[Leah delves into tropes associated with both the gay and Jewish communities, and examines how a new show challenges expectations. — the artblog editors] When I initially heard about Gay, Jewish, or Both at NAPOLEON, I was very enthusiastic. The subject is a delicate one; however, it is also very contemporary and full of potential for rich discourse. The exhibition is perplexing. On the one hand, I was not sure how I felt, but on the other, I knew that I was being asked to digest some difficult ideas. As a Jew who was raised by a lesbian, I often ... More » »
—>Alyssa visits Space 1026 for the frank, Pop-art treatment of our crass commercial landscape by Leslie Friedman, one of the founders of the alternative gallery Napoleon. –the artblog editors—————————-> Leslie Friedman knows her way around a suggestive mise-en-scène. That much is clear after about a millisecond of looking at “Tastier,” her show at Space 1026; from every angle, the pieces deftly skewer the culture of materialism and do it stylishly, with maximum symbolic impact. Using time-honored icons of the culture — naked women, Coca-Cola — and tropes of pop art, “Tastier” is nothing we haven’t seen before. Its arrangement and choice ... More » »
A trip west of City Avenue is, for some Philadelphians, a detour into warp space. Although they live only minutes away, many residents of Fresh Prince and Jazzy Jeff’s home turf have never heard of Haverford and Bryn Mawr. Denizens of the Main Line, it would appear, are likewise ignorant of inner city culture. Urban Pop at the Main Line Art Center (March 20-April 12, 2013) proposes to bridge that gap by exhibiting work by artists who, if not of the urban core, have at least absorbed its visual vocabulary. DISTORT is, as the all-caps moniker implies, a graffiti writer. ... More » »
Leslie Friedman’s ultra-Pop installation Tasty, at Napoleon, the micro gallery in the 319 N. 11th St. building, is fizzy with the delight of well-designed space and stealth content that improves with time. Friedman has hit a feminist note in her installation, in which three panels repeat a soda can’s thick emission dripping down to the open mouth of a conventionally beautiful woman. The pouring hand is manicured–the ladies are doing it to themselves. Friedman’s little exhibit is proof positive that UArts Curator Sid Sachs’ Seductive Subversion show of the year in 2010 came at the right time, when those ideas ... More » »
Grizzly Grizzly It was a night of one nighters and the piece de resistance was Mike Richison’s Simulsuck, a computer and vacuum-cleaner-propelled video and performance that screeched and hummed as the artist fiddled with his laptop and pulled valves and pushed buttons on the hybrid musical instrument made from vacuum cleaner parts. Richison, a Cranbrook grad (and classmate of Grizzly Jacque Liu), is a friendly sort who explained his multi-channel piece with the audio hooked up to the video and all triggered by the vacuum instrument.
Maybe it’s spring or the waning recession, but Woot!, the group show at the Ice Box consisting of graduating MFAs from the Tyler School of Art, is a nice change from the art world’s current obsession with noir-ish nightmares. Or maybe it’s this particular class of students that makes this show so fun and friendly. With rambunctious works that explore everything from pop culture to current events and personal material, the 22 artists in this student-organized and faculty-judged exhibit are explorers at play. In some cases, the works are tinged with a little anger and irony, but the good news is that this show ... More » »