Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Orchard Gallery

This terrific review by Dr. Claudia Rousseau in the Gazette newspapers discusses the paintings of Anamario Hernandez's recent show a year ago or so in Bethesda's Orchard Gallery.

Like most of Rousseau's art criticism, it's an elegant and erudite piece of writing from this well-traveled and experienced art scholar.

But the key issue here and what this review triggered in my mind is an interesting thing that is happening associated with this small, unassuming gallery and frame shop at 7917 Norfolk Avenue in Bethesda.

Orchard galleryMost of you have probably never heard of Orchard Gallery because as far as I know it has never been written about in any of the local press. I have written about it a few times, but never in depth.

Part of that is because the owners, a very nice and unassuming Korean couple, don't seem to be too concerned with the press. As far as I know, they don't even send out press releases (at least to me), although they do participate in the monthly Bethesda Art Walks.

But they are doing something right that seems to have escaped most galleries these days: they are selling a lot of artwork.

When I first walked into Orchard a few years ago, I was expecting to find the usual mediocre art that one finds on the walls of most art venues that rely on framing as a business. I was pleasantly surprised not only by the quality of the artwork (at the time they were showing a recent MICA MFA graduate whose name escapes me now), but also by the fact that the framing business does not interfere with the art gallery space at all. It's a clean, minimalist art space.

The owners were very nice and warm, and were genuinely surprised when I identified myself (they had no idea who I was anyway), described what I do, and then told them that I really liked the work. I also noted that there were a lot of red dots.

Over the next couple of years, every time that I find myself around Norfolk Avenue, I drop by into Orchard to check out their shows. I haven't been WOW'd every time, but I've never been disappointed. It is clear that the owners have a particular taste and sensibility that is working for them. And I've always seen a lot of red dots.

So after reading Rousseau's review I reached out and try to gather some info on this gallery and the one constant that comes back is that they're selling artwork. A recent show with a price point of $3,000 - $4,000 a piece sold out and the current show (I am told) is selling well.

What's even more refreshing is that in these times of austere fiscal environments, when galleries are closing all over the nation, and where they turn away new artists by the droves, Orchard's website still says: "We encourage local and emerging artists to contact us for details on our monthly gallery exhibits."

Orchard, my kudos to you. Keep doing whatever you are doing to put original artwork on peoples' walls.

Update: Read Rousseau's review of the most recent show at Orchard here.

Art Dealer Is Sentenced for $120 Million Scheme

The victims took turns standing at a lectern in State Supreme Court in Manhattan and calling for a harsh sentence. And in the end, despite a tearful plea for mercy from the defendant, Justice Michael J. Obus ordered Mr. Salander, 61, to serve 6 to 18 years in prison, the maximum term agreed upon in the plea arrangement. He also ordered Mr. Salander to pay more than $114 million in restitution, but acknowledged that it was unlikely that Mr. Salander would be able to come up with that sum.
Read the NYT story here.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Errors, omissions, etc.

Someone formerly from the Washington Projects for the Arts just pointed out a big error in the CP article by Kriston Capps. In the article Capps compares my 100 Washington Artists book to WPA efforts to expose DC area artists; he writes:

"And the gains may be limited for the artists, whose peers are many, and who compete for a vanishingly small slice of the pie. Half of Campello’s selections appear in the WPA’s Artfile, a browsable archive where member artists upload artists’ statements and images—a lot like what Campello is offering. Until recently, the WPA Artfile was published in print: a guide, not a game-changer."
This is completely incorrect and inaccurate.

The WPA Artfile has never been published in print.

What was published in print in the past was a separate WPA project which had nothing to do with the Artfile, and it was done at a very reasonable cost to the artists ($80 per artist as I recall) and open to anyone who submitted their inclusion fee and WPA membership fee. There are hundreds of artists in these WPA guidebooks, and each artist had one page with contact information and one image.

Also, as far as I know that WPA guidebook was never offered for sale in bookstores or Amazon, etc. as my book will be. And in my book none of the artists pay a cent to be in it.

Thus the comparison (erroneous to start with) is like comparing apples and mangoes.

Kiddie art

...child's art is often displayed prominently on the family fridge, but one English boy has far surpassed that standard, recently exhibiting and selling his collection of paintings for more than $200,000.
Photo: Painting Prodigy: Kid's Art Sells for Over $200,000: People from as Far Away as South Africa and Arizona Traveled to U.K to Buy Seven Year Old's Paintings
Seven-year-old Kieron Williamson, known in the British media as "Mini Monet," recently exhibited and sold his collection of paintings for more than $200,000.

Seven-year-old Kieron Williamson of Norfolk, U.K., known in the British media as "Mini Monet," has impressionist style and impressive impact: All 33 works in his latest collection sold in 27 minutes, earning $236,850.
Read it and weep here.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Gallery Neptune to close (and change)

From Elyse Harrison, the hardworking and talented owner and director of Gallery Neptune:

In the spirit of economic realism (but indeed not cultural nourishment), Gallery Neptune will conclude it’s seven year run this summer on August 21st.

The good news though is that elements of the gallery’s programming such as our special events will continue, as will the very important work of Studio Neptune, our 20 year old educational program. In fact, Studio Neptune is positioning itself to go non profit and add a wonderful online component that will reach out to art educators and creative people everywhere.

I want to personally thank all of you who have shown dedicated support in covering our numerous exhibits over these past years. It is truly a labor of love to run an art gallery and our two year old gallery space in the building we so carefully developed is proof that my husband and I are firmly dedicated to inspire through good design and excellent programming.

I hope you remain interested in Studio Neptune’s bounty, as we step forward this fall on our world wide journey.

Not good enough

Kriston Capps responds to my defense responding to his his highly flawed and deceptive article on the 100 Washington Artists book and I. He writes:

Seventh-generation Texan, in fact. There are many Mexican Americans in my family, but I don't have much Latino blood in me. And I'm a fanboy for Star Trek and Marvel Comics.

Okay, a couple of points:

On Fraser: In my article I write, "As a curator and a dealer, he’s shown 100 Washington Artists selections Lida Moser, Andrew Wodzianski, Tim Tate, Michael Janis, Joseph Barbaccia, and many others," which is correct. I note that in D.C., he's primarily shown these artists through Fraser--also true. But I did not write that Fraser represents these artists. Somewhere in the editorial process, "Lida Moser" became "Linda Moser," a typo that was either my fault or editorial's.

No way did I fabricate any quote or bend the context to fit the narrative.

More broadly, I think it is a misreading to say that I've fingered Campello in a conspiracy or scheme to profit. I speculate that that opportunity is probably not even there. Rather, I say that Campello has conflicts of interest with regard to artists he works with and artists he is covering in this book. I cited the Alida Anderson/art fair example because it was recent and clear (and because Campello told me that). It doesn't destroy my argument that he skipped last year's Affordable Art Fair. His financial relationships with specific artists continues and will continue in the future.

Again, I acknowledge that Campello has kept nothing hidden. I don't say that it's a scheme to make money. The takeaway is that a conflict of interest doesn't bother him and isn't keeping him from writing a survey of D.C. artists.

Campello writes, "He does shoot himself in the foot by later acknowledging that I did tell him that I have current commercial interests in some artists." I do not see how reporting that constitutes shooting myself in the foot.

Campello says I "strangle the truth" by saying he blogs about artists he admires (and represents), but that is correct. I don't say they are one and the same.

No more hairsplitting from me. I would refer back to my story on all the other points.
Let's examine this response in detail.

Capps writes that: "No way did I fabricate any quote or bend the context to fit the narrative." But he did bend the context. The quote in question is: "I have zero commercial relationship with them."

This quote is in the context of our discussion on the past and former Fraser Gallery artists in general that we were discussing in our telephone conversation. He even listed a few artists by name at one point and that quote was in response to that context. I then immediately followed that by listing the very few artists that I do have a relationship with - which Kriston admits in his response "I acknowledge that Campello has kept nothing hidden" - but in the article he follows the "I have zero commercial relationship with them" quote with "That’s not wholly true." He then details all the facts that I revealed to him without telling his readers that it was I who revealed that information to him.

If you follow the thread of the writing, the implication is that I lied to him, unless someone knows of another meaning for "not wholly true." Had he written in the article what he wrote in his response ("Campello has kept nothing hidden") then this part of my argument would have been a moot point. But to make that clear in his article would have seriously undermined his goal to make this project seem full of conflicts of interest.

I also told Capps of the safety valves that I had implemented to minimize the potential conflicts of interest with the artists in question. I'll repeat myself: Every artist in the book who is represented by a gallery or dealer is referred back to that gallery or dealer. In the case of artists associated with me, every single contact info points back to another dealer who represents that artist. Not a single artist in this book is associated in the book with me. In fact, if any "business" is to be derived from this book, I am sending the business to everyone but me. Capps knows this, but conveniently avoided discussing that. The reason is simple: it demolishes his implied undercurrent about my ethical transgressions in having artists in the book that I'm associated with.

He shoots himself in the foot because first he implies that "That's not wholly true" as in a lie, but then later reveals that I did tell him that I have a relationship with a tiny percentage of the artists in the book. So he has told you that I told him that I have zero relationships with any artists and I also told him that I do have a relationship with some artists. It is the flow of the sentences that don't follow a logical path other than to imply to that I tried to hide my relationship from him.

And he does strangle the truth when he writes in the article: "As much can be ascertained from his blog, D.C. Art News, where he has written for years about artists he admires (and represents)." Clearly this was meant to incorrectly suggest that I only write and admire artists that I represent. In his response he says: "I don't say they're one and the same." See how a dishonest employment of English to convey one meaning - the one the author wants to convey - works?

What an honest journalist would have written should have been: "As much can be ascertained from his blog, D.C. Art News, where he has written for years about artists he admires (and some of whom he represents)."

You see the difference between the truth and unethical journalism designed to carry the author's agenda forward?

In another response in reference to my anger at being called a "fanboy", Capps tells me that:
But to say that I kicked my story with a slur to insult you personally -- or that City Paper would publish that kind of attack -- is not true. As another commenter says, it's a word that comes from comic-book and nerd culture that suggests extreme enthusiasm for a subject.
Fair enough, but I'll say it again: regardless of the actual meaning of "fanboy", the intent was the same: to diminish and reduce. He could have written "fan" and accomplish the same point without the denigration to a juvenile status that "fanboy" brings to those readers not in tune with the arcane meanings of the sci-fi and comic book culture.

Capps doesn't respond of his denigration of the publisher. In the article he picked as examples some weird titles from a selection of 100s of art books that this respected publisher has offered in the 50-plus years that they've been publishing art books. This is a highly respected publisher that is taking a huge chance financing this book, its marketing and exposure at zero cost to the artists or anyone.

It all comes down to choice of words and the intended meaning that the author wants to accomplish.

What bugs me the most out this whole episode is that I really tried so fucking hard to bust my ass to cover every possible angle dealing with conflicts of interest; that I've spent some many hundreds of hours putting together this volume with the real Pollyanna goal of doing something good for the DC art scene; that I tried so hard to focus all possible future "financial rewards" to other art dealers or to the artists themselves... and still, after all that, in the end a piece of shoddy attack journalism still tries to focus most of the attention on conflicts of interest without pointing out the steps that I took to remove them.

For that there's no semantic excuse other than a flaw of character and a scary disregard for ethics. What's good for the goose should be good for the gander, right? and one lesson that Capps will learn from this episode is that you reap what you sow.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Critique the critics

On Tuesday, August 3rd, the Arlington Arts Center and The Pink Line Project are turning the tables on writers who cover the DC area arts and culture beat.

For Critique the critics, "eight authorities on all things stylish will compete head to head, attempting to create works of art on the spot and exposing themselves to the scrutiny of a horde of artists, patrons, and other curious onlookers who will judge their artistic abilities (or possible lack thereof).

These eight brave writers will use familiar kids’ toys and craft materials—from play-doh, to finger paints, to duplo blocks—to battle in a humorous tourney filled with unlikely aesthetic challenges. By competition’s end, one writer will emerge victorious."

The roster of warrior critics includes:

Maura Judkis (, Stephanie Kaye (WAMU), Svetlana Legetic (Brightest Young Things), Danielle O’Steen (Washington Post Express), Holly Thomas (Washington Post), Ben Eisler (WJLA), Annie Groer (Politics Daily), Peter Abrahams (DC Modern Luxury).

Music provided by DJ Anish. Tickets are $5, and are available on the AAC website.

Tuesday, August 3, 6 – 8 pm at the Gibson Guitar Showroom (above Indebleu), 709 F St NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC.

Worth noting

Back when the WaPo announced the Real Art D.C. thing where the WaPo's Galleries critic Jessica Dawson reviews online entries and selects work that she liked, there was a good discussion about the rules of the entries, which seemed particularly one-WaPo-sided towards image copyright issues.

Not sure if that was a lot of wasted words worrying about copyright. I think.

Jessica's first pick was Joel D'Orazio, and she really liked his chairs but didn't seem so hot on his paintings. By the way, I'm the opposite: I like his paintings better.

Anyway, score is Jessica one, Lenny zip as Joel's chairs are featured in Dwell Magazine.

And by the way, all of Jessica Dawson's picks will be automatically invited for the next volume of 100 Washington Artists, tentatively titled 100 More Washington Artists.


To 18 year old Bethesda artist Carolyn Becker, who just won the grand prize in the Plein Air Easton, The Next Generation painting competition.

Having been a guest speaker in this competition in the past, I know that it is very difficult and an amazing art experience.

Carolyn also won the Alma Thomas award for painting this past year at American University for her work in the undergraduate show there. She is a painting major at American University.

Keep an eye on this young talented painter.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Curioser and curioser...

Someone just pointed out to me that this earlier blog post in the City Paper about the 100 Washington Artists book has so far drawn 49 comments. But what is very curious is that it seems that someone has caught the key "negative" poster(s) as being a sockpuppet!

It is also very curious to read the chain of comments as the various flamers are made up and subsequently destroyed by the other commenters. But someone is really trying hard to make a good story smell fishy here, and the comments have been strangely quiet since the sockpuppet got called out.

Check this online drama here.

Who would have thought that a book still to be published could have stirred so much interest, debate and chicanery.


Ceci Cole McInturff, hard-working and talented owner of 87FLORIDA has put together a sculpture show to coincide with the Bloomingdale Artwalk on August 7th. The venue is located at the intersection of Florida Avenue and First Street NW, caddy corner to the Big Bear Cafe in DC.

Saturday, August 7th, 12-4 during the Bloomingdale Artwalk (sponsored by the Pinkline Project and North Capitol Main Street). The show is titled "Mafia Swimwear and Other Narrative Objects" and the participating artists are:

Cindy Milans-Brown
Andrew Christenberry
Lisa Dillin
Dianne Stermann
John Simpkins-Camp
Ceci Cole McInturff

There's also a wall exhibit titled "White Works" by Lisa K. Rosenstein. There will be a sneak preview of new work by Afaf Zurayk's "Drawn Poems." Live Music by Thad Wilson from 1-4 and a special outdoor showing of a kinetic sculpture, "Eureka" by the late Phyliss Mark whose work is in the Hirshhorn and several outdoor venues in New York City.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Opportunity for DMV Artists

Deadline: October 30, 2010

The BlackRock Center for the Arts has a huge gorgeous gallery space and their call for artists for the 2011 art season is now up.

The 2011 Call to Artists is open to all artists residing in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC over the age of 18 for original artwork only. This call will cover exhibits in the gallery from October 2011 through August 2012. An exhibit may include on applicant or a combination of applicants, based on the judgement of jurors. The jury panel is comprised of Kathleen Moran, Jack Rasmussen and yours truly.

Details here.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

When facts get in the way

There are so many disturbing issues with Kriston Capps snarky report on my 100 Washington Artists book that I don't know where to start other than by thanking the CP for giving this book, which is yet to be published, some advance publicity. As Warhol once said, "publicity, even bad publicity is better than no publicity." You can read that article here.

If you follow the DMV art scene, then you know that Capps' past includes some journalistic issues, and so when he expressed interest in doing a piece for the CP, I was fully prepared for the worst. I knew in advance that the piece would try to find the negative angle to the story, the "what's my angle?" the "what's in it for Campello?." This is because unfortunately the formation of some people is so ethically flawed, that they suspect all those around them as being like them.

That I'm doing these series of books because I think it would be good for the DC art scene must be a lie. There's got to be something wrong here; if not they can try to make something up or selectively highlight some issues while ignoring the ones which damage the focus that they're trying to achieve: a negative portrayal.

The first hint is the title: The C List: Will Lenny Campello’s 100 Washington Artists Serve Its Subjects or Its Author? The seed has been planted for "there's something smelly here."

By paragraph four he's already referring to my "ethical tics." The second negative seed has been planted.

Later he lists artists with whom I've had/have a commercial relationship and used to show at the Fraser Gallery, in the process he gets one name wrong but drops an end of sentence that implies that many others in the 100 list are artists that we represented at Fraser. This is a spectacular stretch of his imagination, but designed to leave the impression that I've stacked the list with Fraser Gallery artists. Technically, as of today, there are three artists out of the 100 that are represented by the Fraser Gallery today.

But what is even more shoddy journalism is that Capps knew well that I had put some ethical safety valves in the book to cover the ethical angle of artists with whom I've had or have a commercial relationship. The key one is that every artist in the book who is represented by a gallery or dealer is referred back to that gallery or dealer. In the case of artists associated with me, every single contact points back to another dealer who represents that artist. Not a single artist in this book is associated in the book with me. In fact, if any "business" is to be derived from this book, I am sending the business to everyone but me. Capps knows this, but conveniently avoids discussing that. The reason is simple: it demolishes his implied undercurrent about my ethical transgressions in having artists in the book that I'm associated with.

Then he errs and makes up a quote that I never said in the context that he puts it in the article. The "I have zero commercial relationship with them" quote was in the context of zero commercial relationship with the Fraser Gallery and the artists that they represent or represented when I was a co-owner. I then qualified that by listing for Kriston the artists that I do currently have a commercial relationship with, but instead of Capps writing: "I have zero commercial relationship with them, except for..." he starts a new paragraph with: "That’s not wholly true" and details facts that I told him about my current dealer relationships and my online art dealer enterprise (Alida Anderson Art Projects, which I've discussed here many times), but he writes it as if he "discovered" this and has caught me in a lie.

He then writes that "Through Alida Anderson Art Projects, he has taken work by Janis and Tate to a number of art fairs." It was me who told him about the art fairs, but I also told him that the last time that I took those guys to an art fair under Alida Anderson Art Projects was in 2008 and explained my current business relationships with them and others. This of course, is never mentioned. It would destroy his argument.

He does shoot himself in the foot by later acknowledging that I did tell him that I have current commercial interests in some artists. So the issue here is a quote which put out of place, as he does, serves a purpose best suited to sickening Republican political blogs that publish out-of-context video scenes or some of the garbage-spewing misinformation talking heads of MSNBC. Whereas those extreme right and extreme left wingers are rabid junkyard dogs for their extreme political dogmas, and their goal is to divide us, I am not sure what the goal of this Capps article is, other than to try to make something that I hope will be good for the DC art scene into a smelly conspiracy for me to gain... what?

He strangles the truth once more when he refers to the artists that I write about and "admire" in this blog. He writes: "As much can be ascertained from his blog, D.C. Art News, where he has written for years about artists he admires (and represents)."

What's the condemnation you ask?

That all artists that I write about and admire are only those that I represent. That is of course, completely wrong, and in fact probably numerically the opposite of the truth. But don't let facts get in the way... even though people like Amy Lin and many others, of whom I have gushed about in the past in my blog (get it, my blog) are represented by other galleries and have never been represented by me. But that little poison pill is now also a seed dropped in the article: "In Campello's blog he only gushes about artists that he represents." A damned lie.

See what the undercurrent here is?

Words count and are chosen for a purpose. Capps writes that "Not every Washington-based artist jumped at the opportunity. Artists Jim Sanborn and Sam Gilliam refused to participate." When we discussed this, I told him that Gilliam and Sanborn had "declined" to be in the book, and explained the reasons given to me as to why they didn't want to be in the book - both have private commercial flavors of other issues - but Capps instead uses the word "refused" with the implication offering a harsher reason for them not being in the book.

He then takes a swipe at the publisher, picking some weird titles from a selection of 100s of art books that this respected publisher has offered in the 50-plus years that they've been publishing art books. You see? everyone gets a little dose of negativity here.

At the end he almost closes with: "For this unflagging fanboy of Capital City artists, the fight for visibility trumps profit, or interests, or ethics." Even the snarky choice of words (I'm now a "fanboy") are picked to diminish and reduce and put me into "my place" - how dare this crab try to take 100 crabs out of the basket?

As a man I am nobody's "boy" of anything, and in fact I find this adjective not only offensive and insulting, but also insensitive in this era when we're so well aware of the sins of the past. Because he has failed to find the facts to back up a flawed and dishonest argument questioning my ethics, he attempts to reduce me at the end to a "boy."

And in the end what comes out is a snarky, dishonest, pick-out-of-context art scribe best suited for political blog poison-writing than someone with a pulpit to write about the Washington, DC art scene for anyone, much less the same paper which let him go earlier for whatever reasons.

And I'm much more of an ethical man, not boy, than he'll ever be.

And now that I'm finished with volume one, time to start volume two.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ideas that make sense

Whatever is left out of ranking, jurying, selection, among the unnoticed strengths of Washington artists, is probably of greater interest to anyone attuned to risk-taking artists, the 'outliers' who actually define "what's going on," the "transgressors," who are pushing art. A bimodal curve, or 'distribution' lies within an assured 67% of a normal distribution. You are dealing with the norms expresssed in a highly politicized area. Rather than continuing to pursue a range that will not challenge the arts or challenge any other city, you might hesitate, for once, and think about a book that values the marginal, the peripheral, the seekers and transgressors to any book 'already written' and highly predictable.
That was an anonymous comment left in my earlier post about lists. And the Lenster thinks that this is a fucking brilliant idea and one that I should have thought of myself.

"Challenge the arts or challenge other cities" is the key and most brilliant part of this terrific suggestion. And while this suggestion makes things 1000% harder (and putting together this first volume was incredibly hard and took at least 10 times more time than I had originally planned for (thus my lack of really decent posting for the last few months), it also makes this future book a true one man's informed perspective on what he (he being me) thinks is the folks who are "pushing art."

Consider it done sir or madam!

And if I may, in reviewing the (much debated) list for the first volume, I see several artists, quite a few in fact, whose artwork is already doing what Anon. suggests: the 'outliers' who actually define "what's going on," the "transgressors," who are pushing art.

Suggestions welcomed. And O yeah... power just came back.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


No electricity since Sunday, cell phone almost dead, many trees down in the Soviet Socialist Republic of Montgomery, no Internet, cough, cough...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Another list

And now that I am essentially finished with 100 Washington Artists, one of the main lessons learned is that the futile job of putting together a "fair" list of 100 artists in such an area so full of talent and creativity is full of landmines.

Like I told you readers when I first announced the book: I was about to make 100 friends and piss off a few thousand artists.

Since announcing the list a while back, I've recognized that I probably fucked up the list by around 5-6 artists who should have been there, but are not. I take the blame for that, which is a nice way of saying that the folks who unofficially helped me to put the list together... ahhh... also never mentioned those artists.

But the flood of emails (and even some phone calls) telling me how I should have had this artist or that artist in the list has identified a significant number of blue chip artists that will ensure that volume two of the book series is not the "second 100 DC artists" - In an odd way, by the time I am done with volume two, I think that the danger of having a tiered set of artists (where the first volume is the "best" 100 and the second volume the "second best 100") will be minimized significantly.

Now I know about some really big name artists who live in the DMV but for whatever reason don't show here and are truly blue chip international artists. Now I know about at least another dozen brilliant artists who are second to none in the DC area.

So I've got a good start to the list for volume two; thanks to all of you.

Because I have been and am an art dealer, in compiling the first list I had to deal with the issue of including artists in the list with whom I've had/have a dealer relationship now, in the past and perhaps even in the future (if I ever get to open an art gallery again). In doing list one, I thought that it would be grossly unfair to exclude them from the list, because then the list would be truly flawed and it would be a huge hole in anyone's list and immensely unfair to the artists in question. But I was attentive and harder on some of the candidates that fit that bill, and I'd say that only a tiny percentage of the final list represents that category, and yet I can think about another half a dozen artists who could have been in the first list and will now be in the second volume.

Like I told John Anderson in the Pink Line interview, nepotism is part of making any list and I challenge anyone in the DMV who fantasizes about doing an objective list of any sort. I addressed that in the first volume by putting a disclaimer in the introduction which identifies the issue. Also, every single artist in the list has a website listed as a contact point. Where an artist is represented by a gallery, the contact info is for that gallery. For unrepresented artists, the contact info is the artist's own website. Not a single contact info for a single artist points back to me. I stress this here, because the usual cowardly anonymous flame throwing commenting about me "pumping my bank account" has already started in the comments section of the CP blog post about my list. Check that out here.

And in the end, it is my list, and everyone hates making lists, but I was the one who busted his ass with 100s of hours in the preparation of this volume, which I believe is great start to document 300 or so deserving artists in the cultural tapestry of the DMV.

The list for volume two has started; suggestions welcomed.

Friday, July 23, 2010


Heading back to the DMV today via USAirways; while I was gone Stephen "Thor" Strasburg won another game for the Nats.
Stephen Strasburg as Thor

The book cover

Now that the 100 Washington Artists book is nearly done and almost shipped to the publisher, I am going to try to convince them to use just one image on the cover, instead of a set of handpicked thumbnails of images, as they'd prefer to do.

My idea is that a super strong, interesting representational image with an eye-catching subject would make the book stand out and attract a little more attention in passing. Layout designers tell me that color is always better than B&W, so sorry to all the grayscale artists. I am also told that titles with numbers in them attract more attention (who knew?) and that the title should be centered on the top of the book cover with the number "100" larger than the "Washington Artists" line underneath the "100."

So I've selected 3-4 images (from the 700+ images that are to be submitted to the layout gurus) which I will send to the publisher to see if I can convince them to pick one of the images for the cover of the book.

And if you think that the list of 100 artists was controversial, imagine now trying to whittle down the 732 images to one.

Selecting the 3-4 images was a difficult process. I started by eliminating all the artists with whom I've had/have a commercial art dealer relationship, now or in the past or future. It is unfair to them, but too bad. Then I eliminated all the abstract artists; this is also unfair, but layout gods tell me that a strong, interesting representational image is what is needed. And let's face it, we're trying to hawk some books here.

Then I nixed all the black and white artists, screwing Ben Tolman's powerful imagery ("sorry, no B&W," said the layout gurus) and several photographers in the process. Then I had to nix all the nudes.

That really pissed me off, but the layout gurus tell me that some bookstores and libraries would not carry the book if it has a nude on the cover; welcome to 21st century America.

That still left a significant number of images, and now I looked for the images that were interesting enough; that had something unusual and eye catching... something that would raise an eye-brow and make a person pick up the book.

That was still hard. In the end I had 3-4 images. Three are by three of the DMV's best-known artists; one is by an emerging artist who is making a lot of waves in the artsphere already. Let's see what the publisher let's me do.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

DC area art dealer murdered

Details here.

Campello & KRUE

My daughter Elise just cut a song with rapper KRUE. Check it out below...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The long, dry summer

The Gazette's Jordan Edwards has an excellent report on the tough times being faced by Bethesda's art galleries. Read it here.

Gallery moves

Morton Fine Art (MFA)'s "a pop up project" had to move from its initial location at the old Numark Gallery space on 7th Street downtown. And Amy Morton has found a new location in DC. MFA’s innovative art lab will serve as part studio, part art consulting space and part gallery. As part of the unveiling, MFA will showcase an inaugural art exhibition, “Small Works on Paper.” The work featured in this exhibit includes watercolor, gouache pieces, wood engravings and mixed media paintings.

Featured Artists:

* Vonn Sumner – An LA based artist whose fanciful and eccentric characters invite the viewer into a parallel world. His work was honored with a solo museum exhibition, ‘The Other Side of Here’, at the Riverside Art Museum in California.
* Rosemary Feit Covey – A local preeminent wood engraver whose prints are held in permanent museum and library collections around the world. Featured work will include pieces from the ‘Strip’ series (including a unique artist’s proof) and the ‘Peep Show’ series.
* Laurel Hausler – A Washington, DC native who is inspired by her love for literature, antiquity and the absurd. Working in a subtractive process, she first covers the surface of her paper with multiple layers of paint, and then removes the layers to reveal the subject.

WHAT: MFA debuts new art lab with grand opening exhibit, “Small Works on Paper”

WHEN: Friday, July 30th 2010, 6-9 PM

WHERE: MFA’s Innovative Curators’ Studio, 1781 Florida Avenue NW (at 18th and U St.), Washington D.C., 20009

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


"Painters make paintings, but it takes a representative of the art world to make a work of art."

- Richard Wollheim


Flying cartoon by Campello
Heading to the Left Coast for some unexpected last minute work and also a possible meeting with the Campello daughters in LA. Meanwhile, the comments about the list of 100 Washington Artists book is still fast and furious here.

Monday, July 19, 2010

So predictable, so predictable...

Way back, when I first announced the Rockwell exhibition now at the Smithsonian American Art Museum I wrote:

Now for some easy predictions: the high brow elitist critics will all unite in one front and all hate this show. The public, being far more progressive and democratic in their acceptance of what is art (without silly obsolete notions of "high" art and all other art, and without ingrained notions of "illustration" versus "high art") will line up to see the exhibition and continue to love Rockwell as they have for decades.
Boom! Then the first shot came across the bow of the exhibition a few weeks later when the Washington Post's chief art critic, Blake Gopnik wrote in an otherwise quite good and interesting article on the future of photography that "It's not that art museums never show "low" painting. The Corcoran has shown Norman Rockwell..."

Gopnik exposed his hand way back in that piece about how he (and most other art critics, I think) feel about the work of Norman Rockwell. It is the classic and antiquated and uniquely American traditional cliche-ridden critical view of Rockwell and his work; it's their key example as offerings of a critical perspective of high art and low art.

Separate everything; label everything, put everything and everyone in a box with a label: high art, low art, fine art, illustration, Hispanics, Latinos, Scots-Irish, Jewish-American, Cuban-American...

The problem is that the world has moved on since that critical perspective of Rockwell was a mandatory regulation to be obeyed by art critics in years past. And thanks to other sources of information, and thanks to the spectacular popularity of the Rockwellian legacy, that dog doesn't hunt anymore, and people like Blake Gopnik just don't get it that when they write in such "traditional" party line ways; it doesn't stick anymore.

Today, anything and everything can be art, and to the horror of the old-fashioned critical cabal, Rockwell has managed to sneak in museums as a key "fine art" figure, perhaps one of the most important, historical fine arts figures in 20th century American art.

And so it was no surprise that on July 4, Blake Gopnik, in his WaPo review of the show wrote that:
Norman Rockwell is often championed as the great painter of American virtues. Yet the one virtue most nearly absent from his work is courage. He doesn't challenge any of us, or himself, to think new thoughts or try new acts or look with fresh eyes. From the docile realism of his style to the received ideas of his subjects, Rockwell reliably keeps us right in the middle of our comfort zone.

That's what made him one of the most important painters in U.S. history, and the most popular. He had almost preternatural social intuitions, along with brilliant skills as a visual salesman. Over his seven-decade career, that coupling let him figure out what middle-class white Americans most wanted to feel about themselves, then sell it back to them in paint.
Gopnik then goes back to an antiquated anti-Rockwell weapon: that he painted a "homogenized vision of the country," in other words, Rockwell is a white bread painter who only painted... ahhh white America.

Norman Rockwell, The Problem We All Live With

Norman Rockwell. The Problem We All Live With. 1963.

But there's a huge fly in that old ointment; in fact a lot of flies. Because Rockwell's popularity continued to grow after his death, countless documentaries about his life, coupled with mega retrospective exhibitions, showed us that Rockwell, along with the many in rest of the country, discovered his social activism and conscience in the early 1960s. In fact, historians point to his marriage to Molly Punderson (a retired school teacher) in 1961 as the key event that lit his social conscience on fire. Punderson's influence on Rockwell's painting activism has been well-documented and had a huge influence on what the painter painted over the next 17 years. Together with Rockwell's close friends Erik Erickson and Robert Coles, both of whom were strong advocates of the civil rights movement, Punderson's profound influence over Rockwell's artistic involvement in the Civil Rights movement yielded Rockwellian paintings that don't fit the mold that Gopnik wants us to believe, because it would destroy his entire flawed argument.

Gopnik does a drive-by shooting of this subject (he has to) when he erroneously reports that "toward the end of his career, Rockwell got Look magazine to publish a few heroic scenes from the civil rights movement -- at just the moment when such subjects had moved into the mainstream of American thought." Note the way in which the above is written to minimize this huge contribution by Rockwell to American art history.

I say huge because Rockwell didn't do this "towards the end of his career" (he painted for another 15 years) but in 1963, just precisely at the moment when the civil rights movement needed it and the same year that Dr. King's march on Washington took place (not years later).

Only Nixon could have gone to China and only Rockwell could have convinced America's leading magazine at the time, Look, to carry his artwork about the Civil Rights movement. And indeed it was Rockwell who convinced Look magazine (not the other way around) to publish his historical paintings celebrating the emerging civil rights movement in America. It was Rockwell who put a painting of a little black girl being escorted to school in a magazine laying on the breakfast tables of millions of American homes, and it was Rockwell who painted lynchings in the South, and "New Kids in the Neighborhood". He did this while no other major white painter that I know of, even remotely addressed the civil rights movement in such depth and historical candor as early as he did.

Gopnik also selects words carefully and tells us that "The Saturday Evening Post, for instance, for which Rockwell painted 323 covers, forbade him to depict blacks except in subservient roles." That was true, and a gross sign of the times. But what Gopnik doesn't tell you, is that Rockwell quit the Saturday Evening Post and moved over to Look precisely because of artistic freedom issues and his desire to paint the events in America which interested him, such as the emerging Civil Rights movement.

Norman Rockwell Southern Justice, 1963

Norman Rockwell. Southern Justice. 1963.

This powerful painting depicts the murder of three Civil Rights workers who were killed for their work to register African American voters in the South.

But to admit that would seriously undermine the main critical argument against Rockwell. You see... Gopnik's greatest sin as a critic is simple: His is a critical perspective of unending clichés. The reason we so easily recognize the flawed points of anti-Rockwellism in his writing is because they reflect the standard critical image we already know from countless other critics' reports. His negative viewpoints are so familiar because they are the stories that we've been told by art critics a thousand times before.

But now they fail to stick with all of us. On Saturday, July 10th, David Apatoff, from McLean, VA responded to Gopnik's article and writes in the Post:
Norman Rockwell's work is no longer a cliché ["Afraid to make waves," Arts & Style, July 4]. He has been replaced by a new cliché: dogmatic, postmodernist art critics who believe that anything may qualify as legitimate art (including a belch or scribble) as long as it is not a painting by Norman Rockwell. When Blake Gopnik dismissed technical skill and traditional technique in his quest for "new acts," he failed to realize just how much of a tired stereotype he has become.

The taint of Rockwell's commercial sponsors has dissipated over the years, so the artist can now be viewed more objectively by those with an open mind to do so. If Gopnik had some of the "courage" that he claims Rockwell lacked, he would see beyond his personal grudges with Rockwell's content and recognize a contemporary art scene that is self-indulgent, decadent and listing toward irrelevance. Time for "new acts," indeed.
And he's not alone, as Carl Eifert of Alexandria adds:
Those days of the late '30s and early '40s were times that Blake Gopnik obviously does not understand. His America is about "equal room for Latino socialists, disgruntled lesbian spinsters, foul-mouthed Jewish comics" and, we are to understand, critics like him.
Eifert's point is a good one, Gopnik is judging Rockwell's earlier work with the sensibilities of 2010, and failing to put it in the context of the harsh realities of the 30's, 40's and 50's.

Rockwell new Kids in the Neighborhood

Norman Rockwell. New Kids in the Neighborhood. 1967.

And what is also clear to me, is that if Rockwell were alive today, he would be probably painting Latino socialists (whatever that is, is he talking about the Castro brothers or Hugo Chavez?), disgruntled (and happy) lesbian spinsters, foul-mouthed Jewish comics, but probably not Blake.

And what is also clear, given the mounting evidence of growing Rockwell intrusion into the sacred and forbidden halls of fine art museums, and even his tiny advancements in being grudgingly accepted by the artcriticsphere as one of the key American artists of the 20th century, is that decades and centuries from now, when Gopnik's and this post and most other critics' writings will be a dusty memory in the archives of the Internets, the Rockwellian Empire will continue to rock and the Jetsons and their kids will continue to line up outside museums to see Rockwell's artwork.

Read 163 comments on Blake's article here.

Telling Stories: Norman Rockwell From the Collections of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg is on through Jan. 2 at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, at Eighth and G streets NW. Call 202-633-7970 or visit

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Smith on Academy 2010

DCist's Matt Smith reviews Academy 2010 at Conner Contemporary Art.

By the way, on July 31, Conner Contemporary will host an (e)merge discussion panel + party at the gallery, 4 to 8 p.m., sponsored by Pink Line Project.

MOCA to stay in Georgetown

A while back we learned that MOCA DC was being kicked out of their spaces in Canal Square in Georgetown. Just today I found out that Dave Quammen has been able to find some leverage and has renegociated their lease with the Canal Square landlord. And they are still having a Super Party Artists & Models Ball. Make your plans now:

July 30 - Friday Night - 6 pm to Midnight - $5 entry fee - includes raffle ticket for 3 major art pieces - do not have to be present to win

6 pm - doors open

7 pm - models for artists to draw - $20 all night

7 pm - photography models to shoot $25 all night

8 pm - Body Painting - Free all night

Models will be paid from fees charged

For more info check out

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Good discussion about my first book list going on here, with the usual share of optimist and pessimist comments.

Wall Mountables return

The District of Columbia Arts Center (DCAC) has announced the return of 1460 Wall Mountables, DCAC’s annual open exhibition. On Wednesday, July 21 DCAC will open its doors at 3pm, beginning a three-day installation process during which artists can purchase up to four 2' x 2' spaces to hang their work.

Since the first Wall Mountables in 1990, the exhibition has become a celebrated summer tradition at DCAC. One of the center’s most important fundraising events, the open exhibition runs from July 23–August 29. On a personal note, I can tell you that since 1990 I've probably done this show 3-4 times, putting up all together about a dozen drawings in these shows and have always sold all of them.

Spaces sell on a first-come, first-serve basis. It’s not unusual to see returning participants lined up outside DCAC’s door by 2:30pm, patiently waiting for installation to begin with an eye towards grabbing the galleries prime wall space. All work is accepted from a wide range of media created by artists at various stages in their careers.

The exhibition provides a great opportunity for experimentation, as artists challenge themselves to make the most out of such limited space. The coveted $100 “Best Use of Space” prize is presented during the opening reception to the artist who makes the most innovative use of their 2’ x 2’ squares. Whether Wall Mountables is an artist’s first show, 59th show, or an opportunity to pull out canvases from their attic, 1460 Wall Mountables has spots ready to be filled.

General Guidelines
• Each 2' x 2' space is $15 for non-members (maximum 4 spaces)
• DCAC members receive one free space. Additional spaces are available for $10 each (maximum 4 spaces)
• Become a DCAC member at the event and receive four spaces for free! (regular membership starts at $30)
• Each piece must be 2' x 2' or smaller. Spaces may not be combined to accommodate larger pieces (larger pieces can be divided and placed in adjacent squares)
• All art must be wall mountable
• No painting or writing directly onto the wall
• No adhesive materials can be used for hanging (i.e.- spraymount, adhesive velcro, 2-sided tape or wallpaper glue)
• Artists must bring their own materials for hanging their work (hammer, nails, screws, wire)

District of Columbia Arts Center
2438 18th St. NW
Washington, DC 20009

Mona Lisa Secrets Revealed

Specialists from the Center for Research and Restoration of the Museums of France found that da Vinci painted up to 30 layers of paint on his works to meet his standards of subtlety. Added up, all the layers are less than 40 micrometers, or about half the thickness of a human hair, researcher Philippe Walter said Friday.

The technique, called "sfumato," allowed da Vinci to give outlines and contours a hazy quality and create an illusion of depth and shadow. His use of the technique is well-known, but scientific study on it has been limited because tests often required samples from the paintings.
Read the article here.

Friday, July 16, 2010


76 single spaced pages of text + 93 single spaced pages of image captions for 732 images submitted for the 100 DC Artists book have just been finished through the magic of WORD.

It took over an hour to spell check each set. Now to proof-read before I send it to the real proof-readers.

Good point

John Anderson, writing at the CP discusses that

The Corcoran has just announced a new contemporary program called NOW at the Corcoran, a series of one- and two-artist exhibitions that presents new work addressing issues central to the local, national, and global communities of Washington, D.C.
He then makes the point of asking "why isn’t a D.C. artist represented in the series?".

Read John Anderson at the CP here.

All shook up

Yes, the 3.6 earthquake did wake me up. Little everything else, I am sure that it is Busch's fault.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Book Questions

The very tall John Anderson asks me a few questions about the "100 Washington Artists" book. Read them in the Pinkline Project here.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Leslie Swching at CHAW

Bruce McKaig reviews the solo exhibition by Baltimore artist Leslie Swching opening this coming Saturday at the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop. The show is July 17 through August and the Opening Reception is Saturday July 17th 5 – 7 pm.

By Bruce McKaig

A sensation, a memory, a small…a feeling on the back of your neck, something tells you that you are in touch with the long thought.

There is no clash between the urban and the rural in Schwing’s work, both serve equally as backdrops for her observations and subsequent depictions of fractal patterns. With materials as diverse as watercolor, pastel, and scratch boards, Schwing meanders a path that starts near her home in Baltimore, twists through a system of patterns molded by the materials she uses, and ends at an internal place that was calling her from the start. Starting in an alleyway or a field, she begins en plein aire, but buildings or trees become spotted with, or overtaken by, glyph-like patterns emerging over an evolution from external observation to internal contemplation. In works where the patterns have overtaken their makers, the abstracted result is an encrypted narrative, a story that does not translate as much as resonate.

Lost in the woods, you’ve been there before, everything has overgrown and become unrecognizable, but you get active, you pick up a scent, you find yourself back on the path.

Castles, tree (scratch board)In working with diverse materials, Schwing has given her visual language various accents. Her own vision persists across the materials, perhaps because she does not seem to fight with them, instead letting each one take her exploration into its own material specificity.

It doesn’t matter if you are working blindly so long as you stick with it until you are back on the path.

Schwing’s work and life have evolved to include collaborations with other artists. Her past projects include Road Kill Resurrection, which began as a date with Greg Fletcher, also a Baltimore artist and her partner for 15 years. “We realized that we could work together because the work would not be competitive.” That project lasted three years and eventually involved other participants.

For all the diversity in content – rural vs urban vs abstract – and the diversity in materials – watercolor, pastel, scratchboard – what stands out most in surveying these collected works is Schwing’s persistent visual language, built around the word harmony. The images are charged and active, but the activity is sans stress. Buildings and trees establish a space that Swching populates with fractal patterns that add a temporal dynamic, a reference to cycles and change. “I’m not trying to replicate a scene, but to catch its scent.”

If I now where I am going, I get bored.

All quotes in italics by Leslie Schwing 2010

For more information on Leslie Schwing, click here.

For more information about CHAW and opening, click here.

For more information about the author, click here.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Anniversary of a Massacre

Lest we forget:

"In the early morning hours of July 13, 1994, three boats belonging to the Cuban State and equipped with water hoses attacked an old tugboat that was fleeing Cuba with 72 people on board. The incident occurred seven miles off the Cuban coast, outside the port of Havana. The Cuban State boats attacked the tugboat with their prows, while at the same time spraying everyone on the deck of the boat, including women and children, with pressurized water. The pleas to stop the attack were in vain, and the old boat-named the '13 of March' - sank, with a toll of 41 deaths, including ten children."

-- Ted Koppel, ABC's Nightline, July 1994.
These were the victims of that brutal massacre by the Castro regime:

Abreu Ruíz, Angel René. Age: 3.
Alcalde Puig, Rosa María. Age: 47.
Almanza Romero, Pilar. Age: 31.
Alvarez Guerra, Lissett María. Age: 24.
Anaya Carrasco, Yaltamira. Age: 22.
Balmaseda Castillo, Jorge Gregorio. Age: 24.
Borges Alvarez, Giselle. Age: 4.
Borges Briel, Lázaro Enrique. Age: 34.
Carrasco Sanabria, Martha Mirilla. Age: 45.
Cayol, Manuel. Age: 56.
Enríquez Carrazana, Luliana. Age: 22.
Fernández Rodríguez, María Miralis. Age: 27.
Feu González Rigoberto. Age: 31
García Suárez, Joel. Age: 20.
Góngora, Leonardo Notario. Age: 28.
González Raices, Amado. Age: 50.
Guerra Martínez, Augusto Guillermo. Age: 45.
Gutiérrez García, Juan Mario. Age: 10.
Levrígido Flores, Jorge Arquímedes. Age: 28.
Leyva Tacoronte, Caridad. Age: 5.
Loureiro, Ernesto Alfonso. Age: 25
Marrero Alamo, Reynaldo Joaquín. Age: 48.
Martínez Enriquez, Hellen. Age: 5 Months.
Méndez Tacoronte, Mayulis. Age: 17.
Muñoz García, Odalys. Age: 21.
Nicle Anaya, José Carlos. Age: 3.
Pérez Tacoronte, Yousell Eugenio. Age: 11.
Perodín Almanza, Yasser. Age: 11.
Prieto Hernández, Fidencio Ramel. Age: 51.
Rodríguez Fernández, Xicdy. Age: 2.
Rodríguez Suárez, Omar. Age: 33.
Ruíz Blanco, Julia Caridad. Age: 35.
Sanabria Leal, Miladys. Age: 19.
Suárez Esquivel, Eduardo. Age: 38.
Suárez Esquivel, Estrella. Age: 48.
Suárez Plasencia, Eliécer. Age: 12.
Tacoronte Vega, Martha Caridad. Age: 35

And 4 more that still remain unidentified. They will never be forgotten and one day soon justice will be served and those who ordered the massacre and those who executed it will be brought to justice.

Lists, lists, lists

Lists are always so much fun and so good for debate; and judging from the number of emails that I've already received, quite a few of you have your own opinions as to the 100 DC Artists list for the first volume of the art books about the DC visual art scene.

And now the Washington City Paper wants to hear your opinions. Read and then comment here.

MOCA DC closing party

MOCA DC is being kicked out of their spaces in Canal Square in Georgetown and they are having a Super Closing Party Artists & Models Ball. Make your plans now

July 30 - Friday Night - 6 pm to Midnight - $5 entry fee - includes raffle ticket for 3 major art pieces - do not have to be present to win

6 pm - doors open

7 pm - models for artists to draw - $20 all night

7 pm - photography models to shoot $25 all night

8 pm - Body Painting - Free all night

Models will be paid from fees charged

For more info check out

David Quammen's closing remarks:

Well, it has really been a fine experience to play host to the things that have gone on at MOCA DC over the 5 and a half years that I have managed it. It builds on the foundation laid by founder, Michael V. Clark, now Clark V. Fox,who created it about 20 years ago.

And who can forget Felicity Hogan, Clark's wife of about 8 years. She played a significant role in the gallery's evolution, which is now going into another phase.

All things considered, I believe that MOCA DC has chartered new grounds in DC's art scene through each of its iterations, always gutsy enough to take a cue from Gene Roddenberry and "boldly go where no man has gone before."

Our new web site will have an Archives section - I invite past and present members to contribute to a history of the gallery from start to finish. It will most certainly be one of the most interesting reads you can find.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Coverage at artDC Gallery

artdc Gallery presents a group exhibition of works that "explore coverage with relationship to the body, geography, and memory. Accumulating gestures and layers, while referencing the passage of time, these artists present works of sculpture, painting, printmaking and drawing. Sabeth Jackson’s work chronicles domestic themes and uses archetypal and culturally charged imagery to communicate emotions and stories. Megan Mueller finds inspiration in the architecture of tents and the lifestyles of the transient to investigate the idea of permission. Samuel Scharf explores the physicality of movement, collection and deconstruction."

July 17, 2010 - August 14, 2010
Opening Reception: July 17, 2010 - 6pm - 8pm
Artist Lecture: July 24, 2010 - 6pm - 8pm


To Ryan Hackett on being the first DC-area artist to win the Sondheim Prize!

MOCA DC in trouble

Georgetown has never been known for its eroticism. But in the brick courtyard of Canal Square—an upscale piece of real estate nestled between M Street NW and the C&O Canal—gallery owner David Quammen, 70, has carved out a space for the risqué. Since 2005, Quammen’s MOCA DC has exposed Georgetown passersby to paintings of childbirth, photographs of Playboy Bunnies, and sketches of Quammen’s own nude body, all via the gallery’s 12-foot-long front window.

But next month, the gallery may very well shutter its doors over a pair of nipple pasties. Why now? The modesty-preserving devices appeared on the breasts of a live woman, not in a work of art. “I think that having live nudity at an opening reception is akin to having it on the wall,” Quammen says. “But a lot of people don’t like what I do.”
On June 24, the landlord gave MOCA DC a notice to vacate the premises by July 31. Read the City Paper article by Amanda Hess here.


Congratulations to La Furia (Spain), who yesterday won the world's most coveted sports trophy by beating Holland and winning the Jules Rimet World Cup for soccer/football/futbol for the first time in the history of the Kingdom of Spain.

The Spaniards came in as the favorites (they're the current European champions), and after a shocking start (they lost to Switzerland in their opener), moved forward and ended up as the champs.

Next cup is in 2014 in Brazil. Five gets you ten that either Brazil or Argentina will win that one.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

FotoWeek DC call for entries

The 2010 FotoWeek DC International Awards Competition has just launched and is looking for your best work!

Entries may be made in 12 different photography categories, for both Single Image and Series, with 1st, 2nd and 3rd cash prizes being awarded. In addition, there is a special category called Spirit of Washington, with a cash prize of $5,000, which recognizes images that capture the essence of Washington in all its forms.

As there was last year, the competition also includes a category for the best Multimedia work incorporating stills, video, sound and text, and this year a new category has been added, which is the Mobile Phone category. Send them your amazing iPhone shots and you could win $500, $250 or $100!

Entry fees start as low as $4.95 for Mobile Phone entries and there are volume discounts for multiple submissions. If you enter before July 31, 2010, there is an additional 20% off Early Bird discount and, if you really act fast, you could be among the first 100 entrants to receive a free FotoPage online portfolio site, valued at $49. More to come on that in the coming weeks.

To enter, click HERE to submit your images today.

Bonus: If you are a Facebook member and can get your friends involved, you could also walk away with the People's Choice award, which is given to the highest vote-getter.

The final deadline is on September 20, 2010 and the work will then be viewed by our incredible panel of judges, including Jean-Francois Leroy, Founder of the Visa Pour L'Image photojournalism festival in Perpignan, France, David Scull of the New York Times, Nick Nichols of National Geographic and Jose Azel of Aurora Images, just to name a few.

Winners will be honored at an invitation-only awards ceremony on November 5, 2010 at the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the Corcoran College of Art + Design, where the work will be on display throughout the FotoWeek DC festival, which runs from November 6-13, 2010.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The 100 DC Artists in the book

Here are the 100 DC area artists whose work will be highlighted, discussed and illustrated in the forthcoming book (tentative title) 100 Washington Artists. Putting this list together was a joint effort between me, several key DC area collectors, a few gallerists and a couple of museum curators. There are three key names missing from the list, all of whom are most deserving of being highlighted anytime that anyone discusses artists from the capital region. Two did not want to be in the book; the other one I wasn't able to contact through email, phone messages and even snail mail (in fact I'm a little worried about her).

In the end, it was a slightly joint effort by about a dozen people, and we all had agendas, and we are were nepotistas and we all had our favorites. In the end, I think that it is a pretty good list that includes the best artists working and living around the capital region (minus the three discussed above) plus a pretty good set of emerging young stars plus a good number of artists who deserve a lot more attention.

More later on the brutal lessons learned in dealing with 100 creative minds and an iron clad deadline. Congratulations to all the 100 folks below, and my apologies to the 1,000 others who deserve to be in this volume. I say "this volume" because the good news is that I have been retained to deliver a second, and possibly a third volume.

Ken Ashton
Joseph Barbaccia
m. gert barkovic
Holly Bass
John Blee
Margaret Boozer
Adam Bradley
Scott G. Brooks
Lisa Montag Brotman
iona rozeal brown
Wayne Edson Bryan
Renee Butler
Judy Byron
Colby Caldwell
Rafael J. Cañizares-Yunez
Chan Chao
Zoe Charlton
William Christenberry
Manon Cleary
Mary Coble
Danny Conant
Kathryn Cornelius
Rosemary Feit Covey
Jeffry Cudlin
Richard Dana
Adam de Boer
Rosetta DeBerardinis
David D’Orio
John Dreyfuss
William Dunlap
Mary Early
Victor Ekpuk
Dana Ellyn
Fred Folsom
Helen Frederick
Rik Freeman
Chawky Frenn
Victoria F. Gaitán
Carol Brown Goldberg
Janis Goodman
Pat Goslee
Muriel Hasbun
Linda Hesh
Jason Horowitz
James Huckenpahler
Melissa Ichiuji
Martha Jackson Jarvis
Michael Janis
Judy Jashinsky
Mark Jenkins
Margarida Kendall Hull
Craig Kraft
Sidney Lawrence
Amy Lin
Barbara Liotta
Malik Lloyd
Laurel Lukaszewski
Maxwell MacKenzie
Akemi Maegawa
James W. Mahoney
Isabel Manalo
Percy Martin
Carolina Mayorga
J.J. McCracken
Donna McCullough
Patrick McDonough
Alexa Meade
Linn Meyers
Maggie Michael
A.B. Miner
Brandon Morse
Lida Moser
Cory Oberndorfer
Byron Peck
Jefferson Pinder
Michael B. Platt
Susana Raab
W.C. Richardson
Marie Ringwald
Nate Rogers
Robin Rose
Erik Sandberg
Matt Sesow
Foom V. Sham
Joe Shannon
Jeff Spaulding
Molly Springfield
Dan Steinhilber
Lou Stovall
Tim Tate
Lisa Marie Thalhammer
Erwin Timmers
Ben Tolman
Kelly Towles
Novie Trump
Frank Warren
Joe White
John Winslow
Colin Winterbottom
Andrew Wodzianski

Friday, July 09, 2010

Jessica Picks Adam

Who is this guy who was born Adam Griffiths but goes by Adam Dwight? He doesn't cotton to artistic branding, so his nom d'art isn't much of a concern. He'll likely adopt a new alias soon, so don't get attached to this one.
Jessica Dawson scores another goal in picking Adam Griffiths for the Real Art D.C. series she's doing for the WaPo and it's a brilliant pick. Check out the article here.

100 Washington Artists or DC artists?

Tomorrow I will release the list of the 100 DMV artists whom I have selected and handpicked for the art book "100 Washington Artists" that I am about to finish in a day or two. It will be released next Spring by Schiffer Books.

Question for the masses: Should the title be "100 Washington Artists" or "100 Washington, DC Artists" or "100 Washington, DC Area Artists"?

I vote for "100 Washington Artists." Screw the "other" Washington [state].


Tau Delta Phi-Delta Gamma Theta Nix Flag

An artwork involving an American flag was abruptly rejected this week from a benefit show at Gallery House, a collective exhibition space in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. The work, by the artist known as Clark Clark, was a flag printed with the word "Evolve" in large block letters. Titled "Evolve America," it was intended for the gallery's forthcoming show, "Reclaiming Space," in which pieces will be raffled off to benefit the environmental volunteer organization Green Edge Collaborative.

On July 2, Mr. Clark said, he installed the piece with the help of fellow artist Jonathan Levy, who serves as the director of Gallery House. Said Mr. Clark: "He saw it when I brought it. He complimented it."

But on July 4, Mr. Levy called Mr. Clark to inform him that "Evolve America" had to be removed and replaced. Mr. Clark says Mr. Levy bowed to legal pressure from the owner of the building, but Mr. Levy says the decision was his—though it was informed by a collaborative discussion. According to property records, the building owner is the Tau Delta Phi-Delta Gamma Theta Alumni Association, an organization for alumni of a Pratt Institute fraternity. Neither the national chapter of Tau Delta Phi nor the Pratt Alumni office could be reached for comment.
Read the WSJ story by Pia Catton here.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Arts on N Street

An exciting new outdoor arts market brought to you by the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.

They are looking for DC artists to help activate the Shaw neighborhood for two weekends in August (7th & 8th and 14th & 15th). They are thus looking for artists and crafters based in DC to sell their works and wares. Looking for 22 vendors for each day (it is not required to do all four days. They are happy to let people chose their level of participation). Space is FREE.

In addition to the craft fair, there will be an affordable art fair called Paper Pushers where they are looking for artists to sell original works on paper (size restrictions do apply- no bigger than 20" in any one dimension and nothing priced above $200) where people can buy the artwork right there and go. Artists will receive full sale price of artwork less any processing fees that may occur.

They are also looking for people who would be interested in leading workshops with kids- live painting, decorating your own skate deck, bike repair, juggling, dj-ing… this would also be a paid position.

Other ideas are forming and their ears are open! If you have something you're itching to try out, don't hold back- let Beth Baldwin know! If you have an idea or would like to apply, please contact Beth Baldwin at to participate.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Trawick Prize Finalists

Eleven artists have been selected as finalists for the eighth annual Trawick Prize: Bethesda Contemporary Art Awards, easily the DMV's premier arts award.

The work of the finalists will be on display from September 1 – 25, 2010 in downtown Bethesda at 4728 Hampden Lane.

The prize winners will be announced on Wednesday, September 1st at a special press event at the space. The Best in Show winner will be awarded $10,000; second place will be honored with $2,000 and third place will be awarded $1,000. A “Young Artist” whose birth date is after April 9, 1980 will also be awarded $1,000.

The artists selected as finalists are:

Barbara Bernstein, Amherst, VA
Milana Braslavsky, Reisterstown, MD
Ellen Burchenal, Baltimore, MD
Anne Chan, Silver Spring, MD
Kathryn Cornelius, Washington, D.C.
Adam Davies, Washington, D.C.
Bernhard Hildebrandt, Baltimore, MD
Magnolia Laurie, Baltimore, MD
Sara Pomerance, Washington, D.C.
Ding Ren, Washington, D.C.
Dan Steinhilber, Washington, D.C.

A public reception will be held on Friday, September 10, 2010 from 6-9pm in conjunction with the Bethesda Art Walk. The Gallery hours are Wednesday - Saturday from 12-6pm.

Entries were juried by Harry Cooper, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.; Robert Haywood, Deputy Director, Contemporary Museum in Baltimore, MD and Emily Smith, Curatorial Fellow in Modern and Contemporary Art, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

Established by my good friend Carol Trawick in 2003, The Trawick Prize honors the work of local artists and establishes a foundation for a solid arts community in downtown Bethesda. Founder Carol Trawick has served as a community activist for more than 25 years in downtown Bethesda; including working on legislation to designate communities in Maryland as Arts & Entertainment Districts. She is past Chair of the Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District, past Chair of the Bethesda Urban Partnership, current Chair of Strathmore, and Founder of The Jim and Carol Trawick Foundation and the Bethesda Painting Awards.

The Trawick Prize is one of the first regional competitions and largest prizes to annually honor visual artists. To date, The Trawick Prize has awarded over $98,000 in prize monies and has exhibited the work of 83 regional artists. Best in Show recipients include: Richard Clever, Baltimore MD (2003); David Page, Baltimore, MD (2004); Jiha Moon, Annandale, VA (2005); James Rieck, Baltimore, MD (2006); Jo Smail, Baltimore, MD (2007); Maggie Michael, Washington, D.C. (2008); and Rene Trevino, Baltimore, MD (2009).

Who will win this year? It depends who is the real HMFIC out of the three judges. Five will get you ten that Steinhilber is being pushed by Cooper, Burchenal or Hildebrandt by Haywood, and Bernstein by Smith. Since Bernstein is the only VA artist in the mix, I suspect that Smith was the quiet one in the junta of jurors, and since 6 of the 11 artists are DMV, that Cooper was the lead general of the junta.

So, since Steinhilber has been a finalist before, and since I suspect that Cooper is the arm twister in the group, I bet that Dan will be the winner of the 2010 Trawick Prize. If he wins it will be well-deserved and bring the prize to one of the DMV's local art stars.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Heard on Univision

Earlier today, towards the end of the World Cup game between Holland and Uruguay, as it seemed certain that the last Latin American team in the running was about to be eliminated (they almost tied it in the last few seconds), the commentators had a really interesting discussion in Spanish.

They were wondering if they should root for Spain in tomorrow's game between La Furia (Spain) and Germany. One of the commentators was making the case that they should root for Spain, simply based on the commonality of language. One of the two other commentators, who was a former player himself, was against that, claiming that the Spaniards were very racist and discriminated against South Americans, so why should they (all three commentators were apparently South American), root for Spain?

He expanded on that point by giving as evidence the fact that when he played for several years in the Spanish soccer leagues (which means he must have been very good, as they are the highest paid ones in Europe), he was constantly under the pressure of discrimination from the Spanish teams.

I found this very interesting, and thought to myself how comments like this, say on ESPN, would cause a maelstrom of controversy in this nation.

Update: The commentator who made the comment was José Luis Chilavert, a former goalkeeper from Paraguay, and considered one of the the 10 best goalies in soccer history; and Univision's "futbol" forums are buzzing with comments about his comments.

City Gallery First Annual Regional Juried Competition

Time is running out to submit for the First Annual City Gallery Regional Juried Competition. The show will be judged by Washington artist and gallerist and my good amigo, Jack Rasmussen. Rasmussen is currently Director and Curator of the American University Museum.

Accepted work will be exhibited at City Gallery located in the heart of the Atlas Arts District from August 7-28. There will be an opening reception on August7 from 6-9pm.

To download a complete prospectus and entry form go to or email

All entries must be postmarked by midnight July 12.

Fridaphiles of the world: Unite!

Check out Google today to see how the celebrate Frida Kahlo's birthday today. Below is a huge Frida Kahlo collage that I did in art school in the 80s.

Frida Kahlo by Campello

Free: Opportunity for Artists

Deadline: July 19, 2010.

Location: Landslide Gallery, Chicago (July 23-31). The Foster Collective, a Chicago based artist collective, seeks visual and written responses to the Gulf oil disaster. All entries must be on gas station paper towels. You can draw, paint, collage or write directly on the towel. Or, you can glue/tape artwork to the towel. Paper towels can be any color or texture. They are usually kept in the same container as the windshield squeegee. Requirements: -Leave 1" margin at the top for hanging. -Please submit the whole paper towel. Do not cut or add to the dimensions, which are typically 9 1/8 x 10 1/8 inches. -Write your name, email address, and location on the back. If you want your piece returned, include SASE. We are currently exploring venues for future exhibitions in other cities. NO FEE... let me say that again: NO FEE!

Send to:

The Foster Collective
C/O A. Watters
2531 N Talman, 1E
Chicago 60647

More info:

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Happy 4th!

American flag by Jasper Johns
American Flag by Jasper Johns

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Elise as Cameron

Elise Campello
Is it me?, or is my daughter Elise, in her latest publicity shots looking like a young version of fellow Cuban-American actress Cameron Diaz? (if Cameron Diaz was in a zombie movie).

Friday, July 02, 2010

Saatchi donates 200 artworks, gallery to UK

"Art collector Charles Saatchi has a gift for Britain. It includes Tracy Emin's messy bed, Grayson Perry's explicit pottery and a room full of engine oil.

The advertising tycoon, whose patronage made household names of artists like Emin and Damien Hirst, announced Thursday he is donating his London gallery and 200 works in its collection to the nation as a new public art museum.

The gallery said the works, valued at more than 25 million pounds ($37 million), will be given to the government. The 70,000-square foot (6,500-square meter) Saatchi Gallery will be renamed the Museum of Contemporary Art, London."
Read the whole story here.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

I've had it

BP Oil Spill cartoon

This has nothing to do with art, but I've had it.

I've had it with the incompetence of this government and BP in dealing with the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. I've had it with BP and the US Government and their excuses. I don't want to hear any more excuses as to why we have over 1,000 oil skimming ships in this country and they're everywhere but the Gulf. I don't want to hear any more excuses as to why we didn't accept foreign help to clean up the Gulf until a few days ago. I don't want to know why the world's largest oil skimmer is just getting there and then heading to a port, rather than getting to work. I don't want to know why the Navy submarine rescue teams haven't been employed to help with underwater operations.

The United States government has either the most inept set of bureaucrats handling the second worst ecological oil disaster in history (so far), or the President of the United States either doesn't get it, care, or is being told and advised a bunch of bullshit.

This is a million fucking times worse than Katrina and a lot of bureaucrats don't get it, the mainstream press doesn't get it (where the fury?), even the environmental experts and nature lovers don't get it (otherwise they'd be picketing outside the White House) and the President better fucking get it soon or I fear for the health of this entire planet.