Monthly Archives: December 2013

Archives Alchemy

Philadelphia Dumpster Divers at The National Archives

Archives Alchemy: The Art of the Dumpster DiversOpening Reception: January 10th, 5:00 – 7:30pm Artwork will be displayed from Jan. 10 – April 24, 2014. Gallery Hours listed below. Location: National Archives at Philadelphia, 900 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107-4292 (Entrance on Chestnut Street)

The Dumpster Divers of Philadelphia

The National Archives had miles of microfilm and piles of debris from moving records and renovations, doomed for the dumpster. “Call the Dumpster Divers!”  Who? The Dumpster Divers of Philadelphia are a group of over 40 found object artists, their artwork as diverse as the group and materials used. They were officially recognized with a 2012 City of Philadelphia Mayor’s Tribute for “helping to raise the consciousness of art lovers and heightened awareness of taking a creative approach to support a more sustainable city, country and world.”

This show is an unusual collaboration between two very different Philadelphia institutions and demonstrates the infinite possibilities available when we think outside the dumpster. Leslie Simon, Director, Research Services, the National Archives at Philadelphia said, “I challenged the Dumpster Divers of Philadelphia to create art out of the debris from our moves and renovations. Materials included decommissioned ladders and carts, miles of microfilm and readers, aged leather book bindings, as well as decommissioned electronics and displays, posters, photographs, and lots of red tape.”

Ann Keech, Philadelphia Dumpster Divers

Ann Keech, Archives CommemorativeArchives Alchemy: The Art of the Dumpster Divers at The National Archives

As a loosely bound collective of classically trained and self-taught artists the Dumpster Divers’ unique found object artwork has been exhibited at the American Visionary Art Museum, Noyes Museum of Art, Perkins Art Center, Please Touch Museum, the Garbage Museum and many other regional and national exhibitions. They are featured in books such as Found Object Art (Schiffer Art Book), books 1 and 2.  They established South Street galleries that have entranced more than fifty thousand people, while recycling these abandoned storefronts into viable neighborhood businesses. In the words of their founder, Neil Benson, “Trash is simply a failure of the imagination.”

Thus, in a new kind of alchemy, this partnership between the National Archives at Philadelphia and the Dumpster Divers of Philadelphia preserves, conveys and interprets stories of our pasts hidden in words and objects.

Susan Richards, Philadelphia Dumpster Divers

Susan Richards, Home Movies, Archives Alchemy: The Art of the Dumpster Divers at The National Archives

The National Archives at Philadelphia

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is the record keeper of the Federal government. About 2% of all records created are preserved permanently and are available to the public, whether exploring family history, proving a veteran’s military service, or researching an historical topic. The National Archives at Philadelphia, one of 15 research facilities across the country, holds records of federal courts and agencies operating in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. The records range from hand written 18th century customs manifests to 20th century scientific data.

Calendar Listing:  The Dumpster Divers of Philadelphia are exhibiting their unique found object artwork created for the National Archives at Philadelphia. Opening Reception January 10th, 5:00 – 7:30pm at the National Archives, 900 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107-4292, 215-606-0101. Show runs from Jan. 10 – April 24, 2014.

Gallery Hours of Operation:

M-F:  8:30 am – 4:45 pm. Second Saturday of each month: 8 am – 4 pm. A Photo ID is required to enter Federal Buildings.

Address: National Archives at Philadelphia, 900 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107-4292, 215-606-0101


  • Leslie Simon, Director, Research Services, National Archives at Philadelphia, voice: 215-606-0101, fax: 215-606-0116, e-mail:

Like Philadelphia Dumpster Divers on facebook

Like DoNArTNeWs Philadelphia Art News Blog on facebook

Follow the new

Follow DoN on Twitter @DoNNieBeat58

DoNArTNeWS on Tumblr

DoN Brewer on Pinterest

@donniebeat on Instagram

Affiliate Marketing [disclosure page] Shop on-line and help support DoNArTNeWs

Donate via safe and secure PayPal in the sidebar

Coupling at Off the Wall Gallery

Alice Gonglewski, Coupling at Off the Wall Gallery

Alice Gonglewski, Union #2-4, popsicle sticks and acrylic paint, $40.00, Coupling at Off the Wall Gallery at Dirty Franks

Coupling is the theme of the 9th Annual Juried Art Show at Off the Wall Gallery and artists took the concept into elusive yet eloquent mind spaces. Alice Gonglewski‘s Union series uses popsicle sticks to create a visual expression of family and home to it’s simplest symbols. The round and straight lines of the sticks, the black and white paint and the open and closed shapes evokes memories of home. I can almost hear the Mister Softee song, an ear worm that stirs memories of prosperity and poverty. The bare sticks represent food, comfort, safety and caring with minimal information and maximal content of narrative.

Laura Storck, Coupling at Off the Wall Gallery

Laura Storck, Elvis Pelvis, cyanotype from digital negative, $200.00, Coupling at Off the Wall Gallery at Dirty Franks

The combination of different photography techniques makes Elvis Pelvis pop on a wall with fifty other cool artworks. Laura used an x-ray as the negative for the cyanotype print. Mildly photosensitive solution is applied to a as paper and allowed to dry in a dark place. When the paper is exposed to light the negative, in this case the x-ray, controls the amount of chemical reaction. By mixing technologies the piece couples a view of the interior of a body while exposing the lines of the exterior. The deep blue is rich with tone and texture, the lines are descriptive and articulated, almost holographic. The painterly strokes of the photo-sensitive solution add a sense of immediacy and urgency.

Laura Storck’s photography can currently be viewed as part of Philly Photo Day, in their gallery at North 3rd Street and on a billboard in West Philly. Her exploration into silver emulsion photography is included in a group show called Silver Emulsion Red Hook Coffee and Tea, 765 South 4th Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19147. Opening Reception: Friday December 20th, 2013, 6:00 – 9:00pm

Erica Harney, Coupling at Off the Wall Gallery

Erica Harney, Rabbit/Credit Card, oil and mixed media on panel, $80.00, Coupling at Off the Wall Gallery at Dirty Franks

Erica Harney has been working on an art project which dove tailed perfectly with the theme of Coupling. By asking people to name two nouns, a Dadaist idea of Exquisite Corpse is created which is then painted as literally as possible. The paintings are refreshingly entertaining, the randomness of the combinations are like real life with problems, delights, challenges and comforts. There are four paintings in the show each coupling dual identities into one composition but Erica Harney has painted dozens of paintings using these restraints yet each painting stands on it’s own merits.

Karen Frank, Coupling at Off the Wall Gallery

Karen Frank, Mutual Admiration, acrylic on board, $100.00, Coupling at Off the Wall Gallery at Dirty Franks

Coupling includes various media but the paintings are strong. It really feels like the paintings are active and intense paired with photography and mixed media. Karen Frank‘s seahorses, Mutual Admiration, combines the exotic and familiar with evocative marks and color ways. The piece is dreamy and child-like but the other-worldly context of life under water and the unintelligible form of communication between the beings feels empathic.

Jenn Warpoles paintings mix color, texture and surface to create evocations of emotion, experience and liveness. Abstracted yet anthropomorphic shapes create a visual dialog that speaks of love, despair, attraction and rejection. The small panels are powerful paintings with the atmospheric tones represented in washes of emotional color, a sensitive hand and restrained color palette design an emotional experience.

Jenn Warpole, Coupling at Off the Wall

Jenn Warpole, Untitled #2, oil on panel, $265.00, Coupling at Off the Wall Gallery at Dirty Franks

Hashtags and Archetypes by John Baccile is absolutely contemporary, elevating the computer screen shot from a moment of too much information into a rich and eloquent story. The visual language with overlays and multiple conversations feels so modern – post, post, post modern. Would the couple in the picture ever imagine a future with automatic photograph face recognition, predictive social media penetration and internet fame? John Baccile used a lowly material, the facebook page, and manipulated the elements with a sophisticated info-graphic capturing the past, present and future of portraiture.

John Baccile, Coupling at Off the Wall Gallery

John Baccile, Hashtags and Archetypes, digitally altered screen grab, $100.00, Coupling at Off the Wall Gallery at Dirty Franks

The photograph John Baccile used is one hundred years old, the algorithms in facebook look for identity matches in the faces creating an overlay of information and possible matches, it really gives off a Minority Report vibe and how we willingly allow investigation of our history.

Bill Myers photograph documents a modern sensibility towards photography and image making. The composition, color and forms takes the concept of Coupling to an intense contemporary level. The balance of the two figures, each with an emotional openness, evokes an emotional response, an autonomous reflex, from the energetic image layering character studies with line, tone and light. I can think of several artist to compare Bill Myers to but he truly is his own authentic self with a defined vision.

Bill Myers, Coupling at Off the Wall Gallery

Bill Myers, Standing Strong, digital photography, $50.00, Coupling at Off the Wall Gallery at Dirty Franks

Robert Yong Lee, Coupling at Off the Wall Gallery

Robert Yong Lee, Untitled (Ann Arbor, 2009), silver gelatin print, $150.00, Coupling at Off the Wall Gallery at Dirty Franks

Bob Lee‘s black and white photograph examines the idea of Coupling in a composition filled with memes, matches and metaphors. The seated figure before the painting has a jacket draped over his arm like the figure in the painting, while the seated man is looking down, the painted man is looking into the distance. The standing man on the left is reading while the statue of the standing woman is straining to listen. The two tableaus are divided by architectural elements that themselves represent similar yet opposite forces. This is the kind of art you can really spend time with finding deep and elusive narratives.

Coupling will be on the wall at Off the Wall Gallery through December 27th, there is a holiday party at Dirty Franks, 13th and Pine Streets, tonight, December 20th. I have two photographs in the show, too, I wrote about them in My Photo Day on DoNArTNeWs. The whole experience of the Coupling show was wonderfully creative; I was inspired to make new work and I was part of the creative team behind the show. The art I’ve described in this post is just a sampling of the excellence in the show and the diversity of talent in the Philadelphia contemporary art scene.

The experience of watching people actually look at the art show and really spend time looking at the work is the most satisfying feeling of all. I know I keep talking about Social Practice but Off the Wall Gallery at Dirty Franks has truly integrated itself into the fabric of the community by being inclusive and relevant through art and communications that is fun, high art in a dive bar, yet the result is intellectually satisfying in a really authentic feeling of community.

Like Off the Wall Gallery on facebook

Written by DoN Brewer. Thank you to Togo Travalia for the photographs in this post and for the excellent advertising and promotion of the show and individual artists through print and social media. I know of no other gallery who promotes each artist with such care. I really appreciate the effort and the love.

Like DoNArTNeWs Philadelphia Art News Blog on facebook

Follow the new

Follow DoN on Twitter @DoNNieBeat58

DoNArTNeWS on Tumblr

DoN Brewer on Pinterest

@donniebeat on Instagram

Affiliate Marketing [disclosure page] Shop on-line and help support DoNArTNeWs

Donate via safe and secure PayPal in the sidebar

Silver Emulsion

Silver Emulsion, Red Hook Coffee and Tea

Silver Emulsion, Red Hook Coffee and Tea, 765 South 4th Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19147. Opening Reception: Friday December 20th, 2013, 6:00 – 9:00pm

Please come see some fabulous silver gelatin darkroom printing by a talented group of Fleisher Art Memorial students this Friday Night (6:00- 9:00PM) at Red Hook Coffee and Tea! This is our 3rd Annual Show of photography by my “Art of the Fine Print” students. Each student is showing 2-3 framed prints, hand-crafted in the old-fashioned chemical darkroom! All work for SALE. I will have two prints of my own on display too. Come for some frivolity and pre-Holiday delight. Beer and Wine. Red Hook Coffee and Tea is on 4th Street, just north of Catharine! See you all there this Friday night!!!

Rick Wright

Paula Brumbelow, Amanda Abramson, Katie Marcucci, Rachel Glidden, Alicia Fastman, Dave Jannetta, Laura Storck, Rick Wright, Gene Renzi, Jane Volin, Amy Bach, Ben Buhl and Neil Marcello.

Like Rick Wright Photography on facebook

Like Red Hook Coffee and Tea on facebook

Like DoNArTNeWs Philadelphia Art News Blog on facebook

Follow the new

Follow DoN on Twitter @DoNNieBeat58

DoNArTNeWS on Tumblr

DoN Brewer on Pinterest

@donniebeat on Instagram

Affiliate Marketing [disclosure page] Shop on-line and help support DoNArTNeWs

Donate via safe and secure PayPal in the sidebar


My Photo Day

DoN Brewer, Dollar Store, Philly Photo Day

DoN Brewer, Dollar Store, digital photograph, Philly Photo Day, October 18th, 2013

Philly Photo Day is a Social Practice photography public art project that is easy and fun to do as a participant and beneficial to the image Philadelphia displays to the world. The goal is to capture a visual portrait of Philadelphia with a social media campaign encouraging public participation through photography. Social practice as an art form creates a unique meandering narrative that utilizes the energy and ideas from the public at large to make ideas grow big. Endless combinations of stories based on the random nature of the photographs are possible.

The Philadelphia Photo Arts Center is the conduit and curator of the event – simply take a photo in Philly on October 18th and upload it to their website, for free, by the following Monday. Every entry is printed in a vast display of hundreds of images of Philadelphia taken by photographers on that one calendar day creating an exciting interactive social experience.  Philly Photo Day Gallery at 120 North 3rd Street, Philadelphia through December 28th, 2013.

October 18th, 2013 was a sunny day, perfect for a walk to the river with Katy the Art Dog. We walk past the Dollar Store almost everyday on the way to the dog park, I can see it in my head, but that day the shipping carts were all lined up after a delivery and I spotted this pattern about consumerism. My plan was to take lots of pictures all day, and the heightened excitement of looking for pattern recognition that is very Philadelphian felt strong and sensitive.

Katy and I walked through Fitler Square towards the Schuykill River, at the Southern tip of the park is a restaurant called Gavins, the ‘Ladies Only‘ sign has a vibrating meme about social norms and women’s history. The last lunch I had with mentor Francis Tucker was at Gavin’s, he paid for our soup and Argentine pastries while we talked about art. Places in Philadelphia are layered with memories that render emotional responses in nuanced and evocative images. When confronted with legacy the message is the massage.

DoN Brewer, Philly Photo Day

DoN Brewer, Ladies Entrance, digital photo, October 18th, 2013

DoN Brewer, Philly Photo Day

DoN Brewerr, Pug Guard Dog, digital photo, October 18, 2013

The light effect on my Pug Guard Dog with the big ball is naturally weird and the experience was a bit noisy. That dog would not stop barking. But, I was on a photo safari and I braved the barking – Katy by my side – and captured a little story of the Pug defending the iron gate to his territory.

DoN Brewer, Philly Photo Day

DoN Brewer, Light from Yonder Window, digital photograph, 10/18/2013. $175.00

One of my things, work that I’m known for, is a series of photographs called ‘light beings‘. I look for reflections of sunlight onto urban surfaces from windows. This picture captures the source of the reflection, glass windows. Light reflects off the windows onto Philly’s famous stucco walls. I didn’t enter this one in Philly Photo Day but I did enter it into a show at Off the Wall Gallery at Dirty Franks with the title Coupling. Even though I was part of the jury panel I entered anyway, I like being part of the annual juried art shows there, and took my chances. When my five entries came up for review I left the room and the other four jurors voted in two of my photographs. Both of my entries were from my Philly Photo Day shoot. Including the one below, Holding Hands, digital photograph, 11″ x 14″, 16″ x 20″ framed, $175 at Off the Wall Gallery at Dirty Franks.

Proceeds of the sale of my framed photograph, Light from Yonder Window, in the Coupling show at Dirty Franks go towards the Sunshine Arts Foundation. The Coupling show is amazing with a display of contemporary art created expressly for a theme by truly fine artists, it’s such an authentic honor to be part of this extraordinary group show. Being on the jury panel is an interesting story, too. I’ll write a post about the experience soon.

The Social Practice aspect of group art shows is very energetic and Off the Wall Gallery at Dirty Franks has a wonderful symbiosis with their local artist’s community. I also included Light from Yonder Window in my 11″ x 17″ folded one-sheet book, light beings, for RiTUAL Reading Room at 110 Church Gallery, $75.00.

DoN Brewer, Philly Photo Day

DoN Brewer, Holding Hands, digital photograph, Philly Photo Day 2013 and Coupling, 9th Annual Juried Art Show at Off the Wall Gallery at Dirty Franks

On October 18th, 2013, Philly Photo Day, I visited a dear friend at Pennsylvania Hospital, the oldest hospital in America, a warren of hallways and odd turns, swinging doors and curved paths that expresses the history and change of medical care architecturally. My friend was out of the Intensive Care Unit but her condition was very frail. I sat with her while Wheel of Fortune played silently on the TV and we just held hands.

Helen was a good friend to me. She was the lady who had all the neighbors house keys or was there to accept packages. She knew all the news about the neighbors and shared stories of mayhem, mischief and mystery as well as tidings of joy. This image captures our love and I will be forever grateful for those last moments together. My friends, it was really hard to watch the fading of a life, the terrible turn of events, but now I have experienced the realness, the liveness of the moments we are living in a way that will influence me forever.

I decided to use Holding Hands as my sole entry into the exhibit Philly Photo Day 2013 show because of the composition of the blanket folds and skin wrinkles and the empathetic narrative image of a day in the life of two old friends. Holding Hands was chosen by the jury at Philly Photo Day 2013 to be displayed on one of forty billboards throughout the city. The billboard with Holding Hands is located on Washington Avenue near 9th Street, near the Italian Market. When I saw the billboard my heart raced, I felt such happiness and joy, it was like a wonderful gift from Helen. Although she would have wanted her fingernails manicured, the image of generational shift and change is imbued in the lines of the picture, making up the connections of two friends in a pattern that touches the spirit and heart.

DoN Brewer, Philly Photo Day

DoN Brewer, Holding Hands billboard at 9th Street and Washington Avenue, Philly Photo Day 2013

Philadelphia Photo Arts Center is also generously including Holding Hands in a group show of 175 images selected from the Philly Photo Day exhibit at the Philadelphia Airport for six months in 2014. Purchases of the print from Philadelphia Photo Arts Center are being donated to them as my thanks for their service to the Philadelphia arts community. Being part of the group show is a thrill in itself, no kidding, but the organization provides exceptional education about photography to the community that is truly beneficial to everybody.

I have made wonderful connections and friendships by being in this annual show. To have a photograph that I took in an intimate moment of a special personal relationship to be expressed in public in such a big way makes my heart burst with joy. Philly Photo Day made me look at the world a little closer for a day, the effort to examine my surroundings for beauty resulted in recognition of my creative vision of art and I feel gratitude for the embrace of the Philadelphia arts community for my efforts.

Here’s the link to the Philly Photo Day Billboard map. The exhibit of all 15,000 plus photographs is on display at Philly Photo Day Gallery at 120 North 3rd Street, Philadelphia through December 28th, 2013.

Like Philadelphia Photo Arts Center on facebook

Written and photographed by DoN Brewer.

Like DoNArTNeWs Philadelphia Art News Blog on facebook

Follow the new

Follow DoN on Twitter @DoNNieBeat58

DoNArTNeWS on Tumblr

DoN Brewer on Pinterest

@donniebeat on Instagram

Affiliate Marketing [disclosure page] Shop on-line and help support DoNArTNeWs

Donate via safe and secure PayPal in the sidebar

Art in the Open 2014

Art in the Open, CFEVA

Art in the Open Application now due January 3rd, 2014

Professional artists working in all media are invited to participate in Art in the Open 2014. From Friday, May 16 through Sunday, May 18, 2014, artists will use Philadelphia’s Schuylkill River Banks as their studio space, creating new works of art ‘outside, on-site.’

Art in the Open re-frames the plein air tradition in a contemporary context, encouraging both artists and audiences to draw inspiration from the city’s natural and urban landscapes. Using the Schuylkill River Banks Park as studio space, participating artists will have the opportunity to explore new or extend current working methods, develop process-oriented projects, and respond to a compelling intersection of urban and natural spaces in the public realm. Selected artists will have the opportunity to participate in complementary programming, public engagement events, and to exhibit artwork created during AiO in the gallery at The Center for Emerging Visual Artists. For more information about the event and to view a gallery of AiO 2012 artists visit

 AiO Statistics:
• 8-12,000 visitors per year (on the Schuylkill Banks)
• 30+ Organizational Partners 25 Related programs off and on-site

2014 Art in the Open Jurors 
Gerard Brown Tyler School of Art at Temple University’s Center for the Arts 
Harry Philbrick Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Museum,
 Christine Pfister Pentimenti Gallery, 
Theresa Rose, FringeArts

Final application deadline is January 3, 2014. Local, national and international artists are invited to apply.
 To apply visit or


For more information or questions, contact Genevieve Coutroubis at

Juror Information

Gerard Brown writes about art and makes pictures about language. His work has been exhibited in group- and one-person shows nation-wide. As an   independent curator, he has organized exhibitions throughout the Philadelphia region and has been the recipient of a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Grant in Visual Arts Criticism. He earned his BFA from Boston University and his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is currently an Assistant Professor and the Chairperson of Foundations at the Tyler School of Art at Temple University’s Center for the Arts.

Christine Pfister studied at Christie’s Education at Christie’s in New York and since 1995 she has been the Co-Owner and Director of Pentimenti Gallery in Philadelphia. She has given many lectures, and participated on panels, in the Philadelphia area. Lectures/panels include the University of Pennsylvania, the University of the Arts, the American Association of Museums, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Art, Moore College of Art & Design, Kutztown University, Kutztown, and more. She is active in a variety cultural organizations including CFEVA, ArtTable and the Maurice Rohrbach Fund.

Pentimenti Gallery exhibits contemporary art by emerging to mid-career artists. The gallery’s exhibitions were reviewed in major magazines and newspapers, such as Art in America, The Art Economist, Timeout New York, the Brooklyn Rail, USA Today, Philadelphia Style Magazine, Philadelphia Inquirer, and more. The gallery has exhibited nationally at various art fairs: Pulse NY, Volta NY, Texas Contemporary, Miami Project and CONTEXT Art Miami.

Harry Philbrick, Edna S. Tuttleman Director of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Museum, directs a museum known internationally for its collections of 19th- and 20th-century American art. The museum’s archives house important materials for the study of American art history, museums, and art training.  Mr. Philbrick is spearheading a revived engagement with contemporary art at PAFA, creating a substantial endowment to rekindle the Museum’s program of actively collecting contemporary art and curating an ambitious series of contemporary exhibitions.  Under his guidance the Museum will open a dedicated Works on Paper Gallery in September, 2013.

Mr. Philbrick has twenty-plus years of experience in museum management, exhibition curation, development, and educational programming and was the Director of The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum from 1996 – 2010.  Mr. Philbrick furthered The Aldrich’s mission of exhibiting provocative and significant contemporary art and establishing education programs that serve as national models in museum education. Mr. Philbrick received his Master of Fine Arts from London University’s Goldsmiths’ College.  His own artwork has been exhibited in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Theresa Rose is currently the Visual Arts Program Director for FringeArts. From 2007-2012, Rose was Public Art Project Manager for the City of Philadelphia Office of Arts, Culture & the Creative Economy where she managed the Percent for Art program and lead the City’s first temporary public art commission, Soil Kitchen, by the artist team Futurefarmers. Independently, Rose is the founder and one of the organizers of Philly Stake, a micro-granting program for relevant & creative community engaging projects. She is also a Knight Foundation grantee for her upcoming participatory art and food series entitled Operation Food for Thought. Prior to her employment at FringeArts and city government; Rose worked on several projects as an independent curator and artist including exhibitions at Crane Arts, Seraphin Gallery and Little Berlin. She received her MFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, where she co-chaired the Visiting Artist Lecture Series Program. 

Like Center for Emerging Visual Artists on facebook

Like DoNArTNeWs Philadelphia Art News Blog on facebook

Follow the new

Follow DoN on Twitter @DoNNieBeat58

DoNArTNeWS on Tumblr

DoN Brewer on Pinterest

@donniebeat on Instagram

Affiliate Marketing [disclosure page] Shop on-line and help support DoNArTNeWs

Donate via safe and secure PayPal in the sidebar.