Pause for beauty

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We interrupt this major discussion to bring you images from the homefront.

Nexus, which seems to be bringing in one outside show after another, now has “Cambodia: Crossing the River,” a museum-esque anthropological show with photographs by James Wasserman and costumes and masks made by Chamroeun Yin, a Cambodian refugee who is also a master tailor and dancer. Yin’s jewel-encrusted costumes — which look too tiny to be worn but were — are set off against pumpkin-colored walls in the front space. (image top is costume Yin wore in a dance performance) Color photographs of performers also dot the room. For more on Yin see the Philadelphia Folklore Project website.

And in the back space, Philadelphia photographer Wasserman’s black and white shots of the streets and countryside make a poignant essay about culture surviving (and elephants surviving, too) in the aftermath of tragedy. This show’s up until the end of December by the way.(Wasserman image left shows an elephant in a field in front of a new high-rise building going up)

The things you overlook

I saw the Nexus show with Nel Pak a Dutch artist who was visiting town for a day. Our friend Ann Northrup was taking her around. We strolled into the Clay Studio and before I knew it Nel was out in the hallway completely enthralled by Isaiah Zagar‘s jewel-encrusted (and crockery, and mirror and bottle and …everything-else-encrusted) stucco wall. That was it for the Clay Studio. (image is Zagar’s mosaic in the 5th floor stairwell)

We climbed the stairs all the way to the top, Nel exclaiming and touching the wall’s fanciful array of objects, delighted at what she kept finding.

Her response made me realize that I don’t even see the Zagar’s piece anymore. It was good to be awakened from my visual slumber.

Finally, I offer this trifle. The vending machine on the 3rd floor landing in the Clay Studio stairwell. It’s full of things like clay glazes, tools and elephant ear sponges. And a type-written warning over the dollar-bill slot tells you (presumably from good inside information) that you better not use the machine if you’ve got clay on your money because the clay will destroy the dollar bill reader. The idea of clay as the destroyer of the electronic money-reader tickles me. (image is that old vending machine)

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