See it on your computer


Last year, Fleisher-Ollman Gallery moved to one of Philadelphia’s most New York-like gallery spaces, a second-floor aerie with big windows overlooking Walnut St. (Think 57th St., New York, not Chelsea). It probably doesn’t have anything to do with the move but right now the gallery has a young, hip, New York-ish group show that includes an internet-only component.

I recommend visiting the show, “The New Acropolis,” in person, especially to see the work of Tomita Takatomo, Kate Abercrombie and Jina Valentine. But stop by the website first, to see the web art.

Online, Robert Botto’s short, choppy film, “A Rarefied Battle Wages” is laugh out loud funny. Especially notably for its exceedingly-low production values, the piece, in which mythic titans duel in the clouds with cardboard-and-duct tape swords is seconds long but rumbles around in your memory afterwards. Be sure to have your audio turned on, but not too loud. The other internet piece, “Seaworthy,” by Claire Ittis, is pleasant enough but feels incomplete and sketchy.

“The New Acropolis” was organized by three gallery assistants and the show’s named after their favorite Fishtown diner. The show’s got some tortured conceptual art, some things that are a little embarrassing (work derivative of self-taught art by an artist who isn’t). But Tomita Takatomo makes the trip worth it. (You may remember his cast resin cartoon creatures from shows at Spector Gallery. They’re like Teletubbies in warpaint. Sometimes he shrink wraps them like Toys-R-Us products.) (image, top)

Also memorable are Jina Valentine’s photographs taken at night of people standing in front of their homes. Shot at a low angle and looking up, the black and white shots have a Bates Motel ambiance that’s nicely weird. Valentine’s other work, a player piano roll of Roberta Flack’s “Do What You Gotta Do” made from the Philadelphia White Pages was like some quirky, community anthem for an Eagles pep rally. I loved it. (image, above left)

It was a surprise to see this hip group show in a gallery I mainly know for showcasing work of self-taught artist Bill Traylor, and occasionally, contemporary local artists like Bruce Pollock. Let’s hope they do more.


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