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G. Farrel Kellum, ‘A Journey of Ten-Thousand Drums’ at Commonweal Gallery, Tuft the World presents the first TuftCon, New Leadership at Philadelphia Contemporary and more

Hi, this week we see many free events and exhibitions alongside announcements of change and new precedents. The Philadelphia Orchestra is holding a six-and-a-half-hour marathon of Organ performances. Vox Populi re-opens with four new exhibitions! The Philadelphia Contemporary announces new leadership with curators Yolanda Wisher and Rob Blackson as Co-Artistic Directors, and J.J. El-Far as Managing Director. Hope you enjoy.



Philadelphia Contemporary Announces New Leadership Organization with the Promotion of Key Staff.

Black and White images of a fair skinned man with glasses and short black hair on the left, a fair skinned black woman wearing dangly earrings and a kind smile in the center, the right a light skinned woman with wispy brown hair wearing a collared shirt with hoop earrings and pendant necklace.
Rob Blackson, Courtesy of Philadelphia Contemporary; Yolanda Wisher, Courtesy of Naomieh Jovin; J.J. El-Far, Courtesy of John C Hawthorne.

(Philadelphia, PA –– February 17, 2023) — Today, Philadelphia Contemporary––a contemporary arts organization connecting the people and places of Philadelphia through art and partnership—announces the appointment of Yolanda Wisher and Rob Blackson to the joint role of Co-Artistic Directors. Director of Advancement J.J. El-Far will become Managing Director.

Founded in 2016 by Harry Philbrick, the nomadic organization presents visual art, performance art, and spoken word across the city of Philadelphia. Following this transition, which will be effective as of March 1st, Philbrick will assume the role of Director Emeritus and Board Chair, from which position he will take a leading role in advancing the organization’s long-term, strategic plans.

Full press release here.

Two Titans of Art talking! The New Yorker’s Interviews Issue: Peter Schjeldahl in Conversation with Stephen Shore
A new piece from The New Yorker’s digital-only Interviews Issue: a conversation between the late New Yorker art critic Peter Schjeldahl and the photographer Stephen Shore. The two spoke in 2021 and the interview is being published for the first time.

Fifty years ago, Shore began taking his camera across the country, searching for new places, new people, and new ways to see them. Since then, he’s become America’s most committed photographer, a pioneer who captures color, banality, life as it is. Yet his art remains mysterious, even to him. “There’s the sense of something taking over,” he told Schjeldahl. “While I may have questions or intentions that guide what I’m interested in photographing at a particular moment, and even guide exactly where I place my camera, the core decision still comes from recognizing a feeling of deep connection, a psychological or emotional or physical resonance with the picture’s content,” he said.
– Ella Murdock Gardner

Read here.


Organ Day featuring The Philadelphia Orchestra

Febuary 25 at 12:00 pm- 6:00 pm

We are thrilled to present the 11th Organ Day, featuring The Philadelphia Orchestra. Be a part of the six-and-a-half hour marathon of FREE organ music performed on the Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ. We invite audiences of all ages to explore the largest mechanical pipe organ in a concert venue in the United States through a diverse lineup of programming tailored to include something for everyone. Experience jazz, ballet, classical, opera, and the unique experience of “Organ Pumps,” where audience members can lie on the stage of Verizon Hall and feel the powerful vibrations of the organ! Organ Day will be co-hosted by award winners Tyrone Whiting and Michael Barone.

The Philadelphia Orchestra gives a special performance highlighting the Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ. Experience this majestic instrument paired with the famed Philadelphia Sound.
Tickets are required for the 11:30 Orchestra performance. Please reserve your free ticket!
All performances 12:00 pm-6:00 pm are nonticketed. Come and go as you please!

More information here.

First Ever Tufting Convention in March

You’re Invited to TuftCon 2023! Join us March 24-26 at the first ever Tufting Convention! Tuft the World is thrilled to present three days of exciting programming in Philadelphia. Join us for demos, workshops, lectures, a repair booth, and more! Your 3-day pass gives you access to tufting fun, education, and networking at the Asian Arts Initiative on March 24 and 25. The third day will be located at Tuft the World’s new Education Space in the Bok Building on March 26 and will include a juried tufting exhibition, collaborative tufting, and on-site shopping. Don’t miss this opportunity to meet and learn from nationally and internationally celebrated special guest artists and be a part of a growing and supportive community of tufters. We can’t wait to meet you!
Kind Regards,
Veronica Cianfrano (she/her)
Writing and Research Assistant
Tuft the World, LLC

For more information or to buy tickets visit our site here.


A Journey Of Ten-Thousand Drums

A black butterfly like form with the left wing having gold dots and the right copper. Out of the left wing appears black flowerlike forms and hooking lines. Set against a dotted graph paper background.
G. Farrel Kellum, Image courtesy of Commonweal gallery

Kellum seeks to dismantle the colonialist erasure of Black historical memory through an uncompromising interrogation of his own intuitive sensibilities and sensitivities.

PHILADELPHIA, PA (February 16, 2023) – G. Farrel Kellum (b. 1947) has been an artist in Philadelphia for over 50 years. A graduate of the Philadelphia College of Art, Kellum draws from Buddhist and Taoist philosophy, action painting, science fiction, architecture, hip-hop and global history to create his mixed media assemblages grounded in autobiography.

After a successful exhibition of his work in a two-person show caught the attention of collectors and institutions in the Fall of 2021, Commonweal is excited to welcome Kellum back for his first solo exhibition at the gallery. Please join us for the opening reception to celebrate the artist and his newest body of work on Friday, February 24th, from 6p – 9p.

In this exhibition Kellum has created a series of artworks employing patterns and geometries on undulating surfaces, gestures which act as metaphorical pathways traversing a line from the past into the future.

More information here.

Vox Populi Re-opens March 3 with four exhibitions!

After a short hiatus Vox Populi returns with four exhibitions all opening Friday March 3, 2023 and closing Sunday, April 16, 2023
Open reception for all exhibitions Friday, Mar 3, 2023 6-9pm, free

Kirk McCarthy: Unbound (Moments in The Wave Field)

white clay objects of varying shapes and forms sit atop a greyish piece of wood. The objects take on obelisk forms with holes or squares cut through, disks, bowls, stone like shapes. All cluttering next to one another.
Kirk McCarthy, Unbound (Moments in The Wave Field), Image courtesy of Vox Populi gallery.

Unbound is a field of objects that are offered as condensed ripples in the fabric of everything – raveling and unraveling into form, suggesting and erasing meaning. Presence and absence are both embodied, the generative void and the perpetually changing awareness of things. McCarthy alternately alludes to the comical, wild, sweet, weird, and grotesque in which the fluidity of psychological states (such as repression, expansion, isolation, entanglement, disentanglement) are suggested. Suchness and instability co-exist, materiality and presence intermingle in various configurations. The viewer is invited into a state of immediate experience – the “mirror mind” of Taoism – a state in which whatever you’re observing becomes the subject of consciousness.

Another Day, Another Dollar: Works by Lucky Marvel and Rafia Presented by Vox’s Black Box Committee

A purple to gray gradient rectangle on the upper third of the picture says, "Greetings, Beautiful Shopper" Against a lined sky blue rectangle with discolorations of brick red. All set against a glitchy looking forest-like landscape.
Lucky Marvel and Rafia, Another Day, Another Dollar, Image courtesy of Vox Populi Gallery.

Another Day, Another Dollar, presented and curated by Vox’s Black Box Committee, features two video works: Lucky Marvel’s Penny Wise, A Dollar Foolish and RaFia’s NMN (NEED MONEY NOW).

Lane Timothy Speidel: All Exits

A collage of images spreads across a background of a larger collage. The images in the fore are long exposures of lights, winter scenes, the backs of heads, natural and manmade landscapes. Pyramids appear through out the collage pointing the eye of the viewer around the space.
Lane Timothy Speidel, All Exits, Image courtesy of Vox Populi Gallery.

A portrait of all the colors of darkness. 5 days of no sleep pulled tight over the skull, strings of twilit naps beaded loose with poems in between, science fiction nightmares, running into the arms of sleep away from work. Sometimes sleep is the only strike afforded. Not awake or asleep, down the hall, in the back of the world, where do you go when there’s no name for it? Look out the windows painted with the curtains pulled back slipping into dreams. Our night mind is stage – in which there is one star. How terrifying! There are countless stars, if only we could see. Lie down, look up, and rest. Let me sing you a song of wet sidewalks and passing street lamps, of subconscious highway drives and tossed off bedroom clothes. All our sleepless nights are connected. To refuse sleep is to refuse death, surrender and be embraced by the night and be swaddled. Don’t be afraid, let the lights go blurry in your eyes, soft to slumber with a lullaby and midnight kiss.

Jim Strong: Transcribing A Wilderness

cutouts of words like ouch, He swallow, and incomprehensible words ladder the image, colorful backgrounds shine through the words. The top half background are a hazy yellow and red. The middle background is red and green. The next down is red and blue, after that is red, blue, green, and magenta.
Jim Strong, Transcribing A Wilderness, Image courtesy of Vox Populi Gallery.

Transcribing a Wilderness is a practice of listening in tongues, combing everyday streams of information for hidden manifestos in misremembered bits of conversation, typos, scrambled notes, fragments of paranoid dreams and hallucinations. These text operations are employed across a variety of media, informing semi-responsive mechanical and audio devices, architectural interventions, and a suite of painting/poems sumptuously rendered in Strong’s ongoing pigment “recording” practice—using natural processes to make time and memory visible. The results are both tied to the synesthetic associations of spiritual abstraction in painting but also feel as a system, like some alternative universe of early photographic/alchemical production.

More information on each exhibition here.