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Artblog’s origins in 2003 – Two from the vault


[Ed note: Libby and Roberta began artblog on April 14, 2003. We covered news, we reviewed shows, and we did some opining about things like how sex sells art, and why critics in 2003 loved the work of Matthew Barney and why we didn’t. It’s all in the archives. Check out these two from April, 2003.]

PAFA buys a big one
Published April 30, 2003
by Roberta

Pantocrator, by Vincent Desiderio, owned by PAFA

Money from recent deaccessioning of 50 works of art by Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts bought the Academy a big painting that will beef up its collection of contemporary American art. The purchase: PAFA grad and Academy instructor Vincent Desiderio’s “Pantocrator,” (image) an oil on linen triptych from 2002. The museum paid $135,000 for the 8-ft. tall, 17-ft. wide, “Pantocrator,” said PAFA’s Shelley McCaffrey. The title, from the Greek, meaning “ruler of all”, refers to a category of iconic paintings with the Christ figure in the middle. Don’t look for the painting to show up in the flesh for a while. It’s scheduled to appear when PAFA’s new gallery for contemporary art in the Samuel Hamilton Building opens in 2005.

War art redux
Published April 18, 2003
By Libby

Piece by Jeanne Jaffe, at Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery exhibit in 2003

There’s plenty of war art. At least that’s what I thought I was looking at in “The Other Tradition” show up at the Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery until May 7. The pieces were, for the most part, dark and scary, even when they were funny, and they made me think of all the terrible things going on in the world right now, so in my book, they were war art. Paul Swenbeck’s shocked alien critters in “Look A Beaver!” confront a natural world that’s gone awry. Ben Woodward’s “The Cat That Ate Everything,” gobbles the sweet birds of nature, and 1993 Pew poetry fellow Linh Dihn’s “Hello Cretin” assaults as it pretends to make contact and say hello. Thank goodness for Brian McCutcheon’s weird and funny “Goat’s Tongue,” a pink projection at crotch height coming straight out from the wall, with a googly eye on top for looking where else but up. And thanks for Jeanne Jaffe’s resin and paint sculpture that bubbles with pink tipped breasts and sockets and bowling-pin shapes, a close relative to the piece pictured here.