Landmarks in Wilmington

Post by Andrea Kirsh

Caitlin Perkins' shop in DCCA workshop
Caitlin Perkins’ shop in DCCA workshop; all photos here by Andrea Kirsh

Landmarks Contemporary Projects (aka Robert Wuilfe) has expanded beyond the confines of Philadelphia with its first joint venture with the Delaware Center of Contemporary Arts. In mid-May they presented “Foolscaps and Inkshed,” the most recent installment of Caitlin Perkins’ ongoing project: “Playing Telephone with Ghosts.”

Landmark's Robert Wuilfe with DCCA director Maxine Gaiber
Landmark’s Robert Wuilfe with DCCA director Maxine Gaiber

Perkins, who was joined by Katie Baldwin, Alison Dilworth and Chris Terrell, set up a traveling print shop and bindery where members of the DCCA’s Young Contemporaries group could try their hand at screen printing, wood-block printing and bookbinding and take home the results. (Full disclosure demands that I acknowledge giving Katie and her printing-press a ride from West Philadelphia, where we both live).

Katie Baldwin in DCCA workshop
Katie Baldwin in DCCA workshop

Perkins’ work is research-based, which is clearly reflected in the little almanac she had made for us to bind. I stitched it into a pamphlet (pamphlets were the original zines, according to Perkins). The almanac is filled with both usual and unusual almanac arcana: the weather projected for the date of our event–May 17; the fact that on May 17, 1954 the U. S. Supreme Court handed down the decision on Brown vs. Board of Education while on that date in 1792 the New York Stock Exchange was formed; the delightful knowledge that Jonathan Swift collected pamphlets and the University of Pennsylvania owns his autograph list of the collection.

Perkins’ project was inspired by her discovery that “digging through history is similar to the childhood game of ‘telephone,’ where a secret whispered into an ear is passed to the next, until its original meaning or intent has completely changed.” She expects to complete the project with an installation in the Physick House later this year (or early next).

DCCA Young Contemporaries and screen-prints
DCCA Young Contemporaries and screen-prints; photos by Andrea Kirsh

The event also included a musical performance with projected visuals by A.R.S. The Philadelphia trio performed an improvised piece on both Eastern and Western instruments in the DCCA’s black-box space, accompanied by imagery related to the Powell House, notably Powell’s letters from a European voyage, which were later published. The citations were from his Roman letters, interspersed with clips of a Vittorio De Sica film with Montgomery Clift meeting Jennifer Jones in Rome’s Fumicinio rail station. A.R.S. explained their interest in the film was that the producer used the same footage for an entirely different film with a different director and story. How’s that for playing “telephone” with film?

Michele Kong
Michele Kong, detail of Tesala

The DCCA always hosts multiple exhibitions; the most interesting at the moment being a room-sized installation by Michele Kong (a floor piece that resembles an abstracted moonscape) and an exhibition of prints (mostly large woodcuts) by Alison Saar, notable for their emphasis on the human figure and dismembered body parts.

installation view of Alison Saar's Duped
Alison Saar, installation view of Duped

(The DCCA is an easy visit by SEPTA’s R2 train).

–Andrea Kirsh is an art historian based in Philadelphia. You can read her newest Philadelphia Introductions and other commentary at InLiquid.