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


No rapture please

Might be a fitting emblem for the grumpy neighbors who live around 14 and T (NW, of course) who've been vigorously complaining about the graffiti that was commissioned for the exterior walls of the former Church of the Rapture.

From DCist.

"Playing the Building"

David Byrne has turned a vast semi-abandoned marine terminal at the southern tip of Manhattan into a musical instrument.
At least for the next two and a half months, though, the building will simply serve as a gargantuan cast-iron orchestra. Besides being fitted with several motors, which produce the bass sounds by vibrating a set of girders that once supported a stained-glass skylight in the 40-foot-high ceiling, the organ is attached to a pump that blows air through a tangle of hoses. These hoses snake into the huge room’s old water and heating pipes and conduits, making primitive flute sounds. And then there are more than a dozen spring-loaded solenoids, attached like woodpeckers to the columns and even to a linebacker-size radiator that emits a surprisingly sonorous tone when struck in just the right place with a metal rod.
See here for more about this nifty installation.

Byrne says:
“I’m not suggesting people abandon musical instruments and start playing their cars and apartments, but I do think the reign of music as a commodity made only by professionals might be winding down. ... The imminent demise of the large record companies as gatekeepers of the world’s popular music is a good thing, for the most part.”
Byrne's comment makes me wonder what would happen in the art world if large art galleries went by the wayside too. Some artists whose work I find boring seem to sell lots of art at high prices because large powerful art galleries tell us that this or that artist is the next big thing. A waiting list forms and collectors get worked up into a frenzy trying to acquire the pieces whether they like them or not, or at least they become convinced to like them. At my level of collecting, this frenzy factor is relevant only insofar as I hope that one day, one of these large galleries will decide that an artist I bought early on, before the frenzy, is the next big thing! Of course, the point becomes irrelevant because I can't imagine ever selling any art that I own anyway.

Artomatic in 15 minutes

For all you type As who don't think you have enough time to soak in the wonders of Artomatic, our friends at Brightest Young Things have provided an excellent guide to hitting it all in 15 minutes.


New Dan Graham sculpture at Hirshhorn

I like this picture of me and sculptor Dan Graham because we match! You have got to see his new work in the Hirshhorn sculpture garden. It's gorgeous!

Obviously, I liked it a lot. Can you tell where I am in relation to the sculpture?


Grumpy anonymous comments

Check out this humorless and grumpy comment that I received last night:
I made cutesy drawings when I was 10 years old too. My mom put them on the fridge. It's great that he's participating in AOM, but please give him time to mature into a trained artist before pimping him out to the art world. Saying he's your pick shows that you value gimmick over substance.
This Grumpy Anonymous Blog Commenter (GABC) is trashing this post, in which I named Connor Glenn, an 11-year-old artist exhibiting work at Artomatic, as my favorite emerging artist.

I should have explained that I didn't pick Connor for his skills as an artist, which are completely consistent with being 11-years-old, rather I picked him for his impressive composure and enthusiasm for art. More importantly, GABC, Connor has the guts to put himself out there and subject himself to criticism. I admire anyone who does that and particularly so when it's an 11-year-old. I couldn't have done it at that age and I find it difficult to do even as an adult. In fact, I admire ALL the artists at Artomatic for doing this and every artist who's ever exhibited his or her work ever. That takes guts. I should also note that Connor is exceptionally articulate and self-possessed. This kid may never become an artist of note, but whatever he does, he's going to be a huge success at it.

So it's not really a gimmick GABC. I just think this kid is fantastic and I am sorry I made light of him as an emerging artist. In reality, he's my favorite emerging person at Artomatic.


Graffiti on the Tate Modern

So graffiti on the outside of an urban building is good enough for the Tate Modern but not good enough for the residents who live around the former Church of the Rapture at 14th and T. The Tate also offers a walking tour map of site specific art created by five Madrid-based street artists. (Thanks C-Monster for posting about this.)

Angels on Wheels

Does anyone remember seeing this?


Hello Goya

Modern Art Notes gets it right about my favorite dead artist Francisco de Goya:
I'd add that Goya had a particular skill for walking a fine line: He was a court painter, but privately, on his own time, he eviscerated the court (and everything else in Spanish life). There's something in that ability to get along with power while satirizing it that seems especially clever and timeless.
Exactly. I am amazed at how contemporary Goya's work feels whenever I see it. I bought the little painting above by Leslie Holt from her Hello Masterpieces series last year.

Maxi Geil @ Hirshhorn After Hours

Maxi Geil is awesome! They'll be playing at the next Hirshhorn After Hours and tickets are on sale now.

Hirshhorn After Hours
Friday, June 20
8 pm - midnight
Go here to buy tickets.

Arty stuff this week . . .

Millennium Arts Salon presents
Scholars Speak: Looking Forward, Looking Back

Dr. Beth Turner
Dr. Leslie-King Hammond (moderator)
Dr. David Driskell

Thursday, May 29th
6:30 pm
@ The Phillips Collection
1600 21st Street, NW

HOME - Hiller Open Mic Events
Friday, May 30
7 - 9 pm
Doors open for sign up at 6 pm.
@ Hillyer Art Space
9 Hillyer Court, NW

Critical Exposure
3rd Annual "Through the Lens of D.C. Youth"

Thursday, May 29
6:30 - 8:30 PM
@ ARTiculate Gallery
1100 16th Street NW
Donations online.

Barbara Liotta
May 29 - July 27
@ Katzen Center

Artomatic 2008

Wednesday - Thursday: 5 pm - 10 pm
Friday - Saturday: noon - 2 am
Sunday: noon - 10 pm
closed Monday - Tuesday
@ 1200 1st Street, NE (1st and M Streets, NE)

Pink Panels @ Artomatic 2008
Collecting 101: Inspiration and Passion

Minna Nathanson
Veronica Jackson
Mel & Juanita Hardy
Andrea Evers & Brian Aitken
Moderator: Philippa P.B. Hughes

Saturday, May 31
2 pm
@ Artomatic 2008
1st and M Street, NE
7th Floor Education Room

Sarah Wilmer
May 31 - July 5

artists reception:
Saturday, May 31
7 - 9 pm
@ Randall Scott Gallery
1326 14th Street, NW

Noche Criste
May 27 - July 27

Saturday, May 31
6 - 9 pm
@ Katzen Arts Center
4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW

Drama Queens
Oil Paintings by Shelley Laffal & Sculpture by Chris Malone
May 2 - June 1

Farewell reception and meet the artists:

Chris Malone
Saturday, May 31
2 - 6 pm

Shelley Laffal
Sunday, June 1
1 - 5 pm


Andrea Cohen
Gregory Euclide
Jenn Figg
Kim Keever
Sabrina Raaf
Christina Seely
Randall Sellers
Jeff Soto
Daniel Sturgis
Markus Wetzel

May 31 - July 19

Opening Recepton:
Saturday, May 31
6:00 - 8:30 pm
@ Project 4 Gallery
903 U Street, NW

New site- responsive installations by Mariah Johnson and Valerie Molnar - the last set of artists' projects in our Here & Now exhibition.

3:30 pm
Artist discussion with Cynthia Connolly, director of the Ellipse Art Center

5 - 7 pm Reception

@ Transformer

1404 P Street, NW


14th Street gentrification

Upset the Setup makes some astute social observations here noting that this window display at the Mitchell Gold store on 14th Street speaks volumes about the gentrification of that neighborhood. I walk by that display 10 time a day and though I always thought it was an idiotic tagline, I never thought about it in the same way as Upset, who also adds:
And yo, I snuck into that $200/plate ‘arts’ dinner the Arts Development Corporation had. I have to say, the black tie fund raiser for the source theater in a ‘gritty’ urban loft, complete with graffiti ‘art’ on the walls disturbed me because I knew that the latinos working the catering and the artists who painted those walls weren’t going to see their share off that high brow arts development scam.

Thanks Vince Gallegos for this great image of the building in question.

Interesting commentary considering the recent rising tensions over several local arts organizations using the former Church of the Rapture at 14th and T Street (just up the street from the furniture store) for arty events this year. When Meat Market used the building for Performance Week in January (disclosure: The Pink Line Project was involved), a grumpy neighbor called the police numerous times when graffiti writers were invited to cover the building with colorful pieces before Performance Week began. The building's owners authorized the graffiti on their private property and in fact enjoyed showcasing the building as an art space. Most people saw it as a fun, temporary improvement while the developer went about obtaining proper permits and whatever else they needed to do to develop property.

In early May, the CuDC used the space for its annual fundraiser gala, meant to raise money to support development of sustainable spaces for the arts and artists. Again, the grumpy neighbor called the police. The event took place as planned but city officials were now on high alert.

Shortly after, when Transformer used it for a sculpture exhibit, the grumpy neighbor finally got his way: the city sealed the building, trapping all the art inside, including 104 innocent goldfish, due to alleged potential dangers within. The Transformer event would have been the last art event to take place there before construction was to have begun in early June. This short-sighted and spiteful intrusion by the grumpy neighbor may have delayed the building's development, which seems a fitting reprisal for someone whose chief complaint was that the building was taking too long to be developed and that it was an eyesore.

I might not have commented on any of this except that that same said grumpy neighbor has recently requested that *I* buff the graffiti. Asking someone who encourages the graffiti arts, nay, celebrates the graffiti arts to paint over graffiti seems a tad incongruous. My first reaction was, "No way. Are you the biggest jerk ever? Hell will freeze over before I take a roller to the side of that building."

But then Nathan reminded me of a movie called The Subconscious Art of Graffiti Removal in which buffing is compared to Rothko! And I got to thinking that this could be a fantastic art project. Hmmmm. Will keep you posted.

I'm getting more creative!

Thanks again Art Vent for drawing my attention to this interesting article about creative thinking in aging brains.

This sentence caught my eye:
A reduced ability to filter and set priorities, the scientists concluded, could contribute to original thinking.
According to studies cited in the article, the brain's ability to filter information diminishes as it ages, and therefore absorbs a wider range of information, including data that seems irrelevant at the time. But this info is processed and can be accessed later to solve problems in original and creative ways even when conditions change or are unrelated to the original situation.


9 tips for collecting art

Andrea sent me this great piece from Art Info that shares 9 tips on collecting photography. Of course, these suggestions apply equally to collecting in every media.

1. No Trust Fund? No Problem
You might not be a nouveau riche Russian billionaire or the heir to a family forture, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be a collector. “There are many areas of the market to collect in," says Richardson. "You can buy Struth and Gursky and be ready to spend a hundred thousand to half a million dollars, but you can also buy strong young artists for, say, $2,000 to $3,500.”

2. Let Dealers Help
“A lot of dealers are collectors at heart, so they share this excitement and enthusiasm for finding a piece that’s fabulous and wonderful and right for you,” says Richardson — even if that fabulous piece is in another gallery. “Part of the excitement of the photographic community is that a lot of sharing goes on.”

3. Be Sneaky
If you find a work that you love but can’t afford, look around a bit, advises Belden. You may be able to find a smaller version of it being offered somewhere else. Belden does most of his searching online, trying auction house, gallery, and artist Web sites.

4. Look in the Closet
If you go to an art fair, says Richardson, look in the closets. “I’ve found some of the best pieces for myself and my clients in the closets of the exhibition booths. They’re for sale, but they’re tucked away for one reason or another.”

4. Don’t Rely on Fairs
Go to art fairs to see a range of work, but go to exhibitions at galleries to learn about a particular artist’s range, says Richardson. “You’ll have a much better understanding of who that artist is.”

5. And While You’re There…
If you find an artist you like at a particular gallery, ask to see work by other artists it represents, since it could be that your taste overlaps with the gallerist’s. You can also browse through a gallery’s stable of artists online, though Richardson warns that there’s a good chance the images posted there are not necessarily the newest work.

6. Do Not Fear the Gallerina
Those chic, bespectacled young aesthetes behind the desk at the gallery may not be the most welcoming, but they’re there to help. “I know people find galleries intimidating,” says Richardson, “but we’re always trying not to be.” She suggests the following approach: “If you’re interested in something, walk up to the gallerina at the desk and say you’d like some help, or point to something on the wall and say, ‘Who is that, can you tell me about that?’ In many galleries, someone will happily get up and talk to you about the artist.”

7. Stop By in the Summer
“Summertime’s a great time to look at photographs,” says Hunt, “because many galleries will do a summer show that features talent that the gallery’s trying on to see the response. The price point is pitched a little lower, because you get a different kind of traffic in summer. And I think dealers behave a little differently.”

8. Give a Little, Get a Little
Charity auctions can be a great place to find bargains, says Richardson. Galleries are unlikely to offer up their very best gems, but “often a lot of very good pieces are donated. It’s also a great way to get exposed to a lot of work.” Hunt adds that it’s also “a great way to see a mix of photographs that may otherwise never be seen together.”

9. Be a Joiner
If you can afford it, join the support group for patrons of the photography department of your local museum, suggests Richardson. “Curators and directors will talk with you about work they’ve seen that they think is important. They’ll take you through the art fairs and help you understand what you’re looking at.”


Ben Jurgensen reviewed

Jessica Dawson reviewed Ben Jurgensen's fantastic show at Meat Market a couple weeks ago. Definitely one of the best shows in town right now.
So what sets Jurgensen apart? For one, a remarkably cogent set of works that display, if not maturity beyond his years, then at least a level of finesse that has to be taken seriously. That, and a certain creative juice -- a whiff of the art student persona, that smarty-pants obsessive creative type -- infuses almost every work.


Sarah Oppenheimer @ Mattress Factory

This is way cool.

14th Street art installation

Did you catch Anita Walsh's nifty art installation on 14th Street last weekend during the Mid City artist open studios?

Thread reviewed

A review of the Thread Is the Line show at the Ellipse today in the Washington Post.

Mark Smith Olympics commission

The Olympics 2008 commissioned art from DC-based artist Mark Smith. I met him a couple months ago at a dinner party and was really impressed with his views about art, which happen to echo my own! See below for a snippet from his artist statement.

[T]he artist believes that artwork has a primary function to ennoble the public. In order to create an awareness and appreciation of the Arts, Art must be connected to and integrated into our daily lives and must find applications that engenders understanding and implants the desire to have the Arts as a permanent partner in the everyday experience of our lives.

Tai Hwa Goh @ Flashpoint

Tai Hwa Goh: Horizons Under the Surface
May 22 – July 5

@ Flashpoint Gallery
916 G Street, NW

Party @ Hillyer tonight!

Martha Zuik @ Heineman Myers Gallery

Martha Zuik

May 24 - June 28

Saturday, May 24
6 - 9 pm
@ Heineman Myers
4728 Hampden Lane
Bethesda, MD

Concrete Alchemy tonight!

Concrete Alchemy
@ Art Whino

National Harbor

Friday, May 23
6 pm to midnight

Art For Obama tonight

Art for Obama Benefit Reception
Friday, May 23
6:30 - 9:00 PM
@ Duality Contemporary Gallery
2401 26th Road South
Arlington, VA 22206

Please join us for an evening of wine and appetizers benefiting the
Barack Obama for America Campaign

Silent Auction:
Art for Sale Priced from $100 to $800
Work by: Deborah Coburn, graffiti artist Tim Conlon, Joy Every, John Gascot, Dirk Herrman, Elizabeth Grusin-Howe, Lucy Herrman, Beverly Ryan, Nancy Sausser, Langley Spurlock, Paula Wachsstock, Angelika Wamsler, Virginia Yang

$5 Minimum Donation at the Door for
Obama for America

In addition to the donation at the door, a portion of all art sales and 100% raised by the silent auction will be donated by the artists to the Barack Obama for America Campaign

Graffiti inside your home?

Apartment Therapy has a new DC correspondent, Rachel Grad, and she wrote about bringing graffiti into your home yesterday. Rachel referenced my friends Richard and Lena who have an amazing collection of graffiti and street art. Thought you might also enjoy this picture that an Arlington art collecting couple shared with me. They bought several graffiti works from Wreckfest and installed the pieces in their mid-century modern living room. Very cool!


Art round up sort of

I let you down. I got flummoxed by stupid blogger not letting me upload pictures this week and could not pull it together enough to offer you my weekly round up of arts in DC. So please check out DCist here. This better not happen again.

Pink Panel review

We had a packed house at the Pink Panel discussion last night on how to obtain and process information as an art collector. The immense amount of information that is available about art can be overwhelming, even for an experienced collector. But our fabulous panelists gave us some excellent guidelines on how to navigate this tangle of information. Who spoke?
  • Dr. Fred Ognibene, a collector extraordinaire who moderated the panel.
  • J.W. Mahoney, an artist and art writer who regularly contributes to Art In America.
  • Sharon Burton, an art blogger and art consultant who focuses much of her work on emerging collectors.
  • Lenny Campello, an art blogger and dealer, and all-around art world cheerleader.
  • Dr. Martin Irvine, a gallerist and insightful art geek (and I mean that in the nicest way).
In his presentation, Martin reminded me of one of the primary reasons I feel so passionate about art collecting. When you collect art, you become part of a community of intelligent, creative people who can inspire and enrich your life. Plus, art collecting empowers the ordinary person to make an impact in the art world whether they're buying works for $100 or $10,000 or $1,000,000. You become your own deMedici! By making an informed decision when buying any work of art, you are voting on what direction the art market should take. You become part of the greater fabric of the art market and even art history. As Martin says, collectors at every level are the heart and soul of the art market. Head on over to Martin's gallery and have a chat with him sometime.

Ways to learn more about contemporary art:
  • Look at a lot of art every chance you get. Some places to look: embassy galleries, alternative art spaces, auctions, art fairs, art student shows, art magazines, studio visits.
  • It is a gallerist's job to add value to the market and one of the key ways they do this is to provide good information to collectors. Seek it out.
  • Ask artists you admire what artists they're interested in.
  • Ask more experienced collectors what they're interested in.
  • Jim suggested reading Shock of the New by Robert Hughes.
  • Attend more Pink Panels!
Professor Irvine provided an excellent handout with references and everything.
Good summaries of the discussion at Painterly Visions and Authentic Art Visions.


Save the goldfish!

For the love of god, somebody please rescue the goldfish!


I'm so relieved!

The City Paper reports.
“We go out of our way to be responsible,” says Steven Cassell, project manager for Four Points LLC, the property’s majority owner. “We wanted to do something that would be good for the arts in D.C. Unfortunately there were some other issues that came into play. Everything was done in goodwill.”
This developer went out of their way and has been particularly generous in helping promote the visual arts and they got shut down by the city, effectively discouraging future support from Four Points or any other developer in town. Or maybe it will encourage developers and the city to find a way to create affordable and accessible visual art spaces in finished venues.

In case you didn't get to see Here & Now before it was locked up:

As a result of the premature closing of this dynamic exhibition of work, Transformer will be hosting a party at Comet Ping Pong on Saturday, May 31 at 9:30 pm to share images of the artists' installations, and programming that took place at 1840 14th Street, NW during the week that Here & Now was on view.

Please come join us to celebrate these artists and their work. Transformer Board Member Iona Rozeal Brown will be dj-ing along with special guests.

Blogger problems

Blogger issues with uploading photos. Grrr.


ESPN covers roller derby

Check out this ESPN feature on roller derby!
My favorite line from this video:
"They are beautiful and sexy and they could probably kick your ass."

We're in a recession?

I am not sure what to think about the economy when this Lucian Freud painting just sold for over $33 million at Christie's. Check out some of the other astronomical art prices here. Note that over 70% of the works were bought by American collectors so it's not like a bunch of Europeans swooped in to take advantage of the weak dollar.

Graffiti is branding.

An insightful essay from Roy Christopher about the similarities between graffiti writing and branding and advertising. Exactly.

Graffiti tags have to be catchy, and they have to have good letters — letters that can be twisted up and together in wild style forms often only legible to other writers. Graffiti — and its corporate sanctioned sister art, advertising — are our modern day cave paintings. As Marshall McLuhan put it,

…ads are not intended to be seen but to produce an effect. The cave paintings were carefully hidden. They were a magic form, intended to affect events at a distance. They were of corporate, not private origin.

Brands and their logos are modern-day sigils intended to affect actions from afar.

Capitol Hemp art party

I can't wait to see what DECOY has in store for us!


Cool Disco Dan and Dalek together!

Holy cow! I am thrilled to have met Cool "Disco" Dan AND Dalek at the opening of Dalek's show at Irvine Contemporary last night. Apologies for being a little starstruck but . . . wow! DAN is a graffiti legend and Dalek (James Marshall) is just friggin' brilliant.

DAN is a small, quiet, shy guy who doesn't draw attention to himself, an useful demeanor for one of DC's most notorious graffiti writers. Although I didn't recognize him at first, I had noticed him standing apart from the melange of collectors, art aficionados, and fashionistas who typically throng 14th Street gallery openings. He seemed to be soaking it in with bemusement.

What amazes and inspires me about DAN is that writing graffiti was a way for him to survive the brutal streets of DC during the 80s and early 90s when crack ruled and DC was our nation's murder capital. Many men his age are dead or in prison now. Instead of succumbing to vices of self-destruction, he chose to write graffiti.

I don't want to romanticize graffiti. It destroys private property. I get that and I would certainly be annoyed if someone tagged my building's wall. But I remind myself of the context in which graffiti thrives. It's a world that is alien to me and most everyone I know, a world whose inhabitants have no voice or means of expression in the larger realm. Many turn to violent crime and drugs. In this context, graffiti not only seems like a lesser vice, but maybe it can even be therapeutic. I don't know. I'm just glad that DAN lived.

Learn more about DAN here.


Ceramics are fun!

Who knew collecting ceramics could be so fun and exciting! We had a great line-up of speakers last night at the The Pink Line Project's first Artomatic 2008 panel discussion, Fired Up About Ceramics!: Collecting Dirt.

Next panel discussion will take place on Wednesday, May 21 at 7 pm in the 7th floor Education Room of Artomatic 2008, located at 1st and M Streets, NE. Topic: Information Overload: Finding Reliable and Useful Information About Art Collecting.

Thank you to our fabulous ceramic collecting experts:
  • David and Clemmer Montague, passionate collectors who have been acquiring ceramics since their honeymoon in Spain and Portugal 36 years ago!
  • Mike Holland, obsessed collector and scientist who has been collecting pottery from Seagrove, NC since college.
  • Anne Surak, director of Project 4 Gallery, which represents several ceramists who crush the line between craft and fine art.
  • Margaret Boozer, a ceramic artist whose work defies traditional definitions of ceramics and who is the founder of Red Dirt Studio.
  • Novie Trump, a sculptor who works primarily in ceramics and is the founder of Flux Studios and also the director of the Lee Arts Center.
A few random thoughts from the discussion:
  • Art collecting can be a means to becoming part of a greater community. The community may not necessarily be an art scene.
  • Collecting art is a personal endeavor. Each collector has unique reasons and goals for collecting.
  • Collecting art is a way to curate an art show in your home.
  • Contemporary ceramic artists are pushing beyond ceramics as purely functional and/or decorative.


Investing in art

Couple interesting stories recently about fine art as an investment. Some highlights from an article in Market Watch about how Americans are still buying art at record prices despite the faltering global economy.

Art, as an investment, has held up well over time, beating or competing with stock market returns. Hard assets in a recession are go-to assets as they typically fight inflation. The art world may be gaining sales and ground because of that, as over the past two years both volume and prices have soared.
. . .

Sophisticated art buyers caution others about purchasing a work to make money. They say a piece of art should be bought for aesthetic purposes first, value second.

This article from U.S. News and World Report reminds us that art collecting isn't just for the wealthy! But you need to do your research if you're thinking about art as an investment. Advice from Walter Manninen, who started buying art in his 20s and says that the value of his collection has outperformed the stock market.

Art's popularity as an investment tool may, in part, have grown out of its success as a hedge against inflation. But any investment professional will tell you it's an ultrarisky asset. That includes Manninen, who has an M.B.A. in finance. He views his purchases, in part, with a banker's eye: Each brings great pleasure, and each adds value. A self-educated collector, he began by reading art magazines and journals, researching artists—and their place in the art world—and scoping out galleries and museums when he traveled. When he buys, he considers elements like a piece's physical condition and chooses works that were created in an artist's prominent medium and subject matter—a landscape painting from a landscape painter, for example. He also relies on the savvy of close advisers.

Manninen's experience offers a key lesson: Art buyers need to do their research if they want their works to appreciate over time.


Surf/art culture

The New York Times reports on "soul surfing" and the beauty of the longboard.

“When you head out to surf, you’re going to church out there,” he said. “It’s your arena, and it’s your place to become one with nature. It’s an incredible feeling and one hard to recreate anywhere else in life.”

Beautiful Losers celebrates the spirit behind one of the most influential cultural movements of a generation. In the early 1990’s a loose-knit group of likeminded outsiders found common ground at a little NYC storefront gallery. Rooted in the DIY (do-it-yourself) subcultures of skateboarding, surf, punk, hip hop & graffiti, they made art that reflected the lifestyles they led. Developing their craft with almost no influence from the “establishment” art world, this group, and the subcultures they sprang from, have now become a movement that has been transforming pop culture. Starring a selection of artists who are considered leaders within this culture, Beautiful Losers focuses on the telling of personal stories…speaking to themes of what happens when the outside becomes “in” as it explores the creative ethos connecting these artists and today’s youth.

Thomas Campbell is a beautiful loser.

These are his works from The Thread Is the Line show at the Ellipse Art Center in Arlington. Mines the top middle. Floater. Gorgeous.

Also, DC's very own Cynthia Connolly, director of the Ellipse, is a beautiful loser. See her work in a traveling exhibit called Beautiful Losers: Contemporary Art and Street Culture. You can buy limited edition prints created by the beautiful loser artists in this show for as little as $150. An excellent start to a great art collection.

Surfwise, the movie.
Like many American outsider-adventurers, Dorian “Doc” Paskowitz set out to realize a utopian dream. Abandoning a successful medical practice, he sought self-fulfillment by taking up the nomadic life of a surfer. But unlike other American searchers like Thoreau or Kerouac, Paskowitz took his wife and nine children along for the ride, all eleven of them living in a 24 foot camper. Together, they lived a life that would be unfathomable to most, but enviable to anyone who ever relinquished their dreams to a straight job. The Paskowitz Family proved that America may be running out of frontiers, but it hasn’t run out of frontiersman.

From Kala Alexander, in the New York Times:

“WAVES are just a little part of surfing,” the big-wave surfer Kala Alexander said last week as fat cumulus clouds drifted through the sky above the North Shore and an ocean both brilliantly turquoise and yawningly flat.

“You have to understand what it means to be a waterman,” he added. “You have to understand the way of life. You have to have respect.”