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The people of First Friday

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April 8, 2009   ·   0 Comments

Tim McFarlane, new painting on wood at Bridgette Mayer Gallery

My First Friday trek took me to Tim McFarlane‘s wonderful solo show of new paintings at Bridgette Mayer; to Bill Daniel’s great documentary Hobo project at Space 1026 and lastly to the Vox Building for Annette Monnier‘s and Phillip Adams’ amazing drawings at Copy and Tiger and Isaac Schell’s gorgeous color photos at Jeff Stockbridge‘s print studio.

Tim McFarlane, new painting on wood at Bridgette Mayer Gallery

Tim McFarlane, new painting on wood at Bridgette Mayer Gallery

All great. In addition, Friday was a night of much talking and catching up with people I hadn’t seen in a while who have been very busy.  Without meaning to slight the art, I’d like to focus on the people and the gossip . Not everybody will know all of these folks, but enough of you will know enough of them so that I want to spill. Bear with me.

At Bridgette Mayer gallery, the lady herself told me her gallery is turning eight this year! She’s having an eight-year celebration show in June I believe that’s a fundraiser for the charity Back on My Feet (helps homeless people get motivated through running). There will be 100 pieces of art in the show, each one a 10″ panel, made by a wide variety of artists (including some of the homeless). Lauren Whearty, a former student of Libby’s and mine who will be going to grad school at Ohio State next year, was there and she will be included in Bridgette’s anniversary show.  Nice!

Also at this opening, Hiro Sakaguchi told me he’s organizing an animal-theme exhibit at Seraphin Gallery that will open in May.  Sarah McEneaney, Caitlin Perkins, Bonnie Brenda Scott and others will be in that show. Hiro has a solo show at Seraphin in September.

Right outside the gallery I bumped into Phil Jackson, photographer, recent UArts grad and skater dude who was in ID, the show we curated last year at Projects Gallery. (I’d seen a very nice print of Phil’s in the annual juried show, Onward, at Project Basho a few months back.) Phil was just in from Arizona but was going right back, then coming back again for skateboarding camp, then going back again — on a road trip, and then, maybe to South America. All with his camera ready for action. My head was spinning!

Bill Daniel's installation of his hobo project at Space 1026

Bill Daniel's installation of his hobo project at Space 1026

Space 1026 was a jumble of folks and art stuff with Bill Daniel’s documentary displays about his ongoing project with the hobos of America. I met Daniel, a West coaster who recently moved to Pittsburgh. He said Pittsburgh felt very East Coast to him. I said it felt very Midwest to me. Point of view and prior experience are everything! Rob and Tracy Matthews were there looking very closely at the show with a friend.

Wolf Parade, Back of the album jacket.  Produced by Free News Projects

Wolf Parade, Back of the album jacket. Produced by Free News Projects

Max Lawrence of Space 1026 and Free News Projects was sitting on a bench in the gallery, his his usual bundle of energy, enthusiasm and generosity right there to be tapped. He told me about the Matt Leines book  they published a while back.  It’s doing well–DAP, the distributor, has it well-placed in museum gift shops and bookstores). He’d just produced a double picture-disk album project for Wolf Parade, the Canadian rock group. How did that happen?  Max had been in Montreal with Plastic Little, he said, and a Wolf Parade member opened for PL and they struck up a conversation and soon enough the deal was done.

The record album is a beautiful thing (I hope to hear it one day–anybody got a record player?), and I’m so out of it I did not know you could embed images in the vinyl so that you see the image when the disc is playing.  Silly me, the manufacturing world continues to be full of tricks.

Wolf Parade, front cover.  This reminds me of Annette Monnier's City Hall drawing.

Wolf Parade, front cover. This reminds me of Annette Monnier's City Hall drawing.

Max has been working for three years on a project with the Maysles family about the Grey Gardens ladies. (Albert and David Maysles made a movie about Grey Gardens and the two Edies who lived there, both relatives of Jacqueline Bouvier (Kennedy)) Free News is publishing a book on Grey Gardens –a companion to the movie.  It’s available for pre-order now here.   Quizzed about his own work, Max said he  has a tie-in with NPR’s Science Friday website (I believe that’s it).  They want to do a feature on science and art, and Max, a self-taught electro-magnetic light and  noise artist, would have his work on the website.  He wasn’t sure he’d be on the radio.

Wolf parade, picture disks in the album produced by Free News Projects.

Wolf parade, picture disks in the album produced by Free News Projects.

Ted Passon was manning the desk, and he had some news. His film, This One Time in Paris, had just screened at the 2009 Philly Cinefest and he was now working on a big project — a film to document the relations between the Philadelphia police and activists –a prickly subject to be sure. Passon received an $8,000 grant for the film from Independence Public Media (the former local cable station WYBE–and wait, since when are they former?).   And the plan is to make a 90 minute film and screen a shorter version on the local cable station.  Ted acknowledged he’d bitten off a big chunk of local history.  Philly police and activists have been fighting for eons.  $8,000–for a 90 minute documentary.  Just consider that for a minute.

In addition, Passon said he just made a film with Andrew Jeffrey Wright with AJW doing stand-up comedy–that could be hilarious.  For example, check out AJW’s art blog (who knew he had one).

Sandow Birk, San Francisco artist known for his wry takes on national and West coast politics.

Sandow Birk, San Francisco artist known for his wry takes on national and West coast politics.

Over at the Vox building I ran into Maggie Van Scoyk, a FLUXspacer who’s gone all Moped on us.  Maggie said she was drawing big pictures based on Dante’s Inferno for a show she’s in in San Francisco in May. She is having fun with the Seventh Circle of Hell–people swimming in a river of blood. The drawings will be in a Dante’s Inferno theme show in San Francisco in May (sorry I don’t remember the venue). I told Maggie about Sandow Birk, a SF artist who drew San Francisco as Dante’s Inferno. I heard about him from SF artist and blogger, Anna Conti, when I was out there a few years ago and actually saw some work by him at Catharine Clark Gallery (I believe there’s a book of Birk’s Inferno pictures).  Great stuff.  This picture (above) by Birk of President Bush Visiting the Riots in Los Angeles is not from his Dante series but it is nonetheless very hellish.

Anyway, core dump complete. People are amazing. Their energy, projects and work–even in these trying times–is encouraging and inspiring.

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