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Books on new approaches to art and its institutions, part I

[Andrea recommends two books taking a different look at the way art is categorized, displayed, and interacted with, and looks at a similar process currently in action at the Netherlands' Van Abbemuseum. -- the artblog editors] Reclassifying artists This collection of essays is a welcome, clear-eyed, and clearly expressed examination of contemporary art’s production and reception. Ben Davis is committed to and involved in politics that support social change, and skeptical of much of the current rhetoric around art and politics–such as the assumption that collectivism assumes a radical, political stance. A seriously informed, progressive Marxist, Davis defines class according ... More » »

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“Carrie Mae Weems LIVE: Past Tense/Future Perfect” at the Guggenheim

[Andrea experiences a two-day multidisciplinary event involving music, visual and performance art, presentations, and discussions centering around notable African-American artwork, thought, and creativity]. — the artblog editors] Until this weekend, I’d never experienced crowd fervor aroused for a loftier goal than football. “Carrie Mae Weems LIVE” dramatically changed that. I was challenged, engrossed, stretched, and deeply moved by a showcase of current African-American artists, critics, and scholars. It was a heady experience to be with a majority African-American audience in a major, New York museum for two-and-a-half days that celebrated, discussed and analyzed African diasporic creativity. High time for this ... More » »

John Chamberlain, Tongue Pictures (1979)

Marfa, Texas and Environs

[Andrea hits the road to visit Donald Judd's Marfa, Texas art installations, and lauds the way the unconventional site highlights the featured artworks. -- the artblog editors] To those of us in the art world, “Marfa” means Donald Judd’s installations at the Chinati Foundation‎. The site opened to the public in 1986 and I’ve wanted to go since then, but Marfa is three and a half hours’ drive from the airport in El Paso, and even further from San Antonio, and I don’t like highway driving on my own. My good friend Hilary Jay, director of the Philadelphia Center for Architecture, ... More » »

Vlisco design, Fan

Lecture on contemporary African textiles at the Barnes

[Andrea learns about African textiles in context with the work of modern artists, including Yinka Shonibare and Grace Ndiritu. -- the artblog editors] A substantial crowd gave up a sunny Sunday afternoon on March 23 to hear Alisa La Gamma, curator in charge of the Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, speak about current and historical African textiles. The lecture was held in connection with Yinka Shonibare’s exhibition MBE: Ladders, which will be on view at the Barnes Foundation through April 21. The exhibition itself, reviewed for artblog by Leah Koontz, ... More » »

Matthew Higgs, Kaytie Johnson, Salem Collo-Julin and Nicola Trezzi.

Citywide panel provokes discussion about the role of the artist

(Leah Koontz and Mellisa Robbins attended the Citywide Panel at Moore College of Art and Design on Nov. 13 together. Koontz and Robbins, senior fine art students at Moore, present a distillation of a lively discussion they had about the panel, which had them talking for hours.–the artblog editors) The Citywide festival, this November and December, involves a group of independent Philadelphia art collectives engaged in an exchange of exhibitions, ideas, and practices. This initiative intends to unify the various neighborhood art spaces involved. On Wednesday, November 13th, Moore College of Art and Design hosted a conversation about Citywide. The ... More » »

Performance of David Page’s Camp X

David Page’s Camp X and From Here to There at Rutgers’ Stedman Gallery, Camden

–Andrea’s encounter with a performance succeeds in making her and the other viewers uncomfortable.  The performance was part of a now-closed exhibit across the river from Philadelphia in Camden.–the artblog editors———————->Rutgers University’s Camden campus is hidden in plain sight from most Philadelphians, even though it is one stop on the PATCO train from 8th and Market Streets. The faculty exhibition at the university’s Stedman Gallery had a novel format this year. Cyril Reade, Director of the Rutgers-Camden Center for the Arts (which includes the Stedman Gallery and the Gordon Theater) asked five faculty members from disparate fields to curate an ... More » »

William Hawkins  'Boffo' house paint on masonite, 44-1/2 x 51-1/2 in., PMA, Bonovitz Collection

Outsider Art and the Mainstream – A Symposium at the PMA

Outsider Art and the Mainstream was held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA) on March 1-2 in conjunction with the opening of Great and Mighty Things; Outsider Art from the Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Collection (on view through June 9, 2013). The large exhibition includes more than two hundred works by twenty-seven American artists, all of which have been promised to the museum, making the PMA a significant resource for art that, however uneasily, is generally termed outsider. Whenever artists have tired of the deadening effects of academic art standards, they have looked elsewhere for art that they thought ... More » »

Diane Edison (b. 1950)
Self-Portrait
1996
Oil on panel
14 x 11 in. (35.56 x 27.94 cm.)
Art by Women Collection, Gift of Linda Lee Alter
© Diane Edison. Courtesy of George Adams Gallery, New York.

Diane Edison talks about women, portraiture and relationships at PAFA

Diane Edison’s two arresting pastel self portraits, in the exhibition “The Female Gaze: Women Artists Making Their World,” sample from the artist’s impressively detailed and stirring portraiture. Edison, a professor of art at University of Georgia, is also an incredibly charismatic individual, as I learned from her artist’s talk February 2 at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. In the introduction to her talk, Edison‘s works were called “two of the most talked about portraits in the exhibition.” The artist’s talk was a light-hearted journey through the history and progression of her work, starting with her early painting and rich colorful ... More » »

Theaster Gates doing a Jack Palance

Theaster Gates talks at the Fabric Workshop and Museum

The Martin Luther King Day of Service at the Fabric Workshop and Museum featured a talk by uber-international hot-ticket-artist Theaster Gates (pronounced with “aster” at the end). Gates, whose work includes making utopian spaces in cities, where people can meet and work, also does performance, clay and so much more. He is a guy who is hoping his art can rebuild how the world works, one brick at a time. He is installing a workspace at the FWM that goes by the stop-you-in-your-tracks moniker Soul Manufacturing Corporation–To Make the Thing that Makes the Things. By time he was done speaking, ... More » »

Gertrude Fisher-Fishman Untitled Undated

Louise Fishman at Woodmere Art Museum talks of family and other influences

The inimitable Louise Fishman was at the Woodmere Art Museum this past Sunday to speak to a huge crowd about her life, her paintings, her mother, Gertrude Fisher-Fishman, and her aunt, Razel Kapustin. All three artists are part of the Woodmere’s “Generations” exhibition, a powerful show about the strengths, styles, and inspirations shared among these three great, related painters. Fishman told us that she proposed this show after realizing that her mother’s artistic reputation was in danger of suffering the same forgotten fate as her aunt’s. Razel Kapustin was at one time a vital member of the Philadelphia art world, ... More » »