The D.C. Docent

Sneak Peeking: Transformer's Annual Summer Series

D.C. has great art, whether it’s hanging in a museum, a gallery or someone’s home. Luckily for you, Transformer holds the keys to some of the great private collections to be found in the city. The Collector’s View, now in it’s 6th year, has been a reliable and, for the most part, evenly curated program.

Although you may have missed the deadline to sign-up for the full spring/summer series, there’s still the following views left at $50 bucks a pop:

View 2:
Jean & Gary Cohen  (Chevy Chase, MD)

Sunday, April 21, 4-6pm

View 3:
Deborah Kalkstein & Carlos Bachrach (Potomac, MD) 

Sunday, May 5, 4-6pm

View 4:
Aaron M. Levine & Associates (Dupont Circle)
Corporate View

Thursday, May 16, 6-8pm

View 5:
Ann Luskey (Bethesda, MD)

Sunday, May 19, 4-6pm

When Is It A Collection, When Is It Stuff?

I recently had the opportunity to  visit the home of some local DC art collectors—pitched as a viewing of “their eclectic collection of contemporary art.” True to the description, it was eclectic. In fact, it was more than eclectic, it was an overwhelming display of everything from Pez dispensers to commemorative towels to roadside ceramics to Tom Green prints to William Christenberry photographs. It seemed as if every square inch of floor and wall space was taken up by items large and small; memorabilia, everyday objects, detritus and art—all mashed up together.

As I walked through four stories of work and objects that felt like an assault on the senses versus an opportunity for contemplation, I found myself thinking, what is the difference between a collection and a collection of stuff? Does it matter? What does presentation say about the “collection.” Was the house taken as a whole, an installation? Did the owners intend to obscure the lines between stuff and art? It was obvious that they loved their art, but they also loved their stuff. And the stuff seemed to overwhelm the art. Was that that the point? Was it meant to be a treasure hunt?

I didn’t ask them any of these questions, I just got through and out of the house as quickly as possible. Not my style. But I’m still thinking about it, so maybe that was the point?

Saturday Pick: Bread and Butter at Transformer Gallery

Transformer is on a roll lately, fresh off the success of DANDANS, a collection of work from contemporary Japanese artists, and having recently announced its Collector’s View 2012 summer series, it’s definitely not resting on its laurels.

And so it leads with the promise of these recent successes, to present a series of artists performing under the banner of Bread and Butter: Artistic Perspectives on Food and Culture. Guest curated by Carolina Mayorga and featuring Chanan Delivuk, Sara Pomerance, Kari Scott and Shannon Young, the series will take place over the next month and address themes through performance, installation, photography, and sculpture.

Opening Reception on April 7 from 6-8pm. Exhibit runs through May 19. 

@TransformerDC Collector’s View: Hapstak Round 4 

Tonight I’ll be attending the last of this series which will take place at the home of architect Peter Hapstak in Dupont Circle. Peter is a collector of emerging artists, many of which are local such as Annie Adjanavich, Noelle Tan, Graham Caldwell and Trevor Young.

So far, my favorite series was the Ernst home in Georgetown. You could tell how much they love the work they collect and that they fully integrated it into their home and daily family life. Beautiful.

There are still a few slots left if you’re interested in purchasing tickets—call 202-483-1102  or email for details.