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Survival plan for First Friday


First Friday was swell, and apparently, it was a good thing we went at 5, because we heard reports later that the galleries and streets of Old City were brimming with art lovers. Here are some pix from what we saw.

Joseph Hu

Joseph Hu used his own hair for the bristles in his replica of his grandfather’s brush for clearing off eraser debris. It was one of a number of wonderful personal items he created for his first solo show at Pentimenti Gallery. Another outstanding piece was a replica of a shirt. But I loved each and every piece. Hu has the rare skill of doing personal without doing hermetic–and his control of his materials continues to be a wonder.

Margaret Murphy

Also at Pentimenti were Margaret Murphy’s pristine doll paintings. The issues Murphy is exploring are related to the issues Karen Kilimnik explores, about girls and beauty, but Kilimnik takes it in about 12 other directions as well (see posts here and here).

Clark Gibson

Clark Gibson’s forever plaid horizonless landscapes of tubes and skewed urban grids take on depth from the way the paint is applied to catch the light, at Bridgette Mayer Gallery. These were pretty excellent, and the colors surprising.

Brosseau, Murphy, Norton, Stewart, White

The no-holds-barred small exquisite corpse pieces by Mark Brosseau, Deirdre Murphy, Kate Norton, Kate Stewart and Scott White in the little closet–oh Bridgette forgive me–in the way back of the gallery were full of surprises. This one, “1970’s Reinvention of the Wheel ,” was my favorite. The padded steering wheel was irresistable.

Joshua Tonies

At Space 1026, which has a show of young Pittsburgh artists, we saw swell paintings with collage by Joshua Tonies that put me in mind of any number of dreamy, weightless landscapes that I’ve been seeing all over the place (Jackie Tileston, Tom Judd, etc. etc.) but these also put me in mind of Andrew Prayzner’s weird techno-suburban scenes.

We asked Josh about Pittsburgh and he said, “It’s a really wonderful place to gestate.” To be specific, his house rents for $250! The down side: “It’s remote.”

That about sums it up.

Matt Barton

Tonies wasn’t the onlyone in the clouds. Matt Barton’s deer in choir robes (there were two of them kneeling) have gone straight to heaven. Jim Longo, who was still working on his own installation when we got there, told us Barton did his own taxidermy! Others in this exhibit include Ladyboy, Jesse McLean and some other video makers, Pittsburghers all.

On our way out of the 11th Street building that houses Vox Populi, Screenings and Copy, we learned from John McInerney that there’s more room in that building, and the landlord likes having artists in there. Hey Philly, this is an opportunity to expand the art scene there–good for all of us. Hope someone can jump on this! It’s a plea from me.


Walking into Vox, the first thing we saw was the entry was to Screening, the new gallery created by Nadia Hironaka and Matthew Suib. I loved the little box for the gallery notes; I loved the serious notes that include an interview with the artist; I loved the basic blue curtain (not that the PMA does much fancier with its droopy black curtain outside its video screening room).

Nadia Hironaka and Matthew Suib

And here’s Nadia and Matthew looking proud excited about their gallery, which is screening Johan Grimonprez’s Dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y. Grimonprez knows Matt so he waived the big-time $1,000 screening fee that the movie, never before shown in Philadelphia, usually commands [05/07/07: got a note from Nadia and Matt in which they stepped back from that figure and stated they were unclear about what the real figure might be].

installation view at copy gallery

The folks at Copy looked pretty proud of their gallery, too. It’s a cubby hole of a place, but somehow Annette Monnier fit in 80-plus unjuried works of art without looking ridiculous or even cheesy. It even looked pretty darned hip. It made me of Shelley Spector’s ex-gallery that could swallow enormous amounts of art without looking crowded. Included in this shot above are Dan Hughes’ Hood and Averell, the paired paintings of two iconic guys in uniform, as well as Gingerbread Skyscraper, the sculpture to their right, by anonymous. Among the highlights of the skyscraper were the starlight mints decorating the lowest tier.

Jim Dessicino

I had to take this picture of Jim Dessicino (he’s a UArts BFA about to leave for Rome where he hopes to study art restoration) with his sculpture of Eoin Burke. As we were talking to him, in walked Burke.

Eoin Burke

Here he is, and here’s Roberta’s little post about Burke getting in touch with her. Burke also had a piece in the exhibit at Copy.

Robert Chaney

At Vox, Robert Chaney’s graphite silhouettes of cityscapes against bleached skies looked great–this one is Untitled (May 1, 1994; Park City KS). Also showing were Linda Yun’s Left show, a meditation on the traces things leave, and Micah Danges’ Spring House, with funny, low-tech “holograms” that threaten to cross your eyes.

For more pictures, visit my Flickr set here.