Hot photos, cool video

Of course it may not be in the 90s this weekend but if it is you may want to seek shelter inside the big cooler on the hill. The Philadelphia Museum of Art debuts a new exhibit of people-centric photographs in “Golden Harvest” in the Berman and Stiglitz Galleries opposite the gift shop. The 90-works show is in honor of the late PMA curator Michael Hoffman (1942-2001) who worked with the Aperture Foundation and was instrumental in shaping and boosting careers of many contemporary photographers. Much of the work in the show, including shots by Graciela Iturbide, Mary Ellen Mark and a host of others was donated to the museum as part of the Michael Hoffman Tribute Collection. “Golden Harvest” opens Saturday, June 12 and runs to Oct. 3.

And while you’re up there visiting, stop by the Video Gallery in the Contemporary wing for a wonderful taste of Gary Hill’s 1994 piece “Remarks on Color” in which the artist’s young daughter, Anastasia, in a blue dress, reads from a red book by Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. The book is “Remarks on Color” a foray into language and meaning and as Anastasia tries dutifully and stumbles over words too big for her, Hill’s own treatise on words and meaning becomes clear. This piece about the language divide is not only about children and adults but also about haves and have nots, class, and, of course, signifiers.

On a more contemporary note, remember the word hash coming out of Washington these days in which labels like “Healthy Forests” initiative and “No Child Left Behind” are language manipulations used to obfuscate instead of clarify.

Hill’s piece, only up through Sunday, is lovely, sweet and better than the Wittgenstein Cliff’s Notes.


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