Category Archives: Writing

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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What Follows

The Birthing, 2019, mixed media on paper, 22″ x 30″

The Art of Grief and What Follows
Paintings and Writings by Tremain Smith


May 1 thru June 1, 2019

Old City Jewish Arts Center
119 North 3rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
215-627-2792
Gallery Hours: Mon-Fri 10-5, Sat & Sun 12-5
www.ocjac.org
www.tremainsmith.com

May 3, 5-9 pm: First Friday Opening
Sun, May 19, 2-4 pm: Art & writing workshop led by the artist
Wed, May 29, 6-8 pm: Closing Reception/Poetry Reading

All events are free and open to the public.

Rare Orchid

Let it blossom in its time
Let it unfold of its own accord
Slowly gently imperceptibly 
Like that rare orchid you spoke of, Mom
It’s multiplied
In my window in the light of my window
protected by the pine and nestled in peace 
Brand new bold stems have come 
It’s you.
I made it, Mom. I made it through the grief.
I’m happy now. I’m living again.
Changed and sustained by your life and death I love you.
You fell into my soil
like the leaves from the trees
Bountifully nourishing my essence
I grow,
strong, deep, solid
I can touch the sky
I touch the sky indeed.
You smile.
Ever my encourager, now you are my guide, my holy being.

Remember how we said as you were leaving this earth:
“I place myself in the hands of holy beings.”

I do that now, while still on earth.
Thank you.
Always.
That line that stretches back
Before time
And forever
That’s where I meet you
Thank you to Tremain Smith for the content of this post.

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Poetry

Art of Poetry, Philadelphia Museum of ArtThe 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.

2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway Philadelphia, PA 19130
philamuseum.org

Now on View

Through June 9

  • 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.

Wednesday Nights

April 3

  • 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 StoneBon 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

April 6

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

April 7

  • 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.

Friday Nights

April 5

April 12

April 19

  • 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.

April 26

  • 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

May 11

  • 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.

May 30

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

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Moth

Black Moth Tattoo and GalleryRiot, Pen and ink on paper, David Jablow

Black Moth Tattoo Parlor and Gallery

Black Moth Tattoo and Gallery, 18 East Lancaster Avenue Ardmore, PA 19003

David Jablow  Further Adventures 

March 1st – March 31st

On first glance, my drawings are clearly narrative. What is often and easily missed is the very specific platform on which all of them are made. The drawings originate on vintage ‘doodle pad’ sheets from 20th century.

I collect and utilize these somewhat risqué novelty drawing pads. These mass-produced pads of paper feature incompletely drawn women (and occasionally men) with instructions to complete- or doodle in- the missing parts. And that’s what I do.  As a lifelong fan of the art and craft of illustration, representational drawing, comics, and cartooning, I use pen and ink to complete the incomplete images to make them my own.

The practice of ‘repurposing’ items from the past is quite popular. We’ve all seen the cable TV shows and passed by boutiques that take old antique doors and turn them into coffee tables, or crafters who take old military artifacts and turns them into lamps. Giving new life to objects left for dead is fun, quirky, and often times environmentally considerate.

What I’m doing with these old sheets of paper is ‘purposing’ them. I’m doing exactly what the printers had in mind when they originally produced and distributed them. I like the idea that I’m doing this decades after they were made, after they’ve been sitting in drawers until someone decided to post them for sale on eBay or Etsy. Perhaps ‘retro-purposed’ would be a more appropriate term for what I’m doing with these old doodle pads.

Regardless of they’re called or how they originate, I’ve found them to be ideal for my creative process.  When artist’s face a complete blank canvas or paper, they face that paradoxical problem of endless possibilities.  Too many options can often be constraining.

I sidestep this with the help of my muse. I simply access that part of the brain that we use when we play the game of charades. “What could she be doing.” my mind asks. Ideas then flow. I mentally sift through them and make loose sketches to narrow down the options. Which would make a drawing that I’d want to make?  What haven’t I done before? Maybe something funny, maybe macabre, or maybe I feel like challenging myself with some complex perspective angle. I get to draw it all..foliage, animals, technology, different eras of human history.  That’s half the fun. It’s always the same challenge and always new and different. –David Jablow

Free and open to the public Tuesday through Sunday. More information can be found at https://www.facebook.com/events/622854208172944/

Black Moth Tattoo and GalleryAttack #3, Mixed Media on Wood, Wendee Yudis

Works by Wendee Yudis

April 1st – 30th

Wendee Yudis is a serigraph mixed media artist whose paintings and prints have been exhibited in solo and group shows in galleries in NYC, Chicago, and Philadelphia since the mid-1990’s. The females in her work become icons that reoccur in new contexts and combinations to create a visual vocabulary. Many times they question the females’ role in society as well explore the various roles within ourselves. By juxtaposing various images, nuances are implied and tension is created to imply and explore new meanings. She primarily uses printmaking along with painting rather than printing in edition because it allows her more freedom to create spontaneously and to explore the subtleties of printmaking. Yudis typically print images or icons in combination with other images to create not only a dialogue between the images but also to create an illusion of being camouflaged by translucency, patterns, and layers to explore relationships seen and unseen.

Free and open to the public Tuesday through Sunday. More information can be found at https://www.facebook.com/events/628873590917632/

Black Moth Tattoo and Gallery

“A new fusion of custom body art and curated exhibitions brought to Montgomery County by local artist, Steve Martin. Expect more of the great ideas you have come to know me for. With 9 years professional experience I cover a range of disciplines in tattooing; from mandala and geometric designs, Japanese, neo-traditional, traditional Americana, custom lettering, as well as black and grey realism.

Celebrating 2 years in historic Ardmore, we’re turning heads with its premier tattoo parlor. I look forward to bringing to you, the art enthusiast and collector, a select presentation of custom tattoo designs as well as some of the finest works of art month after month. You can expect the professionalism, mindful customer service, attention to detail, and quality products in a clean and safe setting that you have known from me all these years.”

www.BlackMothTattooandGallery.com

18 East Lancaster Avenue
Ardmore, PA 19003
P. 610-642-1500

Thank you to Steve Martin for the content of this post.

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Modern Times

Modern Times, Charles Demuth, Lancaster (In the Province No. 2)Lancaster (In the Province No. 2), 1920, by Charles Demuth, American, 1883 – 1935. Oil on canvas, 30 x 16 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: The Louise and Walter Arensberg Collection, 1950-5-1.

World-class Modernism Exhibition at The Philadelphia Museum of Art

By Bob Moore

The works of art in the Philadelphia Museum of Art‘s Modern Times exhibition, covering a period of artistic upheaval from 1910 to 1950, are seldom unexpected or unfamiliar. The modernist trend which they embody is deeply etched into our cultural unconscious, the background or context to everything that has happened since in the art world. Marcel DuChamp‘s nude descending her staircase, Georgia O’Keefe‘s succulent flowers, Marsden Hartley‘s colorful World War I compositions: these were the visual soil that Americans like myself grew up in.

Modern Times, Alfred Stieglitz, The City of AmbitionThe City of Ambition, 1910 (negative); c. 1930 (print), by Alfred Stieglitz, American, 1871 – 1944. Gelatin silver print, image/sheet/mount: 4 1/4 x 3 3/8 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: The Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949-18-47.

Walking through the 160-some pieces in the exhibition is like paging through the Modern American Art section of an extensive History of Art, with few outright surprises.

What is surprising (at least to me) in this exhibition was how many of these works are owned outright by the Philadelphia Museum of Art‘ (PMA). Not on loan from some internationally-recognized museum, but property of the PMA. Ours, all ours. This highlights a side of the exhibit not about Art but about Acquisitions. PMA’s Chief Executive Officer, Timothy Rub, in a foreword to the associated book, notes that “It was during the 1940s that the PMA’s holding of modern European and American art were established through several important gifts…” including donations by Albert E. GallatinGeorgia O’Keefe and Alfred Steiglitz, and Walter and Louise Arensburg (not Annanberg, another Philadelphia philanthropist who bequeathed his collection instead to the rival Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York).

Modern Times, Marsden Hartley, Painting No 4 (Black Horse)Painting No. 4 (A Black Horse), 1915, by Marsden Hartley, American, 1877 -1943. Oil on canvas, 39 1/4 x 31 5/8 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: The Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949-18-8

There are a few works in the show not owned (yet) by the PMA: the book identifies one statue lent by a Museum Trustee and some fourteen paintings (including Charles Demuth‘s sizzling Jazz lent by another Trustee, with a note hinting at their eventual acquisition by the Museum.

The Modern Times exhibition curator was Jessica Todd Smith. In an essay in the associated book, she tells how the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA) pioneered Modern Art in Philadelphia. But an ill-fated one-month PAFA exhibition of works from the collection of Albert C. Barnes in 1923 caused a ridiculous public outcry (the work was “trash,” and “the creations of a disintegrating mind,” said reviewers; think of peasants with torches and pitchforks).

Smith says the “critical reaction to the Barnes collection in 1923 scared PAFA’s board from presenting any further exhibitions of modern art until the 1950s…” The controversy also led to Barnes’ alienation from the Philadelphia art scene and all that followed. See Philadelphia Inquirer, Barnes at the Pennsylvania Academy: A scandal in 1923, May 4, 2012, by much-missed art critic Ed Sozanski.

The PMA then “picked up the modernist gauntlet,” Smith writes, under museum director Fiske Kimball. Smith says other figures in PMA’s acquisition of American Modern Art included R. Sturgis Ingersoll and Carl Zigrosser.

In a footnote 41 to her essay, Smith notes that some work was excluded from the exhibition, including “work that wholeheartedly embraces abstraction to the exclusion of any hints of figuration, leaving out most geometric abstraction and, on the more painterly end of the spectrum, Abstract Expressionism…” She also regretted that the museum had holes in its collections, including Social Realism, Regionalism, Native American, and Central and South American art.

In footnote 25, Smith lists the various art clubs that kept Modern Art alive in Philadelphia, including the Philadelphia Sketch Club and the Philadelphia Art Alliance — but most notably not including the Plastic Club, an artists’ club which has been around since 1897.

The drama of acquisition politics and finance aside, however, the work in the Modern Times  show is a world-class exhibition put on single-handedly by our local museum. Don’t miss it!

MODERN TIMES: American Art 1910 – 1950Philadelphia Museum of Art April 18-September 3, 2018

(Associated Book) AMERICAN MODERNISM: Highlights from the Philadelphia Museum of Art by Jessica Todd Smith

Thank you to Bob Moore for the content of this post.

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DoNArTNeWs – celebrating ten years reporting on Philadelphia artists and art.