September 11, 2011
If one aspect of this fall season stands out, it's that Philadelphia's art community not only has survived tough times, it also has become increasingly cosmopolitan. On any day of gallery-going in the region, you're likely to encounter all the major trends in contemporary art, and then some. The scale and internationalism of Philagrafika 2010 made all things seem possible a mere year ago, but younger galleries and collectives in particular have been a force behind the new spirit of openness, turning over their spaces to artists and curators from across the country and abroad.
December 18, 1994 |
Art books don't have to be massive and glossy to be desirable or useful. Three of the most engrossing new titles this fall don't add up to one fat coffee-table volume, yet each tells a story that begs to be read in one sitting. Death and Disaster, by Paul Alexander (Random House, $23), recounts the bizarre story of the fight over Andy Warhol's estate. It's a Hollywood-style saga of a fierce contest to control millions in art and real estate. Years of legal maneuvering ultimately boiled down to Warhol's importance as an artist.
May 3, 1987 |
The problem with the National Museum of Women in the Arts becomes apparent before one even walks through the door. It's the awkward, ambiguous name, which suggests that this new institution intends to be something more than a museum of art made by women. Perhaps it is; none of the museum's official pronouncements makes its purpose unequivocally clear. Founder and president Wilhelmina Holladay describes it as "the first museum in the world dedicated to the contributions of women to the cultural life of their societies.
August 3, 2000 |
A superlative painting by Edouard Manet would be a spectacular birthday present for anyone. Add a gilt-edged portrait by John Singleton Copley, a pair of surrealist masterpieces, and one of the country's finest collections of Indian painting and you've got the beginning - and only the beginning - of an unparalleled anniversary tribute to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Its 125th birthday isn't until next year, but the museum already has...
October 23, 1988 |
The first thing one should understand about "The Figurative Fifties," the new exhibition at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, is that contrary to the implications of its catchy title, it's a tightly focused examination of a particular situation in a specific place. "The Figurative Fifties" is not a definitive examination of figurative painting during the 1950s, nor even of American figurative painting, nor even - and this is where one really begins to split hairs - of figurative painting in New York, which by 1950 had clearly become the center of the American art world.
October 8, 1991 |
What parent among us, on seeing how readily our children take to drawing, hasn't wondered whether perhaps we were harboring a budding Rembrandt or O'Keeffe? I remember my own musings when our daughter, Rachel, at about 3 spontaneously switched from what she called "scribble-scrabble" to recognizable shapes. From abstract doodling to representation - what a clever child! Then I saw the similar work her nursery school mates were turning out and realized I was observing a universal process of human development.
September 21, 1989 |
Fall is traditionally the time when Hollywood gets serious, releasing those intellectual, personal films that would get stomped on in the summer when everyone is out of school and lining up to see Batman. But after listening to studio publicists hail this season's slate and reading up on all the available press gush, you have to ask: "Are they serious? Granted, you can't always judge a film by its advance notices, but there sure do seem to be a lot of stiffs coming up. Starting around Thanksgiving, however, the holiday season looks to again provide a glut of films to run away with next year's Oscars.