November 4, 2009 · 2 Comments
This week’s Weekly has my first Friday roundup. Below is the copy with pictures.
Big news this First Friday: A new gallery, Marginal Utility , is opening in the Vox building. The six-story former factory building already houses Vox Populi , Copy , AHN/VHS , Progressive Sharing , Jeffrey Stockbridge Fine Art and Tiger Strikes Asteroid . With the addition of Marginal Utility on the second floor, the alternative art scene truly has a new center of gravity.
Founded by Basekamp ’s David Dempewolf and Yuka Yokoyama —who also launched the recent art theory zine Machete—Marginal Utility has 700 square feet of space including a 500-square-foot gallery and a separate work space for artists in residence.
First up in the new space is “The Astronomer, Part 1: Departure From Shed , ” a nine-minute video projection and sculpture project by New York artist Ronnie Bass . The video—still in production—is a yarn about oppression and a better future acted out by a small cast which includes the artist. The piece is rooted in 19th-century French philosopher Charles Fourier’s writings on utopian societies.
Still images show the actors highlighted against a black background giving a sense of disembodiment and foreboding. Bass’ sculpture project, which will grow and change during the show’s two-month run, is a water fountain made with garage sale and dollar store purchases—highly un-utopian.
P. Timothy Gierschick ’s abstract paintings at Tiger Strikes Asteroid whisper like Morse Code tapping a quiet but insistent message. The works in ”Patch and Plot” subvert universal signs and symbols like rainbows and geometrical shapes twisting them into new designs that suggest something familiar without being clear. Is the rainbow edge around a cloverleaf pattern happy? Geirschick — a member of Tiger Strikes Asteroid collective — uses spray paint, house paint, enamel and collage on found furniture, scrap wood and cardboard.
From the impresario of ”Welcome House , ” the recent temporary public art project in Love Park, comes ”Shelter , ” at the Painted Bride Art Center . Marianne Bernstein , an artist and activist, organized the group show to foster a dialog between artists and the public about social issues. Before the show, 14 artists were paired with 10 Philadelphia families to make art dealing with issues of family crisis and homelessness. The photography, painting, video and drawings that resulted are art as social activism by artists known for great empathy in their art. Printmaker Daniel Heyman created word-and-image portraits of veterans in transitional housing. Ricardo Rivera of the Klip Collective made a documentary video of a dying and bedridden woman, Gloria, and her devoted husband.
Bernstein, a filmmaker and photographer, also has great empathy for people. Her new photo book, “Tatted,” shows tattooed strangers she photographed in the alleyways behind the South Street tattoo shops. The works capture the personalities of the tattooed men and women with great care and love. Tatted, published by Grit City Inc, launches Dec. 4 at Pure Gold Gallery.
Need more Halloween imagery? Check out ”Creature Double Feature” at Brave New Worlds . The show features original works by 20 artists who are affiliated with the Philadelphia Cartoonist Society. Concetta Barbera and Christian Patchell curated the show which will have small scale prints, drawings and books at reasonable prices
Ronnie Bass: “ The Astronomer, Part 1: Departure From Shed ,” Through Jan. 10. Reception: Fri., Nov. 6, 6-9pm. Marginal Utility, 319 N. 11th St., second fl. 917.355.4487.
P. Timothy Gierschick II: “ Patch and Plot ,” Through Nov. 27. Reception: Fri., Nov. 6, 6–10pm. Tiger Strikes Asteroid, 319A N. 11th St., fourth fl.
Marianne Bernstein: “ Shelter ,” Through Dec. 18. Reception: Fri., Nov. 6, 5-7pm. Painted Bride Art Center, 230 Vine St. 215.925.9914.
Philadelphia Cartoonist Society: “ Creature Double Feature ,” Through Nov. 25. Reception: Fri., Nov. 6, 6-9pm. Brave New Worlds, 45 N. Second St. 215.925.6525.