With our reviews, we lead the discussion about what is valuable and why.
Our writing team covers exhibitions and performances in Philadelphia and elsewhere. We also cover books and movies. We look, take notes, ask questions and listen. We take pictures, make video and audio recordings. We think about what we see and have opinions. And we write our hearts out, every day.
Elizabeth Osborne has been a major presence in the Philadelphia art scene since the 1960s, when she began teaching at PAFA. She’s been showing her work at Locks Gallery since the 1970s, and A.M. Weaver says the latest show of her paintings there shows the artist at her best.Read More
Chip enjoys the nuanced perspectives on queer and transgender identities in the ambitious group show, Where We Find Ourselves, at the Gershman Y. He says curator Jordan Rockford does a great job looking beyond the rainbow flag, bringing together the voices of queer and transgender artists from around the world, including Zachary Drucker, Jamil Hellu, Ryan W. Kelly, Amos Mac, and Brice Peterson.Read More
Currently on view at Penn’s Arthur Ross Gallery, Willie Cole’s travelling show On Site contains the artist’s signature found-object sculpture, which transforms common domestic objects like irons, shoes, and bottles into powerful ensembles evoking ancient gods and contemporary consumer culture.Read More
Neil takes in the 2nd installment of the 39th annual Wind Challenge at Fleisher Art Memorial, which features work by Emily White, Amy Ritter, and Debbie Lerman. All three explore the body’s vulnerability and mutability, from the bodies of bison who used to roam the plains, to the bodies of memory explored in Amy Ritter’s sculpture and Debbie Lerman’s quilts.Read More
Artblog goes to Switzerland! Flora writes about the amazing collection of African art at the Musée Barbier-Müller in Geneva, whose future is unclear following the death of the collection’s owner, Jean-Paul Barbier-Müller.Read More
Sometimes it looks like a science fair and sometimes it looks like an art exhibit. Either way, Michael Lieberman says the exhibition, How Food Moves: Edible Logistics, is a good one to sink your teeth into.Read More
Matthew Rose offers a critical take on ’80s art wunderkind Julian Schnabel’s latest show in Paris, which features images of the god Shiva overlaid with the artist’s own interventions. Is this a genuine attempt at an artistic dialogue between East and West, or an unfortunate tone-deaf combination of art and religion?Read More
Donald Hunt thinks about what defines American music in his review of the Philadelphia Orchestra’s recent performance of music by Leonard Bernstein, Pat Metheny and Antonin Dvorák.Read More
The textiles on view betray a range of technical skill in both the stitchery and designs. Some show a sophisticated ability to render forms and were obviously transferred from patterns, while others seem to have been made up as the embroiderer went along. It is hard to believe that the precision of stitching in the Bagh phulkari weren’t made by professional craftsmen. There is no surviving literature that would indicate how designs circulated–indeed, there is almost no surviving history of phulkari in general, hence the significance of this collection and its catalog.Read More
While I chuckled at Kelley Donahue’s satirical clay figures and found the virtuoso drawing installation by Paul Santoleri a wow both for its graphic impact and its politically-charged subject-matter, it is Joanna Platt’s “Timelines” that moved me, with its simple message of connection. The idea of shared space, shared memories, and the suggestion that technology brings us together yet keeps us apart is something we all should ponder.Read More
After fifty years is “Zen for Film” an experience, an object, a projection, or a relic? Holling examines the early history of the work, contemporaneous artworks that raised similar questions, and protocols for institutions that would borrow and exhibit examples from various public collections. Some of Holling’s questions are now being answered by the artist’s estate, museums, and film archives–and they offer inconsistent answers. “Zen for Film,” whose subject is entirely bound with its materiality, raises particularly complex questions, and Holling is thoughtful, dogged, and modest in searching for answers. Her examination raises points common to enough 20th- and 21st-century works that art historians concerned with the record as well as curators and conservators tasked with exhibiting and caring for them will have to acknowledge them.Read More
Ars Nova Workshop can be relied on to bring new music to Philadelphia audiences. Steve Lehman’s Sélébéyone, presented on March 24 at the Painted Bride Art Center, was no exception. A composer and alto-saxophonist, Lehman has received a 2015 Guggenheim Fellowship and a 2014 Doris Duke Artist Award, and has worked with major national and international artists like Vijay Iyer, Jason Moran, and Meshell Ndegeocello. For this performance, Lehman brought together an innovative combination of jazz, hip-hop, rap, and electronica whose disparate parts worked together surprisingly well.Read More
I knew Jimmy. He was brilliant, charming, passionate, humane, intellectually and emotionally complex, fun and funny, and utterly fascinating and exciting to be with. I knew him the last few years of his life, late 1980s. He was traveling throughout the United States to see old friends and haunts. It was his last lap, his stomach cancer was incurable. He also wanted to take measure of his country–if life had changed for the better for African-Americans in a decade.Read More