Toulouse-Lautrec at the Washington Pavilion

To say I am mildly excited about seeing his exhibit at the Pavilion is an understatement. While he may not be my favorite artist of all time, he is high on the list. Heck, I named my backyard patio the ‘Toulouse-Lautrec’, because I modeled it after a picture of him on his patio.

But as usual, when you go digging at the Pavilion, you are bound to find something that isn’t quite right;

At the center of this exhibition is a rare collection of approximately 150 works on paper by Toulouse-Lautrec. This includes 12 of his iconic posters as well as 35 of his sketches, which were often the draft ideas for the posters themselves.

So what are the other 103 pieces? Prints? Reproductions? Giclees? Here we go down the Norman Rockwell road once again.

Not at all, they are Litho’s and VERY nice reproductions. If I had one complaint about the exhibit (which is a very large collection) it would be the collectors need to re-frame the collection (looks very Hobby-Lobbish)

So this got me curious about the ‘origin’ of the exhibit. Greece. You know, the country where people are actually wearing barrels and suspenders for clothing.

If you do a little research on the ‘Private’ museum the collection came from, you have to remember the economic crisis in Greece, or should I say the bottom freaking dropping out?

They have had only one major exhibition in the past two years, something about math. Seems the Greece’s treasury department needs to head over and take a gander at it.

Enough of that, the show is fantastic, I wasn’t even irritated by the $10 entrance fee, but I will say this, I was disappointed with the appearance of the Visual Arts Center.

First off, they knocked out some rag-tag wall at the back of the main gallery (Everist) for the Native gallery (don’t trip on the weird ramp) secondly, as you will see in the image below, they had some kind of trash and seating project going on in the middle of the exhibit (probably an educational program) but why not clean it up? It’s Saturday, not Tuesday, lots of traffic, in fact I saw several viewers staring at this collaboration of trash cans.


I have also heard, the PAV has been renting out the VAC for private receptions, this might be the remnants.

The other inklings I have heard is that the Pavilion has been ‘cutting’ corners. Which surprises me, because, they get a large subsidy from the taxpayer. It has probably been since this summer that I have been there, but the one thing I have noticed is how un-inviting and dirty it is. Even in the Everist Gallery, with a ‘world-class’ exhibit, the carpet was extremely dirty, scuffs all over the walls, shades drawn over the expansive windows (not sure why) and this appearance of ‘Half-Assery’. I was surprised the art was not crooked and laying on the floor.

Trust me, I keep my house about as clean as a truck-stop. But if you are charging an entrance fee to see TL, get out the vacuum cleaner.

I have often said, the new city council needs to ask for a FULL FORENSIC & FINANCIAL AUDIT of the Pavilion. Things are not right over there, shit is going on!

But they could save taxpayers a lot of dough, and forgo the audit, and just fire the current management company, you know, like everybody.

It breaks my heart, because I worked there the first 4 years it was opened, had an art exhibit there, donated to arts night and was personal friends with the first director. I really felt it could work, and that is what is frustrating what I see when I walk into the place.


#1 rufusx on 02.10.14 at 2:54 pm

Main reason for Greek economic collapse – TAX CHEATS – people just don’t want to support their government financially.

#2 Lamb Chislic on 02.10.14 at 3:02 pm

DL, you are passionate and should apply:

#3 Anon on 02.13.14 at 4:11 pm

A couple of trash cans left out is the least of their problems. Closer inspection of all their galleries reveals holes in the walls that need to be patched, pencil marks from previously hung shows, dead lights, poorly cut and crooked tags. These are all easily fixed problems that David and the new curator Megan could fix, but don’t. Another MAJOR issue is with the new curator. Standard hanging height for art works is 56″ for a museum. The art work she has hung at the VAC has not been hung at that height OR even level with each other! How can the Pavilion hire somebody to hang there shows who does not even know how to hang artwork properly? What are her qualifications? The Art Night exhibit that is being hung currently is ridiculously overstuffed and hung almost frame to frame with no room in between. Not to even mention the lower and lower quality of work that is being submitted every year as the Pavilion loses more and more artists who support them. Sorry, long rant over!