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Post from Libby

I usually trust Ed Sozanski to be thoughtful.

But I have to agree that the review on “A Happening Place” was misplaced, misbegotten, and mysterious.

My reaction was, who did he write this for? Who did he think his audience was? Certainly not Philadelphians, who would be misinformed if they understood from the review that this was a show to skip (and I don’t think a reader could come away from that review with any other response).

This is a show worth every cent of the $5 admission, and how many art shows can you say that about, huh? And how many shows at the Gershman Y would you have paid $5 for. In this show, the Y exceeded itself, and that’s because the art is great. (Wayne Thiebaud pies on left were not in the show; his “Club Sandwich” was).

Furthermore, the art, all by itself, raises the issues of historicity, the shift in point of view in the ’60s, the wry focus on commodification–of the art world and of the culture. And the show is an opportunity to see the art in the scale and a milieu that belonged to that time. The Christo is petite next to his now more-familiar work. So is the Claes Oldenburg. So is the Andy Warhol. It’s great to see these guys pre their explosion into megaspace.

You know, Philadelphia always gets criticized for not tooting its own horn. So here’s a show that toots the Y’s own horn, and the horn of the women who got plugged into the New York electric sizzle early on and brought it home to Philadelphia. Y not toot a little for a change?

And lastly, I suspect that Sozanski, with typical Philadelphia self-denigration, was embarrassed to say this show was great because he thought the New York critics would be his readers and would look down their noses at the ebullient boosterism which is so un-New York cool.

Hey, you out there, if you haven’t seen this show, you will be missing a chance to enter the ’60s ethos and feel the fun.

–Libby

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