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Archive for August, 2007|Monthly archive page

No Scratchers Exhibit Update

In Uncategorized on August 31, 2007 at 4:24 pm

On a Saturday night in January 2007, a new Metropolitan DC gallery opened its doors in the Anacostia area. In its inaugural show, promo, and soft opening, The Honfleur Gallery hosted an exhibit entitled “No Scratchers.” No Scratchers was an informal exhibition highlighting works of art created by D.C. tattoo artists. The show was curated by Imani Brown (tattooer, artist, and photographer). Lenny Campello (noted DC arts celebrity) also donated some of his works.

No Scratchers was a great success, drawing in approximately 250 – 300 people. The gallery sold four pieces of work by Renee Woodward (currently represented at http://www.honfleurgallery.com/). NPR’s Jackie Lyden did a segment on the exhibit. Gallery Associate Director Amy Cavanaugh commented that the show seemed so cutting edge for DC, and that in another locale, it would have been more mainstream. It’s possible that in DC, the art world is a little less adventurous and more controlled.

The majority of No Scratchers artists were tattoo artists. In general, they seemed to love the publicity and the exhibit. No merger of this sort is without its obstacles. There may be a bit of adjustment needed in reconciling value differences between the sometimes legalistic and mechanical operations of a gallery versus the free-spirited, non-conventional artistry and creativity of many ink slingers. Despite the show’s success, the gallery reported minor frustrations in challenges they encountered in various logistics and paperwork.

“No Scratchers” is derived from the term “scratching,” – code for tattoo artists who do bad work. No bad work was found amidst the 60 pieces including photos, paintings, mixed-media works, and sculptures featuring the tattoo culture as the theme. Ms. Brown is currently associated with Pinz-n-Needlez (http://www.inkwiz.biz/), a local tattoo parlor, and credits Andrea Hope with this show photo.

Brown says to her, scratchers are those that do less than top quality work, are not focused on the art perspective, and tattoo only for the money. Brown says a tattoo artist has one chance to advise the client, create the best piece, and get it right the first time. Since the show, she states she has had a lot of positive feedback with many awaiting the next exhibition.

Honfleur is located at 1241 Good Hope Road SE, in historic Anacostia. To make an appointment to view the spaces, contact bevans@archdc.org or call (202) 889-5000 x 113. One of Honfleur’s more notable goals is to raise money for more arts programming for youth in the area.

Baltimore Antique Show – Opening Day

In Uncategorized on August 30, 2007 at 5:04 pm

Today was opening day at the Baltimore Antique Show which runs through the weekend. The Convention Center is again hosting a gaggle of galleries and dealers; noticeably this year are several from London. This is my third year attending the show. I found the line at the door much shorter, the food service slightly improved, and the air conditioning more manageable.

Other than some stunning very large floor mirrors, a $60,000 fun antique casino-type gaming piece, and remarkably breath-taking silver, the show is sadly predictable. Oh you’ll find your antiquarian books, your jewelry galore, and your historic pieces (be sure to check out the gun canes and the chandeliers) … but if you’ve been attending these shows as I have, it all becomes standard fare (except perhaps for the lovely display by New York’s China Gallery or the ancient wood block reliefs also from China.)

Standard fare too are the often highly marked up prices. I saw a piece earlier this year at the Big DC Flea Market with today’s tag more than triple the asking price – so shop around! The range of art is a bit impressive, however I’m talking about the artistry in apparel of the wanna-be-wealthy-posers. Pink Ralph Lauren pants and black leather dress shoes sported by a very tan romance novel hero were outdone only by the tall blonde Barbie with the brown bareback cocktail dress. Excuse me, I didn’t know we were having drinks on Thursday at noon. Ahem. Bring comfortable shoes; the concrete floor is brutal. And carry lots of dough; my parking, entrance fee, and lunch alone killed a $50.

Creativity Lull? Revisit the Masters

In Uncategorized on August 27, 2007 at 10:03 am

Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way encourages artists to write three journal pages each day as an exercise in discipline, free thinking, and cathartic clearing. The exercise also serves as an idea bank for future creative lulls.

If you are experiencing creative blocks, another technique is to spend time looking at art you might not normally view. Google links to several Art-A-Day or Painting-A-Day sites and many of them can be sent right to your email. Since I prefer Outdoor Art (Art Brut), I like revisiting the Masters as counter balance. Here are examples of some of the greatest works of western civilization. When’s the last time you took a look?

1. The Golden Mask of King Tutankhamen

2. Parthenon Sculptures

3. Scythian Gold Pectoral

4. Nicholas of Verdun’s Enameled Altar

5. Grotto’s Arena Chapel

6. van Eyck’s Ghent Altarpiece

7. Leonardo’s Mona Lisa

8. Michelangelo’s David

9. Grunewald’s Isenheim Altar

10. El Greco’s Burial of Count Orgaz (pictured)

11. Velazquez’s Las Meninas

12. Rembrant’s Return of the Prodigal Son

13. Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party (at The Phillips Collection)

14. Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon

You may also want to spend a lunch hour or two with the likes of: Leonardo da Vinci; Albrecht Durer; Caravaggio; Rubens; or Lysippus. The combined artists make the short list of some of the most interesting craftsmen – it won’t be long until your name is on there too!

Collecting 101: Surviving Your 1st BIG Art Show

In Uncategorized on August 25, 2007 at 10:21 pm

It was 2002 when I made my way to New York’s Javits Convention Center to participate in my very first International Art & Frame Expo. Back then, wall displays were all in black (so was all the clothing). Times, they are a changing!

There’s a science to collecting, and no shortage of twists and turns along the discovery. If you’re just beginning, I like to recommend attending at least one of the Top Ten Big Art Shows as a quick and dirty learning and filtering experience. Without a doubt, as you get some art fair mileage under your shoe soles, you’ll have a more discerning eye to the devil in the detail. First, let’s survive the Big Show.

1. Walk and Bring a Pal. Walk through the entire show noting your first impressions. Look for items that are striking in their visual impact. Ask your pal for feedback. Notate the display location on the back of business cards (or mark it on the show map). Listen to the pitch. Watch others in the vicinity. I like to work from the back of the show forward to the door. Many shows are partitioned by venue. You may wish to select three to five genres you think you’d like to see. Many shows also highlight a particular artist or style, do make it a point to visit these high-traffic showcases to compare what’s “hot” with what’s “not.” Feel the energy.

2. Walk Some More. Return to booths you noted earlier. Listen, talk, linger. Does the visual impact of the piece you’re admiring increase? Does the work express what its intending? Does it grow in stature? Does it continually mature? Can the gallery recommend artists with similar styles? Ask questions. Check the price. Scrunch up your nose and walk away. View the piece from a distance. View the piece close up. Take three breaths to center yourself. What are you thinking? What does the piece represent to you?

3. Rest. I can’t overstress the important of taking breaks. Go outside. Get a coffee. Take off your shoes. Talk to someone about something OTHER than art. Gripe a little (it clears the negative brain drain). Laugh a little (it produces endorphins). Compare notes with said pal. Lounge, close your eyes, and regroup. If there are art lectures or special symposia, attend an afternoon session. Big Art Shows can have a way of bringing out both the worst and the best in people. If you saw pieces you liked, but disliked the manner of the display, or the manner of the marketing, remember that many FINE galleries with FINE works can be viewed back at home over the Internet in a much less hectic environment. Also, know this. Big Art Show energy in the afternoon/late evening is generally much more relaxed.

4. Go Back (I know your feet are killing you!). By this time, you’ll have a short list of the items, artists, styles, or materials you really like. You may even be hungry for more detailed information. Go back to the booth and see if the piece amazes you in a different way each time you view it. That winter in rainy New York, I recall seeing an enormous Japanese silk painting featuring a pink peacock. The first time, I wanted to purchase on sight – no questions asked. The second time, I noted the lush green forest surrounding the peacock (wait, do peacocks live in forests?) I took a picture with the artist, standing there smiling with polaroid in hand. Returning to the piece a third time, I realized that silly bird was really the only thing in the whole work that had stood out! A whole wall for a two inch bird?

5. Is it unforgettable? Pieces you consider for purchase to your permanent collection should present to you the power of mystery, the power of discovery. As important, is the question of whether the work is any good? A sad fact about Big Art Shows is along with fantastic finds, there are also finds less so. Most collectors want their collection to grow. And grow means lots of different things to various people. Is it any good, is it unforgettable, will it help my collection grow? Here’s where your after-show follow up, research, and information will really pay off for the NEXT show.

Listen, there’s more than one type of collector and more than one way to build a living legacy. Some of us buy for pure emotion, others buy for cost, others for provenance, and others for sizzle. Some buy for content, some for quality, some for quantity. Some buy for size, some for genre, some for fame of the artist, others for potential fame, and still others because they knew the artist in third grade. Whether the work is any good is a series of decisions only you can make after balancing a myriad of facts. I’ll never forget the time I saw a real-live-honest-to-goodness Howard Finster (it was at the Outsider Arts Fair years later in New York’s Armory). I STILL kick myself for not purchasing it. Sometimes you just have to buy on impulse, and in those cases, you’ll be happy to have said pal to either encourage or roll their eyes at you.

The key to surviving your first Big Art Show is this. Before you get to a YES, there’s going to be an awful lot of NOs. Remember, there’s no big rush. There’s plenty more coming right behind this show. It takes several show venues (and preferably in different geographic areas) to really get a feel for how things should go. And I try to remember it’s the entire experience I’m buying. The experience of the magical find, the careful consideration, and hopefully, the final acquisition.

Gold: Luminosity, Luxury, and Lift

In Uncategorized on August 25, 2007 at 2:28 am

A little over two years ago, Irene Winter, Professor of Fine Arts at Harvard University, gave a talk on the ancient Assyrian site Nimrud and the Queen’s ornate crown at the National Gallery. Winter spoke in exacting detail about the aesthetics of radiance, Summarian burial practices, the politics of acquisition, and practices stemming out of antiquities legislation all in connection with her life’s work in art and archaeology.

I am not certain why, but what stuck with me was the gold and its immutable nature. I remember viewing slides of gold used over ivory, gold clustered stars, gold appearing as textiles, gold earrings and armlets worn by men, gold bracelets inlaid with turquoise and lapis, gold rosettes, Christian ornamentation and halos, and yes – gold Buddahs.

When you think about it, gold has a certain aura, a living vitality, a shimmering light. It’s power, heat, shine, and luster. It’s the golden calf, the representation of the sun, the great dome in Jerusalem. Gold is radiance, luminosity, emanating, strong, and durable. It’s a strong cultural response. It’s a visual andneurobiological reaction that grabs the eye and stimulates pleasure. Gold manifests outwardly, reflecting inner nature.

A high-end experience, gold is – and that’s why I love it. It’s vitality, auspiciousness, allure, and beauty. It’s seductive, compelling, lovely, splendorous, and glorious. This malleable mineral, while today being expensive, also denoted money and wealth in its own accord all those years ago. It can be considered somewhat controversial. A thinking man has to ask what’s the morality of luxurious acquisition and excess in a world of demise and suffering?

But to the artist, gold is greed and need. Who among us is satiated with only one hit of Klimt’s gold foil, leaf, and paint? No. No. No. We need gold’s lift again and again. Give us hearts of gold. Let us hold ourselves to the gold standard. Award us all the gold medal for courage in creating. Let us all live on the gold coast or by the golden rule (if we so choose). Please protect us all from the nasty gold diggers and let every art lover come across their very own golden opportunity. The luxury of a luminous lift.

Art Auctions: Sample Bidder Contract

In Uncategorized on August 25, 2007 at 1:29 am

Before you attend an auction of art masterpieces (Right. That’s you and your millions I mean), you’ll want to familiarize yourself with common auction terms – also known as a Bidder’s Contract. Be advised that many large auction houses (e.g. Christies, Sotheby’s, Bonham’s, and Skinner) have their own rules and regs. In future articles, I’ll share some winning auction strategies to outbid, outwit, outsmart, and outlast your competition.

A Bidder’s Contract is entered into between the Bidder named and signed and the Auctioneers. A Bidder agrees that the terms shall govern the auction. Terms are often posted or announced from the auction block and are just as binding. Follow these simple steps: take a seat close to the auction block (you can visually inspect the items, hear the auctioneer better, and you’re normally nearer to a doorway); pace yourself (many high quality items are saved until auction end when anxious buyers are tapped out financially or physically); read and review any available catalogues or descriptions; and have a blast!

1. Full Payment. All items must be paid for in full before Bidder leaves the premises. Nothing may be removed until it is settled for. Payments for purchases are normally made by cash, cashier’s check, personal check, or business check when the Auctioneers allow. Letters of Credit or Guarantee must be for the current auction only, along with proof of identity. All sales are subject to State Tax laws. The Bidder agrees not to stop payment on checks or disallow a sight draft and is responsible for any expenses due to bad check collections. In the event of non-payment, the Auctioneers have the right to repossess, at any time, at your location, the merchandise.

2. No Warranty. All items are sold AS IS without any guarantee of any kind. Item descriptions appearing in advertising prior to an auction are believed to be correct. Descriptions, and/or oral statements made by an owner, his agents, officers, or Auctioneers, concerning any item shall not be construed as a warranty, either expressed or implied. The Bidder certifies that the merchandise has been examined and that the Bidder accepts it AS IS.

3. Disputes. Auctioneers designate the winning Bidder after each item is sold. When a dispute arises between two or more Bidders, the Auctioneer has the right to reopen the bidding. The Auctioneers’ designation of a final buyer is normally considered final.

4. Buyers’ Responsibility. When a Bidder has won the high bid, they become the new owners of an item, even though they may not have paid for it yet. The item becomes the full and sole responsibility of a Buyer and the Buyer assumes all risk of loss and damage. Buyers should guard their items.

5. Injury and Damage. The Bidder acknowledges responsibility for any personal injury or property damage caused by Bidder or his agent. The Buyer holds the Auctioneer harmless from any personal injury to himself or any property damage incurred on the premises.

6. Agents Only. The Auctioneer acts as the Owners Agent Only.

Why Artists & Art Institutions Should Care About Preparedness

In Uncategorized on August 23, 2007 at 8:06 am

September marks the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s National Preparedness Month (NPM).

The goal of NPM is to increase public awareness about the importance of emergency planning. Simple steps include: obtaining an emergency supply kit; establishing a home or work emergency plan; understanding potential threats; and assisting in community preparation efforts.

The NPM’s Coalition membership is comprised of a host of regional, state, and local organizations including Wal-Mart Stores, Target, The Home Depot, American Red Cross, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Environmental Protection Agency. You can learn more, view instructional videos, obtain sample marketing materials, and get great ideas at http://www.ready.gov.

Make time and take time as a gift to yourself or your institution to step away from the daily drive to produce art, market art, attend fairs, submit art to competitions, etc. Do you have an emergency plan? I mean, really? Your art, your studio supplies, your client’s work, your years of curating records, or your gallery’s lifeblood are all simply irreplaceable. Beyond recognizing the immediate impact of a disaster, let’s also celebrate the tremendous opportunity to help the community of our art world before one strikes.

The Brentwood Arts Center – MD Studio Rentals

In Uncategorized on August 22, 2007 at 1:32 pm

The Brentwood Arts Center, 3901 Rhode Island Ave., Brentwood, MD (one mile north of the District Line) will contain working space for 10-15 artists with studios in the 300-2,000 sf range. Refurbished warehouse with new air, heat, tall ceilings, rough cement floors, small common area, kitchenette, loading dock and outstanding natural light. Spaces are suitable for visual artists, jewelers, ceramicists, and woodworkers. All disciplines will be considered.

This is an excellent location for artists who teach. Studios will be large enough to conduct classes. Prince George’s Park and Planning Department will run a gallery and classroom space on the first floor. (Tenants will be able to rent the Park and Planning classroom.) The Brentwood Art Center is a project of Gateway CDC, a nonprofit dedicated to creating a variety of live/work opportunities for local artists. This facility is designed to provide affordable, stable commercial space to artists. Spaces are available now. Ready for occupancy by October 30, 2007. Shown by appointment. Call John: 301-864-3860 ext. 3

Master Works Challenge Reception: Saturday, August 25th

In Uncategorized on August 21, 2007 at 5:39 pm

A Master Works Challenge and Artist Reception will be held Saturday, August 25, 2007, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m at the Overdue Recognition Art Gallery, 6816 RaceTrack Road, Bowie, Maryland.

The event culminates an opportunity for both new and established artists to show their works and compete for a private reception. The challenge ran from June 23 – July 28, 2007 and each artist produced works within the time constraints. Participants include: Pamela Hilliard; Karen Y. Buster; Larry “Poncho” Brown; James Redd; Deborah A. Shedrick; James Murphy; Yolanda Redd; and Larry O. Brown.

Overdue Recognition owners, Jackie and Derrick Thompson, along with Authentic Art Consulting curator Sharon Burton, will jury the show and decide which of the talented artists will receive a gallery showcasing at Overdue Recognition Art Gallery this late fall.

Ms. Thompson stated, “I’m very excited about the show. It has always been a goal of ours to give new artists a venue to show their work, and we’re hoping to make this an annual event.” For more information, contact Overdue Recognition Gallery at 1-866-726-8642, or (301) 805-8812 or e-mail:jackie.thompson@overduerecognition.com

A Woman's Story Gallery: Artist Business Class

In Uncategorized on August 21, 2007 at 8:12 am

Could you use some artist business training? Empowered Women International will hold classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays from September 4 to October 16, 6:30-9:00 pm at EWI – A Woman’s Story Gallery, 1307 King St., Alexandria, VA 22314. EWI invites talented immigrant women artists, arts educators, and women who want to open arts businesses to participate.

Complete the online application at http://www.ewint.org/, or email Sharmila at sdkhush@hotmail.com. Cost is $175 ($150/training fee, $25/artist membership) payable by check to the gallery’s address. Need based applications may be considered for scholarships. Application deadline: August 31, 2007.

The class is an introduction to artist entrepreneurship, confidence building, and business skill enhancement. It will present practical resources and information to assist artists in their chosen paths. At course completion, artists will have the starting tools for a professional portfolio and a personal marketing plan. They will also participate in a juried exhibition and graduation in October 2007. (Photo credit ewint.org.)