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Artbiz at ArtJaz

The British Invasion by Washington D.C. artist Katherine Kisa, who was born in Nairobi and earned a couple of degrees in the sciences before she switched to a career in art; this is one of a series of assemblage pieces about music.

The surprise about the show closing after tomorrow at ArtJaz Gallery was it seemed to be related to a photography book by Grammy-winning recording artist Will Downing. The book, “Unveiled,” included photos that Downing took of art by African American artists. The show on the wall was of the same artists who were included in the book (the images are from the Unveiled exhibit).

It turns out ArtJaz is the book’s publisher. When Downing approached the gallery about publishing the book, the gallery responded by saying how about you include the artists, because the gallery was more interested in promoting artists than promoting a book, Brown said (ah, a mission near and dear to our hearts, here at artblog). So a deal was struck and the book, which includes lots of portraits, some of them of recording-industry people, is now in print (available here) on the ArtJaz website, .

Moses by Kimmy Cantrell, ceramic and metal; Cantrell was born in Georgia and is largely self-taught. He has been making art full-time since 1994.

That’s not the only new business going on at ArtJaz. Brown said the exhibit first showed in Chicago at the two-year-old Gallery Guichard. The two galleries have formed a partnership–an outgrowth of ArtJaz representing artist Andre Guichard for the past six years.

I asked how the Chicago exhibit went, and she said, “my impression of Chicago is that people are into the arts, there. People came out in December!” Even though the book wasn’t yet available, she said they sold a lot of them. Brown said the gallery has some more Chicago-related exhibits on her schedule, including work by Chicago artist Joyce Owens, who was born in Philadelphia. Her white-on-black portraits on boxes look interesting and provocative. I’m looking forward to the show.

Will Downing’s photo of Al Jarreau at the piano

Brown also mentioned that this was the second year that ArtJaz was invited to participate in the 10-years and still counting Black Fine Arts Show in New York, which is organized by the same people who do the Philadelphia antiques show.