Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Seriously, I do not want this to turn into one of those art blogs where I simply dump every press release that pops up in my inbox, or list a bunch of events that I may or may not actually be attending...but I've been under the weather for a few weeks now--a few weeks!--and not looking at or writing about much of anything.
With the next batch of shows opening around town soon, I'll go look at a few things and do some reporting, honest. In the meantime, yes, here's another event you can attend: The Wooster Collective at the Katzen. Tell me how it went afterwards--looks like fun, but I'll be home, coughing. Cough.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Thanks to my friend Sean for introducing me to the magic of garfield minus garfield.

Really, this strategy would work for any of the strips that have been haunting the comics page inexplicably for decades--long past the point when the funny drained out of them.
Coming attractions:

Thursday, February 21, 2008

I've been talking to independent curator and artist Rex Weil (Rex, update your blog!) about forms of popular political expression for a show he's doing at the AAC in August. He's particularly interested in content on YouTube, and he sent me a link to The Pinky Show--which may or may not be new to you, but it's definitely new to me, and I have to admit, I'm smitten.

With the kitten.

See below.

Things to do:

Tonight I'll be at the Ellipse Arts Center from 6:00 to 9:00 pm, checking out the opening reception for their juried photo show.

Tomorrow night you'll find me at the 7:00 to 9:00 pm opening reception for Lisa McCarty's show of photo transfer paintings at DCAC. The show runs through March 23, and is curated by Jim Mahoney--who seems to be curating a lot of shows over there these days.
Lisa's a talented painter, designer, and curator--let's hear it for wearing many different hats! Visit her website here.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Thanks to everyone who listened--or called, or wrote in--to the Visual Arts Roundup on the Kojo Nnamdi Show yesterday.

You can listen to the discussion with Lenny Campello, Claudia Rousseau, and me here.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Monday is President's Day...and what could be more patriotic than yet another installment of the Visual Arts Round-up on WAMU, 88.5 FM?
I'll be on the Kojo Nnamdi Show with Lenny once again this Monday, February 18, at noon, talking about galleries, museums, and artists in the D.C. metro area.
Got questions that you want answered, or exhibitions you'd like to hear me plug on air? Let me know.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Sorry, no art fair for you. Kriston's got the story on the CP blog.

What does this mean for D.C.? Uncertain.

What does this mean for Jeffry? No booth to organize, on top of my usual schedule.

I can live with that.

Monday, February 11, 2008

On Saturday, Joanna Shaw Eagle at the Washington Times wrote a nice piece on Collectors Select.

Unfortunately, she misquoted me a bit in the process: "'I wanted a show about collecting interests, not collectors,' Mr. Cudlin said."

What I actually said was, roughly: I wanted a show about collecting interests, not the specific contents of collectors' houses. I know this because I've been saying some variation of that sentence to any person who's passed into my orbit since the show was installed.

A minor thing, maybe, but it just doesn't make any sense as printed. Obviously the show is about collectors, and their position within the art discourse. Both forewords in the catalogue spell that out.

The only other issue I have with the piece is the author's assertion that "...the exhibit's art-jargon-filled descriptions tend to negate its considerable power..."

Jargon? Really? I'm sorry, but the wall text and catalogue for this show are virtually free of terms like "Lacanian," "deictic," or "postmodern allegorical impulse"--PAI, if you're looking for a handy acronym. See, that's the advantage of having a bunch of art collectors write essays for your show: The resulting pieces may be personal, thoughtful, and well-written, but they're also not particularly academic. Although I suppose intelligent artwriting is a rare enough thing that it sometimes might be mistaken for jargon.

Over at Thinking About Art, J. T. really digs Philip Barlow's room, and offers some nice installation shots...but apparently he really, really dislikes graffiti. So much so, in fact, that he encloses "art" in quotation marks when the two words appear near one another in a sentence. Ouch.

He also puts in a good word for Lisa McCarty, one of our talented new resident artists--and the designer for the Collectors Select catalogue. Obviously, I'll have to go along with that.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Recognize opens at the National Portrait Gallery this Friday, February 8th. The show features graffiti by Tim Conlon--whom you can see currently in our Tiffany gallery at the AAC. Also featured are paintings by Kehinde Wiley, and three videos by my friend and former colleague, Jefferson Pinder. (I had the pleasure of working with Jefferson on a collaborative project at Flashpoint back in 2006, before he joined the stable at G Fine Art.)

Wiley will be represented by his Hip Hop Honors paintings, which show rap artists in, surprise, surprise, poses lifted from old master paintings--like, for example, Ice T as Napoleon in a painting by Ingres.

These aren't nearly as thorny as his World Stage series, which, in a show last year, presented young African American men in poses from Maoist propaganda posters--in paintings generated by a crew of Chinese art students. As far as I'm concerned, that's a much more clever bit of game playing and positioning...although most of the reactions I've read to these pieces tend to emphasize the ethical implications of using a Chinese atelier. Take Barbara Pollack in AiA last March:

I am highly uncomfortable witnessing massive work-team production of art whether I am in the studio of Zhang Xiaogang or Jeff Koons. Of course, that's an entirely old-fashioned attitude, since so many artists internationally now play the role of production supervisors, rather than hands-on craftspeople. It only makes sense, therefore, for artists to go to wherever it is easiest and cheapest for them to produce their works. I have not seen Wim Delvoye's studio in Beijing, but I did visit Kehinde Wiley's, where scores of Chinese art students were filling in the blanks on 20 canvases at a time. It was pretty funny, given his imagery.
Frankly, I think Wiley's paintings are more compelling if he's not physically painting them--although they're obviously not about painting at that point; they just happen to be paintings. This makes sense, since it's never been clear that Wiley's all that interested in the properties of oil paint, anyway: As I've said before, no matter who's painting them, his pictures tend to be flat, opaque, and illustrational, more like cartoons or graphic art than the traditional oils from which he appropriates poses and arrangements.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Lynne Venart had a really nice piece in DCist yesterday on Collectors Select. Read all about it here.

Elsewhere out there: Edward Winkleman apologizes today for gender disparities in his gallery of late...and points out a disconcerting trend in Chelsea galleries generally, thanks to a little linguistic analysis of press releases. (Has anyone tried this with D.C. galleries? Couldn't possibly take as long.)

All of which naturally brings to mind Jerry Saltz's article on the MoMA way back in November, and the attendant conversation and commentary.

It's a funny thing: In my end-of-year museums wrap-up, I picked WACK! as the most important museum show to pass through DC last year. Plenty of the works in that show were dilapidated or distressed, thanks either to construction that wasn't precious, or, possibly, simple neglect...the installation of videos struck me as very community college: Ancient, boxy video monitors sat on low, grimy pedestals; little white plastic stick-on hooks sported cheap headphones. I don't know if that was courtesy of the NMWA, or MOCA, or by design. But it definitely looked low-budget, and made me once again think about these very real disparities.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Thanks to everyone who attended the opening on Friday. I saw a lot of familiar faces--too many to keep up with! Apologies if I didn't get a chance to say hi to you.

Additional apologies to Andrea, who was disappointed that my promised white cotillion gown and tiara failed to materialize.

On Friday, I failed to post the link to Lavanya's piece in Style on the Go over at the WaPo. If you haven't already, you can read all about Collectors Select here.

If you missed the reception, the photo above should give you a sense of the festivities--and a clear view of the back of my head.