June First Friday Picks

By Katherine Rochester
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Jun. 1, 2011

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Photo by Eric McDade

For this week’s art party, treat yourself to four shows featuring a total of 42 artists:

Moore College of Art & Design

First, head over to the Galleries at Moore College of Art & Design. Originally assembled by Independent Curators International as a compendium of essential video art, Moore curators have riffed on the theme to create a program of their own. Further editing an already curated selection, interim Co-Directors Gabrielle Lavin and Elizabeth Gilly have trimmed the roster of 35 videos down to just eight, specifically chosen to introduce Philadelphia audiences to historical and contemporary video art. Prepare to be sucked into Australian artist Tracey Moffatt’s manically colored and meticulously crafted studio sets as she howls at the absurd constructs of Aboriginal identity in present-day Australia. Or, settle in for a moment of zen with one of Uzbeki artist Vyacheslav Akhunov’s meditative video performances, which range from patiently mounting the stairs of a Medieval tower to the introspective recitation of Muslim prayer. Making good on their claim to render video art accessible, Lavin and Gilly have opted to screen each video on a constant loop.

10am-7pm. Moore College of Art and Design, 1916 Race St. 215.965.4027. thegalleriesatmoore.org

Icebox

Next, dip over to the Crane Arts Building for a one-night-only extravaganza featuring 30 University of the Arts graduates. Brazenly breaking down historical boundaries between painting, printmaking and sculpture, the show claims to defy University tradition and mash together all three. Cerise Kacensky’s sunny prints rub shoulders with Nick Maimone’s graphically crisp plays on language, while Emily Rodia’s austere palette of gray bricks and beige carpeting carve out a quieter space for viewers to contemplate materials and form. The notion of dispensing with divisions between methods of production verges on prosaic, given the fact that few outside the confines of academia really parse between mediums anymore. Kudos to the artists for bucking outmoded divisions.

5-9pm. Crane Arts, 1400 N. American St. 215.232.3203. cranearts.com

Vox Populi

Make sure to check out four separate but equal shows at Vox Populi, offering a meditation on origins, artistic practice and geography. Teasing out the particular provenance of his materials, Terry Conrad’s “Upstate” gestures toward a return to craft, while Nathan Manuel and D. Billy manipulate found objects under the deceptively low-brow canopy of camp in “A History of Repeated Injuries and Usurpations.” Taking a break from balancing the books, artist and Vox Executive Director Andrew Suggs conflates the roles of curator and artist in “Boy oh Boy: Matthew Savitsky and Strauss Borque-LaFrance” in an emphatic nod to the fact that every installation of artworks constitutes a new piece in and of itself. Micah Danges rounds out the quartet with a formal study on the intersections between photography and sculpture.

6-11pm. Vox Populi, 319 N. 11th St. 215.238.1236. voxpopuligallery.org

Marginal Utility

After Vox, duck one floor down to Marginal Utility. It’s always intriguing when a show claims to be “so much less than” the sum of its seemingly marginal parts. Mercifully recognizing that we’re beyond such passé notions of total, modernist resolution, Eric McDade opts instead for fragmentation. Six of the seven works in the show depict McDade in various postures, his body covered by masks and props. In one photograph McDade dressed as a Native American dressed as a cowboy slumps in a saddle, his black eye and bound hands suggesting his costume’s poor reception. In each piece, McDade’s body betrays him in marvelous and cunning ways. Insistent that he is “by no means a photographer,” McDade’s works are nevertheless composed strictly of photographs. Modesty aside, his photographs offer a fresh take on the tyranny of the self-portrait.

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

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