Sashaying through her funky East Atlanta digs dressed in heels, red lipstick and a vintage Bill Blass dress, Dorothea is "Green Acres" redux; Southern bohemia meets Euro-chic.
She offers up crab salad sandwiches and fruit salad like some exotic superhostess hybrid of Doris Day and Sophia Loren. The effect is in direct contrast to boyfriend David Leedle, sweating in the back yard as he puts the finishing touches on his Cow Parade piece "Transmoogrification," a bovine metaphor for Atlanta's Phoenix-like rise.
Dorothea is a woman who knows how to work it in two worlds. By day, she is as mysterious as 007 about her work "in the law enforcement arm of the United States government," as she cryptically puts it. But by night, matters of crime fade away for issues of Fabulousness, as Dorothea plies her trade as curator of Gallery Eleven50 in the Crescent Avenue nightclub.
Her art world goal is also very when-worlds-collide. Dorothea has applied herself to the eternal challenge of harmoniously mingling the art world with corporate culture.
For the past two years, she has featured some 65 artists in the space, which currently hosts Embodiment, featuring paintings of the human body by Christopher Hauck and Karen Jones through mid-August. Dorothea says she hopes the mix of art and business at Eleven50, which hosts corporate parties for the likes of EarthLink, Kronos and Coca-Cola and provides entertainment for the club kid crowd, will expose art to people who might never attend an art opening.
"When you go out to a gallery event, it's as if there's an invisible wall between you and the art. And the prices can sometimes be intimidating. And I think the galleries like it that way. They like the fact that they are the conduit; they are the go-between."
Dorothea has made various efforts to rectify that intimidation factor.
"I try to make sure that it's affordable," says Dorothea, who keeps artwork at Eleven50 priced between $200 and $2,000. "And the thing that I'm very, very passionate about is making sure that it's accessible."
Words roll out a mile a minute in her lyrically accented English as she roams from discussions of wine to her weekend rounds of gallery openings at Saltworks and the Contemporary followed by Hedwig and the Angry Inch at Actor's Express.
"I get stimulated just like my artists do," she purrs.
Part of Dorothea's eagerness to make sure art reaches a large audience is undoubtedly due to formative childhood experiences. Her father was a Brooklyn-based artist who supported the family with brick laying and construction. Benjamino Bozicolona died just three months after Dorothea was born, so she never really knew him. But she did inherit his diaries and remembers one passage in particular about how difficult it is for an artist to put his life's work up for judgment.
"Having an opening for your artwork at a gallery is like standing in front of a room full of strangers in a state of undress," he wrote.
After her father's death, Dorothea, her brother and model mother moved to a farm in Abruzzi, Italy. Instead of MTV and Nike, says Dorothea, she and her brother "read books and played music." By age 4 1/2 she knew Miles Davis from John Coltrane.
Dorothea's culture-infused, gadabout past clearly gives her a feeling of connection to the artists whose work she shows.
"Most of the artists I deal with are incredibly brave people," she enthuses. "They follow their heart."
Gallery Eleven50 is open Mon.-Fri., 11 a.m.-7 p.m., and Sat. beginning at 6 p.m.
Considering her own omnipresent femininity, it is little surprise Dorothea was especially excited about Mimi Moncier's work, Persona Project, on view at pal Brian Holcombe's Saltworks Gallery, through July 26.
Moncier's oil on linen paintings have a resplendently feminine quality, referencing fashion, makeup and Miu Miu shoes in color-mad abstractions consisting of puddled paint forms layered one upon the other to suggest topographic maps. Moncier brings a sense of humor to work like "My Mediated Lunches in September" in which the artist documents five days of meals as variously colored blobs of guacamole greens and buttercream yellows.
Michael Barringer is an English major-turned-painter whose current mixed-media paintings on gargantuan 80-by-70-inch canvases are on display through July 12 at Fay Gold Gallery. The paintings were inspired by Walt Whitman's verse but have the mellow earth tones and chock-a-block patterns of '50s barkcloth textiles. And just as mid-century design toyed with atomic and TV-age graphics, Barringer's work exhibits signs of our contemporary genetic consciousness in his repeated motifs of chromosomes and DNA spirals.
For Art's Sake is a biweekly column on Atlanta's visual arts scene.
Little harsh, in'it?
Oh that's right...I DID say enjoy yourself.
Go to hell Kombo!
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