Friday, June 30, 2006

Why Gopnik is so wrong

Last Sunday, the WaPo's chief art critic, Blake Gopnik penned an article titled Portraiture's Harsh Lessons - Contest Offers Unintended Primer On Do's & Don'ts.

In the article (read it here), this erudite and intelligent man steps outside of his art critic hat to dwell in the dangerous waters of "I know better than you" land and dispenses wildly wrong opinions from the powerful pulpit of the pages of the WaPo.

The National Portrait Gallery is not an art gallery, begins Gopnik, and Blake Gopnik may be an eminently talented art writer, but he is not, and will never be, a gallerist (or at least a successful one anyway).

Don't think high realism equals art.

Gopnik screams (it's bolded, which in onlinespeak is just below for caps for "screaming") Don't think high realism equals art.

I would submit that today one can safely say: "Don't think that __________ equals art," and no one would blink. Let's try some:

1. Don't think that putting a little sculpture in a jar of piss equals art.

2. Don't think that smearing feces on a painting equals art.

3. Don't think that a portrait photograph equals art.

4. Don't think that making a video equals art.

5. Blah, blah, blah equals art.

But then he proceeds to poison the reader's well for fellow art critic Dave Hickey, by actually attacking Hickey in a semi-personal way as Gopnik writes: that Hickey is "famously skeptical about a lot of contemporary art, does his best to boost the exhibition in his catalogue essay (mostly with fiercely backhanded compliments, as when he praises its ignorance of all the current painting he actually likes)."

I think that Hickey's sin may be simply that he disagrees with Gopnik's views. But what Gopnik does not reveal or account for is that he is equally famously skeptical about anything that involves a brush and a canvas.

And this is also evidenced by his previous many anti-realism (and anti-painting) comments in his reviews and articles, and by his now infamous lecture delivered at the Corcoran during his first few months in his new job at the WaPo, in which Gopnik declared that "painting was dead" (yawn) and (in response to a question from the audience, that to the best of my recollection asked something along the lines of "Since you don't seem to like painting, or sculpture, or drawing, or photography, then what should a contemporary artist be doing today?") to which Gopnik answered "video and manipulated photography."

The museum curator who was sitting next to me, leaned over and whispered: "Blake doesn't like pictures."

No melting watches, please.

Gopnik next writes: "For some reason (okay, so let's blame Salvador Dali) "modern" art has come to be equated in many people's minds with the wildly fantastical."


Who thinks this? A couple of wasted Google hours can't seem to find any sort of trend where people equate modern art with the wildly fantastical. In fact other than Matthew Barney's now slightly yawnish work, I can't seem to find a wildly fantastical signature to modern art, although I am sure that there are some there, but a trend?

In fact, as a gallerist who deals with both the general public, the collecting public, and members of the arts intelligentsia, I would submit that many "people" on the front lines of the public scene still tend to equate modern art to the sort of stuff that Picasso and Braque and those guys were doing at the beginning and middle of the last century.

In fact the only "trend" that I seemed to find, is the boring and cyclical trend that painting is hot again, and realism is what seems to be riding the crest of that repeating wave, somewhat deflating Gopnik's first point.

Warts-and-all is just skin deep.

Gopnik writes: "The idea that there is something bold about showing ugliness in a portrait instead of beauty has a history at least five centuries old."

OK, so he's right with this point; we agree here, although the fact that it has been done for five centuries doesn't mean that it is bad.

If it's ugly, make it hurt.

Gopnik writes:
If a portrait wants to prove it's more than empty flattery, it had better go much further than just throwing in some wrinkles -- as Doug Auld does in a close-up of a burn victim named Shayla, whose black skin is a tight mask of scars. It's one of the only pictures in the exhibition that need their links to the grand tradition of painted portraiture: By making a monumental oil painting of a badly disfigured face, Auld evokes the absence of such faces from the art of the past -- and from the larger social consciousness that past represents.

On top of that, the simple freak-show voyeurism implicit in this painting is so vexed, it's compelling. Shayla seems proud to present her damaged self to us in a portrait; should we also be proud of staring at it?
I'm not sure if the above is a "do" or a "don't"?

A signature is just graffiti by another name.

Gopnik writes:
"Titian signed his pictures on their fronts. So did Rembrandt and Manet. That was back when marking the active presence of the artist meant something. Now a signature just seems like empty advertising. Some clear marking on a picture's back is all posterity -- and the market -- demands of any artist. A picture's front should be so great that a signature would only mar it. In this competition, however, artists' names are flourished everywhere. (It yields a new axiom we might call Outwin Boochever's Law: The duller the picture, the more flamboyantly it's likely to be signed.)"
He is sort of half right here, but in the half that he is wrong, he shows an amazing ignorance of the power of the signature in art.

As those of you who have been the victims of any of the shows that I have curated, then you know that one of my major pet peeves with artists are the artists who put a huge, or misplaced signature on the front of the work, often marring it. I have actually rejected otherwise decent work from competitions (and sent the feedback to the artists) because I thought that their massive signature destroyed the essence of the work.

But Gopnik is saying (I think) that artists should never sign their work on the front.

When he states that "Some clear marking on a picture's back is all posterity -- and the market -- demands of any artist" he is somewhat wrong (especially with "the market" part, as the huge differences between what a front-signed Picasso brings when compared to an unsigned Picasso (the ones that he gave to one of his wives) and a rear-signed Picasso.

As a gallerist, it has been my experience that collectors not only want a signature, but in fact, if smart enough, they demand it. More often than not, the ones who demand it, want it on the front.

My advice to artists, based on my experience as a gallerist and curator and collector, would be very different from Gopnik.

(1) All artwork should be signed somewhere.

(2) Avoid flamboyant signatures on the front. Knock yourself out on the rear of the piece, but make sure that the signature doesn't "bleed" through the front, as I have seen happen in some photos and also in some paintings.

(3) Nearly all abstract work should be signed on the back (on verso in auction house speak).

(4) You will run into collectors who want a signature on the front. There's a significant psychological connection between art and signatures that Gopnik misses.

(5) In those works where the signature does not affect the composition or "mar" the work, then it's perfectly fine to sign it modestly somewhere where it will not affect the work - the classical area is lower right margin, or if you have a "gallery dressed" painting, sign it on the side.

(6) If you can't figure out where to sign the piece, see rule (1).

A child's toy can outdo oil paints.

No it can't.

Only in the "traditional" eyes of art critics who still wave the fifty-year-old Greenbergian mission to try to kill painting. Face it: it won't happen!

A child's toy to do art is more often than not a gimmick to catch the eye of an art critic trying desperately to always be edgy rather than be objective; it worked in this case.

Save sentiment for greeting cards.

OK, so we agree again. Except for the lines that state: "Art teachers everywhere call these "girl-in-a-room pictures." They try to wean students off them by junior year." As a former art student (University of Washington School of Art graduate), I had never had this experience in my four years in art school, but just in case I called and/or emailed a dozen or so art teachers in the last day or two to see if they knew what the "girl-in-a-room pictures" statement meant - so far the answers have been somewhat amusing (one person thought that they may be John Currin look-alikes), but as far as my very un-scientific poll, there seems to be no "girl-in-a-room pictures" syndrome affecting art schools and no "weaning" of anything other than (in some schools anyway), any technical skill that a student may actually bring to the school as a freshman.

Portrait art shouldn't have to be complacent art.

This last point in Gopnik's list of mostly wrong advice is simply based on (and a re-statement of) this particular art critic's deeply held traditional art criticism belief that art must (it MUST) say something new in order to be good.

So when an artist like Gerhardt Richter comes along and pokes all these traditional art critic beliefs ("painting is dead," "art must say something new in order to be good," etc.) in the eye with his complete disregard of these flawed art criticism axioms, it throws traditional art critics like Gopnik, unable to adapt to a modern art world (where the art, not the critic, nor the criticism, is what carries the day in the end) to a position where:

(a) they can't rip a Richter apart.

(b) they rip the little guys.
"It's the sense of adventure and consuming creative ambition that is missing from this show and that is there, at least as an overarching mission, in most serious contemporary work."
No sir, it's not missing, perhaps you can't see it, because when you came to see this show, your eyes were already shut from your anachronistic beliefs about serious contemporary work.

The Outwin Boochever 2006 Portrait Competition Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, runs through Feb. 18, 2006. See the portraits here.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Weekend Online

The Weekend staff will be online answering your questions tomorrow, Friday, June 30, at at 11AM. Ask them why they have two to three times more theatre and movie coverage than visual arts.

Details here.

The Real (Art) World Opens Tonight

A few days ago I was invited to talk to the student curators participating in Jack Rasmussen’s innovative curator class at American University.

At the same time that I met, talked to and then spoke to the class, I was fortunate enough to not only get inside the focus and purpose of the five student curators, but also received an early peek at the installation process of the show itself, which opens with a gallery talk tonight, Thursday, June 29 at 5PM, immediately followed by an opening party from 6-8PM.

The exhibition, with the most modern youthful title (somewhat borrowed I imagine from MTV’s "Real World" series) of "The Real (Art) World: 5 Curators. 5 Artists. 1 Museum," has the fore mentioned cast of five students in their first curating assignment; the students are: Bernard Birnbaum, Nicole Ferdinando, Meg Ferris, Roxana Martin and Daniela Rutigliano.

The assignment's starting point was somewhat the same for all the students: review artist submissions and proposals and slides sent to the Katzen since it opened its doors a while back, and select an artist for each curator to showcase in the exhibition.

Birnbaum selected Dave D’Orio, Ferdinando selected Marie Ringwald, Ferris selected Jiha Moon (who seems to be everywhere at once these days), Martin picked Genna Watson and Rutigliano picked Ariel Goldberg.

Of the above artists, I was very familiar with Ringwald (a Trawick Prize finalist and an artist whom I included in Seven) and Jiha Moon (a Trawick Prize winner); the others were all new to me.

Meg Ferris passed the first test of my "why did you select blankety blank?" question, as she answered that she had selected Moon based on her visual impressions of Moon’s elegant work and her statement about her work.

When I saw the work, Ferris had already hung it on the wall, and was preparing to add some wall text. We spoke for a while about “textitis,” that fatal disease of most postmodern minimalist art, where the text is often more interesting than the artwork itself, and Ferris seemed to agree that in Moon’s case the artwork should be allowed to carry the exhibition’s focus, rather than text about Moon’s art.

I also asked her about conservation issues, as Moon uses a variety of inks and pigments to create her deceptively complex works, and the longevity of artwork is something that art dealers often worry about, but seems to be generally ignored by museum curators (unless they are acquiring the work for the museum).
Genna Watson
Roxana Martin was busily working on the massive task of installing Genna Watson’s larger than life sculptures, and she was next on my walk-through the exhibit. "I selected Watson because her work spoke to me as soon as I saw it," stated Marin, who clearly identified with Watson’s discernible attempt to deliver a set of powerful messages through her large, organic sculptures.

In the center of the lower floor gallery, Watson has a superb spot for her work, and this exhibition should bring her work much well-deserved visibility.

Martin and I then discussed art and artists who create work specifically aimed at a museum audience (rather than a gallery audience).

In this case, by the sheer size of the sculptures, and their “display needs,” it is clear to me that the artist is aiming to have her work displayed in large public spaces, rather than the more intimate scale of most commercial art galleries.

This was of interest to Martin, who I think had not seen the work from that point of view. It is a thought (I think) that rarely crosses the mind of museum curators.
Marie Ringwald
Next I talked to Nicole Ferdinando, and confessed to her that when I first stepped into the Katzen, even though I am very familiar with Marie Ringwald’s work, I initially thought that the work that first faced me was that of area sculptor Janos Enyedi, a reasonable mistake considering that the work that I am referring to is clearly within the family of faux metal wall constructions of barns and metal sheds that Enyedi has been making for years.

However, as soon as I noticed several of Ringwald’s better-known freestanding sculptures (also sheds in this case) – and was corrected by Rasmussen – I realized that the work was a natural progression for Ringwald’s shared obsession (with Enyedi) for constructed structures. I was also pleased to see the four red pieces that I had selected and exhibited at Seven be part of this show, and shared this curatorial selection with Ferdinando.

I also managed to discover some new (new to me that is) set of elegant prints by this talented artists, and these were my favorite from her diverse canon of works selected by this young curator.

We then all sat down and discussed the whole environment of curating a show, and some of the points that I had earlier pinpointed with Ferris, Martin and Ferdinando resurfaced.
Ariel Goldberg
Like her fellow curators, Bernard Birnbaum and Daniela Rutigliano shared an acute interest in the work of the artist that they selected, although is Rutigliano’s case I got a sense that she was previously familiar with the artist that she selected, Ariel Goldberg, and Goldberg’s photography.

It was very clear to me that what Rasmussen is doing with this class is having an important and lasting effect on these students, and I would dare say a profound footprint on both their artistic development and appreciation of art, and the complicated web of multi-layered work that goes into assembling an exhibition.

This is an important test for these students, and an event more significant development in the art curriculum of American University; this new ingredient that Rasmussen has added to the complicated soup of being the director and curator of this magnificent art museum will continue to grow and develop, and I think will provide an excellent breeding ground not only for new, budding curators, but also for new artists, perhaps for the first time showcased in a museum environment.

Keep them cooking Jack!

"The Real (Art) World: 5 Curators. 5 Artists. 1 Museum" opens tonight with a reception for the curators and the artists at the Katzen Arts Center. The exhibition runs through August 20, 2006.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Standing Stones

I am somewhat of a longtime aficionado of standing stones sites and stone circles, and a new one has been found in the Amazon.

See it here, and see the amazing images from Scotland here.

It was in large part as a result of those photographs and what happened to some of them, that the Fraser Gallery was started in 1996.

Wanna go to an opening tonight?

Artists David Hubbard and jodi are having an opening for a new exhibit located at 901 E Street NW (entrance on 9th Street, NW). The opening is presented by Zenith Gallery for Cambridge Management.

The reception to meet the artists is June 28, 5-8pm and the exhibition runs through July 28, 2006.

The ARTnews 200 Top Collectors

Read it online here.

The list includes Washingtonians Aaron I. Fleischman, Steven Rales, Robert P. Kogod, Jo Carole, Ronald S. Lauder, and my Potomac neighbor Mitchell Rales.

The Mystery of Twittering Machine

As I have been traveling so much lately (and I'm heading off to the Poconos this weekend), I have been trying to catch up with some of the art reviews that the WaPo has done in the last couple of weeks.

And I have noticed an interesting mystery in a recent review.
the missing Klee painting
On Sunday, June 18, 2006, Jessica Dawson reviewed the Paul Klee show at the Phillips Collection.

It always bugs me somewhat when Jessica "uses" the Galleries column to review a museum show that will most likely be reviewed by Gopnik or O'Sullivan anyway - to me she's wasting the precious "Galleries" print space, which I believe its supposed to be focused on galleries, on a museum show.

However, in this review she was writing it for Sunday Arts, I guess subbing in place for the WaPo's Chief Art Critic, who as we all know, only writes about museums, and not galleries.

Read that review here. She writes:
At the Phillips, the Duchampian "Twittering Machine" is on view, as is the anxiously Freudian "Girl With Doll's Pram," where the little girl's breasts are the size of Hindenburgs.
Then, later on I read Michael O'Sullivan's review of the same show, published at few days later on Friday, June 23, 2006. Read O'Sullivan's review here, and he writes:
Oddly enough, one of my favorite paintings, MOMA's "The Twittering Machine," is not on view at the Phillips, although you'll find it in the accompanying catalogue.

Is the painting there or not?

And so I call the Phillips, and the nice PR lady tells me that O'Sullivan is right, and that "The Twittering Machine," although published in the catalog, did not make it to the exhibition. And she's cracking up because it was highlighted in the Dawson review, and although published in the catalog, it is not listed in the checklist for the exhibition.

"Did she actually ---," I begin to ask.

"Come to the exhibition?" interrupts the nice Phillips lady, "Yes, she did... and that's what makes the mention of a piece not in the exhibition even odder."


Update: As usual, Bailey is crazy.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

New Blog

Photographer Greg Wasserstrom has a new blog.

Visit Tubulosity often!

Trawick Prize Finalists

Congrats to the finalists for this year's Trawick Prize.
Christine Buckton-Tillman (Baltimore, MD)

Caryl Burtner (Richmond, VA)

Eric Dyer (Baltimore, MD)

Suzanna Fields (Richmond, VA)

Adam Fowler (Washington, DC)

Kristin Holder (Washington, DC)

Kirsten Kindler (Richmond, VA)

Maxwell MacKenzie (Washington, DC)

Robert Mellor (Chatham, VA)

James Rieck (Baltimore, MD)

Jo Smail (Baltimore, MD)

Molly Springfield (Washington, DC)

Georgianne Stinnett (Richmond, VA)

Jason Zimmerman (Washington, DC)
This year's prize competition was juried by Ashley Kistler, Curator at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond; Jack Rasmussen, Director of the Katzen Arts Center at American University in Washington, D.C. and Gerald Ross, Director of Exhibitions at Maryland Institute College of Art.

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 April 10, 1976 will also be awarded $1,000.

The Trawick Prize was established by local business owner Carol Trawick. Ms. Trawick has served as a community activist for more than 25 years in downtown Bethesda. She is the Chair of the Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District and past Chair of the Bethesda Urban Partnership. Ms. Trawick is the owner of an Information Technology company in Bethesda, Trawick & Associates.

Last year, Jiha Moon formerly from Annandale, VA, was awarded the 2005 "Best in Show" with $10,000; Dean Kessman of Washington, D.C. was named second place and was given $2,000; Denise Tassin of Baltimore, MD was bestowed third place and received $1,000 and the 2005 "Young Artist" award of $1,000 was given to Michele Kong of Baltimore, MD.


Last night was Food and Friends Chef's Best Dinner and Auction Event at the Washington Hilton. There were almost 5000 attendees... and the best restaurants in the city were featured there.

The main event came when during the Live Auction segment, Tim Tate's artwork raised almost $20,000 for Food and Friends.... more than twice as much as any other offering! Tim's piece was two of his Archway panel series.

The winning bidder was the owner of the Crew Club on 14th Street, but Tate also gave the second highest bidder two panels as well... doubling the dollar amount. This is his 6th year of donating to that cause.


"When it comes to nepotism, the best strategy is to avoid it."
- Jessica Dawson advising Jiha Moon here
Mmmm... in the artworld, this is often quite impossible... I would advise: "When it comes to nepotism, the best strategy is to minimize it as much as possible."

In writing about art, selling art, curating art, awarding art grants, seeing art, talking about art, we're all nepotistas to some degree or other. Nearly every curator that we've ever hired to jury an exhibition for us, has brought some nepotism into it and nearly every writer that I've read has exhibited some degree of it.

Critics get to know artists, and art dealers, and curators on a nearly daily basis, and they too, being human, develop nepotism in some degree or other, and become nepotistas perhaps without meaning to do so, or perhaps while minimizing it.

Even advise-giving Dawson.

A few years ago, I asked some of the WaPo's leadership why Dawson never reviewed (the now closed) Fusebox.

I was told that Dawson had recused herself from reviewing Fusebox due to private reasons (I was told "friendship with the owners").

Thus Dawson (I assume) did the right thing with the Post's policy (one exists I assume) in writing/reviewing about friends... good for her (although unfair somewhat for Fusebox, although to make things fair for them, the WaPo then apparently had Blake Gopnik review them a few times while they were open).

But as reported here in 2004, she had no nepotista issue in writing that Fusebox is "sharp and savvy," and has "raised the bar for visual art in Washington," and that their openings are "events to see and be seen at" for the 2004 issue of Timeout DC. In the lead page for the galleries (p.189), she even lists Fusebox under a listing of five galleries selected as "the best galleries." And on page 194 she again highlights Fusebox in a special commentary section where the gallery is highlighted after the following introduction:
"While some DC galleries could be accused - justifiably - of playing it safe, the following stand out from the crowd with their interesting programming and sheer charisma."
I'm not even that fussed that Dawson gave Fusebox some well-deserved comments and well-earned kudos on that issue of Timeout DC, but I am fussed that she's now giving Jiha Moon advise on nepotism instead of just reviewing the show.

In the event that you actually want to read a review of the show, then visit Thinking About Art and read Kirkland's, declared nepotism and all.

Odom and Banks (Continued)

The Odom and Banks controversy has a new voice in the mix, as Virginia Pilot columnist Kerry Dougherty opines on the subject.

Read her opinion and quite a few comments on the subject here.

Also, the Contemporary Art Center of Virginia, which runs the Boardwalk show that awarded $10,000 to Odom, has decided not to take away the cash prize from Odom.
"We've now consulted with a number of Alabama and national folk art galleries and experts," said Cameron Kitchin, executive director of Virginia Beach's Contemporary Art Center of Virginia , which runs the Boardwalk show.

"We have full confidence that the specific piece that won best in show is by Doug Odom's hand and is uniquely Doug Odom's subject matter," Kitchin said on Friday.
I talked to Mr. Kitchin a few days ago while I was in New Mexico, as he called me to explain the decision, and I appreciate his immediate involvement in this issue.

I respect their decision process, which essentially "consulted with a number of Alabama and national folk art galleries and experts," to arrive at the decision that the piece that won the $10K was not a copy of any known Banks' painting.

This decision does not touch on the ethics of copying another artist's style and subject depiction, which is a superb topic for a future discussion panel, as this is the main "beef" that seems to be the main leftover (other than some legal issues between Banks and Odom) from this controversy.
"We have independent confirmation that these poodles did live on Doug's farm," Kitchin said. "Those dogs were never a subject matter in Michael Banks' work."
See the winning artwork here.

Nothing to do with the decision itself, but I find this quote in the article a little disturbing:
"My feeling is, it's no big deal at all," said Ann Oppenhimer, president of the Folk Art Society of America, based in Richmond. "They're not giving the prize on ethics.

"You don't like to see that kind of thing happen,"
Oppenhimer said. "But there are very few things that are original, when you get down to it."
According to the article, Odom "sold 20 to 25 pieces at the Boardwalk. His prices ranged up to $7,000."

Bailey has this letter published in the Virginia Pilot.


Back home to find out that because of storms, power has been down around my neighborhood for a while, and everything in the fridge has defrosted!

Also my laptop finally bit the bucket while in New Mexico.

Loads more later...

Monday, June 26, 2006

Airborne today and heading back home... tons to report on this amazing state.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Art Panel at DCAC

Tonight DCAC is hosting a panel titled: "The role of art historians, curators and critics in the contemporary art scene". The panel starts at 7:30PM and it's free to the public.

Panelists include:

- Joshua Shannon, Assistant Professor of Contemporary Art History & Theory at the University of Maryland.

- Rex Weil, independent curator, artist and art critic covering DC area for Art News magazine.

- Judith Brodie, Curator of modern prints and drawings at the National Gallery of Art

- JW Mahoney, independent curator, artist and art critic covering DC area for Art in America magazine.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Wanna go to an opening tonight?

Eric Finzi opens at Heineman Myers Contemporary Art in Bethesda tonight with a reception for the artist from 6-9PM.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Party this Saturday

I'm in wondrous New Mexico, but from here I wanted to remind all of you about the Washington Glass School's 5th Anniversary this Saturday.

If you've ever been to one of their parties before, you know that they always have tons of incredible glass art, sculpture and jewelry for sale. This year they have more art to move than you have ever seen!

And this year they arec ombining it with an Artist's Resource Fair. Here's a chance to get your artwork photographed, discuss what your metal work needs are, and to consult with a art web page designer all in one place!

First, Pete Duvall will be set up to photograph your artwork at a workshop rate of $20/2-D and $30 3-D (less for digital) just for this day. He has photographed many artists work in the region and seriously does museum quality work. Bring as many pieces as you want!

Next, George Atherton with the Potomac Area Blacksmiths will be there to discuss what metal needs you might have. If you need metal frames or holders for your glass or artwork... this is your chance.

Also, Arlington Arts Center will have a booth there for "Professional Development and Exhibition Resources." Representatives from the AAC will be on hand to share with you information on regional exhibition opportunities, professional development workshops, and press information.

Finally, Kirk Waldroff, an artist and Web designer (and rock star) will be here to consult with you on improving your web presence or to help you design your pages.

Date : June 24th from 1 to 5pm
Tuition : Free to attend!!!
Location : The Washington Glass School at the Mt. Rainier Studio

Airborne today and heading to New Mexico... more later.

Wanna go to an opening tonight?

"Cut" by Bradley McCallum & Jacqueline Tarry, opens at Conner Contemporary tonigt with an opening reception from 6-8 pm.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

More on the Odom and Banks Controversy

Teresa Annas, writing for the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk pens a superb article that goes to the point of the "copying" issue between naive artist Michael Banks and his former framer Doug Odom. Read the Annas article here and my posting on the same issue here.

By the way, according to Banks' art dealer, she sold 22 of his paintings during last week's Affordable Art Fair in NYC. Their space was 10 feet from ours and it was humming, so I believe her.

The painting on the left is done by Doug Odom. The one on the right is by Michael Banks - Image courtesy Virginian-Pilot

The painting on the left is done by Doug Odom. The one on the right is by Michael Banks.

Update: The Right Reverend chimes in.


I'll be at American University today as guest lecturer for their Curatorial Practice class (ARTS 596-N01).

More later...


Hoity toity party last night at the new and improved (and renamed) Smithsonian American Art Museum, which will soon re-open to the public. There will be a series of parties receptions to celebrate the reopening of this building after extensive renovations.

However, the "happening" party was actually almost across the street from SAAM at Tim Tate's pad, as several of the artists who live in that building on G Street were having a summer solstice bash and a couple of the artsy apartments were packed with artists, gallerists, curators and food and drinks.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Rousseau on Bethesda Painting Awards

Dr. Claudia Rousseau reviews Joe White and Renee Butler at Bethesda’s Osuna Gallery and also reviews our current exhibition of the Bethesda Painting Awards.

Read the review in The Gazette here.

Opportunity for Artists

Deadline: Jul 01, 2006

Seeking proposals from artists, groups of artists, arts organizations and curators for exhibition in Marfa, Texas in Oct 2006. No slides; no returns. Please send 1-page written explanation of the premise of exhibition, names and resumes of all participants, images of artists' work on non-returnable CD-ROM/printed images from invitations, brochures etc. to:

A Marfa Moment
The Marfa Studio of Arts
Box 1189, Marfa TX 79843

Art Panel at DCAC

On Sunday, June 25th, DCAC is hosting a panel titled: "The role of art historians, curators and critics in the contemporary art scene". The panel starts at 7:30PM and it's free to the public.

Panelists include:

- Joshua Shannon, Assistant Professor of Contemporary Art History & Theory at the University of Maryland.

- Rex Weil, independent curator, artist and art critic covering DC area for Art News magazine.

- Judith Brodie, Curator of modern prints and drawings at the National Gallery of Art

- JW Mahoney, independent curator, artist and art critic covering DC area for Art in America magazine.

New Gallery

A new art gallery has just opened in Shaw: Long View Gallery. The gallery is interested in building up a community in Shaw and bringing on local artists.

The gallery's director is Bill Smith and more details about this new space can be read online here.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Best of...

The 48 Hour Film Project's "Best of...." with films about Tim Tate: Glass Sculptor Extraordinaire will show at the Warehouse Theater on 7th St. this Thursday, June 22nd starting at 7:00 pm, and it is free.

Details here.


To the CP's art critic Jeffry Cudlin, who won the 3rd place award in the 2006 AltWeekly Awards.

Note that Cudlin came in third after two... uh... film critics -- not that movie criticism is easier to do than visual arts criticism... right...

Online Arts Sales Workshop

Maryland Art Place (MAP) is hosting a workshop given in partnership with the Maryland Lawyers for the Arts on Saturday, June 24 th at 1pm.

Cynthia B. Sanders Esq., from Astrachan Gunst Thomas, will address ways artists can protect themselves when conducting online art sales and other issues relevant to artists’ legal concerns. The talk will be followed by a question and answer session. Contact MAP for more information.

Maryland Art Place
8 Market Place, Suite 100
Baltimore, Maryland 21202

$10,000 Art Prize Controversy

When is copying another artist's style and imagery beyond inspiration and "in the style of..."?

Perhaps when art jurors award a $10,000 art prize to the alleged copy cat?

Michael Banks

At the Affordable Art Fair last weekend, one of our neighbors was Marcia Weber who was displaying the work of Michael Banks and selling it quite impressively thoughout the weekend (including a piece to Bryant Gumbel).

Since they were next to us at the Fair, we became quite familiar with Banks' work and he even came by and chatted for a while with Catriona Fraser.

And yesterday, an artist who participated in the 51st Annual Boardwalk Art Show in Virginia Beach was talking to Catriona about the work of Doug Odom, the Alabama artist who had been awarded the $10,000 Best of Show prize at that event.

She described the work, and once Catriona saw the artwork via this Virginia Pilot article and studied the imagery of the artwork itself, it immediately dawned on her that the award winner's artwork was essentially very similar to Michael Banks' work.

And thus the question: Should an artist whose work is essentially done is a close copy style of another, better known artist, be awarded a $10,000 prize?

Especially since the jurors apparently praised the originality and naive style of the award-winning work.

The Plot Thickens

And now I am told that Odom used to be Banks' framer, and is thus quite familiar with Banks' work.

And most recently Odom's "art" used to be in making birdhouses, until he started painting the Banks-style paintings.


In my opinion, while it may not be illegal to copy another artist's style, in this case it is certainly unethical, especially since the copier has received a major art prize based, in part, on originality and style.

Furthermore, I think that the Contemporary Art Center of Virginia, which is the institution which awards the prize, should recall the award and present it to the second place winner, whoever that artist may be.

Monday, June 19, 2006

AAF Full Report

We attended our first Affordable Art Fair in New York City the last four days and although it was very hard work, it paid off handsomely. Herewith a full blow by blow:


4:00 AM - Wake up, shower and shave and prepare to drive van full of artwork to New York.

5:15 AM - On the road, and driving the gallery van full of Lida Moser, Sandra Ramos, Andrzej Pluta, Marta Maria Perez Bravo, David FeBland, and Maxwell MacKenzie work.

9:00 AM - I'm at the entrance to the Holland Tunnel, as by some weird warp of time I've actually made it this far in less than four hours.

10:00 AM - Takes one hour to cross the tunnel.

10:05 AM - Arrive at David FeBland's studio. I'm an hour early, so I call David to let him know that I'm outside his studio on Greenwich Street, but an hour early. David's at his doctor's appointment. "I'll be there in an hour," he says.

11:45 AM - FeBland arrives, and we load his work and drive to the AAF at the Metropolitan Pavillion on 18th Street.

12:15 PM - Arrive at AAF and found a primo parking spot right across the street from the entrance! Our space is about ten feet from Richmond's ADA Gallery and 25 feet from DC's Curator's Office.
Curator's Office

12:30 PM - Begin unloading artwork; everyone else is pretty much already set up.

2:00 PM - I get a massive Pastrami sandwich and a Diet Coke for $7 at a nearby deli.

3:00 PM - Camera crew asks if we can please stop hammering while they film around us.

3:17 PM - I find a parking ticket on my van as my welcome to NY; noticed that all other unloading vans and trucks are also ticketed for parking in a loading zone.

4:00 PM - We're pretty much done with the hanging and display and the show opens to the press. Tons (I mean tons) of people with "Press" badges begin crawling all over the place taking notes; didn't run into any NYC art bloggers, although bloggers were accredited as press (as they should be).

6:00 PM - Doors open to preview for collectors, and the place packs right away; open (and free) bar(s) at this point and I suck on a brew and grab another one for the booth.

6:30 PM - Bryant Gumbel and lady friend come by and admire the work of New York painter David FeBland. He says that he'll come back.

7:00 PM - Christie's photography curator comes in, with Lida Moser in tow. We discuss all the amazing stories that Lida has about the New York art scene from the 50s through the 80s. Magically several art dealers and other curators appear in our booth to say hello to the Christie's curator. She and her partner give us an amazing idea for Lida Moser's next exhibition.

8:00 PM - We've sold several thousand dollars' worth of artwork, and by now Gumbel has returned four times to stare and ponder a $4,200 original oil by FeBland.

8:01 PM - Gumbel apparently decides that (either) the FeBland is too pricey for his budget or his taste, and then acquires a lesser-priced art of naive style piece from our neighbor gallery.

9:00 - One last minute sale of a Sandra Ramos digital print.

9:30 PM - Drive to the Marcel Hotel in a terrifying dance with NYC cabs as I try to make my way to 24th Street according to the "directions" of MapQuest.

10:15 PM - Forty-five minutes to drive 1.44 miles.

10:30 PM - As if the $200 for a tiny hotel room is not enough, I am informed that vans are an extra $10 a day parking for a total of $85 parking bill.

11:00 PM - I am exhausted and running on fumes but starving, so we go for a stroll along 3rd Avenue looking for a place to eat.

11:19 PM - 100 great eating places later we end up in a great Vietnamese joint with the unusual name of Lannam.

12:30 PM - After a walk through the packed streets of 3rd Avenue, I finally hit the sack in the postage sized room of the Marcel Hotel.


9:00 AM - Up and about and walk to the Met Pavillion.

10:00 - Breakfast of lox and coffee.

11:00 AM - At AAF to discover that the fair opens to the public at noon; wasted an extra hour of possible sleep!

2:00 PM - A couple begins a near marital spat as they argue over which three FeBland paintings they like best. It's their third visit during the day - they finally walk away in separate directions.

3:00 PM - The couple is back (apparently having decided and made up). She steps into the booth, he's a few feet behind her. She glances back at him. "So, which ones do you like?" she asks. He points to the same three paintings that they have been arguing for a couple of hours. "Should we get them?" she asks, looking back at him. "Just get them," he answers. She looks back at him anxiously, even I can tell that she's just wanting him to step next to her and be "there." He notices something in her look and asks, "Which ones do you like?" She looks at the display again and agrees with him. "I like those three as well." Now I'm thinking "sale made." She looks back at him, as I approach the wall to remove the first of the three paintings. "So, get those three?" she asks again. His cell phone rings and he answers it and begins to walk away. She rolls her eyes, yells something at him and follows him in a huff calling him names.

5:00 PM - A couple of good sales of two lifetime silver gelatin photos by Lida Moser are carrying the day so far. The crowds are fairly good and constant.

6:00 PM - Crowds thicken; the London gallery next to us is either doing gangbusters or rotating the work on their walls every hour.

7:00 PM - A man who had loved FeBland's work on the Thursday night preview and who wanted his wife to see it (to see if she liked him as well) returns with the wife in tow. She glances at the work and says "I don't like it." I look at her puzzled, as she has actually just glanced at it for a second. She notices and as if to offer an explanation tells me that "we always come to the art fairs, but we never buy anything because we can never agree on anything." The husband sighs, and I am sure prepares to dislike whatever she picks next.

8:00 PM - Fair ends.

10:00 - Another great spot to dine on 3rd Avenue - this time at Choice Restaurant. I order grilled shark from a nervous new waitress. She comes back and asks how I want it cooked. Never having been asked this before for seafood, I respond that I want it "flaky." She says that the computer is asking her if I want it rare, medium, etc. Even more puzzled I say "medium."

10:20 PM - I get a medium cooked steak (the other special). I inform the busboy that I had ordered shark. In Farsi he tries to communicate with me. The manager is there in a New York second and wants to know what the problem is. I tell him and he apologizes and tells me that she's a new waitress and that she made a mistake on entering the dish. I tell him that I'll take the steak and that she shouldn't get in trouble as she's new. He says "don't worry," and tells me that the shark will be there in 10 minutes, and that drinks are on the house.

10:35 PM - Two beers and ten minutes later a huge piece of really nice shark arrives. The food is excellent!

11:00 PM - Sated (and a little drunk) - I leave the waitress a really good tip.

11:45 PM - In bed, thrashed and full (bad idea).


9:00 AM - Up and it - my feet are killing me; head OK.

10:30 AM - Have walked from hotel to AAF and sit down to watch a little Word Cup at the New York deli and have a bagel and lox again for breakfast; yummy.

11:00 AM - AAF opens to the public and good crowds begin to come in immediately.

2:00 PM - The director of a major Los Angeles gallery comes by and discusses representing the work of David FeBland in Los Angeles.

4:00 PM - A NYC photography collector who has acquired several photos from us through drops by to pick up some work that he had adquired before and in the visit also buys a few Lida Moser vintage photos and also closes a sale that we've been working on for two years for a $7,000 Joyce Tenneson dyptich.
ADA Gallery

5:00 PM - Richmond's ADA Gallery seems to be doing gangbusters and selling quite well. The Brits next to us continue to sell or rotate work.

6:00 PM - Strong sales day, with more Lida Moser sales, as well as a major Sandra Ramos piece.

7:00 PM - We sell a FeBland painting to a collector near the very rare top of the 100 most influential people in the world in art. A couple of other art dealers magically appear as we're closing the sale to introduce themselves to the collector. They later inform me who this Ubercollector is, although the collector's spouse had done a pretty good job of filling me in already, as well as telling me that "the most important event that happened to your gallery in this fair is not the sales, but the fact that you have placed this painting in this collection and home; you'll see what happens now." OK, let's see.

8:00 PM - Fair closes for the day - good sales.

10:00 PM - Excellent pulpo at an Italian restaurant on 3rd Avenue.

12:00 PM - Out.


6:00 AM - As much as I hate it, I get up super early in order to find a good parking spot at the Met Pavillion, as we will be loading the van at the end of today's last day. I drive to 18th Street and find a spot right in front of the door.

8:00 AM - It's already in the 90's in New York and the streets are nonetheless packed with people as I have breakfast and watch the World Cup on TV. The Central American deli guys tell me that the US got ripped off in their game versus Italy.

10:00 AM - I have a good, long chat with an Israeli art dealer who's having a slow fair. She tells me that her neighbor has only sold $1,000 in the first three days, and that last year the same gallery sold $40,000 at AAF.

11:00 AM - AAF opens for its final day - once again, good crowds come in.

2:00 PM - We've spent nearly two hours working with a young couple who wants to buy some Maxwell MacKenzie photographs - they're having a very difficult time deciding what to get.

4:00 PM - Nearly four hours later, the couple buys two MacKenzie's.

4:15 PM - A small child knocks a sculpture down in the ADA Gallery space. The parents (who had not been keeping an eye on their child) berate and yell at the child instead of immediately apologizing to the gallery and offering to pay for damages. Fortunately, the sculpture is minimally damaged and should easily be able to be fixed... still.

5:00 PM - A major New York City gallerist drops by and buys a large painting from ADA Gallery.

6:00 PM - Time to close, pack up and leave. And then a lady wearing a press badge comes in and wants to buy a Marta Maria Perez Bravo photograph. As I am closing the sale I notice that the photo has a tiny dimple. I unframe the photo to examine it and see if it can be repaired. It can't, but if reframed it can be hidden without the affecting the integrity of the image. I offer her (since it's the last one) a generous discount if she still wants to keep it, and she decides to keep the photo. By now it's almost 6:45PM, but we make one last minute sale.

7:00 PM - Begin loading van - it's super hot and muggy in NYC.

8:00 PM - All packed and ready to go, but I have to drop David FeBland off at his studio and pick up two large paintings for his upcoming solo with Fraser Gallery later this year.

9:00 PM - On the New Jersey Turnpike and heading home. The fair has been a terrific (but hard) success.

12:30 PM - Home.

I'm back!

Back from NYC - full Affordable Art Fair report coming in a few minutes!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

What the flag?

Today the WaPo's Chief Art Critic reviews... ah... the flag.

And the blogsphere reacts; Bailey writes: "And so today the Washington Post’s chief art critic locks himself inside his 60s-era party pad, turns on his lava lamp, raises the volume on his scratchy Hendrix album, fires up his liberal hippie bong and connects the stars and bars for us to American art." Read the whole post here.

And Snarky Bastards writes: "Now Gopnik is not an ignorant man. In other parts of the piece, he mentions, by name, the Union Jack. But in this graph, he treats our red, white, and blue color scheme as something outlandish, created ex nihilo by madmen." Read the whole post here.

Ashe Tori simply says: "Don't wear the flag. It'll make you look fat." Read her post here.

Update: Others chime in:

More links here.


Over at ArtDC, MOCA's David Quammen defends MOCA DC, which has apparently been accused by someone of being a vanity space.

Read it here.

Art Teacher to be Fired Over Nude Photos

Of herself.
Austin ISD wants to fire an Austin High School teacher over nude photos posted on the Internet.

The AISD school board Monday unanimously decided to begin the termination process for Tamara Hoover, who teaches art. The board said Hoover violated the terms of her employment contract.

Hoover has been on paid administrative leave since May 19 after school officials found out about the images.

She defended her actions in a blog by saying that the pictures are not pornography but "artistic photography."
Full article here.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Lack of extreme posting mostly due to the fact that I've been super busy preparing for the Affordable Art Fair in New York this coming Thursday through Sunday.

Tons of framing, plus cataloguing over 500 Lida Moser vintage and lifetime photos leave very little time.

On the other hand, I will take the laptop to NYC and will be doing some live blogging from AAF (if they have wireless in the Metropolitan Pavillion that is).

Monday, June 12, 2006

Roberge to leave

The Washington City Paper's Arts Editor, Leonard Roberge, will soon be leaving his job as Arts Editor for the CP to pursue a variety of private artistic issues.

Roberge will be missed sorely, as he was a key part of the CP's increased arts coverage while he was in charge of the cultural side of the free weekly.

Fair winds and following seas and we hope that your replacement will continue what you started!

Sneaked through

The person at the WaPo whose job it is to ensure that as little as possible visual art reviews take place must have been sick today, as there's an art column in the newspaper today! A Monday!

John Kelly's Washington discusses and delivers a really nice piece on Jeff Wilson at the Ellipse Art Center -- curated by Cynthia Connelly. Read it here.

Sunday, June 11, 2006


Today I'm doing the seminar for artists at the Warehouse.

Details here.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Bethesda Artists Markets

Today is the Bethesda Artist Market.

Bethesda Artist Markets are one-day events featuring 30 local and regional artists in the Bethesda Place Plaza.

It's on till 5PM. Directions here.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Bethesda Painting Prize Winners

$10,000 awarded to the Bethesda Painting Award winner! (See bottom of posting for award winners if you have no patience).

Nine painters had been selected as finalists for the Bethesda Painting Awards, a juried competition and exhibition produced by the Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District. More than 200 artists from Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. submitted work to the second annual competition created to exclusively honor painters. The work of the nine finalists is now display at the Fraser Gallery through July 12, 2006.

The top prize winners were announced and honored on Wednesday, at a private press event held at the Fraser Gallery. The Best in Show winner was awarded $10,000, second place was honored with $2,000 and third place was awarded $1,000.

The nine artists selected as finalists are:

Paul Ellis, Washington, D.C.
Michael Farrell, Bethesda, MD
Haley Hasler, Charlottesville, VA
Scott Hutchison, Arlington, VA
Megan Marlatt, Orange, VA
Phyllis Plattner, Bethesda, MD
James Rieck, Baltimore, MD
Tony Shore, Joppa, MD
Andrew Wodzianski, Washington, D.C.

Entries were 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).

- Barry Nemett, Chair of the Painting Department at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA).

Catriona Fraser, director of the Fraser Gallery, is the non-voting Chair of the Bethesda Painting Awards.

The Bethesda Painting Awards were established by Carol Trawick in 2005 and she 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 25 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: Bethesda Contemporary Art Awards. Ms. Trawick is the owner of an Information Technology company in Bethesda, Trawick & Associates.

A public opening will be held tonight, Friday, June 9, 2006 from 6 – 9pm in conjunction with the Bethesda Art Walk.

As tonight is the second Friday of the month, it is thus the Bethesda Art Walk with 13 participating venues and with free guided tours.


Tony Shore (who teaches at MICA) of Baltimore, MD was awarded the Best in Show prize of $10,000.

James Rieck of Baltimore, MD (who I think teaches at the Corcoran) was named Second Place and received $2,000.

Scott Hutchison of Arlington, VA (who teaches at George Washington University) was honored with Third Place and was given $1,000.

See ya there!

Weekend Online

The staff of the WaPo's Weekend is again online at 11AM and discussing their coverage and answering your questions.

Details and a way to ask questions here.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

No Tolls on the Internet

Congress is about to cast a very important and historic vote on the future of the Internet. The vote will decide whether the Internet remains a free and open or instead becomes the property of cable and phone companies.

Read the details here and then contact your elected representative.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Kirkland on Compelled II

Thinking About Art reviews our last show (Compelled by Content II). Read the review here.

If you don't get it...

I guess it takes a thousand... this is from the last Weekend live online chat last Friday:
Arlington, Va.: For several weeks now when questioned about the sparse arts coverage you guys have talked about giving equal coverage across the board and meeting demand. You say that you're listening to us asking for more reviews of our local galleries. You also say that everyone wants more coverage of movies, theatre, music, etc.

My question is this: where are all of those people in these chat sessions? You are asked repeatedly about providing more art coverage but I have yet to see one comment asking for more music reviews or theater reviews, etc.

Something doesn't jive about this. Could you please really address the issue instead of talking more about this so-called demand for more coverage across the board and lack of print space? O'Sullivan is an asset to our area but he can't do it all himself.

Joyce Jones: Thanks for joining our chat. Our first chat had lots of questions about our "sparse" dance coverage. We have many chatters who come to our chats, fortunately, and considering that this is only our fifth week, I hope the numbers will grow exponentially. Maybe when we get 1,000 questions a week, I'll consider the makeup of the questioners to be statistically significant (sorry, i majored in economics, minored in art).

Our mission is to cover entertainment. That's a lot. We take our mission very seriously and we try to give a representative sample of the best the area has to offer, while being geographically representative and keeping in mind that we have a broad readership. We are not a guide to the galleries. But we do take the galleries seriously and Michael does a great job of covering all of the arts. But, yes, he is one person. (Though I'm working on cloning him.)

You may want to focus on other venues within the paper when pressing for more gallery coverage, perhaps the Arts section or even the Extras, which often can give good space to venues within their area.
What Arts Section? Did she mean the one that was renamed Style section about 15 years ago? (It used to be called the Arts Section) or did she mean the Sunday Arts (which has done about four gallery reviews in the last couple of years - and then most of those were done on one gallery which could not be reviewed by Style due to conflict of interests on the part of the reviewer - and thus the Sunday Arts review "make-up" review.

The next Weekend online session is this coming Friday. You can submit your questions here.


I'm hearing good things about the current Kirk Waldroff exhibition at Washington Printmakers Gallery which opened last Friday.

Details here.


To DC area artist Chawky Frenn (represented by us), who is currently in Lebanon where he delivered a lecture at The American University of Beirut recently, and who has been selected to participate in a major museum show at the Sursok Museum in Beirut in September and who will also be delivering a lecture (arranged by Alan Feltus) at the American school in Tuscany in his way back to George Mason University, where Frenn is a member of the art faculty.


Deadline: June 12, 2006

This NEA grant offers funding for projects that help children and youth acquire appreciation, knowledge, and understanding of and skills in the arts. Projects must provide participatory learning and engagement of students with skilled artists, teachers, and excellent art, and ensure the application of national, state, or local arts education standards. Maximum Award: $5,000-$150,000. Eligibility: school-based or community-based projects.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Boot Camp for Artists

On Sunday, June 11, 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, June 11, 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 or via email at There are a few spots left!

Monday, June 05, 2006


To my good friend Jeffry Cudlin from the Washington City Paper, who has been nominated for the Association of Alternative NewsWeeklies Awards (for art criticism).

Bethesda Art Walk

This next Friday, June 9, is the second Friday of the month and thus it's the Bethesda Art Walk with 13 participating venues and with free guided tours.

We will host the finalists for the $14,000 Bethesda Painting Award Prizes. There will be an opening reception for the finalists at the Fraser Gallery from 6-9PM.

See the finalists here.

See ya there!

At Nevin Kelly

Two really good DC area artists, Sondra N. Arkin and Mary Beth Ramsey open at the Nevin Kelly Gallery this coming Thursday with an opening reception from 6-9PM.

Tape Dude in New York City

Mark Jenkins just keeps getting better and bolder. Check out his latest New York City project here.


I feel like I've been driving for years! I've just arrived in Norfolk for a meeting. Tons of stuff to discuss and post.

Meanwhile have fun with hotel art.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Kevin MacDonald (1946-2006)

Several of you have sent me emails to let me know that Washington area artist Kevin MacDonald passed away at 7:07 last night at Casey House Hospice in Derwood. He had been battling cancer for the last two years.

This is a significant loss to our area's art community of a very talented and respected artist and an exceptionally wonderful and decent human being.

Tate in the WaPo

While I was gone (I'm still gone actually... but heading back) to Colgate, the WaPo's Rachel Beckman had this piece on Tim Tate and the 48 Hour Film Project.

Friday, June 02, 2006

WaPo's Weekend Staff Online

I'm on the road... but keep the pressure up and ask good, intelligent questions!

The WaPo's Weekend staffers are online at 11AM today answering questions about Weekend and its coverage.

You can email your question to them here.

More arts coverage!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

On the road...

Heading out later today to Colgate for a college reunion... more later.

1st Fridays

Tomorrow is the first Friday of June and thus usually time for the openings and extended hours of the Dupont Circle area galleries. Openings are generally from 6-8PM, but make sure to check their websites for the correct times.

Also on Friday, Irvine Contemporary and Warehouse Gallery have Charbel Ackermann's "The New Geometry" and "Monument2", a Special Installation at The Warehouse Gallery, opening with a reception for the artist on Friday June 2, 5:00-7:00 at The Gallery at The Warehouse. There's also an artist's talk and afternoon reception on Saturday, June 3rd, 2:00-4:00 pm, also at The Gallery at the Warehouse.

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