 2006. Open to all styles, techniques, and themes (except racist references, comics, jokes, or caricatures). Submit only one work. Selected entries will be printed in color, A4 format, and framed (55x45cm) for exhibition. Prizes include 3-week solo exhibition, travel and accommodations to Venado Tuerto, Argentina. No entry fee. Please send entries with subject heading of full name and with message of name, DOB, address, title of work, technique, .JPEG attachment (min. 150dpi/in, min. 1MB) in A4 format, and attachment
with artist's photograph to address listed here email Oscar Poliotto.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Eyelevel on Boozer
Visit Boozer's website here
Eyelevel has an excellent profile on the very talented Margaret Boozer. Read it here.

Read my review of Boozer's last solo show here.

Visit Boozer's website here.

Bailey, Bailey, Bailey...

Bailey is on the warpath, or whatever it is that madmen from the South do when something gets under their skin.

In this case it deals with Charlie Finch and Artnet, and with the CSA, and with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and with Freedom of Speech (I think).

Me on Video

The ArtsMedia News TV program has been putting some clips from the TV program on Google Video.

This is a clip of me from a show that we did last summer on outdoor art fairs.

And this is a clip of the Nicholas Nixon show at the NGA.

And this is a clip of the Warhol exhibit at the Corcoran.

If you don't get... you don't get it

The WCP has an excellent article by Mike DeBonis and Jason Cherkis on what happens to freelancers who don't toe the line and follow the rules at the WaPo.

The Rules:

Rule No. 1: Don’t Suggest That Your Beat Is Lame
Rule No. 2: Save Your Opinions for Your Review
Rule No. 3: Don’t Make Mistakes
Rule No. 4: Don’t Place a Post Superstar in a Negative Light
Rule No. 5: Don’t Tell Your Paper to "Eat... a ‘Bag of Cocks’"

Read the article here.


Catriona Fraser has just selected the photographers for the IV Annual Bethesda Photography Competition and they are:

The following photographers has been selected for the exhibition;

David Ashman, Annapolis, MD
Kerry Stuart Coppin, Providence, RI
Sandi Croan, Centreville, VA
Chris Davis, Arnold, MD
Adriana Echevarria, Bethesda, MD
Lee Goodwin, Washington, DC
David Hovgaard, San Jose, CA
Eleanor Owen Kerr, Baton Rouge, LA
Prescott Moore Lassman, Washington, DC
Veronika Lukasova, Washington, DC
Jesse Mechling, Bethesda, MD
Eric Moore, La Plata, MD
David Myers, Kensington, MD
Margaret Paris, Rockville, MD
Aleksei Pechnikov, Gaithersburg, MD
Victoria Restrepo, Potomac, MD
Chris Scroggins, Lutherville, MD
Bert Shankman, Olney, MD
Mary T. Vogel, Bakersville, NC
Cynthia Walker, Black Mountain, NC


The Philadelphia Inquirer has a great story on Zoe Strauss, the talented and exuberant Philly photog who was selected for the next Biennial.

Zoe is terrific.

And it also makes me sigh because I cannot recall the last time (or ever) when one of our local major newspapers ever had a story such as this one for one of our area visual artists (even the ones who have been selected in the past to exhibit at the Whitney).

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

A little help needed

Iona Rozeal Brown had two notebooks taken from her car last night as it was parked behind 1515 14th Street.

They contain all of the work she did in her recent 6 month residency in Japan. If anyone comes across any info about the the notebooks or about pages from the notebooks that have a hip hop asian feel, please get a contact number for the person and let me know.

New Art Blog

Mark Cameron Boyd has started Theory Now, a new art blog which he describes as "an ongoing discursive site about the relevance of art theory now."

Mark started the new blog so that his Corcoran students (from his "Theory Now" class) would have a forum for their discussions involving art theory, contemporary art topics, and plain old "shop talk" -- but they're open to "posts" from anyone.

Visit Theory Now often

Text Update

As most of you know, last year I was retained by the Washington Project for the Arts/Corcoran (WPA/C) to curate a multi-gallery exhibition for them called Seven.

After looking at nearly 30,000 slides and digital files, I organized seven thematic exhibitions in seven separate gallery rooms for them.

In one of the rooms I began the exploration of artists who employ textual elements as an integral, key part of their work. What was initially explored in that Seven exhibition has evolved into a "Text" exhibition, curated by me, which will open next April 1, 2006 at the Greater Reston Arts Center in Reston, Virginia.

Set aside that date and see you there at the opening!

Copyright Jack Ohman - click to learn about him

New photo auction record set

A rare print taken by US photography pioneer Edward Steichen has set a new world record for the highest price ever paid for a photograph at auction.

The photograph (titled Pond-Moonlight ) was taken in New York in 1904 and was auctioned by Sotheby's for $2.9m, more than doubling the previous record.
Pond Moonlight by Steichen
It was put up for sale by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which has another copy in its collection.

Two in, two out

Two paintings from Warsaw's Royal Palace collection are now confirmed to be by Rembrandt. See them here.

And two Rembrandts at the Faro Municipal Museum in Portugal have been shown to be fakes. Read that story here.

Borf Support

Online here.


There will be an artists' talk (Jeffry Cudlin, Christopher Hoeting and Jefferson
Pinder) and reception for Assimilation/Dissolution this Thursday, February 16th. from 6:00pm to 8:00pm at Flashpoint.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Sugimoto Opens at the Hirshhorn

Sugimoto Opens at Hirshhorn


If you see me limping around, it is not from having worn my knee out from giving someone that once promised and well-deserved ass kicking.

This story is nothing compared to Tentacles but...

Today as I was getting dressed, I was barefooted, and as I have hardwood floors, managed to pick up a huge sliver in my left foot.

Luckily, I was standing next to my bed, and so I collapsed on top of it while holding my foot aloft, as one of the key things to do in the event of a sliver attack, is to isolate the attacked limb, lest we break the sliver and have to resort to emergency needle surgery.

So I managed to preserve the sliver intact on the bottom of my foot.

Next, what is needed is good light, and good vision, in order to extract the attacking sliver.

So, holding my foot aloft, I hopped over to the bathroom, and turned the lights on.

I then lifted my left leg, in order to do the acrobatic act of remaining balanced while exposing the sole of my left foot.

I however, failed to account for the bathroom door handle, and smashed my kneecap on the handle as I lifted the leg up, while attmepting to balance on the other foot.

Now I am really hopping on one leg and screaming bloody murder, as my knee complains bitterly at the unwarranted smash-up.

Eventually I manage to settle down, and to my relief the splinter is still whole and sticking out of my foot. Luckily, in a paradoxical way, it is a massive splinter, which is bad for the pain that it is delivering to my foot, but good for the fact that I can just grab it with my fingers and not spend several hours looking for the tweezers.

And so I grab it out, and I think that I performed a clean extraction.


However, this is a massive rain-forest sized chunk of wood, and some blood begins to seep out. Since I do not know what sort of postmodern germs are now ferociously attempting entry into my blood stream, I decided to put some first aid cream on the wound.

Half an hour later and I still haven't found the cream, so I decide to use that bottle of iodine that has somehow managed to stay with me since it came with my first aid kit in Navy bootcamp eons ago.

Do they even make iodine anymore?

So I open the small bottle of iodine, and this bottle is so old, that the little plastic tip that dips into the iodine just falls off as I open it, landing squarely on top of my pants, after caressing my suit jacket on its downward spiral.

So now I have an iodine track on my jacket and on my pants; and a ruined suit, as iodine (as far as I know) does not come off.

I eventually put some of this prehistoric stuff on my wound, and as everyone knows, iodine stings like a M@#$%^&*^er.

I pretend it is the pain from all those germs being killed by whatever uberchemical makes up iodine (isn't iodine an element by itself?).

I think that I got all the wood out, but now my foot still hurts like crazy.

A day in the life of a gallerist.

Opening at the Katzen Tonight!

Body Languages: Mary Coble and Robert Flynt at the Katzen Center of the American University Museum.

Opens tonight, February 14th from 6-9pm. The exhibition runs through March 12, 2006.

See ya there!

Manon Cleary

'Man in Plastic Bag #6' (1996) by Manon Cleary From: F. Lennox Campello
To: All Washington, DC Museum Curators

Subj: Manon Cleary

Question: Now that one of you gave Sam Gilliam his well-overdue and richly deserved retrospective at the Corcoran, when is one of you going to step up and give Manon Cleary a museum show in her own hometown?

Does she have to die first?


P.S. From 2004.


Osuna Gallery in Bethesda opens a new exhibition this coming Saturday, February 18, 2006, 2-6:30pm showcasing the opening of major works by Washington Color School artists Gene Davis, Tom Downing and Howard Mehring. The show runs through April 1, 2006.

Grants anyone?

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

Bethesda Artists Markets

The Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District is currently accepting applications for the June 10 and July 8, 2006 Bethesda Artist Markets.

Bethesda Artist Markets are one-day events featuring 30 local and regional artists in the Bethesda Place Plaza. Applications can be downloaded from their website.

To request a hardcopy, please send a self-addressed stamped envelope to:

Bethesda Artist Market
c/o Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District
7700 Old Georgetown Road
Bethesda, MD 20814

The Bethesda Artist Market will be held from 10am – 5pm in the Bethesda Place Plaza located at 7700 Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Bethesda. The Bethesda Artist Market is produced by the Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District and is free to the public.

Artists must be 18 years of age or older. All fine art and fine craft are accepted including, but not limited to: painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, fiber art, digital, mixed media, clay, wearable fiber, furniture, glass, jewelry, leather, metal, paper, ceramics and wood are accepted. Reproductions are accepted. All booth space are 10’x10’ and all artists must provide their own white 10’X10’ tent. No staking is allowed and artists must bring their own weights.

Each artist must submit five slides of their work and one slide of their booth, application, a non-refundable entry fee of $10 and a separate check of $50 for the booth fee. Please call 301/215-6660, Ext. 17 with any questions.

Wanna go to an opening tonight?

The Physicality of Ballet is the MFA Thesis Exhibition by Pamela Nabholz, on exhibition from February 14 - 26, 2006, and the artist's reception is today, February 14, from 4 - 7pm at the Dimock Gallery, Lower Lisner Auditorium, George Washington University.

The WPA\C Experimental Media Series

Deadline: March 1, 2006

The WPA/C is calling all video, performance, and sound artists for their Experiemental Media Series - No membership in the WPA/C is required to enter.

Works from this open call will be selected by Kathryn Cornelius & Djakarta, and will be viewed on May 24th from 7:00 - 9:00 pm. This is the final night of a three-night WPA\C experimental media series held in the Corcoran Gallery of Art's Armand Hammer Auditorium.

Download calls here.

The WPA\C Experimental Media Series:

7:00 - 9:00 pm at the Corcoran Gallery of Art's Auditorium

Night One - March 30th - Curated by Kathryn Cornelius

Night Two - April 26th - Curated by Djakarta

Night Three - May 24th - Juried submissions from Open Call by Kathryn
Cornelius & Djakarta

Richard on Muhammad's Pics

The WaPo's former (and now semi-retired) Chief Art Critic discusses a little art history of images of the Islamic prophet that exist in our area and in many Islamic nations.

Read the WaPo article here.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Opportunity for People with Nokia Phones

Deadline: February 28, 2006

Nokia is sponsoring an online photography competition of photos taken with their phones.

All submissions are displayed on the competition website, which also includes attempts by the professionals to "shoot new" using Nokia's N90 camera phone.

This competition is free to enter.

Download complete details and submit your image today though this website.

WPA/C Auction a huge success

The threat of snow didn't stop buyers and collectors (although it stopped me, and I am sorry to say that I chickened out at the last minute and didn't go) and I am told that that WPA/C auction had an amazing turnout and the highest number of sales of artwork in auction history.

The pieces that didn't get any bids and are still available are listed on their website and will be sold at their starting bidding price.

There is available work by Jim Goldberg, Paula Crawford, Emily Hall, Carlton Newton, Richard Roth, Amy Gartrell, Tom Texas Holmes, Fritz Welch, Laurel Farrin, Jason Gubbiotti, James Hilleary, Madeleine Keesing, David Kohan, Carroll Sockwell, Nancy Blum, Myron Helfgott, Paul Ryan, Diego Sanchez, R.M. Fischer, George Herms, Marcus Lutyens, Trevor Amery, Michael Fitts, Marie Ringwald, Anne Slaughter, and Betsy Stewart.

Secrets on the air

That spectacular success story known as Frank Warren will be on the Kojo Nmandi show today on WAMU 88.5 to discuss his amazing PostSecret project.

Tomorrow, there will be a special one day only PostSecret event at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. Warren will have a couple hundred postcards on display, most, never before seen, He will also be talking about the project and signing books. The are also going to try to get the new PostSecret DVD playing.

Update: Listen to Warren on the air here.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Chawky Frenn Opening

The professor opened his third solo exhibition with us to packed crowds this last Friday who came to see Frenn's latest. Below is the main gallery wall just before the opening:

Chawky Frenn show at Fraser Gallery
Frenn is not an easy artist to sell because his work is so visceral in nature, and without an ounce of irony. In fact, in the three solo exhibitions that he has had with us, every single painting that has sold, has been acquired by either collectors from Europe or from New York. We've yet to find the Washington, DC collector with the courage to hang work so loaded with political or social commentary.

Frenn show looking towards the front
And Frenn, and his difficult work, is a perfect example of the many different parts that go into running an independent fine arts gallery with a focus and cultural dialogue that is serious and committed to developing both presence and substance.

Frenn addressing the visitors
He certainly packs the gallery with visitors, and it is obvious that his students adore him as a teacher, and the critical press has been all over him in the last few years, but it takes a special collector to hang work that is presented by a master painter who revels in delivering difficult subjects and harsh topic after harsh topic.

Opening crowd for Frenn

The New York Times once wrote that "Chawky Frenn is a painter who has nailed down the figurative mode, and this accomplishment gives him the license to convey anything he wants, including the grand theme: the elusive meaning of human existence."
Painting by Frenn

The Washington Post wrote that his work "is most effective, however, not when it's taking rather obvious swipes at American imperialism... but when it's making subtler hints about xenophobia, homophobia, racism, sexism and other tools of oppression."

Frenn's Beautiful and Sad
The show runs through March 8, 2006.


For a long time it looked like it wasn't going to stick, but it kept falling and falling and last night it looked like this:
snow at night
And this morning is pretty deep out there; this is the view from my second floor window and looking out towards the front of the house:
looking out to the front

And now a couple of things for sure:

- Althought the Soviet Socialist Republic of Montgomery County is the highest taxed county in the United States of America, and property taxes went up 69% last year, and Kommissar Duncan's appetite for more taxes continues to be legendary, my street will probably never be cleaned. I can only recall one time that it was actually cleaned, and then it was by the third or fourth day.

- One reason for that may be because at some point today, one of my neighbors will attempt to leave the cul-de-sac where we all live, and get his or her car stuck in the slight uphill, forever blocking any exodus for the rest of us, or any entry to any snow-cleaning truck that may actually get lost and wander into our street to clean it. This has happened every single year that I have lived here. I haven't been outside yet, but I bet that there's a stalled, stuck car out there already.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Buy What You Love

Art Addict has a great tip on what art to buy; and I agree with her.

Read it here.


Kriston Capps on Fusebox's last show.

Jeffry Cudlin on Ian Whitmore at Fusebox.

Jeffry Cudlin on Heike Baranowsky at G Fine Art.

Louis Jacobson on Vesna Pavlovic at Fusebox.

Mark Jenkins on Remembering Marc and Komei at the Katzen.

Louis Jacobson on Madame Yevonde at Kathleen Ewing Gallery.

Louis Jacobson on Jason Zimmerman at Irvine Contemporary.

Rachel Beckman on Jason Zimmerman at Irvine Contemporary.

Joe Dempsey on Maria Leontovitsch Manley at Alla Rogers Gallery.

Jessica Dawson on "What Sound Does a Color Make?" at UMBC.

Michael O'Sullivan on Appropriately: Five Artists Exploring Humor at the University of Maryland's Union Gallery.

Michael O'Sullivan on Assimilation/Dissolution at Gallery at Flashpoint.

JT Kirkland's Northern Virginia Gallery Round-Up.

JT Kirkland's 14th Street Galleries Round-Up.

Alexandra Silverthorne on Whippersnappers at Connor Contemporary.

Robin Tierney on Cupidity at Neptune Gallery.

Nigerian Art Scam

In the past I have discussed a little bit about the very convincing Internet scam that seems to address a lot of art from artists and art galleries. A few years ago (when this scam was very new) we came really close to losing a lot of money, but luckily (and only after we really pressed our bank for assistance) did we avoid it.

We still get 2-3 emails a week from the scammers.

Can You Picture That (which is a new DC Blog and has been added to the Blogroll) has a good tutorial of how the scam works.

All gallerists and artists should definately review this posting.

Visit Can You Picture That often!

Friday, February 10, 2006


I think that the Right Reverend Bailey is trying to start World War III. Read it all here and start stashing up water and toilet paper.

He also seems to have his own wiretapping surveillance program going, as his Top Ten List of Art Bloggers indicates!

Borf in the hoosegow

DCist first and then the WaPo report that Borf will be doing 30 days in a DC jail.
The teenage graffiti vandal known as Borf got tagged yesterday -- with 30 days in the D.C. jail and a dressing-down that no one in the courtroom will soon forget.

Borf, aka John Tsombikos, chose not to address the judge who was deciding his fate. But D.C. Superior Court Judge Lynn Leibovitz had a lot to say to the young anarchist from Northern Virginia. She didn't paint a pretty picture.

"You profess to despise rich people," she said. "You profess to despise the faceless, nameless forms of government that oppress. That's what you've become. That's what you are. You're a rich kid who comes into Washington and defaces property because you feel like it. It's not fair. It's not right."
And the judge keeps on...
The 30-day jail term is just the start. If Tsombikos breaks the law again within the next three years, he could be jailed for the 17 suspended months of his sentence. Regardless, he has to complete 200 hours of community service, including 80 hours of cleaning up graffiti. And he must pay $12,000 in restitution, money that better not come out of his parents' bank accounts, the judge said.

"In other words," she said, "not the bogus jobs that your father gives you in New York . . . a real job, going to work like the people you demean, earning it with paychecks and the sweat of your own brow."

But it was the prospect of a month at the jail that most worried Madden, who had asked for probation and pleaded with the judge to at least send Tsombikos to a halfway house.

She wouldn't budge, and she made it clear why.

"I want him to see what the inside of the D.C. jail looks like," she said, "because unlike every other person you've seen in my courtroom this morning, who have a ninth-grade education, who are drug-addicted, who have had childhoods the likes of which you could not conceive, you come from privilege and opportunity and seem to think that the whole world is just like McLean and just like East 68th Street."

"Well," she said, "it's not."
The prospect of seeing what the inside of a DC jail looks like is a terrible visual to me; it will be eye-opening to see what this month will do to Mr. Tsombikos' future.

There's also a firestorm of comments going on at DCist; read them and add your comment here.

Irvine to move to Fusebox's space

According to Jonathan Padget in the WaPo, Irvine Contemporary will be moving into the space being vacated by Fusebox Gallery.

Because they were first in the area, and rightfully so, Fusebox had a sweetheart of a deal on the rent of that space. I suspect that the landlord will now want a lot more samolians for the space, and thus making Irvine's position a tougher one to negotiate.

If they can close a deal, it will be a terrific move for Irvine; fingers crossed!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Closing Interface

Tomorrow is the second Friday of the month, and thus time for the Bethesda Art Walk, with 13 participating venues and with free guided tours. Opening hours for the receptions are from 6-9PM.

And today Chawky Frenn is hard at work hanging his very heavy work (Frenn paints on a highly prepared board that weighs tons. This board process he learned under the legendary Gregory Gillespie).

And yesterday we closed the door on Interface: Art & Technology, which became one of our most popular shows ever, and I think will be remembered as the exhibition that planted Claire Watkins as a name to watch over the next few years.

Time to brag.

Not only did all of Watkins' work sell out (including the amazing "Flock of Needles" which has found a new home in Great Falls, Virginia), but we actually now have a wait list for this talented artist.

And yesterday Thomas Edwards' annoying "I Blame You" accusing robotic finger found a home in a Baltimore collection that will also house a Scott Hutchison video and the drawing from which the video was created. And earlier on the week, Kathryn Cornelius' video "Retreat" sold to perhaps DC's best known art collecting couple.

And the show was well reviewed; below is a list of those reviews that have been brought up to my attention:

Washington Post

Washington City Paper by Cudlin

Washington City Paper by Metcalfe

Washington Post Express

Solarize This


Nekkid with a Camera

Shift (Japanese Art Magazine; report by me)

Irish Blood

Parker Dearborn

See you tomorrow at the opening... from 6-9PM.

Student Photogs

The Corcoran College of Art and Design has a Senior Photojournalism Thesis Exhibition opening at the Corcoran Gallery of Art on February 16, 2006, with a reception from 6-8PM. It is open to the public for only four days (from 2/15 through Sunday, 2/19 from 10AM-5PM).

I am particularly looking forwards to seeing Chris Combs' work, which he titles "Inside the Spectrum: A Visual Canvas of Autism."

In Combs' work, the stories of two young men - one seven years old, the other twenty- five, both autistic - and their families, are told through photographs and text.

Update: A DC Art News reader emailed me and tells me that she's already looked at the senior thesis exhibit and adds that another body of works to see is by one photographer named Arianne. According to the email, "she has incredible vision, a great work ethic, humility and integrity. Her project centers around a home for women recovering from drug abuse. Her effort really distinguishes herself from the rest of the class. In fact, I would normally never interject, but I am really moved to help this woman who I think has a great career ahead of her."

Update II: Another DC Art News reader emails me and tells me that "Wendy Galietta's stuff in the show is also quite impressive. She's documenting modern swingers (in the wife-swapping sense, not dancers)."

Opportunity for Artists

Cummings Money for Artists (MFA) has gift certficates to purchase art materials that are being awarded to individual artists in the Washington, DC metro area. The certificates are worth between $50 to $250.

You can apply online at any time, and there are no fees involved. Awards will be made throughout the year. After you submit your application, an example of your work will be posted on the CummingsMFA web site.

Wanna go to a party tonight?

Tapedude Mark Jenkins has new installations at Club Hell on 18th Street. They're having a party tonight starting at 10PM (no cover).

Details here.

I Saw You

Gallery Neptune has an interesting group show opening this coming Sunday, Feb. 12, 2006 titled "Cupidity."

Cupidity is based in a sense on the "I Saw You Ads" in the newspapers. Each invited artist created a piece inspired by an ad and then a writer wrote a news ad involving the piece.

The Cupidity artist/writer teams are:
Albert Schweitzer / Katherine Thompson
Alexandra Silverthorne / Heidi Mordhorst
Anna Edholm Davis / Susan Leonardi
Dana Ellyn Kaufman / Charlie Barnett
David Wallace / Mary Kay Zuravleff
Ed Bisese / Levi Asher
Elaine Langerman / Caryn Thurman
Glenn Friedel / Patrick Holway
Greg Ferrand / Bob Angell
Helga Thomson / Rebecca Pope
Jean Beebe / Dennis Greza
Kim Bentley / Katie McCaskey
Kirk Waldroff / Dorian Hamilton
Matt Sesow / Doreen Peri
Mike Janis / Claudia Rousseau
Scott Brooks / Frank Warren
Warren Craghead / Roger Noyes

Wanna go to an opening tonight?

The District of Columbia Arts Center (DCAC) hosts the opening for Crafts & Kisses tonight from 7-10PM.

Also this coming Sunday is the final chapter of their four part panel series "Who Do You Love?" This one will focus on installation and site-specific art. The scheduled panelists are: Mary Coble, Jayme McLellan and Ira Tattelman (and perhaps a couple of surprise guests). The event starts at 7:30 in the theater at DCAC.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Frenn Opens Friday

The Fraser Gallery of Bethesda is proud to host the third solo exhibition of acclaimed Lebanese-American painter Chawky Frenn, in conjunction with the publication of a 174 page retrospective book of the artist’s works titled Chawky Frenn: Art for Life’s Sake.

Having proved several times to be one of the the most controversial figurative artists in the United States, Frenn was born in Zahle, Lebanon and migrated to the United States in the 1980s. He is a currently a professor on the Art faculty at George Mason University in Virginia.

Art critic Donald Kuspit, one of the most visible art voices of the 21st century, has written that Frenn "constructs a spiritual space in which the contemporary public can feel emotionally at home, however troubling the emotions his imagery evoke in them."

The New York Times wrote that "Chawky Frenn is a painter who has nailed down the figurative mode, and this accomplishment gives him the license to convey anything he wants, including the grand theme: the elusive meaning of human existence."

The Washington Post wrote: "From a classical nude contemplating a human skull to his latest series of still lifes of slaughtered animal carcasses, Frenn is an artist's artist (as opposed to a critic's artist)."
Nothing Personal by Chawky Frenn
For this upcoming solo show, which opens with a reception for Frenn this coming Friday, February 10, 2006 from 6-9PM, the artist has created a whole new series of paintings depicting his disturbing impressions of the current historical state of affairs of the world, as well as his continuing exploration of classical nudes.

Frenn's works are used to controversy. In 2001, his Boston gallery decided to cancel a Frenn solo show at the last minute as a result of the Sept. 11 attacks.

In 2004, his exhibition at Dartmouth caused an uproar on campus. Frenn, who was exhibiting at the same time at Damien Hirst, managed to outshock Hirst.

I will be clear to admit that this is not an easy artist to exhibit in the DC area. Every single one of his paintings that we've sold over the years has sold to New York or European collectors, althought I am sure that were his work to be exposed to local gutsy collectors (and curators), Frenn would be appreciated (on a local scale) to the same extent that he's being appreciated on a national and international scale.

The exhibition runs through March, 7 2006 and there’s an artist’s talk by Frenn, discussing his new work, on Saturday, February 25, 2006 starting at 1 PM.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Back in town

Back from Norfolk, and today had to spend all day in Crystal City and then Arlington for a couple of presentations.

Loads of reviews about the Interface show at our Bethesda gallery have popped out all over the Blogsphere in the last few days... links below.

More later!

Shift on Interface

The Japanese magazine Shift has this piece on Interface in their current issue.

Read it here.

Shea on Interface

Irish Blood, English Heart reviews Interface.

Read the review here.

Dearborn on Interface

Parker Dearborn reviews Interface.

Read the review here.

Teague on Interface

Innerbias reviews Interface at Fraser Bethesda.

Tomorrow is the last day to see Interface! Read Teague's review here.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

The Fleer Gallery of Art

Brian Beutler has an interesting and original piece in the current Washington City Paper titled "The Fleer Gallery of Art: The Washington City Paper’s first set of collector collector cards. Bubble gum not included."

The first set of cards depict Fred Ognibene, Tony Podesta, Philip Barlow, Juanita & Mel Hardy, and Aaron Levine.

I guess that I am surprised by who's not in the article, as missing are perhaps two or three Ubercollectors with massive collections. One missing couple has, I would guess, around 4,000 pieces of art in their collection.

Brian Beutler: for your next set of cards, email me baby!

Heading South

I'm driving down to Norfolk today, hopefully arriving in time to be able to watch the Pacific Northwest Oceanic Warbirds from the beautiful leftwing nuts city of Seattle destroy the Blue Collar Steel Workers of Pittsburgh.

I'll be back either Monday or Tuesday.

Bailey on Kennicott

The Rev. Bailey opines on the WaPo's Phillip Kennicott's thin logic in Kennicott's Clash Over Cartoons Is a Caricature Of Civilization.

Read it here.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Cubicle Ten Opening Tonight

Tonight Cubicle Ten is hosting a festive visual experience entitled "Without Formula" at 1827 Sixth Street, NW, Washington, DC.

With this project, Cubicle Ten, has collaborated with MP Development and will turn a newly renovated four unit condo building into a 3,000 square foot art gallery.

Cubicle Ten has selected the following artists to showcase in this exhibition:

Andrew Au, Zoe Charlton, Clark, Billy Colbert, Jeffry Cudlin, Rick Delany, Chris Hoeting, Candace Keegan, David Meyer, Bridget Lambert, Michael Platt, Jefferson Pinder, Jennifer Purdum, Colin Williams, Alex Schuchard, Jonathan Sears, and Trish Tilman.

Opening Reception is tonight, Saturday, Feb. 4, 2006 from 7pm-12:30am - Catering by Local 16 Restaurant. Tel: 202-247-0595.

Wanna go to an opening tomorrow?

Carl Root opens at Glenview Mansion tomorrow, Sunday, Feb. 5, 2006 with an opening reception from 1-4PM.

Wanna go to an opening tonight?

Robert "Rob" Redding author, nationally syndicated radio personality and editor and publisher of the Redding News Review, has a show (titled "Smeared")opening tonight at Warehouse Gallery across from the Washington Convention Center on 7th Street, NW through to Feb. 26, 2006. The artist reception is scheduled for Feb. 4, 2006 at 5 p.m.


To our own Andrew Wodzianski, who in spite of being Fraser Gallery's art critics punching bag, had a terrific opening last night at the Rodger Lapelle Galleries in Philadelphia and whose last solo at our Georgetown gallery will travel to Old Dominion University later this year!

"Who Do You Love?"

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

On Sunday he's moderating the third panel of the four part panel series "Who Do You Love?"

This one will focus on the figure. The scheduled panelists are: Lisa Bertnick, Tim Tate, Allison Miner, Michael O'Sullivan, and Erik Sandberg.

The event starts at 7:30 in the theater at DCAC.

Feb 5 - Part 3: Using the Figure - panelists: Lisa Bertnick, Tim Tate, Allison Miner, Michael O'Sullivan, and 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?


Opening today, Saturday, February 4th, 2006 4-8 pm at the Graham Collection, is the opening reception of "Solution," a group exhibition of new paintings, all of which address a problem facing the black community and suggesting a solution.

The Graham Collection
3518 12th St., NE Washington, DC 20017
Tel: (202)832-9292

Friday, February 03, 2006

Cudlin on Interface

The Washington City Paper's Jeffry Cudlin reviews our current "Interface: Art & Technology" exhibition at Fraser Gallery Bethesda and really likes Kathryn Cornelius' video.

Read the review here.

WPA/C Auction Preview

Last night I went to the WPA/C's preview of the upcoming auction, fully planning then to go on to the opening at Nevin Kelly Gallery.

The preview was quite good, and a veritable who's who of DC art bloggers, power collectors, artists and even a Corcoran curator or two.

I made the mistake of arriving at the preview on a completely empty stomach, as I had been working all day and forgot to eat.

"I'll grub at the preview," I thought to myself as I headed to the Corcoran.

So I get there a little early, get to walk around the entire auction set-up, nicely displayed on the second floor of the Corcoran. The works were selected by:

- Philip Brookman, Senior Curator of Photography and Media Arts, Corcoran Gallery of Art.

- Kendall Buster, Artist and Associate Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond , VA.

- Howie Chen, Branch Manager, Whitney Museum of American Art at Altria and Independent Curator, New York , NY.

- Jean Efron,Principal, Jean Efron Art Consultants, L.L.C., Washington, DC.

- Ashley Kistler, Curator, Visual Arts Center of Richmond, Richmond, VA.

- Adolfo V. Nodal, Arts Impresario (currently Project General Manager of Not A Cornfield Project), Los Angeles, CA.

- Sally Troyer, Former Gallerist, Independent Curator, Art Consultant, Washington, DC

I then went down to listen to the curator's talk, and at the risk of sounding disrepectful, made the huge mistake of sitting on the very front of the auditorium. I say this because I thought that it would be a matter of 30 minutes or so, but by the time that it was over, it had consumed an hour and fifteen minutes, and I was squirming and struggling to keep my stomach from growling too loudly (at least I didn't fall asleep and started snoring, as did some poor bastard above me).

The talk started at 6:30PM, and it was interesting and informative. Present were Effron, Buster and Brookman, and essentially these three highly talented and creative people discussed how (with some rare exceptions) they selected work by talented, creative artists that (a) they had known for years, (b) taught at the Corcoran, (c) taught at VCU or (d) shared a studio with them.

I particularly enjoyed the presentation by the tiny Kendall Buster, who brought a refreshing group of Richmonders to the auction, including some of my favorite pieces in the auction by some of those amazing young artists coming out of VCU's sculture program.

And so I get upstairs around 8PM, to find that most everyone else had skipped the lecture and had done a locust number on most of the good food that the Corcoran always puts out.

So I grab a beer on an empty stomach (bad idea) and munch on some asparagus tips that are left over (is it just me, or are asparagus way overrated as food?), and luckily there's still plenty of nice fresh fruit, and some cheese, but obviously the good stuff has come and gone... sigh.

Back to the artwork and a little bit of chatting with super generous Ubercollector Fred Ognibene and artists Tim Tate, Margaret Boozer and many others. And a few more rounds to look at the artwork. By the time that I got done, it was too late to make it to the Nevin Kelly opening (sorry Nevin - owe you an opening visit).

First of all let me re-affirm that this auction is a terrific opportunity for collectors not only to acquire art by some very talented artists, but also to contribute to the well being of our leading artists' organizations: the WPA/C. Furthermore, under Kim Ward's exceptional leadership, this organization is not only back on track, but also ablaze with activity and enthusiasm.

Here are my picks for the best in this auction in no particular order:

Photo by Noelle Tan
Noelle Tan. Easily the best photograph in the auction belongs to this talented artist, and at a $600 starting bid, it should go early!

Ledelle Moe sculpture
Ledelle Moe. This is one of a set of eight or nine sculpted heads exhibited together as one piece under the title "Congregation," by this artist. I am told that she teaches at MICA and has a studio in DC. I've never seen her work before, but I quite liked what I saw here, and I think that she will be one of the "finds" of this auction. She also appears to have an exhibition currently at GMU.

Malecon by Luis Enrique Camejo
Luis Camejo. This monochromatic painting by this Cuban artist boasts of action and energy, and it reminds me of one of those old illustrations for 19th century pre-photography newspapers. A good addition for collectors of Cuban art.

Brannock Device by Michael Fitts
Michael Fitts. An amazing master of fooling the eye, Fitts works on discarded metal to create amazing oil paintings within that genre. We represent him, and his work has been selling briskly, so this piece will probably go early and sell high.

Susan Jamison Prick
Susan Jamison. This talented and fair artist is having one terrific run! Whoever bought her painting at "Seven" got a terrific steal. Since then Jamison (now represented by Irvine) has sold out at Scope Miami and has a waiting list for her artwork!

The auction is at the Corcoran on Saturday, February 11, 2006, and to attend please print out and return the RSVP card here.

See ya there!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Trials, Tribulations and Successes of a Gallerist

John Pancake, who is the Arts Editor at the Washington Post, once told me that he felt that running an art gallery was a heroic act.

I don't know about that, but running an independent, commercial fine arts gallery certainly takes a lot of commitment, truckloads of patience, an understanding of what running a business really means (while hopefully contributing to many different understandings of what a cultural discourse truly represents), an ability to share both in the triumph and failure of artists, an immense poker face when telling an artist who has just been destroyed in a review: "Don't worry, a bad review is better than no review at all," endless gritting of teeth from refraining in choking to death the next person (who's never run a gallery) who insists on giving you nonsensical advice on how to run a gallery, and the great sense of relief that floods in when one of your artists does well and succeeds.

A few days ago, as I was driving home after meeting with our accountant and reviewing the year and preparing for 2006, a few things popped into my head about some of the trials and tribulations and successes since we opened the first Fraser Gallery in 1996 in Georgetown.

First, this popped into my head:
Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York;
And all the clouds that lour'd upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths;
Our bruised arms hung up for monuments;
Our stern alarums chang'd to merry meetings,
Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
Grim-visag'd war hath smooth'd his wrinkled front;
And now,--instead of mounting barbed steeds
To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,--
He capers nimbly in a lady's chamber
To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.
So I shook my head to clear Will out of it and then recalled...

- The know-it-all art hanger-on who walked into our first gallery in 1996, looked around and said: "I give you six months."

- Our second show ever, by a brilliantly talented printmaker named Grant Silverstein. We sold dozens and dozens of etchings and thought to ourselves: "WOW, this gallery business is going to be a piece of cake!"

- A huge article in the Washington Post announcing the opening of our Georgetown gallery. We then thought to ourselves: "WOW, it's great getting all this newspaper coverage!"

- How we managed to survive one long summer in 1997 without a single sale! Thank God for our financial backers: Mrs. Visa and Mr. Mastercard!

- How, every year since we opened in 1996, has seen a rise in sales and 2005 was our best year ever.

- The time that a couple came into the Bethesda gallery, he complaining of the price of an omelette at the Original Pancake House, and then he buying out the entire exhibition!

- The artist who complained because we were selling too much of the artist's work.

- The photographer who didn't want to exhibit his work because his photograph didn't sell immediately in a previous group show.

- The young man, who while looking at black and white infrared photographs of Scotland actually asked if everything in Scotland was really black and white.

- The hundreds of people through the years who stand at the front of the door and ask how much does it cost to come in.

- The photographer who shipped a massive photograph, framed under glass in a flimsy cardboard box without any protection and then almost had convulsions when informed that his work had arrived nearly demolished.

- The painter who shipped his small painting is a massive wooden crate meriting inclusion in the Fort Knox Hall of Fame, and paid more for shipping than the painting's price.

- The joy and pride caused by the first time that a museum acquired one of our artists' works.

- The guy who knocked a framed piece down, broke the glass in the fall, and then said: "It was broken before it fell."

- The afternoon before that night's opening when the entire ceiling in the gallery space collapsed because the air conditioning unit's drain pan had been installed backwards. Somehow the entire ceiling was rebuilt in a couple of hours and the opening took place without any problems.

- The time that it rained so hard in Georgetown that the Canal Square flooded and there was a foot of water in each gallery and we ran in and out to rescue the artwork; all the while electric wiring was underwater and hot.

- The time that we arrived at the new gallery in Bethesda to find the new $15,000 wooden floor completely flooded by rainwater.

- The time, after the foundation leaks had been fixed, and a new wooden floor installed to replace the damaged one, when we arrived at the same gallery to find the new floor flooded again from a new hole in the foundation.

- The time that the gallery flooded a third and fourth time from (a) the wrong filter for the A/C unit or (b) leak in the roof.

- The many times that we thanked God because in all these floods not a single piece of artwork was damaged.

- The famous multimillionare who (after attempting to haggle for a photograph selling for $300), said: "If I have this delivered to Great Falls, can I save on the sales tax?"

- The California collector who bought an $11,000 painting on the Internet, sight unseen.

- The three different curators from a museum out West, who flew on three different occasions to see an artist's show, and were gagga over a particular sculpture (priced at $2500) and then, after spending God knows how much money on flights and per diem, asked that it be donated to the museum, as they were short on acquisition funds.

- The art critic who made 61 cell phone calls over a 24 hour period to ask (and re-ask) some very basic questions which could have been answered by reading the press release, and killed my cell phone minutes allowance for that month in one day.

- The many people and writers and critics who made appointments on Sundays and Mondays or during odd hours and then never show up.

- The lawyer from New York who keeps calling trying to find certain gallerists no longer in business who have ripped off his clients years and years ago.

- The poor artist(s) who always show up at a crowded opening and want you to look at his or her portfolio.

- The super rich artist-wanna-be who always shows up at a crowded opening, wants you to look at his or her photographs of an African safari and asks: "What does one have to do to sell stuff in this store?"

- The delight in the face and eyes of an art student making his or her first gallery sale ever.

- The first time that we got a review in a national art magazine.

- The artist who planned her American debut for an entire year and then wasn't allowed to travel to the US for her opening, which sold out before the show opened.

- The time that the man hole cover blew up in Georgetown in front of the gallery, starting an underground fire, closing the neighborhood down and ruining the opening.

- The second time that another man hole cover blew up in Georgetown in front of the gallery, starting an underground fire, closing the neighborhood down and ruining another opening.

- The time that an electrical power outage shot down all of Georgetown and ruined our Frida Kahlo exhibition's opening.

- The first time that a show sold out before it actually opened up to the public.

- The people who ask every once in a while: "Does anyone actually, ever buy art?" And the many times that we actually ponder the same question.

- The time that the really expensive magazine ad had the wrong opening date.

- The local museum curator who never comes down to DC galleries, but who acquired one of our artist's works while it was on loan to another gallery in another city.

- The first time that a museum asked to borrow work for an exhibition.

- The collector who said on the phone: "Just pick one of her paintings that you'd think I would like and put a dot on it."

- The first time that one of our artists received a review in the New York Times.

- The time that the city fathers of Washington, DC wanted to prohibit galleries from serving wine at the openings.

- The many times that someone offers us money to host their exhibition. And the many times that we then see that "artist" exhibiting that vanity exhibition in another gallery in town.

- The first time that a museum in another country acquired work by one of our artists.

- The first time that a museum asked for one of our exhibitions to travel to the museum.

- The rich "artist" who wanted us to exhibit her really ugly paintings; each one boasted to have over $60,000 of precious stones embedded into the thick, impasto paint.

- The grubs who come to the opening, look around the space (not at the art) and then ask: "Where's the food?"

- The time that Sotheby's asked us to become an Associate Dealer, and how we managed to create over 800 secondary art market sales for emerging DC area artists.

- The time that a collector wanted to buy a nude painting of a man, but wanted the artist to paint over the genitalia.

- The amazing number of times that it either snows or rains on opening night.

- The time that a furor was created in Bethesda over our exhibition of huge paintings of very large, nude women.

- The first time that one of our exhibitions was featured on television.

- The first time that we got a review in an international art magazine.

- The time that I handed back a photograph to the photographer who wanted me to look at it. He/she dropped it a few minutes later, broke the glass and scratched the photo and then wanted to have our insurance pay for it.

- The dozens and dozens of "collectors" from Nigeria who email us everyday and who want to buy everything in our "art store" if only we send them our banking details so that they can wire the payments to it.

- How, after nearly ten years as a gallerist, there are still art critics or writers, who apparently write about DC art, DC artists and DC galleries, and yet I've never met and as far as I know have never set foot in our galleries.

- The many times that someone walks either into our Bethesda gallery or our Georgetown gallery and says: "I didn't know there were any galleries around here."

- The invited curator who "curated" a show of mostly his friends and colleagues.

- The other invited curator who put together one of the most amazing juried shows ever staged in our gallery.

- The still incredible fact that our website gets over a million hits a month, and every month it kills my bandwidth allotment.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Wilson Building as a DC Artists' Collection?

As I mentioned here, 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 in our capital.

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.

And this is a very big building, with some very art-friendly walls, is just waiting to be filled with artwork. Only DC, Virginia and Maryland artists are eligible, and I believe that DC residents have some priority.

And I really think that this collection stands a chance to become a very strong and significant opportunity to put together (in one place) a very good sampling of Washington, DC regional artists.

And (of course) this being a public art collection, it immediately leaves out all nudity and any remotely controversial subject - but that's not the Commission's fault, nor the curator's; it's just an unwritten rule in American public art.

Nonetheless I think that this opportunity is as good as any as they come because:

(a) There's no cost associated (entry fees, etc.)
(b) It's easy to enter (you can send slides or CD ROM)
(c) You have a month to prepare (deadline is Feb. 24, 2006)
(d) The curator (Sondra Arkin) is actually someone who has really deep roots in the DC art scene, and knows what makes it tick - artists, galleries, dealers, schools, etc.

No excuses!

And I sincerely hope that some of my fellow gallerists encourage some of their big name area artists (just as we have) to apply and submit to this call, and hopefully be included in the closest that we'll have in this area to a permanent DC artist exhibition.

Download the application here.

Art Bank

Update: The website has been updated and the entry forms are here.

Even thought the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities website does not say so, they are currently accepting entries for their Art Bank. The deadline is February 24, 2006.

I am told that independent curator Vivienne Lassman, a former gallerist (she was a partner in the Troyer-Fitzpatrick-Lassman Gallery, which was once located where Irvine Contemporary now is), and who also worked for the Commission in helping to select the artists for the Washington Convention Center, will be helping to select the works accepted into this round of Art Bank.

Call 202/724-5613 for an entry form or download a copy here.

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