School of Thought – Mounting Frustration: The Art Museum in the Age of Black Power

Talk and book signing with author Susan E. Cahan
Tuesday 14 November 5:30pm
The Works, 891 South Tamiami Trail
$10 admission; Free for Museum donors and Ringling College students, faculty & staff
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Mounting Frustration: The Art Museum in the Age of Black Power
Mounting Frustration: The Art Museum in the Age of Black Power
In her book Mounting Frustration: The Art Museum in the Age of Black Power, Susan E. Cahan investigates the strategies African American artists and museum professionals employed as they wrangled over access to and direction of New York City’s elite museums. Drawing on numerous interviews with artists and analyses of internal museum documents, Cahan gives a detailed and at times surprising picture of the institutional and social forces that both drove and inhibited racial justice in New York’s museums.

Susan E. Cahan is a scholar and curator who specializes in contemporary art and the history of museums. She has held positions at the Museum of Modern Art and the New Museum of Contemporary Art, was Senior Curator for the contemporary art collection of Eileen and Peter Norton and Arts Program Director for the Norton Family Foundation. Currently the Dean of the Tyler School of Art, she has held positions at Yale University, Bard College, The University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Missouri, St. Louis.

Limited copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing by the author.

The Sarasota Museum of Art

The Works, 891 South Tamiami Trail

WORDS/IMAGES Selby Gallery Ringling College of Art and Design

Aug. 9 – Sept. 11, 2013
Selby Gallery, Sarasota, FL

Selby Gallery I: Illustrators 55

Selby Gallery will host The Society of Illustrators 55th Annual Travel Show which features 46 pieces of the most outstanding works created throughout the year by nationally and internationally-known illustrator members. Based on the juried competition of more than 400 originally exhibited at the Museum of American Illustration at the Society of Illustrators in New York City, this selection will tour around the country in the upcoming year with Sarasota as its first venue. Participants include John Cuneo, Andre da Loba, Jody Hewgill and Mark Ulriksen.

Mark Ulriksen, Capturing the Memories, acrylic
Mark Ulriksen, Capturing the Memories, acrylic

Selby Gallery II: Letterpress Projects

Showing concurrently in Gallery II are the first three projects created by Ringling College of Art and Design’s new Letterpress & Book Arts Center—books by Ke Francis, Julie Chen, and Graciela Iturbide— along with real examples of type, presses, other tools of the trade and student projects.

Broadside for Unconditional Love Song by CD Wright, artist Ke Francis, print made from 4 relief printed plates, 18.5" x 13", from Ringling Suite, edition size 75.
Broadside for Unconditional Love Song by CD Wright, artist Ke Francis, print made from 4 relief printed plates, 18.5″ x 13″, from Ringling Suite, edition size 75.

[ILLUSTRATORS 55] From thousands of entries submitted worldwide, a jury of 
professional peers including illustrators and art directors chose works from seven categories—sequential/series, institutional, uncommissioned, moving image, editorial, book, and advertising:

Sequential/Series – Multi-image projects for which a sequence of images is necessary
to fully convey an idea or story.

Institutional – Annual reports, calendars, greeting cards, newsletters and in-house publications.

Uncommissioned – Unpublished work.

Moving Image – Animation for commercial purposes such at TV or online advertisements, short or feature length movies, ebooks, apps or music videos.

Editorial – Newspapers, magazines and online magazines.

Book – Commissioned for use inside and on the cover of books.

Advertising – Newspapers, magazines, TV, video and CD covers, brochures, packaging and posters.

[LETTERPRESS PROJECTS] The Letterpress and Book Arts Center values the historical and aesthetic development of visual arts related to printmaking and provides a studio for the creation and production of accomplished works of art, artist books and portfolios by visiting artists, students and our community. The Center was established at the Ringling College of Art and Design in May 2011 with the acquisition of Hal and Judi Sterne’s studio and houses four printing presses, a Chandler and Price platen press, two Vandercook SP15 and a Vandercook Universal III. It is generously equipped with over 400 cases of type and 4000 metal engravings. The Ringling College Letterpress and Book Arts Center is one of 150 College studios in the nation.

[KE FRANCIS] Ke Francis is an artist and storyteller originally from Tupelo, Mississippi as well as longtime head of the Fine Arts Dept. at The University of Central Florida in Orlando. He worked closely with poets C.D. Wright and Forrest Gander in developing broadsides of image and poem for the first publication of the Letterpress and Book Arts Center titled Ringling Suite. Wright is a MacArthur Fellow and published poet, and Gander is a published poet and teaches Creative Writing at Brown University. For more information on Ke Francis:‎

Ke Francis workshop
Ke Francis workshop

[JULIE CHEN] Premiere book designer and maker Julie Chen is world-reknowned for her inventive, elegant and intriguing book designs, challenging the preconceived ideas of what a book is while at the same time providing a deeply meaningful experience through the presentation of her own text and imagery. She produced a full color sixteen-page book titled Praxis with the Letterpress and Book Arts Center. For more information on Julie Chen:

[GRACIELA ITURBE] Considered one of the most important and influential  Latin American photographers of the last four decades, Iturbe has developed a photographic style based on her strong interest in culture, ritual and everyday life in her native Mexico as well as other countries. In 2007 Frida Kahlo’s closets were opened for the first time since her death—Graciela was one of several artists invited to photograph Kahlo’s personal items. Ms. Iturbe has created a folio with one of the images with the Letterpress and Book Arts Center. For more information on Graciela Iturbide:

Opening Reception: Fri., August 9, 5-7 p.m.,

Selby Gallery Ringling College of Art + Design

2700 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34234

Phone: 941.359.7563 or 941.351.5100



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More Things in Heaven and Earth: Paintings by Peter Stephens

March 28 – May 4, 2013
Allyn Gallup, Sarasota, FL

“The Standard Model” refers to the theory of the fundamental interactions in particle physics—an experimentally validated model that most contemporary physicists share.

March 28 – May 4, 2013
Allyn Gallup, Sarasota, FL

A reception, with the artist, is April 5, 6-8 p.m.


“Peter Stephens’ abstract paintings in this show, part of his celebrated ‘The Standard Model’ series, are precise, otherworldly and fascinating,” says Allyn Gallup, director of the gallery. “Peter’s imagination accepts no boundaries. His work invites the viewer through an amazing itinerary of many possible worlds and, so far, he hasn’t hit the outer limits yet.”


“The Standard Model” refers to the theory of the fundamental interactions in particle physics—an experimentally validated model that most contemporary physicists share. According to Stephens, this theory’s implications are both microcosmic and macrocosmic. “It affects both our understanding of subatomic particles and the cosmos as a whole system,” he says. “I find nature to be most sublime at these extremities of scale. To paraphrase J.B. Haldane, ‘The universe is not only stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine.'”


Referring to the paintings in this series as, “layered systems that form analogs to the biological, chemical, and even psychological components that construct our world view,” Stephens paints incessantly, using multiple, transparent layers of ink, and acrylic and oil paints and shellac—resulting in rich saturated colors and astounding dimensionality.

A resident of Buffalo, N.Y., Stephens graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and attended the University of Siena in Italy. His work is included in major collections, including at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Brooklyn Museum, and Burchfield-Penney Art Center. The artist’s work is also exhibited at galleries in Chicago, Toronto, New York City, La Jolla, and Buffalo. For more information about Peter Stephens, visit

For more information about this exhibit, call 941-366-2454 or visit

1288 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota, FL

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The Work of Bart Johnson: Inside the Labyrinth

November 10 – December 15, 2012
Mindy Solomon Gallery, St. Petersburg, FL

Bart Johnson wants to give people something they can’t see in the real world. His small-scale compositions consist of fluid, undulating, and seemingly infinite arrangements of imagined figures.

November 10 – December 15, 2012
Mindy Solomon Gallery, St. Petersburg, FL

Bart Johnson wants to give people something they can’t see in the real world. His small-scale compositions consist of fluid, undulating, and seemingly infinite arrangements of imagined figures. Upon each new look, the viewer is bound to discover additional bodies, forms, and features at first unseen. As he creates each piece, Johnson produces increasingly numerous layers of hidden limbs and faces—a labyrinth of life and imagination, his own “night world” that viewers can enter.

Born in Washington, DC in 1954, Johnson spent his teen years among the collections of DC’s major museums. He felt a connection to early American painters and European masterworks and their explorations of the human figure, the figure being the basis of his own work as well. Despite attending art school in the 1970s, Johnson does not consider himself to be a contemporary abstract artist. “I found 70s pop, photorealism, minimalist movements, and conceptual art to be cold and detached, lacking the deep feeling of painting of the past,” he notes.

Bart Johnson, Sonny Boy, 11 x 14 inches, Oil on paper mounted on panel

As to color palette, his research and use of historical pigments also corresponds with the Old Masters, including Bosch and Ensor. The excitement of painting, for this artist, is the rich involvement and depth possible on a small scale through the presence and texture of his medium.

Johnson also notes the impact of his “Dionysian” coming-of-age experience, now a memory which also feeds his artwork. Johnson was in grade school in Washington, DC, during the Kennedy assassination, Martin Luther King’s murder, and the race riots, and grew up during American music’s movement away from the light mood of the Beatles toward darker times with Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. And, “I was in Richmond during the Vietnam war, surrounded by anarchy, radical politics, and hallucinogenic drug use. I think a lot of what I’m doing now, my sensitivity to current calamity, is affected by that formative period.” Today, Johnson sees a connection between contemporary trends in technology, isolation, and toxins and a widespread fascination with zombies and vampires—American society becoming “the living dead.”

Johnson’s grotesque, macabre figures dwell between the spiritual and natural world. ‘Inside the Labyrinth’ will feature these complex forms affixed to a variety of surfaces and media. Oil paintings, graphite drawings, etchings and pen and ink work will be the two dimensional offerings. Johnson’s lively cast porcelain works will also be available.

Bart Johnson, Various Predators, 15 x 22 inches, Ink and watercolor on paper

About the artist:
Bart Johnson studied painting at Virginia Commonwealth University, where he received a BFA. He earned an MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, then lived in New York City for the next 18 years. Johnson’s art is derived from life experiences in various working class jobs as a housepainter, dishwasher, security guard, warehouse worker, janitor, typesetter, telemarketer, and social worker. For the past ten years, he has lived “at the end of the earth” near Albuquerque, New Mexico. Johnson’s work is in private collections in the US and Europe, as well as the de Young Museum in San Francisco.

Exhibition Information:
Mindy Solomon Gallery presents ‘The Work of Bart Johnson: Inside the Labyrinth’ November 10-December 15, with an Opening Night Reception Saturday, November 10th, from 6-8:30pm.

Mindy Solomon Gallery is located at 124 2nd Ave. NE, St. Petersburg, FL 33701. The gallery is open Wednesday-Saturday from 11am-5pm. For more information, please contact the gallery at or 727-502-0852.

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No Touching! except this guy; A conversation with an Art Preparator

A Sarasota based expert installer of fine art for numerous private clients, galleries, and museums including Ringling College’s Selby Gallery, and the Tampa Museum of Art. Sarasota Visual Art sits down with Lykoudis to introduce you to the person that IS allowed to touch the artwork!

by Tim Jaeger

A good gallery is like a four star restaurant, the art being installed is like a flawless menu, and the curator acts as the chef, bringing his vision to life with the aid of essential collaborators. In this instance, the collaborator is Dimitri Lykoudis, a Sarasota based expert installer of fine art for numerous private clients, galleries, and museums including Ringling College’s Selby Gallery, Ringling Museum of Art, and the Tampa Museum of Art. Step by step, one wall after another, unpacking crates, arranging art, and hanging work, Lykoudis is one of the unsung heros in the life of every museum whether or not you realize it. Sarasota Visual Art had the privilege to sit down with Lykoudis and below are excerpts from that interview:

So what is a preparator? Is it a separate job than an installer?

I would say his job encompasses more than just installing. The preparator’s work starts far in advance of installation day, and ends when the work is back in storage, or shipped out to where it came from. He/she closely collaborates with the curator to produce the best possible result, and as such translates, in a way, the idea surrounding the exhibition into physical reality.

What are the responsibilities involved in your job?

In a nutshell, preparing an art exhibition for display. Here is the breakdown:

It starts with a discussion regarding the needs of the upcoming exhibition with the curator. Depending on the specific show, I may design display solutions according to their budget and construct them in advance, or purchase specialized hardware or devices.

Then the space needs to be prepared for installation. This may include painting the walls a different color or making wall repairs as needed, constructing temporary walls, or positioning rolling walls. Having perfect walls is essential, as it’s usually the backdrop for the art, and has to be as neutral as possible so it does not detract from the work. This stage also includes making sure any existing display devices (like pedestals for example) are in good condition.

After that comes the receiving of the artwork, unpacking/uncrating, checking the condition, and making condition reports together with the registrar as needed. There is a lot of responsibility involved there, as artwork is (usually) insured, and any damage has to be reported and thoroughly documented to determine liability.

When the day for the installation comes, the curator or exhibition designer lays out the position of the artwork in the space, according to his curatorial vision, and I work together with him/her to determine correct spacing measurements to achieve the best aesthetic result. Then of course is the actual installation of the artwork, involving hanging, positioning three-dimensional works on pedestals (or freestanding works), setting-up video displays, and/or working together with the artist on special exhibits like room-size installations.

Next comes lighting. Of extreme importance, it can make or break a show, in my opinion. The preparator needs to know the correct amount of light needed for the work to be displayed to its best effect. Too much light and you lose color and tone, too little and you lose detail. Also the direction of light, shading, light temperature and other aspects come into play here.

Then there are numerous details the preparator has to take care of. Any labels describing the artwork need to be installed next to the work, vinyl lettering may be pasted onto the walls and so on.

Lastly, after the end of the exhibition, the works need to be checked again, and a new condition report made before they’re safely packed for shipping, and the space is prepared for the next show.

So basically if anyone is touching the work, it’s you?

That is correct. And it’s important to know how to handle it. You have to do it in a safe way, so there is no damage to the work either in terms of breakage, or, from an archival standpoint, chemical degradation due to contact with our skin oils which are acidic. This means wearing gloves while handling the work, and generally making sure that the way you carry and place art, and negotiate space while around the art is done safely.

In your opinion, what are some of your favorite works you have “touched” or handled and why?

I’ve handled so many great works in my career that I can’t honestly decide! But having a piece of art history in your hands, works that you find in art books, that define the high points of humanity’s achievement on this planet, is a very special feeling and a great responsibility.

How did you get started in this business?

I’m an artist myself, a sculptor and painter, so I’ve always preferred having a job that is in contact with the art world. I was out of work in New York, after having worked in sculpture studios for a while, when my wife suggested pursuing that line of work. I did and got hired by Anina Nosei, the gallerist who gave Jean Michel Basquiat his studio, and represented him at the beginning of his career. What a trip! Coming from a place where such names are far distant and un-approachable, you can imagine how it felt!

What kind of background do you have for this job?

I think an artist background is essential, and that’s why almost everyone in this line of work comes from there. You need the knowledge of how a piece of artwork is constructed, in order to appreciate and handle it the proper way, and to make aesthetic decisions when it comes to lighting, spacing, designing display devices etc., and generally having a “feel” of how a piece or a show should be displayed.

Also being a sculptor has helped me tremendously, from woodworking and other fabrication skills, to knowing how to move or pack heavy or delicate pieces of art.

What should someone considering this kind of work know about the job?

That you will be a contributing factor to the cultural output in your region. You help educate the public and are a positive / constructive force. Be excited about it!

You were born in Greece, and lived in New York City for awhile. What brought you to Sarasota?

My wife and I decided to take a break from our high pressure gallery jobs there, and when her mother had an accident and needed care we relocated to Siesta Key. My wife had lived here before and has a lot of friends and connections in the area, so the transition was relatively easy.

You will be hanging the upcoming To See as Artists See: American Art from the Phillips Collection which includes a Hopper, Pollock, and O’Keeffe. What parts of this exhibition are you looking forward to?

The upcoming show at the Tampa Museum is really exciting to me. I’m most looking forward to the part where you get to see the works up close, and (hopefully) see what the artists who defined American art were doing.

What is the most exciting thing you get to do?

Apart from handling historical artwork, I like participating in the big art fairs. I see all the latest contemporary output, get to meet and talk to some very interesting people, and get paid on top of it! It IS a lot of work though.

What is the most expensive or best piece of art you have ever handled?

I might be forgetting something here but I think it must have been some of the George Grosz paintings we showed at David Nolan. Just a few million each… Wait! There was also that enormous Basquiat at Nosei…

What is the most interesting aspect of your line of work?

I like it a lot when I have to get creative about designing a display solution for a piece or group of pieces, to think out of the box, as they say. A lot of times you have to do it at the last minute, as sometimes pieces are added or some aspect of the show might change unexpectedly, and I get a lot of satisfaction when I pull it off.