Saturday, January 06, 2018

The 10 Questions You Should Ask a Gallerist Before Buying Art

Edward Ball asked gallerists from around the world to share their top tips for buyers — from checking authenticity, to buying as an investment... read it all in Mutual Art here.

Homage to a hero

Three years ago my father died on this day... here's my eulogy from two years ago:
"Hoy se ha caido otro roble en la selva del amargo exilio" is how I always thought that my father's eulogy would begin once he died.

"Today another oak falls in the jungle of bitter exile," began the eulogy for the man whose bloodlines my children and I carry on.

Florencio Campello Alonso died today at age 90 in Miami, the heart of the bitter Cuban Diaspora. Like many Cubans of his generation, he was the son of European immigrants to Cuba. His Galician parents left the scraggy mountains of northern Spain's ancient Celtic kingdom and in the first decade of the 1900s migrated to the new nation of Cuba upon its liberation from Spain.

Galicians have always been uneasy subjects of the Spanish crown, stubbornly hanging on to their ancient Celtic traditions, to their own language and to their bagpipes, so it is no historical surprise that they left their mountain homelands en-masse and headed to the new tropical paradise of Cuba, free from the heavy hand of the Spanish monarchy.

And thus it was never a surprise to me that my father was both a fighter against heavy-handed rulers, a lover of freedom, and one who was never afraid to re-start a life for the better, even if it involved discarding the old. 

My father could have been one of the privileged few who currently rule atop the food chain of Cuba's Workers' Paradise. But instead of accepting the benefits of oppression, this most valiant of men chose the harsh path of right over wrong.

And he paid for it dearly (he spent years in Concentration Camps), but when he died, his soul was clean.

In his youth, my dad worked the brutal hours of the son of an immigrant who was slowly building a small financial empire in eastern Cuba. My father was pulled from school as soon as he learned to read and write, and like his two other brothers and eight sisters, he was expected to work and contribute to building a familial empire.

And he did, as my mother relates the stories of my father's childhood in the fields of eastern Cuba, a blond creole in a land of jingoist natives... he trying to out-Cuban the "real Cubans"... how he organized a labor union of the exploited Haitians who worked almost as slaves at the Los Canos Sugar Mill, how he joined a group of bearded rebels in the mountains of the Sierra Maestra in the fight against a tyrant, how he ran for the leadership of the Sugar Workers' Union and beat the Communists to the post, and how he spent years in a Castro Concentration Camp, jailed for the crime of refusing to join the Party, because he believed in Democracy and not Communism. 

And because of that stubbornness, in the 1960s he was offered the bitter pill of exile, and this brave man decided to choose family... and left his birth place, and thus became another immigrant within two familial generations and brought his wife and child to another new land.

And it is to him that I owe the greatest gift that a father can give a son: the opportunity to grow in freedom in the greatest nation in the history of this planet.

It is because of my father's courage that I was raised in this country and not in a land bloodied by brutality and oppression.

It is because of my father's teachings that I was raised with the conviction that freedom is not free and never to be taken for granted; after all, he fought for freedom and then Castro, the man who inspired the fight, ended up being a worse dictator, eventually destroying all notions of freedom for all of his people.

It is because of my father that I was taught that every citizen owes his nation some form of service, and that's the main reason that I signed (at age 17) to serve in the US Navy.

It is because of my father that I despise anyone who hides behind the mask of victimism to excuse failures and shortcomings.

When our family arrived in New York in the 1960s, my father began to work in a factory three days after he landed at the airport; my mother (who came from a privileged Cuban family and had never worked a day in her life) found a job as a seamstress five days later. That pattern was repeated for decades as they worked their way in a new nation.

"We thought we'd be back within a few years," was the answer given to me when I once asked the question about leaving their birthplace. When that didn't materialize, they became fierce Americans in the "United States of Americans" sense... these were the "America None Better!" set of immigrants, and in my Dad's case, you better be ready to fight if you dissed the USA.


Always a fighter he was... and always for the right reasons.

Cubans are archaic immigrants... we love this great nation because we recognize its singular and unique greatness; perhaps it is because our forebears had the same chance at greatness and blew it.

And my Dad loved this nation even more than he once loved Cuba... perhaps it is the genetic disposition of the serial immigrant. After all, his father had left his own ancient Celtic lands and kin for a new land... which he learned to love dearly.

My father always wanted to make sure that I knew that I was an "Americano" and not another forced-on label.

"Labels," he'd say, "are just a way to separate people."

By labels he meant "Hispanic" or "Latino" or anything with a "-" between two ethnic words.

I also remember as a kid in New York, when he bought a huge Hi-Fi record player-color-TV console... that thing was huge. He bought it "lay-away" and he'd pay $10 a week to the store and him and I would walk all the way from our house on Sackman Street to the store on Pitkin Avenue to make the payments every Saturday - he never missed a single payment, and that taught me a lesson.

It was soon playing my Dad's favorite music, which oddly enough was Mexican music (Cuban music was a close second)... and he knew all the words to every charro song.
Guadalajara en un llano, Mejico en una laguna...
Guadalajara en un llano, Mejico en una laguna...Me he de comer esa tunaMe he de comer esa tuna.... aunque me espine la mano.
That Jorge Negrete song... being shouted often on weekends at the top of his lungs from our apartment in a mostly Italian neighborhood in East New York in Brooklyn must have raised some eyebrows.

My dad and I watched Neil Armstrong land on the moon on that TV set... we also watched loads of Mets games... and in 1969 and 1972 went to Shea Stadium to see the Mets win in '69 and lose in '72. He really loved baseball and he really loved those Mets!

When I joined the Navy at age 17, my first duty station was USS SARATOGA, which at the time was stationed in Mayport in Florida, so my Dad decided to migrate south to Florida and moved to Miami... just to be close to me.

He and my mother spent the next 40 years in the same apartment while I was stationed all over the world.

When I visited him today in Miami, he looked good and freshly shaven... this is a good thing, as my father was a freak about hygiene... and that's a common "creole" trait.

The Hospice nurse almost teared up when I told her that my parents have been married for 60 years.

I looked at this old "gallego"... his skin as white as paper, his eyes as blue as the sky, and his head (once full of blond hair) as bald and shiny as the old Cuban sing song ("Mira la Luna, mira al Sol... mira la calva de ese.....") and I saw the generations of Neanderthals, Denisovans and Gallego Homo Sapiens that led to my bloodlines... the generations of fighters, of strugglers, and of tough guys who didn't take no for an answer and who made a better place for others. 

And I felt at peace and grateful.

And as my father died tonight, after an extubation,  all that I can think to say to him is "Thank you for your courage... from me, and from my children... and soon from their children. You opened a whole new world for them."

I love you Dad... Un Abrazo Fuerte! Thank you for your gifts to me and my children and it is no coincidence that you died on El Dia de Los Reyes.

Friday, January 05, 2018

Art Scam Alert!!!!

Beware of this mutant trying to rip off artists!
From: Kevin Spiker

Subject: Art Work Inquiry 
My name is  Kevin Spiker from Washington DC. I was looking for some artwork online and i found your contact while searching. I will like to purchase some of your work for my wife as a surprise gift for our 20th anniversary.Please kindly send pics and prices of some of your art which are ready for immediate sale within price range $500- $5000, i could be flexible with price. So i will hope to hear a lot more about any available piece in your inventory ready for immediate sale. 
Thanks and best regards,

Opportunity for Artists

Mozilla is taking proposals for visualization pieces focused on misinformation - will be installed at the Tech Museum of Innovation 

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Jessica Drenk at Adah Rose

Opening at Adah Rose Gallery

"The Evocation of a Moment..a Gesture" - Jessica Drenk

January 19-March 2, 2018
Vernissage Saturday January 20 6:00-8:00 pm.
Live Music by Bud Wilkinson
Tactile and textural, the sculptures of Jessica Drenk highlight the chaos and beauty that can be found in simple materials. Jessica's work is influenced by systems of information and the impulse to develop an encyclopedic understanding of the world. Jessica’s interests in archaeology, paleontology, biology, botany and geology influence not only the shapes and textures of her sculpture, but also lend a visual framework for creating, collecting and classifying her own specimens of the present. The sculptures are both fragile and strong, complex and simple; always elegant and unique. Her materials  are as varied as marble, PVC pipes, toilet paper, books, pencils, wood, coffee filters, and q-tips. 
Jessica was raised in Montana, where she developed an appreciation for the natural world that remains an important inspiration to her artwork today. Jessica was awarded the International Sculpture Center's Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award.  Her work has been pictured in Sculpture Magazine and she has exhibited in shows at the International Grounds for Sculpture in NJ, Skidmore College, the Albuquerque Museum, the Tucson Museum of Art, the Everhart Museum, Yale University and the Brooklyn Public Library. Her work is in many prominent individual and corporate art collections. Jessica has exhibited in numerous solo and duo shows in Washington DC, Dallas, San Francisco, Hawaii, Florida, Massachusetts and Arizona. She has exhibited with the gallery at PULSE Miami, PULSE NY and the Silicon Valley Art Fair. This is her third show with Adah Rose Gallery.
Jessica Drenk received an MFA from the University of Arizona in 2007 and a BA from Pomona College in 2002. She currently lives and works in Florida.
Adah Rose Gallery
3766 Howard Ave
Kensington MD 20895
Thursday-Sunday 12:00-5:30 and always by appointment

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

East City Art's 2017 Year in Review

Always free, pick up a copy of East City Art's 2017 Year in Review at one of the following participating locations:
  • American University Katzen Arts Center
    4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
  • Anacostia Smithsonian Museum 
    1901 Fort Place SE
  • Arlington Arts Center
    3550 Wilson Boulevard Arlington, VA
  • Art Enables
    2204 Rhode Island Avenue NE
  • Art League Torpedo Factory Art Center
    105 N Union St, Alexandria, VA
  • Artist and Makers Studios
    11810 Parklawn Dr, Rockville, MD
  • Arts Council of Fairfax
    2667 Prosperity Ave A, Fairfax, VA
  • Artworks Studio School
    3711 Rhode Island Ave, Mt Rainier, MD
  • Black Rock Center for the Arts
    12901 Town Commons Dr, Germantown, MD
  • Brentwood Arts Exchange
    3901 Rhode Island Ave, Brentwood, MD
  • Capitol Hill Arts Workshop 
    545 7th Street SE
  • Congress Heights Arts & Culture Center
    3200 MLK Jr. Ave. SE
  • Convergence Gallery
    1801 N Quaker Ln, Alexandria, VA
  • Cultural Programs of the National Academy of Sciences 
    500 Fifth St NW
  • DC Arts Studios
    6925 Willow St NW
  • DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities  
    200 Eye St SE
  • District Clay
    2414 Douglas St NE
  • Driskell Center (University of Maryland) 
    1214 Cole Student Activities Bldg, 1214 Union Ln, College Park, MD
  • Fisher Gallery
    4915 East Campus Lane, Alexandria VA
  • Flashpoint Gallery
    916 G St NW
  • Foundry Gallery
    8th Street NW
  • Gallery Neptune and Brown 
    1530 14th St NW
  • Gallery OonH 
    1354 H Street NE
  • Glen Echo
    7300 MacArthur Blvd. Glen Echo, MD
  • Greater Reston Arts Center
    Reston Town Center, 12001 Market St #103, Reston, VA
  • Hamiltonian 
    1353 U St NW
  • Harmony Hall 
    10701 Livingston Rd., Fort Washington, MD
  • Hemphill 
    1515 14th Street NW
  • Hill Center 
    921 Pennsylvania Ave SE
  • Joan Hisoaka Healing Arts Gallery 
    1632 U St NW
  • Joe’s Movement 
    3309 Bunker Hill Rd, Mt Rainier, MD
  • Latela Art Gallery 
    716 Monroe St NE #27
  • Long View Gallery 
    1234 9th St NW
  • Lorton Arts 
    9518 Workhouse Rd, Lorton, VA
  • McLean Project for the Arts 
    1234 Ingleside Ave, McLean, VA
  • Monroe Street Market 
    625 Monroe Street NE
  • Montpelier Arts Center
    9650 Muirkirk Rd., Laurel, MD
  • Morton Fine Art 
    1781 Florida Ave NW
  • National Postal Museum 
    2 Massachusetts Avenue NE
  • Olly Olly Gallery 
    10417 Main Street, Second Floor, Fairfax, VA
  • Open Studio DC 
    1135 Okie Street NE
  • Otis Street Arts Project 
    3706 Otis St, Mt Rainier, MD
  • Plaza Artist Materials Bethesda 
    7825 Old Georgetown RD, Bethesda, MD
  • Plaza Artist Materials Downtown 
    1120 19th Street NW
  • Plaza Artist Materials Fairfax 
    3045 Nutley Street, Fairfax, VA
  • Plaza Artist Materials Rockville 
    1776 E. Jefferson Street Unit 119, Rockville, MD
  • Printmakers Gallery 
    1641 Wisconsin Ave NW
  • Project Create 
    2028 Martin Luther King Ave SE (2nd Floor)
  • Pyramid Atlantic 
    4318 Gallatin St, Hyattsville, MD
  • Recreative Spaces 
    3501 Perry Street Mount Rainier, MD
  • Red Dirt Studios 
    4051 34th St, Mt Rainier, MD
  • Rhizome Arts 
    6950 Maple St NW
  • Susan Calloway Fine Arts 
    1643 Wisconsin Ave NW
  • Tanglewood Works 
    5132 Baltimore Ave, Hyattsville, MD
    1901 Mississippi Ave SE
  • Torpedo Factory 
    105 N Union St, Alexandria, VA
  • Touchstone 
    901 New York Ave NW
  • Visarts
    155 Gibbs St, Rockville, MD
  • Washington Studio School 
    2129 S St NW
  • Waverly Street Gallery
    4600 East-West Hwy #102, Bethesda, MD

My continuous fascination with this

People taking selfies inside a Campello artwork 2017
The curious case of people taking a selfie inside a F. Lennox Campello interactive video drawing
Context Art Miami art fair, Miami Florida during Art Basel week

Monday, January 01, 2018

Happy 2018!

Here's a wish for a Happy New Year's wish to all planetary life, but especially to all my fellow veterans, and all Americans on active duty; and to all of the men and women in our Armed Forces all over the planet, and who are away from their families and their nation on New Year's Day, with a special cyber hug to all my U.S. Navy brothers and sisters at sea - we've got your back!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Confessions Of A Nasty Gallery Girl

Flirt alert: Working in a gallery obviously means looking after (male) clients, collectors and artists alike. So how do you manage to maintain a relationship that’s the perfect balance of friendly and professional, without enticing them to send flirty WhatsApp messages after having one too many at the opening?
Read the whole piece here. 

Friday, December 29, 2017

Artist Lifestyle Survey

 Art Festival Newsletter National Survey:
You are invited to take part in the latest nationwide artists' survey conducted by Art-Linx. The subject is "Art Festival Artists: Who We Are 2017".  You need not be an Art-Linx subscriber to participate.

A revised version of the surveys conducted from 2011-2016, "Art Festival Artists: Who We Are 2017" continues to build on the information about the composition, demographics, festival practices and goals of festival exhibitors nationwide--and how our community has changed in the last, tumultuous year. 

Your responses are completely anonymous. They are automatically collated and tabulated. Neither Art-Linx, nor anyone else, knows who participates in the survey or their answers to the questions.

As always,we will prepare a report on the survey. In addition, with the goal of assisting shows in their efforts to respond to artists' needs, we will make the survey report available to over 1,500 art and craft festivals across the United States.

In just a few minutes of your valuable time, you can add your experiences, opinions and plans to those of other artists and help reach a cohesive understanding of who we are.

We sincerely hope you decide to join us in this important endeavor.

 Please click HERE to make your voice heard in the art festival industry.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Willem de Looper at Hemphill

January 18 - March 24, 2018

HEMPHILL has announce the exhibition, WILLEM DE LOOPER, opening on Thursday, January 18, with a reception from 6-8pm. The exhibition will remain on view through March 24, 2018.
In 1972, Willem de Looper traveled to the Western United States to see the sublime natural formations of the Grand Canyon. The rocky façade provided de Looper with a visualized storyline of millions of years of natural history. The stunning qualities of the banded strata left a lasting impression on the artist and ultimately became a subconscious obsession. Painting with rollers enabled de Looper to depict abstracted landscapes inspired by his travels. The delicate yet deliberate choice of color and layered paint presents the viewer with a vibrant representation of the craggy façade de Looper encountered at the Grand Canyon in 1972. WILLEM DE LOOPER presents paintings and works on paper from this period.
Willem de Looper (1932-2009) was born in The Hague, Netherlands and came to Washington DC in 1950. The artist landed his first solo exhibition at Jefferson Place Gallery in 1966. De Looper has been exhibited and collected by many established museums such as the National Gallery of Art, the Phillips Collection, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, among others.
HEMPHILL was founded in Washington DC in 1993. The exhibition schedule features modern & contemporary art in all media by artists ranging from emerging to mid-career to modern masters.
GALLERY HOURS: Tuesday–Saturday, 10:00am–5:00pm, and by appointment.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The "wake effect"

The "wake effect" from CONTEXT Art Fair as these two sculptures by Audrey Wilson just got acquired a couple of days ago by a major Miami art collector and now they're heading back to Miami for good!

@contextartmiami @contextartfair #contextartfair

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas!

The Giving Season by David FeBland
The Giving Season, 2007 David FeBland

Sunday, December 24, 2017

A big thank you!

Doing an art fair is exhilarating and a MUST for 21st century artists and gallerists - it is also brutal work and we could not have accomplished an especially complicated Context Art Miami 2017 during the most recent Art Basel week without the hard work of Laura Beth Konopinski (or LBK as I call her) and Audrey Wilson!

That's the very talented Tim Vermeulen's work in the background...

Laura Beth Konopinski and Audrey Wilson at Context Art Miami 2017
Laura Beth Konopinski and Audrey Wilson at Context Art Miami 2017

@contextartmiami #contextartmiami #contextartfair #artbaselweek #miamiartfairs

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Tim Tate

Even though one of those pics was taken on a bad hair day, I just have to share this post from a very good friend and perhaps the DMV's best known artist:

Friday, December 22, 2017

Cool end of year email from Touchstone Gallery

Very cool and comprehensive email from Touchstone Gallery:

Dear all, 
We are going to be closed between December 24 - 31 for the Holidays.
As we say goodbye to 2017, here is Touchstone Gallery's 2017 year in numbers:
  • 2 years in a row named BEST OF D.C. by The Washington Post poll (2016, 2017).
  • 4 cups of coffee consumed by each staff member on average per day.
  • 7 member artists taught art classes at New Community ArtSpace, as part of community engagement, supported by Touchstone Foundation for the Arts (501c3) and a DCCAH grant.
  • 8 months out of 12 reviewed by The Washington Post.
  • 25 gallons of Benjamin Moore white paint used to touch up our walls.
  • 41 years since being established in 1976.
  • 50 member artists represented in downtown D.C.
  • 65 spotlights on our ceiling to highlight artists artworks on the walls.
  • 216 artworks sold.
  • 220+ artists in The One House Project installation in November 2017, conceived by ArtWatch DC and supported by Touchstone Foundation for the Arts.
  • 612 bottles of wine drunk during 2017 opening receptions.
  • 750 artworks reviewed by juror Jack Rasmussen, Katzen Arts Center, for the Art of Engagement, a National Juried Show in August 2017.
  • 68,754 website visits.
Many reasons to stop by to say "hi" in the New Year, follow us @touchstonewdc on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and visit our website at
Happy Holidays and Happy New 2018 Year!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Bethesda Painting Awards

Deadline to Apply: Feb. 23, 2018

Best in Show will be awarded $10,000 and featured at Gallery B in June 2018

The Bethesda Painting Awards is downtown Bethesda's annual juried art competition that exclusively honors painters from Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. $14,000 in prize monies are awarded to the top four painters annually. 

The 2018 competition will be juried by Sally Bowring, Laura Roulet and Bill Schmidt. 

Artists must be 18 years of age or older and permanent, full-time residents of Maryland, Virginia or Washington, D.C. The selected artwork will be on exhibit in June 2017 at Gallery B in downtown Bethesda, MD.

To apply, please visit