Friday, March 25, 2016

The virulent case of Communist Cuba's racism

Much has been written about racism in Cuba, and it was one of the earliest subjects addressed by the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson upon his arrival to the DMV a few years ago from his various Latin American postings.

In his article Cuba Begins to Answer Its Race Question, Robinson, a clearly very extreme left-wing oriented writer, tried hard to find excuses for the dictatorship, but nonetheless admits that:
Academics say that black Cubans are failing to earn university degrees in proportion to their numbers--a situation to which Castro has alluded publicly. The upper echelons of the government remain disproportionately white, despite the emergence of several rising black stars. And while perceptions are difficult to quantify, much less prove true or false, many black Cubans are convinced that they are much less likely than whites to land good jobs--and much more likely to be hassled by police on the street, like Cano's husband, in a Cuban version of "racial profiling."
But how about some Cubans inside Cuba discussing the subject?
In primary [Cuban] education, skin color is not mentioned," ... If we are still living in a society where white people have the power, and we don't mention color in education, we are in practice educating [Cuban] children to be white.

Cuban history as we teach it is a disgrace, because it is predominantly white history, and explaining the role of black people and mulattoes in building this society and its culture is not given its due importance.

Esteban Morales
University of Havana
Centre for the Study of the Hemisphere and the United States
A lot of hopes have been pinned by many people (who know little about Cuba and the repressive nature of its government) on President Obama's recent monumental decision to re-establish diplomatic relations with the unfortunate Caribbean island prison of Cuba; but first another Cuban quote:
...to carry on "hiding" the issue [of racism in Cuba] would lead black people to think that "they belong to another country, and that there are two Cuba’s as there were in the 19th century, a black Cuba and a white one."

Roberto Zurbano
Director
Casa de las Américas publishing house
Havana
And thus, it is curious to me that in re-establishing diplomatic ties, our socially conscious President (and his cadre of advisors) appear to know little or nothing about the way that Afro-Cuban citizens are treated in their own country.

In reference to the President's visit, Odette Casamayor-Cisneros, an associate professor of Latin American and Caribbean literatures and cultures at the University of Connecticut and a scholar at Harvard University notes that  
“The images of the meetings, the agreements, they’re all shameful for many black Cubans — I’m including myself in this — because it’s difficult to feel represented.

Will the expected flow of American tourists help? Zurbano writes in his 2013 New York Times article that:
Most remittances from abroad — mainly the Miami area, the nerve center of the mostly white exile community — go to white Cubans. They tend to live in more upscale houses, which can easily be converted into restaurants or bed-and-breakfasts — the most common kind of private business in Cuba. Black Cubans have less property and money, and also have to contend with pervasive racism. Not long ago it was common for hotel managers, for example, to hire only white staff members, so as not to offend the supposed sensibilities of their European clientele.
That "not long ago" is still the case, as anyone who has been to Cuba recently can testify to - it is very rare to see a black face in any of Havana's "tourist only" hotels and nearby beaches. Discussing those lucrative jobs, Yusimí Rodríguez López, an Afro-Cuban independent journalist, said in a 2016 New York Times article that there were job listings on Revolico — sometimes called Cuba’s underground Craigslist — “where they say they only want whites.”

In the same NYT article we read:
“They talk a lot here about discrimination against blacks in the United States. What about here?” said Manuel Valier Figueroa, 50, an actor, who was in the park on Monday. “If there’s a dance competition, they’re going to choose the woman who is fair-skinned with light, good hair. If there’s a tourism job, the same.”

He added: “Why are there no blacks managing hotels? You don’t see any blacks working as chefs in hotels, but you see them as janitors and porters. They get the inferior jobs.”
One would hope that our President's dealings with a nation with one of the world's worst human rights records, where Amnesty International has been denied access to (except to that bit of Cuba where the Guantanamo Naval Base is located); a nation where gay people were once given lobotomies to "cure" them; and where HIV+ Cubans were detained and segregated in guarded colonies away from the general public, could at least receive a little attention on the status of blacks in their nation.

Fact: Twice as many African slaves were brought to Cuba than to the United States... twice!

And what really bugs me, in my own pedantic hell, is how a bunch of historically and socially clueless American negotiators orchestrate deals with the leaders and the government of one of the world's most racist dictatorships (a government which talks a talk of equality while walking a walk of institutionalized racism against its own black population) without even mentioning the issue of racism.

Cuba has a long and agonizing history of racial issues, starting with its long bloody history of slavery, which didn't end on the island until 1886, and continuing through its freedom from Spain, birth of the Republic, and the triumph of the Castro Revolution in 1959. It continues to this day.

Cuba even had its own race war.
Antonio Maceo

General Antonio Maceo, known as "the Bronze Titan." He was the true warrior leader of the Cuban Wars of Liberation. His father was white of French ancestry; his mother was black, of Dominican ancestry. After the first Cuban Liberation War ended in a truce with Spain, some say that Maceo was so disillusioned with the realities of life in Cuba as a black man, that he left Cuba and lived in Panama, until he was called back to lead the Cuban rebels in a new rebellion in 1895. He returned to Cuba and was killed in battle against the Spanish Army in 1896.

In 1912, black Cubans in Oriente province had enough of the new Cuban government's racist practices and the degrading treatment of Cuban black veterans, who had been the bulk of the Cuban rebels in the wars of independence against Spain. The Cuban government moved on a path of genocide and eventually the United States had to send in troops to end the war between the white Cuban government and the black rebels in Oriente.

As I recall from the CIA Factbook of 1959, on that year the island was about 70% white, about 20% black and mixed, and the rest Chinese, Jewish and other. The Cuban Diaspora which started a few months after the Castro takeover and continues to this day, with the exception of the Mariel boat lift of the 1980s, saw a mass exodus of mostly white Cubans, and as a result the island's racial balance shifted dramatically that although 65% of Cubans self-identified as white in the last census, many experts estimate that today the island is about 60% black or biracial.

But Cuba's black population has not seen a proportionate share of the power and a quick review of the governing Politburo/Parliament reveals few black faces in the crowd. In fact, "the Cuban cultural journal Temas published studies by the governmental Anthropology Centre in 2006 that showed that on average, the black population has worse housing, receives less money in remittances from abroad and has less access to jobs in emerging economic sectors like tourism, in which blacks represent barely five percent of managers and professionals, than the white population."
"I think silence is worse. The longer nothing is said, the more the racism fermenting underground is rotting the entire nation..."

Gerardo Alfonso
singer/songwriter
Havana
While the Cuban constitution of the 1940s (since then abolished by the Communist government) outlawed segregation and racism, and the current Cuban Constitution guarantees black Cubans the right to stay in any hotel and be served at any public establishment, as it has been documented by many foreign journalists, black Cubans will tell you in private that those rights exist only on paper.

The harsh Cuban reality today, they claim, is that "black Cubans won't be served" and that Cubans, regardless of race are in general barred from places frequented by tourists.
Unfortunately, these things [disparities in the treatment of blacks and whites] are very common in Cuba.

Ricardo Alarcón Quesada
President of the National Assembly of People's Power
Cuban Parliament
Do these Cuban voices from within Cuba itself sound like the subjects of a government whose murdering tyrants' atrocities should be dealt in silence?, especially in view of our nation's own racial history? Would we be silent in dealing today with the criminal government leaders of the apartheid South Africa of the 20th century?
We have practically apartheid in this country sometimes... racism is deeply rooted in Cuba's history and will not disappear overnight.

Rogelio Polanco Fuentes
Director
Cuban Communist Party-owned Juventud Rebelde newspaper.
Human rights and racism should be at the top of the agenda (if there's one) in our diplomatic discussions with the Havana tyrants.

What will this "change" bring to the "permanent and shameful police harassment of young Cubans of African descent in our streets..." - Leonardo Calvo Cardenas, Cuban National Vice-Coordinador of the Citizens' Committee for Racial Integration (Comité Ciudadanos por la Integración Racial (CIR))?

Fellowship

The Bogliasco Foundation's Study Center provides residential fellowships to gifted artists and scholars working on projects of any subject area in the following disciplines: Archaeology, Architecture/Landscape Architecture, Classics, Dance, Film/Video, History, Literature, Music, Philosophy, Theater, and the Visual Arts.

Details here.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Fact Checking the President's Cuba Speech

Whoever wrote the speech for the President needs a lesson in baseball history. 

The Prez said in his speech: "We share a national past time, la pelota, and later today our players will compete on the same Havana field that Jackie Robinson played on before he made his major league debut." 

That's actually incorrect. 

While Robinson did his 1946 spring training in Cuba while he was with the Montreal Royals, it was not at the same stadium where the Prez and the dictator Raul sat together (back then named El Gran Estadio de La Habana and now called Estadio Latinoamericano).  I believe that Robinson's spring training was at another stadium, perhaps the one known back then as El Cerro?

Later on, after the Dodgers bought his contract from Montreal, Branch Rickey toured the Dodgers and Robinson through some Latin American countries and had Robinson play. However, when they arrived in Havana, as it was the case back then, most Cuban hotels were segregated, and the Dodgers stayed in one hotel and Robinson stayed in a separate one, a blacks only hotel in Havana. 

He got food poisoning at his hotel and wasn't able to play in Cuba - as a Dodger - before his MLB debut in 1947. 

It is ironic that today many Cuban hotels (all of which are owned by the Cuban military - including part ownership in all the foreign corporation hotels from Spain, Canada, France, etc. as the Cuban military own all of Cuba's tourist income) are still segregated - not by race, but now by "Tourists Only" hotels where Cubans are not allowed to stay... in their own country. 

Another brutal "benefit" of the Castro Brothers' Workers Paradise.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

NEXT Thesis Exhibition

NEXT Thesis Exhibition
April 20, 6:30pm – 9pm
This annual exhibition showcases work by the graduating students of the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design at the George Washington University. NEXT includes the thesis work of undergraduate and graduate students.

 The NEXT Thesis Exhibition runs April 6 - May 15 
HOURS:
Wednesdays: 10am - 9pm
Thursdays - Sundays: 10am - 5pm
See more of NEXT on this website

Corcoran School of the Arts and Design
The George Washington University
500 Seventeenth Street, NW
         Washington, DC 20006     
 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Say what?

"in America, there are no cats..."
- Papa Mousekewitz, c. 1986

"in Iran, there are no homosexuals..."
- Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, September 24, 2007

"in Cuba, there are no political prisoners..."
- Raul Castro, March 21, 2016

Affordable Art Fair New York

As we have been for the last decade, we'll be doing the Affordable Art Fair New York again this Spring (March 30 - April 3 at the Met Pavilion). Because of my recent medical issues, I won't be there, but the gallery will be well-represented by DMV artist Lori Katz and Chicago-based artists Lauren Levato Coyne and Rory Coyne.

We'll be in booth 1.54 on the first floor; if you'd like some free passes to the fair, please send me a note.

Selvedge  Lauren Levato Coyne  22x18 inches, Pencil on Watercolor Paper, c. 2015
Selvedge
Lauren Levato Coyne
22x18 inches, Pencil on Watercolor Paper, c. 2015

Turning Seven  Rory Coyne  36x36 inches, Oil on canvas, c. 2013
Turning Seven
Rory Coyne
36x36 inches, Oil on canvas, c. 2013
Wall of Small Squares  Lori Katz  Ceramics, c. 2015
Wall of Small Squares
Lori Katz
Ceramics, c. 2015

Monday, March 21, 2016

Cuban by ancestry...

Latest work - this is heading to a museum show...  the show focuses on immigrant artists to the DMV. In this piece, the embedded video component plays a video loop (6.5 minutes) covering my life so far, with a special focus on why my family had to leave the brutal world of the Castro Brothers' Workers Paradise in the 1960s. The small boy to the left is me (as a four year old) running around my grandfather's farm just outside of Guantanamo.

As I usually do, I've used the "cracks" on the background wall to (employing the Navy's Falcon Codes) double encrypt a background message... more on the show later...

"Cuban by Ancestry, But American by the Grace of God." Charcoal and Conte and Embedded Video. F. Lennox Campello. 18x24 inches, circa 2016.
"Cuban by Ancestry, But American by the Grace of God."
Charcoal and Conte and Embedded Video. 18x24 inches, circa 2016.

"Cuban by Ancestry, But American by the Grace of God."
Charcoal and Conte and Embedded Video. 18x24 inches, circa 2016.

"Cuban by Ancestry, But American by the Grace of God."
Charcoal and Conte and Embedded Video. 18x24 inches, circa 2016.

"Cuban by Ancestry, But American by the Grace of God."
Charcoal and Conte and Embedded Video. 18x24 inches, circa 2016.









Sunday, March 20, 2016

Another example of WaPo suckosity...

Wanna another example of how the Washington Post really feels about the DMV visual art scene?


Mark Jenkins wrote this review (see https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/museums/in-the-galleries-three-artists-become-one/2016/03/16/e599d20a-e99b-11e5-a9ce-681055c7a05f_story.html)   of a super interesting show at Glen Echo, among others, but the Post chose to publish it solely online.

Fortunately, I have a direct line to the newspaper's new owner, and as soon as he bought the paper, I complained to him about the WaPo's history of diminishing coverage of the area's visual arts.  He told me to compile some samples and feed it to him and to two other folks that he has "working" the WaPo.

This Jenkins example will make the list.

Looking for a chance to hone your figure drawing skills?

Del Ray Artisans (DRA) offers a range of open life drawing sessions for just this purpose. Both nude and clothed models are featured. These sessions operate on a drop-in basis so there is no need to register in advance. Bring your supplies and join us at the gallery to draw or paint from our live models. We don't supply easels but you are welcome to bring your own if you want to use one.  Please no acrylics or oils; pastels, watercolor and ink are permissible. All skill levels are welcome.
 
The fee for each three-hour session is $10 for DRA members and $12 for non-members. Two-hour sessions are $8 for members and $10 for non-members.
 

Session Types­
Gesture Sessions (two hours)
These two-hour sessions are composed primarily of dynamic 1 to 5 minute poses.
 
Short/Long Pose Sessions (three hours)
The three-hour short/long pose sessions start with some short 1 to 5 minute warm-up poses and progressively move into longer poses lasting 10 to 45 minutes.
 
Long Pose Sessions (three hours)
These sessions are generally composed of two long poses with perhaps a few warm-ups at the start.
Upcoming Spring 2016 SessionsSessions feature nude models unless otherwise noted.
  • Sunday, March 20, 9:30-11:30am, Gesture
  • Wednesday, March April 23, 2:00-5:00pm, Short/Long
  • Wednesday, March April 23, 6:30-9:30pm, Long
  • Wednesday, April 6, 2:00-5:00pm, Short/Long
  • Wednesday, April 6, 6:30-9:30pm, Long
  • Wednesday, April 13, 6:30-9:30pm, Long
  • Sunday, April 17, 9:30-11:30am, Gesture (clothed)
  • Wednesday, April 20, 2:00-5:00pm, Short/Long (clothed) - The April 20th session will be FREE! Come early to get a spot!
  • Wednesday, May 11, 2:00-5:00pm, Short/Long
  • Wednesday, May 11, 6:30-9:30pm, Long
  • Sunday, May 22, 9:30-11:30am, Gesture
  • Wednesday, May 25, 2:00-5:00pm, Short/Long
  • Wednesday, May 25, 6:30-9:30pm, Long
  • Wednesday, June 8, 2:00-5:00pm, Short/Long
  • Wednesday, June 8, 6:30-9:30pm, Long
  • Sunday, June 19, 9:30-11:30am, Gesture (clothed)
  • Wednesday, June 22, 2:00-5:00pm, Short/Long (clothed)
  • Wednesday, June 22, 6:30-9:30pm, Long
If you have any questions, please contact Katherine Rand (Life Drawing Coordinator) at LifeDrawing@DelRayArtisans.org.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

A letter from the new WPA Director

In the past 100 days, I have met with 100 DC-area artists. Not individually, but in groups. We've met in studio buildings, in bars, here at WPA's new gallery. I asked them lots of questions. I listened and took notes. It was a real wake-up call.
 
One of the things I heard time and again was that artists are fleeing our city. There are two principal reasons for this. First, DC has gotten too expensive, so they are moving to the Virginia and Maryland suburbs. Or they are migrating to Baltimore or Los Angeles. The point is, while the population of DC grows, its artist population shrinks.
 
The second reason artists are leaving is because there just aren't many opportunities left for them here. The Corcoran and a number of  important galleries have closed. The (e)merge art fair is on hiatus. Where are artists to exhibit? How can they sell?
 
These conversations underscored for me WPA's great responsibility to this community. It isn't enough for us to simply present exhibitions and events. We need to find ways to retain the existing talent so vividly in evidence in the Auction Gala Exhibition.
 
"But how?" you ask.
 
Well, one immediate way is to attend our Auction Gala on April 9  and buy some art. Proceeds from that event are split 50-50 between the artists and WPA. You can buy tickets here.
 
Beyond that, this is a much longer conversation that I look forward to having with you over the coming year. Stay tuned for more on this subject. In the meantime, let's celebrate and support the artists still in our midsts. I will see you at the Gala.
 
Yours,
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 Peter Nesbett, Executive Director

Airborne



Flying cartoon by Campello
Heading to Sedona, Arizona for some vortexin' and red-rockin'

Friday, March 18, 2016

Tonight: Colon, and Isabel, and Judy

Judy Jashinsky's "I'll Take You There" at Civilian will be an epic exhibition - no question about it! And then, there's this very cool angle to the show:
We dreamed of having this painting, "Columbus and Isabella in the Mosque in Cordoba", in the exhibition. But sold years ago, we couldn't find it. Judy went to great lengths to locate it and even worked with a private investigator to try to track it down.
On Friday we learned that the owner had passed away and it was going up at auction in VA the very next day! What are the odds? And today, it was delivered to the gallery!!! It is 84" x 96" and, because it wouldn't fit through the doors, was stretched on site. Welcome home painting! Thanks to Margaret Rubino! For finding it. And Bill Hill and HMB for bringing it to us in almost perfect shape!
More on the show here.

On View at Caos on F: March 15 - April 19, 2016
Opening Reception: Friday, March 18, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m
Artist Talk: Saturday, April 16 at 6:00 p.m
Location: 923 F St NW, Washington, DC 20004

Early peek

Early peek at a work in progress... it will have an embedded video focusing on a 6.5 minute overview of my life - it's for a museum show of art by immigrant artists - details later. The little boy on the left is me as a four year old running around my grandfather's farm outside Guantanamo.

Work in progress by F. Lennox Campello, circa 2016

Thursday, March 17, 2016

To date or not to date

Jason Horejs is 100% wrong on this issue, but it is nonetheless a very interesting read and an eloquent defense of an indefensible issue.
Many of you who have been following me will know that I discourage artists from including dates on their artwork. Recently, I received the following email from the curator of a museum: Dear Jason, As a Museum Director, I vehemently disagree with not putting the date created on pieces of work in a portfolio. Why do you suggest that? It appears that the artist is hiding something. Sincerely, D.R. I responded: Dear D, Thank you for the email and the question. I come at the question from a marketing and sales standpoint, and from my perspective on the front lines of helping artists sell their work, I have only seen the dating of work as a negative.
I have plenty of empirical evidence to prove the opposite; many different instances, but the bottom line is this: for your 99% of the artists on the planet, it is the artwork, not anything else, that first hooks a potential collector. After that comes the perennial: it better be signed. Seldom does the date make a difference (for most artists' artwork encounter with a potential buyer) for an artist.

But, and this is a giant but, there are collectors that - once they have begun collecting an artist - are profoundly interested in early work, vintage, early work, even art school work. The "whys" are diverse, but they exist... and a date is a key validator in this case.

Case closed... read the piece here.

MFA first year and thesis exhibitions at AU

Wanna get a peek at what the next generation of DMV artists may look like?

When: April 2-20 and April 30-May 29

Where: American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center

AU’s Department of Art presents the work of current Master of Fine Art candidates. The multidisciplinary Studio Art program showcases an exciting range of emerging artist’s works in painting, sculpture, collage and material studies, photography and new media. 

The First Year MFA exhibition will run from April 2-20 and feature the work of Mills Brown, Aaron Eckstein, Yaroslav Koporulin, Jean Jinho Kim, Sarah Ellen Norman, Sarah O’Donoghue, Jen Noone, and Zarina Zuparkhodjaeva. 

The MFA Thesis exhibition will run from April 30-May 29 featuring Sara Caporaletti, Sarah Dale, Carey Francis, Jihee Kang, Jean Kim, Zack McGhin, Calli Moore, J. Moukarim, Samantha Sethi, and Katelyn Wood.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Can an art critic fairly review an artist friend’s work?

There’s no upside for an artist to be friends with an art critic. The personal connection means the critic must pass on reviewing the artist’s work, and while the loss of critical wisdom may be negligible, the loss of exposure is a nuisance for the artist.
Read this very interesting and insightful piece by the WaPo's

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Dr. Fred to get Alice Denney Award


I am thrilled to report and announce that my good friend and DMV ubercollector
Frederick P. Ognibene (or Dr. Fred as we call him) is the recipient of the WPA's 2016 Alice Denney Award for Support of Contemporary Art. 

The award will presented by Andres Tremols at the opening reception of the WPA Auction ExhibitionMarch 31, 2016 at 8pm.
Frederick P. Ognibene is a Washington, DC-based collector of contemporary art who for decades has has been an avid supporter of artists and arts organizations in the District. He is respected and loved by many for his unflappable loyalty to causes he believes in, his optimism, his kindness and compassion, and his extraordinary knowledge of the history of local contemporary art.
"Fred's encyclopedic knowledge of the people and events involved in the DC contemporary arts scene is testament to his dedication to that community, for decades now."
-Jim Ritter, WPA Chair
When he stepped down from the Washington Project for the Arts' (WPA) Board of Directors last summer, Fred was its longest serving member. He first joined the Board of Directors in 1995-just prior to the organization's merger with the Corcoran Gallery of Art. He co-chaired the annual WPA/Corcoran's art auction for three consecutive years (1997-99). From 2011 to 2013, he served as the WPA's Chair. Though no longer on the Board of Directors, he remains committed to the WPA, as evidenced by his serving as a co-chair of this year's WPA Auction Gala.
"Fred is a pillar of the DC contemporary arts community and we are lucky to have had his energy, time, and commitment for the last almost twenty years."
-Kim Ward, past WPA Chair
Fred began collecting contemporary art in 1984 and is an avid supporter of emerging and mid-career artists. Today, his collection includes nearly 350 works by local, national, and international artists. He takes much pride in getting to know the artists whose work he owns.
"Do you know the simultaneous thrill and comfort of being in Fred Ognibene's presence? I do, and I am proud to be one of the many artists he has known and supported for more than a decade. May we all lead lives as visionary, vibrant, and hard fought as Fred's and Alice Denney's."
-Maggie Michael, artist, Washington, DC
In addition to his service to WPA and his collecting, Fred Ognibene has supported Washington, DC's art community in other ways. He has also served on the Board of Directors of the Cultural Development Corporation of DC as well as on its Arts Incubator ("Flashpoint") Committee. He is a past member of the Hirshhorn Contemporary Acquisitions Council and its Curators' Circle. He has served on the Host Committee of (e)merge Art Fair in Washington, DC and was recently asked to become a member of the inaugural Host Committee for Untitled Art, San Francisco, in 2017. Many works in his collection have been loaned to museums and other arts organizations for their exhibitions and he has donated works to the permanent collection of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.
"Fred's collection is both profound and critical. And he has inspired others to become more courageous in what they collect."
-Jason Gubbiotti, artist, Paris, France
Fred Ognibene resides in Washington, DC. He works at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, where he is the NIH Clinical Center's Deputy Director for Educational Affairs and Strategic Partnerships. He holds a MD degree from Cornell University Medical College and a BA in Biology magna cum laude from the University of Rochester.
 "Dr. Fred rocks!"
-Lenny Campello, Jack of all trades, Master of All, Potomac, MD
ABOUT THE ALICE DENNEY AWARD
Initiated a decade ago, the Washington Project for the Arts (WPA) Alice Denney Award for Support of Contemporary Art is named for Alice Denney, the founder of the WPA, and is presented annually to honor an individual who supported the organization for many years and has made a sustained commitment to the greater DC arts community.

Past recipients*:
Molly Rupert (2012)
William Christenberry (2011)
James F. Fitzpatrick (2010)
Jack Rasmussen (2009)
William Paley (2008)
Robert Lehrman (2007)
Kevin MacDonald (2006)
Susan and Dixon Butler (2005)
*Note: The award was not given from 2013-2015

Touchstone Foundation Fellowship for Emerging Artists

Open Call for Applications
Deadline: March 31, 2016

 WHAT is it?
The Fellowship provides a 2 year membership in Touchstone Gallery in downtown DC. This guarantees a solo exhibition as well as participation in gallery group shows, mentorship and a presence on the gallery website. The monetary value of the fellowship exceeds $4500.00

WHO can apply?
The Fellowship is awarded to 1 or more emerging artists in the Washington area who have not been represented by a commercial gallery in at least 10 years.
HOW to apply?
The application process for the 2016-2018 fellowship program is now open. The application and related information can be found on the TFA website,
www.touchstonefoundationdc.org

Monday, March 14, 2016

Trawick Prize: Bethesda Contemporary Art Awards

The application deadline for The Trawick Prize: Bethesda Contemporary Art Awards is getting close. They are accepting entries until Friday, April 8. The application and additional details can be found at www.bethesda.org



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

Sunday, March 13, 2016

A letter to President Obama

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce sent a letter to President Obama regarding his upcoming trip to Cuba.

Below is the full text of the letter:

March 11, 2016

The President
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

I am deeply concerned your upcoming visit to Cuba will send the wrong message to Cubans fighting for democracy and human rights. 

Just a few months ago, you declared you would not visit Cuba unless you could confidently determine that “we’re seeing some progress in the liberty and freedom and possibilities of ordinary Cubans.” Respectfully, what changed?

Since your Administration announced normalized relations with Havana, the regime’s repression of basic human rights has gone from bad to worse. In the first two months of 2016 alone, the Cuban Commission for Human Rights has documented a staggering 2,588 political arrests. In spite of this, reports suggest that you will soon announce further measures to ease travel and trade restrictions on Cuba – seemingly yet more one-sided concessions that will serve to shore up the communist Castro regime.

Mr. President, if you nevertheless do travel to Cuba, I implore you to meaningfully engage with the country’s leading human rights activists. I urge you to meet with U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet, along with journalist Guillermo Farinas, activist Rosa Maria Payá, and the current leadership and members of “The Ladies in White.” All of these individuals are internationally recognized dissidents or recipients of the European Union’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.

Meeting with these high-level, internationally acclaimed dissidents -- and not government-picked “activists”-- will assure the Cuban people that America has not forgotten them. Frankly, these meetings should have been solidified well before the White House announced your upcoming visit. Fortunately, you still hold leverage – and could postpone your trip to the island until such arrangements have been confirmed and real progress for the Cuban people has been achieved.

Thank you for considering my views on the best way to advance the fundamental human rights of the Cuban people. I think you will agree that the U.S.-Cuba relationship cannot attain its considerable potential until these rights are respected by their government.

Sincerely,

Ed Royce
Chairman

Friday, March 11, 2016

Congrats to Amy Sherald

“Miss Everything (Unsuppressed Deliverance)”
by Amy Sherald
The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery announced that Amy Sherald of Baltimore has received first prize in the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition 2016 for an oil on canvas titled “Miss Everything (Unsuppressed Deliverance).” 

The painting and 42 other works will be in the museum’s exhibition “The Outwin 2016: American Portraiture Today” from March 12 through Jan. 8, 2017.

Sherald will receive $25,000 and a commission to create a portrait of a living individual for the  museum’s permanent collection.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Isla Balsera

For TBT, this 1976 collage...

This is my earliest piece from the Cuba series... I started it in 1976 (and used it in my portfolio to get into Art school at Washington)... it's a collage... I refined it at collage class with Jacob Lawrence (he used to teach at Washington).

It's in the collection of a major Cuban-American collector in New Jersey.


I created it using the Bicentennial Edition of the San Diego Tribune, published on July 4, 1976 (I was in the US Navy stationed in San Diego at the time). 


Lenny Campello - "Isla Balsera (Raft Island)" - Happy Birthday America, Wishing We Were There! Collage on Paper, Framed to 30x40 inches, c. 1976 Private Collection in Miami, Florida
"Isla Balsera (Raft Island)" - Happy Birthday America, Wishing We Were There!
Collage on Paper, Framed to 30x40 inches, c. 1976
Private Collection in New Jersey

On Emerging Artists

With the rise of speculative collectors cashing in on younger artists—many of them just out of school—whose work is made cheaply and en masse, and resold at a significant profit, there has also been a hyper-professionalization of the role of the emerging artist himself. (My choice of pronoun is not by default: the artist in question is almost invariably male—the gender imbalance in the art market is on full view in this trend.) He has business cards, printed on fine paper stock. His website is pristine. His CV is extensive, and correctly formatted. He may have even hired a Hollywood agent. And yet the art market has refocused his goals toward short-lived commercial success rather than a career.
Must read article by Daniel S. Palmer here.

Art Basel to buy other art fairs

Switzerland’s MCH Group, the company that owns Art Basel, announced on Friday that it will expand further into the art market with a new initiative focused on regional art fairs.
Details here.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Open Studio Weekend: A Festival of the Arts

Open Studio Weekend: A Festival of the Arts at Washington ArtWorks
Date: Saturday and Sunday, April 2nd and 3rd
Time: 12-5pm
Cost: Free and Open to the Public
Contact #: 301.654.1998
Address: 12276 Wilkins Ave. Rockville, MD 20852

April 2nd and 3rd, 2016 Washington ArtWorks, Montgomery County’s largest visual arts facility, opens to the public for the bi-annual Open Studio Weekend: A Festival of the Arts filled with art, shopping, film screenings, food trucks, live music, and more!

Over 70 artists create work in studios at Washington ArtWorks where creativity abounds for artists working in sculpture, painting, glass, fibers, jewelry, photography, and more. Visitors are able to shop, watch demos, and network with some of Montgomery County’s finest visual artists.

At Open Studio Weekend: A Festival of the Arts, attendees can indulge in delicious sweet and savory treats from food trucks, Holy Crepes and Curley Q’s BBQ, while local bands play live music.

Films by national and international artists will be screened throughout both days while art themed activities allow visitors of all ages to get creative and be a part of the art.
“This festival has tripled in size since its founding in 2014,” says President and CEO, Missy Loewe. “We expect this spring’s festival to be our largest yet and encourage all to be a part of this amazing event”.

Open Studio Weekend: A Festival of the Arts will be held from 12:00pm – 5:00pm both Saturday and Sunday, April 2nd and 3rd. Conveniently located at 12276 Wilkins Ave., Rockville, MD 20852, the arts center offers free parking, handicap accessibility, and easy access from Twinbrook Metro Station.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Coming to NYC


Alida Anderson Art Projects is pleased to present the work of three outstanding artists during the Spring 2016 Affordable Art Fair NYC. In light of Women’s History Month we would like to highlight the two women in our booth, Lauren Levato Coyne and Lori Katz. The artists both employ a graphic use of space and bold color but execute their final works with very different styles and media. Levato Coyne’s drawings feature animal and human forms in various levels of realism and Katz works in ceramic to create graphically inspired 3D wall pieces. 

Lauren Levato Coyne (Chicago, IL) works almost exclusively in colored pencil using themes of poison, violence, and addiction. “My drawings are paralinguistic symbolist portraits and still lives where meaning is indicated but encrypted,” said Levato Coyne. By combining lush realism with an economy of line and negative space Levato Coyne creates a schema that differentiates the human from the flora and fauna that populate the work. This schema differentiates the division between interior and exterior, reality and non-reality. 
 
Her drawings and paintings are shown in New York, Denver, and Los Angeles among other cities and can be found in private collections from NYC to Chicago, Germany to Italy. 

Lori Katz (Washington, DC) works as a ceramic artist. Her current focus is stoneware wall work with additions to the raw surface including contrasting clays, slips, underglaze and high-temperature wire. Post firing additions include acrylic paint, oil paint, cold wax and metal leaf"I am intrigued by contrast, the play of dark against light, the pull of empty space against the inclination to fill it up, the placement of line and shape, the use of subtle texture, balance,” said Katz. "Eight years ago, I began working almost exclusively in a palette of black and white in what was a conscious effort to simplify process and design. Lately, color is finding its way back in as my work continues to evolve. I have learned that in the end, process is never simple and good design is always balanced and strong.”
Katz's work has been selected for juried and invitational exhibitions in the US, Europe and Asia, and is included in public and private collections throughout the world.

Instagram Disables Artist's Account of Disturbing Politician Portraits

"You might find them disturbing, but you also might be unable to turn your eyes away from Houston artist Phillip Kremer's grotesque, distorted portraits of politicians like Donald J. Trump, Ben Carson, and Bernie Sanders."

Read the whole piece at https://news.artnet.com/people/artist-bizarre-portraits-donald-trump-instagram-443546


Monday, March 07, 2016

Nassikas at the Athenaeum

Congrats to our own Georgia Nassikas - Join her on March 20th from 4 - 6 pm for the opening reception of her solo show “Quietude: Works in Wax and Oil” at the Athenaeum in Alexandria, VA

A beautiful venue by the way! 



Sunday, March 06, 2016

Ten worst art fair mistakes

Number one is the same one that I've been warning artists about for years... and still lots of artists bite this bitter pill each year...

Read it here.

Banksy has been identified

“Geographic profiling”, a technique used to catch serial criminals, has proved that the elusive artist Banksy really is Robin Gunningham, according to academic research.
 Scientists at Queen Mary University of London claim to have “tagged” Banksy, by identifying a pattern between the locations where his graffiti artworks most frequently appear and addresses with a close association to Gunningham, named as Banksy in a 2008 newspaper investigation.
Read the whole article here.

Opportunity for artists

Deadline: March 14, 2016

The Young Affiliates of the Mint Museum (Charlotte, NC) host a juried art show in The Mint Museum Uptown in commemoration of The Mint Museum's upcoming 80th anniversary.   

To submit and for guidelines, visit www.youngaffiliates.org/80x80. For any questions, email 80x80show@gmail.com

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Congrats!

Carla Goldberg, represented by Alida Anderson Art Projects, LLC
To AAAP artist Carla Goldberg,  who has been commissioned to create a 16 foot five panel moon and water scape on plexiglass for the Hammond Museum for their summer 2016 exhibit. 

Also, three 14 foot water images of hers will grace the outdoor solarium on the newest Royal Caribbean cruise line ship currently under construction in Norway and set to launch this summer.

Also congrats to AAAP artist and DMV resident Elissa Farrow-Savos, as last nigth was the opening of her show, "If I Were You and You Were Me", at Gallery C in Raleigh, North Carolina; a gallery by the way, that discovered her work at a recent art fair a couple of years ago!

Art Scam Alert!

Beware of this rip off:
From:  Julian Smith (juliansmith@126.com)
Hello, my name is Julian and i am from Sinara Group Co.,LTD in Russia.We are glad to know about your company from the web and we are interested in your products.Pls send us your Latest catalog and price list as soon as you can.
Ms Julian Smith, Manager Importation

Opportunity for DMV artists

Deadline: April 29, 16. 

Christopher Newport University Dept. of Fine Art and Art History is looking for artists (in VA, DC, Baltimore) who can offer a workshop to their students as well as an Art Exhibition/Gallery Talk of their work during the 2016-17 academic year. 

They will provide reasonable stipend to assist with travel/shipping depending on circumstance. May offer honorarium to cover expenses associated with a Visiting Artist Workshop on campus. Contact jodie.gordon@cnu.edu to request submission requirements. Subject line: Call for Proposals. No phone calls please.