Exhibits

09.22.17

SALVATORE PIRRONE: STRING ROOM

CulturalDC’s SPACE4: Arts Presents

Salvatore Pirrone’s String Room

 
Image for Press_Salvatore Pirrone_String Room

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 21 – November 15 at 301 Water St. SE

Opening Reception: Saturday, October 21, 6-8pm

Regular Hours: Wednesday-Thursday 2-8pm, Friday-Sunday 12-8pm

 

 

WASHINGTON, DC – CulturalDC is pleased to present String Room by Salvatore Pirrone, opening on October 21 at the Yards Park in Capitol Riverfront. In String Room, the first exhibition to take place in the SPACE4: Visual Arts mobile art gallery constructed from a shipping container, Pirrone creates an immersive experience where visitors can explore the themes of inclusion, fragility, and play. Using yarn donated by residents of Ward 6, Pirrone builds an intimate environment where people of all ages and abilities are encouraged to dismantle the room one piece at a time.

String Room reimagines the interior of the SPACE4: Visual Arts gallery with a series of large, string-filled plaster panels. The public’s involvement in String Room is critical to the completion of the exhibition. Visitors will be encouraged to select and pull string from the walls while exposing a new, unexpected physical environment beneath the surface.

One is led to make a creative choice and to leave their mark in the public space. Viewers will abandon their pulled strings on the floor as a visual cue for others. The traces of their activity will be evident in the thousands of string and crumbled plaster left on the gallery floor. The work is a call to action, and to dismantle the gallery walls is an act of personal empowerment and defiance. This work is also a celebration. In String Room, everyone is encouraged to cross institutional, political, and cultural boundaries through the simple act of pulling string from the wall. The exhibition culminates in a confetti-like space, reinforcing the celebratory nature of the exhibition.

 

 

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Salvatore Pirrone is a sculptor, designer, and educator working in the Washington, DC metro area. His practice exists at the intersection of art and design, with a particular interest in the themes of play, work, and identity. Coming out of an architecture and sculpture background, Pirrone looks at social, material, and experiential concerns situated in the built environment. Pirrone received his Master of Architecture degree from the University of Florida and an MFA from Parsons the New School for Design. Pirrone has exhibited throughout the East Coast of the US, including his most recent inclusion in the Intersections Festival in Washington, DC and the Interdisciplinarium exhibition at the Arlington Arts Center. He has taught Fine Art, Exhibition Design, and Interior Design studios at the Corcoran in DC. Pirrone is an artist Fellowship Mentor with Hamiltonian Gallery and an Assistant Professor of Interior Design at Marymount University in Arlington, VA.

 

 

ABOUT CULTURALDC

CulturalDC has a 19-year history of creating affordable, sustainable artist spaces in the Washington, D.C., area. CulturalDC has brokered more than 250,000 square feet of artist space, including the Atlas Performing Arts Center, GALA Hispanic Theatre, Source Theatre and Woolly Mammoth Theatre. Each year, CulturalDC serves more than 1,000 artists and welcomes 30,000 audience members and participants who patronize local businesses and contribute an estimated $1 million to the local economy.

CulturalDC is generously supported by, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, The Community Foundation for the National Capitol Region, Daimler, The National Endowment for the Arts, DC Office of Planning, AT&T, Washington Gas, Busboys and Poets/Mulebone, Susan and Dixon Butler Hank & Carol Goldberg, Lockheed Martin, Menkiti Group, Stephen Stein, and VOA Associates.

 

 

ABOUT SPACE4: VISUAL ARTS

CulturalDC’s SPACE4: Visual Arts will continue our strong history of presenting cutting edge artwork and emerging artists through a mobile art gallery. SPACE4: Visual Arts allows artists to transform a fully-outfitted 40ft shipping container into an immersive environment. The container will move across the city for the 2017-2018 season, with a new exhibit and a different community project in every neighborhood it visits. By outfitting a portable shipping container as a multi-functional space for art and by partnering with unconventional venues across the city, SPACE4: Visual Arts ensures that communities experience and engage in groundbreaking works.

Exhibitions were solicited through a competitive open-call process. Selected projects were recommended by an advisory panel comprised of noted artists and arts professionals in the DC area. This season’s panel includes Tonya Jordan, a multi-disciplinary arts consultant, independent curator, and public art management specialist; Akemi Maegawa, a Corcoran alumni and artist specializing in sculpture and installation works; Laura Roulet, an independent curator specializing in contemporary and Latin American art and fostering artists in the DMV region; and Schwanda Rountree, independent curator and collector for Rountree Art Consulting.

05.18.17

DANIELLE SCRUGGS: MIGRATIONS

Danielle Scruggs_Image for Press_Mom[RESIZED]

DANIELLE SCRUGGS

MIGRATIONS
June 10 – June 30, 2017
Opening Reception: Saturday, June 10 from 6-8pm

WASINGTON, DC – CulturalDC is pleased to present Migrations by Danielle A. Scruggs from June 10 through June 30 at Flashpoint Gallery. Migrations combines original portraits and archival photos of Scruggs’ family members to trace her personal family history and explore the Great Migration of the early to mid-20th century, which is directly connected to the lingering effects of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.

During the U.S. Great Migration, between 1910 and 1970, thousands of Black families relocated from Southern towns and cities to Northern cities such as Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, and New York to escape dead-end jobs and Jim Crow racism and to build better lives for themselves and future generations. Both sides of Scruggs’ family were a part of this move. They were sharecroppers and farmers who relocated from Fordyce, Arkansas and Clarksdale, Mississippi to Peoria, Illinois and Chicago, Illinois, respectively.

In Migrations, Scruggs combines archival family photos and modern portraits she has taken of her family members. In doing so, she pieces together more about her personal family history and places it within a larger context about how these relocations and cultural shifts affected both her own family members’ lives and the lives of thousands of Black families in America.

Overall, Scrugg’s practice, which includes photography, text, and installation, explores the various ways one can navigate, shape, and take up physical and psychic space, and how this leads to the construction of the self. Scruggs is particularly interested in her family’s origin stories and exploring a small aspect of what it means to be Black in America, and how those histories affect us in the present day.

Image: Danielle Scruggs, Mom, 2015. Archival inkjet print, 30”x40”

 

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Danielle A. Scruggs is a photographer and photo director. Her work has been exhibited at the Center for Photography at Woodstock, A.I.R. Gallery, Arlington Arts Center, Pleasant Plains Workshop, the National Institutes of Health, Roman Susan Gallery, and the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, among other museums and galleries throughout the United States.She has also been an artist-in-residence at the Center for Photography at Woodstock, Byrdcliffe Colony, The Wassaic Project, and Pleasant Plains Workshop. In 2015, she established Black Women Directors, an online resource highlighting the art and labor of Black women directors from across the Diaspora. That same year, she was part of the inaugural Thread at Yale class.

Danielle received her M.A. from the Maryland Institute College of Art and her B.A. from Howard University. After living in Washington, D.C. for several years, she recently relocated to her hometown of Chicago, where she is currently the Director of Photography at the Chicago Reader newspaper.

 

ABOUT CULTURALDC’S VISUAL ARTS PROGRAM

CulturalDC operates Flashpoint Gallery and produces public art interventions throughout DC. We nurture talented emerging and mid-career artists by providing opportunities for peer learning and mentorship. At Flashpoint, we showcase bold, new work from artists working in a variety of media including site-specific installations, performance pieces, new media, and other experimental forms. As a nonprofit gallery free from the constraints of commercial expectations, Flashpoint provides artists and curators a unique opportunity to take creative risks. An advisory panel of noted artists and arts professionals makes programming recommendations for the gallery and provides mentorship and support to exhibiting artists.

CulturalDC is generously supported by DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, DC Office of Planning, The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, Daimler, Washington Gas, AT&T, Busboys and Poets/Mulebone, Lockheed Martin, Menkiti Group, VOA & Associates, Bozzuto, Torti Gallas and Partners.

 

DANIELLE SCRUGGS: MIGRATIONS

Exhibition Dates:
June 10, 2017 –  June 30, 2017

Opening Reception:
Saturday, June 10, 2017 from 6-8pm (free and open to the public)

Luce Foundation Center Artist Talk:
Saturday, July 29, 1:30pm (free and open to the public)
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Third Floor

Flashpoint Gallery Hours:
Wednesday – Saturday, 12-6pm or by appointment

05.03.17

KHANH LE: WHILE WE WAIT

Khanh Le_Image for Press_Standing at the Gate with His New White Tennis Shoe and T-Shirt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KHÁNH LÊ

WHILE WE WAIT
May 13 – June 3, 2017
Opening Reception: Friday, May 12 from 6-8pm

WASINGTON, DC – CulturalDC is pleased to present While We Wait by Khánh H. Lê from May 13 through June 3 at Flashpoint Gallery. The exhibition features work by the DC interdisciplinary artist focusing on mixed-media photography. In recent years, news of Syrian refugees in Europe and immigration issues here in the United States caused Lê to reflect on his personal experiences as he and his family waited for permission to immigrate to the United States in the late 80s. For this exhibition, Lê began by re-photographing old family photographs taken either just before leaving Vietnam or during their stay in refugee camps in Thailand and Hong Kong. He then began his own practice of abstracting those memories through embellishment.

Lê’s work is a hybrid of design, minimalism, photography, abstract painting, and bedazzling. He transforms everyday family photo albums into colorful abstractions using gold gelly roll pens, sequins, acrylic stickers, and acrylic crystals. Because these scrapbooking materials have little perceived value, there is freedom to embed culturally specific references within fading memories and identities.These added materials alter, interrupt, and give new possibile meanings to these captured memories. What originated as personal memories become part of a shared public memory. In his practice, Lê combines cultural signifiers with abstraction and popular culture to create new work that is either pure abstraction, identity-based art, or both.

Image: Khánh Lê, Standing at the Gate with His New White Tennis Shoe and T-Shirt, 2017. Mixed media: gold and silver paint, acrylic jewels, and toner and gel transfer on wood panel. 42”x30”x2”

 

ABOUT THE ARTIST

For Lê, identity plays a central role in artistic output. He continuously probes his personal and familial histories in an attempt to carve out a cultural identity for himself. Lê graduated with his BFA from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville and his MFA from Syracuse University. His work has been exhibited at the Hunterdon Art Museum (Clinton, NJ), Visual Arts at Chautauqua Institution (Chautauqua, NY), Corcoran Gallery of Art (Washington, DC), Vox Populi (Philadelphia, PA), Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts (Wilmington, DE), Arlington Arts Center (Arlington, VA), Honfleur Gallery (Washington, DC), DC Arts Center (Washington, DC), Washington Project for the Arts (Washington, DC), and Transformer (Washington, DC). The New York Art Residency and Studio awarded Lê the 2016 Annual Solo Exhibition Fellowship. The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities awarded Lê the Artist Fellowship for the Visual Arts in 2017. Lê continues to live and work in Washington, DC, where he actively explores and questions the notion of identities through the lenses of culture and memories.

 

ABOUT CULTURALDC’S VISUAL ARTS PROGRAM

CulturalDC operates Flashpoint Gallery and produces public art interventions throughout DC. We nurture talented emerging and mid-career artists by providing opportunities for peer learning and mentorship. At Flashpoint, we showcase bold, new work from artists working in a variety of media including site-specific installations, performance pieces, new media, and other experimental forms. As a nonprofit gallery free from the constraints of commercial expectations, Flashpoint provides artists and curators a unique opportunity to take creative risks. An advisory panel of noted artists and arts professionals makes programming recommendations for the gallery and provides mentorship and support to exhibiting artists.

CulturalDC is generously supported by DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, DC Office of Planning, The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, Daimler, Washington Gas, AT&T, Busboys and Poets/Mulebone, Lockheed Martin, Menkiti Group, VOA & Associates, Bozzuto, Torti Gallas and Partners.

 

 

KHÁNH LÊ: WHILE WE WAIT

Exhibition Dates:
May 13, 2017 –  June 3, 2017

Opening Reception:
Friday, May 12, 2017 from 6-8pm (free and open to the public)

Luce Foundation Center Artist Talk:
Sunday, May 21, 1:30pm (free and open to the public)
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Third Floor

Flashpoint Gallery Hours:
Wednesday – Saturday, 12-6pm or by appointment

04.16.17

Sculpting with Persuasion and Resistance: An Interview with Christian Benefiel by Mike Iacovone

 

Christian Benefiel’s show Developing an Argument at Flashpoint Gallery is an intricate set of sculptures composed of wood. Each of the three delicate sculptures carry various amounts of tension. As a viewer it’s not clear if they’re about to fall over, or if they’ll stand forever, similar to some of Richard Serra’s work. They command attention in the hallway-like gallery, and occupy the space as individual pieces demanding your inquiries about how they’re made, and how they stand on their own. It begs the question: are they improvised, or meticulously planned?

The largest piece in the exhibit, “A Way Through or Around,” occupies the center of the gallery and allows the viewer to peer into the center of the slightly torqued tunnel that passes through, which allows for a better understanding of the construction. A series of carefully assembled wood pieces make up the skeleton of the work while they are bound together by thin boards bent through and between them.

Christian Benefiel

“Factions of People Certain of What They Believe is Oppression,” which is quite possibly the best title I’ve ever seen, is the smallest piece in the show and made of modular pods connected with wood slats. Its scale in relation to the other pieces is much less imposing; this shouldn’t discount its importance, although it made it feel less important until I spent more time walking around and enjoying the intricacies of the construction, and what must have been in reality, an elaborate plan.

After having the opportunity to speak with Christian about the work, he revealed that there was so much more to these pieces (as there often is) than their formal compositions.

The pieces look both sturdy and fragile. They look methodically constructed, and also chaotically bound together. They look brand-new and also recycled.  Are you toeing that line with the intent of highlighting that argument?  

Christian Bebefiel: I am, I think that the underlying theme in this work is the balance between absolutes. It is so rare that anyone definitively “wins” in an argument. The elements (both physical and aesthetic) in each piece are in a type of dialogue. When it comes to debate and argument I am a big fan of the Oxford style, where the goal is not to convince people of your stance, but to sway opinion in your favor generally.

It is so rare that anyone definitively “wins” in an argument. The elements (both physical and aesthetic) in each piece are in a type of dialogue. When it comes to debate and argument I am a big fan of the Oxford style, where the goal is not to convince people of your stance, but to sway opinion in your favor generally.

Other dichotomies I am particularly focused on in the design and fabrication of these works is a balance between craft and brutality, Scale and intricacy, and interior/exterior space, as well as natural and synthetic,  Structure and collapse, Color balance, etc.

The scale you’re using seems to be leaning towards human sized—big enough for the viewer to walk around and look through, and imposing enough to feel a menacing gruffness that would prevent people from touching. How do you see the sizes of the pieces effecting the way the viewers might experience the show?

The honest answer is that this is really just the scale I am most comfortable working with. I like to build into a space, and to walk around, change perspective and respond at life scale during construction.  The scale is in response to the space. They are an obstacle, and a mass in the space, significant, but not impassable, or imposing.

As far as looking through, I think at a certain point there is some self-portraiture in my work, and I am often imagining these pieces as spaces that might actually be occupied by my (or a) body. In construction I am intimately incorporated into the work, and am forced to think about and how my body fits into and feels beyond looking through. There are pretty obvious portals, tunnels etc. in these works, and for the scale of those the opening is passable, but not without some form of struggle or wriggling.

Christian Benefiel

The pieces all seem to be modular, in that they could take somewhat different forms if you were to take them apart and reassemble them. It really felt like something I’d want to take apart and reassemble—like legos. When you’re envisioning them how close does your vision and the reality of the finished piece line up?   

I almost always design for a space, the first time that they are installed, and some of the works are more versatile than others. Part of the exciting thing for me in this work is that often I do not see the pieces in entirety until they go up on site. The modularity of the pieces allows some flexibility and customization in each installation, which lets me respond to the space in real time. The drawback is that working with the tension as a primary binder for the work, the same work is never exactly the same from one space to the next.

When assembling, do you consider other iterations?  

The structure in these particular pieces is more defined and calculated that some of the works that use found and appropriated objects so the re-installation of them is more formulaic with what I would expect to be similar finished aesthetic. These parts in particular are designed to go together in a very specific way, and might not work if assembled incorrectly.

Christian Benefiel

What is it about the shape of the helix in “A Way Through or Around” that interested you?

It is based around the helical protein structure in viruses and how that is broken when the organism is dying. The pieces form a tight tubular pattern which form a tight structure while still together. They are presented at the moment of breakdown. I was inspired to build this reading about the natural antimicrobial properties of copper and the way in which it naturally and chemically dissolves this outer membrane exposing and draining the cells of other essential elements. There are numerous theories about how and why this happens, here is a brief Wikipedia page about it, but my favorite one is that the conductivity of copper and silver disrupts basic chemical processes at this level which can cause catastrophic failure in these organisms.

While a bit morbid, the science is fascinating, and the longevity of evidence is inspiring. I often look at my work as a type of photograph, a frozen moment where the collapse is imminent. It is a self reflective exercise in which I am forced to confront my own impermanence, which I find somehow more calming as in inevitability than a hypothetical.

This is the idea of the debate as a using elements inherent in opposition argument to undermine their perspective. The piece depicts the point where on element begins to fall apart and open up to scrutiny and disassembly.

This show was exhibited at Flashpoint Gallery, 916 G st NW Washington DC March 18 – April 8, 2017.

http://www.bmoreart.com/2017/04/developing-an-argument-html.html

 

04.07.17

Developing An Argument Is An Ambitious, Disjointed Realization

<i>Developing An Argument</i> is an Ambitious, Disjointed Realization

Developing An Argument Is An Ambitious, Disjointed Realization

By:
04/07/2017

Christian Benefiel makes art that’s not meant to last. Not only does he use the natural supportive structure of his sculptures to keep them together, foregoing glue, nails, or any other  binding material, but he also deconstructs his sculptures once their exhibition life is up. In his show at the Flashpoint Gallery entitled Developing An Argument, he incorporates this momentary nature into the theme of debate, showcasing point and counterpoint in covertly meticulous woodwork.

Benefiel’s main idea is the contrast between balance and tension, a central concept within argumentation. His three sculptures on display at Flashpoint exemplify this contrast, with each piece balancing on and against itself. The first piece, titled “On the Outside, Looking in, To a hole,” is large, wooden, and wheel-shaped, with shards jutting out in all angles, but which holds a solid and sure form. The hole in the center of the piece is like a hole in an argument; the piece is not a strong debate, but instead a circular argument.

The piece is definitely more conceptual than intricate. It doesn’t feel as if there is any sort of purpose to where the shards of wood are going or where they are placed except to find balance in the piece itself. Yes, this is artistic and meaningful within itself, but it does leave more to be desired from the sculpture.

The last piece in the gallery, “A way through or around” is a long tube-like object with wooden shards jutting out of all sides, similar to the first sculpture. However, this one is different in that it is the only piece that includes color. By creating an ombre effect with blue and pink hues, the artist said he is showing gradation and movement rather than representing a larger metaphor. This work is definitely his strongest, with its subtle curvature contrasted by the chaos of the wooden shards. The sculpture feels both tough and fragile since it is only connected to itself, alluding to more than its physical form in the way it emphasizes the constructive process of sculpting.

“I look at my work as being in a frozen state of collapse; it’s not to be preserved,” Benefiel said at an artists talk on March 26. “It’s a very egotistical thing to say ‘this art is meant to outlast me.’”

The construction and concept of his work is tremendous. There is an intense intricacy to what Benefiel does, and his background in metallurgy and woodworking shows through his impeccable designs. Though his sculptures are abstract, there is a definitive meaning and assemblance to it all. Furthermore, using the theme of argumentation to inspire physical entities is especially encapsulating. Benefiel’s sculptures force the viewer to think about their own style of debate, and whether or not their ideas flow or sharply emerge, mirrored in the structure of the pieces.

However, Benefiel denied that his exhibit at the Flashpoint is a collection. He explained that there is more to the theme than just those three pieces, explaining the feeling that something is lacking from the works on display. While they are individually thought-provoking, they are not as cohesive as one would hope. And while the wheel and the tube-shaped works have a definite connection, the middle piece, a grounded sculpture that lacks the same striking, jutting angles of the other two, feels amiss along the much larger eye-level pieces.

Developing An Argument is definitely a masterwork in meaning. The simultaneously obvious and unconscious message of debate is incredibly thought-provoking, ambitious, and deliberate. Though it lacks in cohesion, the pieces mean more individually than they would as a group. Overall, Benefiel proves himself to be a powerful force in the DMV art scene and a strong addition to the Flashpoint.

Image Credits: Photo source: Courtesy of CulturalDC and Tony Hitchcock Photography

http://georgetownvoice.com/2017/04/07/developing-an-argument-is-an-ambitious-disjointed-realization/

03.14.17

BLAIR MURPHY: FOOTPRINT aka THE LANSBURGH’S NOTEBOOK

Blair Murphy_Image for Press_Copyright Karen Ruckman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BLAIR MURPHY

FOOTPRINT aka THE LANSBURGH’S NOTEBOOK

April 15 – May 6, 2017
Reception: Friday, April 21 from 6-8pm

WASINGTON, DC – CulturalDC is pleased to present Footprint aka the Lansburgh’s Notebook from April 15 through May 6 at Flashpoint Gallery. The exhibition, curated by Blair Murphy, brings together photographs and other documentation to celebrate past arts spaces in downtown Washington, DC.

“Downtown is home to many artists and small arts groups, which can expect to be displaced if the area succumbs to the soul-less sterility embodied in K Street-style development. Our proposal is an attempt to spark discussion of Metrocenter development by all parties concerned, before the demolition and construction begin.”

– Richard Ridley, John Reyner, and Patrick Carey

“Paper Building,” Art Ink, Spring 1979, Published by the Museum of Temporary Art.

Footprint aka the Lansburgh’s Notebook explores the history of arts spaces in downtown DC, from the underrecognized legacy of the Museum of Temporary Art, led by Janet Schmuckal from 1974 until 1982, to the long legacy of Miya Gallery, an arts space dedicated to black art and culture run by Vernard Gray in several locations in downtown DC between 1976 and 2001. Over the last several decades, downtown DC has been home to dozens of galleries, non-profit organizations, dance companies, small theater spaces, and artist studio buildings. Nearly all of these spaces are now gone; many are also nearly forgotten. The exhibition’s title refers to The Lansburgh’s Notebook­­ ­– a trove of meeting notes, letters, contact lists, and other ephemera that document efforts to transform several floors of the Lansburgh Building into a central location for dozens of arts groups from across the city. The notebook was organized by Janet Schmuckal and can be found in the papers of the Museum of Temporary Art, contained in the Archives of American Art.

The history of arts spaces downtown is intertwined with the history of DC’s development, especially efforts by the DC Redevelopment Land Agency and the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation to redevelop large swaths of downtown DC. Smaller arts organizations benefited temporarily, gaining access to empty space at a low cost. However, as development efforts moved forward throughout the 1980s and 1990s, these small groups lost their spaces and relocated to other parts of the city, or shut down entirely. Footprint aka the Lansburgh’s Notebook begins to archive and document this history, with a focus on the physical locations occupied by artists and arts organizations in the downtown core from the early 1970s to the present day.

Image: Organizers and potential tenants of the Washington Humanities and Arts Center outside the Lansburgh Building at 7th and E streets NW, 1979. Photograph copyright Karen Ruckman.

ABOUT THE CURATOR

Blair Murphy is an independent curator and cultural worker based in Washington, DC and the Managing Director of DC Arts Center. She was a Helena Rubinstein Curatorial Fellow of the Whitney Independent Study Program from 2014 to 2015. Her past curatorial projects include exhibitions at The Kitchen (New York, NY), Field Projects (New York, NY), Arlington Arts Center (Arlington, VA), Washington Project for the Arts (Washington, DC), VisArts Rockville (Rockville, MD), DC Arts Center (Washington, DC), and SPRING/BREAK Art Show (New York, NY). She has written for Hyperallergic, BmoreArt, and Daily Serving, among other outlets. She holds a BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art and an MA from Georgetown University.

ABOUT CULTURALDC’S VISUAL ARTS PROGRAM

CulturalDC operates Flashpoint Gallery and produces public art interventions throughout DC. We nurture talented emerging and mid-career artists by providing opportunities for peer learning and mentorship. At Flashpoint, we showcase bold, new work from artists working in a variety of media including site-specific installations, performance pieces, new media, and other experimental forms. As a nonprofit gallery free from the constraints of commercial expectations, Flashpoint provides artists and curators a unique opportunity to take creative risks. An advisory panel of noted artists and arts professionals makes programming recommendations for the gallery and provides mentorship and support to exhibiting artists.

CulturalDC is generously supported by DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, DC Office of Planning, The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, Daimler, Washington Gas, AT&T, Busboys and Poets/Mulebone, Lockheed Martin, Menkiti Group, VOA & Associates, Bozzuto, Torti Gallas and Partners.

 

BLAIR MURPHY: FOOTPRINT aka THE LANSBURGH’S NOTEBOOK

Exhibition Dates:
April 15, 2017 –  May 6, 2017

Reception:
Friday, April 21, 2017 from 6-8pm (free and open to the public)

Luce Foundation Center Artist Talk:
Sunday, April 30, 1:30pm (free and open to the public)
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Third Floor

Flashpoint Gallery Hours:
Wednesday – Saturday, 12-6pm or by appointment

02.15.17

CHRISTIAN BENEFIEL: DEVELOPING AN ARGUMENT

Christian Benefiel_Image for Press_Factions of people Certain of what they believe is Oppression

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHRISTIAN BENEFIEL

DEVELOPING AN ARGUMENT
March 18 – April 8, 2017
Reception: Friday, March 24 from 6-8pm

WASHINGTON, DC – CulturalDC is pleased to present Developing an Argument by Christian Benefiel from March 18 through April 8 at Flashpoint Gallery. The exhibition features new work by the Maryland sculptor investigating an argument as the application of persuasion and resistance.

Christian Benefiel’s sculptures address the interaction of elements in systems. His work is driven by the way that a social construct is dependent on balance and tension, both physically and visually. In the end, the argument itself is the construction, the product, and the notion that an issue is more complex than opinion. Through physical structures constructed from networks of wooden and found material forced against itself, Benefiel visualizes the human desire to selectively manipulate the existing environment for purpose or comfort. The form of the works plays on a psychology of species, the connection to materials and places beyond the civilized or enlightened world, and the role and method of individual pieces that make up the larger ideas of arguments and dialogue.

Image credit: Christian Benefiel, Factions of people Certain of what they believe is Oppression, 2017. Wood, dimensions variable (approx. 36”x40”x48”)

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Christian Benefiel is a Maryland-based artist focusing on sculpture and installation. His work has been featured in many solo and group exhibitions both nationally and in Europe. Recent shows include Structural Tissue at BlackRock Center for the Arts in Germantown, MD, Sea of Tranquility, Ocean of Doubt at VisArts in Rockville, MD, Indirect Effect at AREA 405 in Baltimore, MD, and the Foggy Bottom Sculpture Biennial in Washington, DC. His sculptures can be found in public parks and schools in Kentucky, Minnesota, Maryland, DC, and Finland. Internationally, Benefiel’s work has been included in exhibitions in Latvia, Estonia, Finland, and England. He is the recipient of the Hamiltonian Fellowship, MSAC Individual Artist Grant, and a US Fulbright Grant to Helsinki, Finland. He teaches sculpture at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, WV.

ABOUT CULTURALDC’S VISUAL ARTS PROGRAM

CulturalDC operates Flashpoint Gallery and produces public art interventions throughout DC. We nurture talented emerging and mid-career artists by providing opportunities for peer learning and mentorship. At Flashpoint, we showcase bold, new work from artists working in a variety of media including site-specific installations, performance pieces, new media, and other experimental forms. As a nonprofit gallery free from the constraints of commercial expectations, Flashpoint provides artists and curators a unique opportunity to take creative risks. An advisory panel of noted artists and arts professionals makes programming recommendations for the gallery and provides mentorship and support to exhibiting artists.

CulturalDC is generously supported by DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, DC Office of Planning, The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, Daimler, Washington Gas, AT&T, Busboys and Poets/Mulebone, Lockheed Martin, Menkiti Group, VOA & Associates, Bozzuto, Torti Gallas and Partners.

 

 

CHRISTIAN BENEFIEL: DEVELOPING AN ARGUMENT

Exhibition Dates:
March 18, 2017 –  April 8, 2017

Reception:
Friday, March 24, 2017 from 6-8pm (free and open to the public) 

Luce Foundation Center Artist Talk:
Sunday, March 26, 1:30pm (free and open to the public)
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Third Floor

Flashpoint Gallery Hours:
Wednesday – Saturday, 12-6pm or by appointment 

01.06.17

SPARKPLUG COLLECTIVE – SELFIE: ME, MYSELF, AND US

Michael Booker_Image for Press_Etch-A-Sketch Bust

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


SPARKPLUG COLLECTIVE

SELFIE: ME, MYSELF, AND US
February 11 – March 11, 2017
Opening reception: Friday, February 10 from 6-8pm

WASHINGTON, DC – CulturalDC is pleased to present Selfie: Me, Myself and Us by the Sparkplug Collective from February 11 through March 11 at Flashpoint Gallery. The exhibition features innovative work by eight local artists who will examine our cultural obsession with selfies and our narcissistic desire to record and manipulate digital representations of ourselves.

Do selfies represent the downfall of our self-absorbed culture? Are we drowning our deeper selves in a shallow, mesmerizing pool of our own digital reflections? Ultimately, the truth is much more nuanced and complex. People mold their digital identities through selfies, carefully constructing alternate worlds where appearance is more important than reality. Artists have been engaging in this same act of self-portraiture for thousands of years, since paint first appeared on cave walls. In Selfie, the Sparkplug Collective will explore concepts of identity, transformation, and personal deception through painting, sculpture, mixed media, photography, and a site-specific performance.

Image credit: Michael Booker, Etch-A-Sketch Bust, 2016. Oil on woven canvas, 30”x40”

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

The DC Arts Center selected the members of the Sparkplug Collective for a two-year program that features annual curated group exhibitions at the DC Arts Center, studio visits, artist talks, and collaboration on independent exhibitions and projects. The eight local artists in the fourth incarnation of the Sparkplug Collective have diverse backgrounds and experiences that span artistic traditions and the arbitrary lines of race, gender, and ethnicity. The collective includes Michael Booker, Delesslin “Roo” George-Warren, Megan Maher, Jerome Skiscim, Brendan L. Smith, Casey Snyder, Jerry Truong, and Fabiola Alvarez Yurcisin.

ABOUT CULTURALDC’S VISUAL ARTS PROGRAM

CulturalDC operates Flashpoint Gallery and produces public art interventions throughout DC. We nurture talented emerging and mid-career artists by providing opportunities for peer learning and mentorship. At Flashpoint, we showcase bold, new work from artists working in a variety of media including site-specific installations, performance pieces, new media, and other experimental forms. As a nonprofit gallery free from the constraints of commercial expectations, Flashpoint provides artists and curators a unique opportunity to take creative risks. An advisory panel of noted artists and arts professionals makes programming recommendations for the gallery and provides mentorship and support to exhibiting artists.

CulturalDC is generously supported by DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, DC Office of Planning, The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, Daimler, Washington Gas, AT&T, Busboys and Poets/Mulebone, Lockheed Martin, Menkiti Group, VOA & Associates, Bozzuto, Torti Gallas and Partners.

 

 

SPARKPLUG COLLECTIVE – SELFIE: ME, MYSELF, AND US

Exhibition Dates:
February 11 – March 11, 2017

Opening Reception:
Friday, February 10, 2017 from 6-8pm (free and open to the public)

Luce Foundation Center Artist Talk:
Sunday, February 26, 1:30pm (free and open to the public)
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Third Floor

Flashpoint Gallery Hours:
Wednesday – Saturday, 12-6pm or by appointment

12.09.16

EAMES ARMSTRONG & JOHN MOLETRESS: PERVERSION THERAPY

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EAMES ARMSTRONG & JOHN MOLETRESS

PERVERSION THERAPY
January 14 – February 4, 2017
Opening reception & performance: Friday, January 13 from 6-9pm
Performance event: Wednesday, January 18 from 7-9pm

WASHINGTON, DC – CulturalDC is pleased to present Perversion Therapy by Eames Armstrong and John Moletress from January 14 through February 4 at Flashpoint Gallery. Opening a week before the presidential inauguration, the exhibition Perversion Therapy points to the anti-LGBTQ history of the president elect and members of his chosen cabinet through a celebration of queer bliss and domestic deviance.

The exhibition features paintings, performance objects, and multimedia installations. It will also include a live performance at the opening reception on Friday the Thirteenth, and a second performance the following week on Wednesday, January 18. The performances will be outrageous – not to be missed! The artists will subvert the practice of conversion therapy—an abusive tactic of brainwashing meant to “correct” queer and gender nonconforming people. Instead, Perversion Therapy affirms queerness, along with transgression, filth, eroticism, noise, happiness, and friendship.

image credit: Eames Armstrong, Thieves Like Us, 2016. Acrylic on canvas, 16”x20”

 

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Eames Armstrong (they/she) works in performance, noise, language, and time. Eames has performed at the Fringe platform at the Venice International Performance Art Week (Italy), Houston International Performance Art Biennale (Texas), High Zero Festival of Experimental Improvised Music (Baltimore, MD), Mobius, Inc. (Cambridge, MA), Rats9 (Montreal, Quebec), Grace Exhibition Space (Brooklyn, NY), Defibrillator Performance Art Gallery (Chicago, IL), Arts in Foggy Bottom Outdoor Sculpture Biennial (Washington, D.C.) and Capital Fringe Festival (Washington, D.C.). In 2016, Eames was selected for the Emerging Curator Program at VisArts in Rockville, MD, as well as the S&R Foundation studio program in Washington, D.C. They curated the 2013 Supernova Performance Art Festival (Rosslyn, VA), programmed a monthly performance series Soapbox at Hillyer Art Space (Washington, D.C.), co-curated events at Panoply Performance Lab (Brooklyn, NY) and Massachusetts College of Art and Design (Boston, MA), and have organized exhibitions at numerous alternative spaces in the Washington, D.C. area. Eames received a BFA from The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in 2010, and an MFA in studio art with an unofficial minor in dance from The George Washington University in 2016. Eames is interested in conflict and difficulty, complicated gestures, and the ritual celebration of confusion and illegibility. eamesarmstrong.com

John Moletress is a multi-disciplined artist, educator, and Founding Director of force/collision, an interdisciplinary performance ensemble. With force/collision, they have co-created and directed The Nautical Yards with Erica Rebollar/Rebollar Dance, Shape (text by Erik Ehn), Trust me (text by Falk Richter) and Jarman (all this maddening beauty) with Caridad Svich (International/US). Their work has been seen within the US at The Kennedy Center, Abrons Art Center, La MaMa ETC, Highways Performance Space, Intersections Festival, Fusebox Festival, Arena Stage, New Dramatists, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Studio Theatre, FUNDarte/Out In The Tropics, OUTsider Festival, The George Washington University, and EMP Collective, to name a few. Internationally, their work has been seen at King’s College London, Homotopia/unity theatre (UK), Warehouse 9 (DK), The Gulbenkian (UK) and The House at Plymouth University (UK). Previously, they were awarded the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Emerging Theatre for co-founding Factory 449, they received multiple funding awards from the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities, and they were a finalist for the prestigious DC 2012 Mayor’s Arts Award for Excellence. They have directed premieres by playwrights Erik Ehn, Caridad Svich, and Craig Wright. Publications include Innovation in Five Acts: Strategies for Theatre and Performance (ed. Caridad Svich; Theatre Communications Group), Wendell. (Playwright; NoPassport Press), Jarman (all this maddening beauty) and Other Texts (Intellect Books UK) and Imaging Home: Practice, Performance, Place (Forthcoming, Intellect Books UK). JohnMoletress.com

 

ABOUT CULTURALDC’S VISUAL ARTS PROGRAM

CulturalDC operates Flashpoint Gallery and produces public art interventions throughout DC. We nurture talented emerging and mid-career artists by providing opportunities for peer learning and mentorship. At Flashpoint, we showcase bold, new work from artists working in a variety of media including site-specific installations, performance pieces, new media, and other experimental forms. As a nonprofit gallery free from the constraints of commercial expectations, Flashpoint provides artists and curators a unique opportunity to take creative risks. An advisory panel of noted artists and arts professionals makes programming recommendations for the gallery and provides mentorship and support to exhibiting artists.

CulturalDC is generously supported by DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, DC Office of Planning, The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, Daimler, Washington Gas, AT&T, Busboys and Poets/Mulebone, Lockheed Martin, Menkiti Group, VOA & Associates, Bozzuto, Torti Gallas and Partners.

 

EAMES ARMSTRONG & JOHN MOLETRESS: PERVERSION THERAPY

Exhibition Dates:
January 14, 2017 –  February 4, 2017

Opening Reception:
Friday, January 13, 2017 from 6-9pm (free and open to the public) 

Performance Event:

Wednesday, January 18, 2017 from 7-9pm (free and open to the public)

Luce Foundation Center Artist Talk:
Saturday, February 4, 1:30pm (free and open to the public)
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Third Floor

Flashpoint Gallery Hours:
Wednesday – Saturday, 12-6pm or by appointment 

10.26.16

ANNETTE ISHAM & ZAC WILLIS: WE ARE NOT ALONE

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ANNETTE ISHAM & ZAC WILLIS

WE ARE NOT ALONE
December 9, 2016 – January 7, 2017
Opening reception: Saturday, December 10 from 6-8pm

WASHINGTON, DC – CulturalDC is pleased to present We Are Not Alone by Annette Isham and Zac Willis from December 9 through January 7 at Flashpoint Gallery. We Are Not Alone is an installation that investigates the belief of extraterrestrial existence. Through eyewitness testimony, reenactments, and video documentation, the artists will create a celestial installation that explores individuals and their evidence suggesting mankind is not alone on Earth.

This idea that “we are not alone” is something with which Isham and Willis have always had a fascination. Growing up watching television shows like The X-Files and Unsolved Mysteries, and experiencing intimate testimonials of unnatural occurrences made it difficult to believe that alien beings are not among us, despite over half the country’s disbelief in such lifeforms. There is a small percentage of the population who have come into contact with an extraterrestrial. The majority of these people, however, live in fear of society’s judgment, afraid to speak out about their abductions and other encounters. It is these stories and experiences that Isham and Willis will examine and recreate in their exhibition.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Annette Isham and Zac Willis have worked collaboratively for that last several years. Both artists pursue collaboration to play off one another, one up each other, and explore new territories with their work. Their practice is vast, ranging from the completion of a podcast series to the running of a show space for artists called Centerfold Artist at Project 4 in Washington, DC. They have fabricated acoustic installations such as Bathroom Whispers for the (e)merge art fair in DC and Bench Whispers for Harford Community College in Maryland. Their work also includes mixed media collages like Thee Thy King of Kings, shown in the Hamiltonian Gallery in DC and at AQUA Miami. Most recently, Isham and Willis exhibited a multimedia installation at the Arlington Arts Center in Virginia that was featured in the exhibition PLAY. In their work, they have explored themes surrounding religion, idolization, iconizing dead celebrities, competition, and failure. Isham and Willis are now shifting their focus toward investigating myths and metaphysics—in particular, the influence of these topics on popular culture belief systems.

ABOUT CULTURALDC’S VISUAL ARTS PROGRAM

CulturalDC operates Flashpoint and produces public art interventions throughout DC. We nurture talented emerging and mid-career artists by providing opportunities for peer learning and mentorship. At Flashpoint Gallery, we showcase bold, new work from artists working in a variety of media including site-specific installations, performance pieces, new media, and other experimental forms. As a nonprofit gallery free from the constraints of commercial expectations, Flashpoint provides artists and curators a unique opportunity to take creative risks. An advisory panel of noted artists and arts professionals makes programming recommendations for the gallery and provides mentorship and support to exhibiting artists.

CulturalDC is generously supported by DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, DC Office of Planning, The Community Foundation for the National Capitol Region, Daimler, Washington Gas, AT&T, Busboys and Poets/Mulebone, Lockheed Martin, Menkiti Group, VOA & Associates, Bozzuto, Torti Gallas and Partners.

 

ANNETTE ISHAM & ZAC WILLIS: WE ARE NOT ALONE

Exhibition Dates:
December 9, 2016 – January 7, 2017

Opening Reception:
Saturday, December 10, 2016 from 6-8pm (free and open to the public) 

Luce Foundation Center Artist Talk:
Saturday, December 10, 1:30pm (free and open to the public)
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Third Floor

Flashpoint Gallery Hours:
Wednesday – Saturday, 12-6pm or by appointment

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