Sunday, February 21, 2016

Fields of Inquiry

Fields of Inquiry

Mei Mei Chang 
Pat Goslee 
Kathryn McDonnell

February 27 – March 27, 2016

Opening Reception:

Sunday, February 28, 2016 
3 pm to 5 pm

The Popcorn Gallery 
(1st floor, Arcade Building) 
7300 MacArthur Blvd. 
Glen Echo, MD 20812

Gallery Hours: 
Saturdays and Sundays, 12 pm to 6 pm or by appointment

In early December Mei Mei Chang, Pat Goslee and Kathryn McDonnell began working on two donated canvases. They moved the large canvases into Kathryn's studio and using paint that was also donated they began collaborating. They had to contend with busy work schedules, the holidays, travels, snowstorms, ice storms, blizzards and the pressure of a deadline, as well as unique artistic sensibilities. Will they be able to complete the paintings in time? And which one will they choose for the exhibition Fields of Inquiry? The gallery space at the Popcorn gallery is limited and will hold just one of the paintings. So they must choose. Please join them and see this unique collaboration.

State of the Art/DC - Part 3

By now you should all be aware of the three part "State of the Art/DC" conversation events sponsored by the DC chapter of the national professional women in the arts organization ART TABLE.
In the first two events (held at the NMWA and at Long View Gallery) they gave the floor to about a dozen DC based artists/art administrators/educators/organizers/thinkers each night for about 6-7 minutes to share thoughts about what they are doing now and their thoughts about the DC art scene in five years. 
There have been significant presenters and the event has been sold out both times.  
They are currently  accepting proposals for presenters for their last event, which will be late spring/early summer. You can submit a presentation proposal to  There is a jury involved.
Just so that you can get an idea, here are the presenters from the second session:
  • Holly Bass, Artist and Director, Holly Bass 360
  • Rhea Combs, Curator of Film and Photography at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the Head of Center for African American Media Arts (CAAMA)
  • Tim Doud ( Artist and American University, Director, Studio Art) and Caitlin Teal Price (Artist and American University, Adjunct professor, Studio Art)
  • Jarvis DuBois, Director, J. Dubois Arts
  • Arthur Espinoza, Jr., Executive Director, DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities
  • Philippa Hughes, Writer/speaker/flâneur/provocateur
  • Brandon Morse, Artist and professor, University of Maryland, Dept. of Art
  • Andrea Pollan, Founder/Director, Curator’s Office
  • Tony Powell, Artist, dancer, composer, choreographer, writer
  • Victoria Reis, Co-founder, Executive & Artistic Director, Transformer Gallery
Moderator: Elizabeth Blair, Senior Producer, Arts Desk, NPR

Friday, February 19, 2016

Opportunity for Artists

Going home

Going home today! This is my hospital allegory to Frida Kahlo's "What the water gave me."

The Baltic Sea Anomaly

Baltic Sea Anomaly - Image courtesy of

Thursday, February 18, 2016

For TBT: Teen paintings

1973 painting Baracoa, Cuba by F. Lennox Campello
Memories of Baracoa, Cuba
circa 1973, 20x16 inches
House paint on cardboard by F. Lennox Campello
In the collection of Ana Olivia Cruzata, Viuda de Campello, Hialeah, Florida

Memories of Cuba
circa 1972, 16x40 inches
House paint on found board by F. Lennox Campello
In the collection of Ana Olivia Cruzata, Viuda de Campello, Hialeah, Florida

For TBT: The fish drawings

As I've noted before, between 1992-1993 I was lucky to have lived in wondrous Sonoma, California, the real queen city of the wine country.

While I lived there, I used to drive down to Monterey and do an art fair there... one year, a local seafood restaurant owner who collected my work proposed to me to do a few drawings of some of the fish that he served in exchange for a lifetime free food at the restaurant (which had been on the Monterey Fisherman's Wharf for years, and it's still there to this day.

I agreed, and later on I drove down again, checked in, ate lunch and then went into the kitchen area, where they brought out the fish, nicely laid on a bed of ice.

I used a Sumi brush and ink to capture the images of the fish that they served... some of them are shown below:

Fish - Sumi Brush on paper - 1993 F. Lennox Campello

Seattle Salmon - Sumi Brush on paper - 1993 F. Lennox Campello

Fish - Sumi Brush on paper - 1993 F. Lennox Campello

Fish - Sumi Brush on paper - 1993 F. Lennox Campello

Fish - Sumi Brush on paper - 1993 F. Lennox Campello

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Trawick Prize

The application for The Trawick Prize: Bethesda Contemporary Art Awards is now available. They are accepting entries until Friday, April 8. The application and additional details can be found at

The prizes are as follows:

Best in Show - $10,000

Second Place - $2,000

Third Place - $1,000

Young Artist (must be born after April 8, 1986 to enter this category) - $1,000

The jury will select up to 10 finalists who will be invited to display their work in a group exhibition in downtown Bethesda in September 2016. Applicants must be 18 years of age or older and permanent, full-time residents of Maryland, Virginia or Washington, D.C. All original 2-D and 3-D fine art including painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, fiber art, digital, mixed media and video will be accepted.

The 2016 jurors are:
  • Stéphane Aquin, Chief Curator, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
  • Hasan Elahi, Associate Professor, Department of Art at the University of Maryland
  • Rebecca Schoenthal, Curator of Exhibitions at The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


Nothing is ever easy! Last night's ice rain made for an interesting drive to the hospital this morning.  Since I knew that the ice rainfall was coming, I put my van inside the garage and laid out plenty of salt. Around 4am I got up, sprinkled more salt and pulled the van out and warmed it up.

The walk from the van back to the house was quite an event, as I hugged the walls to try to make it back in one piece, slipping and sliding all over the place.

The drive out of my neighborhood was almost surreal. To start, the start itself took two tries to get the van pointed in the right direction. I then crunched my way out via an interesting new path that avoided most hilly streets in my very hilly neighborhood.... I slid a few times, but made it out and eventually to the hospital.

Under the knife

I'll be out of commission today, going under the knife for a major, somewhat urgent and quite unexpected surgery procedure with a substantial recovery period. Surgery starts at 0730; as I type this the main worry in my mind is getting from my house to the hospital (arrival time 0530) with all the ice still all over my neighborhood's twisty and windy streets.

Not looking forward to the next 2-3 weeks. But like Clint Eastwood once famously said: "Hog's breath is better than no breath at all..."

There are lots of things that I am afraid of, but weirdly enough, death is not one of them. I think that the fact that if I were to croak today I'd still be leaving behind around ten thousand pieces of artwork which have been sold, traded, given away, left in hotel rooms, inserted into Goodwill stores and/or otherwise left to leave an artistic footprint, is rather a calming feeling.

This is a major, multi-hour, robot-not-a-human-in-charge operation, which I am told has an 80% success rate where the John Doe doesn't bite the bucket (and frankly, I picked the robot over the human, because of something called "tremors" when it comes to a surgical scalpel), soooooooooo.... If I do bite the bucket, I'd like a tombstone that looks like a Pictish Stone, sort of like this one that I did in Scotland in 1989:

Clach Biorach Pictish Standing Stone  Edderton, Ross, Scotland  circa 1989 by F. Lennox Campello  Pen and Ink wash on paper, 9.5 x 6.5 inches
Clach Biorach Pictish Standing Stone
Edderton, Ross, Scotland
circa 1989 by F. Lennox Campello
Pen and Ink wash on paper, 9.5 x 6.5 inches

Monday, February 15, 2016

Noah Charney on art fakes

Noah Charney is an adjunct professor of art history at the American University of Rome and the founder of the Association for Research into Crimes against Art, a non-profit research group on issues in art crime. His most recent book is The Art of Forgery: The Minds, Motives and Methods of Master Forgers (2015). He writes:
That evening, art forgery was the subject of conversation in the museum’s stylish black marble restaurant. The patrons of the Leopold lamented that they could show their best Schiele drawings (the ones that drew pilgrims) only for a few months at a time. The rest of the time they were in darkened storage, to minimise their exposure to light, and reproductions were displayed in their place. Someone from the Albertina sympathised. She explained that Dürer’s marvellous watercolours, Young Hare and Tuft of Grass, are shown to the public only for three-month periods every few years. Otherwise they reside in temperature-, light- and humidity-controlled Solander boxes in storage. Had I had the chance to see them? 
Indeed I had, and while I had been suspicious that something wasn’t quite right about them, I would be flattering myself to say that I immediately knew they were reproductions. Today’s printing technologies make it difficult to distinguish high-quality facsimiles from originals, at least not without taking them out of the frame and examining the back (which holds a wealth of clues about an object’s age and provenance), or looking at the surface in detail, without the interference of protective glass. In an intentionally shadowy alcove I could sense that something was off, but not exactly what.
Read the whole thing here. 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Idiots of the week: Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center

It's nowhere near the DMV, but the idiocy of the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center all the way in Texas reaches all the way to the nation's capital.

You see,the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center (GCAC) has announced that it has withdrawn as the host for something called the San Antonio’s CAM (Contemporary Art Month) 2016 Perennial. 

Here is the statement released by GCAC Executive Director Jerry Ruiz:
The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center will be withdrawing as the host for the CAM 2016 Perennial. While the GCAC recognizes the talents and merits of the artists in this year’s Perennial, we have determined that CAM is simply not a mission-fit at this juncture. The Guadalupe remains firmly committed to the values of inclusion and access to the arts. The lack of diversity in this year’s group of artists, specifically the lack of representation of Latina artists in this year’s edition of the perennial, has forced the organization to make this difficult decision after much deliberation and dialogue with CAM’s leaders.
Are you fucking serious? You're removing yourself as the host from an art show because of the "lack of representation of Latina artists"?  Was the juror or curator (this year's curator is Laurie Britton Newell from Colorado, not Texas) directed ahead of time that she should include Latina artists in the exhibition? If so, how was the curator to identify and segregate the Latina artists? Was there a check box in the entry form to ID the entry as coming from a Latina? Or was the curator allowed to see the names of the artists so that he/she could give extra merit to anyone whose last name ended in a vowel or a "z" (at the risk of missing the millions of Latinas all over Latin America and the US with non-Hispanic last names); Or given a list of Latina artists? Any direction at all?

This year's selected artists are Jennifer Ling Datchuk, Marlys Dietrick, Emily Fleisher, Jasmyne Graybill, Jessica Halonen and Leigh Anne Lester... all women. Should someone be pissed because there are no males included? Or is this always an all female show (thus somewhat destroying the concept of diversity and inclusion from the very beginning)?

By the way, at least one of the artists (Jennifer Ling Datchuk) is Asian; one appears to be Jewish (based on the dangerous practice of identifying people by last name; this is also a mine field for "Latino" names), and I don't know or care what Jasmyne Graybill's ancestral DNA background is, but her work is spectacular!

There is no issue with this show, because a curator (hopefully) always should select artwork for an open show based on the fucking art itself, not the racial, genderl, or as in this case, ethnic background of the artist. Unless the curator is told ahead of time: "You have to have some Latinas in this show and this is how you identify them" then this all stinks of idiocy.

As a Latino, all I have to say to the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center is: "You are all a bunch of comemierdas."

Call for Photographers

Deadline: March 19, 2016
Del Ray Artisans and Union 206 Studio present Surrealism: A Photography Exhibition. This exhibit pushes beyond accepted conventions of reality by representing – in photographs – irrational imagery of dreams and the unconscious mind… disorienting realist imagery often based on fantasy, nightmares, hallucination, and the imagination. The work’s disassociated nature leads to stunning compositions requiring the artist to see past what’s physically there to create pictures of the imagination, inviting all to slip out of the shackles limiting our vision. 
The opening reception is on Friday, May 6 from 7 to 9 pm at Del Ray Artisans gallery in the Nicholas A. Colasanto Center, 2704 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, Virginia 22301. 
For more information, please visit or contact curator David Heckman at

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Steeled by Judith Peck

Steeled, 40x60 inches (diptych) Oil and plaster on board by Judith Peck
Steeled, 40x60 inches (diptych) Oil and plaster on board by Judith Peck
This is one of the most powerful paintings that I've seen this year so far... by the spectacularly talented DMV painter Judith Peck

Everything matters here... the look, the shape and size of the hands, the curling of the toes, the light in the sky, the shape of the light in the sky, the masculinity of the rocks, the tenderness of the veins on the feet, and the cryptography embedded in the light reflections in the folds of the clothing... can you amateur cryptologists decipher the message?

Friday, February 12, 2016

At Otis Street Arts Project

Otis Street Arts Project presents:
Complex Simplicity

Works by Joseph Shetler and Jay Hendrick

Opening Reception:
 February 20, 5:00-7:00

When viewing Joseph Shetler’s drawings and Jay Hendrick’s paintings, complex simplicity comes to mind; two opposing concepts intertwined into a unifying force. It is accomplished through tedious labor and dedication to their respective mediums.

Otis Street Arts Project
3706 Otis Street
Mount Rainier, MD 20712

Show runs through March 19th, 2015: please email for appointments


What can you imagine for the future of the DC region’s visual arts scene?

What’s happening now in the DC visual arts scene? What might it be like in 2020?
ArtTable has launched a series of discussions about art in the DC region. Come to our second event to learn about and connect with museum professionals, gallerists, creative entrepreneurs, nonprofit executives, artists, collectors, advisors, educators, and even politicians.  STATE OF ART/DC 2: A Conversation powered by PechaKucha, will to create a snapshot of the current visual arts climate and a preview of what is on the horizon. Gain insights, share your thoughts, and immerse yourself in a fast-paced evening of presentations and discussion.

Moderated by Elizabeth Blair, Senior Producer/Reporter, Arts Desk, NPR

Who should attend
Anyone for whom the visual arts are a passion, a living, a dream, or an inspiration.

Monday evening, February 22, 2016

5:00-8:30 pm

Long View Gallery
1234 9th Street NW
Washington, DC 20001-4202

$25pp; $12 for students

Powered by PechaKucha
Sponsored by longview gallery

Holly Bass, Artist and Director, Holly Bass 360
Rhea Combs, Curator of Film and Photography at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History
            And Culture and the Head of Center for African American Media Arts (CAAMA)
Tim Doud & Caitlin Teal Price,
Doud:  Artist and American University, Director, Studio Art
            Price:  Artist and American University, Adjunct professor, Studio Art
Jarvis DuBois, Director, J. Dubois Arts
Arthur Espinoza, Jr., Executive Director, DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities
Philippa Hughes, Writer/speaker/flâneur/provocateur
Brandon Morse, Artist and professor, University of Maryland, Dept. of Art
Andrea Pollan, Founder/Director, Curator’s Office
Tony Powell, Artist, dancer, composer, choreographer, writer
Victoria Reis, Co-founder, Executive & Artistic Director, Transformer Gallery

Moderator: Elizabeth Blair, Senior Producer, Arts Desk, NPR

Thursday, February 11, 2016

DC Artist to create a huge drawing for the Hirshhorn

This is a rarity! The Hirshhorn Museum, which is physically located within the geographical boundaries of the DMV is actually showing a DMV artist! 

Congrats to one of the DMV's best: Linn Meyers! --- Woo the Eff Whoooooo!

More please...

For TBT: 1998

1998 - Self Portrait by F. Lennox Campello
1998 - Self Portrait by F. Lennox Campello

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A letter from Yuslier Saavedra to President Obama

I don't know who Yuslier L. Saavedra is, but her open letter to President Obama touched a raw nerve with me:
Mr. President, I am a young Cuban woman who lives in Cuba and I do not want to leave. Exile hurts and I lack the courage to miss my homeland. I want to stay in Cuba and the reality of my people leaves me with many questions. I think it is up to Cubans alone – all of us without exception – to resolve our problems; peaceful change toward democracy is ours and is in us. I dream of a sovereign people, with self-determination because we have a voice, rights and freedom. I dream of an independent, democratic and sovereign Cuba, where there is a genuine rule of law and democracy, the indispensable foundations for Cubans to be able to achieve prosperity and well-being.

You have said you want to help Cubans to improve our quality of life, which leads me to ask you some questions:
  • What has improved in Cubans’ quality of life since 17 December 2014?
  • You have called Raul Castro ‘president’; does this mean you consider him your counterpart?
  • Can a dictatorship turn itself into a democracy?
  • Do you believe that the dignity of the human person, as well as his or her well-being and quality of life starts with rights?
Thank you for your time.

Yuslier L. Saavedra
La Salud, Mayabeque Province

Opportunity for Artists

Artists wishing to be considered for an exhibit in the Howard County Arts Council galleries (located in Ellicott City, Maryland) are invited to submit a general exhibit application. The HCAC Exhibits Committee meets quarterly to review applications and select artists for the exhibit space. Artists, ages 18 and older, working in all media and styles including time-based and installation artists, are encouraged to apply either individually or as a group. The Committee also welcomes proposals from curators and organizations.

Detailed entry guidelines are available on the ‘Exhibits’ page of the HCAC website,; for pick-up at the Howard County Center for the Arts, 8510 High Ridge Road, Ellicott City, MD 21043; or by mail by calling 410-313-2787 or emailing The next deadline for submissions is Friday, April 1, 2016.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Teresa Oaxaca's Natura Morta Solo Show

I've been hearing really good things about this show and now Teresa Oaxaca's Natura Morta solo show Has been extended until February 29th. 

You can visit it any time free of charge between the hours of 10-5, Monday through Friday.  She has 20 works of art including mainly paintings, drawings plus a few prints.  The works range in theme from portraiture to still life. 

Location- The Embassy Of Slovenia, 2410 California Street, NW  Washington D.C. 20008 

You can email for purchase or commission inquiries.

 You can (of course) see a lot more works by this talented artist here... these drawings, by the way, are absolutely gorgeous!

WPA Gala

It has been my honor multiple times in the past to have been selected to participate in the WPA Gala auction; this year's version is coming up!

Elia Alba * David Antonio Cruz * Damon Arhos * Holly Bass * Sherry Bittle * Calder Brannock * Tom Bunnell * Carolyn Castano * Mary Chang * Natalie Cheung * Jerome China * Dave Choi * Hoesy Corona * Andy Cross * Aimee Crouch * Erin Elizabeth Curtis * Micah Danges * Victor Davson * Marley Dawson * Rachel Debuque * Regina DeLuise * David East * Deborah Ellis * Annie Farrar * Kate Fauvell * Jeremy Flick * Adrienne Gaither * Edel Gregan * Carl Hazelwood * Karen Heagle * Ellen Hill * Philip Hinge * Allen  Hirsch * Martha Jackson Jarvis * Allison Janae Hamilton * Haley Josephs * Shunhee Jung * Lori Katz * Jayson Keeling * Dean Kessmann * Fawad Khan * Sharon Koelblinger * Suzy  Kopf * Ya LaFord * Zofie Lang * Nate Larson & Marni Shindleman * Pepa Leon * Andrea Limauro * Dale Loy * Doreen McCarthy * Patrick McDonough * Mike McKee * Andrew Mezvinsky * Jimmy Miracle * Jonathan Monaghan * Irvin Morazan * Georgia Nassikas * Leslie Nolan * Veronika Pausova * Marta Perez Garcia * Emily Piccrillo * Alejandro Pintado * Julia Policastro * Julia Policastro * Ralph Pugay * Lynn Putney * Beverly Ress * Ellington Robinson * Gerald Ross * Jose Ruiz * Soledad Salame * Kevin Sampson * Sol Sax * J. Alex Schechter * Will Schneider White * Sheldon Scott * Joyce J Scott * Leslie Shallow * Donna Sharrett * Devan Shimoyama * Bernardo Siles * Alexandria Smith * Diane  Smith * Cameron Spratley * Altoona Sultan * Martin Swift * Naomi Taitz Duffy * Kyle Tata * Marisabela Telleria * Sylvie Van Helden * Christine Wang * Kate Warren * Clare Winslow * Julie Wolfe 

Julie Chae, Independent Curator, New York and Washington, DC; Kimberly Gladfelter Graham, Independent Curator, 1013 Artistry, Baltimore; Arnold J. Kemp, Chair & Associate Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond; Bree Pickering, Executive Director, Vox Populi, Philadelphia; Danny Simmons, Director / Co-Chair, Rush Arts / Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, Philadelphia and New York; Vesela Sretenović, Senior Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art; The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC; Virginia Treanor, Associate Curator, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC; and the WPA Board of Directors

Monday, February 08, 2016

Cam Newton Meltdown

The only thing that I have to say in reference to Cam Newton's so called "meltdown" after his Superman skills evaporated in yesterday's SuperBowl is: "Cam, if you want lessons on how to act with class when you're all bummed out because you lost... call Russell Wilson, the best quarterback in the NFL"... the 12th man is everywhere!

seattle seahawks

Why doesn't anyone pick up on this?

Read this and then this...

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Fakes Unlimited

Need more proof that Wifredo Lam is one of the most faked dead artists around? Just click here...

Want proof that people (who generally know it's a fake, but want to have a look-a-like hanging) get them? Click here.

There's also always possibly a Frida Kahlo or two...

Take a chance on Dali?

Saturday, February 06, 2016

The curious case of the Hirshhorn Museum and Cuban artists

About a decade ago I co-curated for the Fraser Gallery a giant Cuban art exhibition which brought to DC many Cuban artists for the first time - it was called "De Aqui y de Alla" (From here and from there) --- see it here: )" and it included many artists from Cuba as well as the Cuban Diaspora from around the world.

Olga Viso (who is of Cuban ancestry), at the time at the helm at the Hirshhorn came by the gallery to see the show... the head of the Hirshhorn!

Subsequently I curated a touring art exhibition of contemporary Cuban artists that I put together which traveled to DC, Philadelphia, Norfolk and Miami (Titled "Aqui Estamos" or "Here We Are").

In both cases the work avoided any and all contact with "government approved artists" and zero contact with the brutal Cuban dictatorship, and in fact, had somewhat of a dissident focus.

Of related interest to the theme, a local collector here in Chevy Chase owns a significant collection of Korda photographs, including the vintage photo of Che Guevara (Guerrillero Heroico) that Korda kept in his studio as his personal image of Guevara. The owners of the planet's most reproduced image acquired it directly from the Korda family, and I believe there's a video of the event (done as a provenance)... there are 19 photos in the collection - they were recently exhibited at the Museum of Latin American Art in California and the Jordan Schnitzer Museum at the University of Oregon and also at the Museum of Latin American Art in California.

I've heard from major collectors of Cuban art, most of whom I know well, that Stephane Aquin, the new Chief Curator of the Hirshhorn Museum is in the process of curating an exhibition of Cuban art. He brings an excellent pedigree in the subject, as about a decade ago he was one of the curators of “¡Cuba! Art and History from 1868 to Today”, an exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. He selected Cuban work post 1959.

Which brings me to an interesting issue.

In the past decade, I have been part of multiple gift offers of work by blue chip Cuban artists to the Hirshhorn. In every single instance that I have been involved in, it has been declined. In every single instance, the declined work ended up in another major museum.

Work by Sandra Ramos (whose iconic work adorns the cover of Holly Block's bible of Cuban art, and that same iconic print is also in the collection of MoMA) has three times been offered as a gift to the Hirshhorn Museum by two separate collectors, and it was thrice declined. 

One Ramos ended up in the collection of the Miami Art Museum, one at the University of Virginia (which under the guidance of former curator Jill Hartz accumulated a superbly impressive collection of Cuban art), and one at Cornell University. 

It was because of that, that I welcomed the Hirshhorn's new library program to acquire supporting material by Latin American artists, and their blog post noted the inclusion of a catalog of Ramos' recent show in NYC.  Of course, her American gallery solo show debut was in the DMV over a decade ago (in 2004 also at the Fraser Gallery - see I'm desperately searching my storage for supporting materials of that exhibition, as that widely reviewed show was her first solo in an American commercial art gallery.

That's a terrific new program that the museum has been funded to do -  according to the Hirshhorn, the funds will be used to catalog Latin American materials that are in their 9,000 volume cataloging backlog. So far, they've identified 500 books and catalogs in the Latin American category, and they have catalogued around 200 of those, and they have one more group of 100 to catalog once the Cataloging Department has found contract staff to implement the last grant. It's a gigantic job, but it seems to be in good hands.

Back to Cubans and the Hirshhorn.

To the Possible Limit, 1996 by Jose Bedia
According to the Hirshhorn's website search, Ana Mendieta, Wifredo Lam, Jose Bedia, Los Carpinteros, Emilio Sanchez, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, and J.F. Elso (and the five prints by the "five") are the only Cuban artists in the museum's collection and many of those were part of the original bequest, indicating to me (as far as I can tell from the website) that the museum has not acquired very many Cubans since they opened. I could be wrong, but that's what it looks like.

They did acquire this gorgeous Carmen Herrera in 2007. That was at least somewhat of a "discovery" as Herrera was not dubbed the "hot new thing in painting" by the New York Times until 2009.

That NYT piece was done when she was 94.

Herrera sold her very first painting... ever... in 2004, so the Hirshhorn jumped in early (2007), which colors my last paragraph in this post. Five gets you ten that the very gifted Olga Viso had something to do with that.

In addition to the declined Sandra Ramos (three separate gift offers) that I mentioned earlier, the Hirshhorn has in the past (since 1996 to around 2008, which is when I gave up and stopped working as a middle man to offer them gifts from collectors of Cuban art) declined gifts of works by Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, Cirenaica Moreira, Elsa Mora, Belkys Ayon, K'Cho, Aimee Garcia Marrero, Deborah Nofret Marrero, Tania Bruguera, Carlos Alfonso (multiple pieces from his estate), Roberto Wong, Korda, Roberto Fabelo, Marta Maria Perez Bravo, and Carlos Garaicoa... I may be forgetting some.

Most of those ended up as gifts to other museums in the US (one ended up at the Tate in the UK)... it was curious to me the 100% decline rate, especially of some major works... this is the Ramos that ended up in the Miami Art Museum - it's the one titled "Ruinas de Utopia (Ruins of Utopia)" one of her key works dealing with the decline of Cuban life...  Another painting from that page was also offered (the one titled "Rescate" )- that one ended in the collection of Cornell University.

With Aquin at the helm, and his clear background in Cuban art, and with the funded interest in cataloguing peripheral material from Latin American artists, perhaps the Aquin and Hirshhorn will "discover" some other Cuban artists besides the "usual suspects," and perhaps the next time that an important gift by a blue chip Cuban artist is offered to the museum, it may find a home there.

No one has asked me, and I suspect that no one will, but if Aquin reached out to me for some recommendations, and since all the Cuban artists' names mentioned in this blog post so far should be well-known to him, I would recommend a look at DMV Cuban-American artist Ric Garcia.

Wouldn't it be great if the Hirshhorn's Cuban show included a local with a singularly unique set of artwork?

Just sayin'... time to "discover" rather than "re-do."

Bethesda Painting Awards Call for Artists

Competition Honors Local Artists with $14,000 in Prize Monies

The Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District is currently accepting applications for the twelfth annual Bethesda Painting Awards, a juried competition honoring four selected painters with $14,000 in prize monies. Deadline for slide submission is Friday, February 19, 2016. Up to eight finalists will be invited to display their work in June 2015 at a Gallery B in downtown Bethesda.

The competition will be juried by Dorothy Moss, Associate Curator of painting and sculpture at the National Portrait Gallery and director of the triennial Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition;  Dr. David Park Curry, Senior Curator of Decorative Arts, American Painting & Sculpture at the Baltimore Museum of Art and Megan Marlatt, Professor of Art and at University of Virginia.

The first place 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 February 20, 1985 may also be awarded $1,000.

Artists must be 18 years of age or older and residents of Maryland, Virginia or Washington, D.C. All original 2-D painting including oil, acrylic, watercolor, gouache, encaustic and mixed media will be accepted. The maximum dimension should not exceed 60 inches in width or 84 inches in height. No reproductions. Artwork must have been completed within the last two years and must be available for the duration of the exhibition. 

Each artist must submit five images, application and a non-refundable entry fee of $25. 

For more information, or to apply online, please visit or call 301/215-6660. You may also send a self-addressed stamped envelope to the Bethesda Painting Awards, c/o Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District 7700 Old Georgetown Road, Bethesda, MD 20814.

The Bethesda Painting Awards was established by local business owner Carol Trawick in 2005. Ms. Trawick has served as a community activist for more than 25 years in downtown Bethesda. She is the former Chair of the Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District, Past Chair of the Bethesda Urban Partnership, Inc. and founder of The Trawick Prize: Bethesda Contemporary Art Awards. Ms. Trawick is the owner of an information technology company in Bethesda, Trawick & Associates.

Catriona Fraser, award-winning photographer, curator and juror is the non-voting Chair of the Bethesda Painting Awards. Ms. Fraser has directed the Fraser Gallery in downtown Bethesda since 2002. Ms. Fraser is also the Chair of The Trawick Prize and Director of the Bethesda Fine Arts Festival.

The eleventh annual Bethesda Painting Awards was held in June 2016. 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 was awarded third place and received $1,000.

From award-winning theatre to independent films, downtown Bethesda’s Arts & Entertainment District is filled with inspiring artists and art venues. The Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District is managed by the Bethesda Urban Partnership, Inc., and is the producer of The Trawick Prize: Bethesda Contemporary Art Awards, Bethesda Painting Awards, Bethesda Fine Arts Festival, Bernard/Ebb Songwriting Awards, Gallery B, Studio B, Bethesda Art Walk, Dance Bethesda and Play In A Day. 

Friday, February 05, 2016

UMD Art Honors Exhibition

The 39th Street Gallery, Gateway Arts Center
3901 Rhode Island Ave., Brentwood, MD 20722
(Second floor, 39th street entrance) 

The University of Maryland's Art Honors Exhibition
February 6 - 27, 2016
Artist Reception February 6, from 6:00 to 8:00 PM
Free and open to the public

Trial Begins in Art Forgery Case Against Knoedler Gallery

Perhaps the most anticipated trial exploring the art market in recent years began Monday in United States District Court in Manhattan with a lawyer for a couple that bought a fake Rothko asserting in her opening argument that Knoedler & Company, a once-celebrated Manhattan gallery that is now defunct, had deceived its customers while selling them dozens of fake works that it said were by master artists.
Read the NYT story here. There were allegedly more than 30 forgeries sold to collectors over the years. There was even a painting with a misspelled Jackson Pollock name!

Here's the dark truth about art forgeries - they've been around since Roman times (if not earlier) - the Roman forgers would copy Greek statues and soak them in urine to age them, and then sell them to wealthy Romans as "ancient" Greek pieces.

And fakes will always be a part of the art world.

And there are some artists (Rothko is one of them) which are magnets for fakers... there are many, many, many fake Rothkos (most of them in museums) in existence, with shaky provenances often ignored by museum curators.

Other magnet artists for fakers: Wifredo Lam, Picasso, Motherwell, Pollock, Stella, Botero (see a trend here?).

A couple of decades ago, I was sitting at Georgetown's iconic Fraser Gallery when a lady comes in, looks at the artwork and asks me: "Where can I buy a Rothko?" She pronounced it Raath-ko.

I noticed that she has a library copy of Jeffrey Weiss' book about Rothko's work tucked under her arm.

"Usually at auction," I answered. "You do know that they start in the millions."

She didn't blink an eye. "I really like his pictures," she noted. I winced at the word "picture."

I looked at her a little more quizzical; it was clear from her "airs" that money was not the issue.

"Are you looking for an original Mark Rothko painting?", I started, "Or a painting that is in the style of Rothko... that looks like his work?" I was thinking that I could point her in the direction of some of the DMV's great contemporary abstract painters, as the gallery focused strictly on contemporary realism.

She opened her book. "I want a painting that looks like this," she pointed to several works in rapid succession.

"Do you care who the artist is?" I asked.

"I don't even know who Rothko is," she noted, and I noted that she had adjusted and corrected the pronunciation of Rothko's name to match mine. "I just want a painting that looks like one of his pictures."

I winced at the word "picture" once again, and then suggested that perhaps she should contact a local art school and see if they could find an art student interested in accepting a commission from her to "create" some Rothko look-alikes for her. I warned her that copying a Rothko might break some copyright laws, but producing a work that looked Rothkolian was perfectly legal, and in the art world simply called "derivative."

Her eyes lit up; she thanked me profusely and left.

Several months later, Madame X (that was my nickname for her, as she was the spitting image of John Singer Sargent's portrait of Virginie Amélie Avegno Gautreau at the Met in NYC), walked back into the gallery.

"I wanted to thank you," she said with a smile, as she put a giftwrapped bottle of champagne on the desk. "I got a student from the Corcoran and one from Catholic University each to do some Rothkos for me."

She then showed me on her digital camera some very Rothkolian images.

"They are great!", she beamed. "I have had six of them done! And they're huge! Just what I wanted!"

I smiled, my brain beginning to imagine where and what questions these paintings may cause 100 years from now... considering the "provenance" from Madame X.

"And my friends are all commissioning more Rothkos from them!" She finished triumphantly as she waved good bye.

I unwrapped the champagne bottle - it was an Armand de Brignac “Ace of Spades” Rose. She may not have known her Rothkos, but the lady knew her champagnes.