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.
To say the stairs are steep at the James Oliver Gallery is to say Mt. Everest is high. I have a mind to petition for a rest stop two flights up. The payoff, though, is a few calories lost and a big white cube. A strip of room as long as a bowling lane ends with a spacious bar and a plum view of downtown. Paintings, drawings, sculptures, and assemblage pieces fill most of the wall space. It’s the tenth anniversary show—JOG10, and there’s an installation of wooden birds—a flock in, um, flight.Read More
Martin’s striped paintings, such as “Gratitude” and “Untitled #2,” pictured here–soft acrylic washes thinly applied over layers of gesso in pinks, blues, and yellows–are beautiful, tranquil, serene, meditative, pristine, innocent, and exquisitely spare. They fulfill the artist’s intention to evoke abstract positive emotions, emotions “above the line”–happiness, love, and experiences of innocence, freedom, beauty, and perfection. “I would like [my pictures] to represent beauty, innocence and happiness,” Martin said. “I would like them all to represent that. Exaltation.”Read More
In the cut and paste art world, perhaps the single most influential artist was the German Kurt Schwitters. Galerie Zlotowski, a small Rive Gauche gallery, has brought together 13 small collage and assemblage works, dating from 1918 through 1947, that offer a range of Schwitters’ poetic investigations.Read More
For those who don’t know the photographs but who love the paintings of the era, the exhibition will be a revelation. The call and response between these photos and the paintings nearby is almost audible.Read More
It seems to me that NMAAHC has the opportunity, not yet fully realized, to bring to African American artists the attention and recognition they deserve, and to place them squarely in the cosmos of American art, and at the same time to “privilege the black voice.” Indeed, the museum brilliantly has accomplished that in its other Culture Galleries.Read More
In London for a week of art hopping and beer tasting, I found myself in one of my favorite galleries that combines both–The approach. This sleek contemporary space not only exhibits one of my favorite collage artists–John Stezaker–but also sits above a warm and friendly pub just off the Bethnal Green Tube station in East London.Read More
Composer and electronic music pioneer George Lewis (a MacArthur and Guggenheim Fellowship recipient) took it upon himself to continue the dialogue he shared with the late artist, performer, and multi-instrumentalist Terry Adkins in the way he knew would be most appropriate–a recital.Read More
Bremermann has lived in Santa Monica, New York, the Virgin Islands, Paris, and most recently Berlin. Not merely an itinerant artist, she has, among other things, worked sail boats and opened a restaurant. Her artwork feels both disciplined and free spirited: it is at once lyrical and whimsical.Read More
In their opening concert, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia created a wonderful bridge between the Classical Period and the present, showing how Mozart’s legacy lives on. Haydn once wrote of Mozart that “posterity will not see such a talent again in 100 years,” and he could well be on the money there. What the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia has accomplished as a consolation is to show us that the soul of Mozart continues to pour into music, no matter what period or style.Read More
Resonance–visual, musical, thematic–characterizes Darkwater Revival: After Terry Adkins, the current exhibition at the Arthur Ross Gallery. Conceived as an homage to the late revered University of Pennsylvania professor, who died tragically of a heart attack in 2014, the show contains work by Adkins as well as eleven young artists who trained with him. Adkins’ absence haunts the exhibition, but his presence is felt in each work.Read More
When Jean Tinguely unpacked his “Hommage to New York” in 1960 and turned it on in the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden at the Museum of Modern Art on March 17, 1960, the sculpture did more than self destruct–it exploded, caught fire, and was drowned by the New York Fire Department. But art history was made amid the shattering bottles, smoke spumes, and firey blow up. Tinguely had brought his kinetic junk to the world of art and succeeded in spectacular failure.Read More
Over the past couple of decades, almost all American art museums have claimed a mission to reach out to “underserved communities,” yet none of them have acknowledged that these communities have their own well-developed aesthetics of art and material culture. They differ from the mainstream, and the institutions have not been willing to embrace aesthetic values beyond their own. The first part of “The Freedom Principle” is remarkable for doing just that: exhibiting art–and music–that was selected by a group of artists largely excluded from the mainstream of their period, who developed a different set of aesthetic aspirations and standards.Read More
Whether it was intended or not, “The Battle of Algiers” provides a visual blueprint for urban warfare. Its sympathetic portrayal of the guerrillas celebrates the freedom fighters but does not show a path beyond urban warfare and into peaceful resolution. I can only hope that new viewers of the film will understand the lessons it has to offer and not just absorb the blueprint.Read More
All five artists’ work collectively covers (porously) the surface of the gallery itself. In fact the physical space itself becomes a porous “skin” to uphold the show. The success here is that Porous Coverage is porous itself, i.e., hardly a conclusive statement at all. Rather, with ample opportunity for flexibility and expansion, we are reminded to examine the intrinsic fragility of the nature of “wholeness” in the realm of our constructed objects, spaces, and selves.Read More