A host of art collectives, collaboratives, and other communal arrangements speckle Philadelphia's neighborhoods. But these entities are often siloed: Their constituent artists may drink beer together on weekends, but they haven't tried to come together and forge themselves into a scene.
"Citywide: A Collective Exhibition" could change all that. A vast cross-Philly assortment of 20 collectives, supporting more than 200 artists, will trade spaces and show off their own distinct creations in one another's galleries and warehouses starting Friday. The groups range from Tiger Strikes Asteroid and Vox Populi to Traction Company and Grizzly Grizzly.
Citywide is far too vast to encapsulate every contribution in one tiny column, so let's focus on Traction Company, which operates out of a hulking brick building at 41st Street and Haverford Avenue, and Napoleon, a 225-square-foot gallery in Callowhill's Rollins Building. Napoleon is crafting an exhibit based on a Gertrude Stein poem - "If I Told Him: A Completed Portrait of Picasso" - which includes repeated references to the group's namesake. Meanwhile, Traction members' display at Napoleon's tiny gallery will be a dollhouse version of their own working space, complete with towering nine-foot ceiling that soars above the miniature representations of real-life studio arrangements on the floor.
Participants hope "Citywide" does for contemporary art what the Fringe Festival has done for Philly's alt-theatrical talents.
Friday's opening night will offer a variety of events unfolding in galleries across the city. Other highlights during November include a "Navigating Citywide" panel discussion Nov. 13 at Moore College of Art & Design, and a Nov. 16 wheeled-trolley tour to ferry art-seekers around the far-flung galleries. Admission is free for all events.
For a full list, visit citywidephilly.com.
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