Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Charles Albert Huckins' Favorite Artwork

This submission of a favorite artwork comes from Charles Albert Huckins, an active photographer in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area who has maintained the Stonelight Images web site for the continuous exhibition of his photography since 1999. He writes:

Although I, along with your other readers, have many favorite works of art, time and circumstances require me to narrow my submission down to two anonymous works few people have ever seen before.
Masquerade © 2005 Charles Albert Huckins

Masquerade - © 2005 Charles Albert Huckins

Three Graces - ©2003 Charles Albert Huckins

Three Graces - ©2003 Charles Albert Huckins

Though virtually unknown, both of these works are priceless, in my opinion.

“Masquerade” is a painting on cinder block, replete with symbolism and, for me, is as enigmatic as the Mona Lisa. “Three Graces” is an ink drawing on enameled steel plate and has a dignity and simplicity of line that make it spell-binding. Although both are figurative works, they have all the energy and spontaneity of the abstract Gee’s Bend quilts, now so rightfully esteemed as icons of American folk art.

Both works were created by unknown former inmates of the Youth Correctional Facility of the District of Columbia Department of Corrections site in Lorton, Virginia. The entire prison facility was decommissioned in 2000 and has been owned and converted to other uses by Fairfax County since August, 2002.

What makes these remarkable works of art so unique at this time is the possibility of their being unavailable for future generations to appreciate firsthand.

In the process of transition from a prison complex to a multifaceted community resource, a number of intriguing artifacts within the prison’s walls have necessarily been destroyed. However, these two works of art, and several others scattered around the prison site, are still intact and salvageable.

Fairfax County is currently seeking input regarding the artistic value of these and other works before a final decision is made about whether or not to save them. Perhaps some of your credentialed readers might care to weigh in on the artistic merits of these works?

If any of your readers would like to express their opinions about the art-worthiness of these works in writing, I, as a volunteer assisting Fairfax County in the documentation of prison resources, will be happy to forward all such comments to the appropriate County authorities. I may be reached at cah@stone-light.com.
I will publicly testify that in my opinion these works not only merit being salvaged, but in doing so represent a triumph of art over adversity, in a sense.

Perhaps the Youth Correctional Facility of the District of Columbia Department of Corrections can simply isolate and protect these works, but leave them exactly where they are, maybe adding some wall text next to them so that future generations can be inspired and learn from the artwork of those who created it in far from enjoyable circumstances.

Elizabeth Whiteley's Favorite Artwork

Elizabeth Whiteley is a DC area artist whose work is already in the permanent collection of several museums. And she responds to my call for readers' favorite artwork. She writes:

It was wonderful, this past weekend, to get a start on the new creative year with my visit to the Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden to stand under the Kenneth Snelson "Needle Tower" and look up to the sky. With its cable and aluminum tube construction--held together with only a fragile tension -- it's reminder to me of the fragile relationships I have to other people and the remarkably strong structure that comes about as a result of our connections. It also sets the tone for a creative new year -- visual mysteries within mysteries to be discovered, uncovered, and made into objects and images.

Kenneth Snelson - Needle Tower
Kenneth Snelson "Needle Tower"

Polish Artists

Stop by and experience "An Ideal Mix-Up," an exhibition of works by Polish and local DC area artists at the Nevin Kelly Gallery in DC next Saturday, January 26, 4 pm for a lecture by gallerist Nevin J. Kelly on the Polish artists featured in the gallery followed by refreshments.

Essentially this show is a group exhibition that includes works by the contemporary Polish artists that helped launch the gallery in May 2003 and the many local artists who have joined the gallery along the way.

The exhibition will feature works by DC area artists Sondra Arkin, Joan Belmar, Ellyn Weiss, Mary Chiaramonte and Laurel Hauler and by Polish artists Edward Dwurnik, Darek Pala, Krzysztof Kokoryn, Pawel Król, Lukasz Huculak and Michal Zaborowski.

The show will be on view in the gallery from now until February 24, 2008.

Wanna go to a Virginia opening tomorrow?

The University of Mary Washington Galleries in Frederiscksburg, Virginia presents Mid-Atlantic New Painting 2008 with an Opening Reception on January 24, 2008 5 - 7pm.

There will be also a presentation of awards and remarks by the juror, John B. Ravenal, Curator of modern and Contemporary Art, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The exhibition runs through March 2, 2008.

Wanna go to an Arts Panel in DC tonight?

DC's Transformer Gallery kicks off the new year with Art School, Confidential: Rethinking Art Education, the 7th installment of their dynamic Framework Panel Series.

Art School, Confidential: Rethinking Art Education, which is free and open to the public, brings together "an esteemed group of area artists and professors in a dialogue about the influence of art schools in the lives of artists and on the direction of contemporary art-making within the larger arts landscape."

The panelists are:

- Billy Colbert (Adjunct Faculty, American University)

- Maggie Michael

- Brandon Morse (Associate Professor of Digital Media & Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Art, University of Maryland, College Park, MD)

- Renee Stout

- Rex Weil (Professor of Art Theory, University of Maryland, College Park, MD)

And it is moderated by Dean Kessman (Assistant Professor of Photography, George Washington University), the panel discussion will be followed by a thirty minute question and answer segment with the audience.

Another Frida Show

In addition to the two Frida Kahlo type exhibitions coming to Philly that I mentioned yesterday, I was just told about this exhibition, so now make that three!

The Delaware Art Museum will present Frida Kahlo: Through the Lens of Nickolas Muray, an exhibition of nearly 50 photographs of Frida Kahlo, on view in the Brock J. Vinton Galleries February 2, 2008 - March 30, 2008. The show is courtesy of the collection of the Nickolas Muray Archives, and is part of a national tour over a two-and-a-half year period. The tour was developed and managed by Smith Kramer Fine Art Services, an exhibition tour development company in Kansas City, Missouri.


Rob: [into shaky camera] My name is Robert Hawkins. Approximately seven hours ago some *thing* attacked the city. If you found this, if you're watching this then you probably know more about it than I do.

Saw Cloverfield last night and in spite of the online hype, and in spite that I usually love this kind of movies, and in spite of the cool trailers about the new Star Trek movie coming Xmas 2008, and maybe because of the fact that I shelled out $6.50 for a large popcorn which seemed to be the size of what a small popcorn used to be in the 90s (AMC, what's up with that?), I really didn't think much of the movie.


Cloverfield is a highly derivative mix of the Blair's Witch Project camera style married to the Godzilla movies with a sprinkling of "Gadzuki meets Alien" (tunnels included).

The Godzilla and Alien influence is just too much to overcome. Not just the rambling monster destroying a city, but then the monster's offspring is up and about biting people and then the people seem to then explode and perhaps host the new offspring as it goes forth and multiplies?

The decent special effects in the film of New York being torn apart by a seldom seen monster (until almost the end) with those psych effects derived a little from M. Night Shyamalan's "Signs," unfortunately then yield a silly looking monster a little too closely related to Kermit the Frog and those weird looking spidery-looking camel crickets that seem to infect every basement in the Greater DC region.

And the logic also fails at times... the main characters seem to have little trouble killing off the nasty crawly creatures that Godzilla the Cloverfield monster drops off to bite and multiply... but when a couple of supersonic USAF jets drop off two MOABs (the world's largest and most powerful conventional bombs) onto the monster, they just cover it in a convenient cloud of dust before it comes up unharmed.

If its offspring can be killed with a bat, how come Mom survives two MOABs without even missing a step or an inch of green skin?

And the last issue that bothered me is the Hud (the actor who is the cameraman in the movie) character spends most of the time yelling: "Rob! Rob! Where are you going?"


Monday, January 21, 2008

This Saturday in DC

On Saturday January 26, from 4-6PM, Irvine Contemporary in DC will have the first Washington, DC projection screening of Paul D. Miller's acclaimed video, New York is Now, selected for the 2007 Venice Biennale.

NY is Now still by Paul D. Miller
Paul D. Miller (DJ Spooky), Film still from New York is Now, 2007, C-print

Frida Kahlo's coming to Philly

A while back I commented on the coup scored by the Philadelphia Museum of Art in getting on the Frida Kahlo bandwagon, and noted my amazement that no DC area museum was included in the tour - and yes, I know that Philly is only two hours from DC.

As most of you know, I am and have been a Fridaphile since I first came across Kahlo's work when I was 18 or 19 years old... read this essay about that particular obsession.

Seven Fridas by F. Lennox Campello - click for a larger version
"Las Siete Fridas (The Seven Fridas)"
Pen and Ink Wash, F. Lennox Campello
Univ. of Washington Art School assignment circa 1980-1981
Collection of Seeds for Peace.

And thus my warranted excitement about the coming Kahlo exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Organized in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the her birth, this will be the first major Kahlo exhibition in the United States in nearly fifteen years. It includes over 40 of the artist's most important self-portraits, still lifes, and portraits from the beginning of her career in 1926 until her early death in 1954. The exhibition also features a selection of nearly 100 photographs of Kahlo and her husband Diego Rivera, by such well-known photographers of the period, such as Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Lola Alvarez Bravo, Gisele Freund, Tina Modotti, and Nickolas Muray. It opens February 20, and runs through May 18, 2008.

Also in the Kahlo spirit, Philadelphia's Projects Gallery will have an exhibition titled Frida and Me, Common Threads, which is of course inspired and aligned to the centennial exhibition of Frida Kahlo at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

In this show, four contemporary Latina/Hispanic artists, Doris Nogueira-Rogers, Michelle Angela Ortiz, Marilyn Rodriguez-Behrle, and Marta Sanchez present works that "reflect on the intertwining relationships between various identities and cultures of Latin American female artists."

I'm really looking forward to visiting both of these shows and will report on them later.

Frida and Me at projects Gallery

Frida and Me, Common Threads will be open from February 1- 23, 2008. The Opening Reception will take place on First Friday, February 1st, 2008 5-8 pm with a special reading from Las Gallas Artist Collective.

Blog Heat

Seattle's blogging art critic Regina Hackett is taking some undeserved blog heat after publicly asking a couple of blogging peers "if they wouldn't mind getting to the point faster."

Artists usually learn really quickly to develop a thick skin and must learn to graciously accept malicious criticism, constructive criticism and negative criticism.

Bloggers learn really quickly to dish out all three versions of the criticism; they/we certainly also need to develop thick skins in order to accept (as in Hackett's online criticism of two fellow bloggers) constructive criticism.

And constructive criticism is definitely not an "attack" as has already been written about Hackett.

In 1997 the Washington Post's art critic Ferdinand Protzman wrote a small review about a solo show that I had in Georgetown and wrote:

Fraser Gallery is showing charcoal drawings of nudes by F. Lennox Campello. The subjects are mostly women Campello found on X-rated Web sites. He then arranged to meet and draw them. The drawings are very dark and the artist's abundant use of shadow effects can be heavy-handed and irritating. But in a few of the works he manages to find a delicate balance between the black charcoal and cream-colored paper resulting in a grainy, film-noir effect, making his subjects, traffickers in mass-consumption prurience, seem tough but vulnerable, like a flowering plant in a sexual wasteland.
I was delighted that the review-poor WaPo had chosen to review my show (and unfortunately since then the Post has further reduced gallery reviews from weekly to twice a month) and sent Ferd a thank you note, and as most of you know, proudly wear the fact that my drawings can be irritating!

Another Nude Bush Update

Another update and a call for you to remember when the below painting by Kayti Didriksen caused all that uproar at Artomatic and became the Internet's most downloaded image?

It became the most popular contemporary political art of all time.

George Bush by Kayti Didriksen

Kayti tells me that her world famous painting has been chosen to be illustrated in an American college textbook: Art Appreciation by Debra J. Dewitte, Ralph M. Larmann & M. Kathryn Shields.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Color Invitations Photos

Jeffry Cudlin has some good installation photos of Color Invitations here.

VSA arts’ Call for Entries: Derivative Composition

VSA arts is seeking visual artists with disabilities ages 18 and up whose work is inspired by the performing arts for “Derivative Composition,” an international juried art exhibition that will be on display at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., from May 29-July 20, 2008. Two-and three-dimensional art, digital art, installations, video and film, and other media that draw inspiration from music, theater, or dance are eligible. Submissions must have been completed in the last five years and after the onset of disability.

Applications will be accepted through March 21, 2008. For more information, please visit www.vsarts.org/derivativecomposition or call (202) 628-2800.

Via Simbolica

Via Simbolica is an exhibition curated by the very talented DC area curator Sarah Tanguy, and features works by Liset Castillo, Justine Reyes and Jose Ruiz.

Reception & Panel Discussion: Thursday, January 24, 4:30-6pm. The show goes through February 15, 2008.

St. Mary's College of Maryland
Boyden Gallery / Montgomery Hall
St. Mary's City, MD 20686
Tel: 240.895.4246

Color Invitations Video Walkthrough

Friday, January 18, 2008

WPA Artist Directory 2008-2009

The WPA Artist Directory is not only the definitive listing of established and emerging contemporary artists throughout the Washington region, but one of the best advertising deals on the planet for both galleries and individual artists.

It is seen by more than 2,000 galleries, curators, and interested art patrons. Registering has never been easier. Artists can reserve a space through the WPA website and mail in slides or CDs later, or upload their image files instantly.

Sign up here.

Last night

And we actually had a standing room only crowd last night at the Greater Reston Arts Center for my talk on Contemporary Art.

Cool uh?

I also managed to check out the current exhibit at GRACE, which has a very powerful two person show of works by Anna Fine Foer and Sonya A. Lawyer and also a really good painting exhibition by Ann Williams at the Market Street venue. More on both later, but Lawyer's works are especially powerful.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Art with a Twist Talk is Tonight

Nu, so it stopped snowing... and the roads are clean (I just drove from DC to Reston)... and from 7:30-9pm I will be doing a special presentation at the Greater Reston Arts Center in Reston, Virginia as part of their continuing education programs.

Space is limited and reservations are requested. Call 730.471.9242. Details here.

I will be doing a quick and fun walk through art history, all leading to contemporary art, where I will be discussing the work of some well known art superstars and also some Greater DC area artists.

Martinis are also involved. See ya there!

Opportunity for Artists

Deadline: January 18th, 2008

The Writer's Center in Bethesda is currently looking for a local artist to feature on their Carousel newsletter cover. They are accepting all mediums including photography, using the themes of "MUSE - what inspires you to create".

Please submit 1-5 jpeg images to jwalton@writer.org. They should be no larger than 300 dpi and 1Mb for consideration by January 18th at 5pm. Images submitted after that deadline will not be considered. Please keep in mind that the selected image will be used in printed materials and electronically. All credit is given to the artist.

They are unable to pay an honorarium, however your work and bio will be featured in the publication with a distribution list of more than 2,000 members, institutions, and the public within the Washington metro area.

For more info about us, please visit their website.


To one of my favorite DC area painters who's always doing stuff and showing all over the nation: Amy Marx.

Amy Marx's "The Dark Fantastic" opens February 16, 3-5PM (work on exhibition through March 15, 2008) at OK Harris works of Art in New York City.
Amy Marx tornado painting

There Is Dark and There Is Light, 46"x 74", oil on canvas, after Hollingshead, by Amy Marx

West fires back

By now you all probably know that W. Richard West, the founding director of the National Museum of the American Indian, has been catching all kinds of flak in the WaPo and the artblogsphere for alleged abuses of his travel and expense budgets.

On a separate issue, I myself gave the museum a talking to for their disclosed failure to find a native American portrait artist to create West's departure portrait.

And now West is firing back with a response that seeks to clarify some of the accusations levied against him. West starts by writing:

During my 17 years as director of the National Museum of the American Indian, I welcomed and learned from criticism, whether gentle or harsh. But nothing prepared me for the recent gossip passing for investigative journalism at The Washington Post and editorials in Indian Country Today. Real Indian country deserves better than rumor-mongering and character assassination, and so do I.

Allegations, which are false, are that my travel was "excessive" and "lavish," as I was "eating and slumbering first-class on the federal dime." Provocative, undocumented adjectives make for good reading in tabloids, but should not be in the Post or ICT. Both should be ashamed of themselves.
Read the Indian Country Today article here.

About last night

Big crowds for the opening of "Color Invitations" at the new R Street Gallery. The show looks good, had the usual last minute hiccups with some unexpected artwork, but in the end it's all resolved and looks great from my biased perspective.

Drop by "Color Invitations," and check out what some of the Greater DC area's key artists have been working on lately. There is new work by Maggie Michael, Jeffry Cudlin, Amy Lin, Andrew Wodzianski, John Blee, Steve Lapin and myself. The show runs through February 4, 2008.

The crowd included the usual suspects, and I had a chance to say hi to Philip Barlow, Phillipa Hughes, Dan Steinhilber, Dr. Claudia Rousseau, ubercollector Steve Krensky, Kathryn Cornelius, Dr. Claudia Rousseau, Prof. Chawky Frenn, and many, many others... it felt kinda good to be back in a DC gallery opening.

Pics and videos later.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Come join me tonight!

Come by and say hi and see some cool artwork at the new R Street Gallery, located on the upper level of 2108 R St. NW Washington DC 20008, Tel: (202)588-1701.

Starting at 6PM there is a reception for "Color Invitations," a group show of several key DC area artists working the focus of color as a key ingredient of their work. There will be new work by Maggie Michael, Jeffry Cudlin, Amy Lin, Andrew Wodzianski, John Blee, Steve Lapin and myself. The show opened on the 10th, but the reception is tonight. It runs through February 4, 2008.

I will also be exhibiting two new paintings from the "Digitalia" series as well as some of the prep watercolors done for the original works from 1999-2000 that started the series. Details here.

Come by and say hi.

The Fourth Annual Bethesda, MD Painting Awards

Deadline: Friday, February 15, 2008

The Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District is currently accepting applications for the fourth annual Bethesda Painting Awards. Eight Finalists will be selected to display their work in an exhibition from June 4-July 5, 2008 at the Fraser Gallery in downtown Bethesda, and the top four winners will receive $14,000 in prize monies.

Best in Show will be awarded $10,000; Second Place will be honored with $2,000 and Third Place will receive $1,000. Additionally, a “Young Artist” whose birthday is after February 15, 1978 may be awarded $1,000. Artists must be 18 years of age or older and residents of Maryland, Virginia or Washington, D.C. All original 2-D paintings including oil, acrylic, watercolor, gouache, encaustic and mixed media will be accepted. The maximum dimensions should not exceed 60 inches in width or 84 inches in height. No reproductions. Artwork must have been completed within the last two years and must be available for the duration of the exhibition. Each artist must submit 5 slides, application and a non-refundable fee of $25. Digital entries will be accepted on CD in JPG, GIF or PNG format. For a complete application, call call 301/215-6660 or please send a self-addressed stamped envelope to:

Bethesda Painting Awards
c/o Bethesda Urban Partnership
7700 Old Georgetown Road
Bethesda, MD. 20814

Opportunity for Artists

Deadline: February 27, 08.

The Eastern Nebraska Veteran's Home has announced a Request for Proposals (RFP) and Direct Purchase call for two-dimensional interior wall artwork to be installed within the newly constructed ENVH facility. This request for proposals/direct purchase project competition is open to all professional public artists or artist teams from throughout the United States, including those who are new to the field of public art. The call is specifically directed to the acquisition of two-dimensional art. Appropriate artwork themes include military and patriotic themes, as well as landscapes relating to the Midwest region. Subjects that invite conversation and reminiscence among resident members, their families and staff are desired.

Their budget is: $50,321. To learn more about this project, or to obtain a hard copy of the prospectus, contact: JD Hutton, Nebraska Arts Council, Artist Services and Communications Manager, at (800) 341-4067 or within Omaha area at (402) 595-2142, or email at jhutton@nebraskaartscouncil.org. For more information on this RFP/Direct Purchase Call for Art; or to download the prospectus and view supporting materials for this project, visit the Nebraska Arts Council website.

Art Job: University Professor

Deadline: January 25, 2008

Columbia University, Visual Arts Division -- This interdisciplinary art program is seeking applications for a full-time professorial position open as to rank. Teaching includes graduate and undergraduate courses. Applicants working in any medium will be considered. The Division is seeking artists with distinguished professional profiles and teaching experience. Participation in departmental and university committees is expected. Rank and salary are commensurate with experience. MFA or equivalent experience is required. Please submit cover letter, resume, digital images (including name, date, media and dimensions of artwork represented), along with the names of three persons from whom letters of reference may be obtained. Additional materials in the form of video, CD-ROM or DVD may also be included. Please send application materials (and a SASE) to:

The Visual Arts Division
Columbia University
2960 Broadway
310 Dodge Hall, MC 1806
New York, NY 10027

Art Job: Curator

The Robert Hull Fleming Museum in Vermont is looking to hire a curator. He or she will oversee curatorial operations of the University of Vermont's Fleming Museum, exhibition development, and management of permanent collection, including oversight of building security and environmental systems. Provide supervision of Exhibition Designer/Preparator and work closely with Manager of Collections and Exhibitions.

Requirements include Master's Degree in art history or related field and two years museum experience, curatorial and broad art historical competence, and specialization in an area represented in the Museum's collection, or an equivalent combination.

For further information on this position, #032038, or to apply with electronic application, resume, cover letter and reference contact information, please visit
their web site.

Funding for DC Artists

Deadline: February 1, 2008, 7:00 pm.

The Young Artist Program offers funding between $2,500: up to $3,500 to emerging artists between the ages of 18 and 30. Funds are granted in two categories: Young emerging Artist Grant Program and Young Artist Community Service Program. This grant is normally offered once a year, but the Commission is offering a second deadline because additional funds are available. Young Artist Program workshops will be held at the DC Arts Commission at 1371 Harvard St. NW, Washington, DC 20009 to assist individuals and organizations in preparing applications. All applicants are strongly encouraged to attend a workshop prior to submitting a proposal. No prior reservations are required to attend workshops. Grant Workshops: Thursday, January 10th- 6:00-7:30 PM. Wednesday, January 16th- 12-1:30 PM.

Contact: sherry.schwechten@dc.gov. or visit DCCAH's website to download an application.

Small Projects Program Grant FY08

Deadline: February 27, 2008, 7:00 p.m. and Wednesday, April 9, 2008, 7:00 p.m.

Small Projects Program offers grants to individual artists and arts organizations for small-scale arts projects with budgets under $3,000. Staff Contact: Ebony Blanks. All DC Arts Commission grant applications can be downloaded at DCCAH's website or, call (202) 724-5613 to request that a copy be mailed to you. While visiting the website, they also recommend that you review the Guide to Grants for more detailed information about grant programs and requirements.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Black Matter

Zenith Gallery, which is celebrating its 30 year anniversary (which in gallery years is around 200 years), has an interesting exhibition coming up at its alternative art space: Black Matter.

On exhibition through March 16, 2008 there will be three-dimensional mixed media and sculpture by Washington area artists from the Black Artists of DC Collective: Akili Ron Anderson, Ann Bouie, James Brown, Terry deBardelaben, Lillian Thomas Burwell, Cheryl Derricotte, Julee Dickerson-Thompson, Aziza Gibson-Hunter, Thomas Gomillion, Francine Haskins, Gloria Kirk, Serinity Knight, Harlee Little, Juliette Madison, Chris Malone, Uzike Nelson, Chris Randolph, Cynthia Sands.

The Alternative Gallery Space at:
1111 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20004
Open Weekdays 8am – 7pm Daily
Saturdays and Sundays, appointment only, Call 202-783-2963

Meet the Artists: Thursday, January 31, 5:30-8:30pm

Wanna go to an opening in DC tomorrow?

By now you should all know that the place to be is at the new R Street Gallery, located on the upper level of 2108 R St. NW Washington DC 20008, Tel: (202)588-1701.

Starting at 6PM there is a reception for "Color Invitations," a group show of several key DC area artists working the focus of color as a key ingredient of their work. There willnew work by Maggie Michael, Jeffry Cudlin, Amy Lin, Andrew Wodzianski, John Blee, Steve Lapin and myself. The show opened on the 10th, but the reception is tomorrow. It runs through February 4, 2008.

Maggie Michael Pink
I will also be exhibiting two new paintings from the "Digitalia" series as well as some of the prep watercolors done for the original works from 1999-2000 that started the series. Details here.

Come by and say hi.

Malik Lloyd's Favorite Artwork

Malik Lloyd is one of the key members of the DC area art scene and definately one of the area's online information innovators. He is the Founder and Publisher of the FIND ART information bank, the winner of the Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts 1998 Rising Star Award, the winner of the District of Columbia 2000 Mayor's Art Award: Innovation in the Arts, and also has been nominated for Excellence in Service to the Arts, DC's Mayor's Art Award and also nominated for Outstanding Contribution to Arts Education, also for DC's Mayor's Art Award. Malik responds to my request for readers' favorite artworks.

Lloyd writes:

That is a very tough question, since my favorite changes with the mood that I'm in. However, Henri Rousseau's "The Dream," is the one that I would select today. When viewing it at the NGA a couple of years back, I could not keep my eyes off it. It is tranquil, surreal, mysterious and romantic - qualities that I usually try to capture in my artwork and in life; located at the Museum of Modern Art, New York

Dali would be a close second on my list. He is like the exciting place that you love to visit, but would not want to live there.

Henri Rousseau The Dream
Henri Rousseau, The Dream, c.1910

Cavanaugh on DC area masterpieces

DCist's Amy Cavanaugh has the first in a new series exploring some of the paintings, sculptures and other works that are always on display in D.C. Read her first post here.

Art with a Twist

On January 17, from 7:30-9pm I will be doing a special presentation at the Greater Reston Arts Center in Reston, Virginia as part of their continuing education programs.

Space is limited and reservations are requested. Call 730.471.9242. Details here.

I will be doing a quick and fun walk through art history, all leading to contemporary art, where I will be discussing the work of some well known art superstars and also some Greater DC area artists.

Martinis are also involved.

Venus of Willendorf

Venus of Willendorf, c. 24,000–22,000 BC

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Power of the Web

One of the things that good art blogs can do, provided that the blogger is not lazy or seduced by the power of disseminating information, is to tell readers about good art shows that take place in alternative art venues that are usually ignored by the printed media.

And I have been hearing good things about the exhibition that Boston Properties, Inc., and Jean Efron Art Consultants LLC, have mounted in the lobby of 505 9th Street, NW in DC. The exhibition is open to the public during building lobby hours, Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 7:00 pm. now through April 10, 2008

On exhibition are new encaustic paintings by West Coast artist Betsy Eby. Encaustic painting is a really harsh and difficult process that usually brings to my mind the works of the very talented DC area artist Pat Goslee, whose works I once regrettably described as "vaginalism."

Silent Voice Speaking: Hey! Look at this!

By the way... Goslee has an ass-kicking website that's an example to artists everywhere.

Phil Nesmith - My Baghdad: Photographs

Someone whose opinion I respect very much called me the other day to chat about things and then he told me that had attended the opening at Irvine Contemporary in DC for Phil Nesmith - My Baghdad: Photographs.

"Lenny," he said, "this is an amazing show, you gotta write something about it!"

The exhibition is a series of photographs shot in Baghdad and produced on glass plates using a dry plate ambrotype process. A set of editioned C-print enlargements from the glass plates accompanies the unique images in the exhibition, which goes through Feb. 17, 2008.

Phil Nesmith, MH47, 2007. Dryplate ambrotype
(sandarac varnished silver emulsion on black glass). 8 X 12 inches

This is what the photographer wrote about the works:
In 2003, soon after the fall of Baghdad, I began a year long stint in Iraq. The novelty of the experience wore off soon after arrival, and my days in Baghdad seemed to repeat themselves, like a film looped to play continuously, returning to the start the moment after it ends. The repetition created routine, the routine normalizing what would otherwise be extraordinary.

This normative process was one that I was both aware of and oblivious to, and was one that I realized was itself a repetition of what my father had gone through as a soldier in Vietnam. I started to become conscious that the daily existence of the soldiers around me, while surrounded by different, new technologies and capabilities, still maintained a surprising similarity to the life of soldiers on the battlefield in Vietnam or anywhere, going back centuries. The routine of life in a war zone this week would be recognized by soldiers from World War II, from the Spanish American War, or from the American Civil War.

Since returning from Iraq I have sought to find a way to evoke this sense of historical telescoping and the echoes of social memory in my work. I became interested in early photographic processes, and saw within them a way of creating a visceral connection between the contemporary and the historic, utilizing an old process to capture a new conflict. These images also blur the boundaries of photographic processes as well by mixing the cutting edge digital technology used to capture the image and a combination of nineteenth century techniques to bring the image to life.
Having served in several war zones during my time in the US Navy, I know what he means. And seeing that helicopter brought back memories of a helicopter crash at sea on a flight from Beirut to Larnaca, Cyprus that is a story for another day and reminded me what a lucky man I am.

See the photographs here

Muffled thoughts on grants

In the years that I served in the advisory panels for the District of Columbia Commission on the Arts and Humanities, I confirmed an interesting paradox that exists in the world of grant-giving when it comes to individual artists.

Arts organizations are usually registered as non-profit status organizations, and they rely on philanthropy and grants in order to operate - some gather a few thousand dollars each year, other millions.

Meanwhile, individual artists usually have to rely on their paychecks from their non-arts related day jobs, or teach in order to get a reliable source of income, since they are mostly ineligible to get direct financial support from grant-giving organizations because they are not incorporated with the state, city or federal government as a not-for-profit organization.

Although there are notable exceptions, a quick scan of the Foundation Center database reveals that most visual arts focused foundations in the US restrict their arts funding to not-for-profits.

That immediately also reveals a paradoxical disparity in grant giving to the people who create art and the people who put it on walls.

Around the area, DCCAH, the Maryland State Arts Council, the Heinz Endowments and others do offer individual financial grants for artists, but they are some others are the exception, rather than the rule.

And certainly missing is the individual donor, who may hand out millions at once to a museum or arts organization, but seldom sets up an organization (such as Andy Warhol did with Creative Capital) to hand out financial support directly to artists.

Update: As if to underscore my point, I am told that Heinz Endowments no longer gives grants to indovidual artists.

Tony Podesta's Favorite Artwork

Tony and Heather Podesta are two of the top rare ubercollectors from the DC area, and Tony responds to my request for readers' favorite artworks.

Tony writes that his favorite work is an oil painting by Julie Roberts called Teenage Suicide.

Teenage Suicide by Julie Roberts

Teenage Suicide by Julie Roberts

Sunday, January 13, 2008


To one of my favorite DC area artists, Linn Meyers, whose two-person show with Miriam Cabessa opened earlier this month at the Lyons Wier - Ortt Gallery in NYC.

New Art Blog

Bethesda Art Blog is a new colleague on the Greater DC area artblogsphere and they've already delivering much needed art writing focused on Bethesda art galleries.

Here BAB mini-reviews the "Committed" show at Fraser Gallery and then here BAB says good stuff about Fiona Ross in the same show.

And here is a review of Ivan Depena at Heineman Myers.

Wanna go to an opening today?

Then head out to the Greater Reston Arts Center in Reston, VA where from 4-6 pm on Sunday January 13th there will be an opening reception for the exhibition of new works by Anna Fine Foer and Sonya A. Lawyer.

Before the reception at GRACE you can swing by the Reston Community Center at Lake Anne, where from 2-4 PM there will be a reception for the paintings and prints of Ann Barbieri, Cora Rupp, Dana Scheurer, and Connie Slack.

And later this week, on January 17 you can join me at GRACE for a talk on contemporary art. Details here.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

National Defense

"National Defense Test" Watercolor on Paper, c. 1999, 3 x 8 inches
By F. Lennox Campello

This preparatory painting was done in preparation for a painting exhibited in 2000 at the "Strictly Painting III" Exhibition at the McLean Project for the Arts in McLean, Virginia. The exhibition was curated by Terrie Sultan, then Curator of Contemporary Art, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.

This original watercolor is available at Color Invitations currently on exhibition at the R Street Gallery. Call (202) 588-1701 if you want to purchase this painting ahead of the opening, which will be on January 16 from 6-8PM.

Blogger Show Reviews

The Blogger Show in Pittsburgh and New York has been getting quite a few reviews both in the printed press and the artblogsphere. The show closes today.

In the spirit of me, I wanted to point out the nice things that the Pittsburgh City Paper's Lissa Brennan wrote about this blog.

Annapolis and the Trouble with Resort Galleries

I'll have a few words to say about "art auctions" on cruise ships when I return to serious blogging, but meanwhile the below piece by Shauna Lee Lange seems to be in the same touristy vein...

Annapolis and the Trouble with Resort Galleries
By Shauna Lee Lange

If you've been around art for any length of time, then you know that the commercial availability of art can become regionalized. Meaning, that what sells in Paducah may not sell in Santa Monica, and that artists who like working locally usually sell locally.
Art regionalism also means that people in St. Thomas are generally buying works featuring marine life, sunny skies, and bright and happy colors (for the most part) while people in Vail are buying snowscapes, tree lines, and other cold weather art.

There's a whole theory and science to how people live geographically and how vacation homes (second and third homes) in resort communities have a very different art purchasing base.

So it is very important to get out to these resort and rural areas and look around to see what's new in different parts of the country - and this is why some of the larger art shows are so popular. One can see what's hot in New York, Florida, and London all in one venue without having to travel. In large metropolitan areas, inventory tends to change fairly rapidly, but in smaller, rural towns, art inventory can have a longer wall life - and this is one way that an arts advisory, or the general public, can learn which artists have staying power in which communities and why.

Recently I decided to visit Annapolis, and although Annapolis, Maryland is not very far from my desk (over 25 miles - less than 50), Annapolis has the benefit of being both a resort community and a seaside community with a big boom in summer and a huge focus on marine art.
Annapolis sign
Now, as many of you may know, I'm originally from Rhode Island and spent a great deal of time in Newport, Rhode Island - arguably a comparable community. The trouble with resort galleries, particularly right after Christmas on a very slow Monday, is that they're closed. Or they're closing. Or they have relocated, or they're only open on a Tuesday when the moon is blue, or the gallery attendant is a bored college student on winter break.

It's frustrating to hear gallery owners lament about the difficulties of managing gallery overhead (and all the associated costs of insurance, shipping, contracts, etc.) when they have store hours of 10 - 2 or when they're only open on the weekends.

As an arts advisory service firm, Shauna Lee Lange and Company work far more than we should - developing leads, answering questions, helping people connect, exploring calls for submissions, researching art purchases - the list goes on. This is not a good thing, always to be pushing and working, but it is difficult from our perspective to understand how an art gallery can close its doors to the public it serves or the artists it represents.

Annapolis signAnd frustrating too, is that some of these spaces and curators and owners are very high quality. Certainly, January is a far cry from June, but when did it happen that art buyers only bought in June? The day that we visited was a glorious sunshiny, warm, spring-like day and Main Street Annapolis seemed dismal in comparison. Many spaces were for lease or rent - alarming so - even shops that have been in business for some time. Is this a condition of the economy? Is it normal turn-around for post-season stores? Or does the unavailability of art galleries speak to a larger causality, the growth of Internet galleries, the reduction of pedestrian traffic due to technology, or the cavalier approach some long-term gallery owners may have adopted along the way?

Most of the gallery owners we know do it because they love it and they're good at it. They live, eat, and breathe art. And we have to wonder in Annapolis, where is everyone?

It'll take a few months to see how Annapolis fares through changes it is facing with Main Street development along with many other communities in similar situations. We wanted to share some first hand impressions, a few photos of sights we saw along the way today, and a heart-felt plea to open your doors.

Back on Land

Back safe and sound, with the cleanest hands on Earth after one terrific vacation at sea... have almost 1,000 emails to catch up on, so posting will be fast and furious over the next few days, but today I've got to watch the Seahawks beat the odds against the Packers.

Back later with tons of pics and movies and loads of announcements and discussions...

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Haze Gray and Underway

I'm outta here until 12 January... I'll be out at sea on a Caribbean cruise, sans computer and sans cell phone. Tomorrow is Three King's Day, which is the "actual" gift-giving day in most of the Christian world... and I scored a GIANT self-gift for my book collection of modern first editions as I've just got a super sweetheart of a deal on over 200 books, most of them signed, from an area book dealer going out of business after many years! One knows it is a great deal when a confidentiality agreement is part of the deal!

If I get the blogging DT's, I may slip into the dollar-per-minute Internet cafe at sea and blog something here and there, but until then, blogging will be sparse, email checking will be non-existent, the house is being guarded by a really mean house-sitter, and I'll be back on January 12 with a ton of stuff to catch up on, so y'all come back now!

Earlier tonight I dropped by the Rodger LaPelle Gallery in Philly to visit Andrew Wodzianski's second solo at that space in as many years. On view he must have had around 80 new mixed media works from his oddly mesmerizing (and radical departure) new series. I think these new works will go a long way for AW.

Meanwhile I leave you with this image of the Multinational Peacekeeping Force Medal for Service in Cuba.

Multinational Peacekeeping Force Medal for Service in Cuba by F. Lennox Campello

Multinational Peacekeeping Force Medal for Service in Cuba
Oil on Gessoed Paper. 12 x 36 inches. 2007
By F. Lennox Campello

A ribbon for the future envisioned medal which will be awarded to the service men and women of various nations for participation in the future peacekeeping operations that will be required in Cuba once Castro dies and the prison island begins to descend into chaos.

Original oil available starting January 10, 2008 at Color Invitations. Call (202) 588-1701 if you want to purchase the painting ahead of the opening. I am still designing the medal itself.

Friday, January 04, 2008

And, Who Are You?

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Where did they look?

"they couldn't find a Native artist who did formal portrait sittings like this."
James V. Grimaldi reports in the WaPo that W. Richard West Jr., the founding director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian, spent $48,500 in museum funds to commission a portrait of himself. Asides from the sensationalistic issue being made about the cost of the portrait - always try to minimize the value of the visual arts - what caught my eyes was this statement:
The portrait of West by New York artist Burton Silverman hangs in the patrons' lounge on the fourth floor of the flagship museum, which is dedicated to the arts and culture of American Indians. Silverman said West picked him after he saw a portrait Silverman had done of former Smithsonian secretary Robert McCormick Adams. The Adams portrait, completed about a decade earlier, was smaller and cost about half as much.

Silverman, of Polish descent, was chosen, said Smithsonian spokeswoman Linda St. Thomas, after "they couldn't find a Native artist who did formal portrait sittings like this."



Are you fucking pulling my leg?

I'm not even remotely a fucking expert on Native American artists, but off the top of my head I can think of a couple of DC area and former DC area Native American artists who are (among other things) excellent portrait artists. One of them, Michael Clark has made a worlwide reputation for his obsessive portraiture of George Washington, and he has also done dozens and dozens of portraits of JFK, Jefferson, Jackie O and many, many portraits. He's in the collection of a couple of DC area museums I believe.

His brother Mark (who I think used to work for the Smithsonian for God's sakes) is also a superb artist, a brilliant trompe l'oeil painter and has done many hyper-realistic portraits as well!

They're both of Native American descent.

But we all know by now that most DC area museum curators ignore their own backyard. But couldn't one just pick up a phone and call some art galleries in Santa Fe or Sedona?

Or use the web? So just for fun let's see if we can Google some Native American portrait painters:

Mike Larsen.

Johnny Lee.

Mary Anne Caibaiosai.

Karen Clarkson

Reno Moreno.

OK... some are better than others, but if in less that five minutes I can come up with half a dozen Native American artists who appear to be portrait artists, including one - Mike Larsen - a Chickasaw portrait artist who was named the 2006 Oklahoman of the Year!

Note to Kevin Gover, who took over as the Indian Museum's director early last month: when it's time for your portrait and you're looking for a Native American portrait painter: call me!

Or learn to use Google.

Cuban Hall of Fame

In Rockville, Maryland there's an excellent Cuban restaurant called "Cuban Corner." As far as my palate is concerned, this is the best and most authentic Cuban restaurant in the Greater Washington, DC area. They are at 825 Hungerford Drive, near Ivy League Lane, Rockville, MD, 301-279-0310. Essentially on a strip mall right on Rockville Pike.

The food is authentic, affordable and plentiful (see the menu here). My favorite dish there is "Ropa Vieja," although the "Vaca Frita" is also superb. Either of those dishes, with a side of yucca con mojo or tostones, will delight your mouth and belly.

A visit to Cuban corner also delivers the interesting spectacle of the restaurant's Cuban Hall of Fame... or as they call it: The Wall.

The Cuban Hall of Fame, as determined by Joaquin Cabrejas, the restaurant's feisty owner, is composed of Cubans, Cuban-Americans, and people of traceable Cuban ancestry, and is made up of hundreds of name plaques glued to the restaurant's walls.

Some potential surprises to non Cubans (and even to some Cubans):

- Angela Anais Juana Antolina Rosa Edelmira Nin y Culmell - otherwise known as Anais Nin, one of the 20th century's sexual goddesses nymphomaniacs (and a damned good writer as well!).

- Amazon's creator Jeff Bezos.

- Benjamin Huberman, Science Adviser to several American presidents.

- Truman Capote (by adoption)... took the last name of his adopted dad. Capote in Spanish is a large cape or the hood of a car.

- Ysrael A. Seinuk, the "father of the modern New York skyline."

- Eamon de Valera: The father of the modern Irish republic was Eamon de Valera, who was born in New York in 1882. His father, Juan de Valera, although technically on paper always reported as a Spaniard, was really a Cuban, born in Cuba (which was part of Spain back then), the son of a Cuban sugar planter and escaped to New York during the Independence Wars with Spain. There he earned his living as a piano teacher. He met and married Irish immigrant Catherine Coll. Juan died shortly after the birth of their son Eduardo. After Juan's death, his wife sent Eduardo to Ireland, where her family changed his name to the Gaelic version of Eduardo: Eamon.

- Cameron Diaz... we all know who she is.

- Dr. Steve Pieczenik, author of 39 books, including 16 bestsellers. He is critically acclaimed author of psycho-political thrillers and the co-creator of the New York Times best-selling "Tom Clancy's Op-Center" and "Tom Clancy's Net Force" book series. He is also one of the world's most experienced international crisis managers and hostage negotiators.

- Olga Viso, the Hirshhorn Museum's former director and now director of the Walker Art Center.

- The Joker... I mean Cesar Romero.

Ambrosio José Gonzales, this Cuban Confederate Colonel played a significant role in the Civil War and was essentially responsible for building Confederate coastal defenses. He had his finest hour during the Civil War as the artillery commander at the Battle of Honey Hill.

Cubanos todos de alguna manera!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Iranian Campaign Medal

Iranian Campaign Medal by F. Lennox Campello

"Iranian Campaign Medal", Oil on Canvas, 24 x 48 inches, c.2007
By F. Lennox Campello (from the Digitalia series)

A ribbon for the future envisioned medal which will be awarded to US service men and women for participation in the future campaign in Iran. Original oil available starting January 10, 2008 at Color Invitations. Call (202) 588-1701 if you want to purchase the painting ahead of the opening. I am still designing the medal itself.

15 for Philip

In the words of co-curators Linda Hesh and Ian Jehle, "Philip Barlow is an unmistakable fixture of the D.C. arts community as a collector, curator, and overall arts benefactor. A quick scan of almost any arts event in Washington will find Philip, at 6'4" - usually head and shoulders above the crowd - somewhere in the room."

True to the last word! Barlow is without a doubt one of the elements that make the DC art scene one of the most vibrant in the nation. He is a key element in the nation's capital art tapestry and an inspiration and goal for others.

15 for Philip: Fifteen Artists Look at Arts Patron Philip Barlow opens at Curator's Office in DC on Saturday, January 12, from 6 - 8 pm and runs through Feb. 16, 2008 and promises to be one of the most interesting looks at one of the District's most towering art scen figures.

Rob Parrish, 252 Works of Art Owned by Philip Barlow

Rob Parrish, 252 Works of Art Owned by Philip Barlow

The exhibition includes works in a range of media by this city's emerging and established artists including Colby Caldwell, Kathryn Cornelius, Joseph Dumbacher and John Dumbacher, Nekisha Durrett, Alberto Gaitán, Max Hirshfeld, Linda Hesh, James Huckenpahler, Ian Jehle, Amanda Kleinman, Al Miner, Rob Parrish, Eric Powell, Robin Rose, and Jeff Spaulding.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Trekkie Sues Christie's

Hee, hee... you gotta read this.

Mr. Data

Brent Spiner as Mr. Data

Zulma Aguiar Favorite Artwork

Zulma Aguiar is at the leading edge of a new wave of electronic art talent now beginning to establish itself as the 21st century approaches the end of its first decade. And Zulma responds to my call for readers' favorite artwork. She writes:

Indigurrito by Nao Bustamante

Its a performance art piece where she strapped-on a burrito to her loins and called for white men to come up on stage, take a bite out of the burrito and absolve themselves of 500 years of the white man's guilt.

There was no shortage of enobled participants, who knelt in front of the protuding offering, some taking delicate bites, others deep-throated chunks.

Bustmante was quoted as saying, "This year I was told any artist of color must complete a performance based on 500 years of oppression in order to get funding."

Indigurrito Performance by Nao Bustamante

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year's

From the snowy Poconos: I hope that 2008 bring all of you loads of good and positive things.

2008 will be a super busy and interesting year for me. In addition to several art fairs where I will be participating, I will be also curating four exhibitions for four separate art venues in the Greater Washington, DC area, as well as potentially working a seminal project with a major gallery in London, plus having at least one solo show of my own work in Virginia later this year, plus several speaking engagements throughout the Mid Atlantic.

For me 2008 starts with "Color Invitations" at the new R Street Gallery in Washington, DC.

A while back the gallery's owner approached me, interested in exhibiting my newly revived interest in painting with a series of works based on my military decorations - a series that I started back in 1999-2000 as detailed here.

Because of the fact that these works have been selling quite briskly, and due to the timeline of the proposed exhibition, I declined the opportunity for the solo, as I didn't have enough works for it, and instead proposed to I curate a show for the gallery centered around a concept of artists working issues of color, texture, and some diverging from the type of work which they had been doing in order to explore color.

And thus on January 10, with an opening reception for the artists on January 16, 2008 from 6-8PM, the exhibition "Color Invitations" opens at the R Street Gallery with new work by Maggie Michael, Jeffry Cudlin, Amy Lin, Andrew Wodzianski (who also has a solo show opening at the Rodger Lapelle Gallery in Philadelphia this coming Friday, January 4, 2008), John Blee, Steve Lapin and myself.

On exhibition I will have some preparatory watercolors that I did in 1999-2000 in preparation for this this show at the McLean Project for the Arts, as well as a brand new painting from the series.

Expeditionary Service Medal by F. Lennox Campello
Expeditionary Service Medal, Watercolor on Paper, c. 1999
2.25 x 7.5 inches by F. Lennox Campello

The paintings themselves have shifted slightly in focus and technique. While the first few ones were essentially exploded pixillated huge oils of my Navy ribbons and medals, the new works "invent" new decorations and medals for imaginary, or predicted new military campaigns, perhaps as dreamed about, or envisioned by our political leaders in our nation's future, and as shaped by a visionary perspective on world events.

And thus at R Street Gallery, in addition to the prep work for the earlier pieces done circa 1999-2000, there will be a new oil painting depicting the "Iranian Campaign Medal," which will be awarded to American sailors, Marines, soldiers, airmen and Coast Guard personnel for participation in the future military campaign in Iran.

A second new oil painting on gessoed paper titled "Multinational Peacekeeping Force Medal for Service in Cuba," depicts the ribbon for the United Nations medal to be awarded to military and naval personnel who will be taking part in the peacekeeping occupation of Cuba as directed by the United Nations as that Caribbean island descends into chaos in a post Fidel Castro era.

The latter is part of my proposal package for a Cintas Foundation grant package that I submitted a few months ago, in which I propose to create a dozen new paintings, all depicting future campaign medals and ribbons associated with the imminent arising issue of the mess that is certainly to drag the US and the UN into Cuba once the brutal Galician dictator finally dies and his alcoholic brother fails to institutionalize a familial dictatorship in the style of Haiti's Papa Doc Duvalier or North Korea's Kim Il-Sung.

So pencil in January 16, from 6-8PM and come by the R Street Gallery, located at 2108 R Street (second floor), NW Washington, DC in the Dupont Circle gallery cluster.

Monday, December 31, 2007

The Power of the Web

A while back I put out a fun request as a call for this blog readers' favorite artworks, based on an idea triggered by the Washington Post's art critic Michael O'Sullivan's "Conversation Pieces" in which he listed some A-list folks' favorite art in the Greater DC area.

Since then I have been slowly but surely publishing them -- to those who have sent them in: patience! I am way behind and on holiday in the mountains.

And today I received an email from a publishing house interested in pursuing the effort in a book form, with an expanded format to be discussed!

I will be mulling that idea for a while, as I have a super busy January coming down the pike, but I am pretty sure that I will do the project if I can fit it into what's already looming as a super-busy 2008 for me.

Is that great or what?

More later...

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Martin Irvine's Favorite Artwork

DC area gallerist Martin Irvine quickly established Irvine Contemporary as one of the leading Mid Atlantic art galleries and has led the way in bringing the super hot Chinese art to the DC region. He responds to my call for readers' favorite artworks and writes:

I was just in the NGA-East and was impressed by the nice little suite of works they have up from 1962, the turning point year in pop. I love Andy Warhol’s “200 Campbells Soup Cans” (1962): it’s entirely hand painted with some cut stencil work, and made before the now iconic soup cans from silk screens. Andy started silkscreening in 1963 after learning it from Gerard Malanga. The 200 hand painted soup can painting on canvas seems even more subversive because he made a painting that looks commercially made, a repetitive series of logos and product graphic design ubiquitous in every supermarket, but rendered back into a painting made by hand. The outrageousness of that — in 1962!

200 Campbell’s Soup Cans, (detail) 1962 (Acrylic on canvas, 72 inches x 100 inches), by Andy Warhol

Art Job

The Mint Museums, comprising the Mint Museum of Art and the Mint Museum of Craft + Design in Charlotte, NC, is looking to hire a Director to oversee responsibilities for the development, care and presentation of one of the finest collections of contemporary craft and design within the United States.

The collection's history begins an exciting new chapter as The Mint Museum breaks ground for a 145,000 square foot building that will be the centerpiece of a thriving cultural district in the city of Charlotte. The anticipated opening of the new facility is fall 2010. The museum will provide over 18,000 square feet dedicated to the Craft and Design Collection and special exhibitions

The successful candidate should have a minimum of five years professional curatorial/management experience within a museum environment. Salary and benefits shall be commensurate with experience. Submit application letter and resume to: Caroline Schuster caroline.schuster@wachovia.com (Job Code Reference: MM0107).

Fun with art

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Shanthi Chandra-Sekar's Favorite Artwork

Artist Shanthi Chandra-Sekar responds to my call for readers' favorite work of art and writes:

It is the Chola bronze of Nataraja. I always get inspired when I look at a sculpture of Nataraja. According to Indian philosophy, he represents Space and I love this sculpture for its use of space. It is so totally packed with symbolism and meaning that the more I look at it, the more I learn from it.

I am currently reading a book by Ananda K. Coomaraswamy called The Dance of Shiva in which he describes the symbolism of Nataraja. Coomaraswamy is known for introducing the Nataraja sculpture to the West.

Shiva Nataraja, ca. 990, Indian
Chola dynasty, Bronze, India


In the Poconos for Christmas and the New Year's...

More later, with some interesting exhibition news for 2008 and even more interesting new curating projects...

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Blake Gopnik at his best

We all know a few things about Blake Gopnik, the Washington Post's Chief Art Critic:

- He doesn't like painting.
- He especially doesn't like representational painting.
- He very, very rarely reviews his hometown's art galleries, and focuses his reviews on museums all over the nation, biennials, etc.
- Some of his fellow newspaper critics don't think much of him.

But the Anglocentric, Oxford-educated Gopnik is also sharply equipped to skewer, debone and consume his visual art victims when he wants to make a point, and is especially effective when he has a valid one.

And Blake Gopnik makes a very valid point in "The Overripe Fruit of John Alexander's Labors," his current review of the John Alexander retrospective at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (the show will then go on to the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston - remember that).

After decimating Alexander's paintings during the first few lethal word descriptions of some of the work at the exhibition, and after re-channeling some often repeated Gopnikisms about painting and the tired "someone has already done this," or the "masters did it better," blah, blah, blah, Gopnik delivers a superbly clear message about one of the cornerstones of art throughout the ages: it's not just talent that gets ya there, it's also who you know! Gopnik executes the show when towards the end of the review, in discussing Alexander he writes:

I'd place him somewhere up there among the 5,000 or so best artists in the country. Which is more than enough to justify his continuing to paint and collectors' continuing to buy him. What I don't understand is why our national art museum, with such limited exhibition slots and an already iffy reputation for its contemporary programming, would want to highlight such a secondary figure. Alexander has barely had a significant museum show since the early 1980s, when his good friend Jane Livingston first displayed him at the Corcoran, where she was a talented chief curator. Livingston, now working freelance, also organized this show; her boss at the Corcoran, and again for the current survey, was Peter Marzio, now director of the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston.

By curating Alexander into our national museum, Livingston is billing him as one of our next Gilbert Stuarts, Edward Hoppers, Jackson Pollocks or Jenny Holzers. That's more than his modest talent can bear.
Bravo Mr. Gopnik!

Read the whole review here.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Gail Enns Favorite Artwork

California's Anton Gallery's owner and director Gail Enns responds to my call for readers' favorite artwork and she writes

I'll tell you that aside from the new work by Tony Sheeder, I love the work by Brazilian artist, Walter Goldfarb, now on view at MOLAA (Museum of Latin American Art) in Long Beach, CA. Title of the show is D + Lirium and it goes through May 18, 2008. Hope you get to see it.

Walter Goldfarb at MOLAA

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Xmas

Merry Christmas!

The Giving Season by David FeBland
The Giving Season, by David FeBland, Oil on Canvas, 2007

Monday, December 24, 2007

What about art?

This article by the Washington Post's ombudsman Deborah Howell exemplifies the sort of stuff that drives me batty about the Washington Post's coverage of the visual arts.

While one one hand they claim that they deliver fair and appropriate coverage, and while new editors all promise to look into the complaints about lack of appropriate coverage, and while they also promise to expand it, the truth is that it continues to shrink while the WaPo tells us that if we "don't get it, we don't get it..."

Ms. Howell writes an interesting article titled "The Critics Have Their Critics," and it goes along like this:

Who decides whether a play, concert or dance performance gets reviewed in The Post and whether the review is favorable? Readers complain about the absence of a review, an unfavorable one, or a review they think is given insufficient length or prominence.

Post Arts Editor John Pancake says the chief critics, all based in Style, decide what to review and who will review it -- a staff writer or a freelancer. A critic's job is to be, well, critical. While culturally sophisticated people can disagree, the critics' decisions to review and the review itself are The Post's guide to readers in the performing arts. The critics also write news and feature stories.
She then goes on to quote, discuss and explain away the theatre, dance, classical music, and pop music.

Two questions:

What about art?

What about Blake Gopnik, Michael O'Sullivan (not based in Style, but nonetheless a Washington Post art critic) and freelancer Jessica Dawson?

The Post already has the most minimalist of arts coverage of any major newspaper in the US, and its Chief Art Critic is the only one that I know of who is allowed not to report on his city's art galleries, a job and task that he had in his previous art critic assignment for a Canadian newspaper.

Maybe Ms. Howell will soon be doing a separate article discussing the spectacular apathy that the Post exhibits towards its city's art galleries and artists.


Second question: My good friend John Pancake says "the chief critics, all based in Style, decide what to review and who will review it -- a staff writer or a freelancer."

This is interesting news to me, as it reflects a change in how gallery reviews were done in the past, where Jessica Dawson pretty much had a free hand on what she chose to review and who and what gallery she chose to ignore. Apparently, according to Pancake anyway, now Blake Gopnik tells Dawson what her assignment is...

Interesting uh?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Just like you were there...

Of all the Miami reports that I've seen so far, Joanne Mattera's is by far the best.

Read her report and see her images from her extensive coverage of the artistic orgasm that was Miami earlier this month here.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Elyse Harrison's Favorite Artwork

Elyse Harrison is the hardworking and talented gallery owner and director of Bethesda's Neptune Gallery, and she responds to my request for readers' favorite artworks. Elyse writes

Joan Miro's "The Farm" has been an important painting in my life. "The Farm" predates Miro's shift into higher abstraction yet contains numerous examples which interpret everyday objects as exquisite abstract compositions. I really enjoy the simultaneous views of exterior and interior spaces and the skill of his brush work. The palette is beautiful, extremely well balanced. I can gaze into this piece deeply, meeting the magic of Joan Miro over and over again. This work has made me want to be an artist.

Joan Miro - The Farm

"The Farm" by Joan Miro (Catalan, 1893 - 1983)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Chelsea Gallery Crawl

More on Amy Lin

The Amy Lin avalanche continues; not only has her commercial solo gallery debut has received heaps of critical press coverage, and sold well, but as several of you pointed out to me, it was covered by the rare television coverage as well.

Check out Amy Lin’s work on Maryland Public Television’s program “Artworks This Week” in the “Salon Highlight.” The show will broadcast again on Saturday, December 22 at 8:30am .

The Amy Lin show at Heineman-Myers in Bethesda closes this Sunday. Hurry!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Laura Roulet's Fave Artwork

Laura Roulet is an art historian and a terrific independent curator and writer, and she responds to my request for readers' favorite artworks. Laura writes:

Asking an art historian for her favorite art work is like asking a mother to choose her favorite child. Impossible!

But here are three Washington DC masterpieces that I love to revisit, always finding more to see and ponder: Leonardo da Vinci, Ginervra de Benci (the only da Vinci painting in the Americas) in the National Gallery of Art, Jackson Pollock, Number 1, 1950 (Lavender Mist), also the NGA and Maya Lin, the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial.

Ginevra de' Benci by Leonardo
Ginevra de' Benci, c. 1474-1478, Leonardo da Vinci

Number 1, 1950 (Lavender Mist) by Jackson Pollock
Number 1, 1950 (Lavender Mist), 1950 by Jackson Pollock (American, 1912 - 1956)

Jeffry Cudlin's Fave Artwork

Jeffry Cudlin is a talented painter, the hard-to-please award-winning art critic for the Washington City Paper, a fellow blogger, and the curator at the Arlington Arts Center and he responds to my request for readers' favorite artworks. Jeffry writes:

None of the that answers I come up with seem sufficient. Maybe Bonnard's The Open Window at the Phillips -- or, really, any Diebenkorn that's handy. Bonnard's sense of light and temperature, the way he leans on saturated colors and analogous/complementary harmonies instead of tonal contrast --very tasty. Diebenkorn's compositions and ways of massing in color are just perfect -- he only makes a handful of decisions in every piece, and they're all correct.

At the NGA: El Greco's Laocoon, or maybe a Chardin -- Soap Bubbles? I always liked thinking of that Mannerist strategy of modelling your figures in clay before you paint them. I don't know if that's what El Greco did here, but his bodies have that strangely compelling unreality -- like lumpy, lighted figurines in a diorama. Chardin's just exquisite, period.

Wait, wait, maybe I want a Cezanne from the NGA instead -- I'll take either House in Provence or Chateau Noir.

And for purely sentimental reasons, a creepy painting from the Hirshhorn: The Golden Days, by Balthus. Wait, wait; maybe that painting of Leigh Bowery by Freud instead. Or those two studies for a portrait of Van Gogh by Bacon. None of those have anything to do with what I like about painting now, but when I first saw them, many years ago as an art undergrad, they made quite an impact on me.

Well, there you have it: ten paintings I can't really decide between, for wildly divergent and/or irrational reasons.

El greco - Laocoon
Laocoön, early 1610s, El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos) (Greek-Spanish, 1541–1614)

Bonnard - The Open Window
The Open Window, 1921, Pierre Bonnard (French, 1867-1947)

Save the Date

WPA Auction

As it has been widely announced, the Washington Project for the Arts (WPA) is returning to its roots and is separating from the Corcoran Gallery of Art as of December 31.

Another date to save is the 2008 WPA Art Auction Gala, which will take place on Friday, March 7, 7:00 pm – midnight at the Katzen Arts Center of American University.

The WPA Art Auctions are easily one of the DC region's top art nights with eclectic and interesting events that offers 150 works of new and established artistic talent , and more than 500 artists, collectors, patrons, business leaders and contemporaries for a night of fun and fundraising, and each year they sell out!

They are currently looking for advanced patrons; to get the Advance Patron Registration Form with options for participation, visit the WPA website or call them at 202/639-1828.