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Art D.C.

Steve Gibson

Another addition to the art fair trend has come to the Capital City's Convention Center, called Art D.C. This is by the same group that produces the Art Expo Fair at the Javits Center in NYC, a more commercial brand of fair than say the Armory or Pulse, etc., so many I spoke with were at first skeptical. Some of that skepticism is valid here as some of the galleries are on the kitsch side. But there are many highlights and proudly they are from the Baltimore/D.C. area.

Baltimore’s C. Grimaldis Gallery has a solid group of artists and is showing a beautiful vertical cast piece by John Ruppert and one of Ruppert’s chain link wire forms (shown here), along with some Grace Hartigan and Anthony Caro works.

The feisty Douz Mille of Bethesda was showing an Angela Bonadies video, Plano_Contraplano, and the cubicle was enlivened by accompanying bass speakers.

In addition to an exhibit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, William Christenberry is also represented here by the Hemphill Fine Art, with a suite of mixed media silkscreens. I’ve seen quite a bit of his work lately: I’m enjoying the simplicity, a simple truth. I'll post about my SAAM/NPG visit next.

Along the way I was asking exhibitors why they chose D.C. over the the Art Chicago fair, also this weekend. Many had done the Chicago fair in its varied lives and were searching, looking for something different and alternative. Susan Teller, a NYC gallerist, was looking to the Washington market to expand her collector base for mid-20th century work, WPA, and Modernist; I predict she’ll sell out. This fabulous James Daugherty painting should find a nice home in the District.

Another Baltimorean, Goya Girl Contemporary, formally Goya Girl Press, is showing a mix of paintings, prints and works on paper, and a few new mixed media glass pieces by that sweet lady, Joyce Scott. She has a great singing voice too.

Even though Randall Scott, no relation to Joyce, explained it to me, I still don’t know how Etsuko Ichikawa lays molten glass on to rag paper, to great effect, and it doesn't burst into flames. They’re bold, quite striking works.

Francks DeceusOne of the sad moments Friday evening was that two Madrid galleries were without work to display. Somehow it was lost or held up in transit: ouch. On a high note, Avisca Gallery, of Marietta, Georgia, introduced me to the work of Francks Deceus. His paintings were the gems of the show.

I was at the convention center last year for the book fair, BAE, which took over the entire center and was swarming with people. Art D.C. covers a small portion, hall E. Hopefully this will take off, entice a stronger selection of exhibitors, and become a valuable asset to the region. D.C. is a much easier, more hospitable venue than Chicago, with a treasure trove of cultural activity. Let’s hope. As always visit my Flickr site for more images of the show.

I unfortunately missed the J. T. Kirkland-curated show, Supple, at the Warehouse, across the street. Lenny Campello at, Mid Atlantic Art News, covers the "cutting edge" event. Ouch! [Video on view at YouTube, and photos at Flickr--Ed.]

Speaking of activities, if you see my mini-me in the mob of thousands of high schoolers camping out on the mall this weekend, in cardboard boxes, with iPod of course, say hello. It’s part of the amazing project, Displace Me, which brings awareness to the plight of children displaced and abused by the scourge of war. Peace.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the mention Mark. You gotta get back over to the Warehouse before May 12 to see the show!

Mark Barry said...

I really tried for your opening, but had to rush back. With your extension It just might work out.
Congratulations on your show, j.t..

Lenny said...

Good insight and a excellent look!

Mark Barry said...

Thank you, sir.