Thursday, March 31, 2005

April in Richmond

Spring is here! Lots of stuff going on this month - I'll list some of it. This is just a list of the things that most interest me - not an all encompassing listing - so if you have something you'd like to add or recommend please do so in the comments. I'm sure there are many things going on that I'm unaware of - like strange detectives.


This Friday April 1st is First Friday -

1708 Gallery - paintings by Sara Clark and drawings by Andy Moon Wilson, 8-10pm

ADA Gallery - three person show featuring the work of Susan Jamison, Michael Ferris, and me, 7-10pm. Don't forget to check out the record bin show in the back. Submit!

Anderson Gallery - juried exhibition of VCU undergrads. I'm especially looking forward to seeing the work of Mike Ellyson, Brett Johnson, and Amanda Long, 5-7pm.

Curated Culture at Cornerstone Gallery - two of the undergrads I recently wrote about are showing together, Jules Jones and D'Metrius Rice, 7-10pm.

Main Art Gallery - work by Martin Brief, 7-9pm. No idea who he is, but they always have good food!!

Rentz Gallery - paintings by Laetitia Bonnici, 6-9pm. Don't know what to expect here either, but it's right down the street from Main Art.

Visual Art Studio - this caught my eye because one of the four artists showing is someone I met a few years ago in Vermont, Deanne Dunbar! She's amazing; talented, smart, etc etc - I'm talking Carson Fox-land. Hope she comes. This place is close to ADA at 208 W. Broad, 6:30-10pm.

and .... later in the month Katharina Grosse will be showing at Solvent Space! Her show opens April 15th and she'll be lecturing on the 13th. That sounds a little weird, giving a lecture two days before the show opens - maybe incorrect. Don't mark your calendar just yet.

Other upcoming LECTURES I am keen on attending (these are just dates, I don't have all the info yet) -

April 4th - Frances Stark

April 5th - Rosemarie Fiore

April 15th - Joan Gaustad

April 25th - Rachel Berwick

April 26th - Vito Acconci

and... Daniel Buren will be coming in May!

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Duane Keiser II

University of Richmond's Duane Keiser is profiled in this week's Style Weekly - everyone's aware of his A Painting A Day blog, right?

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Trawick Prize

April 8th is the application deadline for the $10,000 Trawick Prize - open to artists of DC, Maryland, and Virginia.

Don't forget about Radius250 either - that deadline is April 30th. Open to anybody within a 250 mile radius of Richmond - this includes Charleston, Trenton, Philadelphia, Baltimore, DC, Pittsburgh, Charlotte.

This is the coolest website. They even have a page showing how many people have entered so far and where they are entering from. Not enough!!!

Monday, March 28, 2005

Marlene Dumas!

Happy to see the article on Marlene Dumas in the NYTimes yesterday - I'm a big fan. I couldn't believe it back in November when Richard Polsky wrote about her - he is not a fan. I ended up making three short Marlene Dumas posts: one, two, three.

Incidentally, Richard Polsky is shunning me! In this later article he calls David Hockney "one of our ten finest living painters" - but when I contacted him asking who the other nine were he wrote back he was too busy to tell me! I e-mailed him again a couple weeks later and haven't heard back. Bummer. I'm dying to know who the others are!

Do you have a list of "ten finest living painters"? Post it in the comments.

UPDATE 1/30/05 :

Franklin Einspruch has written a post responding to the NYTimes Marlene Dumas article. Lots of interesting comments - most of his readers do not like Dumas.

The exception is a commenter named George who writes: "the NYT illustrations made me think of the Goya frescos at the Florida in Spain. In my opinion these are among the greatest paintings ever made. She tried." I think George is the artist George Rodart, he later adds a link to his website with scans from a book of the aforementioned Goya frescos.

Franklin's frequent commenter Oldpro offers "Olitski is my nominee for the best living artist".

Where are my requests for The Finest Living Painters???

last week on art.blogging.la

Lots of information, excitement, debate, and disagreement on Caryn Coleman's art.blogging.la last week.

The Greater LA Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists sponsored a panel on art journalism in LA - Caryn was one of the panelists and Sean blogged it.

Here's the roughly chronological breakdown -

1. Sean's transcript of the panel - followed by some comments critical of the moderator, a plug by Mark Vallen, and a fuck off by Sean.

2. a little blurb by Caryn - followed by a bunch of comments, mostly some kind of argument between the anonymous commenter Commentator and Caryn. Some very funny comments by an artist named Patrick N. O'Brien, he gets weirder and funnier with each post. The only artist named Patrick O'Brien I can find is this one - that would be perfect.

3. Mark Vallen's blogging of the panel on his blog Art For A Change.

4. Caryn's response to Mark Vallen - followed by a bunch of comments including an aggressive anonymous Someone.

5. unrelated post by Caryn trying to move on - anonymous Commentator of earlier is back on the attack, gets outed by Caryn! This is his work. Caryn is pissed!!

6. Caryn shuts the comments option off.

Caryn does seem to take a disproportionate amount of crap for all her efforts (resentment?) - if it wasn't for her blog I really wouldn't know much about what was happening in LA. That doesn't mean I always agree or even like what she shows - but I'm extremely grateful for the effort. I hope she turns the comments feature back on, it's one of the best things about blogs.

Thanks Caryn!!!

Friday, March 25, 2005

Eva & Adele

A number of other artbloggers have posted about seeing Eva & Adele at some of the NY art fairs last week, so I thought I would share my photo taken with them at the 6th Nippon International Contemporary Art Festival (Tokyo NiCAF) back in 1999.

The fair was boring, meeting Eva & Adele was one of the highlights. I'd heard of them previously but was surprised to find them at this small fair. I asked if I could have my photo taken with them and they were so happy! After the photo was taken I was given a card asking to send a copy to their German address. They were so warm and friendly, gave off such good vibes. I love them.

The other highlight of this fair was seeing some of this work by Siobhan Hapaska. She had a big room of work - some kind of "artist spotlight".

My bag is Masaki Matsushima.

Social Sculpture For Sale

I'm selling pieces of my Social Sculpture for $2.00 each. Tell me what post interests you and I'll print it out (including all the comments), sign it, and mail it to you. Social Sculpure comes in an edition of infinity.

You have to e-mail me.

related: Oliver Kamm has a pledge drive going on. His friend Juan is making fun of him. I like Oliver Kamm.

Thursday, March 24, 2005


Yesterday I posted on the current three-person show at ADA Gallery featuring Jason Coates, Bruce Wilhelm, and Steven Little. Bruce and Steven just graduated from the VCU Painting department last year (or maybe Steven is now in his final semester?) - I mean BFA not MFA. I had an awful one-year experience trying to get an MFA at VCU but I was really excited, impressed, and motivated by a lot of what the undergrads were doing. Let me talk about a few more -

Jon Clary & Rob Lee - I'm posting these two together because they are currently showing together at the Cornerstone Gallery. Rob's work generally falls under that style discussed yesterday and I really love Jon Clary's work. He's a very smart, very talented printmaker. Wish I had some notes from the show to look at right now. Suffice to say I already have one small Clary ($10!!) and we have been meaning to arrange a trade of something for a while. Maybe after his show closes I can negotiate for something left-over. The show closes March 29th!

Dennis Matthews, Demetrius (D.J.) Rice, Lewis Taylor - These guys never stop producing. They just keep cranking stuff out and keep getting better and better. The energy is fantastic and it's amazing to see them grow - I think they are all still very much developing but it is unnerving to see how far and fast they are coming along. Dennis and D.J. are especially driven and all three are ambitious about getting their work shown locally: taco restaurants, coffee shops, wherever. Dennis' paintings looked great on a recent visit to World Cup and I couldn't believe he was only asking $100 apiece.

Jules Buck Jones - Jules is really in a class by himself. Inventive, exciting, dynamic, loose large scroll-like works-on-paper of abstracted/stylized streetscapes. He also has a thing for sharks and I hear has recently made a good fish animation. Last year I gave away some large stretchers I didn't want anymore and Jules took one and made a big painting. This thing is big and I think he felt he was finished and wanted to get it out if his sight for fear of overworking it. He gave it back to me! I've had it in storage for months but now I've moved into my new place and I have it in my bedroom and it is really great!! Thank You JULES!!!

Incidentally, Jules' mother is the artist Sheep Jones - she shows at Rentz Gallery and will be featured in the upcoming Mid-Atlantic edition of New American Paintings.

Hali Emminger - This is the only one of these artists that I don't know at all - but she made something really strange, ugly, wonderful, creepy that I think about a lot. It might even make my eventual Best of 2005 list. She was included in a three-person show in the VCU Student Commons Art Gallery a couple months ago with a piece called Goat Boy. It was a larger-than-life-sized (maybe three feet around?) front-half-of-the-head of a goat boy hanging on the wall. It didn't look like something poking it's head through a hole in the wall but rather like a hunting trophy. The face was ceramic and the rest of the head was some kind of brown furry stuff. The thing looked sort of demonic, sort of impish, sort of Alfred E. Neumann. This thing was really weird!! It just looked so out of place, but where would it look in place? That's no mean feat, making something that looks out of place even when it's hanging on the wall of an art gallery. It just didn't look like "art", but didn't look like anything else either. I think this thing would look "good" and have the same uncanny powerful weird presence anywhere.

She also had a very nice wallpiece called East Coast. Clumps and clods of things vaguely shaped like or referencing different East Coast states. Near the top was a plastic lobster - obviously Maine - but I have no idea what state the lamb-shaped baking pan with the red lightbulb nose at the bottom was representing. A piece of sod or something shaped like Florida was more in the middle. It kind of made me think of Robert Rauschenberg.

Well done Hali Emminger!

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Jason Coates, Steven Little, Bruce Wilhelm

This is the last week to catch the work of Jason Coates, Steven Little, and Bruce Wilhelm at ADA Gallery.

The show looks really good - all three do similar work and gallery-owner John Pollard has mixed it up so you aren't quite sure if you are looking at a Steven Little or a Bruce Wilhelm unless you look it up on the pricelist. Truth be told, the ones I like the best all turn out to be Wilhelms*.

Bruce's work has a wonderful lightness of humor and touch. He strikes just the right off-hand balance between the not-quite-there Little's and a little-too-much Coates. He's also got a terrific sense of color.

Coates works in the same quirky figurative manner as Little and Wilhelm but his work is easier to identify because it is bigger, more like "painting" than drawing, and generally seems more labored. One of his pieces is called Dinosaur Mountain Bridge - a green triangular canvas of a brontosaurus encircled by an upward spiraling elevated highway. This is hung next to one of Bruce's smallish pieces called I Would Like To See Godzilla Turned Into A Building For People To Live In. Jason's work will be featured in the upcoming Mid-Atlantic edition of New American Paintings so check it out!! Raft is nice - very simple and clean.

This style is enormously popular with young artists and buyers right now. You can see stuff like this at Spector Gallery in Philadelphia, Richard Heller in Santa Monica, or Zach Feuer's gallery in NYC. Does it come from Chris Johanson? I think it really took off after Jerry Saltz's rave review of Jules De Balincourt's first show at LFL. This work is charming and likeable, easy to make and easy to sell. Glib Art. It's easier to name the galleries than name all the artists. It's all over.

I'm starting to sound a little harsh - sorry! I should share that some of my own stuff isn't too far removed from this manner of working either - I'm critiqueing myself a bit as well. I'm glad to see that the newest De Ballincourts seem to be better than the big debut.

*Full Disclosure: I own a Bruce Wilhelm!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

great blog, great comments thread

Usually I read artblogs on-line but if the post/comments look long I print it all out and read it in bed with a couple bottles of Yeungling.

So last night I read this post with the great comments exchange between Miguel Sanchez and Bunny Smedley.

Today I googled Bunny Smedley and have found a bunch more stuff to print-out and read tonight.

Thank You!!!

it's my birthday!

It's my birthday!

This is all true!

Monday, March 21, 2005

Packets of Rejection

(UPDATE: make sure you read the update at the end of this post)

Saturday I told you about my latest Provincetown rejection - but I probably wasn't clear enough that I am really into rejection letters now. Carolyn Zick found a quote from Style Weekly a while back, but that isn't the half of it!

Almost two years ago I made a BIG wall installation of about 150 of my art-related rejection letters dating back to 1991. They were hung in a large grid pretty much randomly, except for some interesting juxtapositions like a Whitney rejection from Lisa Phillips next to a later rejection from Phillips after she had moved to the New Museum. A number of them are from people better known now and at different institutions.

Some of them are quite funny, like the one from Adrian Joffe, husband/partner of Commes des Garcon's Rei Kawakubo informing "we are not an art gallery" - I wrote them after visiting the Tokyo shop and seeing some nice art on the walls. That one was hung next to a rejection from the Seafood Leader catalogue which had put out a request for fish imagery. I think I must have submitted to the New Museum too many times because one of their letters starts off "I am writing, again, to thank you for the chance ..".

A few are now sad, like the one from the wonderful Ella King Torrey - someone who was very good to Philadelphia artists for many years - and who took her own life a decade after moving to San Francisco to become president of the San Francisco Art Institute.

All of these letters were installed in the gallery as a huge Wall of Rejection which I then solicited visitors to pose in front of making the "thumbs-up" sign. I charged them each two dollars and gave them the signed photo in return. People were paying me to take their photos in front of my rejection letters*!

I also photocopied 25 complete sets of all the rejection letters and mailed them out as signed and limited-edition Packets of Rejection. I mailed these Packets to some of the people who had sent the original rejection letters, along with the following note -

Dear Administrator,

Thank you for your previous consideration of my work, but I have decided not to accept your rejection. Enclosed please find a photocopy of your rejection letter, sent along with photocopies of some other unsuitable rejections. Your letter is on top.

I am grateful for the opportunity to have reviewed your rejection, but as you may know, I receive many many valid rejections and cannot accept all. Please do not feel that this rejection in any way reflects badly on the quality of your judgement, and I wish you the greatest success in your future endeavors.


Martin Bromirski

Some of the people these Packets of Rejection were sent to are -

Jessica Hough
Madeline Grynsztejn
Elizabeth Armstrong
Clementine Gallery
Jodi Hanel
Ian Berry
Ingrid Schaffner
Richard Torchia
Laura Hoptman
Antoine Guerrero
Charles Bergman
Lisa Phillips
Elizabeth Sussman
Olga Viso

Aaah, that felt good. Try it!

* i have the negatives and these photos have since become a whole new piece!

UPDATE: I was contacted by one of the curators listed above, Jessica Hough, and invited to include that wall of rejection piece in a 2006 show she curated in Dumbo.

We got a review in Time Out and a New Yorker blurb!

Thick and Thin

The announcement for this local painting exhibition has been languishing in my inbox - I'm sorry it's being posted after the opening reception date has passed.

Thick & Thin - a show of abstract painting featuring the work of six artists from Virginia, DC, and Maryland at The Cultural Center at Glen Allen. An aim of the show is to "illustrate a variety of approaches to abstract painting".

The six included artists are -

Bernhard Hildebrandt
Joanne Kent
Sandi Ritchie Miller
June Shadoan
Mary Shand
Diane Szczepaniak

The show runs until May 14 and is co-curated by N. Elizabeth Schlatter and Gwen Van Ostern.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Provincetown Rejection Recap

Got my Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center rejection yesterday. This is at least my fifth rejection from them! I say "at least" because I didn't make the conscious decision to make a collection of my rejection letters until 1997, although I do still have many many rejection letters that pre-date that decision. I may have been rejected from Provincetown before 1997 but I don't have any rejection letter to jog my memory.

Following are the dates of my Provincetown rejections and the number of total applicants for each year -

March 3, 1997 - 430 total applicants

February 26, 1998 - 486 total applicants

February 25, 2000 - 381 total applicants

March 11, 2002 - 478 total applicants

March 11, 2005 - 375 total applicants

The number of applicants was really low this year!

Provincetown has a $35.00 application fee; I've spent at least $175.00 on Provincetown application fees!!! I wonder what my Lifetime Application Fee Total (for everything; Skowhegan, Rome, Roswell, Yaddo, etc etc) comes to? Plus the postage for each one, including each application's SASE of course (all of my apps sent between 1995 - 2003 were mailed from abroad!). And all the slide dupes??? Thousands!!!

Would I have made all those applications if I had been aware of statistics like this and this? Probably. I'll probably keep on applying to Provincetown too. Sucker!

What's my problem!?!

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Damien Hirst

These excerpts from a NYTimes article on Damien Hirst brought to mind the concept of Dinah and Paul Ryan's recent Adaptation Syndrome show.

"I've been thinking about painting a lot," he said. Over the years, he said, he has collected about 1,000 photographic images that have captured his imagination, many from newspapers and magazines.

"I started out airbrushing," he said. "But the images looked flat, dead. For two years I didn't think it was going to work." Finally, he said, he disciplined himself to represent each image faithfully by hand.

Still, he doesn't consider himself a serious painter. "I would feel uncomfortable putting myself in a category with other painters like Goya or Bacon," he said. "I'm more interested in the images than the painting."

I still don't understand some of their selections (Ron Johnson?*) for that show, although I'm grateful for the effort. It's over. Please do another one!

Zeke's Gallery has the series of photographs that one of the paintings in Hirst's current Gagosian show is based on. Fascinating and sad, who needs the paintings?

Here's a Guardian take on Hirst from earlier this year.

* if you are new to this blog, I'm not dissing Ron, only saying that his work had absolutely nothing to do with the curatorial concept.

strange detective

Last Saturday afternoon I was at World Cup coffee house and noticed the strangest thing. There was a guy I walked by whose hair seemed a little "off", then I noticed he was wearing an empty shoulder holster, then I realized he was wearing a wig, then I realized he had on a fake mustache!

This guy was sitting alone at a table and working on a laptop. His clothes were cheap detectivey with short sleeves and a loud paisley tie. He had a bit of a paunch, but it may have been padding. He seemed a little tired and wasn't acting at all hammy or self-conscious.

This guy looked like someone in his 20's disguised as a thirty-something version of NYPD Blue's Andy Sipowicz. So weird! It was like a non-performing performance – I’m not sure that anybody else even noticed him, although the coffee counter guy must have. Are there more people like this walking around in bad disguises?

What an interesting artist!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Steve Jones II

Steve Jones' show at Main Art is reviewed in this week's Style Weekly by Jason Coates.

I'm in the middle of moving apartments, sorry about the light posting this week.

Mountain Man - your comments under the previous Steve Jones post were good questions, you're not a dummy! I'm just too busy to address them now.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Heide Trepanier reviewed on Artcritical

Local artist Heide Trepanier is reviewed on artcritical.com. Nice to see local artists being introduced to a national audience - last week I saw that Ron Johnson got a nice two page article in the current issue of Artpapers.

Congratulations to Ron and Heide!

artist's talk

Jason Coates, Steven Little, and Bruce Wilhelm will talk about their work currently on view at ADA Gallery this Thursday March 17th at 7pm.

Monday, March 14, 2005

The Face of the Lady who is Shunning me!

This is the face of the lady at the Whitney who is shunning me! She looks so nice.

Please read this post about The Whitney Shunning Me and forward it to Jan Rothschild at the Whitney. I know people at the Whitney sometimes read this blog because I see their ISP on my statcounter thing - but I can't get any answers to those questions!!

Don't forget to enter!!!

Hypertemporality - LIVE!

Tomorrow night's hypertemporality panel will be webcast live and archived for later viewing.

Here is the info again -

Tuesday, March 15th - Hypertemporality: A Discussion of Internet Art” - 7 to 9pm at the Cousins Studio Theatre, Modlin Center for the Arts, University of Richmond

This panel is being held to accompany University of Richmond's online exhibit hypertemporality, previously discussed here.

Panelists will be Whitney Museum of American Art curator Christiane Paul and hypertemporality artists Peter Baldes and Alexander Stewart. Nathan Altice, MLA '05 and co-curator of the exhibition will moderate the program, which will focus on several of the themes of the exhibition, including technological obsolescence, interactivity, narrative, and the aesthetics of Internet art.

The event is FREE and open to the public. No reservations necessary. Computers will be available for viewing the exhibition before and after the discussion. The panel will be webcast live and archived on the site for later viewing.

The address to watch the webcast at is http://oncampus.richmond.edu/cultural/museums/hypertemporality/panel.html

Artists on the Armory Show

Art Star with some much needed advice for Marcel Dzama.

Fairy Butler disappointed.

Josse Ford disappointed.

Mountain Man disappointed. Scroll down to about the fifth comment where they begin to discuss the Inka Essenhigh painting they saw. I like the latest work she has on her website so I'm curious about this new piece.

Let me know of other artist-bloggers takes and I'll update.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Steve Jones

Steve Jones is showing at Main Art this month with an exhibition called Winter Was Hard.

Most of this stuff may be familiar to you if you try to hit all the galleries, I think the opportunity to have this show came up suddenly and he wasn't quite prepared - much of it is the same stuff he had in his Project Room show at Reynolds Gallery not too long ago. Reynolds Gallery is right across the street!

I had a short conversation with an artist friend last night about showing the same work twice - he disapproves. I'm fine with it. Bands get to play the same songs over and over and over! Sometimes it's good to see the same work recontextualized, in a different space. I might be a little more conducive to this idea right now because I'm really sick of the frenzy for seeing whatever is NEW (even though I'm ravenously guilty myself).

So I spent some time today looking at stuff I've already seen in Steve's studio, at his thesis show, at Reynolds, and elsewhere... and I wasn't bored at all. My favorite pieces were the ones I hadn't seen before, but I think that I liked them best because they are best, not just new. One of these two pieces is also the only one that has apparently sold, so someone else must agree.

Steve's work is highly stylized, kind of cold, narrative-ish, very removed - full of bullies, dead dogs, abuse, pipes, monsters, shovels, people looking panicked, running garden hoses and muddy yards. Everything is topsy-turvy and disorienting. His artist statement is full of autobiographical trauma and depression including a horrible two year period during which he lost his mother, three of her sisters, and his wife - all to cancer. This work seems to be referencing unhappy memories which pre-date even all that, or maybe an overlay of subsequent horrible events over a childhood recollection of place. Foreshadowing?

Silver Brainstorm is one of the strongest pieces and one of the hardest to look at. It's hard to look at for three reasons; the subject, the degree of stylization, and because of it's reflective silver surface. This small piece seems to depict a naked boy being raped, or struggling to prevent being raped, by a thing that looks like a Tim Burton alien. The small size (15"x13") and silver foil call to mind the unwrapped silver foil of a very dark bar of chocolate.

Steve Jones' Winter Was Hard is at Main Art Gallery through March 28th.


Someone e-mailed to say that the comments feature isn't working - if you are trying t0 leave a comment please try again later. I don't know why it isn't working, maybe a temporary blogspot glitch.

I was so disappointed to check my e-mail and not see any comments today! Thanks for the notification.


Bonnie Collura? Guggenheim? Maybe!

... and death

I'm included in a group show opening today called ...and death at Manchester Community College's Newspace Gallery.

It's a big show, I'll list the artists -

Heather Adair
Jason Robert Bell
Linda Dennis
William Donovan
Tom Downs
Paula Giovanni-Morris
Ronald Gonzalez
Mollie Vera Grace
Francis Holstrom
Herbert Hoover !?
Kevin Klein
Shay Kun
David Lachman
Peter Lew
Monika Malewska
Emil Memon
Traci J. Molloy
Jeff P. Porterfield
Pasha Radetzki
Carol Radsprecher
Bobby Steel
Randall Stoltzfus
Sylvia Sukop
Mara Trachtenberg
Andreas Trachtenberg
Andreas Troeger
Kurt Brian Webb

Whew! That's a lot of artists. My contribution is a twenty piece narrative, but it's non-linear and can be put up in any order, or without using all twenty images - so we'll see how many they have room to put up.

The curators are Susan Classen-Sullivan and Pawel Wojtasik.

...and death
March 10 - April 7
Newspace Gallery
Manchester Community College
Great Path
Manchester CT 06040

information: 860-512-2693

P.S. Mountain Man! I think you'd like this piece Wojtasik had in a show at Momenta (scroll down).

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Steve Mumford lecture II

Steve Mumford has traveled to Baghdad embedded with a press-pass from Artnet.com four times now, the first time just as Baghdad was falling. His sketches and later paintings made from his trips have been an ongoing feature on Artnet since August 2003 - although at the lecture Steve said he probably won't be going back. His stated original purpose for going was a desire to see and record firsthand what was happening, and now that he has done that more than once he's realized that further trips made would be for the adrenaline high - not enough of a reason to keep going back.

Most of Mumford's Baghdad Journal paintings are made from drawings, sketches, and photos he creates on the scene. It is also not unusual for him to photoshop different images to arrive at a satisfactory composition. Mumford says he "is not a natural performer" and prefers to work privately in the studio. On drawing amongst a crowd with people pointing and tsk-tsking - "if you could get used to it it would really be great because there is all this interaction". Iraqis would usually be understandably suspicious and guarded if questioned or photographed by an American, but Mumford found that once he pulled out a sketchbook and started drawing people quickly warmed up.

Mumford has befriended a number of Iraqi artists on his visits and some of my favorite works are paintings of those artists working in their studios and portraits. Mumford's opinion is that the Iraqi artists he knew "didn't seem to be aware of how bad Saddam was because of U.S. conspiracy theories" and he spoke of one Iraqi artist tolerating the U.S. occupation not because of a belief in U.S. benevolence but because U.S. interests are coinciding with his own interests.

One of Mumford's paintings pictures a group of people gathered around an outdoor televison set on a cart and Mumford explained that one finds these hot-dog stand cum video stalls throughout the city, usually showing videos of people being tortured or killed. I'm not sure if these are mostly old looted videos made during Saddam's reign or products of the insurgency. Mumford described one instance of a large group of men transfixed before a video that had been made at one of Uday Hussein's parties. He explained that these Iraqi men were amazed by the dancing, as they hadn't been allowed to dance and most of them had never seen a group of people dancing before (this was a surprise to me). This painting is one of those in which the composition was photoshopped, he didn't feel very welcome or comfortable in these situations.

He's made few paintings of women because they didn't like to be drawn and definitely don't like to be photographed (at least by American strangers) - the person seated on the left in this painting is a young Iraqi woman acting as a translator and an example of many smart ambitious young Iraqi women working with US soldiers in the hopes of bettering their own situations. Mumford spoke of accompanying soldiers on raids of private homes and how the children would get all excited and trail soldiers throughout the raid because the soldiers would open every cupboard. Traditionally in Iraq every home has a cupboard which children are not allowed to open, and so they are thrilled at the chance to see whatever things their parents want to keep hidden from them.

Mumford originally compared his Baghdad Journal work to Winslow Homer's Civil war paintings, but says lately he has come around to relating a little more to WWII combat art. He makes no claims of objectivity and says that while with the soldiers he identified with them and supported their mission; he also identified with the Iraqi artists he met. He has been the target of a lot of art world criticism and much of this work could be understood as propagandistic but it is also a viewpoint little expressed in contemporary art.

For a much tougher critical look at Steve Mumford please see this post by Tom Moody.

P.S. This soldier is writing a book on post-modernism!

P.P.S. Here is the artnet Baghdad Journal entry in which Steve Mumford introduces some artists of Baghdad.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005


Wednesday, March 9th - Virgil Marti - 3:30 in the VCU Student Commons Theatre

Thursday, March 10th - Judith Schaechter - 2:00 in the VCU Student Commons Theatre

Tuesday, March 15th - “Hypertemporality: A Discussion of Internet Art” - 7 to 9pm at the Cousins Studio Theatre, Modlin Center for the Arts, University of Richmond

This panel is being held to accompany University of Richmond's online exhibit hypertemporality, previously discussed here.

Panelists will be Whitney Museum of American Art curator Christiane Paul and hypertemporality artists Peter Baldes and Alexander Stewart. Nathan Altice, MLA '05 and co-curator of the exhibition will moderate the program, which will focus on several of the themes of the exhibition, including technological obsolescence, interactivity, narrative, and the aesthetics of Internet art.

The event is FREE and open to the public. No reservations necessary. Computers will be available for viewing the exhibition before and after the discussion. The panel will be videotaped live for later archival presentation on the exhibition website.

I think it might even be simultaneously webcast? Can someone reading this confirm that?

Monday, March 07, 2005

Ron Johnson in ArtPapers

Dinah Ryan does a studio visit with Ron Johnson in the current issue of ArtPapers. Lots of references to baseball because for a time Ron had hoped to become a professional baseball player.

Three images are pictured, these are the same three pieces included in Adaptation Syndrome, the Ryan curated exhibit at the Hand Workshop Art Center.

If you haven't seen that show hurry up, it closes March 13th.

Have you read the three posts on the Adaptation Syndrome panel discussion? One, two, three. Part three is the Shocking Conclusion!!!

another one!

Last week I was flabbergasted at seeing Ron Johnson's review of the Rosemarie Fiore show at ADA Gallery.

Now I see that another local artist - James "Jimmy-James" Engelmann - has also written a review published in that same issue! JJ's review is of the Shirley Kaneda show at Reynolds Gallery.

Two recent VCU Painting grads simultaneously and independently writing reviews of NY artists showing at local commercial galleries, both submitting them to NYArts Magazine, and having them accepted and published in the same issue!

Wow! What are the chances!! The really weird thing is that I heard Ron "didn't want to do it" and that "they made him do it". I'm so confused!

My "looks" at Kaneda are here, here, here, and here. I can't get enough Shirley Kaneda!!!

Sunday, March 06, 2005

some localish opportunities

March 11th - this is the deadline for the Bethesda Painting Awards. Top prize is $10,000! Open only to painters working in Maryland, Virginia, and DC.

March 15th - this is the deadline for McLean Project for the Arts' Strictly Painting. Open only to Mid-Atlantic painters and juried by Jonathan Binstock. Binstock was also the juror for the most recent New American Paintings Mid-Atlantic edition (due out in April), so if you entered that contest and didn't get in you might want to think carefully about entering this one also.

April 15th - this is the deadline for Exit Art's Traffic.

traf·fic (traf'ik) n.1. a. The passage of people or vehicles along routes of transportation. b. Vehicles or pedestrians in transit.2. a. The commercial exchange of goods; trade. b. Illegal or improper commercial activity.3. a. The business of moving passengers and cargo through a transportation system. b. The amount of cargo or number of passengers conveyed.4. a. The conveyance of messages or data through a system of communication: routers that manage Internet traffic. b. Messages or data conveyed through such a system.5. Social or verbal exchange; communication6. To carry on trade or other dealings.

April 30th - deadline for radius250! This exhibition is juried by John Ravenal and open to any artist within a 250 mile radius of Richmond. This includes Baltimore, Charlotte, Charleston, DC, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Trenton, Wilmington. This has the possibility of being an excellent show. Please spread the word to artists living in the above cities.

Ongoing Deadline - ADA Gallery and local curator Doug Utley are organizing twelve by twelve. Open to anyone. This is an ongoing project I checked out last night and saw lots of sales being made. I think they have plans for this to get huge and travel.

Good Luck!

Friday, March 04, 2005

today's Roberta Smith review

Quotes from today's NYTimes Roberta Smith review of the young painter whose first show somehow sold out before it even opened to buyers including the Guggenheim and Saatchi -

The artist's "colorful abstracted still lifes make capable, though hardly groundbreaking use of familiar quantities"

"This ham-handed Cubism almost cries out for a larger canvas"

"The smaller, much tamer "Sweet Adeline" could have been made by dozens of painters at any point during the last 30 years"

And there's a twenty person waiting list!

Sarah Bednarek

A British art mag called Miser and Now - which is put out by London's Keith Talent Gallery - currently feature's Sarah Bednarek on the front cover and inside back cover. She is also included in a group show at the gallery running until March 20th.

Sarah was one of my favorites from the last month's VCU Open Studios; she's a 2nd year sculpture grad. My first encounter with her work was more than a year and a half ago and not a great one (I think I used the word "slight") - but since then everything I have seen has been great and makes me think maybe I missed something that first time. Her stuff is very smart so that's entirely possible. I loved what she had in her studio last month but haven't talked about it because I imagine that she will be including that stuff in her thesis show in the Spring.

Congratulations Sarah!

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Robert Hobbs lecture

Robert Hobbs will lecture at the Reynolds Gallery on his current exhibition The Art Of Aggression: Iraqi Stories and Other Tales Thursday at 7pm. I'm not sure if that means tonight or next Thursday, so you might want to call the gallery if you don't see a later update here.

A version of the exhibition will next show at Miami's Moore Space, along with a concurrent Steve Mumford show. Mumford will also be included in the Greater NY show.

Reynolds Gallery - (804) 355-6553


Have you ever heard of or looked into a Los Angeles artist residency program called Raid Projects? I have, and had even gone so far as to print out the info for future consideration. Thankfully, an enraged artist has made a parody website telling us what to expect. Visit it.

I first saw this on art.blogging.la (who first saw it on The OC Art Blog) but held off posting the link because I wasn't sure how legit it was, but since then there have been a number of concurring comments left in response to art.blogging.la's original post. Caryn Coleman of art.blogging.la has posted a follow-up here. Mat Gleason, another California artblogger and neighbor of Raid Projects, has posted his thoughts here.

Thanks, Angry Artist, we need more like you.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

All That's Wrong - PLUS!

From NYMagazine's article on the stomach turning art market -

"this is a market in which collectors are even queuing up for works by kids who are still in art school—like Alison Fox, a painter in Hunter’s grad program whose current one-woman show at the East Village’s ATM gallery sold out before opening night, according to gallery owner Bill Brady. He’s quick to add that the British collector Charles Saatchi and the Guggenheim were among early buyers for the paintings (priced at $1,400 to $5,000), and that Fox already has a twenty-person waiting list for new work. “My list isn’t full of speculators,” he insists."

Um, please correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that Zach Feuer's wife?