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Archive: April, 2013

POSTED: Tuesday, April 30, 2013, 12:08 PM

Celebrating its 30th anniversary, Penn’s Arthur Ross Gallery is currently exhibiting works that pay homage to one of the world’s oldest sports: la tauromaquia. Today, there’s a lot of debate over bullfighting. Is it a carefully preserved cultural tradition? A relic of Spain’s past? Or is it gruesome animal torture?

No matter what your modern opinion, bullfighting has inspired artists throughout history. Hemingway was a famous fan; he even wrote about the sport as an art form. Not surprisingly la tauromaquia also inspired visual artists.

Picasso, Goya, and Carnicero’s depictions of bullfighting are all currently displayed at the Arthur Ross Gallery. From Picasso’s abstract black and white works (that seem to channel the bulls’ perspective) to Carnicero’s alarmingly happy bulls, each artist presents a dramatically different view of the tradition.

POSTED: Monday, April 29, 2013, 4:55 PM
The feces-inspired object "mocks its picturesque surroundings and pokes fun at the prudent qualities of public sculpture,"

A 51-foot-tall inflatable feces installation was one of many strange public art pieces on display at the site of the future Hong Kong visual art museum.

The large brown sculpture was created by L.A. artist, Paul McCarthy, and he calls it Complex Pile. The artist gave no rhyme or reason, according the museum's executive director, but the whole point is that it makes a statement; a really big, brown, shiny statement.

Unfortunately for the poo, it felt the wrath of mother nature's rain storm and was "flushed" as a result.

POSTED: Friday, April 26, 2013, 5:06 PM

Enjoy some of our favorite local picks for art events around Philadelphia, this weekend.

POSTED: Thursday, April 25, 2013, 11:06 AM
Jenny Lee Maas' "Mending" - Part II of a tryptic sculpture titled "Awakening"

Warhol, Chagall, Picasso, and Jenny Lee Maas? The name was foreign, but not unwelcomed at an NYC Sunday’s Auction House last February. Local Philly artist, Jenny Lee Maas, sold 2 out of 3 10-inch paintings from her Mindscape series next to the world’s most renowned artists. “It’s funny because I’ve had those for years and there were a few times where I almost gave them away,” says Maas, but she held on to the works, despite the pleas of friends and lowballing collectors, and followed her gut.

Intuition has been a guiding principle and source of inspiration for Maas’s artwork. Her current project, Psyche’s Lullaby, dissects this concept through the psyche of a woman. According to Maas, the film series “is a symbolic interpretation of one woman's reality, ” and, “has to do with loss, trauma, fear, dreams, guidance, intuition and overcoming.” Maas’s ongoing project began in 2010, and is expected to be composed of 20 short films. The latest episode, Procession at Dawn, premiered last year, and has audiences waiting for more.

Procession at Dawn is conceptual and abstract, yet there is a sense of familiarity that translates through the film’s loose narrative. The viewer knows that this is a dream and a journey that they are observing, but why and to where is uncertain. The chapter’s characters skulk through a forest carrying an open casket. A brief glimpse into the casket reveals a dark molding of a face. The funeral march comes to a halt when the masked mistresses carrying the casket abandon it, and in stop motion, the earth consumes the casket. Procession at Dawn closes with many questions left to be answered by the 19 interrelated films, but the questions do not distract from the beauty of the piece. The chapter was featured in the U.K’s Scarlet Imprint Publishing Co. film festival, and has sparked the attention of art magazines, like The Visual Artbeat Magazine.

POSTED: Monday, April 22, 2013, 3:19 PM
Alie and partner doing an aerial performance underneath a bridge along the Schuylkill Rive.

Can you imagine an amazing outdoor event at the beginning of the summer that combines music, aerial dance, visual art, and nature?

Invisible River is a free Philadelphia cultural festival unlike any other that needs your help. Alie Vidich, leader of aerial performance group Alie & the Brigade, has been conducting performance art along the Schuylkill River since 2010 and she’s ready to bring her long-time vision of a culture soaked event to life!

Vidich is working with local composers, art students, performance artists, and other creative minds to create a 4-day long event in June that will transform Fairmount Park into an incredible carnival of color that will include an array of vendors such as Little Baby’s Ice Cream, Cosmic Café, and more.

POSTED: Monday, April 22, 2013, 12:32 PM

Most people would either consider themselves to be art-minded or science-minded but, the truth is, the two are not mutually exclusive.

The Cellular/Molecular exhibition, at the Esther Klein Gallery, displays how the two can mesh together beautifully. Since the advent of florescent markers, biology has been lit up with neon colored images and modern staining assays allow us to visualize what we could only imagine in past decades. Even before these technologies, scientists had to moonlight as artists to express the observations they could describe only with words. For example, Charles Darwin often used pencil drawings to explore the physical differences and similarities in animals.

The way that technology has advanced, quickly and accessibly, to the general public through the Internet, has shifted the way we think about science and scientists. Our generation’s interest in science has spawned a pop-science movement. Being science-minded and intelligent is no longer reserved for nerds. Today it is the technology illiterate individuals that are the outcasts, and the well-adjusted popular kids lock themselves in their rooms to communicate through iPhones. This idea is epitomized by the recently invented social niche, the “brogineer”—an engineer or engineering major who is also athletic, not socially awkward, and perhaps a bit of a party animal.

POSTED: Thursday, April 18, 2013, 4:38 PM

They’re beautiful, the sculptures in Science as Muse, the latest exhibit at the Clay Studio; there’s no doubt about that when you see how intricate each ceramic creation is. But they’re also a little unsettling.

Is that a bowel shaped out of leafy greens? But what’s that peeking through—a set of ribs? Starring at the delicate filaments that make artist Lauren Gallapsy’s Teratoma, it’s easy to get caught up in the craftsmanship. Now take a step back. Does it remind you of human organs?

Science as Muse was created in conjunction with the Philadelphia Science Festival, so it’s no surprise there’s something organic about these creations. Inspired by everything from biology to botany, these contemporary ceramic artists have come together to produce organ-shaped tea cups, miniature universes, and blossoming fruits.

POSTED: Wednesday, April 17, 2013, 3:49 PM

Since early February, the news of George W. Bush’s retirement hobby has been a hot topic in the world of politics and art. Yes, Roosevelt shot things, Carter built houses, and Bush­­––well, he likes to paint.

Bush’s post-presidential pastime was exposed to the public after a hacker by the name of Guccifer revealed nearly two dozen of the president's paintings to the public after accessing the Bush family’s personal email accounts.

Our fascination with the George W. Bush paintings doesn’t end at the fact that he has suddenly taken up painting. Oh no, both the subjects and the style of his artwork are worth mentioning as well. What exactly does the president choose to paint? It seems he’s inspired by the things closest to him: landscapes from his childhood, like St. Ann’s Episcopal Church, Texas sunsets, still-lifes of fruit, self-portraits in the bathroom, and of course, portraits of dogs––over 50 of them.

About this blog
Art Attack is a partnership with Drexel University and is supported by a grant from the Knight/NEA Community Arts Journalism Challenge, administered by the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance.

Gab Bonghi Staff Writer
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