Friday, March 27, 2015

Did Ike Leggett just attempt to censor an art exhibit at Montgomery College?

I am told that allegedly the Chief Executive of Montgomery County has (so far successfully) pressured Montgomery College to censor an art exhibit in the school's Open Gallery. The exhibit is entitled Cindi Hron: Back Pain, and "explores the lingering psychological affects of pain through watercolors and embroidery of abstracted bodies." The Open Gallery is located in the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation Arts Center, and is run by the department of Visual and Performing Arts.

Parts of the exhibit may/will be censored tomorrow, March 28 during the Montgomery County GreenFest event being held at the college. GreenFest runs 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the West Campus of Montgomery College's Takoma Park and Silver Spring Campus.

I am also told that on Wednesday evening, March 25, the GreenFest " administration" requested that the exhibit in the Open Gallery be removed for their event. Vice president and Provost Brad Stewart correctly responded on Thursday that the artwork would not be removed because Montgomery College does not condone censorship, and the Open Gallery is a professional exhibit space hosting an external artist (good for him!). As the GreenFest occurs during gallery open hours, Dr. Stewart apparently saw no way to remove the exhibition without damaging the gallery's and the college's reputation.

However, apparently the administration of the GreenFest then contacted Montgomery County Chief Executive Ike Leggett with their complaint. Allegedly Leggett in turn then contacted administrators above Dr. Stewart and allegedly told them to censor the Back Pain exhibit. Faced by this request from the Chief Executive during a budgetary review cycle, the college administration seems to be considering backing down (according to my source) "for fear of budgetary reprisal." Upper level administration then allegedly directed Dr. Stewart to ensure that Cindi Hron: Back pain is censored during tomorrow's GreenFest event. As of this blog post, a final decision by Dr. Stewart has not yet been released. However, short of a gutsy push-back on the college's part, the exhibition may/will be censored

Cindi Hron: Back Pain
This is all the information that I have currently and as such, I am also contacting Vice President and Provost Brad Stewart (, 240-567-1312) and also Siobhan Quinn (, 240-567-5794), whom as the Director of the Cultural Arts Center would have the most information on this topic. For the gallery's perspective, I have contacted Maureen Kohl (, 240-567-1393), Art Center and Gallery Coordinator, and Wilfred Brunner (, 240-567-1461), Professor and Chair of the Exhibition Committee.

If this is all true, and however it ends, this is not only reprehensible and unacceptable, but once again reveals why the American people are so disillusioned with most of our elected officials. If "Democrat" Leggett, Chief Commissar of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Montgomery County did indeed pressure Montgomery College to censor the exhibition, his alleged art censorship is now on a direction that puts it on a dangerous path to potentially join a notorious set of political art troglodytes that include such monsters as Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Castro, the fig-leaf painters of a few centuries ago, and many such other "leaders."  And if the GreenFest leadership did initiate the pressure, it also says something about that organization... doesn't it?

If any of the people that I have/will be contacting can add any further info to this issue, I will publish it here.

In defense of Jessica Dawson

Yesterday I noted the mess that former WaPo art critic Jessica Dawson is in due to her recent review of an African-American artist, where she's being accused of being a racist.

Jessica Dawson is not a racist. Her art criticism is almost always negative, often offensive, very snarky and she's unable to give an artistic positive compliment without doing it in a backhanded manner. That, unfortunately for the DC area artists whom she used to review in the Washington Post for years, is a known fact (see here for my empirical evidence). She was once even kicked out of a DC gallery and prohibited from ever entering again! 

This critic is one who, when she departed the Post, noted that over the years she "wised up and recognized that there are kinder ways of saying "shape up" than likening art to "a dental hygienist scaling your tartar with a metal pick."

I seem to also recall when she once compared someone's artwork to "looking at a fat lady's butt" ... 

DC artists will also tell you that she hates realism... She once wrote: "Anyone in the art world will tell you: Realism has been done. Remember those cave painters back in 15,000 B.C.? Could those guys render a bison or what?" 

Her Art History background and depth of knowledge was also questioned often, as a few of her reviews had jaw-dropping art history errors... But a racist? Not a chance... She's simply an equal opportunity Debbie Downer art scribe, and I will always defend, even as I may disagree, for her right to write a negative art review about anyone, regardless of race, and in this case, I think that Jillian Steinhauer is not only showing her youth, but also her formation, and unfortunately using the "race card" in the wrong place, something that she's probably learned due to the ubiquitous use of that card by nearly everyone these days.

Call for Graffiti and Aerosol Mural Artists

The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) in collaboration with the DC Department of Public Works (DPW) seeks graffiti artists and artist teams to design, create and install aerosol murals that inspire the various communities in which they will be placed. Selected artists will be required to work with the young apprentices (ages 14-23) by introducing and refining each student's artistic skill in the discipline of graffiti style sketch work and aerosol mural painting. 
MuralsDC was created to replace illegal graffiti with artistic works, to revitalize sites within communities in the District of Columbia, and to teach young people the art of aerosol painting. This initiative aims to positively engage the District's youth by teaching proper professional art techniques, providing supplies, and a legal means to practice and perform their artistic skill in a way that promotes respect for public and private property and community awareness. 
The three platforms on which the MuralsDC project is based are: 
  • Illegal Graffiti Abatement 
  • Youth Outreach 
  • Community Revitalization 
There are more than 50 MuralsDC projects across the District. Each mural tells a unique story of DC's diverse neighborhoods while deterring further illegal graffiti. 
This commission is open to Graffiti and Aerosol Mural Art Artists and Artist Teams.
All Artists must: 
  • Be 18 years of age or older. 
  • Have Graffiti and or Aerosol Mural Art experience. 
  • Be a practicing professional. 
  • Be in good standing with the MuralsDC program.
  • Be record free.
*Preference will be given to District of Columbia Artists. 
Depending on site dimensions, the total budget for each mural will range from $3,000 to $13,500. 
  • The mural budget must include all artist fees and costs associated with design, fabrication, travel, transportation to the site, insurance, permits, installation, graffiti protective coating, working with young people and documentation of the artwork. 
  • The overall project budget includes the artist's design fees, compensation and travel expenses, all materials and fabrication costs, shipping and transportation of materials to the site, preparation of mural site, installation of the artwork, application of protective coating, and any applicable taxes and/or insurance. 
  • Payments will be made directly to Final Artists. Principals and fiscal agents of any kind are prohibited. 
Funds under this program may not be used to fund colleges, universities, or other government agencies. 
May 1, 2015
Application Deadline 
Mid May 2015 
Application Review
Roster / Semi-Finalist Selections
Notifications Issued 
Late May 2015
Final Artist Selections
Notifications Issued 
Late may 2015
Site Assignments
Early- Mid June 2015
Mural Concept Designs Begin 
Mid- Late June 2015
Final Approval of Mural Designs 
July 2015
Mural Installations Begin
Early Fall 2015
Program Dedication / Culminating Event 
Friday, May 1, 2015 
All materials must be received no later than 4:00 PM. 
This is not a postmark deadline. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered. 

To obtain a copy of the prospectus and application, please visit

Call 202-724-5613 or email

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Original Mujertees at auction

Signed vintage prints from my "Mujertrees" series have sold at auction as high as $500... this 1992 original piece is opening at Ebay for less than $150 bucks!!!

I believe that this is the original drawing from which the 100 prints were pulled, so this would be a steal at the current opening price!

Bid for it here.

Holy crap! Jessica's in trouble!

Former WaPo freelance galleries art critic Jessica Dawson is in serious kimchi because of this review (I didn't even know that Jessica was still writing art reviews!).

And while Dawson's style of art criticism has a vast and serious set of negative critical issues associated with it (as I've often documented in this blog while she was a freelance art critic for the WaPo), and while The Dawsinator was (and maybe remains) a very thin-skinned recipient of return fire, and because I've met and had a lot of personal interaction with Dawson while she was the WaPo's main gallery art critic, one fact that I can say with a very high degree of assurance, is that her art criticism is not based on racism, as many people now claim because of this review.

As this blog entry is written, there are 124 comments debating Jessica (is she a racist or not, or just a bad art critic???)

From the 1990s: Cy Twombly Over Picasso?

For TBT: This review originally published in the early 1990s:

"Cy Twombly Over Picasso?"
F. Lennox Campello

Published in the Potomac News and Dimensions Magazine

Twombly over Picasso? The National Gallery of Art's latest acquisition of an exceedingly boring painting by Virginia painter Cy Twombly succinctly brings to light a perfect example of the sort of poor decisions made in the seclusion of museum walls which exemplify why the general public is often at odds with our arts intelligentsia. 

Cy Twombly's "Untitled (Bolsena)" was acquired on Friday the 13th of October by the National Gallery of Art at a cost of about one million dollars. The gallery's Collector's Committee also considered a Picasso, a Giacometti and a Baselitz before choosing the Twombly painting, which was aptly described by Washington Post art critic Paul Richards as "evoking the butt-end days of New York action painting. Or a wall besides a public pay phone."

Although it is clear that the Twombly piece will now join the National Gallery's ever growing "Gee, Mom, I can do that!" collection of art, what isn't clear is the rationale for picking Twombly over Picasso or Giacometti. It has been said that Twombly's main claim to fame is his early associations with Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg; if this is his main springboard into the walls of the National Gallery, then it is clear to me that a pathetic mistake has been made by the gallery's Collector's Committee. As a matter of fact one would be hard pressed to pick a Johns or a Rauschenberg over a Picasso!

A new Picasso acquisition would have brought the National Gallery some more public interest, and a price tag of a million dollars seems almost a bargain for perhaps the greatest painter of all time. Whatever his detractors, Picasso is a recognized entity which would attract people who both like and dislike his work. I suspect Twombly's "champions" are not enough to prevent this latest acquisition from being ridiculed by the public and dismissed by the critics. 

 It is also clear that the piece was vastly overpriced, as a similar Twombly sold less than two weeks ago in New York for $167,000. It would be interesting to see in which basement of the National Gallery this scrawling will gather dust in a few years. When it is put into storage, I hope it is well marked as a piece of art, or it may accidentally resurface on a wall next to a pay phone at the Smithsonian Metro Station.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Call for Photogs

Call For Entry Photo '15
National Photo Competition

Juror:  Sarah Greenough, Senior Curator and Head, Department of Photographs at the National Gallery of Art

You are invited to submit to Photo ‘15, a national juried fine art photography exhibit at Multiple Exposures Gallery at the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria, VA.  All artists 18 years of age or older who work in traditional, digital, or alternative photographic processes are eligible. 

Exhibit dates:                          October 20, 2015 - November 29, 2015
Awards and Reception:       Sunday, November 1, 2015,  2pm-4pm

Full Prospectus            

Entry deadline:  July 1, 2015.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Jack Boul at the WPG

April 1 - April 26, 2015

Opening Reception: Sunday, April 12, 3-5 pm

Reception and Artist Talk, April 18, 3-5 pm


from WPG:

"Washington Printmakers Gallery is pleased to showcase recent prints by master artist, Jack Boul. Boul's works are included in the country's foremost museums, including the National Gallery of Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and in major private collections. His distinguished exhibition record stretches back 60 years, and he has served as teacher and mentor to countless younger artists. 

Boul is master of the monotype, a difficult process where the artist manipulates ink on a bare metal plate to print a single image.  

New viewers will appreciate in Boul's work the qualities that curators, critics and Washington art lovers have long admired: intimacy, sensitivity and compositional rigor. Along with monotypes, this show includes selected paintings."

Please join The Washington Printmakers Gallery in honoring this distinguished printmaker.                       

Monday, March 23, 2015

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Glen Kessler at Hillyer Art Space

Friday, April 3 – Sunday, April 26, 2015
Opening Reception: Friday, April 3  6-9pm

Artist Talk: Saturday, April 18  1-3pm

Closing Reception: Sunday, April 26  3-5pm

“CircuitScapes”, an exhibition by the painter Glen Kessler, will be on display from Friday, April 3 through Sunday, April 26, 2015 in the main gallery of Hillyer Art Space, located at 9 Hillyer Ct, NW Washington DC 20008.  The Opening Reception is scheduled for Friday, April 3 from 6-9pm. An Artist Talk with Glen Kessler is scheduled for Saturday, April 18 from 1-3pm. A Closing Reception is scheduled for Sunday, April 26 from 3-5pm.   

The Gallery Hours are Mon 12-5pm; Tue-Fri 12-6pm; Sat 12-5pm; and by appointment.

“CircuitScapes” will feature over twenty new oil paintings from Rockville, MD painter Glen Kessler in the newly renovated Hillyer Art Space during the month of April. Kessler paints images that initially appear to be urban and industrial landscapes, but are, in truth, magnified views of circuit boards.  In his “CircuitScape” series, the analogous nature of these two worlds is formally and conceptually explored.  Similarities between city design and circuitry are obvious, each exerting a bias towards efficient geometric utility, but at the ‘street level’ which Kessler paints the connection becomes uncanny, leading viewers to contemplate how the hidden world of the microchip is increasingly the engine that powers our familiar macro urban centers.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Art Fair week!