Friday, February 12, 2016

POSTED: Friday, January 29, 2016, 3:33 AM
Filed Under: Fine Arts
Walter Robinson’s painting, “Society Nurse” (2011), acrylic on canvas, at The Galleries at Moore College of Art & Design. (Courtesy Image)

This spring's gallery shows are neatly divided between local artists and out-of-towners.

No particular mediums seem to be overwhelmingly favored by artists or galleries, as have photography, video, and installation over the last few years. Painting is as ubiquitous and diverse as ever; sculpture is less visible in galleries this season.

Only one discernible trend stands out: The long-standing, persistent - some might say dogged - inclination among Philadelphia galleries, especially college galleries and nonprofit spaces, to bring offbeat, underrecognized artists to the fore. And they do it with a verve and conviction that gets nods from Philadelphia and beyond.

POSTED: Friday, January 29, 2016, 2:13 AM
Filed Under: Fine Arts
An Octoroon (Justin Jain, James Ijames, Ed Swidey) (Matt Saunders)

I wonder what's going to happen....

Not knowing. Suspense. Surprise.

I mean, when you see Hamlet, you know it's going to end with a stage full of corpses. When you see A Doll's House, you know the door's going to slam at the end. But with a new play, there's the pleasure of not knowing, of waiting.

POSTED: Friday, January 29, 2016, 1:29 AM
Filed Under: Fine Arts
The Met Orchestra, James Levine, Conductor. (Marty Sohl)

The challenge of any classical music season is to emerge from the masterpiece-du-jour syndrome and into an event that says "See me - now!" Some of these occasions take care of themselves, such as Opera Philadelphia's Cold Mountain, the Jennifer Higdon opera in February that's said to be the most expensive thing the company has ever put on at the Academy of Music.

Mini-festivals abound: the Curtis Institute with its Darmstadt: The Road to Modernity concerts in April; The Crossing, with new companion pieces commissioned to be performed alongside Buxtehude's 17th-century Membra Jesu Nostri in June. Film composer John Williams will be welcomed into the concert hall in late April and early May with a festival of his music by the Philadelphia Orchestra and guests such as Yo-Yo Ma.

Such enterprises aren't the only concerts worth recommending. Below is a list of just a few of the standouts

POSTED: Friday, January 29, 2016, 12:00 AM
Filed Under: Fine Arts
Etudes, Picasso Pablo (1881-1973), Paris, musée Picasso, Studies, 1920 Oil on canvas. (RMN / © René-Gabriel Ojéda)

Two of the most promising museum shows of the spring take a global perspective and seek to upend what we think we know.

International Pop at the Philadelphia Museum of Art seeks to demonstrate that pop art - fascinated as artists were by American commercialism and Cold War-era mass consumption - was actually a worldwide movement. People in Argentina, Brazil, England, and lots of other places did it too, very well, and with an edge.

"Made in the Americas" at Winterthur tells the unfamiliar story of expensive goods arriving in the Americas from Asia, where their designs were adapted into cheaper but distinctive items for the home market. It started in the 16th century, so if you want to see Peruvian Ming, here is your chance.

POSTED: Friday, January 29, 2016, 12:00 AM
Filed Under: Fine Arts
Dance Affiliates presents Ezralow Dance (princetheater.org)

February could be frigid - but it'll be a hot month in dance. With 10 concerts, the shortest month has one-third of the 30-plus dance events planned through June. And in March, the highpoint of the spring dance calendar arrives, with Ángel Corella's reworking of the Marius Petipa classic Don Quixote, never before danced by this company; it will attract ballet fans from around the world.

This year, the Avenue of the Arts lives up to its name as never before. Broad Street's sidewalks will virtually steam under the footsteps of international choreographers and dancers bringing us local and world premieres, and dancing second to none. And outlying neighborhoods won't be left in the cold. Choosing from these riches was challenging, but here are some standouts.

Check out more of our Spring Arts Guide here.

POSTED: Tuesday, May 26, 2015, 12:27 PM
Filed Under: Fine Arts
Photographer Mary Ellen Mark speaks backstage at the Nicholas K Fall 2012 fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week on February 9, 2012. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week)

Mary Ellen Mark, an artist known for her incredible humanist photography, passed away Monday in New York City. A rep confirmed the news Tuesday morning. She was 75.

Mark was born (March 20, 1940) and raised in Elkins Park. She graduated from Cheltenham High School (“I was head cheerleader,” she told the Inquirer’s Stephen Rea in 2008). In 1962, she received a bachelor of fine arts in art history and painting from the University of Pennsylvania, and a master's in photojournalism in 1964 from Penn’s Annenberg School of Communication. She would return to the local institution to receive honorary doctorates in fine arts in 1992 and 1994.

Mark said she got her big break while working for a Penn alumni magazine. On assignment at Rosemont College, she met Pat Carbine, then managing editor of Look, who later took her pitch to photograph London drug clinics.

POSTED: Saturday, June 7, 2014, 8:35 AM
Filed Under: Fine Arts
A panel from Wednesday's "Pearls Before Swine" comic strip, drawn by "Calvin and Hobbes" creator Bill Watterson. (Steven Pastis / Universal uClick)

Bill Watterson, the cartoonist and creator of the beloved "Calvin and Hobbes," has lived a reclusive lifestyle after ending his popular comic strip back in 1995. Since sending his popular cartoon duo down a snowy hill to explore the world over 18 years ago, Watterson has shied away from interviews and hasn't picked up a pen or drawn another published comic strip.

That is, until now.

This week, "Pearls Before Swine" cartoonist Stephan Pastis secretly invited Watterson to guest draw several comic strips under the guise of second-grader Libby.

POSTED: Thursday, February 27, 2014, 3:39 PM
Filed Under: Fine Arts
Up the ante for a local AIDS charity, rethink the way you enjoy your favorite Broadway shows, DIY at PhilaMOCA, kick off Philly’s Flamenco Festival and escape into the tumultuous world of Henrik Ibsen during some of the best (most off-the-beaten-path events) today through Sunday.
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