Two Timing: Words for Napoleon, TSA, Marginal Utility, Grizzly Grizzly, & PRACTICE

The air is tropic and tactile, surrounding me like a heavy wool poncho, as I ascend the stairs of the 319 North 11th Street building for my August First-Friday pilgrimage. In a scene that has become totemic of the Philadelphia art experience, the second floor was already engorged like a college house party. It is an environment ideal for socializing–not ideal for looking. So as a habit I am actively trying to nurture, I made my visit brief and opted to return the following Sunday to stroll the hall, observe the art, and chat idly with gallery sitters. What follows are some brief words for the second floor exhibitions.

Napoleon
Pleased to Meet You
Exhibition Dates: 8.3.12- 8.31.12
Gallery Hours: Saturdays and Sundays | 2:00 – 6:00PM or by appointment

HI! WHAT IS YOUR NAME? WHAT? YOU WILL HAVE TO SPEAK UP. I CAN BARELY HEAR YOU. THIS PARTY IS NUTSSSSSS… I AM ALSO PLEASED TO MEET YOU. SO I HEAR YOU GUYS ARE NEW TO THIS AREA? ANY PLANS FOR YOUR SPACE? SO WHAT TYPE OF COLORS DO YOU LIKE? WHAT ARE YOU IN TO? NOT MUCH TO SAY? WELL THERE WILL BE PLENTY OF TIME FOR EVERYONE TO GET TO KNOW EACH OTHER OVER CANNED BEER, FRIGID WINTERS, SWELTERING SUMMERS, AND WEIRD SMELLS. JUST A WORD OF ADVICE: HANGING OUT ISN’T ENOUGH. TAKE SOME CHANCES—INCITE A RIOT—MAKE US REMEMBER. IT WILL BE BETTER FOR EVERYONE IF YOU DO. I SAY IT ALL THE TIME BUT IT IS SO TRUE: IF YOU WANT TO BE A PARTY ANIMAL YOU HAVE TO LEARN TO LIVE IN THE JUNGLE. ALSO WHERE IS THE BATHROOM?


Tiger Strikes Asteroid

On Loan
Exhibition Dates: 8.3.12 – 8.26.12
Gallery Hours: Saturdays and Sundays | 2:00 – 6:00PM or by appointment

Oh my goodness. You look just like this tumblr blog I used to date. It was really special. In certain lights (candle light, moon light, strobe light) you saw art objects unique and independent. In other lights (oven light, laptop light) you could catch glimpses of a body whole and crafted; artifacts comprising a figure. Trying to suss out the difference between art and artifacts could occupy a large portion of a lazy Sunday afternoon. Sometimes I couldn’t tell who to dote on: the images and objects or the hand that crafted their captions, context, and hierarchy. On some dates these two elocutionists blurred and commingled. Is that you curator? Or is the artist present? Don’t get me wrong sometimes this confusion could be just the romantic spice (three-way fantasizes, having “it all,” etc.) but often it was simply too much. Some days I felt like there needed to be more authorial transparency in our relationship. But looking back I did learn a lot. I was bold and it was a time for experimentation. If I could, I would do it all over again. When reminiscing, my friends say they can see a sparkle in my eye when I talk about my tumblr-fever phase. But that was ages ago and you are a different thing. I think everyone should get to know you for you.

Marginal Utility
GET IT WHILE IT’S CHEAP #2 
Exhibition Dates: 8.3.12 – 8.26.12
Gallery Hours: Saturdays and Sundays | 12:00 – 5:00PM or by appointment

I had a real sense of excitement when I first met you that hot Friday night. The work seemed potent and captivating. I found myself walking around and saying “yeah” a lot. Revisiting, however, the air felt different—deflated rather than breathtaking. Your friend, Zorawar Sidhu’s images of cardboardy and taxidermied realities divulge little else on the second visit; leaving me stuck contemplating the weirdness of Las Vegas and not the craft or intention of the work. Similarly other art by Coady Brown, Abby King, and Patrick Maguire failed to develop complexity the longer I looked. Your friend Kyle Goldbach’s art, however, did give me pause. In video, installation, and painting objects, he provided vivid memories of the ongoing encounter between human physicality and urban structures. The scar from when a fleshy fist meets dead concrete—the wooden SEPTA bench bruised and worn from a thousand butts and keys. It also gave me a place to sit. I wish some of that smoldering magic could have been waiting for me the second time around. Instead, I recalled last night’s french fries—crisp and delicious on your plate but impotent and malnourishing in the morning microwave.

PRACTICE
A Public Service Response to the Heat

I’m sorry PRACTICE. I didn’t go into your air-conditioned room. :/ Is it just as good that I imagined what it would be like to go into your air-conditioned room? Is it? It is not. I envisioned a tiny movie theatre or child’s bedroom. While, art patron climate comfort is an issue that ranks pretty poorly for me, I can, however, get really into the prospect of a truly experimental presence in the 319 building. I am excited to see what a group-driven, non-exhibition based project space will put out next. Just as long as it is not about PBR biases amongst artist or dog curbing initiatives.

Grizzly Grizzly
Hot! August! Night!

I unfortunately missed a majority of the performances that took place that evening. For those in a similar boat, here is some very nice documentation:
 http://vimeo.com/47128818