Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Cowboys, the rich, and buying artwork

I was listening to the radio today and heard some amazing statistics from a recently released report on who pays what taxes on this country. A Wall Street Journal writer was discussing the stats from the latest release of Internal Revenue Service data on individual income taxes and (I think) a WSJ article will discuss them tomorrow in an editorial.

One of my pet peeves is the fact that in super wealthy areas such as Bethesda, Reston, Potomac, and generally most of the Greater DC area, it still takes a lot of work to get the same people who don't think twice about dropping a few grand for a sofa, to spend a couple of hundred bucks for a fine arts photograph.

There are nine million people in the United States who are classified as millionaires. If memory serves me right, there are around 125,000 of them living within the Greater Washington, DC area.

Don't believe everything that politicians tell you - from neither party! According to the WSJ reporter summarizing from the IRS report, the top 1% income earners in this nation pay 39.4% of all income taxes - an all-time high.

And they're not all the uberrich getting away with tax murder via offshore investments, blah, blah, blah, that politicians from both parties are always so fond of discussing.

The dirty little secret is that most of this 1% are folks who make $350K a year or higher and 2/3 of them are small business owners.

The top 5% (people who make $175K or higher) pay 59.5% of all income taxes. The bottom 50% of Americans, or half of all income tax payers below the median, pay 3% of all income taxes in this nation.

Those are hard, cold facts - not party-colored slogans burying the truth in search for votes.

And here's an idea for that top five percent of Americans carrying almost 60% of the American tax burden; specifically to the business owners in the bunch: support your local galleries and local artists! There's a tax benefit in there for you.

Instead of hanging motivational posters and pretty reproductions in your offices and factories and workplaces, buy original artwork from your local galleries and artists and that expense is not only a tax write-off, but also helps to kindle the local arts in your hometowns and neighborhoods.

Willie Nelson sings "Mama don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys; Don't let 'em pick guitars and drive them old trucks; Make 'em be doctors and lawyers and such..."

And then let them use their doctorin' and lawyerin' dough to buy some local artwork for their offices and support their local artists.

And cowboys can buy Western art.

WPA Membership Meeting

On Monday, October 29th at 6:30 PM the Washington Project for the Arts is having an important meeting - open and free to the public. The details are here. RSVP to

The event will focus on membership, Art File Online, the WPA\C's separation from the CGA, and their new website.

Missa Pro Pace Forum

A forum discussion accompanying Prof. Chawky Frenn's solo show "Missa Pro Pace" exhibition at the Arlington Arts Center will take place tomorrow, Oct. 18th from 7 to 9 PM at the Arlington Art Center.

If you have not seen Frenn's brutal socio-political works, this is a good chance to see them and also listen to the GMU professor discuss them.

The forum also has uberprintmaker Rosemary Covey discussing her amazing "0 Project," the interactive cross-disciplinary project that she debuted at the AAC this month. Robert Parrish ( will also screen his video documentary of Bosma Dance performing in front of what is undoubtedly The 0 Project’s most visible component: the 300 foot long, 15 foot high banner currently encircling the AAC’s historic Maury school building.

Impressionists by the Sea

On Saturday, The Phillips Collection' newest exhibition, Impressionists by the Sea, opens to the public. The exhibition explores the impact of the newly fashionable French seaside on the Impressionists, and traces the progression of the way the seaside is portrayed throughout the 1800s. It is a chance to see how masterpieces by Courbet, Manet, Monet, Renoir and others chartered the dramatic change in the French seaside as it became more and more popular to go the the beach. Through January 13, 2008.

Mark your calendars

Marc Pachter, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, and Thomas Lutz, Head of the Memorial Museums Department at Berlin’s Topography of Terror Foundation, will participate in a discussion on monuments, museums and the culture of memory at the Goethe-Institut Washington on Tuesday, October 30 at 6:30 pm.

Washington is a city of monuments and memorials – and so is Berlin, though by and large the purpose of the institutions in the two cities is quite different, given their vastly contrasting histories. The discussion will focus on why we build memorials, monuments, and museums, and who they are for. The purpose of memorials in the cultural and educational life of two capital cities looking both to the past and to the future will also be addressed.

Free and open to the public, but RSVP to 202-289-1200 ext. 169

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Rivers on Foon Sham

I had never heard of her until this WaPo article came out, but whoever Eileen Rivers is at the WaPo, she really delivered a superbly written and intelligent article/review on sculptor Foon Sham, who is currently showing "Flow" (through Nov. 10 at the Greater Reston Arts Center in Reston - opening reception October 20th 6-8PM)and also exhibiting "Journey," through Nov. 11 at Heineman Myers Contemporary Art in Bethesda.

Read the article here.

Taking it to court

Banksy is pissed off at the Chapman Brothers for allegedly stealing his artistic idea; result: lawsuit! Read the Arifa Akbar article here.

The Power of the Web: Oz

When this opportunity presented itself a while back, I dug around for some doodles that I had done in the late 70s from a series that I titled "Unknown Events in the Wizard of Oz saga," back when all that I really wanted to be was a cartoonist. I showed them here.

Today I received an email notifying me that the below three pieces will be included in "Ozspiration: New Work Inspired by 100 Years of the Wizard of Oz." at the New England School of Art & Design, Suffolk University (NESAD/SU).

They are all pen and inks; one has a little red watercolor in Dorothy's shoes.

Dorothy Gale, Witch Slayer

"Dorothy Gale, Witchslayer, 'North - you're next!'"

The Last Thing the Wicked Witch of the Wicked Witch of the West said was 'Aw shit'

"The last thing that the Wicked Witch of the West said was 'Aw... shit!'"

How Dorothy Gale really killed the Wicked Witch of the East

"How Dorothy Gale really killed the Wicked Witch of the East"

Baltimore Open Studios

Mark your calendars - next weekend, Oct. 20-21, from 5-8PM is the 19th Annual Baltimore Open Studios.

Details here.

Opportunity for Artists

Deadline: December 31, 2007

The Oregon College of Art & Craft has a call for artists' proposals for exhibitions for the 2008-09 season. Contact:

8245 SW Barnes Rd
Portland, OR 97225

Or email

Jobs in the Arts

Job Opening: Assistant Preparator at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in DC.

BA/BFA degree and two to four years museum work experience in the technical aspects of museum standard art handling practices, storage, installation, and packing. The Assistant Preparator assists the Chief Preparator and Preparator in all technical aspects of art handling with regard to installation, packing/unpacking, and storage of objects under the direction of the Registrar, Conservator, and Curators. He/she assists with the maintenance of the Art Storage and Preparator's Studio and routine maintenance of museum galleries.

Managing Director at Guarisco Gallery - Washington, DC

Guarisco Gallery, a DC art gallery specializing in museum-quality 19th-century art, seeks an experienced Managing Director. The position entails two main areas of responsibility: Gallery Management and Sales. Gallery Management duties include: attending to bills and financials, management of staff, interaction with vendors, and general maintenance of the gallery. Sales responsibilities include cultivating and maintaining client relations, and organizing and participating in national fine arts shows and special events at the gallery. A minimum of five years experience in an art-related business management position is required. Email cover letter and resume to:

That's what I'm talking about!

In spite of what some people may think, I am a big fan for art critics with a strong powerful opinion, either for or against, and I am, and have been for many years, sick and tired of lukewarm reviews and backhanded compliments.

A critic's opinion is the most powerful weapon in his/her arsenal, and diluting it by being afraid to piss someone off, or worse, by actually passionately liking something, is a sin in some alternative writers' universe.

Don't you wish that we had more art critics like the Seattle P-I's Regina Hackett, whose writing I like, even though I disagree with her opinions almost as much as I agree with them.

But the lady has cojones! She destroys Australian artist Patricia Piccinini in this review:

Her work is a cheap thrill, infantilizing audiences back to the time when they worried about who was under the bed. She makes monsters. Big deal. Her drawings are corny, her video portentous and her sculptures a classy form of carnival life. The fact that she represented Australia in the 2003 Venice Biennale is no reason to get excited.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Grants for Artists

Deadline: December 30, 2007

The Puffin Foundation makes grants to emerging artists in the fields of art, music, theater, dance, photography, and literature whose works due to their genre and/or social philosophy might have difficulty being aired.

Grants from the Puffin Foundation can only be awarded to permanent residents and citizens of the United States. U.S. citizens whose projects encompass work in other countries are still eligible to apply. Average grant awards are $1,000 to $2,500 each.

Visit the foundation's web site for information on requesting an application and for descriptions of funded projects.

Hopper landscape in extremis

I have been advised that, even as the Edward Hopper show is gathering the expected oohs and aahs at the National Gallery of Art, the Cape Cod landscape in front of his home that nourished his vision for many years and formed the backdrop of some of his most famous paintings, is under threat.

A controversy has developed in the town of Truro on Cape Cod where Hopper lived for many years and painted over a third of his work, over the plans to build a 6500 foot home, complete with 6-car garage, between the Hopper house, which has been preserved since his death virtually unchanged, and the sea.

According to the news release from a group of Massachusetts residents concerned about the fate of the artist’s summer house and studio in Truro, Massachusetts:

Plans for the two-story 6,500 square-foot house, with swimming pool, reflecting pools and wine cellar, have generated petitions from over 400 local residents and visitors calling attention to the imminent risk posed to what is known as the Hopper Landscape. The quiet and isolated landscape lured the American realist to build his summer home here where he created many of his most famous paintings, several of which will be on view at the National Gallery until WHEN. Among the famous works associated with the landscape are "Hills, South Truro," "Camel's Hump," "Rooms by the Sea," and "Cape Cod Evening."

Edward Hopper and his wife, Josephine, first came to Truro in 1930. They built the Cape Cod-style house and studio four years later and spent six months of every year there until his death in 1967. The family that inherited it following Josephine’s death a year later has faithfully preserved the house. The artist’s easel still stands next to the large north-facing studio window, a kind of sentinel over the landscape he immortalized which old-timers in Truro refer to as the Hogsback.

Virtually unchanged since the construction of the Hopper residence itself, the Hopper Landscape also has great environmental significance. In addition to protecting nearly half mile of dune land and sandy beach, it is a classic example of the grassy heath community that has been disappearing on Cape Cod with the spread of building and landscaped development. Grassy heath is considered rare and is noteworthy for many distinct plant species and habitat for such endangered species as the spade foot toad, box turtle and northern harrier. Perhaps of most significance is the exceptional abundance and density of Broom crowberry in the area, which grows in very few locations in North America and is classified as rare by the Massachusetts Natural Heritage Program.

Thanks to the contributions of neighbors several years ago, the Truro Conservation Trust acquired a key parcel in the Hopper Landscape. In addition, the Trust was given a restriction on an adjoining property that prevents any future development of the site. One other parcel, while not presenting the same immediate threat, may also be slated for development. The entire area is located just outside the protective boundaries of the Cape Cod National Seashore where it crosses this narrow portion of the Outer Cape to span the wooded hillsides stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to Cape Cod Bay.

Recently, the Massachusetts Historical Commission declared the Hopper House and Landscape as eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places as a potential National Register historic district.

The Cape Cod Commission, a regional planning agency with oversight of development considered to have regional impact on the Cape’s historic and environmental resources, will be taking up the question of whether to study the proposed mansion as a Development of Regional Impact at its meeting on September 20.

The controversial project has been the subject of a front-page story in the Boston Globe and numerous articles in Cape newspapers over the past month. The Truro group, led by artist Nathalie Ferrier, hopes that the Hopper Show in Washington will call the nation’s attention to the imminent danger facing the site and subject so strongly linked to one of America’s greatest artists.
For further details contact Nathalie Ferrier at

According to the article in the Globe:
This is no battle between the haves and the have-nots, but rather a battle between the have and the have-mores. The neighbors do not fault Donald and Andrea Kline for spending millions to live in the Hopper landscape. After all, they themselves own expensive chunks of land nearby. The neighbors fault the Klines instead for what they believe is violating the code of the Cape, proposing what they call a monstrosity and a trophy house when a smaller house or the existing 191-year-old home already on the Klines' property would do just fine.

"It can only be a monument to themselves," said neighbor Joan Holt. "It says it's not about the neighborhood and what it's always been and what it's always meant to be. All it says is, 'Look at the money I have.' "

Donald Kline, a wealthy man with a home in Boca Raton, Fla., and a history of land battles in Truro, declined to comment for this story. But from the plans he has filed with the town of Truro, one thing is clear: He wants a view like the one Hopper once had. The plans call for his house to be built at the highest point of the property. And neighbors will have a hard time stopping it, said Nick Brown, chairman of the Truro Planning Board.
It appears that Mr. Kline doesn't need another monster house, and - since he's building it for the "view," it is ironic that he doesn't "see" the issue with his new home's impact on the whole Hopper environment.

One thing is clear: Apparently Kline does have the right to build, the money to fight it out, and if it meets code, and if it is his property, the legally he can do it. And so it simply becomes an ethical issue.

And since Mr. Kline is apparently a contributor to Barack Obama's campaign (and so is apparently Mrs. Kline), then one would assume that he is a Democrat and that his political, ethical and environmental views align with the breath of fresh air and new viewpoints that the Senator is trying to bring to American politics. But I suspect that the Kline Mansion's disruption of the Hopper environment, simply for the sake of a view, would not be something that either Democrats or Obama would endorse.

Mr. & Mrs Kline: There are a lot of open coast lines and still a lot of ocean viewpoints left in Maine: either build a reasonable house in Truro or build elsewhere - it's not just the right thing to do, but the Democratic thing to do; anything else would be hypocritical.

Somebody please...

Can someone please attend this next week and then email me a report?

Creative Conversations - An Emerging Arts Leader Dialogue

Co-hosted by Americans for the Arts' Creative Conversations Program

When: Monday, October 29, 2007 - 4:30 pm – 7:00 pm

Where: 600 Restaurant at the Watergate
(Event will be in the first banquet room as you enter the building)
600 New Hampshire Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20037

More details: The Forum for Emerging Arts Professionals aims to provide unique professional development and networking opportunities for emerging arts professionals. This event is an informal and open discussion on topics pertinent to emerging arts leaders in the DC area. Bring with you the issues you face every day.

Note: This event is free. Attendees of the discussion session will receive a free drink ticket and appetizers.

To RSVP: Please visit Americans for the Arts Creative Conversations website or email them at

Opportunity for Artists

Deadline: December 1, 2007

The International Artists Support Group invites artists to exhibit with them in New Delhi, India at the Lalit Kala Akademy (exact date to be determined). This is the 5th IASG Show at the Lalit Kala Akademy, New Delhi, India. This is India's prestigious National Academy of Art which was opened in 1954. They have hosted the Triennial-India International Exhibition in New Delhi every three years since 1968. The show is curated by Sushil Kalra, who is an accomplished artist, political cartoonist and newspaper columnist in India.

Fees: $75 for one entry, $110 for two. You may submit two pieces of work, no larger than 20 inches x 30 inches. Unframed, no stretchers, no mats are allowed. Make checks payable to IASG. This covers transportation, framing, hanging and cataloguing. Drop or mail your work by September 15 to: Doug and Margo Arnold, 3001 Veazey Terrace, NW #719, Washington, DC 20008. The reception desk has 24-hour service. Veazey Terrace is adjacent to the Van Ness/UDC Red line Metro Stop on the East side of Connecticut Avenue. If return mail required: Include $25.00 shipping & handling made out to IASG, plus return postage. Include insurance if desired.

Liability: Artists are responsible for insuring their own work. All work will be handled by IASG with extreme care. However, IASG assumes no responsibility for damage or theft. Shipped work must be insured. All claims for works damaged in shipment are the responsibility of the artist and the shipper.

Press Coverage: There will be extensive press coverage of the opening reception.

For additional information and entry form info, send e-mail to Margo Arnold at

Saturday, October 13, 2007


- The DC area's best-known artist (and in the lead by millions and millions) Frank Warren on the Today show. The new PostSecret book, which is titled A Lifetime of Secrets is currently available on Amazon.

- Heineman Myers Contemporary Art opens Foon Sham's “Journey” exhibition tonight, Saturday October 13th with a reception for the artist from 6 to 9pm. Foon Sham will speak about his recent work at 7pm. Foon Sham will be featured on the Maryland Public Television program “Artworks This Week” on Wednesday, October 17th at 7:30pm on channels 22 or 67, depending on where you live in Maryland. It will be shown again on Saturday, October 20 at 8am.

Friday, October 12, 2007

New Saint Sebastian

And again I return to one of my favorite subjects of all time: Saint Sebastian, said to have been martyred by the Roman Emperor Diocletian.

The below drawing is currently on hold was sold to a DC area collector.

St. Sebastian

"St. Sebastian." F. Lennox Campello. Circa 2007
Charcoal and Conte on Paper. 9" x 16"


Candace Edgerley, DMV artist who teaches surface design at the Corcoran College of Art + Design in DC and also at Springwater Fiber Workshop in Alexandria, VA, will be the October, featured artist at Fiberworks, inside the Torpedo Factory Art Center. The Opening Reception is Sunday, October 14, 1-5pm and the exhibition goes through Nov. 4, 2007.

Philly Art Fair

US Artists logo Next weekend around 50 art dealers and galleries will be taking part in the 16th Annual American Fine Art Show at the 33rd Street Armory in Philadelphia.

I'll be away at another fair and unfortunately will not be able to visit this one, partially because I just found out yesterday that it was taking place next weekend.

Of interest, most of the participating galleries are either local Philadelphia dealers or New York galleries; no Left coast galleries or DC area galleries...