From museum exhibits to gallery exclusives, here’s a glimpse at five irresistible events.
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer: Open Air
Public art is rarely subtle, but Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s Open Air project takes visibility to a whole new level: You’ll be able to see his roving searchlights from up to 10 miles away in any direction. It’s like laser tag in the sky, and we all get to play. Bend a beam of futuristic light to your will not by pulling a trigger but by pushing a button. With a click of the mouse, you can visit the project website, record a message, receive sufficient votes—and voila! You (briefly) command 24 robotic searchlights that will move according to the human inflection of your voice. (Sept. 20 through Oct. 14, 8 to 11pm. Association for Public Art, Benjamin Franklin Parkway. openairphilly.net)
Excursus III: Ooga Booga
It’s a fashion boutique. It’s a publishing imprint. It’s a music venue. It’s a store called Ooga Booga. Shop-of-all-trades founder Wendy Yao kicks off the third artist-in-residency of Excursus, the Institute of Contemporary Art’s exhibition series that gives artists, designers and publishers a free pass to create projects inspired by the museum’s archive. She brings her ravenously eclectic sensibility all the way from Los Angeles to Philadelphia. Yao and her collaborators will produce a series of events, workshops and pop-up exhibitions, starting with a musical performance by Freakapuss on opening night. (Sept. 26 through Dec. 16. Opening reception and performance: Sept. 26, 6pm. Institute of Contemporary Art, 118 S. 36th St. 215.898.5911. excursus.icaphila.org)
The Way Things Are
Don’t let the title fool you. The Way Things Are is deceptively clinical short-hand for the whimsical, mysterious and theatrical contingency of objects by artists Ulla von Brandenburg, Florence Doléac and Virgil Marti in this poised exhibition that explores elements of decorative design in contemporary art. Be sure to stop by Anne Agee’s exhibition of intricately crafted ceramics and hand-stenciled wallpaper in the first floor gallery for a more exuberant take on similar intersections between the performative and the decorative in visual art. (Sept. 21 through Oct. 27. Reception: Oct. 5, 5:30pm. Locks Gallery, 600 Washington Square South. 215.629.1000. locksgallery.com)
ensemBle baBel presents John Cage’s One 4
Sometimes all you have to do is ask. That’s what young Swiss percussionist Fritz Hauser did after moving to New York and meeting American composer-artist John Cage. In 1990, Hauser asked Cage to write a solo work for percussion, and Cage, before he died two years later, responded with One 4, a score composed specifically for the precocious young musician. Hauser took the gift in the right spirit; see Hauser and the ensemBle baBel septet perform a series of variations on the seven-minute One 4 in an evening dedicated to experimentation with layering, improvisation and dialogue. (Oct. 20, 7:30pm. AUX, 319 N. 11th St., 3rd floor. 215.238.1236. voxpopuligallery.org/aux)
Dancing Around the Bride: Cage, Cunningham, Johns, Rauschenberg and Duchamp
Speaking of composer John Cage: How about situating him in his historical and pre-historical milieu? That’s precisely the purview of Dancing Around the Bride: Cage, Cunningham, Johns, Rauschenberg and Duchamp, an exhibition that considers Cage and his tight-knit crew of multi-media collaborators vis a vis their relationship to the single most important artist in the pioneering American avant-garde. Live performances of dance and music will accompany the multitude of over 80 artworks that set four of America’s most influential artists in conversation with Marcel Duchamp, the man who inspired their use of chance and everyday materials, and whose ideas helped them explore the divisions between art and everyday life. (Oct. 30 through Jan. 21, 2013. Philadelphia Museum of Art, 26th Street Benjamin Franklin Parkway. 215.763.8100. philamuseum.org)
Let’s face it: The time for summer lovin’ is over. But hey, who needs to fall in love when there’s so much to love in fall? We've got recommendations for beer & food events, books, concerts, theater and more.
PW's Holiday Guide 2014