gallery


Gallery installs Eunice Kennedy Shriver portrait – BostonHerald.com

It’s a good painting – meticulousiy rendered but not overwrought. I love the fact that this is a portrait of a woman who doesn’t need to be flattered. Her face shows all the pain and joy of living 87 years. It’s wonderful to see a portrait reveal something about a person’s interests and achievements instead of just their appearance.

It’s now on view at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC (hence the shameless plug).

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Steichen, Sold on The Celebrity Aesthetic – washingtonpost.com

The link is for a review of our recently opened exhibition “Edward Steichen: Portraits” at the National Portrait Gallery. It’s a positive review but it seems to have a bit of an edge to it.

“Self-Portrait With Brush and Palette” is a celebrity photograph, an early one, one of the first. If you want to understand the knack of Annie Leibovitz, or the useful affections of Jeff Koons and Julian Schnabel, or how dress-up self-promotion got so deep into the art world, this 107-year-old image is a place where you might start.

It’s half artwork, half ad.

It’s great exhibition – not too large, not too small, very intimate. Here is the link to the official site for the exhibition:

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Seeing the Light at Last – washingtonpost.com

This weekend saw the opening of the courtyard at the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture (aka the Old Patent Office Building and home of the National Portrait Gallery). So far the reviews have been good. The link above is for the Washington Post article. I won’t post one for the Washington Times – they hated it.

Staff were given a coupon for a free “non-alcoholic” beverage from the new cafe so I went over and got a hot chocolate and sprang for a chocolate brownie, too. It was good hot chocolate but could have been a touch richer in flavor. The brownie was thickly iced and very fudgey – and expensive at $3.85.

The courtyard is quite stunning and I’m certain it will be the place that parents will bring their kids to run and burn off energy. I just hope they don’t wipe their grimy fingers on the cases in the galleries – just another thing to clean in the morning.

If you are in DC, I recommend dropping by to see the courtyard but please stay to see the collection, too.

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Facing Down The Status Quo – washingtonpost.com

The National Museum of African American History and Culture is slowly lifting the curtain on how it will approach the multitude of stories about African Americans. The museum is years away from opening on the Mall. Today its first exhibition opens at its Smithsonian sister the National Portrait Gallery, whose rich materials it scoured to present images from the past 151 years.

“Let Your Motto Be Resistance: African American Portraits,” surveys 100 photographs, from a 1856 ambrotype, an early technique of photography, of Douglass to a 2004 snapshot of musician and composer Wynton Marsalis with a microphone in front of him, not a trumpet.

The faces are powerful and gorgeous. Their poses telegraph dignity and warmth. Their stories tell how they made steps forward as individuals to forge an image of a resilient, talented people.

We received a great review from the Washington Post for the exhibition that opened last Friday.

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At Locker 50B, A Little Gallery Goes a Long Way – washingtonpost.com

Virginia Samsel got the gallery's walls and floor from a dollhouse shop.

Samsel, 24, says she has always “worked small.” She grew up in an artistic home — mom was a graphics designer, dad was a cartographer — and young Samsel liked to draw, crochet and sculpt tiny animals out of clay. When she was a VCU sophomore, a whole semester’s worth of paintings and sculptures fitted into her supply locker. Friends joked that it was like a mini-art gallery, so Samsel decided to convert it into one.

Samsel graduated from VCU in 2004 and handed the gallery off to other students. It fell into disrepair, so last August VCU adopted Locker 50B as an official project of the university’s art department and hired Samsel part time to run the space.

The dozen or so exhibitions a year get their own promotional cards and opening receptions. But forget vegetable crudites and wine: Samsel assigns each show a color and serves only food and drinks that fit the theme. “Palpability’s” reception was purple-themed, so she served grape Kool-Aid, Nerds candy and purple Welch’s Fruit Snacks.

Who ever said bigger is better got it all wrong – sometimes small packs a big punch.

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