Archive | July, 2011

Introducing MFA Artist BILLY COLBERT

26 Jul
Billy Colbert's 'Watching Something Happen When You Know You Should Stop It'

Billy Colbert's 'Watching Something Happen When You Know You Should Stop It'

Billy Colbert has exhibited all over the country. His most notable solo exhibitions have been museum shows at the African American Museum in Dallas, Texas and the Delaware Center for Contemporary Art in Wilmington, Delaware. Colbert has used popular culture, personal experiences and cultural leveraging to serve as narrative for his 2D and 3D mixed media works.  A few of his public collections include the University of Wisconsin at Madison, the National Academy of Sciences, Museum of South Texas, Corpus Christi, Texas and The African American Museum in Dallas, Texas. His work is in numerous private collections including noted actor, Jeffery Wright, prominent art collector and former NBA player and Coach, Darrell Walker.
In 1999 Colbert won the Mixed Media Purchase Prize and was chosen Best in Show at the Carroll Harris Simms National Black Art Exhibition at the African American Museum in Dallas, Texas. The show was curated by the late artist and Mac Authur  Fellow, John T.Scott.
Colbert works and resides in Washington, D.C.. He received his MFA in painting from the University of Delaware in 2000, where he was a Presidential Fellow.

Maya Freelon Asante – Video of Her Installation at the US Embassy in Madagascar

19 Jul

Documentary about award-winning visual artist Maya Freelon Asante and her “Ubuntu” installation at the US Embassy in Antananarvio, Madagascar. Directed by Michael JN Bowles for the Art in Embassies series.


Boys Be Good Invitation – Friday, 22 July 6pm-9pm

14 Jul

Boys Be Good – Debut Exhibition at MFA Friday 7/22 6pm-8pm

12 Jul

“Boys Be Good is an artist collective consisting of six young gay men living in America. We are based in Washington, DC and are comprised of artists from all backgrounds and areas of the country working in a variety of mediums and disciplines. We were originally formed in response to the emotionally and politically charged censorship of David Wojnarowicz’s work at the recent Hide/Seek exhibition at Smithsonian’s Museum of American Art. Through our creative work and intellectual curiosity, we hope to challenge the stereotype of “homosexual art” and seek to explore the impact gay art and culture have on society while encouraging change and creative mutation within these same realms. Our oeuvre will become a series of investigations into the crucial events, moments and thoughts that we collectively feel are inescapable in queer biography.

It is through our collective exploration of these common biographic and thematic milestones that we hope to connect with our community and offer poetic ruminations on what it means to be who we are, both collectively and individually. We will exploit the multiplicity of ideas and diversity of experiences in the collective to augment the strength of our ideas and vibrancy of dialogue. By focusing on these individual moments in a gay man’s life we aim to find and create new connections and theories inside that specificity, striving to create new intellectual and interpersonal connections within our community.

If in the eyes of others we are not equal, then we must strive to create a new gaze, a new way of seeing. If in the minds of others we are different, then we must use the tools we know best to insist on a more honest understanding of what it means to be alive. “

DC Magazine July 2011 Article on MFA’s Hadieh Shafie

7 Jul

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

All Wound Up

Local Artist Hadieh Shafie is on a roll, showing to packed galleries in DC and abroad

By Tiffany Jow

At the recent opening of Hadieh Shafie’s solo show at Washington’s Morton Fine Art (, the gallery was filled to the gills with patrons keen to glimpse the rising star. Surrounded by her most recent body of work – assemblages of thousands of tiny hand-dyed, meticulously wound paper scrolls- the artist revelled in the reveal of the pieces that have earned her international attention.

At 42, the Baltimore-based, DC-represented talent finds herself suddenly center stage, having been short-listed for the Victoria and Albert Museum’s esteemed Jameel Prize, an international award for creatives roused by Islamic traditions of craft and design. The London megapost crowns a winner every two years, with Iraqi starchitect Zaha Hadid as the prize’s patron. In July, Shafie’s 3-D scroll works will be included in a two-month exhibition of all 10 contenders at the V&A. If she wins the gold in September, her pieces will travel around the world, gaining intense international exposure.

In the limelight or not, the tenderness comprising each of Shafie’s creations demands a closer look. For each work, she tirelessly inscribes the word eshghe (the Farsi word for “love”) onto every inch of the thin paper strips dyed at the edges and curled into tight circles. Their titles – “10250 Pages”, “12001 Pages,” and “22500 Pages”- reflect the number of paper strips within each opus. Unlike the iconic hoops of Jasper Johns and Kenneth Noland, Shafie’s wheels are spun using method, repetition and time, all rooted in the artistic sway of her native Iran. “The language of love is reflected in Hadieh’s work,” says the V&A’s Salma Tuqan, a co-curator for the Jameel Prize exhibition. “It’s the story of its creation and meditative process that allows the work to breathe and take on life.”

Having moved from Iran to Maryland at 14, Shafie was consistently encouraged to pursue her creativity. “Even in the most difficult economic times, my mom would take me across town to study with a private art teacher,” says Shafie, who went on to attend Pratt Institute School of Art and Design.

“One of my fondest childhood memories is decorating cookies with my grandmother, placing little dots of saffron in the center,” she says. That same power of repetition is echoed in her contemporary scrolls, whose methodical nature makes for creative addiction. “It’s so much about control, while simultaneously letting go and leaving things to chance,” she says.

Shafie’s representation at MFA, which she gleaned after owner and chief curator Amy Morton tapped her for a pop-up exhibition last year, is testament to why she’s on the radar of the international circuit. “Hadieh’s artistic identity is authentic, resourceful and culturally enhanced,” Morton says.

The artist’s global credentials have also caught the eye of several District collectors, who just can’t get enough. “Hadieh represents all that is wonderful about DC as a thriving art destination,” Morton says. “Its inspiring to see an artist span nationally and internationally, both in terms of collector acquisition and recognition.” In many ways, then, Shafie has already won the prize.