Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Can DC Art Really be Local?


    Since Washington is a place of such global and cultural exchange, why is local art important when we can have the masters? DC has the capabilities and resources to be a place of exclusively high art—and it really is. We have the National Gallery, The Portrait Gallery, and the Phillips Collection—all places of high esteem, respect, and society.

            Luckily, this well-established respect for art means there is an encouraging platform for local artists—a launching pad for more opportunities and ability to reach a wider audience than most cities. The importance of local art stems from an idea that is becoming less and less of a driving force in the art world: community. In this digital age, we might forget that an art scene is so essential to the art itself. People used to meet up at galleries, have a chat with their colleagues, curators, and admirers and discuss art with like-minded people. Now, the gallery is mostly social at exhibition openings.

            But, in trying to promote local art and artists, a gallery not only provides a place to expose their work to an audience, but it seeks to build a community. At the Luther W. Brady Art Gallery, we included four artists with DC ties in our Decenter NY/DC exhibit: Victoria Greising, Corin Hewitt, Ellington Robinson, and Lisa Ruyter. We not only believe that their work fits in well conceptually, but we believe it is important to create a dialogue between globally recognized artists, young New York artists and the DC, Virginia, Maryland community.
Decenter_Installation_UP_WLA_2013-8519-website
Victoria Greising, Unnavigable Space, 2013.
       Victoria Greising is a great example of a local who is trying to create a cohesive DC art community. Greising received her MFA from American University and currently has a site-specific work at our building called Unnavigable Space, which utilizes previously worn clothing and sheets. The piece is in the entranceway of the building and crisscrosses our three-story staircase in an upwardly evolving fashion. Greising creates various planes and connections with the fabric that seem both intertwined and ever changing. She has a similar work in the Botswana Embassy through the Art in Embassies Program. Recently, Greising started A Delicious Spectacle—a curatorial experiment with four other DC artists. A Delicious Spectacle hosts events in their townhouse in Columbia Heights. They focus on “becoming a space that allows artists and curators to execute novel and challenging projects” while also trying to “foster community by hosting exhibitions, lectures, critiques, and critical theory discussions involving local, regional, international artists, guest curators, and spaces.”
            
 Corin Hewitt was born in Burlington, Virginia and currently lives and works out of Richmond. Hewitt’s work deals a great amount with decay and consumption. His piece Recomposed Monochrome (216, 115, 177) is part of a series that tries to bend the medium of photography. He will scan a natural item, such as a rock or a handful of dirt, and reduce it to a single pixel in order to get the derivative color of the object. He will then place the photograph in the ground and let nature run its course. His photo of dirt is shaped by real dirt once more—and the circle closes. Interestingly, in 2008 Hewitt lived Friday through Saturday in The Whitney Museum doing various experiments based upon his fascination with the framework of houses. He would use organic and mechanical materials to do experiments in matter around a studio-garage like set-up.
Corin Hewitt, Recomposed Monochrome (216, 115, 177), 2011.
Ellington Robinson, Spin, 2011
            Artist Ellington Robinson is perhaps the most culturally tied to DC out of our Decenter locals. On his website he explains that the, “Robinson household was a respite for civil rights activists, jazz and soul enthusiasts, politicians, artists, writers, academics, and professionals including Max Robinson, Muhammed Ali, C.L.R. James, Stokley Carmichael, Toni Morrison, and Nina Simone.” Such a culturally rich house produced an artist that is heavily fascinated in DC music—especially the DC rap culture. A majority of his artwork, including his piece Spin which is currently in our gallery, invokes the image of a vinyl player.
            Lisa Ruyter, who was born in DC, has a piece in Decenter that demonstrates her vivid color palette. Ruyter creates traditional woodcuts on Japanese unryu-shi paper, but with a strangely brilliant color scheme. It is not the typical black and white woodcut, but instead, she creates beautiful portrayals of everything from peaceful forests to lively portraits of retro-dressed women. Ruyter has shown work extensively in places ranging from Japan to Vienna to Athens. Ruyter has even experimented in lending her artwork to authors for them to create small stories. She did a recent collaboration with Jack Miles, which focuses on a post 9/11 theme in the narrative.

LISA RUYTER
Arthur Rothstein "Dry and parched earth in the badlands of South Dakota"
2009, acrylic on canvas, 47 x 59 inches
Dry and Parched Earth in the Badlands of South Dakota, Lisa Ruyter, 2009.
            Most think of DC for the National Mall Museums, but there are a great deal of young and respected artists that derive their landscape and inspiration from The District. DC is a place where classic or metropolitan influences can blossom into a more contemporary form—perhaps the art scene will continue to develop an increasingly current platform.

Friday, November 1, 2013

An Indelible History


In the intimate confines of the Luther W. Brady Art Gallery exhibition, Decenter NY/DC, there are thirty-nine works of visual and media arts that hold a story remarking on and celebrating the revolutionary 1913 Armory Show. Each work is tied to an artist and to a name. However, there is one piece of artwork that goes beyond a single artist and name.

Andrea Geyer’s piece “Indelible” (1913-2013) writes a history through names. “Indelible” consists of fifty ink drawings, each expressing one name belonging to a leader, an activist, and most importantly, to a woman. The aim of Geyer’s work is to historically investigate evolving concepts such as gender in relation to the re-adjustment of cultural meanings in current politics.[i] During the original Armory Show, fifty women participated as artists and donors, making up one sixth of the show. Yet, why do the names of these women seem like lost memories?  

There is an evident disconnect between women today and the women leaders of the past. The female artists named in Geyer’s piece were all distinct contributors to the feminist movement through their expansion of the arts. The 1913 Armory Show, assembled by the American Association of Painters and Sculptors (AAPS), presented the first exhibition of “new art” or modern art, which challenged previously held values and incited discussion about ideas on what art should be. Consequential accounts of the 1913 Armory Show have similarly characterized women's involvement in the exhibition as collectors of the “new art”.[ii] In Meyer Schapiro's "Armory Show in Retrospect" from Modern Art: 19th and 20th Centuries: Selected Papers, Shapiro emphasizes the role of women in the consumption of modern art stating: 

Women, it is worth noting, were among the chief friends of the new art, buying painting and sculpture with a generous hand . . . At this moment of general stirring of ideas of emancipation, women were especially open to manifestations of freedom within the arts.[iii]

Notably, Katherine S. Drier, who acted as a patron and artist in the original Armory Show, established the Société Anonyme, which sponsored lectures, publications, and exhibitions of modern art for both the rich and poor American public. Additionally, American painter and printmaker Mary Cassat sponsored other Impressionist artists while also encouraging the wealthy to purchase artwork. Lastly, American painter Edith King exhibited five watercolor paintings during the original Armory show. King’s paintings are clear examples of the modernism or “new art” that was celebrated during the period. Specifically, the paintings didactically transitioned to a presentation of more intimate landscapes of nature contrasting with the typical displays of extensive and atmospheric form. Undoubtedly, the female leaders of Geyer’s piece forged the beginnings of the feminist art movement. Their actions showed the public that women could serve in the art world beyond passive observers, instead acting as buyers, administrators, and artists themselves.

Current artists who belong to the feminist branch of art such as Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger, and Cindy Sherman are similarly trying to challenge and incite with their artwork like their predecessors did. However, these artists freely participate in the current discourse because of the actions made by women like Cassat, Drier, and King. Female artists still face struggles expressing their ideas and proving their legitimacy, yet the actions of females during the 1913 Armory Show have assisted in overcoming the initial barriers that these artists may have faced otherwise. Therefore, significant progress has been made, yet work still must be done for female artists to obtain equal validity.  Yet, there is an absent sense of gratitude for the actions of the fifty female artists, who participated in the original show, which Geyer explores in “Indelible”.

As time has passed since the first Armory Show, the issues and ideas of the feminist arts movement have developed and changed. The actions of the first women who participated are still relevant, but are discussed secondarily to the prevalent issues of today. Geyer attempts to remedy this disconnect in her piece by celebrating these artists through a modern context and outlet. French philosopher Albert Camus once discerned and stated, “Art is matter infused with spirit”. Thus, art is a vessel that is subject to protection from impermanence: it is essentially a mark that cannot be removed in time. It is indelible. The purpose of Geyer’s piece is to embody the fifty participating women of the 1913 Armory Show. The names of these women hold great significance, yet have been easily forgotten over the course of the feminist movement. Their actions, however, have left an irremovable mark on history and for all female artists.  Geyer’s work is not simply a celebration of these women, but a vessel forever holding the spirit of Agnes Pelton, Florence Este, Katherine S. Drier, Lily Everet, Mary Cassat, Amy Londoner, Edith King, Josephine Paddock, and Katherine N, Rhondes, to name a few.

Ultimately, Geyer’s Indelible continues the traditions of the original Armory Show by voicing “new art” through the ideals and histories of her past predecessors.

 
Andrea Geyer, Indelible, 1913-2013. Sumi ink on Denril, 15.5 x 20 inches.
 
Written by: Apeksha Goonewardena, Gallery Assistant



[i] "Andrea Geyer." Parsons New School of Design. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Oct. 2013.           
  <http://www.newschool.edu/Parsons/faculty_ft.aspx?id=92402>. 
 
 
[ii] "'The Part Played By Women.'" The Gender of Modernism at the Armory Show. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Oct. 2013.                 
    <http://xroads.virginia.edu/~museum/armory/gender.html>. 
 
[iii] Schapiro, Meyer. Modern Art, 19th & 20th Centuries (Selected Papers). N.p.: n.p., 1952. Print.
 


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Covering exhibits at the Luther W. Brady Art Gallery and giving you a peek into the Permanent Collection of the George Washington University.

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Howard Hodgkin: Paintings - May 16, 2012

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Can DC Art Really be Local?


    Since Washington is a place of such global and cultural exchange, why is local art important when we can have the masters? DC has the capabilities and resources to be a place of exclusively high art—and it really is. We have the National Gallery, The Portrait Gallery, and the Phillips Collection—all places of high esteem, respect, and society.

            Luckily, this well-established respect for art means there is an encouraging platform for local artists—a launching pad for more opportunities and ability to reach a wider audience than most cities. The importance of local art stems from an idea that is becoming less and less of a driving force in the art world: community. In this digital age, we might forget that an art scene is so essential to the art itself. People used to meet up at galleries, have a chat with their colleagues, curators, and admirers and discuss art with like-minded people. Now, the gallery is mostly social at exhibition openings.

            But, in trying to promote local art and artists, a gallery not only provides a place to expose their work to an audience, but it seeks to build a community. At the Luther W. Brady Art Gallery, we included four artists with DC ties in our Decenter NY/DC exhibit: Victoria Greising, Corin Hewitt, Ellington Robinson, and Lisa Ruyter. We not only believe that their work fits in well conceptually, but we believe it is important to create a dialogue between globally recognized artists, young New York artists and the DC, Virginia, Maryland community.
Decenter_Installation_UP_WLA_2013-8519-website
Victoria Greising, Unnavigable Space, 2013.
       Victoria Greising is a great example of a local who is trying to create a cohesive DC art community. Greising received her MFA from American University and currently has a site-specific work at our building called Unnavigable Space, which utilizes previously worn clothing and sheets. The piece is in the entranceway of the building and crisscrosses our three-story staircase in an upwardly evolving fashion. Greising creates various planes and connections with the fabric that seem both intertwined and ever changing. She has a similar work in the Botswana Embassy through the Art in Embassies Program. Recently, Greising started A Delicious Spectacle—a curatorial experiment with four other DC artists. A Delicious Spectacle hosts events in their townhouse in Columbia Heights. They focus on “becoming a space that allows artists and curators to execute novel and challenging projects” while also trying to “foster community by hosting exhibitions, lectures, critiques, and critical theory discussions involving local, regional, international artists, guest curators, and spaces.”
            
 Corin Hewitt was born in Burlington, Virginia and currently lives and works out of Richmond. Hewitt’s work deals a great amount with decay and consumption. His piece Recomposed Monochrome (216, 115, 177) is part of a series that tries to bend the medium of photography. He will scan a natural item, such as a rock or a handful of dirt, and reduce it to a single pixel in order to get the derivative color of the object. He will then place the photograph in the ground and let nature run its course. His photo of dirt is shaped by real dirt once more—and the circle closes. Interestingly, in 2008 Hewitt lived Friday through Saturday in The Whitney Museum doing various experiments based upon his fascination with the framework of houses. He would use organic and mechanical materials to do experiments in matter around a studio-garage like set-up.
Corin Hewitt, Recomposed Monochrome (216, 115, 177), 2011.
Ellington Robinson, Spin, 2011
            Artist Ellington Robinson is perhaps the most culturally tied to DC out of our Decenter locals. On his website he explains that the, “Robinson household was a respite for civil rights activists, jazz and soul enthusiasts, politicians, artists, writers, academics, and professionals including Max Robinson, Muhammed Ali, C.L.R. James, Stokley Carmichael, Toni Morrison, and Nina Simone.” Such a culturally rich house produced an artist that is heavily fascinated in DC music—especially the DC rap culture. A majority of his artwork, including his piece Spin which is currently in our gallery, invokes the image of a vinyl player.
            Lisa Ruyter, who was born in DC, has a piece in Decenter that demonstrates her vivid color palette. Ruyter creates traditional woodcuts on Japanese unryu-shi paper, but with a strangely brilliant color scheme. It is not the typical black and white woodcut, but instead, she creates beautiful portrayals of everything from peaceful forests to lively portraits of retro-dressed women. Ruyter has shown work extensively in places ranging from Japan to Vienna to Athens. Ruyter has even experimented in lending her artwork to authors for them to create small stories. She did a recent collaboration with Jack Miles, which focuses on a post 9/11 theme in the narrative.

LISA RUYTER
Arthur Rothstein "Dry and parched earth in the badlands of South Dakota"
2009, acrylic on canvas, 47 x 59 inches
Dry and Parched Earth in the Badlands of South Dakota, Lisa Ruyter, 2009.
            Most think of DC for the National Mall Museums, but there are a great deal of young and respected artists that derive their landscape and inspiration from The District. DC is a place where classic or metropolitan influences can blossom into a more contemporary form—perhaps the art scene will continue to develop an increasingly current platform.

Friday, November 1, 2013

An Indelible History


In the intimate confines of the Luther W. Brady Art Gallery exhibition, Decenter NY/DC, there are thirty-nine works of visual and media arts that hold a story remarking on and celebrating the revolutionary 1913 Armory Show. Each work is tied to an artist and to a name. However, there is one piece of artwork that goes beyond a single artist and name.

Andrea Geyer’s piece “Indelible” (1913-2013) writes a history through names. “Indelible” consists of fifty ink drawings, each expressing one name belonging to a leader, an activist, and most importantly, to a woman. The aim of Geyer’s work is to historically investigate evolving concepts such as gender in relation to the re-adjustment of cultural meanings in current politics.[i] During the original Armory Show, fifty women participated as artists and donors, making up one sixth of the show. Yet, why do the names of these women seem like lost memories?  

There is an evident disconnect between women today and the women leaders of the past. The female artists named in Geyer’s piece were all distinct contributors to the feminist movement through their expansion of the arts. The 1913 Armory Show, assembled by the American Association of Painters and Sculptors (AAPS), presented the first exhibition of “new art” or modern art, which challenged previously held values and incited discussion about ideas on what art should be. Consequential accounts of the 1913 Armory Show have similarly characterized women's involvement in the exhibition as collectors of the “new art”.[ii] In Meyer Schapiro's "Armory Show in Retrospect" from Modern Art: 19th and 20th Centuries: Selected Papers, Shapiro emphasizes the role of women in the consumption of modern art stating: 

Women, it is worth noting, were among the chief friends of the new art, buying painting and sculpture with a generous hand . . . At this moment of general stirring of ideas of emancipation, women were especially open to manifestations of freedom within the arts.[iii]

Notably, Katherine S. Drier, who acted as a patron and artist in the original Armory Show, established the Société Anonyme, which sponsored lectures, publications, and exhibitions of modern art for both the rich and poor American public. Additionally, American painter and printmaker Mary Cassat sponsored other Impressionist artists while also encouraging the wealthy to purchase artwork. Lastly, American painter Edith King exhibited five watercolor paintings during the original Armory show. King’s paintings are clear examples of the modernism or “new art” that was celebrated during the period. Specifically, the paintings didactically transitioned to a presentation of more intimate landscapes of nature contrasting with the typical displays of extensive and atmospheric form. Undoubtedly, the female leaders of Geyer’s piece forged the beginnings of the feminist art movement. Their actions showed the public that women could serve in the art world beyond passive observers, instead acting as buyers, administrators, and artists themselves.

Current artists who belong to the feminist branch of art such as Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger, and Cindy Sherman are similarly trying to challenge and incite with their artwork like their predecessors did. However, these artists freely participate in the current discourse because of the actions made by women like Cassat, Drier, and King. Female artists still face struggles expressing their ideas and proving their legitimacy, yet the actions of females during the 1913 Armory Show have assisted in overcoming the initial barriers that these artists may have faced otherwise. Therefore, significant progress has been made, yet work still must be done for female artists to obtain equal validity.  Yet, there is an absent sense of gratitude for the actions of the fifty female artists, who participated in the original show, which Geyer explores in “Indelible”.

As time has passed since the first Armory Show, the issues and ideas of the feminist arts movement have developed and changed. The actions of the first women who participated are still relevant, but are discussed secondarily to the prevalent issues of today. Geyer attempts to remedy this disconnect in her piece by celebrating these artists through a modern context and outlet. French philosopher Albert Camus once discerned and stated, “Art is matter infused with spirit”. Thus, art is a vessel that is subject to protection from impermanence: it is essentially a mark that cannot be removed in time. It is indelible. The purpose of Geyer’s piece is to embody the fifty participating women of the 1913 Armory Show. The names of these women hold great significance, yet have been easily forgotten over the course of the feminist movement. Their actions, however, have left an irremovable mark on history and for all female artists.  Geyer’s work is not simply a celebration of these women, but a vessel forever holding the spirit of Agnes Pelton, Florence Este, Katherine S. Drier, Lily Everet, Mary Cassat, Amy Londoner, Edith King, Josephine Paddock, and Katherine N, Rhondes, to name a few.

Ultimately, Geyer’s Indelible continues the traditions of the original Armory Show by voicing “new art” through the ideals and histories of her past predecessors.

 
Andrea Geyer, Indelible, 1913-2013. Sumi ink on Denril, 15.5 x 20 inches.
 
Written by: Apeksha Goonewardena, Gallery Assistant



[i] "Andrea Geyer." Parsons New School of Design. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Oct. 2013.           
  <http://www.newschool.edu/Parsons/faculty_ft.aspx?id=92402>. 
 
 
[ii] "'The Part Played By Women.'" The Gender of Modernism at the Armory Show. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Oct. 2013.                 
    <http://xroads.virginia.edu/~museum/armory/gender.html>. 
 
[iii] Schapiro, Meyer. Modern Art, 19th & 20th Centuries (Selected Papers). N.p.: n.p., 1952. Print.
 


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Washington, District of Columbia, United States
"Found In Collection" or simply "FIC" is the way many museums classify the more mysterious items in their possession that have little or no documentation. Here at the Luther W. Brady Art Gallery of the George Washington University, we do keep extensive records of our collection, but some of the items we come across in academic buildings or our own storage can leave us wondering. This blog is an effort to showcase some of the more curious examples and their stories, and to provide a glimpse of the great variety of art pieces within the collection. To learn more about the Brady Gallery's history, recent exhibitions, or the George Washington University, take a look at the links below.

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