Indoor fireworks at PIFAS

Dearraindrop's Fun wall
Dearraindrop’s Fun wall

It looked like a paint storm had hit when Andrea and I wandered into PIFAS‘s exhibition space on the 4th of July. Dearraindrop‘s blast of perky colors in paintings, electronics displays and a “Fun Wall” of found toys, posters, record album jackets and advertisements was perfect for the holiday — raucous and celebratory with little bursts of silliness and most of all color.

Dearaindrop in Philadelphia
The Washington Monument (detail) in the foreground with the colored boom circling overhead and almost hitting it.

Everywhere you looked, including up in the rafters of the high-ceilinged warehouse were Dearraindrop’s objects–they completely immersed you in their swirling psychedelic zone. My favorite touch was the little bit of drama brought about by a bright colored boom circling overhead whose spinning trajectory brought it within a hair’s breadth of a large and even brighter-colored sculpture — a kind of Colorforms Washington Monument plopped in the middle of the space. The two monoliths never did touch when we were there but I did see people jumping up to touch the boom and it would have been easy to make it veer off course with a little help.

Not that collision is the intent of the installation but near-collision seems to be, and that gives it a lot of charm.

This is the Philadelphia debut of the Virginia collective which has shown in New York, Tokyo and Europe and was included in Creative Time’s Dreamland Artist’s Club. PIFAS’s Brandon Joyce, a Virginian and friends with the crew, rounded them up for this gig — which will be up for at least three more weeks, he says.  Also, PIFAS may have “a smallish closing of sorts, to be announced” so watch for that. To arrange a time to see the exhibit email Brandon at or

Dearaindrop in Philadelphia
Interactive electronic tv test pattern art!

This has been the season for tv art by the way — art that uses electronics and magnetics to tweak the television sets we know and make them do weird and wonderful and mostly abstract things. Last month at Copy, Julio C. Gonzalez had a spinning tv on the wall that he’d tricked out to play with the tv’s electronics. Bitmap at Drexel also has a large number of tvs (and computers and video games) that have been hacked and put to more artistic use.

Dearaindrop in Philadelphia
Two Dearraindrop tvs between the paintings on the pink- and chartreuse-painted wall.

Dearaindrop had 4 tv’s here and they all played vertical or horizontal stripes in nice candy colored electronic hues. I especially love the one that is activated by playing what I think are foot pedals from an old organ. When played, this piece made the vertical tv stripes dance like an bumpy ekg readout.

Julio C. Gonzalez
Julio Gonzalez’s piece at Copy Gallery in June.  The tv spins; the test pattern stays fixed; the small other elements adjust to stabilize with the electromagnetic components of the tv. Great mix of 2001 Space Oddysey and a Nintendo game.

Daniel Iglesia
More interactive tv and electronic art at Drexel’s Bitmap. This is by Daniel Iglesias.

Dearaindrop in Philadelphia
Philly references

Dearraindrop’s paintings — presumably made for the show — have references to Philadelphia’s greatest hits–Ben Franklin, the Love statue, Channel 6, creme cheese, the Liberty Bell, cheesesteaks, pretzels, and on and on. Very much fun. Ben Franklin’s melting cheesesteak boots pretty much sum up the tone — snarky and adoring.

Dearaindrop in Philadelphia
Ben’s boots are a melting wonder.

PIFAS was decked out for the Fouth. There was a flag and even some plastic flag bunting hung in the space. And like all good picnics the event had hot dogs, drinks and fozen goodies, but also soccer (indoor) and water sports (outside).

PIFAS Fourth of July
Indoor soccer at PIFAS

PIFAS Fourth of July
Flag and bunting

PIFAS Fourth of July
Water sports outside

PIFAS Fourth of July
Water calligraphy like what Andrea had seen in Asia.

Hope you all had a super holiday.

And I almost forgot.  If you love good internet tv be sure to check out PIFAS’s new “about us” video. The piece, which echoes PBS’s serious info-tainment videos as well as what you can imagine corporate America churning out on behalf of its institutions, is a laugh riot.


dearraindrop, pifas



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