Entries Tagged as 'Art Exhibitions'

Remembering Herblock at the Portrait Gallery

September 8th, 2008 · 4 Comments

Nice Tapes Boy!

Look! --- Nice Tapes, Okay, Boy?---Okay?--

Now that we’re hitting the homestretch of a three year Presidential campaign that has lasted longer than most major wars, its a fitting time to look back at the recent history of the American presidency through the eyes of the inimitable Washington post cartoonist Herbert Block, who caricatured every president between Franklin Roosevelt and George W. Bush until his death in 2001 (at the time, newspapers lamented in his obituary the added frustration of losing the perspective of Herblock shortly after September 11th–after all, he had helped give perspective to a nation during World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Watergate, the Cuban Missle Crises, the Iran Hostage and most national tragedies and hardships of the 20th century). Check out the exhibition of original cartoons the National Portrait Gallery has on display.

Going by the trade name of Herblock, he coined the term “McCarthyism,” now a required vocabulary word for every 11th grade American history student, and gave us some of the most memorable images of Richard Nixon ever drawn. The exhibition includes his minimal set of drawing supplies and the beautifully goofy bronze National Cartoonist Society’s Rueben Award (named after Rube Goldberg. It looks sorta like this). Most interesting of all is the opportunity to see how the artist worked–the still visible non-photo-blue pencil drawings, his large, fluid sketchy inkings, and the frequently whited out and taped over faces he corrected again and again and again.

Lets See If You Can Do Any Better

Now Lets See What You Can Do!

In short, this is a real gem of an exhibition, rare in its unusual subject and scope, well curated (except for a curious shortage of George W. Bush cartoons), and universally fascinating. My major critique of the exhibition is that the exhibition designers bought into the growing trend of putting a group of labels far from the artwork (to be less distracting). This works beautifully for adding existential weight to the purity of color field paintings and the like, but when you have to keep walking back and forth to read the title ofan artwork that doubles as the caption of the cartoon, it is just inappropriate and discouraging to the viewer.

(Thanks to a voracious appetite for anything resembling a cartoon, I first started reading Herblock around age 9 with no understanding of the political topics the work touched upon, and received his autobiography for Christmas from some encouraging family member around the same time. My copy is now pitifully worn and dog eared, looking a little bit like it was dragged through the political unrest of the 20th century itself, and I can safely say that Herblock was a primary influence in both my political interest and development as a painter.)

Tags: Art · Art Exhibitions · comic · washington D.C.

Most of the time, I wish I lived in Jim Henson’s Fantastic World

September 5th, 2008 · Comments Off on Most of the time, I wish I lived in Jim Henson’s Fantastic World

If you go to D.C. between now and October 5th, do yourself the favor of suspending reality long enough to believe in puppets and go to the Smithsonian International Gallery’s exhibition Jim Henson’s Fantastic World.

I can’t really give an objective critique of this exhibition because I hold the Muppets in the same special place in my heart reserved for Calvin and Hobbes, the American Flag, going back for seconds at Thanksgiving dinner, the Washington Redskins and coming down the stairs on Christmas mornings. I love these things in a way that transcends rationality, so I’m not going to muck about in things like logic and arguments.

Therefore: go to this exhibition. See Henson’s early cartoon work. Say hello to puppets of Rowlf and Bert & Ernie. See the most touching photograph of a human/felt conversation ever taken. Also, the exhibition is far from a highbrow art exhibition–it has zany sounds, rare early videos of the Muppets, bright colored walls, and an actual do-it-yourself puppetry studio for kids, so go ahead and take children. I mean with you. (There are probably laws against taking the children at the exhibition)

Tags: Art · Art Exhibitions · comic · washington D.C.


April 12th, 2008 · Comments Off on Photos From CANNONCANNONCANNON


Now that CANNONCANNONCANNON (take a breath…) has closed, I just wanted to thank everyone who made it to our senior exhibition, whether you came to our opening, First Friday reception, or daily visiting hours. All the artists were thrilled about the enthusiasm we received from all visitors, art-goers, non-art-goers, Fredericksburgers and out -of-towners alike.

If you missed it (and shoo-ee, boy did you miss it: them tunes were hoppin’ and the bar-b-que was fan-tas-tic!), take a look at these photos from the opening. Later this week I hope to put up some more shots of the artwork itself (in case you were in Australia or something).


Steve Griffin & The For Rent Band (Thats the Williamses on Fiddle and Banjo)


The artists collected in the opera-box


A behind-the-scenes installation shot. That’s Molly Sheldon’s unicorn transported by Eric Norman and Mike Mosley.



Tags: Art · Art Exhibitions · art galleries · Fredericksburg


March 20th, 2008 · Comments Off on CANNONCANNONCANNON


A UMW Honors Candidacy Art Exhibition

This year, those of us senior art majors applying for honors have taken the unusual step of taking our show off campus, in a space generously donated for the occasion by the inimitable Thomas J. Mitchell at the Galleria on Caroline Street. We’ve re-purposed the old-movie-theater-stage-turned

-defunct-purse-shop into a quirky gallery space that fits our work.

I’ve got nine works exhibited there (including painting, video, printmaking and ceramics) including the unveiling of my Dangerfield Newby installation.

The show will be on display from March 28 to April 9 (Hours: Noon-5, with extended hours until 7 PM on Fridays and Saturdays). Our opening on the 28th will feature Allman’s Bar-B-Que and a live bluegrass band. Don’t miss it!


Tags: Art · Art Exhibitions · art galleries · Fredericksburg

Spore Collective! Exhibition

March 19th, 2008 · Comments Off on Spore Collective! Exhibition


First of all, as far as I’m concerned, the Spore Collective! has an exclamation point on the end. Second of all, here are some photos from the SPORE COLLECTIVE! exhibition currently on view at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia. Special thanks to Katherine Shaw-Sweeney of the Flippo Gallery.

img_4768.jpg img_4758.jpg img_4773.jpg img_4759.jpg img_4772.jpg


Tags: Art · Art Exhibitions · ARTS 331

The New and Improved New Museum

March 14th, 2008 · Comments Off on The New and Improved New Museum

img_4513.jpgOne of the absolute best parts of my recent gallery-hopping trip to New York was catching the inaugural exhibition at the new location of the New Museum of Contemporary Art (, which, in an effort to deliberately avoid the gentrified, domesticated art scene in its native SoHo, relocated to a purpose-built six story structure in the Bowery, a gritty district otherwise only notable for its Chinese restaurant equipment suppliers and smattering of punk-rock clubs.


The building itself is fantastic looking: from the street, its glass storefront blends in (to a degree) with the format of the rest of the shops, but it rises in a series of staggered boxes (lit by skylights) that create large, glowing “white-cube” style exhibition spaces inside. The space is quirky enough to be interesting, but these quirks are kept (in a very modernist move) very separate from the art img_4515.jpg(a contrast to the Guggenheim, for instance, which forces artwork to conform to its irregular spaces). These quirks include a bright green interior elevator, corrugated metal stairs (which match the metal sheeth of the building), and some bizarre elongated stairways.

sta_4535.jpgWe happened to go when the sky-room on the sixth floor was open. (This was an awesome way to see the city and a real “ooh-ahh” moment for a little redneck child like myself).

I’m devoting a whole presentation later this semester to the exhibition itself (“Unmonumental”), so I’ll touch on that in a later post.


The Washington Post

The New York Times

The New York Times raves about the architecture

The Wall Street Journal

Tags: Art · Art Exhibitions · art galleries · New York

Country Boy In The City (or “Gee, look at all dem buildins!”)

March 13th, 2008 · Comments Off on Country Boy In The City (or “Gee, look at all dem buildins!”)

img_4558.jpgOkay, here’s the scene: an obsessive art nerd (played by the plucky, intrepid Robert Lynn¹) goes to New York to check out the art “scene” for the first time, spending his final college spring break (painters gone wild!) visiting all the major galleries and museums. But wait! What if our hero turns out to be a flannel-wearing-redneck who has never been to a major city before!? Hilarity ensues in this classic fish-out-of-water story.

No, it’s not the description of a questionably green-lighted movie on an extended cable channel this afternoon², its what I did last week thanks to an undergraduate research grant. Besides the dirty subway and rude people, New York blew my mind, as expected. But I’ll let you just fill that in from every TV show you’ve seen and we’ll get down to the serious business of what I’m excited about:

cai.jpgCai Guo Chaing at the Guggenheim was a real sock-knocker-offer, but I couldn’t help but think about how awkwardly the work fit in the space (since it’s a retrospective, almost all of the work was originally site specific elsewhere). At best, the work was a gorgeous and impressive example of just how exciting high-budget contemporary art can be to all kinds of visitors, but at worst it was just derivative visual metaphors presented in the style of cheesy staged roller-coaster decorations (Frank Lloyd Wright’s balconies even force you to pass through them like a carnival ride). Undeniably, however, the video pieces and gunpowder drawings really had me engaged, beyond even the primal “Let’s Go Light Things On Fire!” element (which, by the way, can only do good things for art, as far as I’m concerned).

courbet.jpgSince Jasper Johns and Gustave Courbet are probably the two artists I’ve written the most about since coming to college, seeing their exhibitions at the Met was a pretty great way to encounter that museum for the first time (guess what: it’s big. like really big.). The Courbet was less exciting than I’d hoped—few of his major pieces were there (Stonebreakers is no longer extant and Burial at Ornans never gets loaned out) so it was heavy on early portraits and late landscapes (plus the obligatory naked lesbians). It was fun, though, to imagine walking through the show with Clement Greenberg babbling constantly about formal qualities and the birth of the avant-garde.

johns.jpg Jasper Johns Gray was more interesting to me–by redoing his work in gray, he takes his paintings from a shout to a stage whisper. Eerie and awesome. Fool’s House (left) was probably the highlight, but the whole show was full of work and little secrets I’d never seen or noticed before. [Update 4/27: I loved this show so much I shelled out fifty bucks for the catalogue, only to drill a hole in it for my recent sculpture The Most Valuable Things I Own]


Color Chart at the MoMA was really heavy on post-modern conceptualism (starting with the forshadowing of Duchamp’s masterpiece Tu m’, which I’ll be blogging about more as the semester comes to a close and my paper on it takes shape), including some fantastic work by Carrie Mae Weems and John Baldessari repainting a room for every day of the week. Come to think of it, polite and orderly color grids or squares were pretty ubiquitous. This was a gigantic contrast to:

THE NEW MUSEUM: (In fact, I was so excited that I’m presenting on this to the Spore Collective, so I’ll blog my exhaustive research as that draws near…

until then,



¹ whose only credits to date include peeing on a cigarette butt in a video art piece

² stars: 1/5

Tags: Art · Art Exhibitions · New York · sculpture · Uncategorized

Just Passing on a Hello from New York

March 11th, 2008 · 2 Comments

John Baldessari takes a moment out of making art for this important message:


I’ve heard a lot about New York in my 21 years of not visiting it, and last week, this country boy took it by storm. What do I have to say about it? Well, the buildings were tall, the people were rude, and the art was spectacular! It certainly lived up to expectations.

All tolled, I made time to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Jasper Johns: Grey, Gustave Courbet), the MoMA (Color Chart, Lucian Freud: The Painters Etchings, Directions in Art: 1970 to Now), the Guggenheim (Cai Guo-Qiang: I Want To Believe), the New Museum of Contemporary Art (Unmonumental), The Neue Gallerie (Gustav Klimt), P.S. 1 (WACK! Art and The Feminist Revolution), The Sculpture Center (Tom Burr: Addict-Love, In Practice Projects), The Drawing Center (Selections: Spring 2008, Sterling Ruby: CHRON), Deitch Projects (Noble & Webster: Polymorphous Perverse), Gagosian Gallery (Richard Artschwager), Gladstone Gallery (Andro Wekua: Blue Mirror), Matthew Marks Gallery (Nayland Blake: What The Whiskey Said What The Sun Is Saying), Spencer Brownstone Gallery (Martin Wohrl: Kontrapost), Luhring Augustine (George Condo: Christ: The Subjective Nature of Objective Representation), Metro Pictures Gallery, (Sterling Ruby: Kiln Works, Catherine Sullivan: Triangle of Need), Galeria Ramis Barquet (Sergio De Beukelaer: Format), Marianne Boesky Gallery (Kon Trubkovich), Charles Cowles Gallery (Jill Weinstock: Wear), Jack Shainman Gallery (Carrie Mae Weems) and a host of others.

Dear lord, I had no idea how absurdly comprehensive that list was going to turn out to be. Don’t bother reading the whole thing (I’d feel guilty about tell you that now, but I’m going to go ahead and assume you just skipped down here anyway.)

I’ll try to find time this week to piece together a look at some relevant highlights, including img_4445.jpg

and img_4669.jpg.

Tags: Art · Art Exhibitions · New York

The Biennale and ARTS 474

October 9th, 2007 · Comments Off on The Biennale and ARTS 474

Documenta, photo: New York TimesMonday’s Professional Practices class attended VCU’s symposium on the 52nd Venice Biennale, Documenta 12 and the 4th Sculpture Projects Munster, which included a raging debate on the relevance of left-leaning political art and the weird power vacuums involved in curating massive, major exhibitions (pitch black exhibition spaces? really?). Afterwards, I brought up some of the larger criticisms of Robert Storr, and kept mumbling things about a New Yorker review on the subject, which is located here if anybody is curious or wants to get all prepped for next Wednesday’s discussion.

Now if only I can track down all the controversial Felix Gonzales-Torres selection theories that were floating around these wild internets ’bout a year ago at this time…¹

Until then,



¹…there were an awful lot of dead artists presented. Coincidence? Deliberate choice? Evidence of a vast, elaborately concealed artist killing conspiracy? You decide, next time on Roblog!

Tags: Art · Art Exhibitions · ARTS 474

Louis at the Hirshhorn, Hopper at the National Gallery, and arachnids in between

September 28th, 2007 · 1 Comment

If you’re the type that keeps on listening when I get all worked up about abstract expressionism, you’ve probably heard me say some pretty hyperbolic things about Morris Louis’s artwork, the kind I’m sure I’d never repeat when properly composed.

Morris Louis exhibition at the Hirshhorn

Morris Louis probably made the most beautiful paintings of all time.

Ok, so, I’m not properly composed. Its only been five days since I saw the Morris Louis exhibition at the Hirshhorn. I don’t plan on getting properly composed be for a long time.

This really is a magnificent exhibition, although the first paintings are undoubtedly the most spectacular, so if you have any sense of occasion, do a U-turn when you get off the escalator and visit the exhibition backwards. Most of the time I get the feeling that Morris Louis was the first painter to elevate Abstract Expressionism to something that was visually compelling even if it was divorced from all that theory that Greenberg loved to talk about. Quite an accomplishment. It doesn’t hurt that ol’ Mo was based out of D.C.

(Granted, he did steal his whole concept from Helen Frankenthaler, but, hey, that just relates this back to Women and Western Art right?)
Speaking of that fascinating topic, when Molly and I left the Hirshhorn to go catch a lecture at the National Gallery, we went through the sculpture garden, (past Jeff Koons’s war on art, which is almost as offensive to the soul as it is to the retinas¹) whereMolly and LaChaise’s bug Molly and I had a discussion about how Gaston Lachaise’s concept of an idealized woman (physically empowered, sexually dominant but still an object of male gaze) relates to the patriarchal, which is generally based on weak subserviant woman. Plus, she found something interesting right in the center of his composition:

I also got to see the Edward Hopper exhibition, which was fascinating and comprehensive and one of the most exciting things I’ve ever seen. Still, woowee, Hopper’s women are certainly rigid, and voyeristically sexualized. (Heather Carey has a great paper topic.)

When I was 10, Hopper was why I wanted to become a painter, but I have to admit, standing there in that crowded gallery, surrounded by polite middle aged ladies talking about how much they like Cape Cod, this painting gave me the willies.

¹ I mean this. It’s so shiny that it’s physically paintful to look at.

Tags: Art · Art Exhibitions · Women and Art