Saturday, June 13, 2015

The curious case of artist Rachel Dolezal

If by now you don't know who Rachel Dolezal is, and what her immense deception was, then you just got on the Internets for the first time ever a few minutes ago and came to this website on your first click ever.

In summary, Rachel Dolezal is a white female artist and professor, whom for the last few years has deceived people into believing that she was African-American, or as she prefers to be called: black.

She's not, her parents and adopted brothers (who are black) have "outed" her, and by now pretty much the entire planet knows this. There are many hypothesis already submitted to make your head spin as to why this person did this, and although this charade leaves a distasteful taste in my mind, I'm trying really hard not to judge this lady for this action. The Twitter world is also having a lot of fun with her, and there are a lot of funny memes floating around as well. That's a photo of her as a young girl in Montana.

She has plenty of other detractors which are also vectors into forming an opinion about Dolezal, and one thing emerges clear: she can fabricate a tall tale.

In an interview with The Easterner, the newspaper for Eastern Washington University, Dolezal said that she was born in a “Montana teepee.” She added that her family “hunted their food with bows and arrows.” 

She has also said that as a child, she and her parents lived in Colorado and South Africa. Her parents say all of that is false and that Dolezal never lived in either place.

She has stated that while living in South Africa (which she never did) with her parents, they beat her with a baboon whip, whatever that is; punishing her and her siblings by "skin complexion." 

As BuzzFeed reports, according to her father, her “oldest son Izaiah,” is actually her adopted brother; her parents have adopted four black children.

In another issue of The Easterner, Dolezal reportedly told a reporter that the man who raised her with her mother is her stepfather. Her parents have denied that.

In January, a photo of Dolezal and a black man appeared on the Spokane NAACP's Facebook page, and the man was identified as Dolezal's father. A similar photo then appeared in her personal Facebook account where she identified the man as her "Dad." Subsequently the man has been identified as Albert Wilkerson - a black man from North Idaho who had volunteered at the Human Rights Education Institute in the past when Dolezal was in charge of that organization's educational programs.

In one of her classes, she allegedly asked for a Hispanic student to volunteer for class questions. When a white Hispanic student raised her hand, Dolezal allegedly told the student that she "didn't look Hispanic" and asked for another volunteer. That takes "cojones!"

She has a local DMV connection:  She went to Howard University for her Master’s Degree in Fine Arts, where she also taught undergraduate art students, and was around the DMV until around 2005. As as far as I can figure out, the switch to "black" happened around the time that she headed out West, and then, according to Buzzfeed, she reportedly told her adoptive brother (who is black) not to “blow her cover”, as that's where apparently she started "passing as black."

In the The Eastener interview we learn that:
She met her now ex-husband and afterward moved to Washington D.C. in 1999 where they married and where Dolezal furthered her education in the fine arts at Howard University, graduating with a master’s degree.
“I’m a creator, and so whether that’s painting, whether that’s creating organizationally or creating curriculum, whatever, I like to create things,” she said.
During her time at Howard, her paintings sold quite well in convention centers around the nation, the highest for around $10,000
She met her now ex-husband and afterward moved to Washington D.C. in 1999 where they married and where Doležal furthered her education in the fine arts at Howard University, graduating with a master’s degree.
“I’m a creator, and so whether that’s painting, whether that’s creating organizationally or creating curriculum, whatever, I like to create things,” she said.
During her time at Howard, her paintings sold quite well in convention centers around the nation, the highest for around $10,000.
- See more at:
She met her now ex-husband and afterward moved to Washington D.C. in 1999 where they married and where Doležal furthered her education in the fine arts at Howard University, graduating with a master’s degree.
“I’m a creator, and so whether that’s painting, whether that’s creating organizationally or creating curriculum, whatever, I like to create things,” she said.
During her time at Howard, her paintings sold quite well in convention centers around the nation, the highest for around $10,000.
- See more at:
Dolezal is thus a trained, apparently widely exhibited artist, and is/was an Art Instructor at North Idaho College, and an Adjunct Professor of African American Culture at Eastern Washington University, . You can see her artwork here.

Let me be the first one to say that I have no knowledge of any "art circuit" where artists or galleries sell artwork in convention centers, unless Dolezal is talking about art fairs. But let's not dwell on that too long, maybe there is an art circuit, outside of my radar (rather unlikely) and NOT art fairs, where artists sell their work in "convention centers." But even art fairs where in their infancy stage in 1999!

But let's believe her for a minute, and this is getting harder by the second the more we learn about this person. If Rachel Dolezal, as a student at Howard, was selling artwork for as high as $10,000 in 1999, she was not only the top priced student at Howard ever, but also the top priced student in the DMV ever, and at the very top of the artist food chain in the DMV, right along with Sam Gilliam in 1999.

But I had never heard of her until her deceit was exposed a few days ago... in the last few years I've mentored two art students from Howard, and I suspect  that they've never heard of her either... someone popping paintings for up to $10K in 1999 in DC would have been a legend in her school, around the art crowd in the DMV, and in the radar of every art dealer in the city.

And thus, I don't believe Dolezal on this giant art lie either.

Another thing bugs me; there's an impressive level of technical skill in this 2011 Dolezal painting in the way that the paint is handled, the treatment of the light and the wood surfaces... (Update: see for a new theory on how some of these very realistic paintings may have been done):

"Recognition" by Rachel Dolezal
Acrylic on Elkhide"
60"x36" c. 2011
That is simply and completely missing from this painting below, which is done in an exceedingly amateurish fashion; almost as if it is the work of another artist:

"Utterance" by Rachel Dolezal
Acrylic on Strips of Elkhide
72"x40" c. 2011
The manner in which the perspective of the figure, the treatment of the hands, and the disaster that is the manner in which the white wood and white bricks have been handled, show a much less skilled artist. This is white straight off the tube with a little black added to make a colorless gray in order to separate the wood slats and bricks and add shadows. The skin tones on the man are also straight out of the tube amateur time.

Both paintings were apparently done in 2011... see where I'm going?

In 2009 she created the below gorgeous piece (Update: see for a new theory on how some of these very realistic paintings may have been done)::

"Visitation" by Rachel Dolezal
86"x33" c.2009
Acrylic on Stitched and Sculpted Elkhide
She describes it as:
This one-of-a-kind original features seven different elkhides sewn together with invisible nylon thread, then soaked and sculpted for a free-form piece that defies the need for a frame. The warm tones are rendered in a classical style with acrylic paint and finished with a satin varnish, for ease of maintenance and display.
She adds in her website that the piece is/was "On Tour in Maryland."

But also in 2009 she paints this rather pedestrian work:

Oil on Canvas by Rachel Dolezal
18"x24" c. 2009
She tells us that this painting features the "artist's younger sister while living in South Africa." It is/was on sale for $1,000 while "On Tour in Mississippi."

Are you starting to see the difference in the way in which the technical skill shows up in some work and it is non-existent in others? That's a head scratcher... and by the way, let's not forget that she never lived in South Africa... I'll let someone else find out if she has an adopted sister named Sabrina, but from what I can tell, she has no sister named Sabrina; The Dolezals’ adopted children are apparently named: Ezra, Izaiah, Esther and Zach.

Two years earlier she was painting like this:

"Untitled" by Rachel Dolezal
Oilstick drawing on sculpted Elkhide, with sculpted Elkhide frame
32"x40"c. 2007

Those of you who have read my art criticism over the years know that I encourage artists to explore and visit all forms of styles and subjects and at all costs avoid the Mondrian trap (getting stuck in one style for the rest of your life), but instead follow the Picasso model and re-invent yourself every few years, or the Richter model and explore several avenues at once.

To some extent Dolezal does that, and most of the collages on her website are quite good, bordering on spectacular.

But there's something that bothers me about the also spectacular drift in technical skill in the 2009 - 2011 examples that I have shown above (Update: see for a new theory on how some of these very realistic paintings may have been done).

And given Dolezal's now confirmed string of lies, fabrications and abuses, it plants a question in my head as to the authenticity of some of these works.

And after exhaustive search of the Internets for a digital footprint of this artist's works since 1999, I have come up with pretty much zip until 2007, when one image shows up in someone else's blog. Some of her work has already popped up in EBay from earlier periods, and signed by her married name of Rachel Moore, which is a much more common name and yet, plenty of other female artists' works by that name show up in search, but none that I can associate to Dolezal, but at least seems to prove that in 2005 she was "selling" work in the DMV directly, as verified by one of the owners of the pieces being offered on EBay.

For such a financially successful artist, selling works for as high as $10K while a student, the fact that (until recently) almost zero about her art exists on the Interwebs, is both odd and telling.

Update: Part II here and Part III here.

Update 2: After seeing more of Dolezal's work from when she was an active artist in the DMV, it is clear that she's quite a talented painter. It seems to me that she has the technical skill to create work like "Recognition" and "Visitation." This makes the other rather amateurish works displayed above even more puzzling.

Update  3: After reviewing the evidence submitted to me by Dave Castillo, it is clear that Rachel Dolezal is the artist that painted "Sabrina", and "Utterance" and the last two images in this post. The other, more skilled works, now appear to be photo transfers that have been treated with an acrylic medium to make them look like an original painting. See the evidence here.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Call for Muralists

Deadline: July 31, 2015

The Bethesda Urban Partnership and Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District announce “Paint the Town,” an initiative to promote more public art murals in downtown Bethesda.  The first public art mural project organized by the Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District is the Capital Crescent Trail Retaining Wall located on Arlington Road, by Bradley Boulevard and across from the Safeway grocery store.

The Capital Crescent Trail Retaining Wall is more than 400 feet in length, and artists are encouraged to focus their proposed mural on the 150-200 feet in the middle of the wall.  The wall is approximately 10 feet in height.
$15,000 will be provided to the artist to pay for supplies and the artist’s time. The deadline to apply is Friday, July 31, 2015. Interested artists should visit for more information and the application for consideration.  The project must be completed by Oct. 15, 2015.
The selected artist is required to use a paint specific to outdoor and concrete use such as Keim, SherKryl, NovaColor by Artex or Golden Artist Colors, etc.  Artist are encouraged, but not required, to consider the Capital Crescent Trail and nature aspects for the area near the wall and may want their artwork to reflect natural elements, trees or other plantings in designing their rendering. Artists must be 18 years of age or older and residents of Washington, D.C., Maryland or Virginia.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Throwback Thursday

"Woman in Deep Thought"  (Robin Thinking About Leaving Him)  Hand-colored stone lithograph, edition of 5  c. 1981 by F. Lennox Campello  4.5x2.5 inches framed to 7x5 inches
"Woman in Deep Thought"
(Robin Thinking About Leaving Him)
Hand-colored stone lithograph, edition of 5
c. 1981 by F. Lennox Campello
4.5x2.5 inches framed to 7x5 inches

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Call for Artists

Who:  505 North Gallery
Where:  505 N. Market St.  Frederick, MD 21701
Deadline Extended: June 12, 2015
Reception Date: Saturday, July 4th, 2015

FREE Jury Review via email.  

Submit up to 6 2D &/or 3D artworks for  consideration. 

Images need to be 150 dpi, size 500-800 pixels for each piece.  

For 2D artworks, submit one high quality jpg per work, (300dpi, 7-10 inches.) 

When submitting 3D artworks, please submit 2-3 high quality jpgs per work.   (Please note that not all submitted pieces may be accepted.


"Blue Moon 2015 Entry" in the subject line. 

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

New public artwork in the DMV

A new public artwork by DMV sculptor Alan Binstock is coming to the University Town Center Gateway in Hyattsville this October, at the pedestrian plaza of the new Safeway Retail Plaza, only a block away from the Prince George's Plaza Metro Station.

The UTC development in Hyattsville is just 10 minutes away from the County Gateway Arts & Entertainment District.

Monday, June 08, 2015

Leadfoot Rubia

The NYT reported over the weekend that Presidential candidate Marco Rubio had received four traffic tickets since 1997... cough, cough...

His wife got 13! Cough, cough.... fast rubia!

For the probably car-less New Yorkers who wrote this, cough, cough... article, and their witless editor, this apparently amounted to a story worthy of precious newsprint in the NYT. However, for someone who travels to Miami as often as I do these days, and who drives around that gorgeous city, it is clear to the most casual Captain Obvious that Miami drivers are only second worst to DMV drivers.

But it seems like a local DMV paper may have busted the NYT's source or tipper for this non-story!

And also here.

And so, in the spirit of news tips, I've got a tip for the once mighty NYT: I heard that Rubio, or maybe it was his wife, once parked temporarily in a loading zone and didn't actually load or unload anything!!

Sam Steinberg: Brooklyn outsider artist

He was an outsider who flitted at the fringes of one of the country’s most elite universities, a Brooklyn-bred, Bronx-dwelling candy peddler who charmed and enthralled generations of Columbia University students with the greeting: “Hey boys, I got paintings here!” Or, “I got those Hoishey bars.” 
From the 1930s until 1982, when he died at 85, few students passed Sam Steinberg outside the student center or the Low Library steps without buying a candy bar at least once. Those who lingered a little longer also learned about Sam’s world through his Magic Marker illustrations: the stylized celebrities (Rudolph Valentino, Elvis, Richard Nixon), the surrealist animals (hoofed cats, mermaids, potato-headed dogs), the vivid whimsies (a pair of legs in Columbia gym shorts).
Read the NYT article here

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Friday, June 05, 2015

Call for proposals

The Brentwood Arts Exchange is seeking proposals from artists and curators to present exhibitions beginning summer 2016. Solo and group exhibitions are welcome, and the call is open to all artists and curators who are 18 years of age or older.

There are no restrictions on media or residency. 

The Brentwood Arts Exchange is The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission’s component of the public-private partnership Gateway Arts Center, serving as an anchor for Prince George’s County Gateway Arts District. In the five years since opening, the gallery has presented 33 on-site and 19 off-site exhibitions, featuring regionally prominent artists as well as emerging artists and students. It is a place for people of all ages to meet and learn about art, purchase locally made crafts, and explore new creative talents.

The full prospectus can be downloaded here:

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Bethesda Painting Awards prize winners

The Bethesda Arts and Entertainment District announced the top three Bethesda Painting Awards prize winners on Wednesday evening during the exhibition’s opening at Gallery B.  Bill Schmidt of Baltimore, MD was awarded “Best in Show” with $10,000; Thomas Dahlberg of Baltimore, MD was named second place and was given $2,000 and Cavan Fleming of Blacksburg, VA received third place and was awarded $1,000.
Bill Schmidt has been a finalist in the Bethesda Painting Awards three times before, in 2008, 2013 and 2014. He’s exhibited his artwork extensively in the Mid-Atlantic region. He has received numerous grants and awards including two Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Awards. In 2004 he attended the Alfred and Trafford Klots Residency Program in Rocheforten-Terre, France. Schmidt studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Skowhegan, ME before moving to Baltimore in 1969. He received a Master of Fine Art from the Hoffberger School of Painting at Maryland Institute College of Art in 1971. In 2007, he was named the Director of the Post-Baccalaureate Program at the Maryland Institute College of Art after being its Resident Artist since 1996.
 The eight artists selected as finalists are:
Thomas Dahlberg - Baltimore, MD
Cavan Fleming - Blacksburg, VA
Lillian Hoover - Baltimore, MD
Hedieh Ilchi - Rockville, MD
Boram Lee - Baltimore, MD
Danielle Mysliwiec - Takoma Park, MD
Bill Schmidt - Baltimore, MD
Elise Schweitzer - Roanoke, VA
A public opening will be held on Friday, June 12, 2015 from 6 – 9pm in conjunction with the Bethesda Art Walk. Gallery B is located at 7700 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite E in downtown Bethesda. The work of the eight finalists will be on display from June 3-27, 2015. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday from 12 – 6pm.

Entries were juried by Arnold Kemp, Chair and Associate Professor in the Department of Painting and Printmaking at Virginia Commonwealth University; John Morrell, Chair of the Department of Art and Art History and Associate Professor of Painting and Drawing at Georgetown University; and Nora Sturges, Professor of Art and head of Painting and Drawing at Towson University.
The Bethesda Painting Awards was established by Carol Trawick in 2005. Ms. Trawick has served as a community activist for more than 25 years in downtown Bethesda. She is past chair of the Bethesda Arts and Entertainment District, past chair of the Bethesda Urban Partnership, Inc. and founder of The Trawick Prize: Bethesda Contemporary Art Awards.
For more information, please visit

New SAAM Photography Curator

The Smithsonian American Art Museum has appointed John Jacob as its McEvoy Family Curator for Photography. Jacob will be responsible for research, exhibitions and acquisitions related to the museum's collection. He joins 11 curators currently on staff for contemporary art, craft and decorative art, Latino art, media art, sculpture, works on paper, folk and self-taught art and 19th- and 20th-century painting. Jacob begins work at the museum July 13.
"John Jacob brings to the Smithsonian American Art Museum a deep knowledge of the field as well as valuable experience in publishing and exhibition planning," said Virginia Mecklenburg, chief curator at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. "John will bring new energy to our photography program."
Jacob comes to the museum from the Inge Morath Foundation, where he was director and vice-president facilitating programs related to Morath and support of women photographers, and from the Magnum Foundation, where he was program director of its Legacy Program-collecting, researching and overseeing cultural projects related to the history of Magnum Photos.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

HuffPost Sux

But to anyone who has worked at the site for any period of time, as I have, it’s a little bizarre that people could be more demoralized now than at any point in the past, because the Huffington Post has always been an essentially miserable place, with a workplace culture so brutal and toxic that it would meet with approval from committed sociopaths across the land. If things are getting worse there, they have to be really, really bad.
The apparent hell of working at the Huffington Post - Details here.

Opening tomorrow in Fresno: Here Comes The Sun

Judith Peck
Here Comes the Sun
Curated by Jeannette L. Herrera
with Jeannette L. Herrera
F. Lennox Campello
Yaroslav Koporulin
and Judith Peck

Arte Américas Fresno Museum1630 Van Ness Ave
Fresno, CA
(559) 266-2623
June 4  2015  
Reception June 4th 6-8 pm
Artist talk June 5th 12-2pm

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Connersmith has a new building

From Connersmith:
Leigh Conner and Jamie Smith are delighted to announce the purchase of 1013 O Street, NW, Washington, DC as the new home for the CONNERSMITH gallery and the (e)merge art fair offices. 
The three-story building, built circa 1900, is situated in the heart of the Shaw Historic District, within two blocks of Logan Circle, Blagden Alley, and Naylor Court; within four blocks of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, and Mt. Vernon Square Metro Station; and within walking distance of many of the city’s major art museums.
“We are excited to create an ideal space where collectors and curators will experience our artists’ works. We have engaged the acclaimed HapstakDemetriou+ architecture/design team to realize our vision of blending technological innovation with the original character of the historic structure.” – Leigh Conner
It is extremely inspiring to share in the revitalization of Shaw. The cosmopolitan energy of this great DC neighborhood is the perfect environment for contemporary art. We are thrilled to deepen our investment in the nation’s capital as our international outreach continues to expand.” – Jamie Smith
Founded in 1999, in Washington, DC, CONNERSMITH launches groundbreaking exhibitions of works in diverse media. The gallery maintains long-term representation of internationally influential artists who are based in DC, the US, and abroad and works with important Collector and Artist Estates.

Anderson and Goldbug

"Anderson with Goldbug on his shoulder"
Chalk on Driveway, c. 2015
by Anderson & F. Lennox Campello

Monday, June 01, 2015

200,000 miles

So far, almost every car that I've owned has gone past 200,000 miles and now my 2005 Chrysler Town & Country workhorse of a van joins the club!


Frida with Fridas

New piece in my series of works that marry traditional drawing or painting with embedded electronic components... in this case "Frida with Fridas" is a drawing of Kahlo based on an appropriated image of the iconic artist while on the wall behind her, the electronic component rotates through images of both her work as well as images of Kahlo.

Frida with Fridas  Charcoal, Conte and Embedded Electronics on Paper  24x18 inches, c. 2015  - by F. Lennox Campello
Frida with Fridas
Charcoal, Conte and Embedded Electronics on Paper
24x18 inches, c. 2015

"Frida with Fridas" Charcoal, Conte and Embedded Electronics on Paper  24x18 inches, c. 2015 - By F. Lennox Campello

"Frida with Fridas" Charcoal, Conte and Embedded Electronics on Paper  24x18 inches, c. 2015 - By F. Lennox Campello

"Frida with Fridas" Charcoal, Conte and Embedded Electronics on Paper  24x18 inches, c. 2015 - By F. Lennox Campello

"Frida with Fridas" Charcoal, Conte and Embedded Electronics on Paper  24x18 inches, c. 2015 - By F. Lennox Campello

"Frida with Fridas" Charcoal, Conte and Embedded Electronics on Paper  24x18 inches, c. 2015 - By F. Lennox Campello

"Frida with Fridas" Charcoal, Conte and Embedded Electronics on Paper  24x18 inches, c. 2015 - By F. Lennox Campello

"Frida with Fridas" Charcoal, Conte and Embedded Electronics on Paper  24x18 inches, c. 2015 - By F. Lennox Campello

"Frida with Fridas" Charcoal, Conte and Embedded Electronics on Paper  24x18 inches, c. 2015 - By F. Lennox Campello

"Frida with Fridas" Charcoal, Conte and Embedded Electronics on Paper  24x18 inches, c. 2015 - By F. Lennox Campello

"Frida with Fridas" Charcoal, Conte and Embedded Electronics on Paper  24x18 inches, c. 2015 - By F. Lennox Campello

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Meco's Star Wars Galactic Funk

The shoulder is returning slowly; first day back in studio in 2014!  

Finished a piece that I had started prior to the accident and now framing it and hoping that it can head out to the Texas Contemporary Art Fair.

Listening to Meco's Star Wars Galactic Funk on the turntable...

Images of new work tomorrow...

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Fellowship program

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Fellowship program is a vital source of funding for the visual arts and art history in Virginia.  VMFA is committed to supporting professional artists and art students who demonstrate exceptional creative ability in their chosen discipline and, as such has awarded more than $5 million to Virginia’s artists since the program’s creation. This year marks the 75th anniversary of VMFA’s Fellowship Program.  A dedicated microsite and documentary to the 75-year history of the program is at
The VMFA Fellowship program was established in 1940 through a generous contribution made by the late John Lee Pratt of Fredericksburg, Virginia.  Offered through VMFA Statewide, Fellowships are still largely funded through the Pratt endowment, and supplemented by annual gifts from the Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation and the J. Warwick McClintic, Jr. Scholarship Fund.  The Fellowship program has a long and established history of supporting Virginia’s artistic talent and has helped to further the careers and studies of many distinguished individuals, including recent recipients Morgan Herrin of Richmond, Kelly Queener of Henrico, and Will May of Charlottesville.
VMFA offers $8,000 awards to professional artists, $6,000 awards to graduate students, and $4,000 awards to undergraduate students.  Applicants may apply in the disciplines of Crafts, Drawing, Film/Video, Mixed Media, New/Emerging Media, Painting, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture, and Art History (graduate students only).  All applicants must be legal residents of Virginia and student applicants must be enrolled full-time in degree-seeking programs. Applicants’ works are reviewed anonymously by distinguished jurors and awards are made based on artistic merit.  The deadline for Fellowship applications is Friday, November 6, 2015.
I encourage interested students and professional artists to apply. Full eligibility criteria, can be found at  Visit this page during the summer of 2015 for information on how to apply for a 2016-17 VMFA Fellowship.

Eve returns

A DMV collector saw this piece at the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts in their super-popular Alchemical Vessels Exhibition and Benefit.

But someone else bought it before her turn came to pick a piece... undeterred, she found me and asked for a commission.

And thus everyone wins: She gets an original Campello, the Joan Hisaoka Arts Gallery gets another sale to raise funds for their very worthy cause, and I gain another collector.

Eve Running Away from Eden  Charcoal on Broken Clay  2015 by F. Lennox Campello
Eve Running Away from Eden
Charcoal on Broken Clay
2015 by F. Lennox Campello

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The curious case of Senator Udall, President Obama, gay marriage, Cuba and the Pope

President Obama really wants a "deal" with the Castro brothers... it is beginning to seem as "no matter what." In supporting his zeal, he often invokes the Pope's newly-flowering relationship with the brutal Castro brothers.

What it is not often discussed is that the "real" behind-the scenes force in "brokering" our President's's one-sided deal, which pretty much just benefits Cuban dictator Raul Castro, was Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican's Secretary of State and thus the number two man at the Vatican.

The same Cardinal Parolin who yesterday, in response to Ireland's historic national support for marriage equality, referred to the referendum as "a defeat for humanity."

As CHC puts it:
The Vatican welcomes and joyfully embraces brutal dictators, who have murdered, tortured and imprisoned countless innocent people -- regardless of whether they repent for their crimes.  
But peaceful, loving couples -- who have harmed no one -- are "a defeat for humanity"?
And meanwhile... what's going on in Cuba?

As we noted recently, the Havana Biennial is being marred by arrests of Cuban artists in the capital, and mass arrests of dissidents in the provinces; yesterday alone over 200 dissidents were arrested throughout the island.
And yesterday more dissidents from Cuba's Anti-Totalitarian Front were arrested as they distributed pamphlets with the images of political prisoners.  Among those arrested were Luis Dominguez, Hugo Damian Prieto, Andres Sabelino, Lazaro Mendoza and Eugenio Hernandez. 
Also arrested today was independent journalist, Yuri Valle Roca.  And political prisoner Yuset Perez Moreira, a youth activist for The Emilia Project, is on the 27th day of a hunger strike protesting his unjust imprisonment.
Meanwhile, the Congressional delegation led by U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) continued the disturbing trend -- enhanced by the Obama-Castro deal -- of ignoring Cuban democracy leaders and keeping mum on all the mass arrests - including the re-arrests of several political prisoners who had been freed as part of the original Obama-Cuba deal!

Senator Udall!!!!!!!!!!!
We, Ladies in White, believe that these relations and conversations between the Cuban and U.S. governments will not be of any benefit to the Cuban people. And even less will it empower civil society, as President Barack Obama says. If no conditions are placed on the Cuban government, it will be more of the same or worse. We don't see the U.S. government, the European Union, or Pope Francis, pronouncing themselves as regards the violations of human rights on the island, which is giving the Cuban government a green light to continue violating them. 
-- Berta Soler, leader of The Ladies in White democracy movement, during the Oslo Freedom Forum, EFE, 5/26/15

Assholes of the Week: Madison School Board

Here in the DMV we are all active participants in the national debate over the Washington Redskins name and logo - in the past we've offered an alternative to the issue: Rename the team The Washington Redskin Potatoes, a suggestion which was promptly stolen by PETA and submitted as their own.

The issue of potentially racially or ethnic sensitive/offensive logos, names, etc. has many side and multiple vectors affecting it, but the slice of the issue dealing with our Native American fellow citizens is a particularly salient one, with multiple opinions (even amongst the Native American tribes themselves) and so it is understandable why the Madison, Wisconsin School Board attempted to address the issue by banning student attire with Native American mascots, logos, etc.

But my issue with that attempt is that they've gone waaaaaaay too far in their wording of the ban, far over reaching waaaaay past Native American related imagery and into areas that technically (and I know that I am a pedantic Virgo, but you'd think that these knuckleheads would read the wording of the ban a little carefully) cover a whole lot of other logos and mascots beyond the first Americans.
The amended rule states that students may not "wear clothing with words, pictures, or caricatures based on negative stereotypes of a specific gender, ethnicity, nationality, religion, sexual orientation or disability.
I could pick this apart starting with who decides what is a "negative stereotype," but I suspect that just like pornography, it is hard to define but we'd all know when we see it.

But do we as a whole "we" - hopefully all of us defenders of the first amendment - agree on what's offensive? There are certainly a lot of logos out there that to many eyes seem offensive... but...

Is the Fighting Irish logo a negative representation of people of Irish ancestry? Five gets you ten that you can find some Irish who think so. In fact, check out these responses... And Pulanski H.S. in Wisconsin: You're in trouble too in your... cough, cough... adaptation of the Notre Dame logo.

Is the vintage 1960s Pittsburgh Pirates (or the 1997) logo a negative representation of people with a handicap?

The Chicago Blackhawks logo doesn't seem to cause any issue, but now it is also banned in Madison.

Can you wear a retro Chiquita Banana logo? Only if someone in the Madison School Board decides that it is not offensive to either Carmen Miranda or bananas... cough, cough...

And if you wear anything with the Two Rivers High School athletic logo, (or Gilman H.S.) also in Wisconsin, you may get in deep kimchee, as it may be deemed offensive to handicapped people... I'm just sayin'...

And none of these cut the mustard.

I hope that it is clear that I'm having a bit of fun with a somewhat sensitive issue; however, my issue with the issue, cough, cough, is the heavy-handed way in which it has been handled by the Madison, Wisconsin School Board.

This is all really about free speech, and if the board bans images speech that is offensive to some, where does it stop? The wearing of attire with American flags is already banned in some places... Now Madison has added a huge and quite possibly unenforceable set of new imagery to the banned list.

Makes my head hurt!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Artist Protection Fund

Last Tuesday night, at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, The Institute of International Education and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation announced the exciting launch of a pilot program to save the lives and work of artists who face persecution in their home countries. The  Artist Protection Fund (APF), a three-year pilot program supported by a $2.79 million grant from The Mellon Foundation, will make life-saving fellowship grants to threatened artists from any field of artistic endeavor, and place them at host universities and arts centers in countries where they can safely continue their work.
In many parts of the world, artists suffer harassment, imprisonment, violence, and even death as a direct consequence of their unique role and power to advance free and creative expression. With participation of many arts organizations and partners from around the world, IIE has taken action to develop the Artist Protection Fund to fill a critical unmet need and provide relief and safe haven to artists on a large scale.
IIE is calling on arts organizations around the world to join in this important effort over the next three years. The launch of the Artist Protection Fund makes an excellent story opportunity for publications covering the arts industry and sends an important message to the many audiences of the arts community about how to become involved as a host or nominate a threatened artist in the world.
Please see full press release here.
My first nominee for this program is Cuban artist Tania Bruguera, and I call for the APF to award a grant to this jailed artist and to join our voice in demanding the release of Bruguera from the Castro Brothers' prison island.

34zero9 Micro-Gallery Grand Opening

The tiny art gallery is a big deal.
In response to the closing of Artisphere, artist and creative activist Barbara Januszkiewicz set out to uncover new opportunities for gallery space in Arlington. The small store-front common space that she shares with studio mates John M.Adams, Matthew Grimes and Paula Bryan  is now the newest gallery in the metro area.
With a bit of ingenuity they have been able to turn the pocket-sized space into a micro gallery.  
At roughly 60 square feet, this re-imagined space would be easy to miss if not for the exuberant art visible from the window. It has all the required components of a gallery: white walls, high ceilings, an expansive window -- along with a cleverly hidden water cooler  and carefully disguised electrical boxes.
What type of impact can a micro-sized gallery deliver?
"Any visibility and awareness for the visual arts can fuel innovative ways to think creatively and abstractly," says Januszkiewicz. She stresses that this is not an impermanent "Pop Up" gallery, but instead, part of a new initiative to show that art galleries are important enough to sustain permanent locations.  "In our increasingly complex world, having a space where we can have one-to-one conversations and provide creative opportunities to show and explain work is priceless," she adds. "We welcome an opportunity to foster engagement with our art."
Anyone who walks by Kansas Street to the Virginia Square Metro or to North Side Social can now view fine art from this diverse group.
The 34zero9 Micro-Gallery will be an on-going project between all the artists who have studios in the building. The 34zero9 Art Studios are between Clarendon & Virginia Square, located in a pedestrian breezeway behind a modern Arlington high-rise, a contemporary steel and glass high-rise condominium on Wilson Boulevard, ARC 3409.
Micro-Gallery opening, and open artist studios, is Saturday, May 30 from 4-7 pm. 3409 Wilson Blvd. Arlington VA 22201.
John M Adams
Paula Bryan
Barb Januszkiewicz
Special Guest Jennifer Lillis, founder of the Dotted Line Project, with her Pop-Up Art Hugs photo booth. The Dotted Line Project has been  actively connecting to the community and creatives in the metro area with art appreciation art hugs photo booths.  Ms Lillis will set up the art hugs booth outside the Micro Gallery during  this  event.
For additional information, contact Barbara Januszkiewicz at (703) 798-3645 Email

General Grievous

At the risk of being sued by the Mouse...
General Grievous  Graphite on Gessoed Masonite  Anderson Campello  10x10 inches, circa 2015
General Grievous
Graphite on Gessoed Masonite
Anderson Campello
10x10 inches, circa 2015

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Art Scam Alert!

Beware of this art scammer!

From: Sonia Justice <>
Date: Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Subject: Order Inquiry

Hi there,

Placing an order from your online gallery shouldn't be a problem, but
I still need to confirm if International order is accepted from your
Kindly get back to me with your available piece of work or website
that displays your current work only if my request is accepted.

All the best.


The curious case of Tania Bruguera, the UN and the Cuban dictatorship

As you know, DC Art News has been following the saga of well-known artist Tania Bruguera and the bloody Cuban dictatorship.

Bruguera, a New York-based Cuban artist, and easily one of the best-known artists on the planet, was temporarily arrested on December 30, 2014 for organizing a free speech performance entitled #YoTambienExijo -- pursuant to the Obama-Castro deal. She had her passport confiscated and has not been allowed to leave the island.

The Washington Post wrote about this in an editorial:
...Tania Bruguera planned a simple event for Tuesday: She would set up a microphone in Havana’s Revolution Square and invite anyone who wished to step up and talk about the country’s future. Dozens of dissidents planned to participate under the slogan “I also demand” — which might be taken as an allusion to their exclusion from the secret normalization negotiations conducted by the Obama administration and the regime of Fidel and Raúl Castro. 
That the deal announced Dec. 17 by President Obama did not include any protections for Cuba’s pro-democracy activists quickly became obvious. Security forces detained Ms. Bruguera as well as several dozen other activists. The free-speech performance never took place. “I spoke to Tania Bruguera and let her know part of her performance was done,” tweeted Yoani Sánchez, an independent journalist whose husband, Reinaldo Escobar, was one of those detained. “Censorship was revealed.” 
The incident should have been an embarrassment to Mr. Obama, who said that he decided to restore normal relations with Cuba in order to “do more to support the Cuban people and promote our values.” But the administration shrugged off the crackdown. On Wednesday, the State Department issued a statement saying it was “deeply concerned,” the same words it uses to describe human rights violations in China, Vietnam and other countries where the United States has no leverage and plans no action. Talks on the opening of embassies will go forward.

Tania Bruguera, photo by Yali Romagonza.
Courtesy of Studio Bruguera
As most of you know, the Havana Biennial is currently underway, and collectors, arts aficionados, curators, many DC-area artists, and the art cabal has descended en masse upon The Castro Brothers' Workers Paradise.

Tania Bruguera was arrested again a couple of days ago as she approached the Museum of Fine Arts to attend an exhibit for the Havana Art Biennial. No one seems to know what the charges (if any) are... but then again, this is Cuba.

Via Facebook, her sister (who lives in Spain I believe), reported that Bruguera began reading 100-hours of Hannah Arendt’s seminal book, The Origins of Totalitarianism, on May 22 - apparently that's part of her "crime."

But there's more.

In Havana, four dozen members of The Ladies in White were arrested as they attended Sunday Mass. Also arrested were many of their male supporters, including democracy leaders Antonio Rodiles, Angel Moya and independent journalist Juan Gonzalez Febles. The Cuban dictators are particularly terrified of this group of women, whose "protests" generally consist of: (dress in a white dress on Sundays, (b) attend Sunday Mass, (c) march in unison while holding flowers to the cemetery and (d) get abused, beaten and arrested on the way there; repeat next Sunday.

Band leader Gorki Aguila was grabbed by undercover police outside the museum for the simple reason that he was displaying a photo of graffiti artist Danilo Maldonado and the word “freedom.” That's a no, no in the Workers' Paradise.

Graffitist Danilo Maldonado was arrested in December for "tagging" several pigs with the names "Castro" and "Raul." The names refer to the Castro brothers(Raul and Fidel Castro), suffocaters of the poor island prison. Where Maldonado was able to find pigs in food-poor Cuba will always be a mystery. I suspected the pigs were also snatched and ended up being served later that night in the homes of the undercover police bosses.

In Santiago de Cuba, capital of the Oriente province (the original province), over 80 activists of the Cuban Patriotic Union (UNPACU) were beaten and arrested, including some who had been released under the Obama-Castro December 17th deal, namely Diango and Bianko Vargas Martin, and Ernesto Tamayo Guerra.

Dozens of others were arrested in the interior provinces, including Raul Borges, father of political prisoner Ernesto Borges, and youth activists from the Cuban Reflection Movement.

Meanwhile, the US State Department and the Obama administration march forward...
“I don’t want to sound too Pollyannaish . . . but I do think we’re closer than we have been,” the official said. “I think my [Cuban] counterparts are coming up here with a desire to get this done.” The negotiating session will be held at the State Department. 
“I wouldn’t be even remotely optimistic if I did not feel that we were making progress,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity under rules imposed by the State Department.
Unfortunately I am resigned to see our administration march forward, no matter what the Cuban dictatorship does to its abused citizens - after all the bottom line here is business.

But where is the United Nations on these issues? Where are the Cuban people's Latin American brothers and sisters? Where is Cuba's madre patria, Spain? Where's is the European Union?

Makes my head hurt.

Stay strong Tania; stay strong Ladies in White... each little "crack" in the dictators' bloody boots helps.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Campello reviewed

"Elise Campello is Sally Bowles, the free-spirited, devil-may-care character who demands herself to be oblivious to all things negative surrounding her lest she must be taken seriously.  Campello is glibly charming in the role and shows sequestered understanding of the underlying meaning to the part.  Campello sings the title song, “Cabaret,” acting the words instead of just setting them to music – giving them true meaning."
Review here:

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Campello Sangria for 100

Box of cheap white or red wine
2 liter bottle of cherry 7 up
1/4 to 1/2 bottle of cheap vodka
1 can of Goya mango juice
1/2 carton orange juice (pulp free)
1/2 cup lime juice
1/2 cup lemon juice

  • Cut one red and one green apple in cubes
  • Wash, then slice one orange and one lemon and one lime... Leave rind
  • Mix all liquids and add cut fruit
  • Taste and adjust "sweetness" to taste by adding lime juice if more tartness is desired... You can also add Triple Sec if more orangeness is desired.
Serves over 100; It tastes better if you prepare it a few hours ahead of time and let fruit sit in it.