The Creative List: Visual Arts

by Editorial

John Smith, Director of the Archives of American Art.

John Smith, Director of the Archives of American Art.

JOHN SMITH: DIRECTOR OF THE ARCHIVES OF AMERICAN ART. Since arriving at the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art in 2006, John W. Smith has led the expansion of the world’s pre-eminent research center devoted to the history of the visual arts in the United States.

During his previous 12 years at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Smith developed a forward-thinking sensibility that helped him redirect the Archive’s focus on branding and collecting to serving as a research center that not only preserves the past, but is increasingly engaged with living artists. “The Archives,” he says, “must play an active role in the contemporary discussion and interpretation of American art.”

His many accomplishments include the acquision of the Leo Castelli Gallery archive, which provides a detailed portrait of the trailblazing dealer who championed the careers of such major artists as Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, and Andy Warhol.

Here are some of our top D.C. visual artists. But we can’t list everyone. Who do you think should be here? Paste your comments below.

Manon Cleary, said to be Washington’s best figurative painter, has titillated viewers with photorealistic works devoted to rape, rats, men’s penises, and other provocative subjects for the past 40 years.

Chawky Frenn’s realist Renaissance-style painting have caused protests and even a solo show cancellation in Boston because of their depiction of controversial social, political, gender, and sexual subjects.

“Tape Dude” Mark Jenkins may be one of the best-known street artists in the world but he remains virtually unknown in Washington. His hyper-realistic, life-sized scenarios made from clear tape stop both traffic and pedestrians even as they become part of his installations.

Laurel Lukaszewski’s intricate and complex porcelain, ceramic, stoneware, and clay sculptures showcase well-honed technical and creative skills that make her work unique in a genre often segregated to the crafts.

The work of photographer Lida Moser, now age 86, spans photojournalism, portraiture, fashion, and seminal abstract photography and is in the collections of major world museums.

Drawing on hip hop culture and his own interest in African American identity, Jefferson Pinder has emerged onto the scene with films (Car Wash Meditation, Invisible Man, Mule) that “tap into the well of public consciousness.”

Tim Tate marries blown and cast glass, original video, miniature cameras and speakers, steel, concrete, motion detectors, and other materials to deliver gorgeous sculptures that are at the forefront of both technology and art.

Frank Warren created the art phenomenon known as PostSecret, where anonymous people decorate a postcard and portray a secret that they had never previously revealed. His original Artomatic postcard project is the largest and most popular worldwide cooperative art event in history and remains one of the web’s highest ranked websites.

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