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News post – Betty Leacraft’s South Africa voyage, urban braille at Slought, MoMA’s Rockaways tribute, opportunities and more!




A design for one of David Stephens' "braille gardens," now on view at Slought. Photo: Slought.
A design for one of David Stephens’ “braille gardens,” now on view at Slought. Photo: Slought.

This weekend brings a new Slought presentation on land vacancy, with “turf tagging” by David Stephens as one of its remedies. His creations, using urban braille gardens to call attention to land vacancy in Philadelphia, form a large floor mantra (“act knowledge”). The exhibition features prototypes, templates and a mold for forming outdoor braille gardens; each template is in the shape of braille bumps and approximately six feet in width. They are accompanied by “Peel turf” (2013-2014), a series of wall constructions, which also use the same technique. The exhibition opens on Friday, July 25 from 6:30-8:30pm, with brief remarks by the artist at 7pm, followed by a public conversation with Laura Wolf Powers and Amy Hillier, professors in City & Regional Planning at PennDesign. The exhibit is on display through August 2014.

Already flush with community activity, Little Berlin has an upcoming opening at the Annex on August 1. Books is a solo exhibit by Austin, Texas based artist Kevin McNamee-Tweed, showcasing the many fake books he’s made over time in an ongoing parody of real bookstore cliches. “So You Grew Up in Suburban White America – But Love Bob Marley and Other Cultures” by Jerald Speckle Dew is indicative of what’s getting skewered here.

It’s curtains for the Tyler School of Art’s Summer Painting and Sculpture Intensive Program, for this year at least. The final exhibition, Hot Box is happening at the Icebox Project Space at the Crane Arts Building on July 30 and 31. The artists featured are: Nicole Cherry, Rachel Cohen, Benjamin Durst, Freda Epum, Travis Frick, Christopher Lee, Brittney Lyons, Nick Mayer, Sarah McCarty, Natalie Flor Negron, Lisa Patusky, Kathryn Rauth, Zoe Sasson, Tracey Scaro, Bianca Schreiber, Kamaria Shepherd, Jia Sung, and Lydia Smith.


The Williamsburg Art and Historical Center is soon presenting “Over the Edge: Paper Works Unbound,” a group art exhibition of paper-based works. Artists are encouraged to submit both two-dimensional and three-dimensional works. 2-D works may include: printmaking (woodcut, engraving, etching, mezzotint, aquatint, drypoint, lithography, serigraphy, monoprint); illustration; drawing; photography; watercolor; etc. 3-D works may include: sculpture; installations: papier-mâché; architectural models; industrial design projects; origami; etc. The show dates are Saturday, October 25 to Sunday, November 23, 2014, with the opening reception on October 25, 4-6 PM.

Our 3:00 cartoon creator Beth Heinly is organizing a guerilla-style performance event in Wissahickon Park this year during the height of leaf-changing season. On Saturday November 8 & Sunday November 9, 2014, artists set up in the park at a location of their own choosing. This is an open call, non-juried event; artists pick any spot anytime within the park between that Saturday & Sunday, just as long as you email Beth ( with your performance & location. There’s going to be a map online and maps placed throughout the park for visitors’ convenience. Ideas are due by October 1, 2014, and be prepared to come to at least one organizational meeting with Beth before the event.


Artist News

Betty Leacraft with her latest quilt, an honor to Nelson Mandela's work. Photo: Leeway Foundation.
Betty Leacraft with her latest quilt, an honor to Nelson Mandela’s work. Photo: Leeway Foundation.

Betty Leacraft is soon embarking on a visit to South Africa, where one of her art quilts is part of a tribute to the late President Nelson Mandela. Conscience of the Human Spirit: The Life of Nelson Mandela, features works by 90 artists, including 37 from the United States, and is organized by the Michigan State University Museum of Art and the Women of Color Quilters Network. It runs from July 26-28 at the Emperor’s Palace Convention Center in Johannesburg, then tours South Africa for about a year, officials said.  Leacraft’s work is called Amandla!, which in the Xhosa and Zulu languages means “power.”


Patti Smith's eerie installation for MoMA's "Rockaway!" series. Photo: Cait Munro.
Patti Smith’s eerie installation for MoMA’s “Rockaway!” series. Photo: Cait Munro.

MoMA’s new show “Rockaway!“ is both a tribute to what the Rockaways community lost in Hurricane Sandy, and what they’ve held onto all along. If you’re visiting, you can see works by Patti Smith (a Rockaways resident herself), Janet Cardiff and Adrian Villar Rojas. Smith’s piece, a gilded bed in the midst of a ravaged warehouse, is an emotionally-striking token of endurance, while Cardiff’s The Forty Part Motet adapts a 16th-century piece of music for one of the Rockaways’ recently restored chapels. 

Mary Ellen Mark, whose 2012 PMA show was one of the year’s high points for us, now has works on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum.  As part of Convergences: Selected Photographs from the Permanent Collection, Mark’s photographs are on view July 8-October 19, 2014.