Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Mark Planisek

Mark PlanisekJust received the news that DC area artist Mark Planisek, who had a terrible accident over the weekend, has passed away.

I first met Mark when he used to hang out and exhibit at the eklektikos gallery in Georgetown. That gallery was in the same Canal Square location as the original Fraser Gallery. At that time, back in the mid-late 90s, there were seven art galleries in that square.

Mark was not only one of the friendliest and nicest persons that you ever met, but also a superbly talented artist.

A few years ago, both him and Anne, and I were staying at a common friend's house in Los Angeles. Mark and Anne were there for a week, and as I was over in San Diego at that time, I drove over to see them and spend the weekend at the house.

We were sitting outside in the garden, when Mark noted that some of the tiles in our host's house were loose. Suddenly Planisek was climbing the roof and to my amazement spent the next hour or so fixing the roof!

We will miss you Mark...

Opportunity for Artists

Deadline: September 18, 2009

Call for Proposals. Purdue University Galleries (West Lafayette, Indiana) is currently reviewing proposals for an exhibition of contemporary art relating to the Langston Hughes poem "A Dream Deferred" and contemporary socioeconomic challenges facing minorities in the United States. The exhibition will be presented in the Stewart Center Gallery from January 11 through February 21, 2010 in conjunction with a presentation of "A Raisin in the Sun" at Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette.

Work must be available to be exhibited at that time. There is no entry fee. All media are eligible, including new and emerging technologies. Exhibit will be curated from submissions and may feature a single artist or group of artists. Applicants should send cover letter describing proposed exhibit and estimated expenses, examples of current work (up to 20 jpegs on CD or DVD for time-based media - no slides), resume, artist statement, and SASE to:

Craig Martin
Purdue University Galleries
Yue-Kong Pao Hall of Visual & Performing Arts
552 West Wood St
West Lafayette IN 47907-2002

Or call 765-494-3061 or email

Pinkin' this Friday
Pink Line Project

Love Thy Neighbor
Policy Brand Trunk Show and Happy Hour
Featuring new DC-inspired clothing
Friday, June 26
6 - 10 pm
@1240 9th Street, NW
(enter through Blagden to Fight Club)
Yummy food by Chix
Killer beats by DJ Obeyah and DJ Small Axe

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Lisa Rosenstein's Top AOM artists

Alex Zealand - sculptor; she uses recycled/sustainable materials to create works of great delicacy and beauty. She was in a show with Adam Eig (another talented sculptor) at the new gallery in Hyattsville. She had made a sculptural bowl out of grape stems that was so beautiful to look at, and the shadows it cast were just as nice to look at.

Barry Schmetterer - photography, deeply thoughtful and masterful works that give the viewer a space for contemplation.

Steven Reveley - glass artist; the first time that I saw this glass work my breath stopped at the combination of strength and fragility.

Sherill Gross - paper artist; the intricacy of her work blows my mind.

Jessica Hensley - collagist-self taught; very intentional fine workmanship, good compositions

Ben Toller - drawing; this guy is amazing. His eye and line are beyond belief. I saw his work at the O street studio a month or so ago. He's starting to paint, and already is above and beyond most; his work makes me think of Hieronymous Bosch.

Jeannette Herrerra - She's a little bit (actually a lot!) outsider art - very talented, self taught painter, very, very prolific. Both my kids bought her work at AOM last year with their own money. My son who was 14 at the time spotted her work first.

m. gert barkovic - saw this outrageous sculpture my first go round, had taken a pic and sent to the artist (whose name I then forgot). Just received an e-mail in response - yay! This one should have gotten one of those Renwick craft awards-Highest Honor.

Laurel Lukaszewski - just love her work.

Mark Planisek

Just received the terrible news that DC area artist Mark Planisek had a horrible accident over the weekend.

Apparently Mark was coming out of the Arlington Arts Center and about to was crossing the street, when a car peeled off, causing him to retreat backwards onto the sidewalk; he tripped on the curb and fell backwards, and was struck by a car and received a really bad head injury.

Planisek is in ICU and we're all hoping and praying for the best, but I am sad to say that his family has been told to prepare for the worst.

Monday, June 22, 2009

AOM Benefactor Letter 2

(Via Tammy Vitale):

If you got one...

The last "benefactor claimant asserted that he/she had mailed out 50 letters to AOM artists.

If you got one, either drop me an email or leave a comment.

Tammy Vitale's AOM Top 10

From DC area artist Tammy Vitale:

Wanted to give a shout out to some artists whose work I have really enjoyed this year. I hate to call it a Top Ten...mostly because I have others I really like. These folks, however, took the time to "talk" with me (via interviews on my blog), so I know them better and appreciate their work even more.

Patricia Hartnett: there is an underlying magic to the small paintings of a girl and a bird (birds), the twig tree - all things that call me in to visit with the work and hear it's stories. There are secrets here and I want to spend time learning them.

Tracey Clarke: also weaves a mythological land for her work. "The Guardian" caught my eye, the LLama with butterflies (whose title I don't know) kept me there delightedly smiling. I could live with any of her work forever (pretty much my criteria for "great art").

Krissy Downing - and not the first time. Her whimsical sense of humor always makes me smile. But this year, she added "Child in Branches"...not whimsical. More melancholy. Wonderful!

Alex Zealand - because I never quite know what it is I'm looking at. This year's piece was first rain, then harp strings, then a flock of birds. Doesn't get boring!

Jane Braoaddus - because her dolls are slightly wicked, and call forth the dark side. I like that (not to mention wonderfully and imaginatively executed).

Sofya Mervis: more dark side, pursuing a quest I visit in Body Politics: what is real beauty? why do women allow themselves to be co-opted by a marketing media that does not have their best interests in mind as it totes that "perfect" look? Pretty much: when will we (women) learn?

Susan LaMont - color. Lots of lush color. And underlying all that color, some tale is being told by juxtaposition of light and shadow. Mesmerizing!

Kim Reyes - always shows something that absolutely captures me. More often than not, several somethings. This year she has returned to her necklaces with ceramic focal pieces - the work that first caught my eye at AOM02. And Departing (ceramic and chicken bones) stopped me in my tracks. Reminescent of her work last year, it has to be a personal story, but there wasn't a tour for me learn the back history on it - my loss. (I don't have an interview with her but I have known and loved her work since my first ArtOMatic so I'd be remiss if I didn't mention her).

John Grunwell because I fell in love with his cat portrait at AOM02 and have enjoyed watching his style emerge and develop.

David Alfuth - His work amazes me. And he really really worked with me to get an interview in for my blog (computer troubles). I guess you have to have infinite patience as a characteristic to make his creations!

And like I said, there are many many more pieces I could cite and artists I could name. What I like about ArtOMatic lately is that one can watch certain artists as they move forward in their artistic process. Fascinating to watch unfold, inspiring to see their tenacious movement toward unrealized vision that is revealing itself as they go.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Dueling Benefactors

Remember when I pointed you to for the fascinating thread discussion on Artomatic's "Benefactor?"

The WaPo's Reliable Source picks up the story and wrote a little piece on it here. This apparently stirred up a hornet's nest and now there are two dueling entities who both claim to be the "benefactor."

The first one is allegedly an older lady and she wrote this letter:

To Whom It May Concern:

I wish to convey my regrets for any concern I have caused the artists of Artomatic. I meant no harm. You may well imagine my surprise at seeing my small gesture reported upon in the Washington Post.

Allow me to explain myself. Since the passing of my husband of 43 years I have not been as socially active as I once was. My daughter, Margaret, accompanied me to the Artomatic Fair some weeks ago. I was enchanted by the work I was able to view. I was not able to tour the entire show but the work that I saw touched my heart and brightened my day. My income is limited so Margaret suggested I send a small token of my appreciation to some of the artists who touched me most.

I have asked Margaret to leave this note with the Directors of Artomatic. I do so hope that I have caused no lasting distress to all of the delightful artists in your show.

I wish you well in all of your future endeavors.

With warmest regards,

The Benefactor
Which caused someone else to become an artdc poster and he/she added this on their forum:
I don't have time to make this rhyme:

The letter "Rebecca" received was a fake

my letters are center-justified, the fake was left justified

I sent everything by US mail

the fake was delivered in person

I have sent out about 50 letters and I know to whom

can the impostor give you a list of all the artists that were sent letters? I doubt it

I would have ignored the fake letter, but I decided to clear things up when I heard Tammy V was offering art to the writer of the fake letter.

Please don't expect any response to questions or comments. I am only here to expose the fake.

I prefer the printed word to the internet.

don't worry, be happy

Thanks for the art

The Benefactor
All the details here.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Wanna go to an art opening in Baltimore this week?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Robin Tierney's Artomatic picks

Robin Tierney is a freelance writer and art critic who writes for a lot of different magazines, newspapers and online outlets, including this one. She responds to my call for AOM favorites and sends the below report, which once again proves that my Billy Artsy critic caricature is imperfect to say the least!

10 works that I enjoyed at Artomatic by artists I’ve never written about before:

* Edward Hahn’s photographs of a wrecked sailing vessel in Oregon, eroded moorings in Ocean City and other images in the series “The Planet Fights Back.”

* Tracey Clarke’s oil painting of The Guide with her telling of new mythology.

* Johanna Mueller’s intricate prints of animals in mythical and mysterious settings that suggests really good fables and dreams.

* Pam Barton’s “I thought you loved me” metal art in her motif jewelry display.

* Lisa Schumaier’s raku-fired, papier mache, mixed media sculpted beings. Eerie and wondrous stories there.

* Deb Jansen’s fiber Homewrecker Dolls $100 per skank accompanied by Catharisis & Karma open letter. Ouch. Oooh. Fury, the great motivator.

* Jenny Walton’s big monotypes that seem to visually articulate some deep thought. Or maybe just random ones. In any case, she snagged a Pyramid Atlantic residency.

* Nabila Isa-Odidi’s acrylic of the little girl in “Yellow Dress.”

* David Alfuth’s funny surreal cut-paper stories. Go on be snarky...some folks like reality TV; I like things that tell stories.

* Noisebots by Elliot Williams. Artful, amusing science projects/audio sculptures. Photocells respond to light. Did you move the mic around? Flip the switch? Go back and check ‘em out. Nice view of the new stadium from there too.

And while not exactly enjoyable, Antomatic by Rebecca and Eric Gordon calls attention to the plight of the bumble bee. The world is losing the bees pollinate the crops that feed us. This easy-to-miss multimedia installation prompts thought. A good addition to the sensory arcade that makes Artomatic worth multiple visits. Go.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Less bucks?

Journalists like to think of their work in moral or even sacred terms. With each new layoff or paper closing, they tell themselves that no business model could adequately compensate the holy work of enriching democratic society, speaking truth to power, and comforting the afflicted.

Actually, journalists deserve low pay.

Wages are compensation for value creation. And journalists simply aren't creating much value these days.

Until they come to grips with that issue, no amount of blogging, twittering, or micropayments is going to solve their failing business models.
Read the CSM article here.

Opportunities for Publication panel

This weekend I'll be participating in a closed discussion panel titled "Opportunities for Publication" as part of the 2009 International Arts Journalism Institute in the Visual Arts, a program sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the U.S. State Department and hosted by American University.

The panel is moderated by Michael Wilkerson, who is the Director, Program in Arts Management at American University.

The other two panelists are András Szántó, one of the founding members of Art World Salon and the one and only Culturegrrl, Lee Rosenbaum.


DC's Channel 8 does a piece on Artomatic:

Gopnik on the Venice Biennale

As always, the Biennale is certain to set out plenty of junk. And a handful of gems.
Sounds a lot like Artomatic, doesn't it? Anyway, read this really excellent article by the Washington Post's Chief Art Critic here.

Break a leg!

Elise Campello and Melissa Fleming in Sixties ChicksPut on your poodle skirt, bellbottoms, hot pants, miniskirt, or granny dress. Just don't miss my baby daughter Elise Campello in "Sixties Chicks," a musical celebration of the women who reflected and influenced a decade of transformation through the power of rock'n'roll.

Opening night is tonight and it is sold out! Details here.

That's Elise to the left, with Melissa Fleming in the background.

Pat Goslee's Top 20

DC artist Pat Goslee responds to my call for Top 10 Artomatic artists and she sends a list of 20 artists who interest her and about whom she never heard of before and discovered at AOM:

Christin Boggs

Rachel Thern

Megan Van Wagoner -- damn fine installation, fine fine artist, fine fine designer.

David D'OrioDavid D'Orio - (Executive Director of DC Glass Works) I had never heard of him before.

m. gert barkovic

Michelle Soy Sauce Chin

Richard J Bailey - my favorite installation that I can't capture with my camera so y'all just have to go back and experience it for yourself if you missed this

Alex Goldschmidt - lots of bargains @ $25

Megan Rall - lushishly liminal

Lizbeth Kaufman

Matty Burns (Hickling) Danny: The Astronaut Deer

Shawn Behling -- all pieces cost no more than the equivalent of minimum wage for time spent on the piece.

Susan Chapin

Christian Tribastone

Jessica Van Brakle


Corwin Levi

Sean Welker

Yelena Rodina

Kate Foley -- she really did a nice job with a unique display system for her photographs

Meinir Wyn Jones (Sunderland UK artist)

Lizbeth Kaufman
By Lizbeth Kaufman; she says:
The work I am exhibiting at Artomatic are photographs I've taken over the past year and a half. Originally the photographs had nothing to do with each other. But as I arranged them for this show I realized that they come together into some kind of evidence, like snapshots from the scene of a crime.

I grew up in New York City, and I graduated from Yale University in 2008 where I studied Chinese and Photography. I now live and work in Washington DC.
Too bad Lizbeth Kaufman doesnt seem to have a website; she uses a 4x5 view camera... strange and beautiful takes. That is what struck me -- these disparate images were weird, part of some unknown whole.

- Pat

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Maher on Obama

"What he needs in his personality is a little George Bush ... What we need to do is to marry the good ideas that Barack Obama has with a little bit of that Bush attitude and certitude."


Art magazines and art blogs are the journalistic equivalent of studio art, while an art review in a newspaper is like public art. Anyone from any background might happen upon it.

Where I write now does not exist in a generalized public sphere. A street sweeper on coffee break will not happen upon a leftover copy of this blog and be drawn into a review. A woman getting her heels buffed won't find it on the empty seat beside her and be motivated to see an exhibit of which she might otherwise not have heard.

For an art critic, the death of newspapers is the death of potential connection to wider worlds. Everyone who reads this blog has a preexisting condition, otherwise known as an interest in art.

On the other hand, there are notable benefits. Where I'm writing now, nobody tells me what to do and nobody derides my blog just because it's a blog.

- Regina Hackett
Read the whole thing here.


Sometime last month, DCArtNews hit 2 million page views.

Thank you.

Religious angle

At last night's Stimulus opening at the Nevin Kelly Gallery in DC I sold a drawing of a nun, a drawing of a Rabbi and a drawing of the Egyptian god Horus.

To steal NK's joke: "A nun, a Rabbi and Horus walk into a bar..."

Mellema on Billy Artsy

Kevin Mellema is the art critic for the Falls Church News Press newspaper and for that paper he is the author of the regular column Northern Virginia Art Beat. He responds to my post on Artomatic and art critics and proves that there are some ethics left out there and also makes me feel a little better and think that for every three Billy Artsies there's a Kevin Mellema.

I wanted to throw in my two cents worth into the fray on AOM and art critics.

This year I was able to run a review of just the 2nd floor and just the second floor filled one column.

Last year I apparently had a brain aneurysm and got the wild idea that I'd do the unthinkable and actually review the whole of Artomatic... really review it. Just the way I review other shows. Or as close to that as I could humanly come.

As I recall I reviewed two floors a week for three weeks. Starting at the bottom and working my way up. I saw the top two floors, but ran out of time to run the review for those two floors.

To negate the brain fade factor I photographed every single artist space in the whole show; every last one of them. Good artists got every individual piece photographed.

Why? some will ask...

Well, if you're going to write about it you need to know what's in the image, and somewhere along in the process I'm going to need a photo to run with it. As I start to view the show I have no idea where along in the process the best of the best image in print work is going to be. So I shot them all.

I think I ended up with something like 2,000 photos at the end of it all. And I reviewed every single one of those photos. I wanted to make sure everybody got a fair shake in the deal, and I did my best to be sure that it turned out that way.

Did I NEED to do that... yes and no. In most cases I knew what I was going to write about already, but in a couple of cases I found work in the photos that I should have given more time to, but for whatever reason didn't.

I'd say two or maybe three artists (tops) got into the reviews because I needed to fill the space, or I hadn't recalled their work when I saw it in person. All in all a very low percentage considering what we're talking about here.

It was an insane process, and a load of work... but I survived, and the reviews were run. I was sorry that the top two floors were missed, but I don't run reviews for shows that have already closed; that's just stupid. The whole point of writing art reviews is to flag good art for people to go see.

That I found good art there was of no surprise. Even a show of 750 kindergartners would produce some eye popping work. But just like AOM you'd have to be able to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Which frankly is the same thing I do at the Phillips, the NGA, Corcoran, and all the rest. I can't ever recall seeing an art show where everything in it was a grand slam home run.

What surprised me most of all were artists that I'd seen in gallery shows before, that in this context didn't fair all that well. There is a trick to showing at AOM, and hanging everything you've done since second grade isn't it.

The other thing that floored me was how great the 10th floor ceramic group looked. It would be nice if there was a way to bring that level of display to the whole of AOM, but it seems the principals are against it.

One of the things that irks me most about AOM is about some of the better artists around town who refuse to be seen there. It's a self fulfilling prophesy where some of the better names won't show because they think that "good artists" don't show there. It's also a tad too cool for the room as well. Spare me your fabulousness.

AOM is the biggest DC show of the year, by far; nothing else even comes close. More people will see AOM in one day than the coolest gallery in town will draw all year long.

What you miss at AOM is the contemplative quiet and expansive depth that you can get in a gallery environment. You can miss the fact that some of these people really are thinking along with doing. That is, if you as a critic aren't thinking while viewing.

Nothing is spoon fed to you at AoM, you gotta go find it. At this point in time yet another "it's a lot of stuff" review of AOM is as tired and hackneyed as some of the worst art in the show.

Hope all is well with you,
- Kevin

Strictly Painting 7

MPA's eagerly awaited biennial juried painting exhibition, Strictly Painting, will run June 18 - August 1. This year's juror is well-known independent curator Vivienne Lassman who chose works by twenty-four artists from almost two-hundred entrants.

See the artists selected for Strictly Painting 7 here. Also opening in the Atrium and Ramp galleries is the McLean Project for the Arts/Corcoran Student Art Show featuring the works by adult students who take classes at MPA.

The opening reception and juror's talk is Thursday, June 18 from 7 - 9 pm. See my own experiences with Strictly Painting a few years ago here.

Laura Roulet's Top 10

DC area ubercurator Laura Roulet needs little introduction, she's one of the major freelance curators in the DMV region, whose curatorial hand has been part of the Hirshhorn, Museum of the Americas, to name a few off the top of my head. She responds to my AOM call and sends me her top 10 artists in this year's Artomatic:
- Tim Tate and the Washington Glass School artists
- The group of artists from Sunderland, UK are outstanding, particularly Andrew Livingstone, Midori Shinmura and Theresa Easton
- Laurel Lukaszewski
- Jessica Van Brakle
- Johanna Mueller
- Mike McDermott
- Mark Jude
- Corwin Levi
- Stephanie Booth
- "Space Between", a collaboration between John M. Adams, J.T. Kirkland and Matt Sargent

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Artomatic on Huff Post

The Huffington Post's Jill Yaworski writes about AOM.

And she finds the positive angle conveniently ignored by most local art critics. Read it here.

Wanna go to an opening in DC tonight?

Nevin Kelly Gallery, located at 1400 Irving Street, NW, #132, has an opening for “Stimulus,” a group exhibition of works by more than twenty DC area artists at limited-opportunity prices.

The gallery has selected, a Tuesday evening (June 16), typically a slow night for galleries and other businesses, for the opening reception. Joining in the celebration, several local restaurants and other business will offer their own stimulus packages on opening night.

Opening Reception, Tuesday, June 16 from 5:30 - 8:30 pm.

See ya there!

The Benefactor at AOM

Pic by Michael Auger
Details here.

Criticism, Journalism ethics and AOM

I've been reviewing art shows since the beginning of the 80s decade during the last century, when I started doing so as an art student at the University of Washington School of Art.

Since then I have moved at least 25 times, lived twice in California, twice in Rhode Island, twice in Europe and twice in the Greater Washington, DC area, to highlight a few of those moves. And throughout all those years I have been involved in the arts, usually as an artist, quite often as a dealer, but always as a writer.

And as part of those experiences I have met dozens and dozens of art critics and writers who write about art, and using those experiences I feel that I can form a pretty decent and sound opinion about what I will discuss next.

Most writers who write about contemporary art shows start by physically visiting the gallery, or museum or space where the show is being held, in order to look at the artwork (I say most because I know of at least two well-known writers, one a critic for a major newspaper and one a well-known blogger, who wrote reviews as if they'd been to the shows, but it was later proven that they had never visited the space nor seen the show).

Is it the case that some reviews are being written after simply viewing an art show online? Probably, but let's say that generally speaking, most art writers and art critics (there's a difference by the way), start by visiting the space where the show is being held.

If they are lucky enough to write for a publication which pays them to review shows, they either get a flat, per review payment, or a per-word payment (usually also associated with a maximum number of words limit). Some also write the reviews for free, just to be published.

So a typical writer either (maybe even and/or):
(a) Get's a flat payment for a review - let's say $500 in our forthcoming example
(b) Get's a per word payment for a review - Let's say $1 per word with a limit of 600 words
(c) Does it for free

So let's say Billy Artsy writes for a publication which uses either (a) or (b) above, and usually Billy goes to a gallery to see a show that interests him, or is assigned to cover a new museum show. It's a little different in either case (museums usually have press previews with all kinds of packages and hand-outs and discussions and opportunities to meet the curators and/or artists and ask questions.

But in the case of galleries, Billy either drives to the gallery, or takes the subway or bikes to the gallery, arrives and enters the space. In the Greater DC area, your average gallery's group show probably has 30-35 works of art hanging by maybe 15-20 artists. Some juried competitions may have as many of 50 artists. The largest (non AOM) group show that I can recall in our region was "Seven," which I curated a few years ago for the WPA and which had 66 artists in the seven galleries of the Warehouse spaces on 7th Street. There were around 200 works of art in that show, as well as a couple of installations and several performances.

But your average gallery group show that Billy is used to seeing and reviewing and getting paid for is about 30-35 pieces of art by a dozen or so artists. That is his average reference point for a group show.

Once he arrives at the gallery, the owner or attendant recognizes Billy, gets up and greets him (heaven forbid that Billy is not recognized and treated a little special by the dealer). Depending on several variables, Billy can either be aloof or very friendly to the dealer.

Some art writers see art dealers as the "enemy," while others are mature and understand that just like the writers, the dealer is a key part of the art world universe.

Billy then spends about 15 or 20 minutes looking at the artwork, reading any press materials that he may have been handed, and taking notes on his forming opinions on the show. He may ask a question or two, or simply ignore everyone and focus all his attention on the art at hand. If Billy is especially tuned to a show, he may spend longer there, but let's say that all the artists are new to Billy and after 15 minutes he leaves.

Let's do a little Math and let's keep the numbers simple for simplicity sake. We're accelerating Billy a bit (in my own experience as a gallerist, our DC area critics hang around closer to 30 minutes per visit), but he takes 15 minutes to look at 30 works of art; this equals 30 seconds per work of art.

Later Billy submits the review, and a couple of weeks later he gets a check for $500.

A few weeks later Billy's editor emails Billy and asks Billy to do a review on Artomatic, as the editor keeps hearing about this "Artomatic thing" and getting dozens of letters (cleverly being written to the editor by the Artomatic artists) asking why the editor's newspaper hasn't covered Artomatic.

Billy takes the subway to go see AOM, as he has never really driven around SE and the AOM website tells him that the event is located in a building right on top of a subway exit.

When Billy arrives he is greeted by two volunteers who hand him material on AOM, and neither of the volunteers recognize Billy, nor he them. He asks on which floor the show is, and the volunteers suggest that Billy start on the 9th floor and work his way down. Billy finds it hard to believe that there are nine floors of art.

Billy takes the elevator to the 9th floor and comes out to face yet another volunteer sitting on a desk by the elevators. The volunteer smiles at Billy, but does not recognize him.

Billy begins walking the 9th floor. Already, on this floor alone, is the biggest group show that Billy has ever been to; it hasn't hit Billy yet, but soon he'll realize that there are eight more floors to go.

Billy is a little overwhelmed from the very beginning, and because of the large number of artwork and artists, he comes across a lot of what he considers really bad art: lots of tasteless nudies, loads of unsophisticated beginner art, terrible portraiture including more boudoir portraits in one place that Billy has ever seen in his life.

Billy is seeing a lot of the type and level of artwork which Billy has never seen and most probably would never see in the galleries that Billy tends to favor.

Because of the way the artists' booth are, Billy started (pre-conditioned from his many gallery visits) by weaving a sine wave walking pattern around the gallery walls and working his way around the floor and looking at each artist's gallery individually.

An hour later Billy realizes that he's not even three quarters of the way through the 9th floor and he still has 8 more floors to go.

And so Billy begins to (as humans do) adapt to the sheer size of the art show in front of him, and begins to speed up a little. He no longer visits each artist's gallery wall, but walks at a fast clip between the walls and glancing from the middle left and right covering 8-10 artists at a glance and only pausing to look at the work a little closer if something catches his eye from afar.

He begins to miss details and also misses entire groups of artists. When he walks by the Barbies, he doesn't realize that there are multiple artists in that set of Barbie artwork. He also misses the nuances of David D'Orio's wonderfully minimalist glass sculptures of recycled materials. As he makes the turn into a new aisle, his speeded up sightseeing is directed to one side at that moment and he completely misses Rania Hassan's deceptively complex marriage of painting with 3D sculpture.

By the time Billy finishes the 9th floor, he's sure of four things:

(a) no way that he can cover nine floors of art in this one visit unless he speeds up considerably.
(b) most of the work in the show is dreck.
(c) his notes are all from the first hour on the floor
(d) None of these artists are really good enough to show in a gallery and that's why they are here.

He walks down to the 8th floor, where the AOM floor attendant smiles at him, but once again does not recognize Billy.

He is now in full speed mode; if the artist's work doesn't grab Billy from ten feet away, forget it. At this point all that Billy is seeing are robots, skulls and a lot of bad photos of nude women, plus an annoying huge number of bad portrait artists. he is also missing a lot of intelligent, good art, a lot of it.

And then Billy is recognized by an AOM artist, and to Billy's dismay the artist wants to make sure that Billy sees his work. Billy promises to swing by, but in a nice way tells the artist that he is busy and needs to move on.

There's a small crowd of people in front of Deb Jansen's amazing revenge installation on this floor, and Billy, attracted by the crowd, slows down to see what the fuss is all about. He is hypnotized by what Jansen has done and Billy makes some notes about this installation. It's the first time that he has stopped to actually look at work closely on the 8th floor. Had not there been a crowd in front of Jansen's installation, Billy would have missed it as well.

Fifteen minutes later Billy has finished his whirlwind walk through of the 8th floor. It still took him half an hour, and in that 30 minutes he has "reviewed" about 100 artists and about 2500 works of art. He has completely missed the work of nearly a dozen artists on this floor who are already in the collection of major museums and represented by galleries all over the US and Europe. Blue chip artists in a plebian art show.

He also misses several "new" artists who will soon move on to galleries, museums and other such high art places.

By this time Billy's mind is made up. Nothing in the remaining seven floors can save AOM from the wrath of Billy's review.

He debates if it is even worth it for him to look at the rest of the show, but Billy's ethical side wins out and he descends to the 7th floor, where he is greeted by yet another floor attendant who doesn't know Billy from her aunt Elvira.

Billy finishes the 7th floor in 15 minutes, a new floor record. He only stops to glance at the glass displays by the British Sunderland artists because the displays caught his eyes as very "gallery like." The professional-looking displays put Billy in his comfort zone.

But he has already been at AOM for over two hours and has only seen three floors.

He debates skipping the six other floors, and "just to be fair," decides to pick one more floor at random, to "see if anything is different."

He decides on the 5th floor. By now it's getting a little into the evening and Billy is surprised at to how many people are viewing the show. Billy has never seen more than a couple dozen people in an art show at any time in any gallery, and even on the rare openings that he goes to, not more that 30-40 people in at once.

At AOM Billy sees hundreds and hundreds of people pouring in, and the elevators are getting crowded and slow and a tired Billy has to wait for an elevator to take him down.

On the ride down Billy decides on the 3rd floor and gets out. He sort of glances around and tries to absorb the entire floor from the edge of the elevators' entry points.

Billy decides to pack it and go home to write his review of Artomatic. He has seen more artwork in the last three hours that he has all year round. Most of it quite forgettable to Billy, atrocious even. In the process he has also missed seeing more artwork than most critics see in a year. And his visually overloaded mind has not seen the truly outstanding work of dozens and dozens of new and established good artists.

But Billy will write a review about the entire show, including the 700 plus artists whose work Billy never saw. Had Billy known about the scope of this huge show, Billy would have studied the artists' list ahead of time and highlighted the well-known artists whom Billy has already reviewed in the past, when they showed in the galleries that Billy frequents. That way Billy covers his own review foot prints.

But Billy missed them, and he's about to carpet bomb the entire show, including artists who Billy actually likes and whose gallery shows he has reviewed in a positive light.

Billy goes home and he is tired. Because it is now rush hour the subways are crowded and by the time Billy gets home, he is exhausted, both physically and mentally overloaded.

A couple of glasses of wine from a wine box helps Billy to relax a little as he sits in front of his laptop and Googles the web to see what other critics have written about AOM. After all, Billy wants to ensure that he is aligned with his elder critics and with the faddish new ones from the art blogs.

Almost to a man (woman) they all write bad things about AOM's artwork. What Billy doesn't realize is that many of them saw AOM in the same manner that Billy did. Some of them have never even visited AOM, but they still trashed it.

Billy revs up his trendy Mac and begins to earn his $500, which is what he would have been paid if he just went and had reviewed a "regular" gallery show, with maybe one artist's solo or a dozen artists' group show.

Billy trashes AOM, lest he be ever asked to do that much work again.

When the review is published, Billy's editor is surprised by the large outpouring of hate letters and emails and comments about the review. They come mostly from AOM artists, disgusted with Billy's review of the show. But they are unaware that they're about to help with Billy's career at the paper.

Billy's editor is pleased to discover that Billy has so many readers; after all, a letter is a letter, and Billy's AOM review column has received more letters and comments than all of Billy's previous columns added together.

This becomes a good checkmark on Billy's record with his editor. Who knew that Billy's gallery review column had some many followers?

Billy is pleasantly surprised by the positive outcome of an otherwise exhausting event.

Sometimes it bothers Billy to recall that he never really saw all the work in the manner that it deserved, but he does a little Math and he feels better when he discovers that in order to review AOM in the way that he reviews all other art shows, he would have had to spend a dozen hours there just to give each artist about 3/4 of a minute. That's an impossible task, if you ask Billy, especially for a measly $500 bucks.

That makes Billy sleep better at night and feel like he's still an ethical writer.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Milgrom on Morandi

Giorgio Morandi is one of those artists that either wows you or bores you to sleep, depending on your own artistic sensibilities and background. Chances are that OCDers will like Morandi.

Giorgio Morandi Natura MortaI love his work because it shows persistance and enviable skill.

It is clear to the most casual observer, that the Greater DC region has become a Mecca and center point for fine arts glass, possibly second only to the other Washington. But what has become more and more clear to me lately, is that DC region is also becoming a hot spot for terrific and innovative ceramic wunderkinds of all ages.

And one of the most hardworking ceramic-focused galleries in the region is Cross MacKenzie in Georgetown, led by the very fair and hardworking Rebecca Cross MacKenzie, herself quite a talented and highly collected ceramic artist.

Rebecca has been working very hard with her gallery space in Canal Square in Georgetown (home to the best 3rd Friday openings in the Mid Atlantic by the way), and between her gallery and Red Dirt Studio, and many other artists' studios around the capital region, DC is making waves in the ceramic art world.

And with a gallery reception on June 19, from 6-8PM, Rebecca brings what I think will be a must-see exhibition for ceramic fans, and definitely for Morandi fans: Milgrom on Morandi!

The two recent Morandi exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum in New York and at the Phillips Collection in Washington offered DC area artist Lilianne Milgrom (whose show at the Katzen I reviewed here) the opportunity to absorb the paintings by the Italian master. She studied and learned from the subtle variations in the paintings and the abstract geometric forms used in his compositions.

Milgrom on Morandi"In an attempt to enter Morandi's intimate world, I chose to recreate a selection of his iconic painted objects in three dimensional form. This allowed me the freedom to interpret his familiar objects in 'real time," says Milgrom.
Don't miss this show!

Stimulus Opens tomorrow night Nevin Kelly

In recognition of the challenging economic times, DC's Nevin Kelly Gallery, located at 1400 Irving Street, NW, #132, will showcase “Stimulus,” a group exhibition of works by more than twenty DC area artists at limited-opportunity prices.

The gallery has selected, a Tuesday evening (June 16), typically a slow night for galleries and other businesses, for the opening reception. Joining in the celebration, several local restaurants and other business will offer their own stimulus packages on opening night.

Show runs June 16 through July 11, 2009; Opening Reception, Tuesday, June 16 from 5:30 - 8:30 pm.
All works will be priced at $500 or less and for works over $100, there will be a limit of 3 works per artist.


Local restaurants Commonwealth Gastropub, Pete's New Haven Style Pizza and Rumberos are offering dinner specials for the Stimulus audience on the night of the opening.

Radiance MedSpa, a neighborhood day spa, is also offering specials, and other local businesses are expected to sign up. Interested individuals can check the gallery's website for more information on participating businesses and their special offers.

The gallery is located half-a-block from the Columbia Heights Metro station on the Green Line, and all participating businesses are within a block or two of the Metro station.

See ya there!


“TRIMPIN: the sound of invention” is a film that is screening at SILVERDOCS. The subject of the film, artist/inventor/engineer/composer Trimpin (he only uses his surname) has never been represented by a gallery, a dealer, or a manager, and doesn’t have a cell phone or a website – yet his freewheeling sculptures and outrageous musical experiments are cherished by artists, musicians, and museums all over the planet.

Below is some more info about the film and the trailer and clips. The film is screening on:

Thu, Jun 18 at 6:00pm - Round House Theatre and Sat, Jun 20 at 10:45 AM - AFI Silver Theater 2.

Trimpin will also be creating one of his mini-installations at the festival for people to check out.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

DC Sktecher's AOM Top 10

DC Sketcher takes on my Artomatic top 10 challenge and sends me his/hers favorites:

Mei Mei Chang- 7th floor
Jessica Van Brakle- 9th floor
Jenny Walton- 9th floor
Dan D'Orio- 9th floor
Laurel Lukaszewski- 8th floor
Christian Tribastone- 9th Floor
Kelly Towles- 1st floor/Electric Stage
Meinir Wyn Jones- 5th floor
Andrea Roberson- 8th floor
I spent almost three hours last Saturday walking and checking out the 9th and 8th floor and some of the above are also on my list so far... but I have a lot of floors and artists still to see.

More on that later, and more on my thoughts why most art writers and critics are just ill prepared to write a review or commentary of something of the sheer scale of AOM and why they take the easy way out and throw away their journalistic ethics when they physically give up and trash the show rather than actually review it the same way that they would any other art show.

The answer lies in the time that it would take to write a fair review in proportion to what they are getting paid to write a review (quite probably the same as a gallery show that they can visit and form a good critical opinion in less than 15-20 minutes) rather than the multiple hours that it would take to do a fair assessment of AOM.

Capitalism strikes again in the otherwise progressive ranks of art criticism.

Kahlophiles of the World, Unite!

Just finished going though nearly 200 entries for the Finding Beauty In A Broken World: In the Spirit of Frida Kahlo exhibition at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery at Smith Farm in Washington, DC.

Tanya Gramatikova, Tribute to Frida Kahlo II

Tanya Gramatikova, Tribute to Frida Kahlo II

There were entries from all over the world, once again reaffirming Kahlo's spectacular worldwide appeal, and once again I was not only honored but also stunned by the diversity and variety of work submitted.

The Opening Reception & Awards are Friday, July 17, 2009, 5:30 - 8:00PM. Don't you dare miss it. Come by and introduce yourselves and say hello. This exhibition runs July 1 - August 29, 2009. Gallery hours: Wednesday - Friday, 11am - 5pm, Saturdays, 11am-3pm, and by appointment.

See ya there!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Recession Creeps Up on Basel

"All the headlines that the market is back are just wrong,” said one dealer.
Details here.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Opportunities for Artists

Deadline: August 26, 2009

Exhibitions of works rejected by a gallery. Have you ever had a gallery reject your work because it was too innovative, too modern or too ‘out there’? Exhibition Opens on Sept 4, 2009.

Red Studio wants it! To enter please go to

Works in any media such as painting, sculpture, music, mixed media, installation, design, poetry, functional art, etc.

Do this tomorrow

Saturday, June 13 from 7-9 pm is "Meet the Artist Night" at Artomatic.

Go walk the show and absorb the creative energy of a few hundred artists and creative minds all in one place.

This will be good for you; listen to the Lenster.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

What Makes a Piece of Craft Art Truly Extraordinary?

Find out what Robyn Kennedy, Chief of the Renwick Gallery, Chris Shea, metal artist and blacksmith, Michael Janis, Co-Director of the Washington Glass School, and Binnie Fry, independent curator and art consultant.

Sun Jun 14 - 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
James Renwick Alliance Education Room (4th Floor)
55 M Street, SE, Washington, DC 20003

How to land a job in the art sector

Women Opening Doors for Women (WODW) was founded 20 years ago around a kitchen table, when women came together to help each other achieve professional success.

Join their Arts and Culture Network as they discuss how to land a job in the art sector.

Fields to be discussed include interior design, art teaching, and graphic design. Speakers will share their own personal experiences, discuss challenges that they have faced, and offer tips on how to be successful in their chosen field.

Speakers: Mukti Desai, Senior Graphic Designer at AAUW (American Association of University Women) and owner of Nectar Design Studio; Susan Dorsey, Head Designer at Ethan Allen; Erin Kelly, Art Teacher and Advisor with Youth Engagement Academy, DC Public Schools.

When: Thu. June 18, 2009

Host: Alicia Daly

Location: Capitol Hill (at The Stewart Mott House). Location is accessible via the Capitol Hill Metro and 36 and 39 buslines.

Planners: WIN Arts and Culture Network Chairs: Caitlin Jennings, Alicia Cohen, and Kate Hewlings.


Reston artist Christine Lashley won the Top Prize at the Riverbend Park Annual Paintout Competition last week.

At Riverbend Park's 4th annual 'plein-air' juried painting competition this past Saturday, Restonian Christine Lashley won the Best in Show prize for her oil painting "High Water." Artists from around the area competed for cash awards thanks to the generosity of Jan and Dan Laytham of Long and Foster Realtors, Great Falls, VA.

Christine LashleyPaintings produced for the paintout must have been started and completed in their entirety on the day of the paintout between the hours of 5:30AM and 12:30PM. The freshly created artwork was judged by Armand Cabrera. Mr. Cabrera mentioned that he loved the Riverbend paintout as it was "the only 'true plein-air' competition on the East Coast" because there was no time for artist's to edit the morning's painting later, unlike other paint competitions that can last several days.

All the artwork created will be on display at the Visitor's Center from June 9 - June 20, 2009. A portion of proceeds from the art competition benefit the Friends of Riverbend Park (a non-profit group supporting the park). The park's staff and Artist in Residence, Jack Warden (the show's coordinator) hope that the competition will raise awareness about the park and all the beauty it has to offer.

Christine Lashley enjoys painting on-location in the ‘plein air’ style for a direct response to a scene. Lashley says "I interpret what I see through my passion for color. If I can capture the light in the landscape it will set the mood and convey a strong impression of the scene; much more that a 100% accurate representation could."

2009 International Arts Journalism Institute in the Visual Arts

I'll be participating in a discussion panel this coming June 20th at the 2009 International Arts Journalism Institute in the Visual Arts, a program sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the U.S. State Department and hosted by American University.

More later...

AOM this Saturday

I plan to visit AOM this Saturday, stand by for news!

Lomuto on Tate

Susan Lomuto on Tim Tate:

Tate’s sculptures ask you to surrender your guarded self and feel the range of emotions that they provoke. His newest works - larger and more complex - speak to universal issues, a shift from earlier work that was profoundly personal.
Read Daily Art Muse here.

Judkis on AOM

Artomatic isn’t about finding the diamond in the rough: Think cubic zirconia instead. Each spring brings the polarizing art-for-the-masses show, and this year's event features more than 1,000 visual artists (and another 600 performers). With nine floors of art displayed science-fair style in an unoccupied office building near the Nationals’ stadium, the offerings can be overwhelming. But for the serious art aficionado, how many of those 1,000 artists are worth seeing? We’ve capped that number at a strict 0.005 percent.
Read Maura Judkis on Decider DC here.

Stimulus at Nevin Kelly

StimulusIn recognition of the challenging economic times, DC's Nevin Kelly Gallery, located at 1400 Irving Street, NW, #132, will showcase “Stimulus,” a group exhibition of works by more than twenty DC area artists at limited-opportunity prices.

The gallery has selected, a Tuesday evening (June 16), typically a slow night for galleries and other businesses, for the opening reception. Joining in the celebration, several local restaurants and other business will offer their own stimulus packages on opening night.

Show runs June 16 through July 11, 2009; Opening Reception, Tuesday, June 16 from 5:30 - 8:30 pm.

“We invite the public to come stimulate their minds and the local economy by supporting this exhibition,” says gallery owner Nevin J. Kelly. “While they are in the Columbia Heights neighborhood, we encourage them to take advantage of the specials being offered by some of our neighboring businesses.”

Kelly explains that “the concept and the name of the show are somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but the show has a serious side. In times like these, arts and artists tend to suffer disproportionately, and we are trying to remind people, by parodying the government's broader stimulus efforts, that local artists and local businesses need their support.”

Participating artists have been asked to price their works for this exhibition at least 15% below their norm. The gallery has agreed to reduce its standard commission to make up part of the difference. All works will be priced at $500 or less. For works over $100, there will be a limit of 3 works per artist. Kelly explains that limiting the number of works by each artist protects the concept of limited opportunity pricing and helps guard against an overall deterioration of the artists' price-points, “an important consideration for collectors,” he says, adding “if you want a work by one of your favorite artists at these prices, you need to buy it before somebody else gets it.”


Local restaurants Commonwealth Gastropub, Pete's New Haven Style Pizza and Rumberos are offering dinner specials for the Stimulus audience on the night of the opening.

Radiance MedSpa, a neighborhood day spa, is also offering specials, and other local businesses are expected to sign up. Interested individuals can check the gallery's website for more information on participating businesses and their special offers.

The gallery is located half-a-block from the Columbia Heights Metro station on the Green Line, and all participating businesses are within a block or two of the Metro station.

See ya there!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Today's hero

They have been demonized by an art blogger whose reputation and popularity rests mostly on destructive criticism of nearly everything related to the artworld, and someone who has never had to guard anything in his life, but today's hero in the museum world, and the nation in general, is a DC museum security guard.

Stephen Tyrone JohnsHe is US Holocaust Museum security guard Stephen Tyrone Johns, who gave his life protecting others, shot by a Jew-hating artist, James Wenneker von Brunn.

Mr. Johns, we all thank and salute you, and all of you who stand as the first line of defense against all the would-be killers and haters in the world. You and your fellow security guards at the Holocaust Museum, and all other museums and security points in the nation, deserve our respect and gratitude.

This is from the Holocaust Museum:

Officer Stephen Tyrone Johns died heroically in the line of duty today. There are no words to express our grief and shock over these events. He served on the Museum's security staff for six years. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Officer Johns' family.

We have made the decision to close the Museum tomorrow in honor of Officer Johns, and our flags will be flown at half mast in his memory.
Rest in Peace... Fair winds and following seas Sir.

Museum Shooting Suspect Details

The man suspected of walking into the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and opening fire Wednesday has a long trail of vitriol and vindictiveness.

According to the AskART Web site, which features the work of James W. von Brunn, he was born in St. Louis on July 11, 1920. The birth date jibes with real estate records of a James W. von Brunn who lives in Maryland. He is listed as living in either Annapolis or Easton.
Details from NPR story here and here.

President Obama issued the following statement in regards to the shooting:
"I am shocked and saddened by today's shooting at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. This outrageous act reminds us that we must remain vigilant against anti-Semitism and prejudice in all its forms. No American institution is more important to this effort than the Holocaust Museum, and no act of violence will diminish our determination to honor those who were lost by building a more peaceful and tolerant world.

"Today, we have lost a courageous security guard who stood watch at this place of solemn remembrance. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends in this painful time."

AOM video

When I used to live in DC I used to be a talking head in MHZ TV's Artsmedia News program, directed by my good friend Harry Mahon.

Harry currently has the very cool video of AOM below.


Two paintings left overnight in a Goodwill donation bin in Toronto sold at auction for over $150,000 Canadian samolians (US$136,480).

Details here.

Art town: What’s brewing in lesser-known hot spots

Land as canvas: Albuquerque offers a full palette of art al fresco

By Robin Tierney

Art devotees know the way to Santa Fe, usually bypassing Albuquerque to the south. But expect that to change as ABQ creatives hasten urban and urbane renewal in New Mexico’s biggest city.

The art community there bears resemblance to the five dormant volcanoes that flank the city’s west side: smoldering disparate vents likely to become an inextinguishable force once erupting.

Signs suggest that time is drawing near, with art-centric events now erupting within and beyond ABQ’s revitalized Downtown arts district. New trolley, bus and rail choices make it easy to speed around.

At nearly every turn, there’s some gallery or mural or piece of public art. Nary a day goes by without an exhibition opening or art talk or sighting of artists at work on an installation, particularly with the “LAND/ART” collaboration that in early June unleashed a six-month tsunami of land-based art.

LAND/ART is a sprawling mega-variety show aiming to lay siege to senses and sensibility. Among the five dozen participants is Guggenheim Fellow Michael Berman, whose photos emanated from solitary wanderings through the desert. Basia Irland’s frozen carved books sow seeds as they melt in undernourished rivers. DJ Spooky weaves an acoustic portrait from field recordings made during journeys into Antarctic icescapes. Lynne Hull builds outdoor sculptures that double as wildlife habitat rescues.

A sense-shocking, mind-boggling array of photography, sculpture and mixed media burbles from downtown galleries such as 516 ARTS as site-specific installations emerge on the sacred lands ringing Albuquerque like an aura.
Brandon Maldonado
I plan to catch what’s taken root in LAND/ART when returning for another Albuquerque alt. art event: the GO! Arts Festival. The free downtown event runs Sept. 25-27. Several stages of local music and dance combine with contemporary art, making for a complete sensory assault.

Go! artists include Brandon Maldonado, whose “Los Fantasticos” paintings nabbed Best of Show at last year’s fest, and Daniela and Vladimir Ovtcharov, whose modern icons and other imaginaria are absolutely arresting.

The edgier visuals and vibe distinguish Albuquerque from other New Mexico artspots, says Christopher Goblet on the arts-boosting Downtown Action Team.

 Vladimir OvtcharovNow’s a good time to visit what “The Rise of the Creative Class” author Richard Florida dubbed the "Most Creative Mid-Size City." The arts offerings are diverse: Harwood Art Center (an old school) displays art from full-timers to homeless shelter denizens; Darryl Willison’s trippy comic cowboys color the walls at Old Town’s KISS café; Working Classroom’s new downtown space mounts eye- and brain-teasers from city kids. A new film festival’s set to debut late summer. And there’s always the green and red chile.

If you must go to Santa Fe, the brand new Rail Runner stops in downtown ABQ.

LAND/ART event guide (sites, openings, talks):

Go! Festival info:

Albuquerque visitors info:

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The Bethesda Painting Awards announced

The top four prize winners were announced last Wednesday evening during the exhibition’s opening at the Fraser Gallery, but I just found out today who the winners were.

Camilo Sanin, Composicion 4

Camilo Sanin from Jessup, MD was awarded “Best in Show” with $10,000; Heidi Fowler of Reston, VA was named second place and was given $2,000; Magnolia Laurie of Baltimore, MD was awarded third place and received $1,000, and Lillian Bayley Hoover of Baltimore, MD was given the “Young Artist” award and received $1,000. Congrats to all the winners.

The eight artists selected as finalists are:

Steve Adams, McLean, VA; Heidi Fowler, Reston, VA; Lillian Bayley Hoover, Baltimore, MD; Jeff Huntington, Annapolis, MD; Magnolia Laurie, Baltimore, MD; Katherine Mann, Baltimore, MD; Greg Minah, Baltimore, MD and Camilo Sanin, Jessup, MD.

Entries were juried by Ruth Bolduan, Associate Professor of Painting and Drawing at Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Richmond; Patrice Kehoe member of the University of Maryland’s Art Department since 1977 and John Winslow, a Washington, D.C.-based painter and emeritus professor of art at Catholic University in Washington, D.C.

Perhaps it is just me, but it seems that the Best in Show winner is chanelling the Washington Color School painters. I do quite like Lillian Bayley Hoover's work.

Opening reception for the exhibit is this Friday, June 12th, from 6-9pm at the Fraser Gallery in Bethesda.

Lillian Bayley Hoover

Lillian Bayley Hoover, War TV

Doesn't make sense to me

The Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation has been sending the below email to its 2009 interested parties:

Thank you so much for your recent inquiry to the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation regarding grant opportunities to individuals working in the arts.

The current, virtually unprecedented economic crisis has hit small nonprofit arts foundations such as ours especially hard. At this time, we cannot sustain the level of giving that we offered in years past. We have received an overwhelming number of inquiries and are not equipped at this time to process and, in all fairness, grant sufficiently in proportion to so many new potential new applicants. The Vogelstein Foundation will NOT be holding an open call for new applications this year; instead, our 2009 call for applications will be an invitational for prior grantees only.

The 2010 call for artists remains to be determined. Please reply to this e-mail if you wish to be added to the distribution list we will maintain for updated 2010 information as it becomes available. (Note: If your e-mail address changes later on, but in the interim, please contact us to let us know

Again, we thank you very much for your interest and wish you all the best in your artistic endeavors going forward.

Diana Braunschweig, Exec. Dir.

Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation

Postal mailing address :
LVF, Inc.
4001 Inglewood Ave., Suite 101-309
Redondo Beach, CA 90278
While we all applaud the terrific presence and influence that foundations such as this one contribute to the art world, it doesn't make sense to me that their "2009 call for applications will be an invitational for prior grantees only."

If you ask me, that's a little backwards.

Monday, June 08, 2009


curator John Ravenal

VMFA curator John Ravenal has been elected president of the Association of Art Museum Curators. (Photo by Travis Fullerton, © 2009 Virginia Museum of Fine Arts)
The Association of Art Museum Curators today announced the election of John Ravenal of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts as its fourth president.

“John Ravenal is both a distinguished curator and a respected member of the larger museum community; we are fortunate to have him as our next president,” says Sally Block, executive director of the AAMC. Ravenal is the Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at VMFA, a position he has held since 1998.

“I’m honored to take on the leadership of the foremost professional organization for art museum curators in the United States,” says Ravenal. “I look forward to working with the AAMC board to continue promoting and supporting the role of curators. Our profession is now more important than ever as we maintain the artistic vision of the museums we serve and engage ever broadening audiences.”

Prior to joining the VMFA curatorial staff, Ravenal was associate curator of 20th-century art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.


After successfully completing their first year of artist-centric programming, Hamiltonian Artists has announced the five new, distinguished Hamiltonian Fellows for 2009 to join their existing Fellows. Congratulations to:

· Jon Bobby Benjamin (BA, Brandeis University)
· Magnolia Laurie (MFA, Mount Royal School of Art, Maryland Institute College of Art)
· Katherine Mann (MFA, Hoffberger School of Painting, Maryland Institute College of Art)
· Jonathan Monaghan (MFA Candidate, University of Maryland)
· Lina Vargas De La Hoz (MFA, Art University Linz, Austria)
On Saturday, June 20, 2009, at 7pm, Hamiltonian Gallery will open an introductory group exhibition of these five new Fellows. Each artist will be displaying the work with which they were accepted. The exhibition will run from June 20 - August 1, 2009.

The five new 2009 So-Hamiltonian Fellows were selected from a pool of over 180 applicants this year, up from 130 applicants the previous year.

Michael Janis: AOM Top 10

It has been a tradition of this blog for many years to publish various AOM Top 10 lists as they are sent in by anyone and everyone who wants to send one. In the past these Top 10 Artomatic lists have even resulted in gallery shows for the mentioned artists.

So start sending me your Top 10 Artomatic picks this year; meanwhile, below is Michael Janis' top 10:

Megan Van Wagoner Level 8 mixed media

David D'Orio Level 9 wall mounted glass sculpture

Theresa Easton Level 5 print & books

Matthew Langley Level 2 painting

James Halloren Level 9 painting

Sarah Blood Level 5 neon/ceramic

Carin Quinn Level 3 painting

Mark Tolson Level 7 painting

Drew Graham Level 2 wall sculpture

Peter Chang (the Document collaborative) Level 2 mixed media

Really selling well!

Campello Pinot GrigioCampello Pinot Grigio is available practically everywhere, most notably at Trader Joe's in those non fascist states where supermarkets can sell wine.

Reviews and comments here. For around six or seven bucks it has been getting rave reviews!

Keep buying!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Opportunity for DC Artists

Deadline: Wednesday July 8th at 5:30pm

DC Creates! invites artists from the DC Metro area to submit works available for purchase. Selected works will be added to the Art Bank Collection.

Over 2,000 works are displayed in DC Government building corridors, conference rooms and office space and all open to the public.

Application deadline: Wednesday July 8th at 5:30pm.

To obtain a copy of the application, visit

For assistance in preparing your application DC artists can attend a workshop on Wednesday June 24 from 7-8:30pm at Artomatic - 55 M Street, SE; Washington D.C.
(By Metro - The building is located atop the Navy Yard Metro Station; Ballpark exit).

This is a terrific opportunity - don't blow it!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Dawson on Foon Sham

The WaPo's freelance gallery critic Jessica Dawson has a great review of Foon Sham's latest work.

Read Dawson here.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Barlow and O'Sullivan on AOM

Terrific article in the WaPo on Artomatic from Michael O'Sullivan, who cleverly uses Phillip Barlow's intimate knowledge of the DC area art scene to deliver some brilliant AOM tips.

Read it here.


To DC's own hoogrrl, who has been appointed to be a DC Arts Commissioner!

That is the perfect pick! Go get them PH!

Wanna go to a Bethesda opening tomorrow?

Joe Barbaccia

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Artists' Websites: Susan Lamont

Susan Lamont's technical virtuosity is easily evident in her work as is the deep intellectual seed that germinates in nearly all of her work. Check it out on level two of Artomatic.

He Searched the Room For Her Auburn Hair © 2009, oil on linen, 40" x 50"

Check out her website here.

Best pizza in America

I've been searching for the best pizza in the United States since my teens, when a slice of pie was a quarter and there were a dozen pizza places along Pitkin Avenue in Brooklyn.

Best pizza that I ever tasted was in Sicily, and the worst one was in London.

Best pizza in America is at Little Anthony in Media, PA.

Anthony is a Napolitano, and his pizzas are amazing, especially the garlic white pizza. His is the best pizza that I have ever eaten in the US.

Best pizza in the South?

Andrea's Pizza, located in the Riverdale Shopping Center off West Mercury Blvd in Hampton, Virginia.

Oportunidad para artistas

Deadline: July 13, 2009

NALAC Fund For the Arts offers funding to Latino arts organizations and to Latino artists for the creation and presentation of work, as well as career development. Funding available for the following disciplines: Visual Arts, Dance, Interdisciplinary Arts, Literary Arts, Media Arts, Music, Performance Art, and Theater Arts.

Funding for the one-year grant period (runs from Nov. 1, 2009-Sept. 30, 2010) is up to $10,000. Application deadline: July 13, 2009. For more information, contact:

NALAC Fund for the Arts
Grant Program Manager
1208 Buena Vista St.
San Antonio, TX 78207

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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Art advice for the Obamas

Waaaaay back I gave the Obamas art advice for the White House walls. They essentially ignored me.

Maybe it is because Cuban-Americans are the only Latino/Hispanics who overwhelmingly vote Republican (in the 90s percentwise).


Here's what some other folks think the Obamas should acquire for the White House walls.

I still think that my recommendation is the best; the most plebeian and the clearest and closest to the ground and what I think the new White House tenants need to bring to the White House walls.

What art or artist do you think that the Obamas should acquire? Tell me in the comments.

Monday, June 01, 2009

DC Gallery moves

DC's Long View Gallery will relocate to a currently vacant building directly across from the Walter E. Washington Convention Center at 1234 Ninth Street, NW. The gallery’s new space will undergo major renovation, more than quadrupling the gallery’s exhibition capacity, enhancing its custom framing and special event offerings, and making it one of the area’s largest art spaces.

“With many other businesses closing, we have been able to swim against the economic tide, demonstrating that art is indeed a great investment. After three successful years in Shaw, Long View Gallery simply outgrew its current location,” said gallery director Drew Porterfield. “Thanks to Douglas Development, we were able to secure a building with great potential in a location that is impossible to beat—half a block south on Ninth Street from our current location, directly across from the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and closer to existing and planned fine restaurants,” Porterfield said. “Shaw has been a wonderful home, and we are thrilled to contribute to its renaissance.”

The gallery’s renovation, designed by local architect Will Couch, will maintain the raw feel of the new location's building while transforming it into a premier gallery space. The new gallery will occupy the southern portion of the building, comprised of nearly 5,000 square feet, more than quadrupling the square footage of the Long View Gallery’s current location.

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 at

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Read this

Tom Wolfe, author, man-in-white, and social observer, has always had a keen and clear insight into the social undertows of contemporary society.

Wolfe's 1975 book The Painted Word, is the one that I consider the one of the most influential book on art, nepotism, networking, manipulation and 20th century art history (OK, OK art observations), that I have ever read.

If you want to understand the true historical beginnings (from someone on the scene at the time) of what we now call "contemporary art" and the seminal birth of the elitist attitudes of many intelligent members of the high art apparatnik, then read this book.

"The painter," Wolfe writes, "had to dedicate himself to the quirky god Avant-Garde. He had to keep one devout eye peeled for the new edge on the blade of the wedge of the head on the latest pick thrust of the newest exploratory probe of this fall's avant-garde Breakthrough of the Century.... At the same time he had to keep his other eye cocked to see if anyone in le monde was watching."
I read it when I first started Art School and it saved my Art Life and it cemented the foundations of what has become my opinions, judgements and attitudes towards art.

After you read the book, then and only then, you will understand why "traditional" art critics, desperately seeking approval from their colleagues, hate such an egalitarian art show such as Artomatic, when and if it takes place in our own backyard, but would love it in another location outside the US.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

New art space in Georgetown

It is at 3146 Dumbarton Place, NW (2nd Floor), Washington, District of Columbia 20007 and they're having a champagne toast to the new space tomorrow (6-8PM) to celebrate the new space and new paintings by Michael Weiss.

PostSecret at Hillyer Art Space

Artomatic's greatest launching success story: Tim Tate or Frank Warren?

Warren's spectacular worldwide success and multiple best-sellers with PostSecret comes to DC at Hillyer Art Space. PostSecret: Confessions on Life, Death and God has a First Friday Reception on June 5, 2009, 6-9PM. Soundscapes by DJ Underdog. Food and refreshments will be served.

Postcards and materials will be available for all to confess their own secrets (Postcards will be displayed at Hillyer throughout the show and then given to Frank Warren to add to his collection. Details here.