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Friday 17th May 2013Next Picasso Affordable Art Launch

Next Picasso Affordable Art Launch, N is for...
Next Picasso Affordable Art Launch, N is for...at Next Picasso you can expect the best!At Next Picasso, X is for Expect the best!
At Next Picasso, X is for Expect the best!



The Next Picasso Astonish ExpectThe Next Picasso Astonish Expect 







New Online Art Platform, Next Picasso Affordable Art to Launch Friday, June 21st With a Hybrid Online/On-Ground Exhibition: Anagramation 1


Next Picasso Affordable Art is an Art 2.0 Online Platform Promoting Original Fine Art, Paintings, Drawings, Mixed Media, and Limited Edition Prints and Photography from a Curated Selection of Contemporary Artists. The Site Is Dedicated to Exposing Contemporary Art in a Tasteful, Thought-Provoking Online Setting, Offering Collectors a Behind-The-Scenes Glimpse Into the Artistic Experience, and the Opportunity to Have a Unique Immersive Adventure With Fine Art.


(Providence, RI, May 16, 2013) Online art gallery Next Picasso Affordable Art, announces the launch of its website — www.next-picasso.com — Friday June 21st with Anagramation 1, a hybrid online/bricks and mortar gallery exhibition of new paintings by Joan Marie Giampa debuting on Next Picasso and at the Red Caboose Gallery in Vienna, Virginia.



The traditional gallery model may not be quite dead yet, but its being challenged by an ever-evolving diversity of nimble, art savvy, online competitors. Next Picasso Affordable Art is the latest in this evolutionary line of web-based art business models seeking to improve the experience of enjoying, and buying art online. “Next Picasso is a curated site working with a select group of artists. Unlike many of our competitors, we’re very much a boutique art platform where an artist’s work doesn’t get lost amongst the clutter of thousands of undifferentiated images,” says Site Curator David Betz. “We’re not trying to be the next Amazon.com. We’re primarily interested in providing collectors with a more thoughtful art buying experience. We’re betting that our clients want a rich, in-depth encounter with art, more like you’d have in a museum setting, rather than just to click and buy an item that’s suitable for over the couch.”


Next Picasso was founded by David Betz, who has nearly 20 years of experience exposing art on the web, as well as in building international markets for the work of undervalued artists. “Everything on the site has been selected with an eye for quality, value, and future appreciation,” says Mr. Betz. Who has assembled a world-class roster of artists and a skilled team of art professionals dedicated to building a better art-buying experience — one that’s informative, enjoyable, and affordable. 


Mr. Betz, an expert in Australian Aboriginal art, was a pioneer in online art marketing. He went online with his first art marketing web site www.aboriginal-art.com in 1995 after attending a seminal Art and the Internet conference at the Great Hall at Cooper Union in New York. When the first search engines started crawling the web, his earlier site was widely reviewed and praised for both the quality of its content and the originality of its design. By 1998 the site was a Yahoo Website of the Week, and was featured on CNN Headline News, continuing to win numerous other awards and accolades. While many of the “dotcom” era art startups failed after burning through their venture capital, drowning in a sea of hype and ill-conceived ideas, Mr. Betz’s site thrived, based on the simple premise of quality fine art presented in an engaging and enlightening manner. This concept remains the through line from his earlier web-based art startup to his latest venture Next Picasso Affordable Art.


The new site will launch on Friday June 21st with a hybrid online/on-ground exhibition of painter Joan Marie Giampa’s latest series, which is the culmination of her long-term exploration of organic found objects and asemic writing. Anagramation 1 is an exhibition of 13 paintings depicting roughhewn letters of the Alphabet, seemingly composed from an organic, naturally occurring font of windswept forest floor detritus. In actuality, the letters were initially configured from tulip tree twigs, gathered along local hiking trails, and then graphically rendered onto the canvas. Successive layers of painterly color were built up and then etched into, with the butt of a paint brush, creating exquisite surfaces, which seem more like the result of natural processes, like wind and water erosion, or soil stratification, than the human hand. Looking at the tulip tree twigs that formed part of her earlier vocabulary, in a fresh light Ms. Giampa realized, “they’re speaking to me and I’m listening. I’ve decided to configure them into letters for this series and… so the new work entails more of the tulip tree twig, but with a language all it's own.”


The paintings themselves can be presented in any number of groupings, with a multiplicity of potential meanings. Hence the exhibition title AnagramationAnagrams can be traced back to the time of Moses, as "Themuru" or changing, which was used to find the hidden and mystical meaning in names. Each time you reconfigure the paintings in new combinations they take on fresh meanings, the sum total having far greater implications than the individual parts. Fully formed words, nonsense syllables, intriguing word fragments, hints of asemic writing, scat syllables, coded acronyms, hipster slang, Dada wordplay, are just some of the many possibilities in hanging these works… The exhibition will be rehung and reconfigured weekly to reflect the potentialities inherent in the letters.


The Next Picasso site launches Friday June 21st with a hybrid online/gallery exhibition of new paintings by Joan Marie Giampa, Anagramation 1 at the Red Caboose Gallery, 138 Church St. NE, Vienna VA  22180. Ph. 703-349-7178.  And at Next Picasso Affordable Art.


Anagramation 1 Opens at the Red Caboose, Friday, June 21st, 6 – 8 p.m. 

Closing date: July 3rd. Exhibition Hours: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., Wed thru Sat.


Contact:  David Betz, next.picasso.art@gmail.com ph. 415-871-5901

Angramation 1 is now ready for viewing online in our Exhibitions Area

Posted on May 17th 2013 on 12:42am

Tuesday 19th February 2013A is for Art: Do Abstract Painters Need to Create their Own Visual Language?



Joan Marie Giampa’s sensual, organic paintings, draw you in initially, with their easy charm and surface appeal, and then, the longer they hold your gaze, begin to captivate you with a quiet intelligence and earthy soul, which — amongst other hidden charms — reveal themselves slowly over time. A form of painterly seduction, which makes her work all the more compelling, the longer you examine it.



Formally, each of her paintings is the result of a masterful painterly balancing act. One which harmoniously resolves the tension between the painting’s foregrounded, figurative subject matter — the seed pods, acorns, and leaves — drawn directly from her natural environment, and the more formal concerns of abstract painting, as revealed inJoan Marie Giampa painting, Green Leaf at Next Picasso Affordable Art Online her exquisite surfaces, which seem more like the result of natural processes, like wind and water erosion, or soil stratification, than of the human hand. Her painterly surfaces are painstakingly worked and reworked, and then later etched with the butt end of a brush, both obscuring and revealing successive strata of form, color, and underlying meaning. A process that culminates in the artist pulling a low relief natural form out of the ground, in which, it remains organically rooted, through a deeper substructure — her process apparently miming natural or environmental ones — actions occurring in geological time, or across the seasonal cycles of nature’s death and rebirth. Joan refers to this process as Image Archeology.




Joan’s investigations into language as a visual metaphor began as part of her doctoral research, but after a long a period of gestation, it has finally found its way into her work, adding an intriguing new dimension to her most recent paintings. In which, she has begun reconfiguring the simple biological forms — the seed pods, twigs, and leaves — that were the vocabulary of her earlier work, into a seemingly legible but ultimately ambiguous abstract language all her own. A practice based on the concept of asemic writing. 




According to Wikipedia: “Asemic writing is a wordless, open, semantic form of writing. The word ‘asemic’ means having no specific semantic content. With the non-specificity of asemic writing there comes a vacuum of meaning, which is left for the reader to fill in and interpret, similar to the way one would deduce meaning from an abstract work of art…  Or as Joan aptly put’s it, “visual metaphors do not need to be based on logic since A for Art, a Joan Marie Giampa Painting, from Next Picasso Affordable Artthey rely on perception.”  Looking at the tulip tree twigs that formed part of her earlier vocabulary, in a fresh light she realized, “they’re speaking to me and I am listening. I’ve decided to configure them into letters for this series and create an alphabet with them… Thinking with my pencil… so the new work entails more of the tulip tree twig, but with a language all it's own.”

(A is for Art, Joan Marie Giampa, 2013)




Wikipedia goes on to say, “Examples of asemic writing include pictograms or ideograms, the meanings of which are sometimes, but not always, suggested by their shapes. Influences on asemic writing are illegible, invented, or primal scripts (cave paintings, doodles, children's drawings)… artistic languages, sigils (magic), and graffiti…” After having worked with Australian Aboriginal artists for close to twenty years curating gallery and museum shows and having adventures outbush with tribal elders, and having livedEagle Dreaming an Aboriginal painting by Paddy Japaljarri Sims, at Next Picasso Affordable Art amongst them, I spent some serious time examining the ideas underlying the dazzling symbolic abstraction of their contemporary paintings. I’ve explored first hand how a preliterate cultural makes powerful use of visual metaphor in body painting and dance, in ground painting and cave painting. Through this investigation, I’ve come to understand a lot about paintings earliest uses, it’s role in symbolically reconfiguring the universe, so that as human beings we can make sense of our place in it. Which I believe is the ultimate significance of symbolic abstraction in much of early painting, from cave painting through early Christian religious art. To distill the ineffable into symbols that can be understood with emotional logic, in simple human terms.




I find that Joan’s ultimate achievement, like a number of abstract painters who have gone before her, is in creating a powerful symbolic language all her own. One which, although seemingly hermetic, personally referential, and operating on an intuitive, subconscious level, also has the power to communicate universally. As someone who’s expended a lot of thought on why the work of the great postwar abstract painters move’s me so deeply, I think one reason is that, unlike aboriginal artists, who Yellow Flow, a Joan Marie Giampa painting, at Next Picasso Affordable Artcome to their powerful, symbolic visual language, by cultural birthright, artists like Rothko, Pollack, Newman et al had to create a working painterly language out of whole cloth — a process as seemingly daunting to me as the notion of “god creating the universe in seven days.” Looking at her latest series evolve before my eyes, I find that Joan Marie Giampa’s work speaks evocatively in a painterly language all it’s own.



— David Betz


A gallery of Joan's work can be found here on Next Picasso 


Sunday 10th February 2013ArtHinged: New Art Forum Launching on Facebook/Linked In

ArtHinged: a New Forum for Artists, Art and Design Professionals, and Anyone Passionate about Contemporary Art is Launching Soon!  


ArtHinged: a New Forum for Artists, Art and Design Professionals, and Anyone Passionate about Contemporary Art.While I’ve really enjoyed all of the new friends I’ve been making in the social media sphere and the lively discussions I’ve started or joined lately. I find that none of the various Arts Groups and Forums I belong to on Facebook or LinkedIn, quite suits my unique cross section of interests and personal style. Professionally serious, passionate and committed to what I do, engaged in ideas — but also socially fluid, intellectually freewheeling, cereberal and funny, game for a good time, looking to provoke lively conversation, to amuse and be amused.  Facebook is often a little too flip and casual and LinkedIn can be way too buttondowned serious, with people too quick to hand out their "virtual business cards" without the manners to even check into the dicussion they've just joined. So clearly the time has come to start my own group/forum, something that splits the difference: ArtHinged. Something more like a great opening: smart talk, compelling art, a gathering where you can exchange ideas and professional opportunities with your peers, meet new people, share gossip and anecdotes, see and be seen.



Get ArtHinged!  A forum for discussing visual art and those who make it, for exposing works of creativity and imagination, for sharing gossip and humorous commentary about the art world, for sharing anecdotes about art historical figures, for sharing your own reviews of current exhibitions — and for shedding light on the arcane workings of the art market.


Art Hinged is also a place for promoting: artist’s new work, upcoming gallery exhibitions, museum shows, open competitions, calls for artists submissions, exhibition proposals, artist’s workshops, and art events of all kinds.


ArtHinged will be launching soon on Facebook as well as LinkedIn.  I hope you'll to take the opportunity to become an early adopter and join us. Post early, post often!


Join ArtHinged on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/409637522461280/ 

Join Art Hinged on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/ArtHinged-4846440



—David Betz





Posted on February 10th 2013 on 05:24pm

Sunday 27th January 2013My Personal Journey: A Career in Art


Next Picasso Curator David Betz Exhibiting at Art Chicago, 1999 

















Next Picasso Curator, David Betz, exhibiting at Art Chicago, 1999 



I love working with art, and the artists who create it. As human beings, art is one of the most important metaphorical tools we have for making sense of the world around us.  A way of understanding what it means to be human, of finding our place in a seemingly irrational and unfathomable universe. Providing us with deep pleasure, but yet at it’s best, provoking rich philosophical and spiritual affirmation in our lives as well.


My personal journey in art has taken me from running a midtown Manhattan restoration studio, which provided me with me what aesthete Bernard Berenson once termed “a tactile education in art.” Where I daily came into contact with art objects of numerous cultures. My activities inviting a sort of cultural archeology: a realization that encoded in the art that passed through my hands was a rich cultural history of how people of a certain time and place perceived the world around them.


To working with contemporary and modern art in Soho during the eighties art boom, a stage set for the outsized ambitions and personalities of art stars and dealers, brought into sharp relief by the drama of a frothy, overheated market.


To a much deeper, more significant time and place altogether: working with Australian Aboriginal Artists, a journey into an incredibly resonant cultural mindset, rich in poetry, symbolism, and metaphor, set against the backdrop of a magical landscape.


If artists are shamans telling us truths about ourselves, through intuitive, tactile, nonverbal means, then my role as writer, curator, documentarian, and gallerist has been that of the storyteller, to shed light on the creative act, by weaving artworks and the thought process of those who forged them into a compelling narrative.


In my latest project Next Picasso, I hope to provide an Art 2.0 web experience, taking collectors inside the minds and milieu of exceptional emerging and established artists.



— David Betz, Curator 

Posted on January 27th 2013 on 02:58pm

Wednesday 23rd January 2013"Why Affordable Art?" Recalibrating for Today's Art Market

Next Picasso Curator David Betz, giving a curatorial talk at his 2007 Exhibition, Desert Dreamscapes at the Holter Museum of Art
Next Picasso Curator David Betz, giving a curatorial talk, in support of the exhibition
Desert Dreamscapes, at the Holter Museum of Art, 2007.


An artist recently asked me what do you mean when you say affordable art? A serious answer to that question, why Affordable Art has become such a buzzword in recent years, and the transition that it represents, involves a look back at the contemporay art market, thirty years of rapid expansion, followed by an even quicker, and for many of us devestating contraction.


I've been in the art business for close to thirty years now, most of those boom years, with a few harsh, but essentially short-lived recessions in the mix. During that time I worked primarily with artwork priced between 2,000 and 30,000 dollars.  A price range I would consider just about the middle of the market, not the swamp of mass market art and art products, but not the super high-end stratosphere that is the oeuvre of international art stars and dead artists. Although many artworks I worked with were later resold at auction, increasing in value.


During most of the last thirty years, middle class to upper middle class collectors felt comfortable buying art in that sort of price range, because of what economists call the “wealth effect.” If they were doing well and saw their incomes rising, they felt confident buying luxuries that made them feel good about themselves, such as contemporary art. What could make you feel better about yourself, about the quality of your life, than putting a great painting on the wall, or that perfect sculpture in the back garden? As an art dealer it was my job to enable that magic to happen, to be a sort of matchmaker, connecting collectors to the right work by the right artist, providing an experience that would enrich their lives and get an artist's work out into the world.


Damien Hirst's Polka Dot's symbol of an over-saturated high end art market?The sad truth is, that since the economic crisis of 2008, far fewer middle class collectors are "looking for love" in that way. The uber-wealthy have retained the requisite level of economic confidence to keep buying — hedge fund managers and the like, who feel richer than ever!  —  which accounts for why the high-end market in international art stars work and the work of dead artists has been so frothy, and for the most part doing better than ever (although Larry Gagosian’s recent troubles hint that even the market for international art stars has become oversaturated!). But as we all know, the vast middle of the art market — that expanded so rapidly during the boom years of the 1984 – 2008 (Reagan’s second term through the apocalyptic Bush economic meltdown), and that was the comfort zone for so many artists actively exhibiting and selling their work — has contracted significantly.


And it’s contracted so significantly, because it was supported by a vast and vibrant middle class, that with good reason, no longer feels economically confident. During the last four years, it’s like the middle class has woken up with a terrific hangover after a long party, woken up to the fact that they’re carrying too much debt, their houses are underwater, that stocks are not exactly a safe guaranteed investment, and that their incomes haven’t really been improving as much as they once thought. The so called "wealth effect" simply evaporated along with the housing market!


As artists, art dealers, and other professionals, working in an industry dependent on what economists once described as the robust “economic engine of the American middle class”, the question is, how do we respond to this life changing transformation? Where do we go from here?


Jeff Koons Balloon Dog, already a symbol of a bygone era?I love working with contemporary art — it’s a passion! — so I’m not going to just roll over and die because times have changed. Finding a successful strategy for surviving this paradigm shift, means adapting to the times, like the fleet of foot, big-brained mammal that I am, rather than just standing there like a dinosaur, confused that my once familiar landscape, has been altered beyond recognition. Which brings me to my new mantra: Affordable Art!    


Affordable Art has become a buzzword in recent years for good reason. That vast pool of middle class art collectors, that we all once depended on for our livelihoods — who learned to love and collect contemporary art during the baby boom’s boom years — well, their lives have changed, and so have their buying habits. But realize too, that they still love art, that they still go to museum shows, that art still plays an important part in their lives, but that they're simply not spending as freely now. So we have go easy on the ego, swallow a little pride (after all pride cometh before the fall) ease up on the outsized ambition, and learn to serve these collectors better, as in the end that’s what any business has to be about — serving your clients needs effectively!  Talking more in terms of you, rather than I.



Mimi Chen Ting's Painting Divertimento I at Next Picasso Affordable Art Online

Surveying the landscape around me, things have improved somewhat.  People are starting to feel confident about making those less ambitious discretionary purchases again. Call it pent up consumer demand. But to be honest, that robust consumer confidence of the last 30 years is not coming back any time soon. Collectors are simply less likely to stretch to purchase that amazing 48” x 60” painting, that costs five, ten, twenty thousand dollars, until boom times, and the sense of economic confidence that goes with them, return. For me, targeting the dialed down comfort zone of our beloved middle class collectors is the most obvious strategy for staying afloat in this era of diminished expectations.


So how does this apply to my own current venture, Next Picasso Affordable Art Online? Most everything on www.next-picasso.com is priced at $3,000 and under, within what I perceive to be the comfort zone of those middle class collectors, who haven’t so much disappeared from the scene, as become far more judicious about their discretionary spending.


In the bad old days of over confidence, outsized ambition, and excessive pride I used to believe, “why sell something for $500 when it takes the same amount of effort as selling something for $5,000!” Now I find myself, with the necessary humility, to say that no matter what someone pays for a work of art, they want to know that they're getting good value for their money, they want to be provided with a quality experience, and to know that their needs and concerns are being addressed competently, professionally, with thought and care, and great follow through. And I’m looking for a few great artists who are willing to join me in this undertaking!



Flora Layla Edwards painting, Geronimo at Next Picasso Affordable Art OnlineSo for artists who once thrived in that "sweet spot", the vast middle of the market, surviving the great recession also means adapting, recalibrating your career.  Devoting some percentage of your overall output to affordable art, might be one of many successful strategies artists employ to prosper in the coming years.



For more established artists, an affordable art strategy might mean not so much lowering your prices, as perhaps concentrating more on work that’s priced appropriately for the current economic climate, limited edition prints, works on paper, or paintings on a smaller scale.




For emerging artists it means being more realistic, that you’re starting out facing significant headwinds. It’s highly unlikely that you’re going to be the next Jean Michel Basquiat, Jeff Koons, or Damien Hirst (Larry Gagosian’s recent troubles prove that even that end of the market may have already become out of step with the times!). No one will soon be throwing piles of money at you, because like everything else in this economy there is simply way too much supply and not enough demand. So if your just starting out, don’t stop dreaming big, but certainly be more realistic in your ambitions for the near term. Think about projects suited to the current climate, projects that are less expensive to produce. Price your work to establish a market now, with idea of building the prices, once you’ve achieved a serious collector base, and the economy has hopefully improved.


There are still artists making a serious income from their artwork these days, but often they’re established artists who’ve managed to achieve a Zen-like equilibrium of quality and price point, and who’re savvy about showing in Joan Marie Giampa's painting, Spring Releaf, at Next Picasso Affordable Art Onlinemultiple venues with varied approaches, rather than just working within the old fashioned gallery model. So for the purposes of Next Picasso, Affordable Art is work that achieves that Zen-like equilibrium of quality and price point.


Diminished expectations, sure, but the economy should be forcing both artists and dealers to be more clearheaded and realistic about their expectations; more lean and mean in how they operate; more focused and purposeful in the strategies they employ to be successful in the marketplace, and most importantly, more open and generous to the end consumer.


So that is one man’s humble, if perhaps self-serving, take on how to move the ball forward in this challenging climate!  As the rappers say — “keeping it real!”  Keeping things simple and down to earth. Realizing that in the end, that we’re all in this together, and that by recalibrating our expectations to match those of our clients, we all give a little to gain a little more. Thanks for asking!


 — David Betz, Curator



Posted on January 23rd 2013 on 08:11pm

Tuesday 04th December 2012Ambulatory Kinetic Sculpture


We've all seen the work of the great 20th century kinetic sculptors: from Marcel Duchamp, through Alexander Calder, to George Rickey. While for me a great kinetic sculpture can still provoke moments of childlike joy, it's often all too lacking in the unexpected. Like a too familiar childhood toy whose possibilities and limitations have been explored ad infinitum, it can become mired in familiarity. By simply adding a fourth unpredictable spatial element, freedom of movement, the Dutch artist below inspired the same childish wonder and delight of first seeing my first Calder mobile. See if you don't feel the same way...


 — David Betz, Curator


clip 1klein kl from Strandbeest on Vimeo.



Posted on December 04th 2012 on 05:26am

Monday 12th November 2012The Exquisite Play of Light and Shadow across the Landscape


A few years back I made a documentary about an Australian Aboriginal Artist Paddy Japaljarri Sims called Singing the MIlky Way. Paddy had grown up living a traditional nomadic hunter-gather lifestyle in depths of the Tanamai Desert. He painted his Dreamings, mythological creation stories concerning his spiritual ancestors the stars in the Milky Way.


I spent a lot of time doing second unit nature photography trying to capture what it feels like to be out in the desert underneath the sun, the moon, the stars, and the planet, It was one of the parts of the project that I really enjoyed, but I sure wished I had used the cinematographer below. He captured all of those profound and humbling feelings of being out in nature and a captive of the diurnal cycles of light and dark, and the play of stars across the night sky. Watching this video you can see why my friend Paddy, the subject of my documentary, thought of the stars as his spirit ancestors making a perpetual journey across through the heavens...


— David Betz, Curator




Yosemite Range of Light from Shawn Reeder on Vimeo.

Posted on November 12th 2012 on 04:32am

Monday 12th November 2012Eye of the Storm


New York is a resilient place, the city's human energy pulses to it's own relentless rhythms, rain or shine, day or night. Below is a rare look at the beauties of Downtown after Dark...



NYC Dark from Already Alive on Vimeo.

Posted on November 12th 2012 on 03:56am
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