Weekly Update 2 – Fall Guide

This week’s Weekly has my fall guide piece about what’s hot this fall in the art scene. Below’s the copy with some pictures. More at flickr And for pictures of the ICA show, here and for the Perelman building here.

Exhibits on music, food and lace come in twos.

Two is the operative number this fall, with several well-paired shows offering a double-dip of art.

Two music-filled exhibits will be hot stuff for the ears; two photography shows on food (and eaters) contemplate hunger and excess; and two shows on lace raise thoughts about the fabric of life. Also gamely skipping into this Noah’s Art season are two singular sensations: the installation of a 30-foot-long faux parking garage at the new Jenny Jaskey Gallery (formerly Tower Gallery), and the debut of the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Perelman Building.


It’s an art season bursting with two things: energy and excitement.

Hear and Now

Sean Duffy, TheGrove
Drawing by Sean Duffy for The Grove, Arcadia University Art Gallery.

“Ensemble” at the Institute of Contemporary Art and “The Grove” at Arcadia University Art Gallery are visual art exhibits that bombard the ears. Both use multi-station audio works and overlapping fields of music and noise to create a blanket of sound that might recall a Coney Island video arcade or a chorus of cicadas. While Christian Marclay’s curatorial project at ICA delivers a group blast with more than 28 big-name artists each making something unique, “The Grove” is a solo project by California-based Sean Duffy.


Sean Duffy, The Grove
The Grove, installed at University of Arizona last year.

However, Duffy’s piece interacts with viewers and let’s them author the work by playing a record on one of 18 turntables set up on picnic tables under a canopy of 400 speakers dangling by their cords from the ceiling. What happens when all turntables are spinning? It’s a must-hear opening. See you there.

A Matter of Taste


Arlene Love
Arlene Love, photo from her exhibit at Sande Webster Gallery

Arlene Love’s “Walking Distance” at Sande Webster Gallery presents black-and-white “candid camera” shots of people munching, gobbling and generally enjoying their food while walking down the street or sitting on a stoop. People caught mid-slurp with noodles half-in and half-out of their mouths don’t look their finest, and whether intended or not, the cumulative view of so many overweight Philadelphians eating high-calorie foodstuffs is depressing. The nicest moments come when people are seen sharing their food—tasting each other’s ice cream or picnicking on the front steps.

Amy Stevens Confectioners #52 at CFEFA
Amy Stevens Confectioners #52 at CFEFA

Meanwhile, Amy Stevens’ color photographs of absurdly over-decorated cakes that are color-coordinated to fade into patterned wallpaper backgrounds are about food excess and the fleeting happiness of celebrations. “Confections” at the Center for Emerging Visual Artists grew out of the artist’s own celebration of her 30th birthday two years ago. And Stevens is still photographing cakes. The good news is the cakes are getting more baroque and delightfully ridiculous, and the photographs are getting better and better—less about cake and more about fakery in general.

Straight Laced

Astrid Bowlby
Astrid Bowlby, ink on paper, from her exhibit at Gallery Joe.

Astrid Bowlby’s dark drawings in “A Certain Density” at Gallery Joe call to mind the work of solitary lacemakers of long ago. In his third solo exhibit with Joe, Bowlby will take over the entire gallery with ink-on-paper works from three series: one based on a midnight garden motif, another on the weather, and a third on lace. The artist’s labor-intensive works transcend decor by flirting with the existential—creating images so black and knotty they’re like the darkest thoughts on a moonless night.

Robert Zakanitch,
Butterfly Frog (Lace Series), 2001
acrylic on canvas
54 x 69 inches

“The Lace Paintings”—Robert Rahway Zakanitch’s large-scale paintings of highly decorative lacework—are homages to another time, when tea and biscuits were served in parlors furnished with fancy armchairs. In the show’s catalog, art critic and philosopher Arthur Danto explains these works are the artist’s response to Sept. 11. Zakanitch’s lace is a symbolic repair of the torn fabric of community during a time of crisis.

Space Age

Mark Shetabi, The Elevation, at Jenny Jaskey Gallery. Spookier and spookier this artist’s work becomes.

Mark Shetabi’s “Elevation” might be the spookiest art this season. The 30-foot-long parking garage installation at Jenny Jaskey Gallery deals with spaces that are tabula rasa—where each viewer brings their own frame of reference. A parking garage is a perfect nothing; ideally it’s where you park a car, but in some places it’s where you’d plant a car bomb.

Sol LeWitt
Exhibition Gallery, Perelman Building, PMA.

But there’s nothing creepy about the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s new Perelman Building, the retrofitted art deco building on Fairmount Avenue (kitty-corner to the PMA across Kelly Drive). Housing several museum departments as well as the library and a cafe, the Perelman will open Sept. 15 with exhibits of sculpture, photography, costumes and more.

Fall Guide 2007: Art

Amy Stevens: “Confections” Fri., Sept. 14, 5:30-7:30pm. Through Sept. 20. Center for Emerging Visual Artists, 237 S. 18th St. 215.546.7775.

Through Oct. 3. Sande Webster Gallery, 2006 Walnut St. 215.636.9003.

Astrid Bowlby: “A Certain Density”
Sat., Sept. 15, 4–6pm. Through Oct. 27. Gallery Joe, 302 Arch St. 215.592.7752.

$6. Through Dec. 16. Institute of Contemporary Art, 118 S. 36th St. 215.898.7108.

Mark Shetabi: “Elevation”
Thurs., Sept. 20, 6-9pm. Through Oct. 26. Jenny Jaskey Gallery, 969 N. Second St. 215.253.9874.

Robert Rahway Zakanitch: “The Lace Paintings”
Through Sept. 29. Locks Gallery, 600 Washington Sq. South. 215.629.1000.

Ruth and Raymond G. Perelman Building
Sept. 15. Free. 26th St. and the Pkwy. 215.763.8100.”target=”_blank

Sean Duffy: “The Grove”
Thurs., Nov. 8, 6:30pm. Free. Stiteler Auditorium, Murphy Hall. Through Dec. 20. Arcadia University, 450 S. Easton Rd., Glenside. 215.572.2131.