The D.C. Docent

Civilian Art Projects Opens It’s New Space Tonight!!!

It’s been several months since Civilian left its space over on 7th St., NW due to building issues. As Jayme McLellan, Civilian’s Director, is happy to tell you, the gallery itself wasn’t closing (duh). A while back I posted about Civilian’s collaboration with G Fine Art to share space in the same building, which tonight, you can witness for yourself with the debut of a solo show by local artist Amy Hughes Braden (who you should follow on Instagram @hughesbraden). Amy’s celebrity portraits at the Corcoran NEXT show a few years back will always be one of my highlights from BFA Corc students. Her painting since then has only gotten better and her portraits more complex. So what I’m saying is be there tonight!

Amy Hughes Braden “Are You Gonna Eat That?” at Civilian Art Projects, 4718 14th Street NW, Saturday, May 10, 2014, Opening Reception 6-8pm.

Shop Out & Rock Out at THREAD at Union Market Today!

It’s a 3-day pop-up bo-nan-zaaaaaa! It’s clothes, it’s art, it’s food, it’s local. Who is participating? Only some of your favorites including: Civilian Art Projects, Transformer & Heiner Contemporary.

In addition to being open for business this weekend, you can also get tickets to rock-out in the same space Saturday night with locals DJ Will Eastman, Sunwolf & The Walkmen!

ARTIST TALKS with Nikki Painter & Marissa Long TODAY!

Do NOT miss what should be a great artist talk today with Nikki Painter and Marissa Long whose shows are up at Civilian Art Projects but close next weekend.

I am a big fan of Nikki Painter’s going back a few years (disclaimer: I own some of her pieces) and her new work keeps pushing from 2D to 3D and to great effect. Her drawings are labyrinths are excursions into some parallel universe which feels like you’ve entered the Z axis. Neon Planar indeed. Her large-scale installation is especially transfixing.

I’m new to the work of Marissa Long, but I like what I’m seeing so far. Beauty in the eye of the beholder, but also somewhat tromp l’oueil. Her photographs comment on beauty, perception, recycling, the grotesque and consumption. These photographs dazzle and in some cases, disturb, but they are definitely all Offerings.

Also, today’s talk led by Director Jayme McLellan will also feature “special guests”….hmmmm.

Artist talk today, Saturday, October 19, 2013 from 4-6pm at Civilian Art Projects at 1019 7th St., NW, 2nd Floor.

Weekend Wallet: 3 Ways to Buy Local Art!

Heads up if you’ve been looking for a gift, a treat for yourself, or just something to enjoy but are on a budget. This weekend has a few opportunities to buy art at lower and/or reasonable prices.

The Katzen Art Center Museum Store at American University - Although the shows that were there for the last few weeks have closed, the Museum Store is open this weekend and everything is 20% off! Woohoo. Open from 11am-4pm, Saturday, August 17 and Sunday, August 18, 2013.

Civilian Art Projects - Permanent Summer, a screenprint show featuring the work of 30 artists, is mostly (but not exclusively) work culled from album covers, show posters and the like and if you show up this Saturday, August 17 there’s a free screenprinting demo at 4pm with the Corcoran’s Dennis O’Neil.

Hole in the Sky - This ersatz artist/music/party space is hosting ArtShow03 featuring 15 DC artists and their interpretations of portraiture. This is kind of like an artist bakesale except that proceeds in this case go to space improvements. DIY and featuring deliciousness from Milk Cult! Saturday, August 17 from 7-11pm.

Saturday Bonanza: Dreams, Machines, Stars, Bars, Fits and Starts


D.C. Zinefest has  it’s 3rd Annual Zinefest happening today at beloved St. Stephens Church, your favorite local DIY space and featuring independent zinemakers. I know I’m not the only one out there who has made a zine, contributed to a zine or been part of a local zine experience. I have a zine that I keep meaning to revive. I only ever made about a half-dozen issues, but man, I really enjoyed it. Zinefest runs today from 11am-5pm at 1525 Newton St., NW and encourages you to BYO Sharpies!

Join Local DC-NY artist and art do-er Jose Ruiz (Decatur Blue, Furthermore) as he talks with artist local artist Larry Cook about Cook’s show Americana at Pleasant Plains Workshop. Cook’s work focuses on African-American identity and culture. Talk starts at 3pm at 2608 Georgia Ave., NW.

Project Dispatch and Outer Space open joint venture Mint Condition which is part art, part fundraiser to produce collectible trading cards by 22 local artists. I love this, for mostly narcissistic reasons, as I made DIY trading cards for a DC band I used to manage in the late 90s as a promotional effort. Kidding! Not about the band, but why I like this; the team behind these respective projects never take themselves too seriously and make participating and viewing fun. Opens today at Outer Space from 6-9pm in the alley between Upshur and Taylor off 13th St., NW.

Erick Jackson and Bill Rock get their Artist Talk on at Civilian Art Projects tonight as both Bill Rock and Wesley Clark’s shows close tonight. If you’ve ever been to an artist talk with Erick Jackson, you know you’re in for a treat with this one, especially if you’ve visited the gallery and seen Rock’s wild work. Reception from 6-8pm, Talk at 6:30pm at 1019 7th St., NW, Second Floor.

Randall Scott Projects opened its latest show last week by Carlo Van de Roer The Portrait Machine, a photography exhibit that “explores the idea that a camera can reveal an insight into the subject’s character and their relationship with the photographer and viewer.” And it looks like he likes to do that with personalities/celebrities like Miranda July, terence Koh and the like. Check it. Artist reception and book signing tonight from 6-8pm at 1326 H St., NE.

LADYPARTS Art visual and performance art show curated by Eames Armstrong and Rex Delafkaran opens tonight at 87 Florida. The name of this show alone makes me want to go, especially with control of ladyparts being under attack lately and all. There are 7 performing artists and 7 presenting. Show starts at 8pm and runs through midnight at 87 Florida Ave., NE.

When Design and Art Meet: ARCHER Modern

Tonight I venture into the strange hybrid space known as the showroom…a place that is staged, and by design meant to present you with a vision of the domestic perfect possible. The impact of good design can be heightened, when paired with art; the salesmanship can often work for both furniture and art (or the pieces that seem a bit of both).

These pairings don’t always end well (the way Contemporary Wing has been edged out of its space by interior design makes me sad). And sometimes an artist’s choice to hang work in design spaces, seems tacky (Eric Finzi at Vastu while Civilian Art Projects was showing him at SCOPENY).

But tonight, I put it all aside to attend ARCHER Modern to view works from local deceased painter Benjamin Abramowitz in “Undiscovered Color.” These paintings span a decade and supposedly have not been seen in 40 years. I am intrigued. Follow me on Instagram (thedcdocent) to see what’s up and decide for yourself.

Paintings up from May 29 through July 16, 2013. 1027 33rd St., NW, Opening reception tonight, Wednesday, May 29 from 6-10pm.

On Politics: 5 Shows to See Before You Vote!

The political season really brings out the best in everyone…ahem. Well, love it or hate it, there’s no escaping it. I for one have electoral fatigue big time—which is why I voted early, so I could just be over and done with it!

But there is still plenty of the political to go around, and I’m not just saying that because we’re in D.C. We’ve got a fair few art exhibits around town that get into politics. But before I tell you about them, consider the role of art and politics. Make your brain do some work by reading some of what’s been churning around in the art world seas including an Open Letter to Critics Writing About Political Art and The State of Political Art After a Year of Political Movements. As an obnoxious corollary I will also point you to Creative Time’s Nato Thompson who was interviewed by Artspace re: How to Collect Political Art.

Once you’ve done the homework, check these out:

Art Museum of the Americas - has two exhibits on view: “Snapshots of Democracy” which documents over 50 years of election observing in the Americas and group show “The Ripple Effect: Currents of Socially Engaged Art” which examines the social practice artist as changemaker. Through January 13, 2013.

Civilian Art Projects -has local painter Judy Jashinsky’s “13 Days and 13 Nights, 1962: The Cuban Missile Crisis” with over 40 multi-media works that deconstruct her teenage memories of the event and its lasting impact on her and our own collective history. Through December 1, 2012.

Contemporary Wing - returns to its off-site location at 1250 9th St., NW with “Of the People” a group show of international artists that gives democracy the global treatment and riffs on hope and change, the Arab Spring, populism and Super PACs. Through November 23, 2012.

Curator’s Office -with Jeff Gates’ “The Chamomile Tea Party”, a selection of bipartisan political posters that remixes World War II propaganda posters with contemporary images and texts that reflect the stagnancy of Congress and the rancor of partisan politics. Through November 7, 2012.

Gallery 31 at the Corcoran - has “On the Campaign Trail” focuses “on visual imagery spanning matters such as voter registration and the 2012 U.S. presidential campaign while providing an historical context of various design conventions and mediums used throughout the years.” Through November 4, 2012.

Saturday Pick: Photography Artist Talk at Civilian Art Projects

If you haven’t had a chance yet to see the two new exhibits at Civilian Art Projects by local photographer and Corcoran professor Frank DiPerna and New Orleans mixed-media artist Dan Tague, you’ve got another week to do so. Today is the perfect day to read my previous post here about both shows, visit the gallery AND hear Frank DiPerna discuss his work with writer/photographer Mark Power, who also happens to be a former Corcoran professor.

Since “Found Images” opened, the clamor from the DC artist community, about the importance of DiPerna’s work, as well as his influence of scores of photography students, has been impressive. DiPerna has the kind of reputation and respected stature that only comes from doing good work and sharing his talent and experiences with the world around him. He certainly has the credentials to back it up too including having studied with Garry Winogrand and Nathan Lyons, and work in several noteworthy collections including the the Library of Congress, The Smithsonian, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, amongst others.

So, get out of the house, get some brunch, and head on over!

Artist Talk is today, Saturday, October 13 at 4pm, 1019 7th St., NW, Second Floor. Exhibit runs through next Saturday, October, 20.

America the Beautiful: Tague and DiPerna Open at Civilian Art Projects

Sometimes it feels like a smash and grab world where everything is disposable and the detritus just keeps mounting. New Orleans artist Dan Tague and DC local Frank DiPerna tackle these issues in their own unique way in two new shows opening tonight at Civilian Art Projects: Independence in the Age of Decadence and Found Images.

In his second solo show at Civilian, Dan Tague salvages America’s soul. Through his installation work he mines our desires and reappropriates some of our nation’s most recognizable images into pieces that question, and in some cases answer, our social and political realities.

Frank DiPerna, a longtime institution in the DC area and professor to countless scores of Corcoran photography students gives us scenes that are random or carefully composed, it’s hard to know. Either way, his realities are more than just their elements.

While Tague’s work seems more about what’s right in front of us, DiPerna’s appears to be more about what’s missing; a symbiotic calculation that likely drove this pairing, and which promises to make for a some deep thinking either way, if you’ll just give it some time.

Opening reception tonight from 7-9pm at Civilian Art Projects. Both shows run through October 20, 2012.