artist Roderick Coover, poet Nick Montfort, and composer Adam Vidiksis
Interweaving sound, language and image, The Altering Shores is a four screen video performance with live music. Set in the marshlands and industrial wastelands of our local Delaware River watershed and others worldwide, the experience presents a kaleidoscope of climate futures through fragmented language and multi-layered sounds and images. Participants are guided through this uncertain terrain by lead artist Roderick Coover, poet Nick Montfort, and composer Adam Vidiksis.
Beginning on Saturday, November 16 at 4pm you can experience the project via short 360-degree vignettes, viewable at four unique virtual reality pop-up stations around the University of Pennsylvania campus. The stations will appear from 4-6pm on Nov 16, 19, 21, and 23.
Environmental Storytelling & Virtual Reality will explore environmental research and virtual reality (VR) across two days of talks, film screenings, workshops and a live multimedia performance for students, faculty, and staff at Penn and beyond.
The festival is organized around three keywords that illuminate the connections between interdisciplinary environmental research and virtual reality technologies and experiences: empathy, education, and action on climate. As authors of the October 2018 IPCC Special Report have urged, action on climate must come now, from individuals and institutions across sectors and across languages and borders. The forecast of 1.5 degree surface warming already by 2040, as dire as it is realistic, points to the need to wrench down greenhouse gas emissions to slow the current acceleration of ongoing climate change.
It also hints at the creative and imaginative combinations of scientists, humanists, artists, and environmental and public health advocates that we can bring together to nurture, in the language of the IPCC report, “the wide scale behavior changes consistent with adapting to and limiting global warming to 1.5 C.”
The IPCC report also suggests the role of emotion. Taking action on climate depends centrally on empathy. And, if that empathy is to make positive environmental impacts, it needs education. Touted in headlines as “the ultimate empathy machine,” virtual reality holds great promise as an educational tool, but remains largely untested. In this gathering of scientists, artists, educators, and the interested public, we want to put this claim to the test to see how VR and immersive storytelling might catalyze action on climate.
The event’s invited guests work at the forefront of VR, AR, and game design in educational institutions, in media and journalism, and in informal community spaces promoting public health, environmental literacy, and climate solutions.
RODERICK COOVERholds a BA from Cornell University (1989), an MA from Brown University (1994) and a PhD in the history of culture, with a specialization in media arts and anthropology, from the University of Chicago (1999). His films and new-media works include Unknown Territories (2011), Vérité to Virtual (DER, 2008), The Theory of Time Here (Video Data Bank, 2007), and Cultures in Webs (Eastgate, 2003), among others. His scholarship has been published in journals such as Film Quarterly,Visual Studies, and Visual Anthropology and in books such as the SAGE Handbook of Visual Research Methods. As co-editor of the recently published Switching Codes: Thinking Through Digital Technology in the Humanities and the Arts (University of Chicago Press), Professor Coover examines the impact of new technologies in the humanities and arts.
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.”
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 Wallis 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Dilys E. Blum, The Jack M. and Annette Y. Friedland Senior Curator of Costume and Textiles and Mary Schoeser, Independent Textile Historian and Curator
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.
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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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 iteration, gains 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 email@example.com, 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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The Tony, Peabody and Emmy Award winning, six time HBO Def Poet Black Ice (pictured) and many of Def Poetry Jam’s most recognized poets will reunite for an evening of spoken artistry on April 26. (Image courtesy of the artist)
Art of Poetry at Philadelphia Museum of Art
In April and May,Philadelphia Museum of Art is celebrating the art of poetry through artist collaborations including film, performances, talks, tours, and workshops.
Whitman, Alabama—Experience Walt Whitman‘s poem “Song of Myself,” brought to life through the voices of Alabama residents, to celebrate diversity and our connectedness to one another. This film by Jennifer Crandall is accompanied by photographs from the museum’s collection that suggest the complexity of American identity.This exhibition is offered in conjunction with Whitman at 200: Art and Democracy, a region-wide initiative organized by the University of Pennsylvania Libraries, with major support from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.
Art of Poetry Opening Celebration—Heralding our two months of poetry-inspired programs, performance poets make our galleries sing with spoken word while artists blend language and art. Drink and Draw with Martha Rich—Sip while you sketch with this Philly-based artist and make zines inspired by memories, eavesdropping, and found text. Rich paints words and food with a penchant for the absurd. Her work has been featured in Rolling Stone, Bon Appétit, and Entertainment Weekly. (Materials provided; drinks available for purchase.) Poetry tours with The Philly Pigeon—Join this collective, which aims to elevate and popularize the art form of performance poetry, for a lively tour through the galleries.Gallery takeover with the museum’s Teen Ambassador Group (TAG)—This group of high school students work with curators, educators, and other museum staff to create programs especially for teens.
Slow Art Day
Slow Art Day—This annual international event encourages museum visitors to slow down with their favorite works of art and do some mindful looking.
Poetry Workshops with Michelle Taransky—Learn to slow down with the poetic techniques of describing and responding, and discover new ways of looking at art. 11:00 a.m. & 2:00 p.m.
Introspective Bookmaking with Candy Alexandra González—Explore the art of stillness and moving at a slower pace. Drop in for collaborative visual art and poetry exercises to produce a collectively made book.
Music in the Galleries: Lines/Patterns—Form and structure make the link between American visual artist Ellsworth Kelly and German baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach. Presented in partnership with the Curtis Institute of Music. 1:30, 2:15 & 3:00 p.m.
Spotlight Gallery Conversations—Engage in slow looking and thoughtful discussion as a different artwork takes center stage during each of five hourly gallery tours, 11:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m
Family Festival: Poetry Party—April is International Poetry Month, so words are our art medium during this month’s Family Festival. Read a painting, write a sculpture, draw a poem. Join artist Martha Rich and fill the Great Stair Hall with your wonderful words.
Dawn Landes—Full of vivid storytelling, classic country themes, and eternal questions, the songwriting of this Nashville artist is as fresh as it is timeless.
Final Fridays: Def Poetry Reunion—Def Poetry Jam co-founder Danny Simmons invites some of Philly’s most recognized poets to gather for an evening of spoken artistry. Featuring Sonia Sanchez, Ursula Rucker, Black Ice, Vanessa German, Bonafide Rojas, and Jessica Care Moore. Hosted by Liza Jessie Peterson. A DJ set by Rich Medina with visuals by The Marksmen follows the performance. Please note that the museum will close at 5:00 p.m. before the performance, and will reopen at 6:00 p.m. for ticket holders only. Member tickets are on sale now. Public tickets go on sale March 8. Most galleries will be closed during this event, with the exception of exhibitions Whitman, Alabama, The Impressionist’s Eye, and Yoshitoshi: Spriti and Spectacle.
Talks & Tours
In the Artist’s Voice: Jennifer Crandall—Who is America? The filmmaker of Whitman, Alabama explores this question and more in a conversation with WHYY Executive Producer of Audio Content Elisabeth Perez-Luna. Support for this program was provided by the Albert M. Greenfield Foundation Fund for Education.