Thursday, January 11, 2018

Frida at auction

Anybody like Frida? This very cool painting that I did in art school and which sold originally almost 15 years ago, just showed up at an auction house! Follow the link! At a really good starting bid - Only $100!

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Censorship as False Morality

The most recent attempt at art censorship comes from a petition started by someone named Mia Merrill who complained about a Balthus painting at the Met titled Thérèse Dreaming. I suggest that Ms. Merrill next task should be to have Nabokov’s Lolita removed from libraries and burned.
Notice the progression of her argument—it begins with the image and its description. Then, she makes a judgment about Balthus’ personal life, and ends with the main reason of why the painting should be removed.
Read the article in Splice Today by Emina Melonic here.

Thérèse Dreaming by Balthus (Balthasar Klossowski) c. 1938

Jessica Drenk at Adah Rose!

Opening at Adah Rose Gallery

"The Evocation of a Moment..a Gesture" - Jessica Drenk

Vernissage Saturday January 20 6:00-8:00 pm.
Live Music by Bud Wilkinson
Tactile and textural, the sculptures of Jessica Drenk highlight the chaos and beauty that can be found in simple materials. Jessica's work is influenced by systems of information and the impulse to develop an encyclopedic understanding of the world. Jessica’s interests in archaeology, paleontology, biology, botany and geology influence not only the shapes and textures of her sculpture, but also lend a visual framework for creating, collecting and classifying her own specimens of the present. The sculptures are both fragile and strong, complex and simple; always elegant and unique. Her materials  are as varied as marble, PVC pipes, toilet paper, books, pencils, wood, coffee filters, and q-tips. 
Jessica was raised in Montana, where she developed an appreciation for the natural world that remains an important inspiration to her artwork today. Jessica was awarded the International Sculpture Center's Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award.  Her work has been pictured in Sculpture Magazine and she has exhibited in shows at the International Grounds for Sculpture in NJ, Skidmore College, the Albuquerque Museum, the Tucson Museum of Art, the Everhart Museum, Yale University and the Brooklyn Public Library. Her work is in many prominent individual and corporate art collections. Jessica has exhibited in numerous solo and duo shows in Washington DC, Dallas, San Francisco, Hawaii, Florida, Massachusetts and Arizona. She has exhibited with the gallery at PULSE Miami, PULSE NY and the Silicon Valley Art Fair. This is her third show with Adah Rose Gallery.
Jessica Drenk received an MFA from the University of Arizona in 2007 and a BA from Pomona College in 2002. She currently lives and works in Florida.
Adah Rose Gallery
3766 Howard Ave
Kensington MD 20895
Thursday-Sunday 12:00-5:30 and always by appointment

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Nan Montgomery at Addison/Ripley


January 20 - February 24, 2018
opening reception for the artist
Saturday, January 20th, 5-7pm.
Although we have been aware of Nan Montgomery's work for quite some time, this is the first exhibition of it at Addison/Ripley. Color rich, her paintings combine a pure geometry, in the tradition of Piet Mondrian, and style of Josef Albers and, more recently Burgoyne Diller and Al Held, with a seeming reverence of nature that, ironically, Mondrian processed away from. Mondrian began " a naturalistic painter and.....very quickly felt the urgent need for a more concise form of expression and an economy of means. I never stopped progressing toward abstraction." Montgomery clearly shares this aesthetic although her affinity for Malevich in this work, in particular is clear. 
The newest of the paintings in this exhibition have a dynamic quality, an implicit movement and, at the same time, measured strength. Whether in smaller scale egg tempera or the much larger oils on linen, these are the boldest, most assertive works by the artist to date. Strong titles like "Intersection", Decision", "Circlet" and "Cadence" and equally firm compositions demonstrate Montgomery's mastery of her medium and her art. Montgomery's "less is more" credo is evident in an exquisite collection of small works included in this collection.
Nan Montgomery - Cadence, 2015, egg tempera on gessoed wood, 10 x 10 inches each
Cadence, 2015, egg tempera on gessoed wood, 10 x 10 inches each
In a recent essay by Jean Lawler Cohen, the critic notes an evolution to the mature artist Montgomery has become. "But now an accommodation prevails, as if the painter has negotiated a temporary truce between impulses. Hard-edge blocks and stripes advance across dark or light grounds, ensuring a stability that holds until the peripheral insertion of a softer, textured vertical. Indigo, for years her darkest, near-black signature color, still appears but, at times now, co-exists with a new velvety black. Early, outright, heraldic encounters seem to have given way to more contemplative engagement. "

After attending the Boston Museum School of Fine Arts and graduating from the Yale University School of Art with a BFA, the artist moved to Washington and took classes at the Corcoran School. Nan Montgomery has been an essential member of the Washington Art Community for more than 30 years. Her work is represented in the permanent collections of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Watkins Collection of the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center, the Washington Post, the Artery Organization, the American Federation of Teachers, the Washington Convention Center, The Federal Reserve Board, Washington, DC, as well as in private collections. Committed to abstraction and purity of form, her work is unified in the dichotomies of natural and material, restriction and freedom, hard edge and soft, all consistent with her personal history.

The Complete Guide to 2018 Artist Grants and Opportunities

Saturday, January 06, 2018

The 10 Questions You Should Ask a Gallerist Before Buying Art

Edward Ball asked gallerists from around the world to share their top tips for buyers — from checking authenticity, to buying as an investment... read it all in Mutual Art here.

Homage to a hero

Three years ago my father died on this day... here's my eulogy from two years ago:
"Hoy se ha caido otro roble en la selva del amargo exilio" is how I always thought that my father's eulogy would begin once he died.

"Today another oak falls in the jungle of bitter exile," began the eulogy for the man whose bloodlines my children and I carry on.

Florencio Campello Alonso died today at age 90 in Miami, the heart of the bitter Cuban Diaspora. Like many Cubans of his generation, he was the son of European immigrants to Cuba. His Galician parents left the scraggy mountains of northern Spain's ancient Celtic kingdom and in the first decade of the 1900s migrated to the new nation of Cuba upon its liberation from Spain.

Galicians have always been uneasy subjects of the Spanish crown, stubbornly hanging on to their ancient Celtic traditions, to their own language and to their bagpipes, so it is no historical surprise that they left their mountain homelands en-masse and headed to the new tropical paradise of Cuba, free from the heavy hand of the Spanish monarchy.

And thus it was never a surprise to me that my father was both a fighter against heavy-handed rulers, a lover of freedom, and one who was never afraid to re-start a life for the better, even if it involved discarding the old. 

My father could have been one of the privileged few who currently rule atop the food chain of Cuba's Workers' Paradise. But instead of accepting the benefits of oppression, this most valiant of men chose the harsh path of right over wrong.

And he paid for it dearly (he spent years in Concentration Camps), but when he died, his soul was clean.

In his youth, my dad worked the brutal hours of the son of an immigrant who was slowly building a small financial empire in eastern Cuba. My father was pulled from school as soon as he learned to read and write, and like his two other brothers and eight sisters, he was expected to work and contribute to building a familial empire.

And he did, as my mother relates the stories of my father's childhood in the fields of eastern Cuba, a blond creole in a land of jingoist natives... he trying to out-Cuban the "real Cubans"... how he organized a labor union of the exploited Haitians who worked almost as slaves at the Los Canos Sugar Mill, how he joined a group of bearded rebels in the mountains of the Sierra Maestra in the fight against a tyrant, how he ran for the leadership of the Sugar Workers' Union and beat the Communists to the post, and how he spent years in a Castro Concentration Camp, jailed for the crime of refusing to join the Party, because he believed in Democracy and not Communism. 

And because of that stubbornness, in the 1960s he was offered the bitter pill of exile, and this brave man decided to choose family... and left his birth place, and thus became another immigrant within two familial generations and brought his wife and child to another new land.

And it is to him that I owe the greatest gift that a father can give a son: the opportunity to grow in freedom in the greatest nation in the history of this planet.

It is because of my father's courage that I was raised in this country and not in a land bloodied by brutality and oppression.

It is because of my father's teachings that I was raised with the conviction that freedom is not free and never to be taken for granted; after all, he fought for freedom and then Castro, the man who inspired the fight, ended up being a worse dictator, eventually destroying all notions of freedom for all of his people.

It is because of my father that I was taught that every citizen owes his nation some form of service, and that's the main reason that I signed (at age 17) to serve in the US Navy.

It is because of my father that I despise anyone who hides behind the mask of victimism to excuse failures and shortcomings.

When our family arrived in New York in the 1960s, my father began to work in a factory three days after he landed at the airport; my mother (who came from a privileged Cuban family and had never worked a day in her life) found a job as a seamstress five days later. That pattern was repeated for decades as they worked their way in a new nation.

"We thought we'd be back within a few years," was the answer given to me when I once asked the question about leaving their birthplace. When that didn't materialize, they became fierce Americans in the "United States of Americans" sense... these were the "America None Better!" set of immigrants, and in my Dad's case, you better be ready to fight if you dissed the USA.


Always a fighter he was... and always for the right reasons.

Cubans are archaic immigrants... we love this great nation because we recognize its singular and unique greatness; perhaps it is because our forebears had the same chance at greatness and blew it.

And my Dad loved this nation even more than he once loved Cuba... perhaps it is the genetic disposition of the serial immigrant. After all, his father had left his own ancient Celtic lands and kin for a new land... which he learned to love dearly.

My father always wanted to make sure that I knew that I was an "Americano" and not another forced-on label.

"Labels," he'd say, "are just a way to separate people."

By labels he meant "Hispanic" or "Latino" or anything with a "-" between two ethnic words.

I also remember as a kid in New York, when he bought a huge Hi-Fi record player-color-TV console... that thing was huge. He bought it "lay-away" and he'd pay $10 a week to the store and him and I would walk all the way from our house on Sackman Street to the store on Pitkin Avenue to make the payments every Saturday - he never missed a single payment, and that taught me a lesson.

It was soon playing my Dad's favorite music, which oddly enough was Mexican music (Cuban music was a close second)... and he knew all the words to every charro song.
Guadalajara en un llano, Mejico en una laguna...
Guadalajara en un llano, Mejico en una laguna...Me he de comer esa tunaMe he de comer esa tuna.... aunque me espine la mano.
That Jorge Negrete song... being shouted often on weekends at the top of his lungs from our apartment in a mostly Italian neighborhood in East New York in Brooklyn must have raised some eyebrows.

My dad and I watched Neil Armstrong land on the moon on that TV set... we also watched loads of Mets games... and in 1969 and 1972 went to Shea Stadium to see the Mets win in '69 and lose in '72. He really loved baseball and he really loved those Mets!

When I joined the Navy at age 17, my first duty station was USS SARATOGA, which at the time was stationed in Mayport in Florida, so my Dad decided to migrate south to Florida and moved to Miami... just to be close to me.

He and my mother spent the next 40 years in the same apartment while I was stationed all over the world.

When I visited him today in Miami, he looked good and freshly shaven... this is a good thing, as my father was a freak about hygiene... and that's a common "creole" trait.

The Hospice nurse almost teared up when I told her that my parents have been married for 60 years.

I looked at this old "gallego"... his skin as white as paper, his eyes as blue as the sky, and his head (once full of blond hair) as bald and shiny as the old Cuban sing song ("Mira la Luna, mira al Sol... mira la calva de ese.....") and I saw the generations of Neanderthals, Denisovans and Gallego Homo Sapiens that led to my bloodlines... the generations of fighters, of strugglers, and of tough guys who didn't take no for an answer and who made a better place for others. 

And I felt at peace and grateful.

And as my father died tonight, after an extubation,  all that I can think to say to him is "Thank you for your courage... from me, and from my children... and soon from their children. You opened a whole new world for them."

I love you Dad... Un Abrazo Fuerte! Thank you for your gifts to me and my children and it is no coincidence that you died on El Dia de Los Reyes.

Friday, January 05, 2018

Art Scam Alert!!!!

Beware of this mutant trying to rip off artists!
From: Kevin Spiker

Subject: Art Work Inquiry 
My name is  Kevin Spiker from Washington DC. I was looking for some artwork online and i found your contact while searching. I will like to purchase some of your work for my wife as a surprise gift for our 20th anniversary.Please kindly send pics and prices of some of your art which are ready for immediate sale within price range $500- $5000, i could be flexible with price. So i will hope to hear a lot more about any available piece in your inventory ready for immediate sale. 
Thanks and best regards,

Opportunity for Artists

Mozilla is taking proposals for visualization pieces focused on misinformation - will be installed at the Tech Museum of Innovation 

Thursday, January 04, 2018