Weekly Update — Fall exploding all over the place

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This week’s Weekly has my fall roundup of shows between now and Dec. Below is the copy with some pictures.

According to The New York Times, 25 art galleries have closed in New York. Sucks for them, but we seem fine here. (Fingers crossed.)

Hip art, explosive programming and lots of competitions populate Philadelphia’s art scene this season as galleries, alternative spaces and museums look solid in spite of the recession.

Museums

Cai Guo-Qiang's gunpowder piece, Clear Sky Black Cloud, seen from the Met's rooftop where it was shot off.
Cai Guo-Qiang’s gunpowder piece, Clear Sky Black Cloud, seen from the Met’s rooftop where it was shot off in 2006.

Late in the season but sure to be one of the highlights, Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang will produce a new explosion in Philadelphia courtesy of the Fabric Workshop and Museum . Guo-Qiang is best known for his fireworks display at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics and for gunpowder explosions shot from the roof of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. The as-yet-undefined explosion kicks off the opening of the artist’s four-floor exhibit at the FWM on Dec. 11. My flickr set from 2006 shows more of his work from his Met rooftop show.

Qiang is working on several new pieces in collaboration with FWM. The new work will be shown along with video of his previous pieces. As for the Philadelphia explosion, an FWM spokesperson says details are being held back until the Philadelphia Fire Department approves the event and location.

Barkley L. Hendricks, Tequila, 1978. Oil and acrylic on linen canvas, 60 ¾ x 50 ¼ inches. Collection of the Butler Institute for American Art, Youngstown, OH.
Barkley L. Hendricks, Tequila, 1978. Oil and acrylic on linen canvas, 60 ¾ x 50 ¼ inches. Collection of the Butler Institute for American Art, Youngstown, OH.

Though there won’t be any explosions, things will be popping at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in October with exhibits by Barkley Hendricks and Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren.

Hendricks’ show “Birth of the Cool”—which originated at the Studio Museum in Harlem and is expanded in Philly with works from local collections—displays the artist’s iconic full-body portraits of African American men and women. The works evoke the icy hot ambiance of Warhol’s best portraits as well as the powerful and enigmatic carvings of African tribal chiefs, warriors and elders. Peep the show for free on Sundays.

Malcolm McLaren, Shallow 1-21 will screen at PAFA.
Malcolm McLaren, Shallow 1-21 will screen at PAFA.

McLaren’s video and music mash-up, “Shallow 1-21,” makes its full-length American debut in the Morris Gallery on October 24. The 86-minute piece by the “godfather of punk rock” combines footage from beatnik-era soft-core porn films with throbbing pop and rock music about love and desire. “Shallow” was a hit at Art Basel in 2008, and excerpts from the video ran on the Sony JumboTron in Times Square last year sponsored by public art group Creative Time. McLaren will lecture at the show’s opening and then come back in November to DJ some sets at a local club, according to Curator of Contemporary Art Julien Robson.

Jack Wolgin International Competition in the Fine Arts

On Thurs., Oct. 22, Temple University bestows the $150,000 Wolgin International Prize for Fine Art in a ceremony and reception at Temple Gallery . The three finalists—Sanford Biggers, Michael Rakowitz and Ryan Trecartin—will have work on display in the gallery all month.

Ryan Trecartin Re’Search Wait’S (Edit 1: Missing Re’Search Corruption     Budget), 2009 HD Video Duration 1 hour 8 minutes Courtesy the artist and Elizabeth Dee, New York
Ryan Trecartin Re’Search Wait’S (Edit 1: Missing Re’Search Corruption     Budget), 2009 HD Video Duration 1 hour 8 minutes Courtesy the artist and Elizabeth Dee, New York

Trecartin, a Philadelphia artist and video installation phenom, will debut two new videos which are a continuation of works featured last summer at the FWM and at New York’s New Museum. Biggers will recreate several existing works for the show and premiere “Shuffle,” a new video piece. Rakowitz will install his tabletop recreations of the lost artifacts from the National Museum of Iraq, looted after the US invasion in 2003.

The month-long show includes a full range of programming with panel discussions about Trecartin and Rakowitz and a film series organized by Biggers.

Other Competitions

Cash prizes nowhere near the dollar amount of the Wolgin Prize nonetheless draw many artists out to compete for honors in Arcadia University ’s 25th anniversary “Works on Paper” show in November. The regional show is known for uncovering new talent and showcasing the area’s best artists. The Drawing Center ’s curator João Ribas, this year’s juror, will set eyes on hundreds of works before making his selections. Always a must-see show, “Works on Paper” feeds artists into the “A Closer Look” series at the gallery in 2010.

Fleisher-Ollman Gallery ’s sixth invitational exhibit opens Fri., Dec. 11, and though it offers no prizes, being selected for the highly competitive show is a reward. The show, known for provocative, risky work, is an open call for emerging artists curated by the young gallery staff.

Collectives

Alex Gartelmann of My House is organizing a 50-photographer salon exhibit in November. He’s asking artists to push the boundaries of their studio practice. In January, My House will do an exchange show with Baltimore collective Hexagon featuring 20 Baltimore artists in Philadelphia and 20 Philadelphia artists in Baltimore.

BYOTY poster for zine fair Oct. 17 at Little Berlin
BYOTY poster for zine fair Oct. 17 at Little Berlin

Little Berlin’s September show “Bright Path” plays with the idea of walking the dark path alone. Local artists and Brooklyn’s Duke Riley — known for nautical re-creations of boats and works that intervene guerilla-style in the real world — show works in video, audio and sculpture.   On October 17, the LB book fair “B.Y.O.T.Y.(bring your own table yo)”  brings together 25 tables of artist-made books and zines for an alternative book sale.  Each artist will donate a book to LB’s new artist book library, which will be a fun new local resource.

Speaking of books, watch for a launch party this fall for Vox Populi ’s 21st birthday book. The as-yet untitled book is a small but weighty tome—about 8 ½-inches by 11-inches and 100 pages, says Vox executive director Andrew Suggs. The book uses words and pictures to chronicle the twenty-first year of the artist-run space and gives a timeline of the group’s history and its many members. The book is a must for armchair historians of the local art scene.

“ Cai Guo-Qiang ”: Opens Fri., Dec 11. Through March. Fabric Workshop and Museum, 1214 Arch St. 215.568.1111.

” Barkley L. Hendricks: Birth of the Cool ”: Opens Sat., Oct. 17. Through Jan. 3. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 128 N. Broad St. 215.972.7600.

Malcolm McLaren: “Shallow 1-21” : Oct. 24-Jan 3, 2010. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Morris Gallery, 118 N. Broad St. 215.972.7600.

Jack Wolgin International Competition in the Fine Arts : Opening reception: Thurs., Oct. 1, 6-8 pm. Through Nov. 14. Prize announcement and reception: Tues., Oct. 22. Temple Gallery, Tyler School of Art, 2001 N. 13th St. 215.777.9144.

“ Works on Paper ”: Opens Wed., Nov. 18. Through Dec. 20. Lecture and reception: Wed., Nov. 18, 6:30pm. Arcadia University Art Gallery, Spruance Fine Arts Center, 450 S. Easton Rd., Glenside. 215.572.2131.

Annual invitational : Opens Fri., Dec. 11. Through Jan. 9. Fleisher-Ollman Gallery, 1616 Walnut St. 215.545.7562.

Photography salon : Opens Fri., Nov. 13. Through Nov. 30. My House Gallery, 2532 S. Eighth St. 908.370.1656.

Baltimore/Philadelphia Exchange show : Opens Sat., Jan 9. Through Jan. 31. My House Gallery, 2534 S. Eighth St. 908.370.1656.

“Bright Path” : Through Sept. 26. Little Berlin, 119 W. Montgomery Ave. 610.308.0579.

BYOTY : Sat., Oct. 17, noon-6pm. Little Berlin, 119 W. Montgomery St. 610.308.0579.

Vox Populi 21st birthday book launch party : Late Oct. 319A N. 11th St., third fl. 215.238.1236.

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