The Center for Emerging Visual Artists new show is “Relics“, archival digital photography by Drexel Alumni Michael Froio. Remember the Civic Center? How about the Board of Education Building? Divine Lorraine? Froio managed to gain access to all these Philadelphia Relics and more, either by lurking outside the hulking remains or talking his way inside by schmoozing the demolition contractors with food. What nerve? But the results are magnetic, thrilling and inspiring yet emotional with the loss of familiar scenes. DoN did not take any pictures of the pictures – there’s something weird about photographing photographs – but there are many memorable scenes which are sure to resonate with visitors to the chic CFEVA gallery in the Barclay on Rittenhouse Square. For example: the interior of the chapel at The Divine Lorraine Hotel depicting peeling wallpaper transforming the word “GOD” into “GOO“, a rare interior view of the dome of Memorial Hall which is being renovated into the Please Touch Museum, the stage of the Civic Center with a movie screen still hanging yet no roof which reminded DoN of the first time he inhaled a cigarette at a Mamas & Papas concert, the grid-like scaffolding in the Board of Education building looking like a Nevelson installation… Froio explained to DoN how the Mazzochi Wrecking Companyhoisted him up in a bucket attached to a crane to get shots of the Civic Center – a project he began in 2005 with Keating Constructions blessings (as long as he wore a hard hat and boots). For the Board of Education Building, Michael was hanging out on the sidewalk when a side door opened and a guard wanted to know why he was loitering – Froio ended up getting a private tour of the elaborate interior (sans camera) before renovations began to transform the building into condos. Froio later gained access and preserved the elegant decay forever.
All photos by DoNBrewerMultimedia Photography.