reviews, features & interviews

News roundup – West Collection and Tiger Strikes to move, Jennifer Levonian to talk and Ai Wei Wei’s Slought connection


April 5, 2011   ·   9 Comments

you starbucks 1

Imagine the Rubell Collection or the Scholl Collection, two of Miami’s premier private museums, right here in Philadelphia. We just learned that The West Collection is actively searching for a big space for displaying some of the larger pieces in their fabulous and expanding collection of contemporary art. We bumped into the Director Lee Stoetzel at the Fairmount Park Art Association’s annual meeting, and he confirmed the organization’s interest in finding a space large enough to display some of the collection’s larger pieces. ¬†They’ve been looking in Northern Liberties he said. ¬†West is the Barnes of today, integrating its edgy collection into the workplace at SEI Corporation in Oaks, PA, so workers can have access to the art. And now this, upping the access to the people of Philadelphia–also sort of like the Barnes!

Jennifer Levonian video still

The talk
More immediate is the April 12 talk there by Jennifer Levonian, the stop-action animation video artist who charms while pointing out our culture’s crazy disconnects. Her talk is noon-1 p.m. at the West Collection at SEI, 1 Freedom Valley Drive, Oaks, PA 19456 (for navigation and mapquest search 250 Cider Mill Rd., Collegeville, PA 19426). Open and free to the public. RSVP by Monday, April 11 to Lee Stoetzel,

Easier climb to Tiger Strikes Asteroid
Tiger Strikes Asteroid is moving May 1–downstairs to the second floor of 319A N. 11th St., right nearby Grizzly Grizzly and Marginal Utility. For a grand opening, they will have a one-night-only show of all the collective’s members on April 15, 5-10 p.m. in the new space, and a simultaneous reception for the Theresa Saulin show in the tiny old 4th floor space. Even more simultaneity–this all coincides with Philadelphia Gallery Night. We didn’t much like hiking up to the 4th floor, so we’re totally thrilled.

Ai Weiwei and Slought
We got an email today from Slought Foundation deploring the arrest of Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei. The Sloughties had “just begun working on a project about cultural dialogue” with the artist–hence their plea for people and institutions to advocate on Ai Weiwei’s behalf. Full text is on the Slought site.

Tags: , , , , , ,

9 responses to “News roundup – West Collection and Tiger Strikes to move, Jennifer Levonian to talk and Ai Wei Wei’s Slought connection”

  1. Rob says:

    I hope the West Collection considers the old Ortleibs bottling building at American and Poplar when considering real estate options. I say that not only because it could hold a ton of art but also because I’m sick of staring at it in the condition in which it exists. Plus it is ideally located for foot traffic in N. Liberties (meaning it is centrally located near a lot of bars).

  2. roberta says:

    great idea–love the thought about the bars. I suggested the stalled Pathmark building at 2nd and Girard. what is going on with that anyway? ??? it’s perfect for West.

  3. Thanks Libby and Roberta for helping spread the word about our move! We’re super excited about it! Hope to see you both on the 15th!

  4. Rob says:

    I think the bottling plant has a lot of potential as a building. The location is a definite plus though. Poplar and Brown do seem to link the business/nightlife of 2nd and 3rd street in the neighborhood and the plant is between the two. The Fringe Festival used to have their Cabaret stuff in there so it is at least safe to enter right now.

    Not sure what’s up with Pathmark. From what I have read in Northern Liberties e-mails, that location was not listed among the PathMark stores to close (of course, it hasn’t opened, so how can it close?). That said, it just sits there, taunting my little two-wheeled shopping cart. Nothing has happened over there in months. I assume all attention has been redirected to the “exclusive” swim club that Tower is getting ready to open. “Exclusive” is in quotes because they mailed us an invitation to join. Can’t be too hard to get into if they mailed me a postcard about it.
    That said, if you would like to pay $1000 a summer to swim in a 4′ deep pool next to I-95, follow this link:

  5. sra says:

    the pathmark building would be an amazing redirect. probably too far north (also, maybe not big enough, not sure what size they are looking for), but the old police station on Trenton near the berks stop is a really nice building that could use a little saving.

  6. libby rosof says:

    So many great buildings in need of a little saving. I passed along the suggestion.

  7. Lee Stoetzel says:

    It is true, we want to do something new in Center City Philadelphia, showing large-scale installations by international artists as well as Philadelphia artists, Brooklyn artists, and artists from all over the US. We want to make this new space a resource for young children all the way up to the “5 schools”—the Philadelphia university art schools. Additionally, we want to extend show opportunities to young Philadelphia artists through exhibitions, curated projects, and West Prize opportunities. We are starting to talk now with prospective partners in elementary school(s) in the neighborhoods where we might open in the hope of engaging kids at a young age in contemporary art. We are actively looking for partners now at the universities in studio and curatorial studies programs.

    We are putting together a presentation on the vision for this new space that we hope to be able to share at some point this summer, online or in person.

    The thoughts that artists and others have posted here are already valuable. We are open to considering ALL options city-wide. Although we had looked in Northern Liberties previously, we continue our search of all neighborhoods and are mainly interested in what partnerships with schools might emerge and how we can focus our programming to be “alive” in the city. Of course, we want a cool, dynamic, slick building, but we care more about what goes on inside the building than how we appear in an architecture journal.

    We encourage any ideas for possibilities for partners, outreach, artist opportunities, as well as neighborhood and building suggestions. Thank you so much for sharing. Thank you to Libby and Roberta for hosting the dialog.

    Lee Stoetzel, Director, The West Collection

  8. ben says:

    Please, put it near public transport. Many of your constituency don’t drive.



  9. erin says:

    Such an exciting prospect for the city! It seems to me that the Frankford Ave Arts Corridor has a wealth of enormous lots and warehouses waiting for this sort of thing, as well as great access to public transport. Theres also the New Kensington Creative and Performing Arts high school just completed nearby.

Leave a Reply