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


Art fanatic

I gave a little talk about art collecting on Friday night at Pyramid Atlantic and thought this picture taken by Taylor Wyant pretty well summed up my presentation. It conveys my fanaticism and passion for art collecting! Collecting art can change your life and I know this because it changed my life. Stop laughing. I am serious. Through art collecting, I have learned so much about myself. I have met many fascinating people who have inspired me to become a more creative person in my own right and to think of more creative ways to solve problems. Art collecting has also provided me with an avenue for creative self-expression and it has given me the opportunity to help others as well. Art communicates to us from the past and teaches us about the past, and it is also a way to engage with other cultures. Sounds like some kind of elixir doesn't it?!

Some other points from my talk: What makes a good collector? Passion, commitment to learn, and a willingness to make mistakes. I cribbed that from a lecture I'd heard earlier in the week by the director of the Chicago Art Institute at SAAM.

How do you know if what you want to buy is any good? Hone your eye by looking at a lot of art. Go to art fairs, galleries, museums. Talk to other collectors; sometimes they are your best source of information. Learn to articulate what you like and don’t like.

I kinda veered off my outline when people started asking me questions, which was almost right away. Basically, I think many more people would collect original art if the art world were less mystifying and more welcoming. Hope I can help change that.

Look how riveted everyone appears!


Arty stuff this week . . .

Verge: An Evening of Art and Music
Tuesday, April 29
7 - 9 pm
@ Reyes + Davis
923 F Street, NW

1869 Society
Wednesday, April 30

7 - 11 pm
@ Corcoran Gallery of Art

500 17th Street, NW

The Thread As the Line: Contemporary Sewn Art
May 2 - July 12

Featuring the work of:
Steve Frost

Rachel Bernstein

Natalia Blanch

Jennifer Boe

Thomas Campbell
Natalie Chanin

Graham Childs

Sabrina Gschwandtner

Caroline Hwang
Brece Honeycutt

Jennifer Muskopf
Valerie Molnar

Zac Monday
Matt Nelson

Anila Rubiku

Megan Whitmarsh


Thursday, May 1

5:30 - 9 pm

@ Ellipse Arts Center

4350 North Fairfax Drive

Colors of the Wind
Mexican School of Down Art

Thursday, May 1
6:30 to 8:30 pm
@ Mexican Cultural Institute
2829 16th Street, NW

Benjamin Jurgensen
Don't Ready To Die Anymore

Friday, May 2
6 - 8:30 pm
@ Meat market Gallery
1636 17th Street, NW

Lennon Michalski
Chris Milk Hulbert
May 2 - June 2

Opening Reception:
Friday, May 2
6:30 - 8:30 pm
@ Aaron Gallery
1717 Connecticut Avenue, NW

14th Street and the Creative Economy:
Unveiling of store windows on 14th Street created by Corcoran students
Redeem, Home Rule, Vastu, Muleh
Friday, May 2
6 pm

After party:
Donovan House
8 - midnight
$20 fundraiser

Black Rock City
Images by Osunlade from Burning Man


Friday, May 2

6 - 10 pm

@ Dissident Display

411 H Street, NE

9 pm - 5 am

@ 411 New York Avenue, NE

$20 (attend the exhibition for a $10 discount)

Anna Davis
May 2 - 30

Friday, May 2

6 - 8 pm
@ Hillyer Art Space

9 Hillyer Court

Sparkplug Art Collective
Friday, May 2
7 - 9 pm
@ DCAC Gallery
2438 18th Street, NW

Sondra N. Arkin and Willem deLooper

Friday, May 2
7 - 10 pm
@ PASS Gallery
1617 S Street NW, rear

Bobby Salthouse
Magic Squares

April 30 - June 1

Friday, May 2
6 - 8 pm

@ Foundry Gallery

1314 18th Street, NW

Shelley Laffal & Chris Malone
Drama Queens
May 2 – June 1

Meet the Artists:
Friday, May 2
6 - 9 pm
Saturday, May 3
3 - 6 pm
@ Zenith Gallery
413 7th Street, NW

Spring Art Show

Analya Céspedes
Gayle Friedman
Giselle Kolb

Allison O’Flinn

Michele de la Menardiere
Amina Re
Kristen Stephens

Kate Hardy

Saturday, May 3 and Sunday, May 4
12 - 6 pm
@ Studio 4903
4903 Wisconsin Avenue, NW (2nd floor)

Foggy Bottom Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit
May 3 - October 25

Saturday, May 3
5 - 8 pm
@ Watergate Gallery
2552 Virginia Avenue, NW

Cultural Development Corporation
Flash Forward
Annual Gala and Auction

Saturday, May 3
7 - 11 pm
@ Former Church of the Rapture
1840 14th Street, NW

Flash Forward
After party:

10 pm - 2 am

DJ Neville C & DJ Fatback spinning dueling decades
cocktails courtesy of SKYY Vodka & Campari

BrightestYoungThings.com Relaunch Party
Saturday, May 3
6 to 8 pm - Slightly Overexposed: Photography Exhibition
8 until forever - party and live art exhibition
@ Artomatic Space
1st and M Streets, NE

Funk 'n' Brunch
A benefit for Girls Rock!DC
Sunday, May 4

1 - 6 pm

@ 52 O Street

Mindy Weisel
Gallery Talk
Sunday, May 4
2 pm
@ Prada Gallery
1030 Wisconsin Avenue, NW


BYT Relaunch Party - Saturday night

Brightest Young Things will relaunch their website with a huge party this Saturday night. The festivities begin with a photo exhibit of Slightly Overexposed, in which BYT photographers show their best work from the past year.

The Pink Line Project brings you sensational art for the event created by:

Kelly Towles
along with American University MFA art stars:
Josh Baptista
Brad Chriss
Cory Oberndorfer
Amy Misurelli Sorensen

A couple of the artists will create their work live during the event. So cool.

Outstanding bands and DJs will play throughout the night:

Video Hippos
Food For Animals
The Dance Party
DJ Chris Burns
DJ Cale

Many thanks to Artomatic for letting us use this amazing space, where Artomatic will take place May 9 through June 15.

Many thanks also to Scion for their support of the art portion of this event!

Brightest Young Things Relaunch Party
Saturday, May 3

Slightly Overexposed
Photography Exhibit
DJ: Animal Collective
6 - 8 pm

8 pm until forever

1st and M Streets, NE
$10 suggested donation.
Please rsvp here.


Bad art

While relaxing with a frosty bottle of Imperial at the Casa Tucan at Playa Guiones one night last week after a long hard day of getting pounded in the surf, Dale asked me what I thought about the art for sale that was hanging behind the bar. I wrinkled my nose and pronounced it bad art. Paintings of tropical birds and majestic waterfalls. Then he asked, "Why? What is it about this art that makes it bad?" Hmm ... hem ... haw ... sputter ... gosh. My inability to give a coherent answer made me realize the importance of articulating what you like and don't like about a work of art beyond judging whether it's bad or not. For one thing, doing so helps you define and hone your taste. Whether it's bad or not is another question. So I'll practice doing that now.

This particular painting of a toucan and waterfall didn't appeal to me because it appeared to be something produced purely as a souvenir for tourists. I've been known to buy souvenir art so I'm not condemning anyone who does this. But in general I avoid this kind of art purchase because I am more interested in being inspired by the ideas and concepts behind art than its decorative or souvenir value. And I didn't see much more than a vacation keepsake in this painting. Of course, the artist didn't happen to be available just then for me to ask him what he was thinking when he painted it and I think it's very important to ask this question if you have the chance. I've often looked at art that I wasn't especially enamored with and then changed my mind once I understood the artist's intent. Also in this case, the artist's skill level didn't seem very high, maybe a little untrained. Sure the bird looked like a bird, but the painting lacked precision and depth.

About the book, which looks fun:
Located in the basement of a theater, the Museum of Bad Art (MOBA) is a unique institution dedicated to the celebration of artistic effort, however misguided. The Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks presents a pulsating collection of more than seventy never-before-published pieces of artwork from MOBA’s permanent collection. Comprised largely of canvases found discarded on curbside trash piles or obtained for a pittance at thrift stores, this innovative compilation occupies a niche previously ignored in the international community of art collection, preservation, and interpretation. If the subjectivity of art appreciation were ever in doubt, this astonishing assortment of artistic commentaries will fan the flames of controversy. It is clear that many of these artists suffered for their art; now it’s your turn.


Cary For Council Happy Hour

Happy hour to benefit:
Cary Silverman for Ward 2 Council Member
Thursday, May 1
4 - 7 pm
@ Merkado
1433 P Street, NW
Learn more here about Cary.


Holly Bass performance

Word, Breath & Movement

Led by Holly Bass

Saturday, April 26

12 - 3 pm
@ Flashpoint
916 G Street, NW
(Pay what you can.)

If I were going to be in town, I would definitely go to this.

More belly button

Weird art day today. Frankly, it's been a weird art week for me. Thought I'd cap it off with this lovely image by Jason Horowitz and a little review of his show at Curator's Office by Jessica Dawson.

You know those liposuction ads weighing down the back pages of this paper's Sunday magazine? Picture the "before" image as a fine color print stretching five feet wide and you've got a good idea of Jason Horowitz's work. The suite of photographs at Curator's Office posits human flesh as landscape; folds of skin stand in for rolling fields. Some exploit the unsettling, fleshy close-up: an outie bellybutton looks awfully embryonic when exploded to the size of my hand. Though I can't say you'll enjoy looking at them, the power of Horowitz's pictures is undeniable.

I think you know by now how much I love Jason's work.

Bad cat tat

I troll lots of arty websites to be oh so au courant with the freshest trends and intelligence in the art world. And this is all I could come up with today: felines in art. A bad cat tat from C-Monster.

Daily blogging is much easier when your cat isn't sitting on the keyboard. Brought to us by Art Fag City.

Cash Brown, George, 2008, oil on canvas, 20 x 24 inches.

Also from Art Fag City:

Gustave Courbet’s The Origin of the World has inspired a great number of paintings since its execution in 1866, Australian artist Cash Brown amongst the most recent. “I have been thinking a lot about the concept of originality and the derivative nature of so much contemporary artwork”, says Brown, going on to explain, “This led me to think of the beginning of Modernism. Origin, original, beginning, it all seemed a bit obvious…but I liked that about it.” In other words, the root concept lies in the connection between the meaning of the word origin, Courbet’s titling, and contemporary interest in appropriation. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions about this project’s depth, and point to a few other variations by the artist here.

I think it's a notch above Dogs Playing Poker.


Cool Disco Dan!

He's back.

Art Anonymous

The Corcoran Gallery of Art and FRIENDS of the Corcoran are proud to host their first Art Anonymous fundraiser, benefiting the Corcoran College of Art + Design’s BFA Scholarship Fund. Leading contemporary artists will offer for sale original, postcard-sized works alongside the creations of students, faculty, and staff of the Corcoran College of Art + Design and the Corcoran Gallery of Art. All works are only $100—the catch: all artwork is signed on the back, so the identity of the artist will remain a mystery until after the purchase.

Art Anonymous is an exciting and affordable way to add to your collection. Anyone could walk away with a fantastic bargain—will you?

Reception, drinks, and dancing included.

SATURDAY, MAY 10, 2008



Corcoran Gallery of Art
500 Seventeenth Street NW
Washington, DC 20006

Kindly RSVP for this event by May 1, 2008. For more information and to register, please click here or call (202) 639-1753.

Participating artists include: Arkin, Lisa Blas, Mark Cameron Boyd, Renee Butler, Colby Caldwell, Amy Chan, Tim Conlon, Gloria Cesal, Lori Esposito, Teo González, Janis Goodman, Melissa Ichiuji, Susan Jamison, Sue Johnson, Courtney Jordan, Joshua Levine, Amy Lin, Heidi Lippman, Isabel Manolo, James Marshall (Dalek), Akemi Maegawa, Robert Mellor, Trace Miller, Marci Nadler, David Page, Pam Phillips, Ryan Pierce, Kahn & Selesnick, Kerry Skarbakka, Judy Southerland, Lynn Sures, Tim Tate, Katie Tuss, Izel Vargas, Oliver Vernon, Ellyn Weiss, Sharon Wolpoff, Trevor Young, Toopy Zerotree… to view the complete list of artists please click here.

Works will be available for viewing beginning May 1 in advance of the event in the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s Gallery 31. To access Gallery 31, please use the New York Avenue entrance.


City Paper Best of DC

Whenever I leave the country, it seems like the City Paper decides to write something about me. Well, okay, it’s only the second time, but the coincidence is eery, no? On this occasion, they anointed me “Best Career Changer” in last week's Best in DC issue.
Philippa Hughes had it made a few years back, at least by the standards of a typical University of Virginia grad: She had good looks, an orthodontist husband, and a career in investment law. But Hughes was bored. So in 2003, in the name of helping her hubby set up his own practice, she quit her job and started insinuating herself into the local art scene. She threw parties at her U Street condo, inviting collectors, artists, and gallery types to brainstorm about the local scene over wine and food. She chronicled her adventures on her blog, hoogrrl.com. The result of all her thinking and playing was the conclusion that D.C. needed human connections more than anything else—parties and events that put creative people in non-electronic contact. For that purpose, Hughes’ condo quickly became too small. Though she still holds the occasional, intimate salon, “Philippa’s parties” now take place in larger venues, an empty brake shop on 14th Street, or at the Arlington Arts Center. Hughes says she plans on organizing a more formal series events through the Pink Line Project, an organization she founded to raise money for artists. —AV

Honestly, I don’t think what I’ve done is particularly original; seems to me that the streets of DC are littered with ex-lawyers hankering for creative outlets.* But I sincerely appreciate the kudos! It's a good sign that anyone notices or cares that DC is a vibrantly creative city beyond politics, lawyering, and defense contracts.

I wanted to make a clarification about this nice distinction though. AV writes that the Pink Line Project is an organization that I founded “to raise money for artists.” That’s not exactly the ultimate purpose and I know it’s difficult to sum up so much when given only a couple newsprint inches so I am not complaining. AV alludes to the purpose when she notes that I orchestrate “events that put creative people in non-electronic contact.” Truth is I started throwing art parties because I like art and I like parties. But I started to notice a certain energy around these events that went far beyond just drinking beer and having a good time and feeling cool by hanging around contemporary art and artists. I noticed that people wanted more meaningful connection to each other, that people yearned to be part of a community and to be passionate and enthusiastic about something, anything. I noticed that emailing, instant messaging, texting, poking each other on Facebook, and obsessively checking Blackberries wasn’t doing the trick.

The original intent for creating Pink Line was to raise money for artists because that was a relatively easy thing to do. Though funding grants remains a task that I have set for Pink Line, it is not the ultimate mission, which continues to evolve and is under development (but watch for something really big this fall!). Some ideas that the Pink Line mission embraces:
  • Support artists and creatives in creative and alternative ways.
  • Supporting artists requires more than just buying art (although that is important too!).
  • Cities that attract and retain a vibrant creative class prosper.
  • Even if we are not ourselves artists in the traditional sense, each of us can learn to live a more creative life.
  • Living creatively can help us find creative solutions to everyday problems regardless of our jobs.
  • The art world and its benefits should be available and accessible to everyone.
  • Educate emerging collectors and arts supporters.
  • Build a sense of community and excitement centered on the art scene.
  • Connect people in meaningful, fun, and creative ways.
This is pretty ambitious, but I think DC is ripe and ready.

The people who get the real credit for setting this stage are creative DIYers like Jayme McLellan, Victoria Reis, Brian Liu, Nick Pimentel, Neil Takemoto, Welmoed Laanstra, David Fogel, and many others too numerous to name. They aren’t shameless self-promoters like me so their names haven't been popping up in magazines a lot lately, but they made a huge difference in this city long before I arrived on the scene and they continue to do great work. And kudos to the new DIYers like Rachel Fick and the guys at 1435Girard. Hooray for all of these creative doers!

*DT and KB: Sorry for the “bored” comment. It was great working with you but I couldn’t take Rule 203 of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 anymore.

Arty singles night in Silver Spring

Collectors For a Cause
to benefit youth outreach programs in Montgomery County and DC
April 25-27

* * *

Singles Night!
Art collector talk led by Philippa Hughes

Friday, April 25
6 - 9 pm
Wine tasting at 7 pm
@ Pyramid Atlantic
8230 Georgia Avenue
Silver Spring

Arty stuff this week . . .

What Remains: The American landscape Portfolio
Limited-Edition Prints to Benefit the Environment
A Project of Zenith Community Arts Foundation’s new eARThly.concerns Initiative

Tuesday, April 22
6:30 - 8:30 pm
Meet Artist Bradley Stevens & Purchase a Print
@ Zenith Gallery
413 Seventh Street NW

Bridget S. Lambert
Steve Frost
Nathan Manuel
Anita Walsh
Annie Peters

Thursday, April 24
6:30 - 8:30 pm
@ Lofts 11 Condo
1125 11th Street, NW

Collector's View
Go to Transformer for more information

Collectors For a Cause
to benefit youth outreach programs in Montgomery County and DC
April 25-27

Singles Night!
Art collector talk led by Philippa Hughes
Friday, April 25
6 - 9 pm
Wine tasting at 7 pm

Saturday, April 26
1 pm - Art collector talk: Allison Marvin
4 pm - Art collector talk: Philip Barlow
Wine tasting at 5 pm

Sunday, April 27
3 pm - Art collector talk: Henry Thaggert

@ Pyramid Atlantic
8230 Georgia Avenue
Silver Spring

La Femme
Leah Sarah Bassett
Francesco D'Isa
Lisa Adams
Patrick Fatica
Nicolas Gracey

Friday, April 25
6 - 12
@ Art Whino
National Harbor

Cellular Photography Show 2008
Friday, April 25
6 – 8 pm
@ New Community
ArtSpace 614 S Street, NW

Amy Lin
Artists Talk
Saturday, April 26
3:30 pm
@ Art League Gallery
105 North Union Street

Tom Block
March 17 – June 1

Saturday April 26
3 - 5 pm
@ Space88
8211 Mayor Lane.
Silver Spring

Conversation between Kate MacDonnell and Colby Caldwell
Saturday, April 26
3 pm
@ Civilian Art Projects
406 7th Street, NW 3rd Floor

Open Studios
April 26 - 27
11 am - 5 pm
52 O Street, NW

Roberta Thole
Andrew Acquadro
Katya Kronick
April 23 - May 17

Artists Reception:
Saturday, April 26
5 - 7 pm
@ Studio Gallery
2108 R Street, NW

Why I love street art

Wooster Collective featured this piece by Satoboy.


Pura Vida

I'll be in Playa Guiones hanging out with my buddies at the Safari Surf School until further notice. This picture was taken a a few years ago when I was just learning how to surf here. Look at that form! I hope there will be some bigger waves this year!