conner contemporary

The Good Boys – Now Showing…

Last week I had the amazing opportunity of seeing two shows. One that has been open that I have been dying to go to and the other that just opened. Here are a few thoughts to hopefully entice you to see them before they are gone….

Conner Contemporary is currently showing Leo Villareal through June 30.  This is Villareal’s fifth solo show with the gallery and is certainly a huge success.  Using LEDs, Villareal creates abstract imagery that glows so brightly, even in the light of day. Although minimalist in nature his latest body of work, at Conner now, truly is larger than life and captivating.  My personal favorite from the show, Invisible Hand, stands alone in a dark room.  It alternates between colors and patterns of flashing light; it kept my eyes locked to it for some time.  Recently, it was announced that Villareal’s work would be joining the permanent collection at the Phillips Collection.  Villareal’s work is no stranger to the walls of some of the world’s greatest collections, including the concourse of between the east and west buildings of the National Gallery of Art.  This is definitely a show worth seeing before his work is included in the price of admission. 

The second show, that just opened, is that of the queer collective, Boys Be Good.  Like the rest of Washington, through Metro Weekly and other channels, I had been following along as the latest collective of artists prepared for their June show.  The opening was buzzing with people who, like me, wanted to see the latest from the work of the members of the collective but it was the work of one artist that had me there until the very end, Cassidy Duhon.  A photographer by trade, Duhon’s created three large word prints reflecting deep sentiments of being a homosexual.  His work is powerful and really makes you wonder the circumstances in which these were created. Within the words you can vaguely make out the figures of people, but only from a few feet away. Boys Be Good will be showing Duhon and many other artists now through July 17 at Arts@1830 with a performance piece on June 19th.

For more information on Leo Villareal at Conner Contemporary visit their website here. And for more information on Cassidy Duhon and Boys Be Good visit their website here.

If you have time… Don’t miss both of these boys (and more)!

Bringing the Art in DC to You,


Janet Biggs’ Kawah Ijen - Now Showing At Conner Contemporary Art

On Saturday, March 17, Conner Contemporary Art opened its doors to the public for a reception to celebrate and welcome the gallery’s two newest exhibitions, including Janet Biggs and her video installation, Kawah Ijen.

The New York-based artist, known primarily for her work in video, photography and performance art, is currently exhibiting her multi-channel installation and single-channel video, “A Step on the Sun,” alongside performance and sculpture artist, Wilmer Wilson IV’s Domestic Exchange. Both exhibits run though May 5, 2012.

Biggs’ documentary-style installation, Kawah Ijen, evokes a mixture of “natural beauty and human exploitation,” as it chronicles the laborious tasks of a sulfur miner in the breathtakingly beautiful, yet perilous, Ijen volcano in the East Java province of Indonesia. The piece is accompanied by a soundtrack of noises recorded inside the volcanic mine, and the video depicting the sulfur miner at work is juxtaposed with images from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and MIT photos of an experimental weather balloon launch.

Biggs’ work has been exhibited, among other institutions, at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Ithaca, NY; Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY; Gibbes Museum of Art, South Carolina; Rhode Island School of Design Museum; Vantaa Art Museum, Finland; Linkopings Konsthall, Passagen, Sweden; the Oberosterreichisches Landesmuseum, Austria; and the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, Australia.

She recently had solo exhibitions at The Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, NC and the Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa, FL and will show at the Musée d’art Contemporain de Montréal in the Fall of 2012. Perhaps this show will keep Biggs working in DC more? We hope so! 

Visit for more information on the exhibit and gallery times.

Bringing the Art in DC to You 


A Step on the Sun (installation view), 2012
5 channel video installation, 9 minutes 22 seconds
Copyright Janet Biggs, courtesy Conner Contemporary Art

A Conversation with Lenny Campello about "100 Artists of Washington, D.C."

July 22, 2011

Tomorrow afternoon Conner Contemporary art gallery is hosting a book release party for award-winning artist, renowned art critic and consultant Lenny Campello’s  highly anticipated 100 Artists of Washington, D.C. The book, published by Schiffer, is bound in a beautiful coffee-table format that features, as the title suggests, 100 key artists working and exhibiting in the DC area as a part of their series on national artists. This is the first book that covers the DC region specifically, and features both veteran and emerging artists representing a wide range of styles and media.

ArtSee was thrilled to have a moment of Mr. Campello’s time before this exciting event to ask him some questions about the project…

ArtSee: What sparked your personal interest in this publishing this book?

CAMPELLO: It was sparked by the WPA’s & Mera Rubell’s “36 Studios in 36 Hours project” effort in late 2009. The mainstream media focused on some of the perceived negative aspects of the DC area art scene – showing their ignorance of the actual strength and diversity that exists in the DC area. It was at that point that I decided to try to author a series of books focusing on our area’s artists.

ArtSee: Can you comment on the selection process of these artists, in particular the emerging artists?

CAMPELLO: As a long time art critic and writer around our area, as well as a blogger, curator and as a former gallerist, I have a pretty deep knowledge database our area’s artists. But I also wanted to ensure that other area experts assisted me in offering names, so I asked about a dozen collectors, curators, art critics, artists and gallerists for a list of their 10 must have artists. Between that input and my own knowledge, I selected 100 when there could have easily been 500 in this book alone.

ArtSee:  How do you think this will enhance the growing DC art scene?

CAMPELLO: Hopefully this volume and the next two volumes will begin to showcase, outside of our own artistic circles, the wealth of talent that lives and works out of the capital region.

ArtSee: What excites you most about the release of this book?

CAMPELLO: Being able to finally see the end product of a LOT of hard work – this process was not easy, and I have learned a lot of lessons for the next two volumes.

ArtSee: How was this book different from other work you’ve done in the past?

CAMPELLO: I was expecting to have difficulties working with 100 different and very talented people, and so I prepared ahead of time by really padding deadlines, etc. I was still down to the wire with a dozen artists or so, who just couldn’t make deadlines. It was also different in that I had to enlist several folks to help me with editing a lot of the text.

ArtSee: What is next? Will there be a second edition or does the book stop here?

CAMPELLO: I plan to try to create two more volumes with 200 additional artists. Because this is 2011, this book will not really go out of print, as the publisher can always have more printed as demand requires it. So far it has been selling quite well in pre-orders and most area bookstores and libraries have already ordered it.

ArtSee: Do you have a favorite?

CAMPELLO: When I announced the list of 100 artists is caused a mini debate storm all over the regional internet, and I know that I made 100 folks very happy and pissed off a few thousand other artists. If I pick a favorite from those 100 I stand the danger of pissing off the other 99. Oh hell: my favorite in this book is the amazing work of Victoria F. Gaitan.

ArtSee: As an artist yourself, were you inspired to create new work during the publishing process of this book?

CAMPELLO: Oh you bet! The whole process of creating this book was married to my own creation of artwork – it’s all in the foreword.

ArtSee: Which artists, if any, do you feel relate with your artwork the most?

CAMPELLO: Excellent question, but I’m afraid that I am a bit of an out layer. My most recent work marries video with drawing, but it is all still within a narrative context, so I suppose artists whose work try to tell a story, describe an event, make a social commentary, etc. would be the ones that would fit an answer to this question.

ArtSee: Do you have plans to curate an exhibit featuring the work of these artists in one place?

CAMPELLO: Yes – more on that later… I’ve had a couple of gallery spaces, both in the DC area and outside DC ask me about that.


Needless to say, both ArtSee and the DC community are tremendously excited about the release of 100 Artists of Washington, D.C. and especially look forward to seeing where the project evolves from here (we’re crossing our fingers for an upcoming exhibition!). The release party will be from 3-5pm, tomorrow (Saturday) July 23rd. There are a limited amount of books available for purchase at the event, or bring your own copy if you have it as many of the artists will be there to sign.


100 Artists of Washington, D.C Book Cover


Bringing the Art in DC to You,

Kendall E. Willey