Tag Archives: social practice

Unwilling

Unwilling: Exercises in Melancholy

EXPLORE MELANCHOLIA AT HAVERFORD’S CANTOR FITZGERALD GALLERY

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: exhibits.haverford.edu/unwilling.

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 mcallina@haverford.edu, or visit the exhibitions program website: www.haverford.edu/exhibits.

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

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Blood

Russell Craig, Philadelphia Magic Gardens

POWERFUL ARTWORK ADVOCATES FOR SOCIAL CHANGE
Blood, Sweat, and Tears: Works by Russell Craig

An Exhibition at Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens: March 2 – April 29, 2018

PUBLIC OPENING RECEPTION: Friday, March 2, 2018; 6:00 – 9:00 PM

SOUTH STREET, PHILADELPHIA – Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens’ exhibition, Blood, Sweat, and Tears, highlights the provocative works of self-taught artist Russell Craig. His artistic style and stirring imagery were developed during his seven-year incarceration. Featured in this exhibition are Craig’s large-scale portraits, which are made from prison paperwork, court documents, and discarded materials.

Russell Craig‘s work offers an opportunity to talk about the justice system in the United States by chronicling his life and honoring the people that share his story. Through confrontation and contemplation, Craig’s pieces create a platform to help unify all who have struggled through trauma and advocate for positive change within ourselves and our communities. Craig’s work has been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions. He has also worked with Mural Arts
Philadelphia through their Restorative Justice program, and is a “Right of Return” fellow – a program that invests in formerly incarcerated artists to create original works of art that can further propel criminal justice reform efforts.

He is a mentor for those who are currently incarcerated and works with communities who are
often affected by the criminal justice system. Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens is excited to host this show and other exhibitions that use art to address current social concerns and spark conversations that help ignite change within our city. Through these unique curated experiences, PMG aspires to promote meaningful engagement with visitors and community
stakeholders and to project its values of inclusion and community out to Philadelphia.

Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens and Russell Craig welcome you to a night of art and conversation during the opening reception on Friday, March 2, 2018, from 6:00 – 9:00 PM.

PHILADELPHIA’S MAGIC GARDENS

Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens (PMG) is a nonprofit visionary art environment and community arts center located in Isaiah Zagars largest public artwork. Spanning half a block on Philadelphia’s famous South Street, the museum includes an immersive outdoor art installation and indoor galleries.

Zagar created the space using nontraditional materials such as folk art statues, found objects, bicycle wheels, colorful glass bottles, hand-made tiles, and thousands of glittering mirrors. The site is enveloped in visual anecdotes and personal narratives that refer to Zagar’s life, family, and community, as well as references from the wider world such as influential art history figures and other visionary artists and environments.

PMG is a unique Philadelphia destination that inspires creativity and community engagement by providing educational opportunities and diverse public programming to thousands of visitors each year. For more information, visit www.phillymagicgardens.org.

Thank you to Allison Boyle, Events & Marketing Manager, for the content of this post. Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, 1020 South Street, Philadelphia PA 19147,

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Resist

RESIST, Off the Wall Gallery

RESIST

Off the Wall Gallery at Dirty Frank’s

12th Annual Community Juried Show

“I’m pleased to announce that Off the Wall Gallery and our jury have decided to donate a portion of the commission (not your proceeds!) of each sale to support two underfunded nonprofit organizations serving our immediate community:

WOMEN’S MEDICAL FUND (formerly the Greater Philadelphia Women’s Medical Fund)

http://www.womensmedicalfund.org

and

SUNDAY BREAKFAST RESCUE MISSION

http://www.sundaybreakfast.org

While not all of our art is politically motivated, once our show is up the call for social justice and voices against the current administration will be clear. What better way to back up our creative ideas and outspoken voices than the ensure we are expanding the safety net just a little and helping support more neighbors in need?!” – Togo Travalia

June 4th to August 4th, 2017

Opening Reception June 8th, 7:00 – 10:00pm

Off the Wall Gallery at Dirty Frank’s, 13th and Pine Streets, Philly

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Assembled

Philadelphia AssembledCity is Stage for Philadelphia Assembled

April through December 2017

Beginning in late April, a project entitled Philadelphia Assembled will manifest in a series of activities and actions throughout the city to illuminate and amplify a broad set of hopes, visions, and questions about Philadelphia’s future. Initiated by artist Jeanne van Heeswijk, working alongside an extensive network of collaborators—among them artists, writers, builders, storytellers, gardeners, healers, and activists—Philadelphia Assembled aims to shape a collective narrative about our city and some of the most urgent issues it faces at a time of heightened transformation. Deeply integrated into the fabric of the Museum, the project also questions the place of this institution in the midst of this change.

Philadelphia Assembled

Following this spring season of city-wide programs, the project will culminate in an exhibition opening in September at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. This participatory installation, September 10 through December 10, 2017, will transform the Perelman Building’s ground floor galleries, café, and store into spaces that will celebrate the people, sights, sounds, and tastes of a resilient city’s multi-faceted identity. Admission will be Pay What You Wish.

Evocatively referred to as “atmospheres of democracy”, Philadelphia Assembled addresses a number of issues that are central to the future the city by focusing on key themes such as reconstructions—how we deal with questions of social displacement and reentry into society; sovereignty—how we define self-determination and autonomy; sanctuary—how we understand self-care, asylum, and refuge; futures—how to re-imagine our tomorrow; and movement—how we facilitate action and collective learning.

Philadelphia Assembled

Van Heeswijk’s work, which is often described as social practice or socially engaged art, combines art and activism. In this spirit, the project brings together voices of those who care about the changing landscape of Philadelphia and who, in life and work, seek to champion and secure a prosperous and equitable future for all of its citizens.

Timothy Rub, The George D. Widener Director and CEO, stated, “Some of the most interesting work being done by artists today straddles the boundary between art and life.  In 2013, we invited the Dutch artist Jeanne van Heeswijk to consider what an artist might do in engaging Philadelphia’s many neighborhoods and diverse communities. What began as a conversation has grown, and it has been fascinating—and rewarding—to watch Philadelphia Assembled take on a life of its own. We are looking forward to the moment when our galleries are appropriated to become a stage for the city itself. It promises to be exciting and full of surprises and presents an opportunity to consider how we might define the roles and responsibilities that the Philadelphia Museum of Art can play as a civic institution in a changing city in the 21st century.”

Denise Valentine, a collaborator and Philadelphia storyteller, reflected on this process: “We intend to re-imagine the Philadelphia Museum of Art as a place to unearth stories hidden deep in the soil of Philadelphia. We envision a place where narratives of the enslaved, the incarcerated, the displaced, and the disenfranchised are held in as high esteem as Eurocentric ideas about art, history, and culture.”

Philadelphia Assembled

The project’s five “atmospheres” are described below:

Reconstructions

This atmosphere will assemble personal and collective narratives of mass incarceration and gentrification. Its first site, in the Nicetown/Tioga neighborhood, will be realized in close collaboration with Reconstructions, Inc. and the Alumni Ex Offenders Association. This group will offer programs exploring concepts of home, healing and trauma in relationship to imprisonment and reentry, including a teach-in and a neighborhood-wide procession. At a second site, in South Kensington/Olde Kensington, collaborators are examining the impact of gentrification and displacement, working with the Women’s Community Revitalization Project and Healthy Rowhouse Project to re-imagine a community garden at 4th and Master Streets as a dynamic space for discussion.

Philadelphia Assembled

Sovereignty

Exploring the concepts of self-determination and autonomy, this working group is addressing land sovereignty and cooperative forms of commerce and cultural exchange. Philadelphia Assembled will create a “sovereignty room” at the African Cultural Art Forum on 52nd Street, which will serve as a dedicated space in West Philadelphia for creating unity and cultivating economic sovereignty. Established in 1969, ACAF is a community-based organization that manufactures and sells products by entrepreneurs throughout the African diaspora. In the “sovereignty room” ACAF will host skill trainings and exchanges in preparation for a large public “Sovereignty Marketplace” in June. The second site is envisioned as a network of four urban gardens located in North Philadelphia. Programming and installations across these gardens will inform the ways in which plants, seeds, and land reinforce people’s connection to ancestry and serve as vehicles for nourishment, healing, and future growth. Urban gardens involved include Urban Creators, Norris Square Neighborhood Project Gardens, Fair Hill Burial Grounds, and Stretch and Fly Youth Business Garden.

Philadelphia Assembled

Futures

The Futures atmosphere is drawing from anti-colonial ideas to model different ways of exploring the future and community building. The Futures site is an active mobile project, called the Mobile Futures Institute, which involves retro-fitting a small bus into a flexible work space that will travel throughout the city, engaging in neighborhood-based programs on issues ranging from decolonization, to environmental racism, to economic justice. Collaborators are working with community members and organizations to produce events and happenings via the Mobile Futures Institute. Current partners include the Center for Returning Citizens, Black Quantum Futurism, Friends Center, Granny Peace Brigade Philadelphia, Norris Square Community Alliance, Mighty Writers, and the Indigenous Peoples Day Movement, among others.

Philadelphia Assembled

Sanctuary

This group has proposed a combination of sites that will explore various models of self-care, asylum, and refuge. The larger site will be realized at a central location in Center City. The site structure is a geodesic dome inspired by temporary housing units for refugees in Europe. The space will be open for a month of summer programs, offering a layered definition of sanctuary through storytelling, advocacy, and direct action. In the months leading up to the fixed site, a portable site will host a series of activities working with identified partner organizations to address the provision of LBGTQ safe spaces, issues of immigration and migration, and harm reduction relating to drug use and sex work. Partner organizations include the Attic Youth Center, New Sanctuary Movement, Prevention Point Philadelphia, and Project Safe.

Philadelphia Assembled

Movement

The final atmosphere is one in which the various Philadelphia Assembled working groups intersect. This group is focused on the project’s production, dissemination, and communication, which is manifesting in audio recordings, a dedicated film series, project-specific graphics, an interactive web platform, and site-specific publications. Another component of the Movement atmosphere is the Youth Dream Trust, which will serve as a coalition of youth across the working groups in partnership with the Village of Arts and Humanities. Working closely with Philadelphia-based collective Amber Art and Design, the group will also orchestrate the performative movement of public sites to the Museum. Carrying objects, ideas, and conversations across the city streets, this public movement will culminate in a communal presentation along the ground floor of the Perelman Building, becoming a civic stage where the city is performed.

For Jeanne van Heeswijk, Philadelphia Assembled is a forward-moving process in which she is one among many participants imagining the city’s futures together. She stated: “My work is trying to get to the essence of aesthetics, to understand it as an engaged, inclusive, and proactive practice. This type of work is about using imagination to better understand how we live together. Rising, claiming, rooting, caring, moving – this is how we build a collective exercise of care.”

Philadelphia Assembled

Members of the public are invited to join the conversation and engage with collaborators by visiting the Philadelphia Assembled website and sharing their experiences via #phlassembled @phlassembled @philamuseum.

Program Events

For a full list of public programs and locations, please visit the dedicated website at phlassembled.net. All Philadelphia Assembled programs are free to the public unless noted otherwise.

Philadelphia Assembled

About Jeanne Van Heeswijk

Jeanne van Heeswijk is an artist who facilitates the creation of dynamic and diversified public spaces in order to “radicalize the local.” Her community-embedded projects question art’s autonomy by combining performative actions, discussions, and other forms of organizing and pedagogy in order to work alongside communities to take control of their own futures. Van Heeswijk’s work has been featured in publications and exhibitions worldwide, including the Liverpool, Shanghai, and Venice biennials. Accolades include the receipt of the 2011 Leonore Annenberg Prize for Art and Social Change, the 2012 Curry Stone Prize for Social Design Pioneers, and the 2014 inaugural Keith Haring Fellowship in Art and Activism at the Center for Curatorial Studies and Human Rights Project at Bard College. She lives and works in Rotterdam and Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Assembled

About Social Practice
Social Practice is an art medium that focuses on participation and collaboration with individuals, communities, and institutions in the collective creation of a temporary or permanent community. The process involves careful listening, thoughtful conversation, and community organizing. This is also referred to as socially engaged art, social justice art, community art and new genre public art.

Sponsors

Philadelphia Assembled is made possible by the William Penn Foundation, The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, Wyncote Foundation, Nancy M. Berman and Alan Bloch, Lynne and Harold Honickman, Mr. and Mrs. Milton S. Schneider, Constance and Sankey Williams, the Mondriaan Fund, and The Netherland-America Foundation.

Philadelphia Assembled

Collaborators

Philadelphia Assembled is initiated by artist Jeanne van Heeswijk and organized with Carlos Basualdo, The Keith L. and Katherine Sachs Senior Curator of Contemporary Art; Amanda Sroka, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art; Phoebe Bachman, Project Coordinator; and Sheldon Abba, Project Site Manager. Core collaborators include: Amber Art and Design, artist collective; Yana Balson, Associate Director of Exhibition Planning, Philadelphia Museum of Art; Kirtrina Baxter, community organizer and activist grower; Pascale Boucicaut, culinary artist and organizer; Maurits de Bruijn, graphic designer and web developer; Counter Narrative Society (CNS); Helen Cunningham, educator and conflict mediator; Gretchen Dykstra, Senior Marketing Editor, Philadelphia Museum of Art; Morgan Gengo, Marketing and Audience Development Manager, Philadelphia Museum of Art; Shari Hersh, Mural Arts Senior Project Manager and Founder of the Restored Spaces Initiative; Russell Hicks, entrepreneur; in•site collaborative, a research, design, and mapping collective; Nehad Khader, film curator and artist; Jason Killinger, graphic designer; Dianne Loftis, researcher and compiler; Charlotte Lowrey, Project Assistant for the Contemporary Caucus, Philadelphia Museum of Art; Zein Nakhoda, filmmaker; Michael O’Bryan, artist and youth facilitator; People’s Paper Co-op, a collaborative initiative for re-entry; Elisabeth Perez-Luna, journalist and public broadcasting producer; Damon Reaves, Associate Curator of Education, Community Engagement and Access, Philadelphia Museum of Art; Chris Rogers, educator and organizer; Kristin Schwab, community cook and organizer; 75B, design collective; Traction Company, artist collaborative studio; Denise Valentine, storyteller and activist; Phantazia Washington, LGBTQ activist and facilitator; A. M. Weaver, artist and curator; Gee Wesley, artist and curator; Jared Wood, artist; Karina Wratschko, Special Projects Librarian, Philadelphia Museum of Art; and Billy Yalowitz, playwright and community-based performance artist.

Community Partners and Program Hosts

African Cultural Art Forum, Alumni Ex-Offenders Association, The Attic Youth Center, Broad Street Ministry, The Center for Returning Citizens, Coalition for Racial Justice (CoRaJus), Community Futurisms: Time & Memory in North Philly (Community Futures Lab), The Culinary Enterprise Center, Deep Green Philly, The Enterprise Center, Experimental Farm Network, Healthy Rowhouse Project, Historic Fair Hill, Laos in the House, Mighty Writers, MOVE, Mural Arts Philadelphia, New Sanctuary Movement Philadelphia, Norris Square Neighborhood Project, North Central CDC, Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance, Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations, Philadelphia Coalition for Affordable Communities, Prevention Point Philadelphia, Project SAFE, Reconstruction Inc., Soil Generation, Take Back the Night Philadelphia, Ulises, Urban Creators-Life Do Grow Farm, The Village of Arts and Humanities, W/N W/N, and the Women’s Community Revitalization Project.

Locations

In the City: April – July 2017

Movement to the Museum: July – August 2017

Perelman Building, ground floor: September 10–December 10, 2017

Philadelphia Assembled is a project undertaken in collaboration with stakeholders from across the city and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The views expressed by individual participants or in materials developed as part of Philadelphia Assembled are representative of the project’s collective conception and production and are not, necessarily, the views of the Museum or any other individual involved.

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

We are Philadelphia’s art museum. We are 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.

For additional information, contact the Communications Department of the Philadelphia Museum of Art phone at 215-684-7860, by fax at 215-235-0050, or by e-mail at pressroom@philamuseum.org.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is located on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 26th Street. For general information, call (215) 763-8100.

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

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