January First Friday Picks

Don’t miss the art party!

By Katherine Rochester
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Jan. 3, 2012

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Occupy the wood: Andrea Bowers' "Tree Sitting Forest Defense" is part of the Chronicles of Dissent exhibition at Marginal Unity.

Five Acts: Chronicles of Dissent at Marginal Utility

As the Arab Spring turned into the Arab Summer, Fall, and now Winter, we have all seen the truly remarkable staying power of protest. In an exhibition featuring five prominent artists who deal with the representation of politics, Five Acts: Chronicles of Dissent (guest curated by Yaelle Amir) explores the dissemination and reception of counter-cultural directives. Yael Bartana, Andrea Bowers and Naeem Mohaiemen have each created pieces that document specific acts of political, social and environmental dissent, while Sharon Hayes and Mark Tribe restage iconic acts of dissent throughout history. Bringing historical precedents to bear on contemporary activist agendas, Chronicles of Dissent reminds us that far from languishing forgotten, dissident voices from the past are in continued dialog with the most urgent issues in the present.

6-11pm. Through March 18. Marginal Utility, 319 N. 11th St. marginalutility.org

Duett at Grizzly Grizzly

As the title would suggest (if you speak German, that is), Duett is a two-person show and the culmination of an exchange between Berlin-based Alanna Lawley and Philadelphia-based Matt Giel. In an artistic update on the awkward tradition of pen pals, Lawley and Giel used Skype, Google Chat and email to carry on a conversation about photography. Exploring the many procedures involved in making it (the choice of subject matter, the perils of the darkroom, the ethics of digital rendering) and the attendant factors of its presentation (its status as an object in space, its orientation in that space, its relationship to the viewer) Duett features 3-D photographic works by both artists. While the resulting exhibition presents a finished product, the accompanying website will hold an archive of the many emails, plans and preparations that go into making an exhibition.

6-10pm, Grizzly Grizzly, 319 N. 11th St. grizzlygrizzly.com

Unsustainable at Space 1026

In his first solo show in Philly, Philadelphia-based artist Jay Hardman (best known for excavating sheet cakes into mini archeological digs) opts for construction over confections. Leaving the cake behind, his minutely detailed landscapes in Unsustainable draw on his previous experience working in construction and scenery production to mine the surreal side of model-making. Miniaturizing the usually industrial-grade dimensions of construction sites, Hardman refers to his sculptures and installations as an “urban fairy tale.” But as anyone who has read the original Brothers Grimm stories knows, fairy tales are often narratives of violence, neglect and brutish savagery. Contemplating these tiny panoramas from a bird’s eye view, Hardman also asks viewers to consider the big picture and contextualize these development projects in relation to effects on neighborhoods and communities.

7-10pm. Through Jan. 28. Space 1026, 1026 Arch St. space1026.com

Various Shows at Vox Populi

In Vox’s second guest artist exhibition of the season Catherine Maloney, Leah Beeferman, Guy Ben-Ari and Brie Ruais explore a wide range of themes using painting, video and mixed-media. In 1201.2880v1 , Leah Beeferman draws on her research into physical and mathematical laws to create sci-fi conceptual images whose sleek aesthetics throw their very accuracy as scientific proofs into question. On the other end of philosophical-material continuum, the raw physicality of Brie Ruais’ clay sculptures obviates Beeferman’s theoretical postulates; resting implacably on the floor, the tactile mass of Ruasi’ sculptures already declare their terrestrial origins. A painter, Guy Ben-Ari tests the limits of how many theoretical allusions a single canvas can bear, while Catherine Maloney treats her obsession with men, television and outer space to a light touch via her photographic series Teleplay, Part I.

6-11pm. Through Jan. 29. Vox Populi, 319 N. 11th St. voxpopuligallery.org

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