Category Archives: Assemblage

Wall

Nicki Hitz Edson, Medusa Mask, 1975. Crocheted wool. Promised gift of The Julie Schafler Dale Collection.

Off the Wall: American Art to Wear

November 10, 2019 – May 17, 2020

This fall, the Philadelphia Museum of Art presents Off the Wall: American Art to Wear, a major exhibition that highlights a distinctive American art movement that emerged in the late 1960s and flourished during the following decades. It examines a generation of pioneering artists who used body-related forms to express a personal vision and frames their work in relation to the cultural, historical and social concerns of their time. Focusing on iconic works made during the three decades between 1967 and 1997, the exhibition features 115 works by 62 artists. Comprised primarily of selections from a promised gift of Julie Schafler Dale, it also includes works from the museum’s collection and loans from private collections. Off the Wall: American Art to Wear is accompanied by a new publication of the same title, co-published by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Yale University Press.

Timothy Rub, the George D. Widener Director and CEO, said: “This exhibition introduces to our visitors an exceptionally creative and adventurous aspect of American art which took the body as a vehicle for its expression. We are not only deeply grateful to Julie Schafler Dale for her extraordinary gifts and support of the museum but also see this as an opportunity to acknowledge the dynamic role she played in nurturing the growth and development of this movement.” 

Sharron Hedges, Midnight Sky (Julie’s Coat), 1977. Wool, crocheted. Promised gift of The Julie Schafler Dale Collection. Photography by Otto Stupakoff ©Julie Schafler Dale.

The champions of Art to Wear during the early years were a few forward-thinking museums, among them New York’s Museum of Contemporary Crafts (Museum of Art and Design), collectors, and galleries such as Sandra Sakata’s Obiko, founded in 1972 in San Francisco, and Julie Schafler Dale’s Julie: Artisans Gallery, which opened the following year on Madison Avenue in New York. For over 40 years, Dale’s gallery was a premier destination for presenting one-of-a-kind wearable works by American artists. Through her gallery installations and rotating window displays, she gave visibility to the Art to Wear movement. In 1986, she brought further recognition to the art form by publishing the seminal book Art to Wear—from which the title of this exhibition is taken—which provided in-depth profiles of artists alongside photographs by Brazilian fashion photographer Otta Stupakoff. Dale’s gallery closed in 2013. 

Off the Wall is arranged in nine sections; the titles of some are derived from popular music of the ‘60s and ‘70s to suggest the wide-ranging concerns of the artists. The introductory section, The Times They Are A Changin’ (Bob Dylan, 1964), contains works by Lenore Tawney, Dorian Zachai, Claire Zeisler, Ed Rossbach, and Debra Rapoport to illustrate how textile artists in the late ‘50s and ‘60s liberated tapestry weaving from the wall, adapting it to three-dimensional sculptural forms inspired by pre-Columbian weaving. In 1969, a group of five students at Pratt Institute studying painting, sculpture, industrial design, multimedia, and graphic design taught each other how to crochet, leading to remarkable outcomes. Janet Lipkin, Jean Cacicedo, Marika Contompasis, Sharron Hedges, and Dina Knapp all created clothing-related forms that they would describe as wearable sculpture, thus establishing a cornerstone of the Art to Wear movement. Included in this section is a wool crochet and knit Samurai Top, 1972, by Sharron Hedges, modeled by the young Julie Dale for the book Creative Crochet, authored by two of the artist’s friends, Nicki Hitz Edson and Arlene Stimmel. 

Janet Lipkin, African Mask, 1970. Wool, leather, wood. Lent by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Muriel Kallis Newman, 2003. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Photography by Otto Stupakoff ©Julie Schafler Dale.

The next section, Good Vibrations (Beach Boys, 1966), traces the migration of many of these young artists from the East Coast to the West Coast where they joined California’s vibrant artistic community and connected with Sandra Sakata’s Obiko. A pair of colorful denim hand-embroidered mini shorts by Anna VA Polesny embroidered while traveling conveys this new youthful spirit. Pacific Rim influences are evident in the Japanese kimono form as a blank canvas offering infinite possibilities for pattern and design.  Marika Contompasis’s machine-knitted kimono made of rectangular sections, Trout-Magnolia Kimono, 1977, and Janet Lipkin’s Mexico at Midday, a coat made in 1988 are exceptional examples. The section also looks at the art of performance, reflected in Ben Compton and Marian Clayden’s Nocturnal Moth, 1974,inspired by Federico Fellini’s film La Dolce Vita (1960). A range of counter-culture influences, evoking ceremony and spirituality, pervade this section. 

Oh, Mother Earth (Neil Young, 1990) is a nod to the publications The Whole Earth Catalog (1968) and Mother Earth News (1970) and looks to nature and environmental concerns while another section, This Land is Your Land (Woodie Guthrie, 1944) explores iconic American imagery from the Brooklyn Bridge to the American West. Examples in those two sections include Joan Ann Jablow’s Big Bird cape, 1977, made entirely of recycled bird feathers, and Joan Steiner’s Manhattan Collar, 1979, which reimagines New York’s skyline in miniature. 

Joan Steiner, Manhattan Collar, 1979. Silk, wool, cotton, lace, and buckram
Collection of Joanna S. Rose. Photography by Otto Stupakoff ©Julie Schafler Dale

In A Land Called Fantasy (Earth, Wind & Fire, 1977) explores fantasy and science fiction, two genres that offered young people an escape from the period’s cultural and political upheavals. Noteworthy here are works by Jean Cacicedo and Nina Huryn, both of whom riff on one of the most widely read English language books at the time, J.R.R. Tolkien’s trilogy Lord of the Rings (1965). Cacicedo responded with a portrait of Treebeard, 1973, a Tolkien character, while Huryn created her own fantasy world in Tree Outfit, with itsflowing pants, loose shirt and leather sleeveless jacket containing forest and folklore imagery, a work made especially for Julie: Artisans Gallery in 1976. Other artists turned to dreams, such as Susanna Lewis, who created Moth Cape, 1979, in response to a nightmare that she had of a giant moth enveloping her body.

Come Together (The Beatles, 1969) responds to the popular use of assemblage in art-making, especially the use of nontraditional materials. Red Ray, from the series, Seven Rays, by Kaisik Wong, is included as an example of a work that was commissioned by his close friend Salvador Dalí in 1974 for the grand opening of the Dalí Theatre Museum in Figueres, Spain. Nearby is Mario Rivoli’s Overdone Jacket, 1973, made of found objects such as pins, metal bottle caps, beads, and other items. 

A section called I Am Woman (Helen Reddy, 1971) underscores the ways in which artists invoked feminism directly and indirectly in Art to Wear. Janet Lipkin, for example, invested her works with symbols of freedom while searching for new directions in her life, as seen in Flamingo, 1982, and Transforming Woman, 1992. Other works like Combat Vest, 1985, by Sheila Perez, feature plastic toy soldiers as protective armor for the chest area, while Nicki Hitz Edson’s Medusa Mask, 1975, is a wild expression of fraught emotions surrounding the breakup of her marriage.

Linda J. Mendelson, In Kyo-Kawara, 2015, Wool machine knitted, plastic buttons. Promised gift of The Julie Schaffler Dale Collection.

Colour My World (Chicago, 1970) reflects the buoyant rainbow color spectrum that was ubiquitous during this era. Recently published works on color theory by Johannes Itten and Josef Albers provided a cornerstone of the new art education. For Linda Mendelson, color, typography, and text became inseparable. She adapted Albers’s ideas and linked color progression with lines from a poem titled Coat by William Butler Yeats from which she drew inspiration. Other artists such as Tim Harding created an effect similar to impressionist brush strokes by slashing and fraying dyed fabrics, as seen in his colorful coat Garden: Field of Flowers, 1991. 

The final section Everybody’s Talkin’ (Harry Nilsson, 1968) explores the use of text in Art to Wear. Jo-Ellen Trilling engages in visual word play using common prepositions on a jacket, while Jean Cacicedo channels her grief over her father’s death using words taken from the bible that celebrated his life in My Father’s House, 1994.

Sheila Perez Ghidini, Combat Vest, circa 1985.Molded plastic figures on quilted plain weave supplemental warp and weft patterning. Promised gift of The Julie Schafler Dale Collection.

Dilys E. Blum, The Jack M. and Annette Y. Friedland Senior Curator of Costume and Textiles, who organized the exhibition, said: “We are looking back at this period with a fresh lens through which to consider a uniquely American art form that continues to have a worldwide influence. With roots and connections in fine arts, fiber art, craft, performance and fashion, there are so many important artists to appreciate. For this reason I am delighted by the opportunity to cast a light on such extraordinary talents, including so many adventurous women who deserve much greater recognition.” 

Publication
Off the Wall: American Art to Wear is accompanied by a new publication of the same name co-published by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Yale University Press, co-authored by exhibition curators Dilys E. Blum, The Jack M. and Annette Y. Friedland Senior Curator of Costume and Textiles at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and independent textile scholar and curator Mary Schoeser, with a contribution written by Julie Schafler Dale. The volume provides the social, political, and artistic context for Art to Wear. ISBN 9780876332917.

Curators

Dilys E. Blum, The Jack M. and Annette Y. Friedland Senior Curator of Costume and Textiles and Mary Schoeser, Independent Textile Historian and Curator

Support

This exhibition has been made possible by Julie Schafler Dale, PNC, The Coby Foundation, the Arlin and Neysa Adams Endowment Fund, Catherine and Laurence Altman, the Center for American Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and other generous donors.

Social Media

Twitter/Facebook/Instagram/Tumblr/YouTube: @philamuseum

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is Philadelphia’s art museum. We are a world-renowned collection. A landmark building. A place that welcomes everyone. We bring the arts to life, inspiring visitors—through scholarly study and creative play—to discover the spirit of imagination that lies in everyone. We connect people with the arts in rich and varied ways, making the experience of the Museum surprising, lively, and always memorable. We are committed to inviting visitors to see the world—and themselves—anew through the beauty and expressive power of the arts.

Thank you to the Philadelphia Museum of Art press room for the content of this post.

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Obsolescence

Ulla-Stina Wikander, Installation: After Work, 2018, Swan Chair, Table, Lamp, Shoes, Bag, Small Bag, Thermos, Books, Embroidery, Bag for Yarn, cross-stitch on found objects, mixed media.

Obsolescence, Ulla-Stina Wikander, Paradigm Gallery + Studio

Exhibition Dates: October 25 – November 23, 2019

Opening Reception: October 25th • 5:30 – 10pm

Paradigm Gallery + Studio (746 S 4th St) is pleased to present Obsolescence, a solo exhibition by Sweden-based artist Ulla-Stina Wikander, open October 25 – November 23, 2019. The artist’s first solo exhibition in the United States, Obsolescence, features new works from Wikander’s well-known series of household objects covered in colorful, vintage embroideries. Obsolescence will have a public opening reception on October 25 from 5:30 – 10:00pm.

Wikander began collecting vintage embroideries 15 years ago in antique stores and flea markets, initially attracted to the intricate designs of needlework textiles. Although Wikander was traditionally trained as a painter and sculptor, the unknown histories of the women who made the embroideries interested her and she began experimenting with her new collection.

Wikander’s earliest experimentation with textile began with covering a broken vacuum cleaner she had laying around in her home. Through a meticulous process of deconstruction and reassembly, she transformed the anachronistic tool into something visually absorbing and entirely new, giving the vacuum a new reason to exist. Although not all of the objects
Wikander covers are broken, they’re all out-dated. Through Wikander’s process, these retro items are transformed and recycled into fully contemporary sculptures.

On her practice Wikander says, “It is rather new for me to be a part of the textile community because I have always regarded myself as a painter and sculptor. While I do not embroider myself, I am always very meticulous when I choose my patterns. Embroidery is very hard to find nowadays, so I often travel to small towns in Sweden to find them. I have a big collection with hundreds of embroideries, organized into boxes by motif. I do not know if it is accepted among textile artists, to cut embroideries into pieces, but I think my work is a bit different. I always have a bad feeling that I am destroying a beautiful embroidery that someone else has made, but the recycling of something forgotten also feels current and good”.


The latest artworks included in Wikander’s Obsolescence exhibition are suffused with humor and critical explorations of feminism, domesticity, and upcycling. Her intricate textile constructions are shaped by the forms that lie underneath – including irons, blow dryers, shoes, bags, lamps, books, and phones. Freshly adorned in coverings of flowers, animals, and pastoral
scenes, the items transcend their former functionality and are simultaneously revelatory and recognizable. Wikander’s vibrant reappropriations are evocative formal studies that defy categorization and illicit equal parts dissonance and delight.

Obsolescence, Ulla-Stina Wikander, Paradigm Gallery + Studio

About Ulla-Stina Wikander
Ulla-Stina Wikander was born 1957 in Kungälv. She is currently living in Stockholm/Kullavik, Sweden and has been working as an artist since 1986. Wikander has shown extensively around the world in solo and group exhibitions including shows in the United States, Sweden and the UK.

About Paradigm
Paradigm Gallery + Studio® exhibits contemporary artwork from around the world with a focus on Philadelphia-based artists. Established February 2010, the gallery began as a project between co-founders and curators, Jason Chen and Sara McCorriston, as a space in which to create artwork, to exhibit the work of their peers, and to invite the members of the community to create and collect in a welcoming gallery setting. To this day the gallery still aims to welcome all collectors, from first time to lifelong, and continues to support accessible work that welcomes a wide audience.

Location: Paradigm Gallery + Studio®, 746 S 4th St., Philadelphia, PA, 19147
Media Contact: Lainya Magaña, A&O PR lainya@aopublic.com

Thank you to Madison Fishman for the content of this post.

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Participatory

KAMEELAH JANAN RASHEED’S PARTICIPATORY ART PROJECT
Kameelah Janan Rasheed, Borges, Musa, and Khidir, 2019, Archival Inkjet Print, courtesy the artist.

Kameelah Janan Rasheed, Participatory Art Project on Learning, Unlearning, and Play, Haverford College

Last spring, Kameelah Janan Rasheed, as part of her Katowitz Radin residency at the Brooklyn Public Library, orchestrated a sprawling 120-foot site-specific text mural and interactive public art experience at its central branch on Grand Army Plaza. The project, known as Scoring the Stacks, invited visitors to explore wandering as a mode of learning by performing a set of instructions contained in a series of “scores” that, rather than depicting musical notes to follow, featured directions for language-based actions that could be taken throughout the space. For example, participants were invited to “Find a blue book. Read the last page and write down a word you’d like to use in a future conversation” and record their findings on carbon paper.  Using the carbon copies of participant’s notations, a series of public programming in collaboration with artists Morgan Bassichis, An Duplan, and Brass Burlesque, led participants in the transformation of these notations into poems, songs, and dance movements.

Now Rasheed is undertaking her second experiment in this ongoing series at Haverford College’s newly renovated and renamed Lutnick Library. Scoring the Stacks (Experiment II) will turn Haverford College’s Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery into a satellite of Lutnick Library, offering visitors space for their own research, reflection, experimentation, and collaboration inspired by an installation of Rasheed’s recent work. Viewers will be invited to use a new set of scores to explore chance-based pathways through the library, gallery, arboretum, and other institutional spaces and collections as a way to encounter new ideas and build relationships between seemingly unconnected concepts.

Scoring the Stacks (Experiment II) likeits first iterationgains its momentum from the concept of “primitive hypertext”—a term coined by Black science-fiction writer Octavia Butler, who has described it as a learning ethos attentive to the possibilities of a meandering, non-linear, associative, and agile process of making sense of the world. To engage in an act of “primitive hypertext” is to seek out opportunities to map generative relationships between wide-ranging ideas, words, objects, and experiences.

Rasheed, a former high school history teacher, is interested in how people learn and the role of wandering, de-accelerating, and nurturing tangential connections in building a radical ethos of learning that prioritizes process over product. As such, her scores “encourage visitors to wander, to slow down, and to learn by discovery,” as she told Artforum. Prints of her recent work will be on display in the gallery, but the exhibit is experienced in the “performances” of its 10 scores in the library and across campus. The finished, notated scores will be collected and reassembled in a book created by Rasheed and released towards the end of the exhibit’s eight-week engagement on campus.

Kameelah Janan Rasheed is a Brooklyn-based artist and learner from East Palo Alto. Her sprawling inquiry has led her to develop work that explores experimental poetry, reference texts, intimate intertextuality, techniques of non-institutional archiving, anecdotes of religious syncretism, histories of human as well as non-human communication methods, enclosure systems, and ecological studies. Rasheed makes her inquiries visible through an ecosystem of iterative and provisional projects including sprawling, Xerox-based “architecturally-scaled collages” (frieze magazine, winter 2018); interactive publications; large-scale text banner installations; digital archives; lecture-performances; library interventions; poems/poetic gestures; and other forms yet to be determined. Rasheed has exhibited at the 2017 Venice Biennale, ICA Philadelphia, Pinchuk Art Center, Brooklyn Museum, Queens Museum, New Museum, Studio Museum in Harlem, Bronx Museum, Brooklyn Public Library, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and The Kitchen, among others. She is the author of two artist books, An Alphabetical Accumulation of Approximate Observations (Endless Editions, 2019) and No New Theories (Printed Matter, forthcoming 2019).

Scoring the Stacks (Experiment II) will be on view Oct. 25 through Dec. 15 at Haverford College’s Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery and Lutnick Library. Join us for an artist’s talk and opening reception Friday, Oct. 25, from 4:30–7:30 p.m. at Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery. A book release and discussion will be held Wednesday, Dec. 4, at 4:30 p.m. in Lutnick Library 200. For further details: exhibits.haverford.edu/scoringthestacks.

Scoring the Stacks was conceived by Kameelah Janan Rasheed in its first iteration at the Brooklyn Public Library, curated by Cora Fisher. This is the second experiment in the artist’s ongoing series. Support for the exhibition and programs is provided by the John B. Hurford ’60 Center for the Arts and Humanities and Haverford College Libraries.

Overseen by the John B. Hurford ’60 Center for the Arts and Humanities and located in Whitehead Campus Center, the Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery is open Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., and Wednesdays until 8 p.m. For more information, contact Matthew Seamus Callinan, associate director of the Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery, VCAM, and campus exhibitions, at (610) 896-1287 or mcallina@haverford.edu, or visit the exhibitions program website: www.haverford.edu/exhibits.

Haverford College is located at 370 Lancaster Avenue, Haverford, Pa., 19041.

Thank you to Rebecca Raber for the content of this post.

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Faux-Pas

HOUSEGallery April First Friday opening reception :

Autumn Wallace : How could I say no to you?

Autumn Wallace uses her artwork as a means to address social change. Illustrating individuals as large, curvy beings with slightly distorted features, she aims to encourage viewers to see beauty within the ‘imperfect’.  Most recently, Ms. Wallace received a Creative Arts, Research and Scholarship Grant to study at the National Museum of African Art and National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.  Titled “The Origins of Respect[ability],” her research paper focused on themes of queerness and femininity, specifically within the Black community. 


We invite you join us for Autumns reception on April 5th. 

Michelle Marcuse

Would a No by any other name smell as sweet?

Shut-out, Shut-In, or Shut-Up? That big, hard wall sprung by dismissal creates so many wonderful possibilities! Where, oh where will that sharp left turn bring you?  Before you Google what tools you need to split a second for that decision, be aware that in April at HOUSEGallery, Autumn will use experimental thought exercises assisted by paint and clay to lead a guided exploration of the prospects at How Could I Say ‘No’ to You? Come discover your ways here.

About Autumn Wallace

To Autumn Wallace, Faux-Pas is a destination island where anything is possible. On this island [floated in a small undisclosed Philadelphia enclave], Autumn blends daily life with their borderline obsessions. Prominent features of the island’s attractions include 90’s cartoons, Baroque aesthetics, and ‘Adult Materials’ arranged in painting and sculptures, stirring up narratives of chaotic [con]fusion. Why? Eluding reason boosts emotional response, makes viewers voyeurs, or participants–no bystanders. Here, absurdity is the moderator and we’re all in for the ride.
www.autumnwallaceart.wordpress.com/www.instagram.com/veggiemon/

HOURS by appointment

Location HOUSEGallery1816 Frankford Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125

Thank you to Michelle Marcuse for the content of this post.

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Stories

Stories to Tell

Stories Told in Pictures at The Plastic Club

April will be a time for story-telling at The Plastic Club, as the historic art club invites visual artists to show how they retell the world’s stories, whether drawn from holy books or comic books or the depths of their own imaginations.

The prospectus explains that works can be representational or abstract, based perhaps on literature or perhaps on popular genres or even current events. “It is your story to tell, using your special way of doing art.”

The prospectus quotes the poet Wallace Stevens for inspiration:
“They said, ‘You have a blue guitar, you do not play things as they are.’ The man replied, ‘Things as they are are changed upon the blue guitar.'”

Stories to Tell at The Plastic Club

Stories to Tell Opening Reception Sunday, April 7th, 2:00 and 5:00 PM, with juror’s awards and announcement at 3:30 PM. The work can also be viewed by appointment or at The Plastic Club‘s special Third Sunday Open Gallery on Sunday, April 21 from 1 to 4 PM.

The Plastic Club. 247 South Camac Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107, (215) 545-9324
info@plasticclub.org

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