Tag Archives: The Plastic Club

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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Marathon

Plastic Club, Drawing Marathon

The Plastic Club, 247 South Camac St., Philadelphia, PA 19103, 215-545-9324

ALL-DAY DRAWING MARATHON at The Plastic Club

Do you want to upgrade or refresh your freehand drawing and painting skills? Come to the Plastic Club‘s annual all-day Drawing Marathon on Sunday, April 22. There will be sessions with monitors and models all day, from 10 AM to 10 PM, with subjects as varied as Life Drawing, Portrait Drawing & Painting, Long and Short Poses (“Croquis”), Still Life Setups, and High Contrast Lighting. Photography is not permitted, only drawing and painting.

The fee for the Marathon is $15, a “come-and-go-fee.” which will allow multiple entries and departures. There will be light snacks available, as well as lunch and dinner for a fee. So, drop by The Plastic Club247 Camac Street, the Avenue of the Artists, between 12th and 13th, and Locust and Spruce, on Sunday for an art skills upgrade.

Proceeds benefit Sunshine Arts, an artist in residence outreach program for kids.

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Photographic

PSoP Salon

Photography by Members, 2017 Photographic Salon

The Photographic Society of Philadelphia is holding it’s annual salon at The Plastic Club, 247 South Camac Street, The Avenue of the Artists, Philadelphia, PA, 19107 through October 26th, 2017. The galleries of the historic artist club are filled with the work of 33 Philadelphia photographers. Tuesday evening, October 17th, is the monthly members meeting which features lectures and presentations by visiting photographers and members work. The Plastic Club has a cool AV system which allows us to really enjoy our fellow photographers presentations.

Sunday October 22 is a final artist reception from 2:00 – 4:00pm.

PSoP Salonlight being (Bowie), digital photograph, DoN Brewer

Three of my photographs are on display, I created a new piece for this show that is special to me. Returning to a theme I explored over ten years ago, I printed a shot from 2006, titled light being (Bowie). The abstract landscape photograph is 30″ x 20″, printed by Photo Lounge on lustre photo paper, is a continuation of my search for ethereal light effects in the urban environment. Incorporating photography into my art life is important to me because of the plastic nature of the practice; line, shape, color are the illustrative elements of developing a good picture.

Please visit The Photographic Society of Philadelphia salon at The Plastic Club, the collection of work is unique, directional, provocative and inspiring.

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Marathon

Drawing Marathon. The Plastic Club

Drawing Marathon, April 23rd, The Plastic Club

Life drawing, portrait drawing and painting, short poses/croquis, still life set-ups, noir lighting, Sunday April 23rd, 10:00am – 10:00pm. $15.00 cash for come and go all day. All proceeds benefit Sunshine Arts, an artist-in-residence outreach program  encouraging neighborhood kids to learn the wonderful worlds of dance. music, literature, and art.

The Plastic Club, 245 S. Camac Street,The Avenue of the Artists, Philadelphia, PA, 19107
215-545-9324

“Since 1897, The Plastic Club has been devoted to the promotion and preservation of the visual (plastic) arts in Philadelphia. The busy gallery schedule offers several annual exhibitions for members and non-members, as well as invited artists in solo and group exhibitions. Members include well-known Philadelphia artists.

The name ” Plastic Club,” suggested by Blanche Dillaye, referred to any work of art unfinished, or in a “plastic” state. The term also refers to the changing and tactile sense of painting and sculpture.

Among the founding members of The Plastic Club were the “Red Rose Girls” — Violet Oakley, Jessie Willcox Smith, and Elizabeth Shippen Green — outstanding artists of their time. The name was given to this group of talented women by their teacher Howard Pyle.”

Sunshine Arts41 Sunshine Road, Upper Darby PA, 19082, 610.352.7968

Ms. Sheila Modglin started Sunshine Arts at 41 Sunshine Road in the summer of 2004. She invited children from the neighborhood to listen to stories as they sat around the fish pond in the front yard. The kids enjoyed helping to water the plants and feed the fish.

Since then the organization has grown significantly. Now, resident artists Mr. Patrick O’Banion, Ms. Kat Lehmer, and Mr. Fen Jeeters teach classes to children of all ages from the community. Classes are scheduled after school during the week and on Saturdays. Regardless of the listed class schedule, children come to Sunshine Arts daily to talk, do crafts or get help with homework. Often, they enjoy Mr. Patrick’s fresh baked bread, homemade soup, cookies, or other wholesome snacks when they visit.

The goal of Sunshine Arts is to enhance the education and personal growth of our future generations. Executive director, Sheila Modglin grew up with a very strong sense of community within her family; “We would do any thing for each other. I want to share the sense of community that I have in my life with all the beautiful people right here surrounding this home. The house itself is a manifestation of living art and was accomplished through hard work from my generous and creative family and friends.”

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Worlds

Small Worlds Explored at The Plastic Club

Small Worlds Explored at The Plastic Club

The Plastic Club will hold its annual open entry show dedicated to small art works in March. The show, entitled “Small Worlds,” accepts original artwork in all media, including sculpture and small-screen video, as long as the entry is 13 x 13 inches or smaller, including frame.  Entries in past shows have been as tiny as one inch square.

Entry is open to the public. Prizes will be awarded, ranging from a $125 first prize down to $25 Honorable Mentions. Awards will be presented at the Opening Reception, March 5, at 3:30 PM. The prize juror will be Philadelphia artist Miriam Singer.

Admission is free. The works are on display in The Plastic Club and can be viewed during the Opening and by appointment. The show runs from March 5 to March 24.

Click here for Prospectus

After the Small World show ends, The Plastic Club‘s next show, scheduled for April, will have the theme of “Daily Life and Community.” The announcements for each show can be found on the Plastic Club website at www.plasticclub.org.

The Plastic Club, located on quaint, historic Camac Street, was founded in 1897 to promote the visual “plastic” arts through workshops,  exhibitions, and community programs.

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