Friday, April 2, 2010

Review on Philadelphia City Paper

Another review for our video works "Happy Hour" at Philagrafika 2010. Enjoy.

Last Chance

Catch it or regret it

by Holly Otterbein

After Philagrafika ends on April 11, will the city's galleries, curators, artists and art allies ever again be as harmonious? For the past two months, the inaugural fête celebrating all things print has pervaded seemingly every venue — and medium — in town. It's as if we've all been part of one giant, heretical, ink-stained collective consciousness — a nice change for a community that can feel disjointed and even, occasionally, at odds with itself.

Post-Philagrafika, Philly's arts scene should have more swagger: We know the city can host a print-themed triennial, so why can't it host something like the Whitney Biennial? Additionally, Philagrafika has given us a broader, more easygoing definition of print: Not only is digital photography "print," but so is video, confetti and performance art. It's these little things that should hold us over until the fest returns in three years ("unless it's back in two," says artistic director José Roca).

Of course, Philagrafika 2010's time of death hasn't been called just yet. Consider scurrying to the following shows — exemplars of the festival's Apollonian vibes — before it is.

Temple Gallery

Speaking of prematurely called deaths: Barthélémy Toguo's Heart Beat and Francesc Ruiz's Newsstand (pictured) both cast an eye on print journalism. Copies of the Inquirer, which Toguo scribbled over with a Sharpie, line Temple Gallery's walls, giving viewers a visceral sense of being silenced. Meanwhile, Ruiz constructed a life-size, Philly-style newsstand, complete with original Philly-style newspapers, magazines and Lotto tickets — things he believes are already relics. "Newsstands are the closest thing we had to Internet before it existed," he says. "They are places where you can access all kinds of information, and they are also places of exchange. I think it is necessary to begin to preserve them. Maybe we should create a Museum of the Newsstand." Ends April 11, Tyler School of Art, 2001 N. 13th St., 215-777-9000,

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

Faced with a society too wrapped up with money, Indonesian-based collective Tromarama bravely resisted making art about its cash-hungry brethren that was pedantic or atrabilious. Instead, Happy Hour is a lighthearted video imagining that money — long the impetus behind unhappiness, suicide and war — has tired of carrying the weight of the world on its shoulders, and enjoys some much-needed R&R. Likewise, urban detritus king Mark Bradford's Untitled (Dementia) pokes fun at a makeshift ad for Alzheimer's sufferers in L.A., but doesn't dwell on its sadness. Ends April 11, Samuel M.V. Hamilton Building, 128 N. Broad St., 215-972-7600,

Print Center

In the Print Center, Space 1026's artwork looks vastly different than it does in the collective's Chinatown digs. The yurt it constructed for Philagrafika (pictured) lacks the abrasive, overstimulating qualities that can sometimes hamper the collective — and not because the Space trashed its tried-and-true eyeball, pyramid and intestine motifs, but rather because the yurt is alone, isolated from a barrage of other wacky Space 1026 works. Additionally, this piece speaks best to the fest's congruency: An exhibit by the Argentinian group Eloisa Cartonera is inside of Space 1026's yurt, like two Russian nesting dolls tucked into one another. Ends April 11, 1614 Latimer St., 215-735-6090,

The article taken from here.
Published: Mar 23, 2010

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