Call + Response Returns to Pair New Writers and Artists

Call + Response: Textures gives four writers and four artists larger palettes for paired artworks at U St. gallery

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Call + Response (, the art exhibition that pairs writers and artists, is returning to Hamiltonian Gallery for a second installment opening April 16, 2011. For the new show, named Call + Response: Textures, four writers and four visual artists from Washington, D.C., and beyond have paired to create artworks that resonate with each other.

The show, which includes the work of writer Stuart Dybek, a MacArthur grant recipient, as well seven other award-winning writers and artists, will run from April 16 until May 7, 2011, at Hamiltonian Gallery (1353 U St, NW, An opening reception will be held on Saturday, April 16, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. It will be preceded by a panel discussion starting at 5:30 p.m.

Call + Response: Textures builds again on the theme of “call and response,” a succession of two distinct phrases played by different musicians in which the second phrase comments on or responds to the first.  In each pairing, the writer provides the “call” in the form of a new, intense piece of short fiction or poetry. The visual artist creates the “response” by creating an installation in the gallery.  The result is paired works that resonate with each other, building a bridge between two distinct but fertile communities.  Displayed together, the works benefit from their proximity and invite the viewer to observe and appreciate connections or disjunctions.

One pairing brings together Chicago-based author Stuart Dybek and Miami-based artists TM Sisters.  Dybek is the author of three books of fiction, two of which were New York Times Notable Books.  His fiction, poetry, and nonfiction have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, The Atlantic, Poetry, Tin House, and many other magazines.  In 2007 Dybek was awarded a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.

Collaborating under the name TM Sisters, Monica Lopez De Victoria and Tasha Lopez De Victoria work in the mediums of video, digital video performance, VJing, collage, social experiments, zines, clothing, installations, and interactive video. The sisters’ work has been included in international exhibitions and appeared on the cover of ARTnews magazine for its 2007 “25 Trendsetters” article.

Another pairing matches DC Latina poet Naomi Ayala and Baltimore artist Amanda Burnham. A native of Puerto Rico, Ayala is the author of two books of poetry with her third book of poems scheduled for release by Bilingual Review Press. She is the recipient of numerous awards for her work. Ayala is a member of the Board of the Directors of DC Advocates for the Arts and teaches at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Maryland, and at the Joiner Center for the Study of War and Social Consequences at UMASS-Boston.

Amanda Burnham is currently represented by Benrimon Contemporary in New York, NY, and Dorsch Gallery in Miami, FL. She was a 2010 Maryland Arts Council Individual Artist Award recipient. She holds BA and MFA degrees from Harvard and Yale (respectively) and is currently an Assistant Professor at Towson University.

DC writer Reese Okyong Kwon is paired with artist Maggie Michael, also of DC. Kwon’s writing is published or forthcoming in the Believer, American Short Fiction, Kenyon Review, Missouri Review, More Intelligent Life, and elsewhere. She has received scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the Norman Mailer Writers’ Colony, as well as fellowships from the Anderson Center, Hedgebrook, and the Elizabeth George Foundation. Recently, she was named one of Narrative’s “30 Below 30” writers.

Maggie Michael holds an MFA from American University, an MA from San Francisco State University and a BFA from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. She has exhibited in artist run programs, non-profit spaces, public spaces, galleries and museums across the nation. Michael was awarded a Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant, The Trawick Prize, and a Young Artist Fellowship from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities.

The fourth pairing includes Chicago’s Srikanth Reddy and Hamiltonian Fellow Jon Bobby Benjamin. Reddy’s first collection of poetry, Facts for Visitors, received the 2005 Asian American Literary Award for Poetry. Reddy is currently an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Chicago.

Jon Bobby Benjamin was born and raised in Gloucester, Massachusetts. He lived and worked in Boston and Philadelphia before starting a fellowship at Hamiltonian Gallery in DC in 2009. He is currently working toward an MFA in sculpture at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.

Building on the success of last year’s Call + Response, which received coverage and positive reviews from the Washington Post, City Paper, NPR’s Art Beat, Roll Call, Brightest Young Things, and others, curators William John Bert and Kira Wisniewski, have partnered again with Hamiltonian Gallery. They increased the palette size, giving writers a longer word count and inviting the artists to create large installations.  “We are delighted to be working with Hamiltonian Gallery again and especially with this extremely talented roster of individuals,” says Wisniewski.

“The first show created so many lasting connections for the participants that we knew we had to do this again,” says Bert. “Because we brought in a whole new set of writers and artists and gave them each more space in which to create, I can’t wait to see how the results turn out.”

“Writers and visual artists draw inspiration for their works from the same things and implement similar artistic processes.  The connection between the two art forms is innate and we are thrilled to be able to provide a platform for collaboration,” says Hamiltonian Gallery Director Jacqueline Ionita.

For a complete list of pairings and participant bios, please visit

About Art(202)

Since 1968, the District of Columbia Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) has developed and promoted local artists, organizations and activities.
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