Gallery Beat

Arts & Entertainment, Gallery Beat

Calling All Artists – Let’s Get You to the Fair

By F. Lennox Campello Calling All Artists – Let’s Get You to the Fair Many times via this column, I’ve discussed how the the founders and organizers of a European art fair called Art Basel (which of course, takes place in Basel, Switzerland), decided to try an American version of their successful European model and started an art fair in the Miami Beach Convention Center a couple of decades ago, and they called it Art Basel Miami Beach or ABMB for short. And I’ve also told you how that one mega art fair spawned a few satellite art fairs in Miami at the same time and how by now there are over two dozen art fairs going on around the Greater Miami area each December, and art collectors, artists, gallerists, dealers, curators and all the symbionts of the art world descent on America’s coolest hot city in December and art rules the area. I’ve also pointed out that if you are a visual artist in 2021 and are not aware of these events, and are not trying to get there (get your artwork there is what I mean), then something really big is missing from your artistic arsenal (unless you’re happy just painting or drawing or photographing or sculpting, etc. and could care less who sees and possibly acquires your work – if that’s the case, then skip the rest of this column and more power to you!). But, if like some of us, the commodification of your artwork doesn’t bother you, and the fact that when you or your gallery sell one of your pieces, you feel honored and pleased that someone laid out their hard earned cash to simply add one of your creations to their home or collection, then Miami in December should be in your radar….

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Arts & Entertainment, Gallery Beat

Going to the Fair….

By F. Lennox Campello Going to the Fair…. Year after year I beat the drums about how key and critical it is for galleries, art organizations, art leagues (I’m looking at you Art League), art venues, etc. to participate in art fairs.  Your typical art show in the DMV will attract, and thus expose the art to visitors in the hundreds. A decent art fair in New York or Miami during Art Basel week will attract and expose the artwork (and thus the artist) to tens of thousands. Simple math! And if the goal is the commodification of art, then this exponential leap in potential buyers has a k’chiiiing effect on sales.  If the goal is simple exposure of the art, then… case closed: thousands always beats hundreds. The planet’s leading art fair week returns this December to the Greater Miami area, also known as the heart of the Cuban Diaspora (but I digress), led by the Art Basel fair in Miami Beach and surrounded by over twenty other satellite art fairs all over the Greater Miami area. In 2020 the fairs were all cancelled as a result of the venom unleashed upon the planet by the Covidian monster, and thus 2021 returns with a bit of held-breath (no pun intended) to see if the denizens of the art world will return to the warmth of Miami and stroll through miles of art and release millions of dollars in exchange for visual pleasures. Over the decades, many DMV area art galleries have made their presence a constant in these fairs, and a quick glance to the fair rosters now details just a handful venturing out to Miami this year. I only found Baltimore’s C. Grimaldis and the District’s CONNERSMITH are back at Art Miami, the oldest continuously running art fair…

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Arts & Entertainment, Gallery Beat

Follow Your Art

Follow Your Art By F.Lennox Campello Autumn is here and American University’s gorgeous museum at the Katzen Arts Center once again proves my thesis that AU has the DMV’s leading museum program, as evidenced by the continuous series of spectacularly diverse and interesting shows that continue to be presented under the leadership and guiding hand of Jack Rasmussen. On the lower floor of the museum, this Fall we get the opportunity to see a brilliant show titled Reveal: The Art of Reimagining Scientific Discovery by Rebecca Kamen, and curated by the equally brilliant Sarah Tanguy, and presented by the Alper Initiative for Washington Art. AU tells us that in Reveal, “Rebecca Kamen unlocks curiosity as a creative link between the arts, humanities, and sciences, exploring the symbiotic relationship behind scientific research and artwork’s development. From her extensive collaborations with scientists and philosophers at American University and beyond to her own life experience, the selection of painting, sculpture, and installation harnesses the emotive power of abstraction to humanize scientific breakthroughs in novel and unexpected directions. In the process, the exhibition becomes a laboratory of possibilities, shedding light on the many and disparate connective threads of her own artistic progress in the last two years.” This is a fascinating, intelligent and beautiful exhibition, and a show which allows the artist to display and showcase not only ground-breaking concepts in the marriage of art and science, but also to flex enviable technical artistic skills. Kamen’s multiple exhibitions in one start with a display of a very attractive series of paintings which the artist created while she had a serious optical issue which caused her to have double vision. During the period that she created these works, she painted while thinking that this double vision effect – eventually corrected via the use of prisms…

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Arts & Entertainment, Gallery Beat

Cool Fall Shows – Applequist & Mays

Gallery Beat By F. Lennox Campello Cool Fall Shows – Applequist & Mays Guess where I am heading as I write this article? As soon as I am finished, a packed van full of artwork and yours truly is driving to New York City, masks on hand and my vaccine card in pocket to participate in the Fall edition of the Affordable Art Fair in Chelsea. I’m always preaching art fairs and how galleries, and art spaces, and art non-profits should participate in these fairs to expand the exposure (and sales) of their member artists. I am looking at you Art League! Will report next month. There are some very cool shows coming to the DMV this October, none more interesting (and I’ll explain why later) than Courtney Applequist’s solo show, which runs through October 30 at Foundry Gallery in the District. Titled “Moment of Interrogation”, the show is a fascinating example of a highly talented artist, armed with formidable technical skills, who severs her visual connections with earlier work and embarks on a new visual journey. Although this is no surprise to those who follow the work and life trajectory of great visual art names such as Gerhardt Richter, and earlier the great and terrible Pablo Picasso, it is nonetheless always a pleasant attack to the visual senses when you first “re-learn” the artwork of an artist whose work you know… or think that you know. Applequist most recent visual arts project was “done in a period of admiration, reciprocity and humanity in response to the culmination of events of 2020-21.”  In a radical departure from her previous painting focus, the new work includes wall-size drawings on repurposed cardboard, paper sculpture and augmented reality video integration. “For the past eight months, I have been working on a collaborative social…

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Arts & Entertainment, Gallery Beat

The Campello Way…

By F. Lennox Campello The Campello Way… I first proposed a slightly different version of this art fair model to all the organizations mentioned in this article about a decade ago, when there was (even then) a sense of art fatigue brewing in the art world. Result: zip, nada, nothing! No one even answered my letters (remember letters?). In a post-Covidian world, I suspect that a lot of people will still be a little leery of large group gatherings, and art fairs based on pre-Covidian standards may be a bit antiquated in the Brave Chickenized New World. Herewith a revised Campello Art Fair Model. The important thing to remember, as I mull, chew, and refine a “new” post-Covidian art fair model to replace the existing pre-Covidian art fair model, which in its American incarnations seemed to work well only in Miami and New York, but not so well in the West coast (and as we DMV-based folks have seen with (e)merge and artDC, not at all in the capital region), is the marriage of a legitimate art entity (a museum) with an art-for-sale process as a means to raise funds. The seeds for this model already exist in the DC region with the Smithsonian Craft Show, now in its third decade. Considered by many to be the finest craft fair in the world — and from the many artists that I have spoken to over the years — one of the best places to sell fine crafts as well, this prestigious and highly competitive juried exhibition and sale of contemporary American craft usually takes place each April for four days. It takes place at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC and it includes one-of-a-kind and limited-edition craft objects in 12 different media: basketry, ceramics, decorative fiber, furniture, glass, jewelry,…

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Arts & Entertainment, Gallery Beat

Inside Outside, Upside Down

By F. Lennox Campello Inside Outside, Upside Down A while back I wrote about the Phillips Collection’s call for area artists to submit artwork for Inside Outside, Upside Down, a juried invitational show (currently on view through September 12), where the museum invited artists of the Greater Washington area to submit recent artwork that “addresses the unprecedented events of the past year.” The call was part of the museum’s 100th anniversary celebration, and continues “founder Duncan Phillips‘s commitment to present, acquire, and promote the work of local artists.” About 1,300 works of art were submitted for review, and about seventy works were chosen by the jurors, Elsa Smithgall (Senior Curator, The Phillips Collection), Renée Stout (DC artist and guest curator of the exhibition), Phil Hutinet (publisher of the local news source East City Art), and Abigail McEwan (Associate Professor of Latin American Art at the University of Maryland).  I am proud and honored to have been one of the chosen artists – thank you to the jurors. Many well-known DMV area artists were selected, including blue chip artists like Tim Tate, Michael Janis, Kate Kretz, Judith Peck, and others – all with immense artistic pedigree, huge exhibition histories and deep international presence. A lot of new artists – at least new to me – were also chosen, which is always a great sign of a well-curated exhibition; kudos to the jurors for the mental amplitude to select work based on visual impression rather than name or presence. “After an extraordinarily difficult year that has shaken the world, we feel it is important to join with our entire region to celebrate human resiliency, and especially the strength of artists and the arts,” said Vradenburg Director and CEO Dorothy Kosinski. “Duncan Phillips hosted this type of exhibition annually from 1935 to 1950,…

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Arts & Entertainment, Gallery Beat

Summertime Gallery Action

By F. Lennox Campello Summertime Gallery Action Historically, summer has been the “slow” time of the year for the DMV art scene, as galleries and museums crank up the AC and gallery visitors head out on vacation. Maybe not this summer, as the Covidian monster appears to be somewhat tamed, China says “not me”, area swim superstars Katie Ledecky and Phoebe Bacon head to the 2020 Olympics of 2021, and galleries begin to open up their doors. In Bethesda, Waverly Street Gallery (which is somewhat open Thursdays and Saturdays, 1 – 4 pm.), welcomes new members Bruce Paul Gaber and Polina Miller. Gaber “makes one-of-a-kind functional pewter objects offering a strong visual and tactile experience. The aesthetic is one of clean elegance with a gentle nod to the tradition of wabi sabi, rather than to industrial perfection. He wants the user to know there was a maker.” Miller “grew up in Saint Petersburg, Russia, where she formed a deep appreciation for the importance of art in everyday life. She discovered clay while getting over the culture shock of moving to the United States to join her husband. She learned to speak clay and to speak English at the same time. She creates forms that evoke nature’s shapes and colors, and that offer utility and inspiration when brought into a home. Her pots seem pleasant, though simple at first sight, but the longer you look, the more you are intrigued by their beauty and complexity of colors and textures.” In the DC, the District’s iconic Zenith Gallery presents Weight of the World featuring new works by Kristine Mays. The show opens July 13 and runs through September 3, 2021. Zenith’s legendary gallerist Margery Goldberg has scheduled two Opening Receptions: Wednesday July 14, 4:00 – 8:00 PM and Saturday July 17, 2:00…

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Arts & Entertainment, Gallery Beat

The Monster Has Been Tamed…..Maybe!

By F. Lennox Campello The Monster Has Been Tamed…..Maybe! As June arrives, I’m beginning to think that perhaps the Covidian monster has been tamed, art fairs are desperately seeking galleries to apply to show, the DMV’s outdoor art festivals are returning, and brushes, pens and pencils continued to be applied to paper or canvas.  Notice that I did not mention cicadas or Brood X or none of that 17-year nonsense that feeds other papers’ pages these days. Restaurants, museums, bars, and libraries are allegedly open, except in Montgomery County, where Kommissar-Marc Elrich curiously has kept his iron boot on the throat of the county’s attempts to come back to life… and most libraries remain closed. Plein Air painting has always been a refreshing genre of art production, and our area boasts some of the best plein air painting events, perhaps none better than the one held in Easton, but one a bit closer to the DMV and just as good is and a lot closer is the one in Ellicott City. In that annual event, artists from around the region gather in Ellicott City – this year the weekend of June 10-13 — for Paint It! Ellicott City 2021. This year, the Howard County Arts Council (HCAC) and Visit Howard County have partnered to host this paint-out weekend culminating in an exhibit of 30 juried artists at the Howard County Center for the Arts.  The guest juror for Paint It! Ellicott City 2021 is award-winning landscape artist Lynn Mehta, who selected the following artists for the juried exhibit: Lissa Abrams, Bruno Baran, Pamela Betts, Julia Bowden, Cathy Cole, Shawn Costello, Ann Crostic, David Drown, Vlad Duchev, Kathleen Gray Farthing, Kathleen Ryan Gardiner, Erin Gill, Marita Hines, Nishita Jain, Rajendra KC, Jane Knighton, Kathleen Kotarba, Michael Kotarba, Laura Martinez-Bianco, Michael McSorley,…

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Arts & Entertainment, Gallery Beat

The DMV’s Arts Tapestry

Gallery Beat By F. Lennox Campello The DMV’s Arts Tapestry I’ve often used the metaphor of referring to an “art scene” of a particular area as an “arts tapestry” – sort of like a quilt made of patches from different sources and materials.  Some patches are bigger than others, with more presence and impact on the quilt. They are all important, and all different, and they all pull equally to make the quilt come together… as a work of art. The DMV’s tapestry has many key components and some of them are – in no particular order – our commercially independent visual art galleries, such as Adah Rose in Kensington, and Morton Fine Arts in the District; our artists’ co-operatives like Washington Printmakers, Foundry Gallery, Touchstone, Waverly; art spaces like DC Arts Center, BlackRock, Brentwood, Tephra ICA (nee Greater Reston Arts Center) and our local museums – most of which ignore DMV artists with the notable exception of American University’s gorgeous museum at the Katzen Arts Center. And our DMV arts tapestry is slowly beginning to unfold from its Covidian Age storage, and we all need to start showing our support in whatever way we can. What’s new? The buzz in the DMV for the last six weeks or so has been all focused on the Phillips Collection’s 2021 Juried Invitational titled Inside Outside, Upside Down.  This juried invitational, a first for this museum as far as I can recall, “celebrates The Phillips Collection’s 100th anniversary in 2021, building on the legacy of founder Duncan Phillips and his commitment to presenting, acquiring, and promoting the work of artists of the greater DC region.” Inside Outside, Upside Down – using as jurors the talented quartet of Phil Hutinet, Founding Publisher of East City Art, Abigail McEwen, Associate Professor of Latin American…

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Arts & Entertainment, Gallery Beat

I Wanna Go to an Art Fair!

By F. Lennox Campello I Wanna Go to an Art Fair! Last month I wrote how the Covidian monster still had us in its grip, and art galleries were still mostly online, etc.  Since then, although I’m not so sure the monster has changed, and although the President is still wearing two masks and tripping all over the place, there has been a slight shift to the normalization of the Covidian Age. Children are returning to school (I vote for mandatory summer school), art fairs all over the world are planning to stage art fairs, some governors are in deep doodoo and others have emerged as leaders of the pack and soon there will be more vaccine brands and kinds than Starbucks franchises. And yet, art galleries seem to be a little reticent to open fully; at least around here. Not that art galleries are ever packed places to start with… cough… cough.  The average gallery hopes to pack it up on opening night, but after that it is usually crickets most days… and that’s why art galleries should do art fairs. What else? Let’s hope that the Torpedo Factory can come back to its former glory – if the city of Alexandria does it right, its best days may still be ahead… fingers crossed! The City needs to listen to the artists – there’s a LOT of corporate knowledge there! Wanna stay outside no matter what? Our area has some of the best outdoor art shows in the nation, and while nearly all of them were cancelled in 2020, they are all planning a comeback in 2021 – it is probably the best response to a Covidian model that demands being outside to see and buy art and for those who may still be afraid to step foot inside…

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