Thursday, May 07, 2009


The Affordable Art Fair in New York opened in New York last night and the halls were packed and the booze was flowing and artwork was being sold.

It's early to see if the art fair dooldrums are beginning to wane, but let's hope so.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009


The Creative Genius DC Happy Hour and Dinner will be at Alero (3500 Connecticut Ave, NW in DC) on Thursday, May 7. Drinks at 6:30 pm and for those interested in staying, dinner will be around 7:30 pm.

This low-key networking event is for all creative types: writers, editors, dancers, jugglers, artists, graphic designers, performance artists, poets, musicians, and dreamers! Come have a drink and meet some new people! Feel free to bring your friends too.

Alero is near the Cleveland Park Metro.

Please RSVP to Willona at

Benny More

In my opinion the greatest Cuban popular musician of all time was the great Benny More, the man whom Cubans call "El barbaro del ritmo."

It's a shame that my favorite song of his is not on YouTube... but here is a whole bunch of other people doing the greatest Cuban dance music of all time: Castellano que bueno baila Usted! or "Castellano, how well you dance!"

Listen to a short clip of the original here.

Loads of Latin American salseros have done this great juicy hips music over and over... ahhh over the years, but none better than the original... other than the great Tito Puente got close here and the great Ibrahim Ferrer honors the song in what I think is the best version of the original here.

But get the original Benny More here if you want Cuban dance music the way that it was meant to be.

In New York

By the time you read this I'll be huffing and puffing and schlepping artwork to the 11th floor for The Affordable Art Fair NYC which has a private opening tonight and opens to the public later this week. I'll be there with Mayer Fine Art in booth D-100.

I'll be blogging from the fair as time permits.

See ya there!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


The nation's vast left wing nuttery is not very forgiving of artists who walk on the wrong side of the tracks. And yet the nation's only out of the closet artist who's openly critical of Obama has launched a new series using photographs from the Official White House Flickr Photostream.

It takes cojones... see it here.

In DC this week

International Art Affairs is going on in various DC venues this week... I have been home one day in the last two weeks and heading to New York tomorrow, otherwise I would have dropped in to some of these:

Tuesday May 5

6 – 7 pm, followed by a short Q&A session
Bauhaus – An International Chronology: G. Martin Moeller, senior vice president and curator at the National Building Museum, is a world class expert on Bauhaus, a school that originated in post WWI Germany, and had profound effects in art as well as architecture and design.

Wednesday May 6

6 – 7 pm, followed by a short Q&A session

How to Build a World Class Art Collection in Washington, DC – A Primer: Renowned Georgetowner Barbara Gordon recounts how her travel experiences and her keen interest in art led her to develop an ability to identify collectable art. Find out how she did it and how the arts became a wholesome supplement to a life of social and political activism.

Thursday May 7

6 – 7 pm, followed by a short Q&A session with exhibit and reception

Healing Art: Outsiders Inside: Lorton Art Program Founder and Director Mia Choumenkovitch will lecture on her decades of experience training inmates in fine art techniques. Ms. Choumenkovitch has lectured internationally at healing art symposiums and has great insight on comparative criminal justice – mainly focused on US versus European approaches. An exhibit of this artwork will be on display from 3 – 9 pm.

Friday, May 8

5:30 – 6:30 pm

Mexico and New York: Art Flows: Barbara Tenenbaum, renowned Mexican scholar lectures on the defining moment in the art worlds that existed in Mexico and New York in the twentieth century. The lecture reflects on the political currents of the time with applications for today.

Friday May 8

6:30 – 10 pm

Latin American Youth Center (LAYC) Benefit and LAYC Exhibit with Music by LAYC Program Participants: International Art Affairs, Blue Flame Capital, LLC, and NGAS Resources, Inc. team up to benefit the Latin American Youth Center’s art and music program. LAYC provides a wide range of important services and mentoring to young people of all ethnic backgrounds. This event will raise money to help the LAYC overcome a funding shortfall with a portion to Cultural Tourism and its Passport DC Budget. Please RSVP to 202-319-2225 or call Bill Farrand 202-256-2139 or Fernando Batista 202-413-2687.

Saturday May 9

2:30 – 3:30 pm, followed by a short Q&A session

Emerging Art Markets – The Case of India: Artist and Sotheby’s scholar Ms. Pooja Tipirneni discusses the roots and evolution of India’s contemporary art movement and Russian and Chinese parallels in trends.

Erectile Weather

(Via Pat)

Weather Erection, author unknown

On the news

A 3-minute Torpedo Factory segment should air today, Tuesday, May 5, on PBS and BBC America, and worldwide on BBC World News.

It is still possible it could be pushed aside for breaking news.

I have been told that the segment is entirely Torpedo Factory footage. When the video is posted on the BBC website I will follow up with a link.

BBC World News interviewed three artists on April 9, 2009 about the impact of the economy on the creative direction of art:

- Rosemary Covey
- Carol Levin
- Susan Makara

View photos from the shoot here.

Tired words

I’m so tired.

As I write this, I am aboard Southwest Airlines, somewhere 30,000 feet above the Eastern seaboard and heading home from North Carolina. By the time this post is published I will be home, after what feels like endless travels through the South. For the last ten days or so it has been a blur of never ending driving and airport waiting and airplanes and strange beds.

And yet, there are always pleasant and enriching surprises where one least expects them. Such as finding a particularly unique piece of sculpture in a show where it is alone amongst its brethren, a seminal piece which tempted me into considering awarding it a Best in Show but ended with a lesser Honorable Mention because I think that the artist has a lot more to explore in order to push the concept behind the work. He needs to enter the world of electricity and lights and videos and then he will be there. There was also the enriching experience of meeting artists who are truly and deeply enamored of their art. And the shock of awarding a Best in Show to a small work whose merit may be overseen by most, like the flower in a dandelion is seen as a weed in a garden of manicured flowers.

And memorable and most unexpected images of predatory jacks-in-the-box dressed like harlequins being fed honey. They made me shiver with concern as to their creation seed, like a character in Stephen King’s “Duma Key” reacting to one of Edgar Freemantle’s hypnotic paintings.

And green trees everywhere, clean manicured lawns and mailboxes guided by Home Owner’s Association standards.

And the unexpected and welcomed surprise of having a rich conversation while being driven to the airport that strikes a special chord, and perhaps triggers thoughts, both light and dark, and ideas, both harsh and moist.

Sometimes a very talented and special artist flourishes amongst a field of good artists. They stand out in a special way, viewed by some as outsiders and out layers and by others as beautiful. Like the powerful yellow of a dandelion flower is seen as a bad weed by the vastness of the majority and also as a pretty flower by those with a delicate eye for beauty.

But beauty demands the delicacy of steel, shiny and flexible, and composed of mixed components, each strong on their own, but not as strong as when they are forced to couple together in the cauldron of molten ingredients. The scent of beauty has iron ore and coke and alloys and eventually it becomes steel.

The conversation floated around art, beauty, and the creative process. The words and idea revolved rapidly around love for art and love for being an artist and how love helps to create art; love as a driving force.

“Not just love,” I added, “also hate.”

After some exploration of this idea, we quickly agreed that what was really needed was passion. Poets and common folk have struggled with the nearness of love to hate and the quickness of how they can be molten into one by events and perceptions. Molten like iron and coke and alloys are molten to make steel.

Can art be created from hate?

“From the hells beneath the hells, I bring you my deathly fruits,” wrote Howard in his dark, some would say hateful poetry.

It is a dreadful question and one that I hadn’t really thought about much until a wonderful exchange of ideas with an unexpected kindred art soul brought it to my mind and then to my lips.

Was Goya driven by hate when he etched his horrible “Disasters of War”? I think so; but a very special kind of hate.

The same Goya who so loved the Duchess of Alba, a woman that he couldn’t have, that he painted her with brushes and paints loaded with love, and with desire, and even with direction and wishful thinking.

I think that I think that any passion can drive an artist to create meaningful and powerful art. The fervor of religion has given us some of the greatest masterpieces of art in the world, and not so curiously, as man steps away from God, so has the importance of contemporary religious art.

But it is so disturbing to me to think about pure incandescent hate as a driving force in the creativity of art.

Maybe I should diminish hate.

I hate green peppers.

I had a really good Greek salad for a lovely lunch a couple of days ago, and I was so engrossed in the conversation that I forgot to ask the waiter to skip the green peppers.

The salad was bountiful and tasty, and loaded to the brim with the offending vegetable. And the guilt of wasting food was there as I piled strips of green on the edge of my plate while consuming the rest of the salad voraciously. It’s odd how often I’m not aware that I am hungry until food is presented to me.

I eat too fast. My mother’s aunt once told me that she chewed each bite 33 times. But then you’d spend too many precious minutes chewing food. The answer to this mundane tragedy is somewhere in between three and 33. On the other hand, she lived to be well over 100 years old, 103 or 104 I think.

I hate how allergens can penetrate your body’s defenses and torment your nose, throat and eyes and make never ending days full of physical misery. I often wonder how cavemen survived in moldy caves in a world of sneezing. They must have been killed by their companions. How can a sneezing caveman sneak silently during the hunt? And they really couldn’t be demoted to gatherers instead of hunters, because they’d be sneezing their hairy heads off as they gathered berries and nuts and roots among the pollen rich world in which they lived.

I hate that HBO cancelled “Rome” and left us hanging with Pullo walking away with Caesarian.

I know, I know… different kinds of hate.

Still, I will never paint or draw green peppers.

I’m so tired, but happy.


"Masked," curated by my good friend Joan Weber is at School 33 Art Center in Baltimore through June 27, 2009 with an opening reception on Saturday, May 9, 2009 6-9pm and a Curator's Talk on Saturday, May 23, 2009 1-3pm and a poetry reading on Thursday, June 11, 2009 6:30-8:00pm.

Perda do Sentido by Elsa MoraMASKED is an exploration of work about concealment, secrets, self-conscious and social constructions of identity which ultimately reveal a new face – a brilliant corona of strength, integrity and courage. Each work is a performance piece of sorts; the artists have used their own bodies or their own biographies to very directly create a presence that suggests a story or a secret. However, rather than being a study in psychology or narrative, where one might work to discover that secret – this assembly is exciting in that even while experiencing the powerfully posited content on the surface, we know that there is an equally powerfully complex internal life.
The artists in the exhibition include: Dawn Black (paintings), Iona Rozeal Brown (pigment prints), Lynden Cline (sculpture), Bailey Doogan (drawings), Susan Fenton (hand painted silver print photographs), Inga Frick (pigment prints), J.J. McCracken (performance), Ledelle Moe (sculpture), Elsa Mora (photographs), Elena Patino (painting), Phyllis Plattner (painting), and Athena Tacha (sculpture) and the poets are Teri Cross Davis, Clarinda Harriss, Judith McCombs, and Rosemary Winslow (Poetry curator).

Monday, May 04, 2009

Red and Blue Philistines

Today the Pennsylvania Senate is calling for ZERO funding for arts and culture in the FY 09-10 state budget. If the Senate version (SB 850) prevails, there will be no arts and culture grants in the state of Pennsylvania starting on July 1 of this year.

Take action here.

Nam June Paik

The Smithsonian American Art Museum has acquired the complete archive of the artist Nam June Paik, one of the most influential artists of his generation and one who helped to transform television and video into artists' media.

"The Nam June Paik Archive is a landmark addition to the resources available to scholars and curators at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The museum now becomes the major center for Paik scholarship," said Elizabeth Broun, The Margaret and Terry Stent Director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. "The museum has made a strong commitment to Nam June Paik's work through acquisitions, which makes it the perfect home for his archive."

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Call to Artists: In the Spirit of Frida Kahlo

Deadline: June 6, 2009

Frida Kahlo remains one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, but her spectacular life experiences, her writing and her views on life and art have also influenced many artists throughout the years.

From July 1 - August 29, 2009 The Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery at Smith Farm Center in Washington, DC will be hosting Finding Beauty In A Broken World: In the Spirit of Frida Kahlo.

Photo of Gallery by Michael K. WilkinsonThis exhibition hopes to showcase the work in all mediums of artists influenced not only by Kahlo’s art, but also by her biography, her thoughts, and her writing or any other aspect in the life and presence of this remarkable artist who can be interpreted through artwork.

This will be the third Kahlo show that I have juried in the last decade and we are seeking works of art that evoke the prolific range of expression, style and media like that which Frida Kahlo used as an outlet for her life’s experiences.

Get a copy of the prospectus by calling (202) 483-8600 or email or download it here.

Job in the Arts

Position Opening: Gallery Director

International Arts & Artists, a visual-art non-profit in Washington, DC seeks a Gallery Director to coordinate Hillyer Art Space and its programs. Hillyer Art Space (HAS) is a contemporary exhibition site which presents quality exhibitions and programming to the public, and is an integral part in IA&A’s local, national and international initiatives. IA&A fosters intercultural and international understanding through the arts.

HAS presents a dual series of exhibitions in its two-room space showing work from artists living and working in the mid-Atlantic region, particularly the DC area, alongside work of their international peers. Exhibitions feature artists of both emerging and established stature and are solo, group or thematic. The exhibitions are selected by a panel of renowned artists and other professionals and in consultation with other IA&A program staff.

In addition to their exhibitions, they also present the Hillyer Open Mic Events (HOME), the Hillyer Art Space Film Series (HASFS) and life drawing sessions on a regular basis. Other events can include artist group meetings, private receptions, and other relevant events. HAS partners with artists, curators, arts organizations and cultural institutions to foster a collaborative spirit within the local and global art scene. In this way, HAS serves as an open forum for a variety of artistic visions and disciplines.

International Arts & Artists is looking for candidates who are passionate about artists and supporting their work. This position is “artist focused” as opposed curatorial in nature. We have a selection committee for our shows and the Director will need to liaison and coordinate the selection process for our advisory committee.

This individual will be required to work outside of normal work hours to manage programming at Hillyer Art Space. The successful candidate will need write and communicate clearly; present him/herself to foundations and funders well; be very organized; supervise others; handle press; budget; and all matters related to operating Hillyer Art Space. Fund raising and grant writing / reporting are central to this position. The Gallery Director needs to have proven experience in organizing, working cooperatively with others, and getting tangible results.

To be considered candidates applications must include:

- cover letter with specific minimum salary requirements
- chronologically arranged and comprehensive resume
- professional references (including past supervisors for last 5 years)

Send to

Flying on Facebook - a cartoon by F. Lennox Campello c.2009

Susanna Pantas, Slumber with friendHeading South to Cary, North Carolina to jury the Fine Arts League of Cary 15th Annual Juried Art Exhibition.

From what I've already seen in the digital entries, it promises to be a terrific show! That's Susanna Pantas' "Slumber with Friend" to the right. These are the artists selected to exhibit.

More later!

Saturday, May 02, 2009

DC gallery to close

I've been holding this closure very ahhh.. close to my chest, waiting for the owner to announce it, but already several of you have emailed me asking about it... so expect a major DC area gallery to announce its closure soon.

Update: Bethesda's Heineman-Myers is the gallery which is closing its physical doors, but I understand that Zoe will continue to work as a private dealer.

Portraits of Lives Lived in the Shadows

By Robin Tierney

David Habercom, Adrift 5During a visit to Knoxville, I filled my journal with the stories of a dozen or so folks revitalizing the city’s core as a walkable arts district that retains its downhome roots. Just as interesting were the rootless Knoxvillians encountered through the photographs of David Habercom.

In the process of moving his studio from the Emporium Center for Arts & Culture downtown to his new home, Habercom now shows his work on the web. Three series capture the individual character and spirit of those pushed into society’s margins – those, he says, are commonly regarded as “gypsies, unattractives, these humiliations in the street.”

For “5th Avenue Motel,” he documented residents, some dwelling there for 20 years, soon before they were evicted a couple of years ago.

Habercom points to one photo: “The dog in 5th Ave 1 [below to right] is hard to see, since he was a huge, black Labrador-type guy. His name was Bear. The python was called Jake the Snake. This couple had lived in the 5th Avenue for eight years.”David Habercom, 5thAve 1

After eviction, 5th Avenue residents moved into low-end apartments, public housing, or the streets, said Habercom. “Knoxville has a very good record of helping the homeless, so [they] had a number of reliable resources to get them reestablished.”

The sun bounced hot off the pavement as I tramped to the urban ruins at Fifth and Broadway. Built in 1913, by mid-century the Minvilla townhomes housed squatters as the neighborhood declined. While dismissed as derelicts, the dwellers included decent unfortunates who lacked family or government safety nets. It’s a reminder how fine a line exists between the have-nots and the haves who have gamed public programs, lax loan guidelines and tax/regulatory rules to spawn new breeds of burdens to society.

I imagine the souls pictured by Habercom in the hollow quarters decorated only by unartful tags. In 2007, following the eviction, the furnishings, interiors, windows and facades were stripped. A smiley face nests in the “O” of a jauntily drawn F*ck you inside one doorway.

A sign by the chain-link fence sagging around the property announces “Future Home of the Minvilla Manor.” A little digging reveals that VMC Volunteer Ministry Center across the street is helping some of the displaced, and the City of Knoxville is finalizing a Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program. Plans include restoring Minvilla as "supportive housing” model with onsite social workers, health services and drug/alcohol treatment to help the homeless grip those bootstraps.

In his “Viaduct” series, Habercom turned his lens to resourceful loners who made homes under Knoxville’s Gay Street bridge.

For his newest project, he collaborated with public radio news editor Matt Shafer Powell and musician/artist Bob Deck. "Adrift on American Streets" pairs formal studio portraits of 27 homeless people with a soundtrack of their stories, self-told. ”We published the project as a DVD because couldn't afford a gallery show. Which is too bad, since that format would blow everybody away.”

Check a 5-minute preview clip at this website.

There’s plenty to see by walking the streets of Knoxville. Walk north from the cluster of downtown galleries on South Gay to the industrial+art district dubbed Downtown North. At Ironwood Studios, look for John McGilvray’s clever woodworkings and Preston Farabow’s “Aespyre” metal creations from racetrack debris art to delicate finials.

If your feet get tired, hop on the free trolley.

Linda Evans of Dogwood Arts tells me about the city’s coalescing arts scene: new public art around town (Krutch Park, World’s Fair Park, the Convention Center), new galleries and juried competitions. Time a visit to catch the monthly First Fridays.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Want free tickets to the art fair?

The Affordable Art Fair NYC is next week in New York. Drop me an email if you want me to set you up with a couple of free tickets (they are $20 each).


Tim TateTo DC area artist and my good friend Tim Tate, who has just been announced as the winner of the Virginia Groot Foundation $35,000 award for sculpture.

Buy Tim Tate now.

Aqui Estamos opens today in Philly

Later today the Cuban contemporary art show that I curated last year and which has been exhibited in Norfolk, VA and DC opens in Philadelphia's Projects Gallery. It is titled "Aqui Estamos" (Here We Are) and in the show we find narratives and imagery that represent many of these artists’ historical dissidence to the stark issues of contemporary Cuban life. The works are images that offer a historical and visual sentence in the history of an island nation behind bars with a powerful world presence in the arts and events of world history.

Cirenaica Moreira

"Consume Preferably Before 30 Years of Age" by Cirenaica Moreira

The opening, free and open to the public is on May 1st, 2009 from 6-9PM. Projects Gallery is located at 629 N 2nd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19123, tel: 267.303.9652 and on the web at The exhibition is open through May 29, 2009.