Sunday, March 29, 2015

Edward J. Sozanski

Edward J. Sozanski, a graduate of the University of Rhode Island and Columbia University, has been an art critic for 30 years, first at the Providence Journal-Bulletin and since 1982 at the Inquirer. He has also has written on cultural topics for The Economist newspaper of London.

Besides contemporary art, his particular interests are photography, American art of the 19th Century and crafted art of all periods and cultures. Before becoming a critic, he taught college-level writing and worked as a graphic designer.

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From the pastoral serenity of "Visions of Arcadia" at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, we turn this week to its antithesis, the paintings, drawings, and photographs by Eric Fischl at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. As with the Arcadians, nudes and semi-nudes predominate in Fischl's work, but there the resemblance ends. Instead of idyllic harmony, Fischl gives us tension, ambiguity, mild — and sometimes explicit — eroticism and the unsettling sense of not being able to figure out what's going on.
Meandering through "Locally Localized Gravity" at the Institute of Contemporary Art is like visiting a summer art camp while all the kiddies are at lunch. There's a makeshift stage mounted on plastic milk crates, television sets scattered throughout that play continuously, and lots of signs hanging from wires and pinned to the walls. Some have been made by visitors, and you're welcome to add your own contribution.

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