February First Friday Picks

By PW Staff
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 1 | Posted Feb. 2, 2011

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Neoteny | The Hard Sell
A Jayson Musson exhibit can be a shock to the system of the sensitive enthusiast expecting well-behaved, friendly art. Musson’s word art, on posters and, for his new show at Marginal Utility, on some newly printed vacation-style T-shirts, is like a smack upside the head, delivering rants about the art world, politics and unrequited love. Neoteny | The Hard Sell refers to a condition of lifelong psychological adolescence—and it pretty much sums up the narrators of Jayson’s grumpy, know-it-all art, who whip out the “n-word,” the “f-word” and every other hyphenated attack vehicle that can be used to excoriate any viewer with the temerity to stand there and read the text. Musson’s narrative voice often mocks himself, too—a world-weary guy whose bad luck with girls has soured him on the female sex and whose encounters with the power structure of art world have made him cynical. But Musson in person is a big teddy bear, one of the nicest, smartest, funniest guys you’ll want to meet. It’s just that when he puts on his art hat—like in his recent YouTube video advice columns by Hennessy Youngman—his barbed tongue knows no bounds. Musson is getting his MFA this spring from the University of Pennsylvania; catch his act now before he takes the sturm und drang on the road. (Roberta Fallon)

6pm. Through Mar. 27. Marginal Utility, 319 N. 11th St., 2nd floor. 917.355.4487. marginalutility.org

Elemental Matters
Science! It was one of the most buzzed-about things in Obama’s “win the future” State of the Union—a very timely kickoff for the Chemical Heritage Foundation’s celebration of the International Year of Chemistry, Philly’s least-likely-sounding source of fun events. The CHF is starting with Elemental Matters, an art celebration of the 118 elements of the periodic table. In addition to the collection of prints by dozens of artists laid out in the form of the table, there’s standalone work from artists who’ve interpreted different elements in some very unexpected ways—Susan Alexjander translated the vibrations of the nuclei of atoms into eerie music, for example, or David Clark’s large-scale Braille. Then there’s shots of Brigitte Hitschler’s Energy Field 1, in which the artist planted 400 structures made of zinc, magnesium and copper (that’s how you make batteries) into the slagheap of an abandoned German potash mine—the reactions of the elements with the chemical byproducts under the ground created enough electrochemical energy to light up 400 LED lights, a twinkly warning about what’s lurking just beneath the surface. Toxic waste rarely looks so pretty. (Emily Guendelsberger)

5pm. Through December. Chemical Heritage Foundation, 315 Chestnut St. 215.925.2222. chemheritage.org

The Island Beautiful/Mortal Mirror
The fervid vision of Philly artist Alex Da Corte, a master of multimedia with an MFA from Yale, The Island Beautiful / Mortal Mirror is an exercise in duplicity and reiteration. The exhibition, simultaneously presented in mirrored gallery spaces at Extra Extra and Bodega galleries, juxtaposes refuse with the work of thirteen young up-and-comers in an exploration of semiotics and constructed realities. One space is awash in the brilliant hues of a phantasmagorical carnival; the other is a monochromatic facsimile of the first. When experienced in sequence, it prompts the viewer to consider the unique identity of each. Incorporating works from artists such as Nick van Woert, famous for his nightmarish modified busts, and art brute Jayson Musson (also opening a solo show at Mariginal Utility—see below), the two landfill-scapes are at once amorphous conglomerations of material and cabinets of curiosity populated with distinct, meticulously crafted creations. This is exactly Da Corte’s aim: to challenge our notions of authorship and appropriation. (Lucy McGuigan)

Opens Sat., Feb. 5, at 5pm. Through March 19. Bodega, 253 N. 3rd St. bodegaphiladelphia.org. Extra Extra, 1524 Frankford Ave. 301.412.7547. eexxttrraa.com

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1. Extra Extra said... on Feb 2, 2011 at 04:36PM

“Despite being a "First Friday Pick, Alex Da Corte's The Island Beautiful / Mortal Mirror at Extra Extra and Bodega opens Saturday February 5th. Hope to see you there.”

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