Sachs Collection, Gerhard Richter

Gerhard Richter, Piz Lagrev1995, oil on canvas. Promised gift of Keith L. and Katherine Sachs.

Embracing the Contemporary, Sachs Collection at Philadelphia Museum of Art

DoN confessed his love of Gerhard Richter to Katherine Sachs, sharing how being a Richter apologist for some folks can be difficult. I asked her, as a collector, if she gets that kind of push back from friends?

“Not with Richter, not as much, I mean there are a lot of other artists you get push back.”

Like Cy Twombly?

“That’s a good one.” We both cracked up laughing. “Sometimes it takes a learned response. But Richter’s are unbelievably wonderful; if you know about the process and the way he makes it, it makes sense. And if you also understand where it all comes from, people realize that it’s actually based in reality. Then they have a better understanding. It’s kind of an abstract photographic take on reality.”

I think that a lot of people don’t realize that these are all pre-computer. It’s not photoshopped.

“Yes. It’s a combination of the way the artist sees the subject and that, sometimes, it’s what he does with it. Whatever medium it is that he uses.”

It’s all about the medium.

Embracing the Contemporary: The Keith L. and Katherine Sachs Collection at Philadelphia Museum of Art

Through September 5, 2016, Dorrance Galleries and The Keith L. and Katherine Sachs Galleries, Philadelphia Museum of Art

“Embracing the Contemporary celebrates the remarkable collection of Keith L. and Katherine Sachs and their transformative gift of nearly one hundred works to the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2013. The Sachs Collection is one of the finest private collections of contemporary art in the United States and is presented publicly here for the first time.” – Philadelphia Museum of Art

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Written by DoN Brewer. (except where noted)

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Lilliana Didovic, Main Line Art Center

Lilliana Didovic, Written Walls, acrylic on canvas, 24″ x 30″, Main Line Art Center

Perceptions of Reality and Dreams, Lilliana Didovic, Main Line Art Center

In the land of gods and monsters is a secret place that only the believers can go. If you suspend imagination and ride the gravity waves, the world is beautiful in every way, reality is what you make of it. In Written Walls, Lilliana Didovic visualizes the beauty that once was, still is, and will be of Philly’s Strawberry Mansion neighborhood. The graffiti translates into a love letter, like a Valentine’s card; hugs not drugs. Signs of life glitter and shine in the gallery lights, the wonky fire hydrant the color of a kiss, electric lines sizzling with black power overhead.

The artist reveals the garish glamour of hood life, the street art and layers of architecture are lively and informed with potential and joy. The international symbol of oppression, a razor wire swirl, marks the landscape as a sign of independence, privacy and freedom, adding layers of meaning to the meme. Lilliana loves Philadelphia, unconditionally.

Lilliana Didovic, Main Line Art Center

Lilliana Didovic, Main Line Art Center, Perceptions of Reality and Dreams

“Perception of Reality and Dreams is a solo exhibition by Lilliana S. Didovic, with guest Nina Radovic. Didovic exhibits a dazzling series of her recognizable large-scale paintings that celebrate color, the city of Philadelphia, and the incredible will of the human spirit. Perception of Reality and Dreams will be on view through July 18, 2016 as part of Main Line Art Center’s Summer Gallery Rental Series.” – Main Line Art Center

Lilliana Didovic, Main Line Art Center

Lilliana Didovic, Main Line Art Center

John, pictured above, is the Didovic family’s first friend in Philly, he’s a DJ and set the mood of the sultry Summer evening  in Haverford with ballads and soft music. Good friends from all over Philly arrived to celebrate, not just art, but life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Of course, what looked like too much food and wine disappeared, and the space was alive with laughter, children and voices. The artist reception is meant to celebrate the artist, but Lilliana loves to celebrate her life, loves and friends.

All over the world people are experiencing war, Lilliana and Joseph escaped Sarajevo while cannons shelled their shining city from the hills. Imagine West Philly being blown up, Move style, bombs and bullets flying as you try to run away; Sarajevo was a metropolitan city not unlike Philadelphia. Now, imagine the boy you hid under a blanket in your escape from explosions has a dire emergency, a life changing turn of events that swirls like barbed wire around you. You have to be positive, right? You take action.

Friends, like John, love being around Lilliana and her family, the circle of friends ripples like a pond around them, venn diagrams overlap and new relationships formed in their wake. Imagine all the people touched by the Philadelphia story of a mom from Sarajevo who paints with joy in a hospital room to be by her son’s side. Fighting monsters with love, channeling the energy into art, Lilliana knows the potential of life and how to live fearlessly.

Lilliana Didovic, Main Line Art Center

Lilliana Didovic, Once Beautiful, mixed media on canvas, 40″ x 30″, Perception of Reality and Dreams at  Main Line Art Center

Lilliana Didovic, Main Line Art Center

Lilliana Didovic, Main Line Art Center, Perception of Reality and Dreams

Like a Howard Hodgkin painting, Lilliana explains with brush work the dark path she sometimes has to follow. Paint communicates in a language of symbols, marks and smears representing events and experiences, like abstract landscapes on a road to the unknown. There are a pair of canvasses collocated with a large portrait by guest artist Nina Radovic that reflect an unusual somberness. But even though the path forward is dark, through experience, the artist knows there is beautiful light ahead if you believe.

lilliana7

Lilliana Didovic, Main Line Art CenterPerception of Reality and Dreams

Lilliana Didovic, Main Line Art Center

Lilliana Didovic, Main Line Art CenterPerception of Reality and Dreams

Gordan is the light of Lilliana and Joseph’s life, no inconvenience prevents exploration, participation, and experiences to last a life time. Lilliana told me everything she does is for him. Almost all his life functions are now supported, Gordy’s doctors, his best friends, attended the reception. They are part of the family of artists, too, who enrich his life.

Sometimes I have a difficult time making art, inspiration is lazy, but Lilliana takes her supplies with her to the hospital when she stays with Gordy. Sometimes she encamps there for months on end. Creating colorful, expressionist art to the rhythm of ventilators, pumps and monitors, Lilliana finds a peace of mind allowing the dream imagery to flow into art. It’s a beautiful world we live in, gods and monsters and all.

Thank you so much to Main Line Art Center for their handicap accessibility, the accommodation brings together everybody.

Main Line Art Center
Main Line Art Center is located at 746 Panmure Road in Haverford PA, offers free parking, and is easily accessible from public transportation.

Gallery Hours
Monday – Thursday: 10 am to 8 pm
Friday – Sunday: 10 am-4 pm
Free and open to the public

 

Written and photographed by DoN Brewer. (except where noted)

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Artspace 1241, Stella Untalan

Artspace 1241, Stella Untalan, ink drawing

Artspace 1241, Brian David Dennis, Lesley Tao Mowat, Stella Untalan:

Being in the Woods

Being in the Woods unites Stella Untalan‘s ink drawings and Brian David Dennis‘ large cardboard construction titled, [bar], in a meta-magical art installation vibrating with the rhythms of the universe and nature. Minimalist drawings using walnut ink and a nib are serenely precise and flow with life energy. The repetition and hand/mind control pulses across the sheen of the paper like heart beats, the measure of time is palpable and flowing. Experiencing the drawings is like watching moonlight dapple the forest floor, the ebb and flow of water over rocks in a brook, and the strangeness of the pattern recognition. Each mark in the sequences captures a moment in time, memorialized with the utmost concentration and care, fading slowly across the span, then is reborn.

“I’ve created a series of drawings that are driven not by results but by process. Each of these drawings is made using the same ink, the same pen, the same unrelenting process. The results reveal themselves to be reminders of my walks and runs in the woods. The straight trunks making blurred lines that suggest motion, space, and time — a DNA image of being in the woods.” –Stella Untalan

Artspace 1241, Stella Untalan

Artspace 1241, Stella Untalan, ink drawings, Being in the Woods

Artspace 1241, Stella Untalan

Artspace 1241, Stella Untalan, ink drawings

Stella’s drawings are arrayed across the walls and bisect the space suspended from a taught cable using only monofilament, binder clips and mini clothes pins in a simple, unobtrusive design system. Walking among the drawings is like wandering through a strange forest of code and chaos, the paper softly reflects the light, the woody brown ink fading across parallel lines bring to mind chirps, tweets and buzzes of being in the woods. There is a serenity to the noisy silence of nature; bird calls, leaves rustling, branches scratching each other, my breath easy and full, blood gently pounding in my ears as I become just one element. The narrative is not about counting but a study of strange mathematics emanating from the artist’s liveness, energy and intellect.

Patterns emerge from the chaos then obscure themselves, morphing and changing across each of the drawings. The installation in the space adds another dimension to the holographic memory, an experience design, of the art, connecting new neural pathways to recollections. The suspended drawings are like looking into a pond, shiny and sleek, cloudy and confusing, with heavy bubbles popping and vanishing into ether, the paper given as much importance to the experience as the marks.

Artspace 1241, Stella Untalan

Artspace 1241, Stella Untalan, ink drawing, Being in the Woods

Artspace 1241, Brian David Dennis

Artspace 1241, Brian David Dennis, [bar]14’ W x 21″ D x 21″ H, corrugated cardboard, Being in the Woods

Floating on a long wall is a large, dramatic construction, like a great fallen tree trunk or a mysterious plank, made of corrugated cardboard. The artist uses the simple material as deftly as charcoal, sketchy and free, as precise as a stratum of geographic layers the paper speaks with energy and resilient power. By exploiting the familiarity of the materials, the monolithic construction attracts the imagination with surreal shape, pattern and texture. It’s like the molecules of the material are coagulating back into it’s original form, the geometry comes alive, each layer communicating in a digital language I don’t quite get. There is a powerful message coded in the artwork to think big with limited resources, explore the boundaries of the material world, and communicate with symbols, signs and ideas.

A state of being is established in the space, the [bar] finds a concentration of power and strength in such a simple form, like a lost beam floating down stream. The flow of dark and light, curves and lines, depth and breadth relates a feeling of social memory, bonded life forms and cooperation of energies in life. There is a liveness to the piece, a vibration emanates from across the room, echoing Stella’s drawings in a unique voice all it’s own. Time is stored like tree sap in the [bar], exploration is required, investigation and thoughtful contemplation follows a path through the mind of the artist.

Artspace 1241, Brian David Dennis

Artspace 1241,Brian David Dennis, [bar]14’ W x 21″ D x 21″ H,corrugated cardboard, (detail), Being in the Woods

“The piece will hover just off the wall surface. It is made of multiple layers of corrugated cardboard strips. The seemingly solid block protrudes from the wall at an angle, 21” deep on the left, tapering to 4” on the right.

I grew up in a house nestled at the edge of the forest. The woods were my favorite play ground. Happily building what I could with what was at hand, I learned to think big. I also learned that it was the making I enjoyed, completion was never the end game. [bar] suggests a segment of a much larger piece, displaced in time, lodged out of place. A small piece of what was never finished.” – Brian David Dennis

Artspace 1241, Brian David Dennis, Lesley Tao Mowat

Artspace 1241Stella Untalan, Brian David Dennis, Lesley Tao Mowat (click the pic)

Last Saturday night was sultry, the air thick with the scent of flowering trees, the almost Summer sun beating on my back as I walked down Bainbridge Street towards 1241 Carpenter, the darkness of night still hours away. The evening was fantastical, the balance of energy expended more than equaled to the energy absorbed. Lesley Tao Mowat designed a sound environment in the space, an exploration of rhythm and vibration, quiet yet persistent like drifting into a dream. The manipulated sounds, ethereal and rich, resonate with the art drawing the viewer into a deeper state of being. The ambient sound of the gallery goers mashed joyfully with the comforting music. The vibe was natural and encompassing like standing knee deep in a cool stream.

That night I was inspired by my friends and the power of our relationships. I felt happy, energized, satisfied with my life, the physics of the experience as validating as teamwork, soulful in the exploration of symbols, and miraculous in the coalition of our community. We love each other in a spirit of ambition, progressiveness and acceptance that is boundless. Being in the Woods explores the code embedded in our social consciousness to be sharing and carefree, holding and kissing each other in our joy of being surrounded by the persistence of life and love as our protection and solace.

EXHIBITION DATES June 11 – 25, 2016, Wednesdays and Thursdays 1:30 – 4 pm (or email for appointment)

LIVE PERFORMANCE / ARTIST TALK Thursday, June 23 / 6 – 7 pm

Artspace 1241, 1241 Carpenter St, Philadelphia, PA, 19146

Written and photographed by DoN Brewer. (except where noted)

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Alaska Thunderfuck 5000

Alaska Thunderfuck 5000 from the Planet Glamtron

Alaska Thunderfuck, Haus of Ham at Kung Fu Necktie

To say that I’m totally fan-girling over going to see Alaska Friday night is an understatement. I am obsessed. I wrote about her video Your Makeup is Terrible back in 2014 as the #2 video of the year. Since then Brooke Candy has slipped out of view and Alaska rules as DoNArTNeWs #1 favorite video artist with her dance track, ANUS. The trans-rock anthem, with the anarchist title, is so catchy, such an ear-worm, that I find myself singing it out loud walking the dog. “Drop it down low, let me feel it in your…”

The multi-talented artist explained in an interview that the title is a universal metaphor for everybody, everywhere. Alaska Thunderfuck mixes metaphors like a Joan Rivers zombie crossed with a Milton Berle drag wife creating the penultimate crass, beautiful, obnoxious, lovable monstrosity in contemporary pop culture. The entire album has a flow that follows the chakra system from the 7th crown to the root with authentic pop songs that stick in my sacral chakra and makes me want to sing and dance.

The video for ANUS, by director Saša Numićpays homage to Britney, Judy, Gaga with spare, evocative sets and choreography with a futuristic, astral trippy, dystoptian atmosphere mashed with a Yeezy fashion vibe. The message of the song is about having fun even though the odds of getting out alive are slim. We’re all the same, in this alone together. Alaska Thunderfuck has a style and fashion sense that is beyond what the glam rockers of the 70s presented and probably will never be seen on MTV but her influence in social media is important in this age of media transphobia. I’ve been in Philly a long time, I knew Harlow, Regina Renee’, Gratziella Fenimore, Sticky Buns…now we have Martha Graham Cracker, Tasker Morris, Pissi Myles. GOP keep your mitts off our favorite drag queens, Philadelphia has pride. We love our Queens.

KUNG FU NECKTIE 1250 NORTH FRONT STREET PHILADELPHIA PA 19122 FISHTOWN 215.291.491

Friday 5/27/2016 @ 7:30

Alaska Thunderfuck – Anus

Saša Numić – Film Director and Graphic Designer with 12 years of experience in graphic design, video, film and other forms of visual art, both as a part of and a manager of creative teams, with excellent communication skills, motivation to ‘’exploit’’ imagination and readiness to travel and transfer for the purposes of work.

www.needbatt.com

“A bizarre cosmic collision propelled Alaska Thunderfuck 5000 to Earth in March 1966… and on to the fifth season of Logo TV’s RuPaul’s Drag Race in January 2013. Still radioactive, no one knows who or what she is yet, but no one cares, as long as she never returns to her native planet. Her age and species remain unknown to the public, but a few of her enemies claim to hold copies of her spawning record and universal passport.” – Alaska

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Tilda Mann, Cerulean Arts

Tilda Mann, Wave (Paradise Cove), oil on paper mounted on wood, Creating Momentum, Cerulean Arts Gallery Studio

Creating Momentum, Cerulean Arts Gallery Studio

At a recent award ceremony, where I was one of the photographers, I overheard a comment from a voice behind me. The man said to his companion, “I miss those days when Philly had a great art critic, what was his name?” She said, “DoN’s sitting right there.” He said, “Not him. That’s not who I mean.” Ok, I gotta say it tickled me, I used to read the Inquirer art reviews religiously. I loved getting the Sunday paper and reading what the critics had to say about the latest art shows, sometimes flattering and sometimes mean, being the arbiter seemed so important. But, I’m not an art critic, I’m an art blogger.

Tilda Mann invited me to her opening reception at Cerulean Art Gallery – Studio, near the Divine Lorraine Hotel, at 1355 Ridge Ave, Philadelphia, PA. It was a rainy evening but there was plenty of parking, thunder rumbled in the distance, I’m not familiar with the neighborhood and I felt like I was in a David Lynch movie. I worried Katy the Art Dog was huddled under my desk back home. So many questions. Why was there available parking? Where was everybody? The shining streets seemed empty, but there was a bright glow from a shop front and inside I found a gathering of Philadelphia art people.

I’ve known Tilda Mann since the early 2000s, we studied drawing and painting together at Fleisher Art Memorial, and I was flattered she invited me to her show. The installation was three art friends who completed studying painting at PAFA together, Ruth Formica, Susan D’Alessio and Tilda Mann, the artwork interspersed throughout the gallery in an informal array mixing the artist’s work together was lovely and colorful. The visual conversation of the painting styles among the friends artwork was compelling and uplifting. The Philly art scene creates friendship fractals that extends throughout the region, artist’s travel far to study at the Academy. Lifetime friendships are made through Philadelphia arts institutions like PAFA, UArts, and Fleisher.

Wave (Paradise Cove) by Tilda Mann is a memory painting of her favorite beach in California, the white wave of titanium washing across the canvas, the craggy shoreline with beach grasses flow with the tide of color. Recently I was asked what made 180 Farben by Gerhard Richter a great painting? First of all, I never said it was great, but my opinion is using color as communication is a powerful tool. Tilda’s painting has a distinct descriptive voice using color, there is a depth of realness, a liveness, to the paint color that expresses a moment in time. Time is the fire in which we burn and I ran out of time before this show ended to gather my thoughts.

I loved the show, the space, the owners, the locale, the history, the dedication to Philadelphia artists and creating art business success of Cerulean Arts Gallery – Studio. Ten years in any small business is an accomplishment, making an art business succeed is phenomenal. My only criticism is the lights are too bright, I have floaters.

Cerulean Arts is a Philadelphia art gallery and studio dedicated to promoting the importance of art within the community. Proprietors Michael Kowbuz and Tina Rocha have brought together their experiences in teaching and practicing art, retail, art history and architecture to create a unique place for people interested in the various aspects of art.” – Cerulean Arts

Cerulean Arts Gallery Studio current exhibit is FROM THE GROUND UP Richard Estell through May 21, 2016. Artist’s Talk, Sunday, May 15, 2pm

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Farben

April 30, 2016

180 Farben (180 Colors), Gerhard Richter, Philadelphia Museum of Art 180 Farben (180 Colors) While studying at the University of the Arts, one of my writing assignments was to sit and stare at one painting for an hour, take notes and write an essay.180 Farben (180 Colors) is included in the sensational International Pop exhibition at […]

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Rabbit

April 21, 2016

The Rabbit: Myths, Legends and Fairies at The Plastic Club I have a song ear-worming in my head, The Twinkle Song by Miley Cyrus. The annual costume party held at The Plastic Club has afforded me the opportunities to overcome stage fright in the past through public speaking, reading poetry and acting in skits. As a Beat Poet […]

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Home

March 22, 2016

Drew Leshko, ENROUTE, 16″ x 20 1/2″ Home is Where You Park It, Works by Drew Leshko at Paradigm Gallery + Studio Paradigm Gallery + Studio, 746 South 4th Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19147, “Home Is Where You Park It” works by Drew Leshko through April 16, 2016. Closing Reception Friday, March 25th • 5:30pm – 10:00pm Exhibition Hours Tuesdays, Thursdays, and […]

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Mannequin

February 16, 2016

  Mannequin: A Group Photography Exhibition, Laura Storck, Curator It all began as a fake Facebook challenge last Summer. Laura Storck posts a lot of photographs of mannequins on social media with the hashtag #philly_mannequins. Other photographers in Laura’s sphere of influence started posting their own Philly Mannequin pictures online. Then the bogus photo challenge […]

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Sunil Gupta

December 29, 2015
Picture This: Contemporary Photography and India, Sunil Gupta

Untitled, 20062011 (negative); 2015 (print). Sunil Gupta, Canadian (born India), active London and Delhi, born 1953. Inkjet print, Image: 17 7/8 × 22 inches, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Picture This: Contemporary Photography and India Picture This: Contemporary Photography and India, Sunil Gupta “Sunil Gupta is an artist-activist. Since the 1970s, he has explored the politics and experience […]

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