Saturday, March 29, 2008


RichterGERHARD RICHTER IS AN IMPORTANT German painter whose work spans five decades. Most noted for his photo-realism images, particularly the ones that are blurred, just as they would appear blurred in a shifting photograph, Gerhard Richter was born in Dresden, Germany, in 1932.

Richter's artistic achievements vacillate between pure abstraction and a reconstructed form of realism. His realistic paintings, based primarily on personal photographs and images from newspapers, range in subject matter from the banal, like rolls of toilet paper, to the extremely potent, such as famous Nazi "doctor" Werner Hyde. The paintings have in common an emotional remove; the re-creating of photographic images points us toward our own possible emotional detachment to the influx of images in the world. A blurred chair, Jackie Kennedy, burning candles, family portraits—Richter lays them all out before us as if to say, Here, they are all the same. The insightful text by MoMA curator Robert Storr provides an in-depth look at Richter's life in postwar Germany, tracing the influences and environment that made his work possible.

Richter is by many considered a "conceptual painter" whose "paintings are statements about ideas for paintings". Richter himself said that he wanted to express "the inadequacy in relation to what is expected of painting" through his art, the inadequacy of the making of images and the critical examination of it. He is considered a master of "deconstruction" of formal conventions of painting. He kept a "skeptical distance from vanguardists and conservatives alike regarding what painting should be". According to Storr, all of Richter's works point toward "the basic loss of bearings"; he is "an image-struck poet of alertness and restraint, of doubt and daring". Whatever your interpretation of Gerhard Richter's oeuvre may be, he is a major contemporary artist.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


Beaver Mill Studios in North Adams, MA

I WAS POISED to move into this building. With 4000 square feet of working studio space, I was convinced I had found my permanant and final working space, large enough for large art. These several large tables would have been tremendous assets for someone with ambitions to open up dozens of boxes with solid projects in each of them.

But reality hit home hard. Home being in DC, North Adams is nearly eight hours away on a good drive. Moving into the Beaver Mill Studios would have taken a tremendous amount of energy and capital, and given my failing health this winter, prospects were bleak that I would be able to suffer what is always an unforgivingly frigid winter in that corner of Massachusetts nestled remotely into the Berkshire Mountains. So...

My pursuit of a credible art form still relies upon my time here at 52 O Street.


Looking out from Bertha's in Fells Point, Baltimore

By Deborah Brewster of The Financial Times. The article was originally published on July 13, 2007.

ART HAS EMERGED as a serious alternative asset class in the past few years, in spite of the disdain of art lovers and the scepticism of many dealers and collectors.

Randall Willette, who advises collectors, says: "There are increasingly two types of buyer in the market. The idea that you should buy purely because of your passion is becoming less common. More buyers are coming from a financial background and people want to support their buying decisions with financial information. Increasingly, art is part of the balance sheet of private clients."

There are two questions for investors to consider before treating art as part of their financial portfolio. The broader one is whether the art world can be considered a true market in the same way as the stock market is. The second is whether the price boom is cyclical, or part of a longer-term trend that will see prices move higher permanently. The answers may not be conclusive, but it is important to bear them in mind before following the legions of new buyers with the idea of making a killing.

Artworks are bought and sold at prices reflecting perceptions of their value, and these can change sharply. In that sense, it is a market, but many are unconvinced that it can ever operate according to the rules that govern other asset classes.

"I love art, and I love a bargain, but the fact is you cannot apply any kind of valuation analysis to artworks," says one longstanding collector who is prominent in the financial world.

"When I analyse a stock, I look at future income stream, how it is priced in relation to its competitors and the quality of management, and other criteria that can be measured quantitatively. The sole measure of an artwork is the cultural perception of value attributed to it. That is not something you can make any reasonable prediction about in relation to its future value."

This has not stopped an avalanche of financial analysis on the art market. Much of it sheds light on which types of works command value and how that value has changed over time.

Some of it bears out what dealers might intuitively understand. Research has shown that figurative works are valued more highly than landscapes; that the larger any given painting is, the higher the price per square inch; and that middle-tier works are likely to rise in value further than top-priced masterpieces. However, most people who have built up collections that have risen in value did not pay a great deal of attention to price, but rather to a unifying aesthetic.

As records topple at each auction, the stories of profits are encouraging more buyers into the market.

Adam Sender, a New York hedge fund manager, has said he had made more money from his art collection than his hedge fund.

Art market cycles usually last six to seven years, and the present upswing has been going for six. By that measure, a correction can be expected soon. The most recent Impressionist and contemporary auctions surpassed the price and volumes of the peak of the last boom in 1990.

However, the market is not monolithic. It spans collectables such as stamps, fountain pens and teddy bears (which have rocketed in value), to contemporary sculpture and photography, to decorative arts, to paintings by Picasso.

Each cycle has its favourites. Last time round, in the late 1980s, the Impressionists had their day. Japanese property tycoons formed a passion for works by Van Gogh and Rembrandt. A few years later, the value of such works had plummeted. The latest cycle has seen a huge rise in the value of contemporary works. However, another new aspect to the present cycle is the global nature of demand. It is not just one group of people buying one type of painting.

Newly wealthy people in Russia, China and India are buying works by indigenous artists as well as by western artists. US and European hedge fund managers are buying Chinese contemporary art as well as Andy Warhol. Demand is lifting prices across a range of categories. Michael Moses, who, with Jianping Mei, devised an Impressionist and contemporary art market index, has launched a Latin American index. But even the most optimistic believe some sectors, such as contemporary art, are due for a drop in prices.


Artist Peter Harper in his 52 O Street studio

ON TUESDAY, July 24, 2007, fellow 52 O Street artist Stevens Jay Carter posted a few questions on his blog.

The other day I was viewing the work of an artist. As I was admiring the work I began to think to myself is it possible to accept my thoughts if I removed myself from my association with this artist? What would I actually think about this work through a stranger's eyes, unaware of the artist's history or background?

I responded, "Conversely, can the opinion of a critic or arbiter of a work of art be judged without including such biases as "credentials" or "personality" or "sexual orientation" of that critic, whether he be of some renown for such services or merely an ordinary passersby? Schools of thought betray themselves in this argument.

"Basically, there is always more than one way to do nearly anything under the sun. So, in judging a work of art, there will be some who insist upon knowing the "artist" and others who deny the importance of such criteria.

"After all, do we need to know anything at all about the creator of the polio vaccine or the bicycle to deem worthy these works?

"And recall de Kooning, who is damned near unique in his field in appreciating the skills and artsmanship of the ordinary house painter or artisan, while most of us who posture within the art world would simply laugh at such a charming but gross sentimentality."

I thought that I was saying something real, but I had missed the mark. I knew that humans are inescapably drawn to fame and reputation. Human fascination with success and prestige is such that we are not surprised when artists, even iconoclastic artists mimic that old EF Hutton television commercial, when EF Hutton speaks, the whole world stops to listen.

Another 52 O Street fellow, Peter Harper then opined, "Pablo Picasso was an asshole!!! But a great painter. He wouldn't be my friend but I admire his work."

Yes, but we can never escape the sway that a Baselitz, a Warhol, or a Basquiat holds and the realization that an imitator will never measure up to the power of the original master with all that implies.


I WAS RECENTLY introduced to the reputation of the highly regarded German painter Gerhard Richter by a collector who bought a small work of mine. Some consider Richter the greatest living artist today. This collector, a philosophical writer and novelist, was sure I would find this noteworthy man of particular interest, specifically the painter's extensive pronouncements on art.

Here is a brief snippet from an interview I found fascinating, and while the bulk of my current work has little in common with Richter's, I do agree with his declared independence from the hordes and the art theorists, despite my penchant for muddying my own waters.

There is a substantial body of work on Richter to be found on the web. I think, for my part, Gerhard Richter may very well herald a shift away from the figurative towards abstraction as a matter of confidence building. Time will tell.

From the Journal of Contemporary Art, January 15, 1990. Translated from the German by Klaus Ottmann:

Sabine Schütz: About a year ago you created a great stir with your painting cycle "18. Oktober 1977." This group of fifteen paintings, done in the black & white blurred photographic style of your earlier work grapples with the death of the RFA [Red Army Faction] terrorists in the Stammheim prison and unleashed a controversial and emotional discussion which went far beyond a purely artistic debate. Were you pursuing with these paintings a direct political concern?

Gerhard Richter: No direct political concern, especially not in the sense of political painting which has always been understood as politically left, as art which exclusively criticized the so-called bourgeois-capitalistic conditions—that was not my concern.

Schütz: But the subject has not only been highly explosive but it was also expressly politically left . . .

Richter: . . . which now can be considered completely laid to rest . . .

Schütz: . . . exactly, and it is also already history. One could ask now why you came forward with these paintings in 1989 and not already ten years ago?

Richter: This time distance was probably necessary. But I cannot exactly explain the reasons for making something at this or at that point in time; something like that does not proceed by plan but rather unconsciously. It seems important to me that the paintings now, with the breakdown of the socialist systems, obtain another, more general component which they did not have so evidently a year ago. On the other side, I shun to talk about the concerns or statements of the paintings. I do not want to narrow them down through interpretation.

Schütz: Do you see the terrorists today as victims of a false idea which was inevitably doomed to failure?

Richter: Definitely. Nevertheless I also feel a certain sympathy for these people and for their desperate desire for change. I can understand very well if one cannot find this world acceptable at all. Furthermore, they were also part of a corrective which we will first be missing in the future. We will find other attempts at criticism eventually which will be less sentimental or superstitious and more realistic and therefore more effective—I hope.

Schütz: This cycle has been described as a resuscitation of historical painting which has been largely ignored by modern and contemporary art. Would you agree to this categorization?

Richter: This does not interest me that much. Even when it occurred to me, while painting, that these pictures could be regarded as historical paintings, that is, as something reactionary, it didn't make any difference to me. This is more a problem for theoreticians.

Schütz: In your journal you once said that it shouldn't actually be possible to paint the way you paint: without subject matter. Was it different with this cycle? Was there a subject matter?

Richter: Yes, there was. But this "black" note referred more to the abstract paintings and beyond that to the general helplessness and powerlessness which then of course can itself become a subject matter. But on the other hand, one has sometimes enough motivation which renders questions such as these abstract—one then just paints.

Schütz: When you begin a painting, do you always know from the start what you want to paint? Could one say that you are a conceptual artist?

Richter: No, that I am not, and I don't always know what I should paint or how the painting should look in the end. Even with the Oktober cycle I did not know what kind of painting would come out of it. I had an enormous selection of photographs and I also had quite different ideas. Everything should have been much more comprehensive, much more to do with the life of the depicted, and at the end there was this small selection: nine subjects and very much focused towards death, almost against my intention.

Schütz: One would not necessarily have expected from a painter who twenty-five years ago already once painted toilet paper, to confront a subject so rich in content. Even the record player is in itself a banal object. However, the relation to the pictorial subject seems to have changed considerably since that time.

Richter: Not considerably, because a toilet-paper roll is not necessarily a funny picture. Neither is it true that I am now old enough to paint only sad things. But the record player painting is of course a very loaded painting, since the viewer knows that it is the record player of Andreas Baader, that in it was hidden the deathly weapon, etc. That doesn't make it a better painting, but it obtains first more attention, because one can attach more of a narrative to it.

Read it all.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


So argues Nick222:

Actually, for reasons that I detail in a my blog, I think that Geert Wilders made a mistake by producing the film and would make another mistake by releasing it. Of course I agree that Wilders has the freedom to offend Islamic ideas and agree with him that the Koran is "a fascist book inciting hatred and violence", but (as Thoreau would say), Wilders is "hacking at the branches of evil" rather than "striking at the root."

To strike at the root (and more), I think that the ideas of C.W. Walton, Jefferson, and H.L. Mencken are crucial. Respectively they are:

"Believers are interested in fulfilling emotional and spiritual needs, not intellectual needs. In some cases, one might as well try to use reason on a dog. For many people God is primarily a warm feeling. How can one argue with a warm feeling? Arguing with someone who places reason below faith... is blowing against the wind." (C.W. Walton)

"Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them…" (Thomas Jefferson)

"The liberation of the human mind has never been furthered by dunderheads; it has been furthered by gay fellows who heaved dead cats into sanctuaries and then went roistering down the highways of the world, proving to all men that doubt, after all, was safe – that the god in the sanctuary was finite in his power and hence a fraud. One horse-laugh is worth ten thousand syllogisms. It is not only more effective; it is also vastly more intelligent." (H.L. Mencken)

He then concluded:

Therefore, my recommendation to Wilders would be that, if he wants to help both his homeland and humanity, then he shouldn’t release his film criticizing the Koran. Not that the criticism isn’t correct, but it’ll just harden the Muslims’ bunker mentality. Instead, he should (for example) hire some competent comedians whose wisecracks would ridicule all religions, excoriate all clerics, and most importantly, get all who bought into their clerics' con games rolling in the aisles—not in some religious trance but laughing at themselves for paying fortunes, forfeiting their freedoms, for permission to live within fairy tales.

But not all people agree that chopping at the tree of religion is the intelligent thing to do. Islam is a political manifesto dressed up in the rag doll outfits of religion. We must address it the same way we addressed Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, and Imperial Japan—as a very dangerous political ideology that requires a thunderous defeat. Whacking at the persistent windmills of religion is not going to solve our immediate problem. Only then will the "arts of life" survive to encourage us another day.

We can an undaunted quote generator for these two gems:

Edmund Burke once wrote, "No one could make a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little. All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."

And if that was not plain enough, shall we turn to Sir Winston Churchill, who observed that "When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber."


Sunday, March 2, 2008


A BERLIN GALLERY has temporarily closed an exhibition of satirical works by a group of Danish artists after six Muslim youths threatened violence unless one of the posters depicting the Kaaba shrine in Mecca was removed, it said on Thursday.

The Galerie Nord in central Berlin said it had closed its “Zionist Occupied Government” show of works by Surrend, a group of artists who say they poke fun at powerful people and ideological conflicts. Four days after the exhibition opened, a group of angry Muslims stormed into the gallery, shouting demands that one of the 21 posters should be removed, said the gallery.“They were very aggressive and shouted at an employee that the poster should be taken down otherwise they would throw stones and use violence,” the gallery’s artistic director Ralf Hartmann told Reuters. The Muslims objected to a depiction of the Kaaba—the ancient shrine in Mecca’s Grand Mosque which Muslims face to say their prayers—which gave a “bitingly satirical commentary against radicalism,” said the gallery in a statement.

To his credit, Hartmann has said the gallery was working with German authorities to improve security and he hoped to re-open the show as soon as possible.“It would be unacceptable if individual social groups were in a position to exercise censorship over art and the freedom of expression,” said the gallery in a statement.

It’s about time some Western artists stepped up to the plate on this issue. This is a very serious issue, and since I am in the arts myself, a humble painter in Washington, DC, I know that few "political" artists are tackling the Islamic problem with anything more than smug indifference.

In fact, just the opposite position rules. Sadly, 95% of the art being created today in this most political of cities, and I speak from the underground art movement, is frivolous and redundant, lost in fairy tales and harmless charm, and anything remotely “controversial” and it’s not anymore because how many times can Christianity or homophobia or the president be attacked in the generic way that artists depict their hyperventilated disgust with religion, sexual mores, or politics, and it still be new, iconoclastic, or controversial? But with all the world in flames and blood, hovering at the brink of financial crisis, most of the “ruthless honesty” work is anti-American at worst, anti-war (lofty) at best, and nothing is ever presented that even hints of global incrimination due the jihadists and their copious allies strutting about in shepherd’s clothing and Brooks Brothers suits.

But what can be expected otherwise? The art world, unlike the more recently abducted halls of lower and higher education, has long been the high-browed bastion of the liberal cognoscente, and today’s system of wine-tasting galleries and its stiltifying air of mass dementia is now vigorously geared to the Left.

Scandal is often the fast track in the whirl to “make” an artist, but history probably proves that this model holds only if breaking “preferred” molds. Let’s hope Berlin doesn’t bend knee to this Islamic thuggery. It will only encourage more outrage. Don’t we all deserve better than this?


I AM PLEASED to announce that I will be showing several works at the Warehouse Arts Complex Group Show “PEACE NOW!”

Artist Reception: February 22, 2008. 6-9 PM.

The show will stay up for the observance of the 5th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the March 19, 2008 “March for Peace” in Washington and other cities around the country. The show will feature painting, sculpture, installation, photography, video, et cetera.

Curated by Molly Ruppert. Come out and join the spectacle!


IN A LETTER to Stephan Lackner, dated January 29, 1938, after fleeing Germany for Amsterdam after being dubbed and banished as a painter of “degenerate art”, Max Beckmann nevertheless writes, “politics is a subordinate matter whose form of appearance is forever changing according to the need of the masses. Hence, it is nothing essential - what mattersis that which endures, the unique, the being in the flight of illusion—the withdrawal from the workings of shadows—perhaps we’ll succeed in that.”

We should not confuse the specifics of political intrigue with the costumes and postures of the times in which any particular artist works. While Beckmann continued to stress his reluctance to consider the politics of his time anything more than the passing fancy of accidental geography, he did not shy away from depicting in his work the shapes and depths of such external geographies while digging deeper for the internal, or the invisible.

Writes Beckmann, “Politics is an odd game, not without danger, as I have been told, but certainly sometimes amusing.” He observes that “making war and peace” are natural components to the catastrophic nature of the modern world, and seeks to assail it by artistic investigations.”The greatest danger which threatens mankind,” he said, “is collectivism. Everywhere attempts are being made to lower the happiness and the way of living by mankind to the level of termites. He is more interested, like the writer Henry Miller once put it, not in society, but in individuals, in the particulars as well as the whole, because he finds in the “I” and the the “you” emanations of the “self: as the great veiled mystery of the world.

I would add to Beckmann’s words that the world is self-evident. The world is what stresses us, divides us, threatens us, confuses us, tricks us, buys us, sells us, gives us over to strangers. The loss of liberty is a quickening of the spirit of the world. The opening lines of my long 1982 poem - Contrapunctus America - Section 1, Some kind of joke - highlights those points made by Beckmann:

The year is nearly unimportant. Zinc is in pattern
but I can only purchase my thoughts on even numbered
days. Poor, acquainted more clearly
with a poor folk’s rag theory
than with the possibilities awaiting
to be chosen, I swear on a stack of paperbacks
I ain’t no fucking prophet…
but a walking man walking,
walking without bail and rolling on past
damp December, born into debt,
a free state, and a slap upon
the cheek…born to choose, born to hesitate,
free to lose in storming screaming success,
my swelling head tossed off in oft repeated duress,
and designated on some long lost Monday
to openly investigate.

So let us presume now that the poet has few means beyond those into which he is born. He writes that he is born into debt, that is perhaps to say original sin with individual and trillions of dollars of national debt in the worldly extreme. Which of these two debts is more persistently pressed upon his life? It has long been presumed that he is born to choose which path might set him onto the most glorious pursuits of liberty, the pursuits of personal success even to the ends of loss. But the world is everpresent. And thus, he is also born to hesitate as a sudden residual of the free state of mind in which free choice is the common denominator of all humanity except when corruption and worldly notions intercede.

The world’s inertia claims his attention and even mimics his attention span. He is lost in time, but has no choice about one matter, the most import matter—that urge within him that he must openly investigate in order to transcend the chaos of a world marked with lies and illusion. In this succession of aims, the man becomes artist, regaining his soul in his death to the world. It is only later that he learns that this investigation is the path of perpetually competing claims, the path of argument, confusion, confuscation, and the mirage of intersecting lines, not the path of the transcendent self but the path of sorrow and self-destruction, the path of violence and bitter sweetness, the path to nowhere in particular.

Here we find a few articles on Beckmann:
  • The Mythic Imagination of Max Beckmann in Exile in The New York Times by Ken Johnson
  • Germany's Black Years in The New York Times by Alan Riding
  • An online biography can be found here.

    AFTER REVIEWING the previous blog entry, I am pleased to note there seems to be a notable exception to my previous comment. And while many may speculate that it is always easier to comment upon one’s own culture and whatknots, it cannot be overlooked that Islamic insiders don’t often have the same luxury of criticizing the inner workings of its own culture than many others do. So in that regard, this particular artist’s reputation should be considered even more profound.

    Sarah Maple is a British artist. Sarah Maple is also a Muslim. Here’s an interesting link to an interview of a young British Muslim, who also happens to be an artist named Sarah Maple who questions with audacity and style the conflicting aspects of her own identity.

    Excellent interview. An intelligent woman, and exquisite rising young artist, Maple’s talent, humility, and intensity of spirit should take her far.


    American artist treads lightly in criticizing Islam

    BRITAIN'S CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS are fêted around the world for their willingness to shock but fear is preventing them from tackling Islamic fundamentalism. Grayson Perry, the cross-dressing potter, Turner Prize winner and former Times columnist, said that he had consciously avoided commenting on radical Islam in his otherwise highly provocative body of work because of the threat of reprisals.

    Perry also believes that many of his fellow visual artists have also ducked the issue, and one leading British gallery director told The Times that few major venues would be prepared to show potentially inflammatory works.

    “I’ve censored myself,” Perry said at a discussion on art and politics organised by the Art Fund. “The reason I haven’t gone all out attacking Islamism in my art is because I feel real fear that someone will slit my throat.”

    Perry’s highly decorated pots can sell for more than £50,000 and often feature sex, violence and childhood motifs. One work depicted a teddy bear being born from a penis as the Virgin Mary. “I’m interested in religion and I’ve made a lot of pieces about it,” he said. “With other targets you’ve got a better idea of who they are but Islamism is very amorphous. You don’t know what the threshold is. Even what seems an innocuous image might trigger off a really violent reaction so I just play safe all the time.”

    The fate of Theo van Gogh, the Dutch film-maker who was murdered by a Muslim extremist in 2004 after he made a film portraying violence against women in Islamic societies, is the most chilling example of what can happen to an artist who is perceived to have offended Islam. Perry said that he had also been scared by the reaction across the Islamic world to Danish cartoons deemed anti-Muslim in 2006 and by the protests against Salman Rushdie’s knighthood this year.

    Across Europe there is growing evidence that freedom of expression has been curtailed by fear of religious fundamentalism. Robert Redeker, a French philosophy teacher, is in hiding after calling the Koran a “book of extraordinary violence” in Le Figaro in 2006; Spanish villages near Valencia have abandoned a centuries-old tradition of burning effigies of Muhammad to mark the reconquest of Spain, against the Moors; and an opera house in Berlin banned a production of Mozart’s Idomeneo because it depicted the beheading of Muhammad (as well as Jesus and other spiritual leaders).

    Read it all, and don’t neglect the comments. That’s where the REAL story exists.


    Gabriel's work in Antagonist Show, centered around For Denmark

    Originally published on September 9, 2007

    IN NEW YORK CITY, on Thursday September 6, I showed a few antagonistic paintings in a tiny sweltering East Village basement. Highlights included a long chat with a New York poet named Julian Stockdale about the enigmatic state of literature from the perspective of Generation Z still searching for its own voice, networking with a fellow who owns and operates the same image press I’ve had my eye on for some time now, and the pride of beautiful young fancies who flashed this old poet and painter a smile or two.

    Then there were the three young folks from Denmark who spent several long stints staring at my large centerpiece called FOR DENMARK, which is a painting I whipped out in a mere fifteen minutes in a bluster over the Cartoon Rage going on in Europe and across the Islamic world on February 12, 2006. The three Danes, two young guys and a gal, approached me at one point to confirm their interpretation of the work, thanking me for the peace. Well, a Christ-figure complete with stigmata and tears of blood, two fishes painted in a corner and a Jewish bagel popping up from a toaster, and the words FOR DENMARK etched in red across the background renders the explanation rather bluntly, doesn’t it?

    There was some talk of an Antagonist Movement Berlin gallery which interested me for some swirl down the road, and I even sold a couple packs of postcards to two NYC artists…

    Shout out to Alex (girl in photo above), Scott, Tom, Julian, Kari, Ted, Un, Ethan and Liberty Sue, each for your generosity of spirit…

    If you are a MySpace member you can view more pictures here.


    YES, THAT'S RIGHT. Outsider art by definition is antagonist art. Self-annointed artists are often antagonistic artists. So this news is a propos. The Antagonist Movement with its roots in the East Village has invited me up to the Niagara Club for a one night group show on Thursday, September 6. I have accepted, and eagerly look forward to my first show in New York where I’ll show five or six works.

    Here is the Niagara info:
    112 Ave A at the corner of 7th St. East Village NYC
    The gallery is downstairs past the bar.
    Tele: 212-420-9517

    Show opens at 9 PM. All artwork hangs for the duration of the night until closing time at 2 AM.


    The Antagonist Movement creates venues around New York City.
    1. Thursday night. One night showcases with live music.
    2. Two month shows bases around a theme.
    3. Public Access show. Tuesday nights on MNN 67 or RCN 110 at 11pm. The show covers the art shows. It’s called Antagovision.
    4. Writer’s night. The first Sunday of every month.
    5. Films. AAM has four films coming out, including two documentaries on the art shows. One narrative featuring punk rock icons from the lower east side, and a documentary that covers female bands in the mid 90s. All of the films have been selected and won a verity of film festivals. To find out more about the release date contact Troma.
    6. Fanzines and books. AAM has published a fanzine called Psycho Moto Zine and a book called “Somewhere Between a Punch and A Hand Shake.” Both feature AAM artists and writers.
    7. Clothing line. Each year we feature new artists in the designs. All the money goes back into our projects.
    8. Over seas art shows. Showing in Berlin October 18th to 26th.
    9. Street art. Street Gallery. Sticker Art.
    10. In the future AAM plans two books, more clothing lines, and another documentary on the art show in Berlin.

    Saturday, March 1, 2008


    Well, August 8, 2007, was a fine day in the life of this particular painter. The American Visionary Museum in Baltimore, MD purchased some of my art in postcard form. It’s not that big a deal, yet, but it’s a great start. Shows promise of things to come, perhaps. I’ll write up the full story in the near, but right now I’ve got to head out to buy some crab meat for the crab dressing cassarole I sling together for events like this awesome pig roast some rocker friends and their roller derby girls are hosting this afternoon.

    But check out the museum. It’s on the map. And now, in some small way, so am I.


    Artist preparing wall space at Artomatic

    Originally published April 8, 2007

    WITH ONLY THREE AYS left until the hanging deadline, I began painting my 2007 Artomatic nearly 180 square foot of space along two walls of a small room I share with an artist named Paula Bruening in the Old Patent Office at 2121 Crystal Drive in Arlington. The view from Room 6A43 (Sixth floor, Aisle A, Room 43) spans eastward toward the control tower at Reagan National.

    For covering the old existing beige paint, I chose a signature charcoal graystone with a rough texture, and will trim it out in black before I actually hang my work on Wednesday. My wife charged into action today to keep me company and run the occasional errand. Her help was invaluable, and both our bodies are aching tonight for our efforts

    Since this is my first Artomatic, and knowing the event will run for five weeks, I am somewhat overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the project, not my own small exhibit so much, but given the enormous number of participants, reckoning with the sheer variety of creative content should surely be a learning experience. I shall be snapping pictures, shooting video, and soaking it all up, so that the next Artomatic won’t catch me short of inspiration.

    The most unfortunate aspect of this wonderful and challenging extravaganza is that it opens on the same weekend as the annual two-day 52 O Street Open Studios, again, my first time particpating in the latter event, as well. This of course, encourages intrigue and exasperation with regards to which work should stay in studio and which should go to wheeling off to Arlington. Tough choices must be made.


    Artist and wife, Sue Hedrick, in front of work at Artomatic

    Originally published on April 15, 2007

    AS THE MOUNTING PRESSURE of two upcoming events (Open Studios and Artomatic) eases, I thought I’d offer up an example of a work-in-progress. Inspired by daily world events, this picture is presently called “Loud Signatures.” Remember, I rarely begin a painting with a specific concept in mind, but by a limited series of choices paint what is set before me as refracted against a congealing consciousness compelling me to represent the competing forces of my symbolic vocabulary. The internal logic of a finished picture, if any, is influenced by those random choices and the whimsy of each competitive brush stroke itself.

    Okay, I’ve taken down the work in progress, replacing it with these fine people standing in front of some wickedly jolly painting at the Artomatic ‘07 event.


    String Theory - Gabriel Thy - 40"x30" acrylic on canvas

    IT'S FINALLY HAPPENING! Artomatic 2007 has been announced. I will be there next Saturday as one of the first registrants to pick prime real estate in this, my first Artomatic show. Two floors (the 6th and 8th floor) in the Old Patent Office Building in Crystal City—each floor is 45,000 sq. ft. and one has around 130 offices still walled in while the other one has been gutted. I hear it’s a nifty location and quite easy to navigate to either by car, bus, subway or even Virginia rail.

    There are some spectacular views of the city from all the outer walls. The other cool thing about this location is that thousands and thousands of people both work and live right around this area.

    Artomatic is a month-long multimedia arts event that draws together visual artists, musicians and performers and brings their work to the community without charge. Originally conceived as a way to break down the geographical and social segmentation of the Washington arts scene, to bring art directly to the public and to build cohesion among artists, the city’s ongoing development in recent years has diffused the arts community by breaking up pockets of artist studios. Unfortunately, local artists are frequently overshadowed by national blockbuster shows and federal landmarks, thus Artomatic provides a forum for all of our area’s artists to convene, perform and exhibit, strengthening the visibility, cohesion, and marketplace of Washington’s arts community.

    Artomatic began in 1999 in the historic Manhattan Laundry building. A dozen or so artists originally toured the empty building and within a month, three hundred and fifty artists had cleaned, lit, painted and colonized the 100,000 square feet. Over 20,000 visitors attended the first Artomatic over 6 weeks. From there, it grew organically, as buildings were made available to Artomatic by community developers. Music and performance of all kinds were added.

    In 2000, 665 artists exhibited and 200 performed at the old Hechinger’s building; more than 1000 artists and performers took part in 2002 at the Southwest Waterfront and even more in 2004 at the old Capitol Children’s Museum in Northeast. The number of visitors has also more than doubled to over 40,000.

    Stay tuned…


    The Wheeling Wailing Wall

    In a flash of good luck, I found my current home at 52 O Street on the gritty heels of a rather short and aborted adventure in Wheeling, WV, where the only project I managed to complete (well, nearly) was an earnest locally-inspired 11′ x 80′ mural I call the Wheeling Wailing Wall along the 2nd floor corridor wall of a rock and roll club called Yesterday’s Draughthouse & Stage.

    I look forward to returning to Wheeling next weekend for the wedding of two young friends, and convening another sweet stare at the Wall. Then there’s a hint of some secret aim to negotiate my return to finish it, and tackle a few other pending projects on the ore rusted bank of the once mighty Ohio River that are still calling my name. The haggard old city is begging my photographic eye.


    Originally published on March 8, 2007

    52 O STREET ARTIST extraordinaire Stevens Jay Carter, pictured above, was here today to interview this ruffian for his newsletter. As usual, I was wordy. Emotional. Nervous. Relaxed. Characteristically trapped in oscillation between a strident confidence and that unflattering corrosive excitability I exhibit when shown the least amount of attention. It’s times like this when I feel that the caricaturing aloofness that certain historical artists have postured might serve me better, or suffice in certain awkward situations, ah, a touch of the Steppenwolf

    After all, I liken myself to an open wound, but nature, being its own cruel taskmaster, demands obedience even from its inquisitive slaves, as Jackson Pollack observed in his statement that he himself was nature, so you would pay huge odds on the bet that aloofness in my mouth would ever sustain itself.

    My burden is the burden of connectivity. Scattered shards of reflective glass that were once cohesive members of a magnificent window pane are products of a disconnect. Torn asunder violently, clumps of dried blood and rotting flesh that once promoted a promising creature’s thoughtful passion stress our senses, again, absorbing the ultimate disconnect.

    Augured by my driving need to connect, to gather, rather than to divide, even when a particular division may be in my own best interests, my own eager nature refuses to allow me to participate in a calculated aloofness beyond an initial shyness a new situation may temporarily impose.

    Contrary impulses of course always inject themselves and inform this nature. Hence, the battle. The conflict. The anxiety. The curdling of the milk, and the long scream. But the interview seemed to go rather well, a success, despite any number of competing considerations.

    As always, Mr. Carter was charming and professional. It should be interesting to see how he hammers the passionate if sometimes pedantic Gabriel Thy blather into presentable form.


    WELCOME TO the Idiotsheet. This is where I shall post updates to my 52 O Street Studioscalendar, theorize on the state of my own work, and that of others, ponder the universe found on the brush, question the molecule at the end of a thought. Perhaps I’ll even wax poetic on some “dead to rights” topic which may or may not interest those of you prowling for art stuffs on the halfshell. Doesn’t matter. It’s just a blog. So relax, kick off your shoes, and take a stroll through the ragged imagination of one of 52 O Street’s more notorious blogs—the Idiotsheet.

    Oh yes, props to John Woo for the photo. We’re standing in the Ratner Museum at 10001 Old Georgetown Road in Bethesda, MD. Moving left to right, that’s my lovely wife Sue Hedrick in red, the old ruffian himself protruding beyond his gears, and finally, the truly cultured and honorable Stevens Jay Carter. Enjoying the opening reception for Le Duet, the two man show featuring Stevens and Solomon Asfaw, we appear fist deep in red wine and the exquisite promise of another fine hour in the smarts of the Washington art scene.

    The show runs through March 27, 2007.


    This past weekend I was back at the Wheeling Wailing Wall, not with brush and acrylics this time, but for a post-wedding reception party for my young friends—Justin and Laura—who were bethrothed that St. Patrick’s Day afternoon in a traditional Catholic ceremony at the St. James Chapel in McMechen.

    It had snowed rather briskly the afternoon prior, as we barrelled forth from DC in the new Liberty Renegade, from Hagerstown beyond Frostsburg, but to my chagrin, all points westward toward Wheeling had only been dusted. Still, a somewhat edgy but safe trip.

    As I stared down the cruel wall past the folks gathered to crank on the snarling four metal band celebrations, I realized I still carried a strong desire to finish this seminal work on the Wailing Wall, someday soon perhaps, should adequate funds ever materialize, but those young Turks—Chuck & Raj—will definitely have to step up to the plate if the future is to change. Measuring some 80′ x 11′ the mural wall is about 90% completed, a massive piece as she stands, but abruptly unfinished nevertheless.

    And this, dear reader, was my first blog about art, as humble as it is, published on another blog service nearly a year ago. My recent frustration with that service has finally reached the boiling point, and today I have decided I am moving back to the service from which you read these words. I was sayed by the polished look of the other service, and without understanding what went wrong with that approach, I have abandoned aesthetics for functionality. Editing text, and keeping those edits in place, had become sheer madness. I know know when precisely things broke down, but something went terribly wrong, and who among us has time to struggle with a persnickety HTML editor.

    So here I am, a few old posts to recall the foundation, then onward into the harrumphing world of serious art as a subject matter worthy of these crucial times.