First Friday with limits

Adam Cooper on guitar
Adam Cooper on guitar in the one-night performance/installation Breakfast at Tiffany’s, at Copy Gallery

Hey, First Friday was great–at least all that we saw of it, which wasn’t much given Roberta has the sniffles and I was plain old tired.

Here’s what we saw:

Copy Gallery
had a pretty funny one-night performance. Adam Cooper, tented in a hilarious costume by Elsa Shadley, was on guitar; the gallery was decorated in piss-elegant splendor, a lit-up nightclub with reflective mylar and floral sconces, hanging stuffed plastic bags from the ceiling, blue draperies, and clothes strewn across the floor, implying either earlier debauchery or else a strip tease. It was fun to look around. But Cooper’s costume was the piece de resistance, a golden ghost costume with sunglasses–riveting for the combination of Cooper’s apparent absence and presence. Nick Paparone produced the event, and Jamie Dillon chose the music.


Charles Hobbes
Charles Hobbs uses comic-style inking technique to create drawings that recall his fantasy constructions. This one is on a huge 8’x4′ plywood wall panel.

At Vox Populi was more video than we could take in under the circumstances. Mostly we took in the still stuff–like Charles Hobbs’ fantasy drawings, some of which look like his sculptures, and all of which show comic books influences like Charles Burns. Even smoke is rendered in stylized, high-contrast, hard-edged black and white.

Charles Hobbes
One of Hobbs’ small drawings. This one includes some text. Check out the painted thumbtacks.


The drawings are small scale and mural size, and they all look great! Furthermore, the price is right, if you’re shopping, from $15 to $50 for the small drawings. He didn’t say what a wall panel would cost.

Alexandra Newmark, In the Forest; the trees are about 6 feet tall. The animals are knit from mohair.
Alexandra Newmark, In the Forest; the trees are about 6 feet tall. The animals are knit from mohair.

For 3-D fantasy, in the Fourth Room, guest artist Alexandra Newman’s installation In the Forest of trees, insects and beasts is made of stuffed felt and stuffed, hand-knit mohair. The installation is charming, and for all its fantastical shapes, it comes across as a safe but odd sort of place, thanks to the beautiful color choices. It’s sort of the bright side of Louise Bourgeois’ stuffed sculptures.

Anita Allyn’s Periphery, a two-channel video, with animation, of butterflies and winged soldiers was rather mysterious, but the editing kept the action moving and I wanted to stay for several viewings.


Leah Bailis
Leah Bailis, Stand Still, detail

The austerity of Leah Bailis’ Stand Still is a little cool for her interesting subject matter–home, homelessness, and the American Dream. A cyclone fence enclosure is more like a jail than a yard. The windowless side of a small, wood-sided house (of cardboard and foam) is also constricted. The physical point of view is from the outside looking in, but the implication is a point of view from the inside, eager to escape and at the same time eager to stay safe inside.

I can’t really say a word about the other videos. There were several–too many to focus on during a party night–from Noah Klersfeld, Luciana Lamothe, Bennett Morris, and Raphael Zollinger in the Video Lounge at Vox, and in the Screening video room, from Takeshi Murata, Untitled (Pink Dot).

But I do want to mention one of Vox’s upcoming events, a gallery talk by Oct. 28, 5 p.m., led by Stamatina Gregory, the current Whitney Lauder Curatorial Fellow at the ICA.

Joseph Velazquez printing "in the gutter" (Arch Street)
Joseph Velazquez of Drive By Press printing in the gutter on Arch Street. You can see Drive By’s van behind him.

We’re happy to observe that with Vox and Copy on 11th Street, Space 1026 feels like it’s almost around the corner. So that’s where we went to check out their print-off contest, with its catchy title of Pumping Kill Mud Down the Drill Pipe.

Mostly, we wanted to check out Drive By Press’ printing in the gutter event. Sure enough, their van was parked in front of Vox, draped in lots of prints. And Drive By Press printers Joseph Velazquez and Gregory Nanney were out there on Arch Street behind the van, performing printing magic. Joseph told us the two of them had been on the road for two years, printing from town to town, and selling their products to finance the next leg, one sale and one leg at a time. It’s a good thing their work is so likable or they’d have to hang up their tires.

We also said hello to Cannonball PressMartin Mazzora and Mike Houston, who posted an enormous, high-energy, mural-size print collage on the wall at Space 1026.

Drive By Press
Drive By Press’s print-draped van parked on Arch Street

I had trouble getting in and out of the place, because I had to keep looking–all along the stair well walls hang all these great little prints–a great variety by a great number of artists. This is such an opportunity to find art you love and buy it for reasonable prices.

Shrouded meters
These meters were shrouded specifically to accommodate the Drive By Press van and printing operation. Someone’s organized over there!

Also participating in what will be a contest of competing print makers all month, will be Howling Print Studio and of course Space 1026–and others. The walls of the exhibit will be continually changing as this month’s resident printers will produce like mad. I don’t really get how the competition works and if there are prizes. But right now Philadelphia’s feeling like the print capital of the country.