April 2003 Archive


Mural mystery solved

A beautiful drawing was going up on an unlikely lilac ground on the side of the Leidy School on Belmont Avenue. Then, one day, the drawing disappeared and it was back to lilac. A few days passed, and a whole new drawing seemed to be going up. How odd. Luckily, a week or two later, I found artist John Lewis (he’s the tiny figure in the upper left) up on the scaffolding, busy working on drawing number two. “It’s the same drawing,” he called down to me. But the previous version was reversed, left to right. He was so high ... More » »


PAFA buys a big one

Money from recent deaccessioning of 50 works of art by Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts bought the Academy a big painting that will beef up its collection of contemporary American art. The purchase: PAFA grad and Academy instructor Vincent Desiderio’s “Pantocrator,” (image) an oil on linen triptych from 2002. The museum paid $135,000 for the 8-ft. tall, 17-ft. wide, “Pantocrator,” said PAFA’s Shelley McCaffrey. The title, from the Greek, meaning “ruler of all”, refers to a category of iconic paintings with the Christ figure in the middle. Don’t look for the painting to show up in the flesh for ... More » »


many are called, few chosen

Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative which helped bring to Philadelphia shows like Wall Power and Valie Export, just announced its 2003 grant winners. Of 14 institutional applicants, four received exhibition awards and one received a planning grant, for a total of $726,500. And the winners are: Moore College of Art and Design ($181,500) –the first American solo exhibit of German artist Jorg Immendorff ; Main Line Art Center ($150,000) –four site specific projects including one by Brooklyn phtographer and sculptor Bob Braine, known for paddling around in home-made boats to document the man/nature interface (image); Institute of Contemporary Art ($180,000) — retrospective ... More » »


Other notable shows

Jim Houser (see image)has a good show that opened last week at Spector Gallery. Also, get your ticket for the Project Room fundraiser May 10. Tout le monde will be there, we bet. For $20 in advance, $25 at the door, you get plentiful goodies to eat and drink (provided by Standard Tap, Las Cazuelas, Yards Brewery, and more), great music, and art to look at, like Virgil Marti’s chandelier, worth the trip in and of itself. And buy a $10 raffle ticket for the limited edition portfolios, that include works by Pepon Osorio, Matthew Suib and others. Posted by ... More » »


First Friday openings

Not to be missed this First Friday (May 2) is Mark Shetabi’s “Palace at 4 a.m.” installation (left) at Locks Gallery. Roberta has a preview of this coming up on Wednesday in the Philadelphia Weekly. Another promising opening is Bekhyon Yim’s political art (no image available) at Nexus, 137 N. 2nd St., Philadelphia, PA 19106, 215-629-1103. Posted by Libby and Roberta


Bimbo art

One of the strongest tributaries in the big art stream has always been the sex tributary. Over time, there’s been lots of hard nipples and rape scenes and pink flesh washed down this tributary and fished out by collectors who want it. From perpetrators of old like Rubens, Boucher and lesser lights, to more modern sex artists like David Salle. Matthew Barney and Lisa Yuskavage, the lesson learned is that sex art sells.


Art in America’s girlie ad

Opening my Art in America Thursday put me into a serious snit. On the inside front cover was a bimbo nude, by Pierre et Gilles (see a funnier example of their work here) that if it was meant to be a parody failed utterly. What it succeeded at was being pornographic, with its cinematic, stylized lighting, the blond tresses and hands coyly hiding nipples, Oscar-Wilde lilies coyly camouflaging nether regions, vapid fashion-model expressionlessness on the face of a Nordic beauty floating in front of a sky blue ground. The image was so cheesy that if I were a gallery owner ... More » »


Open studio tours registration

I just got my annual invitation to the Philadelphia Open Studio Tours (POST). Since I don’t have a Philadelphia studio, I don’t sign up, and since I’m a whiner, I’d whine about the sign up fee, but the event seems to get bigger and better every year, so it must be worth it, I guess. Besides, one of the organizers is the excellent Ed Bronstein (his self-portrait here). It would be nice to know how many people earn enough to make this pay (if you respond to this, I won’t include your name, just your data).


Your Barney screed

Hey, Roberta, that was a nice piece your wrote in the Weekly on Matthew Barney. I get the feeling you could have written pages more.


War art redux

There’s plenty of war art. At least that’s what I thought I was looking at in “The Other Tradition” show up at the Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery until May 7. The pieces were, for the most part, dark and scary, even when they were funny, and they made me think of all the terrible things going on in the world right now, so in my book, they were war art. Paul Swenbeck’s shocked alien critters in “Look A Beaver!” confront a natural world that’s gone awry. Ben Woodward’s “The Cat That Ate Everything,” gobbles the sweet birds of nature, and 1993 Pew ... More » »

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