Weekly Update 2 – Spring arts roundup

This week’s Weekly has my Spring art roundup. Below’s the copy. More photos at flickr.

Young artists are ready for action.

Mike Stifel
Mike Stifel’s Strange Attractors, detail, at FLUXSpace. Soap bubbles infused with air create sculptures that look like pet soaps (ala pet rocks).


Philly’s art world is buzzing as young artists and curators take things into their own hands, creating shows at FLUXSpace, Little Berlin, My House and elsewhere. The shows may be a little jagged and experimental, but that’s partly the point. There’s great promise in the youthful explorations and enthusiasm.

And because the art world loves to party for a good cause, the week-long art auction benefit Heart Works is the ticket this season. The art, music and performance events will raise funds for the Mazzoni Center, a local health agency serving the LGBT community.

Christopher Davison
Christopher Davison. Untitled Figural Configuration (Entering Leaving) at FLUXSpace.


Something about eyeballs is in the air as Timothy Belknap curates “Extra-Virgin” at FLUXSpace—a show with video, sculpture and ephemeral soap-foam sculptures. The show’s high- concept premise is that art is “pure” until viewers sully it with their less-than-pristine interpretations (critics being serial abusers). Go set eyes on Christopher Davison’s soft sculptures (never seen before locally), Mike Stifel’s soap-bubble carvings and other works.

Joe DiGuiseppe
Joe DiGuiseppe’s “Entertainment center #3” detail in Given Enough Eyeballs at Klein Gallery.

“Given Enough Eyeballs” at Klein Gallery takes the opposite view. The show’s title refers to an oft-quoted phrase about open-source software and the fact that if enough eyes and minds approach a problem, someone will come up with a solution. “Eyeballs” includes video, audio and sculpture. Also looking very interesting is Ramsey Arnaoot’s digital audio visual works and Joseph DiGiuseppe’s interactive project. Yoshi Sodeoka’s video mashup of the Beatles’ Let It Be and the Stones’ Let It Bleed will have fans of both bands squirming.


Ramsey Arnaoot
Ramsey Arnaoot: “Audio-Video Sampling Synthesizer” is a program written by Ramsey to manipulate preexisting video clips (from assorted sources) and audio from the movie Hackers. At it’s simplest the Audio-Visual Sampling Synthesizer is a machine that will create a mixed-up version of anything you put inside of it, a tool for creating new data out of old.

My House Gallery brings “The Big Draw” to life as 12 artists sequester themselves with chalk and a roll of brown paper in a South Philly row house for a 24-hour collaborative drawing marathon. The drawing—on a theme suggested by curator Alex Gartelmann—will be shown the following weekend at My House.

Art Glut installation
Installation shot of Art Glut at My House Gallery, their innaugural show. The follow-up drawing show will stretch the length of the first floor walls. You’ll have to imagine it since there’s no images available yet.

So how do 12 artists including Fernando Ramos, Jenny Kanzler and Andrew Brehm work together on one drawing? Come see for yourself – the house will be open to visitors from mid-day April 5 to mid-day April 6. Gartelmann, who won’t be drawing on the piece, says he’ll be cooking for the crew. “If it’s cohesive at the end, that’s fantastic,” he says, adding that the experiment itself is worth the effort.

Tyler Kline and Mike McGovern

“These Ghosts That Haunt Us,” opening at Little Berlin on Friday, is a psychological excavation by artists Tyler Kline and Mike McGovern. Murals, sculptural outcroppings and photographs look at tragedy and mistakes, and mythologize them as hallowed or sacred. Music at the opening will be provided by Ghosts and Shapes. Following that, a show by celebrated Philadelphia painter and sculptor Leroy Johnson opens at Little Berlin in late April.

Keary Rosen
Keary Rosen, robot. Like what he’ll be showing at Jenny Jaskey Gallery.

Youngish gallerists Jenny Jaskey and Bridgette Mayer are in a different zone from the DIY alternative spacers, but they both keep pushing boundaries. Jaskey, whose Tower Gallery is a year old, has two intriguing offerings: “Keary Rosen: M-Class Planet,” a sci-fi-infused installation with kinetic parts, video, photography and drawings opening March 28; and “The Drawing Narrative,” a group show of narrative works with local luminary Rob Matthews and international drawing phenom Robyn O’Neill, opening May 8. The latter show comes with a catalog of short stories.

Clint Takeda
Clint Takeda “Tamon” 2008, Mixed Media, 18″x9″x8″ on view at Bridgette Mayer.

Mayer began her gallery in 2001 at age 27. Now the gallerist adds two more notable artists: sculptors Paul Oberst and (Bardo Pond member) Clint Takeda.

Paul Oberst
Paul Oberst “Grace” 2007, Silkscreen Ink on Wood and Cotton, 76″x17″x17″ also at Bridgette Mayer.

Takeda’s sculptures blend ideas from ancient Japanese Buddhist carvings and superhero comics. His works look like psychedelic candle melt-downs. Oberst’s scultures are influenced by—no surprise—music and pop culture.

Gang Gang Dance, the NY indie band (featured recently in the Whitney Biennial) will be at Johnny Brendas April 18 for the musical opening of Heartworks.

The HeartWorks benefit includes work by Jack Pierson, Andrea Zittel, Zoe Strauss, Eileen Neff, Alex Da Corte, Ryan McGinley, Stuart Netsky, Virgil Marti, Anthony Campuzano, Isaac Lin, the Dufala brothers and many more. The performance/music/art event kicks off April 18 at Johnny Brenda’s with indie rock band Gang Gang Dance and digital artist Cory Archangel. The art will be on view at the Icebox, with the closing gala auction on April 26.

Alex Da Corte’s Digital print up for auction at the Heartworks Benefit.

Mentioned in this article

“The Big Draw”
April 11-19. My House Gallery, 2534 S. Eighth St. 908.370.1656

“The Drawing Narrative”
May 8-June 6. Jenny Jaskey/Tower Gallery, 969 N. Second St. 215.543.6029.

April 5. FLUXSpace, 3000 N. Hope St.

“Given Enough Eyeballs”
Through April 26. Esther M. Klein Art Gallery, 3701 Market St. 215.966.6188.

“HeartWorks: NightVisions”
April 18-19. $20. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 Frankford Ave. 215.739.9684.

HeartWorks art exhibit and auction
AUCTION April 26. $10-$125.
exhibit is free other times
Crane’s Ice Box Project Space 1400 N. American St. 215.546.7824.
More info at inliquid.

“Keary Rosen: M-Class Planet
March 28-April 25. Jenny Jaskey/Tower Gallery, 969 N. Second St. 215.543.6029.

“Leroy Johnson: New Painting and Sculpture”
Opens late April. Little Berlin, 1801 N. Howard St.

“Paul Oberst and Clint Takeda”
April 1-26. Bridgette Mayer Gallery, 709 Walnut St., first fl. 215.413.8893.

“These Ghosts That Haunt Us”
March 21-April 19. Little Berlin, 1801 N. Howard St.