Friday drips and Saturday drops

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Friday was hardly a night to trip the light fantastic. After 24 hours of rain, I had a flood in the basement. In addition, I had houseguests and it was still raining cats and dogs. But, hard-hearted art maniac that I am, I headed out with my friend Iris, her son Alex, and the intrepid Stella. We met up with Philadelphia’s other art maniac, Libby, and, as you heard below, we saw and conquered three galleries outside Old City.

First Saturday, sunny and bright, I hit the trail alone and saw:

1. robotics and Freud at Vox Pop

2. works on paper at Snyderman and Gallery Joe

3. poured paint in the new CSA gallery on Callowhill

Robo Art

It doesn’t take much to create drama in a darkened room. A little bit of light, some unexpected motion and you’ve got a haunted house.

Or…step behind the black curtain into the dark, fourth room at Vox Populi and see fairyland. Wee, blue and pink lights flash and pulse and move up and down casting colored shadows at unexpected intervals. It’s an indoor aurora borealis — sweet, lovely and playful.

In addition to the motion and light show, collaborators Shih Chieh Huang and Megumi Akiyoshi installed the room with two video monitors playing clips from some of their individual previous projects. The videos, interestingly, become just more light and motion in the dark space. But of course they tell stories, so you zone in on them and watch. It’s indoor drive-in movies under the colored stars.

Huang is the robotics person (you may remember a small, bug-like robot of his at the Asian Arts Initiative last year — a water bottle with pink liquid and lots of ratchet ties).

His videos document the making of large installations in various public or gallery spaces in Japan and elsewhere. There’s a great range of work done with a narrow range of materials–tangled surgical tubing, 20 oz. water bottles, lights (of course) and those clear plastic ratchet ties. The videos were mesmerizing. They reminded me of Fischli and Weiss or maybe Dan Flavin if he were into robotics — and had a sense of humor. (image top is the light and motion installation; image above right is from Huang’s video. check out the plastic tubing, ties, and water bottles)

Akiyoshi is a performance artist. Her video documents her performance “On Gallery,” in which she dons a wig (either pink or Shirley Temple) and wears a sandwich board with small paintings attached and becomes a human art gallery. See her walking through public spaces like a subway or visiting the Statue of Liberty. See people ignore her or ask to have their picture taken with her. Nobody seems to buy any paintings (they cost $30.)

One clip shot in Japan speeds up the tempo and shows a group of children following the artist. It’s Chaplin-esque and charming. My daughter Oona has a book, “Fruits,” that shows Japanese teens and young adults dressed in wild and wonderful getups walking around Tokyo. Akiyoshi’s piece, which has little to do with fashion, nonetheless reminds me of “Fruits.” (image above, left is Akiyoshi)

As for Freud, the paper trail in Old City and poured paint, to be continued…

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