Arts & Entertainment

Northern Virginia Art Beat

A listing of new openings, exhibitions and opportunities to show art.

Lots to report this week, the most significant of which is the Art Council of Fairfax County announcing a 2007 grants funding program for 501c arts organizations in Fairfax County, and the city of Falls Church. Individual artist may also apply if doing so in connection with a 501c organization. Seventeen pages of details and forms can be found at If you need 18 pages of information you can email for the missing info.

Falls Church City Art Shows opening Friday, October 6 and running through the month of October during regular business hours… Dee Ellison’s photos "Reflection of Life, A Reflection of Ourselves" is at Art and Frame, 111 Park Ave., opening from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday. Phil & Marianne Kokkoros will show their ceramics at F.A. McGonegal, 212 N West Street, opening Friday from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

  "Vintage Poster Show" Friday, October 6 though the 16, at Renaissance Fine Arts in upper Bethesda, MD. This gallery runs vintage poster ‘trunk shows’ a couple of times a year. I’ve never actually bought anything here as the prices are too rich for my blood, but I always try to make it up there and see what they’re showing. You never know what long forgotten graphic gem you’ll find in the stacks of linen backed posters.

Some will ask why pay all that money for a vintage poster when you can get a reproduction for a small fraction of the cost? It’s a valid point as far as it goes. Granted the reproduction is essentially the same image…. providing you can find a reproduction of the image you like. But it’s a half baked argument proffered by less than enthusiastic viewers. Comparing modern day photo lithography to a vintage stone litho is like comparing the cute girl next door to the one who buckles your knees, haunts your every waking thought, and takes your breathe away when she looks you in the eye. They’re both nice girls, but there is no real comparison when it comes down to which one you want to spend time with.

Stone lithography is now relegated to an artist only process, no one does commercial stone litho printing anymore. To those who have never had the pleasure, they are akin to traditional Japanese wood block prints in that they both offer smooth flat fields of color unrivaled anywhere else in the art world. However wood block prints are generally limited in size, while stone lithos can come in sizes bigger than you have space to hang them. Aficionados know the poster cost is sometimes dwarfed by the cost of framing it. A friend of mine has a roughly 10 foot square vintage magic poster in her Baltimore loft. The poster had to be framed in the room simply because you couldn’t get it through the door if you did it any other way. A 10 foot by 10 foot custom made, and installed on site frame job is not cheap, and not for everyone to be sure, but it looks great on the wall.

All in all, vintage posters are the best art value available. Yes, some famous graphics can run into the tens of thousands of dollars. Compare that to a famous painting of a similar vintage that will run into the millions of dollars…. Gorgeous pieces that are less famous, and frankly more interesting because everybody in the world hasn’t already seen them in art books, can be had for several hundred dollars. That is an absolute steal in the art market, by anybody’s standard.