The 2022 edition of Collector’s View — a series of receptions hosted by DC art collectors — kicked off May 5 at the Embassy Row townhouse of Carole Feld and David C. Levy. Three more Thursday night events will be presented this month by Transformer, the nonprofit platform for emerging visual artists, which runs a gallery at 1404 P St. NW.
“This is sort of our inauguration of entertainment,” said Feld, a former senior vice president of PBS who owns her own consulting company, BrandshopDC. Secretary to the board of Transformer, she and Levy, a longtime director of the art museum and Corcoran University, whose business — targeting arts and higher education organizations — is called Objective Focus, mingling with several dozen Transformer supporters at the event. Towards the end of the evening, the basset hound Princess Ozma made an appearance.
Besides the dining room table, where guests chose items from a sushi and dumpling buffet to accompany glasses of white wine, the second floor was filled to the brim with paintings, sculptures and artefacts. collectibles (many of which have been snagged on eBay).
“A little idiosyncratic, a little quirky,” is how Levy described the collection, gesturing with chopsticks from the stairs. Taking advantage of the dense interweaving of figurative paintings, African art objects and, more surprisingly, vendor models and patents for cast iron stoves, several attendees recalled the startling juxtapositions on the walls of the Barnes Foundation.
Giving what amounted to a brief lecture on art history, Levy explained that he inherited African art from his father, the cubist and expressionist painter Edgar Levy, among the many artists of the early 20andartists of the last century (going back to Picasso) who were inspired by what was then considered “primitive” art. Prominent are the paintings of his father and his mother, Lucille Corcos, an artist who supported the family as a much-loved illustrator. Corcos had been commissioned to design a Hudson River mural for the World Trade Center that was left unfinished when she died in 1973, Levy said. Another intriguing footnote he shared: Many of his father’s paintings include scenes from autopsies; he was fascinated by gross anatomy, which he learned while working in the Harlem Hospital morgue.
Other works in the eclectic collection are made by Levy’s godparents, famed sculptors David Smith and Dorothy Dehner, and friends such as proto-pop artist Larry Rivers. The Calderesque mobiles hanging from the ceiling are Levy’s own creations, Feld noted.
Transformer co-founder Victoria Reis, the organization’s executive and artistic director, was clearly excited to return to in-person programming. Through May 21, P Street Gallery presents “Shared Words, Split Catfish and Sweet Tea: An Open Platform for Discussion,” a site-specific installation by New York-based artist Azikiwe Mohammed. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. pm
The three remaining events in the Collector’s View series, sponsored by Long & Foster, are: May 12 at Capitol Hill, home of Tara and Steve Goldenberg; May 19 at the Wesley Heights home of Sylvia Ripley and Christopher Addison; and May 26 at Kalorama’s home of Virginia Shore and Tom Hardart. Admission to each is $75. Tickets are available at transformerdc.org.
Joking that she started Transformer at age 10, Reis pointed out that 2022 is Transformer’s 20th.and anniversary. She announced that a retrospective exhibition will take place in November at George Washington University’s Corcoran School of the Arts and Design, as well as the annual silent auction and benefit evening.