Weekly Update — Hidden City Philadelphia, South Street Galleries and more

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This week’s Weekly has my summer art roundup.  Below is my copy with some pictures.  

Go spelunking for art this summer in venues hiding in plain sight like Girard College, the Disston Saw Works, 23rd Street Armory and South Street boutiques.  Then, get out of town for new art in the woods and a reminder of simpler times and pleasures at Morris Arboretum and the Schuylkill Center.

Metropolitan Opera House, site of a Hidden City Philadelphia performance this June.
Metropolitan Opera House, site of a Hidden City Philadelphia performance this June.


Hidden City Philadelphia presents art, music and dance this June in nine existing Philadelphia architectural masterpieces that are mostly unavailable to the general public, some of them, like Metropolitan Opera House on North Broad, splendid wrecks that need to be seen to be believed.  With dance and music composed specially for the sites and site-specific art installations this one-month only festival is a summer high point.   Internationally-acclaimed artists like Inigo Manglano-Ovalle (at Shiloh Baptist Church) and Philadelphia artists like John Phillips and Carolyn Healy (Disston Saw Works) are must-sees.  While the visual art program is free, scheduled performances will cost $20 a ticket (schedule and tickets at Hidden City website–see below for link).

23rd Street Armory, Hidden City Site.
23rd Street Armory, Hidden City Site.

And to get to the dispersed locales in one fell swoop, the organizers have put together a bus tour on Saturdays for $30. I’m very excited about Battle Hymns at the 23rd St. Armory, a music and dance performance composed by Bang on a Can and Pulitzer prize-winning composer David Lang and performed by Leah Stein’s dancers.  The percussive music and precision bodies in motion reference the Armory’s history as a munitions warehouse and U.S. Cavalry headquarters (now National Guard).  Four performances only on June 13 and 20.

Jon Manteau, painting at Sage Gallery, 333 South Street. The next show at Sage is a group show of emerging artists.
Jon Manteau, painting at Sage Gallery, 333 South Street. The next show at Sage is a group show of emerging artists.

A number of South Street landlords have donated five vacant boutiques rent-free to artists (the artists pay utilities) and while it’s not clear how long this temporary arrangement will last, Lucy Pistilli, artist and one of the organizers of Saint March gallery at 406 South St, conjectures that the art spaces will be around through the summer.  Some of the artist groups will be showing their own works and others have a more open program inviting others to join them in exhibits that change every few weeks.  When I visited, Saint March, Sage (333) , “7” (704) 243 (243), and Dumpster Divers (734), the walls (and in the case of Dumpster Divers every other nook and cranny) were filled with art.  The works run the gamut from abstract (Sage) to activist (243).  But the programs change quickly at these venues and what’s minimalist this month may be maximalist next. The South Street hurly burly on a Saturday afternoon was fierce competition for the art and mostly people were not venturing inside the art spaces.  But if you do, you’ll find the ambiance welcoming and refreshing in these “retail” spaces with a difference.

Shelter by Nami Yamamoto and Rashida at Schuylkill Center. The opening was mobbed and people were lounging all over this piece.
Shelter by Nami Yamamoto and Rashida Ng, at Schuylkill Center. The opening was mobbed and people were lounging all over this piece.

Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education and Morris Arboretum each have new art in their woodsy grounds, and this summer, natural materials guy Patrick Dougherty’s new piece, a fanciful twig hut called “Summer Palace,” debuts at Morris and will rest in place til it biodegrades.   In like vein, the Schuylkill Center debuts 6 (also fanciful) sustainable-design shelters in its wooded 350 acres.  It’s art you can sleep in!  Make a reservation to camp out in one of the sturdy little shelters by calling the center.   Human imagination makes art like this hold its own amidst the beauty of nature.

Gimme Shelter, Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, 8480 Hagy’s Mill Rd, Philadelphia, PA 19128.  215 482 7300
Hidden City Philadelphia, May 30-June 28.  various locations.
Patrick Dougherty’s Summer Palace, ongoing, Morris Arboretum.

Tags

gimme shelter, hidden city, nami yamamoto and rashida ng

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