Thursday, August 28, 2008

Monday, August 25, 2008

Perhaps the most awesome thing ever

Click here to see it move, proceed to watch it AAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL day.


Gallery Talk/Zine Release Wed August 27th @ 7pm

Come to the Gallery talk and zine release party for Before You Wake, Before You Vanish.

Moderated By Annette Monnier
with Damian Weinkrantz and Isaac Schell.

Come for the Refreshments, stay for the refreshments AND MORE!

At Copy Gallery
319 N. 11th St 3 flr
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Saturday, August 23, 2008

What is it like to be a bat?, "5" questions with Carrie Collins.

Carrie Collins is 50% of 10% Tiger Fire, which will open Friday, September 5th at Copy Gallery 7-11. The other 50% being Beth Brandon who I have already interviewed here.

I would say a good 80% of the artists, who still make art, that I talk to would call anything they have to do to make money besides fine art their "day job", and many of them might work in coffee shops or grocery stores to sustain their art habit. There is nothing wrong with this way of life and I only point to it to point to how Carrie Collins is a little bit different, she loves her "day-job" which is running a company of her own making; Fabric Horse. I would say that she even puts her industrial design work, creating aesthetically awesome hip pouches, lock holsters and etc. for the bike culture (mostly), before her art work. A good 60% of the time Carrie Collins prefers a higher rationality of form and function that unities good taste with sustainability.

I would say that it isn't impossible, but perhaps highly unadvisable, for a person to be about anything 100% of the time. When we close ourselves off to options then we shut down the myriad of possibilities that life may allow us, and besides that, society created the holiday because the people always need a break from their own ideas of moral and order. When Ms. Collins picks up her sewing machine and allows herself to create any flight of fancy she can imagine regardless of function or rationale the result are works of art that address our need to escape order, if only for a moment.

I asked Carrie five questions about her work, the result follows, if you'd rather listen then read go here.

You'd better do it yourself unless there's a good reason why not to

Fabric Horse utility belts.

Annette Monnier: (1) Would you call yourself an artist or an industrial designer?

Carrie Collins: Well. . . I tend to call myself both. I am an industrial designer because that is what I was trained in but I've kind of always been an artist.

Annette: Explain "I've always been an artist".

Carrie: Growing up my parents were very do-it-yourself type of people. My mom would make my clothes, she cut our hair, she gardened, she wove baskets, she cooked, she made cross-stitch, she crocheted. . . and she was also really encouraging of artistic and musical endeavors for all of us. My dad on the other hand was a jack of all trades, but he was more like, fixing the cars and he used to build model airplanes and then when the computer era came around he closed his little workshop so that he could have a computer room and start building computers.

He would always fix what was wrong with the car if he could, or the boat or the motor home, he would always build our school desks and do all the necessary repairs that he could do around the home without hiring somebody. I was always raised around that mentality; you'd better do it yourself unless there's a good reason why not to.

When I came to deciding what I was going to study I knew that my career had to have a really main purpose or function to it. I felt like my personality would be most beneficial to the world if I was more an industrial designer rather then specifically a fine artist.

The world is more of like an oyster then anything else.

The Burger Bride (costume) as shown on Black Floor at the ICA during Locally Localized Gravity

Annette: (2) You said the other day, we were talking about function and functionality, and you were talking about the why of what you make when you make some of your more fine art projects and you said something really interesting. You said that on your everyday basis working your day job which is your passion, because you have this company called Fabric Horse which is the way you make your money, which I hate to call a day job because it's not just that to you it's much more. But you said you deal with functionality everyday and it's important to you but when you do a lot of your fine art projects you throw a lot of that out the window because you just want to have fun with it. Could you, I dunno, clarify that statement?

Carrie: It (fine art) gives me the opportunity to make something without making function the number one priority. Industrial design is, in a sense, product design, but you're trained to be a creative problem solver. The way I've combined sewing and fabrics with product design is what Fabric Horse does on a day-to-day basis, so when I'm creating a product to sell to people I'm concerned with durability and functionality along with the look or it. The things that make it last aren't necessarily what it looks like, it's more like how it works and if it stands up to the test of time and that's really important to me because it makes a more sustainable product.

My environmental activist side of me is very strong and so that is what I want to focus on in my everyday life. When I have the opportunity to show in a gallery or wherever that might be it's really awesome because I don't have to kill myself over doing it, because I really do, I'm really OCD about the fact that I don't like putting something out into the world that someone is paying me for that will fall apart. But when I have an art show I don't even think about it as a piece that someone is going to buy. I use it as an opportunity to express something, whatever that might be.

Not thinking about it being a sellable piece makes. . . the world is more of like an oyster then anything else.

(Question 3 didn't make the final draft.)

What is it like to be a bat?

Annette: (4) Specifically, when you are making the "fine art" it seems like you make costumes and headdresses, would you agree with me that that's what you're making a lot of times?

Carrie: Yeah. I really love costuming and headdresses. Does that answer your question?

Annette: Yeah it does, but. Why?

Carrie: Costumes are an interesting way of changing yourself.

Annette: Well, it sort of has a function, you can wear it, but a costume is sort of the least functional kind of clothing I can think of.

Carrie: Except on Halloween, which is my favorite holiday. . . but you can kind of jump into a different character. You can be somebody else, you can look really different. . .

A lot of people don't like their jobs.

A grape headdress

Annette: (5) Why do you think it's important for society to kind of take these days out where they have a different personae? It seems normal to want to take a vacation from yourself.

Carrie: It takes you away from yourself. I feel like people are accustomed to being a certain way, everyday when they're working and a lot of people don't really like their jobs. A lot of people don't really like what they have to do to survive, to make money. . .

That's a whole different thing for me because that's why I have my own company and why I try so hard to maintain that. It's really hard to be around someone who doesn't like their job. It's really obvious when someone doesn't like their job because it makes them into a miserable person, unless that person is pretty balanced and can separate themselves and sort of be a different person when they come home and not let them make them miserable. . . but everyone needs a vacation to get away from their job, you just need to get away. Everybody needs to feel like they're not the same person or doing the same thing everyday.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Some Say I'm a Dreamer, "5" Questions with Beth Brandon

Beth in a "onesie" made for O Joyful Self Containment at Padlock Gallery.

(Or: Listen to this interview on the podcast.)

Beth Brandon is one of the two artists I asked to be in 10% Tiger Fire, an exhibition "I" (I think the majority of any sort of credit goes to Beth and Carrie, the artists) put together for Copy Gallery in September (coming up in like, three weeks!!!), so I think really highly of her and her art. You could even say that Beth has consumed maybe 20% of my thoughts for over a year, which when you consider I have to pay bills, work 9-5, draw some, and drink beer, is quite a lot.

In the past I expected too much from art and the art-world: I wanted it to save lives, feed the hungry, fix discrepancies in the class structure of the world and pay the IRS for me. Art is never going to do this, but art still has a really intangible awesome quality that I can't seem to ditch and still have impossible hopes for. This is why I like the work of Beth Brandon; she sort of unites a fundamentalist return to drawing with just the right amount of idealism in the power of ideas. Don't know what I'm saying? I'm not sure I do either.

Beth Brandon is a young artist in progress, just as I am a youngish (getting older all the time) artist/curator/art-writer in progress, which is to say 50% of what we try is experimental and so what we "do" isn't clearly defined. I can say that Beth has produced happenings/installations that have included a fully functional salon complete with cocktails and cucumber sandwiches. I can say she has produced art that is closer to the idea of a slumber party, and that she creates drawings and prints. She is drawn to the idea of creating a human habitat where tradition is important and our landscape dictates our actions. You can call her a utopianist if you want, but she's not the only one.

This time I tried to only ask five questions, I didn't really succeed but I think I'm going to continue to try it.

Various Hunting Caps, ink on paper by B.B.

One (You may say that I'm a dreamer)

Annette: (1) What got you started doing this art thing?

Beth: Um. . . I definitely started when I was very young and I would write long stories and illustrate them and I think it's interesting because I always said I was going to be an artist and or a writer and I always feel like there's a narrative in my work. So I always knew I wanted to tell stories, part of it is just having to create something tangible, my work has to involve making something, often something that can be used in some way. That makes me feel like I'm full-filling my purpose in life. I can't just do work that's intangible.

Annette: So. . . ok, this doesn't count as the second question but just to clarify-this is something you've been saying you were going to do for ah. . .

Beth: Forever.

Annette: Do you have an age for that?

Beth: I mean I can remember it but I don't know how old I was. You know, as soon as I could write and draw. . .

Annette:You never wanted to be a doctor or anything else?

Beth: There was a brief period of time when I wanted to be a veterinarian, because I loved animals and it's funny because animals are still a big part of my work, as well as issues of agriculture and food and the environment. That was still when I was pretty young and I didn't know what it actually involved to actually be a veterinarian and how different it would be to be a scientist and not an artist, so that was really the only other idea that I toyed with.

Details from the Hang-Ups/bang-Ups installation at Padlock Gallery

Two (But I'm not the only one)

Annette: Question number two; What do you feel. . . oh, sorry, I'm reading this straight off the piece of paper like it's a cue card. . . what do feel has been your most successful work of art so far?

Beth: Yeah. It's kind of multi-fold. . .

Annette: You're having a hard time with this one.

Beth: Yeah, it's kind of a. . . what was the question again?

Annette: What have been the highlights then? Maybe most-successful doesn't exist for you? I think I'm looking for the answer to what's made you most proud of yourself as an artist?

Beth: I think it's been a big deal to me to go back to drawing lately, and the series of drawings I just showed at Topstitch and that I'm still kind of working on. . .

Annette: You're going to have to explain what it means to "go back to drawing".


Beth: Yeah. I will explain. For a long time, maybe because I started out as a printmaker or because I have this thing in me where I have to produce something useful, I wouldn't let myself just make drawings because. . . it was better to make a drawing that was going to be a repeating print that was going to be made into fabric or wallpaper or to make a book of drawings or something that could be used and I just got really fixated on that.

When I moved into Space 1026 a year ago was when I started making drawings again and I don't know why because we have a print studio here and that was one of the reasons I came here. I just decided to let myself do whatever I wanted to do and I really, really, love drawing and I think I'm good at it and as soon as I started making these drawings people started buying them, people took an interest in them and I was having a really good time so. . . yeah. I kind of let myself go and didn't tell myself what to do. I didn't say "this has to be a book" or "this has to be a wallpaper design" and so I just sort of embarked on this series of drawings of. . . changing landscapes.

Annette: What other kinds of work have you done besides just drawing and printmaking? You've done, I guess, installation and action type things too. . .

Beth: Yeah. I like to create an entire environment, it's a real space, it's a usable space. It's not just a gallery with drawings on the wall. It's a place to go to and there's a certain thing that you do there. I had a show at Padlock where I turned it into a hair salon (Hang-Ups/Bang-Ups), I painted the walls and I kind of curated this whole environment that I wanted people to be a part of when they came to the show.

I also make. . . I also sew and make "outfits" once in awhile, I had this other show at Padlock (O Joyful Self Containment) where I made these "onesies" that were just these solid-colored one-piece long-johns that people could put on over their cloths and then they could get into these sleeping bags that had multiple pockets in them, so there could be three people to a sleeping bag and you could eat popcorn and drink whiskey and it was like a whole. . . activity. That does go along with my urge to make something that can be used and interacted with.

Three (I hope someday you'll join us)

Annette: I don't even know if I have to ask all my other questions. But I guess I'll stick to it and ask you what my next question was going to be (3) Why is there so much interest for you in creating a habitat?

Beth: I like the word habitat. I usually just say environment but I think habitat is a much better word because it indicates that it's a place where you are going to live it's not just a place.

I have very strong ideas about how we should use our resources and how we should interact with the natural world and I guess that's what I'm trying to express in my work. It's two fold because my work is about environment but it is also creating one. It's a suggestion of reality. That's kind of the way I've been working for a long time.

It's kind of a fantasy but I do think it's possible to try and return to being more aware of what our landscape tells us, rather then this infinite choice we have, where everything can come from anywhere and we don't have to know anything about it and we don't have to do anything ourselves.

Annette: Um. Yeah. I'm not going to ask the last two questions.

Picture is a group shot of everyone involved in Hang-Ups/Bang-Ups at Padlock Gallery

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Brief Updates:

I have quit writing for ARTistics because of restraints on my time.

I am now the Outreach Coordinator of The Claymobile.

I look forward to the launch of the Megawords storefront and to 10% Tiger Fire, the show I'm curating of work by Beth Brandon and Carrie Collins for Copy in September.

New Paper Napkin recording on the podcast.

Move-On Obama buttons designed by Print Liberation.

RELoad and Magic Outlaw combine to make THE BEST MESSENGER BAG EVER (top).

Sunday, July 27, 2008

This music video is great.

Parts of the Whole

(A pie chart of un-excellence in art)

Me, in front of an Adam Cvijanovic.

It's been awhile since I've felt that special aesthetic feeling you get sometimes when you enter into an especially well-put together art exhibition. 50% of the problem can be blamed on my new job, which is taking up a large chunk of my aesthetic and intellectual experience these days, 20% might be on the account of summer which makes everything beside a mojito poolside look like hot poop on a stick, but I solidly believe a good 30% can rest on things really not being super-interesting of late. I guess that's to be expected, standing rumor being that the art-world takes a well-deserved break in the summer.

Still, in every stinky summer garbage heap there grows a surprisingly pretty weed and this particular web-log will be devoted to sharing the one's this blogger has lately spotted:

Maybe two weekends back I travelled to Upstate New york with pal Ben Peterson to see Future Tense: Reshaping the Landscape at The Neuberger Museum of Art. You can read the NY times review of the show here.

I wasn't that stoked on Ben's piece in the exhibition, though usually I am quite enamored, this drawing (not pictured, though hopefully you will be able to look it up via the web as soon as the museum's site lists the show in it's "past exhibitions", currently it must be lost somewhere between past and current.) left me feeling flat. However, there is no doubt that Mr. Peterson deserved to be in the exhibition, his work fit in with the pseudo-apocalyptic landscape thesis of the show really well, and I'm totally excited to see the work Ben's making for an exhibition at Ratio 3 coming up in January 2009.

My personal favorite piece in the show was the large-as-life landscape by Mr. Adam Cvijanovic. Many pieces (his included) would have worked well in a museum of natural history setting, perhaps as part of a diorama.

For some reason I had a better time at the museum's other exhibition; Reframing American Art: Selections from the Roy R. Neuberger Collection, which was a show of modern art from the museum's permanent collection. There was a very nice small Rothko, a weirdo Marsden Hartley that I actually liked (Mr. Hartley and I have never been great pals), a cute Lee Krasner next to a Jackson Pollock that wasn't very special as Jackson Pollock's go and a painting by Horace Pippin that I've been haunted by ever since I saw it:

The exhibition space was carpeted in brown, and in the middle of the floor was a box fan, unplugged. I was charmed to say the least.

I found these two sculptures of ash-trays at The Clay Studio the other day. I think they're amazing. I found out the artist's name but don't know how to spell it, evidently she's 90 and used to live in Hollywood. The style of the ash-tray looks very L.A., and I think they make a very good case for ash-trays, an art-form that grows ever-more extinct with the banning of cigarettes.

Finally, I went to the "mold opening" at Little Berlin the other night. I didn't think much of the show in general, though the atmosphere and fellowship was inspiring. However, I did think this piece; Jesus' face sculpted onto the bodies of several different cartoons and super-heros was more then clever:

You could write essays and essays on the jesus-type imagery in many cartoons and super-hero stories but I think looking at this would render just about any intellectual argument unnecessary.

The End.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Artfag tells it like it is re Terence Koh

I have dreams about being being able to express my cynicism as well as artfag:

"We’re sure some meat-headed queer academician will, with breathless enthusiasm, confuse content for substance, and apologize for this waste of celluloid by christening it Dionysiac and piling a great wet heap of blue-chip precedents all over it. No doubt Andy Warhol and Kenneth Anger and Jack Smith and Pier Paolo Pasolini will end up shoved into the lubricious gangbang of justifying cross-references. And perhaps this will fool the foolhardy. But the fact remains that this is in perfect keeping with the rest of Mr. Koh’s oeuvre: pretty, bombastic, and utterly meaningless."


Monday, July 21, 2008

Dear Internet,

There is so much I need to tell you but I puke every time I go to type it down. Please enjoy this recording in information's stead.

I am working on curating an exhibition for Copy in September, a two-person show; Beth Brandon and Carrie Collins (BB and CC) everything else, besides work. . . I am sorry.

I think you'll be alright without me,


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Marisa Olson: Background Information

This image taken from Marisa's Blog.

The following is a transcript of a telephone conversation I had with Marisa Olson.Feel free to download the podcast if you prefer to listen, but I must warn you that the quality of the audio is appallingly bad.

The first question I asked was supposed to be "What is New Media Art?", a question Marisa, classified as a new media artist herself and also curator-at-large and staff writer for the new museum's new media component;, is in a better position then most to attempt to answer. However, I forgot to turn on the recorder for most of that answer.

Marisa, who lives in New York and has recently taken her oeuvre on tour to Paris, Berlin, and Cincinnati, Ohio, is in no fewer then two exhibitions in Philadelphia at the minute. A solo exhibition of her work, "Background Information", opens at the Esther M. Klein Gallery TONIGHT! (she is also in Bitmap at Drexel):

New Media can be old

Annette: You mentioned earlier that New Media art doesn't necessarily have to deal with new technologies because a lot of the [technology] used in [what's classified as] New Media art is now old. I noticed in your personal artwork there's a lot of nostalgia, maybe, for artwork gone by. Could you address that issue?

Marisa: You mean for media that's gone by?

Annette: Yes [sorry]. For instance on your blog you have an image of a [cassette] tape with your name on it which looks sort of "bubblegum pop", and I noticed you've done a lot of drawings based off images you found on the internet that were of older headphones and recording devices. . .

Marisa: Yeah. That work that I've done with mixed-tapes and headphones and that sort of thing, it definitely initially came out of a space of nostalgia, but as I worked more and more with it I've asked myself why I'm so interested and I've realized that I'm more into media change then anything. I'm more interested in what are the cultural or political forces that compel people to keep upgrading and keep making the new ipod or the new device that makes the old one obsolete. More so, what happens to those old things? Do they just end up in landfills?

These drawing's that I've been making, these monitor tracings--sorry it's really loud outside--

Annette: s'ok

Marisa: In a way they are about the google image search and the way the internet is becoming this depository for our memories of these things, these things that are sort of "out of sight, out of mind". The other thing about these drawings is thinking about the monitor as the newest technology in the lineage of technologies that have assisted artists, like the camera obscura, the overhead projector, that kind of thing. It's all kind of about the evolution of technology.

I'm really nerdy

Marisa: I'm really nerdy.

Annette: Actually, I was wondering how nerdy you are? Do have, like a degree? How much technology do you actually understand? I realize that you have to be able to manipulate it. . .

Marisa: When I was a little kid I was a total computer-programmer nerd on my Commodore 64 and now I write a lot of html, everyday, by hand, but I'm not like a hard-core programmer by any means.

Annette: Well html is kind of old isn't it, if you were [hard-core] you'd be writing in something crazy, like not even Java Script anymore I don't think. . .

Marisa: Yeah. I can't really do any of that stuff. But I can understand what it can do and have conversations with people about it, which I like. I like learning more, it's kind of mystifying and really interesting.

Speaking of degrees, I don't really have a degree in computer science but in the course of working on my PHD one of my official field titles was "The Cultural History of Technology" so I have spent a lot of time studying the history of batteries, televisions, telephones, and video games. . .

Marisa Olson, Free Gift Economy, 2007, screengrab AFC, stolen from artfagcity.


Annette: Is that like studying "The History and Philosophy of Science" or something?

Marisa: Yeah. Exactly, it's very closely related.

Annette: I always liked those kind of courses. That sounds pretty cool.

Marisa: Yeah, me too. Thomas Khun is one of my favorite writers, "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions".

Annette: Oh, yeah. I remember reading that in a class called something like "History and Science of Philosophy 101" or something.

Marisa: I re-read it every single year. Twenty-four is my favorite page.

Annette: I have no idea what that refers to but I'll look it up.

Marisa: It's just this line about how science is trying to force nature into a conformed thought. It's all about how science as a field is trying to confirm existing ways of thinking, existing paradigms, and you have to wait until enough things don't fit into the box until you change the box. I dunno. I like stuff like that.


[Cut out in acknowledgment of all of our sort attention spans

A bit about gender politics, which is a sore spot of mine and makes me sound like a dweeb. (As you may too notice; Marisa's work looks "girly" and I wondered why.)

A bit about Marisa's childhood, basically stating that she had very technological parents. ("They were in intelligence")

Some bits about how the opening she attended in Cincinnati, Ohio was one of the funnest openings she has attended in a long time. . .

And, just a recap of all the myriad of things Marisa has been up to this summer.]



Annette: I just want to end with a little bit more about your show at Esther Klein Gallery that is coming up on Friday. It's called Background Information, what sort of spurred the ideas of the work in the show?

Marisa: All the work in the show revolves around images pulled from the internet that are not really meant to be looked at directly. I'm going to do a wallpaper installation of the background image on my myspace page, which a lot of these animated .gifs are referred to as wallpaper files. I'm actually making wallpaper out of it.

Then there are are other things like a flickr space search bale, it's an image that flickr uses to cover up "inappropriate images", or a comparison of the background images that really hide in the background of the web-pages for McCain and Obama, just showing only the background and you can kind of think about whose is whose, and other kinds of images that are meant to be peripheral rather then foreground images but have a kind of duty and cultural relevance of their own.

There's also going to be a video animation that uses only icons from my facebook page.

It's kind of a double entendre, background information in terms of background images, but also background information about myself and the kinds of web pages I've been looking at. It's kind of a self-portrait in a way, the type of material that I tend to surf.

Annette: Yeah. Especially coming from your myspace page, that seems pretty auto-biographical.

Marisa: Yeah, even though looking at this wallpaper of glittery stars isn't going to tell you that much about me, but that's kind of funny too because I think that the whole discourse of auto-biographical art could use some critique.


Sunday, June 22, 2008

On Defense of the "Rocky Statue" Outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art

It's the eye of the tiger, it's the cream of the fight

The inspiration for this "essay" arrived after reading William Pym's "Vanishing Point" in the most-recent publishing of MegaWords Magazine. Towards the end of the essay which might be described as an argument for change (with heavy tinges of nostalgia) in the art world, Pym compares Social Consciousness, a Jacob Epstein sculpture of 1954 (located at the museum's western entrance), to the boxer statue to the right of the famous museum steps when you are facing the east entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Pym writes "It's [Social Consciousness] worth loving, though, as much as beefy Rocky is worth immediately vandalizing."

(Before I start down this path I'd like to say I like Pym's essay , which has all the loveliness of a meandering Sunday afternoon walk after drinking too much really good coffee. I agree with him about youth and art, but I don't think rock-star upstarts are a new thing. I think they have always been around and you can't stop youth from wanting life and wanting it fast. Art has always had a nasty habit of overlooking what is really good while the artist is still alive.)

I can't in all honesty argue for the aesthic beauty of the boxer statue (as I wouldn't for Social Consciousness), I do however, think it would be a travesty to deface it. To the majority of the persons who visit or live in Philadelphia the Philadelphia Museum of Art has no value besides the steps at it's eastern entrance. The reason these steps have meaning for so many is that a fictional boxer, played by Sylvester Stallone, and named Rocky Balboa, climbed them while training to achieve his goals in life. It is a film, that despite any short-comings as cinema, has inspired many.

Risin' up to the challenge of our rival

Now I want to tell you a story; I teach art classes through a non-profit program that serves many of Philadelphia's low-income public schools. During one of my residencies I was able to help facilitate a field trip to the PMA for a group of little 5th graders. This was a great bunch, but as you may expect from our city's public schools, not-so-well-behaved and segregated in the northeast--they didn't much make it out to the "nicer" parts of town. When we pulled up to the front steps of the art museum in our Yellow Bird every single one of those kids was excited. They exited the bus and ran up the steps in an ecclesiastical fervor, even the fat ones. It isn't easy to get that group of kids excited or united in a single purpose.

I think if you had asked them, many of the kids would admit to never having seen a Rocky movie, or ask you "What's that Miss?" That's the aura Rocky has given to the steps of the PMA. It's powerful. So powerful that when my mother came to visit me in Philadelphia for the first time (I'm from Ohio) she said the only thing that she really wanted to see were the steps Rocky ran up and did I know where to find those?

Is it such a bad thing? Do we, as artists, have to bemoan popular culture so much? Do we have to make serious all black boxes or sculptures of space aliens holding up malnorished men? Do these things really speak to people where it counts? I don't think the current trend, which is to embrace popular culture and mass appeal, is such a bad one. I think the trend exhibits an artist's willingness to be "real". I don't usually go here, but now I must; most people in this world don't have time to wail about what's happening to art or even about social unjustice, most people need a way to pull themselves out of the gutter.

Social Consciousness

And the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night

Whatever I may think of Rocky or his short-comings as a role-model there is no doubt that the metaphor of climbing a large amount of steps to reach your goal is a great one. The fact that (often unacknowledged) your goal is to reach the entrance of a wonderful collection of art, some of the best man has to offer, is even better.

Placing the boxer statue beside the steps might be a little over-the-top and unnecessary (and yes, it is basically, an ad for a movie, but since when are ads not art?) for those of us who have what is known among us as "good taste" but I'm willing to bet that to many people it's a reassuring marker that they have, indeed, reached the correct spot. That yes, they are at the steps Rocky surmounted and they too can now surmount the obstacle. If this statue is a form of thank you to the Rocky franchise then I think the franchise deserves it. Visiters to the shrine might even stroll around to the west entrance, avoiding wedding parties and various photo-ops as they go, and accidentally happen upon Social Consciousness as I did with a friend visiting from Kentucky. If you are into art and you read up on it a little you might enjoy Social Consciousness and give it total nerd points, but if you are like my friend you might simply proclaim "That's depressing."

In closing, think what you want. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all of that, but don't vandalize the Rocky statue. That's just wrong.

And he's watchin' us all in the eye of the tiger

Saturday, June 21, 2008


From an Interview with Man Man on Pitchfork:

Sergei Sogay: The last band that I saw that really impressed me was Paper Napkin. They were fucking great, dude.

Pitchfork: Where was that?

Sergei Sogay: A place in Philly called the Copy Gallery.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Born to Be Wild and a Public Service Announcement

Nick Paparone and Jamie Dillon on "Born to Be Wild", which will be part of the Abington Sculpture Park for at least two years.

On Sunday I helped fellow Copy gallerists Nick Paparone and Jamie Dillon christen their new outdoor sculpture, Born to Be Wild at Abington Art Center's Sculpture Park. Born to Be Wild is a great hairy mound of dirt and grass with a bell on top of it that brings to mind games like "king of the hill" or that weird sense of achievement you get from walking up an incline of some sort. The bell works as an affirmation of your achievement, an audible "I was here".

It occurred to me that I ought to mention going out to Abington as a day trip that will help you beat the summer heat. The sculpture park is in a beautiful woods with lots of tree coverage. Trees provide much needed oxygen and shade that you don't really get from the City of Philadelphia.

Sylvia Benitez's "Hatshepsut" is among the many sculptures also on view at the park

Art and Danny DeVito clash at First Friday Happenings

First Friday at Copy and Vox was a little crazier then usual this month. When I arrived at our space (Copy) I noticed all these little pink notices everywhere; seems the street outside was going to be used to film an episode of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia". I immediately felt sorry for the film crew, they were probably expecting a deserted industrial street and weren't prepared to shoot opposite a major rager, which is what the night turned out to be:

Vox was hosting a major group show, "Solid Gold" and we proudly presented the work of Julio C. Gonzalez (read more here), which I can safely call awesome because I had nothing what-so-ever to do with the setting up of it, it was all Julio and Luren Jenison.

Juilo's spinning television and light-up drum-set installation at Copy.

Luren Jenison (curator) and Julio C. Gonzalez (artist).

Whilst waiting for someone to show up and play Julio's light-up drum set I read the new Megawords (more on that later) and looked out Vox's window to where's waldo Danny Devito. I found him, along with the dude that plays Dennis, but was too lazy to go down the street for a closer look.

The new Megawords (free)

Danny DeVito and Glen Howerton from "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia"

It was fun going back and forth between the sitcom filming outside and Julio's drum-set inside:

The machinery that made Julio's device work was visible in the Store at Copy.

Julio and the weird guy.

Eventually this weird-guy with a portable electric guitar rig came and jammed out with Julio. Which was great until he headed over to Screening at Vox:

. . . Where he and his flute friend went a little wild. At Screening they were screening Primordial Soup, an early building block of video-art-history by George Stadnik, which probably deserved a little more respect then the wild musicians were showing it.

The night ended strangely as the sitcom crew kept giving all the art-folks a hard time for making noise up on the 3rd floor balcony. . . but it was all over without any bloodshed.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Two new stories:

On Trenton Doyle Hancock at the ICA: TDH review


The South Philly Biennial (sort-of, but more of a tour of Philadelphia): A TOUR OF PHILLY

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Just Another Roadside Attraction

DinosaurLand!!!! (with cobras, and king kong, giant octopus, etc.)

Also links to similar roadside attractions, some of which even have King Kong mixed with dinosaurs also:

Nash Dino Land

Dinosaur Not So National Park

Dinosaur World

Dinosaur World, Arkansas (now closed)