Category Archives: Art in Philadelphia

Art in Philadelphia


Drew Leshko, Sacred Lands, Paradigm Gallery + StudioDrew Leshko, Penn Treaty Metals

Sacred Lands

New sculptural works by Drew Leshko

Exhibition Dates: March 23rd – May 19th, 2018

Opening Reception: March 23rd, 2018 5:30 – 10:00pm

Paradigm Gallery is pleased to present Sacred Lands an exhibition of new sculptural works by the artist Drew Leshko opening March 23rd, 2018 and remaining on view through May 19th, 2018. The exhibition’s title is a reference to Leshko’s Philadelphia neighborhood of Fishtown and its ancestral roots as the home to the indigenous Lenni-Lenape. For more than a decade Leshko painstakingly documented the rapid re-development occurring in his hometown of Philadelphia specifically the historical neighborhood of Fishtown. Although Leshko’s works are sculptural by nature, he largely considers himself a documentarian, his sculptures echoing the work of legendary documentary photographers Gordon Parks and Bernd and Hilla Becher.

Leshko is particularly attracted to overlooked and oft-neglected sites, the unremarkable
buildings which will not be preserved. With past works, Leshko’s been drawn to the
once-thriving churches that have closed their doors as parishioners have been forced to
relocate, and the small local businesses with their classical designs which are now juxtaposed
with modern slapdash renovations, as well as the facades and machines of yesteryear. His
models splendidly isolate anachronistic architecture, encouraging the viewer to consider history
through a unique prism.

Drew Leshko, Sacred Lands, Paradigm Gallery + Studio

For Sacred Lands, Leshko replicates the Kensington Soup Society, a soup kitchen which
opened in 1844 and closed in 2008; Penn Treaty Metals, a metal recycling business spanning
three generations, the name of which references William Penn’s Treaty with the Native Lenape
in 1683; and the Edward Corner Marine Merchandise Warehouse, with its hand-painted signs
providing a physical reminder of Fishtown’s waterfront history. Leshko’s sculptures will be
complemented by his small-scale reproductions of local signage (for bars, restaurants, VFW
halls, and even strip clubs), as well as vintage photographs of historical buildings courtesy of the
Philadelphia City Archives.

Drew Leshko, Sacred Lands, Paradigm Gallery + StudioYesterday’s Tavern, 2018, paper, acrylic, inkjet prints, PVC plastic, chain, wire, pastel, 12” x 1 1/2” x 11”

Leshko’s 1:12 dollhouse scale replicas are meticulously crafted, requiring 120 to 160 studio
hours to create. He begins each sculpture working from a single photograph as an image
reference, but then will discard the photograph in mid-process, relying on memory to complete
the piece. His miniatures act as singular physical documents of the buildings and businesses
which are sadly proving unsustainable. Leshko’s ongoing examination of gentrification and
historical preservation (or lack thereof), asks the timely question “in a soon-to-be-forgotten
America, what is worth preserving?”.

About Drew Leshko

Drew Leshko is a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based artist. Working from observation and
photographs, the artist painstakingly recreates everything from building facades to campers at a scale which may be familiar to some viewers as standard dollhouse spec; the treatment to
Leshko’s work is widely different. The minute detail of his work includes city detritus such as
dumpsters and pallets, which are commentary of the ideas of what is worth preserving.
Accumulations of typically overlooked details and minutiae like acid rain deposits and rust
become beautiful adornments.

Leshko’s work has been exhibited in galleries, and museums both nationally and internationally.
His work is included in permanent collections including the Dean Collection (NYC), West
Collection (Philadelphia), Iron State Development’s corporate collection (Hoboken), Urban
Nation Museum (Berlin), and many private collections throughout the world.

About Paradigm Gallery

Established February 2010, Paradigm Gallery + Studio started as a project between
co-founders and curators, Jason Chen and Sara McCorriston, to create a space to make
artwork, exhibit the work of their peers, and invite the members of the local community to make their own artwork in a welcoming gallery setting. Over the years, Paradigm Gallery + Studio has become a gallery of diverse contemporary artwork from around the world, while maintaining a focus on Philadelphia artists.

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

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Yehoshua Villarreal I, RACSOAIRE, Yehoshua Villarreal I, oil, acrylic, gold leaf, 96″ x 48″


Tierra, Aire, Fuego, and Agua by Yehoshua Villarreal I

Opening reception Thursday, March 15 at RACSO Art Gallery

WHAT: Philadelphia’s leading Latin American Art gallery is premiering a new
series of paintings by award-winning artist Yehoshua Villarreal I . Elementos |
Tierra, Aire, Fuego, and Agua explores the subjects of earth, air, fire, and water in
Villarreal’s unique style of figurative images and structural compositions which
complement and complete each other in this series.

Yehoshua Villarreal I was born in Venezuela and moved to Miami in 1996.
Villarreal’s paintings are in museums, private and corporate collections
and he exhibits internationally.

“Yehoshua’s work is an exercise in provocative juxtaposition – the
imaginative and allegorical subjects challenge the precision and control of
his techniques,” shared RACSO Gallery owner Oscar Villamil.

RACSO Art Gallery represents local and international Latin artists.

WHO: Available for interviews and photographs – Miami based artist Yehoshua Villarreal I and RACSO Art Gallery Owner Oscar Villamil

WHEN: Thursday, March 15 | Opening Reception 6:00pm – 8:00pm

WHERE: RACSO Art Gallery | 1935 East Passyunk Avenue | Philadelphia, Pa
Exhibition Dates and Times | March 15 – April 15, 2018
Monday andTuesday 10:00AM – 5:00PM | Wednesday through Friday 10:00AM –
9:00PM Saturday 4:00 – 9:00PM | Sunday by appointment at 215.735.3515

RACSO Art Gallery exclusively represents Latin American artists. Dealing in
emerging local and international contemporary Latin American art as well as the
‘Modern Masters’ of Latin American art including Botero and Villegas. Located at
the gateway to East Passyunk Avenue in the heart of South Philadelphia,
collectors can experience a range of works including paintings, drawings, prints,
sculpture, and photography. RACSO Art Gallery celebrates the beauty of the Latin
American art spirit with rotating exhibitions throughout the year.


Thank you to Tara Theune Davis for the content of this post.

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Unwilling: Exercises in Melancholy


HAVERFORD, Pa.- What if we saw sadness not as a giving up or giving in, but a getting out? What if, instead of being seen as a passive pain, feeling deep sorrow was understood to be an act of resistance? What if, given the current political and cultural moment in which so many feel ignored, maligned, or repudiated by the systems and people in power, mourning was not just an understandable reception, but a useful action against those systems? A new exhibit in Haverford College’s Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery, opening March 23, showcases the work of five artists from across different media to grapple with such questions of power, agency, and melancholy.

Unwilling: Exercises in Melancholy, curated by Vanessa Kwan and Kimberly Phillips, proposes a re-consideration of melancholia as defined through our contemporary condition. Resisting its historical definition as an affliction that creates disorder or inactivity, this exhibition reimagines passive sadness as a powerful refusal, a conscious (or unconscious) “standing aside,” a willful production of generative failures and resistant potencies. Each of the five contributing artists begins with the idea that outside the boundaries of “contentment” resides a potent flourishing. Unwilling is a resistance and a proposition: it responds to the profound cultural reckoning we are witnessing in this moment in time, as the boundaries and exclusions of state-defined citizenship become increasingly fraught.

The exhibition crosses disciplinary boundaries. Dance artist Justine A. Chambers explores choreographies of resistance, growing out of a studious and embodied interpretation of all the minor gestures on the way to hands raised in surrender. Sculpture- and performance-based artist Mike Bourscheid mines absurdities in relation to our cultural preoccupations with masculinist productivity, while social practice artist Ginger Brooks Takahashi works to create new networks of value in the production of food, drink, and community. (Her piece in the exhibit is a collaboratively created-and consumed-beer.) The “weeping” willow is at the center of media artist Noa Giniger‘s multi-faceted take on reversals of sadness and the refusal to succeed, and poet and critic Billy-Ray Belcourt positions mourning as a defining aspect of an active and resistant subject and proposes that the future must address this subject head on.

Unwilling: Exercises in Melancholy will be on view March 23 through April 27 at Haverford College’s Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery. To celebrate the exhibit’s opening, there will be several events during its first week. On March 22, ahead of the official opening, a roundtable with four of the featured artists and the two curators will be held from 4:30 to -6:30 p.m. in the College’s new Visual Culture, Arts, and Media (VCAM) building, room 201. On March 23, Justine A. Chambers will perform an all-day, campus-wide, site-specific commission, ten thousand times and one hundred more. And later that day, at 4:30 p.m., there will be a talk with the curators followed by a reception at 5:30 p.m., featuring Ginger Brooks Takahashi’s Wyrt Blod Gruyt, a custom-made beer commissioned specifically for the exhibit and brewed in collaboration with Meredith Rebar Williams and Home Brewed Events. For further event details:

Unwilling: Exercises in Melancholy is made possible with support from the John B. Hurford ’60 Center for the Arts and Humanities. The exhibition is organized in conjunction with the Hurford Center’s 2017-18 faculty seminar “The Arts of Melancholy,” which is led by John B. Whitehead Professor of Humanities and Professor of Music Richard Freedman.

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 and campus exhibitions, at (610) 896-1287 or, or visit the exhibitions program website:

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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Bark! Bark! Bark for My Park! Dr. Jessica Dimuzio

Jessica Dimuzio, award-winning children’s author, will read from her book

Bark! Bark! Bark for My Park! at DVAA

Jessica Dimuzio, VMD, conservation educator, author and veterinarian, will read from her book Bark! Bark! Bark for My Park! on Saturday, March 24, 2018 at 10:30 AM at Da Vinci Art Alliance, 704 Catharine Street in Philadelphia. This program is presented in collaboration with the Bella Vista Neighbors Association. This reading is appropriate for children 4 and older, conservation educators, gardeners and animal lovers of all ages.

Dr. Jessica Dimuzio graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, specializing in wildlife preservation. She has conducted research on elephants, rhinos, and wild baboons and taught conservation programs in Africa, Asia, and North America. Dedicated to wildlife conservation, Dr. “D.” loves to get kids of all ages excited about wildlife and their natural habitats through her nonfiction writing, “too true” storytelling, classroom talks, and nature walks. She provides these programs through Nature Tales and Trails, LLC, the company she founded in 2011.

Dr. Dimuzio, a member of Patchwork: A Storytelling Guild uses humor and suspense to share her international experiences with audiences of any age.

Her international award-winning book Bark! Bark! Bark for My Park! recounts the real story of how her five-pound puppy, Johnny Angel, saved a 690-acre farm park from destruction and is one of the few children’s books written on saving open space. It received the Silver Medal from Mom’s Choice Awards in the Green Earth Category and a rare RECOMMENDED from the US Review of Books.

Bark! Bark! Bark for My Park! Dr. Jessica DimuzioDa Vinci Art Alliance (DVAA) provides artists with a community that fosters artistic expression and growth through our exhibitions and programs.

Da Vinci Art Alliance (DVAA) was founded in 1931 to serve the needs of local artists and artisans and to promote the edification and appreciation of the arts in the community. Our building in South Philadelphia was obtained in 1959 to provide community space and studio, and gallery spaces for our membership. DVAA members are a diverse group of creatives of all ages and backgrounds, including those with advanced degrees in their fields and those that are self-taught. Members include award-winning artists whose works are in museums and private collections across the country as well as emerging artists, showing work for their first time.

The Bella Vista Neighbors Association (BVNA) improves Bella Vista’s quality of life and strengthens community bonds. BVNA encourages civic involvement, provides a neutral and public discussion forum, preserves and augments our institutions and character, supports the delivery of government services, and promotes dialogue with elected officials.  They are an independent and nonprofit organization.

Thank you to Linda Dubin Garfield for the content of this post. For more information, contact Linda Dubin Garfield at

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Keith Smith, At Home, Philadelphia Museum of ArtBook Number 141, May 1989, by Keith Smith, American, b. 1938. Snake format artist’s book of gelatin silver prints with colored ink washes, watercolor, and machine stitching. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Purchased with funds contributed by Richard L. and Ronay Menschel, Marion Miller, The Paul & Emily Singer Family Foundation, Peter C. Bunnell, and Trevor Drake and Anne Albright, and with the Lynne and Harold Honickman Fund for Photography, 2015-51-1. © Keith Smith.

Keith Smith at Home

February – July 8, 2018

This winter, the Philadelphia Museum of Art presents Keith Smith at Home, the first major monographic presentation of the artist’s work in five decades. Spanning his entire career, the exhibition brings together over 60 exceptional and varied examples of his handmade artist’s books and experimental photographs, prints, collages, and fabric pieces made over the last half century. The exhibition places special emphasis on his artist’s books, the work for which he is best known. Many of these works are from the artist’s collection and have not been exhibited publicly before.

Keith Smith, At Home, Philadelphia Museum of ArtMargaret Gave me a Rainbow, 2:30pm 21 November, 1971, 1971, by Keith Smith, American, b. 1938. Collage of 3-M Color-in-Color photocopy transferred to buff-colored manila paper, gold star, multicolored thread, gelatin silver print, and rayon braid and tassels, hand and machine stitched to green plain weave cotton with gold rayon faille backing. Courtesy of Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New York. © Keith Smith.

Smith is an especially private person, and one whose life at home has been the inspiration for much of his art. Central to the installation is Book Number 82, Keith Smith at Home (1982), showing a sequence of views of his residence in Rochester, New York, where he has lived since 1975. Page by page, it conveys the passage of time: views of the same room shift, household objects trade places, and friends appear and reappear in framed artwork on the house’s walls. Visitors will be able to page through this book digitally on an iPad in the gallery.

Keith Smith, At Home, Philadelphia Museum of ArtMe at My Shed ‑ About to Go after the Mail, 1973, by Keith Smith, American, b. 1938. Gelatin silver print with colored ink washes, machine stitched to secondary support. Courtesy of Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New York. © Keith Smith.

The exhibition highlights books that challenge perceptions of what a book can be. Book Number 11, Up (1969) explores the interplay of images by alternating film-positive transparencies with opaque pages. As the film-positive page is turned, it creates the appearance of an image moving from one side of the page to the next. Book Number 91: a string book (1982) consists of cord, punched holes, and blank pages. Strings are extended across each page and spread in different patterns, sometimes taut and other times slack, creating an abstract and rhythmic narrative. Smith considers his string book to be photographic, as it deals with light, shadow, focus, motif, and sequence.

Keith Smith, At Home, Philadelphia Museum of ArtBook Number 11, Up, 1969, by Keith Smith, American, b. 1938. Artist’s book with photographs, drawings, prints, and transparencies. Courtesy of Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New York. © Keith Smith.

Smith has referred to his work as an open diary. Self-representation is a key motif, whether appearing lighthearted or uneasy. Some self-portraits reflect the struggles and joys the artist has experienced in coming out as a gay man, as in Untitled, from Roadside Attractions (1979), a multilayered photograph in which two silhouetted male figures caress each other’s shoulders.

Smith has said, “Social intimidation is not as odious as repression that is self-inflicted. When I permitted my work to speak openly, I gained my freedom and my self-respect.”

Keith Smith, At Home, Philadelphia Museum of ArtSelf Portrait, November 1969, by Keith Smith, American, b. 1938. 3-M Color-in Color-photocopy, hand stitching, and pen and red ink. Courtesy of Keith Smith. © Keith Smith.

Also on view is a selection of handmade postcards, a format that Smith has experimented with since the 1960s. He made these cards with particular recipients in mind, but, feeling unable to part with them, has kept them. In addition, the exhibition features fabric pieces from the 1960s and 1970s. Among these is Margaret Gave me a Rainbow 2:30pm 21, November 1971, a collage of a photograph of an ear, curtain tassels, and an impression of the artist’s profile made on a color photocopier affixed to an army-issue bedsheet. Smith made Eye Quilt (1965), a full-size quilt screenprinted with a dense pattern of eyes, while a student at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Keith Smith: Word Play is a related installation on view in the Museum’s Library. This intimate display highlights the ways in which Smith uses word play, poetry, typography, and sequencing to create surprising relationships between images and text in his books.

Exhibition organizer Amanda N. Bock, The Lynne and Harold Honickman Assistant Curator of Photographs, said: “While Smith may seem shy personally, his art is candid, intimate, delightfully irreverent, and transgressive. To share a large body of his work with the public is an exciting and rare opportunity, and it underscores our commitment to showing provocative work by living artists.”

Keith Smith, At Home, Philadelphia Museum of ArtAatis with his arm on his hip, August 30, 1973, by Keith Smith, American, b. 1938. Postcard: pen and ink, graphite, and colored ink washes on gelatin silver print, machine stitched to secondary support. Courtesy of Keith Smith. © Keith Smith.

About Keith Smith (born 1938, Indiana)

Smith’s reluctance to categorize his work established him as a rogue member of both the photography and printmaking departments at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he graduated in 1967. His works are often radical departures from conventional books, and may unfold, light up, hang on the wall or in a corner, or be constructed of pencils or the shirt off the artist’s own back. Certain themes-friendship, love, desire, intimacy, and domesticity- recur. He has made over 300 artist’s books and over half a dozen seminal instructional manuals on bookbinding.

Keith Smith, At Home, Philadelphia Museum of ArtPeeled, August 30, 1973, by Keith Smith, American, b. 1938. Postcard: graphite and colored ink washes on gelatin silver print, machine stitched to secondary support. Courtesy of Keith Smith. © Keith Smith.

Smith’s work is represented in leading public and private collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Center for Creative Photography, Tucson; the Nelson-Atkins Museum; the George Eastman Museum, Rochester; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He is the recipient of two Guggenheim Fellowships (1972 and 1980) and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship (1978), and has taught at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester.

Keith Smith at Home, Philadelphia Museum of ArtBook Number 91, a string book, 1982, by Keith Smith, American, b. 1938. Artist’s book with cut outs, punched holes, and string. Courtesy of Keith Smith and Philip Zimmermann.

Public Programs

Representing Queerness
Sunday, March 4 | 2:30 p.m. | Perelman Building
Community Conversations open discussions about socially relevant topics.
Included in Pay What You Wish admission.

Bookmaking Workshops
Saturdays, March 17, April 21, and May 5 | 1:30-4:30 p.m. | Perelman Building
Each session includes a tour of Keith Smith at Home with the exhibition curator.
Each workshop: $20 ($16 members); includes Perelman Building admission

Amanda N. Bock, The Lynne and Harold Honickman Assistant Curator of Photographs

Exhibition Location
Julian Levy Gallery, Ruth and Raymond G. Perelman Building
Installation Location, Library, Second Floor, Ruth and Raymond G. Perelman Building

Support for this exhibition was provided by The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation.

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

We are Philadelphia’s art museum. A landmark building. A world-renowned collection. 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.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is located on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 26th Street.

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

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Book 91- String Book; by Keith Smith (1984)