capitol skyline hotel

(e)merge Preview: Andrew Wodzianski

At last year’s (e)merge art fair, Andrew Wodzianksi floated in the Capitol Skyline Hotel rooftop pool, resting inside a coffin for 36 hours. 

A most memorable endurance performance, Self Portrait as Ishmael was the vehicle by which Andrew embodied Ishmael, the protagonist in Herman Melville’s great American novel, Moby Dick.

“I feel like when I’m reading fiction, I always try to find connections between the characters and myself and that helps me escape into the author’s context,” Andrew explained, “I find so much connectivity with these characters and it seems like I can camouflage or meld myself into that character description. The transition doesn’t seem so alien.”

For the third annual (e)merge art fair, October 3- 6, Andrew is challenging himself to embody a character haunting him since childhood. Jack Torrence, the protagonist in Stephen King’s 1977 novel The Shining (and portrayed by Jack Nicholson in Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film), is the character that frightened young Andrew and inspired him to explore horror as a film student.

 A trained oil painter with a traditional studio practice, Andrew’s interest in self-portraiture harkens to his college dreams of working with special effects in Hollywood. 

“I was fascinated with disguise and transformation, and when I got older it evolved more into an academic level,” Andrew said. He combined talents in the fine arts and interests in controlled metamorphosis with the most readily available model, himself, to create the series of self portraits his audiences know from (e)merge.

“There’s this really rich depository for me to explore and I feel closer to this than a lot of the work I have done in the past,” said Andrew, “It really just does seem to be this beautiful convergence of all these long standing interests of mine, be it disguise or cinema or literature, it all seems to be rolling itself up wonderfully.”

As part of his preparations for Self Portrait as Jack Torrence, in which for the duration of the art fair Andrew will be occupying the Capitol Skyline hotel lobby and typing James Howell’s proverb, “All work and no play make Jack a dull boy,” the artist created a Venn diagram listing the traits he shares with Jack Torrence. Intimate insights such as recluse, self-loathing, witness to spousal abuse, and vulgar, are included among milestones like graduate education, early success, stagnant mid-career, husband, younger brother, and educator.

 “It’s incredibly personal and it’s a little bit uncomfortable,” Andrew said of the Venn diagram he recently shared with his Kickstarter backers.

To help raise funds for his performance, including insurance, furniture, wardrobe, and the purchase and repair of an Adler Universal typewriter of the same model used in the Kubrick film, Andrew launched a Kickstarter campaign. Originally hoping to raise $375 in total, Andrew is pleasantly surprised to have 58 backers, whose donations have totaled $1,145 to date. The repairs and cleaning of the typewriter alone cost more than $430.

“The machine also has connectivity with my family history. My father fled from Poland in World War II,” explained Andrew, “It also goes back to my theater days as a prop master. I wanted to have some sort of fidelity with the Kubrick film.”

Andrew’s passion and sincerity for his artistic practice is extraordinary.  Adopting the same fervor for Ishmael and Jack Torrence as do method actors when preparing for a feature film role, Andrew’s performances are astonishing for they succeed at convincing the viewer he is not only witnessing, but also playing a part in the familiar scene. It is as if Andrew creates moments of nostalgia for memories that never existed.

“You see the madness of descent into insanity through cinematic trickery,” Andrew said of Jack Torrence’s obsessive typing in the film version. He explained, “The performance that I’m doing is actually manifesting that descent. Because I’m there for such a long time [….] I’m trying to recreate the moment of the character’s actions, which are never seen in real time.”

 Self Portrait as Jack Torrence will be performed by Andrew Wodzianski in the Capitol Skyline Hotel lobby for 23 hours during the (e)merge art fair, October 3- 6, 2013.

 Bringing the Art in DC to You,

Roxanne Goldberg

Flashpoint: (e)merge preview

Hotel rooms are odd spaces as temporary homes for visitors to foreign places or familiar faces seeking moments of escape.

When an art fair enters the hotel framework, as does the Capitol Skyline Hotel at the (e)merge art fair, the hotel room takes on another totally strange personality, that of a temporary art gallery.

While some exhibitors at the third annual (e)merge art fair elect to have the furniture taken out of their assigned rooms-turned-booths, other galleries challenge the artists they represent and exhibit to adopt the hotel room persona into their art.

“We spend a lot of time talking about how to negotiate the space,” said Karyn Miller, director of visual arts and communications at CulturalDC. “We’ll be acknowledging the fact that it’s a hotel room again.”

Flashpoint, the gallery space managed by CulturalDC, has been exhibiting at (e)merge since its inaugural fair in 2011. That first year, Baltimore-based artist Lisa Dillin installed a structure over the bed, inviting visitors to sit and contemplate the work from a comfortable setting. At this year’s fair, collaborators Lauren Rice and Brian Barr will also be utilizing a bed space, while pen-and-ink artist Dana Jeri Maier has specifically requested to show her work in the bathroom.

“In some ways it’s an exciting challenge for these artists to show work in these contexts,” said Miller, “It asks them to present work in a really unorthodox and potentially awkward space and making it work.”

In her curatorial process, Miller considered ways in which to merge upcoming artists in Flashpoint’s fall exhibition schedule, with themes that are socially relevant.

Though all three artists work in different media and use different inspiration as diving points, each engages with the appropriation and remixing of found images, text, conversations and objects.

Sonya Lawyer purchases family photo albums at auction in an effort to ‘rescue’ her ‘ancestors’ from predatory purchasers who buy and divide the photographs in the album in order to re-sell individual photographs at higher prices. Sonya incorporates these photographs into her work, which is focused on the process of hand dying cotton fabric.  The resulting compositions are strong, emotive works that cause the viewer’s mind to wonder in curiosity about the anonymous figures, presented in concurrence with intimate fabrics that retain a sense of human touch through texture and color. Similarly, Lauren Rice and Brian Barr collage found images and remix them in order to create new contexts for objects already in existence.

Dana Jeri Maier does not draw in a studio, but instead takes her practice into bars and coffee shops, where she appropriates overheard conversations and general surroundings into the artwork she produces while absorbing these various stimuli.

“These artists are really interested in providing new meanings and understanding that meaning is never a fixed or static thing,” explained Miller, “Meaning is something that is constantly changing and evolving.”

Bringing the Art in DC to You, 

Roxanne Goldberg 

D.C. and ArtSee Gear Up for (e)merge art fair, September 22nd-25th

September 6, 2011


As you’ve heard by now, Washington D.C. is looking forward to hosting the new (e)merge art fair this fall. A perfect city for such an event, D.C. is Capitol Skyline Hotel, www.emergeartfair.comburgeoning with a wealth of contemporary artists and a thriving cultural community. The organizers of (e)merge art fair recently revealed a roster of the 80 participating exhibitors and artists from 15 different countries, with a majority from the mid-Atlantic region. No one could be surprised with such an impressive line-up with co-creators Helen Allen (owner of Helen Allen Consulting and founder/former Director of PULSE Contemporary Art Fair), Leigh Conner and Jamie Smith (co-owners of Conner Contemporary Art Gallery) at the helm of this event.

As (e)merge approaches and our anticipation heightens, we had a few questions for Ms. Allen about how the idea for the fair came about and what exhibiting artists, collectors, and culture-hounds should expect.

ArtSee: When did you realize that DC needed a forum to showcase new/emerging artists?

ALLEN: DC has had a vibrant contemporary art community – albeit a smaller scaled one – for decades.  Leigh Conner, Jamie Smith, and I had been talking with one another about collaborating on a project that helped draw attention to all that the city has to offer in early 2010. Over the next several months, we worked out a plan to introduce innovative exhibition and educational programming within the familiar setting of a hotel art fair, and (e)merge was created. 

ArtSee: What was your primary goal in creating this event? 

ALLEN: To put DC on the map as a contemporary art and culture destination.

ArtSee: How do you believe (e)merge art fair will achieve these goals? 

ALLEN: We are achieving it already.  People are taking notice and asking ‘why DC?’ By asking the question it starts the dialogue.  Without that first vital step we can’t move on to the next one.  We have exhibitors participating from over 15 countries.  Collectors and interested visitors are coming into DC to explore the Fair and attend the events that (e)merge and our cultural partners are hosting.

ArtSee: Tell us a little something about the venue (the Rubell family’s Capitol Skyline Hotel); How do you feel it fits in accordance with the objectives for the fair?

ALLEN: (e)merge draws inspiration from the Gramercy International, the Ritz Hotel Project and the Times Square Show. What is wonderful about the Morris Lapidus designed Capitol Skyline is its modernist architecture, its expansive outdoor space (both front and pool deck) and the clear layout of the space.  Our exhibitors are taking over all corners of the first four floors – from the garage to the pool deck to banquet rooms to the restaurant to hotel rooms. The organic and fluid layout encourages discovery and creates a more relaxed and engaged atmosphere.

ArtSee: What should artists who are exhibiting their work for the first time in such impressive atmosphere expect in terms of exposure?

ALLEN: It is going to be a great chance for artists in the gallery and artists platforms to get their work in front of a fresh/new/larger audience of curators, collectors, colleagues and urban explorers.

ArtSee: What are you most looking forward to about this fair?

ALLEN: The atmosphere – the energy that the show is generating and the camaraderie among the DC galleries, nonprofits and institutions is contagious.  I am looking forward to seeing the work installed, watching the performances and listening in on the star line up panel discussions that we are hosting.

ArtSee: What major differences can visitors expect from (e)merge art fair as opposed to other art fairs?

ALLEN: The primary difference is that emerge presents two platforms – one for galleries and one for unrepresented artists.  Both sections were vetted by art world luminaries – but (e)merge is not charging the unrepresented artists to present their work.


We are so excited for (e)merge as it will be a fantastic opportunity to discover exciting new artists and their work both in the DC art community and around the world. ArtSee founder Elizabeth Grazioli will be on the scene all weekend volunteering with guest services; please feel free to seek her out if you have any questions about (e)merge or ArtSee artist promotional services!


Bringing the Art in DC to You,

Kendall E. Willey