Friday, December 19, 2008

And another one down...

New York art dealer Christoph Van de Weghe had eight works by Damien Hirst in his booth at the Art Basel Miami Beach fair earlier this month. He sold only two.

The small “spin” and “butterfly” paintings went for $160,000 each, compared with the asking price of $185,000. The unsold works included an $850,000 cabinet filled with cigarette butts and a blue canvas with 15 butterflies...

...Three months after Hirst sold more than 200 of his works for 111.5 million pounds ($199 million) at Sotheby’s in London, his market has contracted dramatically.

At the bellwether November sales in New York, 11 out of 17 Hirst lots failed to find buyers at three auction houses...

...“the feeling is that the Hirst market has been stretched a bit too far, almost as if it snapped and backfired.”
Read the Bloomberg story by Katya Kazakina here.

Another one bites the dust

Reflecting the recent nose dive in confidence in the art and antiquities markets, the International Asian Art Fair held each spring in Manhattan has been canceled.
Read the NYT story here.

Lino Tagliapietra

(Via DCist) The Lino Tagliapietra in Retrospect: A Modern Renaissance in Glass exhibition at the Renwick Gallery:

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Bouguereau for VFMA

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts board of trustees has approved the acquisition of "The Battle between the Centaurs and Lapiths," a heroic Academic painting by French artist William-Adolphe Bouguereau, a beaded buffalo mask from the Bamum kingdom of Cameroon, three versions of French artist Antoine-Louis Barye’s “Pheasant” sculpture, and 29 fine, decorative and ceremonial objects given in memory of the museum’s late curator of 20th-century art.

Also added to the VMFA collection were two works by Virginia sculptor Leslie Garland Bolling, a collection of 21 gold and semi-precious-stone earrings from ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern cultures and a trade-bead necklace collected in Ghana.

Battle of Lapiths and CentaursThe Bouguereau painting, “The Battle between the Centaurs and Lapiths,” is an 1852 oil on canvas measuring 49 by 68-5/8 inches. The large-scale work depicts a central element of the story of a mythological battle as recounted by the Greek poet Homer in the Iliad. The Lapiths and the Centaurs were longstanding pre-Hellenic enemies. In a peacemaking effort, the Lapiths invited the Centaurs to a wedding feast at which the Centaurs got drunk and attempted to abduct the bride.

In antiquity, the tale was seen as an example of the conflict between civilization and barbarism.

“Academic art dominated French painting of the period and is the school of art most often contrasted with Impressionism. Impressionist painting, known for having been painted from life and for its spontaneous brushwork, modern subjects and intense color, was a rebellion against Academic painting and the Salons, with its controlled brushwork, references to ancient sculpture and subjects from the distant past,” said VMFA Director Alex Nyerges.

Book on deaccessioning controversies at U.S. museums

When done well, she said, “pruning a museum collection so that the collection as a whole can become better and stronger” can be a good thing. When done inappropriately or for the wrong reasons, she added, the results can be “tragic.”
Read about here.

Dumas at MoMA

Since I got this really cool catalog sent to me in the mail, I figured that I better plug this show:

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Need to rent a house for the Obama inauguration?

I've got a couple of properties for rent, and like a good capitalist, I've just realized that they're both good locations for people looking for a home during the Obama inauguration week!

Pooks Hill Condo in Bethesda
First one above is a really nice condo in Bethesda in Pooks Hill, close to everything... see the listing here. Contact Sabine about renting that one in January for the inauguration. It is just a few minutes from the Bethesda Metro and a couple of minutes from the Beltway. Two upstair rooms and a finished basement and two bathrooms.

Bowie, Maryland house for rentThe other one is the very first house that I ever bought when I was Navy Lieutenant first assigned to Washington, DC back in the late 80s.

Last year I poured a ton of money renovating the house.

It is just a couple of minutes away from 50 and just a few miles from the District and less than a mile from a Metro park-and-ride if you want to take the Metro to the festivities. Three rooms and two and half bathrooms.

See that listing here. Contact Rich for that one.

Bourgeois Spider

That huge spider now greeting visitors on their way into the Hirshhorn Museum is a true testament to the power of representational sculpture, isn't it?

Standing at nearly 25 feet tall, Louise Bourgeois' large bronze and steel sculpture "Crouching Spider" is a like a magnet for Mall visitors, and because it is a Louise Bourgeois work of art, anti-representational art critics have to keep their mouths and poison pens shut as the public enjoys a public art piece.

Louise Bourgeois Crouching Spider, 2003, from a private collection. Photo by Lee Stalsworth.

The Hirshhorn says that "there is no need to be afraid, since the artist describes her spiders as iconic 'guardians,' a 'defense against evil.'" And they even work against the evil of post-modernism dogma and critics who instantly dislike a work of art that is liked by the masses.

And I am told by the museum that since its installation earlier this week, the work of art has become an instant attraction to visitors eager to be photographed with the huge arachnid.

I wonder how those Argentinean kids Carmen Ibanez, Dizzy Flores and Johnny Rico would have reacted to it.

"Crouching Spider" is now on view at the Independence Avenue entrance to the Hirshhorn in anticipation of the Feb. 26 opening of "Louise Bourgeois,"a major retrospective that includes more than 120 sculptures, paintings and drawings. The Hirshhorn presentation of "Louise Bourgeois"is the last chance for the public to see the exhibition that began its tour in London and ends here in Washington, D.C. The Hirshhorn presentation will include a number of works from the museum's own collection, not seen in other presentations on the tour. The exhibition will run through May 17, 2009.

New Art Blog

And off to a great start: check it out here; visit often!

Hire this model... please!

Need a Cuban-American fashion model? Hire my daughter Elise!

Elise Campello
Contact her here.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Artomatic 2009

Artomatic, the open art show that traditional art critics hate and that everyone else loves is coming back to the DMV in 2009 and they've got a party for new and returning volunteers.

The party to volunteer for Artomatic 2009 is December 20th, 1-3 pm at Onyx Apartments
(1100 First St, SE, Washington DC 20003).

Details here.

Monday, December 15, 2008


A while back I wrote about my absolute favorite TV show (Showtime's "Dexter") and how it puts me on a private pedantic hell because of the show's spectacularly lousy dialectic writing about Cuban Spanish.

Michael C. Hall as DexterTo recap, in the series, Michael C. Hall is absolutely brilliant as a serial killer who works as a blood expert for the Miami Metro Police while hiding the fact that he is also a serial killer. Dexter goes after bad guys, but he is still a truly disturbing psychopath pretending to be normal while killing bad guys left and right in a very orchestrated manner.

Because it takes place in Miami, there's a lot of Cuban stuff and characters going on, but whoever the writer(s) for the series is, they seem to believe that Cubans in Miami are indistinguishable from the Hollywood area Mexicans and Mexican-Americans that he or she "knows" as Latinos or Hispanics.

As a result some pretty amazing cultural blunders in the spoken language continue to occur in the show, and I discussed some here.

But now an even more egregious culinary blunder took places in the series finale that revealed to me that the writer or writers for this series have zero understanding of the diversity of cultures in their own continent, and now I am firmly convinced that they have never set foot in Miami.

Last night was the series' season finale, and it was very, very good, with Dexter almost being the victim of another serial killer being hunted by Miami police.

Let me set a different background for you. Imagine that you're watching a TV series and the characters walk into a restaurant in South Carolina and inside a big sign announces that the restaurant has the "Best Soul Food in the South." The characters sit down and then they order Egg Foo Young and a couple of egg rolls.

That would not make sense, right? Lousy script writing?

In the Dexter season-ending episode, actress Jennifer Carpenter, who plays Dexter's annoying and foul-mouthed sister and now Detective Debra Morgan, walks up to a food establishment, where a prominent sign displays that it sells "The Best Cuban Food in Miami."

She then orders a burrito.

A burrito?

There is no such food item in any Cuban restaurant in Miami, or Cuba or the entire planet Earth. Outside of a Mexican restaurant environment, you ask any Cuban what a "burrito" is and he will tell you that it is a small donkey. A "burro" is a donkey or ass, and a "burrito" is a small donkey.

Cuban food does not include any dishes called burrito, but Dexter's Hollywood-based writers, never having set foot in Miami or even a Cuban restaurant in la-la land, assume that Cuban food (and by default all Latin American food) consists of burritos, tamales, refried beans, enchiladas, etc.

We had a small "Dexter watching" party last night, and one of the persons in the group was a very good Puerto Rican friend. When Detective Debra Morgan ordered a burrito at a place selling "Miami's Best Cuban Food," we both burst out laughing.

However, inside: Showtime, you're killing me!

Robert Johnson's black art collection coming to DC

Johnson may be known for the low-budget comedy routines and booty-shaking music videos that drove the success of BET, the cable channel he founded and that turned him into America's first black billionaire in 2001. But in his private moments he is moved by art that documents the struggles and achievements of black people in America. Since the early 1980s Johnson, 62, has assembled some 250 pieces by 19th- and 20th-century African-American artists. Though Johnson's collection is probably worth only a couple of million dollars, it includes some of the most famous names of the genre: cubist-inspired collage artist Romare Bearden (1911--88); modernist Harlem painter Jacob Lawrence (1917--2000); and Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859--1937), who studied under Thomas Eakins in the 1880s and was the first black painter to gain international acclaim.
Read the article here, which also states that "Johnson, who plans to stage a Washington, D.C. exhibition of his art this February, believes the works should be displayed separately from those of white Americans."

The piece doesn't say where the exhibition will be, which is a little odd, since it will be in a couple of months.

But as I object to the segregation of artists by race, as Mr. Johnson apparently believes, or by gender (thus my opposition to the National Museum of Women in the Arts concept) or by ethnicity (thus my opposition to the Latino Museum idea).

Art is art.

Perhaps Mr. Johnson intends to add a specialty focus to his DC exhibition, such as "The Impact of African American Art on Contemporary Art," which would then make sense to have a "black Americans show only."

Otherwise I call upon Mr. Johnson to use his considerable influence to make more museums add deserving black American artists to American art museums. Or perhaps to call upon the Obamas to add more deserving black American artists to the White House collection, which only has three such artists in its entire collection, two of which were added by the Bushes.

Segregation doesn't work for art either.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

MOCA Supporters

"About 450 people, including a number of prominent Los Angeles artists, crowded into the Museum of Contemporary Art's Geffen Contemporary space in Little Tokyo on Sunday afternoon, drawn to a hastily arranged rally of sorts in support of MOCA, spurred by recent reports of dire financial problems that threaten the existence of the downtown museum."
Read the LAT story here.

Strauss Fellowships for Individual Artists

Application Deadline: January 19, 2009

Named for Bill Strauss (1947-2007), gifted writer, co-founder of the Capitol Steps and the Cappies, the Strauss Fellowships for Individual Artists support and encourage Fairfax County's finest creative artists in all disciplines and recognize professional working artists' achievements and their demonstrated history of accomplishments; they promote artists' continued pursuit of their creative work.

Grants workshop: January 6, 2009

Grant Application Deadline: January 19, 2009

Download Guidelines and Application in a PDF or in Word at this website.

The Arts Council offers free grant writing workshops to applicants prior to grant application deadlines. All applicants, particularly first time applicants, are strongly encouraged to attend.

The 2008 Strauss Fellowship Recipients were: Jill Banks, Michael Travis Childers, Eileen Doughty, Linda Hesh, Kristin Johnsen-Neshati, Rebecca Kamen, Elizabeth Anne Kendall, Marni Maree, Lilianne Milgrom, Yoshiko Ratliff, Bryan Rojsuontikul and Susan Shields

For more information about the Arts Council's grants, please contact Jeannette Thomas, Grants Administrator, at or at (703) 642-0862, ext. 4.

Incredible Art Day in DC area

Today is the day of days if you're into the arts in the greater DC area... not only are there a ton of openings going on later tonight, but also there are dozens and dozens of open artists' studios (such as the Mid City Artists) and the Washington Glass School, which is where I am today and I just got here and let me tell you, there are a lot of really good affordable glass, etchings, and cool art things from the school's faculty and students and a lot of other invited artists. And from there you can also walk to the many artists' studios in the same building complex.

Come see and buy some art somewhere today!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Opening in Richmond today!

All the background about my solo show opening at 6PM today is here, but the bottom line is that if you are anywhere near Richmond, Virgina today Friday, December 12 between 6-9PM, swing by Red Door Gallery where my solo show "The Colors of Wars to Come" is opening and say hola!

Suspension Ribbon for the Second Cuban Pacification Campaign Medal

"Suspension Ribbon for the Second Cuban Pacification Campaign Medal." Oil on canvas. 24x48 inches by F. Lennox Campello, c.2008
The Second Cuban Pacification Campaign Medal was established by Executive Order 13459 signed by the President on 03 May 2011. It may be awarded to American military and naval personnel for participating in prescribed operations, campaigns and task forces ranging in dates from 24 March 2010 to present.

The area of operations for these various campaigns includes the total land area and air space of Cuba (including the Isle of Youth), and the waters and air space of the Caribbean Sea within 12 nautical miles of Cuban coastline.

Personnel must be members of a unit participating in, or be engaged in direct support of, the operation for 30 consecutive days in the area of operations or for 60 non-consecutive days provided this support involves entering the area of operations or meets one of the following criteria:

• Be engaged in actual combat, or duty that is equally as hazardous as combat duty, during the operation with armed opposition, regardless of time in the area of operations;
• While participating in the operation, regardless of time, is wounded or injured and requires medical evacuation from the area of operations;
• While participating as a regularly assigned aircrew member flying sorties into, out of, within, or over the area of operations in direct support of the military operations.

One bronze service star shall be worn on the ribbon for qualifying participation during an established campaigns. However, that if an individual's 30 or 60 days began in one campaign and carried over into another, that person would only qualify for the medal with one service star. The medal is not awarded without at least one service star.

The executive order provides that service members who qualify for either the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal or the Armed Forces Service Medal for service in Cuba between 24 March 2010 and 01 May 2010, remain qualified for those medals. However, upon application, any such member may be awarded the Cuban Campaign Medal in lieu of the Armed Forces Expeditionary medal or the Armed Forces Service Medal, but no Service member may be awarded more than one of these three medals for the same period of service in Cuba.

The suspension ribbon for the medal's white, and blue colors were suggested by the striking colors of the Caribbean Sea and the stripes of the Cuban flag.

Rousseau on Aquilino

John Aquilino has been one of my favorite DC area painters since he moved from New York to the Maryland suburbs a few years ago. His landscapes are elegant and intelligent, and under the pretext of being an urban landscape, are really all about the handling of light and form, not really the subject matter.

He currently has an exhibition in Bethesda's Neptune Gallery, and like any other Aquilino shows in galleries and art fairs, it is selling out very quickly.

Dr. Claudia Rousseau of the Gazette newspapers reviews that show here and once again I wonder why this very talented bilingual art critic is not writing for the Washington Post (which owns the Gazette chain).

Aquilino is also a master of light, as in a painting like "No Parking" in which the angled sunlight falls sharply on the garage walls. These harsh contrasts of light and shadow are reminiscent of Edward Hopper, or even more of Charles Sheeler in the 1920s and '30s; the two are important 20th century American precedents for Aquilino's style. Like Hopper and Sheeler, realism is tempered with an abstract sensibility to underlying form, and a tendency toward simplification and reduction to emphasize the juxtaposition of shape and color. Hopper often included the human figure, bringing a sense of narrative into his work. Although Sheeler's cityscapes and paintings of factories eliminated the figure, there was always a hidden discourse about progress in them. It is this narrative element Aquilino seems to reject.

Bettie Page is gone

"Page was mystified by her influence on modern popular culture. 'I have no idea why I'm the only model who has had so much fame so long after quitting work,' she said in an interview with The Times in 2006.

Bettie Page
Read the LAT obit and story here on this icon.

The richer they are...

The cheaper they are:

"He is one of the world's richest artists, who defied the credit crunch in September by auctioning a whole collection for £111m. But even Damien Hirst may not be immune to the economic climate - many of the workers who produce his works found themselves out of a job this week, the Guardian has learned.

On Thursday, up to 17 of the 22 people who make the pills for Hirst's drug cabinet series were told their contracts were not being renewed, according to two sources close to Science Ltd, Hirst's main art-producing company. Another three who make his butterfly paintings were also told they were surplus to requirements.

It is thought that amounts to approximately half of the London-based artists who work for Hirst. They are paid about £19,000 a year, sources said. In June 2007, Lullaby Spring, a cabinet filled with hand-painted pills, sold for £9.65m."
Read the Guardian story here.