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Isaiah Zagar

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ENTERTAINMENT
April 4, 2008 | By Steven Rea INQUIRER MOVIE CRITIC
Isaiah Zagar's art is all over Philadelphia's South Street corridor. And his restless spirit - and painful secrets - are all over In a Dream, a stunning, deeply personal documentary portrait by the muralist's youngest son, Jeremiah Zagar. Like the dazzling, colorful mosaics that Isaiah has pasted to buildings around town - crazy-quilt images of people (often the artist himself), shards of shattered mirror, cracked crockery, bottles, bicycle wheels - his life has been kaleidoscopic, yet singularly focused.
LIVING
December 5, 1999 | By Diane Goldsmith, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Learning to make wall-size mosaics may be less about art and more about trust. Trust that under the right guidance, the little pieces will add up to a big picture worth gazing at. That was the challenge for five students who recently sat at the feet of mosaic master Isaiah Zagar to learn some of the techniques he's used to create a unique visual landscape around South Street and parts of Old City in the last three decades. Working on a hallway in his home with only the sketchiest idea of the overall design, they seemed pleasantly surprised that their combined efforts actually produced art. "Look around," said Traci Browne of University City, viewing the nearly finished area.
NEWS
February 5, 2001 | by Ramona Smith, Daily News Staff Writer
He works in tiles, bright fragments of mirrors, spontaneous swirls and patterns. They work as executives for organizations. The free-spirited artist Isaiah Zagar of Philadelphia has captured the imagination of the American Society of Association Executives, which has chosen his artwork to symbolize their 6,000-person annual meeting here this year. "The theme is supposedly evolution," said Zagar. "Well, great. " Zagar, who has produced a two-panel mosaic that will later be permanently displayed in the Pennsylvania Convention Center, says he's "an intuitive poet" who doesn't think about literal translations of his work.
NEWS
November 18, 2004 | By Stephan Salisbury INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The Magic Garden has a reprieve. The phantasmagorical sculptural garden on South Street, established by mosaic artist Isaiah Zagar more than a decade ago and threatened with demolition, has a new lease on life, thanks to a complex deal worked out with the help of an anonymous angel. A happy but anxious Zagar said yesterday that a nonprofit organization established to preserve the work had acquired the property where it sits from its owner, a Boston real estate partnership.
NEWS
October 25, 2006 | By Stephan Salisbury INQUIRER CULTURE WRITER
A little more than two years ago, the fantastical constructions on an old South Street double lot teetered on the edge of obliteration. Created by the feisty mosaic artist Isaiah Zagar, 67, the sculptured walls and installations that he dubbed the Magic Garden were viewed by the actual owner of the lot, a Boston-based limited partnership, as a "visual obstruction. " The work had to go, to prepare the land for sale. But Zagar, who cleared the area at 1024-26 South St. a decade ago, scattered the rats, bagged the trash, shooed away the rowdy urinators, and began to build an imaginative universe on real estate he did not own, dug in his heels.
NEWS
May 14, 2004 | By Stephan Salisbury INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Allison Weiss knew it was not going to be an ordinary day Tuesday when a trolley pulled up in front of artist Isaiah Zagar's garden of mosaics on South Street and more than 50 women poured out, all oohing and ahhing, admiring and commiserating. The women had learned that the garden - a wild ceramic concatenation of sculptured walls and mosaic murals, figures and installations - is being threatened with destruction. The owner of the ground - 1024-26 South St. - where the nationally known Zagar has been busy creating and building for more than a decade, plans to sell and has ordered the artist to remove everything by May 23. Zagar, 66, and a growing group of supporters - including Democratic U.S. Rep. Robert A. Brady - are dismayed.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 17, 2009 | By Steven Rea INQUIRER MOVIE CRITIC
The following review originally appeared during the 2008 Philadelphia Film Festival. Isaiah Zagar's art is all over Philadelphia's South Street corridor. And his restless spirit - and painful secrets - are all over In a Dream, a stunning, deeply personal documentary portrait by the muralist's youngest son, Jeremiah Zagar. Like the dazzling, colorful mosaics that Isaiah has pasted to buildings around town - crazy-quilt images of people (often including the artist himself), shards of shattered mirror, cracked crockery, wine bottles, bicycle wheels - his life has been kaleidoscopic, yet singularly focused.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 16, 2012 | Daily News Staff Report
THROUGH THEIR EYES "Envisioning Home: Perspectives from Philadelphia Refugees" is a photo exhibit by immigrants from Burma, Iraq and Bhutan who documented their resettlement in our city. See their work in the gallery space at Philadelphia's Magic Gardens, the mirrored -mosaic treasure created by Isaiah Zagar. $5 gets you into garden and exhibit ($2, ages 6-12). The exhibit continues through Aug. 27. 1020 South St., 215-733-0390, phillymagicgardens.org . BOTTI POPS AT MANN Popular jazz trumpeter Chris Botti pairs with the Philadelphia Orchestra for a perfect summer soundscape at the Mann Center at 8 p.m. Thursday . Tickets are $32-$52 inside, $19.50 for the terrace/lawn.
NEWS
May 26, 2004
South Street artist's presence not backed by all Though Isaiah Zagar may have the ardent support of some neighbors in the South Street area ("Plan to sell South Street lot brings artist support," May 14), The Inquirer has failed to mention that there are many other neighbors who aren't so enthusiastic. For many of us, Zagar's mosaics have grown from a cheerful curiosity on a few walls into an ever-spreading blanket of discordant glitter that overwhelms the simple brick architecture of our neighborhood.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
January 14, 2013 | By Kristin E. Holmes, Inquirer Staff Writer
Isaiah Zagar, the mosaic wizard of South Street, has taken his glistening brand of lost-and-found artistry to the walls of Germantown Academy. If the 73-year-old muralist gets his way, a 600-square-foot white hallway in the Fort Washington school will be transformed from innocuous to enchanted. "I'm trying to get them to give me more space," said Zagar, who has created more than 100 murals in Philadelphia. "I want [the students] to feel like they're going through a magic tunnel.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 16, 2012 | Daily News Staff Report
THROUGH THEIR EYES "Envisioning Home: Perspectives from Philadelphia Refugees" is a photo exhibit by immigrants from Burma, Iraq and Bhutan who documented their resettlement in our city. See their work in the gallery space at Philadelphia's Magic Gardens, the mirrored -mosaic treasure created by Isaiah Zagar. $5 gets you into garden and exhibit ($2, ages 6-12). The exhibit continues through Aug. 27. 1020 South St., 215-733-0390, phillymagicgardens.org . BOTTI POPS AT MANN Popular jazz trumpeter Chris Botti pairs with the Philadelphia Orchestra for a perfect summer soundscape at the Mann Center at 8 p.m. Thursday . Tickets are $32-$52 inside, $19.50 for the terrace/lawn.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 17, 2009 | By Steven Rea INQUIRER MOVIE CRITIC
The following review originally appeared during the 2008 Philadelphia Film Festival. Isaiah Zagar's art is all over Philadelphia's South Street corridor. And his restless spirit - and painful secrets - are all over In a Dream, a stunning, deeply personal documentary portrait by the muralist's youngest son, Jeremiah Zagar. Like the dazzling, colorful mosaics that Isaiah has pasted to buildings around town - crazy-quilt images of people (often including the artist himself), shards of shattered mirror, cracked crockery, wine bottles, bicycle wheels - his life has been kaleidoscopic, yet singularly focused.
NEWS
April 16, 2009 | By Steven Rea INQUIRER MOVIE CRITIC
When Jeremiah Zagar was a chubby, awkward kid (his description - he's neither anymore), he and his father, Isaiah, marched from their house on South Street to the Ritz to watch Terry Gilliam's eye-popping fabulist fantasy, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. Afterward, Jeremiah insisted they stay and watch it again. And again. Two decades and innumerous movie marathons later, Zagar has applied that same obsessive passion to his own films. In a Dream, his documentary feature debut, opens tomorrow at the Ritz at the Bourse after spending a year on the festival circuit, nabbing prizes from San Francisco to Woodstock, N.Y., Austin, Texas, to Philadelphia.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 4, 2008 | By Steven Rea INQUIRER MOVIE CRITIC
Isaiah Zagar's art is all over Philadelphia's South Street corridor. And his restless spirit - and painful secrets - are all over In a Dream, a stunning, deeply personal documentary portrait by the muralist's youngest son, Jeremiah Zagar. Like the dazzling, colorful mosaics that Isaiah has pasted to buildings around town - crazy-quilt images of people (often the artist himself), shards of shattered mirror, cracked crockery, bottles, bicycle wheels - his life has been kaleidoscopic, yet singularly focused.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 17, 2007 | By Edith Newhall FOR THE INQUIRER
Cut from something of the same cloth as Isaiah Zagar, whose mirror-and-ceramic terrazzo facades have become ubiquitous in various downtown neighborhoods, or the mysterious Philadelphia Wireman, whose wire constructions have been snapped up by collectors, or even the young photographer of urban grittiness, Zoe Strauss, who leapfrogged to the Whitney Biennial last year, the Tiberino family is one of those idiosyncrasies of the Philadelphia art scene...
NEWS
October 25, 2006 | By Stephan Salisbury INQUIRER CULTURE WRITER
A little more than two years ago, the fantastical constructions on an old South Street double lot teetered on the edge of obliteration. Created by the feisty mosaic artist Isaiah Zagar, 67, the sculptured walls and installations that he dubbed the Magic Garden were viewed by the actual owner of the lot, a Boston-based limited partnership, as a "visual obstruction. " The work had to go, to prepare the land for sale. But Zagar, who cleared the area at 1024-26 South St. a decade ago, scattered the rats, bagged the trash, shooed away the rowdy urinators, and began to build an imaginative universe on real estate he did not own, dug in his heels.
NEWS
December 17, 2005 | By Julie Stoiber INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
South Street's Magic Garden, the soaring, shimmering, ever-morphing artscape that springs from Isaiah Zagar's imagination, will open to the public this weekend. Rarely does Zagar let people wander among the bike wheels, beer bottles, broken statues, and other strange stuff he has mortared together to form the garden's passageways, near 10th and South. But the mystically artistic Zagar, known for tile-and-mirror mosaics that embellish many buildings near where he works and lives, is practical.
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