Saturday, September 15, 2007

In the Flesh

By Shauna Lee Lange

As some claim, if art is often about what's beautiful, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then art also has to be about what's unattractive, thought-provoking, downright shocking, and deeply disturbing.

It's the piece, much like the infamous Piss Christ, which makes you wonder, "Why would someone do that?"

John C. Manion of Iowa City, Iowa recently submitted such a piece to a juried competition of contemporary works. Manion's piece is titled Toward The Ideal, comes with a price tag of $8,000 and is one of over 500 entries submitted to In The Flesh, currently on exhibit at the Target Gallery in Old Town Alexandria.

Modeled clay and cast silicone (8" x 18.5" x 28.5") are formed to sculpt a naked baby, expressionless and totally immersed in rather believable bathtub water.

Toward The Ideal by John C. Manion
Long pause.


Wait. Did I see that correctly? I mean, who thinks these things? And who spends time, energy, and materials on producing a work like this? Reeling, I remembered that maybe the manifestation of the subconscious mind, the repressed, and the taboo is cathartic in it's own right.

It's not all Manion's fault. I recently gave birth to my son who is now about the size and proportion of the submerged infant. No unsuspecting mother wishes to stumble upon yet more violence involving children. How can Manion know that this scene is what all mothers deeply fear - there are people out there who think and do very bad things and sometimes, we are powerless.

I tell you, my little guy just loves the water. When we're at the pool, we wonder, is swimming for him what it was like to be back in the womb? This warm, weightless, free floating experience -- and what if we could go through all of life like that? What if there's nothing more honest?

We're flesh. Bland flesh that needs to be washed. Flesh that is dangerously close to innumerable forces that could lead to demise. Flesh left best, perhaps, in an innocent and unknowing world, albeit the tub!

Some collectors seek pieces that are so outrageously in your face with the power to transport the viewer. In these, the see-er has a predictable experience trajectory- shock, numbness, cavalier disinterest. The viewer is relieved from a secret thought prison. That is credited directly to the artist who was brave enough to risk saying yeah, you're not the only one who has ever thought that.

I know a fellow who owns a piece so vile and yet, over time, he has come to regard it as high humor.

Laugh if you must, but look. In the Flesh is about what we all seek: meaning. Maybe Manion is asking, what does immersion of the flesh, immersion in water, in a work, in your own life and immediate paradigm, or immersion in art really mean to you?

In The Flesh, juried by AU Professor Tim Doud is on exhibition until October 13, 2007.

Friday, September 14, 2007


To DC area art wunderkind Jenny Davis, whose work we've been following since she was 13 years old, and who is currently in Art school and whose work and a profile of her will appear in next month's American Watercolor magazine.

New (virtual) gallery

Jessica Porter is launching Raandesk Gallery of Art a virtual gallery and art consultation biz in DC (among other places) and it starts with an art event next week.

The "Emergence Art Party" is sponsored by Raandesk Gallery of Art and there are two events over two nights (Thursday & Friday next week). The events are free with lots of contemporary art, including work by DC local Jeff Huntington.

The event will be in a very, very new and very empty condo in the Flats at Union Row (14th & V Streets, NW, just off U). Thursday is an RSVP-required preview (RSVP required, wine & cheese, limited attendance, et al) and Friday is a general opening for anyone and everyone.

Details here.

Bethesda Art Walk today

Today is the second Friday of the month and thus its time for the Bethesda Art Walk with 13 participating venues and with free guided tours.

My picks are Michael Janis at Neptune Gallery, Michael Fitts at Fraser Gallery and Mexican artist Gerardo Bravo Garcia at Heineman Myers.

And of course the Trawick Prize finalists at Creative Partners Gallery!

Baltimore opening

Tonight, Friday, September 14th is the opening reception for DC artist Michael Enn Sirvet's "Restructuralist Sculpture" solo show at the Touchet Gallery in Baltimore.

The reception is from 6 to 9 p.m. and the gallery is located on the corner of Fleet and S. Ann Streets in Fells Point, Baltimore.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

New Benjamin

A new 9-foot bronze sculpture of Benjamin Franklin is to be dedicated at 4th and Arch Streets at 10 a.m. on Oct. 5 by the city of Philadelphia.

The work is by Philly sculptor James Peniston, and it incorporates more than 1,000 keys that Peniston collected while giving talks at local elementary schools about Franklin. The schoolchildren also donated nearly 1.5 million pennies to help fund "Keys To Community," which also received funding from the city and the Philadelphia Fire Department.

More details here.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Olga Viso to leave the Hirshhorn

Came home tonight to find an email from yesterday from Hirshhorn director and my good friend Olga Viso announcing that she will soon be leaving as director of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in order to take over the reigns of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.

And today Carol Vogel in the New York Times has a very readable story on Viso and the move to Minneapolis:

"After a six-month international search, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis said yesterday that it had appointed Olga Viso, director of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, as its new director.

Ms. Viso, who is to assume the post in January, succeeds Kathy Halbreich, who has led the Walker for 16 years and is retiring in November."
Viso has been at the Hirshhorn for over a decade, working her way up the ranks to her current position. In a story in the WaPo, Blake Gopnik writes:
During her 12 years at the Hirshhorn, first in various curatorial positions, then for two years as deputy director under Ned Rifkin and finally as director, she has had a notable commitment to experimental, even difficult, contemporary art...

Coming seasons at the Hirshhorn, planned during her tenure, are notable for their lack of easy crowd-pleasers and for a commitment to investigations of some central issues in contemporary art...

Viso's time as director coincided with a particularly troubled period in Smithsonian history, culminating in an accounting scandal that led to the resignation of Smithsonian Secretary Lawrence Small in March. Viso feels she was able to keep momentum going and morale strong at the Hirshhorn "despite the troubles that the Smithsonian has faced." Brougher said she kept the Hirshhorn staff from feeling the effects of those "storms."
Olga Viso's move is a loss for the Hirshhorn and also for Washington, and a terrific coup and brilliant move for the Walker.

Olga Viso Viso not only steered the Hirshhorn confidently during the turbulent period described by Gopnik, but also took the Hirshhorn to a new level in the arena of contemporary art, bringing to Washington world-class artists and exhibitions that brought the nation's capital back into the forefront of the contemporary art dialogue.

And during her period as curator for the museum, she not only brought us great exhibitions such as the long-awaited retrospective of Cuban American artist Ana Mendieta, but also became the first Hirshhorn curator and director to begin looking to the museum's own backyard for Washington area artists, and the first museum director to actually make an effort to visit local galleries and meet local gallerists and artists.

She leaves behind a city brimming with new art galleries opening every other month and joining established and emerging art spaces, and a vibrant, ever-changing art scene full of talented artists, a few barely emerging collectors, a set of terrific museums and in spite of a moribund paper press, a savvy (mostly online) art press.

And she will bring to chilly Minneapolis not only an international reputation and flair, and an enviable work ethic and vision, but also the deep elegance, presence and good looks that come from her solid Cuban genes.

Awright, so I am a little prejudiced in the last few words.

We will miss you Olga.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Lest We Forget

"Studio View, 9/11"
Oil on Canvas c. 9/11/2001 by David FeBland

Trouble in Lynchburg

Yesterday I noticed this post in Jeffry Cudlin's blog and today I received the massive news release below, which I've decided to post here, rather than edit it, as it tells a fairly complete story from the side doing the complaining:

Suit Filed to Prevent Randolph College from Selling Valuable Donated Art Collection

Sale Would Violate Donor Intent, Violate Code of Ethics, Sidestep the College’s Financial Problems, and Further Damage Enrollment

Lynchburg, VA – Eleven “interveners” asked a Virginia court today to stop Randolph College’s unethical and unnecessary attempt to sell off portions of its nationally recognized American art collection.

The works at issue were originally purchased by Randolph-Macon Woman’s College (R-MWC) with assets from the trust of Louise Jordan Smith, the college’s first art professor. Randolph-Macon Woman’s College became Randolph College this year when it became coed, a controversial action being challenged in court by students, donors and alumnae.

Named as interveners in the new legal challenge, outlined in a “Memorandum in Support of Motion for Leave to Intervene,” are Louise Jordan Smith’s heirs, several college donors, alumnae, and students, the former head of the college’s Museum Studies program, the former head of the Maier Museum, where the collection is housed, and several other interested parties. They are:

• Frances Pendleton Elliott and Eleanor Pendleton Monahan: Mrs. Elliott and Mrs. Monahan, her sister, are believed to be Louise Jordan Smith’s only living relatives. Miss Smith was their mother’s first cousin.
• Margaret Williams and Amanda Sandos: Ms. Williams and Ms. Sandos are both seniors and art majors at the college.
• Ellen Agnew: Ms. Agnew worked at the Maier Museum for 23 years as Curator, Associate Director and Director, and is an alumna of Randolph-Macon Woman’s College. She resigned earlier this year over the college’s actions in this matter.
• Laura Katzman: Dr. Katzman served as the Director of the Museum Studies Program and Professor of Art at the college from 1995-2007. She resigned earlier this year over the college’s actions in this matter.
• Sandra and Paul Whitehead. Mr. and Mrs. Whitehead are financial supporters of and frequent visitors to the Maier Museum. In particular, Mr. Whitehead donated significant funds to the museum in 1997 to help it purchase an Andrew Wyeth painting in honor of his wife. (The Whiteheads have said they will make no additional donations to the college unless the litigation is resolved favorably.)
• Roberta Scrivener. Ms. Scrivener is a Lynchburg, Va. public school teacher who believes her ability to teach art to her children will be irreparably harmed if the Smith Art is sold and Maier Museum collection broken up.
• Roy Clinton “Bud” Johns. Mr. Johns’ and his wife have made substantial contributions to the college of both money and art. (He also has said he will make no additional contributions and will remove the college from his will if it continues its improper efforts to break up the valuable collection.)
• Anne Adams Robertson Massie. A distinguished artist in her own right, Ms. Massie is a Lynchburg native, a Randolph-Macon Woman’s College alumna, a member of the Maier Museum Advisory Board, a regular and substantial donor to the Museum, a former Museum docent, and a Fellow and Trustee of the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.

The 36 paintings acquired with Smith Trust funds include some of the best-known works in the college’s Maier Museum of Art collection. The 3,400 piece collection is considered one of the finest college collections in the country, among the finest collections of American art in the country, and a top cultural attraction in South Central Virginia.

“Miss Smith – as the College admits – donated money to Randolph-Macon Woman’s College to purchase art with the explicit instruction that the art become part of a permanent collection for the College,” said Anne Yastremski, Executive Director of Preserve Educational Choice, an organization working to save Randolph-Macon Woman’s College. “Her will was very clear and the college’s efforts to sell the art are a clear-cut violation of donor intent and the terms of her gift.”

The college’s actions have also been criticized because they:

• Violate Universally Accepted Ethical Standards. Randolph College seeks to use the proceeds of the sale for the college’s general fund. The nation’s top professional art organizations strongly oppose this practice. In fact, the Code of Ethics of the Association of American Museums, to which the Maier Museum at Randolph College belongs, states explicitly that “in no event shall they [proceeds of a sale] be used for anything other than acquisition or direct care of collections.”

• Fail to Address the College’s Spending Problems. Randolph College’s claim that it needs to sell part of its art collection to remain financially viable and to comply with requirements of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) is completely off base. In 2006, the college completed a $100-million capital fundraising campaign. The college boasts the fifth largest endowment of any private college in Virginia. Rather than using improper means to increase the size of the college’s $140 million endowment, the college needs to exercise fiscal restraint and control spending. The specific issues that SACS cited the college for – astronomical tuition discounting (in the mid-60 percent range instead of the 30 percent range which is considered normal), excessive deferred maintenance, and operating deficits – are all signs of fiscal mismanagement, not a too-small endowment.

• Harm Efforts to Increase Enrollment. The Maier Museum art collection is one of the finest collections of American art in the country and, with the college’s related programs in studio art, art history, and museum studies, has helped attract many students over the years. Selling some of the most important works from the collection will likely discourage students from choosing the college and have a negative impact on its already declining enrollment, further harming the college’s ability to generate revenue from student tuition and fees, the backbone of a well-run institution.

The college’s enrollment already has declined this year as a result of the college’s questionable decision to go coed. The current enrollment of 665 students is the smallest in more than 40 years.

According to the Memorandum, “this is yet another example of poor decision making and financial mismanagement by the College Trustees.”

“The College went coed allegedly because of financial concerns. So far, alumnae participation in the College’s fundraising programs has dropped by 50 percent; the number of student transfers has surged; and the incoming coed class is smaller than any in recent history,” said Yastremski. “Going coed has been a disaster for the institution. Now the Trustees want to break Miss Smith’s Trust and sell off irreplaceable educational and cultural artworks that have been carefully accumulated through donations and bequests like Miss Smith’s for 100 years.”

“If college officials sell off these important artworks, the college’s decline will continue and even accelerate. Any sale of donated art for operating expenses will damage the College’s reputation with its donors, the art world and the Central Virginia community that has come to treasure the Maier Museum’s world-class collection.”

The Memorandum was filed in the Lynchburg, VA Circuit Court. A hearing date has not been set.

Monday, September 10, 2007

WaPo's Fall Visual Arts Preview

In the past, I have been a harsh critic of the lack of depth in the Washington Post's seasonal visual arts previews, but in what is perhaps the paper's best-ever visual arts preview, the WaPo has a great handle on what's coming to the gallery and museum walls of the greater DC region here.

Bravo Zulu to the WaPo on a very informative falls preview! Here are my early picks from their preview:

"Lola Alvarez Bravo," vintage prints from Mexico's best-known female photographer, at the Smithsonian's Dillon Ripley Center. Through Nov. 11.

"The Freedom Place Collection," rarely seen paintings by Romare Bearden, Alma Thomas and others exploring the African American experience, at Zenith Gallery. Through Sept. 30.

Sept 13 -- "In the Flesh," a juried exhibition of contemporary figurative art, at Target Gallery. Through Oct. 13.

Sept 13 -- "Options 2007," the latest edition of this survey of emerging local talent organized by the Washington Project for the Arts, at Edison Place Gallery. Through Oct. 26.

Sept 14 -- "Michael Fitts," oil paintings on reclaimed metal by the Charlottesville artist, at Fraser Gallery. Through Oct. 6.

Sept 15 -- "Susan Jamison: Trust in Me," egg-tempera paintings addressing feminine identity and nature, at Irvine Contemporary. Through Oct. 20

Spet 15 -- "Jiha Moon: Line Tripping," drawings from the Korean-born artist, at Curator's Office. Through Oct. 27.

Sept 16 -- "Edward Hopper," a comprehensive survey of the American master's career, at the National Gallery of Art. Through Jan. 21.

Sept 20 -- "Morris Louis Now: An American Master Revisited," a retrospective of the founder of the Washington Color School, at the Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum. Through Jan. 6.

Sept 26 -- "John Dugdale," photographs by a New York artist who has lost 80 percent of his vision, in the gallery at the Maryland Institute College of Art. Through Oct. 28.

Sept 27 -- "Legacy: Spain and the United States in the Age of Independence, 1763-1848," examining Spanish influence on the formation of the United States, at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery. Through Feb. 10.

Oct 1 -- "J. M. W. Turner," a comprehensive retrospective of the great British landscape painter, at the National Gallery of Art. Through Jan. 6.

Oct 2 -- "Fall Solos 2007," featuring Timothy Michael Martin, Chawky Frenn, Claire Sherwood, Gillian Brown, Alessandra Torres, Laurel Lukaszewski and Heidi Fowler, at Arlington Arts Center. Through Nov. 17.

Oct 12 -- "Herb's Choice: Manon Cleary," new drawings by the D.C. artist, at District of Columbia Arts Center. Through Nov. 4.

Oct 18-- "Currents: Recent Acquisitions," including works purchased for the museum by its Contemporary Acquisitions Council, at the Hirshhorn Museum. Through March 16.

Oct 27 -- "Margot Quan Knight," photographs, at Randall Scott Gallery. Through Dec. 8.

Nov 1 -- "Lucy Hogg: The Last Pony," a large canvas, digital photographs and a video all address "the end of painting," at Meat Market Gallery. Through Nov. 25.

Nov 3 -- "Kathryn Cornelius," video and photo-based performance art, at Curator's Office. Through Dec. 22.

Nov 3 -- "James Huckenpahler: Mindless Pleasures," images created by intentionally misusing software, at Hemphill Fine Arts. Through Dec. 22.

Nov 6 -- "Fernando Botero: Abu Ghraib," works reflecting on atrocities committed by members of the U.S. military in Iraq, at the American University Museum. Through Dec. 30.

Nov 9 -- "The Narrative Figure," showcasing storytelling works in clay and on paper, at the Ellipse Arts Center. Through Jan. 19.

Packed to the gills

I've been told that there were nearly one thousand people at the Katzen openings in DC last weekend.

That's what you call a massive response! They must be doing something right over there at American University...

Michael Janis

In the years that I have been following the growth and development of the various DC area artists associated with the Washington Glass School, seldom have I seen an artist develop, change, grow and continue to re-open my eyes as I have noticed over the years with the work of Michael Janis.

Janis opens his new solo show “That Quadrant of Sky,” on Sept. 12 in Bethesda's Neptune Gallery. The opening reception for this talented DC artist is Saturday, September 15th, 7-9 PM.

Michael Janis
Janis' work is now in the permanent collection of the Art Institute of Chicago, and it is also featured in the new international book about the best in glass art and design, "50 Distinguished Contemporary Artists in Glass."

He is also in my "Buy Now" list.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Dodson on Jeffrey Stockberger at Gallery 222

By Brie Dodson

Work by Jeffrey Stockberger is currently on exhibition at Gallery 222 in Leesburg, Virginia. The works on exhibition include two main subject groupings: vegetables - a bunch of radishes, a head of bok choy, a Hubbard squash - and landscapes.

The landscapes at first appear to be about cows and field workers, but are really all about luscious color and a sense of composition that sneaks up on the viewer in a satisfying way.

Stockberger's handling of the vegetable paintings is masterful. Each subject appears against an "empty" background and foreground, but those "empty" spaces are filled with beautiful color and distance. The brushwork is chunky and delicious.

The paintings are much more compelling than the thumbnails on the gallery's website convey. For example, the radish painting is 28" x 26" (and the colors are extraordinary). The landscapes are on the order of around 4x5 feet. Most of the vegetables are painted slightly larger than life size, but not objectionably so.

There are also a couple of other gems out for viewing in the gallery's upstairs spaces. In there there are two very large horse paintings by Martha Cammack, perhaps 4x6 feet each. They are not about horses, at least to this viewer; they are about magnificent color, light and form. They are very fine paintings, and they do what truly good landscapes do - give that tug in the back of the throat.

Stockberger's show hangs through Sept. 29. The gallery is at 222 South King Street in Leesburg, open Monday through Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and by appointment. Informational contacts are 703-777-5498 or

Sauna Lee Lange on the One Word Project

By Shauna Lee Lange

Kudos to J.T. Kirkland and the fine curating job he performed in his One Word Project which opened Friday night at the Arts Club of Washington. To explain the show simply, Kirkland assigned artists with a single word as a thematic launching point. The idea was to create a triangular dialogue for visual and language communication between artist, viewer, and work. Three works in the show that caught my attention were:

(a) Gregory Ferrand's "Experience." - the work was titled Judge Me Not (For I Judge Only You), acrylic on canvas, 22x28, 2006, (b) Marsha Stein's "Pride," is a drawing of St. Jerome, a haunting and technically gorgeous execution of charcoal cast drawing, 24x36, 1999, and (c) Gregg Chadwick's theme on "Responsibility," which drew the most evident enthusiasm.

Greg Chadwick Chadwick traveled from Santa Monica, CA to explain the meaning behind his Marine in a coffin surrounded by monks. Chadwick served in the Armed Forces and was deeply impressed that relatives of the deceased service member attended Friday night's opening. Chadwick said that his own father was a Marine, and as a son, he felt he had the responsibility to paint his own military experience. As a self-professed Buddhist, Chadwick eloquently spoke about how responsibility is a common thread among all people and what it meant to him to participate in the show. He is pictured here in front of his work.

Honorable mention for layered meaning in story telling has to go to the Right Reverend James W. Bailey of Reston, Virginia for his burnt photo montage/collage of a church. Bailey's original explanation of meaning and his updated revisionist explanation are fascinating reading. One really does come away understanding that in New Orleans, A.K. (after Katrina), all is not okay.

The show runs to September 29th. More than 30 artists are featured, including Andrew Krieger's sculpture on Imagination, Baltimore's Rosetta DeBerardinis' 2007 work on Fluid , Alexandra Silverthorne's print on Forgotten, Angela Kleis' Hatteras Lighthouse silver gelatin print, and James Coleman's mixed media on canvas, seno utero matriz.

The Arts Club of Washington reminds us that their third floor studio is open Tuesday through Saturday, with free arts classes open to the public every Saturday.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Katzen Openings Tonight

There are multiple openings at American University's Katzen Arts Center tonight from 6-9PM.

The new exhibits include: "Carol Goldberg: Listening to Ivy," "Keiko Hara: Topophilia Imbuing," "Song Without Words: The Photographs of Countess Sophia Tolstoy," and "All in the Family: A Juried Show of American University Alumni."

An hour before the reception, internationally known artist and master printmaker Keiko Hara will give an informal talk on the creation of her 42-foot long homage to and very personal translation of Monet's Water Lillies.

All free and open to the public.

Wanna go to a Baltimore Opening today?

With a reception full of people, good wines and their trademark sushi Light Street Gallery in Baltimore opens "Trompe L'oeil Artwork of Bernard Scholl."

The reception for this French artist is from 1-5PM. See his work online here.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Tiny Alien

Below is another tiny little drawing with a big title. It's about 1.5 inches high by one inch across or so. Charcoal on paper.
Campello drawing

"Illegal Alien running across the border street in Brownsville, Texas, hoping that he won't be too late for his job at the Fort Brown Golf Course"
Charcoal on Paper, 1.5 inches by 1 inch.
c. 2007 by F. Lennox Campello

And another new DC gallery

New to me anyway, is the R Street Gallery at 2108 R St. NW, in DC's Dupont Circle area. They will be having an opening reception on Sunday September 16th from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm for the exhibition of Tom Wolff’s portraits and images of the famous and powerful, and Tracey Friedlander’s portraits and documentation of the people of Cuba.

Step One

I'm looking to open a new gallery space in the Philly area... maybe... maybe... and so far I am only working on a draft website.

Here's what and who I am thinking about.

First step: sell my own work to raise funds to pay the exorbitant cost to do some fancy art fairs.

Second step: hopefully make some bucks from the art fairs to open a "bricks and mortar" space.

Third step: Lose money for a while until I establish a Philly presence.

Fourth step: Become a respected Phildalphia gallery.

Fifth step: Open a gallery in Sedona, Arizona.

Sixth step: back to second step.

Oh God!

Move the damned Barnes

After reading this, I join the camp that says move the damned Barnes to Philly and stop whining.

New DC gallery

The Carroll Square Gallery has its grand opening tonight from 6-9PM with an exhibition titled "Botanica," which includes work by 2007 Trawick Prize finalist Mary Early, Susan Jamison, Dean Kessmann, Amy Lamb, Lisa Scheer, Zach Storm and others.

Details here.

The Rich are different... or are they?

Recently I've learned a couple of interesting and very surprising facts about America's rich people.

The stereotype American rich dude is always painted as a Republican, and the Republican Party has always been called "the Party of the Rich." But apparently America's wealthiest zip codes are overwhelmingly Democratic donors. That surprised me quite a bit, which shouldn't have, since my old neighborhood of Potomac, Maryland was and is definately a very pro-Democrat area and one of the wealthiest zip codes in the USA.

Yet another reason why I try really hard to ignore both the "vast right wing conspiracy" and the slightly less vast "left wing nutspiracy."

And now, to add to my confusion, the New York Times tells me that "the rich are giving more to charity than ever."

Roughly three-quarters of charitable gifts of $50 million and more from 2002 through March 31 went to universities, private foundations, hospitals and art museums, according to the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.
Read the NYT story here.

Perhaps the sky is not falling after all...

First Fridays in Philly and DC

There are at least 21 gallery openings tonight in Philadelphia, a city known for "legendary stinginess toward the arts" according to the Daily News' Tom DiNardo.

Details on the gallery openings here.

In DC, Heather Goss details some key gallery openings around the nation's capital, which I think could also be accused of saving a sheckel here and there at the expense of the arts. Check out DCist here.

Another One Bites the Dust

The WaPo's Jackie Trescott covers yet another resignation by yet another director of the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Judy L. Larson, the outgoing director is the 10th director since the museum was founded in 1987 - that's one every two years.

Clearly something is really wrong with the NMWA, and its inability to keep its directors is just the most visible part of what's brewing under the surface there.

And although Mary Mochary, the president of the museum's board "declined to discuss any circumstances of Larson's departure. 'I can't say what was going on,' Mochary said," rumors have persisted for years about frustrated NMWA directors handcuffed perhaps too tightly to a museum founder (and now chairman of the board) still trying to deliver her vision through them.

I'd love to hear the thoughts of some former NMWA directors on this subject!


Last fall the Philadelphia Museum of Art announced that it had selected Frank Gehry to design an underground expansion beneath the museum’s east terrace on Fairmount Hill. The Gehry expansion will cost around $500 million and add 80,000 square feet of galleries and renovated spaces. No date has been set for the start of construction.

Yesterday the newly refurbished Ruth and Raymond G. Perelman Building was unveiled and will open to the public on Sept. 15, and the 114,000 foot building was expanded by 59,000 feet at a cost of $90 million dollars.

And, as noted yesterday, thanks to a $500,000 gift from Wachovia, the Museum will offer free admission to its new Ruth and Raymond G. Perelman Building through the end of calendar year 2007.

Last weekend I walked the perimeter of both buildings, and in spite of the construction eye sores, and the masses of people who get pissed off when they get to to the top of the Rocky museum steps only to find out that the Rocky statue is no longer there (it has been relocated to the right side of the steps as one faces the museum), one still gets a really strong impression of a museum with presence and vision, and the new addition is a smart step forward.

Now let's see how the Gehry addition develops. I am sure that the unfortunate Corcoran experience with its own Gehry non-addition will be studied by Anne d’Harnoncourt and the savvy PMA director will learn from it.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Oh oh...

Can a critic be sued when the critic is wrong or makes a mistake that causes a loss of income or reputation?

Apparently so. The Philadelphia Inquirer's food critic Craig LaBan is being sued by a Philly area restaurant for allegedly making a mistake in the review, which then reflected unfavorably upon the restaurant.

Let' be clear, LaBan is not being sued because of his opinion, that's a right guaranteed by the Constitution. He's being sued for libel because he allegedly opined on a steak that he claims he ate at lunchtime when that steak is only served for dinner.

It would be like a gallery suing an art critic because that critic opined on a piece of work that the critic called a watercolor when in fact it was an intaglio etching... I think. By the way, something like that did happen in a major newspaper not too long ago. No one sued but we all sighed behind the critic's back.

Sounds confusing? the current issue of Philadelphia magazine just outed LaBan, who apparently likes to wear disguises when he visits restaurants. The issue has a great article by Steve Volks on the subject that will clarify this confusing issue... I think.

Read that article here.

Ben Tolman

I also first came across the work of Ben Tolman when I curated a huge, obsessive pen and ink by Tolman into "Seven" a couple of years ago.

In 2005, right after "Seven," the WCP profiled this most interesting DC artist (read that profile here) and today Kriston has a highly interesting article in the WCP again detailing a most unusual story about this highly unusual character. Read that here.

Nepotista Declaration: I now own a few of Ben Tolman's pieces.

Sara Pomerance

I first came across the work of Sara Pomerance when I curated her into "Seven" a couple of years ago.

Pomerance is one of the hardest working artists in the region, and some of her work will be at the 2007 Corcoran Alumni exhibition curated by Molly Donovan, curator of modern and contemporary art at the National Gallery of Art, and opening tomorrow, Thursday, September 6, from 6:30–8:30 p.m. at the Corcoran's North Atrium.

Also in Washington DC, three of her photographs are also on display at the Parker Gallery. These images were written about as "The real stand out in this crowd," by Kevin Mallema (read the review here).

And in Albuquerque, her newest video "Yellow Cake with Sprinkles," was on display this summer at the John Sommers Gallery, which is part of the UNM art museum.

And oh yeah... Sara is soon moving to NYC... sigh.

Trawick Winners Announced

The usual surprises!

Jo Smail from Baltimore, MD was awarded “Best in Show” with $10,000; Nicholas Wisniewski of Baltimore, MD was named second place and was given $2,000; Bruce Wilhelm of Richmond, VA was bestowed third place and received $1,000 and the “Young Artist” award of $1,000 was given to Kathleen Shafer of Washington, D.C.

The artists who had been selected as Trawick Prize finalists are:

Mary Coble, Washington, D.C.

Mary Early, Washington, D.C.

Suzanna Fields, Richmond, VA

Inga Frick, Washington, D.C.

Jeanine Harkleroad, Chesapeake, VA

Linda Hesh, Alexandria, VA

Baby Martinez, Washington, D.C.

Kathleen Shafer, Washington, D.C.

Jo Smail, Baltimore, MD

Bruce Wilhelm, Richmond, VA

Nicholas F. Wisniewski, Baltimore, MD

The jurors for this year's Trawick are Anne Ellegood, Associate Curator at the Hirschhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden; Amy G. Moorefield, Assistant Director and Curator of Collections for Virginia Commonwealth University’s Anderson Gallery and Rex Stevens, Chair of the General Fine Arts Department at Maryland Institute College of Art. Catriona Fraser, owner of the Fraser Gallery in downtown Bethesda, is the non-voting Chair of The Trawick Prize.

The Trawick Prize is clearly the DC area region's premier fine arts prize and once again kudos to Ms. Trawick! A public opening will be held at Creative Partners Gallery on Friday, September 14, 2007 from 6-9pm in conjunction with the Bethesda Art Walk. Creative Partners Gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 12-6pm.

Rabbi Series

For your viewing pleasure, and finished just in time for my birthday, as I have done for many years, is a new "series" of works. This year it is the "Rabbi Series," a tiny set of very small drawings, all under two inches or so, of very serious men with very light-headed thoughts.

See it here.


Today is my birthday.

My grandfathers died in their late 90s, and my father is in his early 80s, so I hope to be around a long assed time as well.

Modern Paints: Uncovering the Choices

Attention painters!

Next week Dr Thomas Learner, the Head of Contemporary Art Research at the Getty Conservation Institute will be delivering a presentation on the subject on Tuesday, September 11, 5:00 p.m. at the McEvoy Auditorium, Donald W Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture (8th & G streets NW in DC).

Numerous types of paints have been used by artists over the last 70 years, including those intended for household or industrial use. In this talk, Tom Learner outlines common classes of “modern paint” and the procedures used to determine which types are present in works of art.

Several well-known paintings will be discussed, including examples by David Hockney, Roy Lichtenstein, Morris Louis, Jackson Pollock, Bridget Riley and Andy Warhol.

Lecture presented by the Lunder Conservation Center.

If a reader attends, someone should ask the question to confirm or deny the urban legend that the Tate once sued David Hockney when it discovered that Hockney had used house paint to create the painting that the Tate had just spent a small fortune on and was already beginning to fall apart. I'm curious if that story is true.


Thanks to a $500,000 gift from Wachovia, the Philadelphia Museum of Art announced yesterday that the Museum will offer free admission to its new Ruth and Raymond G. Perelman Building through the end of calendar year 2007.

Dana Ellyn

Ellyn is another super hardworking artist. In the remaining days of summer she has an amazing line-up: twogallery shows, two art festivals, a live TV appearance, an article coming in the Washington Post – all coming up in the next 9 days!

Too much to list; check it all out in her website.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Mean, Unfair and Plain Wrong

That's me!

My DC blogsphere colleague Kriston Capps, who just like me every once in a while is very fond of policing other folks' opinions, thinks that I am "mean... unfair... and plain wrong," in my recent rant at Jessica Dawson's inept review of Caitlin Phillips.

And while I respect Capps' right to express his opinions to my response to Dawson's review, I disagree 100% with his insinuation that a critic's interpretation of a body of works, absolves them/us of having a responsibility or need to gather information about an artist's intent; especially if they are preparing to deliver a public question or opinion that suggests that an artist is denigrating herself via that same body of works.

Let's be clear: Critics don't have to ask questions or gather information for every thing, even intent.

But if they're going to make the leap and portray an artist as denigrating herself because of what the images convey to the critic, at the very least they should try to find out what the artist thinks they're conveying or was trying to convey.

It just makes sense to me.

In this case, I think Dawson blew the review, and erred in her (let's assume) interpretation, because she didn't know (or cared to know) the photographer's intent - even if Phillips didn't deliver it very clearly, as could be the case - and although Dawson was keen enough to make a harsh interpretation about the intent, she wasn't curious enough to try to gather the easily available information.

And boo hoo... now I also think that Kriston is just mean, unfair and gets it plain wrong when he interprets that my post is suggesting that critics should go "around asking artists to tell them what to write in their reviews."

Especially since he knows me, and knows well that I would never suggest such an idiotic thing.

That makes two critics who should have asked a question before making such a knuckle-headed leap.

Read Kriston's opinions here.

DC Shorts Film Festival 2007

September 13 – 20, 2007 at Landmark’s E Street Cinema (11th and E Streets)

DC Shorts turns the spotlight on truly independent short films from all over the globe, created by new and established filmmakers in an era when the art of filmmaking is opening to all. They select films from every genre for their competition screenings — with a special focus on films created by metropolitan Washington, DC-based directors and writers. After each screening, filmmakers have the opportunity to speak to the audience as part of a moderated panel.

This year, they will present 89 films and seven live script performances, culled from 14 countries. Once again, their venue will be the Landmark E Street Theatre in DC's Penn Quarter. With new specialty competitions — High Definition Shorts and the Live Script Reading Competition — DC Shorts is growing into one of the most influential film festivals in the country.

For festival and ticket information visit

Interview: John Anderson on Adrian Parsons

Anderson: Several months ago I contacted Adrian Parsons, shortly after he circumcised himself during a performance for the exhibition entitled Supple, at the Warehouse Gallery. He seemed agreeable to answer some questions, either in person or over e-mail. I shot the questions to him and waited for a response. At the beginning of August, he finally got back to me.

Performance artist Adrian Parsons with his foreskin hanging on the wall
Adrian Parsons with his foreskin hanging on the wall

Parsons: Hello, wanted to take some time to separate the act from the hype. So here is the interview way, way post facto.

An earlier piece that I see documented on your blog involved inviting people to pull your mustache out of your face, one hair at a time, until it was gone. What is the basis for this work?

The idea was to take off the genetic predisposition for where my beard and mustache would be, to take the hairs and redistribute them. Once all the hair was off we were to mix it with melted wax and pour that on to the mold, that is, my face. The fact that I could rework a hairline with my hand and not my fathers was a weird, fun one.

Since you began Shrapnel (I am assuming this is the title) by pulling hairs from your face, is the act of auto-circumcision an extension of this previous piece? How do the two relate apart from self-mutilation (or invited mutilation to yourself)?

Both works come across chance and randomization. I was trying to get around my genes in Plucky, to disorder what is predetermined. But Shrapnel takes on the chaos of a suicide bomber, his body is distributed in to the walls of buildings, the skin of people. This kills random people, suddenly the attackers bone, physical matter, are implanted willfully in to another person. I read an account of a journalist who was nearby a suicide bomber and lived. He carries the bone of this guy in his body, his DNA's sitting right there next to his own. It's an incredible "fuck you."

How large was the audience?

30 people or so but it thinned out fast.

I was having video problems and was unable to gauge audience reaction. What was the response to you exposing yourself, removing a pocket knife, and the act of cutting? OR, were you even aware of it?

People were curious, kind of readying themselves, making small talk. Then when I started to rip out some of my beard and place it in to the wall they seemed to get that this was going to be something bloody. After the first cut, there were two responses, leaving the room or whipping out the cell-camera. You hear an ex of mine slip an "ohmygod" out of her mouth.

I would imagine this act required some psyching-up; what prepared you?

A friend said, "how'd you get the balls to cut your dick off?" Since I was going to the hospital right after I couldn't get wasted and I couldn't take vicodin or oxycotin or even smoke. If I'd come in to GW messed up I would've spent the night in the psych ward. Pulling the hair and the skin off my face helped get my adrenalin up, though.

Why a pocket knife? Why not something more medical, or kitchen-oriented?

This was a Swiss army knife that was given to me by my brother-in-law. It's only significance to the piece was that it was sharp. When people ask why I used a "dull, rusty knife" I say it took 5 cuts because it was a really sharp knife, not a dull one.

Looking at the Thinking About Art Interview from last year, you cited Jason Gubbiotti as an influence. And food. I'm going to admit I am having trouble seeing a connection in your (current) work. How is he an influence?

Food makes you go, it's the only thing you get to utterly chemically transform. It's a wonder that you masticate and acid bathe something and get to move, think and have sex because of a bowl of Chex and 1% milk. Every gesture in art is because you've got a calorie to spend.

Gubbiotti's altered canvasses, which aren't as big a deal for him now, are what I was referring too. He's got these gigantic color spaces, very placid, and then they just get completely shorn off by this violent jutting and curving wood. His paint reaches the edge of the canvas the way you might encounter the edge of the earth in some pre-Eratosthenes view of the world.

How's your dick? or have you seen a doctor since the act?

My cock is 100% thanks to Erin Krill, on-call urologist extraordinaire.

Ice Stories

To create her Ice Stories, artist Lisa Sheirer takes photographs of natural landscapes through ice coated windows, and then manipulates them to create abstracted compositions, which then she prints with archival ink onto watercolor paper.

The opening reception for her solo exhibition at Hillyer Art Space in DC is Friday, September 7th, from 6 pm to 8 pm and the exhibition goes through October 25, 2007.

The Fells Point First Friday

Try saying that fast!

This Friday, September 7th is Fells Point’s First Friday Art Walk event in Baltimore.

Don’t miss your last chance to meet the various artists featured in "Moving Beyond Craft: Artists of the Washington Glass School." The exhibition will be on display through Saturday, September 8th at the Patricia Touchet Gallery.

Civilian on Friday

DC's Civilian Art Projects opens its Fall season this coming Friday with the opening of Noelle Tan's solo "from here to the Salton Sea," and and Erick Jackson's "Vlad's Crib." From 7-9PM and the exhibition goes through Oct. 20, 2007.

The Last ArtRomp

ArtRomp XX - the Grand Finale - opens this Friday at the soon-to-close/move Warehouse Gallery in DC. Opening party is 6pm til late. This last show includes work by all the artists who have exhibited in past ArtRomps over the years. Through Sept. 30, 2007.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Smaller and Smaller

As I've noted before, lately I've been drawing in a very small scale - and I showed you this drawing ("A Rabbi, slightly upset because he's just been told that his glasses are very trendy these days").

Below is "Eyes of John Fitzgerald Kennedy," which is is about half an inch high by one inch long.
Eyes of JFK by Campello

"Eyes of John Fitzgerald Kennedy"
Charcoal on Paper, c. 2007 (0.5" x 1")
F. Lennox Campello

It was picked up last weekend by a private collector who was visiting my studio.

New Gallery Opens this Friday

Oerth Gallery, located at 420 S. Washington Street in Old Town Alexandria and owned by sisters Lorraine Oerth Kirstein and Linda Oerth Musselman, has its grand opening this coming Friday from 7-9PM with works by Ross Merrill. Merrill is a popular DC area art teacher, and conducts workshops throughout the United States. He also works as a Conservator at The National Gallery. The paintings will be on display from September 7 to October 28, 2007.

Oerth Gallery
The gallery includes a first floor crafts gallery, a second floor fine arts gallery and a pottery studio. The building itself is an important historic property in Old Town, because it is the only freestanding Victorian building of its kind in Old Town.

Artists interested in portfolio reviews should contact Linda Musselman at 703-836-3784.

DC Gallery Moves

Leigh Conner and Jamie Smith have announced the purchase of 1358-1360 Florida Avenue, NE, Washington, DC as the new location for Conner Contemporary Art and *gogo art projects.

The property, a former auto body shop, is a 12,000 sq. ft. complex with two interior levels as well as an enclosed outdoor area for the exhibition of large-scale sculpture, video projections and installations. Conner Contemporary Art and *gogo art projects will occupy the 6500 sq. ft. ground floor space featuring two exhibition areas and a permanent video/sound room. The 4300 sq. ft. second-floor space is currently being developed.

New Conner location
During the renovation work this fall season, they will be open by appointment Monday through Friday 10am-6pm, while concentrating on participating in art fairs (Pulse London: October 11-14, 2007 and Pulse Miami: December 5-9, 2007).

The new gallery is accessible from the New York Avenue and Union Station Metro stations. On-site parking will be available by reservation and complimentary shuttle service will be provided from Union Station during certain hours.

Monday, September 03, 2007


Diamond Skull

"Damien Hirst, the U.K.'s wealthiest artist, is selling his diamond skull to an investment group for $100 million, said Frank Dunphy, Hirst's business manager.

The platinum skull, studded with 8,601 diamonds, has been on the market at least since June 3, when it went on show at London's White Cube gallery.

Dunphy, reached by telephone, said the price hadn't been discounted and would be paid in cash, though he wouldn't say over what period, or identify the investment group."
Read the story by Bloomberg's Linda Sandler here. By the way, I think that the title of the "U.K's wealthiest artist" does not belong to Damien Hirst, but to Scottish bad boy painter and worldwide king in the world of posters Jack Vettriano, but I could be wrong.

Scotland is planning to "devolve" from the British union and regain its independence one of these days, but so far, as far as I know, they are still part of the U.K.

In The Flesh

The new art shows and openings coming up over the next two weeks are so numerous that I will try to list 3-4 everyday for the next few days.

In Alexandria's Target Gallery, Tim Doud, who is in the Art faculty at American University has selected a show titled "In the Flesh" that opens Sept 13 from 6-8pm and runs through October 13, 2007. It includes work by DC area photographer Danny Conant, who is without a doubt one of the most innovative photographers in the region, and whose work has been often (in the past) an inspiration for several of my own drawings.

"Tearing the Sky"
Polaroid Transfer by Danny Conant

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Ask a silly question...

The WaPo's freelance galleries critic writes in a review of sub-text at Randall Scott Gallery:

At Randall Scott, Caitlin Phillips's work proves particularly enervating. She's an attractive woman, slender and young, and she takes pictures of herself. In one picture she wears a simple dress and cute shoes and holds a tea set while looking blankly at the camera. In another, she stands on a beach, masked and perfectly still, dressed in a flowery shift. In a third, she's nearly naked, in curlers and hose, pouting for the camera.

What possesses a woman artist to denigrate herself like this? Photography, in its many forms, dominates artmaking. But can artists use it wisely?
Here's the question that her editor should have asked the critic: "Since you are asking the readers this question, did you ask the photographer?"

Caitlin Phillips Of course not, Dawson's vitriol is generally reserved for the written word, and as most DC area gallerists know, and in my experience, she rarely asks questions when visiting a show, or even speaks, other than the social "hello," when she first arrives, and the occasional "ahah" when spoken to.

In the past this lack of asking questions (that she clearly has about the work, even rhetorical questions easily answered) has bitten her back, evidenced by some rather monumental errors in her writing, and in this case the answer to her question was easily available in the gallery's website and the obviously un-read news release about the exhibition; Caitlin Phillips writes:
During the summers when I was seven, eight, nine, I remember waking next to my grandmother in her heat soaked room, the bedding scarce, as we had tried to cool ourselves the night before. These humid mornings, which I recall vividly, were often spent admiring the photographs and the painted portraits that lined the faded wallpaper of the bedroom. Elegant, Victorian women gazed back from the walls, their pale skin accented by feathery dresses, my grandmother’s room, a modest representation of her own Victorian ideals. These summers spent at my grandparent’s home, my sisters and I feverishly practiced and displayed the ladylike talents my grandmother instilled and insisted upon us, naively mirroring our companions hung on the wall.

My photographs and videos attempt to discuss my current notions of lineage and posterity through deliberate manipulation of memory and dissection of my personal history. The imagery creates a mise-en-scene derived from personalized romance and girlhood nostalgia. It is a visual investigation of the conflicted self: a state of reflection glimpsing into the progression of feminine identity through years of experience, growth and longing.
Does that sound like a woman denigrating herself?

Friday, August 31, 2007

Abu Ghraib paintings to be donated to Berkeley Pentagon?

The series of paintings done by Colombian artist Fernando Botero based on the Abu Ghraib photographs may become part of the permanent collection of the University of California, Berkeley... or maybe not.

UC Berkeley chancellor Robert Birgeneau has tentatively agreed to accept the gift, the monetary value of which experts peg at $10 million to $15 million.

“We have a gentleman's agreement,” said Birgeneau, who saw the works when the exhibition opened at Cal's Doe Library in January and was impressed by “their emotional impact and technical brilliance. I've written the artist saying we'll accept them, subject to us being able to work out a reasonable set of conditions.”

Botero, who said he would never sell the jarring Abu Ghraib pictures, turned down an offer from the Kunsthalle Wurth museum near Stuttgart, Germany, to build a wing to house them.
There's a lesson in marketing there somewhere for all artists. And also a lesson on the power of representational visual art to drive home a point - a political point in this case - by using the narrative powers of representational art to underscore an issue.

Fernando Botero in front of one of the Abu Ghraib paintingsThese images, in a sense, were already part of our visual art scene.

After all, it was the photographs upon which they are based upon that exploded into our collective eyes when they were first released.

By basing his works on them, Botero skilfully recognized that in the 21st century painting is still king, and lifting an image from a photograph to create a painting still "elevates" that image to a higher fine arts realm in the minds of many people.

They're no longer just photos in our computer screens and newspapers; they're now fine art.

And it also brought Botero back into the fine arts limelight and contemporary dialogue and away from fat people paintings.

By the way, my good friend Jack Rasmussen over at the Katzen Arts Center scored a major coup a while back, as he will be bringing the first United States exhibition of the complete series, both paintings and drawings to the Katzen in November.

It sounds like Birgeneau has just written to Botero and nothing has been heard back from the wily Colombian.

Which gives me an idea.

I think that the best place for these paintings is not Left Wing Nut U in California, but right here in Washington, DC.

And not as part of the permanent collection of any of our great DC area museums, most of which already have Boteros in their collection, but as part of the permanent collection of the Pentagon.

As many of the people who have taken the free Pentagon tour know, the building has a really impressive art collection on its walls. As one would expect, it is mostly military subjects and historical paintings.

I think that the Abu Ghraib paintings belong on the Pentagon walls - not to "shame" our Army personnel, but to show the world that we're still the only nation not only willing to show pride in our successes, but also strong enough to recognize our mistakes and learn from them.

Abu Ghraib was the result of an Army which hadn't handled foreign prisoners in many decades and a handful of improperly trained, misassigned miscreants in the wrong place at the wrong time, and certainly nowhere near a representation of the quality soldier that makes up our all volunteer Army.

And definitely nowhere near the level of torture that takes place in silence on a daily basis in places like Cuba, Iran, Sudan, China, many, many Arabic nations and ahem, Colombia, but Abu Ghraib was definitely a low point and a harsh learning experience for our men and women in uniform as we learn to fight a new kind of war. As a veteran I am proud of our Armed Forces and how they respond to the spectacular demands made of them.

Put them on the Pentagon walls to shout out that we understand and learn from our military mistakes just as well as we are proud of our military successes.

I call on Renée Klish, Army Art Curator, U.S. Army Center of Military History, or whoever is the curator for the Pentagon's art collection to write a letter to Botero and have Botero donate the Abu Ghraib paintings to the Pentagon.

And I also call for Botero to now turn his formidable painting and marketing skills to create a new series of paintings about the daily torture going on in Castro's miserable prisons in Cuba (a nation that has refused to allow Amnesty International to visit since 1988), and then seeing if the Cuban dictatorship is willing to accept those paintings and hang them where their military and their citizens can see them every day.

Opportunity for Artists

Deadline: September 3, 2007

The new Workhouse Art Center at Lorton, VA is now reviewing portfolios for the studio rental jury process and Workhouse Artist Association membership. Submittal deadline: postmarked by 9/3/07. Download application at or send a request to:

Lorton Arts Foundation
9601 Ox Road
Lorton, VA 22079

Next Friday

Next Friday generally marks the unofficial "opening" of the new art season along the galleries of the Mid Atlantic area, and there are a ton of openings coming in the next two weeks.

Here's an early look at a good one:

The Women’s Caucus for Art of Greater Washington, DC is presenting "Women’s Reflections - Visual Reflections from Washington, DC artists and 'Katrina Diaries' from New Orleans artists" at the Dennis & Phillip Ratner Museum in Bethesda, MD. This is a joint exhibition of paintings, printmaking, collages, photography, and fiber art by women from both the Washington, DC chapter and the New Orleans chapter of the Women’s Caucus for Art (WCA). In Katrina Diaries these New Orleans artists express their reaction to the devastation and loss caused by the hurricane.

Opening Reception: Sunday, September 9, 1:30 – 3:30pm and the exhibition goes through Sept. 25, 2007.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Sleepless in Media

I've had a brutal 48 hours with over 600 miles driving and four hours of sleep.

More later...

Baltimore Antique Show

By Shauna Lee Lange

Today was opening day at the Baltimore Antique Show which runs through the weekend at the Convention Center which is again hosting a gaggle of galleries and dealers. And noticeably this year there are several dealers fom London. This is my third year attending the show, and on this visit I found the line at the door much shorter, the food service slightly improved, and the air conditioning more manageable.

Other than some stunning very large floor mirrors, a $60,000 fun antique casino-type gaming piece, and remarkably breath-taking silver, the show is sadly predictable. Oh you'll find your antiquarian books, jewelry galore, and your historial pieces (be sure to check out the gun canes and the chandeliers)... but if you've been attending these shows as I have, it all becomes standard fare (except perhaps for the lovely display by New York's China Gallery or the ancient wood block reliefs also from China.)

Standard fare too are the highly marked up prices. I saw a piece earlier this year at the Big DC Flea Market with today's tag more than triple the asking price - so shop around! The range of art is a bit impressive, however I'm talking about the artistry in apparel of the wanna-be-wealthy-posers. Pink Ralph Lauren pants and black leather dress shoes sported by a very tan romance novel hero were outdone only by the tall blonde Barbie with the brown bareback cocktail dress.

Excuse me, I didn't know we were having drinks. Ahem.

Bring comfortable shoes; the concrete floor is brutal. And carry lots of dough; my parking, entrance fee, and lunch alone killed a $50.

Meredith Springer Award Winners Exhibit

Works by the Meredith Springer Award winners. Maria Barbosa, “Trip,” a walk-through installation and Steven Dobbin, “As I See It,” sculpture and mixed media. Opening reception Sept 1 from 3-5pm at the The Delaplaine Center in Frederick, MD.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Gould on galleries and emerging artists

The CP's Jessica Gould delivers another superb piece discussing the role of some galleries in helping to develop the young artist.

Read it here (Scroll down past the H Street stuff).

Bailey on Race, Art, Katrina, and Kirkland's One Word Project

This art blog has always been open for guest commentary and opinions. Below is a guest piece by the Rev. Bailey:

Church Burning by J.W. Bailey

"Church Burning" by The Right Reverend James W. Bailey

"Rough Edge Photography"

The underlying composite images of "Church Burning" were captured in 2002 in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans.


“Church Burning” – An Artist Statement

The New Orleans back-story of “Church Burning” by James W. Bailey

In 2004, artist and art blogger J.T. Kirkland began a unique online art exploration titled the One Word Project. The idea was simple. Artists were invited to submit representative images of their work, along with a written statement, in response to a word selected for the artist by Kirkland. I was one of the first artists to participate in this wonderfully creative project. The word assigned to me by Kirkland was “Obligation.”

The text portion of my response to the word “Obligation” that I submitted as part of the online project (as well as for the print edition of the project that was published in 2006), along with my image “Church Burning”, explored the meaning of t he obligations that come with the word “freedom” as inspired by the recorded words (voices) of my great-uncle, a white farmer from Mississippi whose grandfather once owned salves, and a friend of my great uncle’s, a black farmer from the same county in Mississippi whose grandfather had once been a slave.

As part of my text response to this project, I incorporated quotes from both men that I recorded in the early 1980s while researching my family’s genealogy and history in the state of Mississippi. My original text response for the One Word Project was also developed into a separate online art blog titled, Southern Obligation, which can be read here.

I wrote a lot of words in 2004 as part of the text portion of my response to the word, "Obligation." Many of my words at the time were inspired by my growing disgust over the pathetic state of contemporary American race relations, a poisoned state of race relations that for years prior Katrina, and especially in places like New Orleans, has fostered among many an increasingly paranoid level of fear, or worse, among others, a state of total denial.

Without context, the image “Church Burning” and the words “Church Burning” both tend to incite controversy, especially in the Deep South where I was born and raised. The original point of my photograph and written words was to creatively employ the use of art in an effort to crack the thin veneer of politically correct reactionary talking head surface dialogue that manipulatively functions to superficially cover up the cancer of racism in America.

It is my belief that Americans today (black, white and brown), are extremely reluctant to voice what their real concerns and fears are about each other. Since the end of legal segregation, blacks and whites in places like Mississippi and New Orleans (places where I was born, raised and have lived and know like the back of my hand) have instead mutually chosen to speak around one another (not directly to or with one another) using culturally coded and veiled language that barely masks a plenitude of deep-seated unresolved hostilities and resentments. “Church Burning” was my artistic attempt at the time to break through this entrenched cultural barrier toward a new level of honest dialogue.

When viewing "Church Burning" today, I am reluctantly motivated to write tens of thousands of pages about what has happened to New Orleans and the hundreds of people, including many of my family members and friends, that I personally know whose lives have been torn asunder by Katrina. I say reluctantly motivated because I know that if I were to finish the ten of thousands of pages that I could easily writer that I wouldn't stop there, but continue on for millions of pages more.

Prior to Katrina, when I first participated in the online version of the One Word Project, I used to spend a lot of my free time thinking about everything under the sun, including such important things at the status of the dysfunctional state of American race relations. Artists are supposed to do that, right, to think about everything and how everything that happens (or doesn’t happen) impacts every other thing, right?

Well, I don’t do that level of thinking anymore. After Katrina, the condition of New Orleans is all that I think about. New Orleans is certainly the only thing that most of us from New Orleans think about these days. Honestly, and the truth be told, New Orleans is the only thing in this world we probably care about. Katrina is a living nightmare for those of us from New Orleans that will not let us sleep.

J.T. Kirkland, the curator of the One Word Project exhibition, offered all of the participating artists in this current version of the project an opportunity to submit a rebuttal to their original submission.

My updated post-Katrina rebuttal to the word “Obligation” follows:

A Rebuttal to the Word “Obligation” by James W. Bailey

B.K. Time...

If it is true that the condition of art can change the meaning of the world, then it is more than true that the condition of the world can change the meaning of art.

The image “Church Burning” was created in B.K. time. For those of you who are not native New Orleanians, B.K. time means Before Katrina. In B.K. time, “Church Burning” was an attempt to explore the mythology of a black church in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans that supposedly was firebombed by racists in the 1920s.

I became fascinated by this story after hearing about it from several different white people from New Orleans who never actually lived in the Lower Ninth Ward, but who were positive that the story they told was true. Their story was that the church had been burned by members of the Ku Klux Klan and that the church congregation rallied together and immediately rebuilt it following the arson attack.

However, no one that told me this story was exactly sure of the location of the church. At the time I researched the Times-Picayune newspaper archives at the New Orleans Public Library and could find no news reports that confirmed the story.

I then spent the better part of a week driving and walking through the Lower Ninth Ward in an effort to locate the site of this church. I talked with more than 100 African-Americans, all of whom were life-long residents of the Lower Ninth Ward, and asked all with whom I spoke what they knew about the story of this church.

No one I spoke with knew anything about a black church in the Lower Ninth Ward that had been fire bombed by the KKK in the 1920s.

An elderly African-American gentleman that I met did, however, tell me a story about a black church that he knew about that had burned in the 1940s that was rebuilt. His story was that the church burned as a result of an electrical fire caused by faulty wiring and that the fire had nothing to do with arson or the Klan. The church that he directed me to that is located in the Lower Ninth Ward is the same church featured in the underlying composite images of “Church Burning”.

A.K. Time...

We New Orleanians are now living in A.K. time, After Katrina, and the complex mythologies of my beloved New Orleans are unraveling.

In B.K. time all of us (white, black or brown) thought we were American citizens.

In A.K. time all of us (especially black and brown) discovered that we are nothing more than “refugees” within our own country.

In B.K. time we naively thought that Americans appreciated our city for being one of the greatest cultural assets of our country.

In A.K. time we watched in stunned horror as America cynically allowed the cultural heart of its greatest city to drown and be destroyed.

The one thing that has held the faith of New Orleanians bound together against a challenging history of experiencing nearly 200 years of one disaster (natural or man-made) after another is the deep cultural investment we have made in connecting our lives and souls to the spiritual. No matter how horrible our situation, many in New Orleans have for generations sought solace and comfort in their neighborhood churches.

It is now two years after Katrina and more than 1,500 storm-damaged churches in New Orleans have yet to fully recover.

But let there be no myth-making about the truth of what ripped the spiritual life of New Orleans apart: The federal government of the United States of American authorized the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build a levee system that would withstand a direct hit of a Category 3 storm. The levees that collapsed during Katrina and destroyed 85% of New Orleans failed under Category 1 storm conditions as measured at the levee failure point of the 17th Street Canal in the city.

New Orleans was destroyed as a result of the greatest civil engineering failure in American history, a failure that was paid for by the United States taxpayers. More than 1,000 New Orleanians died because of the failure of the government of the United States of America to adequately protect American lives.

The word assigned to me for the One Word Project was “Obligation”.

In B.K. time I responded.

In A.K. time, I and my fellow New Orleanians continue to demand that the government that destroyed the heart and soul of our beautiful city rebuild it.

The United States government has an Obligation with no restrictive, delimiting or defining quote marks to do so. If America has the money to destroy Iraq in an effort to build a supposedly better and more democratic country, then America has more than enough money to fix New Orleans, America’s greatest city, and to fix it now.







The Arts Club of Washington is pleased to present The One Word Project, a group exhibition that is the capstone of a three-year exploration of the triangular dialogue between artist, work, and viewer. This exhibition will feature more than 30 artists, including Reston-based artist/photographer, James W. Bailey, a native of New Orleans whose award-winning signature style of slash-and-burn black and white film photography, better known as “Rough Edge Photography”, has garnered much critical acclaim during the past few years.


The One Word Project exhibition is curated by Reston-based artist and art blogger, J.T. Kirland. This project originated in 2004 as an online venue featuring artists, their work and their written statements, that was first published on Kirkland’s art blog, Thinking About Art . In 2006, the One Word Project was published as a print book that featured many of the online artist participants.


The One Word Project exhibition runs from August 28 to September 29. An opening reception will be held on Friday, September 7 from 6:30-9:00pm. The exhibition is free and open to the public. Normal gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday, from 10:00am - 5:00pm, and Saturday from 10:00am - 2:00pm.


The Arts Club of Washington is located at 2017 I Street, NW Washington, DC 20006. Visit their web site at for directions and more information.

About the One Word Project Exhibition:

Begun in 2004 as an online forum for stimulating artists to speak freely about their work, The One Word Project is a deliberate enactment of the 'conversation' between artist and viewer. Interested in seeking new ways to capture pure creative response, curator J.T. Kirkland distilled the traditional artist interview to its most basic element: a single word. After digesting the work of a self-selecting group of artists, Kirkland prompted each with a word of his choosing, to which each artist was asked to respond in approximately100–500 words. The resulting statements—which vary in length, approach, and relevance to the original word—offer a written correlative that informs and enhances the viewer's appreciation of the artist's work.

For Kirkland, the process of making art is as valuable and interesting as the work itself. The One Word Project reveals a fascination with the translation from artist mind to realized art object. The single word prompt minimizes the polluting influence of the viewer's agenda; spurred by an intentionally open-ended stimulus, the resulting self-articulation offers unfiltered insights into process.

In 2006, the work and words of The One Word Project artists were collected in a full-color art book of the same title. The current exhibition represents the natural conclusion of this three-year arc. Each piece is accompanied by Kirkland's word and the artists' response, offering a rare glimpse into the mind of the artist by both visual and verbal avenues. Viewers are encouraged to add their own impressions to the 'conversation'.

The exhibition features work by:

James W. Bailey (VA)
Rachael Baldanza (NY)
Joseph Barbaccia (VA)
Gregg Chadwick (CA)
J. Coleman (DC)
Anna Conti (CA)
Warren Craghead III (VA)
Rosetta DeBerardinis (MD)
Greg Ferrand (DC)
D. Keith Furon (CA)
Matt Hollis (DC)
Candace Keegan (MD)
Angela Kleis (DC)
Tara Krause (CA)
Andrew Krieger (DC)
Prescott Moore Lassman (DC)
James Leonard (NY)
Nathan Manuel (DC)
Jennifer McMackon (Ontario, Canada)
Jennifer Miller (DC)
A.B. Miner (DC)
Charles Neenan (VA)
Peter Reginato (NY)
Jose Ruiz (NY)
Wayne Schoenfeld (CA)
Kathleen Shafer (DC)
Alexandra Silverthorne (DC)
Marsha Stein (MD)
Trish Tillman (NY)
Kelly Towles (DC)
Bryan Whitson (DC)
Jamie Wimberly (DC).

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Power of the Web

A while back I showed you the below drawing ("Woman on the Moon About to be Swept Off Her Feet by a Flying Bald Man"). The drawing itself was sold at my last Washington, DC solo.

Woman on the Moon About to be Swept Off Her Feet by a Flying Bald Man by F. Lennox Campello

"Woman on the Moon About to be Swept Off Her Feet by a Flying Bald Man"

Greendoor Films saw it and now they will be using it in their current documentary about Superman titled "Last Son." Get a peek of the movie trailer here or click below...

Opportunity for Latino and/or Hispanic and Latin American Artists

Teresa Diaz is a curator searching for DC Area Latino/Latin American Artists as she currently has several curatorial endeavors in the DC Area and is trying to expand to other cities.

Interested artists should send her an email to with your website, or four samples of web resolution images of your work.

In the near future you may take a look at my website (currently under construction) at

Art Job

Deadline Sept. 17, 2007

Carnegie Mellon University is currently looking for a gallery director for the Regina Gouger Miller Gallery at the College of Fine Arts of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

The College of Fine Arts at Carnegie Mellon University is comprised of the five Schools of Architecture, Art, Design, Drama and Music; the Studio for Creative Inquiry; and the Regina Gouger Miller Gallery. They are presently searching for a Gallery Director to be responsible for the stewardship, management and curatorial programming of the 9,000-square-foot Regina Gouger Miller Gallery in the Purnell Center for the Arts.

Salary: Negotiable

Application Deadline: September 17, 2007

Submit applications online via this website Position #3324