I’m sorry and embarrassed that I waited so long to see the fascinating exhibition, Shipwreck: Winslow Homer and “The Life Line” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA), but fortunately it has been held over until Jan. 1, 2013. It offers much more than a look at a single theme by a single painter, albeit the greatest of his American contemporaries. Firstly, the exhibition reminds us of the pervasive influence of the sea in 19th-century, American life. It was considerably more than a means of inter-continental travel. The sea was the underpinning of much of the economy, as is reflected ... More » »
Micah Lidberg, Rise and Fall (Nobrow Press: London) ISBN 978-1-907704-30-7 This surprising and seductive publication tells the story of the prehistory of the natural world, from the rise and fall of the dinosaurs and a meteor falling into the ocean, to the development of mammals, and ultimately, primates. The narrative unfolds entirely visually, with no text at all, across both sides of a concertina fold. Lidberg’s style betrays his knowledge of Japanese print-making but is hardly derivative, and he has great sophistication about how the illustration will look in printed form. It is characterized as a book because of its ... More » »
Time, like death, is a subject certain to remain of eternal interest to artists, scholars, and the public at large; two exhibitions currently in Philadelphia approach the subject very differently. The delightful Tempus Fugit; Time Flies at the American Philosophical Society Museum (APS Museum) through December 30, is an exhibition conceived of as poetry, rather than the more usual form of scholarly prose. The artist Antonia Contro has selected works from the Philosophical Society’s collections that deal with aspects of time, and sensitively juxtaposed them with work of her own. She is interested in aspects of time explored by scientists ... More » »
NextFab Studio is a high-tech shop in West Philadelphia that enables architects, industrial designers, and artists to create prototypes or small runs of products. Its staff of twenty includes engineers, designers, electronics specialists, photographers, and others who are available for training and technical help. I met Shelley Spector there last week to see what she’s been doing during the past six months that she’s had a residency at NextFab through Breadboard, an organization at the University City Science Center that promotes community outreach around technology and manages the Esther Klein Gallery, among other projects. Any artist who makes ‘things’ ... More » »
On the way to Art Miami, held this year in the midst of a group of other fairs in Wynwood, across the bay from Miami Beach, I ran into Jayson Musson who was heading off to see a friend at Scope, one block south. Jayson had come to Miami to do Hennessy Youngman Presents: His History of Art at the NADA fair on December 1, and commented that the entry price to Art Basel Miami Beach was prohibitive. It was. I mentioned that those of us in Philadelphia wish him well, but also wish his descriptor, living in New York ... More » »
It’s welcome to see increasing numbers of serious books on women artists, even if all three discussed here are posthumous. The volumes on Spero and Wilke pay sustained attention to two Americans who are well-known and widely reproduced; the book on the Austrian, Birgit Jürgenssen (1949-2003), is an introduction to a fascinating artist whose work is all but unknown in the U.S. Gabriele Schor and Abigail Solomon-Godeau Birgit Jürgenssen (Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz and Vienna: Sammlung Verbund, 2009) ISBN 978-3-7757–2461-6 (English edition) Birgit Jürgenssen’s education, teaching career and exhibitions took place primarily in the very small and in-bred art community of ... More » »
People trained in clay, glass and fiber often wonder why their work is marginalized within the art world and relegated to craft. I suspect it’s because much of the work puts an emphasis on technical virtuosity (a subject that never arises in discussing contemporary art which, these days, is likely to favor the quick and dirty solution) and does not engage issues of interest to the wider art world. Here are two books, one on an artist who works in glass, the other on ceramics, which should interest readers across disciplines.
My first assignment: 1895 Years of Pottery at the B-Square Gallery on South 9th Street organized by Neil Patterson and Sandi Pierantozzi. The show is a collection of 74 pieces of utilitarian pottery from 60 different potters around the nation. Each potter is a leader in the field having over 25 years of experience.
With so many exhibits all over the city first for printmaking and then ceramics, the question needs to be asked. How to recognize which well-crafted tree in the forest is the rare specimen worth the visit?
The University of the Art’s Rosenwald Wolf Gallery is hosting the NCECA 2010 National Student Juried Exhibition of handpicked ceramic works from 40 artists enrolled in various graduate and undergraduate programs across the United States. Among the array of masterful ceramic work, a majority of the figurative pieces within this exhibition dominate the show, impressing passersby with their whimsical nature, quizzical poses, and curious contextual allusions.Next Page »