Wednesday, October 17, 2007

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:

OCAC
8245 SW Barnes Rd
Portland, OR 97225

Or email edebow@ocac.edu.

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: jpanarelli@mindspring.com

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.
Ouch!

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 info@roomsbythesea.org.

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 theforum.mail@gmail.com.

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 margo@ix.netcom.com

Saturday, October 13, 2007

On TV

- 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"

Fibers

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...

Magical Realism

There's a really interesting exhibition titled "Magical Realism" at the Abington Art Center in Jenkintown, PA.

The show, which goes through November 8, 2007 includes work by Aaron Delamatre, Marilyn Holsing, Susana Jacobson, Steven Kenny, Deirdre Murphy and Walter Benjamin Smith II.

Check out some of the artwork here.

Reading levels

Three years ago I ran some art bloggers and art critics' writing to an evaluation tool that deciphered to what reader level they were writing to.

Just for fun, today I ran some art critics, bloggers and writers through it and they're listed below in order of easier readability (from requiring less education to read to requiring more education according to the Fog Index). For some odd reason, it resisted reading the Washington City Paper's online pages, so I couldn't do a score on Jeffry Cudlin or Jessica Gould, so instead I used Cudlin's blog.

My blog received a Fog Index of 13.8. That means that you'd need almost a college sophomore education to read and understand my obtuse writing - that's up from a 12 in 2004).

The Fog index has been developed by Robert Gunning and its numeric value is a school grade. The author claims that a lower Fog index is actually a better score, as then it is easier for readers to comprehend the writing. For example, the average New York Times article is written to a reading level of 8.9 years or just about High School freshman level.

The scores, from best to worst, according to Gunning:

Tyler Green - 9.9

B'more Art - 10.0

Rex Weil - 10.1

Thinking About Art - 10.5

Regina Hackett - 10.5

Edward Winkleman - 11.0

Grammar Police - 11.1

Dangerous Chunky - 11.6

Richard Lacayo - 12.3

Walter Robinson - 12.4

Blake Gopnik - 12.8

Charlie Finch - 13.1

Jessica Dawson - 13.3

Peter Dobrin - 13.3

CultureGrrl - 13.6

Michael O'Sullivan - 14.1

Black Cat Bone - 14.3

Robin Rice - 14.6

Fallon and Rosof - 14.7

Glenn McNatt - 14.9

Edward J. Sozanski - 15.7

Jerry Saltz - 16.6

Donald Kuspit 17.6

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Flip Video

flip videoI've been hearing amazing things about the new Flip Video gizmo that is:

- Simple to use, pocket-sized camcorder with one-touch recording and digital zoom

- Holds 60 minutes of TV-quality video on 1GB of built-in memory; no tapes or additional memory cards required

- Convenient USB arm plugs directly into your computer for easy sharing and archiving

- Built-in software lets you easily e-mail videos, share them on YouTube and Grouper, edit footage, and capture still photos from video

- Watch videos instantly on TV with included cable
So I just ordered this one from Amazon.com (cheaper than from the manaufacturer itself); expect video to make presence here soon.

Artdc one day show

Artdc.org, a Washington, D.C., artists’s forum, will present “Art in Transition Continued” on Saturday, October 13, 2007, in the future Greater Goods building, 1626 U Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20009. Doors open at noon; an art party is 6 p.m. to midnight.

The participating artists are: Steve Mead, Antoinette Wysocki, Jodi A. Patterson, John N. Grunwell, Dan Rosenstein, Alexandra Zealand, Alexandra Silverthorne, Kim Reyes, Emily Berl, Christie Ortiz, Rhett Rebold, Raju Singh, Steve Loya, Stephen T. Hanks, Matthew Best, Graham Meyer and Adam Eig.

Details here.

Artists' Talks in Philly

Tomorrow, October 12, 2007 from 12:00 ­- 1:45 pm at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown (1201 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107), in room 403 there's an artists's talk with Zoe Strauss and Julia Bryan-Wilson

Titled "Contemporary Public Art in Philadelphia: An Artist's Talk with Zoe Strauss and Julia Bryan-Wilson," this conversation reflects the program committee's special interest in the arts and activism and is presented as part of the Annual American Studies Conference. Free and open to the public and no tickets are required.

Art Vandals

The Vandals were a Germanic tribe which (towards the end of the Roman Empire) swept down from Germany and left a path of destruction in their wake (thus the word "vandalism") as they marched through Europe in search of food and warm lands. Eventually, together with another German bunch of hungry barbarians known as the Visigoths, they settled in Spain by the millions and became a significant chunk of the modern Spaniard and French DNA. The Vandals settled mostly in the South, and gave their name to the region today called Andalusia in Spain (from "Vandalus").

Recently, in Lund, a small university town in southern Sweden art vandals attacked "The History of Sex," an exhibition of photographs by the New York artist Andres Serrano. Read Carol Vogel's report here and Bailey's unique take here.

For the last several years, the Swedish artist Felix Gmelin has been interested in artworks that have literally been destroyed in museums, galleries, or other public spaces. In the art project Art Vandals, Felix Gmelin reinterprets twelve works that have been subjected to vandalism. Check it out here.

At the Warehouse in DC

The Last Next is an exhibition of paintings and drawings by Washington-based artist Kristin Holder at DC's Warehouse Gallery. Works from 2002 until the present will be included in the exhibition, including a site-specific wall drawing. In recent years Holder has been the recipient of the Second Place Award at the Trawick Prize, a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant, and a one-year fellowship from the British Academy in Rome. Her work is included in several public and private collections.

The exhibition will be on view at Warehouse (­third floor) from October 11 through October 28, 2007. The opening reception will take place on October 13 from 7:00-10:00 p.m. Additionally Holder created a wall piece on the original 100 year old wall on the 3rd floor of the space.

The second show at Warehouse, opening on the same night is "RISD DC/Baltimore Biennial 2007," an exhibition of art and design work featuring local alumni from The Rhode Island School of Design. The show features recent work by RISD alumni who graduated between 1950-2006, and who now live and work in the Washington Metropolitan area.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Joy to the World

These days, when Three Dog Night's Joy to the World is played by some hotel band it is usually preceded by the drummer announcing: "and now something for the former hippies in the crowd..."

Wrong!

Below is Chuck Negron and Three Dog Night, a group that dominated the charts and the radio waves for a while and sold 50 million records by 1975 and 90 million records sold to date...

Click and listen.

Reading levels

Who is offering art writing to an intelligent reading level?

Three years ago I ran some art bloggers and art critics' writing to an evaluation tool that deciphered to what reader level they were writing to (was that sentence-ending "to" a dangling preposition?).

Read that three-year-old report here... tomorrow I will re-run it with the same authors and some new ones.

Wanna open a rent free gallery in Mass?

I couldn't resist this news release:

John Olson, a business owner in downtown Lynn, has a space available on the first floor of his building in Central Square Lynn that he is offering to artists who may want to run a temporary co-op in the space.

The space is currently unfinished; unpainted sheetrock walls and cement floor, but has large windows on the street level, high ceilings (21 ft.) and a large amount of interior wall and floor space (2100 sq. ft.), and could support a substantial amount of work.

He is looking for a group, who, in exchange for the free use of the space, would be willing to man the space and keep it open at least four weekdays, one weekend day, and one or two evenings. He is offering the space in exchange for a 25% commission to cover his utility costs, but is willing to negotiate.

John's ultimate goal is to rent this space, so there is no set time frame on this offer.
For more information, contact John Olson directly at jolson@columbiainsuranceagency.net.

Hirshhorn Looking for new boss

Email from the Hirshhonistas:

I am pleased to announce the formation of an eight-member committee to assist in the search for a new director of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. The search is being conducted by the Office of the Under Secretary for Art.

The members of the search committee, in alphabetical order, are:

• Neal Benezra — director of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art since 2002. He previously served as deputy director and curator of modern and contemporary art at the Art Institute of Chicago. Previously, he spent eight years at HMSG, where he was assistant director for art and public programs and chief curator.

• Constance Caplan — art collector and trustee of HMSG. She also serves on the board of the John Hopkins University College of Medicine and has served as the chair of the board of trustees of the Baltimore Museum of Art.

• Ann Hamilton — the first artist to serve as a trustee of HMSG. She is an award-winning visual artist who specializes in installation work and has participated in more than 60 solo and group exhibitions. She is a professor of art at Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.

• J. Tomilson Hill — collector of modern and contemporary art and chairman of the board of trustees of HMSG. He is vice chairman of The Blackstone Group in New York.

• Susan Lake — collections manager and chief conservator at HMSG, where she has worked for more than 25 years.

• Mitchell P. Rales — collector and vice chair of the board of trustees of HMSG. He is the founder and director of The Glenstone Foundation. He also is founder, director and chairman of the executive committee of Danaher Corporation, headquartered in Washington, D.C.

• Ned Rifkin — Under Secretary for Art at the Smithsonian since 2002.

• John W. Smith — director of the Archives of American Art since 2006. He was formerly assistant director for collections, exhibitions and research at The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh from 2000 to 2006.

The new director will succeed Olga Viso, who is scheduled to leave at the end of the year to become director of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.

Sincerely,

Cristián Samper
Acting Secretary
I have some thoughts on who should be hired to run the Hirshhorn... more on that later.

Anderson on Roth

John James Anderson has a really insightful interview with the Corcoran's Paul Roth (the Corcoran's Curator of Photography and Media Arts).

Read it here.

Rand on Timmers

I've been meaning to link to this really interesting interview by DCist Kelly Rand with DC sculptor Erwin Timmers, who is slowly but surely becoming the DC area's leader of the "green art" movement.

Read the interview here.

Opportunity for Artists

Deadline: March 1, 2008

The Innovators Combating Substance Abuse Program has issued a Call to Artists whose original art will be selected to appear in a forthcoming book on art and addiction to be published by the Johns Hopkins University Press. The Innovators Program, supported by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is a national program based in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.

The purpose of the proposed book is to provide a stimulus to change the way America views addiction by using the visual arts to put a human face on addiction and recovery. Creativity and artistic expression play a significant role both in recovery and in raising awareness of the personal toll caused by substance abuse and addiction. The proposed book on addiction art is intended to complement and serve as the companion volume to the editors’ book on addiction science, Addiction Treatment: Science and Policy for the Twenty-First Century (JE Henningfield, PB Santora, WK Bickel (eds), Johns Hopkins Press, October 2007).

They invite all artists to submit original artwork on the theme of drug addiction and recovery (drugs include alcohol, tobacco, illegal, or prescription drugs). A distinguished panel of jurors, composed of prominent members from both the art and addiction science communities, will select the art for the book. Finalists will receive an honorarium of $200, with the top five finalists receiving an additional honorarium of $500; a copy of the book, and will be included in exhibitions in Maryland (May 2008) and at the annual meeting of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence in Puerto Rico (June 14-19, 2008). Other exhibition possibilities are pending at this time.

Works submitted may be in any media, including video. Works included in the book will not be limited to size, but extreme size may limit works for inclusion in the exhibitions.

For additional information and entry forms, please contact the Innovators Program at (443) 287-3915 or visit their website at www.innovatorsawards.org.

Eligibility:
- Works in all media including video will be accepted.
- Works may be any size.
- Works may have been completed in any year.

Entry:
- Artists may submit up to 3 artworks in slide or digital format.

For Slides: Label each slide with your name and title of work on the front of the slide. Please indicate the top of the slide. Place slides in an “8 ½ x 11” clear vinyl slide sheet holder. Write your name on the holder.

For CDs: Label each file with your name and title of work. Write your name on the CD holder. Submit images in .jpeg format, resolution 72dpi; file size should not exceed 1mb.

For Digital Images Submitted by E-Mail: Label each image with your name and title of work. Submit images in .jpeg format, resolution 72dpi; file size should not exceed 1mb. Email digital submissions to: innovatorsawards@jhmi.edu.

Artists must submit a 100-200 word Artist Statement which addresses the relationship between the artist / the work and the “Drug Addiction and Recovery” theme. Artists must also complete and submit the Submission Form.

Send submissions to:

Innovators Combating Substance Abuse Program
The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
600 N. Wolfe Street
Meyer Building 3-142
Baltimore, MD 21287

Job in the Arts

The Nevin Kelly Gallery, a fine art gallery located in Washington, DC's U Street Corridor, is searching for a new part-time gallery assistant.

Experience Required: BA in arts-related field and one year relevant work experience preferred. The candidate MUST have excellent writing and computer skills and the ability to work independently and self-motivate. A desire and ability to take initiative in developing projects is also a plus.

How to Apply: Please submit cover letter, resume and three references to info@nevinkellygallery.com or fax to 202-232-3465. No phone calls please.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Tate on VoA

DC uberartist Tim Tate was in the Voice of America airwaves today. Transcript here.

Photo Reference at Photo West Gallery in Philly

Photo Reference, with works by DC area's own Denee Barr, Matteo Colaizzo, Jeff Dentz, Emily Erb, Luis el Estudiante, Brendan Gavin, Bill Kelly, Eva Preston, Sheila Ruen, and Harry Sefarbi opens with an opening reception on the 12th of October from 5-10pm at Photo West Gallery. The exhibition goes through Oct. 22, 2007.

WaPo Chief Art Critic Online

The Washington Post's chief art critic, Blake Gopnik, will be online today at 2PM to answer questions.

Details here.

New gallery in Philadelphia

"Rebekah Templeton Contemporary Art is the newest face in the thriving Philadelphia art scene. Scheduled to open November 11, 2007, Rebekah Templeton will be exhibiting cutting edge contemporary art in all media.

Rebekah Templeton Contemporary Art is the brainchild of independent curators and artists Sarah Eberle and Ben Will. Eberle and Will have worked together on a number of underground curatorial projects. Sarah Eberle has an extensive background in visual art. After graduating from University of California at Berkeley, she worked for Worth Ryder Gallery and Kala Art Institute in Berkeley, CA. Upon arriving in Philadelphia in 2002, she worked as the Gallery Store Manager for The Print Center and played a major role in the founding of Falling Cow Gallery as the inaugural Director. Ben Will has worked as an independent curator in London and Philadelphia, as well as working for a variety of arts organizations including Artistsspace in New York City.

The two met while co-curating an exhibition, “Squat,” displayed at Tower Investments in Northern Liberties, now known as Tower Gallery. Discovering a mutual love for contemporary art, they decided to open a gallery together. They bought a run down Row Home on the corner of Girard Ave. and Second St. in South Kensington, the heart of Philadelphia’s newest art neighborhood. After almost two years of renovations and a grant from the American Street Financial Services Center, Rebekah Templeton Contemporary Art is ready to open.

The inaugural exhibition will feature work from New York City artist Sara Gates and will include video and wall paper in addition to paintings and prints. The opening reception will be held on November 8, 2007 from 6-9 pm in conjunction with the neighborhood’s newly thriving Second Thursdays, modeled after Old City’s First Fridays."

Manon Cleary at DCAC

Were I ever to rank the District of Columbia's top ten artists of all time, Manon Cleary would easily make the list and challenge for the top three spots.

Manon Cleary

And although she has been in very frail health for many years now, Cleary continues to paint and draw and re-invent herself over and over, as all great artists do. Whether her subject matter focus is penises, rats, men in bags, flowers, or her own rape.

And next Friday, Cleary debuts yet another focus for her work with a series of new sky paintings at the District of Columbia Arts Center. From the news release:

Manon Catherine Cleary – by any earthly measure – is a luminary among Washington DC artists. Globally exhibited and collected, Cleary has enjoyed a forty-year career as an artist and teacher, and is principally acclaimed for her virtuosic and conceptually provocative enlistment of oil paint and graphite to photo-realist ends. It is with great honor, then, that DC Arts Center will showcase the artist’s very newest “skyscapes” in its Gallery during the month of October – works rendered and mounted in remembrance of Cleary’s dear friend and DCAC founder and patron Herb White, in whose company she spent countless contented hours “chasing clouds.”
The show runs from Friday, October 12th – Sunday, November 4th and the opening reception is this Friday, October 12th, from 7 – 9 pm.

Art Happening in DC this Friday

Luster
Date: Saturday, October 13
Time: 7 p.m. to 12 a.m.
Location: Lee Jensen Brake Service
1333 14th Street, NW
(between N Street and Rhode Island Ave.)
Washington, DC

Music by eightyeight

Featured Artists: Steven M. Cummings, Daniel Davidson, Drew Ernst, Kate Hardy, Ju$t Another Rich Kid, Geoffrey Mann, Gregory McLellan, Ted Noten, Cory Oberndorfer, Painted Lady Performance Project, Chris Tousimis, René Treviño, and Trevor Young.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Philly critic's Arts blog

Philadelphia Inquirer classical music and art critic Peter Dobrin has an excellent art blog (new to me) here.

He has this interesting quote from the Inquirer's art critic Ed Sozanski: "Museums are the place of last resort for art."

Visit Dobrin often.

WaPo Muscle

The Washington Post had an amazing museum section yesterday.

So far I think that my favorite piece was Paul Richard's 1967, the Year the Pieces Began to Come Together, which reminisces about the DC art world of 1967. Richard is the retired WaPo chief art critic.

His successor, Blake Gopnik, will be online on Tuesday, October 9 at 2PM to answer questions. Details here.

The blogger show

John Morris from Digging Pitt Gallery in Pittsburgh, PA has been working on a groundbreaking joint effort with Agni Gallery (New York, NY) and Panza Gallery (Millvale, PA) to present The Blogger Show. The exhibits showcase the work of over thirty artists (including yours truly) whose common interest is in clarifying artistic discourse through their blogs. All of the exhibits will take place between November 10, 2007 and January 12, 2008.

All of the exhibits will take place between November 3, 2007 and January 12, 2008.

Per Bill Gusky, "arts bloggers are using this technology to redefine the role of arts in American culture. The interactive aspect of blogging has encouraged the growth of artistic discourse in unexpected ways, with a shift in who and how art is discussed. One of the most significant contributions of artist bloggers to this dialog is an honest appraisal of process and theory. Using the platform of the internet to express these thoughts has included a multitude of elements. Many artists load images onto their blogs. Another aspect of the online community that has yet to make its impact felt is in the arena of regional arts that makes an exhibit in Detroit as accessible as one in New York.

The artists in the exhibits at Agni, Digging Pitt and Panza Galleries represent a range of visual disciplines and aesthetics. The one commonality is active blogging. Some use blogging as a platform for discussing issues facing visual artists while others treat the blog as a public journal. Whatever approach or combination of approaches, all have brought a level of clarity to artistic discourse. These exhibits are a reflection, in physical space, of the ephemeral blogosphere. And by its very nature, an extension of the guiding philosophy behind Digging Pitt's flat file archive.

This exhibition focuses on the work of artists who are active art blog writers. The work you see here emerged in the studio in near-simultaneity with the artist's written expressions. These twin efforts -- art making and blog writing -- sometimes appear to flow together and intertwine beautifully, and at other times almost seem to be in diametric opposition.

The relationship between written word and the created artwork suggests the erratic flow of a culture in which propaganda freely mingles with news journalism and science is polluted with articles of faith. It seems at times that the only appropriate response to the apparent untrustworthiness of all our societal and cultural expressions is a schizophrenic call-and-response in which everyone probes for even the merest scintilla of truth using tools of decidedly mixed sincerity.

The questions that emerge and the answers that may or may not accompany them will hopefully provide valuable insights into ongoing cultural developments that are incredibly difficult to discern amid the maelstrom of media that beset us all, but that must ultimately be discerned if we are to gain an understanding of where we're headed as a culture."

Here's the breakdown of venues, artists and dates:

Digging Pitt Gallery
4417 Butler Street
Pittsburgh PA 15201
November 10, 2007 - January 12, 2008
Public Reception: December 8, 6-9PM


Digging Pitt Too
45th & Plummer Streets
Pittsburgh PA 15201
November 10, 2007 - January 12, 2008
Public Reception: December 8, 6-9PM
Panza Gallery
115 Sedgwick Street
Millvale PA 15209
November 10, 2007 - January 12, 2008
Public Reception: December 15, 6-9PM
Agni Gallery
170 East 2nd Street, Storefront #3
New York NY 10009
November 3 - 30, 2007
Public Reception: November 3, 6-9PM

New PostSecret book coming

I just got through the new PostSecret book, which is titled A Lifetime of Secrets. And just like its predecessors, Frank Warren continues to tap into the inexhaustible well of worldwide secrets to deliver an exceptionally interesting book again - both as a read and as an art book. The new book goes on sale next week and it is already ranked at #105 on Amazon (as a pre-order). You can pre-order it here. Frank's book tour starts next week and he will be on the Today Show talking about PostSecret on October 11th.

There is also a new PostSecret video on YouTube (it is ranked 47th most viewed for the day and climbing).




Lastly, over 300 spiritually related postcards are on exhibit in the latest show at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Moon & Hopper

Cudlin has a really excellent review of The National Gallery’s current exhibition on Edward Hopper.

And in this review is where we see where a trained painter can sometimes deliver an insight into a painter's work than an ordinary critic sometimes can't; Cudlin notices that:

There are many subjects that didn’t suit Hopper’s approach to color and form. He was hopeless, for example, with seascapes. His 1922 etching The Cat Boat and a later oil painting, Ground Swell (1939), are half-baked attempts to represent water. In the former, a few thin lines like cramped cursive—little cartoon peaks, really—lamely indicate waves. In the latter, the sea appears to be made of some viscous blue-green substance; the stuff lies in thick furrows, holding both a buoy and a sailboat completely immobile. Only the boat in each picture seems like a decent compilation of specific shapes. Hopper clearly liked that boat but didn’t have many ideas about where to put it...

... His figures, too, were often vague and half-invented. The female nude in Morning in a City (1944) gazes out at a sharply rendered city. But she herself looks like a lumpy troll, as if she wandered out of a painting by modern primitive Henri Rousseau. Hopper typically made studies for his figures but often relied on memory while painting, and proportions could get lost in the shuffle. This woman’s nakedness lacks eroticism, and as a result seems alien, disturbing—as nondescript as Hopper’s trees and waves.
Lumpy troll... that's hilarious!

Elsewhere in the CP, Capps reviews Jiha Moon at Curator's Office. Moon is on my "Buy Now" List.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Wanna go to a C'ville opening tonight?

Charlottesville's Migration: A Gallery has Edwin White's metal sculpture and mobiles opening tonight in a show titled “Line to Volume.”

The exhibition goes through November 2, 2007 and the opening is from 5:30 – 8pm as part of C'ville's own First Friday openings.

New WPA website

The new WPA website is now online and their new online artfile, which will be ready for prime time on October 29, 2007 rocks!

New editor at WaPo

Tracy Grant is the new editor for the Washington Post's Weekend section.

Our congratulations to Grant on the new job!

The WaPo's Weekend section has its own separate presence from the rest of the paper, and as far as the visual arts, in my opinion Michael O'Sullivan has the best presence, connectivity and corporate knowledge on the Greater DC area's region visual art scene in the entire newspaper. By far...

O'Sullivan does a great job for the readers of the Post, who are usually proportionally shortchanged in the visual arts (and have been for years, but accelerated by the disastrous Style editorship of Eugene Robinson and perpetuated by the current editor) by the paper's newish Arts section.

But I hope that Tracy Grant has an open mind, because the Weekend section can use a lot of refurbishing and modernizing and parts of it need to realize that it's 2007 and not 1977.

I am not an objective critic, not by far, but here are some suggestions for Tracy Grant, and I sincerely hope that Grant will take them as constructive suggestions rather than burying her head in the sand like her predecessor.

1. The Listings: No section of Weekend is a bigger waste of newsprint than the 80% static listings - especially the museum listings. But, let us assume that some people still refer solely to a printed paper, rather than the Internet, to find out what's showing where. The way that listings are managed, the way that they must be submitted, and the way that they are updated is a joke in 2007. Example: while I understand that in 1977 a reader may want a constant reference of what's on exhibit at the Navy Museum - a static permanent installation museum - why is that listing (and dozens like it) there Friday after Friday for years and years? The listings need to be more dynamic, like the Washington City Paper's listings are, where galleries and museums, etc. can email their listings in (or mail it or fax them). Suggestion one: Provide an online entry point where galleries and museums can electronically submit listings. And for the readers' sake, reduce the space allotted to static listings that never change and use the newsprint space to list more gallery listings, which do change on a monthly basis!

2. The Mini Reviews: The Weekend section used to employ an small army of freelance writers and critics to provide mini reviews of movies, theatre, performance, etc. These voices augmented their regular writers and critics and really made the Weekend section a must read for anyone interested in the arts. They never did that for the visual arts. Why did Weekend do this for all genres of the arts except the visual arts? Suggestion two: Budget for 2-3 freelance writers to submit a few mini DC area gallery reviews each Friday - just like you once did for the other art genres.

3. The Big Review: More please; O'Sullivan does a great job, but the hungry visual art masses want more! Here's an idea (unless it is an union thing that forbids this from happening): The WaPo owns a couple of other printed newspapers out there... such as the Gazette. Why not augment O'Sullivan once in a while with one of the art critics who already writes for one of those newspapers, already is on the WaPo's payroll database, and easy to tap into, to supplement and augment O'Sullivan's voice (or replace him when he's away on vacation or recuperating from a medical issue as he is now) when he's gone. Suggestion Three: Augment Michael O'Sullivan's visual art criticism with Dr. Claudia Rousseau's art criticism - she's the art critic for the Gazette newspapers - owned by the Post.

Wanna go for a pretty drive?

If you are a fan of children's illustrations and a really beautiful countryside setting, then this weekend you should take a drive to the Brandywine River Museum in beautiful Chadds Ford, PA and check our their current "Flights into Fantasy: The Kendra and Allan Daniel Collection of Children's Illustration" on display through November 18, 2007.

On exhibit you'll discover fantasy in children's illustrations by some of the most famous illustrators of the 19th and 20th centuries such as Arthur Rackham, Edmund Dulac, Kay Neilsen, Jessie Willcox Smith, W.W. Denslow, Ernest Shepard, Ludwig Bemelmans, Dorothy Lathrop and E. Boyd Smith. Nearly 100 superb works selected from the remarkable collection of Kendra and Allan Daniel.

Tapedude in the CP

The DC area's Mark Jenkins is probably one of the region's most visible invisible artists, both around here and abroad.

And the current issue of the WCP has an excellent profile on Jenkins by the CP's Jessica Gould. Read it here.

Secret Apartment

"The leader of an artists' cooperative has been sentenced to probation for setting up a secret apartment inside a shopping mall's parking garage as part of a project on mall life."
Details here.

First Fridays

If you wanna do openings and gallery crawls, first Fridays is your key day.

There are a lot of 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 openings around the nation's capital, and I will say it again, DC can also be accused of wanting to save a dinar here and there at the expense of the arts. Check out DCist here.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Fidel Castro as an Orthodox Jew

In Cuba, you can get in a lot of trouble if you depict "El Lider Maximo" in any sort of unfavorable light, or showing any kind of weakness. Big trouble... like jail time sort of trouble.

Castro manipulation of organized religion has been masterful, and the way that he has handled the Catholic Church in Cuba, as well as the decimated Cuban Jewry, should be a lesson to all despots and tyrants. Because Castro is essentially an atheist and deeply against organized religion, which he uses as just another tool of his regime, depicting him in any sort of religious or believer status would be cause for artistic concern in Cuba.

But this is America.

And although the old tyrant has never been very proud of his Celtic roots, his parents ancestral home in Galicia has actually offered him an exile home in the rugged mountains of Iberia's Celtic regions, in the event that Castro ever decided to leave Cuba, which I seriously doubt that he ever will.

But in Cuba there has always been an urban legend that Castro's mother, Lina Ruz, also described as a Galician, was actually Jewish, perhaps because her last name was said to be similar to a well-known hidden Sephardic Jewish family in Spain.

Also, because Castro was born out of wedlock to Lina (who was the 14 year-old daughter of a maid in his father's household); and because Castro was the third out-of-wedlock child of Lina; and because this affair was the cause of his father's divorce from María Luisa Argota (his Galician wife); and because Castro was not baptized until age 8, the children in the Jesuit school that he started attending at age 6 labeled him a "Judio" as a derogatory term in the racist Cuban society of the 1930s.

Fidel Castro as an elderly Orthodox Jew


"Fidel Castro as an Orthodox Jew"
Charcoal on Paper, circa 2007 by F. Lennox Campello

And thus, and begging forgiveness from all Jews around the world, my drawing of an elderly Fidel Castro Ruz, who like many senior citizens, has suddenly discovered religion, begged and prayed for forgiveness for all his horrible sins and abuses of the Cuban people, and using his power forced his way and become an Orthodox Jew in Havana's historical synagogue.

Next (and definately more appropriate): Castro as Ayatollah Fidel...

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Bethesda gallery renamed

Today I received a press release announcing "Waverly Street Gallery formerly Creative Partners Gallery's" Holiday Show (a multi media show featuring the work of Gallery Artists) from December 4, 2007 through January 5, 2008, with an opening reception on Friday December 7, 6-9 pm.

What took me a little bit by surprise was the fact that Creative Partners had renamed itself. Their new website (which as of this AM does not work for some reason is www.waverlystreetgallery.org).

Since I am in a "do as I say, not as I do," mood - and actually thinking about re-naming Mid Atlantic Art News to something more generic in case I spread my wings to New Mexico in the future - this question will sound a little hypocritical.

Why do galleries with a long established presence rename themselves?

Creative Partners is one of the Greater DC area's top cooperative galleries, which means that it is an artist-run, artist-owned gallery, where all members share all of the gallery's expense, and like many of the co-ops around the DC area, and other metropolitan areas, they have been around for a ton of years.

So they have name recognition, which in the gallery world is a good thing.

And thus the question: why change the name?

Creative Partners is the second area gallery to do this recently. Factory Photoworks renamed itself Multiple Exposures Gallery a couple of years ago. Like Creative Partners, Multiple Exposures, nee Factory Photoworks, has been around for decades, and showcases some of the best photography in the region at very affordable prices.

I could call Creative Partners and ask them the question. But it is more interesting to elaborate and guess on a generic reason why an established gallery would change their name.

In the case of a cooperative, I think that the reason may be simply to begin the process to re-invent itself; to attempt to establish a new presence, by disassociating somewhat with the past.

I don't think that changing names is necessary for this; in fact, I think it may hurt the cause (if that's the cause). It is spectacularly hard to do a global change for any and all presences where the "old name" exists: directories, press lists, websites, online resumes, roledexes, etc. Unless you are careful and do it right, you can wipe out an entire digital footprint with a name (and website) change.

I am a big fan and supporter of cooperative galleries. Together with independently owned commercial fine arts galleries, non-profit galleries, university galleries, museum galleries, and alternative art spaces, they make up the visual arts tapestry of a city or region.

All galleries everywhere, including fabled places like New York and LA, struggle to survive and sell work in order to pay the artists, pay rent, pay for publicity, pay for openings, pay for electricity, pay for the plumber the 2-3 times a year that somebody flushes a sanitary napkin (or one of those indestructible hand towels) down the toilet at an opening and clogs the pipes, pay for websites, etc.

Selling art is not an easy task for the most adept of galleries and gallerists. The tales of sold out shows and shows that sell out before the openings are sometimes true, but also sometimes exaggerated as a publicity stunt. I know for a fact of a former DC area gallery (no longer around) that used that storytelling line to create this "sold out" aura around the gallery that was fabricated most of the times.

Selling art in the Greater DC region is a especially difficult task, and a hard one to understand. Selling art in the Philadelphia area appears to be just as difficult, if not more, than the DC region. Both areas have more than their share of very, very wealthy people.

A lots of upper income bracket people as well. The estimated median household income for Bethesda, Maryland (where Creative Partners is located) was around $114,000 two years ago, and the median house or condo in Bethesda is around $850,000. By the way, it's $150K and $950K in nearby Potomac.

And you can research your head off and find out that generally speaking, the Greater DC area is making more money than most of the rest of the country.

But cracking the code and getting people to actually buy a piece of original artwork is a very difficult process, and unfortunately for the galleries and for artists, they only control a small part of it.

The most difficult part is getting people to actually know that there are galleries, and openings, etc. Getting the potential buyer to the gallery, or aware of the gallery or artist, is the key, and of course the most difficult part.

And because most galleries can't afford the rents right on the main commercial streets (say M Street in Georgetown, or Bethesda Avenue in Bethesda), they're usually found in clusters just off the main drags (like Canal Square in Georgetown, R Street in Dupont Circle, or to the side of East-West Highway in Bethesda, like Creative Partners - on Waverly Street I assume). And galleries, hungry for low rents and bigger spaces, are usually the first ones that begin to revitalize a sketchy neighborhood, such as the former Fusebox Gallery did for 14th Street (for galleries anyway) and Conner Contemporary is doing for the entire business community in their new location. And let's not forget that a few decades ago, a handful of artists took an abandoned building in boarded-up Old Town Alexandria, removed forty truckloads of garbage from the building, refurbished it and created the Torpedo Factory and kindled the birth of a new tony neighborhood and destination.

That means that you usually do not have the luxury of "walk-in" traffic of people walking around the nice shops, boutiques, restaurants that line up high end commercial streets like Bethesda Avenue or M Street, etc.

And the stores that sell pretty wall decor pieces on those high rent streets do gang buster business. In them you find every variation of the "painter of light" theme, or the art of rock stars (dead or alive), or TV celebrities artwork, or perhaps Russian kids who paint like Picasso (and have since grown up).

And they sell all of the above for serious money.

The kind of money that could buy serious art, not wall decor.

And the buyers think that they are buying serious artwork.

And then they drop another grand for a rococo frame to go with the wall decor.

And from my own personal experience, every once in a while, a handful of times in a gallery's lifetime, one of those buyers "discovers" a real gallery and then a collector is born, if the gallery is good enough to educate and open the person's eyes.

Why are these would-be collectors so hard to bring in from the dark side? A while back I submitted this thesis:

Because they were not exposed to art in their upbringing. Not because their parents were bad, uncultured people, but because their parents were hard-working stiffs who worried about the rent, the electric bill, the food bill and paying for junior's college so that junior could get a Computer Science degree and go on and invent AOL.

And in college, junior probably was not exposed to art other than the two or three peripheral courses that he needed to get his electives; certainly not to buying art, or even aware that art was for sale.

And then junior works hard and becomes a millionaire, and now has disposable income out the yingyang, and looks around for expensive toys, because as George Carlin is fond of saying, we all love to collect "stuff."

And he sees ads for expensive cars, expensive furniture, expensive cigars, and he reads tons of reviews for the latest trendy restaurants, etc. But he's never really made aware that there's also art out there, for our local media has a spectacular sense of apathy towards the visual arts in our area. The Washington Post is the only major American newspaper that has a freelancer deliver around 25 reviews a year to cover an entire year of DC area gallery shows, and they allow their chief art critic to review only museum shows. Very little attention is placed upon our art galleries by the newspapers, certainly not commensurate with the amount of print space that they give theatre, music, dance, fashion, etc.

So junior doesn't know that the DC area has a really good and creative visual arts scene.

Thus when junior takes a stroll through the city's main shopping streets, he doesn't know about the side streets where the galleries are, but sees the stores passing for art galleries that sell the pretty, expensive "pictures," and then junior assumes that this "stuff" is art.

And he drops a ton of money for a pretty "picture." It happens all the time, otherwise these stores would go out of business.

But instead it is the art galleries that go out of business: Veerhoff (after 125 years), Numark, eklektikos, Fusebox.

Every once in a while, junior - usually by accident - discovers a reputable art gallery, and sometimes a real collector is then born. It has happened to me, as a dealer, many, many times. But for every one of those, thousands of others remain on the dark side, or worse still, think that they have to go to New York to find contemporary art.
The apathy shown by the media towards art galleries and visual artists is multiplied by a thousand if you happen to be a cooperative gallery.

Art critics, writers who write about art, art bloggers, and other assorted scribes in the art scene tend to ignore cooperative galleries and their artist members. It is immensely unfair and short-sighted, and reflects an interesting sort of neo-connish tendency in an otherwise very liberal crowd. Like the same group's general dislike and distrust of any artist who is liked by the public in general; or public art that the public likes. It's an interesting paradox that has always intrigued me.

I've never been a member of a coop gallery, but have juried shows for coop galleries many, many times, and intimately know artists who have and are members of cooperatives. And thus I have some insight into the inner workings of galleries such as Creative Partners is.

Like I said, running an art gallery is not an easy task - as Washington Post Arts editor John Pancake once told me, it is a "heroic act."

Running a gallery by committee, as coops by default are run (and non-profits are supposed to be run), must be the task from art hell. And like any committee running anything, 10% of the people usually end up doing 90% of the work.

It's a paradox of its own. The same strength (equitable distribution of expenses among artist members) that makes a coop nearly invincible to the economic forces that makes opening an art gallery the second riskiest business proposition in the nation (restaurants are first), is its most visible weakness (direction by committee).

Trying to convince 20 or 30 voting members to agree on what colors to paint the gallery walls must rank up there with trying to get any Presidential candidate to answer a "yes or no" question with a "yes" or "no."

Getting the talented bunch over at Creative Partners to change names to Waverly Street Gallery, or the amazing photographers at Multiple Exposures, nee Factory Photoworks, must have been a herculean task.

And if the name change main reason is to set a new presence and a new footprint and a new direction for the gallery, and hopefully generate more noise (reviews in newspapers, blogs, etc.) and more sales, then there's a whole complex set of other issues that would need to be addressed. Issues too long and exhausting to list here, but important for a gallery re-inventing itself. Issues such as preserving online presence, learning how to improve art sales, visualizing and implementing a "new" physical presence, distributing the workload with specific goals, website presence and organization, selling avenues to explore, aggressive press presence, display, etc.

Otherwise, it would be the same as when Esso renamed itself Exxon: new name but same old gas.

Trescott on WPA

The WaPo's Jacqueline Trescott with an excellent article on the WPA's separation from the Corcoran first reported here.

You can also read the official news release here.

WaPo Blog Directory

The Washington Post has started a new blog directory with some very cool capabilities. If you are a blogger, you can register your blog here.