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Janet Biggs: Norms and Forms opens today at Moore College with a reception at 6:30-8 p.m. and a slide lecture and a public chat with Exhibitions Director Brian Wallace at 5:30 p.m.

I previewed the four short video works on my ancient color tv (I’m talking pre-cable-ready version). The pieces, which focus on sport-like activities by humans and animals (wrestling, ice skating, synchronized swimming, horse racing, dressage) intercut seemingly gentle and quiet sports (ice skating, swimming) with stuff of a more muscular, grunt and bear it variety (wrestling, and, in an almost impossible to watch passage, a horse on a treadmill).

Biggs’s startling combinations of lyrical and brute had impact on my small tv. So I imagine that projected large, as I believe at least two of them will be, the synch-swimmers moments will generate a kind of mesmeric, float-away ambiance, and the race horse on treadmill sequence will almost drive you from the room. Throughout, the work embodies a spirit of Victorian obsession with death and questions about mortality and the meaning of life. Biggs is a Moore graduate based in New York. This is her first major Philadelphia exhibition. (images are from “Bright Shiny Objects,” 2004)

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