Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Artists' Talk: DC

Join co-curators Andrea Pollan and Jayme McLellan for a conversation with the artists featured in Civilian Art Projectss current exhibition, craigslist, on display through April 26. Artists John Dumbacher, Jason Horowitz and Jason Zimmerman will discuss and share their ideas and artistic process with the audience. This April 18, 2008, 7PM at Civilian Art Projects.

RSVP to or 202-347-0022. Refreshments provided.

Artists' Websites: Katie Miller

Painting by Katie Miller

Child Standing on a Dresser. Oil on canvas, 46x70" c.2007 by Katie Miller

I recently juried an art exhibition for VSA Arts in Washington, DC - the show will be at the Kennedy Center... more later on that - and during the jurying process came across the fantastic paintings of Katie Miller. I had never heard of her, but Katie Miller is a young artist in the Greater Washington, DC area and she received her B.F.A from Maryland Institute College of Art in 2007.

Visit her website here.

Opportunity for illustrators

The Chester River Press is looking for an experienced artist to illustrate a fine letterpress limited edition publication of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey. Illustrations, fullpage in theme of black figure Greek vase paintings, should be accurate quality reproductions of the various Homeric forms. Approx. 50 full page illustrations are anticipated. Qualifications: quality artist,strong working knowledge of Iliad, Odyssey, Greek Homeric period painting and drawing. Familiarity with Greek language a definite plus. Project dates: June to Sept. 2008. Not an 'in-residence'position. All welcome. If poss. include resume, work sample, and comp. requirements.


Gerard Cataldo
Chester River Pres
Chestertown Old Book Co.
113 South Cross St.
Chestertown MD 21620

Mangravite on Prestegord

Gregory Prestegord at F.A.N. Gallery in Philly is reviewed by Andrew Mangravite:

Gregory Prestegord’s city scenes get right down to business. He doesn’t do the sort of work that you have to stare at and stare at, trying to decipher its message.
Read the whole review here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Gopnik on Dumbachers

The WashPost's Chief Art Critic Blake Gopnik pops in with a terrific profile of the Dumbacher brothers, whose work first made a debut in 1999 at Artomatic and by 2001 had evolved dramatically was a hit at the Corcoran...

Looking at the brothers, their oneness comes as no surprise. They're only fraternal twins, but you'd swear they were identical. They have precisely the same athletic, 6-foot-something build. They also have the same shoulder-length brown hair. And the same attractive face, just a bit too quirky to be model-handsome.

There are differences. John's a touch slighter, sunnier, more sociable; Joe's a bit more solid and remote. Joe's sunglasses, always dangling from his neck, hang over clothes that are California casual. John's ever-present sunglasses tend to pair with sporty-chic outfits.
Read this really good profile by Gopnik here.

Museums and buying art

...should museum staff be free to advise board members (or other collectors) on what they should be acquiring themselves, and should those board members who are also active collectors be free to acquire works informed, in effect, by the insider knowledge that they are making the same bets or judgments as the museum on whose board they serve?
Read the article by Adrian Ellis for the Art Newspaper here.

Radcliffe Institute Fellowships

Deadline: October 1, 2008

The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University awards approximately 50 fully funded fellowships each year. Radcliffe Institute fellowships are designed to support scholars, scientists, artists and writers of exceptional promise and demonstrated accomplishment, who wish to pursue work in academic and professional fields and in the creative arts.

Applicants must have received their doctorate or appropriate terminal degree by December 2006 in the area of the proposed project. Radcliffe welcomes proposals from small groups of scholars who have research interests orprojects in common.

Please check this website for more information. The stipend amount is $70,000. Fellows receive office space and access to libraries and other resources of Harvard University. During the fellowship year, which extends from early September 2008 through June 30, 2009, residence in the Boston area is required as is participation in the Institute community.

Fellows are expected to present their work-in-progress and to attend other fellows¹ events. Applications must be postmarked by October 1, 2008. For more information, visit their Web site at

Trash People

Earth Day is a week away... and I've been hearing good things about a new art installation that opened last week at the National Geographic Museum: "Trash People by HA Schult."

Starting in 1996, the German artist HA Schult created 1000 life-size figures made entirely of trash with the goal of spreading the word about human consumption and waste. His army of figures have stood at the Pyramids at Giza, in the Red Square in Moscow and on the Great Wall of China.

Though they didn't have room for all 1000, the NGM is displaying 50 of them in their courtyard, and they've stirred quite a reaction from their visitors, several of which have emailed me. With Earth Day a week away, it may be a great time to visit this show.

Supplementing the 50 “trash people” will be a selection of still photographs from the new National Geographic Channel film “Human Footprint," which I have seen and it is terrific.

Go see this show.

Hyattsville Arts Festival

Where: Hyattsville, MD - on Longfellow Street and Route 1 (or take the metro to Hyattsville)

When: Saturday, April 19th from 12-5pm

For more info visit this website.

Colloquium on African American Art

The Howard University Department of Art is going to host the 19th Annual James A. Porter Colloquium on African American Art to be held on April 17 – 19, 2008 on the campus of Howard University.

The James A. Porter Colloquium is the leading forum for scholars, artists, curators, and others in the field of African American Art and Visual Culture. The theme of this year’s Colloquium is “From FESTAC to DOCUMENTA: Crossing Boundaries, Constructing Identities, Expanding Discourse in African American Art and Art of the African Diaspora.”

It honors the pioneering achievements of Richard Long, Professor Emeritus, Emory University and Leslie King-Hammond, Graduate Dean, Maryland Institute College of Art. For registration & more information, visit

NYC Art Program Slide Registry

The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs Percent for Art Program Slide Registry is accepting slides from professional artists who wish to be considered for Percent for Art Commissions. No residency requirements.

For more information, contact:

Percent for Art
Department of Cultural Affairs
31 Chambers St., 2nd Fl.
New York, NY 10007

Phone: (212) 513-9300 or check website here.

Slides? It is 2008 NYC... how about a digital image registry?

Open House at the Torpedo Factory

On Friday the 25th of April is the annual Spring Open House at the Torpedo Factory in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia and there's also a book signing in Margaret Huddy's studio of a new art book about her of Sycamore Series.

The book includes 29 full color images of the paintings she's done of the same tree in the past 22 years. It incudes some words from me about this amazing series.

The open house party is on Friday, April 25 from 6-9PM.

Common Waters at Mayer Fine Art

Below is a quick video showing the exhibition "Common Waters: An Ocean Apart" at Norfolk's new Mayer Fine Art.

Works by Sandra Ramos, Aimee Garcia Marrero, Cirenaica Moreira and Marta Maria Perez Bravo.

Monday, April 14, 2008

To Biennial or Not to Biennial

Kyle MacMillan over at the Denver Post asks and raises some really good points over the need for the new Denver Biennial. Kyle writes:

At least 50 major biennials take place internationally, and more are being added to the list all the time, making it easy to wonder: How many biennials are too many? And with each new one, isn't the drawing power of such events becoming increasingly diluted?
Read the whole article here.

Washington's Corcoran Gallery of Art hosts the Corcoran Biennial, which they've hosted for many years. The biennial used to be strictly focused on painting, and as such it had a good niche in the overflowing scene of world biennials - it was just a biennial to sample the state of contemporary painting.

Unfortunately, in my opinion (which is generally not shared by many museum curators or probably other art writers), under the guidance of former Corcoran curator Terry Sultan, the Corcoran Biennial was "modernized" to become just like every other biennial and overly expanded to include everything that passes as fine art these days.

The result? Now the Corcoran Biennial is just another one of the 50+ biennials around the world, desperately lacking focus and usually bringing to DC a lot of art and artists recycled from other biennials plus a severe sprinkling of "newish" work.

In my opinion it would have been better to resist the temptation to expand to become a Jack of all art trades and keep it focused on the state of contemporary painting in all its vampirical refusals to die.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Time for Norfolk to be embarrassed

Norfolk newspaper The Virginian-Pilot sponsors an annual Student Gallery competition hosted at the Chrysler Museum of Art.

The top awards were announced a couple of weeks ago at the Chrysler Museum of Art, where works by the contest’s 62 finalists are on display. Erin Ayres “Unveiled Tokens of Lonely and Deserted Past,” was among two works that earned her the $1,000 first-place award.

Now the controversy part... Teresa Annas, art critic for the same newspaper courageously writes that:

This year’s top winners resulted from a third round of judging. The first two jurors selected nude artworks for first place. Those judges were Aaron De Groft, director of the Muscarelle Museum of Art, College of William and Mary, and Scott Howe, director of education and public programs at the Chrysler Museum.

The Virginian-Pilot, the contest’s main sponsor, declined to honor those choices.

“One was a nude self-portrait of a 17-year-old girl, and we didn’t feel that was appropriate,” said Pam Smith-Rodden, director of marketing, the department that runs Student Gallery. The other piece was a sculpture.

“We’re thinking about the audience, and all the kids and the younger siblings who will see these pieces,” Smith-Rodden said.

Those artworks are still on display at the Chrysler. “We honestly don’t believe those two pieces are appropriate to be held up as the winners of a high school art show, because they do depict the nude,” she said.

Student Gallery has no policy against nude imagery, Smith-Rodden said. “It hasn’t been an issue in the past, but we’re going to revisit it for future shows.”
Three days after the story came out, Norfolk began to respond and Annas reported that "Local art lovers rushed to donate money this week to a high school artist who was chosen as a winner in The Virginian-Pilot Student Gallery but was not given the award because the newspaper’s publisher deemed her work inappropriate. By late Friday, $700 had been collected. The goal was to raise $1,000. "

A day later Annas reported that:
Nancy "Beth" Reid, the teen artist whose nude self-portrait was denied top prize in an art contest, will be given $1,000 in a private ceremony today at Churchland High School in Portsmouth.

Beth, 17, was the first top winner chosen for The Virginian-Pilot Student Gallery, which is open to any high school junior or senior in the region. Her work was rejected for first place by the newspaper's publisher, Bruce Bradley. He deemed the work "inappropriate" for the show because it is a nude image of a minor.

A similar private award will go to Jasmine Childs of Chesapeake. She was the top choice of a second judge, but her sculpture of a nude torso also was rejected by Bradley.
And thus a sour story turns out a little better at the end thanks to the intervention of art lovers who saved the day at the last minute and thanks to the brave reporting by a writer employed by the same newspaper that caused Norfolk to be embarrassed in the eyes of the art world.

Bravo to the people of Norfolk!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Now I know...

This quote clearly reveals that Kingsley Amis' force is the HMFDIC (Head Motherfucker Darth In Charge) of the cabal of most suppliers of art writing:

"If you can't annoy somebody, there's little point in writing."

- Kingsley Amis

VB 2009

The Venice Biennale has named Daniel Birnbaum, the rector of the Staedelschule International Art Academy in Frankfurt, to curate its 2009 show.

"Birnbaum, born in Stockholm in 1963, was responsible for the Moscow biennial as well as exhibitions at the Pompidou Center in Paris and at London's Serpentine Gallery. He is a contributing editor to Artforum magazine in New York and writes critical essays for catalogs." Read the Bloomberg report here.

Common Waters: An Ocean Apart

Common Waters: An Ocean Apart opens tonight with an grand opening reception from 6-9PM at Mayer Fine Art in Norfolk, Virginia. This is a brand new gallery in a beautiful setting in Norfolk's Waterside building.

I curated this show, which features work by four leading Cuban artists: Marta Maria Perez Bravo, Sandra Ramos, Aimee Garcia Marrero and Cirenaica Moreira.

The show was hung last night and it looks beautiful, but it almost didn't happen at the last minute, as tragedy was barely avoided when the gallery owner was rushed to emergency because she badly cut her face with a piece of broken glass. The glass edge was jammed against her face and cut her all the way through to her mouth.

She's a trooper though! After a few hours in emergency, and a ton of stitches later, she came back to the gallery and finished hanging the show.

If you're in Norfolk tonight, come and say hi!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Opportunity for artists

Deadline: May 5, 2008

Wanna sell your landscape? 4Culture is seeking to acquire wall-mounted landscape works that use color(paintings, prints, photographs, drawings, etc.) for the Harborview Medical Center Collection, part of the King County Public Art Collection in Seattle.

The subject matter for this call must be the essence of landscape, whether represented realistically or abstractly. These works will be on display throughout the public spaces of the new Norm Maleng Building, a multi-story facility that houses operating rooms, acute care, rehabilitation, and clinic facilities, along with their associated waiting areas. An overall budget of $80,000 has been designated to purchase artwork. National artists who would like their work considered for purchase must submit images of existing available artwork for the panel's review. The maximum value of individual works should be $3500. A maximum height or width of 36" and a maximum depth of 3" for the artwork is specified. All artworks will be purchased unframed.

For a complete prospectus, visit this website. For more information: email Greg Bell at

Save the Date: Gallery Grand Opening in DC

On Friday, May 9th from 5:30-8PM, the Healing Arts Gallery at Smith Farm Center will have its grand opening at 1632 U Street NW in DC. More on the gallery's mission later...