Sunday, June 29, 2008

Posting notice: I'll be on vacation in upstate NY all this week. Don't be surprised if things get a little quiet here.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Philippa already has this up on her site, but there's nothing wrong with a little blogosphere redundancy: Read my partner-in-crime Henry Thaggert's interview with She's So Articulate artist Nekisha Durrett here. I think you'll agree that she's very...well, you know.

From left to right: Renee Stout, Torkwase Dyson, Djakarta, Nekisha Durrett, me, Claire Huschle, Henry Thaggert, Erika Ranee, and Renee Cox. Photo copyright Tony Powell.

What the heck are you doing? Oh, that's right: You're going to see what Rachel Fick from Artcade Forum has cooked up with Philippa's Pink Line Project. The show, Girlish Ways, features younger women artists--BFAs and MFAs from around the US and Canada, focusing on the intersection of contemporary culture and "cultural re-location, sexuality, public image, and post-feminism." (I'm assuming "public image" doesn't refer to Johnny Rotten.)

That show opens tomorrow at 7:00 pm in the Bobby Fisher Memorial Building. Heather and Lenny mentioned yesterday that it's apparently the last show that'll be hosted in that space. See images of art from Girlish Ways here.

Before that, you'll start off the evening with AAC resident artist Lisa McCarty's latest curatorial effort at Transformer, E5: Rangefinder, featuring Kristina Bilonick, Michael Matason, Jillian Pichocki, and Bryan Whitson. That reception runs from 5:00 to 7:00 pm, with a talk at 4:00 pm.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I'm not always enamored of MFA grad survey shows. Because of the AAC's emphasis on emerging artists, we end up showing a lot of recently minted MFAs, anyway (there are four recent grads in our upcoming Fall Solos in October). So for us, doing an academy-type show seems a little redundant.

Besides this, MFA candidates increasingly are working artists, out there showing their stuff before they've earned their grad credentials--I'm thinking specifically of Lily Cox-Richard, who's one of those four artists we've got in the Fall, and whose work I'd already seen all over the place before she'd even finished school.

Having said that, this year it seems like there's been an extraordinarily talented crop of grad students--particularly at MICA, and at my old alma mater, UMCP. I've done a number of grad crits in the area, and seen some uncommonly strong thesis shows produced by those students.

So it seems to me that checking out Convergence at Maryland Art Place could be a good idea. Making your way to Conner's Academy show could also be smart. Of course, since Leigh hasn't opened the doors yet on her soon-to-be-fabulous new space, that show will be housed in temporary digs--Taurus Development, at 1341 H Street NE.

Convergence closes Saturday, July 19; Academy opens Friday, July 11, with a reception from 6:00 - 8:00 pm.

Among the list of already familiar names in the latter show is Andrea Chung, an artist from MICA whom you should be watching. And I don't just say that because, like Lily, she'll be at the AAC in the Fall...although obviously I can't help but think that's a good reason, too.

Pictured: Lily Cox-Richard, Spark Gap, 2008, installation view

Monday, June 23, 2008

Over at Jezebel, there's a post on Jessica Dawson's WaPo review of She's So Articulate at the Arlington Arts Center.

Jessica did a fine job with her review...except that I think she describes Henry as being more troubled by Kara Walker's work than he actually is. Henry, as anyone who knows him could tell you, is a huge Kara Walker fan. One of the first things he handed me when we started talking about how to proceed with this show was a copy of the catalogue for Walker's show at the Whitney.

Henry and I both see this show as an opportunity to argue for an "expanded field" of black narrative art--which we often find is considered pretty narrowly, and tends to get reduced to only a handful of key figures and their influences. The goal, then, is not to diminish Kara Walker or her work. It's to introduce complexity into a conversation that can sometimes seem a little constrained or sensationalizing--to make the idea of "black art" as difficult to pin down as it actually is.

The show doesn't set out to pick apart Walker or label her as an oppressor. (The friggin' wall text of the show includes very smart quotes by Kara Walker that support the arguments made by the curators. That might be a tip-off.) Instead, it celebrates a wide variety of approaches, in a wide variety of media, by artists whose work is personal or impersonal, cultural or cross-cultural, didactic or deliberately enigmatic, etc.

One thing is clear about the 111+ people who have commented on the Jezebel site: Although they've all apparently read at least two or three sentences from Jessica's review, none of them have either a) actually seen the exhibition, or b) actually read the catalogue essays to which they're responding so heatedly.

All of which could lead a person to think that maybe the internet needs to be put out of its misery.

Friday, June 20, 2008

My band, The Object Lesson, has finally finished our first full-length CD. You can listen to all of the tracks on our website here for free--and if you like what you hear, you can also purchase the album as an internet release using the adjacent handy Snocap widget.

Want to see us play this stuff live--and watch me wielding wooden sticks menacingly? Come to the Make Music festival in Brooklyn this Saturday. Details also on our page.
Jessica Dawson considers She's So Articulate at the AAC in today's Washington Post. I'm pleased with the piece...even if it names Henry as the exhibition's sole curator. Who needs that Cudlin guy, anyway? Seriously, though, the show's concept is all Henry, so he definitely deserves the kudos. Read all about it here.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Two events vie for your attention tonight: First, out at McLean Project for the Arts, from 7:00 to 9:00, you can see G Fine Art gallerist Annie Gawlak's picks for the juried show, Once Again, Again, featuring folks like sculptor Mary Early, PC merchandiser Linda Hesh, and Thinking About Art blogger J.T. Kirkland.

Once you've surveyed that show, it's time to make your way to Silver Spring--to the backroom gallery of Jackie's. Because I prefer to understand the world through superficial impressions and stereotypes, I've always assumed that Jackie's is a hangout for 40-somethings and divorcees--how else to explain that heart-shaped sign on Georgia Ave? Or what little I can glean about the decor as I casually peer in the window?

Anyway, Jackie's is apparently also an art venue (for divorcees?), and they'll be featuring a show organized by Annie Adjanavich (remember her?)--of photographs by Richard Edson, the actor who played a valet in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. True, his resume lists a bunch of other important film roles...but if I see him, I plan to ask nothing but questions about Matthew Broderick.

Oh, and he was also the original drummer for Sonic Youth. Not to be confused with Bob Bert. So maybe some annoying questions about Kim Gordon are in order, too.
Edson takes macro color photographs of small plastic toys. The reception for his show, Beyond the Valley of the Micro-Bops, runs from 8:00 to 11:00.
Pictured: Whee!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Below are installation shots of She's So Articulate at the AAC. I'll add captions later in the day. Not included in this set: pictures of a terrific show upstairs by resident artists Scott Hutchison and Evan Reed, and Transformer's Flat Mates show in our community gallery, featuring new and recent work from that contemporary non-profit space's flat files project. I'll have images of both of those installations posted later this week.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Thanks to everyone who came to the opening of She's So Articulate this past Friday night. The show has been both exhilarating and completely exhausting. Accordingly, much drinking and dancing occurred once the doors finally closed.

I know that there were plenty of pictures taken at the reception, although I have yet to see any of them...I'll hopefully have some of those for you soon, and will post installation shots here ASAP.

Sorry for yet another quiet week on the blog. Now that things have calmed down a bit--and I'm actually sleeping at night! Novelty!--I'll do my best to catch up.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Holy cow! I won first place!
See the results of the AAN awards here.
Aside from that startling development, still busy installing at the AAC...I'll have images here soon.

Friday, June 06, 2008

You already know where you'll be on June 13th: At the Arlington Arts Center, catching the opening of She's So Articulate and hob-knobbing with the artists who plan to attend--including Renee Cox, Djakarta, Torkwase Dyson, Nekisha Durrett, Erika Ranee, and Renee Stout.

But let's suppose something kept you from making your way to Arlington--a force field? Debilitating injuries? Irrational fear of people who live in Ballston? Whatever the cause, you could take comfort in this show at DCAC, Kid Mutiny--which features the photography of my good friend Steve Strawn.

As a photographer, Steve started out shooting commercial-looking portraits, cityscapes, and broken glassware. Now he takes pictures of toy robots beating one another up. To which I say: Hooray for artistic development!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Edward Winkleman has been asking his readership to submit topics for his Tuesday Asides on his blog this summer. A number of people apparently have written in asking for his advice on breaking into the artworld. In response, Winkelman links to a couple of previous posts—both of which seem to boil down to one thing: Context matters. Know your audience; know the galleries intimately; know what they’re showing and how your work might or might not relate to it.

This is actually a subject I’d hoped to put into a panel discussion—an artist’s survival guide for Washington, D.C. I was asked to put one together for Artomatic, but unfortunately couldn’t make the scheduling work out (yes, we’re a little busy right now.)

The panel would’ve been a discussion of the D.C. art scene: its architecture, most visible players, commercial and non-profit venues, and how the city does or doesn’t resemble/connect with both NYC and other cities in the region—Philadelphia, Baltimore, Richmond, etc.

My main contention—and the problem I have with most artist’s survival exercises—is that no one gets rejected by an art gallery because their slides aren’t good enough, or their statement’s a little clunky, or their resume isn’t formatted properly. People fail to get their foot in the door because they don’t know how to make work that participates in the prevailing discourse. Art is a conversation. Mumbling to yourself in a closet isn’t going to interest anyone—unless maybe you’re an outsider artist with truly kooky mumbling.

I hear a lot of artists talk about forming underground/alternative art scenes. It’s an admirable goal, and lord knows this city needs every bit of creative energy it can get…but it’s ultimately meaningless if the participants don’t actually understand the workings of the broader art world to which they’re proposing an alternative. Besides: Drinking lots of Pabst Blue Ribbon while not actually selling anything can get old pretty quickly.

I've heard my friend Brandon Morse give the same piece of advice a number of times to students looking to get involved in art: Go to every opening; meet everyone. As someone who is comfortable talking to people but isn’t necessarily a people person, I’ve always found this advice a little irritating. But it’s true. Luckily, in a town the size of D.C., there really aren’t that many people for you to meet, anyway.

Monday, June 02, 2008

On Sunday, Dorothy Spears had a nice piece in the NYT on an upcoming show at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta: After 1968: Contemporary Artists and the Civil Rights Legacy. The show features the work of Jefferson Pinder and Nadine Robinson, among others.

Jefferson actually introduced me to Nadine’s work—some of which you can see in our next exhibition at the Arlington Arts Center, She’s So Articulate. Nadine will have two pieces in the show; one of them, White We, features an audio loop from Diana Ross’s 1975 movie, Mahogany--which, in case you missed it, co-starred Anthony Perkins as a deranged fashion photographer and featured a slew of kooky kimono-type outfits for Diana. Really, how can you go wrong with that?

Totally unrelated: My band, The Object Lesson, has just finished recording a full length CD. And although our official website appears to be stuck back in June of 2007, our myspace page now has mixes of a few of the songs.

Pictured: Diana Ross having a high-speed fashion experience