58 works is NOT nothing at Arcadia

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I was worried about the visuals in Arcadia University’s Big Nothing show “OPEN,” a show about works that lie below the threshhold of normal perception — a show that looks like an empty gallery.

Now call me cranky but I like a little visual in my visual art. So I emailed Arcadia gallery director Richard Torchia for reasurrance that the trip to Glenside would be worth my while. Torchia co-curated the show with Sandra Firmin, former Arcadia intern now associate curator at University at Buffalo Art Gallery.

The director wrote me back and assured me that among the 58 works, most by local artists but some by international art powerhouses (Sol Lewitt, Robert Gober, Paul McCarthy, Yoko Ono, Lawrence Weiner), there’s a lot of visually gratifying work. Much of the work is installation/ performance based and came with instructions the gallery staff had to follow to implement. Without email and digital cameras, Torchia says, the show couldn’t have gone on.

Here’s Torchia’s quick list of what’s in store:

-no photos or videos

-lots of drawings

-one of the most disorienting pieces by Sol LeWitt the curator’s ever seen

-Randall Sellers’ first ever mural — four days in the making (top image is a Sellers drawing)

-a rainbow made out of thread

-a wall of sugar cubes

-a large glow in the dark mural painted on ceramic bricks (visible at night only)

-stuff to find (Angela Bulloch’s casts of chewed gum and Kevin Reay’s large scale airbrush graffiti)

-architectural interventions that need to be experienced viscerally

-works involving fragrance and sound (a live radio broadcast)

-works involving prayers and curses…

So there now, rainbows, sugar cubes and a treasure hunt. We can all go out there Sunday night (8-10 pm) and know there’s something to look at. The artist’s reception should be fun says Torchia. (No lecture but they’re serving dessert.)

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