Arts & Entertainment

Northern Virginia Art Beat

3Art Whino Offerings

Nick Morris, at Art Whino (173 Waterfront St., National Harbor, Md.). The exhibit runs through March 31. For more details, call 301-567-8210 or visit


Australian artist Nick Morris’ “Full Colour 1,” on display at Art Whino.

Art Whino Offerings

Nick Morris, at Art Whino (173 Waterfront St., National Harbor, Md.). The exhibit runs through March 31. For more details, call 301-567-8210 or visit

As with Falls Church artist Dave Barr from last week’s review, Australian artist Nick Morris works in the exact same pop appropriation and imagery collage. Morris uses what appear to be “page 3” pin-up photos with images of Australian muscle cars, tabloid headlines and assorted advertising imagery to form his paintings. The overall effect is often sexual, though more by inference than anything else, and humorous as well. Mr. Cool brand Ice text makes an all too frequent appearance. What you make of it all is up to you, but its decidedly non-U.S. roots makes it all the more curious to American eyes.


Morris’ “Wash and Wear.”

G-40, located at 223 23rd St. Arlington, is another Art Whino production. The exhibit is open 5 – 10 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; 5 p.m. – midnight Friday; noon – midnight Saturday and noon – 6 p.m. Sunday. The grand opening is this Saturday, March 6, from 8 p.m. – midnight, with lots of music and events planned. For more details, visit

This time taking over five floors of a Crystal City office building, and filling four floors with a curated National and International “lowbrow” art show. It’s without a doubt the largest lowbrow show ever seen in D.C. One entire floor is dedicated to the California scene; another floor set aside for the New York scene; a third for D.C. and the fourth floor houses a mix, including the international contingent. Many artists are creating work on site this weekend.

In total we’re talking some 500 artists filling 75,000 square feet of space. To those who claim you can’t curate something like an Artomatic – here’s your answer. It’s not only a massive, curated art show, but one of national and international scope, and all concentrating on the lowbrow street art scene that takes its roots from skateboard, surfing and graffiti art movements.


Save the Arts!

In the finest tradition of Jesse Helms, the arts are under attack once again. This time it’s the Virgina State Assembly under the budgetary guidance of Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell. As of this writing, Virginia state funding for the arts is ranked 31st out of 50 states, and it would appear headed towards dead last.

As usual, the Arts pops up as a easy thing to strike off the budget. Never mind that the arts are a well-proven engine for commerce, and one of the best ways to revitalize a bad neighborhood. See Soho in New York, or the 14th and U Street corridors right here in Washington, D.C.

The latest word from the Virginia Commission for the Arts Web site ( is as follows: “Sunday, February 21, the House Appropriations Committee adopted a recommendation that state funding of the Virginia Commission for the Arts be cut by 50% in 2010-11 and that the agency be eliminated by July 1, 2011. The Senate Finance Committee has adopted the proposal of outgoing Governor Kaine that state funding for the Commission remains at the same level as the 2009-2010 state appropriation after the budget cuts.The General Assembly will continue work on the overall state government budget bill between now and the scheduled adjournment of the General Assembly of March 13.”

This is a time for action, and it’d be best to let your local representatives know how important the Arts are to Virginia’s culture and economy. You can reach 31st district State Sen. Mary Whipple at 804-698-7531 or 53rd district House Del. Jim Scott can reached at 804-698-1053 or For other Assembly members, visit


The Northern Virginia Art Beat is compiled by Kevin Mellema. To e-mail submissions, e-mail them to