Is Minnesota the new Scandinavia?

Heavens know America needs to get it’s Scandinavia on and support more artistic productions. Um, works project administration anyone????? At anyrate, if you live in MN, and want to make a film check out the Jerome Foundation’s opportunity here.

A Visit to the Library of Congress Pt. Two

© Catherine Wagner

It’s always a real treat to see original prints of great work and look at what the LOC is collecting.  A new discovery for me were the gorgeous 20×24″ silver gelatin prints of American classrooms taken in the 80’s by West Coast photographer Catherine Wagner called “American Classroom”.  The large format photographs capture the intense detail of the classrooms. In one a message scrawled on a perhaps first generation apple screen is a poignant memoir of a teens’ difficulties:

When I entered the dance studio I was surprised to find an atmosphere that was serious, yet joyful. That I did not know at that time was how this bare simple place would re-build my somewhat shattered life.

When I was nine my mom and dad broke up. They fought over everything they did. One night I was up in my room doing my homework and my mom came in and told me that she was moving away that night. She said she was going to California on a nine oclock . . …

© Catherine Wagner

© Catherine Wagner

Also out for my viewing pleasure were Phyllis Galembo‘s luscious color-saturated portraits of African’s in traditional and modern costumes.  All photographic outputs have their strengths and purposes, but for real viewing pleasure nothing beats a great print. Galembo serves this up in spades.  Palettes, pose, and ensembles are phenomenal!

© Phyllis Galembo

© Phyllis Galembo

© Phyllis Galembo

I was pleased to note that Jen Davis is represented. Her prints are bold and beautiful:

© Jen Davis

Scattered throughout the place willy-nilly are delightful unknown (at least to me) images (vintage prints!) by photographers we all know and love. Here, you have the American Gothic lady, Ella Watson, US Govt Charwoman in an alternate view by Mr. Gordon Parks.

A gorgeous Ben Shahn depression era photo of cotton pickers, “At the End of the Day.”

Dorothea Lange’s Salvation Army photograph of a girl’s sunday school class at an open-air meeting.

Looking for an Empty Seat: Be Careful of Your Utmost Desires

Yes, this is one of those many times when living in DC rocks: The National Gallery presents Jenny Holzer ( part of the Diamonstein-Spielvogel Lecture Series which provides a forum for distinguished artists to discuss the genesis and evolution of their work in their own words) .   Thank you Diamonstein-Speilvogels, whose name I just like saying, and all peoples with money donating to perpetuate the dissemination of the arts.  Do you feel  me yawning chasm of economic disparity?  At any rate, tell it like it is sister herself, Jenny Holzer will be engaged in a little q&a and I am happy to say I will be there!! Come and join, but wear comfortable shoes, and be early.

© Jenny Holzer, I Can’t Tell You

BTW, I had a professor in graduate school who did not like photographs that relied upon text as a rule.  I’m just saying.

May 6 at 3:30 p.m.
Jenny Holzer in conversation with Harry Cooper, curator and head of modern and contemporary art, National Gallery of Art
East Building Concourse, Auditorium

Jenny Holzer’s powerful text-based work has enlivened public spaces for nearly thirty-five years. Born in 1950 in Gallipolis, Ohio, Holzerholds an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and honorary doctorates, including those from Williams College (2000), the New School (2005), and Smith College (2009). In 1977, while enrolled in the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program, she began work on her breakthrough Truisms. A series of witty and salient aphorisms that she composed and printed on posters, these works were distributed anonymously in the urban environment. They have subsequently appeared on materials as diverse as billboards, marble benches, and what have become the best known of her media, LED signs. In 1990, Holzer was the first woman to have a solo presentation in the U.S. Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, for which she was awarded the Golden Lion. She stopped writing her own texts in 2001, choosing instead to borrow language from writers, philosophers, poets, and political figures for such works as her large-scale projections on the sides of buildings and landscapes. Since 2004, she has mined declassified government documents for the series Redaction Paintings. In 2010, Holzer gave the Gallery six Redaction Paintings, each depicting the censored handprint of an American soldier accused of committing crime in Iraq. Holzer lives and works in New York. (lecture information) (Diamonstein-Spielvogel Lecture Series podcasts) (Learn about the Redaction Paintings)

The Diamonstein-Spielvogel Lecture Series provides a forum for distinguished artists to discuss the genesis and evolution of their work in their own words. Dr. Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel and the Honorable Carl Spielvogel generously endowed this series in 1997 to make such conversations available to the public. Recordings from this program are available at