Art in the house – Interventions at Isidro Blasco’s on Tulip Street

INTERVENTIONS was a one-weekend project on October 20-21 curated by Spanish, New York-based artist Isidro Blasco. He’d just bought a ramshackle house—2009 Tulip Street in Kensington, near the Berks El stop—and invited six artists to create site-sensitive works before the renovations begin. Todd Baldwin, who I met when he was a guest artist at Vox Populi last winter, is an artist in the apartment show and he invited me to snoop around. We’ll get to his delicate, winding sculpture in one of the bedrooms in a minute, but—first things first—let’s take a tour of the ground floor.

Caitlin Masley, mobile made from upstairs bathroom floor materials (2012).
Caitlin Masley, mobile made from upstairs bathroom floor materials, viewed from above (2012).

Caitlin Masley’s dove-like mobile assembled from carpet and layers of flooring salvaged from upstairs gave the kitchen a peaceful air, despite the piece’s roughshod appearance. The back door to the tiny garden was open, and the mobile twisted and turned in a slight breeze.

Gema Alava, wool bound to window frame (2012). Photo by Todd Baldwin.

Golden wool wrapped around a broken window frame was a softer, brighter version of the protective, metal grilles on so many first-floor windows in Philadelphia. By Gema Alava, it reminded me of the way the Space Savers art project at the beginning of this year reinterpreted a social practice associated with physical threat into something ambivalent and questioning.

Isidro Blasco, image projection (2012).

Blasco, the house’s owner, contributed a kinetic projection that ranged around the living room walls and stairwell. A ghostly photograph of one side of the room, as it traveled it shifted light and shadow into new configurations. Small alterations to the walls lined up with the image as it panned around.

Denise Gadelha, video projection (2012).

Walking past floor paintings (made by some of the artists’ children on brown paper) and heading to the second story, dappled light trickled down the stairs, appearing to pool on the bottom step. It’s a beautiful video projection of London’s River Thames by Denise Gadelha.

Agar Blasco, miniature furniture (2012).

Tiny furniture in primary colors nestled into a corner of the first upstairs bedroom. In rhythm with the children’s paintings on the ground floor, the miniature bed, desk, and closet by designer Agar Blasco predict the room’s future as a space for play and rest.

Todd Baldwin, skeleton made from mat board and polystyrene insulation (2012).

Twisting into another corner of the room was a lavender-colored construction by Todd Baldwin. As in much of Baldwin’s work, it was made from materials traditionally found in the back rooms of art museums, and looked as though it had been cut out and expanded from one piece of board, like a crazy, skeletal spring.

Amy Linsenmayer, wallpaper cut-outs (2012).

Amy Linsenmayer’s wallpaper/cut-out Cambodian Khmer hand gestures punctuated the final, upstairs room, popping against its peeling, retro-pink paint. Linsenmayer recently worked with artist Eliza Stamps to create a different type of domestic space in the Rent-a-Grandma project, a cosy kiosk decorated with watercolors and crochet.

2009 Tulip Street, Philadelphia, the site of INTERVENTIONS, Oct 20-21, 2012.

Blasco intends to keep elements from the interventions in place even after the house is renovated. Keep his address in mind. It will be the site of many intriguing shows to come.


Photos by Becky Huff Hunter unless otherwise noted.