A person who appears to be ambling aimlessly, but is secretly in search of adventure.


Pablo Picasso quotations

"Art is the elimination of the unnecessary."

"He can who thinks he can, and he can't who thinks he can't. This is an inexorable, indisputable law."

"Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life."

"Anything that you can imagine is real."


Lisa Marie opening this weekend

G Fine Art will open a group show on Saturday that features Jose Ruiz, Vesna Pavlovic, and one of my favorite artists and all-around great gal Lisa Marie Thalhammer. Her show called Welcome to Lizard County consists of a series of drawings based on her memories of working in her family's truck stop when she was a teenager. Lisa Marie is smart and thoughtful - pretty important qualities for an artist to have.

In this new series of work, Thalhammer investigates the underbelly of America’s Highways. Inspired by her experiences in the family’s truck stop, she draws the semi-trucks that brave vast expanses of highways connecting goods and consumers. Alone and lonely, full of desire and intent, this macho trucker world both idealizes women and supports abuse of them. Lot Lizards, a trucker term the title is based on, are prostitutes, who wait in truck stop parking lots. Thalhammer collages images of women from men’s interest magazines as hood ornaments onto the drawings, examining the way feminine beauty is both reverenced and objectified. Appropriated gospel illuminations adorn the drawings, referencing the Bible belt, where the family truck stop was located.

Thalhammer was the recipient of the Young Artist Program Grant Award from the DC Commission of the Arts and Humanities in 2007, and in 2006 the Small Project Programs Grant Award from the DC Commission of the Arts and humanities. She lives and works in Washington DC, and participated in the Exercises for Emerging Artists, which culminated in the show E:3 Painters at Transformer Gallery.


Robert Mellor - New Scenarios

Robert Mellor's new show called New Scenarios opens tonight at Irvine Contemporary. For the love of god, please go see this show. Mellor's technical expertise blows me away and his understanding of color dynamics is nearly perfect. The precision and detail of his work made me wonder if he was some nerdy, anti-social dweeb who washes his hands all the time or never at all. Turns out he is an engaging and cool sophisticate who is at the same time unpretentious and kind - someone I'd want to hang out with.

From the Press Release:

Robert Mellor's new series of paintings boldly expands his innovative fusion of hard-edge organic composition techniques and original color harmonies. The word "scenario" originally referred to the instructions on the back of painted theater scenery used as directions for actors entering a "scene." Robert Mellor's New Scenarios can be viewed as new propositions for visual enactment by the viewer, each work providing cues for engaging with the composition, layer by layer, edge by edge, line by line, color by color. While it can be said that any work of art comes alive as art by a viewer's active engagement, Mellor foregrounds this relationship by composing works of arresting beauty that compel viewers to re-enact the process of composition with the artist.

In this new series of paintings, Mellor often combines references abstracted from landscape and organic forms, city scapes and architecture, Japanese woodblock prints, and cascading fabric from fashion design in totally new ways. His astonishing and original color harmonies command attention and continually reward viewers who take a contemplative pause and convert compositional space into time. Mellor is also the edge master, sculpting visual space with his hard-edge lines and interplay of forms, working at the edge of figuration and abstraction, building paintings from multiple layers that push the works into three dimensions as substantial objects in their own right. Mellor's New Scenarios are a set of enticements and seductions for viewers that make a bold, affirmative statement for new directions in painting today.


Guerilla Film Fest 7

Yay! The Guerilla Film Fest is back! If you haven't seen this before, you're missing out on one of DC's best alternative amusements. It's a popular event with limited seating so buy your tickets soon.

Guerilla Film Fest
Carnegie Institution
16th and P Streets, NW
June 1 and 2
Go to site for times

There will be a party across the street with music and video art provided by The Pink Line Project and Dissident Display. Stop by before or after the show for drinks, food, and cool music and art.

Resources For the Future Building
1616 P Street (across the street from Carnegie)
Friday, June 1
7 to 11 PM

The GUERRILLA FILM FEST (GFF) was established to provide an alternative venue for independent and foreign filmmakers who work outside the Hollywood system (and who are therefore often marginalized by the mainstream entertainment industry in the USA).


Wolfgang redeemed. sort of.

Okay. This little acquisition ought to dull my recent pain of not having spoken to Wolfgang Tillmans when I had the chance. It's a photo he took of a perfect little apple hanging from a tree on his balcony. The note says, "Please leave this one."


Jiha Moon

Jade Valley, 2007, ink and acrylic on Hanji paper over canvas, 18 x 18 inches

Checked out Jiha Moon's show fabulous fictions at the Moti Hasson gallery when I was in New York last weekend and couldn't resist adding another work by this super talented artist to my collection. This painting is absolutely gorgeous. You can't really grasp the intensity of the colors in this jpg, though, and you also can't see the way Jiha has painted the sides of the canvas, which makes this landscape feel more lush and complete. I also like the way she uses spirited pinks in her palette. She says it's her favorite color - plus I think she's a little bit punk, too. If you're in New York before June 16, stop by the gallery and take a look at the show.

Jiha's show got a great review in the New York Sun last week. Here's an excerpt:

In contrast to the enigma and quietude of Messrs. Cook and Ballard, Ms. Moon goes for the jugular in exhilaratingly complex, brightly hued fantasy evocations of waves and clouds. This is the debut solo exhibition of the young Korean-born artist who is based in Atlanta, Ga. Her paintings are staged collisions, both literally and culturally. A typical work is a bright cacophony, meticulously orchestrated to keep billowy forms and textures distinct. The associations are high and low, east and west, looking with equal and random enthusiasm to Pan-Asian animé effects, Old Master drawing techniques, and psychedelic pop abstraction. "Scholar's Garden" (2007) describes a lovingly complex imaginary space in which credible perspective and ornamental flatness are fused and confused. There are deliciously jarring greens for distant and proximate verdure. Viscous, coagulating acrylic sits upon ethereal, subdued ink washes, evoking disparate senses of scale. The smaller works are better resolved, generally, than the larger ones, and in one or two instances the use of decals seems forced and predictable. But by and large this is a debut that trumpets technical accomplishment and formal ambition. It is hard to say what, if anything, these mad landscapes mean, but they are rich and fun, inviting exploration.


NYC Graffiti

I met Jimmy Webb!

Back in March, I wrote about an article I'd read in the New Yorker on Jimmy Webb, the manager of Trash and Vaudeville, a well-known punk clothing store in the East Village. I won't bore you with all the details of how reading about this man inspired and moved me and how I finally settled on the name of my arts organization - The Pink Line Project - because of him. (This was after months and months of torturing my clever friend Jonathan, with whom I'd tasked with thinking of a name - he's very creative that way and he totally came through. Thanks, Jonathan!!) So when I was in New York this weekend, I made the pilgrimage to T&V to meet Jimmy and tell him so. Jimmy is the sweetest man! I think my story touched him and we both got misty-eyed and hugged each other a lot and Jimmy gave me his personal cell number and said I could call him anytime. Jimmy rocks!

These are the shoes I bought from him:

Dispatch from New York


Taffety Punk this weekend

Taffety Punk Theatre Company

@ Artomatic
May 19th, 8pm Free
2121 Crystal City Drive, 8th Floor Arlington VA
(near Crystal City Metro)
For directions check www.artomatic.org

Sneak a peak at two new dance pieces, with choreography by company member Erin Mitchell and guest artist Paulina Guerrero, who thrilled audiences last summer in Taffety Punk's "The Phoenix and Turtle" at the Kennedy Center's Page to Stage Festival.

Erin is very excited to bring the Taffety Punk aesthetic of more ooomph with less hoo-ha to the ongoing artistic lab that is Artomatic. These works-in-progress include a new solo, and a duet, scored by composer Ryan Nelson (of Soccer Team, Dischord Records).

May 19th. 8pm. Free.

All Ages Welcome!

Taffety Punk - Two Dances



Banksy coppers

This story is about how two guys painted over a piece of Banksy graffiti on the side of a pub in Trafalgar. The guys were nabbed and convicted on charges of criminal damage and given a six months conditional discharge.

Banksy rat?

Is this a Banksy rat on P Street? Or is it just a pretty darn good copy? Compare to an authenticated rat. Regardless, I like seeing it along a route I travel often.

The Post did a piece last week about the rise in graffiti around town recently, focusing on tagging and the city's cost of removing it. I wonder if they'll paint over this rat? I wonder if this is art or just destruction of public property? To my eye, it's a nice little piece of art that makes me smile and it provokes discussion, which I think is a central tenet of contemporary art. If I were a city worker given the task of cleaning up graffiti, would I disobey orders and leave this one because it looked like art?

This blog does a great job of parsing out the debate over what is art as it relates to graffiti.

Thanks eagle-eyes-Jonathan Sousa for spotting the rat and sharing these images with me!


On Lokation - Spring Fever

My friend Veronica Jackson designed this fashion/art show and fundraiser. Not only does this event benefit an excellent cause - Hoops For Africa, an HIV/AIDS awareness charity for African youth - but you'll also see great art and design and maybe even find a fabulous spring outfit!

On Lokation
Thursday, May 17

6 - 10 PM
575 7th Street, NW
Tickets: $40

Cousin Roger

A couple months ago, Cousin Roger (he's not my actual cousin) called me on a sunny, cool spring day to say, "I'm in town. Let's have fun." Hanging out with Cousin Roger is all about fun and it's all about spontaneity. You have to be very flexible and very open to adventures when with Roger.

It's difficult to describe Cousin Roger in a way that conveys the sublime pleasures of spending time with this philosophic peter pan. You must experience Cousin Roger to fully appreciate him. The basics: Roger lives in Brooklyn and owns a music studio called Shabby Road. He's also painted a series of pictures featuring a nameless everywoman who peers out from the canvas with "the withering gaze of disapproval." He once played a concert of the entire Beatles songbook on a ukulele.

I'd planned to see Cynthia Connolly's show - "See all Fifteen an Once" - at the Arlington Arts Center that afternoon and invited him to join me. The show consisted of a series of photographs she took in Alabama of those road sign signs with arrows pointing toward a shack that say things like: "Gas Guns & Guppies." Cynthia was hosting a southern porch party to show her work - rocking chairs, mint juleps, ham biscuits, and gooey cake. I was worried about dragging Cousin Roger to the suburbs, afraid he'd be bored and scornful (sorry, Roger, for underestimating you!). Instead, we drank, ate, socialized, and played Scrabble - he never goes anywhere without a Scrabble board! Everyone who came to the party thought we were part of the show - my first stint as a performance artist! This sort of thing happens every time I hang out with Cousin Roger.

If you're interested in Cynthia Connolly's work, you can see it at the Transformer Gallery. They are wonderful advocates of excellent emerging artists.

You should also check out the Arlington Arts Center. They do such a great job of promoting the mid-Atlantic region's best artists.



A torrential downpour during last night's performance of Underwater made me feel like we were underwater! We converted Metropolis' raw, retail space at 14th and Church into a makeshift performance space and presented an artistic and musical experience unlike much else I've seen in DC. The show was created by Yoko K and Seduce and Destroy, an artist collective consisting of music by Aphrodizia, video art by Dissident Display, performance by the Painted Lady Performance Project, and graphic visual art by MegaSleepyhead. I helped promote it and ran lots of errands.


Wolfgang Tillmans - genius!

After the Wolfgang Tillmans talk last night at the Hirshhorn, I was standing on the sidewalk outside the building with a few people who'd also been at the lecture when Tillmans walked out and stood near us in conversation with another person. I wanted to go over and introduce myself and tell him how much his talk inspired and moved me, something I would normally do in this kind of situation. Instead, I stewed about what I perceived had been an earlier social slight toward me by someone in our impromptu group - I expended valuable mental energy and put myself in a generally ornery mood. (Very disappointed in myself.) As a result, I didn't make any effort to speak to Mr. Tillmans and missed the chance to meet one of the most amazing artists of our time, the Gerhard Richter of our generation. I will be depressed about this until another opportunity presents itself when I can reverse the karma and prove to myself that I am not such a small-minded, petty person. From what I could tell, I doubt Tillmans would have allowed such triflings to waste his time and get in the way of seizing everything life offers and experiencing utter happiness at every point along life's short journey.

Read more about Tillmans here.


My article in Washington Woman magazine

I just published an article in the May 2007 issue of Washington Woman magazine entitled "How to Find 'Real' Art: Allison Cohen Guides the Way." Read it here: Washington%20Woman%20final.pdf. Or pick up a copy at Whole Foods on P Street.



Another fabulous event from Yoko K and Aphrodizia. This show sold out last time so reserve a seat in advance to ensure you get in and to get a little discount on the admission price ($12 instead of $15).